Friday, January 11, 2008

William Lane Craig weighs in on Antony Flew book

William Lane Craig has given his account of the Roy Varghese book written for Antony Flew in an audio blog, which Richard Carrier ably dissects. Craig seems not to be interested in actually examining any of the evidence in any depth.

(Carrier's blog also had a more detailed post in response to Mark Oppenheimer's article in the New York Times Magazine last November, which agreed with Oppenheimer's analysis but provided further background detail, and he has added a 27 December 2007 update to his article on the Secular Web, "Antony Flew Considers God... Sort Of.")

18 comments:

olvlzl said...

Flew again? Let me ask you, if he was certifiably in possession of all his marbles and he decided to become a Muggletonian would it have the slightest effect on what you believe? What difference does it make?

I thought you guys held with what you consider to be evidence, I hold with people getting to judge their own experience for themselves but I'd thought we could agree on the inadvisability to resorting to citation of authority, no matter how allegedly august. I don't really care if Lady Darwin was right about what her husband said while he was dying or what Hume said. Ayer, Flew, these aren't exactly important thinkers in the matter. G. E. Moore makes a bigger impression on me and I'd never have let him decide what I believe.

Jim Lippard said...

I don't think this controversy is interesting because of Flew, but because of what it says about Varghese, Habermas, Craig, etc.

olvlzl said...

I looked at Flew's Malthus stuff this weekend. And you still want to keep him?

Now I know why he wants to be a deist, he's afraid of hell.

Jim Lippard said...

I've never said I wanted to keep him. I don't think he was a very good proponent for atheism even when he was an atheist. Again, I think this issue is of interest because of the behavior of Varghese, Hostetler, Moreland, Craig, etc., rather than because of Flew.

Dennett's The Philosophical Lexicon makes amusing definitions out of the names of famous philosophers which reflect characteristics of their work. The definition of "flew" is:

"flew, (1) n. An old-fashioned device for blowing smoke into church. 'He was so annoyed by the fitch that he stuck it up the flew.' (2) v. To glide rapidly and superficially over difficult terrain (cf. foot and randall). 'We were trying to heidegg the suppesitions in hampshire but he just flew right by.'"

olvlzl said...

Uh, Mr. Lippard. I've read Dennett also.

And you still want to keep him?

Einzige said...

I can't speak for Jim, but I, for one, have no idea what you mean by "keep him", in this context.

"Keep him" where? As what?

If you don't mind, I'll venture a guess at what you're talking about (dangerous territory when it comes to you, I know)...

It seems you impart to us a desire to belong to something, to feel part of a group, to have leaders and heroes we can worship and allow to represent us and even speak for us.

I imagine this is some kind of projection on your part. One that springs from your own collectivist proclivities. Perhaps you're incapable of fathoming a person who doesn't jump at the chance to subsume themselves into any cause or group that will have them.

If I've managed, through some stroke of dumb luck, to have understood you correctly, olvlzl, I'd like to disabuse you of this notion.

olvlzl said...

Einzige, "keeping him" was a, you know, joke?

I got the feeling that Jim Lippard got that part of it. As to the part about Malthus and Flew's position of having been an apologist by revision for that piece of scum, I figured at least he would get that too.

Daniel Dennett wasn't introduced into this thread by me. He makes Flew look wise by comparison.

olvlzl said...

Oh, almost forgot. As to "projection", I'm beginning to doubt that any of those ideas of ancient psychology had any scientific data to back up their existence, outside the fevered mind of the loons who are endemic to that "study" so I'm trying to give up the habit of using those words. Maybe that's due to having looked into Ayer recently, speaking of loons.

Jim Lippard said...

I disagree about Dennett. I haven't read Breaking the Spell, but I've read a lot of his other work and I think he's a much better philosopher than Flew, though he does often depend on "intuition pumps" over arguments. But my reference to the Philosophical Lexicon (a satirical work) was not bringing Dennett's philosophical work into the discussion.

BTW, John Lynch wrote about Flew's entry on eugenics in Prometheus' New Encyclopedia of Unbelief.

Hume's Ghost said...

Breaking the Spell is the most substantial of the so-called New Atheism books (why aren't they simply atheism books?). With the exception of A.C. Grayling's, I've read or am in the process of reading (Hitchens) all of them. Where as the others are more polemical and for a general audience, B the S is more in line with Boyer's Religion Explained and urges directing more research into understanding religion as a natural phenomenon.

Having said that, it's also somewhat dry. Hitchens is much more entertaining reading.

Jim Lippard said...

Boyer's book is also not easy reading, but excellent content.

I've also just started reading Hitchens' book, thinking that I would find it very entertaining but not necessarily well argued. So far, it's exceeded my expectations in a positive way on both--it's more entertaining and better argued than I expected.

I'll read Dennett after it's in paperback, probably won't read Dawkins without further persuasion, and my next atheism book will be Paulos' Irreligion (which I expect to be both entertaining and well-argued).

Hume's Ghost said...

Breaking the Spell is out in paperback now.

olvlzl said...

though he does often depend on "intuition pumps" over arguments.

I'd thought maybe it was drugs. He's a seriously bad philosopher, though if you can stomach Dawkins' exo-evolutionary psychology you can take anything.

Jim Lippard said...

Who do you consider to be a good philosopher?

olvlzl said...

Logicians tend to be good. Clear writers too. I've got a real soft spot for Morris Cohen.

I really meant it about Dawkins and Dennett, the assertion that Darwinism is the one and only possible means of life arising anywhere in the universe? It would make poor old Carl's job a lot harder if he couldn't make up all those stories, too bad, it would be fun to watch.

Jim Lippard said...

I take it you mean Morris R. Cohen? I was previously unfamiliar with him, despite the fact that Bertrand Russell called him "the most significant philosopher in the United States," though I'm aware of his student (and logician) Ernest Nagel.

So I take it you also like Russell, Quine, Goedel, Peirce, etc., and you already mentioned G.E. Moore in previous comment on this thread.

Jim Lippard said...

And of course, Turing...

olvlzl said...

Depends on what you're talking about with Russell and the others you named.

Turing was brilliant but I entirely disagree with the idea derived from him that machines can be said to be intelligent simply because it seems as if they are. I don't think that human perception is the measure of the universe, just the one we've got.