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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 22 2013: I was not intending to post again. Its same seems old stuff regurgitated ad Norsemen.

    Then walking the dog this morning I came to see that this is a classic set of comments which could hold some value. Not about the actual Hankcock Sensoring thing, but as a some map of a internet conflict which surely has some features we can indentify and learn from in dealing with conflict in future.

    I bet I am not the first bright spark to see this. I'm am posting now and the last post was from CChaos Cchaos. His / Her post is angry and indignnt and this seem to give him the right to tell people and TED what to do.

    I may be hopelessly optimistic but I want to but know how I can respond the the likes of CCcaos without further inflaming the situation. Cchaos is clearly not happy and I am sorry about this. Neither can I accept o respect the conclusions they come to.

    This happens so often in internet forum, There is some learning here to he be gained. Anybody interested in looking at at it more deeply ?
    • Mar 22 2013: It is fascinating. Here are some things about it that fascinate me:

      TED's science board had many days, and then had many more, to come up with a single thing wrong with Hancock's talk, and they failed abjectly. The points in many cases were not simply false, they were not even wrong (I trust you know that phrase). Moreover, virtually none of the commentators here have managed to come up with anything either that was not simply a cheap shot, a falsehood, a conflation of their own ignorance/uninformed opinions with the views of mainstream science, or a wild claim about secret nudges and winks only they could detect. So, my advice for commenting would be this: find out a little about the topic (Rick Strassman, Benny Shanon etc), think of something that is true and relevant as opposed to false and/or irrelevant; try to avoid personal attacks and name-calling; and try to focus on Hancock's talk as given rather than as imagined.
    • Mar 22 2013: I should also point out that announcing in your first comment that you only watched 5 minutes of the video is not likely to mark you out as someone who has done what it takes to get informed enough to comment. And that someone would deliberately avoid viewing the material in question and then expect to be taken seriously is another thing I find fascinating.
    • Mar 24 2013: I don't see anything angry and/or indignant in the comments from CChaos. Or was there an additional comment that has since disappeared? And words like 'please', 'should', 'I'm hoping you will', and 'thank you' don't smack of someone telling people what to do.

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