Erik Lee Giles, **You Might Not Still Be an Atheist After Reading This One** (Erik Giles?, 2012)

(**Note**: there is no release information anywhere on the file, so I am assuming it is self-published through CreateSpace (thus the question mark above).)

I am.

Okay, Amazon doesn’t like two-word reviews, so I’ll answer the question Giles asks at the end of the book: “What is the underlying truth of the six Apollyon intercepts and all of the associated mathematical, mythological, historical, architectural, geographic, and scriptural data?” The simple answer: pattern recognition. This should be obvious to any reader, but Giles gives us a quick tutorial early on when he’s talking about the Golden Ratio: “The Golden Ratio is a unique mathematical and geometric value that can be found repeated over and over in nature.” This is entirely true. And given that the Golden Ratio is so common in nature, using it to infer meaning seems a bit ridiculous. However, a little sleight of hand (or a logic error) has Giles investing meaning into it indeed. “A total of 4,829 people died in the 9-11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina combined. According to Wikipedia, 2,996 died on 9-11 (2,977 victims and 19 hijackers), while 1,833 people perished during Hurricane Katrina. These numbers give us two examples of the Golden Ratio, also known as the Divine Proportion. The count of all those who perished in both attacks (4,829) over the count of those who died on September 11 (2,996) is 1.612. I call this 9-11 / Katrina Ratio One. The ratio of the number of 9-11 deaths over the number of Katrina deaths is 2,996 / 1,833 which equals 1.634. I call this the 9-11 / Katrina Ratio Two.” We’re supposed to imply some sort of deeper design from one of nature’s most common numbers.

Not long after, he goes a bit bonkers. The date of the 9/11 attacks, he hypothesizes, corresponds to Revelation 9:11, and the ratio/distance calculations from the deviations off the line running between Delphi and New Orleans (note the references to Katrina, above) point to Revelation 22:7 and 22:8. This is patently ridiculous, but more to the point, if you’re a believer in Christianity, numerology of this sort is inherently anti-Christian. As Giles promises in his preface, I’ll simply present and leave the reader to interpret: “There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.“ (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)

Pattern recognition is hardwired into the human consciousness; we all do it. It’s how we see animal shapes in clouds or pick out rhythm in noise. However, as thousands of low-rent prophets and fortunetellers have learned throughout the ages, it pays to make sure you’re not recognizing patterns where none exist, or inferring more meaning than there actually is.

Half a star for the amusement value.