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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 3/26/2006 10:47:36 AM EDT
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Nineteen

There's an extremely interesting post at Terrorism Unveiled which is following the progress of Mohammad Reza Taheri Azar's trial. Azar attempted to do "God's will" by running over students on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill in early March. Taheri Azar's explanation of his actions compel attention.


I am a servant of Allah. I am 22 years old. I was born in Tehran, Iran. My father, mother and older sister immigrated to the United States in 1985 when I was 2 years of age, and I have lived in the United States ever since. ... I have decided to take advantage of my presence on United States soil on Friday, March 3, 2006, to take the lives of as many Americans and American sympathizers as i can in order to punish United States for their immoral actions around the world. In the Qur'an, Allah states that the believing men and women have permission to murder anyone responsible for the killing of other believing men and women. I know that the Qur'an is a legitimate and authoritative holy scripture since it is completely validated by modern science and also mathematically encoded with the number 19 beyond human ability.


Nineteen? A partial explanation of Taheri Azar's belief in the power of this number can be found at The Mathematical Miracle of the Quran.


When told about the mathematical miracle of the Quran and how it is related to number 19 , many people ask : Why 19?! ... The number 19 possesses unique mathematical properties, for example: 1-It is a prime number , only divides by itself and one. 2-It encompasses the first numeral (1) and the last numeral (9), as if to proclaim God's attribute in 57:3 as the "Alpha and the Omega". 3-Its {numerals} look the same in all languages in the world.The numerals (1) and (9) look very much the same in , for example Arabic and English. 4-It possesses many peculiar mathematical properties. For example, 19 is the sum of the first powers of 9 and 10, and the difference between the second powers of 9 and 10.


There follows various ways of enumerating Koranic objects to result in the number 19. This immediately calls to mind the numerological interpretations of the Kabbalah.


Kabbalah teaches that every Hebrew letter, word, number, and accent of the Hebrew Bible contains a hidden sense; and it teaches the methods of interpretation for ascertaining these meanings. One such method is as follows:


Torah (first five books of the Bible) is an encoded message with hidden meanings. Specifically, kabbalists traditionally have taught that Kabbalah is the secret part of the Torah given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Gemetria is a method for discovering hidden meanings in Torah. Each letter in Hebrew also represents a number - Hebrew, unlike many other languages, never developed a separate numerical alphabet. By converting letters to numbers, Kabbalists were able to find hidden meaning in each word. This method of interpretation was used most extensively by the school of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria.



Not far behind are the ancient Pythagoreans, who saw the Universe encoded in numbers and treated them as mystical objects.


The Pythagorean view of the universe rested squarely on the belief that Natural (counting) number was the key to the various qualities of mankind and matter. Since in their view everything was composed of number, the explanation for an objects existence could only be found in number. Elsewhere about this time, number existed for utilitarian purposes only, as a device for solving problems in calendar construction, building and commerce. It was the Pythagoreans who saw number as important in itself, the numbers themselves having "personality in a rustic landscape". The distinction was made between logistic (art of computation) and arithmetic (number theory). Kline quotes the famous Pythagorean Philolaus (425 B.C.E.), as writing:

"Were it not for number and its nature, nothing that exists would be clear to anybody either in itself or in its relation to other things...You can observe the power of number exercising itself ... in all acts and the thoughts of men, in all handicrafts and music."

Pythagoras and the early Order initially treated number concretely, as patterns with pebbles, but over time the Pythagoreans developed and refined their concept of number into the same abstract entity which still exists today. Though it is difficult to separate fact from fancy in some of the surviving references to the Pythagoreans, it is generally conceded that they began number theory, and were responsible for the introduction and development of number mysticism in Western Society.



The number mysticism of Pythagoras with roots in number theory, seems at first glance to be far more technically sophisticated than Taheri Azar's rather thin "19" thesis as proof of the infallibility of the Koran. All the same, there are claims that Pythagorean number mysticism long stood in the way of accepting irrational numbers, which are now a normal part of mathematics.


The earliest known use of irrational numbers was in the Indian Sulba Sutras composed between 800-500 BC. The first existence proofs of irrational numbers is usually attributed to Pythagoras, more specifically to the Pythagorean Hippasus of Metapontum, who produced a (most likely geometrical) proof of the irrationality of the square root of 2. The story goes that Hippasus discovered irrational numbers when trying to represent the square root of 2 as a fraction. However Pythagoras believed in the absoluteness of numbers, and could not accept the existence of irrational numbers. He could not disprove their existence through logic, but his beliefs would not accept the existence of irrational numbers and so he sentenced Hippasus to death by drowning.


Comparisons will inevitably made with Intelligent Design, which also sees non-randomness encoded into observable universe. However, Intelligent Design only makes weak claims about what can be safely inferred from this observation.


Intelligent design deliberately does not try to identify or name the specific agent of creation – it merely states that one (or more) must exist. While intelligent design itself does not name the designer, the personal view of many proponents is that the designer is the Christian god. Whether this was a genuine feature of the concept or just a posture taken to avoid alienating those who would separate religion from science-teaching has been a matter of great debate between supporters and critics of intelligent design.


Taheri Azar treats the number 19 as some kind of public key which allows him to decrypt messages which come direct from Allah. In this case, the plaintext says:


In the Qur'an, Allah states that the believing men and women have permission to murder anyone responsible for the killing of other believing men and women. I know that the Qur'an is a legitimate and authoritative holy scripture since it is completely validated by modern science and also mathematically encoded with the number 19 beyond human ability.


Commentary

It probably never occurred to the thousands of people dying in flames or under rubble in the World Trade Center that their doom may have had anything to do with the number 19. They might have seen the number scrawled, like graffiti on some storefront mosque or printed on some obscure handbill. Yet they never suspected its significance. But who would have guessed that in the early 21st century messages emanating from a void beyond space would instruct apparently sane human beings to fly wide-bodied aircraft into Manhattan skyscrapers?

posted by wretchard at 8:05 PM | 88 comments links to this post

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