- 15th July 2013
- Posted by: Rosalind Howard
- Category: NL Week
Time to Read: Rejoice that you can
Time to Listen: 3 Minutes 43 seconds
Do you believe in miracles (earthly ones)?
Let’s start by defining a miracle – A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment seems to be the most common definition. Divine intervention gets a mention in some definitions, hence “earthly” in the question?
So, what constitutes highly improbable or extraordinary?
What do you think?
Let’s start with lightning – the chances of being struck by lightning in the UK are 3 million to 1 against – you have more chance of winning the lottery…
OK – let’s move to the States and enter the Powerball lottery – chances against winning the jackpot are 175 million to 1 against, so small a chance that it is difficult for me to grasp.
For the definition of an earthly miracle – what shall we say?
1 in a billion?
1 in a trillion?
Still not a “miracle?”
OK, let’s jump to an extreme – what about 1 in 400 trillion times? (4×10 to the power of 14)
Come on, even the most sceptical of you must buy into that ridiculous, impossible extreme that basically means such an event would never happen.
There is one such event that has these odds, odds that Scientist Richard Dawkins (and you can’t get less “divine” than he) says are so great, that this event has no chance of happening. No scientific chance whatsoever.
And that event is…
Being a positive, optimistic sort of guy, I often talk about death, and how important it is to ensure you have no regrets in your final few moments on this earth.
And then I read this:
“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds.
― Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder
From a real, a scientific and a statistical point of you – you do not exist.
And, you do – which makes you a miracle.
So, do you believe in miracles (earthly ones)?
Or, in other words, do you believe in you?
With my love and best wishes