Help Talia!

She’s four years old. She has a crippling congenital disease. She needs a wheelchair. Chip in a few bucks if you can.

If you’re interested in that sort of thing, she has congenital pseudoarthrosis — it’s a malformation of a limb bone to form a pseudo-joint. Basically it’s a broken bone that doesn’t heal together, with the broken ends instead healing over to form a false articulation…it’s like trying to walk around with a permanently broken limb. It’s treated surgically, either with splinting (which doesn’t always work), or amputation. It’s serious stuff, and a wheelchair is just part of the necessary work to give a little girl some mobility.

Comments

  1. says

    Many thanks, PZ.

    We’re really hoping to get Talia her wheelchair prior to her next surgery in under a month.

    Jake Farr-Wharton
    Host, ImaginaryFriendsShow.com Podcast

  2. benjimin says

    I take it this story is from the US, the state defined by opposition to communism. Can’t they just take the girl to any first-world country and apply for asylum?

    People often argue that religion is beneficial to society on the basis of religious philanthropy outweighing humanist and nonreligious private philanthropy. But in all normal developed countries surely the philanthropic secular welfare systems is vastly more effective (and fair) than religious philanthropy ever was anywhere?

  3. Dave Miller says

    @benjimin, based on their contact phone number and the extra vowels, I’m going with Australia. Though actually listing to five seconds of a podcast kinda gives you a big clue, too.

    I’m not sure exactly how “socialistic” Aussie medicine is, but I’ll assure you, no matter how well covered your expenses are, there are always going to be some that you have to pay out of pocket.

  4. Menyambal -- making sambal is the purpose of the universe says

    On a`related note, there’s a project that builds hand-cranked wheelchairs and sends them to third-world victims of landmines and disease. http://petinternational.org/ and http://giftofmobility.org/

    In some places, it is described as a Christian mission project, but I and a lot of other folks have worked with them. They do NOT preach or proselytize at all. (I particularly support the project as it gets church folks doing good works.)

  5. says

    I don’t want to sound like an asshole or anything, but I wonder why they settled on $3500-$5000 when most of the pediatric wheelchairs I see on Amazon.com are well under $500. The most expensive one I saw was $1,990.
    OK, go ahead and call me an asshole if you must.

  6. says

    @a3kr0n, wheelchairs are enormously variable. Many of the cheapies are suitable only for people who don’t need them all the time. Or for short-term use, when their regular chair is out of commission or in an aircraft hold.

    If you normally use crutches or an artificial limb or two, a cheapie is usually OK for backup. But if you’re a full-time wheelie, then your chair needs to be ergonomically customised for you. Avoiding pressure sores, maximising use of what movement you do have, it’s complicated stuff. Push chairs are no good if you haven’t got good arm and upper body strength. Many paraplegics still have to use motorised chairs; those Olympian wheelchair athletes are exceptional.

  7. furtivezoog says

    I put in $10. Wish I had more (I don’t really have that..) but I can try to be better at conserving somewhere else. :-)

  8. JohnnieCanuck says

    McCthulhu:

    You missed something. It’s not that a joint needs to be repaired. With this condition, a child’s bone breaks, often spontaneously and then doesn’t heal, leaving a joint of sorts where there shouldn’t be one.

    It sounds like something is wrong with the body’s ability to grow and heal bone tissue. It is apparently difficult to treat.

    Wikipedia or google will give you some more detail.

    http://www.e-radiography.net/radpath/p/pseudoarthrosis.htm

  9. distancedistance says

    Why are we supposed to chip a few bucks for a first world girl when the same amount of money can help much more people somewhere in Africa, for example. Where is the rationality?

  10. echidna says

    distancedistance,
    Then do that. It’s generally understood that people give help as they become aware of a need. If you want to set up criteria for your own giving that involves greatest good to the greatest number, then nobody’s stopping you.

    Otherwise, it just sounds like an lame rationalisation to do nothing.

  11. distancedistance says

    >>>It’s generally understood that people give help as they become aware of a need.

    And PZ wants us to become aware of a need of one specific girl among millions. Why?

  12. Just_A_Lurker says

    And PZ wants us to become aware of a need of one specific girl among millions. Why?

    Because it’s a nice thing to do, if you can or want to donate. If you don’t want to donate then fine, just stfu about it. You’re just an asshole.

    You act like people here don’t donate to big and little causes, or political and personal ones.

    No one need to hear this “it’s not a good enough cause” crap. Not again.

  13. Just_A_Lurker says

    Where is the rationality?

    I’m sick to death of “rationality” being misused and abused by full of themselves assholes who act like you are throwing your money away if you don’t donate how much, when and to whom they deem deserving. Because their opinion is the only right opinion and everyone should follow it because their “rationality”.

  14. says

    distancedistance,

    Fuck you and piss off, asshole. Why is it, exactly, that this girl is ‘unworthy’ of our help. There’s a human being with a problem, and we can help her. That’s all that should matter. You want to help someone else in stead? Okay, fine, do so. But please don’t go abusing ‘rationality’ like you are, and don’t go about trolling threads like this. You’re an asshat.

  15. says

    And why doesn’t the health services provide a wheelchair for her? Oh, wait… it’s America. Greatest Country in the World, Blessed by God and Capitalism…

    These stories frustrate me so much: such a wealthy country but unwilling to provide fundamental care to its own citizens, unless they can pay.

  16. greggsavage says

    Hi everyone. My name is Gregg Savage and I am the one responsible for creating and promoting this cause. I felt it necessary to create a WordPress account and clear up a few things…

    1. The story behind how this (Australian) cause came to be can be found on the link provided by PZ. I authored the blog entry on the website.

    2. I am a co-host on the podcast which is promoting the cause, and I was not ready for the overwhelming response. Especially for this promotion on Pharyngula. I merely wanted to do something more for this young girl than donate to a $2 guess-the-number-of-jelly-beans competition.

    3. The podcast had done some fund-raising for minor causes before so I thought I would use what resources I had… The main host of the show emailed PZ outlining our cause and PZ deemed it worthy enough to be promoted on his website as well.

    4. The response has been crazy overwhelming and I and the family are lost for words. We didn’t actually expect to get close to the amount that we have… an amount clearly boosted by this publicity and we are all very excited watching the donations come in. It is inspirational to say the least.

    5. I for one realise that this cause is not feeding hungry children in Africa or finding a cure for cancer, etc. However, this has not stopped us being grateful for every dollar that has been donated. We promote many different causes on our podcast – this one seemed to have struck a chord with our listeners and PZ himself. If you do not wish to donate and feel your money could be better used, then please donate to that cause.

    6. As I said, I wasn’t ready for the response and I am currently a giant ball of humbleness, gratefulness, and happiness. I hope this clears up some points of confusion. Please email me or message me if you have any questions. I will answer them all.

    Thank you so much to PZ and those who have donated.

    Gregg.

  17. grumpy1942 says

    Wow! Gregg’s post came in while I was signing up to comment. I’ll save my $5 for the next one.

    I’m 70 years old and have emphysema. There is no way I could make it with a manual chair. Even the $6000 chair provided me by Medicare gives me sores at certain pressure points and the footrest makes the bottom of my feet sore. The perfect chair for me would cost another couple thousand dollars.

    The little girl is going to need a succession of chairs as she grows up. Each one will have to be carefully tuned for her as she will be living in it.

    This is just the thing atheists ought to be doing. I love it. Why not feature one kid with a serious need every other month or so? I’m just getting by on Social Security, but even I can shell out a fiver every now and then.

    distancedistance, you’r not fooling anyone but yourself. No need to rationalize not giving. If you don’t want to give, don’t. But to try to discourage others from giving makes you a prize asshole.

  18. says

    I was happy to make my small contribution, but it was a nasty reminder of just why I hate PayPal! What a hassle just to use a new freaking card!
    Seeing someone who has to live in a wheelchair makes it easy for me to understand why it had to be customized to specific needs – not at all like using a chair to save myself a long walk through an airport. I don’t care if it costs $100 or $100,000 – if the girl needs it she needs it and I’ll do my small part with or without the support of jackasses like distancedistance.

  19. doktorzoom says

    I’ll never forget that special feeling of virtue I had when I told my son, a first-world boy, that the co-pay for an Urgent Care visit when he was sick could actually do much more to help poor children in Africa. The untreated infection was sort of a bummer for him, but once I explained the rationality to him, I’m sure he understood.

  20. distancedistance says

    doktorzoom, I hope you also explained to your son that you decided to make him in an overpopulated world already full of hungry children. I’m sure the knowledge that his very existence is a cause for suffering of many less fortunate made him fell super special.

  21. says

    It’s great that some people want to help out this little girl. I’m not one of those people.

    I prefer to not be like Christian tards who give their money away to impress their god fairy. My philosophy is I give only to one charity and that charity is me. It would be fair to call me selfish, but what I really am is “not a sucker”. My point is I want to be as wealthy as possible, and I’m never going to get there if I give my money away. I work to make money for myself, and not for other people. I’m willing to do favors for people if it’s not going to cost me anything, and I often do that for the many old people who live near me, but throwing away my money on other people is out of the question. Where would it end if I did that? There’s seven billion people on this planet and most of them desperately need help. Thousands will die from starvation. Their suffering is almost unimaginable. Too bad. I say if people can’t carry their own weight, fuck them. They are not my responsibility.

  22. pj says

    @humanape

    Obviously atheists wouldn’t be like Christians because their motivation to give money away is not the impressing of a god fairy.

    Why is it your problem anyway? It’s not away from your pocket what others spend money on, it’s fucking theirs to dispense as they wish. And everyone and their mother already knows what a wealth worshipping icannotevenfindanoun you are – why do you need to announce is so frequently? Troll?

  23. says

    humanape,

    We get it, you’re a miserly, terrible person. Most people like you don’t sing and dance about that like it’s a fucking virtue.

  24. FilthyHuman says

    @humanape
    #25

    Then I wish you good fortune. May your wealth be beyond measure and your children share all of your virtues.

    But know this.

    All your wealth, will not defeat the ravage of time. You will grow old, weak, and feeble. Your children will be around you, like vulture, waiting for your demise so they can divide your wealth among them. There will be no love for you, for you have shown no love to others.

    Then one day, you will die, a fact more certain than the rising of the sun. And when you do die, few will notice, and none will mourn. Your children, and lawyers, will divide your wealth among them.

    In the very end, all you will be, would be a rotting corpse in a box, marked by a tombstone if you’re lucky. If you’re not, you’ll be turned to ash spread out in a landfill somewhere.

  25. says

    Fuck you, Distancedistance. (Also fuck you, humanape)

    Do you honestly believe that just because some poor kids in Africa are suffering that we can’t also help someone in a first-world country? I guess when I pass by the homeless guy on the street who wants some change for a sandwich I have to tell him, “Sorry, my friend. There’s starving kids in Africa, they’re more important than you.”

    Christ what an asshole. What kind of a jerk do you have to be to think such thoughts? Compassion is compassion wherever it’s given. I’ll donate some money to this girl, but that’s not going to stop me from also donating to Partners in Health or Doctors Without Borders.

    People are capable of multiple acts of kindness, for Pete’s sake.

  26. says

    Distancedistance:

    I’m sure the knowledge that his very existence is a cause for suffering of many less fortunate made him fell super special.

    An extremely callous thought just crossed my mind: what makes you so special, dd? Moreso than doktor zoom’s kid, anyway? Why haven’t you killed yourself because your continued existance causes suffering* on this over-populated world?

    No, I don’t want you to die, I’m just trying to wrap my head around why someone like you would take the time to whine on a blog. And take the time to tell a complete stranger that their child is worthless. There’s so much you could do– like becoming a hermit and living in a cave somewhere and leaving the rest of us the hell alone.

    *Competition for scarce resources, sweat shop labor, child labor, blood diamonds, running your car on ethanol (creating food shortages), running your car on gasoline (oil spills!), whatever. Point is, you’re not perfect and someone is suffering because of you.

  27. distancedistance says

    @FilthyHuman,

    Firstly, why are you assuming humanape have or will have children?

    Secondly, the fate you describe is shared by all people, from the most greedy to the most charitable. We all end in a landfill.

    Thirdly, you sound like you are just butthurt that humanape is allowed to be as selfish as he is. I suppose you, as opposed to humanape, are going to be mourned and remembered for all eternity? Well guess what, it will be all the same to your rotten corpse.

  28. says

    DD sounds exactly like the banned kaylakaze who used the same “arguments” in the Help Ariel thread.

    For the asspimples: donate every thing you have to whatever you consider a “worthy” cause and shut the fuck up about what the rest of us do.

    Actually, I’d love to see you donate yourself to a pride of starving lions. Do some good, go for it!

  29. says

    @a3kr0n #6

    My daughter has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. At age 5 she got her first manual wheelchair. It cost $4600. Even here in Canada, with our “free” medical care, the government paid exactly $0 towards it. Thankfully I had good medical insurance through work and they paid 80% of it. Sure, hospital-style wheelchairs are cheap ($1000 or so) but they’re not designed for people who sit in them all day. They cause pressure sores and can, in some cases exacerbate scoliosis and other conditions. And they’re just damn uncomfortable…not a good attribute of something you must sit in every day, all day.
    And don’t even get me started on the price of power wheelchairs…but my daughter’s cost more than my car.

  30. distancedistance says

    @Katherine Lorraine

    >>>Do you honestly believe that just because some poor kids in Africa are suffering that we can’t also help someone in a first-world country?

    No, I believe that if you want to help people in a most efficient way, buying a wheelchair to a first world girl is not what you should do. If, however, you just want spend your money irrationally, fell free to donate to anyone. Just don’t forget that you mostly waste money to make yourself feel good.

    >>>Compassion is compassion wherever it’s given.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triage

    I’ll just leave it here. Maybe you’ll get the hint.

  31. distancedistance says

    @Caine, Fleur du mal
    >>>Actually, I’d love to see you donate yourself to a pride of starving lions. Do some good, go for it!

    You fail biology forever. We all donate our bodies to the ecosystem in the end. Unless buried in space, I guess.

  32. FilthyHuman says

    @Kataherine
    #31

    People are capable of multiple acts of kindness, for Pete’s sake.

    To be a bit pedantic here, people do have limited resources to perform said acts of kindness.

    So, say you already donate $100 a month to feed hungry children in Africa. Now, you donate $10 to help this girl. Some could argue that why did you not donate that $10 to feed hungry children if you could’ve done it?

    Of course, it is next to impossible to escape the fact that our compassion for other do scale with distance (social and/or physical). While many will have compassion for starving kid for Africa, it doesn’t compare to having a sick girl right next door.

    In short, the money that went to this girl could very well be money that would’ve never been given to anyone else further away.

    Which leads me to a certain subset of people who claimed we should treat everyone the same. It is extremely easy for them to do so, because there’s just no way to have a gradual fall-off of compassion due to distance when your start out at zero.

    @Darkheart
    #32

    *Competition for scarce resources, sweat shop labor, child labor, blood diamonds, running your car on ethanol (creating food shortages), running your car on gasoline (oil spills!), whatever. Point is, you’re not perfect and someone is suffering because of you.

    Some would revel in the fact that they possess such power to make someone, no matter how remote in the world they are, suffer.

  33. says

    @distancedistance:

    This is hardly triage, you asshole. It’s a young girl in need of a medical device that a few dollars can help provide. At the same time I can donate a good portion of my money (or the same few dollars) to kids starving in Africa. If you can’t do both, then choose whichever you wish.

    PZ is not saying we should forget about those African kids. We should still donate to them, and I bet he would say so. He’s only asking if you have the opportunity you can donate to this girl.

  34. Dave Miller says

    I’m going to call a libertarian/Objectivist variant of Poe’s law on humanape. That post just reads too much like parody to be real.

    I have no clue what to make of distancedistance, though. I suspect (s)he’s the one more like what humanape is trying to portray, but with just enough conscience to try to justify it.

  35. Matt Penfold says

    Even here in Canada, with our “free” medical care, the government paid exactly $0 towards it.

    Here in the UK you can get wheelchairs free on the NHS, but you can wait a long time. 18 months is not unknown. Bad enough for adults, but at least with adults once they have a chair it will tend to fit them for a few years, kids can need adjustments every few months. And as for getting repairs done, it seems you might as well forget about it.

    Providing wheelchairs is not considered sexy you see. Headlines can be got from opening a new centre for the treatment of cancer, but not for unglamorous “medical appliances”.

    And as for the idiot DD, he seems to think that people will only ever contribute to a single cause. Donating money to people in desperate poverty in the third world is a worthy thing to do, and I am sure many of us do it. But unless you donate via one of those schemes that lets you sponsor a family or a child (and those tend to spend a lot of money of admin) then you do not get much immediate gratification. Whereas chipping in to buy a wheelchair for young girl, you are likely to get reports of how her life has improved. This is not an either/or situation.

  36. distancedistance says

    @Katherine Lorraine
    >>>PZ is not saying we should forget about those African kids. We should still donate to them, and I bet he would say so. He’s only asking if you have the opportunity you can donate to this girl.

    The same 10$ can help, let’s say, 10 african kids, or 1 first-world kid. And I’m at a loss as to why PZ, a purportedly very rational person, chose to advertise the later option on his blog.

  37. says

    FilthyHuman,

    Some would revel in the fact that they possess such power to make someone, no matter how remote in the world they are, suffer.

    True, but I don’t think that’s dd’s deal. Dd seems to think that Talia isn’t suffering enough, therefore she’s not worthy of our money and compassion.

    Of course, the cynical side of me thinks that this flimsy assed argument is dd’s way to justify not giving anything to any cause. They’re starting to sound a little nihilist-y.

  38. says

    Dave Miller:

    I’m going to call a libertarian/Objectivist variant of Poe’s law on humanape. That post just reads too much like parody to be real.

    Sorry, that loathsome piece of shit is all too real and has been hanging around here waaaay too long. Count yourself lucky you haven’t been exposed to its views on “icky homosexuals”.

  39. FilthyHuman says

    @distancedistance
    #25

    Firstly, why are you assuming humanape have or will have children?

    I don’t presume to assume that humanape have or will have children. Without children, his life will be just as empty as ever.

    Secondly, the fate you describe is shared by all people, from the most greedy to the most charitable. We all end in a landfill.

    True, it is all our fate to die one day. But many will die surrounded by their loved ones, secure in the knowledge that there are those who loved them. Some, however, will die alone, unloved, and unnoticed by all except those who will benefit by their demise (like vulture will notice a dying live-stock, and may even work to accelerate that end).

    Thirdly, you sound like you are just butthurt that humanape is allowed to be as selfish as he is.

    No, I pity him.

    I suppose you, as opposed to humanape, are going to be mourned and remembered for all eternity? Well guess what, it will be all the same to your rotten corpse.

    I don’t expect to be mourned and remembered for all eternity. I would settle with being around my loved ones, and be secured in the knowledge that while I lived, I helped, no matter how small, ease the suffering of others.

    Although I do take back the forgotten part. I mean, Hitler was fairly well remembered by history, if only as an example of how not to live one’s life.

    In that case, I guess Humanape would be a contribution to society in that regard.

    Hm… it seems that I have Godwinned.

  40. distancedistance says

    @Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart
    >>>True, but I don’t think that’s dd’s deal. Dd seems to think that Talia isn’t suffering enough, therefore she’s not worthy of our money and compassion.

    So, in your opinion, suffering is binary? All people who suffer are completely equal in their suffering and it matters not who you help?

    I think I’ll leave the link here again.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triage

  41. Just_A_Lurker says

    Yeah, this thread is in serious need of it. The people involved with raising the money has already seen this trash and I certainly don’t want them to think that is normal for the commenters here. It sure as hell isn’t and these assholes shitting on everything is just sickening.

  42. says

    @distancedistance:

    Oh my god you are completely ridiculous.

    If you have the opportunity you should donate to her. If you have the opportunity you should give a dollar to a homeless guy. If you have the opportunity you should donate $20 to a charity that feeds kids in Africa.

    Opportunity, opportunity, opportunity. I can go without my own luxuries this month if I decide instead to donate to someone. If you can’t afford to do multiple donations then don’t.

    You are a complete asshole. And I wish I had Killfile cause you’d be thrown in it right now for your complete idiocy.

  43. FilthyHuman says

    @dd
    #44

    The same 10$ can help, let’s say, 10 african kids, or 1 first-world kid. And I’m at a loss as to why PZ, a purportedly very rational person, chose to advertise the later option on his blog.

    Because PZ is a human, not a heartless robot.

  44. says

    Fuck you, dd. I’m not the one who is proudly agruing against helping a little girl get a wheelchair. I never claimed suffering was binary, but that certainly seems to be your deal.

    A couple of questions: Why haven’t you taken yourself off the grid? As I have said, you’re doing more harm than good by enjoying modern conveniences, even if you do chip in a buck or two for various causes.

    Or, fuck, as I said before, why haven’t you taken yourself out of the population altogether? You’re adding to the over population problem by continuing to breathe.

    Two: Should I stop giving to my local food bank? I mean, that’s only helping Americans, who could probably find food by dumpster diving or something, right?

  45. LuminiferousEthan says

    @humanape

    Your Mr. Burns impression was a little off there. You forgot, “A little girl is sick? *taps fingers* Excellent.”

    But more seriously, nobody cares. If you don’t want to help other people by donating to worthy causes, fine. Nobody is going to make you. But nobody gives a flying fuck. We don’t care. Does it give you a hate boner to go around telling everyone that you are a greedy asshole? And have no compassion?
    No sympathy? That you feel you are the only important person on this planet? Do you feel like the world owes you? That you are the center of everything? Fuck you.

    distancedistance said

    Just don’t forget that you mostly waste money to make yourself feel good

    Why, yes! Donating to help a little sick girl will definitely make me feel good. You know what though? I’m certain it will make the little girl feel good as well. And her parents. And her friends. So that is at least 4-5 people right there (and judging by the comments here, that number is significantly higher) who will feel good. 4-5 people who otherwise would have…you guessed it…not felt good.

    Your oh-so-clever nickname there only makes me wonder exactly how things would have turned out, had all of our primate ancestors were like you. That they had no pity for their fellow tribesman. They they would work only for themselves. That they would, instead of working as a team to hunt that mammoth, say “Fuck these guys” and go at it alone, because they were the only important ones. That they would never, not once, ever help out those around them. Scary thought.

  46. Menyambal -- making sambal is the purpose of the universe says

    distancedistance, go read my comment at #5, look at the linked sites where one can give a gift of mobility to children in Africa, then shut the fuck up.

    PZ was doing a charitable, kindly act, that in no way precluded him or anyone else from performing other charities, and you fire up with a rude and uncharitable rant.

    For anyone new here, distancedistance is not a regular visitor, and should in no way be assumed to be reflective of the views and actions of this site in general.

    distancedistance, all we need to hear from you again is a report on how much you donate to http://giftofmobility.org/

  47. distancedistance says

    I am trying to argue from a point of view of someone who:

    1. Want to gratuitously help people who suffer.
    2. Want to do it in a most efficient manner.

    Most of the people here seems to be at 1, but not at 2.

    @Katherine Lorraine
    >>>Shouldn’t DD be arguing against feeding the African kids since the most overpopulation is in Sub-Saharan Africa?

    No, because making African kids starve is clearly not “helping people who suffer”.

    @Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart
    >>>>Two: Should I stop giving to my local food bank? I mean, that’s only helping Americans, who could probably find food by dumpster diving or something, right?

    Depends on what you want. Do you want to help people in a most efficient way? Or do you want to help people near you because they are the ones you are most likely to encounter?

  48. FilthyHuman says

    @dd
    #49
    Triage system assumes that all cost to help a victim is equal (it cost roughly the same to transport, bandage, give injection, care for any patient). The triage priority just simplify the allocation of resources.

    Once you get to a larger scale, however, things gets difficult. Once you have to help people over long distances, you get overheads (purchase, transport and distribute food are not free actions).

    So, my $10 might not help much in term of feeding starving kid half a world away (if I pay $10, maybe just $2 worth of food will reach the starving kid). But if I donate to this girl, almost the entirety of that $10 will go toward letting her walk.

    Furthermore, the need for that girl isn’t going to go away. So either those nearby her have to help, or others further away will have to (or let her condition deteriorate to the point that we’ll need to expend more resource to help her).

    And since longer distance help requires more resources, it would arguably be best to help those closest to them first.

  49. LuminiferousEthan says

    DD:

    You fail biology forever. We all donate our bodies to the ecosystem in the end. Unless buried in space, I guess.

    And you fail cosmology 101. Buried? In the vacuum of space? Taking the dirt up there with you, are you? Neener-Neener, fuckhat!

  50. Matt Penfold says

    Depends on what you want. Do you want to help people in a most efficient way?

    How do you know it is the most efficient way ? In fact I would venture to say the fund-raising for Talia will prove to be incredibly efficient. I am not aware of anyone being paid to provide publicity for the fund-raising. True there will be costs incurred in processing the donations, but all fund-raising efforts will have those. Many will also have additional expenditure, which will not benefit the intended recipients. It may well be that this expenditure is necessary, but to claim it improves efficient is just true. For Oxfam this can be 20% or more of donation income.

    So please, show your working. Show us how the Talia fund-raising will result in such overheads.

  51. FilthyHuman says

    #59
    Furthermore, even when buried in space, the carbon and hydrogen in our body could still be used to fuel a star’s fusion reaction.

  52. says

    *throws hands up*

    That’s it, I give up.

    Efficiency has its place, especially when looking at individual charities– I wouldn’t give to one that spent most of its money on administrative overhead, for example. But to say that one group of people isn’t worthy of my money or my donation because it’s not efficient is purely evil.

    And, fuck, how is donating all of my disposable income to African causes helping people outside of Africa? Oh wait, it’s not. Too bad dd won’t let me spread my wealth around a little bit*.

    You keep avoiding my other questions, dd: why are you so special that you get to increase suffering while the rest of us are to feel guilty over it? Why haven’t you removed yourself from society to ease other’s suffering? Why don’t you practice what you preach, hypocrit?

    *I even give to the local Humane Society. How awful, right? That money isn’t going to people at all!

  53. FilthyHuman says

    @Darkheart
    #62

    *I even give to the local Humane Society. How awful, right? That money isn’t going to people at all!

    Species traitor!

  54. FilthyHuman says

    Btw, I’m surprised no one picked this up (or no one care).

    The prevailing spelling for this seems to be congenital pseudarthrosis (instead of congenital pseudoarthrosis). Google did helpfully search for the “congenital pseudarthrosis” when you give it “congenital pseudoarthrosis” and provided the correction.

    Now, back to our regularly unscheduled beating of assholes.

  55. says

    Also, thinking of “efficiency”– when I give food to my local food bank, 100% of my donation goes to someone (or a family) that needs it. Wealthier people don’t get first dibs or some shit.

    That seems pretty efficient to me.

    FilthyHuman:

    Species traitor!

    *sigh* I know. I’m an inefficient species traitor at that.

  56. doktorzoom says

    I like the “cold hard realist” pose taken by DD–in fact, we could also argue that feeding starving masses in the third world actually increases their suffering, since there will never be sufficient resources for all. The best triage, therefore, would be to let ‘em all starve, or as the famed Belgian philanthropist Kurtz advocated, “Exterminate the brutes.”

    A starry-eyed optimist might also think that maybe sustainable development and empowering women would be the way to go, but that’s nowhere nearly as exciting as imagining a zero-sum game of comparative suffering on a blog.

    I am at least hopeful that DD has not brought children into the world. That is indeed a very good thing, though not for the reasons that xe probably feels virtuous about.

  57. FilthyHuman says

    @doktorzoom
    #66
    Well, there’s that old adage.
    “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Give a man a bullet, well, he don’t need to eat anymore.”

  58. Brownian says

    The best triage, therefore, would be to let ‘em all starve, or as the famed Belgian philanthropist Kurtz advocated, “Exterminate the brutes.”

    Don’t be silly. Given that basic needs are cheaper than more derived ones to fulfil, the most efficient use of resources would be to kill the rich and reallocate their goods.

  59. says

    Audley:

    To be honest, besides isolated cases like Talia’s, I only give to causes in the US.

    Same here, ’cause I live here. Makes sense to me.

    I’m such a horrible person, right?

    Yes, of course you are! We both are, after all, we’re Women, the Original Evil™. We have a rep to maintain.

  60. Matt Penfold says

    I’ve never donated to PP, but I have given money (directly and indirectly) to funding to allow Irish women to travel to the UK to have an abortion.

    Is that evil enough to be considered evil around here ?

  61. says

    Matt:

    Is that evil enough to be considered evil around here?

    Oh yes. As you can see, it doesn’t take much. Besides, sometimes you’re Nora, so that makes you extra evil.

  62. Louis says

    Pfff you guys are just playing at it.

    I give cash to charities that advocate for and perform abortions, charities that advocate women’s and homosexual rights, charities that advocate human rights and oppose torture, cruelty and excessive, illiberal government intrusion, charities that advocate for a secular and humanist state, charities that advocate for better treatment of people with mental health problems, AND charities that are nice to animals.

    Granted, I don’t give a huge amount, but I spread what I give across a variety of charities.

    This means I don’t just hate men. Or straight people. Or humans. Or fascists. Or dictators. Or religious. Or sane.

    I hate everyone who isn’t an imprisoned mad, disabled, lesbian of colour who has been locked up for liking democracy, not being religious, and opposing oppressive governments.

    Oh yeah, I don’t just hate all of you, I hate all of me too!

    But most importantly I don’t like to talk about my charity work, it’s SO gauche.

    ;-)

    Louis

    P.S. Filthy Human, #67, Light a man a fire and he is warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he is warm for the rest of his life.

    P.P.S. The truth value of much of the above post is questionable. Some of it is true, some of it isn’t. The idea is comedy, not humblebragging.

  63. Ogvorbis: Insert Appropriate Appelation Here says

    Can we just go Bender and kill all humans?

    I think it is too late for you to try the humour gambit.

  64. says

    Can we just go Bender and kill all humans?

    No, Cupcake. You, however, being a rancid asspimple, are not only free to, but encouraged to go off somewhere and pop yourself. The Horde™ has a long memory. You have zero credibility and have shown yourself to be walking around with two fistfuls of ugly.

  65. movinbutnotshakin says

    DD
    #36
    “Just don’t forget that you mostly waste money to make yourself feel good.”

    Yep, everything people do is selfish. Sure thing Ayn Rand. It’s okay though, uneducated and uncritical people make that mistake all the time, so you’re in good company.

  66. dianne says

    Random thoughts on this issue:

    1. Will be donating if I can make my fracked up paypal work.
    2. I’m happy to spend money on this sort of thing, but shouldn’t I be doing it via my taxes and the kid’s medicaid? (I understand that there’s some commentary on this in a podcast, but my computer doesn’t do audio so I’m unable to access it.) This seems like a pretty necessary piece of equipment to be denied by whatever cheating insurance company she has.
    3. Distance: Yeah, wouldn’t it be great if we all spent all our spare money to feed kids in Africa? Well, at least to help kids in Africa (there are parts of Africa where obesity, not starvation, is starting to be a problem). But how do we know that the money will be used for feeding kids? Remember LiveAid from the 1980s? Raised a bunch of money to feed starving people in Africa (Ethiopia, specifically, IIRC). Too bad the government they gave it to spent it on guns instead. Giving $2 spent on a charity you know will spend it on a wheelchair is more efficient than giving it to a charity that MIGHT spend it on food for children in Africa. Or guns. Whichever.
    4. Have as many or few kids as you fucking feel like having. The environment won’t stand or fall on the earth’s human population so much as on how the human population conducts itself. Get ye to a city with a strong public transit system!

  67. says

    Eww, slime in the thread. Yuk.

    Anyway, about Australia: I’d say we really have publicly subsidised medicine rather than fully socialised. There’s usually some out-of-pocket expenses involved. No-one’s going to go bankrupt over it, or be denied treatment, but the incidental costs can mount up.

  68. says

    Alethea:

    I’d say we really have publicly subsidised medicine rather than fully socialised.

    Even fully socialised medicine is going to go the cheapest option on things like wheelchairs, prostheses, etc., so people will still end up having to pay out of pocket for a special model and so on.

  69. greggsavage says

    Hi everyone. Gregg Savage here. I’m the person responsible for creating and promoting this cause (please read comment #20 for more info and clarifications). In a move from you all that has gone far beyond our hopes and wishes, we have managed to raise $3,500 in less than 36 hours of campaigning. I know this cause and PZ’s backing of it has resulted in some heated debates on this thread but I just wanted to interrupt and say that YOU DID IT! The family and myself are of course deeply overwhelmed and humbled and still coming to terms with how quickly the money was raised (we were braced for at least one month of campaigning).

    We will send an update to PZ after the wheelchair arrives so that you may bask in your atheistic glory! In the meantime, the family, myself and Jake Farr-Wharton wish to thank you all so very much. There is a lot of love in the air in outback Australia tonight!

    P.S: The donation account remains opened with all donations above our target amount going towards medical costs associated with Talia’s condition (travel, etc.). Please head to the website in PZ’s post for further info. THANKS AGAIN PZ AND ALL AT PHARYNGULA!

  70. says

    greggsavage:

    I just wanted to interrupt and say that YOU DID IT!

    Brave news! Yay for Talia & her family. I really hope this helps and alleviates at least a little bit of the ongoing stress.

  71. dianne says

    So, the pharynguloid horde can raise $1000/hour. Good to know…Today we help get a wheelchair for a little girl in need, tomorrow we TAKE OVER THE WORLD! Dibs on the secret base under Antarctica.

  72. Matt Penfold says

    You’re welcome to it. A volcanic lair for me, please. I like warmth.

    Did you not get the memo about the secret volcano beneath the secret base under Antarctica ?

    It was added in case anyone should get a bit chilly.

  73. says

    Matt:

    It was added in case anyone should get a bit chilly.

    Yes, that’s nice and all, but I prefer a volcanic island, a nice beach, sun, all that. It makes me a much more efficient Super Evil Atheist.

  74. dianne says

    Global warming. Got to be prepared. Plus I want to make genetically altered super penguins to be my minions. Right after I divert all the money from all the “defense” budgets in the world into one huge slush fund that will go towards research into killing off every form of malaria known to humanity and then laughing over their little parasitic corpses.

    Um…if that’s all right with everyone.

  75. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

    I am trying to argue from a point of view of someone who:

    1. Want to gratuitously help people who suffer.
    2. Want to do it in a most efficient manner.

    As we established last time you trolled a similar thread and were banned for your trouble, no you’re not. If you were such a person, you would be doing that. Wasting your time showing your ass on a thread like this just shows you to be a massive hypocrite, since we all know damn well that there are more useful things you could be doing.

  76. gardengnome says

    I have no problem chipping in a few buck when and where I can but I don’t give to the religiously run ‘charities’ nor to anyone else unless they can tell me what percentage of my contribution actually reaches the subject in need and how much gets skimmed off along the way in ‘administration’ costs such as paying for the CEO’s new BMW.

  77. says

    I say if people can’t carry their own weight, fuck them. They are not my responsibility.

    Yes, yes they are. Why? Because your a goddamn social creature. More than likely, the reason they can’t carry their own weight is because selfish assholes like you are holding them down. More than likely, these people who need help are providing you with services that you can’t or won’t produce for yourself. More than likely they are providing for you in ways you don’t even realize.

    Then you know, some of has a thing called empathy and compassion.

    Seriously, when did Pharyngula become a haven for Ran-roids. . .