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666

Entry 343, on 2006-06-06 at 13:19:32 (Rating 2, Comments)

Because its the 6th day of the sixth month of the 2006th year today I thought it was worth commenting on that well known number 666 - the number of the beast! According to interviews I heard this morning, some people actually take the number seriously. Interestingly, a member of the Catholic Church seemed to be more convinced of its significance than a representative of the Church of Satan! I've always thought of satanists, heavy metallers, etc as just a few lads having a bit of fun. They certainly cause a lot less harm than the Catholic Church anyway!

The most interesting commentary on the subject I have found so far is on a web site which discusses the mathematical significance of the number. The URL is shown at the end of this blog entry. It reveals fascinating facts like 666 is a Smith number, since 666 = 2x3x3x37 while at the same time 6+6+6 = 2+3+3+3+7 - and I had never even heard of a Smith number before! Here's another: A standard function in number theory is phi(n), which is the number of integers smaller than n and relatively prime to n. Remarkably, phi(666) = 6x6x6. There are many more at the web site so have a look!

I'm sure there are numerical coincidences for any number you want to name. Maths provides such a rich way of combining and applying functions to numbers that, if you look hard enough, you will always find patterns. The critical question is: is there any deeper meaning in the patterns? In this case, the answer is no.

A similar situation arises with matching number patterns in Books. Numerology shows many interesting patterns in the Bible. By counting verses, words, etc many coincidences are shown to exist. But similar patterns have been revealed in book like Moby Dick so we would conclude that there is no divine or magical process going on here.

So that's my conclusion on 666. Its an interesting number, but when you dive deeply into number theory all numbers are interesting. So that's the end of this blog entry. I'm off to listen to some Iron Maiden!

Link at: http://users.aol.com/s6sj7gt/mike666.htm

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Comment 1 (206) by Einstein on 2006-06-09 at 09:23:26:

I went to the web page and you're right, its an amazing number. How do you know that other numbers have so many special properties as 666 does?

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