David Berlinski Writer, Thinker, and Raconteur

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.

Free Speech for Richard Dawkins? Absolutely!

Some years ago (as I recall, autumn 2006), David Berlinski and I were invited by the debating society at Trinity College Dublin to speak about intelligent design and evolution. It was a raucous event: the students were interested mainly in rhetorical grandstanding and display, although (I hope) some truth was conveyed. There was much tradition and ceremony (signing of official registers, etc.). “A Polarizing Figure” However, Berlinski and I could easily have been “disinvited,” or to use the current parlance, canceled. Richard Dawkins has just suffered that fate, with his invitation to Trinity College Dublin rescinded. From The College Fix: Who knew evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins was a polarizing figure?Apparently not Trinity College Dublin’s College Historical

Rapper MC Hammer Embraces Intelligent Design

I hope you had a good weekend. But I KNOW that rapper MC Hammer had a most interesting and intellectually stimulating one. You may wonder how I know that. It’s because he spent a good deal of it watching videos about intelligent design and evolution and exchanging tweets about ID with Discovery Institute philosopher of science Stephen Meyer, on one hand, and arch-Darwinist atheist biologist Jerry Coyne on the other. Hammer was more persuaded by Dr. Meyer than by Dr. Coyne. The latter, an emeritus professor at the University of Chicago, was not pleased and tweeted back insults, calling Hammer an “ignoramus.” (Coyne later apologized and took down the insulting tweet.) Hammer, with 3.2 million Twitter followers, was most taken, though, by our mathematician colleague David

The Gargoyle’s Challenge — Remembering Schützenberger on Darwinism

Eric Holloway at Mind Matters summarizes very well: In 1966, an unusual symposium was hosted at the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology at the University of Pennsylvania. The topic of the symposium was “Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution” where mathematicians and engineers presented what they saw as fundamental problems with the theory of evolution. One of the mathematicians, Marcel-Paul Schützenberger (1920–1996, pictured) worked closely with Noam Chomsky (1928–) on the intersection between linguistics and computer science.Schützenberger’s fundamental objection to many claims about evolution is that DNA, as modified by mutations, produces a very simple kind of language. On the other hand, the organisms and the environment they live within

Whale of a Webinar Debuts a Delightful “Long Story Short” Video

Today Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture hosted a webinar on whale evolution, and it was way oversubscribed. We apologize to anyone who wasn’t able to make it into the crowded virtual seminar room. Robert Crowther welcomed biologists Jonathan Wells and Richard Sternberg, and they discussed the new “Long Story Short” video, “A Whale of an Evolution Tale,” and much else. Responding to questions from the audience, they ranged across the thoughts of Theodosius Dobzhansky, David Berlinski, and James Shapiro, microevolution versus macroevolution, the thorny problems of convergent evolution and of waiting times, fruit fly experiments and how echolocation in bats and dolphins differ, and much else. They were joined by a surprise guest, the video’s animator,

An Artist Examines Evolution

Merion West is an online news source that dubs itself “a journal where all perspectives are welcome.” They tout the fact that they have been rated by Media Bias/Fact Check as a “Least Biased” source.  Generally, their articles seem to have deeper analysis than you will find in much of the mainstream media. For example, recent headlines include, “The Fraught Relationship Between Religion and Epidemiology,” “The Critics of ‘Social Justice,’ from Jonah Goldberg to Jordan Peterson,” and “Hannah Arendt’s Concept of ‘Impotent Bigness.’” They regularly interview newsmakers, and authors often include professors in relevant fields and others well qualified to comment.  Left, Center, or Right Articles are explicitly labeled by viewpoint: left, center, or

New Head of Brazilian Education Agency Supports Free Speech in Origins Debate

Brazil just tapped a distinguished scientist and university official to head one of the agencies overseeing the country’s system of higher education. His name is Benedito Guimarães Aguiar Neto, and he is a strong defender of free speech in science, including free speech in the growing scientific debate over design and purpose in nature. A respected university scientist in the field of electrical engineering, Dr. Neto has more than 100 publications to his name. He also has an exceptional record as a leader in higher education in Brazil, the fifth most populous nation on Earth. Neto has been a leader in science education in his country, and he has served as President of the Council of Rectors of Brazilian Universities. Just as important, Neto has championed diversity of thought

Watch: Londoners Ponder the Existence of a Soul

Umar Nasser is a doctor in London, currently training to be a psychiatrist. We last met him chatting up David Berlinski, the latter ensconced on a couch too short for the two interviewers plus Dr. Berlinski. (See “Berlinski Banters Entertainingly with ID-Friendly Muslims.”) Dr. Nasser and his website, Rational Religion, make their videos with a great sense of humor. The videos look effortless but I’m sure they’re not. Here in a new entry, he asks a diverse group of Londoners on the street whether they think they have a soul. Or is the mind no more than electrical signals firing through an agglutination of meat and chemicals? https://youtu.be/1jMSR_KmYW8 What’s interesting is that almost everyone says yes, he or she indeed has a soul. That’s notwithstanding that on

Farewell to Gertrude Himmelfarb, Brutally Honest Historian of the “Darwinian Revolution”

Historian Gertrude Himmelfarb died at her home on Monday evening, December 30, 2019. For readers of Evolution News, her real magnum opus remains Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, first published in 1959, revised in 1962, and not only still in print today but available online. At her passing, she was 97 years old. Born in Brooklyn to Russian Jewish parents, she met her future husband, Irving Kristol, when she was 18 at a Trotskyist anti-Soviet meeting. Irving and other enfant terribles of that generation found moorings with the neo-conservative movement. Married in 1942, Bea, as she was affectionately known to her family, never took Irving’s name. (He passed away in 2009.) This Brooklyn College graduate earned a fellowship to the University of Chicago, and after World War II

#1 of Our Top Stories of 2019: Informed by Discovery Authors, Yale’s David Gelernter Rejects Darwinism

Editor’s note: The staff of Evolution News wish you a Happy New Year! We are counting down our top ten stories of 2019. If you haven’t done so yet, please take a moment now to contribute to our work in bringing you news and analysis about evolution, intelligent design, and more every day of the year. There is no other voice, no other source of information, like ours. Thank you for your friendship and your support! The following article was originally published here on October 21, 2019. This is important. Yale University computer scientist David Gelernter is a polymath, a brilliant writer, artist, and thinker. Famed both for his specific scientific expertise, and for his cultural, political, and historical reflections, he’s also now a confessed Darwin skeptic.

#5 of Our Top Stories of 2019: Shapiro, Berlinski on the Reversion to the Primitive in Modern Life

Editor’s note: The staff of Evolution News wish you a Happy New Year! We are counting down our top ten stories of 2019. If you haven’t done so yet, please take a moment now to contribute to our work in bringing you news and analysis about evolution, intelligent design, and more every day of the year. There is no other voice, no other source of information, like ours. Thank you for your friendship and your support! The following article was originally published here on November 25, 2019. 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

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