‘The origin of species is exactly what Darwin cannot explain.’
David Gelernter, a famed Yale University professor, has publicly renounced his belief in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, calling it a “beautiful idea” that has been effectively disproven.
Gelernter, who is known for predicting the World Wide Web and has developed many complex computing tools over the years, is today a professor of computer science at Yale, chief scientist at Mirror Worlds Technologies, member of the National Council of the Arts, and a prolific author.
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.”
Gelernter conducted his interview alongside Meyer and Berlinski, and the three weighed in on the problems facing Darwinian and neo-Darwinian evolution.
Gelernter said an ideological bent has taken over the field of science. There are good scientists doing good work, “but we have a cautionary tale in what happened to our English departments and our history departments could happen to us, God forbid,” he said.
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.”