One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (of Atheism)
Regis Nicoll Regis Nicoll's weblog
- 2007 Nov 01
That would be Antony Flew, the life-long atheist who announced his hard turn from atheism after examining the evidence for the irreducible complexity of life. Since shocking the anti-God camp with his defection a couple of years ago, Flew has written a book, There is a God. Flew devotes the first half of the book to the arguments he used to refute theism in his long and illustrious career as an atheistic philosopher. In the remainder, Flew discusses the factors that caused him to change his mind including,
"Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than half a century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science. Science spotlights three dimensions that point to God. The first is the fact that nature obeys laws. The second is the dimension of life, of intelligently organized and purpose-driven beings, which arose from matter. The third is the very existence of nature. But it is not this alone that has guided me. I have also been helped by a renewed study of the classical philosophical arguments."
In a recent interview with Ben Wiker, Flew further explains,
"There were two factors in particular that were decisive. One was my growing empathy with the insight of Einstein and other noted scientists that there had to be an Intelligence behind the integrated complexity of the physical Universe. The second was my own insight that the integrated complexity of life itself – which is far more complex than the physical Universe – can only be explained in terms of an Intelligent Source. I believe that the origin of life and reproduction simply cannot be explained from a biological standpoint despite numerous efforts to do so. With every passing year, the more that was discovered about the richness and inherent intelligence of life, the less it seemed likely that a chemical soup could magically generate the genetic code. The difference between life and non-life, it became apparent to me, was ontological and not chemical. The best confirmation of this radical gulf is Richard Dawkins' comical effort to argue in The God Delusion that the origin of life can be attributed to a "lucky chance." If that's the best argument you have, then the game is over. No, I did not hear a Voice. It was the evidence itself that led me to this conclusion..."
This is a great example of a person following the evidence wherever it leads, as opposed to those like Dawkins, who cut their examination short of anything that would interfere with their sense of moral autonomy.
What do you think about Mr. Flew’s turnaround? Share your thoughts here.