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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 28 2013: The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
    -- Bertrand Russell
    • Mar 29 2013: Something you demonstrate in spades. Where is your doubt? Every word you have said, even when, especially when, they are preposterous has been delivered from a position of total, if unjustified, confidence. Look, for example are your ridiculous claim that ayahuasca is not used by people all over the world. Complete nonsense, and yet offered up as if it was the word of Mother Ayahuasca herself.And yet look just above, another person informing you are talking nonsense.
    • Mar 29 2013: Spare us all the sanctimony! Youv'e been preaching for quite some time now how certain you are of Hancock's dubiousness yourself! I hardly think anyone in support of Graham would say that he or anyone is very certain of anything, HENCE the very reason for his TED talk (in case you missed it)!

      Do YOU know the mysteries of consciousness, or moreover, how they might relate to ayahuasca or any other mind altering substances? If not, then perhaps TED et al shouldn't censor those who desire scientific inquiry into the unknown as it undermines if not completely negates the causes of scientific exploration.

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