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According to TED letter relating to pseudo science, Einstein would not have been allowed to do a TED talk.

I'm a big fan of TED and free information, but today it was brought to my attention that TED has given instructions for vetting speakers, particularly in relation to genetically modified foods. I read the letter that was posted to talk organisers, and by definition of good science, I realised that Einstein would have been labelled by TED as a pseudo scientist, and not allowed to speak on TED talks. Many of Einstein's peers, whom at the time were considered to be experts in their field, discredited Einstein, even on theories we now consider to be mainstream.

Knowing that perhaps one of the most well known and most widely recognised scientists of recent time wouldn't be allowed to talk, surely raises the question of how these stipulated vetting processes were formed?

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    Sep 29 2013: To use an anatomical metaphor, science is merely the skeleton on which the flesh of reality is built.

    The likes of Einstein's brilliant mind could not only build those skeletal frameworks, but also apply the flesh to render his ideas real and alive. He combined physics with metaphysics (loosely translated as science and pseudoscience) in order to speculate on ideas far, far beyond that which reductionist science could possibly achieve on its own.

    I am of the opinion that modern science has become so insular and reductive, as to ignore completely even the possibility of 'flesh', if such possibilities dare to go beyond what it already knows, and therefore what can be safely and reliably evidenced.

    In all brilliant ideas and in the concept of genius, it is the imagination that gets there first - NOT science. Therefore, if modern science dismisses the imagination as 'pseudoscience', undeserving of airtime on the likes of TED, then I despair. I really do.
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    Oct 10 2013: marks for dishonesty: citing a letter, leaving out relevant parts.

    "There is no bright and shining line between pseudoscience and real science [...] But here are some basic guidelines."

    says the letter. oops.
  • Da Way

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    Oct 9 2013: I've read the letter now. I agree, if TED had existed in his lifetime, he wouldn't have been invited when he thought up his big ideas. But if he's alive today, he would have. Basically there's a time delay for his recognition and peer review supported.
    Like many artists Einstein was not fully appreciated in his life time. He was fortunate enough to receive some recognition and had many years to enjoy that though.

    Back to TED. The simplest answer is we have no way of knowing which crazy ideas without peer reivew acceptance at this stage would turn out to be ingenius and revolutionary, so as a policy maker it would be easier just to screen and share those already recognised great ideas, cause after all, there's already plenty of them to be promoted.
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      Oct 10 2013: Why do you say Einstein was not appreciated in his lifetime or that his work would have been considered pseudoscience? Can you support either claim?

      He received the Nobel Prize for Physics at the pretty young age of 42, thirty-four years before his death! And that was only one form of recognition and acclaim he won in his celebrated career.
      • Da Way

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        Oct 10 2013: I have no credited background knowledge of Einstein's life story. My comment was based on a comment I heard on TED radio hour by a physicist stating that much of Einsteins theroies are still being understood and verified by physicists today, hence I got the impression he was not FULLY appreciated in his life time.

        If he did get so much recognition as Fritzie points out, then I throw the question back at Gabe:
        Why would he not be invited to TED?
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          Oct 10 2013: I understand. There is a difference between scientists not understanding the full implications of a person's work and not fully appreciating him in his lifetime. He was one of the most famous men in the world in his lifetime, a sought after scholar who was courted by the world's major universities and chose Princeton among them.

          His work was innovative and recognized as path-breaking, had clear leverage in the sense of having important implications in pure and applied science, and was rigorous in its scholarship. His writing clearly communicated the fundamental aspects of his work, and the internet is full of his most famous and thoughtful statements about life, work, creativity, mathematics, and so forth. If much of his work would have been too technical for a general audience, much of his thinking was not.

          Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Man both have talks on TED. Lisa Randall, who holds one of several competing theories of the universe (none of which is yet accepted as the most likely within the discipline of theoretical physics), has spoken on the TED stage.
  • Oct 2 2013: Einstein did not meet the requirements to qualify under the "good science" category, according to the director.
  • Oct 2 2013: Marks of good science:

    It makes claims that can be tested and verified
    It has been published in a peer reviewed journal (but beware… there are some dodgy journals out there that seem credible, but aren’t.)
    It is based on theories that are discussed and argued for by many experts in the field
    It is backed up by experiments that have generated enough data to convince other experts of its legitimacy
    Its proponents are secure enough to accept areas of doubt and need for further investigation
    It does not fly in the face of the broad existing body of scientific knowledge
    The proposed speaker works for a university and/or has a phD or other bona fide high level scientific qualification
  • Oct 2 2013:

    Here is a letter from the TEDx director with the relevant stipulations.
  • Sep 30 2013: Einstein is a religious belief in Science. Not to belittle the man. Classifying him under pseudoscience would be gross oversimplification as well.
  • Da Way

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    Sep 29 2013: How would Einstein be classified as pseudo-science? Could you highlight the regulation/criteria that would disqualify him please? Do we have access to see these?