Well before I went off half cocked squandering away good money on any cause I would have to ask if any donations to this cause or that were Tax Deductible, and since a secular cause is not a Religion, I don't know that any donations to the nebulous notion of a 'secular cause' would actually get me a tax break, so I am thinking I would not put a dime into it unless it was a registered charity. If a registered charity than perhaps I would consider putting a few bucks in just so nobody thinks I was self centered because that would hurt my feelings.
Don't get me wrong now, I wouldn't be against it and would of course wish everyone the best in all the important 'secular cause'' bake-sales, and interpretive dance 'secular cause' fundraising gala concerts but it would pretty much not be high on my list of priorities.
I wouldn't want anyone to think I would be miserly with my new found 1 Billion in wealth though, so I would make it very conspicuous that I was spending large quantities of it on living a hedonistic lifestyle of excess and debauchery with yacht-loads of sultry looking yellow skinned, goldigging pneumatic tarts who would be more than happy to help me squander away the Billion on my 'Personal Cause' before they were rotated out at the end of the week to make room for the next batch.
Some of the people here would seemingly donate more to the 'secular cause' than a religionist donates to his religion. Do you really want to sacrifice & suffer for the sake of principle or is the 'secular cause' or Atheism more like a religion for some of you, and if so then bleeding off most of the cash into it just seems to martyr-like to me, as if you are saying I am willing to sacrifice deeply of myself for the 'secular cause'.
I can understand perhaps using the money to help the poor, or rescue muslim women from their abusive owners, but blowing something like a Billion in good hard cash on the 'secular cause' whatever that might be, just seems like a terrible waste of money. I guess many people are just more devout and faithful than myself, for which I should perhaps feel deep sense of shame and an overwhelming need to reflect upon and repent for. But I don't!
Interesting question. I'd always be tempted to just live off the interest, and there's also the temptation to use it to make more.
If I had to spend it? Then I can come up with a lot of things to do.
-The space elevator project that's being tossed around ( invest in materials science research for the stuff that will make it possible)
-A clinic to try to recreate the scenario where a german man was cured of an HIV infection- that same exact idea, but on a larger scale, almost as a 'cure resort'. get a group of maybe 10-20 people in, close the place up, begin radiation therapy, etc. If it was done right, the place could more than pay for itself, which means that they could be expanded to a large degree in places where they are needed.
-some investment in potential industry expansion or creation in various parts of the world. Africa is completely untapped in terms of it's production capabilities, and they don't need much to do a lot there; some seed funding, donation of more sophisticated machine tools could create a large metalworking industry. Beginning a trade school to teach practical sciences (on credit) could have enormous payouts on both sides: on one hand, creating a secular educational facility for people to better their own lives could teach why the foolishness they commonly seem to believe there is... well, foolishness: on the other hand, the payout of such a university could fund expansion in any other practical direction that could be determined there, or be used to increase the name of the school, for example by inviting prominent scientists to teach there on a sabbatical from other jobs.
- I'd spend a good chunk on forming atheist/secular lobbies in major countries of the world. That would be a good start.
- Support research in areas like AI(the whole works), evolution, abiogenesis, cosmology etc.
- Set up an institute that would do to religious texts what mythbusters do to myths.
- Support organizations that I feel are doing vital work towards making the world an ideal place.
I'd build a dog and cat paradise along with other dog and cat lovers and then tell all other humans to go jump off a cliff.
Well actualy, I was not serious about that, but something along those lines.