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Friday, July 04, 2008

Introduction: Berlinski, the Devil, and the long spoon

He who sups with the devil must bring a long spoon. - proverb
Mathematician David Berlinski is an exception, and often noted as such. He does not fit the stereotype of the earnest, learned theist we expect a Discovery Institute fellow to be. An American living in Paris, a secular agnostic Jew, and both a mathematician and a novelist - so why isn't he caterwauling about the Visigoths at the gates, who think there is evidence for design in the universe?

Well, for one thing, he is way too smart. He is also a relentless foe of fashionable mediocrities. Thought enforcers mutter darkly against him.

No doubt there will be a law against him some day, but the bureaucrats will need to make good time. He was born in 1942. Meanwhile, ...

Well now, what of Berlinski's Devils?, that is The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions?

The book is not so much a defense of the God of the philosophers as a meditation on the vast, dim stupidities put up, in popular science works, to replace him. Although Devil’s would stand on its own as an excellent piece of writing and reasoning, in fairness it owes much to the sheer ridiculousness of the current conventions of thought it sends up, as we shall soon see.

Next: Part One: Taking the measure of the new religion of science


All parts:
Introduction: Berlinski, the Devil, and the long spoon
Part One: Taking the measure of the new religion of science
Part Two: Materialism conflicts with evidence more than theism does
Part Three: Evolutionary psychology - the saints' legends of scientism
Part Four: The duty Berlinski never accepted

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