Skeptical Science takes the Pro-Truth-Pledge
Posted on 7 January 2019 by BaerbelW , John Cook
Skeptical Science has been fighting misinformation about human-caused climate change since the website was launched in 2007. But with the rise in prevalence of fake news over the last few years, protecting truth and facts has become more important than ever. To help with that task, some additional means by which to distinguish between truth-tellers and those who spread misinformation would be useful to have. This is where the Pro-Truth-Pledge comes in.
The Pro-Truth-Pledge (website: www.ProTruthPledge.org) has been established in order to reclaim the fuzzy concept of “truth,” which different people may interpret differently. It gives a much stricter definition, outlined by the following twelve clearly-observable behaviors that research in behavioral science shows correlate with truthfulness:
- Verify: fact-check information to confirm it is true before accepting and sharing it
- Balance: share the whole truth, even if some aspects do not support my opinion
- Cite: share my sources so that others can verify my information
- Clarify: distinguish between my opinion and the facts
- Acknowledge: acknowledge when others share true information, even when we disagree otherwise
- Reevaluate: reevaluate if my information is challenged, retract it if I cannot verify it
- Defend: defend others when they come under attack for sharing true information, even when we disagree otherwise
- Align: align my opinions and my actions with true information
- Fix: ask people to retract information that reliable sources have disproved even if they are my allies
- Educate: compassionately inform those around me to stop using unreliable sources even if these sources support my opinion
- Defer: recognize the opinions of experts as more likely to be accurate when the facts are disputed
- Celebrate: celebrate those who retract incorrect statements and update their beliefs toward the truth
This has been the approach of the Skeptical Science team all along when it comes to climate science. Which is why we decided to head into 2019 with taking the Pro-Truth-Pledge as an organisation – even if this is somewhat akin to “stating the obvious” as the rating of “factual reporting: very high” for Skeptical Science on Media Bias/FactCheck makes pretty clear!
Private citizens, public figures, and organizations can take the pledge. Private citizens get the benefit of contributing to a more truthful society. Public figures and organizations get reputational rewards, since the pledge provides them with external credibility by holding them accountable through crowd-sourced fact-checking. Please check the Pro-Truth-Pledge website and poke around their list of other public figures who already took the pledge.
How about taking the Pro-Truth-Pledge as well? Simply click the orange “Take the Pledge” button at the top right of their website. Then, spread the word about the pledge throughout your contact network to encourage them to follow suit. Together, we can make a real difference in fighting misinformation and protecting truth and facts!