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Atheist makes huge donation to NY Catholic Schools May 25, 2007

Posted by Administrator in atheism, Catholicism, Humor.


May 23 (Bloomberg) — Philanthropist and retired hedge-fund manager Robert W. Wilson said he is giving $22.5 million to the Archdiocese of New York to fund a scholarship program for needy inner-city students attending Roman Catholic schools.

Wilson, 80, said in a phone interview today that although he is an atheist, he has no problem donating money to a fund linked to Catholic schools.

“Let’s face it, without the Roman Catholic Church, there would be no Western civilization,” Wilson said. “Shunning religious organizations would be abhorrent. Keep in mind, I’m helping to pay tuition. The money isn’t going directly to the schools.”

Wilson’s donation is the largest the archdiocese has ever received. The money will be used to fund the Cardinal’s Scholarship Program, which was started in 2005 to give disadvantaged students attending the archdiocese’s inner-city schools partial or full tuition grants, Jacqueline LoFaro, the archdiocese’s associate superintendent of schools, said in a phone interview today.

“It was a chance for a very modest amount of money to get kids out of a lousy school system and into a good school system,” Wilson said.

Apparently, the man is a walking contradiction. He is atheist, yet fails to hew the Party Dawkobot Line that All of Christianity is Forever Evil and Contributed Nothing to Civilization. I expect Myers will rescind Wilson’s membership in the Almighty Church of the Great Dawkins any day now.



1. uPgRaD3 Z3R0 0n3 A - May 25, 2007

Atheism is not a “Party Dawkobot”. If I say “I am an atheist” the most you can derive from this is “I am not a theist.” or “I am not a believer in theism”. That’s it! We do not attend church or necessarily agree with each other on anything beyond that. I know of mystically inclined atheists, for example.

Richard Dawkins is very much in favor of people reading the bible. I think you must be picking up a biased meme from somewhere, or perhaps just find Dawkins personality objectionable. If you read his latest book (The God Delution), you would realize that he says that the bible is a very important book that everyone in the West (i.e. Western Civilization) should read. Otherwise, you will never undersand so much of the great literature such as Shakespear. He lists scores of phrases directly from the bible that are referenced in many many books.

Perhaps Wilson agrees with Dawkins on the one hand, but on the other hand believes that government doesn’t work. I am not familiar with Wilson, but my guess is that his leanings may be closer to a free market libertarian (with a small “l” – a.k. Milton Freedmon) while Dawkins, coming from England, tends to be more in favor of a larger government role in education and science.

People need to learn how to listen critically to what people have to say. Listen without letting emotionally-bent bias get in the way. It is fine to disagree, but at least try to listen to the other point.

I found similar emotionalism within the Republican party when Ron Paul (a christian) was making his point about U.S. foreign policy. His words were twisted out of context to the extent that they became lies.

For a “kinder gentler” Dawkins, I highly recommend: http://koebes.wordpress.com/2007/04/20/richard-dawkins-lecture-1-waking-up-in-the-universe/

Then read: “The Selfish Gene”, “The Blind Watchmaker”.

2. demolition65 - May 25, 2007

Dawkins, at the very best, sends exceedingly mixed messages about Christianity. I have posted on him before if you wish to search the “atheism” topic. At times he is verging on emotionalism; not to the level of a say, Christopher Hitchens, but in terms of his philosophical absolutism, he can get out there with Hitchens.

Then he will go on about how there is in fact a huge intelligence at work in the universe, one that is beyong our comprehension.

That sounds to me like a potential endorsement for religion, at least theism.

I understand that he has trouble with the monolithic thinking that can come about from “rote faith”. But he often (and I HAVE read the man) much too often condemns all religion as the error, when what he is after is groupthink, which afflicts ALL organizations.

Finally, Dawkins’ endorsement of the Bible as necessary literature alone is to grossly demean its value to Western Civilization.

3. uPgRaD3 Z3R0 0n3 A - May 25, 2007

“Finally, Dawkins’ endorsement of the Bible as necessary literature alone is to grossly demean its value to Western Civilization.”

I think that is not a fair statement. It was one chapter in one book with emphasis on a completely different subject.

I truely think you will enjoy the YouTube lecture (see the link).

I will take a look at your “atheism” topic. Thank you for that!

“Then he will go on about how there is in fact a huge intelligence at work in the universe, one that is beyong our comprehension.”
– in this case, I think he is refering to the same thing Einstein, Carl Sagon, and Steven Hawking refer to (or what Dawkins believes they are referring to). What Dawkins describes as scientific pantheism. Hawking calls it “the mind of God”, and Einstein said he believe in “The God of Spinoza”, but rejected “A personal God”. My understanding on this is that Dawkins, and many others (he is certainly not the first) feels that using the term “god” in this way is confusing and misleading. We should call love “love”, nature “nature”, the universe “universe” and so on. My understanding is that Dawkins has a major issue with The God of Abraham as presented in the Bible and the Koran.

You do not have to agree or appreciate every aspect or attribute of a person to appreciate their contributions. Many times a person’s statement is misinterpreted, other times a person will change their mind about something. This is exactly what we would expect to observe in a random Universe where self-aware meat machines have evolved, or in a Universe where a devine creator gave us free will.

I agree that Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett , Sam Harris, Victor J Stenger and others have strong opinions that tend to put others on the defensive. They are all concerned about the darker sides of religion and its consequences. The way Richard Dawkins presents his arguments is probably backfiring.

4. demolition65 - May 25, 2007

Your last sentence pretty much sums up my position.

AS for my post in the first place, I was (mostly) snarking.

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