Hoaxing the Voynich Manuscript, part 8: The illustrations and script

By Gordon Rugg

In this series of articles, we’re imagining that you’ve gone back in time, and that you want to produce the Voynich Manuscript as a hoax to make money. We’re looking at the problems and decisions you’d face, and at the implications of various possible solutions.

This article is about how issues involved in producing illustrations and a script for the hoax.

When you produce images and a script with the intention of hoaxing, you have three human weaknesses working strongly in your favour. Two of them are fairly well known, but the third isn’t, and it shows up over and again in research carried out by people who think that the Voynich Manuscript is actually a simple problem. Those things are:

  • Pareidolia
  • Confirmation bias
  • The birthday problem

All of these problems are on show in a recent paper by Tucker & Talbert that featured in New Scientist and elsewhere this month. I’ll discuss it in brief within this article.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24987-mexican-plants-could-break-code-on-gibberish-manuscript.html#.UvAHA9X1REA

voynich collage

(Images courtesy of the Beinecke Library)

Continue reading

Advertisement

Tucker and Talbert and the Voynich Manuscript

By Gordon Rugg

There’s a new paper about the Voynich Manuscript. It’s  been published in HerbalGram, The Journal of the American Herbal Council, by Tucker & Talbert, and it’s been featured in New Scientist. It will probably also be featured by all the usual suspects.

Rather than go through it in detail, I’ll put up this resource, which readers might find useful. It can be easily adapted for other purposes. You get a point for every “no” that goes into a box on the right. I’ve tested it on the Tucker & Talbert paper, which contains some fascinating speculations about extinct Mexican languages that might feature in the Voynich Manuscript.

I hope you’ll find this useful.

voynich bingo3

The Tucker & Talbert paper is available online here:

http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue100/hg100-feat-voynich.html?ts=1390844486&signature=e26988444c52b213d1dea26d9c859118&ts=1391538354&signature=67cc93df33450471b9e83d3be60c7503