The Arithmetic of Life

IN The Arithmetic of Life and Death, George Shaffer calculated the probability that “you would be uniquely you”.

For instance, he calculated the probability of receiving the exact 23 chromosomes you got from your mother at one in 10 million.

The same is true for the 23 chromosomes from your father.

If you calculate the permutations from the two, you realise that biologically the chance that you will be who you are today is one in 100 trillion.

So, Shaffer concludes, your life is a miracle “of immeasurable proportion”. And life is a ticket to the greatest show on Earth.

It’s worthwhile pulling away from the herd and collectivist thinking to discover our own unique purpose on the planet.

When we start seeing ourselves as God sees us, we might start liking ourselves. And we might learn to appreciate the beauty in the dances of others.

It’s never too late to be who we should be.

Someone once said, at the end of our time here, God is not going to ask us why we weren’t Mother Teresa, or Einstein, but why weren’t we ourselves.

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29 thoughts on “The Arithmetic of Life

  1. How did he “calculate” this:- “For instance, he calculated the probability of receiving the exact 23 chromosomes you got from your mother at one in 10 million.”

    But, at the risk of appearing to be a ‘winder-upper’, I must say that, in any case, he’s not the brightest globe in the chandelier.
    “For instance” —> The probability of “receiving the exact 23 chromosomes you got from your mother” are ‘infinity-ON’, since they ARE the 23 chromosomes you got from your mother.
    Follow?

    Sounds impressive though.
    Almost biblical!

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  2. Pingback: The Arithmetic of Life | churchbus71

  3. Who you are depends on more than chromosomes inherited. Environment plays a big part before birth an in the next couple of years. If the mother is on drugs or drink, or if she has a threatened miscarriage, the brain of the foetus develops wrongly. So also if the child is mistreated after birth,

    Even in normal pregnancy, genes are switching on and off all the time.

    The surprising thing is that some years of love and trust can turn a problem child into a lovely young adult. There’s that word Love again!

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    • But you’re right Strewth: “genes are switching on and off all the time.”
      I used to drive my mother to distraction…until she made me come out and play with the dog instead. 🙂

      And certainly environment matters.
      Including such toxic environmental pollutants as censors, tax collectors and other acts of god. 😦

      And it’s also got a lot to do with how we see ourselves and how honest we are about that, too. —-> http://www.staged.com/video/?v=yZcd

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    • Hi Dabbles, old chum, – and Bryan too,
      We are well into 2014 now, so how about making some definite arrangements for a meet up in Melbourne in the near future? Last week in April perhaps? There’s 28th, 29th and 30th for example, followed by two days start of May.

      Cheers, Rian.

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      • Say when!
        Incidentally, did you receive a long letter?
        I have reason to wonder.

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      • Dabbles, Old mate,
        a. no, I havent seen a long letter, I’m afraid.
        b. how about Tuesday 29th April.
        And Bryan, are you still willing to be in it??”?? Or has it really been a bit too much for you having two problematical guys in the List, like me ‘n Dabs? Strewth has expressed interest still.
        I would prefer it not to be early in the day. I dont really like getting up early in the morning in these my twilight days.

        cheers, Rian.

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      • Okay Kathleen, all the rest of us have put in a reservation for Tuesday 29th get together in Melbourne. What about you too?

        Oh, and you too Bryan?????? We are waiting.
        Rian.

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  4. Good to see you back Dabbles (Dabbbles).

    Was it your computer breaking down? I remember you saying you were having some troubles with it.

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  5. Just a thought. If we genuinely believed how unique we are and how every human being was created by God, like we actually got it, would we treat others better than what we do?

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    • I rather think that was the whole point of the exercise, Sara.
      It’s harder to mistreat someone who’s so very like you.
      …..Unfortunately, though, we’d still be ‘speciest’: no matter how godly we were we’d still think it was ok to kick the cat.

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  6. “God is not going to ask us why we weren’t Mother Teresa, or Einstein, but why weren’t we ourselves.”

    Why would he need to ask ??

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    • Why do you assume asking indicates a need to know? It could be a method of drawing attention to something, or interest in the way the answer is given.

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      • hm…. Perhaps were should be ready to ask HIM why he wasn’t Mother Teresa or Einstein.
        Would certainly get his attention, and engender no end of interest in the way the answer is given! 😉

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      • Asking Bubba or God? 😆
        Rather, the question proposed, why isn’t Bubba himself, or why isn’t God himself?

        You’re confusing me, Dabs!

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      • Good one!
        God, of course! ~ I know why Bubba isn’t!
        As for the confusion……that’s a girly-thing; I get confused every time I try to “express my feminine side”.
        Perhaps ask Bubba why god made confusion contagious? (since the whole world seems to have caught a dose 🙂 )

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  7. ”It’s never too late to be who we should be.” But sometimes too early. We might be teenagers when we decide who we want to be, but need a mid life crisis to determine who we CAN be.

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  8. “If you calculate the permutations from the two, you realise that biologically the chance that you will be who you are today is one in 100 trillion.”

    Exactly. You are worth no more than any of the other one hundred trillion possibilities that were equally likely to happen. It was a lottery. And everyone else on the planet was in exactly the same boat. That doesn’t make you special in any way.

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    • Rol,
      Exactly what I was thinking about the topic. I’m reminded of the line in one of the Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas (The Gondoliers) which ran

      ‘When everybody’s somebody, then no-one’s anybody.’

      I guess like you, I simply cannot comprehend why some Christians think that the odds quoted there, mean something extraordinary.
      Rian.

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