- Category: Religion: Posted on: November 4, 2007 1:10 PM, by PZ Myers
- I have not been shy about my contempt for the crackpot, Roy Varghese (See Link (Defunct)) — he's one of those undeservedly lucky computer consultants who struck it rich and is now using his money to endorse religion. He's a god-soaked loon who pretends to be a scientific authority, yet he falls for the claim that bumblebees can't fly and therefore their flight is evidence for a god. Really. He's that deluded.
- I've been too kind, however. You must read this New York Times article, The Turning of an Atheist (See Link (Defunct)), in which it turns out that Varghese is also a contemptible manipulator.
- It's the story of Antony Flew, the former atheist philosopher who rejected Christianity, but has since been dragged back into the limelight as a convert. It is not a story of an intellectual decision, but a sad tale of an aging, fading scholar who has lost almost all of his acuity and is severely memory-impaired, who is being manipulated and used as a pawn by a team of frauds and apologists for religion and creationism: Varghese, Gerald Schroeder, and John Haldane, Liberty University, and Biola University.
- There's a tragedy here, the decline of Antony Flew. The author2 visited him to quiz him on the content of the latest book credited to Flew.
- In There Is a God, Flew quotes extensively from a conversation he had with Leftow, a professor at Oxford. So I asked Flew, "Do you know Brian Leftow?"
"No," he said. "I don't think I do."
- "Do you know the work of the philosopher John Leslie?" Leslie is discussed extensively in the book.
Flew paused, seeming unsure. "I think he's quite good." But he said he did not remember the specifics of Leslie's work.
- "Have you ever run across the philosopher Paul Davies?" In his book, Flew calls Paul Davies "arguably the most influential contemporary expositor of modern science."
"I'm afraid this is a spectacle of my not remembering!"
- He said this with a laugh. When we began the interview, he warned me, with merry self-deprecation, that he suffers from "nominal aphasia3," or the inability to reproduce names. But he forgot more than names. He didn't remember talking with Paul Kurtz about his introduction to God and Philosophy just two years ago. There were words in his book, like "abiogenesis," that now he could not define.
- When I asked about Gary Habermas, who told me that he and Flew had been friends for 22 years and exchanged "dozens" of letters, Flew said, "He and I met at a debate, I think."
- I pointed out to him that in his earlier philosophical work he argued that the mere concept of God was incoherent, so if he was now a theist, he must reject huge chunks of his old philosophy. "Yes, maybe there's a major inconsistency there," he said, seeming grateful for my insight.
- Flew has, sadly, lost it. He's an old man being used as a figurehead for a callous Christianity, to endorse ignorance. And they even admit it! The new book is "Flew (Anthony) & Varghese (Roy Abraham) - There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind", and the authorship is credited to Antony Flew and the despicable Roy Varghese (it doesn't actually say "despicable" in the byline, but maybe the publisher should insert the word real quick.)
- When I asked Varghese, he freely admitted that the book was his idea and that he had done all the original writing for it. But he made the book sound like more of a joint effort — slightly more, anyway.
"There was stuff he had written before, and some of that was adapted to this," Varghese said. "There is stuff he'd written to me in correspondence, and I organized a lot of it. And I had interviews with him. So those three elements went into it. Oh, and I exposed him to certain authors and got his views on them. We pulled it together. And then to make it more reader-friendly, HarperCollins had a more popular author go through it."
- Don't buy the book. Remember this every time some apologist brings up the name of Flew to argue against atheism: this is an example of the depths to which desperate Christians will sink — they will lie and take advantage of the confusion of an old man to get a trophy for their wall. Remember too that Roy Varghese is a wretched con man, as are his collaborators, Schroeder and Haldane.
Footnote 2: Ie. P.Z. Myers, presumably.
- But follow Link (Defunct) for one reader’s comments, and extensive (then) recent quotation from Flew that imply more intellectual life than Myers suggest.
- It is unfortunate that Myers’ quotations of his conversations with Flew (and Varghese for that matter) are anecdotal and cannot really be authenticated.
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