Atheist Endows Chair for Study of Atheism; Look What He's Got Cradled in His Hands
evolutionists are at pains to assure everyone that evolutionary
thinking -- the idea that all life arose by an unguided process of blind
churning -- poses no challenge to theism. Well, see this from the New
York Times about anatheist businesman who's endowed a chair for the
study of atheism at the University of Miami:
The chair has been
established after years of discussion with a $2.2 million donation from
Louis J. Appignani, a retired businessman and former president and
chairman of the modeling school Barbizon International, who has given
grants to many humanist and secular causes -- though this is his largest
"I'm trying to eliminate discrimination against
atheists," said Mr. Appignani, who is 83 and lives in Florida. "So this
is a step in that direction, to make atheism legitimate."
departments and professors of religious studies are a standard feature
at most colleges and universities, many originally founded by ministers
and churches. The study of atheism and secularism is only now starting
to emerge as an accepted academic field, scholars say, with its own
journal, conferences, course offerings and, now, an endowed chair.
Dawkins is excited:
think it's a very bold step of the University of Miami, and I hope
there will be others," said Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist
and atheist luminary who is the author of "The God Delusion."
enormously important to shake off the shackles of religion from the
study of morality," Mr. Dawkins said in a telephone interview from his
home in Britain.
What struck me is the accompanying photo of Mr.
Appignani; find here it at theNY Times page. Look what he's cradling in
his hands. It is this, shown in more detail in the Wikipedia article:
a famous statuette designed by 19th-century sculptor Hugo Rheinhold and
endlessly reproduced, showing a chimp contemplating a human skull. The
ape sits atop a pile of books, one of which is prominently labeled
"DARWIN." Famously, Lenin had such a statue displayed on his desk in the
Kremlin. I've commented on it before ("Darwinism & Communism, Part
Here's a copy a friend of ours owns, a slight variation on
the original. His wife found it at a garage sale and gave it to him as a
But it's no joke, really. Besides the tribute to Darwin, note this, again fromWikipedia:
book open at the [chimp's] feet and facing the viewer has a single
inscription on the right hand page: "eritis sicut deus" fromGenesis 3.5
when the serpent is enticing Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good
and Evil in the Garden of Eden against the Lord's command, promising
"And ye shall be as God [knowing good and evil]"), however the second
half of this quote is missing, ripped from the lower half of the page.
I don't know what if any message Mr. Appignani sought to convey by
posing for the photographer with this particular artwork in hand. But it
was certainly an apt gesture, crystalizing some of the beliefs he'll
help share with students at the University of Miami.
See here for
the most recent survey data from Discovery Institute on the corrosive
impact of the evolutionary style of thought on ideas about humanity's
place in the universe. Our theistic evolutionary friends can say what
they like about the benign influence of Darwinism, but atheists know
Photos: University of Miami, via Wikicommons; "Ape with Skull," by Derry, J.F.