Today is 6/6/06, that ominous numerological signifier of the fundies, much beloved by conspiracy theorists, and full of interesting numerical properties (but is there ever such a thing as an uninteresting number?). It’s also the date that Ann Coulter’s new book, Godless, is being released.

Everyone is missing the most portentous aspect of the number, though…

It also happens to be Pharyngula’s 3rd Anniversary. Yay! Happy blogday!

Yeah, now the secret’s out. I am the anti-christ. Don’t panic, though—the Tribulation doesn’t start until the sitemeter count hits 6,666,666, and I’m over a half million short, darn it. Every visit will bring the End Times a little closer, though, so keep on coming by! I estimate that I’ll reach the magic number sometime around the end of July or early August, in case you need to plan your vacation time appropriately.


  1. ryoga says

    I thought 616 was the “new” 666.

    “the oldest surviving copy of the New Testament indicates that, as far as the Antichrist goes, theologians, scholars, heavy metal groups, and television evangelists have got the wrong number. Instead of 666, it’s actually the far less ominous 616.

    The new fragment from the Book of Revelation, written in ancient Greek and dating from the late third century, is part of a hoard of previously unintelligible manuscripts discovered in historic dumps outside Oxyrhynchus in Egypt. Now a team of expert classicists, using new photographic techniques, are finally deciphering the original writing.

    Professor David Parker, Professor of New Testament Textual Criticism and Paleography at the University of Birmingham, thinks that 616, although less memorable than 666, is the original. He said: ‘This is an example of gematria, where numbers are based on the numerical values of letters in people’s names. Early Christians would use numbers to hide the identity of people who they were attacking: 616 refers to the Emperor Caligula.'”

    Independant on Sunday, 5-1-05,


  2. Scott Simmons says

    “Instead of 666, it’s actually the far less ominous 616.”

    I dunno. Isn’t 666 ominous solely because it was thought to be the NotB in the Wholly Babble? So if those professors are right, 666 isn’t actually ominous at all, and 616 is as ominous as 666 used to seem, right?

  3. Ian H Spedding says

    Some interesting tidbits here:


    I particularly liked:

    Something similar happened on New Year’s Eve 999, when a huge crowd gathered in Rome to await the end of the world, until at midnight the Pope blessed them and sent them home. Whether a smaller group of pedants turned up twelve months later is not recorded.

  4. Bruce Beckman says

    PZ: “I’m sure that 666 is just as powerful a number as 616.”

    Which are both wimps compared to 69. [by which I mean yin and yang you perverts.]

  5. lancelot_gobbo says

    PZ, it seems you share a wedding anniversary with Orac, who says he is celebrating his 14th.

  6. says

    Happy anniversary, PZ. The bad news, though, is that someone is going to have to read and take apart the new Coulter screed. She ran out of bad things to say about liberals and had to pad out Godless with an assault on evolution. From NewsMax (no link) this morning:

    Darwinism Is Absurd

    Coulter devotes the last 80 pages to her full-scale attack on the theory of evolution and the utter dishonesty of what she calls the “Darwiniacs” and their refusal to face the fact that evolution is a patent absurdity, according to Coulter, credible only to those who will find any reason to deny the existence of God.

    “The fundamental difference between our religion and theirs is that theirs always tells them what they want to hear,” Coulter declares.

    “Darwinism never disappoints the liberals. They never say ‘Well, I’d like to have cheap meaningless sex tonight, but that would violate Darwinism.’ They can’t even say ‘I’d like to have cheap meaningless sex tonight with a goat, but that would violate Darwinism.’ If you have an instinct to do it, it must be evolved adaptation. Liberals subscribe to Darwinism not because it’s science, which they hate, but out of some wishful thinking. Darwinism lets them off the hook morally.”

    With Pontius Pilate, the Darwiniacs ask “what is truth?” Their answer: Whatever they want it to be.

    “The truth,” Coulter writes, “is the truth whether we like it or not.”

    Truth, eh? She can’t handle the truth. Just manhandle it.

    P.S.: Speaking of meaningless sex, we should concede that the godly Ann is an expert: “Let’s say I go out every night, I meet a guy and have sex with him. Good for me. I’m not married.”
    — Ann Coulter, Rivera Live, June 7, 2000

  7. wintermute23 says

    From the first link:

    I wouldn’t totally rule out any other meaning to the appearance of the number 666. For example, a Halloween lottery pick-3 drawing once turned up 666 as the winning number. We may have to allow for the occasional sovereignty of God in His attempt to warn folks of the evils of this world–in this case, gambling and Halloween. If there’s a wayward Christian at a convenience store buying a dirty magazine or a bottle of booze and the register rings up $6.66, I couldn’t think of a better number for God to use to get that person’s attention.
    Now on the other hand, the next time you receive your water bill and upon opening it, you discover it comes to $6.66 or you realize you’ve used 666 cubic feet of water–don’t go pulling your hair out. Unless it has a direct connection to the Antichrist or is some special message from God, 666 is just another number that randomly comes up.

    Translation: “If you see 666, it’s proof God exists, except on those occasions when it’s not.”

  8. Stwriley says


    While I would never seek to dissuade you from studying the enemy, please, PLEASE, don’t buy Coulter’s book. Every sale just encourages that self-serving, hypocritical mouthpiece in continuing her marketing of virulent nonsense. Steal the thing, if you must, or borrow it from some library hapless enough to have it donated, or from some poor Kossack who was forced to review it, but don’t buy it! Sales to this woman are like blood in the water to a shark! (Anyone ever notice how wide her mouth is? Maybe she’s the next step in shark evolution? Nah, can’t be, that would give sharks a bad name and they’re wonderful creatures.)

  9. says

    The guys in my Friday lunch group pass around books that we want/need to read. One of us will acquire the Coulter thing and pass it around. I can probably just quietly borrow my mother’s copy (yes, I know; to my undying shame she’s a Coulter dupe) and there’ll be no purchases in my lunch gang.

  10. G. Tingey says

    Ann Coulter is either a liar or a fool or both.

    Will no-ne challenge her so, in public – like sue, or shut up?
    ( But only after you’ve got legal support ready to go.)

    BTW, hasn’t she heard of the “!Kitzmiller” judgement?

  11. G. Tingey says

    Ann Coulter is certainly a fool, and probably a liar.

    Hasn’t she heard of Judge Jones’ “Kitzmiller” decision?

  12. Wolf Solent says

    What I find most pathetic here is the vast Christian panic over this. Maybe it’s just my memory playing tricks, but I don’t remember any panic over 666 before The Omen came out. Ever. So basically the fundies who are getting exercised over this are admitting that their beliefs come down to “I live my life according to the tenets of the Holy Bible, which is the word of God, and random crap from 70s blockbuster movies. Verily, it is said, we are going to need a bigger boat.”

  13. aiabx says

    >I’m sure that 666 is just as powerful a number as 616.

    You lie! 666 is 10 times as powerful as 616.
    And 616 is 10 times as powerful as 666. You can’t beat that kind of harmonic convergence!

  14. says

    666 is the Hebrew gematria of Nero…

    “The fundamental difference between our religion and theirs is that theirs always tells them what they want to hear,” Coulter declares.

    Shorter Ann Coulter: the difference between us and the liberals is that the liberals aren’t a bunch of uptight zealots.

    Will no-ne challenge her so, in public – like sue, or shut up?

    To what end? Ann Coulter is so beneficial for liberals that if she didn’t exist, the left would have to invent her.

  15. says

    666 == this year’s trucker hat. What’s Ashton Kutcher doing today?

    The one good thing is that the new Slayer album comes out today… Praise God!

  16. Lupus Rufus says

    Obligatory proof that every nonnegative integer is interesting:

    Let S be the set of all uninteresting nonnegative integers. Suppose that S is nonempty. Then S has a least element, call it n. As n is the least uninteresting nonnegative integer, it is clearly interesting! QED.

    Seriously, though; 6 at least is pretty cool. 6 is a factorial, a triangular number, and a perfect number. Moreover, 6=2+4, and 2+2 = 2×2 = 2^2 = 4 (actually the sequence of operations 2+n, 2n, 2^n can be continued recursively, and n=2 in all cases gives 4). Also, Bert’s favorite number is 6.

    I guess if you take as many of this awesome number as PZ’s blog has years, you get today’s date, biblical references to Nero unnecessary. Spooooooky…

  17. frank schmidt says

    666 is, of course, the zip code for Topeka, Kansas. Between the Kansas Board of Education and Fred Phelps, I’d say that’s pretty damn appropriate.

  18. ohadam says

    Bart Ehrman, professor of religious studies at UNC Chapel Hill, says that 616 is the real mark of the beast and that it’s Greek gematria for Nero. I don’t remember what his explanation was for 666–probably that it and 616 were thought to be interchangeable, since they both signify the same dastard.

  19. says

    Your third anniversary, today? Ha, ha! What fun. All the best.

    “The truth,” Coulter writes, “is the truth whether we like it or not.” Oh, this is a great day. I’m so glad that the blond beanpole devoted 80 pages to a tirade against evolution. What a contribution to the chuckles of future generations. This calls for a flash-in-the-pan dance. I’m a Darwiniac, Darwiniac, and I’m dancing like I’ve never danced before.

  20. tihson says

    Today, while descending a seemingly endless staircase over 400 feet into the bowels of the Wieliczka salt mine in Poland, I realized it was indeed 06/06/06. Guess what I found at the bottom. A statue of the John Paul II and Jesus. Hell, I tell you, must be filled with christians…

  21. tihson says

    Today, while descending a seemingly endless staircase over 400 feet into the bowels of the Wieliczka salt mine in Poland, I realized it was indeed 06/06/06. Any god fearing person would connect the dots and realize he was going to hell. Guess what I found at the bottom. A statue of the John Paul II and Jesus. Hell, I tell you, must be filled with christians…

  22. Mike Fox says

    I always thought that the “666” thing to Christians was the numerology of the number.

    4 being the number of earth/animals(/women in some circles). 5 being the number of grace(/children in some circles). 7 being the number of perfection/godliness. This makes 6 just short of perfection: the number of man/imperfection.

    3 is the number of completeness. There is a “beginning, middle, end” and the “Holy Trinity” are two examples. Threefold anything, therefore, is the complete embodiment of that thing.

    666 is the numerological equivilent of 6 qua 6 or man for the sake of man. It is also, slightly more catchy, talked about representing the perfection of imperfection – but that’s a pretty misleading way to discuss the believed meaning. 666 represents one that is devoid of god (which supposedly must occur from interaction with Satan because in Timothy they talk about god never making anything without having a little god in it).

    That said, numerology is largely arbitrary and the numbering of dates is also arbitrary. Thus, 6-6-06 is meaningless. I mean … happy anniversary to this delicious blog.

    Mike Fox

  23. says

    Ah, PZ has half a million hits left before he hits the demonic sequence of 6,666,666 hits. Wait… what’s half a million less than that… oh $H!T – 6,160,000. We’re doomed.

    Wow, Ann Coulter really needs to grow a brain… apparently having sex with a goat has no darwinian implications, that is, unless she thinks about it and realizes that diseases can transfer between species, just to name an obvious problem with her inner desires. The only way to confront such a person is with a bat – echolocate her and tumble away.

  24. Steve LaBonne says

    A lot of wingnuts do seem to have a curious obsession with bestiality. Their inner lives must be quite something.

  25. dcardani says

    My parents both graduated from college on 6/6/66. And we used to live in a house with the street number 6266. Eeeeeerie, huh? Yeah, I didn’t think so, either.

  26. says

    Today is the 2,000th aniversary of the real 666 (June 6th the year 6.) Of course, since Jesus was about 10 at the time, it passed quietly. (I think Jesus had his first girlfriend about then, but I doubt she knew about it. :) )

    BTW, this is also the 62nd anniversary of D-Day

  27. Pierce R. Butler says

    666 rendered in Roman numerals is DCLXVI: the six lowest numeric symbols in descending order. This sequence must have been irresistible to the numerologists of the day, or at least those drawn to a disreputable cult known mostly for its insistence that the end of the world was rapidly approaching.

  28. says

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned this yet, but the real difference between 666 and 616 is the presence or absence of an extra N in the Hebrew rendering of the name “Nero.” It was also spelled, via Greek, “Neron.” As numbers are reckoned in Hebrew, the difference between nun-resh-nun and nun-resh-aleph is the difference between 666 and 616.

    There’s nothing profound or mystical going on here. It’s just a simple case of alternate spellings.

  29. says

    Dan, nun-resh-aleph would yield 617, not 616. It couldn’t just be nun-resh because Hebrew words ending in a vowel must have a dummy consonant written at the end, such as aleph or he.

  30. JJR says

    I’m just glad some fundie cult didn’t try to pull anything crazy on 06/06/06. Though some are claiming credit that their spending the day in intense prayer saved us all. Uh, yeah, thanks, I think…’sure you saved us all, boy howdy. I spent the day doing what everyone else probably did–working.

    …friend of mine sent me this news blurb:

    Dutch Evangelicals calls for pray-in against the Devil

    Mon Jun 5, 8:27 AM ET

    THE HAGUE (AFP) – A Netherlands-based Evangelical organisation has called on Christians in 21 countries to hold a 24-hour prayer vigil against Satanic forces to mark so-called Devil’s Day.

    Some fear the date 06/06/06, which falls on Tuesday, signifies 666, the Biblical number of the Devil, and will usher in calamities and even the end of the world.
    The Dutch-based organisation Ambassadors Ministries called its 24-hour prayer vigil from 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) Monday, saying it hoped some 2,000 Dutch Christians, mainly Protestants, would take part.

    “We believe that the plans the enemy has for this date (June 6, 2006) will be destroyed through violent worship and praise. We are inviting the entire world to be part of this huge unity project,” it says on its website http://www.ambasmin.org.

    “The forces of evil are using this day,” Mathijs Piet of the organisation told AFP.

    “Through our action we want to stop them from achieving their goal.”

    The figure 666 is named the “number of the beast” in the closing chapter of the Bible, the “Book of Revelations”, otherwise known as “The Apocalypse of John”.

    Chapter 13, Verse 18 of the book, with its apparent reference to the coming of the Devil, has long puzzled scholars and demonologists and fed the fantasies of conspiracy theorists and writers of ghost stories.