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Exploring Coincidences

Date: 04-13-04
Host: George Noory
Guests: Martin Plimmer, Brian King

Authors of Beyond Coincidence, Brian King & Martin Plimmer, shared their in-depth exploration into the phenomena of coincidence. From the mathematical point of view, Plimmer said, "everything happens by chance." And yet, he related a story of how a statistics teacher was trying to demonstrate the odds of 50/50 to his class, by tossing a coin and the coin landed on its side. The chances of this happening were estimated to be a billion to one, let alone on an occasion when statistics were in question.

We tend to expect numbers to even out, but they are often lumped together, such as when similar numbers win in the lottery several weeks in a row, said King. Interestingly, he said statistically you only need 23 random people to find two individuals who have the same birthday.

People who are insecure about their fate in the world tend to believe there is reason and meaning behind synchronicities in their lives, while those more secure, tend to view coincidences as random occurrences, King postulated. Additionally, people who look out for coincidences spot them more often, and this gives them comfort, said Plimmer.

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