TED Conversations

Michael McWatters

UX Architect, TED


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If you could choose any historical figure to give a TED Talk, who would it be and why?

This one is pretty open-ended. I'm curious to know who you would choose for a TED Talk, why, and maybe what you think their "idea worth spreading" might be.


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    Apr 12 2013: I'd ask for a three-way between Galileo, Copernicus, and Thomas S. Kuhn. They could discuss Ted's shocking lack of forward thinking in the recent scandal about Ted coming out against scientists who aren't full of everyday, established talk and therefore must be labeled "pseudoscientists." I must be naive, because I was REALLY surprised to find out about this.

    Would you guys let Kuhn (Harvard) talk about paradigm in science belief and history? Would Tim Leary (Harvard) be given 18 minutes to discuss the effects of LSD on the brain? What would you have told Mark Zuckerberg if he'd come of age in 1983 and explained how this wacky thing called a "social network" might take over the whole danged world? I guess you'd have pooh-poohed it.

    I'm interested in new, exploratory ideas in addition to some old-hat fun stuff about fascinating subjects. That's why I'm part of the TED community, though I considered quitting after reading about this. I don't think it's up to TED to decide for me whether Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock have interesting views on interesting subjects, views I should consider and further research.

    I sincerely hope you will not censor this comment.
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        Apr 12 2013: I want to add that I have no particular skin in the game about whether Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock are right in their views. I do know they have credentials, they provoke discussion, and if TED is supposed to be so fabulous and embracing of a new idea culture, the organization should act like it!
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          Apr 13 2013: Its a process, on the one hand TED will not be a respected entity if everything is passable. I always say these are market forces. Its very difficult to take consciousness seriously because we can't even agree on what consciousness is. Everybody claims to be conscious, but wonder what the word really means outside of our...err...consciousness. We could be tiny little ants.
    • Apr 13 2013: really? ted has a problem with scientists who aren't scientific? the nerve!
      open minds are good, but it shouldn't be so open that any unsupported rubbish can get in.
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        • Apr 14 2013: no that's exactly not what science is. personal experience is deceptive, and science goes to great lengths to avoid it and the misunderstanding it fosters.
    • Apr 13 2013: One of the first talks I heard on TED back in 2008 was that of Jill Bolte Taylor.
      And I was hooked on TED!
      Because of the Consciousness that Jill Bolte had experienced in her left brain after a stroke. What she experienced was not "Materialistic Science"! Nevertheless till now, for me, it is among the most amazing talks I have heard because of the nature of consciousness... So when Graham Hancock's and Rupert Sheldrake's talks were removed from TEDx I considered quitting... I totally agree with Tiffany Lee Brown.
      • Apr 13 2013: There are a lot of people who entertain the illusion that they have their fingers on the button. Control freaks :) The ideas worth spreading are spreading and whether TED likes it or not, it is also in the business of spreading 'pseudoscientific ' ( the most advanced ) ideas sometimes.
        There are some talks worth listening :)
        • Apr 14 2013: unfortunately ideas not worth spreading are given 'worthy' status by people who don't understand, and also spread. i support ted's stance against comforting balderdash.

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