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Answering the question posed in the article, "As of 2002, the record is held by Yasumasa Kanada of Tokyo University at 1,241,100,000,000 digits. That result was never printed out: can you figure out why not?"

An ordinary printed page can hold about 5,000 digits.

To print 1,241,100,000,000 digits would require 248,220,000 pages, or 496,440 reams of paper. A ream of paper is the size of a large book. It would take a building the size of a city library to hold the printed output. Dpbsmith 23:08, 13 January 2007 (EST)

Counting the letters in the phrase "Now I wish I had a drink—alcoholic, of course" Does not help because it gives a wrong answer. it gives 3(.)141315926, it should be 3.1415926... --TimSvendsen 23:54, 15 January 2007 (EST)

  • Yikes! I'm going to have to turn in my geek badge. It should be "How I want a drink--alcoholic of course." I was mixing it with "How I wish I could recollect pi easily today." Sorry. Dpbsmith 13:16, 16 January 2007 (EST)

So I'm assuming by the change back to the old version, my revision was no good. An explanation why would be nice, though. ColinR 21:09, 12 March 2007 (EDT)


What was I thinking here? [1]

113 divided into 355 like this:


I had 1/pi by mistake - not even an approximation, more like an abomination. --Ed Poor 23:44, 28 March 2007 (EDT)

I like Pi

Pi R Squared? No they're not, Pie are round. Brownies are square. Human 22:07, 20 April 2007 (EDT)

LOL. --Ed Poor Talk 09:08, 11 March 2008 (EDT)


Besides the fact that "Pi is exactly 3!", 22/7 is also a repeating decimal. Pi is also known as Archimedes' constant, Ludolphine, and Ludolph's Number. Ludolph van Ceulen (Germany) spent a great deal of time calculating digits of pi. The number is engraved on his tombstone. If I were to get buried, I would have all the digits I memorized engraved on it, but I want to get cremated instead. Fuzzy 10:16, 11 March 2008 (EDT)

It is not true that Pi is exactly 3. What is your suggestion to improve the article? --Ed Poor Talk 10:31, 11 March 2008 (EDT)
I haven't said anything about my beliefs, let's just leave my life out of this, eh? And, with you saying that pi=3, are you suggesting CP completely rewrites this article? Fuzzy 10:39, 11 March 2008 (EDT)
If you are not claiming that pi = 3, then that makes two of us. :-)
I've made a few updates to the article, primarily about scriptural references and historical estimates. --Ed Poor Talk 12:41, 11 March 2008 (EDT)

Is the Bible wrong about pi?

In the ancient world, measurements were not given as exact as they are today, and that was generally considered acceptable. DanH 01:22, 10 March 2008 (EDT)

Who said it was wrong? Sloppy ancients aren't nessecarily wrong ancients. Barikada 01:25, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
So, can I reinsert the Bibical perspective? Barikada 17:15, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
It's not relevant simply to note that the Bible happens to approximate it in passing. However, many use it as an argument to show that the Bible is errant, and that's what I surmise may have been the purpose for its inclusion DanH 17:35, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
Wait. The Bible's interpretation of Pi is not relevant to Pi? What? Look, friend, the Bible is always relevant. Barikada 18:14, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
You admit you're an atheist on your user page. Why are you so interested in inserting this in there? DanH 18:15, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
I admit I'm an atheist-- You say it like it's a bad thing. I'm not trying to stat a fight, Dan, I just figure that, as a wiki with a majority of users that are Christian, it would be good to include the Biblical perspective on matters where it has spoken, as is done in shrimp. Barikada 18:18, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
I didn't realize that was still in shrimp. Anyways, as the article posted above explains, the numbers were not meant to be exact, and the circumference and diameter may have been given as approximate estimates, but pi wasn't a concept that most people knew about or cared about. The Bible wasn't meaning to comment on pi at that point, only at the relevant calculations. DanH 18:24, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
That's great, Dan. You seem pretty hostile to the Bible. Barikada 20:16, 10 March 2008 (EDT)

I don't see how Dan seems to be "pretty hostile to the Bible". Your insertion was simply wrong, as the Bible is not trying to give a value for pi at all. Besides, the Bible reference which is frequently quoted by bibliosceptics as supposedly representing pi is already in the article, and even that warrants being removed (in that form) in my opinion. Philip J. Rayment 20:47, 10 March 2008 (EDT)

Oh... So anything a skeptic quotes must be purged, then? What is the purpose of the verse if not to show the value of pi? Furthermore, how do you know what the Bible is and is not trying to say, Philip? Barikada 20:48, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
Also, bibliosceptics is A: Spelled wrong and B: a word which would translate as "Skeptical of books." Barikada 20:49, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
Oh, bugger. It seems I didn't notice that the verse was already quoted in the History section. Barikada 20:51, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
I didn't say that anything a sceptic quotes should be purged.
What's the purpose if not to show the value of pi? To describe the object's size, genius!
What is incorrect about the spelling of "bibliosceptics"? Yes, the word could mean "sceptical of books", but as "Bible" means "book", it's appropriate to use it to mean "sceptical of the Bible".
Philip J. Rayment 21:03, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
"Besides, the Bible reference which is frequently quoted by bibliosceptics as supposedly representing pi is already in the article, and even that warrants being removed (in that form) in my opinion." That's exactly what you said, Philip!
Then why not describe it correctly?
Skeptics. With a K. Also: Yes. I know it means book. Your use of faux Latin does not make you smarter. Barikada 21:13, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
That quote of mine does not indicate that anything a sceptic quotes should be purged, and neither does it say that that bit should be removed because it's something a sceptic quotes.
Aussies traditionally spell "sceptic" with a "c", hence my use of "bibliosceptic" rather than "biblioskeptic".
Philip J. Rayment 22:12, 10 March 2008 (EDT)

A fourth consecutive edit, because a thought occurs. How can we be sure that man's measurements are correct in this case but the Bible is not? Furthermore, if the Bible is wrong here, how can we logically accept that everything else is exact-- IE, the age of the Earth? Barikada 20:56, 10 March 2008 (EDT)

What reason is there to think that the Bible's measurements are incorrect? The logic of your question is valid, but the premise (that the Bible is incorrect) is not. Philip J. Rayment 21:05, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
Well, if it's ten cubits from one side to the other, it should be 31 all around, if we're rounding. Barikada 21:13, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
What if it was actually 9.7 cubits (rounded to 10) from one side to the other? Philip J. Rayment 22:12, 10 March 2008 (EDT)
Then the measurement given is, quite simply, wrong. Barikada 23:44, 11 March 2008 (EDT)
Huh? Okay, I'll have to spell it out for you. If (and this is not the only possible explanation) the actual diameter was 9.7 cubits, then the actual radius would be 30.47 cubits. If both of those figures are rounded to the nearest cubit, then the diameter would be listed as 10 cubits and the circumference would be listed as 30 cubits. And guess what! That's what the Bible lists them as! So if this is correct (and it doesn't have to be exactly that: it could be 9.6 cubits for example), then the Bible is perfectly accurate! ("Accurate" is a different thing to "precise", as Ed mentions below.) If you still aren't convinced, have a look at the links in the External Links section of the article, particularly the Math Forum one. In fact, don't reply here unless you first read the three links. Philip J. Rayment 02:03, 12 March 2008 (EDT)
Yes. Rounding. I get it. It's impercise. If I say Ed is six feet tall, I'm wrong because he's not. If I say he's about six feet tall, I'm right, because he's just over six feet tall. Is that so hard to understand, Philip? Barikada 10:06, 12 March 2008 (EDT)
Alright. Scanned through the links. I get it-- God couldn't be arsed to tell the lowly Earthers a more prescise number. Barikada 17:51, 12 March 2008 (EDT)
You've earned yourself another block for that arrogant response.
If Ed is 6 feet, 3.02 inches tall, would you refer to him as "about 6'3" tall"? The articles said nothing about God not telling us a more precise number. The first link points out that their measurements would not be that precise to start with. In this case, they are not rounding, but simply measuring with a course measuring device. The second reference pointed out that it was common to round numbers in those times. Insisting on using the word "about" is really a case of you expecting people from 3000 years ago to follow your conventions. It doesn't mean that they got anything wrong. The third reference pointed out the following:
  • " the absence of an explicit indication of precision, the absence of a tenths digit implies that the figure is accurate to the nearest 1 cubit...". So the measurements were accurate to within the implied level of precision!
  • "Every measurement we ever make is an approximation.". So do you preface every measurement with "about"? (That's the point of my question above about Ed being 6'3.02" tall.) Absence of the word "about" does not mean that the measurement is "wrong".
You acknowledged none of those points in your response, instead making a silly comment about God. It's clear that you simply want to argue a point that has been thoroughly refuted, and you've stopped doing so civilly. Hence your block. Learn from it.
Philip J. Rayment 21:55, 12 March 2008 (EDT)
You're not wrong to call me six feet tall; I don't mind losing 3 inches in the interest of smooth prose. Just don't call me two meters tall! --Ed Poor Talk 18:50, 12 March 2008 (EDT)
That's what the "about" is for-- it indicates impercision. Most useful article ever, by the way. Barikada 18:59, 12 March 2008 (EDT)
I took a few science courses in high school and college. You might be interested to learn about the difference between "accuracy" and "precision". (I probably should compare and contrast the two ideas in a proposed new article: accuracy and precision.)
Here's how it's relevant to Pi. When the Bible says ten cubits, that is an approximation. Scientists would say the measurement is being given to "one significant figure". It really could be anything between 9 and 11 cubits, and it still wouldn't be wrong, because it's only an approximation, like saying that Ed Poor is six feet tall (I'm 6'3" in bare feet).
The ratio between the diameter of a wheel and its circumference is, roughly, three. And if you drew a circle on the ground, with a diameter of 10 cubits, you would pace off 30 cubits when you walked around the circle. Pacing is not a very precise measurement, but it's good enough for some cases. --Ed Poor Talk 09:01, 11 March 2008 (EDT)
"It really could be anything between 9 and 11 cubits...": 9.5 and 10.5 actually. Philip J. Rayment 09:06, 11 March 2008 (EDT)
Anyway, you're being too patient with a time-waster. Liberals l-o-v-e to change the subject, with distractions like the supposedly preferable spelling of sceptic. I'm sceptical of this fella's motives, and I've left a note at his talk page. --Ed Poor Talk 09:13, 11 March 2008 (EDT)
I would actually like him to answer my last question above, though. Philip J. Rayment 09:43, 11 March 2008 (EDT)
Ed: You'll get a response in the appropriate place momentarily, don't worry.
Philip J. Rayment: So you have wished it, so it shall be. Response is above. Barikada 23:44, 11 March 2008 (EDT)

The Bible does not provide a value for pi, so the following statement is misleading at best:

The Qur'an also defines Pi as 3.(al-Sûra aleph bei).

Use of the word "also" implies that the Bible has provided a definition. The story about the ten cubits does not define pi. It merely gives a diameter and a radius of something presumed to be circular. (A circumference of thirty is consistent with a diameter of ten, with a precision of one significant digit.)

In any case, I'd like to see the exact words of an English translation of any Koran passage related to circle math before approving any claim as damaging as "defines Pi as 3." --Ed Poor Talk 11:53, 11 March 2008 (EDT)

Over the years, I've found this to be one of the sillier arguments against the Bible. I've found that those who push it don't believe it, but only do so to try to force in a 'gotcha' that they themselves know isn't the case, but nevertheless they draw enjoyment from trying to act like it is anyway. Learn together 18:48, 28 March 2008 (EDT)

I do not like the "Pi in the Bible" section...

...for many reasons. First, the title is misleading, as the text points out. There is no pi in the Bible (only unleaven bread--just kidding!), nor does the Bible make any attempt to define pi or e or or any other mathematical or physical constant. Second, I think the subject is out of place in an article about mathematics. Perhaps it should be a minor section in an apologetics-related article. Or be omitted entirely, as it is not really a serious criticism, but more a "baby apologetics" thing that appeals to unsophisticated Bible skeptics.

Thirdly, while I appreciate that someone has done the work of gathering the arguments in one place, the wording could be better. It says "Critics claim this, but they are making the following assumptions". Better to say "Critics say this but they are wrong for these reasons." You do not know what someone else's assumptions are.

Fourthly, a minor point. If you opt to keep this section, you might point out that when critics complain that the Bible rounds the circumference to a multiple of ten instead of something more precise (say, 31.4 cubits), they are being inconsistent, because that number is also imprecise. Because pi is irrational, there is no number that could be contained (in a finite Bible) that could give the measurement exactly. What the baby skeptics are doing here is setting an impossible condition for precision, then saying that if the Bible is imprecise it is not inerrant (another big leap in logic), and hoping that no one will notice the flaws in their reasoning.

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ga ohoyt (talk)

I wasn't happy with the title either (and I wrote it!), but I wasn't sure what else to have. The next best think I could think of was to put pi in quote marks: "Pi" in the Bible.
I don't think the article is particularly out of place. The article is about pi specifically (not just "mathematics"), and this section is about pi, or at least about a claim made about pi. It is not a serious criticism in the sense of having even a shred of validity, but it is something that is often claimed by bible critics. The Skeptics Annotated Bible mentions it, for example.
As for the mention of assumptions, no, you don't need to know what assumptions they are consciously making; there are certain assumptions inherent in the argument, which is all that the comment is saying. That is, they must be making these assumptions, even if subconsciously. That's not to say that the wording can't be altered to something better, but I do think it's acceptable as it is.
There were a couple of other problems with the claim that I thought of mentioning, but the section was large enough already and the others were in a sense variations on the ones already mentioned, so I thought that was enough. Yes, they often claim that the value is "incorrect", but then are unable to give the "correct" value themselves (because it has an infinite number of digits). And that would be a good thing to point out if the Bible was actually claiming to give a value for pi, but as it's not, it seemed a little bit unnecessary.
Philip J. Rayment 21:48, 13 March 2008 (EDT)

Better now? Ga ohoyt 20:49, 14 March 2008 (EDT)

I'm not sure (but I don't think it's worse). I don't think it's appropriate to have a question for a heading, and neither do I think it's appropriate for the heading to be part of the flow of the text, as is now the case, because the first sentence of the section doesn't make sense without the heading. A heading should give an idea of what the section is about, not be part of the section, if you're following me. Also, the claim is not (normally) explicitly made that the Bible defines pi, as indicated by the heading. Rather, that claim is implicit in the explicit claim that the Bible has an incorrect value for pi. Philip J. Rayment 01:19, 15 March 2008 (EDT)

I think the section is necessary because we do periodically hear this canard about Pi, and the encyclopedia should give the reader the information he needs to respond to it. However, I think the article's response is insufficiently dismissive.

I would simply say that the numbers in the Biblical passage are correct, to their given precision. Hence there is no controversy. Likewise, if an encyclopedia gives the radius and circumference of the Earth to the nearest thousand feet, the encyclopedia is not "wrong about Pi," and nobody would seriously say it was. It seems that only in the case of the Bible are critics so impassioned as to buy such a dopey argument.

Also, I think it is too weak to say it was "common at the time to round numbers." It is common all the time to give measurements like this, and to do so without any conscious or explicit rounding. The way these bullet points are worded, they give the impression that the values D=10 and C=30 need to be explained by some hypothetical act: maybe someone rounded a measurement, maybe they measured different parts of the rim, etc. But D=10 and C=30 does not need any of these explanations because, as I said, they are correct to their given precision, and there is no discrepancy that needs to be explained. I'd just remove them, lest they contribute to the sense of false controversy.--NgSmith

Question on the Bible reference

Were decimals and fractions even in use in the Holy Land at the time 1 Kings was written? Jinxmchue 23:26, 4 April 2008 (EDT)

Decimals, no, I think. Fractions, yes, to some extent, I think. Philip J. Rayment 04:39, 5 April 2008 (EDT)