Flew, Meyer, Jones, Today

Pootergeek has a harsh word or two to say about Antony Flew on the god question.

It takes a professional philosopher to choose, of all the arguments for the existence of some kind of god, the most exquisitely wrong.

Brian Leiter is also somewhat ungentle.

His understanding of the putative “science” is not, shall we say, robust, and old age, as we know, takes its toll on people in many different ways. This is more an embarrassment for Flew than some triumph for creationism.

And The Secular Web attempts to clear up the confusion about exactly what Flew’s position is right now as opposed to last October or a year ago or August 2001.

At any rate Leiter and some of his correspondents ask an apposite question, the same one I asked with the sarky stuff about Bush and Osama and Billy all changing their minds one of these days:

Gilbert Harman (Philosophy, Princeton) observes: “What’s interesting is that there are no headlines about famous believers who become atheists, or anyway I don’t remember such headlines…” Nor do I…[W]hy is it that an alleged embrace of theism by an atheist is deemed so newsworthy, while the converse (which must surely happen) is not?

Well we know why of course. Because the hurrah-religion position has (for some godunknown reason) become the default position in the ‘mainstream’ media and discourse, therefore atheists who recant are News while theists who recant are dropped down the memory hole. Anthony Cox of Black Triangle makes the connection in a comment at Pootergeek:

The Today programme had one of these intelligent design people vs Steve Jones on this morning. You could sense his annoyance that it is even necessary to counter such rubbish these days. The reporter finished with some throw away line like “I’m sure the controversy will go on”. Controversy? 99.99% of biologists think intelligent design is nuts and the BBC managed to make it into a controversy because they “intelligently design” a 50/50 split on the Today programme?

Too right. And the ID prat (Stephen Meyer) does the vast majority of the talking, too. Why’s that? Why is Today so eager to ask him to talk and so slow to ask Jones? Why does Today keep returning to Meyer after Jones has said about twenty words, and then let Meyer go on and on? Why does Today start and end with Meyer leaving Jones only a few short replies in between? Maddening.

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