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Professor Antony Flew Dies (World's Foremost Rationalist Philosopher/Atheist Who Changed His Mind)
The Telegraph ^ | 04/14/2010

Posted on 04/14/2010 9:29:20 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Professor Antony Flew, the rationalist philosopher who died on April 8 aged 87, spent much of his life denying the existence of God until, in 2004, he dramatically changed his mind.

Flew always described himself as a "negative atheist", asserting that "theological propositions can neither be verified nor falsified by experience", a position he expounded in his classic paper Theology and Falsification (1950), reputedly the most frequently-quoted philosophical publication of the second half of the 20th century.

He argued that any philosophical debate about the Almighty must begin by presuming atheism, placing the burden of proof on those who believe that God exists. "We reject all transcendent supernatural systems, not because we've examined or could have examined each in turn, but because it does not seem to us that there is any good evidence in reason to postulate anything behind or beyond this natural universe," he proclaimed. A key principle of his philosophy was the Socratean concept of "follow the evidence, wherever it leads".

When Flew revealed that he had come to the conclusion that there might be a God after all, it came as a shock to his fellow atheists, who had long regarded him as one of their foremost champions. Worse, he seemed to have deserted Plato for Aristotle, since it was two of Aquinas's famous five proofs for the existence of God – the arguments from design and for a prime mover – that had apparently clinched the matter.

After months of soul-searching, Flew concluded that research into DNA had "shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved".

(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: antonyflew; atheism; atheists; god; obituary; philosophy
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1 posted on 04/14/2010 9:29:20 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Well, now he knows if he made the right choice


2 posted on 04/14/2010 9:30:50 AM PDT by silverleaf (Karl Marx was NOT one of America's Founding Fathers)
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To: SeekAndFind

Does anyone know if Flew ever came to faith in Christ?


3 posted on 04/14/2010 9:31:24 AM PDT by Guyin4Os (A messianic ger-tsedek)
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To: SeekAndFind

In the face of eternity, man’s logic, man’s attempt to reason away the miracles of the universe ... simply fall apart.


4 posted on 04/14/2010 9:33:14 AM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: silverleaf

>>Well, now he knows if he made the right choice<<

Pascal’s Wager?


5 posted on 04/14/2010 9:34:39 AM PDT by freedumb2003 (Craven spirits wear their master's collars but real men would rather feed the battlefield's vultures)
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To: Guyin4Os
Does anyone know if Flew ever came to faith in Christ?

Exactly what I was wondering. "Believing in God" is meaningless by itself. Hell's full of demons and fallen angels who most certainly believe in God.

MM (in TX)

6 posted on 04/14/2010 9:35:08 AM PDT by MississippiMan (http://gogmagogblog.wordpress.com/)
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To: SeekAndFind

one of those i better cover my bets moments...??...


7 posted on 04/14/2010 9:36:09 AM PDT by tatsinfla
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To: SeekAndFind
Flew always described himself as a "negative atheist", asserting that "theological propositions can neither be verified nor falsified by experience", a position he expounded in his classic paper Theology and Falsification (1950), reputedly the most frequently-quoted philosophical publication of the second half of the 20th century.

Nietzsche already covered that in detail.

"negative atheist"---a God fearing agnostic.
8 posted on 04/14/2010 9:37:17 AM PDT by Electric Graffiti (I'm armed and Amish.)
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To: SeekAndFind

bump for later


9 posted on 04/14/2010 9:42:20 AM PDT by SpinnerWebb (In 2012 you will awaken from your HOPEnosis and have no recollection of this... "Constitution")
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To: Guyin4Os
Does anyone know if Flew ever came to faith in Christ?

From the article: But believers waiting to welcome this most prodigal of sons back into the fold were to be disappointed. Flew's conversion did not embrace such concepts as Heaven, good and evil or the afterlife – let alone divine intervention in human affairs. His God was strictly minimalist – very different from "the monstrous oriental despots of the religions of Christianity and Islam", as he liked to call them. God may have called his creation into existence, then, but why did he bother? To that question, it seemed, Flew had no answer.

10 posted on 04/14/2010 9:42:54 AM PDT by Zakeet (Will Rogers never met the Wee Wee)
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To: Guyin4Os

Many of us that may not believe in God know that we will say a prayer just before we die. Don’t knock us Athiests and Agnostics for being living and thinking beings. Basically, we just don’t care...yet. God appreciates this skepticism.


11 posted on 04/14/2010 9:46:43 AM PDT by lefty-lie-spy (Stay metal. For the Horde \m/("_")\m/ - via iPhone from Tokyo.)
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To: betty boop; Alamo-Girl

BTTT


12 posted on 04/14/2010 9:46:43 AM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: Electric Graffiti

Nietzsche is dead. God is not.


13 posted on 04/14/2010 9:47:07 AM PDT by Retired Greyhound
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To: lefty-lie-spy

I care— I just don’t KNOW.


14 posted on 04/14/2010 9:48:51 AM PDT by agooga (Struggling every day to be worthy of their sacrifice.)
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To: lefty-lie-spy
"Basically, we just don’t care...yet. God appreciates this skepticism."

So you're not sure whether or not He exists, but you still understand his thought processes?

15 posted on 04/14/2010 9:49:21 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Joe 6-pack

LOL. Good one, Joe.


16 posted on 04/14/2010 9:50:38 AM PDT by LS ("Castles made of sand, fall in the sea . . . eventually." (Hendrix))
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To: Guyin4Os
Does anyone know if Flew ever came to faith in Christ?

God knows.... and it's all up to Him.

17 posted on 04/14/2010 9:54:38 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: Joe 6-pack

Sort of, yeah, but currently I just don’t care.
Perhaps you’d be surprised that so many of us are out here.
SFSGSW until my time comes.


18 posted on 04/14/2010 9:55:18 AM PDT by lefty-lie-spy (Stay metal. For the Horde \m/("_")\m/ - via iPhone from Tokyo.)
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To: lefty-lie-spy

So what else does God appreciate? Do you get these answers in visions? Most of the weakest-minded religious that have visions tell us that He’s saddened by peoples’ skepticism and behavior.


19 posted on 04/14/2010 9:58:18 AM PDT by If You Want It Fixed - Fix It
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To: lefty-lie-spy
“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

~ CS Lewis ~

20 posted on 04/14/2010 10:00:51 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Zakeet

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antony_Flew#Biography

“In December 2004, an interview with Flew conducted by Gary Habermas was published in the journal Philosophia Christi (published by the Evangelical Philosophical Society with the assistance of Biola University), with the title, Atheist Becomes Theist - Exclusive Interview with Former Atheist Antony Flew. Flew agreed to this title. According to the introduction, Flew informed Habermas in January 2004 that he had become a deist, and the interview took place shortly thereafter. Then the text was amended by both participants over the following months prior to publication. In the article Flew states that he has left his long-standing espousal of atheism by endorsing a deism of the sort that Thomas Jefferson advocated (”While reason, mainly in the form of arguments to design, assures us that there is a God, there is no room either for any supernatural revelation of that God or for any transactions between that God and individual human beings.”). Flew stated that “the most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries” and that “the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it”. He also answered in the affirmative to Habermas’s question, “So of the major theistic arguments, such as the cosmological, teleological, moral, and ontological, the only really impressive ones that you take to be decisive are the scientific forms of teleology?”. He supported the idea of an Aristotelian God with “the characteristics of power and also intelligence”, stating that the evidence for it was stronger than ever before. He rejects the ideas of an afterlife, of God as the source of good (he explicitly states that God has created “a lot of” evil), and of the resurrection of Jesus as a historical fact though he has allowed a short chapter arguing for Christ’s resurrection to be added into his latest book.”

http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew/page6.cfm#8

Flew is particularly hostile to Islam, and says it is “best described in a Marxian way as the uniting and justifying ideology of Arab imperialism.” In a December 2004 interview he said: “I’m thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins.”

“When asked in December 2004 by Duncan Crary of Humanist Network News if he still stood by the argument presented in The Presumption of Atheism, Flew replied he did but he also restated his position as deist: “I’m quite happy to believe in an inoffensive inactive god”. When asked by Crary whether or not he has kept up with the most recent science and theology, he responded with “Certainly not”, stating that there is simply too much to keep up with. Flew also denied that there was any truth to the rumours of 2001 and 2003 that he had converted to Christianity.”

http://www.mail-archive.com/media- href=”mailto:dakwah@yahoogroups.com”>dakwah@yahoogroups.com/msg01064.html


21 posted on 04/14/2010 10:04:08 AM PDT by James C. Bennett
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To: Joe 6-pack

Such a brillant man. Wouldn’t you love to sit down and have a conversation with him!?! I know I would!


22 posted on 04/14/2010 10:07:14 AM PDT by christianhomeschoolmommaof3 (Proverbs 18:2 A fool has no delight in understanding but in expressing his own heart.)
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To: christianhomeschoolmommaof3
Wouldn’t you love to sit down and have a conversation with him

If he did not accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior, there will be a great gulf between where he is and where I will be.

There is no other name by which we will be saved.

23 posted on 04/14/2010 10:18:43 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (No Romney, not now, not ever!)
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To: lefty-lie-spy

I used to think of myself as an atheist, until I realized atheism doesn’t exist.

Seriously, the word “atheism” means literally “without religion” or “without belief in a god or gods.” I talked/debated with many atheists for a long time. And, it turns out, everyone DOES believe in something. The question to ask yourself is: What is it that you believe in?

I came to see that it’s not that we don’t believe in a higher power. It’s that we either don’t believe in (or misunderstand) the popular definitions of God, or we disagree with specific doctrines that are put forth by churches, etc.

Furthermore, words like “agnostic” or “atheist” tells people what a person is “without”. Why should people refer to themselves using a term that indicates they’re without something (such as knowledge or faith)? We all believe in/know something, or we wouldn’t be here talking. Just my two cents.


24 posted on 04/14/2010 10:34:08 AM PDT by Tired of Taxes (Dad, I will always think of you.)
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To: SeekAndFind
"We reject all transcendent supernatural systems, not because we've examined or could have examined each in turn, but because it does not seem to us that there is any good evidence in reason to postulate anything behind or beyond this natural universe,"

The trouble is, there is no rational basis for this presupposition. All epistemological systems must start with certain primary assumptions ("axioms") which can neither be proven or disproved by reason. It is these presuppositional foundations which dictate how one percieves reality (ie. metaphysics). The test is how well does any given epistemology explain human experience. I would argue that an empirical epistemology makes no sense of human experience. Only when we start out presupposing the truth of scripture does our reality make sense.

25 posted on 04/14/2010 10:38:20 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: SeekAndFind
"I have been persuaded that it is simply out of the question that the first living matter evolved out of dead matter and then developed into an extraordinarily complicated creature," he said.


26 posted on 04/14/2010 10:39:21 AM PDT by Donald Rumsfeld Fan (Sarah Palin "the Thrilla from Wasilla")
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To: Graybeard58

I was talking about CS Lewis.


27 posted on 04/14/2010 10:39:31 AM PDT by christianhomeschoolmommaof3 (Proverbs 18:2 A fool has no delight in understanding but in expressing his own heart.)
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To: Donald Rumsfeld Fan

lick on post 26 image


28 posted on 04/14/2010 10:40:48 AM PDT by Donald Rumsfeld Fan (Sarah Palin "the Thrilla from Wasilla")
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To: Donald Rumsfeld Fan

err....that is click


29 posted on 04/14/2010 10:41:31 AM PDT by Donald Rumsfeld Fan (Sarah Palin "the Thrilla from Wasilla")
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To: christianhomeschoolmommaof3

See you in Heaven!


30 posted on 04/14/2010 10:42:43 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (No Romney, not now, not ever!)
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To: Graybeard58

:)


31 posted on 04/14/2010 10:47:04 AM PDT by christianhomeschoolmommaof3 (Proverbs 18:2 A fool has no delight in understanding but in expressing his own heart.)
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To: Donald Rumsfeld Fan
err....that is click

I'm glad you clarified that... :-)



32 posted on 04/14/2010 10:49:28 AM PDT by zeugma (Waco taught me everything I needed to know about the character of the U.S. Government.)
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To: lefty-lie-spy
Many of us that may not believe in God know that we will say a prayer just before we die. Don’t knock us Atheists and Agnostics for being living and thinking beings. Basically, we just don’t care...yet. God appreciates this skepticism.

That is just a convoluted rationalization of your decision to do as you like until your last thoughtful moment - if you get one. You can willfully delude yourself as much as you want, but God knows.

33 posted on 04/14/2010 10:53:07 AM PDT by 70times7 (Serving Free Republics' warped and obscure humor needs since 1999!)
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To: Donald Rumsfeld Fan

Well thanks a lot! My screen is still all wet now, and the dust tastes awful.


34 posted on 04/14/2010 10:56:04 AM PDT by 70times7 (Serving Free Republics' warped and obscure humor needs since 1999!)
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To: 70times7

I’m cool with that.


35 posted on 04/14/2010 10:59:22 AM PDT by lefty-lie-spy (Stay metal. For the Horde \m/("_")\m/ - via iPhone from Tokyo.)
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To: 70times7

LOL


36 posted on 04/14/2010 11:00:44 AM PDT by Donald Rumsfeld Fan (Sarah Palin "the Thrilla from Wasilla")
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To: lefty-lie-spy

It is your God given right.


37 posted on 04/14/2010 11:04:35 AM PDT by 70times7 (Serving Free Republics' warped and obscure humor needs since 1999!)
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To: Zakeet

Recognition of a Higher Power is at least a start.


38 posted on 04/14/2010 11:05:14 AM PDT by sarasota
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To: Joe 6-pack
"Basically, we just don’t care...yet. God appreciates this skepticism."

So you're not sure whether or not He exists, but you still understand his thought processes?

Mmmmm. I've still got that anthropomorphism thing to contend with. Gimme a while.
39 posted on 04/14/2010 11:05:59 AM PDT by lefty-lie-spy (Stay metal. For the Horde \m/("_")\m/ - via iPhone from Tokyo.)
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To: 70times7
It is your God given right.

You forgot to hyphenate, but you are correct.
40 posted on 04/14/2010 11:08:26 AM PDT by lefty-lie-spy (Stay metal. For the Horde \m/("_")\m/ - via iPhone from Tokyo.)
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To: 70times7
That is just a convoluted rationalization of your decision to do as you like until your last thoughtful moment - if you get one.

As the church sign said "Those that wait till the last hour to get saved often die at 10:30"

As we saved people know, we are only a heartbeat away from Heaven (or Hell)

41 posted on 04/14/2010 11:12:27 AM PDT by rightly_dividing
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To: rightly_dividing

we=you


42 posted on 04/14/2010 11:14:33 AM PDT by rightly_dividing
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To: lefty-lie-spy
"I've still got that anthropomorphism thing to contend with."

Just substitute "It" for "He" and you'll get over it.

43 posted on 04/14/2010 11:20:16 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: sarasota
Recognition of a Higher Power is at least a start.

No!

Satan recognizes there is a "Higher Power" and we know the Evil One's eternal future. (Rev 18:1-6)

According to scripture, Prof. Flew is lost unless he has been "reborn" into a saving faith through Christ Jesus. Good works is not enough. Faith in a false prophet such as Mohammed or Joseph Smith is not enough. And belief in a higher power is not enough.

44 posted on 04/14/2010 11:29:18 AM PDT by Zakeet (Will Rogers never met the Wee Wee)
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To: SeekAndFind

RIP.


45 posted on 04/14/2010 12:08:46 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Amber Lamps !"~~)
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To: lefty-lie-spy
You forgot to hyphenate

I'll PM you my address - I really want that nit.

46 posted on 04/14/2010 1:19:40 PM PDT by 70times7 (Serving Free Republics' warped and obscure humor needs since 1999!)
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To: lefty-lie-spy
Many of us that may not believe in God know that we will say a prayer just before we die. Don’t knock us Athiests and Agnostics for being living and thinking beings. Basically, we just don’t care...yet. God appreciates this skepticism.

My inner-nihilist delights in a post like this that is rife with contradictions, non-sequiturs, oxymorons, and intentionally-ironic self-aggrandizements. The entire statement implodes upon itself with an artfulness that rivals Nietzsche's pessimistic aphorisms. Kudos.

btw, I don't knock Atheists. Today's atheist may be tomorrow's faithful believer in the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

47 posted on 04/14/2010 5:42:41 PM PDT by Guyin4Os (A messianic ger-tsedek)
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To: Guyin4Os
According on the reviews of his last book, Flew became a deist, a believer in Aristotle's God, the impersonal Unmoved Mover, who did not intervene in the natural world and could be known rationally but not via revelation.

Some accounts make him a theist, or believer in a personal God who acts on the world, but the evidence for that is skimpy.

48 posted on 04/14/2010 5:53:13 PM PDT by x
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To: hosepipe

Thanks for the ping!


49 posted on 04/14/2010 8:58:21 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: SeekAndFind; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; metmom
..."theological propositions can neither be verified nor falsified by experience".

Depends on what qualifies as "experience," I suppose....

R.I.P. dear Sir Anthony. I shall miss you, but hope to meet you some day.

May God ever bless you.

50 posted on 04/15/2010 1:06:06 PM PDT by betty boop (Nil desperandum.)
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