Flew, Varghese, Schroeder: What a Company!

| 17 Comments

For the last few years (beginning, I believe, in 2004) a lot of noise has been filling a number of websites regarding the “conversion” of British author Antony Flew from atheism to deism. Recently a new book, ostensibly authored by Flew, was published by HarperCollins, wherein Flew’s newly adopted deistic worldview is defended. Two Christian propagandists, Roy Varghese and Bob Hostetler, and, indirectly, Jewish religious propagandist Gerald Schroeder seem to have played a substantial role in producing that book. (See, for example, here.)

Some advocates of theism try to present Flew’s “conversion” as a supposedly important event somehow proving their beliefs. Is it indeed an important event deserving numerous posts and articles? Let us see.

Read Flew, Varghese, Schroeder: What a Company at Talk Reason.

17 Comments

Interesting Amazon book review:

http://www.amazon.com/review/R2DARHP3LUIYPT

I see a lot of religious people claiming that Flew was one of the top ten atheists of the 20th century. Obviously, they have a vested interest in saying so, but I’ve been an atheist for at least a decade, and I’m a fellow Brit (though I live in the USA), and I had never even heard of Flew until he announced his doubts over his atheism.

So, how important a figure is Anthony Flew in history of atheist thought?

I’m reading Mark’s essay now, and I see that he describes Flew importance and larger output. It was but an essay, “Theology and Falsification”, that I was thinking of.

Deism is still not quite the same as any monotheistic religion like Judasism, Christianity or Islam. So to use Flew’s conversion as a springboard for religious apologetics of any kind seems to be an expression of desperation. C. S. Lewis would be a better case, for he converted completely to Christianity from atheism and wrote books promoting his faith.

Meanwhile, so many others keep converting from Christianity to atheism. What gives here?

Dale Husband Wrote:

Meanwhile, so many others keep converting from Christianity to atheism. What gives here?

It could very well be the examples being set by the politically emboldened, self-proclaimed representatives of Christianity we are seeing these days.

If one is seeking to understand the mind of a supreme being, it is probably better to avoid any association with hypocrites.

IDists claims it is not about religion, but it is.

And the evolutionists will tell you its just about good sience, but it isn’t.

There is as much talk about atheism as anything on sites like this.

Why not just come out with it? You think Evolution equals Atheism. After all, that is what Dawkins is saying outright.

Of course this goes beyond science, per se, but who cares?

You know you want to?

Nothing gives, Mike. Dales statement is false.

The atheists are currently just coming out in the open more, due to the rash of atheists books.

This is a good thing. I want to know who they are.

Dale Husband Wrote:

Deism is still not quite the same as any monotheistic religion like Judasism, Christianity or Islam. So to use Flew’s conversion as a springboard for religious apologetics of any kind seems to be an expression of desperation. C. S. Lewis would be a better case, for he converted completely to Christianity from atheism and wrote books promoting his faith.

While IDers (followers if not leaders) often rave about Lewis, he’s not an ideal hero for 2 reasons. First, he died long before the ID movement. Second, IIRC, he had no problem with evolution (theistic at least).

For an ideal hero, how about an unabashed Christian who, in the ID era, proposed how an intelligent designer may intervene with His creation, and denounced both Deism and “atheistic” evolution - all in the same book! Unfortunately for ID, that would be Kenneth Miller, who also ripped ID and classic creationism (YEC and OEC varieties) to shreds - that too in the same book, “Finding Darwin’s God.” So picking a “mere Deist” was in one respect an act of desperation. But given that 60-70% of the public is still sympathetic to ID (even many who accept evolution say “what’s the harm” in “teaching the controversy”) they can afford desperation as long as they contain feel-good sound bites.

Andrew said:

IDists claims it is not about religion, but it is.

And the evolutionists will tell you its just about good sience, but it isn’t.

You are suffering from CCD (Compulsive Centrist Disorder). The two sides are not equivalent at all, and the answer does not lie in the middle, but on one of the extremes.

There is as much talk about atheism as anything on sites like this.

Why not just come out with it? You think Evolution equals Atheism. After all, that is what Dawkins is saying outright.

No, it isn’t, and even if it were, it wouldn’t matter. Dawkins is not a demigod. And if you paid attention to the discussions of atheism here, you would see quite clearly that many of the pro-science advocates here are not atheists. I realize you don’t like to cloud your biases with facts, but try it sometime.

Andrew from Cultland:

The atheists are currently just coming out in the open more, due to the rash of atheists books.

This is a good thing. I want to know who they are.

Andrew accidently made a good point. There is currently a rise in militant atheism. To more than a few sympathetic onlookers. It is an open question whether there are more of them. Some polls say yes, some no.

However, it has nothing to do with books or acceptance of evolution, the latter being a scientific theory well received a century ago by the scientific community. It has everything to do with the fundie Death cultists.

There is a backlash against those who seek to overthrow the US government, set up a theocracy, and head back to the Dark Ages. Many people in the USA like living in a free and open democracy. They are tired of Xian terrorists killing people, trying to sneak their mythology into our children’s science classes, human child sacrifice, and open and casual contempt for everyone who isn’t a fundie cultist.

There is even data on this point. A recent poll showed that 49% of the US population was sick and tired of fundies trying to ram their wingnut beliefs down everyone’s throat. I’ve maintained for a while that ultimately the fundies are a corrosive acid that will do some long term damage to the religion. “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

This is a good thing. I want to know who they are.

That could be construed as a vague threat. Why? Are you planning a Taliban, Yugoslavian, or Pol Pot class mass murder? Nothing is impossible, the USA has a chance of doing a Sunni-Shiite or Northern Ireland scenario and dissolving into blood drenched chaos over ideologies. Hopefully a slight chance, but my crystal ball is in the repair shop right now. If it happens, it happens. History ultimately calls those types of organisations, “Monsters”.

For the Andrews of the world, Halloween is 365 days a year.

It was but an essay, “Theology and Falsification”, that I was thinking of.

This is a correction to a comment that is (still) held up. (Due to a link probably.)

Why is this even important I’ve been a atheist all my life and had never heard of Flew. Philosophy had some use fullness when we needn’t have a tool like science but now it’s a waste of time. I don’t care what this Flew guys personnel opinions are or how silly they may have come. It’s not going to change the science move on please.

C. S. Lewis would be a better case, for he converted completely to Christianity from atheism

But first he converted from Christianity to atheism. His later reconversion suggests that his commitment to atheism was never very strong: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.s._l[…]Christianity

. Dales statement is false.

No it’s not; Christians become atheists every day.

The atheists are currently just coming out in the open more, due to the rash of atheists books.

Except for the “just”, that’s happening too.

it has nothing to do with books

That’s not true; a number of people have told Dawkins that his book and his visibility emboldened them to “come out”.

I have to admit, I’m on the “who the heck is Flew” wagon. But then, I, too have been an athiest my entire conscious life. I’m not likely to have read anything by him since the lack of any form of god is rather self-evident to me. ( Well, I’d consider an Old Testament God… but that’s immaterial, really. Being more believable than unbelievable doesn’t mean I believe it)

Still, I suppose he’s of some import now, even if he (possibly) wasn’t before. If one spends a life announcing to all and sundry that A is the truth, the upholders of B are going to be right excited if they can find *any* evidence that one secretly believes B - to any extent at all.

Now, if you could show that Heinlein was actually a committed deist, I’d be concerned.

What I find .. interesting about all this is, for most of my life, one’s beliefs were something held privately. Not that it was necessarily a secret, but it was of no importance to others. It’s only been the last 20 years or so that it’s become an *issue*. (this could be merely an artifact of my observation - 20-ish years ago is when I left the military) but before that, I still paid a LITTLE attention to politics, and I don’t recall religion being anywhere so prevalent as it is today.

This is not a good sign

There is a video on the web where Flew talks about ‘The Integrated Complexity Argument’

I guess that’s close enough to Irreducible Complexity to show that Flew has mastered the basics of Intelligent Design.

Andrew, I don’t appreciate being called a liar, especially since my own life story is one of a Christian (Southern Baptist) converting to being non-religious in my early 20s. And I’m far from alone. I suggest you do some actual research on the experiences of people dealing with oppressive religion and then rebelling against it before you put your foot in your mouth again!

Interesting different sort of take on this controversy over at the Sojouner’s blog, at http://blog.beliefnet.com/godspolit[…]-exathi.html

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mark Perakh published on November 10, 2007 12:23 PM.

Flew’s Eugenic Leanings was the previous entry in this blog.

More on Judgment Day is the next entry in this blog.

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