David Berlinski

Writer, Thinker, Raconteur, and Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute

David 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 is currently a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. Dr. Berlinski 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 such universities as Stanford, Rutgers, the City University of New York and the Universite de Paris. In addition, he has held research fellowships at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria and the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES) in France.

Recent articles by Dr. Berlinski have been 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.

He is author of numerous books, including A Tour of the Calculus (Pantheon 1996), The Advent of the Algorithm (2000, Harcourt Brace), Newton's Gift (The Free Press 2000), The Secrets of the Vaulted Sky (Harcourt, October 2003), A Short History of Mathematics for the Modern Library series at Random House (2004), The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions (Crown Forum, 2008), and The King of Infinite Space: Euclid and His Elements (Basic Books, 2013).


Medved, Berlinski Take on Steven Pinker and Whig History

On this ID the Future, Human Nature author and polymath David Berlinski and radio host Michael Medved discuss everything from human depravity, the burning of Notre Dame, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the Big Bang and a quixotic century-old pact to ban war. Berlinski argues that the case for the death of God and the case for the impending demise of human depravity have been greatly exaggerated. Contra Steven Pinker, Berlinski insists that there is little if any evidence that human evil is being steadily rolled back by the spread of secular values. Further, the idea that science has disproven God flies in the face of trends running in the opposite direction, perhaps most dramatically in the triumph Read More ›

David Berlinski on Nazism, Darwinism, Emotivism, and Nature Rights

On today’s ID the Future, Human Nature author David Berlinski continues his conversation with host Wesley J. Smith. Here Berlinski reflects on the Jewish Holocaust, the destructive nihilism of the Nazis and the SS, and the shortcomings of Neo-Darwinism as an explanation for the diversity of life. Berlinski and Smith also discuss the increasingly widespread attacks on human exceptionalism, the growth of emotivism and why it’s a problem, and the bizarre nature rights movement. This is the second and concluding part of a conversation borrowed, with permission, from Wesley J. Smith’s Humanize podcast.

David Berlinski on the Universal Civilization, Architectural Decline, and Fleeing the Nazis

On this ID the Future, host Wesley J. Smith talks with polymath and Human Nature author David Berlinski about the philosophy of mathematics, the corruption of science, the burning of Notre Dame, modern Europe’s curious incapacity to build graceful, beautiful structures, and what’s driving the devolution of Western society. But before any of that, Berlinski relates the dramatic story of how his parents, European Jews, escaped the Nazis only by the skin of their teeth. This is Part 1 of a two-part conversation borrowed with permission from Wesley J. Smith’s Humanize podcast.

Peter Robinson Interviews David Berlinski, Pt. 3

Today’s episode of ID the Future features the third and final part of a conversation between Uncommon Knowledge host Peter Robinson and Darwin skeptic David Berlinski, author of the newly released book Human Nature. Here the pair discuss the fate of Europe. Then they turn again to science, and the challenge the second law of thermodynamics poses for Darwinism and, by implication, to any theory of biological origins restricted to purely mindless processes. Berlinski suggests that this poses a considerable challenge, tempting Robinson to ask Berlinski whether he still consider himself an agnostic.

Peter Robinson Interviews David Berlinski, Pt. 2

This episode of ID the Future features the second part of a conversation between Uncommon Knowledge host Peter Robinson and polymath David Berlinski, author of the newly released book Human Nature. In this segment of the interview, Robinson asks Berlinski about a book by Nicholas Christakis, Blueprint, which argues that evolution has endowed us with a genetic makeup that drives human culture toward virtue and progress. Berlinski demurs, pointing to the horrors of the twentieth century and by noting that the virtues Christakis underscores, such as cooperativeness, can also be put to nefarious purposes. The Nazi Party, for instance, “was a marvelous engine of cooperation. All those Nazis cooperated with one another running death camps.” Robinson also asks Berlinski about Read More ›

Peter Robinson Interviews David Berlinski, Pt. 1

This episode of ID the Future features Part 1 of an interview between Uncommon Knowledge host Peter Robinson and Discovery Institute senior fellow David Berlinski, author of The Deniable Darwin and the newly released Human Nature. Berlinski begins by noting that living systems possess “a degree of complexity that is almost unfathomable” and explains how this poses an acute problem for Darwinism. The two also discuss discontinuities in the fossil record as well as Berlinski’s insistence that “any theory of natural selection must plainly meet what I have called a rule against deferred success.” Berlinski also rebuts Razib Khan’s claim that in rejecting modern evolutionary theory, conservatives sacrifice “the most powerful rejoinder” to the claim “that male and female are Read More ›

David Berlinski on His New Book, Human Nature, Pt. 2

On this episode of ID the Future, mathematician, polymath, and Discovery Institute Senior Fellow David Berlinski concludes a two-part conversation with Jonathan Witt about Berlinski’s new book Human Nature. Today he talks about what we’ve sadly lost from the West, disputing secularists’ optimistic claims that we’re less violent than the medievals were. From his home next door to Notre Dame Cathedral, he also muses on the cathedral fire and contemporary France’s inability to build anything like the great cathedral. Re-construct, yes — though even that may lie beyond the collective will of France. Create, no. 

David Berlinski on His New Book Human Nature, Part 1

On this episode of ID the Future, philosopher, mathematician, and Discovery Institute Senior Fellow David Berlinski answers questions from Jonathan Witt about Berlinski’s celebrated new book Human Nature. Is evolution carrying us upward to new heights of human goodness, as some have claimed? If not that, then will a computer-connected singularity take us on that upward trajectory, as Yuval Noah Harari argues in Homo Deus? With his famous quick wit, Berlinski says no, and warns of a new “explosion of religion,” but a new religion, one without rational grounding and with a great willingness to punish dissenters.

David Berlinski on Cladistics and Darwin’s Doubt, pt. 2

On this episode of ID the Future, Dr. David Berlinski continues his exploration of cladistics and the Cambrian explosion. Listen in as Berlinski explains the limitations of cladistic analysis and looks at some specifics of Nick Matzke’s critique of Darwin’s Doubt.

David Berlinski: The Nature of Numbers, pt. 2

On this episode of ID the Future, Dr. David Berlinski continues to discuss the origin and nature of mathematics with CSC Research Coordinator Casey Luskin. Is math something waiting to be discovered, or is it a construct of the human mind? Listen in as Dr. Berlinski examines the mystery of mathematics, and reflects on the blurry distinction between math that is “discovered” and math that is “created.”

A One-Man Clade

Had Stephen Meyer better appreciated the tools of modern cladistics, Nick Matzke believes, he would not have drawn the conclusions that he did in his book Darwin's Doubt, or argued as he had.

A Graduate Student Writes

Having for years defended Darwin’s theory, Nick Matzke has determined to learn something about it as a graduate student at UC Berkeley, an undertaking in the right spirit but the wrong order.

Responding to Stephen Fletcher’s Views in the Times Literary Supplement on the RNA World

To the Editor The 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 Read More ›

An Open Letter to Donald Prothero

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 Read More ›