Stranger Fruit

The Flew Maneuver

Once again, ID supporters are being a little economical with the truth. Over at Uncommon Descent, Dembski posts an op-ed by Stephen Meyer in the Daily Telegraph (28/1/06). Meyer sets the scene with:

In 2004, the distinguished philosopher Antony Flew of the University of Reading made worldwide news when he repudiated a lifelong commitment to atheism and affirmed the reality of some kind of a creator [see here]. Flew cited evidence of intelligent design in DNA and the arguments of “American [intelligent] design theorists” as important reasons for this shift.

And ends with:

Nevertheless, [ID] must also be evaluated on the basis of the evidence, not philosophical preferences. As Professor Flew advises: “We must follow the evidence, wherever it leads.”

Meyer isn’t the only IDist who is using Flew in this way. For example, Tom Bethell made the “Flew Maneuver” in the Washington Times last December.

So an atheist become a deist (not a theist as Meyer appears to imply) because of the “evidence” leading him to that stance. So what? More importantly, what Meyer doesn’t tell the readers is that Flew quickly (Dec 2004)changed his mind about ID an explanation:

I now realize that I have made a fool of myself by believing that there were no presentable theories of the development of inanimate matter up to the first living creature capable of reproduction.

As Flew admits, his “conversion” came from a lack of knowledge of the current state of affairs regarding biology & physics – a grossly incomplete examination of the evidence. In short, we have a philosopher commenting from a position of admitted ignorance on scientific matters and Meyer and other IDists have the chutzpa to regurgitate his “conversion” as supporting their stance. Then again, this should not surprise – ID is little more than an argument from scientific ignorance.


  1. #1 sdanielmorgan
    January 29, 2006

    The DI just recently misused Flew, and I called them on it.

    I think that maneuvers like this support my hypothesis that ID, creationism, and much of biblical apologetics is about validating unsubstantiated beliefs using whatever means necessary.

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