A recent bounty on the crowd-funded myth-busting site “TruthMarket” offered $5,000 to anyone who could definitely prove that more than 5 percent of credible scientists disagreed with the connection between climate change and human actions.
Truthmarket is a website that allows people to offer cash bounties to people who can prove or disprove a statement. Proof must be definitive as judged by a committee of “neutral, professional, scientifically trained adjudicators”. Ellen Davis, a user of the site, posted this challenge after being inspired by a Yale University poll that indicated only 13 percent of Americans realized there was consensus among the scientific community as to the existence of anthropogenic climate change. Ms. Davis sought to disprove this reality.
The site works by crowd-funding campaigns. For example, a user offers a $100 bounty and other users who would like to see the campaign successful, contribute to the cause. It is difficult to sort though these campaigns, and see what the originator is trying to prove. On the surface, it would appear Ms. Davis is a climate change skeptic. When in truth, she is offering this bounty to prove the skeptics wrong. If anyone can provide definitive, scientific proof that the vast majority of the scientific community does not believe climate change is caused by humans, she (the campaign) will reward them with $5,000.
The campaign grew to offer a $7,500 bounty for anyone who could demonstrate scientists were torn on this issue. The campaign has since ended with no successful challenges.
Other campaigns on the site include a disproving a statement made by gun rights activities that guns are used to as self-protection 4,000 times each day, that cell phones cause damage, and that women’s bodies prevent impregnation in cases of rape. The last campaign raised $36,917.
Revolutionary, social paradigm-shifting website? No, probably not. But such a tool could be useful in combating the scores of false claims and propaganda disseminated by climate change skeptics and their business partners.
If you’re looking to participate, there is a campaign looking to raise $2,000 to prove coal is the nation’s dirtiest energy source. As confusing as the last one, this campaign seeks to prove the statement by challenging anyone to offer evidence to the contrary. See the campaign to debunk the “clean coal” myth here.
Perhaps more interesting is the parent organization of TruthMarket, Truth Seal. A California-based company that reviews political and commercial claims for accuracy so that the advertisers may display a seal of truthfulness. Never seen one on TV, have you?