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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: It probably depends on the sophistication of this TEDx event's editing capabilities. In principle, you're correct, Nate. In Gilbert's case, she wasn't really pitching her book. Her book was already a hit when she took the TED stage to give a talk about a completely different topic : )
    • Mar 20 2013: Sheldrake's book was #56 on Amazon UK (showing a bit of popularity), and more or less popularity has nothing to do with an act being more or less promotion anyway.
    • Mar 20 2013: You seriously are calling Dr. Sheldrake "SLEAZY?" Al, you appear to be everything that has badly damaged your "brand." Unfortunately, you seem unable to divorce yourself and your brand from a set of rules arbitrarily enforced. Apparently in support of the materialist orthodoxy TED is newly "branded" with. This, to any market savvy b-school grad, is a colossal PR failure.

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