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Why does Ted censor its talks?

I would like to see the Tedx Talk given by Jim Vieira at the Mass. Tedx regarding ancient stone architecture in North America.

The talk was obviously online for some length of time, with multiple links via Google that all go to a removed Youtube page.

This is bizarre, especially considering his position that much of this information has been suppressed by academics because it refutes the standard models.

With the recent discovery of Gobekli Tepe and other very ancient sites, which were not permitted to exist when I was learning ancient history as it was written that Sumer was the oldest civilization.

Why is Ted censoring this information after allowing it initially? I can gather from the content that it would be controversial but I think we have a right to see it and judge for ourselves. You have no problem running wild 100-year pseudo-scientific prophecies on climate change, and random philosophical ramblings of poets, what's the story here?

Please return the video and let us decide if we find it of value or not.

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    Dec 19 2012: Thanks for writing. The talk was pulled because it contains a significant number of inaccurate statements and outdated interpretations of ancient history and archeology -- a field that is, ironically, constantly changing as new research happens.
    When a new archeological site is discovered, the problem isn't that it was "not permitted to exist" when you were learning ancient history. It's that archeologists didn't know much about it then -- Gobekli Tepe, for instance, has only been under excavation since 1994. Archeology moves forward all the time, in amazing ways! New sites are found, new interpretations are happening, new technologies revolutionize the field ... for example, did you know that until the 1990s and early 2000s, we had an incomplete understanding of Mayan script -- and all we knew was their number system? Since the recent deciphering of almost the full Mayan script, the astronomical preoccupation attributed to Mayan writings has been largely discredited. Most of the numbers found in the Mayan script are now believed to be dates of births, coronations and wars.
    We have great TED Talks about people using satellite imaging to discover ancient sites, to 3D-scan ancient monuments and learn more about their structure, even to learn about ancient humans by studying the plaque on their teeth! So much is happening -- this is really a golden age of learning about humanity's history.
    If you're curious, reach out to your local university and see if there's a course in modern archeology, or an e-course from iTunes U. There's so much really cool stuff being discovered with new techniques (like satellite scans) as well as good old patient fieldwork.
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        Dec 30 2012: Hi Harley,

        Thanks for your comment, and I'm glad you're looking at TEDWeekends. Amber's work is based on data and observation. You'll notice that within the same weekly feature, there's an essay from a scientist who disagrees with her. The feature is a place for all kinds of fact-supported views to meet, clash and build on one another in an interesting discourse. Disagreement is the key ingredient in making better ideas!

        TED has hosted debates before -- check out this pro-/con-nuclear energy debate:


        ... and this blog post rounding up a few other speakers who don't agree, including an interesting debate about humanity's future:


        Curious what you think of these debates, and how they might be more effective.

        We do our best to show several sides of important issues, so I don't believe that TED promotes transhumanism above all other ideas. I work here, and I'm just as human as ever, sadly. No robot third arm for me, much as I would appreciate one to reach things on high shelves.

        If you want to watch a talk that's an antidote to transhumanism utopianism (I use the word advisedly, because personally I don't think we're merging with robots anytime soon), here's a talk on beautiful human values -- the kind you don't get from a machine:

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    Dec 18 2012: Hello Jonah,

    I absolutely agree with you on censorship, yet on the other hand I also think that any publisher has the right to decide what goes public under its name and what doesn't.

    It is most likely that you will not find any Atlantis or UFO studies within the Nature magazine, as this publisher sets its own quality standards and rightly so.

    What I found to your topic on the Internet may be interesting to you as well:


    At least there is an official explanation why this talk got removed, which is not typical for plain censorship.

    That this talk was first chosen and published and then removed is probably caused by a lack of personal in the preselection and revision process of all talks and , which, on the broad spectrum of talks TED offers, is quite understandable to me.

    The problem to make this talk available on other platforms such as youtube may be connected to the fact, that a regular TED talk often comes with a TED logo somewhere in the background, so that a connection to TED will be made by this, which can not to be in the interest of TED, if they choose not get connected to it.

    Maybe Jim Vieira can make his own video to spread his ideas independently from TED, which should not be a big problem in our todays digital world.

    The fact that you can find videos by people such as Klaus Dona and his interpretation of history on the Internet freely may show, that censorship does not really apply here.
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      Dec 19 2012: " I also think that any publisher has the right to decide what goes public under its name and what doesn't."

      Well and succinctly said, Lejan.
      Publishers do this all the time, as anyone who has submitted an article to a journal for possible publication or submitted a manuscript to a publisher quickly learns!
      And thank you for the link to the detailed, point by point explanation of what the fact-checkers determined that led to the decision to take the talk down.
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        Dec 19 2012: Well, I guess I am just one of the few who get repeatedly turned down by Nature magazine for their questionable research results ... even though this time I am so certain that my perpetuum mobile finally works ... :o)
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          Dec 19 2012: I am not a scientist, but in my field I sometimes submitted papers and got the reply that my work would fit better in either a more technical or a less technical journal.

          I didn't mean to suggest that this typically has to do with questionable research results. I meant that a publisher who publishes one sort of thing often does not publish another kind of thing.
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        Dec 19 2012: I know Fritzie, I was just joking ... :o)
  • Dec 21 2012: Jonah, here is a link I found on Jim Vieira's facebook page. It is approximately 11 minutes long. While it seems to be an off the cuff interview promoting the Ted talk, perhaps it will give you a feel for what he had to say. I heard him interviewed on Coast to Coast last week. I will posting that link as well.
    Hope it helps.


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    Dec 21 2012: 1. this is not censorship. it is logically impossible for someone to censor himself. it does not even make sense. TED simply decides what to put up and what not to. it is no likely that they want to publish something, but then they censor themselves.

    2. you definitely don't have a right to watch anything. content providers provide content as they like, and you have the right to watch what is shown to you. you also have the right to put up your own content on your own website if you so desire. that jim vieira fella can also put up content on his own website, facebook page and other places.

    3. initial publication does not grant anything. it can be a mistake.
  • Dec 21 2012: one more link for Jim Vieira on the subject.


    It is about an hour long, I have not watched all of it so I cannot speak to the content.
  • Dec 21 2012: 1. It is censorship, perhaps you are not familiar with the definition of that word.

    2. Thank you for observing the obvious.

    3. As can you.
  • Dec 19 2012: I agree they have the right, and the choice. Though from my point of view, I don't see TED as anything like a scientific journal. I see it as entertainment. Which I suppose makes me an uber geek. Though I have never attempted to submit my perpetuum mobile for review so I guess I am in good company.

    I would prefer they leave talks up if they have already put them up. Given how many of the fields are not scientific (marketing, etc), they are not serving as a scientific body anyway. I will predict for posterity, much of the climate change debate put forth here as science will be discarded as erroneous in time. I would prefer they leave those up too. In fact, one of my favorite things about the internet is crowd sourced fact checking. You can learn a lot about a subject being ripped to shreds by informed people. I will have to do that myself when I find the content of this video. How does that help anyone...

    That's just my dissenting opinion, and the main reason I would urge some consideration is I am 9.5 feet tall and have two rows of teeth, and I am desperate for answers.

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      Dec 19 2012: It seems you are a dentists dream and a shoemakers nightmare! Never mind as besides my perpetuum mobile, nothing is perfect... ;o)

      I agree with your concept of making up ones own mind, yet just not expect a single media to deliver all parts of your puzzle.

      In my view, TED is acting accordingly to its self given rules, and yes those rules are not consistent towards all of the contend. Nevertheless, if you take a look on the lower left side on 'Terms of use' for this forum, you will find in paragraph 4, first bullet dot, the following statement of what will be removed in case it gets posted :

      'content promoting pseudo-science, conspiracy theories, zealotry, proselytizing, self-promotion, product-hawking, and new-age fluff'

      In my understanding, your 'species' is once again not really welcome, and I think some similar rules apply for TED Talks as well... :o)

      And by the way, how is the climate up there? ;o)
  • Dec 18 2012: Thank you. Having read the link I understand the basis, though I will have to do further research to determine on my own (which may be impossible given that I can't view the content upon which the refutations are based).

    I do question the legitimacy of the "scientific community" on these topics. They seem unwilling to address anomalies, and unwilling to question the epidemiological errors so pervasive in their fields. Having heard many a professor explain why Sumeria was absolutely positively the earliest civilization, and watching the unearthing of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, the question of whose science is "pseudo-science" is very much valid.

    Further there are numerous climate change talks which are, at best, unsubstantiated if not entirely insane ("lets release a giant ash cloud to block out the sun and save the planet!" - that is a real talk still online).

    Ted is entitled to its standards but it is in poor taste. This is the second time I have seen a gatekeeper mentality on the science end, where seemingly anything goes in a few "acceptable" categories of speculation. I think we are a fairly intelligent audience and can be entrusted to the task of discernment. I would like to see this video returned to the public, with whatever disclaimers deemed appropriate. Dis-inviting speakers is rude, TED offers entertainment, design, poetry and music, and tons of speculation on many subjects. Whether Vieira's claims are flawed, the textbook history is too. Let's not be setting precedence of the status quo as gospel in this field, or we will never get the truth.

    That said, I'm sure he probably has his speech memorized and I will look for the ted-free version elsewhere. Thanks again...
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      Dec 19 2012: TED is not obligated to publish/broadcast everything submitted. In this case they did and then discovered "a significant number of inaccurate statements and outdated interpretations of ancient history and archeology. . . ". Do you believe TED is obligated to continue to publish in this case?
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      Dec 21 2012: I hear you. Here's where I'm coming from, and we're not that far apart:

      Science is about adding to the world's stock of knowledge, by patient data gathering and analysis that holds up to review and replication. Sometimes, adding to the world's knowledge means rewriting what we thought we knew. And sometimes … that's really annoying! We want science to tell us hard-and-fast truths that don't change. So when "they" tell us that, for instance, coffee is bad for us and red wine is good, and then a year later it comes out that coffee is good for us and red wine bad … it's baffling, and it's tempting to retreat to simpler explanations.

      One of our hopes at TED is to help make the scientific process more understandable and open. New developments are happening all the time, but school textbooks are only revised (if you're lucky) every 10-15 years … meanwhile, the daily headlines are filled with miracle cures and sensationalism around new discoveries. It's hard to know what is true. But behind the hype is an amazing ongoing story of people working day in day out to understand the world better by gathering facts, sharing them with a community that helps test them, and then telling their stories.