David Berlinski is a writer, associated with the Discovery Institute of Science. You may have seen him in “Expelled” or Ben Shapiro show. He is currently living and teaching in Paris and has previously taught at Stanford University, Rutgers and the City University of New York.
Notorious for his witty sense of humour and inexhaustible references to past thinkers and historical figures, he is courageous enough to challenge many modern paradigms. His interests and expertise are quite broad: he has written extensively on the history of Mathematics, even has some fictional books under his belt. What we will focus on in this post is his take on Darwinism, modern Atheism (as represented by Dawkins, Harris, Krauss) and Artificial Intelligence.
Skepticism of Darwinism
When he encountered Murray Eden paper on “Mathematical Objections to Neo-Darwinism” he became skeptical of the accuracy of the claim that the mechanism of natural selection can account for the complexity of life forms. His arguments get sharper over time and are not easily dismissed. Let’s direct our attention to some of them. He points out that the whole structure of this theory (natural selection with random selection) lacks quantitative analysis. Or as he puts is in some of his debates it resembles more “a collection of anecdotes”.
“Sheer Dumb Luck”. Well, if Nature keeps the beneficial changes, then it has some forward looking memory. Which of course is quite distinct from sporadic, random events, as pictured by Darwin’s supporters. Any person with some sense of logic can understand where Berlinski is leading to.
What Darwinism stands for in our modern culture is a mere substitute for a creation story or a kind of secular myth.
In his book “The Devil’s Dellusion” he is going after the modern “priests” disguised in scientific togas. He is putting under scruitiny the prevailing myths that science has shown that there is no God, despite the peculiar fact that he is a secular Jew. What Berlinski is trying to convey is that scientists should be more modest in their claims because none of their theories relate to or answer the deep questions and beliefs often associated with religious systems.
Often in interviews he openly attacks the scientific lobby which is worried about funding and much less concerned with unbiased research and freedom of inquiry. There is a prevailing misconception that their clique is self – critical, faultless and unaffected by its subjective beliefs in their public relations. The truth is this conjecture doesn’t stand the judgement of the historical facts.
His devastating criticism on AI is quite simple – nothing that these programs can create is beyond what three year child can’t do. The human nature bears some characteristics that cannot be reproduced and cannot pose threat to the whole of humanity as many technocrats speculate. The futurists tend to overvalue some new gadgets and place them on piadestal – as if they will magically eradicate all our inner flaws and anxieties.
If we got your attention you may find some of his interviews on his website, you won’t regret it.
Photo Credit: David Berlinski on Hover Institution.