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The Roots of Coincidence

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Today of all days I remembered this old question.

I first came across it in the 1970s but it seems to have been first asked more than 200 years before, and perhaps humorously. This is my attempt at a reconstruction.

Gentleman doth Enquire recently: whether it is Probable that: at any time which should be nominated: In the City of London there must bee,Two Persons, who have exactly the same numerosity of Haires on their Heads (supposing the Capital had sufficient Barbers to perform this Census &&).

I answer: For Certain. Since the Roy. Soc. of London have determined by what is called field-work, that the the count of Haires on any person's never doth, even if they be be-wigged, extend beyond ca. 250 Thousand.

Thus having thought to the vast Numbers of London-dwellers (which doth over-top 1 mill.) since the latter number be greater than the first, a co-incidence cannot be avoided.

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Me in a rare cheerful mood

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In a similar vein is the claim that within your body there will be a few carbon atoms that were part of Jesus' body.

Nothing to do with receiving the Eucharist - it is a statistical inevitability that is down to just how tiny atoms are, how many carbon dioxide molecules Jesus breathed out in his lifetime and the efficiency of gaseous dispersion.

So, in a sense, regardless of dogma, every toasted cheese butty validates the principle of transubstantiation.

(And a bit of you is Julius Caesar and a bit is Genghis Khan.)