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Voynich manuscript continues to drive researchers crazy

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Remember the Voynich manuscript? Either utter nonsense or an unbreakable cipher or … ? Here it is online.

Ruth Graham tells us at the Boston Globe,

Studying it has been called ‘academic suicide,’ but an astonishing range of researchers have fallen under a mysterious document’s spell

The most important contemporary question about the manuscript is whether its text is “real” or not. Broadly speaking, there are three possibilities: It was written in a so-far undiscovered language; it was written in a code corresponding to a known language; or it’s a hoax written in a gibberish fake language. Few serious Voynichologists these days believe the script is written in an undiscovered “real” language, because it does not obey the rules of any other known languages: For example, one particular character appears only in the first lines of paragraphs. Most attention has focused on the notion that the manuscript is a cypher for a known language. Pelling, for example, believes it’s most likely a 15th-century “encyphered book of secrets,” similar to the handbooks of magic and medicine that would become popular in Italy in the 16th century. Over the years, people have guessed that the manuscript is written in coded Chinese, Welsh, Hebrew, or German.

And much else.

See also: Sat nite fun: Could the undeciphered Voynich manuscript be written in an extinct Mexican language?

Secret codes in written material

Sleep is for sissies.

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8 Replies to “Voynich manuscript continues to drive researchers crazy

  1. 1
    awstar says:

    could it be a SCIgen doc?

  2. 2
    JGuy says:

    awstar.

    lol

  3. 3
    JGuy says:

    Some of it looks reminiscent of Thai or Hindi script.

  4. 4
    JGuy says:

    Something interesting about the inside of the book is how fine the outline of plants are drawn. But how that level of detail contrasts with the sloppy quality of color filling. If it were a rendering for a scientific cause, why allow for slop after drawing fine details of the plants?

  5. 5
    Ho-De-Ho says:

    Some may even say it wasn’t designed at all.
    Sure, it gives the appearance of design but that is not true. To start with the text is predominantly junk. On top of this, as JGuy has pointed out, there is fine detail in the outlines but sloppy colouring in. What self-respecting painted would make such a design? Then of course, who wrote it? If you can’t tell me that, then you have no valid inference to design. On top of this, “Design” is not even science and so no, this was not written by anybody. The arrangement of ink on page, is as plausible as any other arrangement of ink and with so many universes, one is going to produce a manuscript that looks like this.

    Why can’t everybody see this?

  6. 6
    Ho-De-Ho says:

    * self-respecting painter. (whoops)

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    News: You may want to take a glance at the discussion at IOSE here on in context, which raises just this case (as well as Stonehenge vs Giant’s Causeway and the Old Man of the Mountain vs Mt Rushmore) in the context of the basic common sense grounds for the design inference on reliable signs of design. But then, there is none so blind as s/he who WILL not see. KF

  8. 8
    JGuy says:

    Ho-De-Ho

    Yeah. We need to look for more naturalistic explanations. No designer of the gaps. If we can’t find a naturalistic one, well, then that’s our problem, not science’s problem. Science is working on it… give it more time!

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