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Mad Science With Randy

Why Do Mad Science?

When you're a geek, you tend to use your geeky powers in all areas of your life. 

Maybe you track the best deals on a car in a spreadsheet. Maybe you try to use logic to find your optimal life partner. Maybe you apply probability theory to decide (as Pascal did) whether to believe in God.

Science is just too much fun to leave in the lab when you go home at the end of the day.

If science is worth doing, it's worth applying to your whole life. When you do that, sometimes you get good sensible results. Sometimes you get complete nonsense. 

Non-geeks just don't get this and tend to think that it's all "mad science." Tough beans. They may be right, but if being a geek is in your blood, then it's in your blood.

In this section, I look at a few areas where people have tried to apply science to ordinary life. With mixed results. We'll see some train wrecks. And maybe we'll learn something.

The "Bible Code"

Back in the 1990s, a number of Jewish mathematicians and rabbis thought they saw a pattern in the Hebrew text of the Bible. A secret message with information about things that would happen centuries after the Bible was written. When a journalist named Michael Drosnin got wind of this idea, he published a best-selling book, The Bible Code, which hardly anybody took seriously. Was it all just bogus? Or was there more to it than that? 
Read my page on the Bible code to get my take on it.

"James the Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus"

In October, 2002, an extraordinary stone box was announced to the world. The inscription on it read, "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." Could it possibly be the final resting place of James, the brother of Jesus of Nazareth? James was the leader of the Jesus community in Jerusalem for about 30 years, until he was murdered by the high priest about the year 62. Is this him ... or isn't it? Read my page on the James Ossuary to learn my opinion.

The "Jesus Family Tomb"

In February, 2007, an Emmy-award-winning documentary producer announced that he had found the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth in a Jerusalem suburb -- complete with inscriptions bearing the names of Jesus, his "wife" Mary Magdalene, and his "son" Judah. This ignited a brief firestorm in the world of Biblical scholarship. The producer claimed odds of 600 to 1 that this was the tomb of the real Jesus of Nazareth. In the controversy that followed, I played a role as the Probability Geek. Find out what I did and how things fell out.