Measured Against Reality

Saturday, September 16, 2006

No Better Than Chance

Every now and then I feel a sensation, quite like a cell phone’s vibration, on my right leg, right about where my pocket is. That’s exactly where, for the past four years, I have kept my cell phone, which is always set to vibrate.

But my cell phone isn’t always ringing when this happens. I can’t count how many times I’ve reached into my pocket, pulled out my cell phone, and no one had called.

Interesting thing is, a couple days ago I got a new phone, and started keeping in my left pocket. Today I got that feeling in my right leg, reached in for my old phone out of habit, then my new phone rang.

That got me thinking about all the other times the feeling had come before my phone ringing. Almost as if my leg someone “knew” I was getting the call.

But as I said before, there were far more times where it happened and there was no call. Sometimes the feeling “got lucky” and got a hit, most of the time it didn’t. If I had kept rigorous, detailed notes of the phenomena, it would have faired no better than chance.

It reminded me of all the anecdotes I’ve heard, where someone has a dream foretelling some terrible event, or a case the doctors had given up on gets better after some vigorous praying on his behalf. The thing that you never hear is all of the failed prophecies, all of the people who are prayed for and died. And how, if they had kept rigorous, detailed notes of these phenomena, that they would find it was no more than chance.

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