flew’s brain still works

{***EDIT: The review discussed below – allegedly by Antony Flew of ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins – is of uncertain origins.  I’m awaiting an email response to clarify the source.  Discerning how much Flew’s age is affecting his critical thinking is a difficult thing.  Poor memory doesn’t – automatically – mean poor logical thought.  I’ll update this when I hear more…***}

{***EDIT 2: ‘Bethinking.org’ Emailed me back with this:

Dear Dale,
Sorry for the delay replying.  This was written by Flew who wanted to get it published. Flew mentioned
it to a mutual friend, who then spoke to me – I have seen a pdf of the original manuscript and some subsequent correspondence with Flew that took place during the process of publishing it (I live some distance from the mutual friend). Other friends have seen the original.
I hope that helps,
Chris Knight
Apologetics Website Co-ordinator

I’ve thanked him and also mentioned the challenge that Flew may well have been ‘helped’ (or bypassed?) in writings such as these, and have suggested that ‘bethinking’ posts further evidence about Flew’s authorship.  To be continued?  Maybe? ***}

Antony Flew used to be an atheist – now he’s… well… a Deist (or pantheist or Spinozan or a believer in the ‘god’ of Aristotle or Einstein or… well… something…)

Swiftly, his book “There Is A God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind” (I didn’t write the sub-title – don’t blame me) was dismissed by some atheists as a ‘sad’ case of an older man losing his mental capacities, and being ‘manipulated’, etc. Some claimed that the book didn’t represent Flew’s own thoughts

Flew has written defending the authenticity of the book. Here’s a sample:

My name is on the book and it represents exactly my opinions. I would not have a book issued in my name that I do not 100 per cent agree with. I needed someone to do the actual writing because I’m 84 and that was Roy Varghese’s role. The idea that someone manipulated me because I’m old is exactly wrong. I may be old but it is hard to manipulate me. That is my book and it represents my thinking.

Further, I think his ( 2008 ) review of “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins shows well enough that his brain still works. Here’s the how it begins:

The God Delusion by the atheist writer Richard Dawkins, is remarkable in the first place for having achieved some sort of record by selling over a million copies. But what is much more remarkable than that economic achievement is that the contents – or rather lack of contents – of this book show Dawkins himself to have become what he and his fellow secularists typically believe to be an impossibility: namely, a secularist bigot. (Helpfully, my copy of The Oxford Dictionary defines a bigot as ‘an obstinate or intolerant adherent of a point of view’).

Later, he critiques Dawkins’ treatment of Einstein:

[Dawkins makes] no mention of Einstein’s most relevant report: namely, that the integrated complexity of the world of physics has led him to believe that there must be a Divine Intelligence behind it. (I myself think it obvious that if this argument is applicable to the world of physics then it must be hugely more powerful if it is applied to the immeasurably more complicated world of biology.)

The rest of the review can be found either by googling ’round the web or here… :)

(reminder: this post is not to prove theism or de-bunk atheism, but simply to highlight that –contrary to the unfortunate and somewhat insensitive quips of some atheists– Flew’s brain seems still in working order… – that, and he doesn’t appear to be too impressed with Dawkins?) :)

12 thoughts on “flew’s brain still works”

  1. “….contrary to the unfortunate and somewhat insensitive quips of some atheists– Flew’s brain seems still in working order…”

    I find the whole Anthony Flew issue very disturbing.
    It’s not about atheism but rather the way his name is being used in the light of his evident infirmity.

    The man is ill.
    He’s been manipulated by his new-found “Christian” “friends” who “helped” him write a book.
    It’s dispicable.

    The Turning of an Atheist
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/magazine/04Flew-t.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    Antony Flew’s Bogus Book
    http://richardcarrier.blogspot.com/2007/11/antony-flew-bogus-book.html

  2. Hi Cedric,
    Whilst I agree that some Christian ‘friends’ have talked about ( or ‘claimed’ ) Flew in ways which are sloppy/opportunist (at best) and/or dishonest (at worst), the point of this post was that Flew is still able to think critically – as one can see in his review ( recent – 2008 ) of Dawkins.

    What do you mean by “his evident infirmity” or “The man is ill” ???

  3. Dale, Flew is an old man in failing health.
    His mental health is in deterioration.

    People don’t bounce back from that. It’s a cronic condition that gets progressively worse.

    It’s clear that Flew didn’t write his latest book.
    It was ghost-written.

    The Christians I referred to are not anonymous commenters on the Internet but rather the ones that are “guiding his hand”. It a shameful exercise in deceit.

    This “letter”of his has zero credibilty.

    If the people could write an entire book and then “borrow” Flew’s name, then doing a letter and a review is even easier.

  4. Cedric, Flew has been in repeated correspondence with Richard Carrier and has made various nuanced clarifications of his thoughts. Sure, he’s not ‘in his prime’, but any accusations that he can’t think anymore (which you don’t seem too far from?) are just rude at this point.

  5. Dale said…”Flew has been in repeated correspondence with Richard Carrier and has made various nuanced clarifications of his thoughts.”

    Yes, exactly. It is because of that repeated correspondence, Carrier makes it clear that…

    …”Flew did not write any of it, and in fact recalls almost none of its contents.”

    …”he is clearly incapable now of even remembering what it said. The book’s actual author turns out to be an evangelical preacher named…”

    “another example of his apparent mental decline…”

    Dale said “..Sure he’s not ‘in his prime’..”

    No, I’m not talking about his age. I’m talking about his mental faculties.

    Dale continued .”..just rude at this point.”

    Nonsense.

    Flew did not write his book.

    It’s highly doubtful he even knows about the letter with his name on it.
    He is being “guided”.

    I don’t understand why you would turn a blind eye to this.
    Varghese and Hostetler should be roundly condemned.

  6. Cedric,
    Having looked around a bit, I must admit I’m quite frustrated at not being able to find the original source of The God Delusion (TGD) review (allegedly) by Flew. All arrows seem to lead back to the “bethinking.org” page – which gives no reference. Are we to assume that they are the source of the review? Possible I guess. Interestingly, both Richard (or Steven?) Carrier and the richarddawkins.net website seem to treat the review as if it were from Flew?
    I’ve emailed the ‘bethinking.org’ administrators requesting for proof/source/etc. of the Flew review of TGD – will comment here when I know anything more…

    And yes, I must admit – I hadn’t read the Times article. Oppenheimer’s description of his interview does indeed reveal his (no doubt age-related) memory problems. I’m still open to the possibility that Flew could produce something as critically-thought-out as the TGD review, in spite of his memory struggles; in other words, I don’t assume that his condition prevents him from thinking/writing anything coherent. Heck, I’m only 29 and I do better with writing/typing than from memory… But yes, I’ll wait for ‘bethinking.org’ to reply and comment here with what I find out…

  7. “…And yes, I must admit – I hadn’t read the Times article.”

    (Ah hah! Now it all makes sense.)

    Dale, thanks for double checking.
    We would not be having this exchange if Flew was able to give public interviews and appearances.

    Then it would be easy for the general public to judge for themselves if Flew was alright.

    As it is, he appears to be very isolated.
    No Net, no circle of long-term friends willing to vouch for him etc.

    Steven Hawkings or Dawkins (for example) have multiple avenues to defend their reputation in assuring the public that their books are their own.

    If we assume the worst that Flew is being exploited, then it’s all too easy to see how it could work.

    Flew doesn’t even need to be utterly helpless.
    He could be completely lucid for significant periods of the time.
    His trust in Varghese and Hostetler and his isolation leaves him wide open to manipulation.

    I’d like to believe that it isn’t true. I’d like to believe that it’s all some sort of atheist conspiracy spin.

    I’d honestly prefer Flew to ,say, reveal himself as a Moonie and in full control of his faculties rather than to have him slowly decline mentally and be used by others.

    I wouldn’t wish dementia/alzheimer’s or something similar on anybody. It’s no joking matter.

  8. Thanks Cedric – we’ll see if/when/what ‘bethinking’ emails back…

    Meanwhile, I’ll see if this Flew video can be embedded in my comment… :)

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNkxpTIbCIw&hl=en&fs=1]

    Oh well, cut-n-paste if you like…

    I don’t post it to prove anything (I have no idea when it was filmed). Just nice to see/hear the man speak.

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