Press release issued today from Biola University:
Former Atheist Receives Award From Intelligent Design Community
29 March 2006
La Mirada, Calif. Ã¢â‚¬â€ British philosopher Antony Flew, once considered the most prominent defender of atheism in the English-speaking world, will accept the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth on May 11 from Biola University, a Christian university in Southern California.
Flew, 83, argued in books such as God and Philosophy (1966) and The Presumption of Atheism (1984) that one should presuppose atheism until evidence for God proves otherwise. Then, in 2004, the Oxford-educated philosopher stunned the intellectual world by relinquishing his long-held atheism, claiming that the natural sciences supplied evidence for the existence of a designing intelligence. Flew said that he simply Ã¢â‚¬Å“had to go where the evidence leads.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth was given to Flew for his lifelong commitment to free and open inquiry and to standing fast against intolerant assaults on freedom of thought and expression. Flew drew scorn from skeptics following his shift in views. When informed that he was this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s award winner, he remarked, Ã¢â‚¬Å“In light of my work and publications in this area and the criticism IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve received for changing my position, I appreciate receiving this award.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Biola University established the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth in 2004 to honor legal scholar and Berkeley law professor Phillip E. Johnson, who was the awardÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first recipient. The award recognizes JohnsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pivotal role in advancing our understanding of design in the universe by opening up informed dissent to Darwinian and materialistic theories of evolution. Flew is the second recipient of this award, which will be presented on May 11 at Biola University through the universityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Masters of Arts in Science and Religion (MASR) program.
Educated at Oxford following World War II, Flew frequented the weekly meetings of Christian scholar C. S. LewisÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Socratic Club. Unpersuaded by LewisÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s apologetic and becoming an outspoken defender of atheism, Flew nonetheless advocated the intellectual freedom of scholars of all stripes to challenge reigning orthodoxies and to ask forbidden questions.
Flew received the Oxford University Prize in Philosophy in 1947. He was a lecturer in philosophy at Christ Church, Oxford from 1949 to 1950, followed by four years as a lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, and 20 years as professor of philosophy at the University of Keele. Between 1973 and 1983 he was professor of philosophy at the University of Reading. Upon his retirement he took half-time posts from 1983 to 1985 at York University, Toronto and from 1986 to 1991 at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.