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Flew Flies the Coop
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So apparently, just in time for Christmas, there's this story about "famous" atheist Antony Flew (sorry, never heard of him) apparently converting:

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.

The only good explanation? Oh dear.

Is god the only good explanation for quantum behavior we don't still understand?

We still don't understand protein folding very well. Is god the only reasonable answer for how proteins get folded?

Is god the only good explanation for gravitational forces, which are still not very well understood?

We still cannot accurately predict earthquakes...does this mean god causes them?

Look, our ignorance of the universe around us dwarfs the amount of stuff that we actually do know. But the reason we do know what we do is because of those people who applied the scientific method.

The first hint of Flew's turn was a letter to the August-September issue of Britain's Philosophy Now magazine. "It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism," he wrote.

Of course it's difficult. It's a difficult problem. There are no fossils of unicellular, much less pre-cellular organisms (if we could even call such replicators "organisms"...this in itself is an interesting area of debate). The conditions under which the first replicators arose is not very well known, and therefore difficult to duplicate.

But while the problem itself is difficult, it is not difficult to "even begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory" about the origins of life. A number of people have done so. Here's the Wikipedia entry doing a great job of outlining some of them.

We don't have an established theory because the problem is so difficult, and it is still open-ended. But saying, "Oh, well I can't even imagine how it might have happened, so it must have been god"...that, my friends, is a stone-cold cop out.

Per my post from a couple of days ago, there's this bit from the story too:

Flew told The Associated Press his current ideas have some similarity with American "intelligent design" theorists, who see evidence for a guiding force in the construction of the universe. He accepts Darwinian evolution but doubts it can explain the ultimate origins of life.

This suggests, that like the Cobb County school board, Flew just doesn't have a basic grasp of evolutionary theory. He doubts it can explain the ultimate origins of life, and he's right to do so, because it doesn't attempt to explain the ultimate origins of life.

But the story appears to be making the rounds. I suppose it makes believers feel good in a "good to see the heathen finally come to his senses" sort of way.

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