THINKING ABOUT THINKING? ... THINK AGAIN!
Had he said that he was now convinced that there was alien life in the universe, none would have challenged him and few would have taken notice (even though there is not a scrap of evidence to support the conclusion).
Had he said he thought there were solid evidences to support the workings of the law of Karma in human affairs, few would have challenged him, though a handful might have commented on his conclusions (with benevolence).
Had he even intimated that he now suspected man might be more than a material being, possibly being possessed of a spirit that could survive the life of the body, some would doubtless have cautioned the direction that his conclusions were tending and many might even have tried to correct him with argument and reason (with due deference).
But he didn't say any of those things. What he said was, that he was now of the opinion that there was a God. Worse yet, he credited the argument from design with tipping the scales in favour of this conclusion.
That did it!
The Flew Flap was on - and it continues, unabated, in the press, in the Universities, on the Internet. Anthony Flew, the celebrated, almost revered atheist professor, author, logician, philospher, speaker and debater, on several continents, for several decades, has considered the evidence and changed his mind about something - and thousands of people can not keep silence, can not abide such ... well ... thinking.
If you thought that atheists were 'free' thinkers, think again. If you thought that atheists respected the independence of an individual to draw warranted conclusions from the best evidence, think again. If you thought that atheists could tolerate one of their own icons coming to a different conclusion and 'converting' in the honesty and integrity of his own mind - think again! Islam has no corner on religious intolerance when it comes to conversions.
The fatwah is in the fire for Mr. Flew; open season has been declared, not on his conclusions - on him!
Not only impolitic and impolite commentary is being slung recklessly into the fray in the apparently desperate effort to staunch the bleeding that this departure represents: "senility" (mental incompetence) has been intimated over and over; "an old codger hedging his bets" has appeared in numerous analyses, sometimes sarcastically, sometimes with acceptance, much as one would accept Pascal's Wager or fire insurance as rational or at least, defensible. His philosophy credentials themselves (of all things!) have been challenged by obvious lightweights in the field and his scientific competence has been ridiculed mercilessly.
There's nae quarter bein' gien tae th' auld grey heid.
Christian commentators (Ankerberg/Habermas), while not applauding Mr. Flew's prior positions, always seemed to honour his accomplishments and treat him with respect whenever they met in debate with this formidable opponent and, to date, there has been no unseemly gloating or even rejoicing in Christendom over his new-found faith. The Flew conversion is not to Christianity, afterall; it is merely a simple acknowledgement that the complexity of life yields to only one, satisfactory, causal explanation: intelligence! Flew refers to himself as a 'Deist' now - one who accepts that there is a God but does not have an 'orthodoxy' to promote or to defend.
The conclusion is not that radical, given the compounding of compelling evidences for the life engine's 'irreducible complexity' at microsopic levels - evidences that have been inundating the sciences for the past couple of decades or so - but just the thought of it is as frightening and intolerable to the ramparts of atheism as a breach of the sea at the Zuiderzee.
One of the world's most respected thinkers has considered some persuasive new evidence, incorporated it into his world view and adjusted a long-held personal belief - an alien proposition for some, obviously.