Continuing discussion.

EPS Blog

This is the blog area for the Evangelical Philosophical Society and its journal, Philosophia Christi.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Antony Flew's trenchant response to Richard Dawkins & 'The God Delusion'

In 'Flew Speaks Out: Professor Flew Reviews The God Delusion' Professor Antony Flew responds in trenchant terms to what he calls 'that monster footnote [concerning Flew on page 82] to what I am inclined to describe as that monster book' The God Delusion (Bantam, 2006).

According to this new article by the 85 year old ex-atheist, published July 19th 2008 by UCCF's excellent apologetics website www.bethinking.org, Richard Dawkins is 'a secularist bigot'.

The fault of Dawkins as an academic, says Flew: 'was his scandalous and apparently deliberate refusal to present the doctrine which he appears to think he has refuted in its strongest form.'

Flew's 2004 announcement that at the age of 81, after a noted professional lifetime of atheism, he had come to believe in the existence of God, really set the cat among the pigeons. Ad hominem accusations of hedging his bets with respect to an afterlife that Flew (under the influence of Gilbert Ryle) still doesn't believe even theoretically possible were bandied about by ill-informed detractors such as British humanist's Roy Hattersley and Richard Dawkins. Indeed, at a recent conference on the resurrection in London, Flew stated (before a mainly Christian audience) from a platform shared with Professor Gary R. Habermas and Bishop N.T. Wright, that he didn't believe in any kind of life after death, including resurrection. Hardly the words of a man who is either hedging his bets or easily swayed by Christian friends! As Flew writes in There Is a God (Harper One, 2007): 'I do not think of myself as surviving death. For the record, then, I want to lay to rest all those rumors that have me placing Pascalian bets.' (p. 2.)

Indeed, Richard Dawkins slings several criticisms in Flew's direction within a large footnotes on page 82 of The God Delusion (Bantam, 2006), none of which deal with the substance of Flew's Deism, or the philosophical arguments that persuade him thereof. Instead, Dawkins says that in his 'old age' Flew, whom he depreciates as not being a 'great philosopher' like Bertrand Russell, has adopted belief in 'some sort of deity'. Dawkins also attacks Flew for what he calls 'his ignominious decision to accept, in 2006, the "Philip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth', for which he notes 'The awarding university is BIOLA, the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. One can't help wondering whether Flew realizes that he is being used.'

Having responded in several venues to the erroneous suggestions that his change of mind is a 'Pascalian Wager' in the face of death, and that his book There Is a God was basically written by rather than with help from Roy Abraham Varghese, Flew now responds directly to Dawkins. (By the way, I personally read the hand-typed article sent by Flew to a mutual contact at UCCF for publication, so I hope we can leave conspiracy theories where they belong.) Flew is clearly deeply upset with Dawkins, on both an academic and a personal level, and he doesn't mince words, accusing him of an 'insincerity of academic purpose.' Dawkins 'is not interested in the truth as such,' laments Flew, 'but is primarily concerned to discredit an ideological opponent by any available means.'

On receiving the Philip E. Johnson award, Flew notes that: 'Dawkins obviously assumes (but refrains from actually saying) that [being a specifically Christian institution] is incompatible with producing first class academic work in every department...' Moreover, as to the suggestion that he was 'used' by Biola, Flew clearly doesn't think the accusation worth dignifying: 'If the way I was welcomed by the students and members of faculty whom I met in my short stay at Biola amounted to being used then I can only express my regret that at the age of 85 I cannot reasonably hope for another visit to this institution.'


Recommended Reading

Antony Flew with Roy Abraham Varghese, There Is a God (Harper One, 2007)

Antony Flew, 'Flew Speaks Out: Professor Flew Reviews The God Delusion'

Gary R. Habermas & Antony Flew, 'My Prilgrimage from Atheism to Theism'

Gary R. Habermas, 'Antony Flew's Deism Revisited'

Roy Abraham Varghese, 'Letter to the Editor, Magazine, New York Times'

Benjamin Wiker, 'Exclusive Flew Interview'

Peter S. Williams, 'A Change of Mind for Antony Flew'

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Copan's Apologetics Book Reviewed by Publishers Weekly

Publisher's Weekly reviewed Paul Copan's When God Goes to Starbucks: A Guide to Everyday Apologetics (Baker Books). The is set to be released August 1st.

Here are just some of the important review remarks:

"an excellent and comprehensive resource to help Christians contend with controversial questions about their faith."

"Copan writes eloquently and respectfully on social and moral themes ..."

"... Copan does not flinch from a biblical stance and delineates each problem with exemplary thoroughness."

"Copan's skillful approach to apologetics provides ample information on hot-topic themes"


Paul was recently interviewed about whether human beings are "hard-wired for faith."

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Metaphysics articles, Pruss on choice and substances & important reviews

Articles

Huw Price, "Metaphysics after Carnap: the ghost who walks?" To appear in David Chalmers, Ryan Wassermann and David Manley, eds., Metametaphysics (OUP, 2009).

William Lycan, "Phenomenal Intentionalities."

W. Russ Payne, "What is a Law of Nature."

Toby Handfield, "The metaphysics of dispositions and causes."

Gyula Klima, "The Medieval Problem of Universals." (SEP)

Anil Gupta, "Definitions." (SEP)

Carl Hoefer, "Causal Determinism."

Peter Menzies, "Counterfactual Theories of Causation."

Blog posts

Alex Pruss, "Prediction of Choices."

_______, "Why do we need substances if presentism holds?"

_______, "Love of substances"

Reviews

Eric T. Olson, What Are We? A Study in Personal Ontology, Oxford University Press, 2007, 250pp. Reviewed by Michael O'Rourke, University of Idaho.

Lucy O'Brien, Self-Knowing Agents, Oxford University Press, 2007, 231pp. Reviewed by Robert J. Howell, Southern Methodist University.

Steven Horst, Beyond Reduction: Philosophy of Mind and Post-Reductionist Philosophy of Science, Oxford University Press, 2007, 223pp. Reviewed by D. Gene Witmer, University of Florida.

Georg Gasser (ed.), How Successful Is Naturalism?, Ontos, 2007, 300pp. Reviewed by Joseph Rouse, Wesleyan University.

Trenton Merricks, Truth and Ontology, Oxford University Press, 2007, 202pp. Reviewed by Ben Caplan, Ohio State University.

Labels: , , ,