Sunday 10 August 2008

Numerology is not helpful

What does the BBC think it's playing at?

In this audio clip* from Friday's Today Programme we have two minutes of arrant nonsense about the significance of the number eight to the Chinese. Sonia Ducie, a numerologist, explains that letters too can be reduced to numbers, and that the word China reduces to the number eight. Is that the English word for the country, or is it the Chinese word? She didn't say. Nor did she say whether she herself actually believes this stuff is real, though she did mention superstition at least twice.

Does the fact that the Olympics were scheduled to start at the 8th minute past the 8th hour of the 8th month of the 8th year of the century actually mean that the Chinese take this stuff seriously? Or is it just a promotional gimmick? (China's record on this sort of thing isn't encouraging. They may have given us feng shui, but taking interior design advice from a country that insists on building houses on flood plains is not a good idea.)

Numerology can be a fun party game, but is it significant in the modern (or any) world?

No. And the BBC should have said so. There's enough woo-woo around as it is, without the BBC tacitly supporting nonsense like this.

*If the embedded player above doesn't work, an mp3 of the clip can be downloaded from RapidShare here:


  1. But then Ducie is one of the worst Numerologist around!

    Not only she is rubbish (and I am so pleased that you noticed and pointed out the fact that she studies "China" the English way not the native way) but worst is that people think that she is good (and so does she!) because she has written books and because she is very good at selling herself!

    That is terrible for the reputation of Numerology and creates justified reactions like yours.

    I have flicked through books she wrote and bought one to show my pupils at Numerology teaching seminars what not to buy!

    I saw on a website (2007) that she dared charging like £2000 as an evening speaker and yet she is one of the least appealing and interesting “communicator” I know not to mention that since she seems to know nothing about the numbers 11 and 22 (see book: Numerology! Sonia Duce - Thorsons publisher), she doesn’t deserve the title of “Numerologist”!

    She is a joke and a bad one so no wonder you treated her intervention on the BBC as a bad joke!

    She pretends to teach Numerology (yet write books which don’t mention 11 / 22) and organises 5 days seminars at £300 per head when any good teachers would know that most people’s brain cannot deal with 1 let alone 5 days of that wonderful stuff!

    Numerology is truly remarkable when understood properly and I am sorry that your introduction to this amazing art (She calls it a science! Idiot!) was from her!

    Oh! I forgot to introduce myself! My name is Didier Boyer and in 2003 I had the misfortune to be on a TV interview with her on my first “Richard and Judy” appearance on Channel 4 (that was great, not the misfortune!) It didn’t take long for me to realise how rubbish and unpleasant she was neither did it for the lovely Richard and Judy!

    At one time she started talking so much rubbish about Spain and meaningless Goddess’s of India that I decided to shut her up but I wished I had done it in a more forceful manner. Unfortunately I had forgotten at that time that she reduces 11 to 2 and 22 to 4 and I didn’t really know her so I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt because her personality was so distant, cold and aloof.

    My girlfriend and I had already noticed before the show in the green room that she didn’t even know that Numerology programs existed and help calculate all sorts of amazing stuff and she thought she was so special that she didn’t need a special software.

    It became even more obvious how special she was (I mean especially rubbish) when she started analyzing Spain as adding up to 23 like David Beckham’s new Madrid’s number and it infuriated me as much as it infuriated you when she mentioned China! She probably doesn’t even know anyway the name of Spain in Spanish!

    I have been amazed by, practising and teaching Numerology and not least about 11 and 22 since 1998 and if some people are intrigued by Numerology, please please don’t get in touch with Duce; She’ll manage to put you off!

    After all, when I discovered Numerology, it was by watching a dreadful and controlling nasty American woman on “The Leeza show”. I instinctively knew that she and her system were rubbish even though I had never studied Numerology and that didn’t stop me becoming a big big fan and an expert who has been doing it professionally since 1998 so who knows! Hopefully some people would have had the same reaction as I did but won’t be put off.

    Before I leave you, I will mention that it always baffles me that people go on about the Olympics starting on the 8-8-08! First, I absolutely hate when people shorten a year! It is not 08 it is 2008!!! My nephew wasn’t born in 00 it was born in 2000!
    And nobody seems to have noticed that the 8 of the 8 2008 = 8+8+2+0+0+8 = 26 and 26 in Numerology is 2+6=8!!!

    Best wishes

  2. Thanks for your comment, Didier. I'd be interested to know how one distinguishes between good and bad numerologists.

  3. It is very easy to distinguish between good and bad Numerologist. If they don't talk about 11 and 22 but instead reduce them to 2 and 4, they are rubbish. Same if they think that 33,44,55 and all that is very special! Give me some proofs! Same for 0 being special. Then you find out what your DOB adds up to and what it stands for. If you then recognise yourself completely in the charactere analyses, you might hav a decent Numerologist or a very good one perhaps. Not to be under-estimated also is whether somebody "feels right" or not. Special teachers have a special light about them which you might still see in the written words but obviously not really easy compere with meeting someone. you can also tell how good a Numerologist is not (:-)) depending how they add up the DOB and break down the name (s)(some don't break up the names! Rubbish!) but really the best tests are 11/22 and do you recognize yourself in the description of your major life lesson. Ah! almost forgot! A good Numerologist should be able to tell you freaky stuff about your past like the year you got divorced or met someone or got a new job, lost one, had a horrible year like depression and nervous breakdown. If a Numerologist can tell you about your past, may be he/she can help with the future. If they can't even read your past, you can imagine what they can do with your future! Hope this help but I am not a great writter and it takes so long to type!:-) (I am the impatient type!:-))Best wishes

  4. Thank you for responding to my query. Perhaps you could expand on your assertions that good numerologists talk about certain numbers, while bad numerologists talk about other numbers. On what basis are some numbers more significant than others? You say "Give me some proofs!" So please give me some proofs.

    Some types of numbers have specific uses (prime numbers in cryptography, for instance), but what is the significance of a person's date of birth, other than being the day on which they were born? The numerical value of a person's date of birth is somewhat arbitrary, bearing in mind that the value will be different depending on which calendar is used (Julian, Gregorian, Hebrew, Islamic, Hindu, Persian, Solar, Lunar, other).

    You imply that numbers 'stand for' something other than quantity or position. How is this established? Has research been done to establish this link? If so, where is the research documented?

    You say that if a numerologist can tell you about your past, they should be able to tell you about your future. This doesn't follow, to any significant degree. If I tell you my date of birth you can tell how old I am, and through what era I have so far lived. You may also make an estimate of how much life I have left, barring terminal illness, accident, etc. To that extent you can tell me about my future, but you don't need to be a numerologist to do that. What extra knowledge, skill or expertise would a numerologist be able to bring to the table?

    As an aside, I note that the few numerological manipulations I have seen all use numbers to base ten, and would produce entirely different results if (for example) base 8 or 12 were used. Base 2 is used for digital technology, but I've seen no attempts to conduct numerological analyses of digital information systems.

    You say that "Special teachers have a special light about them which you might still see in the written words but obviously not really easy compere with meeting someone." I'm not sure what you mean by this. Do they glow in the dark? Do they use luminous ink for their written words? Or are you speaking metaphorically?

    As for recognising yourself in character analyses, it has been repeatedly shown* that this is no more than 'cold reading' combined with the tendency for people to re-interpret what they hear on the basis of what they want to hear.

    *This YouTube clip, for example:
    The relevant section starts at 4:20 (this example is about 'psychic' reading but the same thing would apply to numerological or any similar type of analysis).

  5. Hi Paul
    I've just found this site whilst surfing...I'm sorry to tell you Didier will not reply...he left this life for the next on 17 March 2009. He knew he was going to die and was trying to let the world and his wife know about numerology and how it could help in their lives. He has been posting everywhere in his quest but sadly, he just ran out of time.

    Didier was a kind and lovely man, I just wish you'd had the chance to speak to him properly whilst he was on this astral plane - maybe you would have changed your mind, even just a little.

    Didier had a special light, and always will have.
    With peace and love...Janey

  6. Thanks Janey,

    I thought Didier and I might be embarking on a lengthy debate, as he did seem eager to impart his views on numerology. Sorry to hear of his passing.

  7. Didier Boyer I had spoken to him last year but didn't know he was ill. What was he diagnosed with and why did he kill himself. Was there no cure. Wow that is pretty shocking.

  8. "What was he diagnosed with and why did he kill himself."

    I'm not aware of any mention of suicide.

  9. When I spoke with him he was the picture of health and someone said he knew his number was up so killed himself. Please could you tell us what happened as there are so many rumors going around. Did he have cancer or how did he die so quickly?

  10. "Please could you tell us what happened as there are so many rumors going around."

    I'm not the person to ask - all I know is what's in the previous comments.

  11. I had a couple of readings done by Didier on the telephone, and was catually thinking of having another one done when I came across this sad news - what a lovely man he was. If he did pass on 17/3/2009 - I am not a expert at Numerology, however these numbers add up to 22. My sympathies go to his family and friends.

  12. From various accounts Didier Boyer seems to have been a thoroughly nice chap. Nevertheless he failed to provide me with any compelling evidence for the truth of numerological claims.

  13. Paul, all I can tell you is I had a reading from Didier, he told me things about my past that he could have had no way of knowing, he was an amusing and very thought provoking man. Keep an open mind and see what comes to you.

  14. Didier was not ill, he was simply ready to move on to the next life.
    Although I 'spoke' with him online, unfortunately (for me) I never got to meet him in person.
    He was also a Reiki Master.
    He's a great loss to this world, and would have had a grand debate with you, Paul - he had so much to do before his time was up (literally) that he obviously didn't have time to return to you.
    What a shame he never had time to convince you... I think more than anything, you must know Didier was a very spiritual man... perhaps he'll contact you in another way..!

    Janie x

    1. Janie, apologies for the late approval of your comment. Only today did I discover it languishing in the "awaiting moderation" folder.

  15. I just came accross this page today and so sorry to hear the news on Didier.
    I worked with him on many shows when he first started doing numerology.He was always pleasant and nice to work with.Does anyone know what he really died from?