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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: For our second dangerous speaker, here's Larry Dossey (all speakers here: http://www.tedxwesthollywood.com/speakers-3/speakers/)

    http://www.tedxwesthollywood.com/larry-dossey-speak-on-teds-blog/

    I can add my name to those of Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock as speakers who find themselves in TEDx’s crosshairs.

    I was scheduled to speak at the West Hollywood event. But my scientific credibility was questioned by TED's science advisory board in their decision to withdraw support and revoke the license of TEDxWestHollywood.

    I’ve lectured at dozens of top-tier medical schools and hospitals all over the U.S. for two decades. Although my colleagues don’t always agree with my points of view, this is the first time my scientific credibility has ever been questioned.

    My TEDx talk would have dealt with the correlations between spirituality, health, and longevity, for which there is immense evidence; and recent experimental findings that point toward a nonlocal view of consciousness for which, again, there is strong and abundant support. In view of our lack of understanding of the origins and destiny of consciousness, and considering the demographics of the TEDx followers, I thought this information would have been of considerable interest.

    As a board-certified physician of internal medicine, former chief of staff of a major hospital, author of twelve books and scores of papers on these subjects published in peer-reviewed journals, a recipient of many awards, a frequent lecturer at medical schools and hospitals, and executive editor of the peer-reviewed journal, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, I’d be interested in knowing from TED where I came up short.

    “A clash of doctrines is not a disaster, it is an opportunity,” Whitehead said. It should not be a reason for censorship.
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      Apr 3 2013: I'm curious, Suzanne. Do you still believe that crop circles could be the work of extraterrestrials?
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        Apr 3 2013: Some Americans believe that a guy was killed on a cross and rose from the dead many years ago. In fact, they feel so strongly about that belief that there are major religions which celebrate that event to this day. Does that belief prevent them from organizing TED events now too? Or does TED now only allow atheists to be involved with the organization?
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          Apr 3 2013: Good question. Especially because it raises the issue of which beliefs are religious/spiritual ones and which ones are not. I could be mistaken, but I think Suzanne would describe her belief that crop circles could be the work of extraterrestrials--if she still holds it--as one based on scientific evidence. I'm fairly certain that claim is not made with respect to the guy on the cross.
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          Apr 3 2013: TED allow people of faith to speak. here's Rick Warren's talk http://www.ted.com/talks/rick_warren_on_a_life_of_purpose.html . TEDx events also do, I've had a Rabbi, a Priest, and an Imam speak at my TEDx event. Also, agnostics, and atheists.
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        Apr 3 2013: Watch my movie: http://www.CropCircleMovie.com. You'd be in good company. The New York Times llikes it! http://tinyurl.com/7chal9m. Touche, Sandy. But then again, the crop circles are an unsolved mystery -- other fodder for our lovely skeptics.
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        Apr 3 2013: Well, Phil, then why would Suzanne's personal beliefs preclude her from organizing a TED event? That seems to be the gist of John's argument's against her.

        I'm not religious, and I don't share some of the beliefs of many Christians. But I wouldn't ridicule them for having different beliefs either.
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          Apr 3 2013: But you'd identified Richard Dawkins' "sexism" as an issue? Do personal beliefs matter or don't they? Or is it only those beliefs with which you personally disagree?
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        Apr 3 2013: Bad behavior is bad behavior. It's a separate issue from belief.

        I can agree with someone's belief system while still recognizing they have moral or behavioral shortcomings. I can also disagree with someone's beliefs without taking any issue with their behavior.

        Dawkins, who has been given a forum at TED, is a poor representative of the TED "brand", unless that brand supports the idea that it's OK to sexually harass women.
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          Apr 3 2013: "Bad behavior is bad behavior. It's a separate issue from belief."

          I have a feeling many religious people would strenuously disagree with that.

          "I can agree with someone's belief system while still recognizing they have moral or behavioral shortcomings."

          But can you disagree with someone's belief system while still recognizing that they have moral or behavioral successes? I think that's the critical test.

          What other kinds of bad behavior would you eliminate? Smoking? Eating animal flesh? Looking at pornography? Serving in the military? Being a convicted felon? Dressing in ugly clothes?
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      Apr 3 2013: Suzanne Taylor discusses crop circles | Open Minds Radio
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bucnR4A7-zg&sns=em

      Crop Circle Mysteries with Suzanne Taylor
      http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gic/2012/09/03/crop-circle-mysteries-with-suzanne-taylor

      And of course:

      What on Earth? Inside the Crop Circle Mystery, a film by Suzanne Taylor
      http://www.cropcirclemovie.com/
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        Apr 3 2013: Answer to my prayers could come from this TED situation, where people would watch my film and get beyond the media hatchet job for a more balanced story. And, more listeners for my talking about such an interesting phenomenon. Whoopee!
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        Apr 3 2013: "Aliens" isn't what you'd come away from my movie or my radio shows with. Hoaxes aside, we don't know where they are coming from, but the scientific evidence suggests it's "not us."
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          Apr 3 2013: Maybe *some* of us?

          John Lundberg, Rob Irving, and Mark Pilkington, for example?
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      Apr 3 2013: June Cohen here, from TED. I posted on this previously within the comments, but wanted to re-emphasize here what we've also communicated to Larry Dossey personally: The withdrawal of the TEDxWestHollywood license was based on the overall curatorial direction of the program, not on the individual speakers.

      We've posted about this on the TED Blog here: http://blog.ted.com/2013/04/01/a-note-to-the-ted-community-on-the-withdrawal-of-the-tedxwesthollywood-license/.
      • Apr 3 2013: So TED didn't say this in its letter to TEDx Hollywood:

        "We will be especially interested to hear about the ideas that Marianne Williamson, Russell Targ, Larry Dossey, Paul Nugent, and Marilyn Schlitz will be presenting.We feel that the pseudoscience struggle is an important one. TED and TEDx cannot be platforms that give undo legitimacy to false evidence and selective logic — regardless of brilliant packaging".
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        Apr 3 2013: TED seems to be backpedaling once again.
      • Apr 3 2013: Hi June, you've put a conversation thread on the back of the statement, "The withdrawal of the TEDxWestHollywood license was based on the overall curatorial direction of the program, not on the individual speakers," and I'm wondering what we're meant to converse about? That TED can make curitorial decisions? Well that's answerable in one post - yes, of course they can. So what do we talk about for the next 12 days 19hrs now we've answered that?
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          Apr 3 2013: Gary, thank you for recognizing that TED can make curatorial decisions -- that is the point that Suzanne and maybe others are not understanding, because they continually raise the false claim that her speakers were the issue for TED in regards to her license revocation. The speakers were not the issue, the way the program was being curated was the issue. Maybe there are some clues as to why the program's curation was an issue in the crop circle films that she produced, or maybe it will remain another unsolved mystery.
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          Apr 3 2013: We can talk about pulling the plug on a program that was more than a year in the making, two weeks before the delivery date.
      • Apr 3 2013: And did TEDx also say this?

        In an email to Suzanne Taylor, the organizer of TEDxWestHollywood, a representative of TED outlined the objections:

        (…) And when we look at your speaker line-up, we see several people who promote — as fact — theories that are well outside what most scientists would accept as credible. We’re not saying all the speakers are off-base. Perhaps you could make a case for each of them individually. But when we look at the program as a whole, it’s clear that it doesn’t meet our guidelines.The problem is not the challenging of orthodox views. We believe in that. We’ve had numerous talks which do that. But we have rules about the presentation of science on the TEDx stage. We disallow speakers who use the language of science to claim they have proven the truth of ideas that are speculative and which have failed to gain significant scientific acceptance.

        More than 2000 TEDx events will take place in the year ahead. If your program is allowed to proceed, it will truly damage other TEDx organizers’ ability to recruit scientists and other speakers. (Indeed many in the TED and TEDx communities have already reached out to us to express their concern.)

        We have reluctantly concluded that your program is not appropriate for TEDx, and we have to therefore terminate your license. You are of course welcome to still hold an event with these speakers. You just can’t associate it with TEDx. We are happy to work with you to figure out how to smoothly transition it into an event under a different name. I’ll be happy to speak with you directly to facilitate this.

        This line in particular is telling:

        Perhaps you could make a case for each of them individually. But when we look at the program as a whole, it’s clear that it doesn’t meet our guidelines.
      • Apr 3 2013: June - There is a glaring inconsistency between TED's published criteria:

        We disallow speakers who use the language of science to claim they have proven the truth of ideas that are speculative and which have failed to gain significant scientific acceptance.

        and the rationale for withdrawing the West Hollywood license:

        The withdrawal of the TEDxWestHollywood license was based on the overall curatorial direction of the program, not on the individual speakers.

        Technically, "overall curatorial direction" is not a criteria for withdrawing a license. Perhaps you can explain. If all the speakers as individuals pass muster, on what basis does combining them into a single program violate TED's guidelines?

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