Interview with Carl Baker – External Volunteer, Washington State Organizer, Pro-Truth Pledge

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Carl Baker is an External Volunteer and Washington State Organizer for the Pro-Truth Pledge. Here we talk about some of his work and views.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: We have a mutual contact through the Pro-Truth Pledge. It is a good initiative to raise awareness on the importance of facts and substantiated theories as the background to proper and reasoned conversations in the modern world. How can we advance this form of conversation?

Carl Baker: I think that listening and asking questions are the two key skills here. Modeling the behavior by changing our minds when presented with compelling evidence is also key. 

Jacobsen: Liberals and conservatives are divided a lot now. What are some areas of common ground for them?

Baker: This is a tough question for me. We have our shared humanity and the wants and needs that go along with it. But our fears and concerns seem very different to me. 

Jacobsen: What are some commonsense ways to learn to listen more rather than assert or yell over someone, outside of basic patience?

Baker: Practice. Role playing can be helpful. And build a relationship before tackling divisive issues. 

Jacobsen: What are the pressing truth-based issues of the time now?

Baker: Our climate is threatened by a lack of acceptance of climate science by our elected officials. And the United States government has been subverted in ways that prevent it from responding to the people or to facts. 

Jacobsen: For issues of climate change and denial of basic theories in biology and medicine – evolution by natural selection, how do we increase knowledge there?

Baker: These are identity issues for a lot of people. Many folks believe that if they change their position on these issues their identity and community will be at risk. We need to show people that they needn’t lose their relationships just because they change their minds about a topic. 

Jacobsen: How can we make PTP and other endeavours fun, in the sense of positive reinforcement to the activities the PTP and similar initiatives encourage?

Baker: Good conversations where both parties learn something are inherently fun. It may be fun to share stories about such productive conversations as well. 

Jacobsen: What are some good blogs on science education?

Baker: Skeptics guide to the universe, science based medicine, NCSE.

Jacobsen: What are some good books on effective communication and outreach with the public?

Baker: A manual for creating atheists.

Jacobsen: Who articulates the spirit of humility and empirically-based open-mindedness well?

Baker: Julia Galef, Tracy Harris, Dan Dennett.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Carl.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:

Do not forget to look into our associates: Godless Mom, Nice Mangoes, Sandwalk, Brainstorm Podcast, Left at the Valley, Life, the Universe & Everything Else, The Reality Check, Bad Science Watch, British Columbia Humanist Association, Dying With Dignity Canada, Canadian Secular Alliance, and Centre for Inquiry Canada.

Other Resources: Recovering From Religion.

Photo by Luis Quintero on Unsplash

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