Table of Contents
11.3 Critical remarks concerning the test method
In the USA the discovery of theomatics by Del Washburn is obviously causing more contradiction than agreement. The existence of theomatics is disputed especially by official church institutions. These refuse to even have a critical look at it, maybe bacause some of the theomatic findings, e.g. in the area of eschatology, are in contradition to some of the more predominant teachings in the USA.
- One of the biggest critics of theomatics is Tim Hayes with his homepage: http://www.ableever.net. Tim Hayes has performed very extensive investigations coming to the conclusion, that theomatic features are purely random. In his tests he does not follow the test method used by theomatics. He introduces his own method of testing which differs significantly from the test method of theomatics.
- Tim Hayes describes his method as "maximum order statistics" (MOS). An analysis of his method (as provided in his web page), which is conclusive in itself, leads to the conclusion, that he is applying the "law of large numbers." The reason for applying the "MOS" method is the assumption, that the theomatic factor cannot be taken out of the sample and, therefore, has to be identified by the testing of a sufficiently large number of samples. He calls this theomatic factor the "most significant factor."
- The "weak law of large numbers" deals with the limit of probability to identify a defined parameter (e.g. the average value) in a sample, which differs from the respective parameter of the population by not more than a predefined value. The "strong law of large numbers" deals with the probability, that a series of random variables in a sample converges to a defined value of the population (e.g. the average value). Both cases are limit considerations, which are heading for probabilities of 1 by using large sample sizes.
- Theomatics deals with discrete features (values divisible by a defined theomatic factor), which are existent or not. The theomatic factor can be estimated out of the sample via its expected theological meaning. Since all of the Bible text cannot be examined with reasonable effort, text samples are analyzed with statistical methods. These methods allow the application of the observed sample results to the complete Bible. By doing so, certain levels of error probabilities are explicitly permitted. The relevant question is, whether the test results are sufficiently significant? This does not affect the validity of the "law of large numbers", i.e. the larger sample size, the closer the sample results will come to the real situation in the population (complete Bible text).
- The "most significant factor" as introduced by Tim Hayes is not necessarily identical with a specific theomatic factor observed in the sample. Theomatic experience shows, that in one Bible passage more than one theomatic feature can be observed, and they all could be different in terms of statistical significance. A difference in significance would lead to a hierarchy in significance. Any hierarchy in significance would result in a hierarchy of the theological aspects related to those theomatic features. And a hierarchy of theological aspects is hard to imagine.
- The method of Tim Hayes cannot be explained here in detail. The method is described on the above mentioned homepage in the section "Apologetics/theomatics/methodology." My concluding remark is, that the statistical "MOS" method is not applicable to Theomatics. Therefore, the "MOS" conclusion, that the observed theomatic features are purely random, is to my understanding also invalid.
Besides the discussion of the method of testing, there are some smaller aspects of concern in the test sample of Luke 15:10-32, which are also mentioned by Tim Hayes. But these are not so serious that the theomatic test results in general could be considered as invalid. Four of the more essential aspects are briefly addressed here:
- Critical aspects concerning the comparison with random allocations:
1) After a test with a random number allocation has been performed, the hits must be checked, whether they show a theological meaning or not. This is necessary, because different hits out of the same sample could occur by applying different number allocations. This selection has to be performed manually (just like the standard number allocation), and for the given example all hits will be accepted including the word "son" as being a brother. This manual selection can be regarded as a formal failure (see also Tim Hayes), but cannot be avoided due to the test methodology used by Theomatics.
2) The average word length (WLA) resulting from random number allocations can be higher than the one from the standard number allocations WLA. For comparison reasons ("what if"), Theomatics reduces so many random hits until the "random" WLA is equal to the "standard" WLA, starting with hits from phrases with the most words in length. This correction of the "random" quantity of hits should not be performed (see also Tim Hayes), because of its influence on the sample size (different sample sizes for "random" and "standard" due to hit correction). It is recommended, to limit the word/phrase combinations to 3 words in length or less and to accept different WLAs for random number allocations.
3) A further problem for comparison is to maintain the same theomatic factor for standard and random number allocations, because the theomatic value of the key word will be different for different number allocations. This critical aspect could be taken into consideration by the testing of random number allocations with those theomatic factors that individually result from the random number value for the defined key word.