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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: "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."

    Censorship now is virtually impossible. Once the videos have been made available, they will remain available, as anyone can host them. TED is likely very aware of this fact. Thus, rather than censoring them outright, they have done the best that they can - quarantined them. Placed them in a purgatory, or limbo, where the ideas expressed will be framed in a context of mistrust.

    If this is not censorship by it's dictionary definition, it is something rather similar to all intents and purposes.
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      Mar 20 2013: How is a specific TED Blog post and a TED Conversation purgatory? TED has promoted the talk on two of its powerful platforms. It's done more to promote open discussion about this talk than thousands of others.
      • Mar 20 2013: No one asked for that.
        Just to let the talks stay on the official TEd(x) channel.
        Or give some thourough explanatiion why these talks
        are removed from the official channel.

        That is why all this turmoil is happening. Cause TED is not giving answers just some flawed cynical remarks by mr Anderson.
      • Mar 20 2013: So long as it is kept separate from the 'normal' talks, it is in purgatory. It is segregated. Quarantined. It's an exhibit. No man's land. It's status is contested. Etcetera.

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