Skip to comments.The Turning of an Atheist (Antony Flew)
Posted on 11/03/2007 5:58:54 PM PDT by shrinkermd
THE STARTLING ARTICLE appeared on Dec. 9, 2004. A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind, Richard Ostling of The Associated Press wrote. He now believes in God more or less based on scientific evidence and says so on a video released Thursday.
At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A superintelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.
The video released Thursday was Has Science Discovered God? a DVD of a May 2004 conversation, held in a television studio at New York University, between Flew and two popular advocates of theism, the Orthodox Jewish physicist Gerald Schroeder and the Christian philosopher John Haldane.
There are long stretches of Schroeder, sitting behind what looks like an anchormans desk, lecturing an attentive Flew on matters like the unlikelihood that an infinite number of monkeys typing randomly would ever produce a Shakespearean sonnet.
(He is rebutting Stephen Hawking, who argues in A Brief History of Time that nature, given enough time, can perform the wondrous feats that credulous people attribute to God.) Schroeder also talks about the Cambrian explosion of animal species hundreds of millions of years ago, which he says happened too suddenly to lack some supernatural guidance. Haldane chimes in to argue that certain human capabilities, like language and reproduction, can be explained only by a higher intelligence....Many of the greatest scientists of all time believed that the intelligence of the universe, its laws, points to an intelligence that has no limitation.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
“Although Flew still rejects Christianity, saying only that he now believes in an intelligence that explains both its own existence and that of the world,...”
Another one just Flew out of the cuckoo’s nest!
He’s 81. I have always said people believe in God the closer and closer they get to having to meet Him.
He’s gettin’ pretty old. If he continues to reject The Lord Jesus Christ...and unless something miraculous happens...yuk
An atheist finds a sort of truth, then denies the power therein?
A start, does Flew move the ball forward past acceptance?
I’ll bet that it *killed* the Slimes to print this piece.
“...wondrous feats that credulous people attribute to God.” and “Haldane chimes in to argue ...”. What arrogant reporting- but then it *is* the NYT, whose reporters imbue ultimate truths upon joining the august institution. Credulous readers then adopt their beliefs, and chime in during political discourse.
I really wish God would start acting like He did in the Old Testament and just give a real kick to the Muslims and atheist marxist liberals.
He is the same. His ways are not our ways.
Then what makes miracles special? They are an intervention against nature after all. It would be as if God admitted making some kind of mistake in the universe He made.
Or is it a matter of degrees? Everything is one grand miracle, but miracles are especially.... miraculous.
Flew is a Deist, by my estimation. But only God can judge.
Antony Flew arrived at his diesm, if it is indeed that, through reason, or so he tells us.
Perhaps Dinesh is on to something.
Then things must be the way He wants them.
Really? So when is the cutoff for belief?
That kind of change happens when the Messiah sets up the Kingdom of God on this earth, for His 1,000 year reign. That doesn’t happen to be too far away, perhaps a few weeks, months or a few years. We’re real close now...
Me too and you are going to be dead a lot longer than you are going to be alive.
What caused the Big Bang, if not G-d? How can a universe appear out of a pin point of condensed matter? Further, the universe followed by ready made natural laws that enabled that boundless chaos to self organize into galaxies, solar systems, planets, life, and ultimately intelligence. If that is not evidence of G-d, I don’t know what is.
Am reading Dinesh’s book, “What’s So Great About Christianity” and was going to order Flew’s book next.
Did you happen to catch his debate with Christopher Hitchens?
Thereby going to prove that as we drift into fear and dementia, we'll say anything to please our caretakers. Same thing with foxholes: crazed with fear your mind goes to mush.
I met Anthony Flew 10 years ago when I was at U of Chicago. Brilliant man, and very John Cleese-esque in his sense of humor.
What makes you think we're righteous by God's standards? I deserve hell as much as anyone, but by the grace of God I won't be getting what I deserve.
That's a good trick, akin to Bill Cosby's, "Dad, he was a burglar. He took the window with him."
It may truly be that logic and observation don't explain everything in existence, but nothing else comes even close.
D’Sousa is using classical Christian apologetics in his book, and I would encourage more Christians to explore this approach. Reason can only take you so far, but it can certainly point someone in the right direction. Flew is a prime example of the limits of reason. At some point the Holy Spirit has to create faith. There is a growing militant atheistic movement in our culture, and apologetics is a good way to confront it. No one is going to convince a dogmatic atheist that God exists, but you can influence someone that is open to the idea.
However unlikely it may seem, isn't this simply a matter of calculation?
How many monkeys would you have to have before the words "feed me" might appear? Or just "Help!"
Fewer, I'm sure. But if one has an infinite number of typists, the results must surely come about.
It could be Dan Brown's punishment in Hell to read through all that typing in order to find the Shakespearean Sonnet.
Fewer, I'm sure. But if one has an infinite number of typists, the results must surely come about.
Nope, there are time and space constraints in the universe. Fill it with typing monkeys since t=0+ till now and the probability of their typing a Shakespearean Sonnet is still operationally zero.
In the beginning there were monkeys...
and then they exploded.
A universe filled with typing monkeys would collapse gravitationally, if you get my point.
However, nothing was said about conducting this experiment in the Universe. It is a mathematical proposition, and as such, has only mathematical constraints.
These days, we don't need mechanical typewriters, or monkeys either, for the experiment. One can easily set up a computer to produce letters at random. How many computers, and how long would it take before recognizable words and sentence fragments might appear?
My reference above to Dan Brown indicates that random letters tend to fall into recognizable patterns fairly quickly.
One of the points missed in this thought experiment is the power of the infinite.
We have people describing God as infinitely powerful, but they themselves do not appreciate what infinite means.
Infinite means unending. In an unending string of letters, numbers, characters and spaces, the works of Shakespeare do appear.
They appear because the string cannot end until they do; as well as every other combination and near-combination that can possibly come about.
I am learning so much from Dinesh’s book, starting with the open militancy of the “new Atheists”. His point so far is of course that it is Christianity upon which Western Civilization was founded to which it has brought the ideas that even atheists and the secularists claim as cherished ideals (such as the separation of church and state).
(Dinesh traces this principle which we in this country have now converted into “separation of religion from the state” from the very words of Jesus Christ who said, “Render unto Ceasar that which is Caesar’s and unto God, that which is God’s.”)
I am trying to read it slowly to digest and retain as much as possible. He talks about the Biblical illiteracy of modern America....along with the open anti-Christian, anti-God, militancy of many in our day.
Yes, I did manage to see the debate - part of it - between Dinesh and Christopher Hitchens which was absolutely spellbinding. I could have watched that all day.
To be, or not to be. That is the question. whether 'tis nobler in the hearrt to suffer ... awcrapanothertypo. this would be easier if these stupid keyboards were designed for monkey hands. wherewasInow?
To be or not to be, that is the qwereroou ... crap.
Oh yeah? Tell us, oh mysterious one, how many times have YOU have been shot at, hmm?
Have direct experience in this did you? Your "mind" turned to "mush"? Or was that just an involuntary pantload?
[honestly, I myself have never had to endure such bombardment that I crapped myself, but I believe the ones who say they have...]
I believe this person will become a Christian.
BTW, who was the first person in Paradise after Jesus?
The Good Thief. Gives one something to think about, doesn’t it?
Indeed, since It has no ways at all. ( One must exist to have ways.) (Or means, for that matter)
Unfortunately, Yahweh won’t tell, even after judging. It’s the ultimate voyeur:
sees all, knows all,
This isn’t any big surprise. At 81 he MUST be wondering what comes next. It’s easy to be an “athiest” when you are young and “bulletproof”.
There HAS to come a time when everyone wonders what happens after we die. If the “athiests” are right- we die and that’s all. Everything we did, everything we were means nothing. If the “NewAgers” are right, we reincarnate or join some “universal conscienceness”...or something...
Christians are the only ones who believe we have to account for the choices we make and that we answer to Someone. I understand that can be scary. And Christianity IS the only faith that says we WILL pay for those choices. It’s tough to imagine that there is actually something, or Someone, more important than precious little you.
Mark to watch the debate.
You signed up just to post this? The kitties smell troll bait.
As an atheist, (though not a Madlyn Murray O’Hare doctrinaire atheist)my problem has always been this:
If God created the universe and all that’s in it, who created God?
It’s a chicken and egg argument. Who can explain it?
“Dinesh D’Sousa of late has come to the conclusion that the way to confront the anti-theists and atheists who have begun to evangelize their anti-theism is through reason rather than simply scripture.”
I saw D’Sousa on Hannity and Colmes the other night, and I hear Hannity make maybe the stupidest comment I’ve ever heard a human utter. His comment spoke to how “these atheists” can deny the existence of God, how can they explain how the universe began?
My question is, how can Hannity explain it? What an a**hole. I generally find him to be pretty bright, but that put him down there with Johnny Edwards on the stupid meter.
Hannity knows that God made the universe. To deny God in light of all that He has accomplished makes one less than intelligent sounding.
God is a mystery. He has no beginning or end. He was not created and not bound by any "natural" laws.