Bill Storm

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Bill Storm
Posted over 2 years ago
The debate about Rupert Sheldrake's talk
I just proposed an alternative platform above, before reading this. I agree this is exactly what is needed. I found the Clay Shirky quote: "Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution." TED herein provides the proof of his assertion.
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Bill Storm
Posted over 2 years ago
The debate about Rupert Sheldrake's talk
To: Amrita, Stefana, & Jennifer: It occurs to me that with such thoughtful ground from which you apparently spring, you might consider taking on the creation of a alternative venue, as it is pretty apparent we now need one. Individuals commenting here await a response from the TED folks, but I suspect there will not be one that will satisfy most of us. I'd like to propose the creation of NOTted, and I nominate you three as its creators. We need to move on from this violation of principle, and your commentary here indicates you carry the necessary mantle of integrity. It's rather likely you would find supporters among those of us who previously looked to TED for such a venue, but who now view them with essential suspicion. In any case, thank you for your appeal here. I do not share your hope of a course change as they seem to be answering to unknown higher masters.
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Bill Storm
Posted over 2 years ago
A new policy of censorship on TEDx, what happened to open conversations?
At the risk of a Clinton-esque debate over the meaning of the word "is," I take issue with this use of the term "factual error" in regard to Dr. Sheldrake's talk. If you actually listened to him, he was not in the mode of making factual claims. His rhetorical mode was one of questioning the process and assumptions of science. People here are exorcized over his questioning the idea of "constants," such as the speed of light or the force of gravity, and not once does he say they are NOT constants. What he DOES say is that the process by which these constants have earned the right to be considered constant is suspect, and gives examples as to the very human (thus error-prone) process at work. He is tweaking noses and making us smell the B.O. where it just may exist. He is warning us to question our own orthodoxy, and presenting us with a picture of what we might be missing if we do not question our own self-imposed boundaries of thought. So yes, it is censorship of a most insidious kind, because it is marginalization consequent to out-of-joint noses based on narrow thinking. TED would have been quite in tune with Eddington when he dismissed Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar for postulating the existence of black holes in the 30s. Chandrasekhar was pretty "out there" then, but doing good science. Sheldrake is out there now, so where are we?
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Bill Storm
Posted over 2 years ago
A new policy of censorship on TEDx, what happened to open conversations?
What a wonderful discussion this has all been. I've twice physically witnessed settings in which a group of distinguished scientists have become apoplectic over what they’ve heard: Astronomer/philosopher John Dobson challenged a room-full of astrophysicists to toss their assumptions about the Big Bang and consider his version of Steady State. I watched ears turn red under grey fringes, and hallway conversations were more than heated afterward. My second experience with high energy group scientific discomfort was at a luncheon a few years ago with Stephen Hawking in which he challenged another room-full of physicists to forget everything they thought they knew about the universe and look at it as if they were seeing the data as children… fresh and without any predisposition to belief or scientific orthodoxy. In neither case did those in attendance demand the speaker be silenced because they chose to speculate outside of measured phenomena (both spoke based on data they believed would be forthcoming and eventually measurable, not data in hand). In both cases attendees were provoked to discussion and self-examination of their learned biases, and in both cases their field still awaits stronger evidence for what they proposed. In this TED discussion thread I see evidence of minds not unlike those I witnessed above, but I also see evidence of ayatollahs of science quite committed to not merely marginalizing those with whom they differ, but silencing them. I have followed Dr. Sheldrake’s work for some years, and while I am far from being a Sheldrake apostle, the data I have seen and my personal experience prevents me from dismissing his work. I would hope that TED and other media sources would choose to provide for the expression of contrary thought, and not be co-opted by one orthodoxy or another. It's a sad day that we see TED be bullied this way.