New Blog: the Ex-Apologist

LINK

This blog is described as being “Dedicated to fair exposition and critique of Christianity and Christian apologetics.” The anonymous author provides the following profile: “I’m currently in the late stages of a PhD program in Philosophy. I was a Christian and an “apologetics nerd” for 15 years, but deconverted at the end of 2005. ” Topics of previous posts include the fine-tuning argument, empirical case for the accuracy of the New Testament, Divine Command Theories, Free Will Defense, kalam cosmological argument, and more!

About Jeffery Jay Lowder

Jeffery Jay Lowder is President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., which he co-founded in 1995. He is also co-editor of the book, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Ex-Apologist,

    Are you really so sure that yourself, as you self -identify are barely a newly minted Phd yet- has the level of academic maturity to make such a dogmatic and inelastic determination concerning your understanding of God and all things transcendental? I have two earned doctorates from Northwestewrn and Harvard and a lifetime of professional, academic and “school of hard knocks” “lernin” and I yet write off the fascinating and mind expanding research of Hawkings,Sagan,William Lane Craig, Murray and Plantinga, Anthony Flew, and an endless list. Lacking “perfect knowledge” cany one really jettison all of the spiritual fund of experiential knowledge from generations of theistic academics in Western Civilization? Not so fast young scholar! I studied under Anthony Flew for a brief while and I helped to do some of the first applications work for Richard Dawkins in the year he wrote the “selfish Gene”…yes, I am a theist academic, but I know my limitations…are you really certain you have worked every equation out to its completion and can show and explain your work? A little learning is a dangerous thing and it is a tragedy to be too smart by half..Anthony Flew, is not senile or doddering by the way, his faculties are quite acute, and he changed his mind, though not as much as some evangelicals have claimed. The operative phrase however is this…’the most accomplished non-theistic intellectual in modern history did in fact change his mind.’ One never steps in the same intellectual milieu twice. Somehting to think about, young scholar.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10289884295542007401 Jeffery Jay Lowder

    The statement, “most accomplished non-theistic intellectual in modern history,” seems like an exaggeration to me. I, for one, never considered Flew to be more accomplished than Bertrand Russell.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826768452963498005 Jim Lippard

    That comment seems like rather condescending false humility.

    Did you mean “I *don’t* write off …”?

    What are your doctorates in, and where are you employed as a theist academic?

    When have you last interacted directly with Antony Flew, that makes you so confident that he is not having problems with memory or reasoning? He seems to be unable to give reasons for his positions when asked about them, and has wavered back and forth about what his positions are–see what Richard Carrier has written based on correspondence with him at the Secular Web.

    Are you the same Todd Katz of Mountain View, CA, who reported in comments on another blog that he was a teaching assistant to G.V. Desani at UT Austin? If so, don’t you work for a business software company?

    I agree with Jeff about Flew–you should check out the definition of “flew” in Daniel Dennett’s Philosophical Lexicon.

  • Anonymous

    Reply to DR.’s Lowder and Lippard, I dont knnow nothin’ ’bout no software, my academic background is in medicine and operations research, fwiw, and I am not necessarily sophisticated in academic philosophy however I synthesize allied data and abstracts fairly well. Anthony Flew spoke directly with the Northwestern professor who vetted Dawkins’ “Selfish Gene” and explained that it was his careful reasoned judgment of the enormously “deliberative code”(his exact words were ‘deliberative code’) of the DNA molecule,that finally convinced him that an intelligent designer or God or God analog had to have been involved in the creative process. Supposedly some academics are in regular phone contact with Dr. Flew, thus I assume it would be rather easy to call him up and ask him themselves. Keep in mind that ‘meta judgments’ from a person as learned and “forensically wise” as DR. Flew is, are not made lightly and reflect a lifetime of struggle with competing ideas. Keep in mind that Flew is not the only intellectual that has looked at the research on the “DNA code” and come to the conclusion that such a code, required a “code designer”….I do not see such a conclusion as being unsophisticated. As I recall, recently a list was being bandied about with some thousand odd signatures of research Phd’s in microbiology and allied sciences who supported the intelligent design position. Dr. Charles Bieberich, a world renowned microbiologist and published researcher, is a devout Roman Catholic and a brilliant scientist, and he studied at Johns Hopkins and now is a professor at U. of Maryland. He makes a fair point:”An intelligent creator God could use any number of transcendental or naturalistic processes to create the physical and biological universe”.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08708419983601407947 exapologist

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08708419983601407947 exapologist

    Thanks for the plug, Jeffrey!

    Hello Todd,

    I’m the first one to admit that I don’t know as much as I ought to know by now, and that I certainly could be wrong about any of my views (damn you, Fallibility!). Furthermore, there are many theistic philosophers that are a lot smarter and better-read than I. But all one can do is call then as one sees them after one does one’s best, and let others decide for themselves. As Plantinga says, “That’s just life in Philosophy.”

    However, I have thought a lot about these things for over a decade and a half now, and as a former apologetics nerd, I’ve read pretty much everything out there worth reading (and not worth reading) with respect to the apologetics literature of the 70s through the present, and gave these arguments the most sympathetic hearing possible. I defended them for years and years; I’ve also followed the trails of discussion quite a way through the academic literature. But as time went by in grad school, my reasoning skills got more and more refined (as they had better if one’s grad program is worth anything), and a finer-grained analysis of the arguments led me to conclude that they’re a lot less impressive and forceful than I had originally thought.

    For more about my deconversion storyt (not that it’s especially noteworthy), it can be found at the Debunking Christianity blog.

    All the best,

    exapologist

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15799168778162687036 Bilbo Bloggins

    There’s an online interview with Flew somewhere for Strobel’s new Case for Faith video. He does seem kinda out of it – mumbling a bit. I wouldn’t speculate that he’s getting senile or having memory problems, etc. but the bottom line comes down to the validity of Flew’s reasons for deconversion spelled out in detail (which he has not yet put forward in any medium that I know of). No matter what age he is, or how accomplished, he can make decisions for emotional reasons or errors of judgement. I think its surprising that he deconverted, and of course theists will jump all over it. Many atheists I know were quick to do the same with Gerd Ludemann though.

    Bilbo

  • Anonymous

    Reply to Ex-apologist,

    And I kindly thank DR.’s Lowder,Lippard,Carrier and Secular Outpost for allowing me to post here and as a guest I hope it is appropriate to make a follow up post to ex-apologist-I will try not to take up too much bandwidth. Dear ex-apologist. You didnt exactly say what specific issues caused you to become an ex-apologist. Keep in mind there are no terminal degrees in theology! This friday I wore out a heavy duty fast printer and went through boxes of paper downloading articles and research studies so that I could bring them home to read over the Thanksgiving break. I will never get through a fraction of them. I mean no offense, but young scholar are you sure you might just be making a “Wittengentein’s Net” error in your processing of the apologetical data? In my lifetime I can’t recall meeting more than a handful of scholars who had studied and researched to the “cognitive wall” of even their own areas of expertise. And even these scholars regularly called other experts to ask them questions! And apologetics requires theological,cosmological,linguistic,historical,philosophical,mathematical (particularly statistical),etc, sophistication. To save bandwidth let me cut to the chase: when brilliant scholars such as Azimov,Hawkings,Sagan,Anthony Flew, Einstein,etc hedge their bets concerning an intelligent designer God or God analog that should tell you something(and yes, if you carefully read ALL of their writings and lectures you will see that they all hedged/continue to hedge their theological bets. I will leave you with this:Why did they(and so many others) feel compelled to hedge? And if they hedged, why are you not hedging?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08708419983601407947 exapologist

    Hi Todd,

    Thanks for your remarks! Again, I grant that I may be wrong; that’s just a part of being fallible and finite. Since this is so, I hold my views tentatively, always open to revision. I’ll always continue to study the latest arguments in philosophy of religion. (still got my subscription to Faith and Philosophy — although my subscription to Philosophia Christi is about to lapse). The same goes for history and the sciences.

    All the best to you and yours,

    exapologist

  • Anonymous

    dear ex-aplogist, and I will try to make this my last post on this line (and I very kindly thank the sponsors for alllowing me to do so)

    ex-, I tried to find your blog on the Debunking Christianity Blog(I am new to blogging, in fact today is the first day,and gasp, we were still using slide rules when I was in college)anyway, if I can locate you over there somehow I would like to correspond with you a bit more if you wish. All the best,Todd

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08708419983601407947 exapologist

    Hi Todd,

    Here’s the direct link to my de-conversion story:

    http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2006/09/exapologists-de-conversion-story.html

    Best,

    exapologist


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