Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

Reality Test 10–How has my thinking gone wrong?

Posted by Ann on September 1, 2010

10) Coincidences are meaningful if we decide they are meaningful, but there is no synchronicity

There is no meaningful significance or supernatural force behind coincidence. Coincidences are only meaningful because we construe them that way.  Even when an event seems impossible according to our personal intuition, this doesn’t mean there is design or mystery involved. Humans are notorious for their tendency to remember things that interest them most. Coincidence is a bi-product of this natural tendency—we find coincidence even when there is no coincidence. And we forget insignificant coincidences in our lives, but remember ones we believe are meaningful. Humans are sorta dumb this way, like lab rats we only need an occasional payoff to keep pulling the lever on the slot machine. Eventually a “meaningful” coincidence will happen if we keep at it.

Have you ever thought of someone and started to call them on the telephone when it rings before you can start dialing? What’s the chance of that happening?  Is it telepathy? Naw, it’s called The Law of Probability. When you stop to consider all the times your friend did not call you, or someone else called you, or your friend called when you weren’t thinking about her, you may get a better idea of the odds. The odds game is what psychics, astrologers, mediums, prophets, and evangelists thrive on. They play the odds. Generalized predictions and prophecies are pretty much sure bets. “There will be a really bad hurricane that hits the coast of the US this year.” If they get the prediction right, the prediction is made public, while they hope people ignore or forget their misses.

More shipping lanes run through the Bermuda Triangle than any of the surrounding waters. Because of all this traffic it would seem much more likely a ship would go down or have an accident in that area. In actuality, fewer ships disappear there than any of the surrounding area despite its reputation, or maybe because of its reputation, although probably some do occasionally—the Bermuda Triangle effect is a myth the same way haunted houses are a myth. Ghosts? Probability zero. Ummm, try wind, shifting construction, rats, or a plain ol’ overactive imagination working overtime…I don’t know about you, but I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

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