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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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  • Apr 1 2013: Remote viewing is an ability that many people can easily learn. It is a nonlocal ability, in that its accuracy and reliability are independent of distance. Dean of Engineering Robert Jahn has also published extensively on his experiments at Pronceton, (Proc. IEEE, Feb 1982). I am not claiming it is quantum anything. It appears to possibly make use of something like Minkowski's (8 dimensional) complex space/time that he described to Einstein in the 1920s, and is now being re-examined by Roger Penrose. This is not necessarily The answer. But the answer will be some sort similar nonlocal space/time geometry. We taught remote viewing to 6 army intelligence officers in 1979. They then taught a dozen other officers, and created an operational army psychic corps at Ft. Meade, which lasted until the end of our program in 1995. You can see two examples of real remote viewing on my website, www.espresearch.com. One with Hella Hammid is double blind, live on camera for a 1983 BBC film, "The Case of ESP." available on Google.
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      Apr 1 2013: I've seen and enjoyed "The Case of ESP." Interesting, Russell Targ, that you're not claiming, "quantum anything" about remote viewing. I didn't know about Minkowski's eight-dimensional space/time idea. A mathematician I'll never be, but I found this on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minkowski_space) about Minkowski spacetime. That's as close as a mortal with my experience will come to even reading about Minkowski's theories.
    • Apr 1 2013: I've been following your work enthusiastically for 20 years. I read Mind Reach in the 80's, Miracles of Mind a few years ago and just yesterday ordered your latest book, I can't wait! I've taken Ed Dames DVD RV course and I've written up my own 20 year journey into psi and RV here:
      http://danpouliot.com/blog/?p=819

      It takes courage to speak out about such important work in the face of such opposition. I look forward to the day when TED shares the same enthusiasm for your work as bright minds like Brian Josephson or Deepak Chopra.
    • Apr 2 2013: THANK YOU, Mr. Targ for your excellent response

      please post your response on this thread too:

      Discuss the note to the TED community on the withdrawal of the TEDxWestHollywood license. | A conversation on TED.com ~ http://www.ted.com/conversations/17348/discuss_the_note_to_the_ted_co.html

      too bad the TED Science Board is comprised of anonymous members. in any case, I'd be interested to see an official response from TED. if the Sheldrake/Hancock threads are an indication, I doubt that TED would be capable of providing a sound and reasonable justification for explicitly pointing to Russell Targ, Larry Dossey, and Marilyn Schlitz in their decision to revoke TEDxWestHollywood's license.
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      Apr 2 2013: explain to me, mr targ, how would any "remote sensing" experiments anyhow prove non-locality? you happen to have millisecond precision in those experiments? or one participant was on the moon?

      anyway, good to have one more quack around here. you people don't waste time.

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