Antony Flew

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Antony Flew
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| birth_place = London, United Kingdomdf=yes4192311|}}Reading, Berkshire>Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom| alma_mater = SOAS, University of LondonSt John's College, OxfordAnalytic philosophy>AnalyticLibertarianism| main_interests = Philosophy of religion| influences = David Hume, Richard SwinburneNo true ScotsmanThe presumption of atheism Negative and positive atheismBulverism>Subject/motive shift}}Antony Garrard Newton Flew ({{IPAc-en|f|l|uː}}; 11 February 1923 – 8 April 2010){{Citation | place = UK | publisher = Legacy | title = Antony Flew | url =weblink | type = obituary | newspaper = The Times}}.{{Citation | place = UK | publisher = Legacy | url =weblink | type = obituary | newspaper = The Daily Telegraph | title = Professor Antony Flew | date = 14 Apr 2010}}. was an EnglishAntony Flew self identified as English not British: "I am the first Englishman and the first professional philosopher to receive the Schlarbaum Prize. So it seems appropriate to begin by talking about the greatest English philosopher, John Locke." Flew, Antony. "Locke versus Rawls on Equality" Mises. 24 October 2001. philosopher. Belonging to the analytic and evidentialist schools of thought, Flew was most notable for his work related to the philosophy of religion. During the course of his career he taught at the universities of Oxford, Aberdeen, Keele and Reading, and at York University in Toronto.For much of his career Flew was known as a strong advocate of atheism, arguing that one should presuppose atheism until empirical evidence of a God surfaces.WEB,weblink Antony Flew – did he really change his mind?, Skeptical Science, 25 May 2014, 23 February 2018, He also criticised the idea of life after death,{{Citation | url =weblink | title = Could We Survive Our Own Deaths? | first = Anthony | last = Flew | publisher = Internet Infidels | year = 1998}}. the free will defence to the problem of evil, and the meaningfulness of the concept of God.{{Citation | url =weblink | title = Theology & Falsification: A Golden Jubilee Celebration | first = Anthony | last = Flew | publisher = Internet Infidels | year = 2000}}. In 2003 he was one of the signatories of the Humanist Manifesto III.WEB,weblink Notable Signers, American Humanist Association, Humanism and Its Aspirations, 28 September 2012, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 5 October 2012, However, in 2004 he changed his position, and stated that he now believed in the existence of an Intelligent Creator of the universe,NEWS, Grimes, William, 2010-04-16, Antony Flew, Philosopher and Ex-Atheist, Dies at 87,weblink The New York Times, 2018-02-21, In “There Is a God” he explained that he now believed in a supreme intelligence, removed from human affairs but responsible for the intricate workings of the universe. In other words, the Divine Watchmaker imagined by Deism, deists like Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. In a letter to The Sunday Telegraph of London in 2004, he described “the God in whose existence I have belatedly come to believe” as “most emphatically not the eternally rewarding and eternally torturing God of either Christianity or Islam but the Unmoved mover, God of Aristotle that he would have defined — had Aristotle actually produced a definition of his (and my) God — as the first initiating and sustaining cause of the universe.”, shocking his fellow colleagues and atheists. In order to further clarify his personal concept of God, Flew openly made an allegiance to Deism,NEWS, Crawley, William, 2010-04-16, Antony Flew: the atheist who changed his mind,weblink BBC, 2018-02-20, In some interviews, and in subsequent publications, Flew made it clear that he had not become a Christian; he had moved from atheism to a form of deism. This is important: it is a mistake to claim that Flew embraced classical theism in any substantial form; rather, he came to believe merely that an intelligent orderer of the universe existed. He did not believe that this "being" had any further agency in the universe, and he maintained his opposition to the vast majority of doctrinal positions adopted by the global faiths, such as belief in the after-life, or a divine being who actively cares for or loves the universe, or the resurrection of Christ, and argued for the idea of an "Unmoved mover, Aristotelian God". He explained that he, like Socrates, had simply followed the evidence, and the new evidence from science and natural theology made it possible to rationally advance belief in an intelligent being who ordered the universe. In 2006, he even added his name to a petition calling for the inclusion of Intelligent design, intelligent design theory on the UK science curriculum., more specifically a belief in the Aristotelian God, and dismissed on many occasions a hypothetical conversion to Christianity, Islam or any other religion. He stated that in keeping his lifelong commitment to go where the evidence leads, he now believed in the existence of a God.{{Sfn | Habermas | 2004}}In 2007 a book outlining his reasons for changing his position, There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind was written by Flew in collaboration with Roy Abraham Varghese. The book (and Flew's conversion to Deism) has been the subject of controversy, following an article in The New York Times Magazine alleging that Flew's intellect had declined due to senility, and that the book was primarily the work of Varghese;{{Citation | url =weblink | title = The Turning of an Atheist | first = Mark | last = Oppenheimer | newspaper = The New York Times Magazine | date = 11 April 2007 | accessdate = 23 February 2018 |quote=As he himself conceded, he had not written his book. “This is really Roy’s doing,” he said, before I had even figured out a polite way to ask. “He showed it to me, and I said O.K. I’m too old for this kind of work!” When I asked Varghese, he freely admitted that the book was his idea and that he had done all the original writing for it. But he made the book sound like more of a joint effort — slightly more, anyway. “There was stuff he had written before, and some of that was adapted to this,” Varghese said. “There is stuff he’d written to me in correspondence, and I organized a lot of it. And I had interviews with him. So those three elements went into it. Oh, and I exposed him to certain authors and got his views on them. We pulled it together. And then to make it more reader-friendly, HarperCollins had a more popular author go through it.” So even the ghostwriter had a ghostwriter: Bob Hostetler, an evangelical pastor and author from Ohio, rewrote many passages, especially in the section that narrates Flew’s childhood. With three authors, how much Flew was left in the book?}} Flew himself specifically denied this, stating that the book represented his views; although he acknowledged that due to his age Varghese had done most of the actual work of writing the book.{{Sfn | Flew | 2007}}He was also known for the development of the no true Scotsman fallacy.WEB,weblink Obituary: Professor Antony Flew,, en, 2019-06-11, And for his debate on retrocausality with Michael Dummett.JOURNAL, Flew, A., Dummett, A. E., 1954-07-11, Symposium: "Can An Effect Precede Its Cause?", Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, en, 28, 1, 27–62, 10.1093/aristoteliansupp/28.1.27, 0309-7013,

Life and career

Flew, the son of Methodist minister/theologian Robert Newton Flew (1886–1962) and his wife Winifred née Garrard (1887–1982), was born in London. He was educated at St Faith's School, Cambridge followed by Kingswood School, Bath. He is said to have concluded by the age of 15 that there was no Godweblink During the Second World War he studied Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and was a Royal Air Force intelligence officer. After a period with the Inter-Services Topographical Department in Oxford, he was posted to Bletchley Park in June 1944.Smith, Michael (2000), The Emperor's Codes, Bantam, p. 246After the war, Flew achieved a first class degree in Literae Humaniores at St John's College, Oxford (1947). He also won the John Locke Scholarship in Mental Philosophy in the following year.WEB,weblink Brief Biography of Antony G.N. Flew, Flew was a graduate student of Gilbert Ryle, prominent in ordinary language philosophy. Both Flew and Ryle were among many Oxford philosophers fiercely criticised in Ernest Gellner's book Words and Things (1959). A 1954 debate with Michael Dummett over backward causation was an early highlight in Flew's career.NEWS,weblink Backward Causation, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 29 August 2005, Jan, Faye, For a year, 1949–50, Flew was a lecturer in philosophy at Christ Church, Oxford.Who's Who, 1974, London : A. & C. Black, 1974, p. 1118 From 1950 to 1954 he was a lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, and from 1954 to 1971 he was a professor of philosophy at the University of Keele. He held a professorship at the University of Calgary, 1972–73. Between 1973 and 1983 he was professor of philosophy at the University of Reading. At this time, he developed one of his most famous arguments, the No true Scotsman fallacy in his 1975 book, Thinking About Thinking. Upon his retirement, Flew took up a half-time post for a few years at York University, Toronto.Politically Flew was a libertarian-leaning conservative and wrote articles for The Journal of Libertarian Studies. His name appears on letterheads into 1992 as a Vice-President of the Conservative Monday Club, and he held the same position in the Western Goals Institute.Labour Research, November 1988, p. 2. He was one of the signatories to a letter in The Times along with Lord Sudeley, Sir Alfred Sherman, and Dr. Harvey Ward, on behalf of the Institute, "applauding Alfredo Cristiani's statesmanship" and calling for his government's success in defeating the Cuban and Nicaraguan-backed communist FMLN in El Salvador.The Times, 29 September 1989.Flew married on 28 June 1952. He had two daughters.WEB, 10 December 2003,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink Wisconsin University, Flew's biography, 10 December 2003, 10 March 2012, Flew died on 8 April 2010, while nursed in an Extended Care Facility in Reading, England, suffering from dementia.{{Citation | url =weblink | title = Antony Flew, 1923–2010 – Following the Argument Wherever it Leads | publisher = Skeptic | newspaper = eSkeptic | date = 21 April 2010 | first = Kenneth | last = Grubbs}}.NEWS,weblink Antony Flew, Philosopher and Ex-Atheist, Dies at 87, The New York Times, 16 April 2010, 23 July 2011, Grimes, William, While an undergraduate, Flew attended the weekly meetings of C. S. Lewis's Socratic Club fairly regularly. Although he found Lewis to be "an eminently reasonable man" and "by far the most powerful Christian apologists for the sixty or more years following his founding of that club", he was not persuaded by Lewis's argument from morality as found in Mere Christianity. Flew also criticised several of the other philosophical proofs for God's existence. He concluded that the ontological argument in particular failed because it is based on the premise that the concept of Being can be derived from the concept of Goodness. Only the scientific forms of the teleological argument ultimately impressed Flew as decisive.{{Sfn | Habermas | 2004 | p = 2}}During the time of his involvement in the Socratic Club, Flew also wrote the article "Theology and Falsification", which argued that claims about God were merely vacuous where they could not be tested for truth or falsehood. Though initially published in an undergraduate journal, the article came to be widely reprinted and discussed.Flew was also critical of the idea of life after death and the free will defence to the problem of evil.{{Citation needed|date=November 2009}} In 1998, he debated Christian philosopher William Lane Craig over the existence of God.{{Citation | last1 = Flew | first1 = Antony | format = Google You tube video | url =weblink | title = Does God Exist? | type = debate | first2 = William Lane | last2 = Craig | publisher = University of Wisconsin | date = 28 January 1998}}.

Atheism and deism

The Presumption of Atheism

One of Antony Flew's most influential professional works was his 1976 The Presumption of Atheism{{Sfn | Flew | 1984}} in which Flew forwarded the proposition that the question of God's existence should begin with the presumption of atheism:"What I want to examine is the contention that the debate about the existence of God should properly begin from the presumption of atheism, that the onus of proof must lie upon the theist. The word 'atheism', however, has in this contention to be construed unusually. Whereas nowadays the usual meaning of 'atheist' in English is 'someone who asserts that there is no such being as God, I want the word to be understood not positively but negatively... in this interpretation an atheist becomes: not someone who positively asserts the non-existence of God; but someone who is simply not a theist.The introduction of this new interpretation of the word 'atheism' may appear to be a piece of perverse Humpty-Dumptyism, going arbitrarily against established common usage. 'Whyever', it could be asked, don't you make it not the presumption of atheism but the presumption of agnosticism?BOOK,weblink The Presumption of Atheism, Flew, Anthony, 1976, Common Sense Atheism, Flew's proposal to change his profession's use of the term atheism saw limited acceptance in the 20th century, but in the early 21st century Flew's negative sense of 'atheism' came to be forwarded more commonly.WEB,weblink Atheists, agnostics and theists, Is there a God?, 28 September 2016, But it is common these days to find atheists who define the term to mean “without theism”... Many of them then go on to argue that this means that the “burden of proof” is on the theist..., WEB,weblink Atheism – Etymology, Day, Donn, The Divine Conspiracy, 28 September 2016, In the last twenty years or so atheists and theists have taken to debating on college campuses, and in town halls, all across this country. By using the above definition, atheists have attempted to shift the burden of proof., The impact of Flew's proposed negative atheism, which is often referred to today as 'weak atheism' or 'soft atheism', is illustrated by analytic Philosopher William Lane Craig's 2007 assessment that the presumption of atheism had become "one of the most commonly proffered justifications of atheism."BOOK,weblink The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, pp. 69–85. Ed. M. Martin. Cambridge Companions to Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, 2007, Craig, William Lane, 2007, 9780521842709, Martin, Michael, Cambridge Companions to Philosophy, 69–85, [The Presumption of atheism is] One of the most commonly proffered justifications of atheism has been the so-called presumption of atheism., And BBC journalist William Crawley 2010 analysis: "The Presumption of Atheism (1976) made the case, now followed by today's new atheism, that atheism should be the ... default position".NEWS,weblink Antony Flew: the atheist who changed his mind, Crawly, William, 16 April 2010, British Broadcasting Corporation, His books God and Philosophy (1966) and The Presumption of Atheism (1976) [Flew] made the case, now followed by today's new atheists, that atheism should be the intelligent person's default until well-established evidence to the contrary arises, 28 September 2016, WEB,weblink Atheism; Atheistic Naturalism, Internet Encyclopedia of Atheism, 26 September 2016, A notable modern view is Antony Flew’s Presumption of Atheism (1984)., In recent debates, atheists often forward the Presumption of Atheism referring to atheism as the "default position"WEB,weblink Atheism Isn't Simply a Lack of Belief, Stand to Reason, 28 September 2016, Many atheists ... take atheism to be just the default position...Given this redefinition, most atheists are taken aback when theists demand they provide evidence for their atheism., WEB,weblink Atheist, meet Burden of Proof. Burden of Proof, meet Atheist., Rauser, Randall, 1 October 2012, The Tentative Apologist, 27 September 2016, There are very many atheists who think they have no worldview to defend., WEB,weblink Do Atheists Bear a Burden of Proof?, Parsons, Keith M., 14 December 1997, The Secular Web, 27 September 2016, The 'evidentialist challenge' is the gauntlet thrown down by atheist writers such as Antony Flew, Norwood Russell Hanson, and Michael Scriven. They argue that in debates over the existence of God, the burden of proof should fall on the theist. They contend that if theists are unable to provide cogent arguments for theism, i.e. arguments showing that it is at least more probable than not that God exists, then atheism wins by default., WEB,weblink The burden of truth, 20 July 2014, Rational Razor, 27 September 2016, The default position is neutral on the position of God’s existence. The burden of proof is on the claim maker to justify his claim by evidence. At the least, negative atheism does not bear a burden of proof, or has "no burden of proof"WEB,weblink The New Atheism, Where's The Evidence?, Antony, Michael, Philosophy Now, 27 September 2016, Another familiar strategy of atheists is to insist that the burden of proof falls on the believer., WEB,weblink Putting the Atheist on the Defensive, Samples, Kenneth, Fall 1991, Christian Research Institute Journal, 28 September 2016, When Christians and atheists engage in debate concerning the question, Does God exist? atheists frequently assert that the entire burden of proof rests on the Christian., or asserting that the burden of proof rests solely on the theist.WEB,weblink The burden of truth, 20 July 2014, Rational Razor, 27 September 2016, Atheists tend to claim that the theist bears the burden of proof to justify the existence of God, whereas the theist tends to claim that both parties have an equal burden of proof., WEB,weblink Atheism and the burden of proof, Playford, Richard, 9 June 2013, The Christian Apologetics Alliance, 2 October 2016, In this article I will show that atheism is a belief about the world and that it does require a justification in the same way that theism does.,

Revised views

Conversion to deism

On several occasions, starting in 2001, rumors circulated claiming that Flew had converted from atheism to deism. Flew denied these rumours on the Secular Web website.{{Citation | publisher = Sec Web | url =weblink | title = Sorry to Disappoint, but I'm Still an Atheist! | first = Antony | last = Flew | newspaper = Internet Infidels | date = 31 August 2001 | deadurl = yes | archiveurl =weblink" title="">weblink | archivedate = 30 August 2005 | df = dmy-all }}.In January 2004 Flew and Gary Habermas, his friend and philosophical adversary, took part in and conducted a dialogue on the resurrection at California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. During a couple of telephone discussions shortly after that dialogue, Flew explained to Habermas that he was considering becoming a theist. While Flew did not change his position at that time, he concluded that certain philosophical and scientific considerations were causing him to do some serious rethinking. He characterized his position as that of atheism standing in tension with several huge question marks.WEB,weblink Atheist Becomes Theist, Biola University, 10 March 2012, In a 2004 interview (published 9 December), Flew, then 81 years old, said that he had become a deist.{{Sfn | Habermas | 2004 | p = 6}} In the article Flew states that he has renounced 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". The argument of ID is that evidenced objects and physical concepts are either too simple or too complex to be simply natural, whichever of the two extremes one chooses to be the hallmark of design by an outside intelligence. 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 rejected the idea 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, although he has allowed a short chapter arguing in favor of Joshua's/Jesus' resurrection to be added into his latest book.{{Sfn | Habermas | 2004 | p = 6}}Flew was particularly hostile to Islam, and said it is "best described in a Marxian way as the uniting and justifying ideology of Arab imperialism."{{Sfn | Habermas | 2004 | p = 6}} 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".{{Citation | url =weblink | title = Atheist Philosopher, 81, Now Believes in God | first = Richard N. | last = Ostling | author-link = Richard N. Ostling | publisher = Mail archive | newspaper = Associated Press | date = 10 December 2004}}.

Controversy over his position

In October 2004 (before the December publication of the Flew–Habermas interview), in a letter written to the historian and atheist Richard Carrier of the Secular Web Flew stated that he was a deist, and wrote "I think we need here a fundamental distinction between the God of Aristotle or Spinoza and the Gods of the Christian and the Islamic Revelations."WEB, Richard Carrier, Richard Carrier, Antony Flew Considers God...Sort Of,weblink The Secular Web,weblink" title="">weblink 21 May 2014, no, Flew also said: "My one and only piece of relevant evidence [for an Aristotelian God] is the apparent impossibility of providing a naturalistic theory of the origin from DNA of the first reproducing species... [In fact] the only reason which I have for beginning to think of believing in a First Cause god is the impossibility of providing a naturalistic account of the origin of the first reproducing organisms."In the months following the Habermas interview, Flew contradicted some statements made in the interview and retracted others.{{Citation needed|date=June 2019}} 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.WEB, Duncan Crary, Duncan Crary, No longer atheist, Flew stands by "Presumption of Atheism",weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, 2007-07-19, Humanist Studies, In a letter to Carrier of 29 December 2004 Flew retracted his statement that a deity or a "super-intelligence" was the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature:He blamed his error on being "misled" by the (supposed) fact that Richard Dawkins had "never been reported as referring to any promising work on the production of a theory of the development of living matter.His 2007 book There is a God (see below) revisited the question, however, and questioned contemporary models: "the latest work I have seen shows that the present physical universe gives too little time for these theories of abiogenesis to get the job done."{{Citation |author1=Antony Flew|author2=Roy Abraham Varghese|asin=B0076O7KX8 | title = There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind | place = New York | publisher = Harper One | year = 2007 | page = 124}}. He added: "The philosophical question that has not been answered in origin-of-life studies is this: How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends, self-replication capabilities, and 'coded chemistry'? Here we are not dealing with biology, but an entirely different category of problem".
The work of the Orthodox Jewish nuclear physicist Gerald Schroeder had been influential in Flew's new belief, but Flew told Carrier that he had not read any of the critiques of Schroeder that Carrier referred him to.However, in spring 2005 when atheist Raymond Bradley, emeritus professor of philosophy at Simon Fraser University and a member of the editorial board of The Open Society journal, wrote an open letter to Flew accusing him of not "check[ing] the veracity of [Schroeder's] claims before swallowing them whole," Flew responded strongly to that charge in a letter published in the same journal in summer 2006, describing the content of Bradley's letter "extraordinarily offensive" and the accusation made by him as an "egregiously offensive charge"; he also implied that Bradley was a "secularist bigot," and suggested that he should follow Socrates's advice (as scripted in Plato's Republic) of "follow[ing] the argument wherever it leads."{{Citation | first = Antony | last = Flew | url =weblink | title = A response to Raymond Bradley | journal = The Open Society | volume = 79 | number = 4 |date=Spring 2006 }}. Other prominent atheists, such as Richard Dawkins, suggested Flew's deism was a form of God of the gaps.WEB,weblink Humanists, Atheists Look to Higher Global Profile, Robert, Evans, Mukto-mona, 10 March 2012, Flew said in December 2004:{{Citation|last=Wavell|first=Stuard|title=In the beginning there was something|date=19 December 2004|url=|newspaper=The Sunday Times|volume=|pages=|type=article}}.

Restatement of position

A letter on evolution and theology which Flew published in the August/September 2004 issue of Philosophy Now magazine closed with, "Anyone who should happen to want to know what I myself now believe will have to wait until the publication, promised for early 2005, by Prometheus of Amherst, NY of the final edition of my God and Philosophy with a new introduction of it as ‘an historical relic’."{{Citation | url =weblink | type = letter | first = Antony | last = Flew | title = Darwinism and Theology | journal = Philosophy Now | issue = 47}}.The preface of God and Philosophy states that the publisher and Flew went through a total of four versions (each extensively peer-reviewed) before coming up with one that satisfied them both. The introduction raises ten matters that came about since the original 1966 edition. Flew states that any book to follow God and Philosophy will have to take into account these ideas when considering the philosophical case for the existence of God:{{Sfn | Flew | 1966}}{{Page needed|date=August 2010}}
  1. A novel definition of "God" by Richard Swinburne
  2. The case for the existence of the Christian God by Swinburne in the book Is There a God?
  3. The Church of England's change in doctrine on the eternal punishment of Hell
  4. The question of whether there was only one Big Bang and if time began with it
  5. The question of multiple universes
  6. The fine-tuning argument
  7. The question of whether there is a naturalistic account for the development of living matter from non-living matter
  8. The question of whether there is a naturalistic account for non-reproducing living matter developing into a living creature capable of reproduction
  9. The concept of an Intelligent Orderer as explained in the book The Wonder of the World: A Journey from Modern Science to the Mind of God by Roy Abraham Varghese
  10. An extension of an Aristotelian/Deist concept of God that can be reached through natural theology, which was developed by David Conway.
In an interview with Joan Bakewell for BBC Radio 4 in March 2005, Flew rejected the fine-tuning argument as a conclusive proof: "I don't think it proves anything but that it is entirely reasonable for people who already have a belief in a creating God to regard this as confirming evidence. And it's a point of argument which I think is very important – to see that what is reasonable for people to do in the face of new evidence depends on what they previously had good reason to believe." He also said it appeared that there had been progress made regarding the naturalistic origins of DNA. However, he restated his deism, with the usual provisos that his God is not the God of any of the revealed religions.{{Citation | place = UK | contribution-url =weblink | title = Belief | contribution = Professor Antony Flew | publisher = BBC | type = interview | date = 22 March 2005}}. In the same interview, Flew was asked whether he was retracting belief in an Aristotelian God, but answered no.One month later, Flew told Christianity Today that although he was not on the road to becoming a Christian convert, he reaffirmed his deism: "Since the beginning of my philosophical life I have followed the policy of Plato's Socrates: We must follow the argument wherever it leads."{{Citation | first = James A | last = Beverley | url =weblink | title = Thinking Straighter | newspaper = Christianity Today | date = 29 April 2005}}.In late 2006, Flew joined 11 other academics in urging the British government to teach intelligent design in the state schools.{{Citation | url =weblink | title = Creationism gains foothold in schools | publisher = Times Online | newspaper = The Times | place = UK}}.In 2007, in an interview with Benjamin Wiker, Flew said again that his deism was the result of his "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" and "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." He also restated that he was not a Christian theist.{{Citation | first = Dr. Benjamin | last = Wiker | url =weblink | title = Exclusive Flew Interview | publisher = To the source | date = 30 October 2007 | access-date = 7 March 2008 | archive-url =weblink" title="">weblink | archive-date = 11 February 2012 | dead-url = yes }}.

Book with Varghese and authorship controversy

In 2007, Flew published a book titled There is a God, which was listed as having Roy Abraham Varghese as its co-author. Shortly after the book was released, the New York Times published an article by historian of religion Mark Oppenheimer, who stated that Varghese had been almost entirely responsible for writing the book, and that Flew was in a serious state of mental decline, having great difficulty remembering key figures, ideas, and events relating to the debate covered in the book. His book praises several philosophers (like Brian Leftow, John Leslie and Paul Davies), but Flew failed to remember their work during Oppenheimer's interview.A further article by Anthony Gottlieb noted a strong difference in style between the passages giving Flew's biography, and those laying out the case for a god, with the latter including Americanisms such as "beverages", "vacation" and "candy". He came to the same conclusion as Oppenheimer, and stated that "Far from strengthening the case for the existence of God, [the book] rather weakens the case for the existence of Antony Flew".{{Citation | url =weblink | title = I'm a Believer | first = Anthony | last = Gottlieb | newspaper = The New York Times | date = 23 December 2007}}. Varghese replied with a letter disputing this view.{{Citation | url =weblink | title = Letter to the Editor | first = Roy | last = Varghese | newspaper = The New York Times | date = 13 January 2008}}.Flew later released a statement through his publisher stating:{{dead link|date=March 2012}}}} An audio commentary by William Lane CraigWEB,weblink Dr. Craig's Current Events Audio Blog, RF Media, 11 November 2007, 10 March 2012, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 11 February 2012, dmy-all, concurs with this position, but Richard Carrier disputed this view.WEB, Richard, Carrier,weblink Craig the Annoyed, World wide web log, Blogger, 27 December 2007, 10 March 2012, In June 2008, Flew stated his position once again, in a letter to a fellow of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship.{{Sfn | Flew | 2007}}Christian writer Regis Nicoll claims that "Moreover, in a signed, handwritten letter (a copy of which I now have) sent to Roy Varghese, the legendary philosopher reaffirmed his conversion while criticising Oppenheimer for drawing attention away from the book’s central argument: the collapse of rationalism."WEB,weblink From UnChristian to Christian, Crosswalk, 10 March 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 18 April 2010, yes, dmy-all, He argues that "Even Mark Oppenheimer described the ex-atheist 'flaunt[ing] his allegiance to deism' in May 2006 to a Christian audience at Biola University."Perhaps most definitively, Christian apologist Anthony Horvath corresponded with Antony Flew before it was publicly known there would even be a book. In 2010, he published his letters. The letters contain Flew's description of the outline of the book, his Deism in the pattern of Einstein's, and his high praise of N.T. Wright's arguments for Christianity. All of these elements are present in the book.WEB,weblink The Flew-Horvath Correspondence,, 7 July 2014,


Flew was awarded the Schlarbaum Prize by the Ludwig von Mises Institute for his "outstanding lifetime achievement in the cause of liberty."{{Citation | contribution-url =weblink | contribution = Antony G.N. Flew | year = 2001 | title = Schlarbaum Laureate | publisher = Mises}}. Upon acceptance of the award in Auburn, Alabama, in September 2001, Flew delivered an address entitled "Locke versus Rawls on Equality." Of his choice of topics, he stated "I am the first Englishman and the first professional philosopher to receive the Schlarbaum Prize. So it seems appropriate to begin by talking about the greatest English philosopher, John Locke."Flew, Antony. "Locke versus Rawls on Equality" Mises. 24 October 2001.On 11 May 2006, Antony Flew accepted the second "Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth" from Biola University. The award, named for its first recipient, was given to Flew "for his lifelong commitment to free and open inquiry and to standing fast against intolerant assaults on freedom of thought and expression". When informed of his award, Flew remarked, "In light of my work and publications in this area and the criticism I’ve received for changing my position, I appreciate receiving this award".NEWS, 27 March 2006,weblink Former Atheist to Receive Award at Biola, Biola News, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 22 May 2006, dmy, He was an honorary associate of the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists{{Citation | url =weblink | publisher = NAZRH | title = Honorary Associates | place = NZ}}. and a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.WEB, About, CSI Fellows and Staff,weblink Center for Inquiry, 20 June 2012, In 1985, Flew was awarded the In Praise of Reason Award the highest honor the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry awards. The award was presented by Chairman Paul Kurtz in London "'[I]n recognition of his long-standing contributions to the use of methods of critical inquiry, scientific evidence, and reason in evaluating claims to knowledge and solving social problems."JOURNAL, 'In Praise of Reason' Award Goes to Antony Flew, The Skeptical Inquirer, 1985, 10, 2, 102, 104,


  • A New Approach to Psychical Research (1953)
  • New Essays in Philosophical Theology (1955) editor with Alasdair MacIntyre
  • Essays in Conceptual Analysis (1956)
  • Hume's Philosophy of Belief (1961)
  • Logic And Language (1961) editor
  • {{Citation | last = Flew | first = Antony | title = God and Philosophy | year = 1966}}.
  • {{Citation | editor-last = Flew | editor-first = Antony | title = Logic & Language | series = Second | year = 1966}}.
  • Evolutionary Ethics (1967)
  • An Introduction to Western Philosophy: Ideas and Argument from Plato to Sartre (1971)
  • Body, Mind and Death (1973)
  • Crime or Disease (1973)
  • Thinking About Thinking (1975)
  • Sociology, Equality and Education: Philosophical Essays In Defence of A Variety of Differences (1976)
  • {{Citation | title = Thinking Straight | year = 1977 | isbn = 978-0-87975-088-6| last1 = Flew | first1 = Antony }}
  • A Dictionary of Philosophy (1979) editor, later edition with Stephen Priest
  • Philosophy, an Introduction (1979)
  • Libertarians versus Egalitarians (c. 1980) pamphlet
  • The Politics of Procrustes: contradictions of enforced equality (1981)
  • Darwinian Evolution (1984)
  • {{Citation|last=Flew |first=Antony |year=1984 |origyear=The Presumption of Atheism, 1976 |edition=reprint |title=God, Freedom and Immortality: A Critical Analysis |url= |deadurl=yes |archiveurl= |archivedate=12 October 2005 |df=dmy }}.
  • Examination not Attempted in Right Ahead, newspaper of the Conservative Monday Club, Conservative Party Conference edition, October 1985.
  • God: A Critical Inquiry (1986) – reprint of God and Philosophy (1966) with new introduction
  • David Hume: Philosopher of Moral Science (1986) Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  • {{Citation | last1 = Flew | first1 = Antony | title = Agency and Necessity | series = Great Debates in Philosophy | year = 1987 | first2 = Godfrey Norman Agmondis | last2 = Vesey}}.
  • Did Jesus Rise From the Dead? The Resurrection Debate (1987) with Gary Habermas
  • Power to the Parents: Reversing Educational Decline (1987)
  • The Logic of Mortality (1987)
  • {{Citation | contribution = Prophesy or Philosophy? Historicism or History? | title = Marx Refuted | editor1-first = Ronald | editor1-last = Duncan | editor2-first = Colin | editor2-last = Wilson | editor-link = Colin Wilson | place = Bath, UK | year = 1987 | isbn = 978-0-906798-71-3}}.
  • Readings in the Philosophical Problems of Parapsychology (1987) editor
  • God, A Critical Inquiry (1988)
  • Does God Exist?: A Believer and an Atheist Debate (1991) with Terry L. Miethe
  • A Future for Anti-Racism? (Social Affairs Unit 1992) pamphlet
  • {{Citation | title = Atheistic Humanism | year = 1993 | isbn = 978-0-87975-847-9| last1 = Flew | first1 = Antony }}.
  • {{Citation | title = Thinking About Social Thinking | year = 1995}}.
  • Philosophical Essays (1998) edited by John Shosky
  • {{Citation | title = Education for Citizenship | series = Studies in Education | number = 10 | publisher = Institute of Economic Affairs | year = 2000}}.
  • Merely Mortal? (2000)
  • Equality in Liberty and Justice (2001) Transaction Publishers.
  • Does God Exist: The Craig-Flew Debate (2003) with William Lane Craig ({{ISBN|978-0-7546-3190-3}})
  • Social Life and Moral Judgment (2003)
  • God and Philosophy (2005) – another reprint of God and Philosophy (1966) with another new introduction
  • There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (2007) with Roy Abraham Varghese ({{ISBN|978-0-06-133529-7}})
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA, Encyclopedia article, Ronald, Hamowy, Ronald Hamowy, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, Humanism, 2008, SAGE Publications, SAGE; Cato Institute, Thousand Oaks, CA, 978-1-4129-6580-4, 750831024, 2008009151, 228–29, 10.4135/9781412965811.n140,




  • {{Citation | last = Flew | first = Antony | url=weblink |title= Flew Speaks Out: Professor Antony Flew reviews The God Delusion | publisher =Be thinking |date=1 November 2007 |accessdate= 15 Jul 2013}}

External links

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