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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 4 2013: I applaud TED for having the guts to go through with what must have been a difficult decision. I would lose all interest in TED were it to become a platform for quackery and woo.
    • Apr 4 2013: Here is the evidence for telepathy. I'm assuming that since you think it's quackery and woo that you will have read up on all the evidence and are able to intelligently argue why you make this statement.

      Have at it and good luck at refuting it because you'll need scientific peer reviewed studies to prove your point:
      http://weilerpsiblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/telepathy-has-been-scientifically-proven-to-be-real/
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        Apr 4 2013: Is NeuroQuantology a reputable journal? To whom?
        http://www.neuroquantology.com/index.php/journal
        • Apr 4 2013: John,

          is Nature reputable enough for you?

          Information transmission under conditions of sensory shielding
          RUSSELL TARG & HAROLD PUTHOFF
          http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v251/n5476/abs/251602a0.html

          oh, how about IEEE?

          ^ Puthoff, H.E. and Targ, R. "A Perceptual Channel for Information Transfer over kilometer distances: Historical perspective and recent research." Proc. IEEE, Vol. 64, no. 3, 329-254. (1976)

          i guess nothing would ever convince you if your mind is made up already. just sayin'.
        • Apr 4 2013: "Is NeuroQuantology a reputable journal?"

          What, it doesn't sound like one?
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        Apr 4 2013: I think you're fetishizing peer-reviewed journals. Ultimately, the bottom line is that *any* piece of research must stand or fall on its own merits and nothing more. Just having been published in Science or Nature doesn't make it so. The research must be replicable and must hold up to repeated testing and scrutiny. Getting something in print is just the beginning of that process.

        Are you familiar with this paper on quantum physics?

        Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity
        http://www.physics.nyu.edu/sokal/transgress_v2/transgress_v2_singlefile.html

        It's a peer-reviewed article that deals specifically with, among other things, Sheldrake's concept of the morphogenetic field.
        • Apr 4 2013: I think you were fetishizing peer-reviewed journals when you asked whether NeuroQuantology was a reputable journal. You can't have it both ways. Sauce for the goose and all that.
        • Apr 4 2013: As usual, the skeptics don't examine the evidence, present no counterarguments and resort to logical fallacies to support their arguments.

          I present an article with links to six meta anayses covering a large number of studies conducted by over 50 researchers world wide over a number of years and the skeptics just blow right on by it.

          Deal with the evidence. Right now you guys are all hat and no cattle.
        • Apr 4 2013: I think it's "skeptics" who fetishizes peer-reviewed journals.

          you can't have it both ways, sir. that's called moving the goal posts. the works of Targ, Puthoff, Ingo Swann had not only been replicated but also validated by other scientists. e.g. Persinger's experiments with Ingo Swann.

          so replicated. check, published on peer-reviewed journal. check. what other criteria you want to add to the ever-elusive moving goal posts by "skeptics" and debunkers?
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        Apr 4 2013: Steve, your thinking is fallacious yet again, with the same kind of "all or nothing" logic. You also imply that I would fetishize a reputable journal when I would not. Recognizing that there is a ranking of journals from ones that strive for absolute objectivity to ones where the editor, editorial board, reviewers, and authors are all working within their own subjective paradigm is important.

        Are you aware of the fact that there are perr-reviewed journals of Mormon research staffed by Mormons and publishing exclusively on Mormon-related topics? They work within a paradigm that begins with the premise that the Book of Mormon is an ancient document that was revealed to Joseph Smith by an angel and transcribed from writing in "Reformed Egyptian" on golden plates.

        Similarly, there are peer-reviewed journals that publish articles on postmodern theory vetted by postmodernists and on psi phenomena vetted by believers in psi. "Peer-review" doesn't insure objectivity.

        It's ironic that the same individuals who have been lambasting science for its flawed paradigms flog its virtues and embrace the trappings of science in a disingenous and fetishizing way when it suits their needs. There is zero credibility in that.
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        Apr 4 2013: Are you familiar with the case of Piltdown Man? That's an example of spurious data that became the subject of scientific discussions, peer-reviewed articles, and even made it into mainstream textbooks until its legitimacy was utterly discredited. It's an example of the power of wishful thinking, which I think also pervades research on psi.

        Piltdown Man
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piltdown_Man
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        Apr 4 2013: Well, Steve, I wasn't fetishizing peer-reviewed journals. Your thinking is fallacious. Do you really not know what "reputable journal" implies? There is a difference between fetishization and objective evaluation. Just because something is published in a reputable journal doesn't mean I attribute absolute (or supernatural) authority to it and what it represents in the way of powers of perception.

        Fetishism
        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fetishism
        • Apr 4 2013: Yeah, but your point seemed to be (ie, was) that in the first case the journal was not credible so the the evidence could be discounted on that basis alone (ie, you were fetishizing credible peer-review right there every bit as much as the person was who you subsequently criticised), and then when a better journal was offered you suggested the importance of the credibility of the journal was overplayed (yes, by you, one post earlier, as noted). Thus your first point was largely a red herring which was shown to be very red, and mostly a herring, when you immediately rejected a key reason for making it with your second response.

          Also interested to know what psychic abilities you are utilizing in your assessment of psi research. That is, you claim there's a lot of wishful thinking in the area but you clearly know nothing of the area so it's unclear how you could know whether, and how much, if any, wishful thinking is involved. One might, with greater justification, say that your assessment is based on a priori ideological commitments which means you don't actually need to see the evidence at all because it won't make a blind bit of difference to you. This also neatly explains the constant red herrings you cook up like the one identified above.
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        Apr 4 2013: The quantity of spurious research is constantly expanding and that has been true of claims about psi (such as "animal magnetism" and spirit rappings) for over two centuries. Madame Blavatsky was railing on about close-minded scientists in 1877 and that continues to this day.

        "Scientific" papers aside, psi will remain the object of skepticism, ridicule, and derision until there is clear and persuasive evidence that it "works," that it is good (or bad) for something.

        I don't think that there can be any doubt that it is good for the imagination, as evidenced by mountains of books, films, graphic novels, artwork, music, etc.

        Is it good for anything else? Can it be used in engineering? Medicine? Law enforcement? Why, besides entertainment and religious/spiritual value, is it important? To return to TED's core interests, what does psi offer in the way of technology? Anything?
        • Apr 4 2013: Your last post is interesting - mainly because that exact move was predicted many years ago. That is, for many years people have been saying that as soon as the evidence for psi gets to a certain level pseudoskeptics will then demand the effect be stronger than they are and that it be good for something. So again you make the unscientific step of demanding a phenomenon be some way rather than just looking and seeing the way it it. A bit like saying I want gravity on earth to cause objects to accelerate at 20 m/s2 or I'm not interested. Or how about, if gravity existed then people might fall to their deaths from high places and I wouldn't want to believe in a force so wicked. That's another one of yours.
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        Apr 4 2013: You're proving my point, Craig. It doesn't work as, "so replicated. check, published on peer-reviewed journal. check" when that's happening within a closed community of believers, as is found in Catholic, Jewish, or Mormon research. Non-believers must be persuaded as well. With psi, they've remained unpersuaded for centuries. How much longer will the claims continue? Forever, I'm sure.
        • Apr 4 2013: As Max Planck said, "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it".
        • Apr 4 2013: Just deal with the evidence please. All this hand waving is meaningless.
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        Apr 4 2013: Steve, you accurately say, "Yeah, but your point seemed to be (ie, was) that in the first case the journal was not credible so the the evidence could be discounted on that basis alone."

        The critical phrase here is "seemed to be" (and thanks for getting that right). It was actually not my point, which is where you committed a fallacy. Thanks for spelling it out ("seemed to be (ie, was)"). You slip from "seems" to "was" all the time. Whether something is in a reputable journal or not is one in a constellation of relevant variables. It is not an all-or-nothing deal breaker, as your all too frequent "probability of 1 or 0," either/or logic would claim. It's just one example of the fallacies in your thinking, which apparently also contribute to your belief in psi.

        One of the best-named businesses in audio recordings is "Sounds True."

        http://www.soundstrue.com/

        Just because something sounds true doesn't mean it is. Just because something seems to be doesn't mean that it is. You make many such fallacious assumptions about what I say.
        • Apr 4 2013: My point here, which you have not yet grasped, is that you moaned about the journal and then when a better one was found (because of your request) you then suggested they were fetishizing PR journals. They weren't, they were just responding to your red herring. Thus my point is that your suggestion that the person in question was fetishizing PR journals was unjustified or could, with as much or as little justification, be leveled at you.
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        Apr 4 2013: Debbie, you got it right. Doubt everything. That's what critical thinking is all about. It's really not difficult to understand.

        Psi proponents often go on and on about the value of intuition except when it comes to scientists. If scientists' own intuitions run counter to the desired beliefs in psi, they count for nothing. How ironic.
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        Apr 4 2013: "Or how about, if gravity existed then people might fall to their deaths from high places and I wouldn't want to believe in a force so wicked. That's another one of yours."

        What? Another spurious claim from you. What twisted fallacies you weave.
        • Apr 4 2013: Not at all - why only yesterday you were ranting and raving about tsunamis and murder and why you refused to believe in psi if it didn't help protect fully against these things. It's not my fault your views are so ridiculous that even you see their lunacy when they are handed back to you.

          So let me be clear: you are constantly making anti/unscientific demands that a phenomenon be a certain way. Gravity is what it is, psi is what it is, and no a priori demands have to be met in either case. Clear?
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        Apr 4 2013: Craig, when the evidence comes from believers, it loses credibility. That's a lesson to be learned from studies of the Shroud of Turin, another black hole of biased research. (Yes, with lots if peer-reviewed articles on BOTH sides.)

        Shroud of Turin
        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shroud_of_Turin

        Both the shroud and psi are destined to remain matters of faith.
        • Apr 4 2013: "Both the shroud and psi are destined to remain matters of faith."

          I often wonder how it is that the skeptics who scream the loudest about the importance of the scientific method, empiricism, and dispassion, are so much more certain about the future than any psychic.

          "Destiny. Destiny. No escaping that for me." ~ Young Frankenstein
        • Apr 4 2013: All the talk in the world won't make the psi studies go away.

          We are not her to talk about the Shroud of Turin.

          Just deal with the evidence and spare me the preaching.

          Although by now, I'm guessing that you have never seen the evidence, have no idea what it is and pretty much try to hide that fact by changing the subject or blindly deriding it.
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        Apr 4 2013: Steve, the fallacious statements from you are neverending. I made no a priori demands. I asked some valid questions that remain unanswered. Anyone can read my post and see that for themselves.
        • Apr 4 2013: Yeah, they can read it, they can read it here:

          "I think that if humans have psi, the ones who have it must be the most insensitive and cruel people on the planet. Take the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean, for example. The estimates are that 230,000 people died. Where were the warnings from clairvoyants that could have saved lives? Where is the documentation that they accurately saw what was coming and made efforts to warn people?"

          Thus you are DEMANDING that if psi is true it must be such that we can receive sufficiently clear warnings of future disasters to be able to warn people in the appropriate location and thus save lives. A bit like demanding that earth's gravity must pull the atmosphere down to ground level.
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        Apr 4 2013: No, I'm not. You are "creating your own reality," which is a misrepresentation of the one that we and all of the other participants in this discussion share.

        In the passage you quote, I am asking two questions, for which the answers have been far from forthcoming. Rather, your strategy is to avoid the questions entirely and mischaracterize them as being something that they're not. They are not demands at all.

        A simplified, hypothetical question and possible answers:

        Q1: If humans have psi, why don't we receive warnings?
        A1: Because the effects are so subtle that it is not possible to give warnings.
        A2: Because warnings are given but have been routinely ignored.
        A3: Because clairvoyants are reluctant to reveal their powers to anyone.
        A4: Because those who can do psi are sadistic psychopaths who enjoy seeing thousands of people die.
        A5: Because the practice of psi comes at great costs that psychics are reluctant to pay.
        A6: Because there is a conspiracy on the dark side to kill psychics as soon as they are revealed.
        A7: Because you, John, do not really understand what's meant by "psi", let me explain...

        Those hypotheticals should make it clear that I am not DEMANDING anything. I am REQUESTING answers that you seem incapable of providing, choosing instead to divert the discussion towards ad hominem insinuations and fallacious interpretations.

        Reality is not as you demand it, Steve. Sorry.
        • Apr 4 2013: That's just the story you're making up now. But, you say: "if humans have psi, the ones who have it must be the most insensitive and cruel people on the planet", and that presupposes that people with psi must have sufficiently clear psychic impressions to give accurate warnings otherwise there would no justification for calling them "insensitive and cruel". That is, your criticism of those people only makes sense if we accept something like A3 or A4 (A4 is virtually identical to the premise I quoted) and makes no sense if A1 is the case. Thus you are ignoring A1 and demanding psi be something other than what it may be.
        • Apr 4 2013: And I answered your question above immediately you asked it. I said that it seems something like A1. I then pointed out you shouldn't really make demands on phenomena by presupposing how the phenomena must be - as you did by stating something ("cruel and insensitive") only consistent with not-A1.
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        • Apr 4 2013: When you say "psi is destined to remain a matter of faith" and we take you to be saying that psi is destined to remain a matter of faith, you can't really complain at our interpretation because that's precisely what you said. Thus it is perfectly reasonable to ask, as TW did, how you can be so sure. And it is no answer to tell us we misunderstood when the answer, if what you say now is true, is that you simply misspoke. So, instead of having a go at us for taking what you said seriously, why not just try to be a bit clearer the first time round.
        • Apr 4 2013: @ JH, Sorry if you thought I was singling you out. It wasn't personal. I was more musing really about something more general your statement brought to mind, hence my use of the words "often wondered" and "skeptics" (plural.) And you're right. Your comment isn't even necessarily the best example of it. But it is something I've seen a lot of, using lots of words or just a few, that speak to a certainty of something that is absolutely not possible and will never be proved, so why waste research dollars on this blah, blah, blah pseudoscience. When in fact there's tons of anecdotal evidence and research results so promising that even Richard Wiseman admits it's been proved to a normal standard of evidence.

          But I have to ask, John, why it is you get so testy when people infer meanings from things you imply AND when you're read literally. What is the proper way to read your statements? Is there a guide one can purchase?
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        Apr 4 2013: Steve, you're making multiple errors. For example, I asked the question:

        "Is NeuroQuantology a reputable journal?"

        You characterized this by saying, "you moaned about the journal."

        Can you not see that you are fabricating a reality that does not exist? Others can.
        • Apr 4 2013: What, then, was the point of such a question? That is, are we to believe that someone cited an article and you decided to just ask, just out of general interest, whether the journal in question was reputable? I think not. I, and everyone else, knows full well what you were doing. You were refusing to look at the evidence and justifying your refusal by questioning the credibility of the journal. And that interpretation is backed up by the lack of comment from you about the content of the article. The article you didn't read because of the credibility of the journal. And the article you "announced" you weren't going to read by questioning the credibility of the journal.
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        Apr 4 2013: Time Walker, you wrote, "I often wonder how it is that the skeptics who scream the loudest about the importance of the scientific method, empiricism, and dispassion, are so much more certain about the future than any psychic."

        I have not yet ceased to wonder why you and Steve and others insist on interpreting my comments as being far more literal and absolute than they are ever intended.

        In writing:

        "Both the shroud and psi are destined to remain matters of faith."

        What I actually meant was:

        "Based on my perception of the longstanding debates over the correct interpretation of the Shroud of Turin, which include numerous peer-reviewed articles drawing conclusions in support of both sides that cannot all be correct, and on my perception of the dogged determination of psi supporters and opponents, it seems extremely unlikely that these issues will ever be resolved and are more likely to always remain ones in which opinions based on faith continue to prevail."

        I'm sorry that my original statement was phrased in such a way that you would interpret it as an absolute (=1) instead of a statement of probability of
        • Apr 4 2013: I'm confused. Did this comment move or did I respond to the wrong comment? Anyway. My response is above.
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        Apr 4 2013: "All this hand waving is meaningless."

        Well, yes, if you don't also say "abracadabra." Hasn't that been scientifically proven?
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        Apr 4 2013: Steve, you write: "Thus it is perfectly reasonable to ask, as TW did, how you can be so sure."

        You seem to be having another verbal hallucination. Where did Time Walker ask how I can be so sure?
        • Apr 4 2013: He wondered aloud how (people like) you, who said what you just did, came to be so certain about it while allegedly supporting the scientific method.

          That is, after all, the question from TW you were answering/rejecting when you said this:

          "Based on my perception of the longstanding debates over the correct interpretation of the Shroud of Turin, which include numerous peer-reviewed articles drawing conclusions in support of both sides that cannot all be correct, and on my perception of the dogged determination of psi supporters and opponents, it seems extremely unlikely that these issues will ever be resolved and are more likely to always remain ones in which opinions based on faith continue to prevail."
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        Apr 4 2013: Steve, you write, "He wondered aloud how (people like) you, who said what you just did, came to be so certain about it while allegedly supporting the scientific method."

        Yes, he did. What he actually wrote was:

        "I often wonder how it is that the skeptics who scream the loudest about the importance of the scientific method, empiricism, and dispassion, are so much more certain about the future than any psychic."

        How, exactly, is that asking "how can I [John Hoopes] be so sure?"
        • Apr 4 2013: Because you (John Hoopes) were, in this particular case, the example of the "skeptic" who screams loudly, and who is so certain. It was your (John Hoopes') comment he was responding to after all. That's why you (John Hoopes) answered him as if he had been asking you (John Hoopes). And that's why you (John Hoopes) admonished him for misinterpreting you (John Hoopes), and why in response you (John Hoopes) clarified what you (John Hoopes) had said.
        • Apr 4 2013: And even you, John, took him to be asking you how you were certain. That's why, in admonishing him, you said:

          "I have not yet ceased to wonder why you and Steve and others insist on interpreting my comments as being far more literal and absolute than they are ever intended."

          Before going on to clarify that you hadn't meant to sound as certain as he took you to be. Thus I only interpreted him in exactly the way you did before you decided it would be better for you if you pretended otherwise.
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        Apr 4 2013: Steve, you wrote (about the question and hypothetical answers):

        "And I answered your question above immediately you asked it. I said that it seems something like A1. I then pointed out you shouldn't really make demands on phenomena by presupposing how the phenomena must be"

        What you actually wrote was:

        "Thus to answer your question as best I can, it is because psi at the moment seems fleeting - enough, say, to let us guess a one in four chance at nearer one in three but not, as you demand, four in four. Hey ho, sometimes I play a good round of golf, sometimes I don't - my putting well when driving well ability being particularly fleeting."

        But you claim that it was essentially the same as:

        "A1: Because the effects are so subtle that it is not possible to give warnings."

        Can you see why I'm having trouble understanding you as you think you are understood? The reverse also seems to be true, that you cannot understand me. We are just not communicating well, which is why I've characterized your interpretations as "verbal hallucinations." Am I the only one seeing this problem?
        • Apr 4 2013: I think you're manufacturing a problem because your arguments are being dispatched the instant they appear and your only way out is to quibble endlessly about what was (obviously) meant. I mean, everyone else who argues with you has pretty much the same interpretations of everything you've said and yet you always tell us we're all wrong. Eg, dreaming, nazis, globalization of ayahuasca, certainty about psi (above), and numerous others where people have all taken you to be saying much the same thing and yet you always say we are all always wrong. And this then gradually spirals inwards until you have nowhere to turn and then you start a new thread and we go through the whole palaver again.
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        Apr 4 2013: Steve, you write, "Because you (John Hoopes) were, in this particular case, the example of the 'skeptic' who screams loudly..."

        Well that's your interpretation. Have I really been screaming?

        Your assertion that I posted a statement that was not an answer to a question after a post that did not actually contain a question but was rather a musing statement beginning with "I wonder..." and not specifically mentioning me but only "skeptics" somehow results in there having been a question specifically addressed to me and then answered by me when it was not is a fascinating post hoc reconstruction of what actually occurred in order to justify a pet interpretation.

        I think we have the logic of psi results there in a nutshell.
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        Apr 4 2013: Steve, is this reading of invisible text between the lines intended to be a demonstration of your psychic powers? If so, it's been utterly unconvincing.

        Another fallacy in your bag of tricks:

        Post hoc ergo propter hoc
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_hoc_ergo_propter_hoc
        • Apr 4 2013: As I explained, you initially took TW to be asking exactly what I took him to be asking. So much so that you admonished him for asking it and then clarified what you had said in light of the question you took him to be asking and which you are now saying I misinterpreted him as asking.
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        Apr 4 2013: But the fact that he wasn't actually asking anything of anyone in the first place is inconsequential, right?
        • Apr 4 2013: Well he kinda was. He was wondering aloud with you as the example. And given that it was your statement that caused him to wonder aloud, it is not a case of post hoc ergo propter hoc, and more a case of absolutely obviously true to anyone who understands English.

          17s

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VheeCoEU2I
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        Apr 4 2013: I've noticed that "kinda" is your fudge for fudging.

        As in, "Remote viewing kinda works."
        • Apr 4 2013: No. Saying A kinda is X, just means that anyone not hell bent on denying A was X would agree A was X.
    • Apr 4 2013: But ex-TEDxWestHollywood is not, was not, all quackery and woo anymore than Galileo and Copernicus were quackery and woo.
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      Apr 4 2013: This is the abstract of the article in Nature you just cited:

      "We present results of experiments suggesting the existence of one or more perceptual modalities through which individuals obtain information about their environment, although this information is not presented to any known sense. The literature and our observations lead us to conclude that such abilities can be studied under laboratory conditions."

      The conclusion is that there is data *suggesting" (not concluding) something and that something "can be studied." Not exactly jaw-dropping results.
      • Apr 4 2013: dam john . not that i agree but you got some serious skills man.. juss sayin.
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          Apr 4 2013: Does that count as looking at the evidence? One down. How many hundreds to go? Or will blowing out the bottom cards bring the whole house down?
    • Apr 4 2013: I agree Craig. If people want to peddle woo, do it off TED's stages. If you want to preach Jesus, do it off TED's stages. If you want to tell the world about your alien conspiracy theory, do it off TED's stages. Keep TED free of bad ideas, keep bad ideas on YouTube where they belong. And Steve Stark, please don't insult me personally. Feel free to attack ideas, but mind your manners please when speaking to me. Thank you.
      • Apr 4 2013: TED is on YouTube. So is Billy Graham on TED on YouTube.
        http://youtu.be/90mj79GqWhc
      • Apr 4 2013: There may be some strawmen in that statement.
      • Apr 5 2013: The problem here is the definition of woo. So far, the only woo I see is coming from the skeptics, who don't deal with the evidence. All I see is faith and belief without any scientific inquiry.

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