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 20 2013: PART FIVE

    I remember how, when I studied at middle school in St. Petersburg, many boys and girls started drinking at the age of 12 or 13 (I refused to conform to this and avoided drinking). I heard about the similar accounts from my friends who studied in other Western cities and countries. Had there been more knowledge on the nature of states of consciousness, both ordinary and extraordinary, both personal and transpersonal, both harmful and blissful, in the society, I believe, much of these damaging habits (which at a later stage may evolve into, e.g., binge drinking) could have been avoided.

    But presently we don’t understand our human nature, our psychophysiology, our consciousness on a larger social scale. For instance, as the research conducted by L. Spivak and D. Spivak and their research team at the Human Brain Institute in St. Petersburg shows, altered states of consciousness seem to be a natural adaptive mechanism of human psyche (for instance, it was shown that women during child labor often experience such altered states of consciousness as spatial depersonalization [out-of-body experience]). We do not recognize this fact in our societies, we do not speak about it. There is, indeed, a war on consciousness which is led by our own ignorance and self-misunderstanding.

    Cont'd in Part Six

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.