What are the odds of your existing ... as you? [from Jack]

Dr. Ali Binazir ... looked at the odds of your parents meeting, given how many men and women there are on Earth and how many people of the opposite sex your mother and father would have met in their first 25 years of life. Then he looked at the chances of them talking, of meeting again, of forming a long-term relationship, of having kids together, and of the right egg and the right sperm combining to make you. He goes further back to look at the probability of all your ancestors successfully mating, and of all the right sperm meeting all the right eggs to make each one of those ancestors.

The conclusion: “The odds that you exist at all are basically zero.”

He illustrates it this way: “It is the probability of 2 million people getting together each to play a game of dice with trillion-sided dice. They each roll the dice and they all come up with the exact same number—for example, 550,343,279,001.”

“A miracle is an event so unlikely as to be almost impossible. By that definition, I’ve just shown that you are a miracle,” he wrote. “

Now go forth and feel and act like the miracle that you are.”

I love his conclusion [to which I have added the emphasis]. At the same time, though, this realization about the probabilities makes me feel less like a miracle and more like an insignificant random event. What if Mom and Dad had been in a slightly different position and a different sperm cell had won the race? What if they hadn't married when they did? Or at all? Etc. I wouldn't be here.

That's a little unnerving, I must say.