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 old.plus 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.