There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.
If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2021.
| Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.|
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with !
The Equation of Creation
| The divine comedy|
The Equation of Creation is an equation and argument promoted by creationist David Cumming. He argues that God has presented proof of Himself in the form of a simple equation that uses the frequency of the hydrogen fine transition line, the speed of light when converted, and Ω, which he defines not only as every numeral used in base-10, but also the difference in "weight" of the Moon compared to the Earth.
It is an excellent example of the Texas sharpshooter fallacy, in which you start with your conclusion then pick your supporting facts.
Cumming defines the equation as
is the frequency of the hydrogen fine transition line — the frequency emitted by a neutral hydrogen atom when the spin of the electron in the ground state flips from parallel to the spin of the proton to antiparallel to the spin of the proton. It is equal to 1420.405751 MHz.
is 3.141592653 (Pi is chosen to 10 significant figures to match Hlf).
" equals 4462.336272 [sic]". Actually, it equals 4462.336272 MHz — don't forget the units. Cummings also mentions that is a "frequency… suggested by Pyotr Makovetsky, for various reasons, as the best potential transmission frequency that should be searched for signs of ETI, and this frequency was [one of many] adopted by NASA’s SETI institute (now independent from NASA)"
is 0.0123456789 and "represents all the characters of the base 10 number system."
represents "the speed of light… calculated using the equation… works out at 361,437,469.8 Thoms/sec."
The Thom is a unit of length, also called a "megalithic yard" by Cummings. It is defined to be either 0.82945 or 0.82966 meters.
Errors in the equation
There are several errors in Cumming's equation.
Lack of units in equation
The first major error in the equation is the failure to retain units used in the equation. Cumming argues that the numbers provide significant proof of the existence of a creator, yet (basic unit: cycles/time) and (basic unit: distance/time) do not balance on opposite sides of the equation. Pi is a unitless number, as is Ω. This is akin to coming up with an equation like (100 pounds × 10 × 0.5) = 500 hours. The numbers may match up (500 on one side, 500 on the other), but that doesn't prove that one pound is the same as one hour. Other creationists have proven susceptible to errors of identical form.
Arbitrary measurements in equation
"Cumming first realised the importance of the equation when he recognised the equation produced the number 361,448 – a very accurate value for the speed of light expressed in the Thom units of an ancient Stone Age measurement system." It is peculiar that Cumming would argue that the number of an ancient civilization would match up with a measurement of the modern age (presumably using a 10-digit calculator), namely the megahertz measurement of . This choosing of two different standards of measurements to declare that they have some meaning with and a number Cumming made up shows no real significance. One could argue any two constants could equal each other using other standard math ratios or constants.
Ratio of Earth to Moon
Cumming argues that the ratio of the Earth's weight to the Moon's is 1/81. However, weight is a measurement of gravity on mass, and Cumming does not reveal which gravity he uses to determine this. The mass of the earth is 5.9736×1024 kg. The mass of the moon is 7.3477×1022. Provided the masses of the bodies are used, rather than the weights, one would arrive at an approximate ratio of 1/81.
is the ratio
Cumming also argues that "1/81 equates to the very unusual decimal fraction 0.0123456789." Yet 1/81 is 0.012345679… (repeating). Note not only the repetition, but the conspicuous lack of an 8. The moon/earth mass ratio is not precisely , nor is it precisely 1/81. Even if it were, Cumming never offers a reasonable argument for why this ratio should be proof that a creator is sending us a message. Given a long enough list of physical constants it is possible to reproduce any given number if, as Cumming has done, one ignores the need to balance units. For example, 1/81 is also the ratio of the atomic number of hydrogen (1) to the atomic number of thallium (81). Spooky!
It's not a particularly unusual decimal either, as 81 is 92 and 9 is one less than 10, the base system it is written in. Similar effects occur with other base systems, for example written in base 8 is 0.01234570123456...
"When we look at the overall equation, we know in advance that the equation will give the value for the speed of light very accurately because what we’re doing is multiplying the frequency of the hydrogen line by the wavelength of the hydrogen line. But remember, we’ve divided (3.141592653) by (0.0123456789) to get a result for the hydrogen line wavelength expressed in Thoms, so the fact that we get a highly accurate answer for this is nothing short of a miracle."
It's a miracle, all right. First, Cummings has divided two unitless numbers and arrived at a number with units, à la '30 ÷ 6 = 5 volts'. Second, "the speed of light is calculated using the equation is 1420,405,750 cycles per sec (frequency (Hz)) multiplied by 0.2544690072 Thoms (wavelength). This works out at 361,437,469.8 Thoms/sec" [sic]. But /=254.4690072, not 0.2544690072. So Cummings is off by three orders of magnitude (103).
Many of Cumming's equations to support his argument using his precision come up with nearly 100% accurate figures.
- "This result for the speed of light is 99.999% correct."
- "This result for the speed of light is 99.97% correct."
- "This means the Thom derived from the equation, when multiplied up to give the Polar Circumference of the Earth using the Thom Earth signature 366 and the Sumerian 360 system, gives an answer that ranges from 99.995% correct (40,000kms value) to 99.975 per cent correct (40,008kms value)."
- "This value is 99.93% correct."
- "This value is 99.83% correct."
Most of these near-100% equations are taking ancient measurements of the circumference of the earth and applying it to other heavenly bodies. This is not a sound argument, as each of these bodies is a spherical object. The precision would also be applicable using rather than the stone age measurement Cumming offers.
As Cumming argues:
“”These results mean that not only does the equation give an accurate result for the speed of light but the value for the Thom coming from the equation fits very accurately with the circumferences of the Earth, Sun, and Moon. As a side note, the values 100 and 40,000 used above in calculations of circumference, are not arbitrary numbers, but are very significant values in the large volume of research about the message embedded in the characteristics of the Solar system. The larger body of research does not feature in this short review and explanation of the Equation of Creation.
But how are they not arbitrary? How are they significant values in the "large volume of research about the message embedded in the characteristics of the Solar [sic] system?" Cumming never explains this, and as such, his argument is meaningless here.
Cumming concludes his paper with the following whopper:
“”Therefore, either there is the most freakishly unlikely coincidence happening, and the huge amount of supporting data not mentioned in this short review makes the odds of this event being due to a chance event really disappear beyond the possible, or with the application of the razor of Occam, we are left with the simple conclusion that the Earth, Sun, and Moon must have been Created to accord with the Equation of Creation.
Cumming argues that if any two constants can be measured against each other with some sort of precision, it must therefore be a message from a creator, and therefore evidence of a divine creation!
Yet Cumming offers no way to validate the equation other than using an arbitrary measurement off by a factor of a thousand and measuring other objects with arbitrary ratios and finding that they are nearly precise in their ratios.
- Anthropic principle
- Texas sharpshooter fallacy
- Biblical scientific errors#Pi — Pi in the Bible