In this month's Scientific American, the Skeptic column looks at miracles and the Law of Large numbers. I do believe in what Michael Shermer, the publisher, would call paranormal events, but I also believe in math. Shermer recounts the story of Freeman Dyson writing about "Littlewood's Law of Miracles, "In the course of any normal person's life, miracles happen at a rate of roughly one per month."
Dyson explains that "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."
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