Flew for all his life was, well, the thinking man's Richard Dawkins. He was a pungent proponent of atheism, and the announcement of his 'conversion' was greeted with huge intakes of breath from various quarters. I put the word conversion into inverted commas because he is not converted to Catholicism or even Christianity, merely to Theism. But the conversion seems very sincere, and his arguments have a particular force, coming from one who so profoundly held their contrary so recently. I shall be sure to get this book, maybe some time soon. The arguments as summarized by Peter Mullen have whetted my appetite.
Did the universe come into being by chance? Flew examines the famous monkeys and typewriters argument, by which it is argued that, given an infinite supply of monkeys and an infinite supply of typewriters, they would together eventually produce the works of Shakespeare. Flew does the maths and demonstrates that "...if you took the entire universe and converted it to computer chips - forget the monkeys - if you turn the entire universe into these microcomputer chips and these chips were spinning a million times a second producing random letters, the number of trials you would get since the beginning of time would be 10 to the 90th trials. You will never get even a single sonnet by chance - let alone the complete works. The universe would have to be 10 to the 600th times larger. Yet the atheists think the monkeys can do it every time."You can read the review here, on the Catholic Herald's splendid new website.
And now we need to pray for Richard Dawkins. Am I alone in detecting a desperation in his arguments? Does he not find them particularly convincing himself?