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The debate about Graham Hancock's talk

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



Closing Statement from TED

Thanks to all who participated in this conversation on TED's decision to move Graham Hancock'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 19 2013: I guess when you have partners like the ones below you need to toe the line.

    TED Talks Partners

    American Express
    Fidelity Investments
    Kohl's Cares
    American Express Project
    HP Color Project
    Johnnie Walker Ideas Project
    Pfizer Health Project
    Shell Urbanization Project
    TOMS Giving Project
    Sponsoring TED
    • Mar 19 2013: Can someone explain to me the significance of having these companies as partners, its correlation to the removal of the video, and how this relates to disparagement of Hancock's talk and Hancock himself?

      [Edited 3/19 at 2:30pm for clarity.)
      • Mar 19 2013: Well TED the non-profit organisation is sponsered by large corporations seen above.

        Therefore making tedX lectures mainstream internet essentially. A space for ideas and corporate agendas to coexist, and perhaps almost exclusively for the benefit of the latter.

        Whereas mainstream broadcast TV represents social engineering in its unplugged, explicit, coarse forms, from the mind-numbing surreal "reality" shows; to the condescending pundit prognostications of the faux-news reporting mainly rubbish.

        Mainstream TV hosts the hardcore social programming, the tedX lectures represent the fine art form of mainstream deceptive programming in my opinion.
        • Mar 19 2013: I still do not follow your logic and I'm not sure your argument holds much efficacy. (I'm actually rather confused about it receiving ten upvotes so far.)

          TED is partnered with TOMS shoes and therefore is spreading some corporate agenda? TOMS doesn't want us taking ayahuasca to explore consciousness? Lynda.com wants to keep us materialist zombie-like consumers? What is your point? Is this your point?
      • Mar 19 2013: Don't worry about it. Maybe one day you will understand my point maybe not. life goes on.
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        Mar 20 2013: Let me try it this way: A house divided against itself cannot stand. TED must now choose between money and profits.

        If, as it appears, TED chooses the money, and defames neuroscience as pseudo science, then it supports money. If where the new science is taking us turns mainstream, many of those companies would be put out of business.

        Perhaps there are no corporate sponsors' representatives on the TED board. Perhaps it is just the TED board that lacks any evolved form of critical thinking skills. Perhaps there are no "awakened" people on the TED staff. If so, my grief is amplified.

        And I just added a thumbs up to the list of corporate sponsors.

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