Coping: A Christmas Statistical Note to Atheists

Since the markets are closed in the US for the holiday, I wanted to get up early this morning anyway and drop you a quick note.

A few of our atheist readers bash Christmas, so let’s run some numbers, shall we?

Authoritatively, the Smithsonian estimates the number of cells in a human body at around 37.2 trillion.  That’s 37.2 for me, and 37.2 for you. almost 75-trillion cells between us.  Most of those cells have to be doing their jobs in order for us to be having this chat.

Now, you take this morning:  I got up and engaged my trillions of cells with billions upon billions of local atoms.  Waste was recycled, my clothes were where I put them last night, and my vision was sharper when a few hundred million molecules were placed on my face; my glasses.

I opened the door and Zeus the Cat  (about 2-trillion cells worth) sauntered in like he does every morning, purred, complained, and got fed.

After feeding Zeus (extra sprinkle of catnip for the holiday) I made my morning coffee. 

Argonne National Labs has a discussion about how many molecules there are in a cup of water over here:

“(224 grams of water) divided by (18 grams per mole) = 12.4 moles
(12.4 moles of water)(6.02×10^23) molecules per mole = 7.5×10^24 molecules in the 8 ounce glass of water.

I used about 44 (followed by 24 zeros) worth of molecules to make the pot of coffee.  I won’t bore you with the calculations on the coffee itself, but let’s simplify that to “lots.”  Applying so many  kCals (or BTU’s, your choice) of heat, the coffee was excellent, as always.

Now, hold that thought for a sec and let me point out another one for you:

Take dice – just one die:  The odds of rolling 6 sixes in a row right here, right now on your first try is exactly one in 46,656.  The odds of rolling the same thing tomorrow morning, again on your first try, to have two such occasions back-to-back are one in 2.176 trillion.  Things become outlandishly improbable by Saturday.

Back this morning:  I’m now 65-years or minus a ham sandwich. That’s about 22,630 days worth.

Every one of those mornings, I have successfully “rolled” 37.2 trillion cells.  The odds doing this for just the last 22 days pushes out to 1 in 3.5 followed by 34 zeros.  Excel blows up past that – the numbers get too big and frankly, I’m lazy.

Here’s my point:  While I’m willing to admit there may not be an Organizing Principle, I believe there is a sound statistical basis for believing there is.

However, when you can (with unloaded dice) roll 6 sixes in a row for just three days, on your very first try, I would be be pleased to entertain the atheist point of view.

In the meantime, if you are one of those atheists being statistically disappointed trying to roll sixes, I’ll be the guy eating leftover turkey and gravy, having more coffee, and going back to bed after reading for a while.

There is a convincing statistical case to be “merry” this day.  Not just today, either.  But every day you get to roll most of 37.2 trillion in a row…

Try it with dice, if you don’t believe me.  Until convinced otherwise, though, I have to lump atheists into the statistically impaired group.  Yes, life is that improbable.

In  his Hymn of Apollo, the poet Shelley reminds us:

I am the eye with which the Universe Beholds itself, and knows it is divine;

I can’t speak for you, but I’m just plain damn merry – and honored – to be able to do so.

More coffee?


Coping: A Christmas Statistical Note to Atheists — 26 Comments

    • Here in China, the people are beginning to celebrate Christmas but in an utterly pure capitalistic way. You gotta love consumerism!

  1. Meh – I think the issue with Christmas is less about ‘creationism’ and more about the hypocrisy of it all (dogmatic religion in general). its about where Christmas started (Paganism/winter Solstice), How it was co-opted by the “christian” church (seeing as how Paganism is considered to be ANTI-Christian), and where it stands now (a Corporate smorgasbord for P&E).

    The whole premise is based on fallacy. We all know that jesus was not born in December. the history is there for anyone to see…. I think the issue goes deeper though.

    If your life is SO busy that you need a specific day to remember your family and friends – and to give gifts to people you love, and be grateful – then you’ve completely lost the entire purpose of life itself.

    \aside – I also find it disturbing that jesus and the cherubs – the most powerful beings in the christian religion are somehow ALWAYS relegated to being babies. seriously people, WTF!? they’re described as bad-ass Mo’Fo’s and you turn them into BABIES?
    \\jesus didn’t come here to start a religion.

    • Well, I heard this BS about the pagans starting it for years now. I found that no one has ever proven that and a bunch of indifferent people keep repeating it until they believe it is true. What I did find out that a group called the Zoroastrians whom eventually also became the Magi, had a belief in one God and the only thing they agreed on was the “Christ Spirit” was born somewhere between what is now Dec 23rd and January 5th. They moved it around for a few years then decided on the 24th. They referred to it later as Christ Mass. When the Pagans were converted they celebrated on the winter equinox so the church decided it was easier to get them to celebrate the physical birth on the day of the spiritual birth which was turned into Christmas. Christ Mass was started around 2000 years before the physical birth of Jesus.

  2. From Google:
    adjective: merry; comparative adjective: merrier; superlative adjective: merriest

    cheerful and lively.
    “the narrow streets were dense with merry throngs of students”
    synonyms: cheerful, cheery, in high spirits, high-spirited, bright, sunny, smiling, lighthearted, buoyant, lively, carefree, without a care in the world, joyful, joyous, jolly, convivial, festive, mirthful, gleeful, happy, glad, laughing; More
    “merry throngs of students”
    antonyms: miserable
    (of an occasion or season) characterized by festivity and rejoicing.
    “he wished me a merry Christmas”
    slightly and good-humoredly drunk.
    “after the third bottle of beer he began to feel quite merry”

  3. Atheists among us? I guess it had to be George, it just had to be. All things in moderation you know.

    As regards said atheists, I have found it useful to nourish the notion in non-combative conversation that their position was unprovable. I freely admit that my belief in the existence of a Creator is equally unprovable to another. I say God reveals himself to those that believe, not those that make demands of Him. I say belief is a choice. I have my belief, and thus experience as my personal proof. The Atheist is left with his lack of belief. If I am able to get him to admit that he can not prove there is no God, I have planted the seed of doubt. Doubt my friend is the demise of many a faithful. Even if the the faithful is an atheist. A crack is opened for the seed of truth to take root through the cement of their faith and reach down to the fertile soil beneath … their soul.

    God does not hide. He is everywhere and beyond. It is the limit of our perceptive abilities that prevents us from observing Him directly. All of our earthly senses, require an observable limit to an object’s boundaries to make a thing real in the mind of man. To see Him is to place a boundary on Him, and that places a limit on Him. He is not only all that we can perceive, in thought or fact, He is more than we can even conceive of.

    We can only begin to know Him in our present form and abilities. He reveals Himself to those that choose to believe, not those that make demands of Him.

    For those of an argumentative or picky nature I use the pronoun “Him” for my own convenience, not yours.

  4. Now drop to the molecular level.

    Every one of those cells got organized around some fantastically complex DNA.

    Amino acids form from air, water and some mineral or other, spontaneously, under favorable weather conditions. Amino acids stick to each other to form proteins. Random, useless proteins. In the event that some amino acids were to form up a molecule of DNA — random, useless, worthless DNA, it would multiply until the seas were the consistency of warm Jello. And it would stay that way until some random mutation gave some new form of DNA an advantage, as Darwin said.

    Then you would have the seas the consistency of warm Jello made up of two competing useless, worthless forms of DNA.

    The numbers get way long with this process unless you have (ahem!) GOD guiding the evolution.

  5. Hi George! Just thinking of 1’s with lots of zeros. The short story, The Nine Billion Names of God, comes to mind. Numbers can increase sequentially in different ways, by the square, or the cube, perhaps. A straight line cannot be made by connecting less than 2 points, just as an area cannot be surrounded by less than 3 straight lines, or a volumes needs a minimum of 4 flat sides to be contained.
    It stands to reason that the 4th dimension must contain a minimum of five volumes to make up this universe. Where are these five volumes? They are the photon field (light), the proton field (electrons, atoms and molecules,) this baseball field (including people and things about our size), the star field (planets moons comets), and the galactic field.
    Each field is a volume of its own, separated from other volumes, by sheer magnitude and contains solid things, which are seen as energy, or just empty space, from greater volumes. Photons, in their field or volume, are as solid as baseballs are, in our own volume.
    Looking at things from this perspective, it is because of these other volumes, within and above our own, that we have empty space.
    There are an infinite number of volumes in the universe, but there must be a minimum of 5, for us to exist in both time and this moment.

    Do you like realistic paintings?

    Merry Christmas.

  6. Just thinkin’ out loud George.

    The numbers vary depending on which article you read about the number of cells. I’m certainly not going to count them so, no arguments there…

    But, what ever the number is, 60% to 70% are replaced each day. Does that mean you not rolling the same dice every day or two?

    Some more food for thought. There are 10 times more bacteria in and on our bodies. Does that mean we are all bacteria with a human infection. LOL.


  7. Thank you for many years of reading enjoyment, George. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    • If cell counts are HWP, then Elaine is about 20 trillion cells, Zeus 2 trillion…..

  8. That was beautiful, thank you. After having to put my dear little cat to sleep yesterday after sharing 19 1/2 years of this life with her, I’m with you, life is a beautiful creation and not by chance.

  9. Thanks for keeping in touch this Christmas morning, George. I agree with you. To me, there seem to be no “dumb” molecules. The underlying principle behind All Things is an Intelligence that can only be regarded as Divine.

    By the way, I made your pancakes with cottage cheese. They were good. I’m looking forward to a leg of lamb today with my son and friends.

    All the Best to you and Elaine.

  10. I am always amazed that humans, regardless of IQ, think they have the knowledge and computing power to definitely state there is no higher conscious intelligence than us. This is ignorant and arrogant to the max.

  11. “I am the eye with which the Universe Beholds itself, and knows it is divine”


    The phrase enfolds twin concepts that I embrace:
    — The Universe is alive and responsive to intent (not ‘dead matter’)
    — Each ‘living being’ is “a single cell in the body of God” [I cannot find the originator of this quote]

    I intuitively felt the connectedness of the Universe as a child, and had a hard time understanding how humans could treat each other so badly. In my teens and early twenties I had a period of severe difficulties that were not the result of my behavior, and I emotionally moved to a more atheistic stance.

    In my mid-twenties the Universe appeared to respond to my emotional departure from connection, and gifted me with a personal precognitive dream, and subsequent matching events, over a period of years. This was impossible to ignore.

    This event series set me strongly on a path to move beyond the kindergarten level models we learn, and to study “how the world works”, for humans, at the personal level.

    Suggestion for a six week experiment………

    Create a gratitude and synchronicity journal.

    Nightly before falling asleep, express gratitude for everything you can think of.

    Put up some reminder notes to feel gratitude during the day.

    Weekly, or more frequently, make some notes in the journal about gratitude thoughts and experiences.

    As the habit becomes easier, attempt to express gratitude for the ‘challenging’ experiences of your life. (This can be the hardest work you have ever done. And the most beneficial. Goes hand-in-hand with forgiveness. Look up EFT [Emotional Freedom Technique] for free to inexpensive help with this process).

    For the six week experiment, back off from trying to express gratitude for things for which you do not readily feel gratitude. You just want to establish a habit, and begin to see shifts in your connectedness to your environment.

    At the end of six weeks — make a decision to continue or not. Is it worth continuing the effort? Has the gratitude process brought you more beneficial experiences?

    This is my Christmas gift to you,


  12. I always try to have a positive attitude and be thankful for every day. Sometimes I forget, but the days of being alive and blessed are really cherished and appreciated. Merry Christmas to you and your family George.

  13. Merry Christmas George, Elaine, and Panama, also Zeus. Thank you for all your hard thinking and writing work this year. Also for your wit.

  14. George,
    …Thank you for………..well, being a constant inspiration, many times in an irritating way… I do get my money’s worth from your observations; your out of the box thinking…and your general humbleness while being blessed with an above average utilization of your gray matter.
    …Your observations and the flavor of what you write seem to me to be well thought out and appropriate… It is most often I thank God that one sleepless evening a long, long time ago, I was dozing, listening to Coast to Coast AM and heard you being interviewed….the subject mater has left me, however your unique ‘take’ moved me to find out more about you….
    Thank you, Merry Christmas and may our 2015 be filled with positive outcomes.