# Maths and God

I just wanted to comment on a piece of email glurge I got today. I was going to send this as a direct reply to the person that sent it to me, but it might have come over as a bit mean. Here's the item in question:

 The Beauty of Mathematics and the Love of God!   The math pyramids are enough to make you think, however, the geometrics at the end of this email is even better..  I bet you will NOT be able to read it without sending it on to at least one other person that you know!    1 x 8 + 1 = 9 12 x 8 + 2 = 98 123 x 8 + 3 = 987 1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876 12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765 123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654 1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543 12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432 123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321 1 x 9 + 2 = 11 12 x 9 + 3 = 111 123 x 9 + 4 = 1111  1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111 12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111  123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111 1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111  12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111  123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111  9 x 9 + 7 = 88 98 x 9 + 6 = 888  987 x 9 + 5 = 8888  9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888  98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888  987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888  9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888 98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888  Brilliant, isn't it?  And look at this symmetry:  1 x 1 = 1 11 x 11 = 121  111 x 111 = 12321 1111 x 1111 = 1234321  11111 x 11111 = 123454321  111111 x 111111 = 12345654321 1111111 x 1111111 =1234567654321  11111111 x 11111111 =123456787654321  111111111 x 111111111 =12345678987654321 Mind Boggling.....    Now, take a look at this...  101%  >From a strictly mathematical viewpoint:  What Equals 100%?  What does it mean to give MORE than 100%?  Ever wonder about those people who say they  are giving more than 100%?  We have all been in situations where someone wants you to GIVE OVER 100%...  How about ACHIEVING 101%?  What equals 100% in life?  Here's a little mathematical formula that might help answer these questions:  If: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z  Is represented as:  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.  Then: H-A-R-D-W-O- R- K  8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%  And: K-N-O-W-L-E- D-G-E  11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+ 5 = 96%  But:  A-T-T-I-T-U- D-E  1+20+20+9+20+ 21+4+5 = 100%  THEN, look how far the love of God will take you:  L-O-V-E-O-F- G-O-D  12+15+22+5+15+ 6+7+15+4 =101%  Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that:  While Hard Work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will  get you there, It's the Love of God that will put you over the top!  Have a nice day & God bless you.

While I agree that maths is interesting and in many cases amazing, none of this comes close to proving anything, or even making a real, proper, actual point.

Firstly, there are the "number pyramids". Yes, they're interesting, but they're just an aspect of the complexity of numbers. You might just as well be showing me ice crystals; yeah, they're pretty, and it's cool that they line up fairly neatly, but it's just a manifestation of the way things are in the natural world.

Next, the email talks about achieving over 100%. As I'm sure everyone knows, it's impossible to get over 100%. In fact, a statement like 110% is essentially meaningless in any real sense and is only really useful as a poetic expression (as in "I'm working so hard I'm giving 110%!"). Ignoring this, though, the email moves into numerology to try to prove that the "Love of God" is somehow more useful in one's everyday life (presumably as some kind of performance boost) than hard work, positive attitude, etc. Essentially, this part is saying: "Faith and prayer will get you further in life than knowledge and determination. And these hokey sums prove it!"

(As an aside, the "geometrics" mentioned in the first paragraph may have been confused with Gematria, a Jewish/Kabbalistic form of numerology)

For fun, I've spent far too much time compiling a list of even more beneficial sources of success:

laziness = 105%
sorcery = 103%
magic spells = 116%
the black arts = 120%
incantation = 120%

honesty = 106%
skepticism = 124%
refutation = 129%
rationality = 144%
truthfulness = 183%

Needless to say, the entire list above proves absolutely nothing. As does the whole email.

Views: 40

Comment by Radu Andreiu on December 30, 2010 at 11:03am
Yeah, it's BS. And something to note: when you add the numbers representing the letters, the result can't be 100%, or 101%, or whatever. That's because 100% = 100/100 = 1, and 101% = 101/100 = 1.01 and so on. What the guy who sent the email was supposed to say is that if you add those numbers you get 100, or 101, or whatever, but without the percentage character, which means "divided by 100".

As for giving 101%, mathematically speaking, it doesn't mean anything. 101% from what? If it's 101% your maximum capabilities, that's non-sense. If the maximum is represented as 100% = 1, then 101% can't be reached. Anyway, it's just a figure of speech and I don't think people think what it literally means.
Comment by Bill on December 30, 2010 at 11:08am
The author of this chain mail is committing the logical fallacy of "appeal to authority". In this case, he is borrowing the authority of math to 'prove' his god. However, on cursory inspection we find that math says nothing about gods.
Comment by Allen Sneed on December 30, 2010 at 11:25am

Not to mention the fact that the order of the letters in the alphabet are arbitrary and could just as easily start bgfer instead of abcd.

And what about other languages, like Chinese? How do the numbers correspond to their letters or characters?

Numerology is stupid.

Comment by Andrew Grabowski on December 30, 2010 at 11:26am
Not to mention, some cultures don't use our base 10 system of counting.
Comment by Radu Andreiu on December 30, 2010 at 11:31am
Of course it's stupid and meaningless, but people see what they want to see. And the funny thing is that we look bad in these people's eyes if we say it doesn't mean anything. People don't want to be told that what they believe, and especially what they want to believe, is false.
Comment by Michael Sizer-Watt on December 30, 2010 at 11:32am
Oh damn.  Victor Stenger was all wrong.  Sigh.
Comment by Chadia on December 30, 2010 at 3:41pm

I wouldn't even read an email like that.

Comment by Paul Reed on December 30, 2010 at 3:46pm
Hehe. I was just going to delete it, but then I decided to actually respond to it. Yeah, it's stupid, but sadly some people will never see that unless it's spelled out.
Comment by M on December 30, 2010 at 6:09pm
That's clever, but it makes me a little nauseous.  Like several of you pointed out, you could insert practically anything in there to numerically work.  I detest religious cutesy email.  I delete them and tell my eyes to pretend they never saw them.
Comment by Dustin on December 30, 2010 at 7:14pm
I LIKE THIS EMAIL.  I sent it to a theist friend of mine - She will already know it's a joke as she knows I'm an anti theist :)

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