David Berlinski

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.

“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

Drive Darwinists Nuts with This One Solution to Fake News

If you listen to the media, you’d think that science has refuted God, the debate over Darwin is closed, the solution to the origin of life is right around the corner, and humans are no more significant than cockroaches. If you are as sick of this kind of fake news as I am, I have good news. There is a solution, and you can be a part of it. The solution is this site — Evolution News & Science Today. How It All Started Discovery Institute started this news outlet back in 2004 to counter all the fake news in the debate over intelligent design. Since then, the audience for Evolution News has grown from a few thousand to more than a million users a year. In fact, according to Google, Evolution News is on track to reach 1.7 million users by the end of 2019. That’s

“Fearless”: Princeton Mathematician Sergiu Klainerman on Berlinski’s Human Nature

David Berlinski’s terrific new book, Human Nature, is about many things, including the influential evolutionary or Whig understanding of history that sees human culture and human nature on a largely upward slope, toward greater and greater enlightenment. Defying that view, as Berlinski does in unique style, requires hardly less courage than defying its parallel in evolutionary biology. So Sergiu Klainerman, Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University, puts his finger on some of David Berlinski’s special virtues as a thinker and writer: Berlinski combines mastery of classical culture and deep knowledge of mathematics and the natural sciences with sharp, elegant, and insightful writing. The man is fearless in pursuing lines of reasoning that are considered

Phillip Johnson: A Fond Farewell

Editor’s note: Phillip E. Johnson, Berkeley law professor and author of Darwin on Trial and other books, died on November 2. Evolution News is sharing remembrances from staff, friends, and Fellows of Discovery Institute. Philosopher of biology Michael Ruse, cherished by ID proponents as a longtime friendly antagonist, is the author of The Problem of War: Darwinism, Christianity, and their Battle to Understand Human Conflict and other books. Professor Ruse directs the Program in History and Philosophy of Science at Florida State University. I have just learned of the death of Phillip Johnson. We were very much on different sides of the IDT debate, but I think I can truly say that our intellectual (and faith) disagreements made no difference to our personal respect and (dare

Human Nature — David Berlinski Explains the Cover Image

The cover image on David Berlinski’s new book, Human Nature, is, shall we say, delightfully cryptic. It’s a Chinese ideogram. The book says in the image credits that it means “happiness.” That is all. How is it pronounced? How does it relate it to the themes of the book? I asked Dr. Berlinski, who answered: Chinese characters do not have anything like a canonical pronunciation. That seems to be the genius of the Chinese system. The characters float free of pronunciation. Mandarin speakers pronounce the character in one way, Cantonese speakers in another; and generally neither speaker can understand the other. That's why in conversation Mandarins very often sign with their hands. The character does mean happiness, but in the expanded sense, I think, of the French le

Greg Chaitin: Reading Berlinski “As the Lights of Western Civilization Go Out”

Here is a bold statement about Human Nature, the latest from David Berlinski. The endorsement is by Gregory Chaitin, a pioneer of algorithmic information theory and metamathematics: As the lights of Western civilization go out, it is nevertheless a treat to read these deep reflections on what we can be proud of, and where we went badly astray. Wonderfully unconventional and stimulating, with David Berlinski's characteristic wit and penetrating insight! Dr. Chaitin is Emeritus Researcher with IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York. The festschrift Unravelling Complexity: The Life and Work of Gregory Chaitin is

Listen: David Berlinski on His New Book, Human Nature

On a new episode of ID the Future, philosopher, mathematician, and Discovery Institute Senior Fellow David Berlinski answers questions from Jonathan Witt about Berlinski’s celebrated new book, Human Nature. Download the podcast or listen to it here. Is evolution carrying us upward to new heights of human goodness, as some have claimed? If not that, then will a computer-connected Singularity take us on that upward trajectory, as Yuval Noah Harari argues in Homo Deus? With his famous quick wit, Berlinski says no, and warns of a new “explosion of religion,” but a new religion, one without rational grounding and with a great willingness to punish

No Safe Spaces Opens Big Across the Country

David Berlinski gets to the heart of the matter in a new ID the Future podcast with Jonathan Witt: “What we’re seeing on the campuses is a kind of hysterical religious revival without religion,” aimed at suppressing all forms of speech deemed as deplorable by the Left. That explosion is the subject of the new documentary No Safe Spaces, starring Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla. Discovery Institute president Steve Buri was on hand for the Hollywood premiere of No Safe Spaces, and he contributed these photos (below) of the event, which came on the heels of the national premiere in Phoenix, AZ. It’s been a huge success. Mann’s Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, CA, where the premiere was held. The Darwin Debate Obviously, this is a subject that bears directly on the Darwin

Gelernter: Berlinski’s Human Nature Is “Number One” Book I’d Recommend to Yale Students

Endorsements don’t come much better than this. David Gelernter is the Yale computer scientist and polymath who made many headlines recently with an essay, “Giving Up Darwin,” that cited books by Stephen Meyer and David Berlinski as primary influences in his rejecting evolutionary theory. Now Gelernter has read the brand new book by fellow polymath Berlinski, Human Nature. Says Gelernter: Berlinski is a modern Hannah Arendt, but deeper, more illuminating, and wittier (i.e., smarter). His ability to use science and mathematics to illuminate history is nearly unique. If I were assembling a list of essential modern books for undergraduates at my college or any college, this book would be number one. Not only would students learn a tremendous lot from this book; many would also

Original, Incisive, Brilliant: Victor Davis Hanson on Berlinski’s Human Nature

I’ve already had my say on David Berlinski’s new book, Human Nature. Now come the celebrity endorsements! I mean the endorsements from celebrity intellectuals. For the courage and clarity of his own writing, Victor Davis Hanson is a hero to me. Here’s what he has to say about Berlinski: Polymath David Berlinski’s appraisal of a transcendent human nature is really a military history, a discourse on physics and mathematics, a review of philosophy and linguistics, and a brilliant indictment of scientific groupthink by an unapologetic intellectual dissident. Read it and learn something original and incisive on every page. Yes, true. Hanson is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author of The Second World Wars and other books. More to

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