Catholic World News News Feature

Famed atheist concedes: evidence points to God December 10, 2004

Antony Flew, the British scholar who for years has been the world's most noteworthy philosophical proponent of atheism, has conceded that scientific evidence points to the existence of God.

Flew-- a prolific writer and energetic lecturer who has advanced atheist arguments throughout his long academic career-- made his dramatic concession in a video presentation on scientific evidence for the existence of God. In the video-- based on a conference held in New York in May of this year-- Flew said that the latest biological research "has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved."

Early this year, writing in Philosophy Now magazine, Flew had indicated that his commitment to atheism was wavering. He wrote: "It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism."

Flew credited a Texas Catholic, Roy Varghese, with helping to persuade him that biological research points to the workings of an intelligent creator. Varghese, the author of The Wonder of the World , organized the May conference at which Flew first questioned his own atheistic position, and produced the video in which the 81-year-old scholar abandoned that stance.

Flew-- whose 1984 essay, "The Presumption of Atheism," fixed his place as the leading proponent of that view-- emphasizes that he has not accepted Christianity. He said: "I'm thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian, and far and away from the God of Islam." He likened his current position to the deism of Thomas Jefferson, explaining that he is now sympathetic to the researchers who theorize about an "intelligent design" in the working of creation.

Antony Flew conceded that many of his philosophical followers will be shocked by his announcement. But he told Associated Press: "My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato's Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads."