David Berlinski (born 1942) is an American author who has written books about mathematics and the history of science as well as fiction. He is a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, a center dedicated to promulgating the pseudoscience of intelligent design.
David Berlinski was born in the United States in 1942 to German-born Jewish refugees who had immigrated to New York City after escaping from France while the Vichy government was collaborating with the Germans. His father was Herman Berlinski, a composer, organist, pianist, musicologist and choir conductor, and his mother was Sina Berlinski (née Goldfein), a pianist, piano teacher and voice coach. Both were born and raised in Leipzig where they studied at the Conservatory, before fleeing to Paris where they were married and undertook further studies. German was David Berlinski's first spoken language. He earned his PhD in philosophy from Princeton University.
After his PhD, Berlinski was a research assistant in the Department of Biology at Columbia University for less than one year. He has taught philosophy, mathematics and English at Stanford University, Rutgers, the City University of New York and the Université de Paris. He was a research fellow at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria and the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHES) in France.
Mathematics and biology
Berlinski has written works on systems analysis, the history of differential topology, analytic philosophy, and the philosophy of mathematics. Berlinski has authored books for the general public on mathematics and the history of mathematics. These include A Tour of the Calculus (1995) on calculus, The Advent of the Algorithm (2000) on algorithms, Newton's Gift (2000) on Isaac Newton, and Infinite Ascent: A Short History of Mathematics (2005). Another book, The Secrets of the Vaulted Sky (2003), aimed to redeem astrology as "rationalistic"; Publishers Weekly described the book as offering "self-consciously literary vignettes ... ostentatious erudition and metaphysical pseudo-profundities". In Black Mischief (1988), Berlinski wrote "Our paper became a monograph. When we had completed the details, we rewrote everything so that no one could tell how we came upon our ideas or why. This is the standard in mathematics."
Berlinski's books have received mixed reviews. Newton's Gift, The King of Infinite Space and The Advent of the Algorithm were criticized on MathSciNet for containing historical and mathematical inaccuracies. While the Mathematical Association of America review of A Tour of the Calculus by Fernando Q. Gouvêa recommended that professors have students read the book to appreciate the overarching historical and philosophical picture of calculus, a review in The Mathematical Gazette criticized it for inaccuracy and lack of clarity, declaring, "I haven't learned anything from [Berlinski's] book except that the novel of mathematics is best written in another style."
Berlinski, along with fellow Discovery Institute associates Michael Behe and William A. Dembski, tutored Ann Coulter on science and evolution for her book Godless: The Church of Liberalism (2006).
Berlinski was a longtime friend of Marcel-Paul Schützenberger (1920–1996), with whom he collaborated on an unfinished and unpublished mathematically based manuscript that he described as being "devoted to the Darwinian theory of evolution". Berlinski dedicated The Advent of the Algorithm to Schützenberger.
He is the author of several detective novels starring private investigator Aaron Asherfeld: A Clean Sweep (1993), Less Than Meets the Eye (1994) and The Body Shop (1996), and a number of shorter works of fiction and non-fiction.
Opposition to evolution
An opponent of biological evolution, Berlinski is a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, a Seattle-based think tank that is a hub of the pseudoscientific intelligent design movement. Berlinski shares the movement's rejection of the evidence for evolution, but does not openly avow intelligent design and describes his relationship with the idea as: "warm but distant. It's the same attitude that I display in public toward my ex-wives." Berlinski is a critic of evolution, yet, "Unlike his colleagues at the Discovery Institute,...[he] refuses to theorize about the origin of life."
Berlinski's daughter Claire Berlinski is a journalist and his son Mischa Berlinski is a writer.
- Berlinski, David (1968). The Well-tempered Wittgenstein (Thesis (PhD)). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University. OCLC 54749918.
- —— (1976). On Systems Analysis: An Essay Concerning the Limitations of Some Mathematical Methods in the Social, Political, and Biological Sciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-02120-3. LCCN 76013444. OCLC 2213153.
- —— (1976). Philosophy: The Cutting Edge. Port Washington, NY: Alfred Publishing Co. ISBN 978-0-882-84029-1. LCCN 76007548. OCLC 2089782.
- —— (1978). "Adverse Notes on Systems Theory". In Klir, George J (ed.). Applied General Systems Research: Recent Developments and Trends. NATO Conference Series. 5. New York: Plenum Press. pp. 949–960. doi:10.1007/978-1-4757-0555-3_72. ISBN 978-0-306-32845-9. LCCN 77026044. OCLC 470761024.
Proceedings of the NATO international conference held in Binghamton, New York, August 15–19, 1977, sponsored by the NATO Special Program Panel on Systems Science.
- —— (1986). Black Mischief: The Mechanics of Modern Science (1st ed.). New York: William Morrow and Company. ISBN 978-0-688-04404-6. LCCN 85021820. OCLC 12721232.
- —— (1986). "The Language of Life". In Casti, John L.; Karlqvist, Anders (eds.). Complexity, Language, and Life: Mathematical Approaches. Biomathematics. 16. Berlin; New York: Springer-Verlag. pp. 231–267. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-70953-1_9. ISBN 978-3-642-70955-5. ISSN 0067-8821. LCCN 85030324. OCLC 13010820.
- ——, ed. (1989). A Guide to the Compositions of Herman Berlinski. New York: Herman Berlinski Collection (Jewish Theological Seminary of America). OCLC 417235152. Archived from the original on 2010-08-03. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (1990). The Rise of Differential Topology. Boston, MA: Birkhäuser. ISBN 978-3-764-33073-6. OCLC 123046016.
- —— (1995). A Tour of the Calculus (1st ed.). New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 978-0-679-42645-5. LCCN 95004042. OCLC 31970193.
- —— (1997). "Prague Interlude". In O'Reilly, Sean; O'Reilly, James; O'Reilly, Tim (eds.). Travelers' Tales: The Road Within: True Stories of Transformation (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Travelers' Tales, Inc. ISBN 978-1-8852-11-19-4. OCLC 38049772.
- —— (1998). "Gödel's Question". In Dembski, William A (ed.). Mere Creation: Science, Faith & Intelligent Design. Foreword by Henry F. Schaefer, III. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8308-1515-9. LCCN 98020999. OCLC 38959771.
- —— (1999). "Joseph Maier: A Personal Reminiscence". In Marcus, Judith T (ed.). Surviving the Twentieth Century: Social Philosophy from the Frankfurt School to the Columbia Faculty Seminars. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. ISBN 978-1-56000-352-6. LCCN 99016173. OCLC 41445653.
- —— (2000). The Advent of the Algorithm: The Idea that Rules the World. New York: Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-15-100338-9. LCCN 98043755. OCLC 40459999.
- —— (2000). Newton's Gift: How Sir Isaac Newton Unlocked the System of the World. New York: Free Press. ISBN 978-0-684-84392-6. LCCN 00034724. OCLC 44046921.
- —— (2003). "The Mathematics of Matter and the Mathematics of Mind". In Maler, Oded; Pnueli, Amir (eds.). Hybrid Systems: Computation and Control: 6th International Workshop, HSCC 2003, Prague, Czech Republic, April 2003: Proceedings. Hybrid Systems: Computation and Control. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 2623. Berlin; New York: Springer-Verlag. p. 1. ISBN 3-540-0-0913-2. LCCN 2003045461. OCLC 51855533.
- —— (2003). The Secrets of the Vaulted Sky: Astrology and the Art of Prediction (1st U.S. ed.). Orlando, FL: Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-15-100527-7. LCCN 2003009789. OCLC 52214462.
- —— (2005). Infinite Ascent: A Short History of Mathematics. Modern Library Chronicles (1st ed.). New York: Modern Library. ISBN 978-0-679-64234-3. LCCN 2005041519. OCLC 57573840.
- —— (2006). "Two Fables by Jorge Luis Borges". In Dembski, William A (ed.). Darwin's Nemesis: Phillip Johnson and the Intelligent Design Movement. Foreword by Rick Santorum. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic. ISBN 978-0-8308-2836-4. LCCN 2005033144. OCLC 62330745.
- —— (2008). The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions (1st ed.). New York: Crown Forum. ISBN 978-0-307-39626-6. LCCN 2007048071. OCLC 183162134.
- —— (2009). Klinghoffer, David (ed.). The Deniable Darwin and Other Essays. Seattle, WA: Discovery Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-979-01412-3. LCCN 2009935347. OCLC 624322270.
- —— (2011). One, Two, Three: Absolutely Elementary Mathematics (1st ed.). New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 978-0-375-42333-8. LCCN 2010038555. OCLC 657595353.
- —— (2013). The King of Infinite Space: Euclid and His Elements. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-01481-1. LCCN 2012042492. OCLC 828850721.
Articles in peer-reviewed journals
Articles in journals and newspapers
- Berlinski, David (August 1975). "Mathematical models of the world". Synthese. Part 1. 31 (2): 211–227. doi:10.1007/BF00485978. ISSN 0039-7857. OCLC 4895060169. S2CID 46955447. Part 2 and part 3 published in Synthese, 36 (3) (November 1977), and 37 (2) (February 1978), respectively (OCLC 226993726).
- —— (1978). "Catastrophe theory and its applications: A critical review". Systems Research and Behavioral Science (Book review). 23 (4): 402–416. doi:10.1002/bs.3830230411.
- —— (October–December 1980). "Kurt Gödel (1906-1978)". Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale. 85 (4): 509–518. ISSN 0035-1571. JSTOR 40902196. OCLC 763653542.
- —— (Winter 1989). "Vienna". New England Review & Bread Loaf Quarterly. 12 (2): 157–168. ISSN 1053-1297. JSTOR 40237243.
- —— (January 1996). "The Soul of Man Under Physics". Commentary. ISSN 0010-2601. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (June 1996). "The Deniable Darwin". Commentary. ISSN 0010-2601. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (November 2, 1996). "Keeping an Eye on Evolution: Richard Dawkins, a relentless Darwinian spear carrier, trips over Mount Improbable". The Globe and Mail (Book review). Toronto, Ontario: The Globe and Mail Inc. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (December 2, 1996). "The End of Materialistic Science". Forbes ASAP: 146–160. ISSN 1078-9901. LCCN 94648579. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (July–August 1997). "Ground Zero: A Review of The Pleasures of Counting, by TW Koerner". The Sciences (Book review). 37 (4): 37–41. doi:10.1002/j.2326-1951.1997.tb03326.x. ISSN 0036-861X.
- —— (February 1998). "Was There a Big Bang?". Commentary. ISSN 0010-2601. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (April 2001). "What Brings a World into Being?". Commentary. ISSN 0010-2601. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (November 26, 2001). "Where Physics and Politics Meet". The Weekly Standard (Book review). 7 (11). ISSN 1083-3013. OCLC 32775365. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (February 18, 2002). "God, Man, and Physics". The Weekly Standard (Book review). 7 (22). ISSN 1083-3013. OCLC 32775365. Archived from the original on January 18, 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (March 2002). "Einstein and Gödel". Discover. 23 (3): 38. ISSN 0274-7529.
- —— (March 18, 2002). "Lucky Jim". The Weekly Standard (Book review). 7 (26). ISSN 1083-3013. OCLC 32775365. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (Fall 2002). "Inventing Numbers: How Mathematicians Filled the Inky Void" (PDF). American Educator. 26 (3): 36–41. ISSN 0148-432X. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (December 2002). "Has Darwin Met His Match?". Commentary. ISSN 0010-2601. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (April 2003). "A Scientific Scandal". Commentary. ISSN 0010-2601. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (November 2004). "On the Origins of the Mind" (PDF). Commentary. ISSN 0010-2601. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (March 9, 2005). "There are valid criticisms of evolution". The Wichita Eagle. Archived from the original on 2005-03-21. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (April 1, 2005). "Academic Extinction". The Daily Californian. OCLC 60637422. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (February 2006). "On the Origins of Life". Commentary. ISSN 0010-2601. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (August 29, 2007). "Inside the Mathematical Mind". The New York Sun (Book review). TWO SL LLC. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (May 5, 2008). "The Dang Thing". National Review Online. OCLC 45278115. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (April 18, 2008). "Connecting Hitler and Darwin". Human Events. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (April 28, 2008). "The Scientific Embrace of Atheism". PJ Media (Blog). Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- —— (April 2008) [Published 2008 in chapter 8 of The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions as "Our Inner Ape, a Darling, and the Human Mind"]. "The God of the Gaps". Commentary. ISSN 0010-2601. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- ^ a b c Engber, Daniel (April 15, 2008). "A Crank's Progress". Slate. The Paranoid Style in American Science. Archived from the original on 2008-04-20. Retrieved 2014-01-10.
- ^ Berlinski 1968
- ^ Berlinski 1972
- ^ "The Secrets of the Vaulted Sky: Astrology and the Art of Prediction". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved December 5, 2020.
- ^ Berlinski 1988, p. 167
- ^ MR1815707 (subscription required).
- ^ MR3014396 (subscription required).
- ^ Philosopher Wilfried Sieg pointed to problems ranging "from tedious discussions of logical calculi to incorrect formulations of the conversion rules for the λ-calculus, from an unsatisfactory definition of primitive recursive functions to the claim that Gödel already in 1931 gave "for the first time" a precise mathematical description of the notion of an algorithm. These are just examples where important technical material is not properly "under control" and where significant historical matters are not accurately presented." MR1766416 (subscription required).
- ^ Gouvêa, Fernando Q. (January 1, 1996). "A Tour of the Calculus". Mathematical Association of America (Book review). Washington, D.C.: Mathematical Association of America. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- ^ Meskens, Ad (1996). "Review of A Tour of the Calculus". The Mathematical Gazette. 80 (489): 624–625. doi:10.2307/3618551. ISSN 0025-5572. JSTOR 3618551.
- ^ Coulter 2007, p. 319: "I couldn't have written about evolution without the generous tutoring of Michael Behe, David Berlinski, and William Dembski, all of whom are fabulous at translating complex ideas, unlike liberal arts types, who constantly force me to the dictionary to relearn the meaning of quotidian."
- ^ Wilf, Herbert S. (1996). "Marcel-Paul Schützenberger (1920-1996)". Electronic Journal of Combinatorics. 3 (1). ISSN 1077-8926. Retrieved 2014-01-17. Synopsis: "A memorial page for Marcel-Paul Schützenberger, with contributions from Herbert Wilf, Dominique Foata, David Berlinski, Dominique Perrin, Richard Askey and Moshé Flato."
- ^ "Mathematical Challenges to Darwin's Theory of Evolution - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
- ^ "Christopher Hitchens vs. David Berlinski | Does Atheism Poison Everything? Debate - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2020-07-28.