You now and then hear a pro-atheist morale raiser like this:
Consider how unlikely your existence is. For you to be as you are, you had to choose the exact things you did; your parents had to meet, and procreate; and their parents and their parents’ parents and so on. Aren’t you enormously happy to be privileged to exist, when the vast majority of potential people never exist at all? (Simulated quote.)
I don’t understand this one. Or rather I think I understand it, but I don’t see why it is such an uplifting thought, though it may give rise to strong, good emotions.
Sure, my specific existence is unlikely, but I can’t avoid thinking like this: “I indeed exist; but that’s not a great achievement since someone had to; it just happened to be me. Any specific result in a toss of dice is unlikely; getting some result is certain, and once you’ve gotten a result it’s bad form to gloat about how spectacularly unlikely and happy that specific result was. That’s too close to supernatural destiny-crap for me, too close to mawkish innumeracy. And as far as human existence is concerned, it’s sweet to be, especially to be me, but if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be around to care.”
As this raiser’s been spoken by smart people like Richard Dawkins (certainly not a supernaturalist or innumerate!) and George Hrab, I can only conclude that too much mathematics has broken my brain and there’s some subtle emotional elegance here that my probabilistic dickery has clouded for me. Sigh, oh well.