Sunday, August 19, 2012

A review of The Devil's Delusion, by David Berlinski

Did you see the 2008 documentary Expelled in the movie theatres? You may remember David Berlinski’s conversation with Ben Stein in the film. Berlinski holds a philosophy Ph.D. from
Princeton, has served on the faculty of several universities, and lives in Paris.

Recently, Berlinski wrote The Devil's Delusion (2009), as an encouragement for people “frustrated by endless scientific boasting. They suspect that as an institution, the scientific community holds them in contempt” (p. xvii).

(selections from Don B. DeYoung's book review, published in Creation Research Society Quarterly Journal, Volume 48, Number 4, Spring 2012)

The author readily takes on and exposes the shallow atheistic arguments of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and others in this sorry band of doubters. Many of Berlinski’s phrases and statements are quotable, and a sampling follows.

• Natural selection is described as “the Darwinian business of scrabbling up the greasy pole of life” (p. 17).
• Regarding the science establishment,“the worldwide fraternity of academics who are professionally occupied in sniffing the underwear of their colleagues for signs of ideological deviance” (p. 52).
• Concerning Stephen Hawking’s 1988 A Brief History of Time: “Widely considered fascinating by those who did not read it, and incomprehensible to those who did” (p. 98).
• Concerning the popularity of the multi-universe idea: “It is better to have many worlds than one God” (p. 135).
• An understatement concerning the comparable mysteries of the particle-wave nature of light and the Trinitarian nature of the Deity: “This is not an analogy that has captured the allegiance of scientific atheists” (p. 93).
• “A miracle is what it seems: an event offering access to the divine” (p. 182).
• “Computer simulations of Darwinian evolution fail when they are honest and succeed only when they are not” (p. 190).
• “Although Darwin’s theory is very often [said to be] as well established as gravity, very few physicists have been heard observing that gravity is as well established as evolution. They know better and they are not stupid” (p. 191).
If God directly addressed scientists, he might say, “You have no idea whatsoever how the ordered physical, moral, mental, aesthetic, and social world in which you live could have ever arisen from the seething anarchy of elementary particles” (p. 201).

Berlinski suggests that evolutionary science itself has become an unwieldy, outdated religion complete with an ecclesiastical hierarchy, museum edifices, Darwinian holy books, and extreme efforts to convert doubters. Supporters of this secular worldview are thus in a similar position to the geocentrists of the 1600s, including inner doubts that cannot be expressed in public.

The Devil’s Delusion
by David Berlinski
Basic Books, New York, 2009
238 pages, $16.00.

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