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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 22 2013: Its common knowledge that the witchhunt was all about plants and spices that were put in drinks but the catholic church didnt approve of it, so anyone who would make these potions was called a witch, plus some casualties.

    this comes down to the fact that pagans and druids knew which plants could heal and which could destroy. these days we dont know anything and make plants illegal. PLANTS!!! we rather buy pills and syrups, go to therapists and get even more depressed. and the money spills out of our pockets to CEOs who buy ferrari's and fur coats.

    Im not explaining it scientifically, but yes, im damn sure humanity would be better off if we would have the possibility (which doesnt mean everyone will go nuts) to wander off into our own minds, find our deepest self, find our personal goal and live the life we want.

    the world will get a bit more honest by that.
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      Mar 22 2013: Gone are the days of the spiritual dandelions i use to see as a kid, there was something free about them, now we are locked into this digital dance and ritual where even your personal life and thoughts are a part of your c.v. I wonder when it will be your genome as well. That part of us that is inhuman will agree this is the next step, it will be justified by resource allocation and energy expenditure, sad.
      • Mar 23 2013: personally, i think all this will soon be put back into its rightful place. you cant prohibit plants and natural growth forever ( i thought it would be an awesome joke to sow hemp in parks and forests). within ten to 20 years marijuana will be legal again, i suppose. and after that its only a matter of time before that happens to other plants as well. the flow of information has become huge, and with that the people who dont agree with the way things work right now.
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          Mar 23 2013: There is a part of me that is hesitant as i have an addictive persona but not with drugs yet it is all the same regardless of the medium. I got hooked on this energy drink that took 2 litres of water a day to replace the urge for the taste and i have drug and alcoholics in the family, they fight not the substance but the fear of the absence of them, only they themselves can change the rudder though they are not bad people. Are we mature as a group yet? I've seen too many young friends change from too much use and it has dampened their lives rather than enhance it. There is nothing wrong with friends sitting around in a relaxed atmosphere where they are comfortable and are in deep discussion and out pops a Dube but it is unhealthy when a group is trying to attain total absence from reality.

          My peoples shamans did not use anything when they went up into their mountains to ruminate on a problem, they did not eat during this time, they took the hard path to attain what they wanted (We had no natural plants like hemp here in Nz at the time) and the mindset was all about speed of reaction with the warriors and the shamans were about the lines of the unknown, sometimes a chief would follow the shamans walk aswel.

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