A number of days ago, I asked the readers of this to sign a “Pro-Truth Pledge”, one that I had also signed. I gave you my reasons for signing the pledge, which included a broad commitment to the truth and critical thinking. That is a commitment I still find worthy.
Of course, you might say that the pledge was too broad and generalized to be useful, but I disagree. It’s true that no one says “I don’t believe in truth”, even the Breitbarts and the Palmer Reports of the world, however, it’s still important to make a symbolic gesture, and when you take a pledge, the most important function of it is to hold yourself accountable; and others will hold you accountable as well. You have publicly added your name to a set of principles, basically inviting the world to scrutinize you and catch any lapse. This is the true purpose of pledges, in my opinion.
Now, my other colleague at Patheos has written a couple of very alarming articles about Gleb Tsipursky, the man behind the pledge. In the first one, ideas such as creating false accounts to advertise himself, exaggerations and outright falsehoods about his popularity, and manufactured online reach. In the second one the allegations get even more serious; such as curating his Patreon in a way that charges his patrons for links to the content he did not create. A polite person might call this extremely troubling and an impolite one might call it, well, theft.
And equally troubling is how Tsipursky has handled this. In all of his responses, he has never challenged a single point of fact, but has deflected, projected, and threatened. His comment on Davis’s second post is an absolute farce, for example. If Davis is maliciously or innocently wrong about Tsipursky, he’s doing everything in his power to act like a guilty person caught red-handed, raising suspicions about himself.
Now, if I hasn’t taken the pledge, and hadn’t written to encourage others to take it, would have ignored this issue and continue writing angry rants about religion and defending Iranian reformists, my “forte”. However, I have played a role (albeit small, as my reach is small) in promoting the pledge and the person behind it, and it would be completely against my integrity and honesty to ignore the questions surrounding it. Actually, I believe that pledge itself compels me to write this post. I have pledged to share the truth, and I shall do so.
Gleb, if you are innocent, then believe me that your reactions have been very suspicious, and make an attempt to address the concerns in a more constructive way, so you can leave this episode behind. And if you have done things, apologize sincerely, come clean, and truly adhere to the principles you preach. Let us review these principles once more:
- Acknowledge when others share true information, even when we disagree otherwise
- Reevaluate if my information is challenged, retract it if I cannot verify it
- Defend others when they come under attack for sharing true information, even when we disagree otherwise
- Align my opinions and my actions with true information