News & Updates
TO: James Underdown June 20, 2020
Executive Director of Investigations
The Center for Inquiry
On your Independent Investigations Group website, you state the following:
“IIG investigates fringe science, paranormal, and extraordinary claims from a rational, scientific viewpoint and disseminates factual information about such investigations to the public.”
I’m sure you would agree that the two key words in your mission statement are “investigate,” and “disseminate.”
To investigate and then disseminate is like holding up a sign with bold letters, saying: “We seek the truth, we are not afraid of the truth, and we have nothing to hide.”
But to investigate and not disseminate, as you have done with your CFI Invest 1.0 of the Newton Bible Code, is like holding up a big sign, saying: “We investigated the claim, didn’t like the results, and so we arbitrarily decided to keep factual information about the investigation away from the public.”
Censorship and suppression? Is that the message that you and the Center for Inquiry want to put out? In the illustrious history of the CFI, nothing like this has ever happened. James, please tell me: what in the hell is going on? I can’t in my wildest dreams imagine Carl Sagan putting his stamp of approval on your actions as they relate to the CFI investigation of the Newton Bible Code.
In 2007, theologians at a fundamentalist Christian seminary in Portland, Oregon investigated the Newton Bible Code for ten months. After telling me to my face that it is a code, they refused to disseminate the research. Why? Because they fear the truth.
As the Executive Director of Investigations for the Center for Inquiry, do you condone or condemn theologians for not publicly disseminating the results of a formal investigation? And, if you condemn them, why are you doing the same thing?
I submit that to so brazenly violate your own mission statement places you in the same camp as Christian fundamentalists, and can only mean one thing: that the first CFI investigation confirms a claim that you wish not to be true.
Is this why you created CFI Invest 2.0? Do you hope, somehow, to explain away the data by proving the Code is algorithmic, even though CFI Invest 1.0 concluded that it is not algorithmic?
I’ll accept CFI Invest 2.0 as a legitimate reason not to disseminate, with one provision – that on December 20, 2020, if you have failed to demonstrate that the Newton Bible Code is algorithmic, you release and disseminate all IIG and CFI research related to both phases of what will be, by then, a three year long investigation.
James, can you give me and the world your personal assurance that you will do this, and, if not, why not? As I have told you before, I am not afraid of being proven wrong. The looming question now is: Are you afraid of proving that I and your investigative staff are right, that the Newton Bible Code is not algorithmic?
All the best,
Underdown Update: May 20, 2020
TO: James Underdown
Executive Director of Investigations
The Center for Inquiry
It’s now been three months since you wrote fellow skeptic David Gluck, accusing me of artificially creating the Newton Bible Code by using a computer generated algorithm. To put it bluntly, you were telling the world that you think I’m a liar and a cheat.
On top of that, you bragged to David that you could write an algorithm that, when applied to a large body of text, would result in an “Underdown Code” that would be comparable to the Newton Bible Code.
Based on your letter to David, I had no choice but to defend my honor and reputation by calling you out and publicly challenging you to do what you say you can do. You’re now the claimant and I’m the skeptic.
So, how does it feel to be on the other side?
James, in your position as Executive Director of Investigations at the Center for Inquiry, you are recognized as being one of the top skeptics in the world, with almost unlimited financial, intellectual, and technical resources at your disposal. If anyone can falsify the Newton Bible Code, it is you. But if you fail, your failure will amount to a public concession that the Newton Bible Code is real, not artificial. Your failure would be a significant endorsement from a hostile witness highly motivated to prove me wrong. You don’t want to fail!
With a deadline of Dec. 20, 2020, you have another seven months to produce the Underdown Code, so there’s still plenty of time.
Finally, let me remind you that, should you be the first to do what you say “anyone” can do, you will win my $5000 Challenge to Skeptics and further establish yourself as one of the world’s leading skeptics.
I wish you well in your continuing efforts to demonstrate how the Newton Bible Code is contrived rather than organic. If I can be of any assistance, please don’t hesitate to call on me. Like you, I’m just trying to establish the truth. I’m not afraid of being proven wrong, we all make mistakes. But I assure you, as a disciple of the late Carl Sagan, I am not a liar or a cheat.
All the best,
Underdown Update: April 20, 2020
TO: James Underdown
Executive Director of Investigations
Center for Inquiry
It’s been two months since you publicly announced that you could debunk the Newton Bible Code by proving that it is algorithmic, and two months since I challenged you to do what you say you can do. As of this date, there has been no response. Meanwhile, skeptics around the world are waiting breathlessly to see your research.
Is there a problem?
No one disputes that the code is testable and that your debunking strategy is reasonable. Based on your own words, I have to assume that you are diligently working on your algorithm hypothesis. Can you assure the public that you intend to follow through on your promise?
After numerous investigations that ended up confirming the code, you remain the last best hope among skeptics that my claimed discovery of an alien encryption in the Old Testament can be falsified. If you can’t do it, then wouldn’t you agree that my claim is true? And if you and the Center for Inquiry can’t do it, why not come out now and admit it?
Donald L. Zygutis
Underdown Update: March 20, 2020
It’s been one month since Center for Inquiry Investigative Director, James Underdown, launched an effort to create an algorithm that, when applied to a large amount of text, generates a body of symmetry equivalent to the Newton Bible Code. I haven’t heard from James yet, but it’s still early.
On a related matter, my $5,000 Challenge to Skeptics is entering its fourth month. There are skeptics around the world trying to find a way to debunk the Newton Bible Code, and, to date, there have been no submitted challenges.
With all this activity, it is becoming ever more certain that the Newton Bible Code, as a non-predictive, non-algorithmic encryption created by visiting extraterrestrials, is real.
I encourage James Underdown and all skeptics to keep up their efforts. I want the vetting of the code to be as exhaustive and universal as possible.
Thank you all,
February 23, 2020
Announcement: The Center For Inquiry and Executive Director of Investigations James Undrdown has launched CFI Invest 2.0. Their goal is to debunk the Newton Bible Code by proving that it is algorithmic. To follow the progress of this investigation click: Underdown Countdown.
December 20, 2019
Major Announcement: In 2018, the Center For Inquiry, after a 10 month investigation, concluded, in writing, that the Newton Bible Code is what I claim - an extraterrestrial product! For further information on this historic development go to ancientaliensconfirmed.com.
March 11, 2018
The Newton Bible Code is currently being tested by a mainstream scientific agency highly respected for its integrity and professionalism. The question being addressed is: Are the 46 grain, wine, and oil sequences a code or not a code? The investigation has now been going on for two months, without a final resolution. If it is determined that the sequences are a code, the next step will be to establish attribution – Who put it there? The final step will be decryption – What does it mean?
Not wanting to impede the process, I have decided not to reveal the name of the scientific organization doing the testing until a final verdict is rendered. When that happens, the results will be posted on this site.
Jan, 7 2018
Zygutis versus Colavito
One of the three skeptics I mention on my website that I was hoping to engage about my claim to have found the Smoking Gun is Jason Colavito. I chose Jason for the simple reason that he represents an extreme but sizable wing of the skeptic community that cannot be taken lightly. With few exceptions, these are talented individuals who embrace a scorched earth, no-holds-barred, take no prisoners approach to advocates of sensational claims. In the interactions between Jason and myself, the civil discourse recommended by Professor Ray Hyman in his Skeptics Code of Conduct is thrown out the window and replaced by what appears to be an angry white male who, realizing that his debunking strategy doesn’t work, resorts to mud-slinging, cynicism, and ad hominem attacks that get progressively more toxic.
The charm in this brutal approach, if you want to call it that, is that it sometimes works. Gorilla skepticism has a high success rate in debunking claims that have no basis in scientific reality, and for that Mr. Colavito and others of his ilk deserve credit. Knowing what I was getting myself into, I made my claim to Jason, referred him to my website: , and waited for him to unload on me, which didn’t take long.
His first attack on my claim was not a cryptanalysis of the grain, wine, and oil sequences, which is what I was asking for, but a wonderfully researched essay that drew from ethnology, anthropology, linguistics, and other disciplines from the humanities. Posted on his website, it is, by far, the best counter-argument to my claim that I have ever received – but by Colavito’s own admission he wasn’t able to debunk my claim that the 46 grain, wine, and oil sequences in the Old Testament are a code. The bottom line is that Jason and other skeptics know that the only thing that can falsify my theory is a cryptanalysis that scientifically proves that what I call the Newton Bible Code is not a code.
From that high point, the quality of our interactions took a nose dive. Jason’s acerbic comments were laced with snarky remarks from his adoring fans who, to be honest, often come across as semi-literate. Gorilla skepticism apparently doesn’t appeal to the erudite, but I don’t think Jason cares much about erudition. After each give-and-take I felt like I needed a long hot shower. Still, through it all, there were significant points of agreement:
First, Colavito admits that it is scientifically possible that advanced extraterrestrials could reach Earth. This is no small concession, since there are many skeptics who, incredibly, still insist that aliens, if they exist, are too far away to ever physically get to our planet.
Second, Colavito states that it would be wise to keep an eye out for direct evidence that would scientifically and incontrovertibly prove that ETI has been to Earth. I completely agree.
Third, Colavito concedes that an independent cryptanalysis of the Newton Bible Code conducted by the SETI Institute or some other reputable scientific agency would most likely result in a firm and reliable conclusion as to whether the grain, wine, and oil sequences are or are not a code.
Coming from a skeptic who rarely concedes anything, these are significant, and I thank Mr. Colavito for his magnanimity.
But Jason’s best gift was yet to come. Thanks to his intervention I have established a mutually respectful connection with Dr. Michael Shermer, the world’s best known skeptic, and one of the three men I was hoping to interact with about my claim. At his request, I sent Dr. Shermer a copy of my book, The Sagan Conspiracy, and I’m excited to report that he is thinking about running an article on it in his Skeptic magazine. I promised him my full cooperation, with the expressed hope that it includes my latest research.
For those not familiar with Michael Shermer, he has written several best-selling books on critical thinking, including his trilogy: Why People Believe Weird Things, The Believing Brain, and How We Believe. These three books should be in everyone’s home library and, in my opinion, be mandatory reading for young people entering the adult world of conflicting, confusing, and sensational claims that are rarely supported by credible evidence that can be replicated and tested.
Dr. Shermer has been a major influence in my life, and I very much look forward to his newest book, soon to be released, that addresses the explosively controversial subject of immortality.
To conclude, I got into the muck with Jason Colavito, and, with high confidence in my research, thick skin, and a healthy sense of humor, I managed to survive. If you care to review our colorful exchanges, log on to his website blog, but, please, for their sake, keep the children away!