Life: The Mathematical Miracle

A couple of articles worth your time. To go back, click here.

I have no agenda. I don't want you to turn God-fearing or fearful of religion. Nor try to turn you vegan, or to convince you it's just a fad. I am not here to recruit you. I'd like you to change your mind about a few things, but this isn't the place.

 

If you were here, I'd ask you to play 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 Noughts and Crosses instead of the usual 3x3 and we could try to find the optimal solution to play an (n)^k  version. We could also try playing a few versions of the game without paper. But you are not here, so I'd suggest you go discover music, or go eat cake*.

 

But if you'd rather read, here's an article about the unlikely odds of our existence written by theologian Forrest Church, when contemplating his own likelihood of survival. Excerpts:

 

"Your parents had to couple at precisely the right moment for the one possible sperm to fertilize the one possible egg that would result in your conception. Right then, the odds were still a million to 1 against your being the answer to the question your biological parents were consciously or unconsciously posing. And that's just the beginning of the miracle."

 

"By the way—and this is truly awesome, so awesome that it makes every salvation story in the world's great scriptures seem trivial in comparison—not only did all our human ancestors survive puberty to mate at the one and only instant that the requisite egg and sperm might connect to keep our tiny odds for arrival alive, but their prehuman ancestors did the same. Then we have to go back further to our premammalian ancestors; and back from there all the way to the ur-paramecium; and then, beyond that, to the pinball of planets and stars, playing out their agony into diurnal courses, spinning back through time to the big bang itself. Mathematically, our death is a simple inevitability, whereas our life hinges on an almost infinite sequence of perfect accidents. First a visible and then an invisible thread connects every one of us in an unbroken line genetically and kinetically to the instant of creation. Think about it. The universe was pregnant with us when it was born."

 

To use the internet cliché, if you liked this, you would also like thisAnd it's shorter.