I’m not sure how David Berlinski manages to make a living, but he does live in Paris, which ain’t cheap. Although he’s a Senior Fellow with the ID Creationist Discovery Institute, that can’t pay much, and his science books, including A Tour of the Calculus (1995), The Advent of the Algorithm (2000), Newton’s Gift (2000), and Infinite Ascent: A Short History of Mathematics (2005), can’t bring in that much dosh. (As Wikipedia notes, “Berlinski’s books have received mixed reviews.”) However, his 2009 book The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions remains at #41 on Amazon, a remarkable spot, but explained of course by those believers hungry to find problems with atheism. And he’s also written fiction, including several detective novels, so perhaps that’s what keeps him in croissants and fancy suits.
Jerry, genuine talent and original thinking are surprisingly wealth-friendly, even among people who don’t particularly seek wealth. Of course, ironclad tenure and narrow dogmatism do work better in a context where no one can just walk away or refuse to read something…
But I (O’Leary for News) am not here to explain to Jerry Coyne how the world really works. He goes on:
The evolution bit begins at 9:40, and here Berlinski says these things:
– Darwin’s view that species can change into other species is analogous to alchemy: a form of transformation for which there’s no evidence. He uses the stretching of the giraffe’s neck, a Lamarckian principle, as one that still characterizes Darwinism. That’s just wrong.
– Darwinism is a “secular doctrine comparable to the Book of Genesis” and an “ideology”. Darwinism, he says, “is not a scientific theory but a collection of anecdotes.”
What ignorant statements to make! Anecdotes? Has he read my book?
Apparently, anyone who has not read Coyne’s book (we think he means Why Evolution Is True, 2010) is a truly ignorant hillbilly. Coyne’s book is currently ranked at #15,907 (as opposed to Berlinski’s #41, cited by Coyne), which suggests that there may be a great many of us out there.
As a secular Jew, his schtick is to kvetch and kvetch, which, combined with his Buckley-ian imperious attitudes and mannerisms, are taken by ignoramuses as “wisdom.”More.
Most of Darwinism’s current credibility problems do not arise from mathematical philosophers like Berlinski pointing out its flaws but from growing conflict with the data around evolution.
If Berlinski replies, we’ll bring you the news, with free virtual popcorn. Meanwhile…
See also: Michael Ruse: Christianity and Darwinism as rival religions. Ruse has always been honest about the fact that, for is serious adherents, Darwinism is a religion.
Fossil dragonfly named in Mike Behe’s honor has implications for ID. What chance Darwinists will get up a petition to force a name change, and maybe “unlearn” everything Bechly discovered about the fossil? Maybe a person they prefer could discover it all over again, once again erasing Bechly (and Behe). After all, Wikipedia erased Bechly, despite his stellar record, apparently over his support for design in nature.