TED Conversations

  • TED
  • New York, NY
  • United States


This conversation is closed.

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

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Mar 31 2013: People all over the world have spiritual experiences through plant medicines which are more real then anything they've ever felt before that it even changed their lives to the extend that they consider themselves spiritual beings. Because the majority of the western world is so afraid of anything out of the so called ordinary, we are having a debate about censoring this and other talks. Good luck btw trying to keep those people from telling about Ayahuasca :)  Some humans have been waking up from the collective dream throughout history and have presented their teachings to experience a higher consciousness to the rest of the world, but what has men done instead of listening to them? What is the public doing today if someone tells us there might be something we've been missing out on our whole lives, which was there all along right in front of us. We say: Oh well, it's a little to occult or to far fetched!? How could we have missed it? Not a credible source anyway, right!? Nothing to worry about. Put it in that pseudo drawer over there and keep snoring. That's just another way the human mind tries to neglect reality once again. We've reached a point where we can't afford living solely in mind made structures or systems that have been outdated for decades and we need to allow people like Hancock, or Sheldrake to present what they have researched/experienced because in the end, they are a representation of the public interest. This Ted debate might be over in a couple of days, but in truth, the real talk just started! The people who know that Ayahuasca showed them truth won't stop spreading the message. If Ted is in or not! Quote: "Not for one moment do i believe that such an awakening would deprive us of energy or social concern. On the contrary, half the delight of it - though infinity has no halves - is to share it with others, and because the spiritual and the material are inseparable this means the sharing of life and things as well as insight! Alan Watts Namaste

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.