Immaterial to the Case

Fallacious arguments based on the sheer numbers of the deluded, threats of hellfire for infidels, pseudoscience, denial of science, denial that the supposed designer is God, emotional apologetic arguments, hypocritical anti-homosexual speeches by televangelists who pay for male prostitutes, cover-up of pedophilic molestation by priests, out of context quotations and misquotes, deceitful editing of videos, supposed deathbed conversions (Pascal's wager purportedly triumphs again), false claims by theists of having converted from atheism, scientists signing disclaimers against Darwinian explanations, false attributions of theistic beliefs to prominent scientists and now seduction of a confused old philosopher. The list could go on and on.

What do such things prove? Certainly nothing about the philosophical truth value of deism, theism, or atheism. Many of these acts do demonstrate something about the moral fiber (or lack thereof) exhibited by intelligent design creationists and theists.

YT link .

The latest scandal concerns the apparent usurpation of eighty-four year old Anthony Flew's failing faculties and moderately prominent name by a group of alleged scoundrels who have apparently put theistic words into this published atheist's mouth. Even if these men, through their friendship with Flew, have succeeded in changing Flew's opinion on the possibility of a deity, this proves nothing about whether or not a deity exists.

In a strategy reminiscent of gathering vultures, Flew has been contacted by a flock of religious apologists and Christian institutions.

Mark Oppenheimer makes it appear likely in his New York times article, that Christian apologist Roy Abraham Varghese (below left), assisted perhaps by Christian philosopher John Haldane (below center), and by Orthodox Jewish physicist Gerald Schroeder (below right) have taken advantage of the foundering of Flew's once considerable intellect. (Haldane and Schroeder debated Flew in a DVD entitled, “Has Science Discovered God?” The DVD ends with an infomercial for Varghese's book, “The Wonder of the World.”)

Gary Habermas has also hovered in the wings. He is a Christian apologist and professor at Liberty University (which was founded by right-wing conservative televangelist Jerry Falwell). The failing Flew was also courted by Biola University, a conservative Christian school outside Los Angeles, which awarded Flew the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth. For anyone not familiar with Johnson, he is a lawyer turned proponent of ID creationism.

Publication of "Flew's" supposed turn-around book–with Roy Abraham Varghese cited as coauthor–excited considerable suspicion that Varghese had actually written the entire book. Richard Carrier concludes of Varghese's "Flew" book:

"All this makes this book a grand and shameless lie, a clear violation of God's commandment against bearing false witness."

Varghese admits that the book was his idea, and that Varghese wrote it with the assistance of ghostwriter, Bob Hostetler, an evangelical pastor and author from Ohio. Cynthia DiTiberio, book editor at publisher HarperOne considered a ghostwriter for the project essential. Varghese claims that "Tony" (who is reportedly unaware of much of the content) OKed the book. Says Varghese:

"The only reason why people ask questions about his mental faculties is because he dared to change his mind. But let’s not forget that his new view of the world is one embraced by many of today’s leading philosophers in the Anglo-American world as well as most of the pioneers of modern science. This is the dirty little secret that the “new atheists” and their drum-beaters never talk about. It’s so much easier to shoot the messenger!"

If that is the usual caliber of Varghese's writing, I cannot imagine that the book will attract any readers but theists.

A political theist complains of Oppenheimer's article, "All the strange birds of the materialist faith certainly will flap about madly now and land gratefully on it. "

Undoubtedly! However, regardless of Flew's actual or beguiled beliefs, this proves nothing either way about the possibility of existence or nonexistence of the supernatural entity that theists refuse to relinquish to reason and evidence.

Most atheists seem to be taking a position much like mine–that it is deplorable to take advantage of an ageing man, yet that Flew's apparent 'change of mind' signifies nothing about the philosophical principles underlying the God/NoGod debate. I doubt that the perpetrators of this apparent mental embezzlement are concerned to change atheists' minds on the God question. Instead they probably expected to provide succor to offended theists who are upset at vocal questioning of their belief systems.

Dembski's Uncommon Descent blog links to an "exclusive" interview with Anthony Flew that appears on ToTheSource. I used quotes because I admit to a distrust of the honest of political theists such as the ID crowd.

The Anti-Discovery Institute came up with a misapplied title "The Cuckoo Ones Over Flew’s Nest", which attempts to distance DI from complicity by asserting, "Flew seems to have read a couple of DI-affiliated philosophers. But reading the Nickerson article, you don’t see any direct references by Flew to Discovery scientists." The author of this brief piece complains that the New York Times' editorial policy that "has not covered any news that might damage Darwinism, at least not since a writer on its Science page a few years back acknowledged that some of the standard textbook proofs employed to bolster Darwin’s theory are false. (That reporter is now in Iraq.)" Um, great news on the policy and reporters are moved around, but what does that have to do with the issue at hand? The great title is misapplied because it better describes the rather nefarious activities of the religious apologists in question.

Not surprisingly, RC apologist Denyse O'Leary informs us that anonymous friends consider the Varghese . . er, Flew . . book 'excellent'. Now, there's a deft way of reviewing a book that you haven't read!

Articles Elsewhere : Atlantic The Case of Antony Flew : Richard Carrier Antony Flew Considers God...Sort Of : Was atheist's conversion a sign of dementia? : Roy Varghese's response in There is a God, Or Is There? : Los Angeles Times Stalin was an atheist – so am I :

Blogs Elsewhere: Blog Search : Richard Carrier Antony Flew's Bogus Book : Pharyngula Roy Varghese and the exploitation of Antony Flew, Another blithering ignoramus against science: Roy Varghese, Add Lee Strobel to your list of contemptible ghouls : Daylight Atheism The Exploitation of Antony Flew : Panda's Thumb Yet More on Antony Flew’s “Conversion” : Gene Expression Of feeling, God and Anthony Flew : Metaphysician "The Turning of an Atheist" : Gruntled Center Antony Flew, Deist : Stranger Fruit Flew's Eugenic Leanings : a book review suppressed by and Antony Flew's new book in which Hallq says "I have contacts with national freethought activists, who I will ask to encourage others to boycott" : Update on Antony Flew : Antony Flew: exit, accompanied by ghost : Anthony Flew : On Antony Flew and Authority : Picking Hypotheses, and an exposé of Gerald Schroeder in Unholy Alliance : Antony Flew's new book : Anthony Flew's Conversion : I have no words : Except ye be Converted and Become as Little Children : Antony Flew: Atheist Apostate to tell all in new book? : Desperate Attempts to Promote Religion : Desperate Measures :

atheism, apologetics, atheism, deism, theism, religion, Anthony Flew,

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