November 27, 2015 | David F. Coppedge

Clarity for a Holiday Weekend

Recommended resource: “David Berlinski: Rebellious Intellectual Defies Darwinism” on YouTube. This Q&A interview recorded by Coldwater Media around 2001 is a thought-provoking montage of subjects, displaying Berlinski’s ability to articulate large issues with cogent insight and witty sarcasm. Snippets of this interview were adapted into Coldwater’s 2001 film Icons of Evolution (playable in segments on YouTube). It’s worthwhile to hear the full 36 minutes of recording, uploaded as a playlist by Coldwater Media in 2008. Topics range from whale evolution to consensus science (and human nature) to the value of intellectual criticism, even to the point of vituperation.

Berlinski’s relaxed eloquence and grasp of intellectual history is reminiscent of the manner of the late William F. Buckley, providing viewers good lessons on how to cut through intellectual fog and frame an issue for debate, neither swamping the unsophisticated nor shortchanging the erudite. Berlinski’s debate with atheist Christopher Hitchens, aired on C-SPAN in 2010, is also available on YouTube. Never nonplussed by Hitchens’ arrogance, Berlinski elevates the discussion to the essential issues, keeping his focus through the rebuttals, illustrating his three major propositions with historical specifics and quotations from contemporary intellectuals.

This link does not imply endorsement on all points, just that it merits consideration.

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