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June 16, 2007

How Much Got Raised


As of 11:59 and 59 seconds (Pacific Time) last night, the "Drag Scalzi's Ass to the Creation Museum" donation drive raised $5,118.36. That's 256 times the admission price to Creation Museum, a multiple I find both amusing (from a dork point of view) and gratifying, since it means what tiny bit of income the creationists running the museum gain by having me pass through the door will be utterly swamped by the amount I'm going to send to Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Would that it worked that way for every admission to that place.

For those of you who were wondering, some statistics: The first milestone for this fundraiser, the $250 to get me to go at all, got passed within the first hour of posting the challenge. The $1000 mark got passed about 12 hours later. The $5,000 marker got passed last night sometime between 6 and 11pm, while I was out on a date with my wife, celebrating our anniversary. I'm particularly pleased about hitting the $5k mark. The least amount donated was $1; the most was $300. More than one person donated more than $250, usually with the notation "Ha! Now you HAVE to go!" Multiples and variations of $6.66 were amusingly common, although the $5 suggested amount was the amount most received.

To be honest with you all, I had no idea how this thing would do, so I was intensely curious about it. To be clear, I didn't really think there would be a problem hitting the $250 mark; there are about 25,000 daily visitors, and I figured at least 1% of you would be ready to spend a buck or two to torture me by sending me to that place. I also suspected that I'd get $1,000 over the course of a week, and probably more. My own estimate when I started was that it'd eventually clock in between $1,500 and $2,000, and if I got any more than that I would be thrilled. So, consider me doubly to triply thrilled.

As promised, everyone who has contributed will receive two special gifts: A short story and another creative thingie, to be delivered by e-mail. I'll post notes here when I send them out, so those of you who contributed who don't then receive the goodies may ping me, so I can get them to you. I'm all about customer service.

Also, of course, I will (sigh) soon be on my way to the Creation Museum, to view it in all its scientific silliness. Some folks have asked if I would share my intended arrival date and time, so we can congregate en mass and generally become a snarky clot of heathens. As fun as that might be, until they kicked us out, the fact of the matter is that if I'm going to do this, and I am, I want to be able to do it in reportorial mode, which means watching other people in their (heh) natural setting. Also, I don't want them to see me coming. So, I'm going to make the trip alone, or possibly with my family. Perhaps at some other time we can do a heathen field trip, and see how long it takes us to get booted. But for now, well. You guys just shelled out five grand. I think I owe you an actual report.

Thank you again to everyone who donated, even though it means me dragging my ass down to that damn place. The amount we've raised for the separation of church and state is worth it. I'm glad you were motivated to shell out for the Constitution. And also, to torture me. Because, let's face it. I know you're looking forward to that.

Finally: Jude, you've won the betting pool for the final amount, with your guess of $5,002.25. E-mail me your address.

Posted by john at June 16, 2007 12:13 PM

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Tom | June 16, 2007 12:17 PM

It was mostly about torturing you -- but 5k is a very nice figure for a voluntary donation

Lanna Lee Maheux-Quinn | June 16, 2007 12:23 PM

One thing I am curious about, how many individual donations did you get?

John Scalzi | June 16, 2007 12:29 PM


Don't know. Still have to collate them all. At least a couple hundred, however.

Janiece | June 16, 2007 12:33 PM

Hurray for the seperaton of Church and State! We rule.

Can't wait for the report, and I hope you and Krissy had a fun date.

P.S. You are aware that you married "up," aren't you? Hehe.

Lanna Lee Maheux-Quinn | June 16, 2007 12:40 PM


Dean | June 16, 2007 12:45 PM

That's 256 times the admission price to Creation Museum

You know, a sadistic person might suggest that this means you have to go 256 times.

I am not a sadistic person.

Laurie Mann | June 16, 2007 01:11 PM

Barry Lynn could suggest this tactic has a massive fundraiser! ;->

Suzanne M | June 16, 2007 01:25 PM

That is a beautiful number. And way more than I would have guessed, had I been able to donate. This was a wonderful idea.

htom | June 16, 2007 01:42 PM

Yea! Yea! Yea!

We can has pain U againz?

Jess | June 16, 2007 01:45 PM

I hope you'll take Athena. I'd be curious to hear her take on the place.

Laurie Mann | June 16, 2007 01:47 PM

"Athena, imagine you're watching one long cartoon..."

CaseyL | June 16, 2007 01:58 PM

We will, we will, carbondatedfossilbearingROCK you!

Kaytie | June 16, 2007 02:05 PM

That's fantastic!

I'm particularly curious to hear your thoughts on the controversial "Sleestak" exhibit. Is it true they were on the ark but were forced overboard for feasting on Dodo eggs?

Michael Rawdon | June 16, 2007 02:29 PM

I knew that using logic would guarantee I wouldn't guess the correct total.

Of course, I think I used a quantity of logic roughly equal to that used in crafting the Creation Museum.

Jenny Rae Rappaport | June 16, 2007 02:43 PM

I'm eagerly awaiting your report. And I consider my $5 very well spent.

Plus, honestly, hitting over $5K? Completely and totally cool. =)

Annalee Flower Horne | June 16, 2007 03:24 PM

I'm always happy to throw a few bucks at a good cause right after I've been paid.

Especially if that good cause has a delicious note of spite to it. I know your goal is to not get kicked out, but any chance of you walking up to the front desk on your way out and telling them about the donations? I'd throw another tenner in if it meant I could find their reaction on YouTube.

Dan | June 16, 2007 03:34 PM

Congrats on a great success. That's quite an amount.

On the other hand, it still sucks that you have to give ANY money to that place. Maybe if you poked around, you might find a friend to let you in the back door or something. But, as they say, you can't make an omelet without cracking a few eggs, right?

Anyway, good work. I am definitely looking forward to reading your take on this insult to science and reason.

Ewan | June 16, 2007 03:39 PM

Over $5k?

Yeah, we rock.


John Scalzi | June 16, 2007 03:42 PM


"Maybe if you poked around, you might find a friend to let you in the back door or something."

The likelihood that I have friends working in the Creation Museum is slim, for a number of reasons.

I don't begrudge the Creation Museum their $20. I just hope I'm entertained enough to justify the cost.

Clay | June 16, 2007 03:59 PM

$5k for a good cause is the main goal. The torture and goodies are just a nice bonus

Jude | June 16, 2007 04:03 PM

I am so excited that I won! Cool. I emailed my mailing address moments ago. Thanks!

Nathan | June 16, 2007 04:13 PM

5K. Wow!

I just love it when us Whatever visitors?...guests?...squatters? get an opportunity to pat ourselves on the back. And get to gently nudge Scalzi with a boot to the ass.

Such fun.

Paul Barnes | June 16, 2007 04:50 PM

Now, I'm just curious here, but how is giving this money to AUSCS screwing over the Creationist museum? Mind you, I think that its utter bunk and all that, but I do not see the connection. Unless they receive money from the government.

jennifer | June 16, 2007 05:04 PM

I don't care about the museum, but I want to keep that faith-based theory passed off as science out of my public schools. That's enough of a connection for me.

Nathan | June 16, 2007 05:11 PM

Paul Barnes,

The connection is that the Creationist movement originated with Christians who are pissed off that we don't allow prayer in school and we DO teach evolution. (Well, we've managed to keep it on the curriculum in most places).

They've created this psuedo-science crap with the idea that they'll get it into schools since "it's a theory just as valid as evolution".

The whole theory is an effort to circumvent the separation of Church and State as it applies to public education.

JT | June 16, 2007 05:28 PM

I don't think that the creationist Museum's existence has anything to do with Public Schools. Creationism isn't something that has recently been created; it has been around for a while.

Hate it or not, I don't think this place was 'created' just to spite you. People really believe this. And to make fun of it, you are not making fun of their scientific beliefs, but their spiritual ones.

But, free speech and all that, right?

John Scalzi | June 16, 2007 05:51 PM


"But, free speech and all that, right?"

Well, yes.

Also, speaking personally, I'm not obliged to be all mumbly-polite about someone's spiritual beliefs when I know what they believe is utter nonsense from a scientific point of view, particularly when, as in the case of this museum, they make their argument that their belief is a factually accurate model of how the world is. Which is to say that if they don't want their spiritual beliefs bruised, they shouldn't state their beliefs as "facts," which are then esily disproved. As they say, one is entitled to one's own beliefs, not one's own facts.

Jim Winter | June 16, 2007 05:53 PM

I told you, John, if you pay my way, I'll go.

Of course, I had a far more interesting list of bribes. I'm still holding out for a troop withdrawal by Labor Day.

John H | June 16, 2007 08:05 PM

Wow! That's teh awesome!

Dan | June 16, 2007 08:35 PM


"I don't begrudge the Creation Museum their $20. I just hope I'm entertained enough to justify the cost."

Two words for you John: Jesus Horse.


Laurie Mann | June 16, 2007 09:19 PM

JT, sure, anyone's free to say that Noah's ark was a real boat, but it's just the trappings of science around said sentiment that riles many of us.

Owlmirror | June 16, 2007 10:23 PM

Hate it or not, I don't think this place was 'created' just to spite you.

It depends on to whom "you" refers. No, it wasn't created to spite John Scalzi specifically. But it was created to spite anyone and everyone who accepts scientific discoveries as being true; it was created to spite all science and all scientists.

The primary idea that fundamentalists are trying to propagate with Creationism is that if Scripture says one thing, and reality, as discovered by science, says another, then nevertheless reality is false and Scripture is true.

This hypocritical and delusional idea needs to be mightily mocked.

I hope there will be much more mockery.

I particularly look forward to more LOLTRexes, LOLarks, LOLsnakes, LOLtrilobites, LOLtrees-of-knowledge, &c.

The Stealth Geek | June 16, 2007 10:40 PM

Now this IS good news, and has made my week. Don't forget to study up on The Flying Spaghetti Monster before you go. ;-)

Kelson | June 16, 2007 11:46 PM

So, of course, planning must start on Future Scalzi Fundraisers...

Annalee Flower Horne | June 17, 2007 01:04 AM

The primary idea that fundamentalists are trying to propagate with Creationism is that if Scripture says one thing, and reality, as discovered by science, says another, then nevertheless reality is false and Scripture is true.

Apropos of very little, but you just reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:

"The Church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round. For I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the Church." -Magellan.

Brad DeLong | June 17, 2007 01:07 AM

Take a look at: http://www.mindonfire.com/?p=695

brightmoon | June 17, 2007 09:35 AM

oh you poor baby , now you actually have to go

Dave Weingart | June 17, 2007 02:27 PM

Collectively, we rule. That's an excellent number and a very worth cause.

I wonder if they'd get it if you greeted them by saying "Eppur si muove" as you walked in.

DavidS | June 17, 2007 05:02 PM

Oh, excellent, perhaps the smart people here will know this:

"The Church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round. For I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the Church." -Magellan.

I have seen this quote on T-shirts and websites for a while now and I have never seen it cited back to a print source, let alone a primary document. On its face, the quotation is implausible. The Church basically approved of Aristotle's picture of the universe, and Aristotle thought the world was round (for this reason and others). But maybe Magellan fell in with some very ignorant priests. So, does anyone know where this quotation came from?

Steven H Silver | June 18, 2007 08:34 AM

While in Kentucky yesterday (no, I didn't go to the museum), I read a very interesting article on the front page of the Lexington Herald-Leader about the Creation Museum, or, more accurately, about the lawsuit against them by an Australian Creationist group, complete with charges of necrophilia.

Mfitz | June 18, 2007 08:59 AM

The shadow on the moon being curved is because the moon in curved not because the earth is curved.

But back to gloating-

$5000.00 plus dollars is fantastic!

If you have to go to the AIG museum staying the night at the First Farm Inn might take some of the sting out of things. It's an award winning B & B at the same highway exit as the Creation Museum. The owners were involved in the opening day protests and might even give you a deal if you tell they why you are coming.

You could also stop at Cincinnati Musum Center on the way home and see some real Natural History in one of the most beautiful Art Deco buildings in the world. No Jeasus horses, but one of the best exhibits on the last Ice Age in the world. If you talk to Dr. Brenda Hanke ahead of time you night get the VIP tour plus she'll enjoy hearing all your snark about the Creation Science Museum. She's Canadian and thinks it whole thing is a weird American quirk.

Rosangela Canino-Koning | June 18, 2007 02:13 PM

By some, ahem, miracle, not only did I win (with a guess of $5,039.42 posted at 6/15/07 11:48am), but our Venerable Mr. Scalzi made an unfortunate error and awarded the prize to someone else... :( :( :(

If Jude really really wants the prize, they can have it. I will cry only but a little.

Mary Kay | June 18, 2007 02:19 PM

When you send the money to AUFSCS you *are* going to include a letter on how it was raised aren't you? I'd think they might want to feature that prominently on their website or something. Ahem.


John Scalzi | June 18, 2007 02:38 PM


So you did. Send me your mailing address, I'll send you something, too.

Laurie Mann | June 18, 2007 03:19 PM

Mary Kay, like I said uptopic, I'm sure Barry Lynn would be intrigued by this method of fundraising. I've been a member for years, and met Barry twice. One of the good guys!

Rosangela Canino-Koning | June 18, 2007 04:03 PM

Sweet! :) Sent.

Josh Jasper | June 21, 2007 01:08 PM

JT : People really believe this. And to make fun of it, you are not making fun of their scientific beliefs, but their spiritual ones.

I'm surprised no one caught this. Actually, creationists *ARE* presenting the views they have as science, because they describe what they claim happened instead of evolution as an accurate depiction of physical reality.

That's not spirituality, that's bad science. If they wanted to have a salvation museum, or a museum celebrating the intercession of Christ in man's life to bring us all to heaven if we accept him as our savior, that would be spiritual. This is not. It's bullshit masquerading as science, and making fun of it is one good way of getting people to recognize it.

If you think bad science ought not to be made fun of when it comes from religious people because they need it to prop up contradictory claims from their holy book, feel free to say so. But don't claim they get a dispensation because it's religion, and for no other reason.

Also, Nathan, it's a BS claim by the same groups that spawned the organized creationism movement that the USA "does not allow prayer in school". I say again, bullshit. We do allow prayer in school. What we don't allow is school led prayer.

The claim that prayer in school is banned is a large part of the "Big Lie" technique used by the religious right to smear opponents who did actually (and rightly IMNSHO) get school led prayer banned.

What these people want is religious indoctrination in schools, not freedom. They lie and say they're for freedom, and because they lie loudly and frequently, the terms they use make it into the public discourse. Every time one of us uses the shorthand they created we play into the plan they've got.

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