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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 1 2013: Well, I know this wasn't an easy decision (although looking that description it wouldn't have been a hard one for me). I appreciate the effort that TED puts into protecting their brand in this manner as it also protects mine. I'm blessed to live in an area that boasts a large number of technology and research universities, and being able to recruit speakers from them is critical to the success of TEDxRochester. If too much woo gets injected into TEDx, it dilutes all of us.
    • Apr 2 2013: Are you aware the derogartory term 'woo' is an insult? The term emerged in the 1980s from political atheist/materialist groups to insult others, by using it your are aligning yourself with such groups.

      Do you really wish to insult physicist Russell Targ, biologist Rupert Shekdrake, social scientist Marilyn Schiltz, etc. who are trained scientists who have conducted scientific studies under the strictest of controls?

      When you say it 'wouldn't have been a hard one for me', what is this judgment actually based upon? Are you familiar with their decades of lab research? And if so, can you specifically say why their opinions based upon lab evidence should be labelled 'woo'
      • Comment deleted

        • Apr 2 2013: Stephen Fry is a member of political athiest materialist pressure groups such as being on the board of the UK 'skeptic magazine' . He has done no scientific research on such topics.

          Can you provide me with non-political sources please.
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        Apr 2 2013: the person does not count, just included it to give credit. it was posted as my opinion, expressed using borrowed words. if you are offended, i could not care less. a statement is either true or not. if you are offended by the truth, that is your problem. if the statement is wrong, it is the major problem, not that you are hurt.
        • Apr 2 2013: Most people, do care about whether they offend another person. Since it can easily be avoided, I'll leave it as an exercise for you to work out, and has something to do with distinguishing a person from their ideas.

          "a statement is either true or not", is false. Again I'll leave it as an exercise in reasoning to find examples.
      • Apr 2 2013: The implication of my aligning myself with the freethinker/skeptic/atheist movements being what? That I should be ashamed of that association? As a freethinking, skeptical atheist, I take offense at your implication. See, I can play the offense card, too. And, it's just as meaningless when I do it.

        I'm not familiar with Schiltz, although about 20 seconds of googling her leads me to believe she's just as full of woo as the others, but I'll happily insult her alongside them. Being scientifically trained does not necessarily mean it sank in. I work in IT with a large number of people with experience and training that I wouldn't trust to change the batteries on a calculator. There are always people in every field who manage to make it in despite not being qualified. It's the curse of being human. Michael Behe claims to be a microbiologist, but he's still a creationist who denies evolution. Just like the others you mentioned, he's a fraud.

        It wouldn't have been a hard decision to pull their license because I read the description of their theme. Quantum theory doesn't say the universe is a connected organism, and there's nothing in the theory that could even be reasonably claimed to do so by anyone capable of cogent thought. Misrepresenting valid scientific theories to promote woo is a common practice in the pseudoscience community. Using the terms of science does not make a claim scientific.

        No, I'm not familiar with their decades of lab work. So what? If they've done decades of lab work and haven't produced a single article that can stand up to peer-review scrutiny then they've wasted decades of time, nothing more. Perhaps their time would be better spent at McDonald's? At least then they might produce some tangible results. But, I doubt it.

        Finally, it's not my job to provide evidence. You're the one making extraordinary claims, or are at least trying to defend them. It's up to you to provide extraordinary proof. That's how it works.
        • Apr 3 2013: "there's nothing in the theory that could even be reasonably claimed to do so by anyone capable of cogent thought"

          Like, for instance, Alfred North Whitehead, in his Philosophy of Organism? Of course, physics is not using this language. But it is also not against anything in quantum theory, that the universe as a whole could be considered as being alive. And you will also notice there is a "-" in between what "quantum physics tells us" (namely, that the universe is an interconnected whole) and what Suzanne adds to this, which is not incompatible with anything in science.

          I recommend Whitehead's "Science and the Modern World" for a historical account and why this idea of a living universe could help to defend rationalism against materialism.
          Not an easy read and from beginning of last century, but relativity and quantum theory is already covered.

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