A special request from Richard Dawkins

68

Over the past two years, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science has been very active. In Britain we undertook a major opinion poll to coincide with the National Census. This pulls the rug out from under those lobbyists who – following the previous census – attempted to argue that Britain is a Christian country. In the US, we have expanded our staff in order to alert more and more people to the war being waged against reason, science and secularism. 


More than just a website

We have made strenuous efforts to increase our worldwide presence by completely redesigning our already successful website. Our expert web team has created a website that can grow to meet the needs of what we hope will be a rising tide of atheism and secularism in the future. Our team is taking advantage of new developments in technology, as well as popular social media such as Facebook and Twitter. 

We are developing parallel websites for specific populations, such as ex-Muslims, secular families, African Americans, Latinos, Women, LGBT and others. Our Spanish site will be the first of our foreign language sites to be launched. It will not only translate articles from the RDFRS website, but will host articles and discussions about issues specific to the Spanish speaking world.

The Richard Dawkins Foundation is committed to taking a leadership role in developing new tools and applications that will be made available to other secular organizations, large and small. Soon, the new global events calendar will be launched, which will allow organizations to easily upload their events – both on a local, national, and global level. This will be accompanied by a worldwide map, in which users can “drill down” to their local area to see secular meetings and other relevant events near them.

Such efforts testify to our determination to show that we are a growing segment of the population that will no longer tolerate the intrusion of radical religiosity to control politics, education, science, medicine, and the lives of those who cannot defend themselves. 

Grassroots activism

The Richard Dawkins Foundation will be working with other organizations to encourage more grassroots activism on all levels: local, state, and national. This is a monumental effort, but RDFRS US is in a unique position to facilitate increased cooperation among the various secular groups. We will offer grassroots training and help to bring in speakers and encourage other activities that will help us regain the ground that has been taken by religious radicals. We need to take back school boards, city councils, state legislatures, and finally relegate those politicians who want to take the US into a theocracy back to the pews whence they came. 

Our goal is ambitious, to hold Freethought Conventions in at least 25 states by 2020. We want both major US parties to recognize that atheists and secularists are a constituency that they need to court., We are a fast growing demographic and we are not happy with how most politicians suck up to the religious radicals. 

Speaking tours

RDFRS will continue to sponsor speaking tours, including the Louis J. Appignani lecture series featuring various intellectuals across a number of disciplines.  I will continue to travel around the US and other parts of the world in order to bring together like-minded individuals – but I need your help. After each visit, when I return to Britain, it is important that we take advantage of such energy and excitement as I hope to have generated, and work together to create a real force of change. 

Capitalizing on our past successes

We will continue growing the OUT Campaign, supporting child care for national conferences, assisting student and local organizations to raise money, and working with national groups on conferences and joint objectives such as the Reason Rally. 

I am asking for your help

These major objectives are doable, but not without your support. I am grateful for the support many of you have given in the past.Without your help we could not have got this far. Religious fundamentalism  is a billion dollar industry. The yearly cost to US taxpayers through subsidies to religious organizations is $71 billion annually. The funds raised by all the secular organizations combined is a drop in the bucket by comparison. But rather than be discouraged, we should be energized. I am dedicating my time and energy not only to growing our movement, but to creating a powerful force for positive change. Please, join me and donate to RDFRS.

With my very best wishes and thanks for your support.

Richard Dawkins

 

Written By: Richard Dawkins
continue to source article at

68 COMMENTS

  1. Hello,

    My family comitted to a monthly donation.  We’re happy to help in any way we can.

    Is there a way to raise funds here in the US by charging money for a big debate at a big venue?  Or is that against non-prophet (sorry, I couldn’t resist) law?

    We saw Prof. Dawkins @ UCLA a few months back.   We were surprised at the low ticket cost.  Richard is like a rock star over here.  I think he could charge more money for his personal appearances.

    Love,

    Ron

  2. There is always something good at the RDFRS Store, which I’ve visited again for another Book, DVD & Donation for this most worthy cause.  I’m retired on a small pension, but there are few better ways to uplift Humanity than to spread The Good Word regarding Reason & Science.

    I am fortunately Canadian, where generally we have fewer problems than in most countries, but the USA needs help psychologically, educationally & politically – since their trajectory is troubling, affecting Canada as much as the rest of the world – because the US secular democracy is still the best foundation for developments in social governance, despite problems & setbacks.

    Professor Dawkins, you know how I feel, and I wish you success in all your individual & RDFRS work that leads & focuses so many reasonable, rational people of good will around our Pale Blue Dot.

    I’ll be thinking of all the good folk in our Community on Dec 21st as the Solstice passes – and we head into another year of challenges, brightening days, and growing enlightenment….

  3. Donated.  This is the most important movement for the future of mankind that I can support.  Richard’s energy seems endless – and long may it continue.  What I’m doing here seems paltry in comparison.

  4. Every year the US government solicits donations from federal employees through the Combined Federal Campaign; it usually begins around October. (http://www.opm.gov/cfc/)  In my little corner of the big, bad government, considerable effort is placed in and emphasis placed on this campaign, with stern directives from commanders at all levels to appoint coordinators and ensure that 100% of personnel are contacted in person and given the opportunity to participate.  (In my 24 years of service, I have never experienced undo coercion to give to any particular organization nor, in fact, to give at all.)  It’s a good program, offering simple and almost painless ways for federal employees (including military) to donate, whether through one-time donation, payroll deduction or payroll allotment.

    Each year, I try to give to secular charitable organizations or at the very least, organizations which (claim to) have little adminstrative expenditures, (Freedom From Religion Foundation and Doctors Without Borders are two examples), but the number of sectarian charities and charities with huge overheads is astonishing. 

    The website has a link for applications.  Please consider registering with the CFC for the 2013 campaign.  I would love to see RDFRS as one of my choices next year.

  5. My first thought was “what the hell are you talking about”, and then I got your point…

    Sarcasm isn’t always easy, you know! (Not sarcasm. I’ll add a smiley just for clarificaion: :-) )

  6. He was determined to hate civilization. Haters gonna hate. Nothing we can do about that, I’m afraid. This bipedal primate here, however, is a huge fan of civilization, despite all of it’s flaws, and signed up for a monthly.

  7. It could probably be called elitist sarcasm. Only a select few gets it, but they have to know you really well, and even they will get pissed off after a while. I’ve had to make so many apologies I’ve lost count…

  8. OK, I donated. Now that you have my address, please don’t put me on a mailing list so I get requests for money and junk mail from every other atheist/Humanist group.  I can’t stand getting snail mail junk mail. OK? Thanks

  9. I setup the monthly donation as well. God knows (so, nobody knows) how much time I spend watching lectures and debates, and enjoying resources on this site. I should have done this sooner!

    Your’s truly,

    Shea Anderson
    San Francisco, California

  10. I met Mr. Dawkins and Mr. Faircloth in Austin and I have been inspired by this organization to lay the foundation for our secular movement in South Texas. If you live on the Texas border (RGV, El Paso, Laredo, etc.,) feel free to contact me. Thanks!.

     Conocí al Sr. Dawkins y al Sr. Faircloth en Austin y su organización me ha inspirado para cimentar un movimiento secular en el sur de Texas. Si vives en la frontera (RGV, El Paso, Laredo, etc.) hazme el favor de contactarme. ¡Gracias!

  11. Good on you, Richard. With all the infighting on various atheist websites lately, it’s nice to know that someone is having a positive, uniting effect on the “movement”. Wonderful ideas for bringing in various groups of people to dissolve some of that image of old white man’s club. Good luck with your efforts.

    Cheers!

  12. I like this site alot. I like free thought but I wont be contributing. I think atheism underpining social structures might not be the best way forward , I think secular values underpinning social structures is a good thing. So I am toren. I see science report the facts in the only way it can. But these facts I envisage can have unpleasent side effects. I see a society not made up of just of intellectuals and rationalists. I look to the society I live in and I see the handicapped and the diseased and I think what of their aspirations. The evolutionary model is bleak for them. Many people exist in a realm of pain and I wish them hope.

  13. Professor Dawkins has been a bright shining light. When I started reading his books and watching his shows on youtube i felt like he was affirming what I already believed and knew about the slippery slope of absolute mindlessness, which is what religon wants. Instead of mindfullness, no questions. Absolute faith in basicly what amounts to folklore. from a bronze age book. Since learning of Professor Dawkins I have been made aware of so many great athiest thinkers like Sam Harris. Lawrence Krauss, the late Christofer Hitchens, Bart Erhman who was a man of the cloth and now views the world and the universe in an entirely different manner. These are Just a few of the people that i admire for thier courage to write the books that need writing. Sean Faircloth has done great work organizing our movement. 
    Elizabeth Cornwall is another that comes to mind. Thanks you all so much for the work you do. I will definitely donate even though I live on a pension and have recently become disabled to work.It became apparent during the Bush Administration that he was fighting a war against a theocracy and creating one in the US. Something has to be done. There is much work to do. Athiests are considered pariahs by many. The beauty and elegance of how we really got here is far more fullfilling than folklore. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  14. Hi Pauly.  You seem to think that scientific knowledge is unhelpful to the less educated, handicapped or diseased among us.  Do you think that those folk are better served believing indoctrinated untruths, spouted by money-seeking dictatorial faith organizations, who give hope only in the unreality of prayer, miracles & heaven – or the threats of sinfulness, damnation & hell?

    Too bad you won’t be donating to RDFRS, after all the time you spend here getting such good responses from a community who support – with their knowledge, experience & time – the secular & non-theist freethinking that you are ambivalent about.

    Hopefully more reading & studying on these subjects will help you recover from your remaining ‘belief in belief’.

  15. I have been following Richard Dawkins for a little while now.  I have never been a “movement” type of person. But I am becoming more fascinated with the idea of Athiests organizing. The part that stirs me to action is the disgusting way politicians shamelessly pander to religious “values voters” or whatever they call themselves.  It’s sickening.  Religious views have no place in policy making  period! I have always held that athiests have no need to “preach” athiesm because it is so self evident to anyone who doesn’t have their head in the clouds.  However one thing the church has figured out is that there is strength in numbers.  So far I agree with everything I have heard from Mr. Dawkins.  But before I commit to contributing,  I need to investigate with a critical eye just to make sure I am not jumping on board with someone who turns out to be a total loon, no offense.  I look forward to doing business here.

  16. > But before I commit to contributing, I need to investigate with a critical eye just to make sure I am not jumping on board with someone who turns out to be a total loon, no offense.

    I doubt there’s any offense taken.  That’s the whole point. 

    > I look forward to doing business here.

    It’s a good place.

  17. I am a retired professor of chemistry, living in Jerusalem, and I am very happy that I have had the chance, even with my humble
    contribution, to help promoting the cause of your organization, which, I also
    believe, is  the most important movement
    for the future of mankind.

    I don’t know if anybody will read the following lines. I
    usually refrain from burdening people with my personal comments -time for me,
    and I suppose for other people as well, is precious- but I would like to use
    this occasion in order to deliver an important message to your foundation. It’s
    a call for help.

    Dear Prof. Dawkins,

    Your foundation is making a terrific job in organizing
    events in order to promote, among other things, the separation  between religion and  state. However all these events are being held
    in places where science, reason and critical thinking are being threatened
    mainly by Christian fundamentalists.  Here
    in Israel we are having a problem which is very similar to the one in the
    States or in Great Britain -if not worse. I am referring to the Jewish
    fundamentalism. The Jewish religion  may
    be harmless in the States or in the rest of the world, but not here. At the
    moment, as you are aware, the situation in Israel, and especially in Jerusalem,
    is going from bad to worse. Religious schools are multiplying, the religious fundamentalists
    are growing in number and they are taking-over more and more the control of the
    political system. A growing number of youngsters are being indoctrinated with an
     ideology which would have thrilled
    Joshua and his followers, during the time when the Israelites began to conquer
    the land of Canaan around three thousand years ago – provided it ever happened
    as written in the Bible. Forget about the Big Bang, evolution by natural selection,
    the fact that we all came out of Africa and not from a couple who happened to
    be vegetarian and was fond of apples, etc.. These youngsters are being taught, among
    other craps, that human rights are to be applied only to the Jews. After all
    … “WE are the Chosen People.” From the Palestinian side we learn
    that the trend is the same. No wonder we are still light years away from
    achieving a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem.

    To get to the point, my request is this. Could there be a
    possibility in the near future that your foundation might be willing to devote
    a little bit of its time and effort by organizing some sort of event, like The
    Reason Rally for example, also here in Israel and especially in Jerusalem? Also
    in Israel we urgently need more consciousness raising, more critical thinking. What
    we need here are some of your big rock-stars. People who could make some big
    noise in the press. Some kind of event in order to strengthen the Israeli Atheistic
    Movement, which, from the practical point of view, is almost  non-existent. Something in order to shake-up the
    still large section of secular Palestinians and secular Israelis, so that they
    might become more militants, not in a violent way, but by using better
    arguments. I sincerely believe that your movement could be of great help in bringing
    some rationality into this region.

    Please, give it a thought. Take into consideration that even
    the small things, which happened here in the past, have always had a big
    repercussion in the rest of the world. After all, it’s here in Jerusalem where
    all the mess has begun!

    Thanks for taking the time to read my letter.

     

  18. I guess this is really an American thing from the write up? It doesn’t seem to apply to the UK at all, or certainly to my generation in the UK at all. I’ve grown up with muslim, catholic and christian friends and peers and really wouldn’t recognise them from here. They’re all pretty much pro gay marriage, pro choice, pro education and anti religious people having any say in making the laws. No difference in intelligence either. 

    There have only been two known creationists go through my school and both were ‘cured’ before leaving. There are some mad tories that are religious, like Nadine Dorres, but they are few and far between, from an older generation and not taken that seriously.

    As I don’t know of anyone that has ever had problems with being an atheist here (even in my mums generation and she’s pushing 40), if anything I’d guess it would be harder to be very religious,  I guess this appeal is more pertinent to the US? Only because it would be difficult to be that specific about religion if it were international as religion is not a homogenous thing. Muslims in India are different to those in Pakistan, catholics in England different to those in Scotland and so on.

    Also there are some good things about religion here which seems to be absent in the States. Like inter faith food banks and feeding stations run by churches, gurdawaras, temples and mosques which are growing  to help out where there’s been pay freezes or benefit cuts (which don’t preach). Or some of the statements on the morality of bankers bonuses or legal tax avoidance. Or the street pastors we have who help people get home safely when they’re drunk.

    I’m really sorry that I’m not in a position to donate at the moment (imminent student loans and fees), but feel less guilty if it is just specific to the US.

  19. I have purchased several items from the store and will continue to do so to support RDFRS. As time goes on, I sincerely hope for more lectures, TV specials, web specials, etc. Every year the excitement grows around the RDFRS – an excitement for the real and rational world.

  20. Other ways to take advantage of the absence of proof and evidence apart from religion.

    Dialogue:

    A. Do you know what ethnicity Borat is supposed to be?
    B. He is a Kazakhstani of English descent.
    A. Oh…What about you?
    B. I am a Kazakhstani trying to pretend to be English.
    A. Hah, hah, hah…Good luck on that one!
    B. You’ll actually be surprised…I already managed to convince a whole bunch of Americans that I am English….I’d say, good luck Englishmen… Don’t worry… I’ll blow them away!

  21. I wonder if Prof. Dawkins thinks that in order to have authority in a certain area, your personal observations have to be necessarily based on other people’s observations, defined as cumulative human knowledge, or can you make observations that are entirely independent of your college received education and other people’s opinions and realizations, as if your brain is erased, but right on the mark? 

    Here is an example: I came to a certain realization after immigrating from one country to another with a different education system. In the US, education from most countries is invalid, even though when you are made study outside the US, educators have absolute confidence that the knowledge that they impart their pupils with is accurate, and it does make sense, or, at least, it seems that way to some, at the time of study. However, in the US, you have to absorb the knowledge based on the observations of a different type of people, who, on top of all, claim that their education is better. Does this mean that only certain humans on earth have the ability to observe correctly and precisely, and the remaining majority’s people’s ability to observe is off? 

    Why do you have to derive your authority from the knowledge given to you by other people, when you can use the authority and power that manifests in the fruits of YOUR own work, based on YOUR personal independent observations, if you think that that’s what you need in order to influence people? What if you have a better ability to observe than do your educators? Or is it too time consuming trying to persuade people that your educators’ ability to observe was skewed, and they had the perception of unmedicated mentally ill people? (This is in reference to the intro into “The Greatest Show on Earth”)

    Here is another issue: I know that 2+2=4, for instance. How can this result be better depending on the location? Is “4″ simply better in the US, and other countries obsessed with supremacy and world domination?…

    Isn’t it sad that you need authority and power to influence people, with few exceptions, since they have a great response to precisely that?

  22. This old boy,s first comment on any site as i am just finding my way with a computer, please bear with me. As an O.A.P. my donation has to be small. A comment by someone gave me an idea, so i will donate half of any winnings from my lottery ticket Nos. 01,12,20,27,36,43. My country Scotland is a beautiful place, but it has some odd differences re. religion. In the central belt there is a lot of secular people, i do not know the percentage. However in the far north i believe the high majority are religious.i believe Richard was up there not so long ago and there was some kind of demonstration against a talk he was giving. Anyway working on South Uist in 2002 my landlady remarked on the saturday night ‘ i’ll see you at church tomorrow Michael’. I told her simply ‘you will not see me in any church or chapel dear’ and that was that. Up there, then, most pubs ,shops and such were closed on a Sunday. Monday morning my mate Geordie came away with a great putdown. The landlady said to him ‘ i didna see you at the church yesterday George. Geordie replied ‘ naw and you didna see me in the pub neether.

  23. This is one cause that i TOTALLY believe in. Richard Dawkins and his colleagues and supporters are doing a FANTASTIC job and i will definitely try and make yearly donations. I have just donated to the James Randi Educational Foundation (another organisation committed to promoting reason and education) and when i am able to i will send my donation to The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science too. Thank you so much everyone for caring enough about our world and its future to work together on this important issue. Its great to know that so many of us are unified on this now and committed to change.

  24. My special request for you, I’ve done yours and now I think that you should return the favor.Professor Dawkins, can you please be in Miami before March 14th, as I know that you plan on coming, but fear I will miss you because of a exchange trip to China with my high school.

  25. I can understand different websites for different languages and maybe for groups with very specific different experiences like ex muslims but why parallell website for women and LGBT?

    Some of the women I know have suggested its a little patronising to consider them a ‘special’ population of their own. Like their issues aren’t the same as mens or that men don’t need to hear them aired.

    The RCC has separate areas in the church for women. They claim nuns are equal to priests which everyone knows isn’t true. It probably started by having a separate area for women. The girls I know said they’d rather be judged for what they contribute not what they are on the main site rather than having a separate place. Wouldn’t it be better to ensure the main site was totally inclusive by ensuring everyone was judged everyone on what they said rather than separating groups off? 

  26. Hi Kearth,

    You make a good point, but the reverse is also true: if the best idea comes from a school or teacher outside of your country (US, UK, etc.), then you need to study it and include it in your own system.  You are right, good ideas can come from anybody, anywhere, and at anytime. Also, it is a little tough to image a person who has great ideas that are totally independent of those around him, like parents, teachers, mentors, friends, etc.  We don’t live in closed boxes. Kearth, you need to absorb everything– test it in your own mind and then hit the reject or accept button regardless of the source.  Thinking is still legal in most places.  Good luck.    

  27. Reading the ‘ Glasgow Herald’ on Sat. 22nd Dec., i was surprised to see a full page article relating to Richard Dawkins. Topped by a rather unflattering photo of Richard, and titled ‘One for the athiests: How on earth does faith persist? Written by Ian Bell a well respected columnist for the paper, he does write very well and a favourite of mine. A very long article, it may be possible to get it on the internet, if interested. He professes to be an athiest, but i can’t get his point. The comments on the internet and in Monday’s paper were a mixed bunch, but one impressed me by compactness and clarity. ‘ I write to answer the question posed by Ian Bell ” How on earth does faith persist?”, It persists because small children are impressionable. If no-one taught christianity to their children, it would quickly and irrevocably perish, just as Greek paganism, leaving an interesting literature where once was belief. The same is not true of scientific knowledge, which would always be reasserted by apprehension of the real world. 
    Another item reported 2 days before needs a mention. Briefly ‘ A minister of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland ( wee frees) put in an appeal against the granting of an entertaiments  licence to a community hall in Gairloch in the highlands to extend the events to 1am. According to the minister, on a Saturday this would intrude into the Sabbath by 1 hour. The appeal was refused. This tells us that no events like this are allowed on a Sunday. Make it up, you could not! Oh what are these people doing to my beautiful country. And so to the new year, i wish everyone out there a happy new  year and to celebrate with a wee ‘drammie’ and sing Robert Burns ‘Auld lang syne’.

  28. And I felt just the opposite, I read the sentence jumping ahead and hoping women would be acknowledged as a group in need of recognition for what they go through and their specific challenges.  Women, sadly, face extraordinarily difficult circumstances around the world.  Just my opinion, but I’m happy about it.  I find it alternately baffling and encouraging that some women feel they are beyond needing special consideration.  Whatever progress we’ve achieved, so much more needs to be done.

    I think men and women do share many of the same issues but women have a list that is infinitely longer and in need of acknowledgement.  Just my opinion.

    Not to put too fine a point on it but I know a family in which, during a time of the Mother’s illness, a son (mid-twenties) bemoaned the fact that he had no clean underwear. Said sick Mother promptly sent mid-twenties daughter home to wash them for him.  If this happens in the USA, I can’t argue against having our own separate area.  I wouldn’t wash my brother’s underwear unless I had a gun to my head and even them I’d probably be unable to comply.  It was one of the most degrading things I’d ever heard and everyone was perfectly OK with it.  Yikes! 

  29. Hi.
    Please dont forget Norway in all this. Even though we are a small country, there are many atheists here. And as of this moment, And i personally feel captivated amongst christians who wont lissen at all to what i say. The atheists in Norway need a little visit too. To help us get together. We are much more spread out than the us or uk. And if i can help in ANY way to make this happen, I will. Im just a middleclass nobody, its hard to do alone. I need bright minds to help argue more reasonably. I am Norwegian so sorry if the English is a little off ;) 

    Me and a friend of mine is thinking of starting a website where Norwegian atheists can gather and talk about change in our country. But help on how to approach this in a peacefull and reasonable way will be much appreciated.

    Kind regards
    Markus 

    ps.
    Don’t ever give up on this! 

  30. Not able to donate as I do a tremendous amount of NGO work in SA, but I fully support the aims here.  We have some right odd people here including our president.  The Atheist movement is gaining in strength here as well

  31. First, Dr. Dawkins, you are doing a wonderful job..

    Second. I can hardly believe my eyes… There are people on this website, who are able to donate but instead come up with the most pathetic excuses… huh?

    Me on the other hand, I am stuck, as i can’t pay using paypal, and i don’t wish to send checks as i wouldn’t want anything to be traced back to me.

    In the past, i have used “Credit Cards” purchased over the counter to make such donations, which you can’t trace back to me, but i don’t see a credit card option here…

    Bean counters  at RDFRS… Is there a way to make a donation without having it traced back to me??  I am sure there are few people who are in the same position as i am.

    Everyone on this website must have paid more on tips for drinks and food over the last couple of months, but they will not pay for freedom… (i guess if you have it, you don’t care about it!!)

    Thanks.

  32. The most important thing Americans can do to preserve our country and our liberties is to maintain the separation of church and state. The dangerous hold religious groups (and not just right-wing) have on our country is effectively destroying our economy, our infrastructure, our ability to make rational decisions. I see my donation to Mr. Dawkins’ efforts as the most patriotic thing I can do for my country. Donation sent.

Leave a Reply