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TagDavid Berlinski

Titanic at Belfast. Date: 1912

The Titanic: A Sobering Tale About the Fragility of Technological “Progress”

The hopes of the Enlightenment were tragically short lived

By David Klinghoffer The week that the submersible Titan was revealed to have been instantaneously flattened on its way down to the wreck of the Titanic, David Berlinski spoke with James Lileks and Peter Robinson on Ricochet about the wreck of the Enlightenment. Much like the Titanic, and a bit like the Titan, so much was expected at the glorious launch of the experiment in human reasoning — yet down it went to disaster, not least in the 20th century with its horrors. Writing yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan suggested that the story of the Titanic haunts us in part because its demise came two years before the start of the century’s great catastrophe, World War I: “the reason the Titanic endures is that there was an immediate connection Read More ›

Vienna, Austria. 2019/10/23.

The Immaterial, Alan Turing, and the Mystery of Life

Mathematician David Berlinski comments on his new book in new podcast

The recently published book Science After Babel is again in the spotlight at the podcast ID the Future, with its author, philosopher and mathematician David Berlinski, and host Andrew McDiarmid considering various elements of the work. In a new podcast, the pair discuss the puzzling relationship between purely immaterial mathematical concepts (the only kind) and the material world; World War II codebreaker and computing pioneer Alan Turing, depicted in the 2014 film The Imitation Game; and the sense that the field of physics, once seemingly on the cusp of a theory of everything, finds itself at an impasse. Then, too, Berlinski writes, there is the mystery of life itself. If scientists thought that its origin and nature would soon yield to scientific reductionism, they have Read More ›

Babel tower

Science After Babel

Read an excerpt of a new book by mathematician and philosopher David Berlinski

By David Berlinski Editor’s note: We are delighted to welcome Science After Babel, the latest book from mathematician and philosopher David Berlinski. This article is adapted from the book’s Introduction. The scientific revolution began in the 16th century, and it began in Europe. No one knows why it happened nor why it happened where it happened, but when it happened, everything changed.  Until the day before yesterday, the imperial architects of the scientific revolution were well satisfied and sleek as seals. An immense tower was going up before their very eyes. The physicists imagined that shortly it would reach the sky; the biologists were satisfied that it had left the ground; and only the theologians were heard to observe that it Read More ›