There is one main point about this video that I wanted to address,but first I want to quickly respond to the remarks made in the first minute.
The first point Berlinski tries to make is that we should doubt evolution because some mathematicians doubt it and tries to make an argument from authority by saying that famous mathematician John von Neumann “laughed at Darwinian theory”.I couldn’t find anything quickly looking around for any quotes of von Neumann knocking evolution,but he did do a considerable amount of work in Automata Theory which dealt with the idea of systems reproducing themselves and tried to answer the question of how a system could improve upon itself.After several years Watson and Crick discovered DNA,the instructions for living automata. So,it’s not hard to imagine someone questioning evolution since the mechanism for reproduction was unknown,but even Darwin didn’t know at his time,and asking questions and finding the answers is just how science is done.Another quick point is that mathematicians are not biologists or geneticist,so it’s not really a relevant field.
Next he quickly tries so shed doubt by pointing out that there are scientists who don’t accept evolution.This is true,yet the number of those who don’t accept evolution is almost non existent in the millions and millions of scientist. There are more historians who deny the events of the holocaust than scientists in a relevant field who deny evolution-who cares?What evidence to either deniers bring to the table to prove their points? None. Only assertions and hypothesis that when proven wrong are still dogmatically held onto.For instance,I still haven’t heard Michael Behe say that his idea that the bacterial flagellum is an “irreducibly complex system” is wrong.
Next,just quickly,Berlinski tries to say that scientists say that Whales evolved from Cows. He’s making an absurd mis characterization,kinda like how people say “evolution says we came from a rock”.No,Mr.Berlinski,whales came from Pakicetids which in no way look anything like a cow. And by the way,we also have the fossils showing all the “re-engineering” needed to do so;from the migrating nostrils,adapting inner ear and loss of hind legs.
Now,we finally get to the main point I wanted to bring up. Berlinski now wants to skip all the evidence for evolution and just look at it purely from a probabilistic and statistical stand point.He specifically points out genetics as something we are going to over look for a mathematical answer only.Why is this?I’ll draw a simple analogy to prove my point. If finding out how we got the diversity of life on earth as we know know it was winning the lottery;then genetics is the winning ticket. Genetics explains how things are related,how they change,how often they change,etc. So,with that in mind here is what Berlinski would like to do- You bought your lottery ticket,watched with anticipation to see if you won and you did!You go down to the lottery office to cash in your winnings,but there sits David Berlinski. Mr.Berlinski looks at your ticket and says “that’s interesting,but lets look at it purely from a mathematical stand point to find out if you won.My calculations show that the probability of you winning the lottery were astronomical so you don’t win-couldn’t have happened”.Of course,anyone with basic knowledge in probability and statistics knows that post hoc calculations are of no value.Just about anything that happens is statistically unlikely after it has happened and you start to add up every little thing that must have happened prior to it.
Evolution destroyed in under 5 minutes? No,more like “why no one takes ID/Creationism seriously,in 5 Minutes”.