Saturday, March 10, 2007

We know that Penn reads Dawkins

I was just noticing the similarities (below), I wonder if the connection is as clear to other people. Since right before this phrase Penn is talking about his family, it might seem like he is evaluating his good genetic health, and that of his children, instead of the improbability of his own existence:
I won the huge genetic lottery
-- from There Is No God

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.
-- Richard Dawkins from Unweaving the Rainbow


I think Penn is more succinct, and Dawkins is more detailed and poetic at the same time. I think both are needed.

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