Robert Green Ingersoll
UNIVERSITIES are naturally conservative. They know that if suspected of being really scientific, orthodox Christians will keep their sons away, so they pander to the superstitions of the times.
Most of the universities are exceedingly poor, and poverty is the enemy of independence. Universities, like people, have the instinct of self-preservation. The University of Kansas is like the rest.
The faculty of Cornell, upon precisely the same question, took exactly the same action, and the faculty of the University of Missouri did the same. These institutions must be the friends and defenders of superstition.
The Vanderbilt College, or University of Tennessee, discharged Professor Winchell because he differed with the author of Genesis on geology.
There colleges act as they must, and we should blame nobody. If Humboldt and Darwin were now alive they would not be allowed to teach in these institutions of learning.
We need not find fault with the president and professors. They want to keep their places. The probability is that they would like to do better — that they desire to be free, and, if free, would, with all their hearts, welcome the truth. Still, these universities seem to do good. The minds of their students are developed to that degree, that they naturally turn to me as the defender of their thoughts.
This gives me great hope for the future. The young, the growing, the enthusiastic, are on my side. All the students who have selected me are my friends, and I thank them with all my heart.