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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 5 2013: TED in the blog post says the following...

    "Anyone who attends a TEDx event anywhere in the world should be able to expect a TED-like experience, and one that excludes:
    - talks that present one spiritual view as the “truth”
    - talks that use the language of science to present speculative claims as fact"

    However in this video..
    http://www.ted.com/talks/elaine_morgan_says_we_evolved_from_aquatic_apes.html

    Her explanation as to why her theory has been discarded by the scientific community as a whole is because "They're staving off aquatic ape theory to protect a theory of their own..They're staving off theaquatic theory to protect a vacuum"

    Infact in the whole video she implies that scientiists reject her claim solely because of some form of doctrine atleast several times.
    How is this not in some way a breach of TED regulations when someone on stage professes their personally held claim to be accurate, scientific and self evident, but that the scientific community are ultimately too brainwashed to accept its validity?
    • Apr 5 2013: It is, it's a clear breach of TED regulations. TED's own description of the talk states it plainly enough inasmuch as it notes that the idea has not gained significant support in the scientific community. She also talks of the scientific establishment being a "priesthood" committed to dogma. What sense, then, is a TEDx organiser supposed to make of their guidelines when they see Chris Anderson on the TED main stage warmly applauding a self-confessed peddler of what she openly acknowledges is considered woo.

      I should just add: should the talk be taken down? In my view absolutely not.
    • Apr 5 2013: Indeed, here http://www.ted.com/speakers/elaine_morgan.html is TED's bio:

      "Elaine Morgan is an octogenarian scientist [degree is in English], armed with an arsenal of television writing credits [peer reviewed no doubt] and feminist instincts [eh?], on a mission to prove humans evolved in water."

      And then:

      "Taking a less male-centric [indeed] approach to evolutionary theory, Morgan's adventure was chronicled in the 1998 BBC documentary The Aquatic Ape. Morgan is well respected in both the scientific [oh yeah, http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/08/04/oh-no-not-the-aquatic-ape-hypo/] and entertainment worlds.

      The mind boggles.
      • Apr 5 2013: Now, now, Steve, I'm sure TED will be getting busy plucking offending videos off their main platform. The only question is whether they'll place them in the naughty section where we can discuss them. They're obviously going to have to remove the Jill Bolte Taylor lecture now that they've decided against the "fusion of science and spirituality." So, it's one of the most popular TED lectures of all time. Rules are rules.

        http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html
        • Apr 5 2013: 16:45 "we are the life-force power of the universe". Clearly a well accepted view within mainstream science.
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          Apr 5 2013: "So, it's one of the most popular TED lectures of all time."

          And the popularity of ideas has always been the best measure of whether or not they are worth spreading, right? The popularity ideas about pagans, witchcraft, Jews, Indians, Communists, gays, etc. would all be examples of the success of popular opinion in evaluating the facts?
        • Apr 5 2013: We're not saying it's an idea worth spreading. We think it should go in the naughty corner with Rupert and Graham.
      • Apr 5 2013: And, Steve, it's a beautiful lecture. But a neurologist talking about consciousness and Nirvana?! Clearly it has to go. And if it doesn't, I think we'll all know once and for whether or not TED is serious about clarifying its standards.
      • Apr 5 2013: My point, John, wasn't that the lecture is validated by its popularity. It's that TED has largely been validated by the success of lectures like that one.
      • Apr 5 2013: We'll also obviously have to get rid of the Alex Gray lecture because if they "don’t want to hear from a parent whose kid went off to South America to drink ayahuasca because TED said it was OK" they can't possibly want to hear from parents whose kids have dropped acid because TED said it was OK. Especially when one considers how much easier it is for kids to obtain LSD than to skip off to South America. And where Hancock warns that this is by no means recreational and should be done in the care of a knowledgeable shaman, Gray had his life transformed at a party.

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