Why I Don't Believe in Coincidence

Coincidence: A Human Perception

Here's the thing--I don't believe coincidence exists. Rather, I just think humans are horribly finite and ignorant beings unable (or sometimes unwilling) to see the bigger picture.

Perhaps I should explain-- First, this is not meant as a treatise--I'm not gonna give loads of data or statistics or define every word I use (maybe a few though). Rather, this is a reflection on my opinion on the matter, partially for fun, partially to generate discussion, and partially just for the sake of writing, and you can take it or leave it (But if you agree feel free to vote up ;) ).

When I think of the term "coincidence" I think of 1) two seemingly related things happening, either simultaneously or sequentially, 2) by chance (random) and/or with vague meaning, and 3) without active human influence. Yes, I know, technically "coincidence" means two things happening at the same time... I'm not arguing that (the denotation of the word), I'm arguing about the connotation , what is implied when people say "what a coincidence".

How Bout a Joke?

Three guys are in an airplane, and having a contest to see who can throw out the biggest thing. The first guy throws down a penny, the second a bowling ball, and the third guy a grenade. Obviously, the guy with the bowling ball wins.

Meanwhile a man is walking down the street and he comes upon a woman sitting on the curb rubbing her head. Curious, the man asks her, "Is everything all right, ma'am". She explains that while she was walking, a penny fell from the sky and hit her on the head. It gave her quite the headache, but she will be ok. The man bids her farewell and moves on. Further down the man sees a teenager and his car on the side of the road. Upon looking closer, the man sees that the hood of the teen's car is dented, and smoke is rising into the air. Curious, the man asks what happened. The teenager explains, "I was driving down the road when a bowling ball fell out of the sky and completely totaled my car". The man calls him a tow truck and then moves on his way. Finally, the man comes upon another man who, despite the large fire and smoke radiating from his demolished house, is laughing hysterically. More curious then ever before, the man asks what happened. Barely able to get out a few words the man replies, "I farted and my house blew up!"

Why it Doesn't Exist

So, why isn't the scenario in the joke an actual coincidence? Because the two things are actually not related! Farting (usually) has nothing to do with your house blowing up. And the fact that they happened at the same time does not mean one caused the other.

You may now be asking, "what about your 'Beer Picture'? Surely that's just two things randomly having the same thing in common?" Nope, again, the hours of the day, and the number of beers that human's have put in a case are not related at all.

So really, I'll just come out and say what I'm thinking. There is no such thing as coincidence because all "coincidences" are really just human's not being able to see the cause of all events. Some things are divinely ordained (these have meaning), and thus are not able to be seen by humans, some things are unrelated and yet happen in proximity to each other, and so we THINK they are related, and finally some things we WANT to see as having meaning which don't and so we impose our own meaning on them and call them coincidence.

So it is with great holes in my argument and a hastily constructed hub that I leave you now. Was this hub worthless? Maybe. But I enjoyed writing it, you learned a new joke, and I got you to view my Google ads on the page ;-) . Feel free to comment with your own opinion.

© 2010 rdlang05

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Comments 11 comments

Ian 5 years ago

I may be misreading but it seems to me that you are actually arguing for the existence of coincidence (or at least the conventional definition).

I think the problem (or maybe my problem) occurs here:

"1) two seemingly related things happening"

The conventional definition is indeed two SEEMINGLY related things happening but adds that these are in actuality are not actually related (the word "seemingly" implying an ostensible but ultimately nonexistent relationship). Instead they are simply Co Incidental, that is sharing an incident (a quanta of time) but arbitrarily and insignificantly so.

To the contrary, if coincidence doesn't exist then the occurrence of all temporally or spatially related events bears significance and definitionaly cannot be arbitrary.

If coincidence does not exist, then (though we may not be able to comprehend it) there truly is significance and some actual relation (be it causal or third party dependent etc...) between the number of Beers in a 24 pack and the number of hours in a day.

As always, correct me if I am wrong or simply have misread.

rdlang05 profile image

rdlang05 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Nope you are correct. Your last two paragraphs are basically exactly what I'm trying to "prove". Haha, I wrote the hub in about 15 minutes though because my traffics been falling, so I think I definitely need to go through and work out some kinks.

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Timshapiro 5 years ago from USA

I find the title to this a little misleading because usually the word "coincidencem" is used, it's usually associated as a derogatory and emotive form of describing "statistics". But of course you weren't setting out to define every word.

So in essence it's not that you don't believe that improbable things happen all the time. Such as flipping a coin and getting five heads in a row (it may take you all day but statistically speaking the astronomically improbable will become the inevitable).

In essance if I were to summarize what you've written here it's this: "correlation doesn't always mean causation.

If I may suggest two things. First, what you appear to have described is a logical fallacy, one that you believe shouldn't be considered. Personally I feel as though knowing as many logical fallacies as possible not only ensures you're using accurate logic but tells you what to avoid so as to prevent thinking gone wrong. In many ways it not only leads to accepting correct ideas into our lives but also make good logical choices -- even moral ones, even when we can't make an informed decision all the time. So my first suggestion, if I may, is that you might want to check out this web site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies because I think you will find it interesting and informative. The second suggestion is that you read the boon "Why People Believe Weird Things" By Michael Shermer.

If you do wind up liking those resources to help you in the future then feel free to ask what other reading material I feel the world should read or at least be aware of.

rdlang05 profile image

rdlang05 5 years ago from Minnesota Author


Thanks for your input. I actually took a logic class in College. I agree, what I seem to be describing would most likely fall under that "Fallacy of False Cause" (Post Hoc).

Indeed this is not my greatest hub (I will be the first to admit that its rather... unfocused and ineffective), however the point is to show slight satire as well as to get traffic to my profile.

I will however check out that book, as I could use a bit of brushing up on my logic.



Druid Dude profile image

Druid Dude 5 years ago from West Coast

Applause!!! Author! Author! I like you!

rdlang05 profile image

rdlang05 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Applause!! Reader Reader, it's mutual!

kwade tweeling profile image

kwade tweeling 5 years ago from USA

WHAT A COINCIDENCE! I was just thinking about coincidences. Or perhaps it was meant to beer.

rdlang05 profile image

rdlang05 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Haha, Hilarious Comment Kwade!

xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Always an interesting subject. I tend to think, for a variety of (unrelated) reasons that everything is random. UP!

rdlang05 profile image

rdlang05 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks for the read and the vote! Thinking everything is random could definitely make for a more fun perspective on life in some ways.

Phil 3 years ago

The subject is "interesting" only when a profound ignorance of science and education, and a high degree of religion and superstition is demonstrated. An old story. Religion and superstition and coincidence are synonymous with 'not having an explanation as to why things happen the way that they happen'. Religious people are self serving, dangerous, and opportunistic. Not only do they lie to their children on a daily basis, but they lie to themselves as well. (OK... you can make a case they are "unaware" that they are lying, and so cannot be "blamed" for their ignorance. Yet all I am obligated to do here is to point to Islamic terrorists hell bent on murdering innocent people. If you believe that innocent people should be murdered daily, without the perpetrators being punished, then there is no conversation). In other words, how in the world can you trust someone who lies to themselves?! Moreover, the reason why they lie to themselves is because they otherwise have NO EXPLINATION about how the universe works. Not being able to explain things makes them uncomfortable. So what do they do? They make stuff up! They simply make it up as they go along. To say that coincidence exists would for them reveal the true lack of foundation upon which their system of lies exists. Religion and superstition and science and reason, is the same as the difference between a priori and a posteriori knowledge. The former says take my word for it or I'll kill you. The ladder holds court and says ye are the plaintiff where is thy proof? Yet since the dawn of recorded history NO PROOF has ever been demonstrated... except for a lot of torture, bloodletting, wars, bombs, and murder. And THAT my friends is no coincidence!!

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