Coincidence? Or Something else?

Did Abe Lincoln and John F Kennedy have an other-worldly connection?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines coincidence as “a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.”

Was all of the following simple coincidence?
• Lincoln and Kennedy were elected exactly 100 years apart.
• They were killed by men born 100 years apart.
• Both Presidents were followed by Johnsons
• Those Johnsons were born 100 years apart.

Author Squire Rushnell refers to such factual combinations as “Godwinks“ … coincidences that make you say … ‘I wonder if that coincidence is evidence of divine intervention?’”

Not so according to the Law of Truly Large Numbers. That Law was explained in a Forbes article in which John Navin interviewed Professor David Hand, mathematician and author: “The law of truly large numbers . . . says that given enough opportunities, any strange thing is likely to happen. For example, if we toss a coin long enough, we can essentially guarantee that at some point we’ll get 10 heads in a row.”

I would hate to be assigned the task of flipping a coin until that happened … seems an unprovable “law” to me.

That said, any set of events approximately 100 years apart, or most any other significant time period, are going to have some related events also occurring 100 years apart.

However … coincidentally … Lincoln’s secretary was named Kennedy … Kennedy’s secretary was Evelyn Lincoln.

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