On August 7, 2018, Richard Dawkins tweeted:
Historic contingency “If the second dinosaur to the left of the tall cycad tree had not happened to sneeze …we should none of us be here.” Is this, 1) necessarily true for any dinosaur? 2) Necessarily true only of a dinosaur whose sneeze interrupted its pursuit of the ur-mammal?
and then added:
Why I favour (1):
Think back from own existence. Hyper-improbability of dad’s lucky sperm making it. Multiply up for 2 grandads, 4 gt grandads etc. Ripple outward back to ur-mammal.
Now think forwards. Outward worldwide-spreading causal ripple from any event, even trivial sneeze.
I agree. Everything is indeed connected. In fact, a moment’s introspection will tell you this is true concerning your own life. There are several trivial little decisions you have made over the years that are a necessary part of your history because they are crucial to your identity. For example, perhaps a split second decision to stop at a fast food place for a milk shake causes you to run into an old childhood friend and you therefore reestablish a connection. Months later, your friend then plays a crucial role in supporting you through a very difficult time, steering you away from bitterness and toward forgiveness. That decision then helps to frame future decisions which then help shape who you are.
I mention this because it is striking that Dawkins can understand this dimension to our reality, but then, when it comes to the topic of God, he completely abandons it and reverts to superficial, almost childish, thinking.
[Here’s something I wrote many years ago.]
When it comes to just about any topic, it seems as if the public discourse on the internet is dominated by rhetoric and propaganda. People are either selling products or ideology. In fact, just because someone may come across as calm and knowledgeable does not mean you should let your guard down and trust what they say. What you need to look for is a track record of intellectual honesty. Let me therefore propose 10 signs of intellectual honesty.