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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 23 2013: I think it is worthwhile to continue to conduct discussions here, but I am also afraid that once the time they have set for this discusion ends then it will be all over. At the end of the day, I suppose it is their organization, although I would sugest to them that it is the less noble course of action.
    Perhaps to get the results we want we need to talk about this not only here but in other forums and platforms where we may have a voice and where we can reference this conversation. Maybe even a facebook post like "Disillusioned with TED talks after they railroad Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake. So much for free discusion"
    Holding out some hope though that TED will come out on the side of discussion and rational debate. All of us on all sides of this are human and nobler impulses can hold sway at unexpected junctures...
    • Mar 24 2013: David, do you have time? I notice it's 2 women in the last week who've volunteered to help start an alternative platform.
      • Mar 24 2013: Well I'm not sure I have all of the time but good chance I'd have some of the time needed. Is there something specific in the works? Let me know what you have in mind!

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