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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 19 2013: What TED is doing with these talks is dark and despicable. It's no surprise that your science advisors don't like criticisms of science. But guess what? If you want to prove them wrong, provide evidence. If you don't have the evidence to disprove what Sheldrake and Hancock are saying, put the talks back up on the main TED page where they rightfully belong!!!
    • Mar 19 2013: That is to simple, if I say there is a purple dragon dancing on a planet orbiting around Sirius, you would have a hard time to disprove that. I really need to come up with some evidence to make my claim even a little.

      To this science board these talks are exactly the same as my example of the purple dragon.

      The difference is that conciousness is not a purple dragon but something I have and you have.

      I think in the end there are 3 topics that are totally not done in science and if you dare to touch these subjects you are banned for life.

      those topic are, life after death, atlantis, and ufo's. You are doomed as a scientist when you enter these topics with an open mind.
      • Mar 20 2013: His topics of this talk had nothing to do with life after death, atlantis, or ufo's you twit
        • Mar 20 2013: Well life after death means that consciousness is not produced by the brain which is a fundamental suggestion of mr Hancock. The other two area's are examples in which you can expect the same discontent of the scientific community.

          I suggest you learn to read and think before you reply to anything.

          And it is Sir Twit to you.
    • Mar 25 2013: No, what TED is doing with these talks is good and responsible. I do agree of the need to provide evidence, but Coyne and Myers and the commentators on the blogs of those people have already provided it.

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