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Dawkins fails to convince Flew of evolution


By rob - Posted on 29 April 2010

Flew and Dawkins. Who are they?

British philosopher, Antony Flew was once regarded as one the world’s leading atheists. Flew was a strong advocate of atheism, denying life after death and regarding the concept of God as meaningless. Flew lectured at Oxford, Aberdeen and the University of Keele for over twenty years and is the author of numerous books such as Darwinian Evolution: Social Policy and Social Theory Series (1984) and Atheistic Humanism (1993)

Richard Dawkins, an Oxford Professor and evolutionary biologist, is an outspoken critic of religious belief. He is author of the book “The God Delusion” (2006)

 Dawkin's view of the world

Dawkins explains the world we live in from a completely naturalistic philosophy.

“The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference." Richard Dawkins River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995) page 33.

According to Dawkins we are the end result of a series of undirected evolutionary chemical reactions with no ultimate meaning, purpose or hope. There is no place for the evolutionary theist in Dawkin's worldview. Evolution is completely random and undirected and has no need for God.

Dawkins fails to convince Flew

What I find interesting is that Dawkins, a leading evolutionary biologist fails to convince Antony Flew that we are here by random chance.

Antony Flew has renounced atheism and is now a theist (not a Christian theist). He is author of the book "There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind" (2007).

Science convinces Flew there is a God

What convinced Flew to renounce atheism and become a theist? This is what he says,

“I have been persuaded that it is simply out of the question that the first living matter evolved out of dead matter and then developed into an extraordinarily complicated creature.” Wavell & Iredale, "Sorry, says atheist-in-chief, I do believe in God after all," The Sunday Times, 12 December 2004

Flew become a theist because he does not believe that random undirected reactions could account for the origin of life. In an interview with Benjamin Wiker, Flew says

“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.“
http://www.tothesource.org/10_30_2007/10_30_2007.htm

Dawkins best arguments are regarded by Flew as a “comical effort”.

Gary Habermas recently asked Antony Flew, “Which arguments for God’s existence did you find most persuasive?”

Flew responded by saying “I think that the most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries. … I think that the argument to intelligent design is enormously stronger than what is was when I first meet it.”

Later on in the interview Flew says "It now seems to me that the findings of more than 50 years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.

Source: God is Great, God is Good. Why believing in God is reasonable and responsible. William Lane Craig & Chad Meister (Eds), Intervarsity Press, 2009, pages 231 and 233

The lines of argumentation that Flew found convincing for the existence of God were big bang cosmology, fine-tuning and intelligent design. All of these arguments are based upon Science!

Fining tuning argument

William Lane Craig explains the fining tuning of the universe, one of the arguments which provided evidence for Flew on the reality of God.

The initial conditions of the big bang needed for the formation of our universe are given by physicist Roger Penrose. They are

or 1  in 10 followed by 10123 successive 0's

Penrose says this number is so big that you if take the 1 and "try to put one zero on every particle in the observable universe and you would be way short."

MIssing this mark would mean there would be no stars or planets formed.

Penrose is not an Intellient Design scientist. He also is highly credibly, having published articles with Stephen Hawking on the origins of the universe.

Penrose states "There has got to be fine tuning. This is fining tuning, this is incredible precision in the organisation of the initial universe". (2009) See video.

For those readers interested in veiwing more on how cosmic fine-tuning points towards the reality of God see God: new evidence.

 

South Australia - If you can't win by debate then legislate

Christian schools in some states in Australia have the academic freedom to discuss both evolution and Intelligent Design in the Science classroom. Students have the opportunity to discuss alternative viewpoints and look at the scientific evidence for and against evolution. This is what Antony Flew did.

In South Australia however, there is a push to ban the discussion of Intelligent Design in the Science classroom of Christian schools. Evolution cannot be critically evaluated or assessed by students. Alternative views cannot be investigated. Evolution is to be taught as a fact. Students are to be taught to just accept the idea that amino acids produced in the Urey Miller experiment can somehow turn themselves into self replicating cells.  No questions or debates allowed. Nuts and bolts make up cars; therefore, amino acids just turn into complex cells. If we wait long enough, the proverbial cyclone in the junk yard will one day put together a car factory. I agree with Flew, the evidence is "comical".

The lack of scientific debate is appalling in a democratic society. If someone believes in a flat earth or a geocentric view of our solar system let's discuss the evidence. You win them over not through ridicule but through discussion based upon scientific evidence or lack of it.

To legislate that Intelligent Design cannot be taught (which means discussed) along with evolution in Christian schools in South Australia as an alternative view says it all.

The current scientific evidence doesn’t convince Antony Flew that the first cell began through naturalistic evolution by 'lucky chance.' Flew is well aware of the complexity of the cell and of DNA. All this has been shown through advancements in modern biochemistry. This complexity convinced Antony Flew that there is a God, there is an Intelligent Designer.

Sadly many atheists live in the Orwellian world of 1984. They want to direct people as to what to believe by legalisation and ridicule; ban the discussion of all opposing views; call them unscientific and block any debate. If that doesn’t work call them “earthworms” as in the recent Global Atheists Convention in Melbourne.

Who’s living in the Dark Ages?

Academic Freedom???

Academic freedom amongst scientists, educators and students should be allowed.

You don't control the viewpoints of people by legislating against them and by verbally bullying.

You give people the freedom to discuss their viewpoints based upon evidence or lack of it.

 

See also our resource section, The New Atheist's for more information.
 

Links

Fine tuning summary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guHodt-7Q7A

Multiverse or Design: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/multiverse-and-the-design-argument

 

 

There is some good info at garyhabermas.com. I think Gary is a good friend of Antony and they have had some good recorded dialogue.

Thanks for the site Jim.

See also the link to video debates and lectures by Dr Gary Habermas.

I have also recently amended the article to include extracts of an interview between Habermas and Flew.

Hi Rob. I had a very brief conversation a couple of days ago with Professor John Lennox of Oxford University (Lennox has publicly debated Richard Dawkins twice). Lennox said that he had personally chatted with Flew about 6 months ago but Flew had not become a believer in Jesus Christ, yet. Anyone reading this is asked to pray for Flew; that he might come to believe in God's only Son, Jesus Christ, before his final earthly day arrives.

Hi Rob, I only learned of the sad news of Dr Flew's death this morning. Like many, we hope he understood what Jesus has done for him, in His death, on the Cross.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/books-obituaries/7586929/Professor-Antony-Flew.html

 

Sadly, Steve when you said it's time to pray for Flew you were right.

Antony Flew died the next day, on the 8th April 2010 at the age of 87 after a long illness. His funeral was a private affair.

An atheistic world view offers no hope in death. Even the universe is caught up in it's tentacles  - the final outcome:  a dark, cold, lifeless world as a state of maxmium entopy or disorder is reached.

Flew was well aware of the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus from his Christian friends like Gary Habermas, who would also have prayed for Flew.

It is a sad occassion when anybody dies.

The Apostle Paul reminds us of our Christian hope as he explains the implications of the resurrection to the early believers at Corinth.

"Where, O death, is your victory?
 Where, O death, is your sting?"
 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57

The Christian message gives us a real hope. Those who  trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior will be raised with Him to a new life in a new world. A life where we live in harmony with our Creator in a personal relationship with Him as sons. We can walk and talk with God rather than running away and hiding from Him.

Déjà vu - the garden of Eden - restored in glory!