Sunday, May 13, 2012

Feeling Lucky... You damn well should!

There are billions upon billions of stars in the universe.  No one knows if there is life on other worlds or not.  But of the unfathomable countless planets we find ourselves on Earth.  Life, if you believe the latest scientific theory, began millions upon millions of years ago here from single celled organisms.  Over time, some of those organisms, deep in the primordial sea, evolved at odds unimaginable, into primitive lifeforms, with brains and nervous systems.  Further still some of those organisms evolved skeletal structures.  Then some of those life forms developed limbs, first as fins and tails, then limbs... and the organisms left the sea behind.

Time passed, life changed further.  As some of those organisms adapted to best survive environments, the brains grew larger, the nervous system became more complex, appendages changed and so did the blood.  Down through time the changes kept occurring, tails were lost, apes and monkeys emerged... then miraculously man.

Over the course of millions of years, against or in spite of, the insurmountable odds against such a thing happening, Man evolved further, to become the dominant species of this planet.  To develop the ability to communicate, to become self aware, to create, to desire more than basic survival.

But the miracle does not end there, no, that is only beginning, it is the way point where we can measure just how truly lucky we, all of us, individually truly are.

You are the product of your mother and father, and they the products of their own parents, who in turn again were the products of their descendent drifting back through the centuries, through the millennia, through the eons... 

A woman is born with between 1 and 2 million eggs in her ovaries.  Each of which is similar but unique, and roughly once a month after puberty an egg matures enough for fertilization, where pregnancy becomes viable. If no fertilization occurs the egg is flushed from her system, and a new egg matures.  This happens until menopause.  Of the 1 to 2 million eggs a woman is born with, only 400 will ever reach maturity, and become viable for fertilization.  Of those 400, only one was fertilized to become you...  From your mother you had a 1 in 2 million shot of becoming you.

A post pubescent male will produce around 12 billion sperm a month.  Over the course of his life a man is said to produce about 400 billion sperm.  Each sperm is similar but slightly unique.  Every ejaculate contains about 300 million sperm.  Of which only about 200 will reach  the egg, and only one will fertilize it to become you.  From your father you had a one in 400 billion chance of becoming you

You had a 1  in 400 quintillion (that's 18 zeroes) chance that the child born of your mother and father would be you.

But it doesn't end there.  Your mother had the same chances of being born, as did your father... and their parents before them, falling back through time to the beginnings of modern man, roughly 5,300 generations ago, and before them the early man variations stretching all the way back as estimated 83,000 generations into the past.  Before that, the numbers lose any meaning...

From the dawn of mankind, if you are alive today, if you exist and are reading this, it means you beat the odds at 33,200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1.

Remember this the next time you feel unlucky.

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