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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 24 2013: TED organization, though for years a magnificent resource [and I have to say, an icon for me], is now quacking like antique establishment. I'm reading THE INQUISITION AND THE MAKING OF THE MODERN WORLD, and the censorship events that launched this debate quack a lot like Inquisition.

    With crowd-source funding and other social media, given TED's move toward orthodoxy, why not...step away?
    Why not fire up a new platform?
    Why not let the commercial interests keep what seems to be a tightly-held brand, and grow something truly independent?
    It's so much easier to do now than when TED started.
    Why not start something new, and stay independent of corporate funding to be free of corporate influence?
    Repeat: crowd sourcing for funding and promotion are making revolutions of every scale happen. Why not start something new? Let TED be the corporate product its boardroom and some of its local presenters want it to remain --and invite the local presenters, authors, thinkers, and community who see through the spin and want a platform that isn't compromised lead the migration...
    • Mar 24 2013: I agree.
      Although I think TED remains important, we're seeing it's limitations here.
      We need something like TED that has the same distinction from it as Wikipedia does from a traditional encyclopaedia. Sure an open model is less predictable, potentially unreliable at times, but for the discerning, critical viewer, the open model offers so much more.

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