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The Cuckoo Ones Over Flew's Nest

The New York Times 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.) Instead, The Times seeks out ways to anticipate and undermine any reports that could hurt the Darwinist cause. The New York Times, in truth, is in the news making business. Accordingly, Mark Oppenheimer apparently was dispatched by The Times magazine to debunk the new book co-authored by Antony Flew, the famous backsliding English atheist who has decided that there is a god, after all--some kind of god, anyhow, an "Aristotelian god" of the kind that inspires deism, Flew says.

Oppenheimer sat for hours, glass of water at hand and Flew's cat at side, to interrogate the gentleman, none-too-gently it seems, in his Reading, England study. The conceit that resulted in the Times Magazine this Sunday is that Flew is getting old and forgetful and may have been intellectually seduced by kindly Christians and at least one kindly Jew (the Israeli physicist Gerard Schroeder). If it is true that Flew really has changed his mind, therefore, please note that his mind is getting stale. Too bad, one is led to conclude, that the atheists were not as solicitous of him as the Christians. He might not have so completely recanted.

Oppenheimer's article, "The Turning of an Atheist", is going to be the Darwinist party line on Flew, I guess. All the strange birds of the materialist faith certainly will flap about madly now and land gratefully on it. But what is under-examined in Oppenheimer's telling is not the case for God that Flew has advanced, but rather the evidence from science that persuaded him over a number of years that Darwinian materialism cannot explain either the universe or the development of life. Flew's god account is a philosophical inference from the scientific evidence, not a scientific position, per se, and in any case it is less convincing and important than the abandonment of decades of Darwinist dogma.

Flew seems to have read a couple of DI-affiliated philosophers. But reading the Oppenheimer article, you don't see any direct references by Flew to Discovery scientists. The "intelligent design" arguments, while referenced in the Oppenheimer piece, don't seem to be key ones that Flew puts forth, at least not in exactly those words. But he does speak of "intelligence" in the universe and in biology. The religious people he has met in recent years didn't create this change in his assessment; they found out about it, however, and apparently encouraged him to publicize his views more widely.

What is sad here is not an old man's resolve to reach a new level of understanding, even as he acknowledges that the speed of his mind is slowing. What is pathetic (once again) is the manic determination of Darwinists to assail every intellectual apostate personally. Antony Flew is far more alert than his disparaging foes, and far more honest.