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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 20 2013: No I'm not, Steve. I think you've twisted my words. Every TEDx speaker is given the rules on how to give a TED Talk. If they did not receive them, then the TEDx organizer did not do his/her job. Anyone who knows about TED knows that you NEVER self-promote on the stage. The "TED Commandments" are all over the web. So if Sheldrake used the stage to plug his book, that is a huge red flag and should have been edited from the version uploaded to the web. Steve, if you don't like the rules, you are under no obligation to participate in the TED community. My TEDx event has declined to invite speakers who do not respect the brand.
    • Mar 20 2013: I have no problems with the rules. I have a problem with the likes of you calling Rupert Sheldrake sleazy. I have problems with you here, as a representative of TED, suggesting Hancock and Sheldrake should be thanking TED from the bottom of their hearts for the abuse they took from TED because, you claim, all PR is good PR.
    • Mar 20 2013: As regards twisting your words, you said that if "this was an "ad lib" addition by Sheldrake, then that is pretty sleezy".

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