Re: Equal Interval Reading

Aaron D. Gross (
Thu, 06 Mar 1997 22:56:37 -0800

Dr. Rubin wrote:
>>With this I agree. I am a quite suspicious mathematical statistician.
>>My Hebrew would not be good enough to check their algorithm, but I
>>would very much like to see other suspicious people look at it
>>carefully, as well as their claims that the Samaritan version has no
>>similar properties.

Rabbi Yaakov Menken responded:
>I think Harold Gans is the first and last other person to go to the
>necessary trouble. Most other researchers have not challenged the results,
>because this isn't like a sociological study where different people might
>obtain different data. In this case, if the researchers "fudged their
>data," this would be glaringly obvious to anyone who checked, and these
>researchers would immediately become the global laughingstock of the
>community of statisticians, and would probably lose their jobs (can't tenure
>even be revoked in these cases?). It's not likely they would do this.

There *is* a researcher, Brendan McKay, who has challenged the results
but is bypassing refereed journals and the scientific process and is
going directly to Microsoft's magazine, Slate. There are many who
have challenged his challenge, but he has taken the low road and
gone straight to the sensationalist press. The author of the article
is not a statistician, but an attorney, admittedly not qualified
to question McKay's arguments.

I'm not sure about tenure being revoked. Professors can say some
pretty heinous things and get away with it. (Noam Chomsky and
Arthur Butz come to mind.)

Aaron D. Gross --

[NB: Since submission of this post, the actual article in Slate emerged at . The proponents of the Codes
research apparently contacted Slate, and the final article pays much more
attention to their research than to McKay's rebuttal - which, btw, "has
been withdrawn [from the Net] on the request of the author," pending a more
detailed investigation. -- YM]