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Antony Flew's conversion

The philosopher Antony Flew has recently caused a sensation in atheist circles by announcing his conversion to belief in God. You can read an interview with him on this subject here.

Actually, this interview makes it clear that it isn't actually theism that Flew has adopted, but rather deism, in the manner of people like Thomas Jefferson. Deism, unlike theism, rejects revealed religion; it is more in the school of thought that views God as pressing the button to start the Big Bang and then leaving things to take their course without further input from him.

Flew apparently has been moved to take this step largely as a result of his contemplation of the mystery of DNA. This seems to him to be such an incredible molecule that only something like Divine intervention could explain its origin.

I suppose that Flew's basis for belief (DNA is so improbable that it must be God what done it) is quite reminiscent of what Richard Dawkins rather nicely calls the Argument from Personal Incredulity. More formally, it is a version of the Argument to Design. I must go back and read David Hume on this.

Of course, even if the argument is thought to be valid, it certainly doesn't go very far towards supporting the existence of the Judaeo-Christian God. If anything, it might fit better with the notion of a Platonic demiurge: a being that imposed some sort of form on the Universe without claiming to be omnipotent.

In modern dress, this comes close to the suggestion that this world is a virtual reality constructed by super-intelligent beings elsewhere in a different space or even time. See my article How to tell if you live in a simulation.


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