As far as we can tell (there may be one or two odds and ends to tidy up) the totals are as follows:
Donations not including matching: $99,569.25
Total, including matching: $164,130
If any last minute adjustments need to be made when we look in more detail, we'll announce it here.
Meanwhile many many thanks and congratulations to everybody who donated and who worked on this splendidly successful campaign.
UPDATE: OK, thanks to everyone, the running total before matching, now posted on the front page, is $98,377. That is so close to $100,000, I shouldn't have said Pacific Standard Time.
Deadline for double matching now extended to Hawaiian Time (that's two hours behind California). No, the deadline is now extended to when the last place on Earth, the Gilbert and Sullivan Islands, or wherever it is, the International Date Line, finally leaves 2009!
Just woken up. 5 am in Britain, still three hours to the deadline of midnight and our Paypal total (i.e. BEFORE counting in Todd's and my matchings) is $98,151. Dammit, this is TANTALIZINGLY close to $100,000. I was so focused on the target of $150,000 WITH matching, I hadn't realised we were so close to $100,000 WITHOUT matching.
So, with only two and a half hours to go, here's my very last, mad, gambler's throw.
Until midnight Hawaii time, I will DOUBLE match all donations, up to a maximum of $10,000 (ten thousand dollars). That means, if you give $100 it will be equivalent to $300. $1000 will be equivalent to $3000. And if you max me out AGAIN, that will bring my total donations during the current fundraiser up to the nice round number of $50,000.
Probably too late, but maybe somebody over on the West Coast has had too much champagne?
UPDATE 12/30/09: Even though we've blasted our goal out of the water, Richard is still offering to personally match your donations up through December 31st, up to an additional $5,000! Less than 48 hours left in the fundraiser!
UPDATE 12/29/09: We didn't expect to meet the 114k maximum before Dec 31st, but to our surprise and delight, Timothy Wood has single-handedly put us beyond the mark with a donation of $7,500! With only 3 days left in the fundraiser, this generous gift has inspired Richard to continue matching funds until Dec 31st, extending his maximum from $25,000 to $30,000. This means that the theoretical maximum we can reach before matching ceases is $124,000.
You did it! A huge thank you to all who helped us reach the goal of raising $100k for RDFRS before Dec 31st!
Todd Stiefel has offered to also match all donations from this point forward, up to the $100,000 mark! This means that each dollar you donate will be trebled! A donation of $25 is worth $75!
December 24th, 2009: A Message from Richard Dawkins
We are coming into the finishing straight of our current pledge drive and I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all those who have contributed so far, to bring us over the $50,000 mark today on Christmas Eve. Our target of $100,000 was always optimistic, and now it is beginning to look rather unrealistic. But here’s a way to make it realistic again. In the closing days of this pledge drive, up until the stroke of midnight, Pacific Standard Time, on December 31st, every individual donation will be worth twice as much as its face value. This is because today I am giving a personal pledge to match every donation (up to a maximum total of $25,000). That means that if I end up paying my specified maximum of $25,000, that will mean that we have reached our target. In a sense you could say that, although the apparent total in the kitty so far is $50,237.06, the shortfall from our target of $100,000 is less than $25,000!
So, if you give $100, you will, in effect, have given $200. If you give $1, you will have given $2. And don’t for one moment think that $1 is too small to matter. Of course we like large donations, but we also, for technical reasons, have a need to show a wide base of support – a high total number of supporters (no matter how small their donations might be). Read More
As you can imagine, producing high quality materials and ensuring their widest possible distribution is an expensive business, so we really do need your support to help us keep getting the message about science and reason across to as many people as possible. Every dollar you donate will be put to good use, and every dollar donated between now and the deadline will be able to work TWICE as hard and be TWICE as effective.
Every donation, large or small, makes a vital contribution to our work and is greatly appreciated.
Thank you again to those of you who have already supported RDFRS by donating. And thank you to those of you who are willing to help with this final push to try to reach our target, which will enable us to turn our plans into reality. We cannot do it without you.
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your contributions to this website during 2009, for your intelligence, your insight and your wit; I’d like to thank you for your enthusiasm and support; and I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Newton’s Day, Winter Solstice or whatever you like to call it, and a very Happy New Year.
December 1st, 2009
One of the wonderful things about www.richarddawkins.net is the enormous variety amongst its regular contributors. Old, young, in-between, highly educated, less educated, affluent, less affluent, male, female, straight, gay, serious, fun-loving, angry, mild-mannered, confident, timid, open about their atheism, unable to be open about their atheism, previously religious, never religious ... it is this depth and breadth of life experience and personality that keeps comments fresh and lively, and ensures that we all learn more about the world each time we visit the site.
And yet, for all the contrasts, the vast majority of contributors here are totally united in one key area: a commitment to reason, a sense of awe and excitement at the knowledge that has already been achieved through science, and a passionate desire to see reason and evidence-based thinking at the heart of our societies. We listen to the music of the spheres. We gaze into the Hubble Deep Field and intoxicate ourselves with images of distant galaxies in the act of formation, close to the dawn of time itself. We dive through the tube of a microscope and immerse ourselves in a wonderland of the intricately small. Reality is where we are. It is very large; and also very small, where it matters. It is mysterious; but the mystery is yielding to the methods of reason. Reality is comprehensible. And it is the mission of RDFRS to assist others to that comprehension.
Comprehension is a deeply satisfying gift that science gives us. As it happens, my own subject of evolution, which explains our own existence and that of all life, is among the greatest gifts of all. Yet, amazingly, it is the subject of a concerted, influential and well-financed campaign of opposition. No secret where the opposition comes from: religion.
But fundamentalist religion is not the only source of opposition to science. There are those who feel threatened by the sheer effectiveness of science. Did it not give us the Hydrogen Bomb, and chemical and biological weapons too? Unfortunately, if you want to do bad things, science provides the most effective way to do bad things. Just as it provides the most effective way to do good things. That is all the more reason to study science: all the more reason why you cannot be a full citizen of today’s world if you are ignorant of science, and cannot deal with its vocabulary and grammar.
Other opposition to science comes from a needling hostility to the very idea that there exists an objective reality, a reality about which we can obtain testable evidence. There are those who carry this politically motivated hostility to the lengths of valuing personal opinion, subjective feeling or just plain prejudice, over publicly testable evidence. “If astrology works for you, it is true for you.” Never mind whether there is any evidence that it works (there isn’t). If you are personally revolted by the suggestion that you are related to a monkey, your illogical conclusion that evolution must therefore be false is mistakenly ascribed just as much respect as a contrary opinion supported by very strong evidence. “Everybody is entitled to their opinion, and all opinions are equally valid.”
How should we respond to all this nonsense? Counterattack is one way, and I am no stranger to it. The God Delusion sold millions of copies and made, for me, ten percent of quite a lot of money. I decided to put my money where my mouth was, and set up the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science – RDFRS or RDF for short. But counterattack, on its own, is too negative. We also need to extol the positive virtues of science, and reason, and this is also a major part of the RDFRS mission.
RDFRS is just two years old, and we need to take stock of where we have got to. We have accomplished quite a bit in that time, with rather little money. The Foundation’s website (www.richarddawkinsfoundation.org) gives free access to a range of films and resources that are, I hope, both informative and inspiring. We have created a series of vignettes, mini-films that give a brief taste of the kind of knowledge that science can offer. The promotional video at the head of this page includes brief samples of some of these vignettes – passionate and moving statements on the value of science from the likes of Michael Shermer, Brian Greene and P Z Myers, as well as some of my own vignettes shot in the USA or in Galapagos. I hope they give a feel for what we might achieve in the future.
In a collaboration with the British Humanist Association, we have distributed copies of my Christmas Lecture, on Growing up in the Universe, to every secondary school in England, together with accompanying lesson plans for teachers. And, separate from the Foundation but an important corollary to it, we have created www.richarddawkins.net , where readers from many countries around the world – they whom I extolled in my opening paragraph – can keep up with what is happening in the battle for reason and science and can share in a sense of community with other rationalists, scientists and all those keen to learn about science.
If you want to see our work continue and expand, if you want to see more people educated about science and drawn into the beauty and wonder of it, if you want to see superstition of all kinds effectively combated, if you want to see a society where reason prevails over unreason: if you want these things, we urgently need your help. That is why we are running a Pledge Drive this December, asking you to support RDFRS financially.
Josh Timonen is multi-talented and, now that the website has achieved its astonishing track record of a million visits per month, he is turning more of his attention to making films. Short vignettes, and longer films. Films about science. Films about reason. Films that can be accessed free on the internet, so anyone who wants to learn about science and reason will have that opportunity. The vignettes are likely to be especially useful to teachers, who can download them to insert into lessons to make particular points more vivid and exciting.
Our science vignettes provide just one avenue we can use to combat willful ignorance. We need to do more. As we did in the UK with Growing Up in the Universe, we need to contract educators to write lesson plans so that US science teachers have better resources to teach science, in association with our films and other resources. Most grade-school textbooks do not mention the theory of evolution, or only touch upon it in the most perfunctory way because of the intimidating pressures put on publishers. RDFRS will not be intimidated, and is in a position to supplement a wide array of science topics. Parents who worry that their children are not receiving a proper education in science can use our vignettes and lesson plans to fill in ‘the gaps’.
Another one of our projects is the OUT Campaign (outcampaign.org), encouraging atheists to stand up and be counted, refusing to collude with society’s attempts to pretend we don’t exist. This important campaign has grown substantially since its launch, and has been translated into 29 languages including Arabic and Hebrew. As an extension of this, we have launched the ‘For Goodness’ Sake’ campaign (outcampaign.org/fgs), encouraging atheists to work in the community, demonstrating to all who are not blinded by prejudice that we do not need religion in order to care about others.
RDFRS jointly sponsored the 2009 AAI Conference in Burbank, California, gathering together a stellar list of scientist speakers who contributed to making this conference, in the opinion of many, the best AAI conference ever, as you can see from the DVD of the best parts of the conference, which RDFRS is about to launch.
While RDFRS is making an impact, we remain quite small when compared to those organizations dedicated to destroying science and inculcating falsehoods. Organizations like the Discovery Institute have deep coffers that allow them to use slick marketing and propaganda to woo the public and the policy makers. Recently, a particularly infamous but well-financed organization launched a campaign to hand out free copies of On the Origin of Species, but with a 50 page insert filled with misinformation and carefully crafted ignorance. There seems to be no limit to the money these groups can spend in their never-ending quest to subvert science education. Despite their wealth and marketing savvy, we are making headway. But we cannot simply sit back and hope that these well-heeled know-nothings will simply go away.
So far the Foundation’s activities have been largely funded by donations from me and two other major donors, supplemented by greatly appreciated donations from many people on this site and elsewhere. If we are to expand our activities and increase our impact, we are going to need donations from a larger number of supporters. Even relatively small donations swiftly mount up if they come from a large base of supporters.
And how will we spend the money? We have no shortage of plans. Here are just some of the activities that, with your support, we will be carrying out:
Increase our repertoire of vignettes, which can be used as tasters, appetite-whetters, and an educational resource.
Create a comprehensive educational video series on evolution in 1-hour episodes.
Make a feature-length documentary on the conflict between reason and superstition in America.
Create a children's website on 'thinking for yourself' and critical thinking skills.
Create an interactive website exploring the 'tree of life', based on The Ancestor's Tale.
Distribute original educational materials direct to schools.
Lobby to improve educational standards, especially in science.
Raise awareness amongst the public of the need for, and sheer joy of, a good education.
Give grants for academic research on the psychological and educational origins of superstition and religion.
Create support groups for teachers facing opposition to the teaching of evolution in schools.
Translate key texts into Arabic, on a special Arabic language section of our website. The need for this is ominously clear. Of all the world’s countries, the one in which our website achieves its highest rank, for numbers of visits, is IRAQ! Make of that what you will. I don’t know what to make of it. But I want to communicate with the Islamic world.
In order to progress to the next stage, in order to start to make more of a difference, in order to start really making a difference to US society and the role of science and reason within it, we urgently need to increase our already talented and productive team. If you want to see their work continue and expand, if you want to see more people educated about science and drawn into the beauty and wonder of it, if you want to see superstition of all kinds effectively combated, if you want to see a society where reason prevails over unreason: if you want these things, we urgently need your help.
PLEASE donate today. Even small donations can make a big difference provided there are enough of them. I know you support our vision and our mission: now PLEASE help us to turn it into reality. We simply cannot do it without you.
Running Total: $164,130
PayPal Total: $99,569
IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ
All amounts in US Dollars.
Due to shipping costs the gifts for this fundraiser are for
the US Only.
If your billing address is different to your shipping address please fill in box on the PayPal checkout.
Donations are tax deductible in the US and UK**.
* Donations under $50 will enter the donor into a random drawing, where we will select 3 winners. Each of these 3 winners will get to choose a free DVD
**US taxpayers: RDFRS is exempt from Federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Contributions are deductible under section 170 of the Code. We are also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts
under section 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the Code. UK taxpayers: Registered Charity Number 1119952
Please allow 4-8 weeks for gift delivery.
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