Ian Morris

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Ian Morris
Posted over 2 years ago
The debate about Rupert Sheldrake's talk
Quick links: Mar 19 2013: The debate about Rupert Sheldrake's talk (this page) http://goo.gl/q7U2k Mar 19 2013: The debate about Graham Hancock’s talk http://goo.gl/XOnL6 Mar 18, 2013: Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake, a fresh take http://goo.gl/RL6T8 Mar 14 2013: Open for discussion: Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake from TEDxWhitechapel http://goo.gl/AvMnk Mar 7 2013: Rupert Sheldrake's TEDx talk: Detailing the issues http://goo.gl/LB3PU
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Ian Morris
Posted over 2 years ago
The debate about Rupert Sheldrake's talk
With little time to go, this "Conversations" thread is showing about 2000 comments, about 20% more comments than the next highest thread (the one discussing Graham Hancock's talk with about 1655 comments), and nearly six times as many comments as the next highest thread with around 339 comments (on an unrelated discussion). The issue has definitely interested TED participants. Note that many individuals made multiple posts. The three most popular TED talks of all time, have (1) 15,480,019 veiws with 2937 comments (2) 10,741,137 views with 2425 comments (3) 10,311,697 views and 1287 comments. Two have been online for over fives years, the other for 18 months. Sheldrake's and Hancock's talks have been online for less than 4 months. There were also 1677 + 325 + 483 comments from previous combined discussions, making the average comment count (2000 + 1655 + 1677 + 235 + 483) / 2 = 3025 comments per talk. By this calculation, it makes both talks the post popular of all time by comment count. Popularity does not imply support or endorsement of their ideas. My personal estimate is that people oppose TED's actions by around 10-to-1 (I think it is actually more than this, as I found it difficult to find people who support TED, but wanted to be conservative). This does not necessarily translate into support for Sheldrake's and Hancock's ideas, only their right to be treated reasonably. Having read through the vast proportion of posts, my personal assessment is that the issue is not as clear cut as the science board and advisors would suggest, from which I hope that the necessarily actions will be taken.
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Ian Morris
Posted over 2 years ago
The debate about Rupert Sheldrake's talk
The "The debate about Rupert Sheldrake’s talk" says that "TED’s scientific advisors [..] believe there is little evidence for some of Sheldrake’s more radical claims, such as his theory of morphic resonance" a. Sheldrake's talk praises science as a method, but criticises "science" as a belief system. So it is unfortunate, or ironic, that TED’s scientific advisors seem to follow the scientific "belief" system. b. "Little evidence" is not the same as "no evidence", In fact, most new ideas begin with "little evidence",or is it more accurate to say "some evidence". c. Sheldrake describes morphic resonance as a "hypothesis", not a theory, so not even he "believes" it. Whether or not you accept some of Sheldrake's ideas, he does come across as more scientific and reasonable than the TED scientific board and advisors.
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Ian Morris
Posted over 2 years ago
The debate about Rupert Sheldrake's talk
Leroy Low wrote: "TED, responded to some quality control issues" The critics may have seen it that way, whereas many of us consider "quality control issues" as a pejorative euphemism. TED responded to a small group of people who argued that an informal talk on the philosophy of science, should be assessed as if it were a peer-reviewed scientific paper, and without having to provided detailed criticism of their rationale.
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Ian Morris
Posted over 2 years ago
The debate about Rupert Sheldrake's talk
“pseudo-science” The term is so vague and unscientific (there is no generally agreed definition), that ANY subject can be tarred with the pseudoscience brush. Anyone using the term is pretending to be scientific while using a word that is not. I am sure there is a word for this :-)
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Ian Morris
Posted over 2 years ago
The debate about Rupert Sheldrake's talk
Censor: "To remove or suppress what is considered morally, politically, or otherwise objectionable". Suppress: "To curtail, keep from being revealed, inhibit the expression of" By removing the talks from its YouTube channel, and moving the talks from a prominent part of their website to a less accessible area, is suppression, and could be considered censorship. More to the point, TED allowed a tiny minority to dictate their point of view in an unscientific and dishonourable way, that was not transparent, and accountable. ie. it was un-reasonable.
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Ian Morris
Posted over 2 years ago
The debate about Rupert Sheldrake's talk
Randy wrote: "I find Sheldrake's work silly and not worth considering any further." And yet you have given it more consideration than most, but only on the condition that you are judge and jury, and don't have to abide by the scientific standards you claim to uphold.
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Ian Morris
Posted over 2 years ago
The debate about Rupert Sheldrake's talk
On the About TED page, it has the strapline: "Our mission: Spreading ideas". This is good, and neutral. This is quite difference to the judgemental tag: "Ideas worth spreading", which can't possibly please all the people all of the time. The criteria is that a local TEDx (not a single individual) has decided that they want to hear someone talk, not because we pre-suppose the "truth" of various ideas. I actually don't mind hearing talks that may contain inaccuracies provocative ideas, or even outrageously wrong ideas, because rationale people will step in and either correct them, or ensure that talker clarifies them. This is how we all improve our critical thinking.
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Ian Morris
Posted over 2 years ago
The debate about Rupert Sheldrake's talk
Bad science should be a dream subject for a scientist to engage in, allowing them demonstrate the impartial and logical power of the scientific method. It does seem to be an odd stance to proclaim science, and not make use if it, and claim that the very people who are not being scientific are the ones that support science.