A thank you note

I put out a call for some donations to a family with a young cancer victim a few days ago: you good godless people came through and donated several thousand dollars. We have received a thank you note, too — go read it and feel good about yourselves, you charitable atheists.


  1. Ian B says

    I was moved to give, based only on that beautiful thank you note.

    (Well, now I that I have experienced the strange feeling of empathy for a fellow being on this little blue planet, I will return to my regular atheist life of abortion, sodomy, baby sacrifice and shell-fish eating). Happy Monkey.

  2. says

    Can I just say UHC? A nation that leaves children to die because their parents don’t have money? Wow, just wow. From the perspective of a Swede or almost any European … insane and possibly evil.

    On the plus side, what a joy to be able to give knowing that no purveyor of woo is getting a cut! PZ, you should start a the PZ Foundation. The reaction to this call for assistance suggests that people trust you, and would feel comfortable giving to causes you endorse.

    You’re like the Oprah of Atheism!! OK, that didn’t come out right …

  3. Matthew says

    “You’re like the Oprah of Atheism!! OK, that didn’t come out right …”

    No, that’s pretty much one of the best things I’ve read.

  4. Smidgy says

    Hang on, I’m constantly being told by those trustworthy far-right ultra-religious types that atheists are all immoral scum who could never possibly give anything to any kind of charity, because they don’t believe in Jesus who said ‘love one another’.

    Ah, I know, all those who donated are Not True Atheists.


  5. Goheels says

    My dad has been battling leukemia for the last 5 or so years, I know what a terrifying situation the Walkers are in and how much the compassion shown by our fellow humans means to us, and I’m sure, them as well.

  6. says

    I heard once that religious people sometimes donate in order to go to heaven. Do we have such a similar motive to get such a reward? I think not… then what motivates us? I believe that the answer is obvious.

  7. RJ says

    “You’re like the Oprah of Atheism!! OK, that didn’t come out right …”

    No, that’s pretty much one of the best things I’ve read.

    How about this:

    “PZ is like Chopra of Science!”

    I wonder how you find the above statment to your sensibilities.

    A good laugh reading this blog, from the archives:

    Now I’m certain that Dr Chopra’s current incarnation is a punishment for horrific, inhuman deeds of great maleficence in a previous lifetime, probably for inventing Amway salesmen.

    Posted by: Stanton | November 22, 2006 02:47 PM


    If Dr Chopra’s incarnation is the result of past sins,
    what sin did we commit that is so terrible it has Chopra as a punishment?

    Posted by: Ithika | November 22, 2006 03:38 PM

    And speaking of Amway, Oprah and Chopra:

    PZ wrote:

    There is almost nothing on television or in the newspapers where journalists or ‘media personalities’ exercise critical thinking and actually make quacks like Chopra squirm a bit on air — there’s nothing but a constant buzz of unquestioning acceptance of any claim, no matter how absurd. In a just world, mindless media shills like Oprah Winfrey would be struggling to make ends meet selling Amway, and the demanding skeptics like James Randi would have the media empire and the big money rolling in.

    [my emphasis]


    There you go…

    PZ has nothing but contempt for Oprahs and Chopras of the world.

  8. (No) Free Lunch says

    I’m glad this community could help. Of course if we had decent universal health care we wouldn’t have this problem. People wouldn’t have to beg for money so their children could survive. Strangely, self-described Christian, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, doesn’t want this to happen. Apparently he wants children to be poor, to get sick and die. Why should I believe a god exists when his supposed followers are so evil.

  9. Cheezits says

    People wouldn’t have to beg for money so their children could survive.

    But then, what could religious fanatics do to feel good about themselves? They need to have people begging for charity.

  10. SC, Sandbox Tiger, OM says

    Posted by: RJ | February 11, 2009 9:11 AM

    RJ, please state your point yourself, explicitly. Thank you.

  11. ArchangelChuck says

    If I’m misinterpreting here, somebody stop me, but something about some of these comments is rubbing me the wrong way.

    I somehow doubt that motivations — pure or otherwise — matter to a suffering family. Let’s not get carried away with this whole “See, we’re better than religious people!” kick. Give of yourself, then shut up about it. Why ruin it by attaching a social political message to it?

  12. Xeno says

    Echoing Brian Coughlan’s comment at #5 (and coming from Sweden), the whole situation is appalling, and even hard to grasp. From the blog entry linked earlier, this family even say they have a “good” insurance. Thinking about those who have it worse is gut wrenching.

    What torture to be solely responsible for your child’s health, and economically unable to do so!

    And to think our own (Swedish) government is currently in the process of dismantling health care, and privatizing it because of the “cost reduction and quality benefit”. What madness.

  13. KPP says

    In other words (off topic, but interesting), the Vatican seems to have accepted Darwin. Dunno if its true or not.

    Sooner or later all “fundamentalist” religions evolve into more “inclusive” New Age ideas. It seems the Catholic church has begun its transitional phase into woo for its own survival.

  14. Dahan says

    Goheels @ 8,

    My best wishes to your dad and all of you in your fight too. leukemia isn’t the automatic death sentence it once was, but it is a tough disease, I know. I’ve watched a close friend fighting it for 3 years plus now.

    On another note, I’m glad the family appreciated the little donations too. It’s all I could do right now and sending it seemed kind of pathetically insufficient at the time.

  15. Mike in Ontario, NY says

    PZ, thanks for bringing this person’s need to our attention. I’ve given up on large, organized charities, especially the arm-twisting United Way campaigns here at work. What I do instead is donate directly to people just like the Walkers, via paypal when I’m aware of someone in need. I just love it when I can donate less than $50 and have it really help someone, as opposed to wondering how much of my donation is being skimmed by the charity administrators (most of whom are far, far wealthier than almost everyone I know).

  16. OctoberMermaid says

    I just hope all of you who donated will take pleasure in what you did when you’re burning for eternity in hell.

    Oh, sure, you helped someone, but you didn’t love your imaginary friend enough. You crossed the line.

  17. says

    I was happy to contribute what I could. And thank you for the thank you note.

    I also set up a monthly contrib for Doctors Without Borders.

    I may also use the Kiva thingy to help people. I never heard of Kiva before… thanks for posting the link.


  18. Robert Thille says

    If PZ is like Oprah, and I’ve been reading Pharyngula for quite a while now…do I get a car?

  19. Dave says

    As a donater of a paltry sum when compared to what they’re going through it’s still nice to be appreciated.

    It’s “funny”, though, how often atheists are accused of not having any moral base, blahbitty blah, yet we still manage to do the right thing somehow.

    I’m with OctoberMermaid: clearly we’re doing something wrong, and we’re doomed to hellfire for it.

  20. Evinfuilt says

    Its sad how common it is in this country that people and organizations have to survive on donations alone. In many countries this is hard for them to fathom, but here in the USA we deem no cause worthy of support via public, but only via private charitable.

  21. Pikemann Urge says

    #16, right on. It’s as if the donors did it just to brag.

    One of the Christian principles we should hold to is the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing (TM) – or whichever way around it went. But I won’t expect anything – hell the Christians themselves can’t even keep to it.

  22. Rob says

    #16 You missed the point completely. The donors gave because these people needed help, not because some cloud-guy told them to give. Atheists have a right to brag, especially considering all the crap they take from shitty christians. Go look at the Kiva website. Atheists, et al., are the most generous group, yet we have “no moral values” that would cause (force?) us to give. The moral of the story, so to speak, is that people help people in need because it is the right thing to do, not because it is what we are supposed to do. Christians give because they are told they have to give or they’re bad. How sad.

  23. Décrétons le salut commun says

    Chris @18,

    Sorry I was unable to donate. I’m a college student and low on money

    College student, no money? Been there, done that. So I’ve just kicked in a little on your behalf.

    It’s your donation, not mine. If you feel a need to “repay” me, then here’s how to do it: some time in the future, if you have a little more money than you need at the moment, and come across somebody who doesn’t, you know what to do.

  24. catgirl says

    the Vatican seems to have accepted Darwin.

    This is old news. Plenty of churches have an official stance that evolution by natural selection is not at odds with their faith. Another one that I know of specifically is the Methodist church. I’m surprised and disappointed that you didn’t know this already. Not all Christians are crazy fundies, and many of them are actually liberal. I thought only fundies believed that accepting evolution and being Christian are mutually exclusive; I hope there isn’t much of that assumption from the side that is supposed to be more rational.

  25. ArchangelChuck says

    Pikemann Urge (#29): The Christian view of charity is absolutely spot on. It’s sad that they can’t get it right, but it’s sadder that the very ones who call them out on it are equally guilty.

    Rob (#30): “Atheists aren’t immoral, you stupid Christians!” and, “We give on our own merit, so our gift is more valuable than yours!” are social political messages. Regardless of intention, attaching that message — indeed, attaching atheism itself — to an act of charity as a means of propagating it is hypocritical and self-defeating.