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Discuss the note to the TED community on the withdrawal of the TEDxWestHollywood license.

For discussion: http://blog.ted.com/2013/04/01/a-note-to-the-ted-community-on-the-withdrawal-of-the-tedxwesthollywood-license


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    Apr 2 2013: TED has taken appropriate action in this case. The language used to market the event was not compatible with TED's branding, ethos, or values. For this reason alone it was appropriate to revoke the license.

    What people keep forgetting is that TED has no obligation to lend its brand to any event, or to publish any idea at all. TED has reserved the discretion to decide what content it wishes to associate with its brand. Those who disagree with its decisions should go start their own media companies and conferences that can highlight whatever ideas they like.

    As an organizer of a major TEDx event (TEDxMidAtlantic) I appreciate the steps that TED is taking to defend its brand from fringe ideas and pseudoscience. Our team puts substantial effort into our event, and frankly, I don't want our hard work to be associated with a brand that would have sanctioned an event like the proposed TEDxWestHollywood.

    You can say that I am closed-minded or not open to radical ideas — but you'd be wrong. I love a good romp through radical ideas as much as the next person. But I also know the difference between science and fantasy, and between rationality and imagination. The fact is that fringe, unproven, propositional ideas don't belong at TED.

    If that comes as a disappointment to some, so be it. Perhaps you thought TED was something it is not. Ideally, those sufficiently let down will launch their own media company that lends its brand to practitioners of fantastical pseudoscience. Indeed: irrational conjectures worth contemplating.
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      Apr 2 2013: Thank you for stating these key points so clearly.
    • Apr 2 2013: @Dave
      The problem with what you say is that you appear privy to knowledge nobody in the scientific community has. That is, as it stands the evidence for psi is perplexing - nobody can explain it. And yet you seem to think it is imaginary, or a fantasy. Interested to hear how you arrived rationally at this conclusion. It seems to me your views are very anti-science.
      Since you agree, I would also be interested in hearing how the "truths" espoused by Dave were reveled to you.
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        Apr 2 2013: Steve — I claim no knowledge of that topic, and don't think it's the issue at hand. I think the marketing for the event was unclear, poorly written and reflected negatively on the TED brand. The fact that TED could not resolve efforts to clarify the branding with the organizers was sufficient cause to revoke the license.
        • Apr 2 2013: You do claim knowledge. You talked of things being imaginary, and fantastical pseudoscience, and irrational conjectures. How do you know these things?
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        Apr 2 2013: No, I don't claim knowledge, and please do not attempt to draw me into a discussion of parapsychology, because I won't participate in it.

        What I said was that a curatorial direction which was based on a specious and poorly written theme was likely to include presentations which would fall into those categories.
        • Apr 2 2013: Well now it's far from clear what you're actually talking about. Indeed, your initial post now seems to fall within the realm of uninformed and irrational conjecture.
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        Apr 2 2013: No. I said that the marketing materials were badly written, didn't make any sense, and were off-base for the TED brand — and sufficient cause alone for the revocation of the license.
        • Apr 2 2013: You said much much more than that. If that was all you had said I should have said nothing about it, but it wasn't so I did.
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        Apr 2 2013: Yes, Steve, I wrote more words. Those words are my opinions. However, my opinions were not necessary to justify the single sufficient reason for the revocation of the license.

        Therefore, attacking my opinions doesn't change the fact that revoking the license was justified.
        • Apr 2 2013: I didn't really attack them - I was simply perplexed by their oddity and suggested a problem which I thought required clarification. Clarification you don't want to provide it seems. Fair enough.
    • Apr 2 2013: I agree TEDx can lend it's branding to whoever it chooses and I understand TED's largest audience is people like you, but you are not TEDx's only audience, Rupert Sheldrake's video has 200,000 views and they are TEDx customers with an opinion too, not just you. And yes, people can create their own events to present their own ideas, it's already being done, one poster rather hopeful at the possibility,

      "perhaps exTED will become a badge of honour for future events rather than TEDx?

      and eventually a bigger organisation than the lack-lustre lackeys of TED?

      or maybe just BETTER THAN TED for openness, honesty and


      see, already some ideas are happening to improve on the TEDx platform - "BETTER THAN TED for openness, honesty and truth" Like it? :)
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        Apr 2 2013: I love it, Gary! I hope that happens. However, the TED brand is a registered trademark, and could not legally be used in this context.

        I suggest that whoever wants to embark on this come up with fresh and original branding, and create a brand that stands for ALL ideas, no matter their provenance, "reality-status," or focus.

        The notion that TED should not spawn competition (or should be scared of it) is patently ludicrous. Go forth and compete! Build an audience around whatever ideas YOU enjoy!
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      Apr 2 2013: Dave writes, "Ideally, those sufficiently let down will launch their own media company that lends its brand to practitioners of fantastical pseudoscience. Indeed: irrational conjectures worth contemplating."

      Of course, it will have to compete with several media enterprises that already exist, including:

      Coast-to-Coast AM

      21st Century Radio

      Unknown Country

      Gnostic Media

      Reality Sandwich

      Prison Planet

      Perhaps the individuals clamoring for "alternative" ideas on TED feel that there is already too much competition for a new brand ("CRED"?) to be viable in an already overtaxed marketplace of fringe ideas. Perhaps they want to avoid the ideas that they think are worth spreading from being tainted by association with other ideas that they themselves identify as not worth spreading. Despite the clamoring for TED to get into the realms of pseudoscience and pseudohistory (oops, "science" and "history"), the fact is that there is a plethora of other outlets for these ideas that, quite frankly, have little credibility and are just not worth spreading.

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