What do you think of coincidences?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by wegs, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    It's not really a set up, if I wanted to draw spiritual conclusions, I'd tell you. lol

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    That said, I like how you say ''increases the odds.'' That taking the different route, just increased the odds. I like that. There doesn't need to be meaning, it could just be that in general, you increased the odds of finding the ticket.

    LOL

    It's only because you know that I'm spiritual, that you keep dropping those one liners in. lol

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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Haha...you make some good points.

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    When I chose the phrase "Set-up" I realized that you might not like that choice of words. It can make it sound as if one was disingenuous

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    but that wasn't the meaning I was intending.

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    You are at least seeing how I interpret these things as taking the new path does increase the odds. That's all that is going on (IMO) with all these examples. They are coincidences. Some with greater odds than others meaning that they happen less often. They do happen however and natural causes is all that any of them have because (as far as I know) that's the only choice of causes (they are all natural).

    It takes some supernatural (outside of nature) cause for it to be otherwise.

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  5. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    At the risk of being boring, I'll tell one more story that, to me, makes clear the way I look at coincidences.

    An acquaintance in the mountains of N.C., who is very religious, was driving down the highway in the winter and hit a patch of ice. The car spun, but he didn't go off the road and was uninjured.

    He feels that God was involved because as he says "I know I'm not that good a diver".

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    Several years ago, after a bad snow here in Seattle, after having been stuck in the house for several days, we decided to get out and were driving on the seemingly cleared interstate when I hit a patch of black ice.

    I was going about 45 mph. I stayed in my lane the whole time but spun 360 degrees and just as the car was pointing straight ahead again the ice ended and I continued driving down the road at 45 mph as if nothing had happened (other than my heart beating out of my chest). Anyone watching would be certain that I was a stunt car driver.

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    Now, I'm no better a driver than my acquaintance. It never would even occur to me to invoke God in this situation.

    If this had occurred 10 times in a row or to 10 different people in 9 cases the car would have gone off the road. If there was a God this would mean that God let someone crash 9 out of 10 times. I don't find that so amazing or meaningful.

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    This is just the definition of coincidence. If it doesn't catch your attention it's not even a coincidence.

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    In probability you consider the number of times it did occur to the number of times it can possibly occur. People usually only focus on the time it did occur as far as assigning meaning. They don't assign meaning to all the times it could have but didn't occur.
     
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  7. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    For an atheist, you bring God into our discussions more than me. lol

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    But, going with your stories, I don't think those are meaningful coincidences. And, there's a slight possibility that you could be helping me see another side to coincidences.

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    Do you think about coincidences in your everyday life though? Not assigning meaning but do you think about them, and draw any types of conclusions from them? We're chatting about them on here, but just independently by yourself, do you think about them from even a natural perspective? They could have a natural meaning.

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  8. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Haha...if there's a slight possibility that I'm helping you then my job here is worthwhile!

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    I bring in God or the supernatural because that's implied in the thread. This isn't really a thread about coincidences necessarily because in most of the cases we've talked about you don't believe in coincidences. If you don't believe in them then that only leaves the supernatural.

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    That's the elephant in the room I'm just the one mentioning it.

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    I think of them because I think they are interesting. I don't think of them every day because any that occur every day aren't unusual enough for me to spend much time on.

    I've read about probability theory and in doing so I have to recall some from my own life. The three that I think about usually are the Thailand story, the friend's brother at my grad school and there's another one.

    My girlfriend, later wife, later ex-wife, and I were in Phoenix where I was in grad school with a guy from Sweden. I told him that my girlfriend and I were thinking about going camping over spring break but I didn't have a sleep bag. He lent me his. He had no idea as to where I was going to go.

    During spring break, my girlfriend and I are walking down a sidewalk in San Diego. Someone is approaching from the other direction. I don't stare at him of course and avert my eyes as we get closer. Just as we meet, an arm sticks out and grabs my shoulder!

    It's my friend who lent me the sleeping bag that I now have in my hand.

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    He didn't know I was going to San Diego but his girlfriend's parents live in San Diego and that's why he was there. Meeting on the sideway at the exact same time qualifies as a coincidence.

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    You can reduce the possibilities a bit in that it's spring break so we were both free over the same days, San Diego is a popular destination for Phoenix and we were at La Jolla which is a popular beach in San Diego.

    If you were to assign meaning it would be because of what happened. You probably wouldn't be thinking about how many possibilities there were (how many places was I likely to be at) or how many times I didn't run into friends while on vacation.

    None of those three are "unbelievable" and with the addition of a few other minor ones that's about it for me. Other's may have many, many coincidences because some others see coincidences everywhere. I don't consider them that generally.

    It never has occurred to me to assign any "meaning" from these things. I usually recall them when someone is talking about what a "small" world it is.

    My real interest is in briefly analysing what the odds are and to do this you need to know basic probability math and to logically be able to estimate the possibilities. People generally think everything is one in a million or one in billion and that's why it all seems so fantastic.

    The odds are generally high when it catches your attention as memorable but the odd's are rarely as high as you imagine them to be.

    In general, human beings are very good at pattern recognition and very poor at intuitively judging probabilities.
     
  9. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Your life sounds like it's FILLED with coincidences, see that?

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    This sentence stuck out to me ''People generally think everything is one in a million or one in billion and that's why it all seems so fantastic.'' And right there, could be why I find meaning where there isn't any. I should be grateful for you pointing this out, but I like finding meaning in coincidences.

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    Maybe I could check into a rehab for this? lol
     
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I'm actually a sign to you from the underworld. I'm not real. You are on the right path. Carry on

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  11. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Somethin ive noticed is that ive seen the double numbers 11:11 on a particular digital clock more that any other double numbers such as 10:10 on that particular clock.!!!
    Just a coincidence... i thank not... i thank it hapens for a reason.!!!
     
  12. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    lol Actually, I think this is a good example of a coincidence.

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  13. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    It dont seem weird to you that i woud see 11:11 more that any other double number only on that particular clock.???
     
  14. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I think this is a good example of a coincidence where I'd like to know what reason cluelusshusbund attributes it to.

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  15. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Wait a minute, you happen to look at the same clock at precisely 11:11 more than any other double number? I thought you were using 11:11 as an example. lol That is weird.
     
  16. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Yes thats what i mean.!!!
     
  17. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I'd like to know, too. But, what do you make of it? It is rather unusual to notice the clock only at that specific time. But, I can't see it as meaningful, just unusual.
     
  18. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    O it means somptin to me.!!!

    Its the clock ive used in the bedroom for many many years... an back when i had a job i woud try an be in bed by 11:00 but more often than not i was a bit late so 11:11 was the most likely double number i had a chance to see... an almost ever time i woud chuckle that some people woud thank seein somethin like that as some sort of "mysterious" coincidence

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  19. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    @ wegs

    I dont notice "meaningful coincidences" but good thangs still hapen to me... so do you thank people who do notice or have "meaningful coincidences" have more good thangs hapen in ther lives.???
     
  20. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    Could it be loved as a positive thing? Seems un-certain.
     
  21. geordief Registered Senior Member

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    http://www.scientificamerican.com/a...-that-can-shake-one-s-skepticism-to-the-core/

    I love this man's articles. I felt sure he was going to debunk this event too but he was taken aback.


    Aside from that here is my take. Let's say Something unusual happens and it attracts your attention as a consequence of its rarity value.

    No surprise here.

    However we are obliged as an enquiring mind to consider the nature of the event that has occurred .

    Perhaps we have bumped into an old friend in an extraordinarily coincidental way. So what?

    Well this is a friend who went through a number of life crises ,contemplated suicide changed his diet and married the local politicians daughter.

    This allows us to mull over those choices he faced and as a consequence mull over similar challenges or experiences in your own life or that of close friends.


    So there can be a "meaning" to the coincidence but it is not bound up in the coincidence :it is associated with it.

    This is also essentially how I approach my dreams . When I awake I try to find a meaning in them. Not a particular meaning but a bundle of meaningful associations (I normally fail and if I succeed it is in a very vague way).

    The same with a novel. The story allows you to daydream and you can create a parallel narrative to that of the author.

    Nothing spiritual but everything to to with the human and personal condition.

    That is why I was disappointed with Michael Shermer in that Scientific American article . He let me down , the cad

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  22. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Lots of people like to spook therselfs by hearin/tellin ghost stories by the light of a candle... ie... havin irrational thouts is a rational part of the human condition;;; its "when the lights come on" an the irrational thouts persist that can be problematic.!!!
     
  23. geordief Registered Senior Member

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    The thought came to me just now that life itself is the very essence of the supernatural.

    I mean we have the inanimate domain and life seems to have emerged from it (lets call it "transcends" to rope in the spiritualists

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    )

    So lets call "Life" and human /sentient existence supernatural just by virtue of being what it is and drop the nonsense that there are areas in it which have their own demarcated spirituality.

    I think that tallies with cluelesshusbands's observation.
     

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