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Five Years Ago, Yale’s David Gelernter Gave Up on Darwin

Photo: Darwin in 1868, by Julia Margaret Cameron, via Wikimedia Commons.

Five years ago, Yale University professor of computer science David Gelernter wrote that he was bidding farewell to neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory. Why would he take such a bold step? What convinced him that the neo-Darwinian paradigm no longer satisfied the scientific evidence? On a new episode of ID the Future, I mark the anniversary of Gelernter’s important essay by reading it aloud in full. 

Gelernter’s confession raised many an eyebrow when it was published in 2019, and for good reason. Here’s an accomplished writer, artist, and thinker, famed both for his specific scientific expertise, and for his cultural, political, and historical reflections, publicly declaring that Darwin’s “brilliant and beautiful scientific theory” has now been overtaken by science. Gelernter credits reading Stephen Meyer’s book Darwin’s Doubt as the primary cause of his rejecting neo-Darwinian evolution, calling Darwin’s Doubt “one of the most important books in a generation. Few open-minded people will finish it with their faith in Darwin intact.” Gelernter is no creationist, nor is he a proponent of intelligent design. But he is one of a growing number of scientists and thinkers bold enough to look beyond a Darwinian paradigm to explain the development of life on Earth.

Find the podcast and listen to it here. If you’ve read the essay, this will likely be a good refresher on Gelernter’s arguments. If you haven’t read it yet, by all means enjoy!

Dig Deeper

  • Watch David Gelernter discuss the mathematical challenges to Darwin’s theory of evolution in this episode of Uncommon Knowledge: