Last year, right before publishing his illustrated children’s book The Magic of Reality, Richard Dawkins appeared at The New Yorker Festival and walked the crowd through a short thought experiment. Imagine pulling out your family genealogy. Now snap a photo of each ancestor going back 185 million generations. What would it show? First off, your very distant grandfather was a fish. Secondly, you can never put your finger on the very first human being, a proverbial Adam and Eve. 185,000,000 snapshots can never capture that one moment.
Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. You can contribute through PayPal, Patreon, Venmo (@openculture) and Crypto. Thanks!