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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: Hola Katie,

    TED is about "Ideas worth spreading". It is up to the TED organization to determine which ideas they consider worthy of being spread through the various TED channels, including website, YouTube channel, TEDx events, etc.

    The WestHollywood group is free to pursue their event in the same venue, on the same date, with the same content, and the same speakers. But TEDx is exercising their right to disassociate their brand from said event.

    My religious convictions, or lack thereof, are unrelated to this matter. I think it is about a group trying to bring credibility to their ideas by using the TEDx brand, and the TEDx organization being unwilling to let them do so.

    Well done Lara & team!



    PS: Agnostic vs. Atheist. Agnostic is someone who doesn't know whether God (in its various forms) exists or not. An Atheist thinks God does not exist. Although we canĀ“t be 100% sure (just like we can't be 100% of the Law of Gravity) I think that the odds of God existing are so small that calling myself an Agnostic is disingenuous and inaccurate. Although imperfect, the Atheist label (as much as I dislike labels) better represents my current thinking.
    • Apr 2 2013: Jose I don't think the issue for westholloywood is credibility as all the speakers involved already have credibility by years of hard and dilligent work building up a body of scientific evidence for anyone to peruse who wishes to do so.
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        Apr 2 2013: Then why all this furor about lifting the TEDx licence?
        • Apr 2 2013: Concern from some of the community over their perception of quality control, quite a few people apparently.
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        Apr 2 2013: Looking at this thread I count only 5 people who seem unhappy. They seem to be upset mostly about the Sheldrake-Hancock affair, no so much about WestHollywood. As you are responsible for a high percentage of the comments on this page I would like to know why you think the TEDx team's does not have the right to lift the WestHollywood TEDx license.
        • Apr 2 2013: I DON'T thin TEDx doesn't have the right to withdraw a license if it wants to. I have posted that. I also said I am not aggrieved as I do not go to TEDx to view innovative, cutting edge thinking. Heck, from this, maybe even a new brand has been concieved - exTED, and it has it's OWN ideas:

          "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 truth?"
        • Apr 2 2013: Yes, you're getting a lot of drift from those other threads. There will probably be more now that those threads are closed. Reason? These decisions are obviously connected and TED continues to embarrass itself. What I've gleaned since learning about this licensing dispute?

          Let's see... Russell Targ: Research good enough for the US government to invest millions of dollars over many years. Good enough to receive a commendation from President Carter. Good enough to be published in Nature, the Proceedings of the IEEE, the Proceedings of the AAAS, and the Proceedings of the American Institute of Physics. But not good enough for TED.

          Larry Dossey: Good enough to lecture in top-tier medical schools and universities over decades. Not good enough for TED.

          Well, TED'll show'em.

          TED looks more and more ridiculous with every blinkered decision it makes at the behest of a tiny, loud, minority of atheist polemicists and a super-secret board, read: Star Chamber -- more ridiculous still when it defends these decisions making it abundantly clear that it doesn't even really understand its own reasons.

          What a joke TED has become.
        • Apr 2 2013: Jose
          I do think TED has the right to do what it wants - I said as much above, and most other have said the same thing. However, I think the manner in which they did it, for reasons i have set out at length above and elsewhere, leaves a lot to be desired. I think, eg, it's handling of the Sheldrake/Hancock issue was shameful. I also think that they have performed poorly here. And as long as TED has these blogs for comment I will comment. If TED only wants to hear sycophantic gush then perhaps a more private forum would be appropriate.

          And, fwiw, I count about 10-12 against the decision and around 10 supporting it.
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        Apr 2 2013: Gary, you say, "I don't think the issue for westholloywood is credibility as all the speakers involved already have credibility by years of hard and dilligent work."

        Although I've used it a lot myself (with reference to Graham Hancock), I think there are serious problems with the utility of the word "credibility," which simply means "the quality of being believable or worthy of trust" or "the quality of being convincing or believable." To be credible, something simply has to be believable or convincing, but to whom? Demography tells us that Jesus as Lord, Muhammad as Prophet, or the Bible as the Word of God has credibility with hundreds of millions of the faithful. Amazingly enough, American politics tell us that people such as Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin have credibility with a portion of the electorate. So does Kim Jong Un with millions of North Koreans, for that matter.

        What, exactly, do *you* mean by credibility? Probably not the purchase an idea has with the credulous, right?

        When I use the term, I mean credibility to an objective, empirical, rational audience, preferably with a high level of intelligence, education, and even specialized multidisciplinary knowledge. However, I am almost certainly committing a fallacy with that, because when I use the term "credibility," I mean that it is something that will be believed by people like me.

        How can "credibility" be defined in such a way as to be meaningful and useful? Or is that futile?

        For me, "years of hard and diligent work" don't cut it. There are plenty of religious and nonreligious people, including fundamentalists of every stripe (including fundamentalist atheists), who have done years of hard and diligent work and are still not credible. That's not an adequate standard.
        • Apr 2 2013: years of hard work.....building a body of scientfic evidence any can peruse if they wish too.
    • Apr 2 2013: Jose, I put to you that you have no way to rationally determine the odds of god existing or not. You are choosing atheism over agnosticism for purely socio-political reasons, which is fine, but I think you do yourself a disfavour by not realising this.

      Perhaps the god of the Koran, the Bible, or the pantheons of the Norse or the ancient Greeks and Romans, yes - you could judge the odds of these, as there are texts that describe how these gods are meant to work and give ideas about how to empirically test their existence. But all you'd really be doing is testing and disproving the existence of the gods described in those texts - you'd be demonstrating the unreliability of the texts, that is all.

      I don't believe there is a way to rule out, or in, to any degree, the basic premise of a consciousness outside of or behind the universe. Even the idea that such a god should have detectable traces in the universe falls apart when you consider that such a god might have the power to consistently prevent us from detecting those traces. He might be only watching, not touching. He might only be touching very gently and infrequently in some way that appears to us to be a natural unconscious process. There is no way to determine any of this.

      I am not promoting the idea of god. I am agnostic, because to me that is the only rational stance. I have no evidence for god. I have no evidence for a lack of god. Anything else I could say about the matter would be post-rational political seasoning - it would be a personal statement. I may very well do that, because personal statements are enjoyable, useful, and can have their own rational underpinnings in terms of our relationship to society, etc.. but to me, the position of atheism is not a rational one, it is political. To that ends it may be useful, not to me, but to others, I accept. I only suggest that a better understanding of the rational and logical processes that lead to your stance might provide you with a more solid position.
      • Apr 2 2013: I always find it funny when people talk of the odds of God existing as if they've actually performed some calculation. I suspect that those who make this claim think that it gives their opinion some sciencey sounding weight without which they would just have to say they didn't believe and leave it at that. I've even asked a few times about this calculation but no details have ever been forthcoming. Thus I think there is a 0.036% likelihood that it's 50/50 that such a calculation has been done, but there's only a 1 in 3 chance of that.
        • Apr 2 2013: Exactly. It's a guessing game. Thus it's a waste of time, by rational standards at least.
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      Apr 2 2013: Gary, I don't think "years of of hard work.....building a body of scientfic evidence any can peruse if they wish too" cuts it with regard to the issue of credibility. The problem is with what's identified as "scientific evidence." The scientific creationists, Duane Gish being a classic example, argue long and hard that what they are presenting is "scientific evidence" when it's not. Simply saying that it is doesn't make it so.

      Duane Gish

      Suzanne Taylor, the organizer of the West Hollywood event, has long claimed that she has "scientific evidence" that crop circles are not of this world and were made by extraterrestrials. Claims just don't cut it, even when you make entertaining and award-winning films about your bizarre beliefs.

      What on Earth? Inside the Crop Circle Mystery
      • Apr 3 2013: I really don't follow the creationist debate, it's very boring, but the evidence these speakers are presenting is open to your viewing too so go look at it and make your determination.
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          Apr 3 2013: Boring to you, maybe, but Bible-believing Christians are into it. To each his own woo.

          Will there be a cool t-shirt? Will there be talk about Mayans? It seems kind of like the leadup to 2012 all over again. Will Daniel Pinchbeck be there?
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      Apr 2 2013: "The WestHollywood group is free to pursue their event in the same venue, on the same date, with the same content, and the same speakers. But TEDx is exercising their right to disassociate their brand from said event." La de dah, we'll just go right ahead an do it anyway. Ummmmm, the City of West Hollywood cannot sponsor us without TED -- we can't have their $5,600 in-kind donation of their Council Chamber. And the Library Foundation, that was matching as a cash sponsor, also had to withdraw. Hey, Jose Fernandez Calvo, how's about a check for $11,200 to make up our shortfall so we can exercise that lovely democratic freedom we have to continue?

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