One Flew into the cuckoo’s nest

I HAVE only had one encounter with the late philosopher Prof Antony Flew – and it jolted me out of the near-comatose state I was in at a very boring National Secular Society AGM in the mid-1970s.

Flew, then a member of the NSS a good while before he completely mislaid his marbles and found God, loudly called out my name and demanded that I publicly declare whether or not I was a member of the Communist Party.  Puzzled, and now wide-awake, I demanded to know what prompted the question.

Flew snorted that he took the gravest exception to a several articles I had written in the Freethinker, attacking South Africa’s Christian national’s apartheid regime, and calling for its overthrow.  These, he said, could only have been penned by “a seditious communist”, and expressed his full support for the South African government. I politely replied that he was making “a complete horse’s arse of himself”, whereupon he threw a bunch of papers he was holding into the air, and flounced out of the meeting room.

My recollection of that meeting was prompted by the sight yesterday of Flew’s photograph, dredged up from Noah’s Arkives, on the front page of the newly-launched Regal Standard.

The Regal Standard has been produced as an antidote to the Global Atheist Convention, to be held in Melbourne in April.

According to this report, the ridiculous rag is the “brainchild” of semi-retired, semi-intelligent pastor Dennis Prince,  co-founder of Kingston City Church in Clarinda, who “felt God” tapping him on the shoulder to tell him that the convention was happening on his watch, and he had to do something about it. So he spent $A5000 and some 300 hours producing the paper featuring a dead crypto-fascist twit on the front page, and needs to sell 45,000 at an average of 20¢ each to recover his costs. He said:

It surprised me when I got all the articles together how compelling was the case for God and his greatness. I was delighted and humbled by that. But I know that atheists will raise hard questions – some are insurmountable.

No. Really?

The lunatic added:

People know intuitively that God is there, we see it in the morals of creations. The paper should not try to defend God but honour him and reveal something of his work.

While I’m disturbed about the convention, I see a positive spin-off. Public interest will be stimulated, and we get to give the answers. Otherwise the gullible will be led down the garden path.

Convention organiser David Nicholls, President of the Atheist Foundation of Australia sees the paper as:

A sign of desperation by the creationist camp. I’m certain the people on the creation side think we are the work of the devil.

Antony Flew in 2004

The 2012 convention has an even stronger line-up of speakers than the first in 2010, including Richard Dawkins and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, philosophers Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss.

Meanwhile, Creation Ministries grizzled that:

There is little doubt that the media will give full-on coverage as they did last time, with features and interviews sympathetic to the atheists and antagonistic toward God …  It’s unlikely the media will give Christians opportunity to balance atheistic misinformation about science and the Christian faith. At the last convention in 2010 the ABC and Melbourne Age effectively acted as a mouthpiece for the godless program.

But CMI says every cloud has a silver lining:

The next few months provide an amazing opportunity for Christians in Australia to make a bigger impact for Christ than usual. The Regal Standard is one effective tool that can be used as a conversation starter with friends, to answer questions that people ask, and to distribute through communities, universities and workplaces.

Yeah, right!

Please note: there may be a break in service starting soon as I am in the process of changing  internet provider, and have been warned that I may be off-line for a period. Get on with it, Teletec, I’m getting tired of repeating this bloody message!

27 responses to “One Flew into the cuckoo’s nest”

  1. Robster says:

    “Desperation” says it all. I’d say super desperate. They have no argument, no reality or evidence to point to, nothing. Their arguments are as vaccuous as faith and belief. Of course they’re desperate and that’s good because as silly confused individuals, their silly nonsense will appear as just that, only highlighted.

  2. remigius says:

    ‘Otherwise the gullible will be led down the garden path.’

    Uh. What? But he’s a pastor. And he’s talking about atheists. Sorry, but have I missed something?

    I’ve tried banging my head on the desk but it doesn’t help.

  3. Glenn Davey says:

    What an example of Christian privilege. With the difficult path the Global Atheist Convention has had to take, in regards to denials of government funding in preference of religious interests, the Christian reaction is entirely ignorant. Par for the course.

  4. barriejohn says:

    Did he really say that some of the questions are “insurmountable”? I wonder why that would be! I have just come across the following news item:

  5. barriejohn says:

    From Mark Thompson:

    And you really ought to see what Melanie Phillips is saying today!

  6. AgentCormac says:

    “People know intuitively that God is there…”

    Sounds abut right – they’re hardly likely to know he’s there on a rational level, are they.

  7. Ivan says:


    I match your Phillips and raise you an Odone:

  8. barriejohn says:

    Ivan: I trump you with my Hitchens!

    …I can see no reason at all why Britain should seek to undermine Russia’s government.
    And I can see many reasons why we should in future be friends. One of them is that Vladimir Putin, alone of all the major national leaders of our times, refuses to be pushed around by supranational bodies.
    It would be good to see our own government doing the same thing. After all, how many of us are as keen as we used to be on the supposed cure-alls and blessings of human rights, privatisation, the United Nations, the European Union, open borders, political correctness and free trade?
    Mr Putin’s Russia is refreshingly free of these things. I suspect that private speech and thought are – paradoxically – more uncontrolled under Mr Putin’s iron tyranny than they are in liberal Britain.


  9. Newspaniard says:

    @barriejohn Until I read Hitchens’ article, I’m afraid that I was in the anti-Putin crowd. Now I’m definitely not based on the argument, “If not Putin then who?” The current Russian opposition appears to be as weak and watery as our own Labour party: the last thing that Russia needs. A very interesting read.

  10. barriejohn says:

    Peter Hitchens is a very busy man. He obviously didn’t have the time to watch this:

  11. Ivan says:


    Jokers are clearly wild in this game.

  12. Ian says:


    With regard to the origin of morals, the good pastor might like sight of this video. In fact everyone in the GOP would find it quite disturbing.

  13. Trevor blake says:

    The origins of morals can be interesting but they are never important. No origin is important.

    What we know about saving people from drowning has the source of people drowning. The important part is learning how to make things better, not where a thing comes from.

    This is why faith is immoral. To always have a God to blame means choice is impossible, and without choice there are no morals. It is secular thought that can learn from mistakes.

  14. tony e says:


    Cheers for the bbc link. However I found this excerpt ‘reasonable accommodation should be made for Christians’ quite chilling. They have had 2000+ years of people making reasonable accommodation for them and it still they want more. Fuck ’em.

  15. Russell W says:

    @ Trevor Blake,

    “The origins of morals can be interesting but they are never important. No origin is important.”

    Eh? So it’s not important to understand the origin of species,for example?

    The understanding of the source of morals is essential to understanding the nature of moral/ethical behaviour, otherwise by default, the religiots will have the high ground.

  16. Ken says:

    Yet another conference about a God who doesn’t exist. If it’s that blatantly obvious, you would think this wouldn’t be necessary. I reckon atheists who feel the need to attend such a conference might well be more preoccupied with God than large numbers of churchgoers are!

  17. barriejohn says:

    No Ken, the conference is necesary because of religiots like you!

  18. barriejohn says:


  19. David Anderson says:

    Ken; The conference is “A Celebration of Reason”. The last word might cause you problems.

  20. Ken says:

    barriejohn – thank you!

    David Anderson – One of the reasons in favour of the existence of God imo (and I’m not saying this as a wind up) is in fact the existence of reason and logic.

  21. David Anderson says:

    Ken; No, your comment didn’t wind me up but it did make me laugh. Since you write god with a capital “G”, I am assuming that you believe in the God of the Old Testament. There are millions of people in the world who would disagree with you and claim their god or gods to be the only true god(s). Now, you might claim that they are mistaken or deluded but they would claim exactly the opposite. Surely enough reason to raise an eyebrow.

    Primitive humans, unable to understand the natural world, thought that there must be some type of being that was more powerful than themselves and so invented all types of gods to cover any disasters or good fortune that befell them. Your god is a later manifestation of the same principal. You can study this by reading “The Golden Bough” by Sir James Frazer which,I believe; can now be downloaded free. Simple study of the bible will show the ridiculous stories therin are mostly pure invention. Just about any book by Bart D. Ehrman will demonstrate this.

  22. barriejohn says:

    This was an excellent series, no longer viewable on iPlayer as far as I can see:

    Dr Stavrakopoulou has turned up on The Big Questions since!

  23. barriejohn says:

    Good old YouTube!

  24. Adam Tjaavk says:

    Which one? A god isn’t a name – it’s an occupation.