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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:

http://blog.ted.com/2013/03/19/the-debate-about-graham-hancocks-talk/

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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 21 2013: The American Taliban --that's where I was brought up-- under absolutist imperatives strictly reenforced in every sermon, Sunday School lesson, church activity, and at every prayer at every meal at home, is hard at work 24/7, preaching and teaching millions of Americans to devalue education, science, and the most dreaded liberty of all, Free Thinking. Also devalued by today's American Fundamentalist Christian Taliban where I spent 20-odd years inside, are the arts [demonized as Satanic secularism and the product of demons acting on the human mind], basic human rights, civil society, and psychological or consciousness inquiry in any form. When one realizes that the majority of seats in The House of Representatives, plus many governorships and school boards are held by public officials openly endorsing or practicing most of these anti-questioning, absolutist and religionist belief systems' principles, the importance of a TED Talks organization, at least according to its original mission, becomes increasingly crucial and cherished by so many of The Rest of Us.

    I finally found liberation and awakening via college studies and the help of cautiously, thoughtfully taken psychedelics to break through decades of extreme, reductionist, absolutist, and it must be said, totalitarian, programming. So imagine my shock when I heard about this TED Talks censorship, which seems to represent another step toward Talibanization of the American mind, and censorship of both entire fields of valuable inquiry and the thoughtful visionaries who navigate beyond established paradigms.

    As apparently many of us understood it, the wrap-around functionality of TED's mission was to eliminate from the Talks and their after-market products, both commercialization and abject chaos...rather than controversy. And after all, TED Talks has already featured Rev. Billy Graham.

    Or is it time for a new brand?
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      Gail . 50+

      • +1
      Mar 21 2013: Time for a new brand, but how does one get such a thing going? I'll help - for free.
      • Mar 21 2013: How to get an alternative to TED going? How about a Kickstarter campaign?
        1.Set up FaceBook page with very brief, but not snarky, self-evident 3 bullet mission statement to start the fire. Naturally, some full-on mission statement can be drafted more globally and exhaustively, over other campfires at a much later date...by which time, such windy balderdash will no longer be needed.
        2.Launch Kickstarter Campaign to generate micro-funding.
        3.Subscribe to one of the new client relations management services in the cloud, integrating em, vm, texting,social media to make sure there's coordinated, ongoing follow-up and outreach to all respondents.
        4.Sign up some prominent scientists, philosophers, inventors as Friends Of, who help build brand and offer their own networks to swell the tribe list of The New TED Talks Alternative...then serve as early days presenters.
        5.Run a naming campaign on FB.
        6.Support FB naming campaign with Tweeting and major media press release.
        7.Run a Google Hangout Session, inviting...the world to co-create the Thinking Person's TED Alternative.
        8.Secure an endorsement from the ACLU, and quote it everywhere.
        9.Get a lawyer to write a great disclaimer highlighting the lovely difference between the presentation of discussion about an act and the act itself, and add a salient bit about the protection of public discourse in the US as a for- instance. Post disclaimer not-in-small-print, everywhere.

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