The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

What’s Luck Got To Do With It?

Posted on | September 18, 2011 | 13 Comments

by Smitty

Lifehacker has an article referencing a study about luck that raises a hackle. “Good luck,” people say, even Christians, and I wonder why. What is this ‘luck’?

If one professes Christianity, and I do, then doesn’t Destiny have a bit more appeal than this ‘luck’ stuff? In other words, in mentioning ‘luck’, are you throwing theodicy under the bus? (Asides: [a] evil is a side-effect of free will, and [b] do I need hair like Leibniz in that Wikipedia link?)

As free will and Destiny intereact over time to form your life, who accounts for this ‘luck’? Because if I can buy off on some vague sub-atomic ‘luck’ force, then maybe the database managing the luck could also support re-incarnation. Why not? Carnations need ‘re-in’ from time to time, too. Why do you hate flowers?

Back to the Lifehacker link, the psychological study with the newspaper is genuinely interesting. It’s always interesting to see how clever researchers come up with ways to approach a question. The researchers conclude:

“Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner, and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through the newspaper determined to find certain job advertisements and, as a result, miss other types of jobs.Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there, rather than just what they are looking for.”

Now, putting on my atheist hat for the sake of argument: Christians are nuts. It makes no pure, closed-form, mathematical sense to think that God exists, loves you individually, ever miraculously arrived, and offered humanity redemption, or might return to bat cleanup on the current mess. If such an objective proof did exist, the arguments about religion should have long since been solved. Yet, we’re still “bickering and arguing over ‘oo out-faithed ‘oo”. Can’t wear the atheist hat too long, lest the gaping hole in my knowledge of why I am here drag me down into a pit of nihilism, or lead to some misplaced faith in government.

Rather, as a Christian, I’ve felt that the closer my free will is prayerfully aligned with what I perceive is God’s Will, the lower the existential tension. Yeah, you have to check that daily, lest the Adversary lead you astray. The act of becoming a blogger, for example, involved a lengthy series of steps. Another example was following my father’s footsteps into the Navy, and marriage, and a trip to Afghanistan, and fatherhood. These ingredients converge in a single image:

You really want to call that ‘luck’? Seriously? The World’s Youngest Blogger was less than a week old in that picture. He’s now pushing a venerable two months. With good fortune, I’ll be hanging out with him again in another week. If you believe in ‘luck’, I submit that you also may love Obama, and should pass his bill. Because ‘luck’ us about the only way such a random collection of economically stinky ideas could stumble its way to success. Get the ‘luck’ out of here, say I.

via Instapundit


13 Responses to “What’s Luck Got To Do With It?”

  1. Mike
    September 18th, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

     You know Leibniz is wearing a wig, right? He’s in reality, as bald as a certain Navy Commander. But for some reason, back in the day, people were under the impression that a person with lots of hair was wise and strong. Consider the parable of Samson and Delilah for circumstantial evidence. When Delilah cut Samson’s hair, he lost his strength.

    I’m just sayin’.

  2. Neil
    September 18th, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

    Excellent points.  As a Christian I try not to use the “good luck” phrase at all.  

  3. R. Dittmar
    September 18th, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

    I think it’s healthier just to ignore the pseudo-scientific nonsense churned out by psychologists.  Has anyone read how that study was done?  Participants were asked to count photographs in a doctored newspaper.  Some faithfully did what they were asked and counted the pictures.  Others slacked off but came across a typewritten sentence in the paper saying that there were 43 pictures in the newspaper and went with that as their answer.  In other words, they cheated!  Guess who were tagged as having good luck?

    I mean seriously, what the hell can you can conclude from such a convoluted set-up?  It certainly doesn’t merit making portentious statements about the human condition.

  4. Anonymous
    September 18th, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

    More xtreme cuteness!!! 

    WYB looks mighty fine in his first little camos.

  5. Robo-Love Sunday: Stroll Through The Interwebz
    September 18th, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

    […] Also from Smitty – What’s Luck Got To Do With It? […]

  6. Anonymous
    September 18th, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

    In terms of luck, Itty Bitty Smitty was doing fine til he got his hair stuck on all the velcro in the new uniform, thus repeating an historic family tragedy…

    If fortune favors the prepared, perhaps “luck” favors those with the wit to recognize God’s blessing when it falls on them.

  7. serfer62
    September 18th, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

    Yeah it dawned on me some time ago that Luck was Blessings. So now I use it instead…plus it really pisses off the right people

  8. Charlie Martin
    September 18th, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    Dude, you need a hobby.

  9. Chris Smith
    September 18th, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

    Probably right. Necking down from my current plethora to just one hobby would be smart.

  10. ThePaganTemple
    September 18th, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

    I guess I wouldn’t be too off topic if I announced my link to one of your Joe McGinness-Palin posts here-

    Joe McGinness, Democrats And Other Passive Aggressive Racists

    It took a while to get around to it, so I should put it on page two or three? I’m not a blog whore I’m a blog slut, but I will be seen.

  11. ThePaganTemple
    September 18th, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

    AAAARGGGHHH!!!! Wrong post.

  12. Quartermaster
    September 19th, 2011 @ 11:51 am

    You need to straighten that collar Commander. You Ossifers are supposed to be setting a good example in front of the troops.

    Congrats on fatherhood. Your deployment was fortuious in one regard. Bitty Smitty should be sleeping all night by the time you get back.

  13. Show Me This ‘Social Contract’, Krugman : The Other McCain
    September 23rd, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

    […] words, no hand waving, Mr. Nobel weenie.Define this “luck” that supports these “very lucky people“. As a luck skeptic, I’m queasy with that kind of argument.Explain just what, if […]