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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:



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 24 2013: "Bad Crappy science", "BS", "Quacks", "stupid", "crap"? Really? This is supposed to persuade? Are you actually a grownup? You're a troll, obviously, but given that the conversation here soars high above the madness of the average Internet forum, you'll get nowhere if you don't actually have anything to offer other than scorn and ad hominems.
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          Mar 24 2013: Anybody with anything between their ears, Lime - other than you - after reading all of your comments, would conclude there's nothing inside your comments. Which means you're getting something else from the posting of them other than supporting a version of reality for your 6,999,999,999 compatriots. Oh, wait, maybe your comments are actually immunizations against vacuous babble? There's nothing inside them, like would be found in a vaccination from one's doctor.
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      Mar 24 2013: Lime Crime, your post adds nothing intelligent to the discussion. You are simply reinforcing the commonly held perception that many in the skeptics' community are rude and intolerant, and prone to emotional outbursts. Every thread on the TED site discussing this current issue has been hijacked by such people. Censorship of progressive scientific inquiry, and an a priori dismissal of the evidence and arguments is indefensible.

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