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Help Miri Speak At Cons!

As I mentioned in a recent link roundup, I’m doing a decent amount of speaking/paneling at cons this spring and summer, including Women in Secularism 3, CONvergence, SSA East, and the already-completed Skeptech. Most of these cons do not cover my flight and hotel room, and even for those that do, food at cons ends up being around $100 for the weekend. That’s a significant amount of money for me.

In the past, I’ve kept to a very strict ethic of “If you do not have the money for something then you do not get that thing unless you need it in the way that you need food and shelter,” but a bunch of people have convinced me that this is unnecessary and that there would be plenty of people happy to donate some money so that I get to do something I want (and that they presumably want to see me do) rather than need.

However, I feel more comfortable asking for donations if I’m also including some sort of reward structure, so I’ve stolen Stephanie’s with her permission and made some modifications. So if the idea of donating bothers you, consider this me asking for payment for services rendered: namely, articles. Alternatively, if you don’t care about that, you’re also welcome to simply donate.

  • $1 donation level–You will receive my thanks in a post once I wrap up the fundraiser. If you choose this level, please use the ability to add a comment with your donation to let me know what name you want to be credited under.
  • $10 donation level–You’ll receive my thanks as above. I will also produce a blog post addressing the argument of your choice. This can be a bad argument you expect I’ll refute or a good argument you think I can do justice to so you can link to it later when the topic comes up again. While you control the topic, my take on the argument will be my own. You can also use the comment function to request this, or you can email me.
  • $25 donation level–You’ll receive my thanks as above. I will also produce a blog post addressing the scientific paper of your choice in psychology or related topics. (I can access most academic papers through Columbia, but there’s a small chance a given paper will be unavailable.) While you control the topic, my take on the paper will be my own. Keep in mind that if you stray too far from the fields of psychology, sociology, and social work, I may be unable to do it. You can also use the comment function to request this, or you can email me.
  • $50 donation level–You’ll receive my thanks as above. I will also produce a blog post addressing the men’s rights, anti-feminist, theist, or politically right-wing article of your choice. In other words, this is your chance to try to make my head explode, which is why it costs more. While you control the topic, my take on the paper will be my own. You can also use the comment function to request this, or you can email me.

A few caveats:

  • Some MRAs will retaliate pretty dangerously against feminists who criticize them. If you ask me to respond to an MRA article, I will gauge the risk myself and I may choose not to do it. In that case, I’ll contact you using whichever email you used with Paypal and offer to either return your donation or get a different topic to write about.
  • You can see that I haven’t specified any timelines. I’ll work on these continuously throughout the rest of the spring and summer. I may unexpectedly get a summer job, in which case it’ll obviously take longer.
  • Any money that I don’t use for conference-related expenses, I will use to live on rather than donating as is the norm for these fundraisers. This is because we live in a society that has apparently unanimously decided that it is acceptable not to pay a person with a college degree for their work, as long as you refer to them as an “intern” rather than an “employee.” I would love to be in a position where I can comfortably let go of “excess” money that I’ve raised, but unfortunately, at this point I’m literally not sure how I’m going to make it through the summer and through another move (in NYC you generally have to put down about three times the first month’s rent just to move in, and you know how our rents are). For what it’s worth, not doing a crappy unpaid internship that forces me to waste money on public transportation and lunch means I have more time to write!

I’ll be taking donations via Paypal. There’s a little text box where you can add the info you need to request your article, or you can also email me.

If you have any creative ideas for other reward levels, let me know in the comments!

Thank you all so much for your help. :)

You can donate here.


  1. says

    Could I donate at the $25 level to get you to address a scientific topic of my choice? Not a specific paper, just a topic in general? Yes, it would be related to psychology.

  2. queequack says

    I contributed $15, which I’m considering less a donation than as retroactive payment for getting to read this blog for free. I’d like to contribute a little bit more, but I am a college student who works a shitty minimum wage job.

  3. Hj Hornbeck says

    My turn! Let me know if the topic is a bit too much, though I think you’ll find it an intriguing one…

    • says

      Received, thank you! I think I’ll have an interesting time reading and analyzing these papers, although I might not be able to come to any firm conclusions on which “side” is right. I can be really difficult to figure out why some results have been replicated many times while also FAILING to be replicated many times.

  4. says

    I almost never donate to individuals to support their activism as I usually think the money is better spent on other causes. Mainly because I prioritize secular organizations and then what I can see clearly are worthy personal causes. Example would be SSA, Angelina Collier’s trust fund for her now orphan children after a domestic violence tragedy. On the other hand I am becoming more open to supporting a wider variety of things, like Brute Reason which is favorite blog on this network at the time. I also look at religious communities and see that they raise funds all over the place and wonder if we wouldn’t be stronger if we did it more often and broader. Yet many secularists are afraid of doing so because they connect it with religious society.

    So my requested blog topic is money and fundraising. How should we do it, prioritize it, should it be broad or limited, and what kinds of risks and rewards come with it.

    • says

      Thanks for the donation! I’m wondering if you can make that prompt a little more specific at all. As it is, it’s extremely broad and a whole book could be written about it. I’m also not qualified to tell people HOW to fundraise, as I’m not a fundraiser. However, if you don’t want to specify the topic, I’ll probably end up writing about how individuals should decide where to donate their money and the ethics involved in donating to popular causes versus less-popular ones.

      • says

        How about the ethics involved in donating to popular causes versus non-popular? This was part of what I was thinking. Sometimes you see minority groups/causes receive much less funding than majority groups/causes or simply people that happen to be popular. It’s part of that broad question above which is something I’m grappling with recently. Thanks.

  5. anais says

    $30 donated, mostly because your blog is so great to read and I’ve learned a lot from it. If you did have time to get around to it, could you write about an aspect of evolutionary psychology to do with altruism and kindness to others?

    On Facebook recently a friend wrote that people are only altruistic because it’s evolutionarily advantageous: it makes you look like a good person to other people who are then more likely to trust you. He also wrote that kindness to others (outside your family) is to convince yourself that you’re a good person, even if you don’t realise that’s why you’re being kind. Is there more to it than that? I feel like there is, and thought maybe you could shed some light.

  6. Antinahottub says

    Here there be dragons.

    Just chipping in (late) to make sure you keep breathing that fire! No paper springs to mind – I suspect my consumption of your writing will remain enthusiastic whatever subjects you choose.