Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Ignorance of Antony Flew

Flew criticises Dawkins contains this amazing statement by Antony Flew - 'In fact the first notable public appearance of the notion of Deism was in the American Revolution.'

Doesn't an Englishman like Antony Flew know that Deism was notable in England long before the American Revolution?

Antony Flew reviews The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

Antony Flew reviews The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.

Flew's review includes the following paragraphs :-

In my time at Oxford, in the years immediately succeeding the second world war, Gilbert Ryle (then Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy in the University of Oxford) published a hugely influential book The Concept of Mind. This book revealed by implication, but only by implication, that minds are not entities of a sort which could coherently be said to survive the death of those whose minds they were.

Ryle felt responsible for the smooth pursuit of philosophical teaching and the publication of the findings of philosophical research in the university and knew that, at that time, there would have been uproar if he had published his own conclusion that the very idea of a second life after death was self-contradictory and incoherent. He was content for me to do this at a later time and in another place. I told him that if I were ever invited to give one of the Gifford Lecture series my subject would be The Logic of Mortality. When I was, I did and these Lectures were first published by Blackwell (Oxford) in 1987. They are still in print from Prometheus Books (Amherst, NY).

These paragraphs are totally irrelevant to anything said in the rest of Flew's review , which can be found at Flew on the God Delusion

Flew is simply wandering nowadays.

Rather amusingly, Flew writes the following :-

'A less important point which needs to be made in this piece is that although the index of The God Delusion notes six references to Deism it provides no definition of the word 'deism’.'

The book that Roy Varghese wrote for Flew contains no definition of the word 'deism' and how it differs from theism.

Flew seems to have forgotten what is in his 'own' book...

He certainly has no idea what is in The God Delusion.

On page 18 Dawkins writes :-

'A theist believes in a supernatural intelligence who in addition to his main work of creating the universe in the first place, is still around to oversee and and influence the subsequent fate of his initial creation... A deist too believes in a supernatural intelligence, but one whose activities were confined to setting up the laws that govern the universe in the first place. The deist God never intervenes thereafter, and certainly has no specific interest in human affairs.'

Yet Flew can review the God Delusion and write that there is no definition of deism in it.

He really has gone....