By Dr. Gleb Tsipurksy
Tenure Track Professor in the History of Behavioral Science—Ohio State University, and President/Co-Founder, Intentional Insights
I’m sure that you, like me, have been concerned with the rising tide of lies in our public discourse. In fact, I’ve seen a number of public statements in UnitedCoR’s newsletters that show this concern pretty clearly.
You might be interested in a major new nonpartisan project, the Pro-Truth Pledge (PTP), designed to roll back the tide of lies in our public discourse through combining behavioral science with crowdsourcing. A number of prominent figures in the reason-oriented community have signed the pledge, ranging from well-known leaders of secular organizations to big-name podcasters—the full list is in this Patheos post. I would like to invite you to add your name to this list.
The pledge asks signees to commit to 12 behaviors that research in behavioral science shows correlate with truth-oriented behavior, such as clarifying one’s opinions and the facts, citing one’s sources, and celebrating people who update their beliefs toward the truth. Private citizens who sign the pledge get the benefit of contributing to a more truth-oriented society. Public figures get more substantive rewards for signing the pledge, in the form of positive media and public recognition. The pledge crowd-sources the truth by asking volunteers to evaluate the statements of public figures who sign the pledge, ensuring they stick to the truth, and asking them to clarify their statements if needed. You can read more about how the rewards and evaluation process works in the FAQ section of the PTP website.
The PTP was created by a group of social scientists, and combines behavioral science with crowd-sourcing to make it work. For a thorough explanation, see this draft of an academic article, currently undergoing peer review. The PTP has already had some positive mainstream media coverage, both on TV and in prominent venues such as Scientific American. A number of public figures – politicians, news personalities, talk show hosts, bloggers, academics – have signed the pledge.
I do hope you’ll decide to add your name to the many reason-oriented notables who already chose to sign this pledge by taking 2 minutes to fill out the pledge at this website. Please check the box indicating that you’re a public figure and include a brief paragraph about why you chose to take the pledge and up to three links to your online presence. We will list that in the public figures database on the website and send it out to those who signed the pledge and asked to be included in the email updates (about 80% of signees). If you want to help further, you are welcome to share your participation in taking the pledge on your social media and social networks, and to also add a badge to your website about the fact that you took the pledge. There are also plenty of ways you can help if you wish to invest more effort into our Pro-Truth Movement, and I’d be happy to chat about them further.