Dr. David Berlinski (an agnostic of Jewish heritage) on Darwin’s theory, from the soon to be released movie, Expelled:
“One of my prevailing doctrines about Darwinian theory is, ‘Man, that thing is just a mess.’ It’s like looking into a room full of smoke… Nothing in the theory is precisely, clearly, carefully defined and delineated. It lacks all of the rigor one expects from mathematical physics. And mathematical physics lacks all the rigor one expects from mathematics. So we’re talking about a gradual descent down the level of intelligibility until we reach evolutionary biology.”
Berlinski has a new book coming out in April, entitled The Devil’s Delusion, in which he criticizes the current anti-religion rhetoric which has been called “The New Atheism.” From the publisher’s blurb:
“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.”
Berlinski’s an interesting guy (at least when he’s not just thinking about mathematics), and I’m interested in what he has to say. I’m sure he’ll be both lauded and lambasted, and I can guess by whom. But, I’m sure it’ll all be interesting.
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I’ll be one of those who does, you can be sure. He is talking out of his ass when he refers to evolutionary biology as lacking in rigor. It would be nice if he could ever demonstrate the problems with it in a way that can be examined and tested. If he would simply publish a “white paper” exposing its lack and then submit to somebody who actually does the work in the field.
Berlinski is a self-described “polymanth,” which means that since he has achieved in one area he automatically has the gravitas to speak on anything without studying it, or do the hard work.
Never trust polymaths, check their work. A jack-of-all trades is master at none.
The attacks on traditional religious thought are a studied result of trying to make any sort of logical connection between what it claims and what we see in the natural world. People who do science trust science because it works. If religion didn’t make claims that can be tested it wouldn’t be subject to such scrutiny. If it were left to the private solace and comfort of its adherents, and if it did not makes such demands that we trust its non-verifiability to verify, then it could be considered that religion and science were NOMA. If it didn’t make such grandiose claims of its moral necessity, then there would be no such “New Atheists.” And their books and writings clearly illustrate what damage that a societal dependence on religion has done.
Berlinski again makes the categorical error that rationality is a religion. It’s a propaganda claim.