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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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    Apr 2 2013: This is From TED's "ABOUT" page TED =Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. (Broader? or more narrow?) I dont see the term "Science" in the acronym TED.."80% or more of TED talks are not scientific in Nature .TED has become "whimsical" -creative -or artistic in content but never scientific.
    • Apr 2 2013: More like orthodoxy-defending. Their decision isn't about science. It's about supplicating to the whims of a few very loud pseudo-intellectuals who have not bothered to actually engage the material, or to reliably report on it (as noted here: http://www.ted.com/conversations/17189/the_debate_about_rupert_sheldr.html?c=640514).
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        Apr 2 2013: Ben
        I beleive this is leading to a renewal here and I beleive that the team at TED really want to make it right -that is my intuitve feelin The "protocols of moderation" are a pain in the rear and not easy but the TED format of media presentation with purpose is impossible to beat
        We can copy it but not top it...just as you cannot really improve on basics like Facebook in social networks with a PURPOSE. Purpose driven social networks... in the end it is only about the daily quality of our lives not analytics or intellect or objective reality

        We cannot coax a scared child into the dark room and we cannot demand the dogma based beleifs that there is an objective reality beyond subjectivity...the reason that "relativity" is relevant is because it is all relevant to either
        background or context or conditioning (the biggie) and prejudice or peer pressure.

        The term "Science" is as useless as God as a term unless there is some serious definition of terms and i dont see that happening in this century.
        We will continue to use the terms GOD and SCIENCE but they are too loaded with controversy and obstinate adherence to even allow room for breathing. We will have to take on the task of evolving new terms while still using these old terms..

        Regardless we are all running frm the true frontier..the question that begs to be entered.. The Mystery of life and consciousness will never be apprehended with the rational/ analytical mind which is anti-thetical to discovery. I beleive that TED HAS heard this discussion and is gestation a change of position . TED wants the best possible outcome but certain "outside fundamentalists" have continued to run roughshod over even the most honorable dialog and they pursue the spokes people for resonable insights with a passion to discredit them..These same factors create dissonance and controversy on other peoples websites to get attention..much worse than trolls.,

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