Miracles are Everywhere?

In the course of any normal person’s life, miracles happen at a rate of roughly one per month…during the time that we are awake and actively engaged in living our lives, roughly for eight hours each day, we see and hear things happening at a rate of about one per second. So the total number of events that happen to us is about thirty thousand per day, or about a million per month. With few exceptions, these events are not miracles because they are insignificant. The chance of a miracle is about one per million events. Therefore we should expect about one miracle to happen, on the average, every month.

Got that? That’s one miracle a month.

So next time something extraordinary happens to you, keep this calculation in mind.

What About Me? I feel cheated. I had a great last month, but no miracle. No miracle the month before that either. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a miracle of this kind. According to this calculation, my history of no miracles is a miracle in and of itself. Now I feel better.

The information is from the August Scientific American, p.32, quoting Freeman Dyson; pick it up if you can, it is one of their best issues this year.

Addendum: Charles Martin points out that a miracle is relative to what you expect. The exact time I arrived at the office this morning was no miracle, although that particular time was extremely unlikely ex ante. So you can eliminate miracles from your life simply by expecting a wide class of possible events. You can increase your number of “miracles” by expecting some very specific outcomes.