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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 11/04/2007 :  20:48:18  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
... Or at least that's what they would like you to think.


Antony Flew at his home in Reading, England.

Antony Flew isn't probably the top atheist on many people's lists, if they'd heard of him at all. But, as the New York Times says of him:
His greatest contribution remains his first, a short paper from 1950 called “Theology and Falsification.” Flew was a precocious 27 when he delivered the paper at a meeting of the Socratic Club, the Oxford salon presided over by C. S. Lewis. Reprinted in dozens of anthologies, “Theology and Falsification” has become a heroic tract for committed atheists. In a masterfully terse thousand words, Flew argues that “God” is too vague a concept to be meaningful. For if God's greatness entails being invisible, intangible and inscrutable, then he can't be disproved — but nor can he be proved. Such powerful but simply stated arguments made Flew popular on the campus speaking circuit; videos from debates in the 1970s show a lanky man, his black hair professorially unkempt, vivisecting religious belief with an English public-school accent perfect for the seduction of American ears. Before the current crop of atheist crusader-authors — Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens — there was Antony Flew.
Gradually, over years, theists have been systematically working to win Flew over to God. Now, in his dottage at 84, they may have succeeded, sort of. So they now promote Flew to being the greatest atheist of all. Some quotes from a couple of the few remaining (though little known!) atheists:
“He once was a great philosopher,” Richard Dawkins, the Oxford biologist and author of “The God Delusion,” told a Virginia audience last year. “It's very sad.” Paul Kurtz of Prometheus Books says he thinks Flew is being exploited. “They're misusing him,” Kurtz says, referring to the Christians. “They're worried about atheists, and they're trying to find an atheist to be on their side.”
My thanks to PZ Myers' article for this.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.

Edited by - HalfMooner on 11/04/2007 21:04:29

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25977 Posts

Posted - 11/04/2007 :  21:11:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One of the things that most terrifies me is the possibility that, decades from now, my ability to think (or at least protect myself from predators like Varghese) will be undermined by forgetfulness and/or delerium.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 11/04/2007 :  21:18:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

One of the things that most terrifies me is the possibility that, decades from now, my ability to think (or at least protect myself from predators like Varghese) will be undermined by forgetfulness and/or delerium.
Scares me, too. After my stroke, I decided that the tough thinking and agility required at SFN was just the tonic I needed to both recover some mental ability, and to defend myself from deterioration. But poor old Flew just sits staring in his study, with no online contact. Flew's critical thinking flies, as a wake of buzzards congregates.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 11/04/2007 21:18:43
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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1265 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2007 :  09:48:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
hey maybe he's following pascal's advice

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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2007 :  09:53:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As PZ said:

Remember this every time some apologist brings up the name of Flew to argue against atheism: this is an example of the depths to which desperate Christians will sink — they will lie and take advantage of the confusion of an old man to get a trophy for their wall. Remember too that Roy Varghese is a wretched con man, as are his collaborators, Schroeder and Haldane.


Besides, even if his "conversion" were made of sound mind and body, so what? Does that mean god exist because a prominent atheist converts?

Of course not. But christian apologist use argument from authority like I use air. It isn't surprising, since that is amongst the many logical fallacies that they dine upon, like Pascal's Wager.

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
Edited by - pleco on 11/05/2007 09:59:08
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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1265 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2007 :  09:59:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Do we actually know he is in poor mental health, or are we just assuming he is because he is old?

Why would any atheist want to claim this blithering old racist as one of their own anyway?

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Maverick
Skeptic Friend

Sweden
385 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2007 :  10:00:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Maverick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

hey maybe he's following pascal's advice

And what a useless advice it is! Even if you can command yourself to believe in something completely unnecessary and unsupported, how do you know it's the right god? Of course, if you had evidence in the existence of a particular god, you wouldn't have to follow Pascal's advice at all, since you have evidence. So if the claim that a judgmental god does exist that wants you to believe in him and worship him in order to not be cast into hell is entirely unsupported, fantastical and unnecessary, then we can't believe in it strongly enough to be honest about the belief. So the belief is then fake, and surely that can't be accepted by a god who cast people into eternal torment for no real reasons. Therefore, the only way to actually and honestly believe in that sort of god, is to have evidence, and of course then it's no longer a faith, which is required in the first place...

"Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy." -- Carl Sagan
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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2007 :  10:04:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

Why would any atheist want to claim this blithering old racist as one of their own anyway?


Reference please.

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1265 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2007 :  10:11:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You dont think being vice president of a group who support apartheid and oppose free trade is racist? fair enough but I'm not taking it back.


And what a useless advice it is! Even if you can command yourself to believe in something completely unnecessary and unsupported, how do you know it's the right god? Of course, if you had evidence in the existence of a particular god, you wouldn't have to follow Pascal's advice at all, since you have evidence. So if the claim that a judgmental god does exist that wants you to believe in him and worship him in order to not be cast into hell is entirely unsupported, fantastical and unnecessary, then we can't believe in it strongly enough to be honest about the belief. So the belief is then fake, and surely that can't be accepted by a god who cast people into eternal torment for no real reasons. Therefore, the only way to actually and honestly believe in that sort of god, is to have evidence, and of course then it's no longer a faith, which is required in the first place...


Are you calling pascal a fool?

Edited by - On fire for Christ on 11/05/2007 10:12:56
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Maverick
Skeptic Friend

Sweden
385 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2007 :  10:18:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Maverick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ


And what a useless advice it is! Even if you can command yourself to believe in something completely unnecessary and unsupported, how do you know it's the right god? Of course, if you had evidence in the existence of a particular god, you wouldn't have to follow Pascal's advice at all, since you have evidence. So if the claim that a judgmental god does exist that wants you to believe in him and worship him in order to not be cast into hell is entirely unsupported, fantastical and unnecessary, then we can't believe in it strongly enough to be honest about the belief. So the belief is then fake, and surely that can't be accepted by a god who cast people into eternal torment for no real reasons. Therefore, the only way to actually and honestly believe in that sort of god, is to have evidence, and of course then it's no longer a faith, which is required in the first place...


Are you calling pascal a fool?

If you actually read my post, do you also understand it?

And no, I'm not calling Blaise Pascal a fool. That doesn't mean that the Pascal's Wager isn't foolish, though. And I'm not sure if I could explain why, in a better way than I already have.

"Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy." -- Carl Sagan
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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2007 :  10:21:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

You dont think being vice chairman of a group who support apartheid and oppose free trade is racist? fair enough but I'm not taking it back.


You read the next sentence? Or you just picked out what you wanted? Here is the whole statement from Wiki:

Flew has a long history of involvement in "ultra-conservative" politics. In the late 1980s he became an active vice-president of the Western Goals Institute, an interest group opposed to immigration and free trade, and supportive of apartheid. Flew was also a committee member of Majority Rights, alongside Ray Honeyford and Tim Janman, M.P. Antony Flew has never supported apartheid or protectionism, indeed he has always opposed both. [citation needed]


from the discussion page:

I have met Antony Flew many times over the years and read most of his published writings. So I was rather surprised to learn, from the wikipedia article, that he was a supporter of apartheid and protectionism. These charges are false, and I have thought hard about what they could be based on.

It is true that Antony Flew was never a supporter of the A.N.C. (which has been in power for 13 years in South Africa) and was (in the 1980's and before) very critical indeed of its communist wing. However, this is hardly the same thing as being a supporter of apartheid. As for protectionism, how an old free trader like Antony Flew could be accused of protectionism is beyond me.


OFFC, can you find a direct quote from Antony Flew about supporting apartheid or being racist?

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1265 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2007 :  10:29:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
yeah i saw the 'citation needed' part on the wiki page too... basically if it says that, it isn't worth the pixels it's being displayed on.

Let me see hmm he was VICE PRESIDENT of a group that supported apartheid and opposed free trade. Yet he personally was against those ideas. Sounds a bit like he absolutely failed to have any impact in a group he was VICE PRESIDENT of, or maybe, didn't even try. Perhaps he was trying to have his cake AND eat it.


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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2007 :  11:01:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Why would any atheist want to claim this blithering old racist as one of their own anyway?


Because of something we all hold dear that you don't yet seem to grasp about us. We like the truth and even if it goes against something we believe in we have to accept it. Another thing is that we (agnostics/atheists) dont really consider ourselves to be a group in same sense that a Protestant would identify with a Catholic as a group, so one atheist doing something stupid doesnt really register on our radars most of the time. Its also the same reason I dont mind being associated with Hitler based solely on my skin color.

Edit: P.S. Its the sub-groups of atheism where we begin to identify with eachother. Skeptics, Bhuddists, Nilhilsts, Plain ol atheists, Voodoo practictioners, Sun cults, Idiot vampire wanna-bes, etc. don't nessisarily have anything to do with eachother. Many of us detest other groups of atheists just as Christians infight amongst eachother.

"Why couldnt he have chosen a mainstream religion, like Oprahism..or Voodoo?" -The Professor

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
Edited by - BigPapaSmurf on 11/05/2007 11:10:43
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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1265 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2007 :  11:10:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Truth about what though. It seems like you care more about his religious perspective than his radical political agenda.

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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2007 :  11:13:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I dont care one iota if he beame a Christian, but I want truthful information, which seems hard to come by at the moment.

Personally I dont know this guy at all nor do I care about him.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2007 :  11:55:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I personally think his rightist political affiliations, along with his denial of some of them, suggest that Flew may have had general problems with cognitive dissonance for many years. But one important point is that atheism and one's position on the political spectrum can be completely separate things. The right or wrong of each can be argued independently.

Adolf Hitler may have had perfectly sound reasons for being a vegetarian. But they probably had nothing at all to do with his politics or racism.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 11/05/2007 12:02:34
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