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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 23 2013: Faith healing, what, like the well-documented but completely not understood placebo effect? That's what the placebo effect is after all - the faith/belief that the medicine (sugar pill) will heal actually heals for some strange reason.
      • Comment deleted

        • Mar 23 2013: Placebo effects are, in one important respect, improvements in health over and above no treatment at all, caused, it seems, by the person thinking/believing/having faith that they have been treated. That is, faith healing by any other name.
      • Mar 24 2013: Please just read this study before considering everything as placebo:
        http://www.centaurea.nl/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/biggenstudie.pdf
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          Mar 24 2013: And, Lime, you're just plain wrong that you have the capacity for scientific mentation.
        • Mar 24 2013: Thank you for reading the study Lime
          So you accept that homeopathy might work, ie it might not be 'just a placebo cure'? That would be interesting.. Unfortunately, while there are many studies with similar conclusions, I do not think that TED would accept a balanced debate on homeopathy. They have only let the professional 'clown/skeptic' James Randi to ridicule the matter and lower the level to such an extent that the situation would be the same as for Sheldrake and Hancock...

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