The Paris Berlinskis

April 3, 2008

Instapundit wondered aloud today whether David Berlinski might be related to Claire Berlinski.

I’m a huge David Berlinski junkie. A Tour of the Calculus has been serving for some time as the book I keep out for whenever I need an escape. I’ve probably read each chapter a dozen times or so. As a humanities geek masquerading as the other sort of geek, I find popular science writing tremendously appealing. Popular math writing? Well, that’s the greatest thing since motorcycle rides and drives with one’s wife through Western ghost towns which somehow lead to New York cabbies explaining imaginary numbers.

On the other hand, I had no recollection of ever having heard of Claire Looking at her site, I realize I’ve read quite a few of her articles over the last few years without paying any attention to the name. “Why I don’t have a real job and other frequently asked questions” is definitely the funniest thing I’ve read so far this month. I’m going to have to read her (and her brother’s) novels. And her forthcoming book is about Margaret Thatcher!

Although I’m tempted to assume they’re alter egos of the same person, the biographical details suggest she would most likely be his daughter, if they are related at all. Although, isn’t there some sort of modern day etiquette that if both you and your father are, um, “knowledge workers” (the sort of people who promote themselves with web sites) and you score the domain name for your fairly common last name, you have to turn it over to your father?

UPDATE: The DNA test results are in. And yes, David Berlinski’s Wikipedia page is rather misrepresentative on the ID issue. He’s included in Uncommon Dissent, and is a skeptic with regards to Darwinism, and so is a favorite thinker of ID people, but I don’t think he’s ever publicly aligned himself to the whole IDeology. I hope no one would be discouraged from reading him on calculus and algorithms thinking that everything he writes is about ID.


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