Anthony Flew, and the Message


Stunning the intellectual elite, Anthony Flew turned on the validity of evolution.

In an Associated Press article in 2004 entitled “Famous Atheist Believes in God: One of the World’s Leading Atheists Now Believes in God”, goes on to report, “A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God more or less based on scientific evidence.”

In his latest and last book, There is a God, How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, Flew chroniclizes his role in the atheist movement during the twentieth century in 2007.

While atheism was floundering to develop a systematic logic in the wake of the Age of Enlightenment earlier thinkers like David Hume and Friedrich Nietzsche in the mid-century, Flew developed a systematic and comprehensive exposition of atheism to spur the atheist movement through to the end of the twentieth century.

It was a short paper, “Theology and Falsification”, presented to the Socratic Club at Oxford University, and published in 1950 that launched Flem’s career as an atheist. In a little more than 1,000 words, the paper powerfully argued that the idea of God is philosophically meaningless, since it cannot be falsified.

At the Socratic Club weekly meetings, Flew was noted for engaging in spirited debates with C. S. Lewis, the renowned Christian apologist.

With over thirty books, Flew out published all rival atheist, including Richard Dawkins with only ten publications.

Ironically, in part, Richard Dawkins’ deductive logic in The Selfish Genes edged Flew to the tipping point. Dawkins had gone beyond the bounds of science and into myth building, as had Ernst Haeckel during the ninteenth century. Flew notes, “Richard Dawkins’s The Selfish Genes was a major exercise in popular mystification.” The history of evolution follows a legacy of fruad.

While Dawkins contends, “We are all the choiceless creatures of our genes… we, and all other animals, are machines created by our genes”, Flew counters, “Genes, as we have seen, do not and cannot necessitate our conduct.” The mere assimilation of molecules is not the essence of life.

In following Plato’s dictum, “we must follow the argument wherever it leads”, Flew after decades of arguing against the existence of God followed the scientific developments of the late twentieth century demonstrating the existence of God.

Flew explains: “Science spotlights three dimensions of nature that point to the existence of God:  first, “nature obeys laws,” second, life is “intelligently organized and purpose-driven”, and third “the very existence of life.”

Eventually Flew, like Charles Darwin, rejected atheism. “Since the mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us,” Darwin explains, “I for one must be content to remain an agnostic”. Flew agrees: “The origin of life cannot be explained if you start with matter alone”.

Like Flew and Darwin, Albert Einstein was not an atheist, either: “I’m not an atheist.” In fact, Einstein was passionate “to know how God created this world… I want to know his thoughts, the rest are details”. Einstein was driven to discover the laws of nature designed by God.

Like Darwin and Einstein, however, Flew never really got the Message, either. William Grimes, writing for the New York Times in 2010, records, “Mr. Flew, the son of a Methodist minister, embraced atheism as a teenager. ‘It just seemed flatly inconsistent to say that the universe was created by an omnipotent and perfectly good being,’ he told The Sunday Times of London in 2004. ‘Yet there were evils in abundance which could not be put down to a consequence of human sin.’”

As a teenager, apparently Flew was not aware that the “evils in abundance” were the direct result of The Fall of Adam: sin—not an act of God.

Whether Darwin, Einstein, or Flew finally discovered the complete Message in their final months, weeks or days will be known, soon. Flew died on 8 April 2010.

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Darwin, Then and Now is a journey through the most amazing story in the history of science - the history of evolution. The book encapsulates who Darwin was, what he said, and what scientists have discovered since the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859.

With over 1,000 references, Darwin Then and Now is a historical chronicle of the rise and fall of the once popular theory of biological evolution.