Monday, October 21, 2013

Bacon's Signature Ciphers in Shakespeare -21- Criticism Responses


Anthony Bacon, in his time in France, had met the King of Navarre in 1584 and lived with him for a time. And it’s said that the three names of these historical persons, along with the name of ‘Boyet’ (another character name in the same play) are all found in the passport of Anthony Bacon.

But let’s return to the Friedman’s criticisms and some responses to them:

The problems with his analysis and conclusions are these:

1) They collected and combined a variety of Baconian alphabet ciphers or codes along with their various systems and considered them as a coherent body of Baconian evidence. But to be fair, each separate system should have been examined on its own. The best analogy to explain this is with the case of Baconian evidence of text parallels. Several thousand language and idea parallels had been found by various Baconian researchers showing a vast similarity between the works of the two writers Bacon and ‘Shakespeare’. But then many of the parallels were shown to be commonplace among many writers of the period, and so not unique to Bacon and Shakespeare. From there it was extrapolated that “all” the parallels were very probably ‘commonplaces’. But many decades later Baconian researcher Nigel Cockburn painstakingly went through the parallels and separated the ones most likely to be unique to Bacon and Shakespeare. These were published and have never been refuted as to their uniqueness. Cockburn showed that many of the parallels could not possibly have been borrowed from the other author. Similarly, amongst the host of invalid numerical signature codes offered there could be a group of them that are valid and unlikely to be considered as pure coincidences.

2) A second problem with the Friedman’s analysis, related to the first, is with their failure to separate the most valid names to have numerological signatures from the additional versions added to them. Or we should probably say that this was a big fault with the early Baconian cipher researchers. Bacon may have used other signature forms but their admission overly complicates the investigation and can very easily lead, as the Friedmans rightly showed, to a high probability of a hit, whereas the search should be for low probability findings. So for this analysis, as far as numerical signatures go, only the full first and last names will be used: “Francis”, “Bacon”, or “Francis Bacon”, along with a few instances of his published Latin name. In addition there will be a couple symbolic names (one being “Shake-speare”) that seem to have merit.

3) Similarly with methodology, the Friedmans were right to fault the numerous ways a significant number could be found. To be fair though they didn’t ‘always’ freely juggle their methods at will until they found a recognizable number they liked. In reading the Secret Shakespearean Seals the authors many times wrote of their hesitation of their methods and the overreaching of their conclusions. But remember this was in the early 1900s and the sciences of cryptology and probability were still some time away from becoming developed and explained. So perhaps sifting through the mass of candidate signatures, which the Friedmans admit they didn’t do, would reveal some that stand up better to scrutiny.  A major difficulty involves the natural ambiguity with language at the time. Spelling, punctuation, pronunciation, and capitalization were all inconsistent in usage. On top of this those using ciphers needed to make them undetectable and as much indecipherable as possible. Their lives could depend upon it. Any open action or even suggestive talk of sedition could lead to imprisonment or death. Even discussion or commentary on Queen Elizabeth’s succession was outlawed. And the threat of a successful Spanish invasion along with a return to Catholic control was of great concern. 

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