David Berlinski

David Berlinski

Thinker, Writer, Raconteur

Bestselling author David Berlinski holds a PhD from Princeton University and has taught philosophy and mathematics at universities in France and the United States. A Senior Fellow of Discovery Insitute, he is the author of such books as The Deniable Darwin, A Tour of the Calculus, The Advent of the Algorithm, Newton’s Gift, and The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions. He lives in Paris, France.


“Berlinski knows his science and wields his rapier deftly. He makes great sport with his opponents, and his readers will surely enjoy it.”

Tom Bethell, bestselling author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science

Conventional wisdom holds that the murder rate has plummeted since the Middle Ages; humankind is growing more peaceful and enlightened; man is shortly to be much improved—better genes, better neural circuits, better biochemistry; and we are approaching a technological singularity that well may usher in utopia. Human Nature eviscerates these and other doctrines of a contemporary nihilism masquerading as science. In this wide-ranging work polymath David Berlinski draws upon history, mathematics, logic, and literature to retrain our gaze on an old truth many are eager to forget: there is and will be about the human condition beauty, nobility, and moments of sublime insight, yes, but also ignorance and depravity. Men are not about to become like gods.

Previous Books


Reports on David’s writing, thinking, and raconteuring from Evolution.News.

Berlinski: Evolution Toward Virtue and Progress?

A new episode of ID the Future features the second part of a conversation between Uncommon Knowledge host Peter Robinson and polymath David Berlinski, author of the newly released book Human Nature. Robinson asks Berlinski about a book by Nicholas Christakis, Blueprint, which argues that evolution has endowed us with a genetic makeup that drives human culture toward virtue and progress. Berlinski demurs, pointing to the horrors of the 20th century and noting that the virtues Christakis underscores, such as cooperativeness, can also be put to nefarious purposes. The Nazi Party, for instance, “was a marvelous engine of cooperation. All those Nazis cooperated with one another running death camps.” Download the podcast or listen to it here. Robinson also asks Berlinski about

Berlinski, Robinson on the “Almost Unfathomable Complexity” of Living Systems, and More

A new episode of ID the Future features the first part of an interview between Uncommon Knowledge host Peter Robinson and Discovery Institute Senior Fellow David Berlinski, author of The Deniable Darwin and the newly released Human Nature. Berlinski begins by noting that living systems possess “a degree of complexity that is almost unfathomable” and explains how this poses an acute problem for Darwinism. Download the episode or listen to it here. The two discuss discontinuities in the fossil record as well as Berlinski’s insistence that “any theory of natural selection must plainly meet what I have called a rule against deferred success.” Berlinski also rebuts Razib Khan’s claim that in rejecting modern evolutionary theory, conservatives sacrifice “the most powerful

Thanksgiving Day, 1859 — Guess What Happened?

What highly significant event do you think occurred on Thanksgiving Day of 1859? I’m taking only a little bit of a liberty in asking. Abraham Lincoln set the date as a national holiday in 1863. But before that, the last Thursday in November was already observed as Thanksgiving in most places in the United States. Lincoln formalized the tradition.  So, what’s your guess?  If you said that Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species was published in London on November 24, 1859 — and yes, it was a Thursday, the final Thursday in the month — you are right. In the U.S., a majority of states celebrated that day as Thanksgiving. Think of the Irony This week with our families we will enjoy Thanksgiving, as a time to review carefully all we have to be grateful for. Above all, in the

Ben Shapiro and David Berlinski on the Reversion to the Primitive in Modern Life

Yesterday’s conversation between David Berlinski and Ben Shapiro, an hour long thanks to the generous medium of Shapiro’s Sunday Special, is so full of treasures, it’s hard to distill it down to an essence. But I’ll try. One theme, which Dr. Berlinski expands on in his new book Human Nature, is the unexpected return of the primitive in modern life. By modern he means from about 1914 on, in areas ranging from warfare to science to personal adornment and beyond. https://youtu.be/tk6bJrvFTMM David points to the sudden collapse of Enlightenment values in the face of barbarism in the 20th century that, in 1912, no informed man or woman could ever have predicted. He would ask Steven Pinker and other boosters of the Enlightenment: If those values were powerless to stop the

Fast Track: Speeding Ben Shapiro and David Berlinski to You NOW

Wow, this is an amazing, hour-long conversation between Ben Shapiro and our Discovery Institute colleague David Berlinski. It’s today’s Sunday Special on the Ben Shapiro Show and you can watch it here on YouTube: https://youtu.be/tk6bJrvFTMM Berlinski is wise and hilarious, and Shapiro a very fitting interlocutor. David’s new book, which forms the spine of the interview, is Human Nature, out now. I’ll have more to say on their interaction later. But in the spirit of the Fast Track program of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, hastening needed prescription medicine ahead of otherwise routine burdensome drug trial requirements, here are David and Ben right NOW, covering the philosophical and political attack on essentialism, why evolution is fundamentally at odds with a

Stephen Meyer Asks David Berlinski How He Became a Darwin Skeptic

An episode of ID the Future features a clip from a Signature in the Cell event a few years ago in Tampa, FL, featuring Stephen Meyer, Michael Medved, David Berlinski and Tom Woodward. Listen in as Dr. Meyer interviews Dr. Berlinski, author of the new book Human Nature, about the questions that led him to become a skeptic of Darwinism. Download the podcast or listen to it here. Photo: David Berlinski on Uncommon Knowledge, via Hoover Institution/YouTube

“Relentless and Devastating”: Mathematician Stephen McKeown on Berlinski’s Human Nature

More terrific endorsements for Human Nature! Here is mathematician Stephen McKeown on the latest from David Berlinski: Another tour de force by David Berlinski. Few writers indeed, about science or society, can boast such a thoroughgoing command of the significant ideas of the past century, the confident mastery of every centrally significant scientific theory. Yet if Berlinski derives obvious joy from the great theories that unify the world, he is never more memorable than when he vividly displays its irreducible particulars, holding the quiddities of place and person more clearly before our imagination than we might even see them ourselves. If Berlinski glories in science’s achievements, he is no less dismissive of those attempts to see pattern and abstraction born not of

What the West Lost: Berlinski on Human Nature

On a new episode of ID the Future, mathematician, polymath, and Discovery Institute Senior Fellow David Berlinski concludes a two-part conversation with Jonathan Witt about Berlinski’s new book Human Nature. Today he talks about what we’ve sadly lost from the West, disputing secularists’ optimistic claims that we’re less violent than medieval Europeans were. Download the episode or listen to it here. From his home next door to Notre Dame Cathedral, he also muses on the recent catastrophic fire and contemporary France’s inability to build anything like the great cathedral. Re-construct, yes — though even that may lie beyond the collective will of France. Create, no. Photo: Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, by manhhai, via Flickr

David Berlinski Joins Ben Shapiro on Sunday Special; Exhaustive Discussion of…Neutrino Mass?

David Berlinski’s latest, Human Nature, caught the attention of Ben Shapiro, who will discuss it and other matters with Dr. Berlinski for an hour on the Ben Shapiro Show’s Sunday Special, this Sunday, November 24. Here is a preview. Yes, as a colleague points out, it’s classic Berlinski: https://youtu.be/Ea4oPVw0J34 Don’t worry, what David says here about the neutrino and its mass — he’s only kidding! David B. and Ben Shapiro are a matchup that you’ll want to see, both brilliant personalities, but in such interestingly different ways. Stephen Meyer was on the Sunday Special this past March and he and Ben had a fantastic, fascinating conversation. In case you missed it, it’s here. From past experience, the Sunday Special goes out to subscribers first, and is

“Erudite,” “Profound,” “Beautifully Wrought”: Peter Robinson on Berlinski’s Human Nature

Those are just some of the terms of apt praise applied to David Berlinsk’s new book, Human Nature, by Peter Robinson, Murdoch Distinguished Policy Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Robinson writes: These essays represent a reflection on man and modern times as erudite as the finest history, as profound as the most searching philosophy, as beautifully wrought as the loveliest prose, and as shocking and indignant as the best journalism. The work of a magnificent mind. All true, and what else is true is that Robinson and Berlinski share a wonderful and charming rapport in a recent interview with David, recorded in Italy, for Robinson’s program Uncommon Knowledge. Find that here! Photo: David Berlinski and Peter Robinson on Uncommon Knowledge, via Hoover

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