Re: Latest on Antony Flew!??
regarding Antony Flew:
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(excerpts from article)
Update (January 2005)
Antony Flew has retracted one of his recent assertions. In a letter
to me dated 29 December 2004, Flew concedes:
I now realize that I have made a fool of myself by believing that
there were no presentable theories of the development of inanimate
matter up to the first living creature capable of reproduction.
He blames his error on being "misled" by Richard Dawkins because
Dawkins "has never been reported as referring to any promising work
on the production of a theory of the development of living matter,"
even though this is false (e.g. Richard Dawkins and L. D.
Hurst, "Evolutionary Chemistry: Life in a Test Tube," Nature 360
(6399): pp. 25-26, 5 November 1992) and hardly relevant: it was
Flew's responsibility to check the state of the field (there are
several books by actual protobiologists published in just the last
five years), rather than wait for the chance possibility that one
particular evolutionist would write on the subject. Now that he has
done what he was supposed to do in the first place, he has retracted
his false statement about the current state of protobiological
Flew also makes another admission: "I have been mistaught by Gerald
Schroeder." He says "it was precisely because he appeared to be so
well qualified as a physicist (which I am not) that I was never
inclined to question what he said about physics." Apart from his
unreasonable plan of trusting a physicist on the subject of
biochemistry (after all, the relevant field is biochemistry, not
physics--yet it would seem Flew does not recognize the difference),
this attitude seems to pervade Flew's method of truthseeking, of
looking to a single author for authoritative information and never
checking their claims (or, as in the case of Dawkins, presumed lack
of claims). As Flew admitted to me, and to Stuart Wavell of the
London Times, and Duncan Crary of the Humanist Network News, he has
not made any effort to check up on the current state of things in any
relevant field (see "No Longer Atheist, Flew Stands by 'Presumption
of Atheism'" and "In the Beginning There Was Something"). Flew has
thus abandoned the very standards of inquiry that led the rest of us
to atheism. It would seem the only way to God is to jettison
Despite all this, Flew has not retracted his belief in God, as far as
I can tell. But in response to theists citing him in their favor,
Flew strangely calls his "recent very modest defection from my
previous unbelief" a "more radical form of unbelief," and implies
that the concept of God might actually be self-refuting, for "surely
there is material here for a new and more fundamental challenge to
the very conception of God as an omnipotent spirit," but, Flew
says, "I am just too old at the age of nearly 82 to initiate and
conduct a major and super radical controversy about the
conceivability of the putative concept of God as a spirit."
This would appear to be his excuse for everything: he won't
investigate the evidence because it's too hard. Yet he will declare
beliefs in the absence of proper inquiry.
Theists would do well to drop the example of Flew. Because his
willfully sloppy scholarship can only help to make belief look
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I would tend to agree that it looks like theists would do well not to
make much over the Flew situation.
Similarly, I think the good brethren would do well not to promote Dr.
Bert as some leading light in the "creation-science" movement. Dr.
Bert's blunders are not unlike the way Flew's blunders have been
And we are still waiting for Dr. Bert to give us the details as to
where he came up with his Maury statue claim (and a few other things).