TED Conversations

  • TED
  • New York, NY
  • United States


This conversation is closed.

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

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Mar 19 2013: Part 7 of 7: In the past, the materialistic hold on spirituality led to the unconscionable abuses by the Church through witch-hunting, inquisition, and crusades. The swing to materialistic science was hoped to be the antidote and cure for those abuses stemming from that spiritual materialism. However, the dangers from the fruits of materialistic science in the form of nuclear weapons, pesticides, fertilizers, etc., all leading up to the global threat of climate change, show us that swinging from materialistic spirituality in the service of giant global religious institutions to materialistic science in the service of giant global commercial institutions has not brought a genuine alternative to the fundamental issue of our relationship to living on Earth, with each other and all beings.

    Hancock is doing a great service to us all by speaking out about the pivotal issue of our time and calling out for clarity about exactly which state of consciousness we are putting into service in the name of science?

    • Mar 20 2013: You sound like someone I wish were my best friend. Thanks for the great response, and good lookin' on the reference to Jungian psychology.
    • Mar 22 2013: You have hit several nails on the head, if I do say so myself. Insightful analysis of this event, as well as the talk itself. Thanks for sharing!

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.