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The debate about Rupert Sheldrake's talk

Please use this space to comment on the debate around Rupert Sheldrake's TEDx talk, as described here:

http://blog.ted.com/2013/03/19/the-debate-about-rupert-sheldrakes-talk/

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Closing Statement from TED

Thanks to all who participated in this conversation on TED's decision to move Rupert Sheldrake's talk from YouTube to TED.com. It was scheduled as a 2-week conversation, and has now closed. But the archive will remain visible here.

We'd like to respond here to some of the questions raised in the course of the discussion.

Some asked whether this was "censorship." Now, it's pretty clear that it isn't censorship, since the talk itself is literally a click away on this very site, and easily findable on Google. But it raises an interesting question about curation. Should TED play *any* curatorial role in the content it allows its TEDx organizers to promote? We believe we should. And once you accept a role for curatorial limits, you have to accept there will be times when disputes arise.

A number of questions were raised about TED's science board: How it works and why the member list isn't public. Our science board has 5 members -- all working scientists or distinguished science journalists. When we encounter a scientific talk that raises questions, they advise us on their position. I and my team here at TED make the final decisions. We keep the names of the science board private. This is a common practice for science review boards in the academic world, which preserves the objectivity of the recommendations and also protects the participants from retribution or harassment.

Finally, let me say that TED is 100% committed to open enquiry, including challenges to orthodox thinking. But we're also firm believers in appropriate skepticism, or critical thinking. Those two instincts will sometimes conflict, as they did in this case. That's why we invited this debate. The process hasn't been perfect. But it has been undertaken in passionate pursuit of these core values.

The talk, and this conversation, will remain here, and all are invited to make their own reasoned judgement.

Thanks for listening.

Chris Anderson, TED Curator

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  • Mar 22 2013: I am convinced that there is more than just 'us humans'. not only interplanetary but also here on earth. i used to believe something else, but a friend of mine claims she can see people's auras, which means, she can see if someone has bad intentions or not. and mostly she's right. so that got me thinking...Also, back in the day, aristoteles was the smartest scientist known to man, but he got outsmarted... so, it's possible that einstein had a few glitches in his theory. i believe einstein can be outsmarted, so yeah, i think there is a need for research on these topics. who knows what they'll find?
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      Mar 22 2013: Your friend is not the only one that has this trait or mutation, i know this sounds stupid but you could call her a mutie. We are a bubbling mass of mutants, i wonder if she sees the pheromone output rather than an aura? I'm just musing. Boy, to have what she has. (sigh)
      • Mar 22 2013: There might be something in the idea that those who see auras experience synaesthesia between their vision and their pheromone faculties.
      • Mar 23 2013: yeh, i bet shes not alone, that would be weird. but people like her and the fact that hallucinogens are prohibited make me very curious about both the possibilities of the human mind and the possibilities of lsd, dmt, shrooms,... we could've made a breakthrough a long time ago, but no, drugs are baaad and these people are crazy Oo

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