Culture & Ethics
Berlinski: Evolution Toward Virtue and Progress?
A new episode of ID the Future features the second part of a conversation between Uncommon Knowledge host Peter Robinson and polymath David Berlinski, author of the newly released book Human Nature. Robinson asks Berlinski about a book by Nicholas Christakis, Blueprint, which argues that evolution has endowed us with a genetic makeup that drives human culture toward virtue and progress. Berlinski demurs, pointing to the horrors of the 20th century and noting that the virtues Christakis underscores, such as cooperativeness, can also be put to nefarious purposes. The Nazi Party, for instance, “was a marvelous engine of cooperation. All those Nazis cooperated with one another running death camps.” Download the podcast or listen to it here.
Robinson also asks Berlinski about Pope Benedict XVI’s 2006 Regensburg address and the West’s relegating religious thinking, in Peter Robinson’s words, “to the children’s table.” Berlinski says he would frame the situation a little differently: we are today less able to entertain a whole category of arguments we used to be able to entertain — theological arguments. As a habit of thought, theology has receded, but Berlinski says he sees this as temporary. “Theological arguments are not going to disappear, and the fundamental questions they address are not going to disappear either.”
Photo: David Berlinski and a feline friend, via Le Figaro (with permission).