Flew no longer atheist

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
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Jac3510
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Flew no longer atheist

#1

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Dec 10, 2004 11:05 pm

Anthony Flew has rejected atheism. Now THAT is news.

Read, comment, consider it's incredible usefulness in overcoming the argument that Christians don't understand the scientific method.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,141061,00.html
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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#2

Post by Kurieuo » Sat Dec 11, 2004 12:01 am

:shock: —that is news worth noting. Although it really doesn't suprise me too much considering I think it evident that theism is on the way back in within intellectual circles after having a few centuries holiday ;).

Mind you, he doesn't accept God as Christianity reveals, but maybe there's still time left?

Kurieuo.
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#3

Post by Jac3510 » Sat Dec 11, 2004 5:42 am

There could be... as for his personal salvation, I have a little more hope in the idea that he had a genuine salvation experience as a kid before he rejected his faith. It's not uncommon at that age to start questioning things, as I'm sure we are all aware. I deal with it all the time in my youth group. *shrug*

Since I'm a strong advocate of OSAS, I hold out hope there, which doesn't strike me as too improbable. His father was a methodist minister . . .

Of course, it would be outstanding to see him return to the faith ;)

Between him and Einstein, this should pretty much debunk the objection that "no one in the scientific community says that science can prove God" and/or "theists just don't understand the scientific method!"

I'm really looking forward to the next couple of decades of scientific research and what apologists will be doing with it :D
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Jac3510
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#4

Post by Jac3510 » Sat Dec 11, 2004 3:55 pm

More linkage:

http://www.secweb.org/asset.asp?AssetID=138

There was, needless to say, a backlash of atheists who were a little more than upset at Flew. In this article, he is writing to them to soothe any fears that he has converted to Christianity. He still claims to be an atheist, but says that he the advances of science in the past twenty years are agreeable with theistic considerations.

Some of this strikes me as a bit of an appeasement on his part, but and however, my initial appreciation of the news still remains. We have the leading atheist conceding that theism as we are arguing it on these forums can make sense.

What he doesn't say, but what can be easily pointed out, is that this is a fulfilled prediction of biblical theism. Now that is certainly an interesting line of thought . . .
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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#5

Post by Kurieuo » Sat Dec 11, 2004 7:01 pm

Actually, that's an old article (2001), which is original to Antony Flew via Richard Carrier of the Secular Web when rumours were flying around he had changed from Atheism. This is old news, and Antony is indeed now no longer an Atheist. There is a recent article by Richard Carrier himself just recently called Antony Flew Considers God...Sort Of. Within Richard even admits things are changed this time around, and the news article you linked to above which came just after Richard's recent response notes, "Last week, Richard Carrier, a writer and Columbia University graduate student, posted new material based on correspondence with Flew on the atheistic http://www.infidels.org Web page. Carrier assured atheists that Flew accepts only a "minimal God" and believes in no afterlife." ;)

Also, more links to different news articles on this can be found at http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/3/20 ... ncludes_go.

Kurieuo.
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#6

Post by Jac3510 » Sat Dec 11, 2004 7:39 pm

Hehe, well, I'm glad to be corrected :D

This most definitely one for the history books . . .
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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#7

Post by Kurieuo » Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:43 am

If you didn't come across it, you might be interested to read an interview Habermas had with Flew regarding his beliefs (see http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew/). I found it interesting...

Kurieuo.
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#8

Post by Anonymous » Tue Jan 18, 2005 6:03 pm

A brief quote from the Fox News article presented by K:
A British philosophy professor
Philosophy and science are two separate realms. A philosopher can be of any religion--or lack of religion. A scientist can also be of any religion or non-religion...the difference is how the two think. Scientists should be able to make logical deductions based on irrefutable facts, whereas philosophers make logical deductions based on perceptions that are believed to be facts. Here is an example from Norman Geisler's and Ron Brooks' When Skeptics Ask. This book is coming from a philosophical perspective of belief:
1. If God exists, we conceive of Him as a necessary Being.
2. By definition, a necessary Being must exist and cannot not exist. 3. Therefore, if God exists, then He must exist and cannot not exist.
This is purely philosophical reasoning, as the first premise alone is based on philosophic belief. Atheist philosophers would have similar reasoning, except with different outcomes. For example, 1. If God exists, He must be a necessary Being. (Debunked: it is possible that God exists, but He is not necessary.) In philosophy (correct me if I am wrong), if the first premise is not true (or known to be true), then the following premises must also not be true (or not able to be known as true.)

I am not saying the article was not amazing! For someone to turn from atheist to believer in...well, something, it is pretty amazing--especially considering how long the man was an atheist! Whoa! Although I have heard it is often the case that when atheists are reaching the peak of their lives, they may start to believe in something as a natural response to the fear of death that is ultimately planted in every human being.

I just wanted to point out that this was not a scientist who went from atheist to a believer in some sort of intelligent designer...it is a philosopher. Philosophers rely more on their subjective reflections than objective, peer-reviewed science.

I don't mean for this to be a bummer of a response. :( I just thought it necessary to point out his path in life as a philosopher...perhaps he believed his whole purpose on this planet was to make more people believe in God. What if--and this is going out on a limb but cannot be outruled as a possibility--he found, through his deep philosophic meditations, that the best way to get atheists to look to God would be to pretend for his entire life that he was a non-believer when, all of a sudden, he starts to believe! To the amazement of all, he will end his life with a bang.

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#9

Post by Jac3510 » Tue Jan 18, 2005 6:41 pm

It's funny to me that atheists feel the need to "explain" away Flew's conversion. Besides that, let's just be honest, Skoob . . . given the guy's intelligence level and lack of religious beliefs (he didn't convert to Christianity), it's something of an insult to him to say that he converted to theism out of fear of what's after death!

That said, I think you might have missed just how important his conversion really is. It isn't a simple matter of some philosopher deciding that God exists. That happens all the time. This is about the father of modern scientific methodology deciding that there is credible evidence for the existence of God. Let's unpack that statement a bit:

1) "father of modern scientific methodology" . . . as the article notes, prior to Flew, the basis of scientific thought was the concept of verification. An idea was only "scientific" if it could be verified. Flew came along and said, "No, that isn't good enough. The basis should be falsification!" He was so persuasive in this that this idea actually has become the basic criteria for what is a good scientific theory and what is not.

The reason he did this, we should note, was strictly because of his lack of belief in a god. He argued that it could not be falsified, and therefore, there was no evidence (how many times have we heard that argument? Thank Flew for it!). Now he is arguing that science has shown God exists, and that, therefore, thereis evidence--evidence of the falsifiable type! It is, therefore, real scientific evidence.

Thus, 2) "credible evidence" . . . the word "credible" here is, by nature, a subjective word. This is important, Skoob: science has absolutely nothing to say on what is credible and what is not. It simply does not make those judgements. The ONLY thing science can do, in the strictest sense, is examine the evidence presented in front of it. "Evidence," then, is that which is observed. "Evidence for . . ." must, then, be a non-scientific question. It absolutely MUST venture into scientific philosophy.

The reason this is so is that, depending on your personal beliefs on various issues, you will "weigh" different evidence differently. You will reject some notions, and will be more inclined to accept others. For instance: does the sudden appearance of skeletons in the fossil record indicate "punctuated equilibrium" or creationism? Well, that depends on your philosophical framework.

Enter, then, the philosophical scientist. Put it this way: he is the one who "interprets" scientific observations into coherent theories. What he allows in totally depends on his philosophy. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The atheist--that is, the strong materialist--is not more "scientific" because he doesn't accept supernatural answers. All he is doing is applying his own philosophical framework to a given body of evidence.

And note that: all science does, then, is observe and systematize a body of evidence. We then come to it and argue over how it should be interpreted.

Well, when a man like Flew, who has spent his entire life arguing that we should interpret things one way, comes out and is absolutely convinced (against his own presuppositions) that he was wrong and that the evidence requires him to move in the other direction, it should make us stand up and take notice. Please note: this is NOT to be used as evidence that God exists. It is to be used as evidence against the ridiculous, incredulous claim that "there is no evidence for God" and/or "the very concept of God cannot be falsified."

Of course it can. We have the best authority on the subject on our side!

3) Notice where this evidence came from: the ID movement. We aren't talking "creation science" here. We are talking Intelligent Design. We are talking tried and true scientific methodology that asks questions that point to a single, unequivocal answer: something or someone was responsible for our universe, and whatever it is is more that mere physics!

You cannot argue that Flew is biased in favor of theism. It is just the opposite. Therefore, we are forced to conclude that he found compelling evidence from the ID movement that some sort of God exists. To argue, then, that there is no evidence is to basically call Flew an idiot, which some have done in response. Personally, I believe this shows their own bias against belief rather than any sort of open mindedness on their part.

Hope that helps.

God bless
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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#10

Post by Kurieuo » Tue Jan 18, 2005 7:10 pm

skoobie wrote:I just wanted to point out that this was not a scientist who went from atheist to a believer in some sort of intelligent designer...it is a philosopher. Philosophers rely more on their subjective reflections than objective, peer-reviewed science.
Hehe... You talk about philosophers being subjective rather than objective, and you've undermined any sort of Science entirely. How do you think scientists draw conclusions from the world around them? ;) Drop philosophy and the "objective" logic that goes with it, and science can't tell us anything—scientists wouldn't even know what to test for.

Kurieuo.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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#11

Post by AttentionKMartShoppers » Thu Feb 24, 2005 8:06 pm

Hey looky there, another one. C.S. Lewis came about the same way. Theist as child, atheist after mom died and sent to boarding school, atheist during WWI, then became a theist, looked into Christianity and Hinduiism, read about Jesus in New Testament, concluded it wasn't a made up story, talked to by Christian friends like JRR Tolkien...
"My actions prove that God takes care of idiots."

He occasionally stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened.
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An atheist can't find God for the same reason a criminal can't find a police officer.

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#12

Post by Felgar » Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:00 pm

AttentionKMartShoppers wrote:Hey looky there, another one. C.S. Lewis came about the same way. Theist as child, atheist after mom died and sent to boarding school, atheist during WWI, then became a theist, looked into Christianity and Hinduiism, read about Jesus in New Testament, concluded it wasn't a made up story, talked to by Christian friends like JRR Tolkien...
I was 98% sure that Tolkien was never a Christian. Do you have some literature to the contrary? Should we start a new thread on it?

I do agree that Lewis and Tolkien were close friends but I thought that Lewis became Christian first and never could bring Tolkien around...

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#13

Post by AttentionKMartShoppers » Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:43 pm

No, that has to be someone else....sounds familiar that Lewis tried to witness to someone who died too soon....don't have a clue who... Tolkien and Lewis decided to spread Christianity in literature. I don't know how it was decided who did what, but Lewis got the space genre, and Tolkien got the time genre....So we get Space Oddysey and The Lord of the Rings.
"My actions prove that God takes care of idiots."

He occasionally stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened.
- On Stanley Baldwin

-Winston Churchill

An atheist can't find God for the same reason a criminal can't find a police officer.

You need to start asking out girls so that you can get used to the rejections.
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#14

Post by Felgar » Thu Feb 24, 2005 10:42 pm

AttentionKMartShoppers wrote:Tolkien and Lewis decided to spread Christianity in literature.
Go figure. I guess I'll have to look into that. Thx KM.

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#15

Post by bizzt » Fri Feb 25, 2005 8:36 am

Felgar wrote:
AttentionKMartShoppers wrote:Hey looky there, another one. C.S. Lewis came about the same way. Theist as child, atheist after mom died and sent to boarding school, atheist during WWI, then became a theist, looked into Christianity and Hinduiism, read about Jesus in New Testament, concluded it wasn't a made up story, talked to by Christian friends like JRR Tolkien...
I was 98% sure that Tolkien was never a Christian. Do you have some literature to the contrary? Should we start a new thread on it?

I do agree that Lewis and Tolkien were close friends but I thought that Lewis became Christian first and never could bring Tolkien around...
Tolkinen was a Catholic Christian. He was Deeply rooted in Catholicism. Sorry if someone already said this! To add a little bit more Tolkinen brought Lewis to the Faith :wink:

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