Philosopher and former atheist Antony Flew set the agenda for modern atheism with his 1950 essay "Theology and Falsification," which became the most widely reprinted philosophical publication of the last half century. Flew has published over thirty books, including God and Philosophy, The Presumption of Atheism, and How to Think Straight. He spent twenty years as professor of philosophy at the University of Keele and has also held positions at Oxford, the University of Aberdeen, and the University of Reading. He now lives in Reading, England.
British philosopher Flew has long been something of an evangelist for atheism, debating theologians and pastors in front of enormous crowds. In 2004, breathless news reports announced that the nonagenarian had changed his mind. This book tells why. Ironically, his arguments about the absurdity of God-talk launched a revival of philosophical theists, some of whom, like Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne, were important in Flew's recent conversion to theism. Breakthroughs in science, especially cosmology, also played a part: if the speed or mass of the electron were off just a little, no life could have evolved on this planet. Perhaps the arrogance of the "New Atheists" also emboldened him, as Flew taunts them for failing to live up to the greatness of atheists of yore. The book concludes with an appendix by New Testament scholar and Anglican bishop N.T. Wright, arguing for the coherence of Christian belief in the resurrection. Flew praises Wright, though he maintains some distance still from orthodox Christianity. The book will be most avidly embraced by traditional theists seeking argumentative ammunition. It sometimes disappoints: quoting other authorities at length, citing religion-friendly scientists for pages at a time and belaboring side issues, like the claim that Einstein was really a religious believer of sorts. (Nov.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
"A clear, accessible account of the `pilgrimage of reason' which has led Flew to a belief in God." -- John Polkinghorne, author of Belief in God in an Age of Science "Antony Flew's book will incense atheists who suppose (erroneously) that science proves there is no God." -- Ian H. Hutchinson, Professor and Head of the Dept. of Nuclear Science and Engineering, MIT "Towering and courageous... Flew's colleagues in the church of fundamentalist atheism will be scandalized." -- Francis S. Collins, New York Times bestselling author of The Language of God "A very clear and readable book tracing his path back to theism, revealing his total openness to new rational arguments." -- Richard Swinburne, author of The Existence of God "This is a remarkable book in many ways." -- Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions "This is a fascinating and very readable account ..." -- Professor John Hick, Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Research in Arts and Social Sciences, University of Birmingham "A stellar philosophical mind ponders the latest scientific results. The conclusion: a God stands behind the rationality of nature." -- Michael Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box and The Edge of Evolution "Antony Flew not only has the philosophical virtues; he has the virtues of the philosopher. Civil in argument, relentlessly reasonable...." -- Ralph McInerny, Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame "A fascinating record ...it will come as a most uncomfortable jolt to those who were once his fellow atheists." -- Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University "Flew's exposition will be a source for reflective inquiry for many, many years..." -- Daniel N. Robinson, Philosophy Department, Oxford University "Flew couldn't be more engaging and remain an analytic philosopher..." -- Booklist "In clear prose and brief chapters, Flew explains the four lines of evidence that convinced him....An intellectual conversion of great significance." -- Denver Post "The most lucid and penetrative pieces of philosophical theology to appear in years, altogether brilliant." -- The Catholic Herald "A most valuable and readable overview of the many evidential changes of landscape that 20th century science is furnishing to the oldest question in Western civilization: Is there a God?" -- American Spectator