All of my research has led me to the aforementioned Antony Flew, who
recently attracted considerable media attention when he renounced
atheism and further acknowledged he was warming to the theory of
As far as I can tell, Flew is the person you're seeking. (Though,
again, it may well be Fred Hoyle, whose work and beliefs were summed
up in brix24-ga's excellent "Comment".)
Flew is an 82-year-old philosopher (now professor emeritus at Reading
University), and has been a world-renowned, highly influential atheist
He may well be the person you're thinking of, as he made headlines
late last year when he revealed he now believes it is likely God does
exist; and that evolution alone cannot account for the creation of
It's important to note that in researching Flew, one constantly
encounters this 2001 statement from Flew: "Sorry to Disappoint, but
I'm Still an Atheist!"
You can read the essay at Butterflies & Wheels:
Here's a key passage:
"We negative atheists are bound to see the Big Bang cosmology as
requiring a physical explanation; and that one which, in the nature of
the case, may nevertheless be forever inaccessible to human beings.
But believers may, equally reasonably, welcome the Big Bang cosmology
as tending to confirm their prior belief that 'in the beginning' the
Universe was created by God."
But in 2004, Flew made a dramatic announcement: he'd concluded God may
well exist; and that evolution alone cannot account for the creation
On December 9, 2004, several major news organizations, including:
And ABC News.com:
Posted AP reporter Richard Ostling's story concerning a new
documentary "Has Science Discovered God?" in which Flew stated that
DNA research "has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the
arrangements which are needed to produce [life], that intelligence
must have been involved."
Flew's startling conversion even earned a mention in Jay Leno's
monologue: "Of course he believes in God now. He's 81 years old."
(Christianity Today, April 2005.)
While Flew hasn't completely refuted Darwinism, he believes what is
now being called intelligent design is also valid.
(Just to clarify: though Flew now believes God exists -- or that He
*may* exist -- Flew is a self-described deist; that is, he believes
God is a "minimal God": a grand but distant architect who doesn't
influence or interfere in daily life. Flew also continues to maintain
there isn't any such thing as life after death.)
Here are some articles and interviews about Flew's surprising,
"Thinking Straighter. Why the world's most famous atheist now believes
in God," by James A. Beverley (a former student of Flew's).
Christianity Today. April 8, 2005:
"Flew's U-turn on God lies in a far more significant reality. It is
about evidence. 'Since the beginning of my philosophical life I have
followed the policy of Plato's Socrates: We must follow the argument
wherever it leads.'
" . . . The Impact of Evangelical Scholars
Actually, Flew has been rethinking the arguments for a Designer for
several years. When I saw him in London in the spring of 2003, he told
me he was still an atheist but was impressed by Intelligent Design
theorists. By early 2004 he had made the move to deism. Surprisingly,
he gives first place to Aristotle in having the most significant
impact on him. 'I was not a specialist on Aristotle, so I was reading
parts of his philosophy for the first time.' He was aided in this by
"The Rediscovery of Wisdom," a work on Aristotle by David Conway, one
of Flew's former students.
"Flew also cites the influence of Gerald Schroeder, an Israeli
physicist, and Roy Abraham Varghese, author of The Wonder of the World
and an Eastern Rite Catholic. Flew appeared with both scientists at a
New York symposium last May where he acknowledged his changed
conviction about the necessity for a Creator. In the broader picture,
both Varghese and Schroeder, author of The Hidden Face of God, argue
from the fine-tuning of the universe that it is impossible to explain
the origin of life without God. This forms the substance of what led
Flew to move away from Darwinian naturalism."
"Famed atheist sees evidence for God, cites recent discoveries," by
David Roach of BP News, posted at the Christian Examiner. (May 2005.)
?'I think that the most impressive arguments for God?s existence are
those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries,? Flew said.
?. . . I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously
stronger than it was when I first met it.?
"Although many atheists appeal to naturalistic evolution as a method
by which the world could have come into existence apart from God,
Charles Darwin himself acknowledged that the process of evolution
requires a creator to start the process, Flew said."
Much of the Christian Examiner story is based on Flew's extensive
interview with Dr. Gary R. Habermas, which was published in the Winter
2004 edition of the journal Philosophia Christi, posted at this Biola
"FLEW: ". . . Darwin himself, in the fourteenth chapter of "The
Origin of Species," pointed out that his whole argument began with a
being which already possessed reproductive powers. This is the
creature the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of
evolution must give some account. Darwin himself was well aware that
he had not produced such an account. It now seems to me that the
findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided
materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.' "
More of Flew's Thoughts on Darwin:
"Letter from Antony Flew on Darwinism and Theology," published in the
"Letters To the Editor" section of Philosophy Now, Issue 47,
August/September 2004: http://www.philosophynow.org/issue47/47flew.htm
Flew wrote his letter in response to the article "The Alleged
Fallacies of Evolutionary Theory," by Massimo Pigliucci, published in
Issue 46 of Philosophy Now.
Flew wrote: "Probably Darwin himself believed that life was
miraculously breathed into that primordial form of not always
consistently reproducing life by God, though not the revealed God of
then contemporary Christianity, who had predestined so many of
Darwin?s friends and family to an eternity of extreme torture.
"But the evidential situation of natural (as opposed to revealed)
theology has been transformed in the more than fifty years since
Watson and Crick won the Nobel Prize for their discovery of the double
helix structure of DNA. It has become inordinately difficult even to
begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the
evolution of that first reproducing organism.
". . . Anyone who should happen to want to know what I myself now
believe will have to wait until the publication, promised for early
2005, by Prometheus of Amherst, NY of the final edition of my 'God and
Flew expanded on his changed views in this December 19, 2004,
interview with the Sunday Times of London:
"In the beginning there was something. His atheist chums aren?t happy,
but Antony Flew tells Stuart Wavell why he now thinks there was a
higher power at work in the creation of the universe":
From page 2: " . . . Flew?s recent enlightenment [wasn't]
philosophical but scientific. His doubts began when he read the last
chapter of Darwin?s "Origin of Species," which suggests all organic
beings on Earth had descended from one 'primordial' form. 'Darwin saw
that there was a problem with the origin of life,' [Flew] says. 'It
had to begin with a creature capable of producing creatures that are
not always identical to their parents. It is simply out of the
question that the first living matter evolved out of dead matter and
then developed into an extraordinary, complicated creature of which we
have no examples. There must have been some intelligence.' ?
"The clincher that persuaded Flew there may be a God is the elegance
and complexity of DNA. He was impressed with the arguments of Gerard
Schroeder, a Jewish theologian, physicist and author of The Hidden
Face of God: How Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth. 'He pointed out
the improbable statistics involved and the pure chances that have to
occur. It?s simply not on to think this could occur simply by
You may be interested in Schroeder's "The Hidden Face of God."
(Publisher: Free Press April 30, 2002.) You can read a synopsis,
reviews, and (after you register) even read excerpts from the book at
Yet Another "U-Turn"?
Secular Web's Infidels.org maintains an index of some of Flew's most notable works:
The site also catalogues private correspondence between Flew and one
of his former students, Richard Carrier. In this conversation, Flew
expands on his new beliefs:
Flew tells Carrier "'My one and only piece of relevant evidence [for
an Aristotelian God] is the apparent impossibility of providing a
naturalistic theory of the origin from DNA of the first reproducing
species ... [In fact] the only reason which I have for beginning to
think of believing in a First Cause god is the impossibility of
providing a naturalistic account of the origin of the first
Carrier notes: "[Flew] cites, in fact, the improbability arguments of
Schroeder, which I have refuted online, and the entire argument to the
impossibility of natural biogenesis I have refuted in Biology &
Scroll down to "Update (January 2005)." Here, Carrier reports yet
another twist in Flew's thinking, as Flew's continued correspondence
with Carrier suddenly suggests Flew seems to be doubling back:
Flew: "'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
"[Flew] blames his error on being 'misled' by Richard Dawkins
[renowned evolutionary biologist] because Dawkins 'has never been
reported as referring to any promising work on the production of a
theory of the development of living matter,' even though this is false
(e.g., Richard Dawkins and L. D. Hurst, "Evolutionary Chemistry: Life
in a Test Tube," Nature 357: pp. 198-199, 21 May 1992 . . . ."
Carrier also reports: "Flew also makes another admission that suggests
he is recanting his new stance: 'I have been mistaught (sic) by Gerald
Schroeder.' He says 'it was precisely because he appeared to be so
well qualified as a physicist (which I am not) that I was never
inclined to question what he said about physics.' Apart from his
unreasonable plan of trusting a physicist on the subject of
biochemistry (after all, the relevant field is biochemistry, not
physics--yet it would seem Flew does not recognize the difference),
this attitude seems to pervade Flew's method of truthseeking, of
looking to a single author for authoritative information and never
checking their claims . . . ."
Flew is a philosopher, not a scientist, which is what makes him so
vulnerable to attack. (If you run the query "Antony Flew," you'll find
many articles and comments -- including the critical comments I just
cited from Flew's devotee Richard Carrier -- assailing Flew on the
basis of his -- allegedly -- poor grasp of science.)
Flew's recent comments to Carrier, suggesting he now has doubts about
the material on which he based his revised version of "God and
Philosophy," will no doubt lead to even more criticism.
What's truly bizarre is that Flew made critical comments about
Schroeder to Carrier on December 29, 2004; a mere ten days after
Flew's interview with the Sunday Times of London Review, in which he'd
Here is Flew's biography at Wikipedia:
Scroll down the page to "Works" to see a full listing of Flew's books
and landmark essays.
In my first post to you, I'd mentioned that I was finding frequent
references to Darwin's renunciation of his own theory while on his
The legend that Darwin renounced his own theory while on his deathbed
is almost certainly false.
"Did Darwin recant?" by Russell M. Grigg, first published in Creation,
Dec. 1995 (Volume 18, Issue 1), and now posted at Answers In Genesis.
Grigg's article provides solid, footnoted evidence of the probable
(and highly dubious) source of this apparently phony legend:
scientist renounced evolution on deathbed
scientist AND challenged OR renounced AND evolution OR Big Bang
scientist recants Big Bang
I hope my research is of help to you. If you need help navigating any
of the above links, or if have any further questions, please post a
"Request For Clarification," and I will assist you.
Google Answers Researcher