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The Incorrigible Dr. Berlinski

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Video (V060)

The Incorrigible
Dr. Berlinski

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Book (B140)

The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions

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Book (B139)

The Deniable Darwin
& Other Essays

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The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions The Deniable Darwin & Other Essays


The producers of the critically acclaimed documentary "Icons of Evolution" recently sat down for an interview with Dr. Berlinski. The interview was a lucid and entertaining critique of Darwinian evolution and addressed the following topics and questions:

  • Unanswered questions
  • Head scratching mathematicians
  • What is evolution and why does it remain controversial?
  • Life sent from outer space?
  • Dogs stay dogs ? bacteria stay bugs
  • Finch beaks and nutty journalists
  • Transitional sequences
  • You lead a cow to water?
  • Is similarity in structure among animals, or "homology," evidence for evolution from a common ancestor?
  • Good, good, good, good mutations
  • Sheer dumb luck
  • Can Don Quixote evolve into War and Peace?
  • Self critical science?and other myths
  • A rebel without a clue
  • Going 98 in a school zone
  • Power corrupts, but absolute power is kinda neat though
  • Amusing anecdotes or Marxist conspiracy?
  • "Progress might have been alright once, but it has gone on too long." -- Ogden Nash Profound ignorance
  • "Freedom of the press is limited to those who have one." -- H.L. Menchen
  • Regnant priests of a powerful orthodoxy
  • "Never let school interfere with your education." -- Mark Twain
  • Let's win one for the Gipper!

Here are just a few of his amazing statements in this interview:

"The claim that all skeptics of Darwinian orthodoxy are Christian Fundamentalists stands refuted by me. I'm neither a Christian nor a Fundamentalist. But lots and lots of people are skeptical in the scientific community."

"The interesting argument about the whale, which is a mammal after all, is that if its origins where land-based originally, what do you have to do from an engineering point of view to change a cow into a whale?...Virtually every feature of the cow has to change, has to be adapted. Since we know that life on earth and life in the water are fundamentally different enterprises, we have some sense of the number of changes. I stopped at 50,000, that is morphological changes, and don't think that these changes are independent. What's interesting about the cow to whale transition is that you can see that a different environment is going to impose severe design constraints on a possible evolutionary sequence?and what does this suggest about what we should see in the fossil record?

"Let's portray Darwinian evolution for what it really is--a collection of 19th century anecdotes that are utterly anything like we see in the serious sciences. That would be my favorite position--yes biologist do agree that this is the correct position for the origin and diversification of life, but here are some points you should consider as well:

  • the theory doesn?t have any substance
  • it's preposterous
  • it's not supported by the evidence
  • the fact that the biologist are in uniform agreement about this issue could as well be explained by some solid Marxist interpretation of their economic interest..

That would satisfy me. It's not asking for much is it?"

Some will find him persuasive, others simply inflammatory. Perhaps the best way to describe him would be from one of the nation's leading advocates of "Darwin-only Education" She called him 'incorrigible.'

Running time: 55 Minutes

2009, Softback, 256 pages.

Evidently militant atheists don't like this book and have friends in high places. The book was released in hardback in April 2008 by Random House and 13,000 copies immediately sold out. The publisher's response? They refused to print any more copies. We are convinced Random House must have seen an advanced copy of Michael Moore's documentary Capitalism and just felt so darn guilty about all the profits they were making on the book that they refused to print any more. Fortunately, the executives at Basic Books must not have seen the movie and have just released thousands of copies of the book in paperback edition.

Militant atheism is on the rise. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens have dominated bestseller lists with books denigrating religious belief as dangerous foolishness. And these authors are merely the leading edge of a far larger movement--one that now includes much of the scientific community.

"The attack on traditional religious thought," writes David Berlinski in The Devil's Delusion, "marks the consolidation in our time of science as the single system of belief in which rational men and women might place their faith, and if not their faith, then certainly their devotion."

A secular Jew, Berlinski nonetheless delivers a biting defense of religious thought. An acclaimed author who has spent his career writing about mathematics and the sciences, he turns the scientific community's cherished skepticism back on itself, daring to ask and answer some rather embarrassing questions:

  • Has anyone provided a proof of God's inexistence? Not even close.
  • Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close.
  • Have the sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even close.
  • Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought? Close enough.
  • Has rationalism in moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral? Not close enough.
  • Has secularism in the terrible twentieth century been a force for good? Not even close to being close.
  • Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy of thought and opinion within the sciences? Close enough.
  • Does anything in the sciences or in their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational? Not even ballpark.
  • Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt? Dead on.

Berlinski does not dismiss the achievements of western science. The great physical theories, he observes, are among the treasures of the human race. But they do nothing to answer the questions that religion asks, and they fail to offer a coherent description of the cosmos or the methods by which it might be investigated.

This brilliant, incisive, and funny book explores the limits of science and the pretensions of those who insist it can be--indeed must be--the ultimate touchstone for understanding our world and ourselves.


"Berlinski's book is everything desirable: it is idiomatic, profound, brilliantly polemical, amusing, and of course vastly learned. I congratulate him."
-- William F. Buckley Jr.

"With high style and light-hearted disdain, David Berlinski deflates the intellectual pretensions of the scientific atheist crowd. Maybe they can recite the Periodic Table by heart, but the secular Berlinski shows that this doesn't get them very far in reasoning about much weightier matters."
-- Michael J. Behe, Professor of Biological Sciences, Lehigh University, bestselling author of Darwin's Black Box and The Edge of Evolution

2009, Discovery Institute, Softback, 557 pages.

It only takes one dose of Berlinski to be hooked. His wit, his way with words, his sharp mind, and the ease at which he is able to poke holes in the Darwinian worldview catch you off guard. Those who watched Expelled were treated to a taste of Berlinski as Ben Stein interviewed him in his flat in Paris. Now you can get a "seven course meal" of Berlinski with this new compilation of 32 of his best essays written over the past fifteen years.

The volume is named after his 1996 essay "The Deniable Darwin" that appeared in Commentary and launched Berlinski into the middle of the Darwin or Design debate, where he has happily remained ever since. What makes this volume so great is it includes not only Berlinski's essay but also reprints the dozens of letters received in protest and support from notable scientists and philosophers (Allen Orr, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Arthur Shapiro, Paul Gross, Tom Bethell, Michael Behe, Phillip Johnson, M.P. Shutzenberger, etc) along with a response to the letters by Berlinski. One of his fun essays is an open letter to retired magician the "Amazing Randi" who offered the Smithsonian $20,000 not to show the ID film Privileged Planet at a scheduled screening. Berlinski offered to cancel the private showing of the film in his flat in Paris for $20,000 and for an additional $10,000 he would instead spend the evening reading aloud from Daniel Dennett's autobiography!

The prolific author of numerous books on mathematics and logic, he has written a series of famously controversial essays on biology, physics, psychology, and mathematics in Commentary magazine, provoking each time an outpouring of dumbfounded letters to the editor. Berlinski's replies are witty and sharp. For the first time, The Deniable Darwin collects all of these essays and exchanges, and others in a similar vein, into a single volume.


"David Berlinski is to science writing what Tiger Woods is to golf. He can score from anywhere, against any opponent, on any course.The Deniable Darwin is a compulsive revel of his incandescent prose and jugular polemics. As irresistible as Godel's Proof."
--George Gilder author of The Israel Test, Wealth and Poverty, and Telecosm

"Berlinksi's rapier wit is the antidote to the insufferable smugness of modern scientism. When, without any seeming effort, he notes that "like the Communist Party under Lenin, science is infallible because its judgments are collective," the reader is forever immunized against grandiose claims for scientific consensus. Much more awaits the readers of this wonderful collection."
--Michael Behe professor of biochemistry, Lehigh University, and author of The Edge of Evolution and Darwin's Black Box

"David Berlinski's ability to weave the lessons of history with the wonders of modern science is unmatched, as is his use of subtle humor that enlivens his text. These essays will delight many and annoy others, regardless of on which side of the ideological aisle of science you may stand�for science has an ideology as Berlinski so well documents."
--Gerald Schroeder author of God According to God: A Physicist Proves We've Been Wrong About God All Along and The Science of God

"Berlinski is a genuine intellectual hero, one whose challenge to the certainties of evolutionary biology and Big Bang cosmology--the comfortable certainties of conventional wisdom about the origin of man and the origin of the universe--does not come from allegiance to rival certainties such as biblical creationism. Instead, Berlinski turns the methods and assumptions of science on itself to demonstrate the implausibilities underlying the arrogant claims of the grand theorists."
--Ron Rosenbaum author of Explaining Hitler and The Shakespeare Wars


The Deniable Darwin & Other EssaysAbout the Author

David Berlinski is a senior fellow in the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. He is the author of numerous books, including The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and It Scientific Pretensions (Crown Forum, 2008; Basic Books, 2009), Infinite Ascent: A Short History of Mathematics for the Modern Library series at Random House (2004), The Secrets of the Vaulted Sky (Harcourt, 2003), The Advent of the Algorithm (Harcourt Brace, 2000), Newton's Gift (Free Press, 2000), and A Tour of the Calculus (Pantheon, 1996). William F. Buckley Jr. said of The Devil's Delusion that "Berlinski's book is everything desirable; it is idiomatic, profound, brilliantly polemical, amusing, and of course vastly learned."

Recent articles by Berlinski have been prominently featured in Commentary, Forbes ASAP, and the Boston Review. Two of his articles, "On the Origins of the Mind" (November 2004) and "What Brings a World into Being" (March 2001), have been anthologized in The Best American Science Writing 2005, edited by Alan Lightman (Harper Perennial), and The Best American Science Writing 2002, edited by Jesse Cohen, respectively.

Berlinski received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University and was later a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics and molecular biology at Columbia University. He has authored works on systems analysis, differential topology, theoretical biology, analytic philosophy, and the philosophy of mathematics, as well as three novels. He has also taught philosophy, mathematics and English at Stanford, Rutgers, the City University of New York and the Universit de Paris. In addition, he has held research fellowships at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria and the Institut des Hautes tudes Scientifiques. He lives in Paris.

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