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Open for discussion: Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake from TEDxWhitechapel

Posted by: Tedstaff

UPDATE: Please see our new blog post Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake, a fresh take, which replaces the x-ed out text below.

To discuss the talks, view them here:

The debate about Rupert Sheldrake’s talk
The debate about Graham Hancock’s talk

After due diligence, including a survey of published scientific research and recommendations from our Science Board and our community, we have decided that Graham Hancock’s and Rupert Sheldrake’s talks from TEDxWhitechapel should be removed from distribution on the TEDx YouTube channel.

We’re not censoring the talks. Instead we’re placing them here, where they can be framed to highlight both their provocative ideas and the factual problems with their arguments. See both talks after the jump.

All talks on the TEDxTalks channel represent the opinion of the speaker, not of TED or TEDx, but we feel a responsibility not to provide a platform for talks which appear to have crossed the line into pseudoscience.

UPDATE: Please find Rupert Sheldrake’s response below the video window.

According to our science board, Rupert Sheldrake bases his argument on several major factual errors, which undermine the arguments of talk. For example, he suggests that scientists reject the notion that animals have consciousness, despite the fact that it’s generally accepted that animals have some form of consciousness, and there’s much research and literature exploring the idea.

He also argues that scientists have ignored variations in the measurements of natural constants, using as his primary example the dogmatic assumption that a constant must be constant and uses the speed of light as example. But, in truth, there has been a great deal of inquiry into the nature of scientific constants, including published, peer-reviewed research investigating whether certain constants – including the speed of light – might actually vary over time or distance. Scientists are constantly questioning these assumptions. For example, just this year Scientific American published a feature on the state of research into exactly this question. (“Are physical constants really constant?: Do the inner workings of nature change over time?”) Physicist Sean Carroll wrote a careful rebuttal of this point.

In addition, Sheldrake claims to have “evidence” of morphic resonance in crystal formation and rat behavior. The research has never appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, despite attempts by other scientists eager to replicate the work.

Response to the TED Scientific Board’s Statement

Rupert Sheldrake
March 18, 2013

I would like to respond to TED’s claims that my TEDx talk “crossed the line into pseudoscience”, contains ”serious factual errors” and makes “many misleading statements.”

This discussion is taking place because the militant atheist bloggers Jerry Coyne and P.Z. Myers denounced me, and attacked TED for giving my talk a platform. I was invited to give my talk as part of a TEDx event in Whitechapel, London, called “Challenging Existing Paradigms.” That’s where the problem lies: my talk explicitly challenges the materialist belief system. It summarized some of the main themes of my recent book Science Set Free (in the UK called The Science Delusion). Unfortunately, the TED administrators have publically aligned themselves with the old paradigm of materialism, which has dominated science since the late nineteenth century.

TED say they removed my talk from their website on the advice of their Scientific Board, who also condemned Graham Hancock’s talk. Hancock and I are now facing anonymous accusations made by a body on whose authority TED relies, on whose advice they act, and behind whom they shelter, but whose names they have not revealed.

TED’s anonymous Scientific Board made three specific accusations:

Accusation 1:
“he suggests that scientists reject the notion that animals have consciousness, despite the fact that it’s generally accepted that animals have some form of consciousness, and there’s much research and literature exploring the idea.”

I characterized the materialist dogma as follows: “Matter is unconscious: the whole universe is made up of unconscious matter. There’s no consciousness in stars in galaxies, in planets, in animals, in plants and there ought not to be any in us either, if this theory’s true. So a lot of the philosophy of mind over the last 100 years has been trying to prove that we are not really conscious at all.” Certainly some biologists, including myself, accept that animals are conscious. In August, 2012, a group of scientists came out with an endorsement of animal consciousness in “The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness”. As Discovery News reported, “While it might not sound like much for scientists to declare that many nonhuman animals possess conscious states, it’s the open acknowledgement that’s the big news here.” (http://news.discovery.com/human/genetics/animals-consciousness-mammals-birds-octopus-120824.htm)

But materialist philosophers and scientists are still in the majority, and they argue that consciousness does nothing – it is either an illusion or an ”epiphenomenon” of brain activity. It might as well not exist in animals – or even in humans. That is why in the philosophy of mind, the very existence of consciousness is often called “the hard problem”.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_problem_of_consciousness

Accusation 2:
“He also argues that scientists have ignored variations in the measurements of natural constants, using as his primary example the dogmatic assumption that a constant must be constant and uses the speed of light as example.… Physicist Sean Carroll wrote a careful rebuttal of this point.”

TED’s Scientific Board refers to a Scientific American article that makes my point very clearly: “Physicists routinely assume that quantities such as the speed of light are constant.”

In my talk I said that the published values of the speed of light dropped by about 20 km/sec between 1928 and 1945. Carroll’s “careful rebuttal” consisted of a table copied from Wikipedia showing the speed of light at different dates, with a gap between 1926 and 1950, omitting the very period I referred to. His other reference (http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/lightandcolor/speedoflight.html) does indeed give two values for the speed of light in this period, in 1928 and 1932-35, and sure enough, they were 20 and 24km/sec lower than the previous value, and 14 and 18 km/sec lower than the value from 1947 onwards.

1926: 299,798
1928: 299,778
1932-5: 299,774
1947: 299,792

In my talk I suggest how a re-examination of existing data could resolve whether large continuing variations in the Universal Gravitational Constant, G, are merely errors, as usually assumed, or whether they show correlations between different labs that might have important scientific implications hitherto ignored. Jerry Coyne and TED’s Scientific Board regard this as an exercise in pseudoscience. I think their attitude reveals a remarkable lack of curiosity.

Accusation 3:
“Sheldrake claims to have “evidence” of morphic resonance in crystal formation and rat behavior. The research has never appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, despite attempts by other scientists eager to replicate the work.”

I said, “There is in fact good evidence that new compounds get easier to crystallize all around the world.” For example, turanose, a kind of sugar, was considered to be a liquid for decades, until it first crystallized in the 1920s. Thereafter it formed crystals everyehere. (Woodard and McCrone Journal of Applied Crystallography (1975). 8, 342). The American chemist C. P. Saylor, remarked it was as though “the seeds of crystallization, as dust, were carried upon the winds from end to end of the earth” (quoted by Woodard and McCrone).

The research on rat behavior I referred to was carried out at Harvard and the Universities of Melbourne and Edinburgh and was published in peer-reviewed journals, including the British Journal of Psychology and the Journal of Experimental Biology. For a fuller account and detailed references see Chapter 11 of my book Morphic Resonance (in the US) / A New Science of Life (in the UK). The relevant passage is online here: http://sciencesetfree.tumblr.com/

The TED Scientific Board refers to ”attempts by other scientists eager to replicate the work” on morphic resonance. I would be happy to work with these eager scientists if the Scientific Board can reveal who they are.

This is a good opportunity to correct an oversimplification in my talk. In relation to the dogma that mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works, I said, “that’s why governments only fund mechanistic medicine and ignore complementary and alternative therapies.” This is true of most governments, but the US is a notable exception. The US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine receives about $130 million a year, about 0.4% of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) total annual budget of $31 billion.

Obviously I could not spell out all the details of my arguments in an 18-minute talk, but TED’s claims that it contains “serious factual errors,” “many misleading statements” and that it crosses the line into “pseudoscience” are defamatory and false.

UPDATE: Please find Graham Hancock’s response below the video window.

HANCOCK
Graham Hancock’s talk, again, shares a compelling and unorthodox worldview, but one that strays well beyond the realm of reasonable science. While attempting to critique the scientific worldview, he misrepresents what scientists actually think. He suggests, for example, that no scientists are working on the problem of consciousness.

In addition, Hancock makes statements about psychotropic drugs that seem both nonscientific and reckless. He states as fact that psychotropic drug use is essential for an “emergence into consciousness,” and that one can use psychotropic plants to connect directly with an ancient mother culture. He seems to offer a one-note explanation for how culture arises (drugs), it’s no surprise his work has often been characterized as pseudo-archeology.

TED respects and supports the exploration of unorthodox ideas, but the many misleading statements in both Sheldrake’s and Hancock’s talks, whether made deliberately or in error, have led our scientific advisors to conclude that our name and platform should not be associated with these talks.

Response to the TED Scientific Board’s Statement

Graham Hancock
March 18, 2013

(1) TED says of my “War on Consciousness” presentation: “…he misrepresents what scientists actually think. He suggests, for example, that no scientists are working on the problem of consciousness.”

The only passage I can find in my presentation that has any relevance at all to this allegation is between 9 mins 50 seconds and 11 mins 12 seconds. But nowhere in that passage or anywhere else in my presentation do I make the suggestion you attribute to me in your allegation, namely that “no scientists are working on the problem of consciousness.” Rather I address the mystery of life after death and state that “if we want to know about this mystery the last people we should ask are materialist, reductionist scientists. They have nothing to say on the matter at all.” That statement cannot possibly be construed as my suggesting that “no scientists are working on the problem of consciousness,” or of “misrepresenting” what materialist, reductionist scientists actually think. I am simply stating the fact, surely not controversial, that materialist, reductionist scientists have nothing to say on the matter of life after death because their paradigm does not allow them to believe in the possibility of life after death; they believe rather that nothing follows death. Here is the full transcript of what I say in my presentation between 9 mins 50 seconds and 11 mins 12 seconds: “What is death? Our materialist science reduces everything to matter. Materialist science in the West says that we are just meat, we’re just our bodies, so when the brain is dead that’s the end of consciousness. There is no life after death. There is no soul. We just rot and are gone. But actually any honest scientist should admit that consciousness is the greatest mystery of science and that we don’t know exactly how it works. The brain’s involved in it in some way, but we’re not sure how. Could be that the brain generates consciousness the way a generator makes electricity. If you hold to that paradigm then of course you can’t believe in life after death. When the generator’s broken consciousness is gone. But it’s equally possible that the relationship – and nothing in neuroscience rules it out – that the relationship is more like the relationship of the TV signal to the TV set and in that case when the TV set is broken of course the TV signal continues and this is the paradigm of all spiritual traditions – that we are immortal souls, temporarily incarnated in these physical forms to learn and to grow and to develop. And really if we want to know about this mystery the last people we should ask are materialist, reductionist scientists. They have nothing to say on the matter at all. Let’s go rather to the ancient Egyptians who put their best minds to work for three thousand years on the problem of death and on the problem of how we should live our lives to prepare for what we will confront after death…”

(2) TED says of my “War on Consciousness” presentation: “… Hancock makes statements about psychotropic drugs that seem both non-scientific and reckless.”

I profoundly disagree. In my presentation I speak honestly and openly about my own damaging and destructive 24-year cannabis habit and about how experiences under the influence of Ayahuasca were the key to breaking this habit. I also say ( 3 min 46 seconds to 3 min 50 seconds) that “I don’t think any of the psychedelics should be used for recreation.”

(3) TED says of my presentation: “He states as fact that psychotropic drug use is essential for an “emergence into consciousness,” and that one can use psychotropic plants to connect directly with an ancient mother culture.”

Nowhere in my talk do I state as a fact that psychotropic drug use is “essential” for an “emergence into consciousness.” Nowhere in my talk do I state that “one can use psychotropic plants to connect directly with an ancient mother culture.”

(4) TED says of my “War on Consciousness” presentation: “He offers a one-note explanation for how culture arises (drugs), which just doesn’t hold up.”

I refute this. What I say (between 1 min 06 seconds and 1 min 54 seconds) is that some scientists in the last thirty years have raised an intriguing possibility — emphasis on POSSIBILITY — which is that the exploration of altered states of consciousness, in which psychedelic plants have been implicated, was fundamental to the emergence into fully symbolic consciousness witnessed by the great cave art.

(5) TED says of my “War on Consciousness” presentation: “… it’s no surprise his work has often been characterized as pseudo-archeology.”

Of what possible relevance is this remark? Many different people have characterised my work in many different ways but at issue here is not what people have said about my work over the years but the actual content of this specific TEDx presentation.

Comments (2154)

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  • sam farah commented on Mar 14 2013

    TED you are a disgrace. I will make sure you are boycotted amongst all the people I know and I will spread the news around about your censorship….You should move your business over to china and Iran…they love this sort of garbage and they will love you as well. TED your days are numbered I guarantee it. Your company is doomed and you are a failure. I will be sending off a black curse to you and your staff and your decision makers…cheers

    • Gary Florence commented on Mar 25 2013

      Black curse? This is about Rupert Sheldrake, not Terrence McKenna. :)

    • James Toomey commented on Mar 27 2013

      Sam, take a deep breath. Peaceful revolution is the only path the more prosperous future. Non of this black curse rubbish. TED is a good organisation which has brought us many encaptivating talks and will (we hope) learn from this whole unsavoury episode not to make mistakes like this in the future.

      • Sher Lizz commented on Mar 29 2013

        Amen

        • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 29 2013

          So you think Ted controls its own destiny? You are a funny girl.

        • Sher Lizz commented on Mar 29 2013

          You have no idea… (about the funny girl part)

        • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 29 2013

          As a persons knowledge increases, so too does their sorrow. The tears of a clown!

        • Sher Lizz commented on Mar 29 2013

          Not necessarily. Because Sorrow is not a big deal. The art is to just observe our sh*t (sorrow). Like everything else it arises and than passes away. “tears of a clown”: who cares?

        • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 29 2013

          Have a nice evening.

        • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 29 2013

          If I could show Graham Hancock was lacking, what then, would you just back off and say nothing or would you hail me, as you do Hancock?

        • Sher Lizz commented on Mar 29 2013

          It’s not about Hancock. I don’t necessarily agree with him. It’s about TED’s censorship.

        • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 29 2013

          So it’s ok for you to censor Ted, but its not ok for Ted to censor Hancock, that was very careless?

        • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 29 2013

          Hancock may cause the deaths of many. If you were Ted, would that be ok with you?

        • Gregory Wonderwheel commented on Mar 30 2013

          “Hancock may cause the deaths of many.” Ha, Ha! Now I see why you were reluctant to share your ideas. Yes, better to keep them to yourself.

        • Terry Allen commented on Mar 30 2013

          Just dropping this one in here at random:

          The biggest taboo of the lot is that we are God.

          Thanks to reading Alan Watts again I have re-remember who we all are!

          So when you feel yourself being sucked down in to the world mind where your ego loves to play, don’t take it all so seriously.
          On your death bed it won’t matter, the only thing that will matter is this:

          HOW DEEPLY DID YOU LIVE

          HOW DEEPLY DID YOU LOVE

          HOW DEEPLY DID YOU LEARN TO LET GO.

          Happy Ishtar everyone!!!

        • Sher Lizz commented on Mar 31 2013

          people are so sucked into the maze of crazed mind-chatter, that they have forgotten WHAT (NOT who) we are….

      • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 29 2013

        I wouldn’t expect you to realize that mr. Hancock refuses to address me, yet he jumps all over what many think are the smartest minds around, or at least the organization that recognizes the smartest minds around. Takes one to know one!!!

        • James Fuerstenau commented on May 5 2013

          The many doesn’t equate with right or proven opinion just an accepted paradigm. An “organization” that can’t see Mr. Hancock as one on the cutting edge of an emerging awareness is not in the group of the smartest minds around unless that means their “smartness” is dogmatic and fixed. A smart mind to me is one that is constantly challenging any and all dogmas and listens with an open not closed mind! Walk a mile in his shoes and see where that leads.

        • Jim Ryan commented on May 5 2013

          James, what new thinking did Mr. Hancock offer and if you consider his words from the laws perspective, I don’t see how Mr. Hancock could not understand.

        • Jaeda Vite commented on May 6 2013

          “what new thinking did Mr. Hancock offer”

          I would say that Hancock has offered new/noteworthy thinking and insights on ancient history, archaeology, entheogens, consciousness, the war on drugs, among other things. That is, “new” by current/dominant paradigm standards. Of course, one could argue that it’s not entirely new, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that the perspectives offered are a strong contrast with the “old” established views that currently dominate society.

        • Jim Ryan commented on May 6 2013

          “I would say that Hancock has offered new/noteworthy thinking and insights on ancient history, archaeology, entheogens, consciousness, the war on drugs, among other things. ”

          I would ask how. I don’t see new thinking, I see copy and paste, the same that schools teach. I must say he did make the extraordinary claim that it made or helped him to stop smoking pot, but then pot can open ones mind as well, right? Perhaps not as much or maybe not in the same ways, depending on each person, right?

        • Jaeda Vite commented on May 6 2013

          “I would ask how.”

          How? By providing valid views on topics that contrast with those that are being promoted through society/media/schools, etc etc.

          Three things:

          (1) You claim that Hancock has not offered any new thinking, and yet, I fail to see how you’ve produce any new thinking related to this discussion. Note: There may be an element of hypocrasy in your comments here.
          (2) Since when does something have to be entirely new in order to be relevant or noteworthy of attention?
          (3) Suggestion: Besides loitering around this discussion, how about you request to interview/debate Hancock himself, then upload it to youtube for all of us to see. I think you’ve done enough talking here. And I think you need to up your game by seeing if you can successfully argue your main gripes in a direct debate. Question is: Do you think anything you have to say on the subject is worthy of an interview/debate with Mr Hancock?

        • Jim Ryan commented on May 6 2013

          You miss the point, but then according to most seen, the bar is set so low, that anyone that can copy and paste, thinks they are contributing something noteworthy, keeping the bar low.

        • Jaeda Vite commented on May 6 2013

          Actually, you miss the point, Mr Ryan..

          Copy-paste is a valid process of disseminating points-of-view or perspectives. So the question is really not one of “omg, he’s guilty of copy-pasting”, but of “what is being said -copied and pasted-, and how is it relevant?” (!). If what is being copied and pasted is just a regurgitation of the same old established garbage, then I can understand your disapproval. But this is not the case at all with Mr Hancock, since he is re-igniting pov’s that I think are deserving of greater attention and deeper investigation.

          So, what else do you have besides the copy-paste objection?

        • Jim Ryan commented on May 6 2013

          Hancock advocated taking a drug that will kill some in many different ways, weather its by not paying attention, someone freaking out so bad they run out in traffic, do the drug alone for the first time and think they can fly or other such nonsense that we’ve all heard.

          Hancock even told everyone that the drug was already being imported into this country. Why didn’t Hancock just tell the law to suck on his toe? He might as well have slapped a cop in the face and dared him to do anything about it. What I want to know is how sooo many people can be so ignorant as to not understand those things.

        • Jaeda Vite commented on May 6 2013

          “Hancock advocated taking a drug that will kill some in many different ways..”

          If the drug you speak of (ayahuasca) is legalized, and the proper systems/regulations/information put in place to minimize the advent of undesirable outcomes, I’m sure we’ll manage it quite well. After all, many people/groups/organizations, even govts, routinely condone things that put your life, and the lives of others, at risk, and yet we still somehow manage to flourish and evolve despite all the contradictions and hypocrisy.

        • James Fuerstenau commented on May 6 2013

          FYI ayahuasca is legal in the US as a sacrament in “religious” ceremony.

        • Jaeda Vite commented on May 6 2013

          Yes, only in certain religious ceremonies and only if you’re a proven member of said religion. In other words, it has a demoted/marginalized status in the US.. Which basically means that 99.99% of americans are blocked from exploring ayahuasca and its medicinal benefits.

        • James Fuerstenau commented on May 6 2013

          Check out Santo Diame, a church that blends African traditions with esoteric Christianity and Ayahuasca.

        • Jaeda Vite commented on May 7 2013

          “Saint Daime”

          The idea of relegating ayahuasca to a fringe religion is, imo, an ineffective way of disseminating and managing the technology. And I dont see why it’s necessary for anyone to join a religion if all they want to do is explore ayahuasca consciousness for their own psycho-physiological benefit. I think that there are much safer, more effective and efficient ways to explore entheogenic-facilitated consciousness under controlled, informed conditions, minus the superfluous ideological cosmetics.

        • James Fuerstenau commented on May 8 2013

          The idea of relegating ayahuasca to a fringe religion is…..
          As you say I agree. Other native South American Shaman do administer in this country the original ceremonies involved with Ayahuasca. Any infringement upon the free will of individuals violates universal law. The regulation of these substances is designed to keep us ignorant of who and what we are.
          superfluous ideological cosmetics
          How can you judge that these ceremonies are more than what is needed. What is your experience? These practioners from their youth have been trained in using this substance. As to Santo Diame my personal outlook is that it is a fringe religion. I see that religion itself as a social/political construct for control, where as the Native South American approach is a way of life much older than any religion. They know and have the informed and controlled conditions.

        • Jaeda Vite commented on May 8 2013

          re/ “ideological cosmetics”

          Sorry about the misunderstanding.

          The ideological cosmetics I’m refering to are in regard to the religious aspect itself and the inherent belief systems that come with it. My understanding is that the actual indigenous ceremonies, which are part of the traditional south american shamanic use of ayahuasca, do not require the prescription of religious ideas or beliefs. From this perspective, all the religious fanfare is excess, as the REAL catalyst is the ayahuasca itself and the settings/conditions/atmosphere under which it is administered. On the other hand, if relgion becomes the medium by which entheogens, such as ayahuasca, are distributed, then the possibility for control and misdirection (by opposing groups/agendas) becomes a major issue.

        • James Fuerstenau commented on May 9 2013

          opposing groups and agendas
          That is exactly what exists, the groups are those that have set themselves up as the authorities and their agenda is to suppress humanity’s awareness and keep them in servitude/slavery to their self serving ideology. ” No one can ever deny others the right to ignore the supersensible, but there is never any legitimate reason for people to declare themselves authorities, not only on what they themselves are capable of knowing, but also on what they suppose cannot be known by any other human being.” Rudolf Steiner.. The religious fanfare of the current law is the control mechanism used to suppress the use of the substance. Not only Ayahuasca but DMT and other derivatives that have been used, at one time legally, in Calf. in marriage consoling with great results. The suppression of these “helpers of nature” is part of the “war on consciousness” so eloquently described by Mr. Hancock.

        • Jaeda Vite commented on May 10 2013

          From certain pov’s, there is really no ‘war on consciousness’, because it’s just consciousness playing with consciousness. What we’re actually seeing more clearly now is one form of consciousness, say Consciousness-B, trying to suppress another form of consciousness, Consciousness-A, from exploring consciousness and making new discoveries about what consciousness is and what it’s capable of. But even if Consciousness-B does succeed at suppressing access to indigenous plant technologies, there are so many other ways that Consciousness-A can evolve and transform itself that I don’t see how any amount of suppression will suffice.

          “Rudolph Steiner”

          So what he basically said was, “No one can ever deny others the right to ignore the reality of consciousness, just as no one can ever deny others the right to explore the reality of consciousness.”

        • James Fuerstenau commented on May 22 2013

          good analogy

        • Jaeda Vite commented on May 11 2013

          Even the use of mass-distributed/implanted denial mechanisms only work to hasten the inevitable. Meaning all efforts to prevent the unhindered exploration and expansion of consciousness, using key strategic resources and networks of humans and computers, are about as futile as trying to use a bag of fireworks to put out the afterburners on a spaceshuttle as it’s taking off. But what’s doubly amusing is that these suppressors apparently have a prophecy about it all (which is not their prophecy, but one they acquired), and the whole time they’ve been behaving as if it’s going to come true! lol Do you see where this is going?

          “What you resist, persists.” – Carl G. Jung

          Behaving as if the thing foreseen is going to happen (i.e., taking physical actions to prevent it from happening), only helps to collapse the possibility into an actual event. (For additional perspectives on this, watch “Flash Forward”).

        • Jaeda Vite commented on May 7 2013

          Of course, if people want to explore ayahuasca in a religious context, then they should be free to do so. But there’s no need to restrict access to ayahuasca via a religious organization.

        • commented on May 6 2013

          Actually, there’s little to no evidence for anything you just said. In fact, your writing of this betrays your inexperience with and ignorance of these matters. My understanding tells me that users are likely to experience a degree of meta-awareness that isn’t consistent with the same classification of ‘dangerous’ reserved for illicit drugs. Your scare tactics cannot pass as anything other than an opinion, and an uninformed one, at that.

          You don’t seem aware of the supreme court case that ruled in favor of Santo Daime here in the states (where I presume you live) or you would not be making repeated ‘appeal to the law’ fallacies.

          “What I want to know is how sooo many people can be so ignorant as to not understand those things.”

          Yes, it is such the mystery! :)

        • Christoffer Haugen commented on May 6 2013

          Philosophy and science is not politics. The goal with it is to gain perspectives and understanding of the nature; even if that means one have to inquire into topics which put the human values at trial.

        • Jim Ryan commented on May 6 2013

          I agree, if done with intelligence. Hancock should have considered what the law would consider and had Ted keep the video strictly embedded in the Ted sight, knowing how controversial hit talk. I have flouted power in so many areas, but I know how it will be met. How can any adult not understand?

          Hancock is crying like a baby, pretending that what he says should be heard by children and adults, expecting the law to just look the other way. Who’s playing dumb?

        • James Fuerstenau commented on May 6 2013

          You went way above Mr. Ryan’s head, you should rephrase it so he can understand.

        • Jim Ryan commented on May 6 2013

          When society gets excited by copy and paste or as so much of science today offers, supposition, as the high watermark for learning, something is terribly wrong.

        • Christoffer Haugen commented on May 6 2013

          Radical new thinking is hard since most thougts build upon a given metaphysical system; the system limits the available thougts and so has in its creation answered all future questions and possible thoughts. So in this way the systems rather than the thoughts limited to its language is what may give us new insights and thoughts. In example may one start with removing fundamental ideas like time or space completely and start looking at possible consequences of such a system.

          On the other hand one may say that each personal experience is a new one since it is composed of a unique personal history and the events of the moment, and that an expression of them may border to being original and new (a common language would prevent a completely new expression of the original and new experience).

        • Jim Ryan commented on May 6 2013

          If that’s true, please explain dark matter and energy, gravitational lensing and also according to science, seeing back in time, none of which science can prove, while science also claims there is no proof positive in science Mr. Hagen.

        • Christoffer Haugen commented on May 6 2013

          To take it short the whole idea of something outside of ourself which control or animate our lives; like laws of nature, gravitation, forces, a God etc. is based upon a metaphysical view that value the perceived rather than the experienced. This metaphysical view is not only the director for the science and religions based upon it, but even our language is made with a focus on the external world. The etymology of indo-european words are all about the said external space around us. To understand ideas like dark matter, gravitational lensing etc. we have to look to our metaphysical foundation which directs it, and ideas arising out of this would be a re-combination of foundational ideas made by our ancestors. Another feature of this limited and closed metaphysical system is that science can not prove that God does not exist since the idea of God has arised from the same metaphysical system. God and laws of nature are both similar kind of ideas of an external force animating our lives.

        • Jim Ryan commented on May 6 2013

          Thanks Mr. Haugen, I fully understand and agree with what you say and yet, there are nnew ideas and proofs within this structure, right? I would also point out that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, correct?

          If correct and science cannot prove gravitational lensing, via cause and effect, then those claims have no basis, correct?

          Through cause and effect, I can prove gravitational lensing is nonsense.

        • Jim Ryan commented on May 6 2013

          My apologies, I ment to write, “Mr. Haugen”.

        • Jim Ryan commented on May 6 2013

          Mr. Haugen, I believe you are correct in one way in this matter and that is, everything is based on cause and effect.

        • James Fuerstenau commented on May 6 2013

          I laud the response by Mr. Haugen. The one thing I see lacking here is any reference to Hancock’s word, consciousness. Dark matter is just an idea/theory to try to explain what is behind light matter. As dark matter is used to explain the void left by light matter. Light matter being the fundamental universe as we see/ perceive it. Mr. Hancock is proposing that like indigenous peoples, metaphysical disciplines and old civilizations; Egypt, that it is not dark matter behind the scene but consciousness is what rules the universe, it permeates everything. This 3D reality is just a manifestation of consciousness and we are the ones creating and maintaining the current paradigm.

        • Jim Ryan commented on May 6 2013

          You laud Mr. Gauges because you can’t defend your own claims and then you add some nonsense. Wow, impressive.

        • James Fuerstenau commented on May 6 2013

          Who is Mr. Gauges? Obviously you’ve become unseated and are grasping at ridicule to make a point, very purial, so I will not continue any battle of wits with you Mr. Ryan, for I promised my mother to never fight with an unarmed person.

        • Jim Ryan commented on May 6 2013

          Please forgive me, I thought you might have some sort of a brain that didn’t need to be told every little detail. Spell check does such things. We should lower the bar even more, just for you.

        • James Fuerstenau commented on May 6 2013

          Gauges/Haugen…I need spell check. Puerile is what you are. To make sure you get the detail. I was calling you witless. The bar was lowered when you entered the conversation. You claim to be one of the smartest minds around yet behave like a child.

        • Jim Ryan commented on May 6 2013

          Lol, drag everyone you can down to your level and beat em up, but include me out.

        • James Fuerstenau commented on May 6 2013

          Lol, drag everyone you can down to your level and beat em up, but include me out.

          Looking for something in this statement that has anything comprehensive. Tried to exclude you but you insist on expressing nonsense. Must be a born again Christian.

        • Jaeda Vite commented on May 6 2013

          “Copy paste”

          I would agree that it was copy-paste if Hancock had copy-pasted the established rigmarole of materialism and the narrow mindset that projects and sustains it. But this is not an issue here, because he instead offers a direct contrast, a counterpoint, to all the established nonsense and artificial projections regarding archaeology, entheogenic plants, the war on drugs, etc.

          I think you need to start asking better question.

        • Jim Ryan commented on May 6 2013

          Everything Hancock spoke of, except for how that drug helped him to quit, he had to learn from other people, like the Shaman, he just put it together, how he wanted and then gave his talk. What he seems oblivious too, is how the law will view what he said. Young children will access this site and the law will frown very heavily on what he implies, where kids and even adults are concerned.

          I’m surprised that Hancock and most all don’t understand such. This site is supposed to be about smart people. It seems a lot of people here need someone to hold their hand and tell them what to think. Lol, smart people. Ted protects the majority of you from your own ignorance and the big bad wolves.

        • Jaeda Vite commented on May 6 2013

          “Everything Hancock spoke of”

          Is there something wrong with people sharing knowledge and perspectives that they’ve learned from others, be they people, plants, or “entities”?

          “The law..”

          The law (in certain places) will frown on anyone who strongly evokes the idea that consciousness is something to be explored deeply, especially as it concerns the application of native plants. The question is, should we start using the law as a benchmark to determine which ideas should be spread and which ones should be censored?

        • Jim Ryan commented on May 6 2013

          When someone with a brain comes along, y’all let me know, k.

        • Jaeda Vite commented on May 6 2013

          I refuted your objections (apparently without a brain!) and that’s your best response? C’mon, Mr Ryan, I’m sure you can do better than that with a brain as big as yours.

          Question: if someone with a brain does come along –who happens to disagree with your asseritions and objections–, will your brain be able to tell, or does your brain need a software upgrade first? lol

        • James Fuerstenau commented on May 6 2013

          All he needs to do is reach around behind and pull his brain out.

        • James Fuerstenau commented on May 6 2013

          Is yours missing?

    • Michael Polson commented on Mar 29 2013

      This is a little… extraordinary, don’t you agree?

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Apr 13 2013

      By “disgrace”, do you mean “responsible organization”? How is “good editorial practice” like government-sponsored censorship? Why does TED even allow such whining as yours?

    • Scott Ferguson commented on Oct 5 2013

      How strange that any real man of science would be afraid of ideas and viewpoints. Sounds like the antithesis of scientific thinking and more like religion.

    • Marília Levacov commented on Oct 24 2013

      I agree with you 100%, Sam. However, with this imbecile censorship, Ted just did Rupert a favor: it proved that he was absolutely RIGHT.

  • Coleman Tekell commented on Mar 14 2013

    It is disgraceful and unnerving to know that you your organization would censor such fascinating material with the excuse that it has fallen into the void of “psuedoscience.” These two lectures are addressing some of the most revolutionary and important topics that face our global culture today, and the fact that you are censoring this information is truly disturbing. TED is supposed to be about the free flow of ideas, not the censorship of them. I hope your organization realizes that this kind of censorship is wrong and will reevaluate your decision.

    • Sher Lizz commented on Mar 29 2013

      I totally agree

      • April Reeves commented on Apr 15 2013

        I totally agree as well…

    • Chris Cole commented on Apr 19 2013

      Apparently you’re not familiar with what censorship actually entails.

      Unless you think the many publishers that decided not to publish the first Harry Potter book was censoring R.K Rowling.

      • Rus Bowden commented on Apr 19 2013

        Go to onelook.com, and you will find that the very first “quick definition”, the one for the verb, which is how we all have been using and understanding the word in this thread, follows:

        verb
        ▸to remove parts of a book, movie, letter, etc. for moral, religious, or political reasons

        TED removed the videos. They remain in this state. Until the videos are restored to the place they were on the TED website, we can say that they have been censored.

    • Anatole Branch commented on May 13 2013

      pseudoscience is a buzzword latched onto by the cynical (not critical) thinking reductionists – It’s the modernist reductionist word for “blasphemy”! it is used for everything that scares them personally then they pretend its for rational external reasons….same pattern coming around again, shame on TED and sad that each time we (humanity) step forward there are those that put a flag down and say this is it, this is the final reality, anybody else is a heathen, kill them, destroy them, defame them….they are creating the same world that their fore-bearers fought so hard to overcome, they have become the new priesthood. Seriously shame on you you TED. you let some scientific fundamentalists control the boundary of the reality you are allowing to be expressed. Shame on you. Terrible.

    • Scott Ferguson commented on Oct 5 2013

      Like religious fanatics they are afraid of ideas. Why because they might actually undermine the world view they espouse and want others to buy into. Science is about open minded investigation and empiricism. No real man and especially no real man of science would be afraid of anyone’s talk and feel compelled to censor it.
      It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
      Aristotle

  • Chris Stevens commented on Mar 14 2013

    I unsubscribed and wrote TED to tell them why. I encourage others that believe TED should not be censoring in such a bias, un-objective manner, to do the same. Click, here for the link to write TED : http://support.ted.com/customer/portal/emails/new

    • Frank Matera commented on Mar 14 2013

      That’s probably what they want mate… to keep away people that don’t have materialistic dogmatic scientific beliefs so they can all pat eachother on the back and convince themselves they are all doing a great job.

      Keep subscribed and go over every single thing they do with a fine tooth comb and make it publically known. There would barely be a talk that doesn’t contain some opinion that is not proven with baking soda and vinegar.

  • Rui Castro commented on Mar 14 2013

    You lost a fan today TED.
    The great thing about you was that you were groundbreaking, fearless, open-minded.
    Now you’re just a slave of censorship and backwards thinking.
    Shame on you TED, shame on you.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 22 2013

      What is censorship? Is backwards thinking necessarily bad? Is censorship a bad thing? By “shame”, do you mean “congratulations”?

      • A Careaga commented on Mar 30 2013

        sophist.

  • tia thomas commented on Mar 14 2013

    Viva Graham Hancock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • matt hunt commented on Mar 14 2013

    Waiting for Tedstaff to answer Graham Hancock’s questions…

    • Steve Stark commented on Mar 14 2013

      It’ll be interesting to see if they do. I mean, they’re not going to find anything like what they said he said so my guess is they’ll just hide away and pretend not to have seen Hancock’s request for clarification.

      • Al Vanger commented on Mar 18 2013

        Don’t kid yourself. There will come no intelligent or rational contributions from these anonymous “scientists”. Not only because they have no case. But mostly because they can only rely on brute force, manipulative statements or direct censorship. Fascism is the only method for unscientific agendas when pressured by freethinking and real science.

        The priesthood of the materialist dogma are terrified, because the scientific method is so superior to all kinds of irrational dogma that even their own reductionist materialism is under siege. How long can they cling to their authoritarian based “rational”? About as long as the Vatican resisted Galileo and Kepler.

        Adherents to the scientific method will obviously have to look elsewhere to find a platform for a genuine debate and brave research based on scientific prinsciples. TED has failed and is defining this irrational dogmatic non-scientific and completely logical fallacy as “ideas worth spreading”.

        It is non-science like this kind of fear based anti-frontier attitude that ruins genuine science and innovative research. Even the usage of the term “pseudo-science” is a complete orwellian double-speak, and the only pseudo-science there is. Either something is scientific because it follows the scientific method (and not dull opinions from the cardinals of scientism) or it is non-scientific.

        No, we cannot expect any reply worth its bytes and bits from someone who actually has abandoned science based on their own irrelevant subjective eotional based paradigm about what is “non-sense” and what is real. They have left the scientific method, which is the ONLY valid authority. I for one will therefore leave them.

  • Sandra Arau commented on Mar 14 2013

    I just want to congratulate Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock. I am a huge admirer of their work, and I think this kind of “nice/good science” censorship says it all!

    We all know what happened at the Vatican yesterday… Very few rounds left for people who earn from darkness and that must be scary for your Science Board of Inquisition v.2013

    Whenever you censor something, you draw attention to it. This is fabulous.

    Cheers Mr. Sheldrake and Mr. Hancock, they have exposed themselves.

    “If this is how science operates, by silencing those who express opposing views rather than by debating with them, then science is dead and we are in a new era of the Inquisition.” – Graham Hancock (and me) ;)

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 22 2013

      What is censorship? Is it a bad thing? Science has silenced noone but frauds. As Hancock&Sheldrake have already revealed to us their views, this is not an inquisition. Science remains very much alive.

      • Gregory Brown commented on Mar 24 2013

        Your ignorance of the history of science and of the silencing of legitimate research throughout that history is breathtaking.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

          Citation needed. By “silencing” I mean only “silencing” through legal means.

    • April Reeves commented on Apr 15 2013

      Nicely said Sandra! It does indeed expose those who suppress…

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  • Scott Bryson commented on Mar 14 2013

    I’m disappointed that a venue that has featured a supermodel talking about how she got a break by winning the genetic lottery has to somehow censor anyone with a controversial theory of science. By its nature consciousness is a mystery with many theories of its existence, from religion to philosophy to science.

    In all of history the only time the dialog has been interrupted is when patriarchal religions felt the need to stifle the debate to protect their interests, or occasional government intervention when ideas which appear too liberal threaten the status quo.

    Science really becomes just another boring demagogue when controversial ideas and opinions can’t be expressed, or outsiders can’t challenge its homogenization. Wilhelm Reich characterized this as a form of neuroses he termed Emotional Plague–when ironically the U.S. government later confiscated his books and destroyed them when his theories got too out there. http://anarchy.org.au/anarchist-texts/reich-emotional-plague/

    Sign a petition against this modern witch-hunt and book-burning attempt to stifle alternative views: http://www.change.org/petitions/ted-stop-the-censoring-of-the-graham-hancock-tedx-talks-video

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 22 2013

      The non-spreading of ideas not worth spreading is a good thing. What is censorship? Is it a bad thing? This is not a witch hunt; former pothead Graham has been very open about his crankery.

      • Scott Bryson commented on Mar 27 2013

        You are very good at witty one liners that have more place in a nightclub setting between Joan Rivers & Rodney Dangerfield, but apparently you can’t put together a few paragraphs of any substance.

        There are hundred of questionable talks TED hosts that one might wonder if they are worth spreading, such as the above-mentioned supermodel talking about her winning the genetic lottery. No doubt the geeks enjoy looking at her, is this really an idea worth spreading?

        I don’t really mind because I’m not as anal as you seem to be–however you never really seem to spread anything substantial besides petty insults.

      • Sher Lizz commented on Mar 31 2013

        Good idea then that TED first contact YOU, the top-dog of information spreading to decide what’s worth spreading and what’s not. Now THAT is crazy. Come off that very HIGH horse, P-L-E-A-S-E.

  • Avi Peterson commented on Mar 14 2013

    Wow, if TED is truly responding to “scientist” Jerry Coyne’s blog http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/more-woo-and-anti-science-rants-at-tedx/ by censoring the work of consciousness pioneers like Granham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake, then TED is turning away from real human evolution and toward the Dark Ages. Sad. I look forward to reading TED’s responses to Graham Hancock’s posts below.

    • Chris Anderson commented on Mar 14 2013

      How can you claim censorship below a post which actually embeds the talk concerned?!

      • Mike Proletarian commented on Mar 14 2013

        This is not censorship?

        • Danielle England commented on Mar 14 2013

          Thank you, Mike Proletarian; replacing the original youtube videos (with their high viewer numbers) with new Vimeo videos is cowardly.

        • Mike Proletarian commented on Mar 14 2013

          The vimeo videos are embedded. They’re not accessible outside of this page, so it’s not possible to view them without the cries of “woo” or “pseudo-science” beforehand. Many other comments have pointed out that this is nothing short of an ideological attack by those who have claimed scientific authority.

          Please, do the right thing and restore these video’s to their original sources.

        • Richard Coldman commented on Mar 16 2013

          At first I thought it was an isolated case of poor judgement on the part of Chris Anderson and his friends. Now reading his and other reactions to our criticism of this censorship, together with new evidence now coming to light has revealed a systemic, oppressive editorial policy driven by an elitist agenda humanity can no longer afford. TED is finished.

      • John Campbell commented on Mar 14 2013

        Nice try Mr. Anderson, but I guess this is how TED can claim no censorship. What they’ve done to defend themselves against claims of censorship is restrict where they can be seen to a damp corner of the site.

        At the very least, they should allow the videos to circulate freely as they do for all other videos. Video is not available on youtube or directly on Vimeo. Please let us know when you find the URL to the videos concerned.

      • Mike Lindner commented on Mar 14 2013

        Well it is easy enough to claim censorship when those two videos had been shared by countless people and had over 160,000 views.
        Now those videos are private and you have hid these posts conveniently where they will receive far less attention (or so you thought).

        It is very gross to act so naive and attempt to deny accountability. TED has lost many fans today, and has conceived many future conversations which they will surely regret. One act of censorship is enough to question your credibility entirely.

        • Danielle England commented on Mar 14 2013

          “One act of censorship is enough to question your credibility entirely.”

          Hear, hear! Especially considering the way it’s been done.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 23 2013

          What is censorship? Is it a bad thing? TED has gained credibility by moving the relevant talks.

      • Richard Coldman commented on Mar 14 2013

        Anyone who knows anything about web traffic knows how disingenuous your above question is, Chris Anderson. What’s motivating you here? Worried about your paycheck?

        • Richard Coldman commented on Mar 16 2013

          Don’t worry about it. Just start looking for a new job.

      • commented on Mar 14 2013

        How dare you? How dare you insult our intelligence like this? How can you possibly dare to be so demeaning? How can this possibly be iseen as anything other than blatant, biased, politically motivated, anti-intellectual CENSORSHIP?

        What does it feel like to have no shame? Please answer, for the sake of science.

      • Dimitri Spice commented on Mar 14 2013

        Gee, I don’t know, maybe because you removed the videos from youtube?!

        You can’t even find this part of Ted by searching the Ted.com site. Nothing even turns up for “Graham Hancock”

      • Pat Carullo commented on Mar 18 2013

        YOU KNOW THEM BY THEIR ACTIONS ….
        OVERT CENSORSHIP ….

        PLEASE CALL ME TO DISCUSS … 570-576-0865

      • Chasity Jordan commented on Mar 19 2013

        It isn’t censorship. It’s just a good old fashioned ‘tossing under the bus’. And don’t get it twisted. I didn’t become aware of this because I am a GH sycophant. I learned of it bc I was a fan of TED.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

      Human evolution happens through many generations. Events like this change nothing.

  • commented on Mar 14 2013

    TedTalks has lost ALL credibility for me. Censorship is crass and does nothing to move the conversation forward. Instead of fostering open debate, TedTalks has chosen the weaker route. I refuse to give anymore time to sham that is TED.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

      Not spreading ideas not worth spreading should be commended.

      • Dimitri Spice commented on Mar 14 2013

        There is loads of nutty ted talks out there. Should we go on a rampage and start removing all of them too?

      • Nash Singh commented on Mar 15 2013

        “Not worth spreading”

        According to who? Substantiate your loose claims by answering Mr Hancock’s five simple questions. So far, the only thing that is “not worth spreading” are TED’S unsubstantiated claims & responses on this “debate”. Wake up TED!

        An intelligent, structured response from you would help everyone understand your views & actions re. this matter. Childish, immature comments only serve to prove that TED is in no intellectual position to judge anyone’s work!

        Wake up TED!!! This is the REAL world!! So far you have not offered nothing but SPINELESS mumbo jumbo to Mr Hancock & his “hordes”. The comments posted by his “hordes” is a mark of the class & intelligence of the ppl that appreciate Mr Hancock’s research & opinions!!!

        Big UP to Mr Hancock’s “hordes of supporters”!!!! Keep up the brilliance!!! TED cannot come up with ONE INTELLIGENT OR SUBSTANTIATED RESPONSE for any one of you or Mr Hancock so far!!! Kinda proves the intelligence level of TED & its panel of “Scientists”…

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 15 2013

          Caps lock and exclamation points surely increase one’s credibility, which is why sane people use them all the time. I speak with great amounts of sarcasm. The childish and immature comments are the ones whining “censorship”.

        • Terry Allen commented on Mar 15 2013

          @ pitho the irony is not lost on me you are projecting your own puerile attitude onto others instead of dealing with the valid points raised:

          Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.
          William Shakespeare

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 15 2013

          It’s pithom, not pitho. I see no valid points raised.

      • A Careaga commented on Mar 30 2013

        And I guess YOU decide what’s worth spreading? A sophist and a tool with a god-complex. Nice combo. FAIL.

      • Sher Lizz commented on Mar 31 2013

        so we come first to YOU to decide what’s worth spreading and what not? crazy.

  • John Werner commented on Mar 14 2013

    I like the idea of posting them in a special section of the website that frames them as controversial. This avoids the argument of “censorship” while also making it clear that the credibility of TED should not be risked carelessly. It also would provide the forum for a good TED conversation where the claims of the speaker could be debated.

    • Kevin Parcell commented on Mar 14 2013

      John, I think your claim that there is a special section of the website for controversy is false and that therefore your comment ought to be removed to a a special section of the special section, in the spirit of radical openness.

    • Daniel Ortiz commented on Mar 14 2013

      TED is moving away from their roots of new and challenging ideas. Perhaps we should remind them. Or at least help them re-categorize many of their old TED talks. For intance, Juan Enriquez’s “Will Our Kids be a Different Species?” where the speaker asks and speculates at length on the idea that autism is rapid evolution of the brain and how it processes information.

    • Danielle England commented on Mar 14 2013

      Problem is, the videos are not available (at least at the moment) so posting it here is just a cowardly way to avoid having the censorship called out. TED and TEDx has lost all credibility to me, no longer interested.

      SPREAD THE WORD – we need a new venue that hasn’t been taken over by highly indoctrinated people of average intelligence: after all, what’s more frightening than people who only know WHAT to think and not actually HOW to think?

    • Dimitri Spice commented on Mar 14 2013

      Um, hellooo. They removed the videos from youtube. THAT IS CENSORSHIP

      • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

        What is censorship? Is there anything wrong with it?

        • John Turner commented on Mar 19 2013

          If you need to ask such a question then I can only suggest you get off the thread since you lack the knowledge necessary to contribute.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 19 2013

          There is no official board governing the usage of the English language. I see censorship as something only done by governments. If idiots here define the term “censorship” differently from me, I need to know so I can communicate with these idiots.

        • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 28 2013

          You use censorship everyday. You and most here are so brainwashed, that you don’t even understand what you do. Schools, the playgrounds, the workplace and even among friends. You are using censorship with everyone of your posts on this thread. You and all like you, actually empower the places and governments that do what you do. Some people call it censorship and some call it bullying.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 28 2013

          How is “censorship” different from air?

        • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 28 2013

          Air doesn’t claim to have a brain.

    • Dimitri Spice commented on Mar 14 2013

      John, then feel free to debate the claims. Hanock has posted, and yet none of you guys have bothered to respond. Your accusations against Hancock are flat out unfounded. He never says any of the things you accuse him of saying- go through the video and see for yourself. This is becoming ridiculous.

      And BTW removing the videos from youtube is censorship. How thick skulled are you Ted consultants? If some provocative thinker had a very popular video of his intentionally removed by the government, and slotted into some dark corner of the internet, would you NOT view this as a form of censorship? You’ve got to be kidding me.

      And by the way you can’t even find the video on vimeo. The only place ted has it is embedded on this page. If you click the link to vimeo it is not possible to watch it they’re (at least for me), and the account that supposedly has posted the video has 0 videos listed.

      • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

        TED isn’t a government.

      • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 28 2013

        Hancock made a mistake. It’s just that no one has called him on it, we’ll, I did, I sent him an email about it. I don’t expect an answer, because of all that’s gone on here.

        • Gregory Wonderwheel commented on Mar 29 2013

          What mistake? I think Hancock made a mistake saying that all religions believe in an “immortal soul” because as a follower of the Buddha Dharma I don’t. But that is a mistake of spiritual fact, not a mistake of scientific fact. I didn’t hear any mistakes of scientific facts.

        • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 29 2013

          I’ll hold back on that.

        • Gregory Wonderwheel commented on Mar 29 2013

          Convenient, and therefore lacks credibility.

        • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 29 2013

          You want me to kick a man when he’s down, just as has been done to me for more than 42 years. How much is it worth to you?

        • Gregory Wonderwheel commented on Mar 29 2013

          To me its worth about the value of a dead cat. But the point is that you should not mention it at all unless you are prepared to back up your claim. Saying “Ha I see a mistake, but I won’t tell you.” Is just a twisted way of bragging.

        • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 29 2013

          If you had been taught to think for yourself and with a very critical eye, you wouldn’t need to ask such.

        • Gregory Wonderwheel commented on Mar 30 2013

          “If you had been taught to think for yourself” What? That’s just troll ad hominem behavior.

        • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 30 2013

          Oh my doodness, if I don’t Gregory what he wants to know right now, he’ll use childish innuendo against me. Oh boo hoo.

        • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 29 2013

          If it was worth no more than a dead cat to you, then it seems you waste your time.

        • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 30 2013

          I emailed Mr. Hancock and told him what I thought. He emailed me and told me what he thought .

          Shall we let this see the light of day Mr. Hancock?

    • Jim Schneider commented on Mar 17 2013

      John Werner, many of Sheldrake’s ideas are not “controversial” at all if you ask the general public- for such a well credentialed scientist as Sheldrake to be treated so shabbily at the behest of a few closed minded materialists is outrageous. Moving the talks to a place where they are less likely to be seen, agreeing to keep them up for an indefinite amount of time, couching them in the most insulting and dismissive language (“pseudoscientist” is generally understood to be a quack, not to be taken seriously)- this is all outrageous and should not be acceptable to any fair minded individual who cares about honest discourse. And to top it off they not only have misrepresented the talks, they gave the speakers no chance to respond before assassinating their character! How could anyone not find TED’s behavior disturbing? And to top it off there is the remarkable arrogance of a few people at TED deciding they know what constitute’s “good science” and “bad science”. They don’t trust their viewers are intelligent enough to weigh the evidence. This is a few people at TED acting as your parent, viewing you as a child. And finally there is the outrageous way they refer to the discussion they had with the “community” to come to this decision. They point to the comments left when they asked if the Sheldrake video should be removed. Have you read those comments? The vast majority of them say the video should be left alone! It’s dishonest of TED to act like this was a decision supported by the community. Simply put, TED ain’t shooting straight with their audience. And it stinks.

      • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 28 2013

        Look at what evolutionary –ha ha–scientists do. Can you defend science and its claims of red shift, blue shift? What a joke. As most all people use censorship in so very many ways, so to does science, in its ignorance.

        Can you defend red shift, blue shift!

      • Enopoletus Harding commented on Apr 13 2013

        An open mind is not a good thing in itself. Why should viewers be trusted to distinguish between good and bad science? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    • Grant Hanson commented on Dec 20 2013

      Then Ted should relabel all their talks as controversial and be done with it. No censorship, more truth. What science sees as truth today will be controversial tomorrow.

  • Graham Hancock commented on Mar 14 2013

    In addition to the three questions I just put to TED in my earlier posting, to which I await answers, I have a fourth

    TED says of my “War on Consciousness” presentation: “He offers a one-note explanation for how culture arises (drugs), which just doesn’t hold up.”

    Again I would like TED to identify the point in my talk where I state this. Do I not rather say that some scientists in the last thirty years have raised an intriguing possibility — emphasis on POSSIBILITY — which is that the exploration of altered states of consciousness, in which psychedelic plants have been implicated, was fundamental to the emergence into fully symbolic consciousness witnessed by the great cave art? I can cite a wide range of respectable peer-reviewed scientists who have suggested this possibility and I do not see how reporting their work, which I have every right to do, can be construed as offering “a one-note explanation for how culture arises (drugs).” Besides is every talk that touches on the origins of culture obliged to consider all possible factors that might be involved in the origins of culture? How could any speaker be expected to do that in one 18-minute talk?

    • Joe Anderson commented on Mar 15 2013

      Graham, I hope you’ve been able to capture screenshots of the different versions of this page. It seems the folks at TED have repeatedly changed it. I hope one of your fans can somehow figure out a way to access the previous version. And I hope you share them with Rupert so he can see just how insulting the original version was, not that the current is not insulting. Also, notice how this was posted by “Tedstaff” while all the other entries seem to be posted by one person. So who are the people at TED who have come up with the various versions? And why will they not answer your questions. They’re obviously aware of them. Are they just too arrogant or too scared or what.

    • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 27 2013

      I loved your talk. Anyone that has experimented with drugs, stumbling on their abilities to unlock our potentials, scares the hell out of governments the world over. Most never use drugs in an introspective manner, but the few that do can help to awaken more. As it is, the super majority of people don’t know how to think for themselves, simply because they weren’t taught from youth, to see with a critical eye. No gov’s schools teach children to think for themselves and the few like yourself are censored in so very many ways all through life.

      However, in speaking truth to power, you have opened yourself to the intense scrutiny, even when not one on the science board at Teds understands fully. You yourself missed something. We know so much about people, by their words, but most of all, by their intent. Intent is the magic or mystery in all language. Jim Ryan

    • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 27 2013

      I loved your talk. Anyone that has experimented with drugs, stumbling on their abilities to unlock our potentials, scares the hell out of governments the world over. Most never use drugs in an introspective manner, but the few that do can help to awaken more. As it is, the super majority of people don’t know how to think for themselves, simply because they weren’t taught from youth, to see with a critical eye. No gov’s schools teach children to think for themselves and the few like yourself are censored in so very many ways all through life.

      However, in speaking truth to power, you have opened yourself to the intense scrutiny, even when not one on the science board at Teds understands fully. You yourself missed something. We know so much about people, by their words, but most of all, by their intent. Intent is the magic or mystery in all language. Jim Ryan

      Dontcha just hate cliche’s. lol

  • Esther Steria commented on Mar 14 2013

    Total horse****, who is on this supposed “Science Board” of yours, and who cuts their pay checks?

    Hancock is absolutely amazing, and independent scientists all over the world support what he is saying.

    I used to love TED, now im so, so disappointed at how it is just an institution with hidden agendas & interests. Zero respect, I look forward to a less corporate alternative platform for new ideas, one which encourages discussion rather than censorship.

  • Graham Hancock commented on Mar 14 2013

    Graham Hancock here, gbhancock@gmail.com.

    (1) TED says of my “War on Consciousness” presentation: “…he misrepresents what scientists actually think. He suggests, for example, that no scientists are working on the problem of consciousness.”

    I would like TED to identify where exactly in my talk they believe I say that “no scientists are working on the problem of consciousness”? Also in what other specific ways does TED believe I misrepresent what scientists actually think?

    (2) TED says of my presentation: “He states as fact that psychotropic drug use is essential for an “emergence into consciousness,” and that one can use psychotropic plants to connect directly with an ancient mother culture.”

    I would like TED to identify where exactly in my talk they believe I state as a fact that psychotropic drug use is essential for an emergence into consciousness. I would also like TED to identify where exactly in my talk I state that one can use psychotropic plants to connect directly with an ancient mother culture.

    (3) TED states that there are many inaccuracies in my presentation which display a disrespect both for my audience and for my arguments.

    I would like TED to indentify where exactly in my talk these alleged “many inaccuracies” occur.

    Thank you and I look forward to your responses. Graham Hancock 14 March 2013 at 17:06 GMT

    • Tom Huston commented on Mar 14 2013

      Yes, Chris Anderson, please reply to Mr. Hancock’s point by point rebuttal of your organization’s critique.

      Heaven forbid that TED would *lie* and make spurious accusations to justify their Scientistic Inquisition and censorship. There must be more respectable ways to uphold the sacred flame of metaphysical materialism, the belief system so beloved by the self-appointed intellectual authorities of the modern age, than strawman attacks and slander.

      • Steve Stark commented on Mar 14 2013

        They did lie – before I noticed Hancock had made these points, I rewatched the video myself because I could believe my eyes when I saw what they were saying he said. As it turns out, every specific point they make is badly wrong and some are pure fantasy. So, if TED really does care about factual accuracy in stuff associated with their name, they should take these justifications down, write some proper ones (if they can), and then hang their heads in shame.

    • Cory Warshaw commented on Mar 14 2013

      Mr Hancock,

      In your talk, you identified a litany of problems in our society, but I am struggling to see how they relate to the psychoactive materials you describe, other than they may reveal new solutions. I just have to ask, if your talk is not about using drugs to improve the way we think what is it about? I ask this not to be patronizing, but because I earnestly want to know.

      • Richard Coldman commented on Mar 14 2013

        Mr Warshaw,
        Excuse me for butting in here but as an onlooker I have to say that many of the societal problems of the European diaspora are caused by the abuse of psycho-active drugs such as alcohol and the plethora of harmful pharmaceuticals prescribed by doctors and psychiatrists, some of which have even been linked to mass shooting incidents in US schools. Mr Hancock is not by any stretch of the imagination arguing for the use of drugs to solve society’s problems, in fact he makes the point that the shamanic use of medicinal plants and ceremonies have cured him of his own habitual consumption of marijuana. Above all, he’s challenging the notion that a sick society should be allowed to interfere with the sovereignty of the individual over his/her own consciousness. You seem to have quite missed the point of what he is saying, and the fact that his propositions are so difficult for “mainstream” understanding such as yours to penetrate is the very reason why this material should not be relegated to a hitherto obscure blog page such as this one (although I’ve a feeling this is about to change).

      • Dimitri Spice commented on Mar 14 2013

        Look into the research going on with ayahuasca, cannabis, lsd, and psilocybin mushrooms. Just look at the John Hopkins psilocybin studies, for starters. They are getting profound results.

      • Dimitri Spice commented on Mar 15 2013

        “I am convinced that there are genuine and valid levels of perception available with cannabis (and probably with other drugs) which are, through the defects of our society and our educational system, un-available to us without such drugs.” – Carl Sagan

      • anthony holmes commented on Mar 17 2013

        If he were presenting the TED community with the idea of using a newly discovered, synthetically derived compound or nano-technology, would TED have censored this video? Psychadelic research has been done for many years and there is no issue with bringing up a hypothesis that it could be used for psychiatric purposes to this day. Some psychoactive drugs such as LSD are being used for end of life therapy and MDMA is being studied for assisting patients suffering from PTSD by organizations such as MAPS.

    • Chris Anderson commented on Mar 14 2013

      Graham, greetings, and thanks for engaging here personally. We’ll try to get you some more detailed comments early next week. I’m currently tied up at National Geographic in DC helping launch the TEDxDeExtinction event (which, by the way, is an indication that we have no problem with radical scientific ideas per se.)

      I understand why you’re upset at the talk being pulled off Youtube, but we’re quite serious in saying we’re not censoring you. The talk will live here as long it takes for this conversation to work itself out, and perhaps indefinitely. I must say, you’re a compelling speaker and I personally enjoyed the talk quite a bit. I can understand why you and your books have attracted a huge following.

      It would help your cause to let this whole discussion calm down a little. You seem to have whipped your supporters up into a bit of a frenzy. There’s no conspiracy out to get you. We just have certain guidelines for our TEDx events that weren’t fully implemented in this instance, and it’s OK to have a public discussion about that.

      So here’s a suggestion. While I reach out and see if any of our advisors is able to go into more depth in answering your specific questions, perhaps you could help me understand why your work is widely characterized as pseudo-archeology, as in the current version of this wikipedia page.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoarchaeology
      Is that a distorted description of your views? Is mainstream archaeology simply misguided? Or is there some other explanation?

      Do you agree that we should have *some* form of guidelines for our TEDx organizers as to what constitutes credible science, or do you think our approach should be let anyone put anything they want out there and just let the public decide?

      I’m signing off now till Monday, but truly I would value your and your supporters’ help in turning this into a more constructive discussion.

      Thanks, Graham.

      • bohemian groover commented on Mar 14 2013

        His queries should be addressed before you come in with a second volley.

        • Pat Carullo commented on Mar 18 2013

          TED’S REMOVAL OF TALKS BY …
          SHELDRAKE & HANCOCK ….
          CLEARLY EXPLAIN WHY ….
          I HAVE NOT WATCHED …
          A TED TALK IN YEARS ….

          TED IS BECOME ….
          THE “ESTABLISHMENT” …
          YOU KNOW THEM BY THEIR ACTIONS ….
          OVERT CENSORSHIP ….

      • Ephi B. commented on Mar 14 2013

        Mr. Anderson,

        In response to “Do you agree that we should have *some* form of guidelines for our TEDx organizers as to what constitutes credible science, or do you think our approach should be let anyone put anything they want out there and just let the public decide?”:

        I would like to point out that this is the very same argument of whether or not we should have free speech. On the one hand, free speech will result in a lot of garbage; true. On the other, not having free speech gives the opportunity for the rule makers to put their own biases for what may or may not be said. Given one or the other, it is much better to have ALL ideas allowed to be shared and have the users decide and research it by their own free will, than to have people such as yourself dictating what is allowed and not allowed–such opinions are usually the result of the majority opinion of the masses, which is always unreliable at best, complete wrong at worst.

        So when your operational model is based on “ideas worth spreading”, I suggest you keep it that way, and not “ideas worth spreading that we think is a good idea, or that a majority already thinks is a good idea.”

        • John Ratcliff commented on Mar 14 2013

          This is starting to get absurd.

          Ok, first of all, I resent the implication that I am a ‘Hancock’ or ‘Sheldrake’ supporter. I am neither. I am a supporter of free-speech and the right of individuals to express new ideas.

          The motto of ‘Ted Talks’ is ‘Spreading New Ideas’. You aren’t spreading new ideas by this action; you are suppressing them. Clearly, absolutely clearly, that is wrong.

          Some of the most popular Ted-Talks in history have been people expressing mystical experiences. There’s this one talk about this woman who had a ‘stroke of insight’ and then reported a mystical experience. It’s one of the top Ted-Talks in history. I *demand* that you take it down. Immediately!

          Jacques Vallee also spoke. Vallee is a huge proponent of UFOs. In fact, the scientist in ‘Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind’ was modeled after him. Vallee gave a talk mentioning all kinds of paranormal phenomenon and suggested that the Universe is a form of computer simulation.

          I demand that that talk be taken down.

          I demand that every single Ted-Talk where the speaker speculated and explored new ideas, ideas that have not yet been subjected to rigorous peer reviewed scientific experiment, be removed immediately!

          This is truly outrageous.

          Who invited Hancock to speak at a Ted Conference? Who?

          How come you had no protocol to make sure that he was not allowed to speak in the first place, especially when even a cursory examination would make it clear that Hancock is a ‘fringe’ personality.

          And, how about Sheldrake? He’s famous for his unscientific and unproven theories about ‘morphogenesis’ and telepathy.

          Who let him speak at a ‘Ted Conference’?

          Have that person fired! Have that committee disbanded.

          Because you can’t do this *after the fact*!!!

          The beliefs and subject matter of Hancock and Sheldrake were common knowledge prior to their presentations. They did not blindside you. They did not misrepresent themselves.

          If their ideas are bad, or stupid, then let people watch the talk, as presented at the conference.

          You let them speak! Then let them speak to everyone!!

          I mean this quite seriously, I am *NOT* a defender of Sheldrake or Hancoock. I am not a supporter of their beliefs or their causes in any way shape or form.

          I’m not even defending their talks in any way.

          What I, and a whole lot of other people, are very, very, upset about is this frightening censorship! Which is extremely prejudicial!

          I have heard many, many, nutty Ted-Talks in the past with all kinds of nonsense. How come you aren’t banning all of them as well?

          Or, is that being planned?

          This whole ‘after the fact’ thing is the problem. If you didn’t want them to speak, than you shouldn’t have invited them. But, once they did speak, you should not be censoring them. Let everyone hear their talks and if they are a load of nonsense, then people will see them as a load of nonsense.

          How come you cannot ‘get’ that? This isn’t about Hancock or Sheldrake supporters here!

          This about your censorship of a talk which was given at your conference by an *INVITED* guest!

          This whole thing is shameful, and embarrassing, and if you don’t realize it yet, this will, indeed, be the death of Ted in popular culture.

          This behavior is obscene. You should be embarrassed for yourself and any sense or notion you may have ever held about intellectual honesty.

        • keithharmon snow commented on Mar 14 2013

          Excellent points, excellently stated. Thank you.

        • Frank Matera commented on Mar 15 2013

          John overall your comments were excellent. I will pull you up on one thing though when you stated:

          “And, how about Sheldrake? He’s famous for his unscientific and unproven theories about ‘morphogenesis’ and telepathy.”

          Morphogensis yes. Telepathy… well I would not say that is entirely an unproven theory as there has been lots of peer reviewed studies that have been done into Telepathy using Ganzfeld experiments for a start. Prof Dean Radin has done excellent work in this field to try and promote the studies done over the years in the hope to get more scientists take an interested (and it seriously).

          When sheldrake talks about Telepathy he is very definitely doing it from a scientific aspect.

      • Jas Bourne commented on Mar 15 2013

        Is mainstream archaeology simply misguided? yes…

      • Jas Bourne commented on Mar 15 2013

        Leave wikipedia, have you ever watched his show and statements of why he believes in a different idea rather than academic archaeology?

      • Richard Coldman commented on Mar 15 2013

        “While I reach out and see if any of our advisors is able to go into more depth in answering your specific questions,”???
        What depth has been gone into by you or any of your people? I see no evidence.

        And since you are the “curator”, how about answering any one of Graham Hancock’s questions yourself? We don’t mind. No-one’s calling you a “pseudo-curator” on Wikipedia yet.

        “Do you agree that we should have *some* form of guidelines for our TEDx organizers as to what constitutes credible science, or do you think our approach should be let anyone put anything they want out there and just let the public decide?”
        Well Mr Curator, you get to decide who speaks in the first place. Isn’t that enough editorial control/ Are we, your devoted viewers, so stupid that we can’t make up our own minds about the quality and veracity of what’s being said simply because you chose the speaker so he/she must speak only the truth?

        I for one certainly wasn’t taken in by Bill Gates when he argued that mass vaccination should be supported as a means of population control in africa.

        You underestimate us, Mr Curator, and I’m afraid you’ve made a costly mistake in the whole way you’ve handled this matter.

      • CChaos CChaos commented on Mar 15 2013

        Chris Anderson,

        your backhanded and condescending response to Graham Hancock is unacceptable. please respond directly to his questions.

        Graham Hancock,

        please invite Mr. Anderson to your next ayahuasca journey and have Mr. Anderson describe his experience in an 18-minute TED talk. are you up to the challenge Mr. Anderson?

        ~ C

      • Graham Hancock commented on Mar 15 2013

        Response to Chris Anderson by Graham Hancock, 15 March 2013 at 09:50 GMT

        Chris, your reply is very strange and does no credit to you in your role at the Curator of the TED Conference or to TED as a whole.

        Quite simply the issue is this: TED has defamed me by making a number of accusations against me in this public forum on the TED website – accusations that are highly damaging to my reputation as an author and public speaker. I have asked you to substantiate those allegations which surely should be a matter of the highest priority to you if you have a genuine commitment to science and to truth. Yet instead of doing so you dodge my reasonable request for substantiation by telling me you are attending an event in DC, posing a number of irrelevant questions to me, making a reference to Wikipedia, and asking those you see as my “supporters” to “calm down a little.” This is all sleight of hand. All that is required of you here on the public record is simply to substantiate the grave allegations that TED has made against me in the introductory remarks to this page of the TED blog, or, if you cannot substantiate those allegations then retract them and apologize. Your present tactic allows the allegations to remain in the prominent opening statements to this blog page while you “reach out to see” if any of your advisers are “able to go into more depth” in answering my specific questions and while you yourself “sign off” until Monday.

        This is not good enough and I demand that TED – either in the form of you personally or those “advisors” you refer to – either substantiate the defamatory allegations you have made against me forthwith or remove those allegations at once and post a full, public and unconditional apology.

        I note that the text of TED’s introductory remarks to this page have undergone some editing since they were originally posted. Therefore I will set out again the allegations TED has made against me in these remarks as they stand today (at 09:50 GMT and as confirmed by a screen shot I have taken), and my reasonable questions in which I ask you to substantiate these allegations.

        (1) TED says of my “War on Consciousness” presentation: “…he misrepresents what scientists actually think. He suggests, for example, that no scientists are working on the problem of consciousness.”

        I would like TED to identify where exactly in my talk they believe I say that “no scientists are working on the problem of consciousness”? Also in what other specific ways does TED believe I misrepresent what scientists actually think?
        The only passage I can find in my presentation that has any relevance at all to this allegation is between 9 mins 50 seconds and 11 mins 12 seconds. But nowhere in that passage or anywhere else in my presentation do I make the suggestion you attribute to me in your allegation, namely that “no scientists are working on the problem of consciousness.” Rather I address the mystery of life after death and state that “if we want to know about this mystery the last people we should ask are materialist, reductionist scientists. They have nothing to say on the matter at all.” That statement cannot possibly be construed as my suggesting that “no scientists are working on the problem of consciousness,” or of “misrepresenting” what materialist, reductionist scientists actually think. I am simply stating the fact, surely not controversial, that materialist, reductionist scientists have nothing to say on the matter of life after death because their paradigm does not allow them to believe in the possibility of life after death; they believe rather that nothing follows death. Here is the full transcript of what I say in my presentation between 9 mins 50 seconds and 11 mins 12 seconds: “What is death? Our materialist science reduces everything to matter. Materialist science in the West says that we are just meat, we’re just our bodies, so when the brain is dead that’s the end of consciousness. There is no life after death. There is no soul. We just rot and are gone. But actually any honest scientist should admit that consciousness is the greatest mystery of science and that we don’t know exactly how it works. The brain’s involved in it in some way, but we’re not sure how. Could be that the brain generates consciousness the way a generator makes electricity. If you hold to that paradigm then of course you can’t believe in life after death. When the generator’s broken consciousness is gone. But it’s equally possible that the relationship – and nothing in neuroscience rules it out – that the relationship is more like the relationship of the TV signal to the TV set and in that case when the TV set is broken of course the TV signal continues and this is the paradigm of all spiritual traditions – that we are immortal souls, temporarily incarnated in these physical forms to learn and to grow and to develop. And really if we want to know about this mystery the last people we should ask are materialist, reductionist scientists. They have nothing to say on the matter at all. Let’s go rather to the ancient Egyptians who put their best minds to work for three thousand years on the problem of death and on the problem of how we should live our lives to prepare for what we will confront after death…”

        (2) TED says of my presentation: “He states as fact that psychotropic drug use is essential for an “emergence into consciousness,” and that one can use psychotropic plants to connect directly with an ancient mother culture.”

        I would like TED to identify where exactly in my talk they believe I state as a fact that psychotropic drug use is “essential” for an “emergence into consciousness.” I would also like TED to identify where exactly in my talk I state that “one can use psychotropic plants to connect directly with an ancient mother culture.”

        Having carefully my presentation several times I can find nowhere where I make such statements.

        (3) TED states that there are many “misleading statements” in my presentation.

        I would like TED to indentify where exactly in my talk these alleged “misleading statements” occur.

        (4) TED says of my “War on Consciousness” presentation: “He offers a one-note explanation for how culture arises (drugs), which just doesn’t hold up.”

        Again I would like TED to identify the point in my talk where I state this. Do I not rather say (between 1 min 06 seconds 1 min 54 seconds) that some scientists in the last thirty years have raised an intriguing possibility — emphasis on POSSIBILITY — which is that the exploration of altered states of consciousness, in which psychedelic plants have been implicated, was fundamental to the emergence into fully symbolic consciousness witnessed by the great cave art? I can cite a wide range of respectable peer-reviewed scientists who have suggested this possibility and I do not see how reporting their work, which I have every right to do, can be construed as offering “a one-note explanation for how culture arises (drugs).” Besides is every talk that touches on the origins of culture obliged to consider all possible factors that might be involved in the origins of culture? How could any speaker be expected to do that in one 18-minute talk?

        (5) TED says of my “War on Consciousness” presentation: “… it’s no surprise his work has often been characterized as pseudo-archeology.”

        Of what possible relevance is this remark? Many different people have characterised my work in many different ways but at issue here is not what people have said about my work over the years but the actual content of this specific TEDx presentation.

        So there are the damaging and defamatory allegations TED has made against me in its website, and here again is my request that you either substantiate these allegations forthwith, or withdraw them and apologize to me prominently and publicly, allowing no further time to elapse to worsen the harm and damage you have already done.
        Signed Graham Hancock, 15 March 2013, at 09:50 GMT

      • Kent Bye commented on Mar 15 2013

        I wanted to understand where the TED organizers were coming from in making this decision, and so I researched the timeline and context of events leading up to this decision. I have some follow-up questions for the TED staff at the end.

        *** December 1st, 2012 ***
        A Reddit user named circuitry posts a complaint that “The TED name is being dragged through the mud in Valencia, Spain, where a TEDx-approved event is promoting pseudoscientific stuff”

        Note that Sheldrake’s and Hancock’s talks in question happened in London over a month later, but this Reddit discussion started a debate within TED about how to handle claims of pseudoscience.

        Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/tedtalks/comments/1443ke/the_ted_name_is_being_dragged_through_the_mud_in/

        *** Dec 8th, 2012 ***
        The Reddit thread catches the attention of the TED staff and then a week later the Director of TEDx, Lara Stein (citizenstein), posts a response to Reddit thread saying, “Thanks to this discussion we decided to take on the ‘bad science’ issue directly and openly. We agree it is an important issue.”

        TED composed a detailed e-mail sent out to all of the TEDx organizers and shared it publicly.

        In the Reddit thread, Stein clarifies the difference between TED and TEDx saying, “TEDx events are independently organized. While we do vet licensees carefully, we do not review or approve every speaker lineup. TEDx is an open-source, free community, based on trust and mutual respect.” Note that a lot of commenters have been conflating the difference between TED and TEDx.

        Stein talks about the process of how they protect the TED brand through the TEDx license process by saying that there are rules and that “If we feel there has been a blatant disregard for the TEDx rules, we will not renew the license.” A rule violation could include “putting inappropriate speakers or a sponsor on the TEDx stage.”

        Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/tedtalks/comments/1443ke/the_ted_name_is_being_dragged_through_the_mud_in/c7cv7ey

        *** Dec 7th, 2012 ***
        Stein & Emily McManus, TED.com Editor, sent out an e-mail out to all TEDx organizers warning them that “It is your job, before any speaker is booked, to check them out, and to reject bad science, pseudoscience and health hoaxes.”

        They laid out guidelines to be able to spot the differences between good and bad science. For example, examples of good science are that it “does not fly in the face of the broad existing body of scientific knowledge” and “It has been published in a peer reviewed journal” Examples of bad science are that it “Has failed to convince many mainstream scientists of its truth”, “Comes from overconfident fringe experts” or if it “Speaks dismissively of mainstream science.”

        They list “Red flag topics” such as”‘Healing,’ including reiki, energy fields, alternative health and placebos, crystals, pyramid power” as well as “The fusion of science and spirituality. Be especially careful of anyone trying to prove the validity of their religious beliefs and practices by using science.”

        They also laid out a process by which anyone could complain about talks the they think might contain pseudoscience, and that the TED staff will pay special attention since the credibility of TED is on the line: “As a member of the community, if you do come across a talk on the TEDx YouTube channel or at a future event that you feel is presenting bad science or pseudoscience, please let us know. Bad science talks affect the credibility of TED and TEDx: it is important we get this right.”

        Link: http://blog.tedx.com/post/37405280671/a-letter-to-the-tedx-community-on-tedx-and-bad-science

        *** January 12th, 2013 ***
        TEDxWhitechapel takes place in London where the theme is “Visions for Transition.” Rupert Sheldrake gives a talk titled “The Science Delusion” and Graham Hancock talks about “The War on Consciousness.”

        The videos are published on the Official TEDxTalks YouTube channel a month later on February 13th.

        Link: http://tedxwhitechapel.com/speakers/

        *** March 6th, 2013 ***
        A number of skeptic bloggers find Sheldrake’s TEDx video and start to complain about how it’s pseudoscience and that it’s tarnishing the TED brand.

        * Self-proclaimed “Godless liberal biologist” PZ Myers writes a post titled “For Shame, TEDx” saying “I thought they were going to clean up their act and stop highlighting crackpots and kooks. But oh look: there’s Rupert Sheldrake, listing all the things he finds wrong about science.”
        Link: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/03/06/for-shame-tedx/

        * ‘Token Skeptic’ podcast host Kylie Sturgess jumps in with a post titled, “Remember How TEDx Were All About Not The Bad Science, Pseudoscience And Health Hoaxes?” She links to the e-mail sent out to TEDx organizers without much else of substance about Sheldrake’s talk.
        Link: http://freethoughtblogs.com/tokenskeptic/2013/03/06/remember-how-tedx-were-all-about-not-the-bad-science-pseudoscience-and-health-hoaxes/

        * Evolutionary biology professor Jerry Coyne writes a post titled “TEDx talks completely discredited: Rupert Sheldrake speaks, argues that speed of light is dropping!”

        Coyne uses the talk to attack the TED brand by saying, “Watch, weep, and mourn TED, now a vehicle for pseudoscience” and lamenting how TEDx have “started incorporating substandard speakers, including woomeisters” like Sheldrake, “who gives Deepak Chopra a run for the title of World’s Biggest Woomeister.” He concludes by saying, “And TED, you’d better vet your speakers from now on.”

        Coyne’s blog has a detailed response to Sheldrake’s suggestion that physics constants may actually be varying and lists other grievances about Sheldrake’s “general attitude that science is DOING IT RONG.” [sic]

        Link: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/tedx-talks-completely-discredited-rupert-sheldrake-speaks-argues-that-speed-of-light-is-dropping/

        *** March 7, 2013 ***
        Coyne is an atheist and makes the observation that Emily McManus, one of the editors at TED.com, also lists herself as an atheist on her TED bio. Coyne sent her an e-mail and received a same-day response that publishes the next day on the 7th.

        At this point, I suspect that the TED team had received enough flak that they were likely already strongly leaning towards taking the video down. McManus’ team reviewed the video all day and started compiling a list of reasons to potentially justify pulling it down, but they were also opening up the process for community feedback and review.

        McManus says, “my team is both analyzing it for content and pulling together a list of the specific issues with it. It’s good practice for us to prepare a comprehensive list like this — we learn a lot from engaging.”

        At the end of the e-mail, McManus takes note to say that “I appreciate your thoughtful blog post and comments. Please know that you have been heard.”

        Link: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/tedx-has-second-thoughts-about-rupert-sheldrakes-talk-asks-viewers-to-weigh-in/

        *** March 7, 2013 ***
        Emily McManus posts an open thread saying that Sheldrake’s is “under review by the TED team” and they’re asking for feedback on talk.

        She notes “we’re grateful to those who’ve written about this talk in other forums, including but not limited to Jerry Coyne, PZ Myers, Kylie Sturgess and some thoughtful Redditors.” Note that these are the authors of the posts linked above.

        The discussion ends with 478 comments, and McManus notes that “We won’t be able to make a decision that pleases every single flavor of opinion on this thread, but: You have been heard.”

        Link: https://www.ted.com/conversations/16894/rupert_sheldrake_s_tedx_talk.html

        *** March 10, 2013 ***
        Coyne flags another TEDx talk in a post called “More woo and anti-science rants at TEDx.” He says, “First we had Rupert “can-dogs-find-their-way-home” Sheldrake peddling woo and antiscience at TEDx Whitechapel, and now, at the very same venue, we see Graham Hancock decrying materialism and spouting woo and pseudoarchaeology.”

        Conye rejects some of Hancock’s claims, says that “taking drugs is not a substitute for science” and “I strongly decry [Hancock's] anti-science rant that begins at 9:50.” Conye agrees that consciousness is a mystery, “but if anything will help us solve it, it will be reductionist science—certainly not woo or spirituality!”

        Coyne debates whether it’d be called censorship to pressure TED to take the videos down, but then sites this passage from the TEDx rules page:
        “Speakers must be able to confirm the claims presented in every talk — TED and TEDx are exceptional stages for showcasing advances in science, and we can only stay that way if the claims presented in our talks can stand up to scrutiny from the scientific community. TED is also not the right platform for talks with an inflammatory political or religious agenda, nor polarizing ‘us vs them’ language. If Talks fail to meet the standards above, TED reserves the right to insist on their removal.”

        Coyne notes how both Hancock and Sheldrake used a lot of “us vs them” rhetoric, and he claims that they made false claims in their talks. He says that “TEDx has the right to remove talks that abrogate these rules… and it should remove Hancock’s and Sheldrake’s videos. If they don’t, it will simply confirm a growing view that TED and its subsidiaries are moving away from good science and heading toward Deepak and Oprah.”

        Link: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/more-woo-and-anti-science-rants-at-tedx/

        *** March 13th, 2013 ***
        TED sends a letter to TEDxWhitechapel alerting them that “we have decided that Rupert Sheldrake’s and Graham Hancock’s talks from TEDxWhiteChapel should be removed from the TEDx YouTube channel and any other distribution platform currently hosting the videos.”

        The bulk of the message and results of the scientific board is published in the “Open for discussion” post above.

        One thing that is different is that the video was being requested to be removed from all video distribution channels and that they inform the presenters. From the letter passed onto Graham: “We request that you, as the TEDx licensee responsible for this talk, delete the videos from YouTube and inform Sheldrake and Hancock that the videos have been removed.”

        The letter is passed onto Hancock, and he published it on his Facebook page on March 14th alerting his fans of the impeding censorship.

        NOTE: No where does it say that the videos would be posted on the TED site for further discussion. Note that this blog post was posted after the videos were marked as private, and after there was an outcry of censorship from Graham and his supporters.

        NOTE: It appears as though Conye’s blog post was the catalyst for Hancock’s talk being flagged as pseudoscience along with Sheldrake’s video, but it’s unclear if Hancock’s video also had a public review process similar to Sheldrake.

        Link: https://www.facebook.com/Author.GrahamHancock/posts/10151551393237354

        *** March 14th, 2013 ***
        Graham Hancock makes an initial Facebook post alerting his fans of the impending censorship and says that “I am fighting these charges from TED’s Science Board which in my opinion are untrue and amount to nothing more than an ideologically driven attempt to censor my work.”

        Link: https://www.facebook.com/Author.GrahamHancock/posts/10151551245272354

        *** March 14th, 2013 ***
        The videos are marked private on the TEDxTalks channel, thereby breaking all embedded links to the video and making it not searchable via YouTube.

        Hancock posts another message saying, “Further to my last two statuses I am disgusted to report that TED has indeed hidden my “War on Consciousness” presentation and Rupert Sheldrake’s “Science Delusion” presentation on the TEDx Youtube channel. Both videos are now marked as private and so no member of the public can now view them or make up their own minds about them. If this is how science operates, by silencing those who express opposing views rather than by debating with them, then science is dead and we are in a new era of the Inquisition.”

        NOTE: At this point TED had not communicated directly to Hancock that they were planning on reposting the videos on their blog. At this point the videos were for all intents and purposes censored and removed from the Internet. Copies of the video start appearing on YouTube as encouraged by Hancock because he was informed by TEDxWhitechapel that it would be permanently removed.

        Link: https://www.facebook.com/Author.GrahamHancock/posts/10151551414982354

        *** March 14th, 2013 ***
        Following complaints of censorship, TED decides to publish the two videos in an unlisted channel on Vimeo and on their blog post titled “Open for discussion: Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake from TEDxWhitechapel.”

        An unnamed “Tedstaff” user says, “We’re not censoring the talks. Instead we’re placing them here, where they can be framed to highlight both their provocative ideas and the factual problems with their arguments.”

        The videos can’t be embedded on any other page than this blog post on the TED website, and the videos can’t be searched or seen on Vimeo or the TEDConversations page at http://vimeo.com/tedconversations.

        Link: http://blog.ted.com/2013/03/14/open-for-discussion-graham-hancock-and-rupert-sheldrake/

        *** March 14, 2013 ***
        Hancock responds after this blog post that “TED have now rushed to create a remote corner of their website, which I imagine they hope no-one will see, where our talks have been put back online and may be debated.”

        Hancock claims that this move is still a form of censorship because it has created broken links in YouTube and erased the view counts that show public traction and interest: “On the one hand they take down two videos from Youtube that had generated enormous public interest and traction (mine had received over 130,000 views and Rupert’s over 35,000 views). Then as soon as TED is tagged for censorship (did they hope we wouldn’t notice?) they put the videos up again in a remote place, which cannot benefit from URL sharing by any of the previous 160,000-plus viewers and which is, thus, to all extents and purposes invisible.”

        It also appears as though neither Sheldrake or Hancock were informed of these discussions to participate or defend themselves against certain claims of pseudoscience. Hancock says, “TED did not approach either Rupert or myself in advance for any refutation of the ‘factual problems’ they allege in our presentations. In fact I refute all these so-called ‘factual problems’ with regard to my own presentation.”

        He says that “The whole concept of this manoeuver by TED is worrying and insulting. It implies that TED believes it has the right to act as arbiter of the context in which my presentation and Rupert’s presentation is received rather than simply putting what we have to say before an intelligent public and letting the public decide. It also suggests that TED believe the public are incapable of making up their own minds about our arguments without approved scientists first highlighting ‘the problems’ with our arguments.”

        Hancock links to the blog post encouraging his fans to register and comment on how TED shouldn’t get away with censorship regardless of how they try to spin it as ‘radical openness.’

        Link: https://www.facebook.com/GrahamHancockDotCom/posts/595021193859710

        *** March 14, 2013 ***
        Many of Hancock’s fans rush to this TED blog post to complain about censorship with an emotional intensity that upsets the curator of TED, Chris Anderson.

        NOTE: The blog post didn’t link to the historical context for the removal of Hancock’s video. The only link was to a discussion about Sheldrake’s videos and no extensive criticism about Hancock’s presentation. The only criticism and discussion that I found was Coyne’s blog post.

        One commenter says, “One of the best TED presentations is being censored… really?”

        Anderson replied: “Really not. You’re looking at it. Taking our responsibilities as a platform seriously means we have to act on a talk regarded as absurd by mainstream science. But we’re more than happy for a conversation about it to continue, if only to clarify the fuzzy gray line between science and pseudo-science. Right now this comment section is over-run by the hordes of supporters sent our way by Graham Hancock. It would be nice for you to calm down and actually read some of the criticisms of his work so that you can get a more balanced view point. And meanwhile, we’ll be reading the views of anyone who’ll be patient enough to express them in a reasoned way …as opposed to throwing around shrieks of censorship when nothing of the kind has happened. Thank you”

        Link: http://blog.ted.com/2013/03/14/open-for-discussion-graham-hancock-and-rupert-sheldrake/

        *** March 14, 2013 ***
        Hancock posts three specific refutations of alleged claims in the comment section stating that “I would like TED to identify where exactly in my talk these alleged ‘many inaccuracies’ occur.”

        This request went unanswered for most of the day until Anderson posted later in the day that he was going to “reach out and see if any of our advisors is able to go into more depth in answering your specific questions.”

        QUESTIONS FOR TED STAFF:
        * Who are the members on TED’s Science Board?
        * Why weren’t Sheldrake or Hancock informed and provided an opportunity to respond to these allegations before having an anonymous Science Board frame their presentation?
        * If you weren’t intending on censoring the videos, then why didn’t you tell TEDxWhitechapel that the videos would live on in a special section of the site, and thereby clearly communicate that to Hancock & Sheldrake this plan? Why did you instead tell TEDxWhitechapel, “Graham Hancock’s talks from TEDxWhiteChapel should be removed from the TEDx YouTube channel and any other distribution platform currently hosting the videos” and to “delete the videos from YouTube and inform Sheldrake and Hancock that the videos have been removed”? Can you possibly see how this might be interpreted by Hancock and his fans as censorship?
        * Why did you not provide specific quotes from Hancock’s talk, which has lead to what Hancock and others claim is a mischaracterization of what he was saying?
        * Why wasn’t Hancock’s video provided the same public review process as Sheldrake’s video?

        • bohemian groover commented on Mar 15 2013

          Excellent summation.

        • Emily McManus commented on Mar 15 2013

          Agreed — this is great, and I’ll respond in detail in a top-level post linking to yours, to make room for replies.

        • Joe Anderson commented on Mar 15 2013

          I see. So talks with errors are OKAY, just so long as the talks don’t offend the materialist belief system of some higher ups at TED. It’s great to know what we’re dealing with. Too bad these arbiters of “good science” at TED would NEVER have the courage to debate Rupert Sheldrake, a scientist who does publish in peer reviewed journals. How about it someone at TED, you willing to take on the man you all have dismissively referred to as a pseudoscientist in a debate?

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 15 2013

          Excellent job with the timeline.

      • Rod Diaz commented on Mar 15 2013

        Chris,

        Ted created this frenzy by pulling the video and then claiming you don’t censor. In fact, you continue to whip up the frenzy with your response – it ignores all of the questions posed directly to you and you attack Graham and his supporters some more. Please respond directly to Graham’s questions and explain yourself please.

        Thanks,
        RD

      • Joe Anderson commented on Mar 15 2013

        Chris, it seems that TED has repeatedly changed the introductory part of this discussion. I seem to recall the phrase “radical openness” was used to begin with. And the tone was a bit more strident and dismissive towards Sheldrake/Hancock. Is there anyway the public can access the earlier versions, in the spirit of radical openness? Thanks!

      • Richard Coldman commented on Mar 15 2013

        Quoting from my own earlier response to your rather ugly and disrespectful response to Graham Hancock’s polite and well-reasoned appeal for explanations, I want to pick up on this point:

        “I for one certainly wasn’t taken in by Bill Gates when he argued that mass vaccination should be supported as a means of population control in Africa.”

        I didn’t ever ask you at the time to take this video down on the grounds that Mr Gates bases his entire argument on junk-science paid for by the pharmaceuticals industry for whom vaccination is very big business.

        Now, if you claim to be removing Mr Hancock’s and Dr Sheldrake’s talks for the reasons you propose, the Gates talk should certainly have been removed long ago. While I would not have defended the propositional content of the talk, I might have felt moved to defend Mr Gates’s right to freedom of speech.

      • Joe Anderson commented on Mar 16 2013

        In the TED spirit of “radical openness” maybe it would be better if TED hosted a debate between Rupert Sheldrake and one of the TED Science Board members who reviewed his work and decided it was pseudoscience- if Rupert made the Science Board member look like a fool would TED still upload the video or would they hide it as well? If you’re confident in your belief system Chris you shouldn’t hide, like you’ve been doing for the last few days. Similarly, can you at least assemble a TED committee to respond to Hancock’s questions. Seeing as you made money off his presentation and he wasn’t paid a dime perhaps that’s the least you could do. Show some class. Show some character. Show some decency.

      • Joe Anderson commented on Mar 17 2013

        Chris Anderson, if Sheldrake’s ideas are so crazy it should be easy to dismantle his fuzzy thinking in a public debate. I would encourage you or or someone else from TED to do science a favor and publicly destroy him. Cause right now this censorship makes you guys look bad- similar to fundamentalist Christians who are always trying to get books removed from the library. If he really is as crazy as you suggest it should be extremely easy to make the “pseudoscientist” Sheldrake look like a crank. Do it for TED, do it for SCIENCE! Have someone from TED publicly debate him. That is how you should challenge ideas you find anathema, not by removing vids from YouTube.

        • Jim Ryan commented on Apr 15 2013

          Well said!

      • anthony holmes commented on Mar 17 2013

        Pseudo archaeology “refers to interpretations of the past from outside of the academic archaeological community, which typically also reject the accepted scientific and analytical methods of the discipline.These pseudoscientific interpretations involve the use of archaeological data to construct theories about the past that differ radically from those of mainstream academic archaeology in order to supplement new historic claims with evidence.” -Same Wikipedia Page.
        So what are you advocating for with TEDx? The suppression of genius or radical innovation? I personally don’t find an issue with any one taking archaeological evidence and presenting new hypothesis. If we are trained to consider the perspectives and values of only a few, how will the science ever evolve? If Archaeology can refute the claims of Pseudo-archaeology it should do so, otherwise these hypothesis present themselves as plausible and within the potential range of theories to explain our place in the world. I’m not going to listen to an archaeologist that has earned a degree so much more than an archaeologist who hasn’t, both are going to present equally convincing theories and I value both of those interpretations. Until one is proven wrong by ever more data, then we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to thinking that doesn’t represent the “main stream” It places a handicap on our species and is a damper on our future growth.

      • Joe Kurtz commented on Mar 18 2013

        Hello Chris,
        1st) To assume that Graham has “whipped up” his followers into some sort of frenzy is patronizing at best insulting at worst. We are not jackals or chimpanzees, as though we are some distorted version of bee hive that has been shaken.
        2nd) “Do you agree that we should have *some* form of guidelines for our TEDx organizers as to what constitutes credible science, or do you think our approach should be let anyone put anything they want out there and just let the public decide?”
        YES! Let the public decide, the public is not a seething mass of automatons that need their opinions formed for them. We are individuals capable of critical thinking and forming our own opinions. Information should be provided unadulterated and uncensored so that the receiver of said info can check his/her own facts and synthesize their own conclusions.
        3rd) “perhaps you could help me understand why your work is widely characterized as pseudo-archeology, as in the current version of this wikipedia page……Is that a distorted description of your views? Is mainstream archaeology simply misguided?”
        You are assuming that because Mr. Hancock’s work is counter-mainstream it is wrong? He is offering his own intellectual pursuits to the field of archeology. Although his perspective may not be accepted by a large portion of the archeological community (publicly I might add) does not in anyway relegate this information he has provided to the realm of fiction.

      • commented on Mar 18 2013

        Did you write this with the intention of coming off as a pretentious ass?

        I think a lot of people just realized they’re not interested in what you’re spreading.

      • Joe Anderson commented on Mar 18 2013

        Chris Anderson, what is with Graham asking you to answer some questions related to TED’s accusations against him and instead of answering them you personally attack the man, not his talk, but the man. That’s a really low rent tactic that should be beneath the head man at TED. And what’s with the lack of response? The people from TED have just disappeared- so much for a “discussion”. You attack the reputations of two prominent speakers and then just disappear. Classy. I can’t believe this is really how TED operates, it’s embarrassingly amateurish. It’s like you think it will all just go away if you ignore it. Your response and then lack of response is truly bizarre.

      • Jim Schneider commented on Mar 18 2013

        Chris Anderson, since you consider Wikipedia a reliable source to attack someone’s scientific credentials I’d like to direct you to the Wikipedia page of TED science advisor Wade Davis, author of The Serpent and the Rainbow. Mr. Davis works for TED does he not? He’s also given numerous talks for your organization. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his talks but if I correctly understand your criteria for removing talks I now think you should remove his. I’m interested to see if you are willing to be consistent and not only remove a TED employees talk but also attempt to destroy his reputation by branding him a “pseudoscientist”? The ball is in your court TED.

  • John Campbell commented on Mar 14 2013

    Radical openness? You’re kidding, right? You have hidden the videos from the general public on youtube, and while you’ve posted them here, you went to a great deal of trouble to hide the URLs so they can’t be downloaded. You are a disgrace to free inquiry.

    • commented on Mar 15 2013

      The videos are available on this very page! What on earth are you complaining about?

  • bart van der Horst commented on Mar 14 2013

    I think it is ridicilous to put these tedx talks on your channel and then remove them because they contain mistakes.

    Of course if there are to many untruths being told you can flag them en openly debate the mistakes. Then Sheldrake and Hancock must answer to their “possible” mistakes.

    By the way you TED guys draw a very thin line between mistakes and opinions.

    I think it is very sad that TED is doing this, it is Elite and disrespectful for new idea’s.

    • Chris Anderson commented on Mar 14 2013

      I think you don’t understand the relationship between TED and TEDx. TEDx allows thousands of people around the world to organize their own events under the TEDx brand. They post the videos to youtube without our prescreening. There are more than 25,000 TEDx talks on Youtube. Fewer than a dozen have provoked criticisms of bad science. But when that happens, we have to take it seriously.

      “if there are to many untruths being told you can flag them and openly debate the mistakes. Then Sheldrake and Hancock must answer to their “possible” mistakes.” That’s exactly what we’re doing. Thanks for listening.

      • bart van der Horst commented on Mar 14 2013

        But you forget to say that you removed the video’s. That implies that you think for us and know better than us public.

        • bart van der Horst commented on Mar 14 2013

          Oh and by the way,

          “Flagging” is not the same as “removing” you make it equivalent which is false semantics. Or some varation of a nifty fallacy. Just like talking about “hordes” which is ad hominem variation.

          Using fallacies in your argument is a sign of weakness.

          But I also appreciate that fact that you are somehow willing to discuss.

        • commented on Mar 15 2013

          What on earth are you talking about?!! They haven’t removed the videos. They’re right here on this very page! And scientists do know better than the public when it comes to discerning pseudoscience from science.

        • bart van der Horst commented on Mar 15 2013

          They are removed from the youtube TEDX channel and are placed on Vimeo on restricted acces. Meaning they can only be accessed via this page.

          So you suggest they did not remove it from their Youtube channel TedX?

          Bad reasoning again.

          Somehow you don’t see the difference between pseudoscience and hypothesis.

          The statement from the Tedstaff constantly says constant that Sheldrake and Hancock “suggest” things. But the interpretations is biased down to what Ted thinks the public thinks. As if we can not seperate suggestions hypothesis and facts.

          Wel we can.

        • Caleb Grayson commented on Mar 15 2013

          but this is not a scientific talk, it’s a philosophical talk about Science. this is why your board of scientists are not good judges of this talk unless they have degrees in Philosophy and more specifically Philosophy of Science.

        • satan augustine commented on Mar 18 2013

          bart – Nowhere in my comment did I suggest TEDx did not remove these ridiculous videos from their YouTube page. In fact, I’ve no idea how you could possibly come to that conclusion based on the actual contents of my comment. I clearly stated that the videos were not censored because they are available on this very page. If you think that is censorship then you sorely misunderstand the concept of censorship.

          I can only assume that your comment “Bad reasoning again” was self referential given that you somehow managed to completely misinterpret my previous, straightforward comment.

          And I very well know the difference between a hypothesis and pseudoscience. If one offers a hypothesis then it must be testable. Otherwise it’s just idle conjecture. Pseudoscience is a hypothesis (if it’s even appropriate to characterize the ideas of Sheldrake and Hancock as hypotheses) that has already failed testing or is untestable. If it’s not testable, it’s not science.

        • Marcus T Anthony commented on Mar 18 2013

          Perhaps familiarising yourself with the testing that has been done would help before you write that testing is not possible – of course you will now attempt to say the tests are not valid. And if you don’t like questions, there is a simple solution: close your ears. But there’s plenty of others who are interested in scientific discovery, not merely the repetition of theory that in many cases does not fit the data.

      • bart van der Horst commented on Mar 14 2013

        So this is not about mistakes or opinions, it is about removing idea’s instead of spreading them as you claim. This discussion is now clouded by the fact of censorship instead of a serious investigation and discussion about the content.

        This is entirely to blame on the removal of the video’s. That was a very stupid thing to do, so put them back and then we can continue a clear honest conversation of the so called mistakes. Everyone is open to discussion. But we are not open to censorship. And placing the video’s here is not a sign if no censorship. It is TED and TEDx which stands for spreading idea’s. If the speakers made real mistakes. this can be proven isn’t it? Well it is not proven yet. If it is really proven, then you flag the video (but leave online) Just like wikipedia does. That is honest and that is open. Removing the video’s is a huge mistake. We are not living in the Dark Ages anymore.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

          Do you realize what “worth spreading” means?

        • bart van der Horst commented on Mar 15 2013

          Of course:

          It means in this case that the “worth” is defined by a set of rules that are not transparent, and change per person that is in charge.

      • Matt Hix commented on Mar 14 2013

        Answer Graham Hancock’s questions Chris Anderson or slide further down the dystopian slope of irrelevance. If you’re going to make claims damaging the credibility of Hancock, let alone his academic standing and career, have the decency to answer the man.

        • commented on Mar 15 2013

          Answer what? His baseless assertions that psychedelics led to the development of human consciousness and can be used to connect with an ancient mother culture? Where is his evidence? You’re asking the equivalent of taking seriously as science Timothy Leary’s and Terence McKenna’s stances that psychedelics are the keys to consciousness and ultimate enlightenment. And I personally happen to be a huge fan of psychedelics, but Hancock’s, Leary’s, and McKenna’s (who, incidentally, also believed human consciousness arose due to the use of psychedelics) ideas are unfounded and, upon further investigation, as silly as they initially sounded. It’s like asking for every schizophrenic’s delusions to be taken seriously and answers to them provided. Some ideas are so absurd that they aren’t worth attempting to answer.

      • Frank Matera commented on Mar 14 2013

        Let me take a guess. Are the “Fewer than a dozen have provoked criticisms of bad science” just happen to be videos that promote opinions that could be seen to be against the “Materialist” views that most scientists have been brainwashed into believing?

        Well what a surprise! The problem isn’t that it’s bad science. Real science is open. Bad science is when you let your ego get in the way of free thought.

        • commented on Mar 15 2013

          Frank – it’s quite obvious that you do not understand science or free thought at all. They are based on evidence, not on ‘anything goes.’ There is no evidence for a non-material world and though you may wish it were otherwise, it doesn’t make it so.

        • Craig Weinberg commented on Mar 15 2013

          I am pleased to see these issues being discussed, as the common thread in both videos relates to problems in science which are much more serious than the precision of facts. There seems to be a hypocrisy which is threatening the integrity of science itself at this time – a conflict in which the scientist would like to identify with renegade geniuses, from Tesla to Feynman, for whom iconoclastic insight came naturally, but find themselves instead invested in propping up the status quo. The result seems to be a consistent irritability and intolerance for those ideas and perspectives outside of the safe and respected norms. It is charged politically, as is everything else these days, as academic bodies are put on the defensive to defend their budgets from an increasingly hostile or unsympathetic system. It must seem for those inside the castle walls that the peasants must be met with a united front. No airy fairy dreamers can be tolerated lest signs of weakness be exposed. Dissent must be nipped in the bud, shouted down, nitpicked, and sequestered.

          In the end it’s fear and ego spinning a cocoon. Science does not need to be protected from new ideas. Controversial ideas can be argued about in the comments. People can make their own videos explaining exactly what their criticisms are. This is the new way of doing science.

      • Joe Anderson commented on Mar 15 2013

        Hi Chris. At first I thought it was incredibly scummy of your organization to invite someone like Rupert Sheldrake to speak only to remove their talk from YouTube and insultingly refer to them as a pseudoscientist (he is after all a Cambridge and Harvard educated scientist). But perhaps I was too quick to judge. I see you’re encouraging the public to bring to the attention TED of other talks that might be considered problematic, that might have errors. I guess that’s what will get something removed right- any talk that has a factual error? We’re not just talking about talks that offend your belief system are we? Because that would make me go back to think you’re incredibly scummy and closed minded. Anyway, I’ve already come across a number of talks where I’ve detected errors and would like to have them removed. Can you please tell me how to get in touch with your Science Board so they can take down the offending videos? I really appreciate your “radical openness”. Thanks!

        • Joel Miller commented on Mar 17 2013

          Hi Joe, all TEDx events (including TEDxWhitechapel, where Rupert Sheldrake spoke) are curated and organised independently of TED. No-one in TED, not Chris Anderson and none of the TED staff, have control over who talks at TEDx events.

        • John Ratcliff commented on Mar 17 2013

          OK, so we have identified the problem. TED allowed TEDx conferences to use their brand name but did not retain control over the guest selection process.

          I get that, but how is this the speakers, invited guests, fault? Why be rude and insulting to them?

          If TED cares so much about its brand then they must take back control over these renegade TEDx conferences. They should shut them down or retain executive control over the selection process.

          What you do *not* do is be rude and libelous to invited guests, rather famous ones at that.

          John

        • Joe Anderson commented on Mar 17 2013

          Hi Joel Miller. But TED still made money off their appearances didn’t it?

        • Rome Viharo commented on Mar 17 2013

          I don’t think TED made much of anything from their appearances.

      • Elisaveta Berger commented on Mar 15 2013

        “His baseless assertions that psychedelics led to the development of human consciousness and can be used to connect with an ancient mother culture? Where is his evidence?”

        Before making baseless assertions you should read some books like:

        John Allegro – The mushroom and the cross.

        Gordon Wasson – Soma

        Carl A.Ruck, M. Hoffman, J.A.G.Celdran – Mushrooms, Myth and Mythras (The derug cult that civilize Europe)

        Gordon Wasson, A. Hoffmann, C.Ruck – The Road to Eleusis

      • Darkin Tanner commented on Mar 15 2013

        Isn’t it supposed to be “Ideas worth spreading” and not “conclusions worth spreading”?
        This is an idea of his. Tedstaff, your job isn’t to censor even when scientists get butthurt and put pressure on you to censor Sheldrake. They’ve been doing this from the beginning of his studies if you look up things on him…
        I’m amazed that a professional community can be so juvenile at times as to play reputation games.

      • David Marshall commented on Mar 15 2013

        Chris, thank you for engaging here. In my view, the TED board of scientists has actually not been able to find any factual errors in Sheldrake’s video, and I can show you what I mean.

        1) The board claims that that Sheldrake said that “scientists have ignored variations in the measurements of natural constants” and that this constitutes a factual error.

        But this is not the case. Sheldrake, first of all, bases his talk on the “conflict in the heart science between science as a method of inquiry based on reason, evidence, hypothesis, and collective investigation, and science as a belief system or worldview.” In other words, he is saying that some scientists are dogmatic on this issue and some are not.

        Further, at about 9:50 in his talk, he says, ““I want to focus on the constants of nature. Because these are again use [sic] assumed to be constant.”

        He is saying, with the partially articulated word, that they are “usually” assumed to be constant, which is true. Most important, the scientists who hold the raw data for big G and refuse to publish it take this dogmatic stance, and these are the voices that really count since their refusal to publish the raw data is holding up further research.

        In short, Sheldrake is really just asking for further inquiry and research here, which makes the response of his detractors rather puzzling from a scientific perspective.

        2) The board says Sheldrake made an error in saying that scientists believe animals don’t have consciousness when in fact there is some consensus among scientists that animals have some form of consciousness.

        But Sheldrake’s point here is that these scientists take the dogmatic stance that consciousness can be reduced to matter, so Sheldrake is really using the word “consciousness” in a different way. It is a semantic/scientific difference he is pointing out, not a factual error.

        3) The board says that “Sheldrake claims to have ‘evidence’ of morphic resonance in crystal formation and rat behavior” when the studies have “never appeared in a peer-reviewed journal,” and so this is another factual error.

        But there are two problems with this.

        One, Sheldrake, in his own words, is suggesting a “hypothesis” for morphic resonance, not a theory that already has indisputable evidence to back it up.

        Second, Sheldrake does cite replications of these experiments in his book The Presence of the Past, beginning on page 199. So what evidence does the board offer for discounting these replications? Simply saying they haven’t been published in orthodox journals doesn’t amount to evidence against it. Why don’t the scientists on this board step forward and debate Sheldrake on these issues or at least provide citations and evidence for their own assertions?

        4) Finally, one TED editor said that Sheldrake made a factual error in saying governments ignore alternative medicine, citing the NIH investment in alternative medicine that currently amounts to about 1.425% of its budget.

        Even with regard to the U.S. Sheldrake is largely right (98.575% right), but in other countries, such as Denmark, which invests no money in research in alternative medicine, he appears to be entirely right or again mostly right. The same appears true for the UK.

        I think at the very last the TED board of scientists need to come forward and detail their own arguments. It seems to me that they really haven’t identified a single factual error in Sheldrake’s talk. Sheldrake made a lot of controversial suggestions, but no significant factual errors.

        Thank you again for engaging in the discussion.

      • Theodore A. Hoppe commented on Mar 16 2013

        But Chris, who labels it “bad” science, instead of understandings, questioning or even beliefs?
        I do respect the need for TED to maintain its identity and also greatly appreciate the fact that TED has created a place to continue this discussion.

        tah

        • Jim Schneider commented on Mar 17 2013

          But here we are three days later and the people from TED have still not answered Graham Hancock’s questions? There is no real discussion between TED and the “community”. If there was, Sheldrake’s talk would not have been removed! It’s incredibly disingenuous for TED to cite “the community” as a reason for the removal of these vids- go look at the discussion surrounding the takedown of the Sheldrake vid. People were overwhelmingly opposed to it’s removal. TED said the community had been heard. But apparently TED has decided it knows what’s best for it’s community- the community can’t be trusted to come to it’s own conclusions. If that is not the height of arrogance I don’t know what is. Just look at the condescending replies from Chris Anderson on here- it’s indicative of a very troubling elitism’s which seems to have taken hold in the upper ranks of TED. Once people start thinking they know what’s best for everyone else, that others can’t be trusted to come to their own conclusions, you start to get something resembling a fundamentalist religion. And fundamentalists love to censor ideas which they consider threatening. It would have been far wiser for TED to arrange for one of their Science Board members to debate Sheldrake. That’s how you challenge ideas- not by removing videos.

      • Elisaveta Berger commented on Mar 16 2013

        The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
        Jack Kerouac

        This is what you dedicated to ZOe!!! Do you think she would have been proud of you? :) I do not think so

      • Jim Schneider commented on Mar 17 2013

        Chris Anderson, you feel qualified to dismiss the peer reviewed, Cambridge/Harvard educated scientist Rupert Sheldrake as a “pseudoscientist”- that’s basically like calling someone a quack. I think you should be willing to defend your position. Instead you’ve decided to hide. Seems a bit cowardly to me. Do you feel threatened by Sheldrake, by his ideas? You obviously have disdain for his research- if you really think if it’s of such a poor quality why don’t you agree to debate him. Or, if you’re not up to the challenge (and I fully expect you won’t be based on your comments here), choose someone from the much vaunted TED “Science Board”- you know, the anonymous experts that uou claim exhaustively reviewed the research and decided Sheldrake wasn’t up to snuff. One of them should have no trouble dismantling Sheldrake. And please make the video of the debate available- livestream it even. I think it would be far wiser to try and dismiss Sheldrake’s ideas via a genuine dialogue- not this heavy handed attempt at censorship, which has clearly backfired. And no matter what you say, what you’ve done amounts to a form of censorship. Finally, will you allow Graham Hancock to post his talk on his YouTube channel like he’s asked? I would sincerely appreciate a response. Thanks for stooping down to communicate with us little people, who you clearly feel smarter/superior too. It’s as if we can’t be trusted to decide if Sheldrake is a quack, you feel the need to make that decision for us. You really have no idea how elitist you sound, it’s incredible. But I shouldn’t be surprised. That video with Eddie Huang makes clear TED is turning into something really rotten.

      • commented on Mar 17 2013

        “I think you don’t understand the relationship between TED and TEDx. TEDx allows thousands of people around the world to organize their own events under the TEDx brand. They post the videos to youtube without our prescreening. There are more than 25,000 TEDx talks on Youtube. Fewer than a dozen have provoked criticisms of bad science. But when that happens, we have to take it seriously.”

        This is a different text then 3 days ago. I am not able to change my text when i comment here. You obviously have. I don’t think that is fair.

        • Jim Schneider commented on Mar 17 2013

          This is a good point. This page has been changed multiple times with no acknowledgement from TED. Meanwhile, the lowly community is not allowed to edit our comments.

      • Sal Sonner commented on Mar 17 2013

        I think it’s clear Mr Curator you’re being paid to take down the videos, otherwise you would not be presenting such demented childish unfounded and ridiculous arguments against these videos.

      • Pat Carullo commented on Mar 18 2013

        TED IS A BORESOME “BRAND” …

        REMOVAL OF TALKS BY …
        SHELDRAKE & HANCOCK ….
        CLEARLY EXPLAIN WHY ….
        I HAVE NOT WATCHED …
        A TED TALK IN YEARS ….

        TED IS BECOME ….
        THE “ESTABLISHMENT” …
        YOU KNOW THEM BY THEIR ACTIONS ….
        OVERT CENSORSHIP ….

        PLEASE CALL ME TO DISCUSS … 570-576-0865

      • Pat Carullo commented on Mar 18 2013

        TED IS A BORESOME “BRAND” …

        PLEASE CALL ME TO DISCUSS … 570-576-0865

      • John Ratcliff commented on Mar 18 2013

        Fix your process and stop being rude to invited guests!!”

    • bart van der Horst commented on Mar 15 2013

      The vimeo channel by the way was created 2 days ago, another proof of the random untransparent set of rules that exist in TEDx science board. It is possible that this section is a result of a kind of compromise…because complete censoring was not an option.

      I am afraid that many of the ted talks now have to be “replaced” if the same reasoning is applied.

      When wil you start with this replacing? And will you inform the speakers in advance?

      • Darkin Tanner commented on Mar 15 2013

        The science board obviously has a bias towards Sheldrake, the debate over his ideas has raged since the beginning and the tedstaff’s decision to censor this video has brought the public into this debate. His claims are currently unfalsifiable according to the scientific community, which in a way means that they cannot think of any way to observe his hypothesis. Does that alone make it pseudoscience? Apparently so.

        What happened to the wonder and curiosity of exploring the universe? He is spending his life attempting to find a means to observe this effect and having no support from the community is exactly the problem that scientists of the past have faced when going against the status quo of how science should progress.

      • Jim Ryan commented on Apr 16 2013

        I’d like for the community at large to spell out what new thinking each Ted talk presents.

  • Kevin Parcell commented on Mar 14 2013

    IMO, it might be a badge of honor to be censored by the scientists who approve of the “good science” in a Talk about turning the world into a cow pasture to “reverse global warming”. In any event, this will bring more attention to these fascinating Talks.

    This also brings attention to TED’s censorship practices. Give a listen to Sheldrake’s Talk, for example, and keep in mind what their anonymous censor “Tedstaff” says about it -

    “He also argues that scientists have ignored variations in the measurements of natural constants, using as his primary example the dogmatic assumption that a constant must be constant and uses the speed of light as example. But, in truth, there has been a great deal of inquiry into the nature of scientific constants, including published, peer-reviewed research investigating whether certain constants – including the speed of light – might actually vary over time or distance.”

    - as justification for its censorship. See if you can find Sheldrake making these arguments that a “constant must be constant” or that “scientists have ignored variations”, one or the otheror both of which Tedstaff attributes to him (hard to tell). For instance, isn’t Sheldrake’s detailed recounting of the variations in the value of c demonstrating that he has observed scientist’s doing anything but “ignoring variations”‘ and doesn’t he clearly state his point that he offers a different explanation for the variation than the leading theory of measurement error? I wonder if TED ought to have a higher standard for censorship if it’s going to claim a commitment to “good science”.

  • Connor Roman commented on Mar 14 2013

    This is complete horse****, this sounds like a high school students poorly written persuasive essay. TED #unsubscribed

    • Dimitri Spice commented on Mar 15 2013

      I encourage you all to spread the word about this censorship. And to share this interview with Eddie Huang exposing further corruption of the organization

      • Anthony Farrell commented on Mar 15 2013

        And this one…

        • Richard Coldman commented on Mar 16 2013

          Thank you Anthony Farrell for helping us to understand where the censorship drive is coming from. Yes, these articles of faith of the so-called skeptics and so-called realists (job creators) are going to kill us all if we don’t turn the tide. TED is not part of the solution as long as this is the agenda.

      • Anthony Farrell commented on Mar 15 2013

        And this one…

        another banned TED talk

        • Jim Ryan commented on Apr 16 2013

          Its so sad when the truth stares people in the face and nothing is done about it. Nicks talk is 100%

    • Joe Anderson commented on Mar 18 2013

      Nothing short of a full public apology to both Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake will get me to watch or recommend another TED video. They have lost an enormous amount of credibility and good will with the way they’ve handled this.

  • Pingback: Jerry Coyne complains about another Ted talk- gets it removed - Parapsychology and alternative medicine forums of mind-energy.net

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