The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Is there a science to coincidences?  (Read 1143 times)

Offline thedoc

  • Forum Admin
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 511
  • Thanked: 12 times
    • View Profile
Is there a science to coincidences?
« on: 07/04/2016 09:50:02 »
Barbara Miller  asked the Naked Scientists:
   Dear Chris  
I am curious is there any scientific proof of how co-incidences happen.  "I was just thinking of you... and you cross my path"  

Warmest    

Barbara Miller
 
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 07/04/2016 09:50:02 by _system »


 

Offline evan_au

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4105
  • Thanked: 245 times
    • View Profile
Re: Is there a science to coincidences?
« Reply #1 on: 07/04/2016 11:34:46 »
Quote
is there any scientific proof of how co-incidences happen?
The tools to study random events are provided by statistics.

Some important guidelines I have learnt are:
  • One instance of a random event does not allow you to be confident about it's frequency (sometimes shortened to "n=1").
  • Human recollection is a very bad measure of random events
  • Coincidences that might seem unlikely to occur to a given person are often quite common in a large population of people
 

Offline puppypower

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 555
  • Thanked: 43 times
    • View Profile
Re: Is there a science to coincidences?
« Reply #2 on: 07/04/2016 13:48:35 »
The awareness of specific coincidences is often connected to our memory and our memory hierarchy. For example, if you buy a new car of a specific color, that is a source of pride; upper most in you mind, you will begin to increasingly notice the same make, model and color car as you drive around. You may not have noticed as many of these cars, before you bought your car, because you mind had a different priority in terms of awareness. The number of occurrences of this car, may not have changed, just you are more aware of these coincidences after you buy the car.

Coincidences can be happening right now, but if these is low on our memory priority, you may not be conscious of it, since it may not apply to you. It may be more special to someone else. If we took two people, one who studies bugs and the other who studies rocks, each will see different coincidences.  If you knew nothing of astral physics, you would not even be aware that a unique coincidence has just occurred in outer space, since you have nothing to gauge this by to be aware of it.

The term synchronicity means meaningful coincidences. This is the same as a coincidence, except it involves additional conscious awareness, to allow extrapolation of meaning. With synchronicity, does not stop at the coincidence and marvel. Rather the marvel becomes a platform for analysis of your current memory hierarchy. Something forgotten memories may have percolated upward, that are semi-conscious. The synchronicity may trigger this deeper awareness. The percolated memory has changed memory priority because it needs to be addressed. Then the phone rings; I was just thinking of you!
 
« Last Edit: 07/04/2016 13:53:36 by puppypower »
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8128
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Re: Is there a science to coincidences?
« Reply #3 on: 07/04/2016 14:32:05 »
I am curious is there any scientific proof of how co-incidences happen.  "I was just thinking of you... and you cross my path"

How many times did you think of them and not cross their path ?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_picking

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8128
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Re: Is there a science to coincidences?
« Reply #4 on: 07/04/2016 14:41:15 »
The term synchronicity means meaningful coincidences ...

Synchronicity sounds like another name for apophenia.
 

Online Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8654
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
Re: Is there a science to coincidences?
« Reply #5 on: 10/04/2016 21:15:45 »
The term synchronicity means meaningful coincidences ...

Synchronicity sounds like another name for apophenia.
To me it looks a lot like confirmation bias and a whole lot of other interesting cognitive biases
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias

Holy cow!
I hadn't realised just how many biases had been identified and studied
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases
They suggest that there is at least some measure of science  concerning people's behaviour towards coincidences.
There is, of course, also statistics that often ends up telling you that the coincidence isn't as rare as you first thought.
« Last Edit: 10/04/2016 21:21:20 by Bored chemist »
 

Offline puppypower

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 555
  • Thanked: 43 times
    • View Profile
Re: Is there a science to coincidences?
« Reply #6 on: 11/04/2016 13:57:05 »
The term synchronicity means meaningful coincidences ...

Synchronicity sounds like another name for apophenia.

One can also argued the opposite is true. Or, randomness is a dissociated pattern in the psyche, that is projected onto organized reality. Random, right to wrong, is useful for breaking down walls; revolution. However, but it is not a good tool for building. Order is better for building.

A small child can randomize a puzzle, even if he can't build the puzzle. The two years old can randomize a 50,000 piece puzzle as easy as 2 piece puzzle, but he may only build the 2 piece.

If we assume the 50,000 piece puzzle is controlled by random, then even the 2 year old can build that puzzle, since it has no fixed and defined order. Now the two year old can put the pieces in a pile, since this a one of the random patterns of the puzzle. Order does not allow the same creative liberty.

Before the Age of Enlightenment, all the way to ancient times, random was a common mindset for reality. The Age of Reason assumed reality had a logical order. The scientific method assumes reproducible, not just close enough on a good day. The whims of the gods, meant that one could not depend on order, since the gods could add randomness on a whim. This is not how the scientific method works.

I often wondered if statistical studies and the random POV, violates the scientific method in terms of things needing to be reproducible. If coffee is  bad for you today but good for you tomorrow, how is this reproducible science in terms of the method of science? Does modern science only need lab coats? 

Say you look at reality through a dissociated projection; chaos. Can dissociated reproducible in the lab, look valid, since you will also see reproducible using the filter of dissociation? 
.
« Last Edit: 11/04/2016 14:06:31 by puppypower »
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Is there a science to coincidences?
« Reply #6 on: 11/04/2016 13:57:05 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums