It's interesting he says "the ordinary statistics of causation", seemingly ignoring 'Correlation does not imply causation'. I presume he has in mind Bayesian Inference, which is a good tool as justified by experience, but cannot give us direct access to reality, and is prone to a range of errors.
Causation is really a set of cognitive tools, for abstracting useful information from experience and shedding non-useful complexity, in order to make tractable predictions. When rolling a dice or flipping a coin, we have a simple enough system to ignore differences between rolls/flips. When it comes to human decision making, the idea of being able to access alternate histories where everything is held the same except one thing, is a useful fiction. I make the case here causation really comes down to our cognitive bias to narrate subjective experiences of objects, because of the social-structuring around intersubjectivity of our neocortexes functioning: Is the idea of a causal chain physical (or even scientific)?
We definitely can't in general compare our timeline, to one with an added peasant's sneeze in medieval times, because of sensitivity of complex systems to initial conditions. In this passage of Dawkins, he gives the example immediately preceding:
"Napoleon started it all. If it weren't for him, I might not be
sitting here now writing these words ... for it was one of his
cannonballs, fired in the Peninsular War, that shot off the arm of my
great-great-grandfather, James Morris, and altered the whole course of
my family history." -Desmond Morris opening lines of his autobiography
'Animal Days' (1979)
The nature of narrating, of explaining, is premised on the idea of 'If x had been otherwise' to give x a role in the story. This is the process of abstraction, the sifting of experiences for what is transferable, intersubjective, explanatory. I relate this to causation in the terms of heuristic explanatory overlays, which group phenomena ultimately reducible to physics, into conceptual units, to make tractable predictions. So, the layer of character and intentions, is a far more efficient way to predict another human, even though we think full knowledge of their atomic states and their environment could with the right computation lead to more complete predictions. More here: Why do compatibilists believe that whether we act freely is independent of whether or not determinism is true?
Aristotle's breakfast, would be a poor choice of imagined variable, that would lack explanatory power. Humans have historically made many bad choices fir explanatory variables. Athenians considered the patterns in a sacrificed animal's entrails a critical predictor of the future outcome of a battle. We can see the Pathetic Fallacy as the overspill of brain being adapted to understand emotional and intentional states on to the world. And we can see science, as the systemising of attempts to minimise cognitive bias, post hoc reasoning, and to ensure consilience and convergence of evidence.
You ask "Is it legitimate to talk of an action in the distant past causing something in the present?" and I would say, it can be, if we make good abstractions. Our telling of history is not simply an account of the past, but a gathering of regathering from information about the past, to bring insight into now. Every generation has to seek it's own insights. Discussed here: Do historians have responsibility in how they decide to depict something? Good history seeks valid inferences from the past, which can inform us now.
I make the case emergentism is a mode of causal narrative, opposite in character to reductionism, here: What's the "opposite" of emergence? The difference in the outcomes from complex systems with slightly different initial conditions is chaotic - the interaction of three similar blackholes can cause different outcomes based on different initial conditions below the Planck scale, fundamentally limiting determinism. But emergence is powerful because it seeks likely similar outcomes regardless of initial conditions. Human character is one such, we abstract things about behaviours that we think will cause similar outcomes in many possible futures. Complexity is the whole field, that includes both chaos and emergence.
A butterfly flap is a much poorer predictor of a hurricane than ocean surface temperatures, regional solar gain, and measures like that which will tend to lead to similar outcomes from many initial butterfly states.