Stranger Fruit

Berlinski leaves me speechless

Berlinski’s latest expectoration in his interview with himself:

You talk very often of, and I quote, “the serious sciences.” I take it you mean to exclude biology altogether. Is that your view? …

DB: To a certain extent. My real view is that there is only one science, and that is mathematics, and that the physical sciences are really forms of experimental mathematics.



  1. #1 Corkscrew
    March 10, 2006

    Did he actually ask any mathematicians before making this pronouncement? Yes, we boast about maths being the queen of sciences, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one.

  2. #2 Tara
    March 10, 2006

    I’m not too surprised. I had another mathematician say something similar here.

  3. #3 Roman Werpachowski
    March 10, 2006

    My real view is that there is only one science, and that is mathematics, and that the physical sciences are really forms of experimental mathematics.

    Nonsense. Mathematics is a branch of physics (theorems are not created, they are discovered), although a very cheap one, because you do the experiments with pencil and paper. That’s what W. Arnold said ;-) You had it all wrong. Physics is the queen of sciences!

  4. #4 AdamIerymenko
    March 10, 2006

    Oh. Wow.

    I can’t say anything else. I’m really stunned.

    Just stop feeding the troll, guys. These guys are absolutely out of their minds. They are in some ways even nuttier than the AiG/young earth crowd.

  5. #5 Zeno
    March 10, 2006

    There are lots of opinions among mathematicians concerning whether theorems are invented or discovered. (I’m more inclined toward the “discovery” school myself.) Whether he’s serious or not (and I doubt that he ever really is), Berlinski is playing around with the extreme idea that everything is mathematics and mathematics is everything. The best anyone can do with this argument would be to point out that physics would be helpless without mathematics while mathematics can do fairly nicely without physics. Nevertheless, a lot of the most beautiful mathematics springs directly from attempts to solve scientific problems; math doesn’t really exist entirely independent of its applications, although one can close the door and pretend to be alone.

    Berlinski knows that most people find math intimidating. He exploits math anxiety in his know-it-all act and I’m sure he enjoys the way that the benighted ID creationists bow down and grovel before his vast intellect. Berlinski browbeats people. That’s what intellectual bullies do.

  6. #6 Christopher
    March 10, 2006

    As the great Peter Griffin once said, “Math, my dear fellow, is nothing more then the lesbian sister of Biology.”

    Berlinski should really listen to his intellectual betters.

  7. #7 Gibbon
    March 11, 2006

    Saying that Mathematics is the purest form of science is like saying that Masterbation is the purest form of sex. What you’re really saying is that you’re coo coo and don’t get out enough.

  8. #8 sir_russ
    March 11, 2006

    Despite our characterizing Berlinski as an obvious kook, he serves a very specific purpose for the millions woefully ill-informed who are his target audience: he casts doubt on the legitimacy of science. His audience, of course, cares nothing about the validity of his claims, but only that he, a popular and apparently educated man, endorses, supports and encourages their disdain for the sciences. We are severely harmed as a science-dependent world community when drivel like this, screeched from a bully pulpit, is accepted as though it constitutes a legitimate counter-argument to the tools, mechanisms and methods of science.