Yale computer science professor David Gelernter expresses doubts about Darwinism

How did life begin?
How did life begin?

I had to learn about David Gelernter when I was doing my Masters in computer science. We studied his book “Mirror Worlds”. A few weeks ago, I blogged about his impressions of the difficulty in forming a simple protein by chance – something that naturalistic mechanisms would have to do in order to avoid intelligent agency as a cause in nature. He found it very unlikely. But there’s more!

Recently, my friend Terrell sent me a video featuring Peter Robinson (who hosts the splendid Uncommon Knowledge show out of Stanford University), and three interesting people. First, there was Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, who is one of my two favorite thinkers. I’ve blogged on his work about the origin of life and the Cambrian explosion here many times. Then, there was Dr. David Berlinski, a secular Jewish professor of mathematics, who has studied origins issues. And then Dr. David Gelernter, who teaches computer science at Yale University, and is a legend in computer science research.

Here’s the video: (H/T Terrell)

Here is an article by Jennifer Kabbany in The College Fix about the video.

She writes about his recent Claremont Review of Books article, as well as the interview above:

In May, the Claremont Review of Books published a column by Gelernter headlined “Giving Up Darwin.” In it, he explained how his readings and discussions of Darwinian evolution and its competing theories, namely intelligent design, have convinced him Darwin had it wrong.

In particular, he cited Stephen Meyer’s 2013 book Darwin’s Doubt as well as The Deniable Darwin by David Berlinski. The professor expanded on his views in an interview with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution that was published last week.

Gelernter stops short of fully embracing intelligent design, both in his essay and during his interview. He said in his interview he sees intelligence in Earth’s design, and has no quarrel with ID proponents, but notes the world a mess, its suffering far outweighs its goodness.

“My argument is with people who dismiss intelligent design without considering, it seems to me — it’s widely dismissed in my world of academia as some sort of theological put up job — it’s an absolutely serious scientific argument,” Gelernter said during his interview. “In fact it’s the first and most obvious and intuitive one that comes to mind. It’s got to be dealt with intellectually.”

I found this part the most interesting, since we are seeing so much intolerance from the secular left, whenever anyone disagrees with their dogma:

Gelernter said he likes many of his colleagues at Yale, that they are his friends, but when he looks at “their intellectual behavior, what they have published — and much more importantly what they tell their students — Darwinism has indeed passed beyond a scientific argument as far as they are concerned. You take your life in your hands to challenge it intellectually. They will destroy you if you challenge it.”

“Now, I haven’t been destroyed, I am not a biologist, and I don’t claim to be an authority on this topic,” Gelernter added, “but what I have seen in their behavior intellectually and at colleges across the West is nothing approaching free speech on this topic. It’s a bitter, fundamental, angry, outraged rejection [of intelligent design], which comes nowhere near scientific or intellectual discussion. I’ve seen that happen again and again.”

Gelernter acknowledges “I am attacking their religion and I don’t blame them for being all head up, it is a big issue for them.”

Dr. Gelernter cited three arguments in his article: the origin of life, and the Cambrian explosion, and genetic entropy. In the first two problems, there is a problem of huge amounts of biological information coming into being . We know that software engineers can write code like that, but there is no Darwinian mechanism for writing that much code and that short of a time period. The third problem shows that Darwinian mechanisms not only don’t produce functional code – they actually break it down.

I’ve covered both of the arguments before on this blog, but if you really want the details, you should pick up the books that convinced Dr. Gelernter: Dr. Stephen C. Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell” and “Darwin’s Doubt”. Each book tackles one of the arguments. For the third problem, a good book is Dr. Michael Behe’s “Darwin Devolves”. Even if you just read something about each book, then you’ll know about the arguments for intelligent causes being the best explanation for the history of life on this planet.

9 thoughts on “Yale computer science professor David Gelernter expresses doubts about Darwinism”

  1. I’m probably a little over half-way through Darwin Devolves by Dr. Michael Behe. I’m not a scientist but I can understand his basic premise by the examples and data he provides. My favorite part of the book so far is his discussion about the bacteria growth that’s been going on for years at some university in Michigan. They have something like 50,000 generations of bacteria now and have studied how genes are modified/turned on/off to “evolve.” Good stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I assume that you are familiar with J.C. Sanford’s “Genetic Entropy” – it’s cool how he shows the changing lifespans of early men (as described in the Bible) fits extraordinarily well to a biological decay curve.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. One more thing. Since unguided evolution is the scientific holy grail of materialism it will take a loooooooooong time (in my opinion) to die off. The good news is since materialists are obsessed with how nature works to the Nth degree the progress forward towards its death is virtually unstoppable.
    There’s also good news on the cosmological front that materialism is also headed toward a slow death as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am fine with just having them point out the limits of what is proven by darwinists.

    As far as I know even almost any id and even young earth creationists would be fine with teaching how micro evolution is proven.

    We can show change going back through points of fossil record. There is massive discontinuity and guess work at some points.

    As a Christian I don’t need to prove an anti science claim like universes pop from nothing or find a mechanism to exist forever. And life can come from non living matter.

    And since we have no evidence for those things other than dogmatic naturalism don’t pretend like they have solid evidence.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gelernter is most correct that it is a religion to blind faitheists.

    I know, as I was once one, and Sagan was my god.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Either the universe is eternal, or God is eternal.
    We now know that the universe is not eternal.
    Therefore God is eternal.

    Therefore materialism is bunk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes. I’ve come to the same conclusion by slightly different reasoning, but yours is very interesting and seemingly must be true. My resoning is to combat the argument of infinite regress which materialist introduce against a creator. (Well, first off, if there is infinite regress, i’m not sure how can be off-putting to a group that have condoned ideas such as string theory with up to 50 dimensions, or the idea of a multiverse to explain creation.), but the point is i agree with you. if god is eternal, meaning, the realm from which he created our existence is a realm without time as we know it, then an eternal god solves the riddle of infinite regress. and if god is eternal, then there is an entire story behind everything that happens here. we may in fact be less than a sentence in a library of books big enough to fill the known galaxy an infinite number of times. :)


  7. Gelernter acknowledges “I am attacking their religion and I don’t blame them for being all head up, it is a big issue for them.”

    I don’t know who’s responsible but I suspect “head up” should be “het up”, as in angry and agitated.

    Liked by 1 person

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