ATHEIST ANTONY FLEW CAVES IN


#1

Will anyone comment on celebrated atheist Antony Flew’s decision to renounce his atheism based on the apparent presence of design in the universe"

abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=315976


#2

A step in the right direction I suppose. At least he is entertaining the idea. As a former atheist myself, I know that is the first step in total belief of God.

The door is now open for the Holy Spirit to touch his heart.


#3

Universal creation happens on its own, but some may view that there is a universal cause of this. Deist beliefs regarding “god” vary alot. Flew’s views aren’t as changed as the artlice makes it out to be, they’re just a little. Deists could believe the cause is no longer in existance, or not. Looking at in it one perspective, Deism could be true. But in the big picture, you’ll realize this world shows no signs of intelligant design. Science explaines creation from an atheist point of view, wheather people want to vary that a little is up to them, but it makes no relevance.


#4

NEW YORK Dec 9, 2004 — A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God more or less based on scientific evidence, and says so on a video released Thursday.

At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.

Flew said he’s best labeled a deist like Thomas Jefferson, whose God was not actively involved in people’s lives. “I’m thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins,” he said. “It could be a person in the sense of a being that has intelligence and a purpose, I suppose.”


#5

[quote=Led Zeppelin75]Universal creation happens on its own, …
[/quote]

How?


#6

[quote=PaulDupre]How?
[/quote]

Theists basically point to:
(1) Whatever begins has a cause.
(2) The universe began to exist.
(3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.

You might interpet that cause as the creation.

So since God has no beginning you do not believe he had to have a cause. So I will show you how it is possible how the universe need not have had a beginning and indeed could also very well be partially outside of time. Lets take a look, shall we?

While (1) can be challenged on a number of fronts, let me just mention one rebuttal that has been made from physics. Quantum electrodynamics is a fifty-year-old theory of the interactions of electrons and photons that has made successful predictions to accuracies as great as twelve significant figures. Fundamental to that theory is the spontaneous appearance of electron-positron (anti-electron) pairs for brief periods of time, literally out of “nothing.” Thus we have a counter example to statement (1), something that begins without cause.

For this purpose, it should be adequate for me to provide a scenario in which the universe occupies both halves of the time axis. I do not feel compelled to prove that this scenario is true, just show how this is possible within the framework of existing knowledge.

My scenario is provided by inflationary big bang cosmology. Most creations and evolutionists both agree that the big bang is strongly supported by astronomical observations. Inflation remains less firmly established, but remains the only current theory that successfully explains a wide range of observations. Furthermore, the model is falsifiable, and so maintains good scientific credentials. Indeed, with the 1992 COBE observation of a 1/100,000 fluctuation in the temperature of the cosmic microwave background, inflation passed at least one risky falsification test.

Suppose the universe was at some point in time completely empty of matter, radiation, or energy of any type. It was about as nothing as nothing can be, a void. Physicists can still describe the void in terms of general relativity. It is completely flat geometrically, with space and time axes that run from minus infinity to plus infinity. Anything else and matter, radiation, or spacetime curvature would have to exist and this universe would no longer be a void.


#7

(continued)

In the absence of matter and radiation, Einstein’s equations of general relativity yield the de Sitter solution, which simply expresses the curvature of space as proportional to the cosmological constant. When the universe is flat, this term is zero and the equation then reads: 0 = 0. This denotes the void.

This is the way things would have stayed were it not for quantum mechanics, which we can also apply to an empty void. The uncertainty principle allows for the spontaneous, uncaused appearance of energy in a small region of space without violating energy conservation . If that energy appears as matter (that is, rest energy) or radiation (kinetic energy of massless particles like photons), then it will have to disappear in a short time interval to maintain energy conservation. This can be expected to happen randomly throughout the spacetime void, with no significant permanent result.

However, another possibility exists that can lead to a quite significant and permanent result. The fluctuation energy can appear instead as spacetime curvature within this tiny region, which is called a “bubble of false vacuum.” This bubble still contains no matter or radiation, but is no longer a “true vacuum” because of the curvature, as expressed by a non-zero cosmological constant. According to the de Sitter solution, the bubble will expand exponentially in what is called inflation.

The energy density is constant for a brief interval of time. As the volume of the bubble increases exponentially during that interval, the energy contained within also increases exponentially. Although the first law of thermodynamics may seem to be violated, it is not. The pressure is negative and the bubble does work on itself as it expands. By the time it has inflated to the size of a proton, in perhaps 10 42 second, the bubble contains sufficient energy to produce all the matter in the visible universe today. Frictional processes bring inflation to a halt, particle production begins, and the familiar Hubble expansion of the big bang takes over.

We can label as t = 0 the time at which the initial quantum fluctuation takes place. The expansion then proceeds on the positive side of the t-axis, as defined by the increasing entropy on that side. As first suggested a century ago, the direction of time is by definition the direction in which the entropy of the bubble universe increases.

Now, what about the negative side of the t-axis, the other half dimension? If we look at Einstein’s equations, nothing forbids an expansion in that direction as well. Physicists usually simply ignore that solution because most share prejudice, expressed above, that time “proceeds only and always forward.” But the equations of classical or quantum physics, including those of general relativity, make no fundamental distinction between the two time directions. Where that distinction appears, it is put in by hand as a boundary condition.

However, a completely time-symmetric solution of Einstein’s equations for the vacuum will give exponential inflation on both sides of the time axis, proceeding away from t = 0 where the initial quantum fluctuation was located. This implies the existence of another part of our universe, separated from our present part along the time axis. From our point of view, that part is in our deep past, exponentially deflating to the void prior to the quantum fluctuation that then grew to our current universe. However, from the point of view of an observer in the universe at that time, their future is into our past–the direction of increasing entropy on that side of the axis. They would experience a universe expanding into their future, just as we experience one expanding into our future.


#8

(continued)

Would these different parts of the universe be identical, kind of mirror images of each other? Not unless physics is completely deterministic, which we do not believe to be the case. The two parts would more likely be two very different worlds, each expanding in its own merry way, filled with all the other random events that lead to the evolution of galaxies, stars, and perhaps some totally different kind of life.

This scenario also serves to explain why we experience such a large asymmetry in time, while our basic equations do not exhibit an asymmetry at all. Fundamentally, the universe as a whole is time-symmetric, running all the way from minus eternity to plus eternity with no preferred direction, no “arrow” of time. Indeed, the whole notion of beginning is meaningless in a time-symmetric universe. And, without a beginning, the kaläm cosmological argument for a creator fails because of the failure of step (2)

I have described a scenario for an infinite, eternal, and symmetric universe that had no beginning. The quantum fluctuation occurs at one particular spatial point in an infinite void. Obviously it could have happened elsewhere in this void as well. This multiple universe scenario is exactly what is suggested by the chaotic inflationary model of Andre Linde. While multiple universes are not required to deflate the kaläm argument, they can be used to provide a scenario by which the so-called anthropic coincidences may have arisen naturally. Again, this scenario cannot be proven, just presented as a possibility that provides a non-supernatural alternative to the theistic creation. Thanks to the works of Strenger for a good portion of this…

Indeed it seems complex but again what do you expect when you talk about something as complex as the universe? It’s more than just a “big guy in the sky” anti-science assumption.


#9

[quote=Led Zeppelin75]Theists basically point to:
(1) Whatever begins has a cause.
(2) The universe began to exist.
(3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.

You might interpet that cause as the creation.

So since God has no beginning you do not believe he had to have a cause. So I will show you how it is possible how the universe need not have had a beginning and indeed could also very well be partially outside of time. Lets take a look, shall we?

.
[/quote]

Unless your name is Victor Stenger, I suggest you cite your source…
colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/Cosmo/OtherSide.html


#10

Led, you write,"While (1) can be challenged on a number of fronts, let me just mention one rebuttal that has been made from physics. Quantum electrodynamics is a fifty-year-old theory of the interactions of electrons and photons that has made successful predictions to accuracies as great as twelve significant figures. Fundamental to that theory is the spontaneous appearance of electron-positron (anti-electron) pairs for brief periods of time, literally out of “nothing.” Thus we have a counter example to statement (1), something that begins without cause.

For this purpose, it should be adequate for me to provide a scenario in which the universe occupies both halves of the time axis. I do not feel compelled to prove that this scenario is true, just show how this is possible within the framework of existing knowledge."

Go back and look at the controlled environment in which positrons seem to appear. What I am asking you is this: Let us say a known quantity of mass exists within a closed volume (such a glass tube with a 5 cm dia and length of 20 cm.) Are you going to say that new mass is spontaneously generated? Are there stipulations we must place upon this phenomenon? Are you sure that positrons do not come from a fissionable atom?:yup:


#11

Led, you write,"While (1) can be challenged on a number of fronts, let me just mention one rebuttal that has been made from physics. Quantum electrodynamics is a fifty-year-old theory of the interactions of electrons and photons that has made successful predictions to accuracies as great as twelve significant figures. Fundamental to that theory is the spontaneous appearance of electron-positron (anti-electron) pairs for brief periods of time, literally out of “nothing.” Thus we have a counter example to statement (1), something that begins without cause.

For this purpose, it should be adequate for me to provide a scenario in which the universe occupies both halves of the time axis. I do not feel compelled to prove that this scenario is true, just show how this is possible within the framework of existing knowledge."

Go back and look at the controlled environment in which positrons seem to appear. What I am asking you is this: Let us say a known quantity of mass exists within a closed volume (such a glass tube with a 5 cm dia and length of 20 cm.) Are you going to say that new mass is spontaneously generated? Are there stipulations we must place upon this phenomenon? Are you sure that positrons do not come from a fissionable atom?:yup:

The theory of atoms arising from nothing was postulated by an astrophysistist ( cannot remember his name) from Russia in the 1950s. Experiments were done all over the would with negative results - so it is not a fact…it is a theory !


#12

Recently I was rereading Bertrand Russell’s essay “Why I Am Not a Christian.” I noticed that Russell was 18 before he became an atheist. Flew was 15. I wonder if there is not a pattern for young people becoming atheists before they are mature enough to experience a more revealing and fulfilling relationship with God.

Is it the raging hormones syndrome, or what?

In any other department of knowledge (physics, biology, mathematics, etc.) we would not take too seriously the final conclusions of a 15 or 18 year old self styled expert.


#13

I cannot attest to the extent of this capitulation, but I have met and conversed with Flew twice and I found him altogether sincere and thoughtful, and not at all malicious. He cannot be described as a “crusader” (bad word choice) for atheism the way M. Murray-O’Hare was. He may well be following the evidence as he says. That quote seems altogether consistent with my conversations with him.

Chris C.


#14

chris check your pm


#15

[quote=Led Zeppelin75]Universal creation happens on its own, but some may view that there is a universal cause of this.
[/quote]

Are you implying the universe somehow “created” itself, out of nothing? You seem to give us the idea that you hold the atheist view, but from what you are saying, you in fact are attributing god-like capacity to the universe, by admitting the miracle of self-creation. Why not admit your views are pantheist, not atheist.

Gerry :slight_smile:


#16

infidels.org/library/modern/vic_stenger/otherside.html

This link has research that sounds EXACTLY like zeppelins! Or is that vice-versa?

Regardless…my opinion on the self-creating is best described (by me anyhow!), from an email joke I once received…this is not a quote, only how I remember it. It’s funny…and so true!

A scientist/atheist says I don’t need God, I can create anything with the right funding, materials and team members. Then the man proceeded to shovel some dirt into a test tube to begin his creating.

God booms in, “Hang on - get your OWN dirt.”

(somethign like that!)

:blessyou:
~Carrie


#17

Is it just me or did Led seem a trifle upset that one of their own moved over to the theist side? Methinks he doth protest to much.


#18

Being a deist is just the first step toward belief, and away from unbelief.

Gerry :slight_smile:


#19

From rationalistinternational.net/ - just to set the record straight…

“I have not changed my views”

Antony Flew informs Rationalist International

By Sanal Edamaruku

On 16th December 2004, Professor Antony Flew, British philosopher, well known rationalist, atheist and an Honorary Associate of Rationalist International, telephoned me and informed that the wild rumours about his changed views are baseless. He expressed surprise over the confusion some people have spread and asserted that his position about the belief in god remains unchanged and is the same as it was expressed in his famous speech “Theology and Falsification”. “I find no new reason to change my views”, Professor Flew said.


#20

Sanal Edamaruku

Who is he? And why, apparently, has Flew called nobody else but him?

Can you refer us to an article where Flew repudiates his so called *change of mind * that he is so surprised to hear about? If the article cited above was untrue, certainly he himself would have been the first to rush into print to repudiate it.


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