The Meaning of Dawkin's Endowed Chair

Just to be clear, Dawkins was a distinguished Professor in the zoology department of the university, remember The Selfish Gene. He moved to the Philosophy department to be Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science” after astounding success of The God Delusion.

My point is simple… Oxford knew what Dawkins would communicate to the public… and hence they must have agreed with Dawkins views that science shows the idea of God to be a Delusion… that’s hardly a neutral position to take for a distinguished university.

You certainly don’t know how university’s work. Dr. Swamidass can explain further, but Universities are about prestige, legacy, and endowments. Oxford is one of the oldest and most prestigious university in the world. To have a distinguished professor of zoology who wrote the “Selfish Gene” is in keeping with the scientific research and knowledge advancement ideals of Oxford. But to have the author of “The God Delusion” on its staff is the ultimate in prestige, legacy and hugh increase in endowments for the university. The opportunity only comes once every century. Newton (Cambridge), Darwin, Einstein (Princeton), Dawkins (Oxford), Hawking (Cambridge) only comes around a few times in a university’s legacy.

Comparing “The God Delusion” to Einsteins work…
Yoj are not making a case for the university at all…

The university was peddling atheism in the name of Science through Dawkins…

Oxford is progressing its reputation, prestige, and legacy through Dawkins.

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I am sure you view it that way.

Oxford is an institution. Does an institution have beliefs?

People in positions of authority in the institution definitely do.
And since they appointed the man. They must have felt that propagating atheism in the garb of Science is a good track record… and that just what Oxford needs to tell people about science.

I don’t think the President of Oxford felt anything but “Hurry lets create an endowment Chair for that crotchy old professor in the zoology department before Cambridge does.” He didn’t want to see Dawkins and Hawkins having lunch together in the Cambridge faculty club.

Well that’s your take on it…
I prefer the more rational explanation. That they picked the man for the Job they wanted done.

They didn’t pick him. He was already there. The created (out of nothing) an endowed Chair. Just like Princeton did for Einstein, and Cambridge did for Hawkins. And they did it because of Dawkin’s outspoken atheism not in spite of Dawkin’s own personal beliefs.

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That’s my point precisely… he was a useful apologist for a religious view… and somehow Oxford felt that was reason enough toe endow him…
And we are supposed to believe in the neutrality of such decisions…
Sure thing.

Yeah right, Oxford University is now the Mecca of the atheism religion. The Temple of non-belief.

Can’t comment on that… I think it’s representative of a deep rot in scientific institutions.

So @Ashwin_s, @Patrick is exactly right on this. It is entirely possible that a Christian could end up holding his chair after Dawkin’s dies (depending on the precise rules of the chair). I am at a secular institution too, and it is entirely possible that one day I’ll get a similar sort of endowed chair. These decisions are much more determined by prestige and impact than prior ideological commitments.

If you don’t like that Dawkins has that prestige, hope that people you care about rise to that level too.

However it does convey a message to the general public.
I am fairly sure that no YEC guy would get endowed. He is the equivalent of what Dawkins has been for the last thirty years. He is not philosopher… and neither has he been an active Scientist for decades.
Somehow, using science as a propaganda tool for atheism seems to be tolerated and honored in such institutions.

And that is why I do my work. I do not appreciate the disrespect you show by saying only ID and YEC engage with atheism. Maybe take a look at the things I’ve been doing (and others too!), outside of ID and YEC, There 100% absolutely is a better way. It is not hypothetical. It is right in front of you.

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No disrespect intended… However your work is fairly recent and this has been going on for decades now. No offence meant, but ID and even YEC people have done far more work in refuting this trend than you. Perhaps you will be more successful than them in the long run… I definitely wish you do well.

Francis Collins in The Language of God, however, was far more effective than all their effort. Seperate his book, to be clear, from BioLogos. That book essentially ended the debate and changed most people’s minds in science. Give credit where credit is due.


Perhaps. I wonder how effective the book would have been without a perceived threat from ID.
Not taking anything away from Dr Collins of course.

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