One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?
by Rich Deem

No, this page is not about the 1975 movie staring Jack Nicholson. However, atheists are up in arms thinking that Professor Antony Flew has lost his mind. Flew, age 81, has been a legendary proponent and debater for atheism for decades, stating that "onus of proof [of God] must lie upon the theist."1 However, in 2004, Prof. Flew did the unheard of action of renouncing his atheism because "the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it."2 In a recent interview, Flew stated, "It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design." Flew also renounced naturalistic theories of evolution:

"It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism."3

In Flew's own words, he simply "had to go where the evidence leads."4 According to Flew, " seems to me that the case for an Aristotelian God who has the characteristics of power and also intelligence, is now much stronger than it ever was before."2 Flew also indicated that he liked arguments that proceeded from big bang cosmology. However, Antony Flew does not believe in the existence of a good God who is involved in the lives of human beings, because of the problem of evil. He ascribes very much to the God of Einstein and Spinoza, who created the universe and life on earth and left the scene. He does not believe in an afterlife.

For a man who has spent decades promoting atheism, this decision came as quite a shock to atheists and theists alike. As a former agnostic, I followed a similar path through my undergraduate studies in biology. I became a deist in 1973 after realizing that the naturalistic theories on the origin of life were not plausible. Today, the evidence against abiogenesis is much stronger than even at that time. Therefore, I believe that, at a minimum, deism is the logical choice regarding the question of God.

Read Antony Flew's new book, There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind

There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind

References Top of page

  1. Antony Flew. The Presumption of Atheism (London: Pemberton, 1976), 14.
  2. Atheist Becomes Theist: Exclusive Interview with Former Atheist Antony Flew at Biola University (PDF version).
  3. Philosophy Now magazine, August-September 2004. Reported in "Famous Atheist Now Believes in God", ABC news.
  4. Telephone conversation with Dr. Gary R. Habermas Professor Philosophy and Theology, September 9, 2004.

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Last Modified August 20, 2007


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