Voynich manuscript considered to be gibbberish

Reply Tue 17 Apr, 2007 01:18 pm

Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Analysis suggests that the Voynich Manuscript is a hoax

The 500-year-old Voynich Manuscript, kept at Yale University, is a beautiful and mysterious parchment book filled with arcane symbols and coded handwriting. Ever since it was discovered, researchers have been trying -- and failing -- to decipher the text.
Some people suspect the Voynich Manuscript to be the work of a rascal by the name of Edward Kelley, who may have written it in the 16th century to make money. (Here's a good history of the Voynich Manuscript from the BBC.)

Now, an Austrian physicist and software engineer at the Johannes Kepler University reports that the Voynich Manuscript is likely to be a hoax. Dr Andreas Schinner analyzed the text and his findings suggest that it's gibbberish.

This does not prove that the manuscript is a hoax, but it strongly suggests that the hoax theory is correct. If there is meaningful coded material in the manuscript, then either:
* there is only a small amount, surrounded by large amounts of meaningless padding - otherwise the statistics would have come out differently, or

* if there is a large amount of meaningful coded material, then it must have been encoded using a method which just happens to produce the same statistical properties as a quasi-random gibberish generator.

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Reply Tue 17 Apr, 2007 01:26 pm
Anything encrypted properly should actually look like random noise.
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Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2007 08:52 am
DrewDad wrote:
Anything encrypted properly should actually look like random noise.

That may be true with current computer encryption technology, but we need to consider the state of the art in the 16th century, when this manuscript was apparently forged. Ciphers in those days were, as far as I know, all simple substitution codes, where letters, numbers, or symbols were used in place of letters and words. The substitution codes could be quite rudimentary, as the cipher in Edgar Allen Poe's The Gold Bug, or they could be elaborately complex. In the end, though, they were all based on the same concept, and, fed through a computer, the code shouldn't produce something akin to random noise.
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Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2007 11:17 am
Yes, I'm aware that state of the art has advanced considerably.
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