It was a dramatic moment for both atheists and non-atheists. When the eminent British philosopher and renowned atheist Antony Flew announced in 2004 that he had changed his mind, had become a deist, and now believed there was an Intelligence behind DNA, not Darwinian or Dawkinsian “cumulative selection”, believers like Jim, “Lumen de lumine”, God’s gift to this Blog, jumped with joy on to the bandwagon of “I told you so !”
Stephen Brodie, in his recent comment on this Blog, has called Jim’s bluff. Google Flew on the Net and you will see that while Flew felt forced to recognize an Intelligence behind DNA, that’s as far as he went. No Heaven or Hell, no after-life and none of the craziness of Christianity and Islam, whose Gods, he said in December 2004, “are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins”.
Flew, like many other prominent atheists including myself (I know how arrogant that sounds, Jim, and can only hope you appreciate the self-derision, not your strong point), was as impressed as we all are by the unimaginable complication and astronomical chances against the”self-organization” of DNA. Along with the vastness and complexity of the Universe, it has to be THE stumbling block for denying the existence of God, the Intelligent Designer. But in both cases, one has to ask . . . “WHY ?” Why, on earth . . . would this “Intelligence” deliberately make DNA or the Universe happen ? As far as any rational mind can see, the Universe makes no sense at all (see my multiple posts on the subject). But neither does DNA or the life that came into existence along with it. Jim, of course, will deny all this and having decided since he was a child that Catholic teaching is the Absolute Truth, whip out his Six Steps from his holster to “prove” that the Church and he are right. People more rational than he are not tempted to agree with Flew Two, precisely because what happened after the Big Bang, and much later after the appearance of DNA, is purposeless. To believe the opposite is just that : belief, faith, wanting something to be true though there is no evidence for it.
I have never bothered before this to comment on Flew’s change of mind. Now you know why neither Stephen nor Thom nor I nor several million other atheists are challenged by Flew’s decision, though we all regret he did not realize that his supposed Intelligent Designer would have to have been pretty crazy to concoct both DNA and the whole Universe for no reason whatever.