Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Antony Flew: Is he too old to believe in God?

I see where HarperOne’s Mark Tauber is defending Antony Flew - as well he should.

Flew, after 50 years of atheism, decided that there really is a God, on account of intelligent design of the universe - a very unpopular premise with the Manhattan cocktail set, I hear. Soberer souls may beg to differ.

Basically, in an attempt to discredit Flew, the New York Times’s Mark Oppenheimer implied in a recent article that Flew, 84, is senile, and the victim of fundamentalists. (Flew wrote the book “with” Roy Varghese - a practice I disapprove of but can’t stop.)

Flew himself replied, saying,
"My name is on the book and it represents exactly my opinions. I would not have a book issued in my name that I do not 100 percent agree with. I needed someone to do the actual writing because I'm 84 and that was Roy Varghese's role. The idea that someone manipulated me because I'm old is exactly wrong. I may be old but it is hard to manipulate me. This is my book and it represents my thinking."

Haarper One’s Mark Tauber commented:
"We were pretty upset and frustrated by the piece," HarperOne publisher Mark Tauber told RBL. "It's one thing to review, question and debate the arguments of a book, but Oppenheimer didn't do that—he went after the integrity of our author and our integrity. It seems like he just saw this as an opportunity to make a name for himself, and it was out of line." The 84-year-old Flew has nominal aphasia—a condition that affects his ability to remember names—said Tauber, "but Oppenheimer made the leap from that to senility and then implied that Flew didn't write the book." Tauber pointed out that ghost-writing is a ubiquitous practice in publishing, and said that Flew had thoroughly reviewed the manuscript and signed off on it as accurately representing his views.

Here’s an interesting take by Christine Rosen on what sounds convincing and what doesn’t, in today’s culture.

Note: HarperOne is also the publisher of The Spiritual Brain. For the record, Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary (me) really did all the work, just as is stated at the Amazon site.

Not that any reasonable person would doubt it, of course. It certainly sounds like us. If you read carefully, you can even hear the Ontario (me) and Quebecois (him) accents, as we explain why the mind is immaterial and not the same thing as the brain. By the time you finish the book, you will need to shake yourself to remind yourself that you are not, after all, a Canadian - but we are right all the same about the mind and the brain!

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