One, Two, Three: Absolutely Elementary Mathematics is the new book from David Berlinski, the acclaimed author of A Tour of the Calculus and The Advent of the Algorithm. One, Two, Three is a riveting new look at mathematics that reveals a hidden world in some of its most fundamental concepts. It’s a captivating exploration of the foundation of mathematics: how it originated, who thought of it, and why it matters. Philosopher and math populizer Berlinski takes on the challenge of explaining the logical foundation of the elementary operations of arithmetic….A tour de force by a mathematician who wants the intellectually curious and logically minded…to understand the foundations and beauty of one of the major branches of mathematics. Kirkus Reviews Math writer and teacher Berlinski is Read More ›
What is encouraging about Jerry Fodor’s and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini’s arguments in What Darwin Got Wrong is just that Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini had the nerve to make them. What is discouraging about their arguments is just that it has taken them so long to acquire their nerve. Where have you been fellahs? Every argument that they advance others have advanced before them. Who in particular? Me, for sure. I have called attention to the striking analogy between Skinner and Darwin for more than fifteen years now. And, finally, what is dismaying about Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini’s arguments is the reaction that they have already evoked in The New Scientist. Letters following publication of their article display with unfailing eagerness the characteristic attitude of the Darwinian Read More ›
To the EditorThe Times Literary Supplement The RNA World Sir: Having with indignation rejected the assumption that the creation of life required an intelligent design, Mr Fletcher has persuaded himself that it has proceeded instead by means of various chemical scenarios. These scenarios all require intelligent intervention. In his animadversions, Mr Fletcher suggests nothing so much as a man disposed to denounce alcohol while sipping sherry. The RNA world to which Mr Fletcher has pledged his allegiance was introduced by Carl Woese, Leslie Orgel and Francis Crick in 1967. Mystified by the appearance in the contemporary cell of a chicken in the form of the nucleic acids, and an egg in the form of the proteins, Woese, Orgel and Crick Read More ›
Hey Don — I want you should do me a favor. I noticed that you put up this real negative review of Steve Meyer’s Signature in the Cell on Amazon. I want to tell you, I loved the stuff about the slow fuse and all. It brought back memories of the time Boom Boom Salacio was a Senior Fellow at the DI. The Putznagel Salami Fire? That was Boom Boom. We all miss the Big Guy at the DI. But here’s the thing. The moment your review hit the stands, bang! sales of Meyer’s book go through the roof. I mean you’re taking Boom Boom to a whole new level. So I was thinking that maybe you could give my book a negative review Read More ›
From The Deniable Darwin: My own view, repeated in virtually all of my essays, is that the sense of skepticism engendered by the sciences would be far more appropriately directed toward the sciences than toward anything else. It is not a view that has engendered wide-spread approval. The sciences require no criticism, many scientists say, because the sciences comprise a uniquely self-critical institution, with questionable theories and theoreticians passing constantly before stern appellate review. Judgment is unrelenting. And impartial. Individual scientists may make mistakes, but like the Communist Party under Lenin, science is infallible because its judgments are collective. Critics are not only unwelcome, they are unneeded. The biologist Paul Gross has made himself the master of this attitude and invokes Read More ›
No one can read David Berlinski’s The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions and not come away thoroughly impressed with the brilliance of its argumentation and critique of scientism. Berlinksi is not a believer, but a secular Jew. Yet, he recognises that many of the popular arguments against religion and for science are philosophically naive, pretentious and chauvinistic. The New Atheists are not well schooled in philosophy and certainly not in the philosophy of science. They don’t realise science is not philosophically neutral. From The war over religion by Ian Boyne.
When The Devil’s Delusion was originally published in hardback in 2008, it went through several printings and was sold out in less than six months. More than a year later the paperback version finally made it into print, and it has gone through at least three printings already is selling very well according to the publisher, Basic Books. This week the book climbed again into the top 300 selling books at Amazon.com, and is still in the top 1000, as well as being the #1 selling book on Science & Religion. Amazon.com Sales Rank: #729 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)Popular in these categories: (What’s this?) #1 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Science & Religion #2 in Books > Read More ›
Q: Many of the most important and lengthiest essays in The Deniable Darwin were originally published in Commentary magazine. How did that fruitful partnership, or patronship, come about? Did you encounter any resistance from the Commentary readership? DB: My association with Commentary was a stroke of good luck. I wanted a wider readership. Who doesn’t? So I wrote [editor] Neal Kozodoy a letter. It was 1994. Neal, for reasons of his own, thought it important to broaden Commentary‘s intellectual horizons. We had been struck by the fact that science as an institution lacks for critics. To a very surprising extent, it gets a free pass. So our association began. I’ve never known a better editor. “The Deniable Darwin” provoked a great deal of controversy when it was published. Read More ›
NewsBusters has a great interview with David Berlinski by Kevin Mooney, who praises The Deniable Darwin as “a series of mind-bending essays.” Proving once again that he is a skeptic’s skeptic, Dr. Berlinski addresses the lack of criticism in science: “In the U.S. you have the separation of powers that keeps different branches in check, but this is not true for science, where there is now a lot of corruption,” he observed. “Science needs its own critics. The same skepticism that is used in research now needs to be turned back onto science itself.” Dr. Berlinski’s essays go a long way toward rectifying this situation, while his observations and insights quickly reveal how ridiculous the anti-ID crowd can be: But there is nothing wrong Read More ›
Recently David Berlinski was on The Dennis Miller Show, where he discussed The Deniable Darwin and The Devil’s Delusion while explaining his stance as a secular Jew attacking atheism. Click here to listen.
David Berlinski is embarking on a speaking tour around the United States. For the most part he will be presenting his book The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions as a lecture at various universities, conferences and other appearances. Here are the basic details with links to get more information, and there will be continued updates. October 23 — lecture at King’s College, New YorkOctober 25 — Darwin’s Dilemma screening, USC, Los AngelesOctober 27 — lecture and discussion, Beverly Hills Library, Beverly HillsOctober 31 — lecture at ID conference, Colorado SpringsNovember 3 — lecture at Oberlin College, Oberlin, OhioNovember 4 — lecture at Ohio University, Athens, OhioNovember 5 — lecture at University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
What do Discover magazine, The London Gazette, The Wichita Eagle, Commentary, Forbes, The Weekly Standard and UC Berkeley’s student paper, The Daily Californian, all have in common? They are just some of the publications that have published an essay or opinion piece by David Berlinski in the past 15 years. And those pieces are among 32 of Berlinski’s finest finally collected together in one volume: The Deniable Darwin. Berlinski, there is little argument, is a skeptic’s skeptic — the last of a dying breed. Lately it seems that everywhere one looks there is someone with the answer to everything. There are precious few true skeptics left, and Berlinski is certainly in the top rank in regards to the sciences. When it comes to some of life’s Read More ›
David Berlinski appeared on CBN News today to discuss the impact of Darwinism and the new atheism, which you can watch online here: Ever since Darwin’s theory of evolution came out 150 years ago, there has been controversy over the issue — and the critics remain to this day. Dr. David Berlinski is one of them. The mathematician and author is perhaps best known for his appearance in the movie Expelled about the controversy over intelligent design as an alternative to evolution.
From Uncommon Descent: David Berlinski Interviewed by Greg Koukl Yesterday, David Berlinski was interviewed on KBRT radio by Greg Koukl of Stand To Reason. This is one of the best interviews with David I’ve ever heard. Greg is extremely sharp and articulate, and really knows his stuff concerning ID. You can stream the MP3 here. The Berlinski interview begins at 1:52:05.
David Berlinski will discuss his book The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions at King’s College at noon on Friday, Oct. 23. These events, free and open to the public, will take place in the City Room on the lower level of the Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Avenue, New York. Beginning at noon and concluding at 1:10 pm., these are “brown bag” events; audience members are welcome to bring lunches and enjoy them during the interviews. For more information click here.
Seeking relief from the demands of geschaeft, The Washington Times reported recently, senior officials at the National Science Foundation routinely spend a great deal of their time (and our money) visiting pornographic sites on the Internet. Just possibly, I suspect, they spend all of their time on stress relief and none on the public’s business, stress relief so striking as to cancel its cause entirely. “The problems at the National Science Foundation (NSF) were so pervasive,” the Times reported, “they swamped the agency’s inspector general and forced the internal watchdog to cut back on its primary mission of investigating grant fraud and recovering misspent tax dollars.” These are points that might be kept in mind the next time senior members of the scientific establishment appear in public, Read More ›
ENV: How do the scientific issues you write about affect the way we live? Why should the Darwin question matter to people who don’t normally concern themselves with scientific theories? DB: I think of the Darwinian debate in the way that Dickens thought of Jardynce v Jarndyce in Bleak House. It is awfully easy to be sucked into it, and once suckered, awfully difficult to get out. I have seen it so often. A man wakes and because has read a book or scanned an essay, he is persuaded that he can make a contribution. He is eager to make it. He offers his opinion on the Internet and is gratified by the prospect of the congratulations that he is shortly to receive. No Read More ›
ENV: You describe yourself as a “secular Jew” and “remarkably indifferent to the religious life.” Yet so much of your writing bears directly on whether religion has been intellectually defeated by secular, science-flavored ideologies. You can’t have given no thought to religious questions. Would you share with us your hunches and suspicions about spiritual reality, the trend in your thinking, if not your firm beliefs? DB: No. Either I cannot or I will not. I do not know whether I am unable or unwilling. The question elicits in me a stubborn refusal. Please understand. It is not an issue of privacy. I have, after all, blabbed my life away: Why should I call a halt here? I suppose that I am by nature Read More ›
ENV: Darwinism is fiercely guarded by a scientific guild. What does the guild have at stake in this? Prestige? Money? To some observers, the defense seems impermeable. Do you see cracks in the fortress wall opening up? DB: Fiercely guarded, but not, mind you, effectively guarded. If the Darwinian Guild, to adapt your phrase (since science has nothing to do with it), was interested in rational self promotion, the Guild would have never allowed its members to display in public their characteristic attitude of invincible arrogance and sheep-like stupidity. Just listen to them as they limber up in the insult room: Dumbski, Little Mikey Behe, Stevie Meyer (a regression to school yard taunts irresistible at both the Panda’s Thumb and Talk Reason), the creationist playbook, creationist Read More ›
ENV: Did anyone in particular, a colleague or friend, influence the conclusions you reach in these essays? DB: No, I don’t think so. Daniel Gallin has been an influence on my thinking, but our friendship ended more almost thirty years ago, and so his influence is no longer of this time or place. Daniel introduced me to model theory. That was his gift to me. After studying with Church at Princeton, I regarded model theory as an immersion into cool water. Such ease, such elegance, such freedom! Had I stayed in mathematics as a research mathematician, I would have stayed in model theory. In the 1980s, I wrote a monograph for the Princeton University Press in which I reached the conclusion that mathematics has Read More ›
David Berlinski has been accused of being many things, but speechless is not one of them. Here is is a short interview clip from ID The Future where he addresses a range of scientific and philosophical issues that he expanded on his book The Devil’s Delusion, which has just this week been released in paperback from Basic Books.
ENV: When did you start thinking, as a critic, about Darwinian evolution? Did anything in your biography incline you to freethinking in that area? DB: It was the fall of 1965. My graduate school roommate Daniel Messenger and I were ambling along Nassau Street in Princeton. We were munching the kind of wonderful Winesap apples that seem to have disappeared as a variety. I wonder why that is? Daniel’s girlfriend, Sandra Petersen, was there too. Daniel was a fine philosopher and Sandra was doing a degree in classical philosophy. We walked over to Darwin’s theory of evolution, living at the time in one of Princeton’s back alleys. A back alley was the right place to look for Darwin. No one Read More ›
ENV: Were you always subversive? Tell us about the childhood David Berlinski. DB: I am not sure that I would care to think of myself as subversive. It is a mole-and-badger kind of word, isn’t it? So long as we are searching for similes, I would prefer lion-like. Regal is another fine word. I was from an early age indisposed to accept what I had been told. Having been urged not to insert a fork into an electrical outlet, I stuck one in anyway; I was shocked to discover that it was a poor idea, just as my mother had maintained. An impatient child, I became a school yard terror, and a high-school bully. At the Bronx High School of Science I was a part of the clique Read More ›