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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 (2158)

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  • Warwick Begg commented on Mar 24 2013

    Aaaah. Two men who USE their intelligence free from primitive, so-called “scientific” ASSUMPTIONS and inherited PREJUDICES! Can more so called learned people please mature enough to admit that they haven’t a clue what intelligence is, that they haven’t any inkling why gravity actually works at all, etc, and thus free their thinking to enter the adventure of truly free inquiry? Lead on, gentlemen, we salute you. Warwick Begg

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 25 2013

      You haven’t demonstrated that the “assumptions” are primitive. You have not demonstrated that use of Caps Lock makes the content of your comment more reliable. Indeed, it is Hancock, not modern scientists, who harks back to pre-scientific total monarchies, with their state religions’ assumptions and prejudices.

  • Tony Quinn commented on Mar 24 2013

    How disappointing that TED would censor talks like this that push out the boundaries of known science, science which is only relevant until the next discovery which proves the previous scientific discoveries incomplete or just plain wrong. You can have Reggie Watts on TED rapping about the nonsense most scientists waffle on about but you can’t get talks by Graham Hancock about the more esoteric speculative aspects of science in case someone mentions something of a spiritual nature. Scientists are so afraid of the bloody religious nutcases that don’t have a logical brain cell in their body that they discount anything that even smells of something greater than ourselves. A living organic universe is obvious to anyone who looks at nature in any shape or form. For shame TED. Hiding behind the skirts of the other sheep.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 25 2013

      What is censorship? Is it a bad thing? How do these talks approach the boundaries of known science? The fact science was wrong before does not mean it is wrong now-look at the successes of the hydrogen bomb, smartphones, and penicillin. I look at my desk lamp. I don’t see anything living about it.

      • Terry Allen commented on Mar 25 2013

        How many times is the Troll Pithom who also seems to be posting under another handle going to post the same spam and be allowed to get away with it?

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 25 2013

          I have a WordPress account (pithom) and a TED account (Enopoletus Harding). I will be allowed to post the same rebuttals as many times the supporters of the cranks are allowed to post their repetitive whines.

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  • Gregory Brown commented on Mar 24 2013

    TED and its defenders are trying to say that the organization is not censoring these two talks, since they are available here. What in fact we have is censorship with cover, in that the talks have been removed from easy access, and parked in an obscure internet corner along with libelous misrepresentations of their content from an anonymous “science board,” which gives every evidence of either having not viewed the talks, or of not caring what the content of each was before deliberately distorting and lying about that content in its accusations. To the argument that TED owns and can control its own content, I have no objection. But the fact that TED previously posted these talks prominently, and later exiled them to this place under cover of obvious misrepresentations, speaks to a substantial lack of intellectual integrity in an organization which purports to epitomize it.

    • Erin Scott commented on Mar 24 2013

      In agreement.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

      Why did you add a “lack of”? TED’s actions are, besides its display of the views of cranks, the very definition of integrity.

      • Noah Vickstein commented on Mar 24 2013

        Pithom, start a petition for TED to remove all non-scientific talks. Only then can TED’s actions be said to have any kind of internal consistency.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

          I’d gladly sign such a petition, if it was started by someone more prominent than I.

        • Noah Vickstein commented on Mar 24 2013

          That’s fine. At least your position would be consistent then. TED might object, though — most of their content would likely have to be removed.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 25 2013

      There were over 1500 comments here when you commented. You lie about this corner being “obscure”.

      • Terry Allen commented on Mar 25 2013

        1500 or 15000 its a drop in the ocean no matter how much a troll like you disagrees.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 25 2013

          Do you have a screenshot of the number of comments the video had on YouTube and/or the TED website? I am not a troll.

        • Terry Allen commented on Mar 25 2013

          You are a Troll and I was responding to your asinine comment about there being 1500 post on this thread as you well know.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 25 2013

          Yes, I do know. I am not a troll.

        • Terry Allen commented on Mar 25 2013

          You are a troll and you have used to accounts on this thread that tells people all they need to know. Goodbye Troll you won’t be missed.

          DO NOT FEED THE TROLL PITHOM AKA Enopoletus HardinG!!!

        • Gregory Wonderwheel commented on Mar 25 2013

          LOL! If your are not a troll then you are a CIA mole!

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 25 2013

          Also, Greg-”censorship” and “discrimination” are different things.

  • Erin Scott commented on Mar 24 2013

    Thank you, Enopoletus Harding. You “prove” the perspectives of solely-utilized left brain equals insanity. Your responses are “evidence” that you are – quite evidently – insane. In fact, you are the one that “fails”, and somewhere you know it; thus why you project “fail” responses on to all these posts. Keep going. You are making me smile.

  • Erin Scott commented on Mar 24 2013

    TED censoring? Is this serious? I find this stunningly disturbing. The fear you are exhibiting here in regard to information is exceedingly telling, and highly relevant for this time in human evolution as a new paradigm urges to come forward. With this insane act, you bring forward your (frightfully) limited understanding of living systems and, importantly, a massive set of human “shadow” around the immaterial, the unknowable, openness, change, etc, etc. “Shadow” – this refers to psychology, TED. Perhaps TED is an entity which still considers psychology a psuedoscience…Do you get it? Are you starting to get the adolescent paradigm you have displayed here? I have (unscientific) faith that you will be waking up sooner rather than later to the role you are playing here. Absolutely facsinating…

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

      What is censorship? Is it a bad thing? Blathering about “evolution” and “paradigms” a truth does not make. You fail to use the word “evidence”. You fail.

      • Erin Scott commented on Mar 24 2013

        Thank you, Enopoletus Harding. You “prove” the perspectives of solely-utilized left brain equals insanity. Your responses are “evidence” that you are – quite evidently – insane. In fact, you are the one that “fails”, and somewhere you know it; thus why you project “fail” responses on to all these posts. Keep going. You are making me smile.

  • Fee Berry commented on Mar 24 2013

    If the authors were invited to participate in a TEDx which was entitled Challenging Existing Paradigms and they gave their opinions, I see no reason why TED has removed the talks. The accusations made have been refuted, but even if they were suggesting things that do not hold up to scientific enquiry, I don’t think the talks should be censored. They happened. If TED is going to open and transparent, the talks have to be available to see.

    I find it strange that an organization should resort to an anonymous board of scientists *anyway*. Anyone who spends a few hours trawling sites will find any number of talks for which one would struggle to find scientific support. “Do schools kill creativity?” for one – one of the most popular talks on education ever given, is full of ideas worth sharing, but you’d be hard put to find academic evidence to support the main contention of the talk. Opinion, anecdotal evidence, yes – scientifically valid research? I doubt it.

    Why are Messrs Sheldrake and Hancock being held to a higher standard of evidence and scientific examination than others? And why on earth does TED think it is their job to protect viewers from ideas that science may not have caught up with yet.

    I think that once you start telling people what it is right and proper for them to think, the age of true science is over. I fear that you are going to feel the repercussions of this decision and it’s truly incompetent handling, for many months to come.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

      What is censorship? Is it a bad thing? The talks are embedded at Vimeo! Do you have eyes? Double standards are better than no standards at all. Sheldrake&Hancock’s ideas are false, not ideas “science may not have caught up with yet”. The plural of “anecdote” is not “data”.

      • Peter Webster commented on Mar 24 2013

        Well pithom, your posts are beginning to demonstrate to me the benefits of censorship.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

          You still haven’t defined “censorship”.

    • Rus Bowden commented on Mar 24 2013

      I find it strange that an organization should resort to an anonymous board of scientists *anyway*. Anyone who spends a few hours trawling sites will find any number of talks for which one would struggle to find scientific support.

      I recently looked back at Dan Dennett’s response to Rick Warren. Oddly enough, I have not listened to Rick Warren’s talk. But I really like the open and honest approach that Dennett takes. Dennett’s just a good honest guy who probably means well, wants the best for all, is dedicated to it, as far as I can read people, and is very intelligent and an excellent teacher. I even like his proposal itself to have the study of religions enter the schools, and even his reason for it.

      The problem I have is that as his talk nears the end, he starts in on scripture, definitely not his domain. When he talks about Jesus being the Way, he goes into how this goes against all the other religions. If we could go back in time, a few decades, and make it Billy Graham he might respond to, and not Rick Warren—Billy Graham’s approach to this is spiritual, that even where people have not been given the Bible, that these truths are there for people spiritually. He once encountered a man in China who could never have read the Bible, but recognized Jesus immediately when the subject was brought up.

      If TED is going to have a secret board of scientists screening their talks for errors and misinterpretations of data, then I propose for the same rigor, a secret board of spiritual people, monks, theologians, what have you, of different persuasions, to examine what atheists or poorly informed theists propose in their talks.

      • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

        Eyewitness memory is notoriously unreliable, especially in details. As religions do not come to basic common conclusions, TED having a board of religious people is ridiculous.

        • Rus Bowden commented on Mar 24 2013

          Sure would be ridiculous. So is a board of scientists trying to be experts on spiritual matters.

        • Gregory Wonderwheel commented on Mar 24 2013

          Rus, you hit the bull’s eye on that one.

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  • Peter Webster commented on Mar 24 2013

    I suspect the TED “scientists” have either not read, or perhaps learned nothing from Thomas Kuhn. All through the history of science it has appeared that we have finally got it just about right, only a few more details to fill in and then… This is even more so today, NOT because we actually might almost be there at the checkered-flag finish line of discovery, but because the way in which we now fund and promote research is heavily skewed toward paradigm-supporting endeavour, and views that tend to question status quo are, unfortunately, if not censored, then at least drastically under-reported, and held up to ridicule by those who have best access to the media. May I remind all those who would ridicule Sheldrake and Hancock that a great many of the best discoveries of science were made by independent workers who challenged accepted wisdom, who were radicals in their time, who were sometimes unrecognized until long after their passing. I need no gate-keepers to protect me from the absurd or the fallacy promoted by a “pseudoscientist”. I need gatekeepers who will allow all with perhaps a mere reference or two that points to a conflicting idea. Then I will be able to choose and know who are the pseudo-thinkers and who are the “fools” who challenge, and yet are sometimes the initiators of a scientific revolution.

    • Terry Allen commented on Mar 24 2013

      Many sceptics have professed to see in the evolution of science only a reason for pessimism. They point out that the new “truths” of science are perpetually succeeded by newer “truths.” Viewed as a whole, therefore, science proceeds only from one error to another and the wise man will put no more reliance on the very latest and best attested scientific theory than he did on the one which it replaced.
      C.E.Joad

      • Peter Webster commented on Mar 24 2013

        Salut Terry,
        I think the truly wise man can “rely” on the latest results insofar as they provide accurate and useful predictions. The trouble starts when the idea of absolute truth creeps in.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

      They laughed at Galileo; they laughed at Bozo the clown. You fail to use the word “evidence”.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

      Does this mean that if one jumps from the roof of a 200-story building, one won’t fall? That jet airplanes don’t exist? That nuclear reactors don’t produce electricity? That homeopathy works? You apparently believe the Central Dogma of CAM: that thinking something true makes it true.

      • Ed Malkowski commented on Mar 24 2013

        Thinking doesn’t make anything true or real. The laws of nature are universal and obvious to everyone. But, it is naive to embrace total materialism as an understanding of one’s self as well as the world we live in and experience. As for the evidence, no science has yet to figure out who that ‘self’ really is. Nor have they figured out how that self accidentally emerged to argue so vehemently about it.

        What is real and true cannot be temporal or corporeal, although such a state certainly exists. Nevertheless, that is what we are according to a materialist point of view – an accidental cycle of birth and death, without meaning, purpose, or reason. Even so, the self feels its connection to an epibiological state and does so particularly through thought. Herein is the purpose of science, ‘to discover what is.’ This is the evidence: it’s all within the mind that you and everyone else operate as.

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  • Eric Berger commented on Mar 23 2013

    These are two of my favorite authors! Why are you treating them so shabbily? I don’t have any problem with people disagreeing with their points of view. We all welcome an open discussion, but pulling their talks and posting them somewhere else because of some controversy is the opposite of encouraging discussion. Do you have to protect your tender viewers from the very dangerous characters? You seem to think your viewers will be swept away in their gullibility. You show no respect for your viewers or Rupert and Graham. Obviously you are not interested in discussion and you have your own view which you don’t want to be threatend. I have reviewed you reasons for removing Rupert’s lecture and they deceitful. That is the only description I can give of them. I will not be using your site and I will encourage others not to as well.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

      You fail to use the word “evidence” in your comment. One can have no respect for unevidenced assertions.

      • Manric Gottfried commented on Mar 25 2013

        Warning:

        DO NOT FEED THE TROLL PITHOM AKA Enopoletus HardinG!!!

        Thank you.

  • J Maricondo commented on Mar 23 2013

    (Worth listening to!) For Hancock’s response to this, a long and engaging interview about the Censorship and what it means:

    http://prn.fm/2013/03/17/lifeboat-hour-graham-hancock-031713/#axzz2NuvnwHTf

  • J Maricondo commented on Mar 23 2013

    My respect for TED is severely diminished. You are a disgrace. It is now clear that you solely serve to protect the status quo and seek to censor views different than your own. Why not allow people to make up their minds for themselves?

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 23 2013

      What is censorship? Is it a bad thing? Should Holocaust denialism, AGW denialism, and the phlogiston theory of fire be topics of TED talks? Why have you lost respect for TED for its not spreading of ideas not worth spreading? How is TED preventing you from making up your mind for yourself?

      • Eric Berger commented on Mar 23 2013

        Yes, censorship is a bad thing. Censoring an idea will not get rid of it. It will just drive it underground. A robust public forum is the surest way to protect the truth. I had thought that this lesson had been learned, but sadly it appears not to have been and as Rupert points out sadly it is the scientific community that has decided that they know the truth and can essentially censor those who do not agree with them.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

          You have failed to define “censorship”. You fail.
          Unmoderated arguments are usually less productive than moderated ones-the former open themselves up to falsehoods, spam, and trolls. This has been clearly demonstrated in most of the comments in this comments section, whose authors (this includes you) do not care at all for truth.

        • Terry Allen commented on Mar 24 2013

          Pithom are you still posting the same spam message about censorship for gawd sakes:

          Definition of CENSORSHIP

          1a : the institution, system, or practice of censoring
          b : the actions or practices of censors; especially : censorial control exercised repressively
          2: the office, power, or term of a Roman censor
          3: exclusion from consciousness by the psychic censor
          See censorship defined for English-language learners »
          See censorship defined for kids »
          First Known Use of CENSORSHIP

          circa 1591

          censorship noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
          Act of changing or suppressing speech or writing that is considered subversive of the common good. In the past, most governments believed it their duty to regulate the morals of their people; only with the rise in the status of the individual and individual rights did censorship come to seem objectionable. Censorship may be preemptive (preventing the publication or broadcast of undesirable information) or punitive (punishing those who publish or broadcast offending material). In Europe, both the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches practiced censorship, as did the absolute monarchies of the 17th and 18th centuries. Authoritarian governments such as those in China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and the former Soviet Union have employed pervasive censorship, which is generally opposed by underground movements engaged in the circulation of samizdat literature. In the U.S. in the 20th century, censorship focused largely on works of fiction deemed guilty of obscenity (e.g., James Joyce’s Ulysses and D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover), though periodic acts of political censorship also occurred (e.g., the effort to purge school textbooks of possible left-wing content in the 1950s). In the late 20th century, some called for censorship of so-called hate speech, language deemed threatening (or sometimes merely offensive) to various subsections of the population. Censorship in the U.S. is usually opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union. In Germany after World War II it became a crime to deny the Holocaust or to publish pro-Nazi publications. See also Pentagon Papers.

          Websters Merriam on line dictionary

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

          Is “censorship” distinct from “editorial practice” and “moving videos”? All of the examples you reference are examples of suppression of expression done by governments. TED isn’t a government.

        • Terry Allen commented on Mar 24 2013

          Definition 1a used the word Instituion. TED is an Institution ans now we know it engages in censorship. That answers your spam messages Pithom anymore of the same crap and we know that you are a troll in denial.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

          I guess “later editions” are examples of censorship, too. If a word can be defined to mean anything, it means nothing. You don’t even understand the definition of “spam”.

        • Terry Allen commented on Mar 24 2013

          In the context I used it this is quite simply you a troll posting the same crap message over and over again Ad nauseam.

          Its obvious to thinking people that TEDS actions was censorship. You don’t understand that Pithom because you are not a thinking person. You are left brained one of those who regurgitated what they were told at school. In fact its quite possible you are still at school or you’re unemployed. About 50% of the post on here are from you.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

          Explain how the movement of videos from one site to another is an example of censorship.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

          Also, I am not a troll-I am quite serious about what I type. Since when was critical thinking (what I have practiced to plenty of comments in this comment section) a bad thing? Since when was argumentum ad hominem not a fallacy?

        • Manric Gottfried commented on Mar 24 2013

          Censorship: Act of changing or suppressing speech or writing that is considered subversive of the common good.

          Make no mistake people, editing is not censorship, because suppression of PUBLISHED material is not editing anymore.
          The concern here is not about the editing process but of the limited view on what is common good, AFTER the publishing effect.
          Common good is a free-flow of ideas. Who refutes that?
          Publishing is partly or completely an endorsement by a social body or part of a social body. Hence, suppression of PUBLISHED free-flow of ideas is in fact “censorship”. By definition. That is the technical logic of how censorship applies here. Then we have the intent behind the censorship. I hate to drag this out so I wont. Its all pretty much being said.

          Enopoletus Harding: please stop wasting our time. About your intent, I had read some comments on Dr. Coyne´s blog (cannot find it now) that seemed like you (Pithom), want to prove that you can defend the community or something like that. I remind you and anyone else this has nothing to do with religion, and as much as evolution is real and atheists are cool, this conversation has nothing to do with any of those subjects. I do not appreciate it when people mix them together when they are already separated.

          Please answer my questions. Until then I think we can all safely ignore you and stop feeding trolls.

        • Gregory Wonderwheel commented on Mar 24 2013

          TED saying they are not doing censorship because they let the videos be published in a separate area reminds me of South Africa saying they were not doing discrimination because they let the Blacks live in Bantustans.

      • Manric Gottfried commented on Mar 24 2013

        “Also, I am not a troll-I am quite serious about what I type. Since when was critical thinking (what I have practiced to plenty of comments in this comment section) a bad thing? Since when was argumentum ad hominem not a fallacy?”

        It is with great sadness, on top of the anger caused by the sad state of affairs here that I have to write this, but I am left with no choice but to show Pithom what a troll he actually is. He has not answered my questions on page 28, so I am obliged to take further action.
        Up to now, quite frankly, Enopoletus Harding, you indeed resemble a troll. I hate to name-call but this is more a defining term at this point. I know you probably do it subconsciously to cope with what you have been taught, but the results speak for themselves. You do not compromise or discuss properly, you do not build upon discussion, you just repeat talking points like trolls do. You are a fundamentalist, an extremist and there is little to build upon in your rhetoric. I have found that if you answer legitimate questions, you do so with contempt and usually answer with new questions, avoiding the issues. In all your rambling you might bring up 1 or 2 interesting points to discuss but then you fail to discuss them constructively, eg. “you fail to mention the word evidence”. So? You cannot quantify arguments and logic. The level of criteria and discussion in your arguments are very poor. Selective answers reflect selective criteria and it seems you keep your arguments alive by rejecting those that contradict your agenda, eg. my unanswered legitimate questions. Or maybe you should begin by enlightening us with your qualifications so that we can understand who we are dealing with. You come here to reflect on the opposition of the tide, yet I fail to see you do them any favors. Of course nobody wants to engage you fully, the only way to come out smarter when having a discussion is by NOT HAVING ONE with you. I am beginning to doubt the reductionists can bring better conversation than this. Most importantly, I have learned that reductionists have very little to say on complex problems.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

          As Ayn Rand said,

          Contrary to the fanatical belief of its advocates, compromise [on basic principles] does not satisfy, but dissatisfies everybody; it does not lead to general fulfillment, but to general frustration; those who try to be all things to all men, end up by not being anything to anyone. And more: the partial victory of an unjust claim, encourages the claimant to try further; the partial defeat of a just claim, discourages and paralyzes the victim.

          http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/compromise.html

        • Gregory Wonderwheel commented on Mar 24 2013

          Ayn Rand was a nutcase. A good compromise prevents blood feud. I tell people that a good compromise is one that neither party likes but both parties can live with. Only a fool who demands righteousness and can’t see any other perspective but their own refuses to compromise. They may win the battle of being righteous, but they lose the war of being right.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

          I do not think it is true to call Ayn Rand a nutcase. How am I wrong on anything I have written here where I did not openly admit to being wrong?

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

          As talking points are repeated by those who disapprove of TED’s actions, so must I repeat talking points. What were your original questions? I certainly don’t seem to recall any. Since when was critical thinking fundamentalism? All criteria must be selective. I am not all “reductionists”. I am one Skeptic among many. I freely admit I have no academic qualifications regarding the matters being discussed in this comment section (i.e., neuroscience, ethics, philosophy). I freely admit to not being H.L. Mencken. If my points are already solid, why do I need to waste my time building upon them? Where have I “avoided the issues” except where I have no expertise to comment on them? I do not ramble. Extremism in the defense of truth is no vice, moderation in its pursuit is no virtue.

        • Gregory Wonderwheel commented on Mar 24 2013

          It is asked, “Since when was critical thinking fundamentalism?”
          Well, since the label “critical thinking” is used as a veil for fundamentalism. Never hear of a wold in sheep’s clothing? That’s when.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 24 2013

          Not of a wold. How are my remarks in any way fundamentalist?

        • Manric Gottfried commented on Mar 24 2013

          @E.H. What were your original questions?

          q1. Do you agree that ALL knowledge applied to our lives is brought about by problem-solving logic which is based on philosophical reasoning that is proved by pragmatic observation?

          q2. Do you agree that we are talking about a subject on the limits of empirical knowledge as opposed to something ridiculous that strays well away from anything remotely resembling reality?

          q3. Do you agree that the subjects that lie on these limits are the subjects that need to be further understood?

          If the answer to these is negative, please give a brief context of where you are coming from. I am interested in the basis of your reasoning and methodology. I think those are the questions that we can base this discussion on.
          I am also interested in your response to the following questions:

          Do “materialist reductionist scientists” need to exist at all? Why? Why not just materialists with open minds? Are you a “materialist reductionist scientist”? Do you not consider a “materialist reductionist scientist” to be an oxymoron?

          You can view the context of these further down on this page after Amrita´s comment.

        • Erin Scott commented on Mar 25 2013

          Brilliant, Manric. And yes, you are right, reductionists do not know how to deal with (the) complexity (of living systems).

  • Tristrem Carlyon commented on Mar 23 2013

    It is profoundly depressing that yet another heretofore major force for openness and free thinking on the internet has now revealed its true colours: control, secrecy and dogma.
    The intellectual bullies who advise you should be removed. It is their reductionist materialism that hastening the demise of us all.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 23 2013

      How is placing videos on Vimeo a sign of “secrecy”? How is posting the relevant cranks’ criticisms of one’s original comments a sign of “dogma”? Since when was “control” over one’s franchise a bad thing? [citation needed] for your last statement. It is profoundly depressing that people like you worship before the idol of “fairness” (my term, not yours) while paying no attention to truth or evidence, seeing their practical applications as “intellectual bull[ying]“.

  • Francisco Olivares Urrutia commented on Mar 23 2013

    Ideas worth spreading or censoring?

    Nothing reveals more to people than when they touch their beliefs.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 23 2013

      Since when was good editorial practice “censorship”? What, by your definition, is censorship? Is it a bad thing?

      • Noah Vickstein commented on Mar 23 2013

        It might not be a bad thing if you were censored.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 23 2013

          You still failed to define it.

        • Noah Vickstein commented on Mar 23 2013

          The standard definition is fine by me. Should we use an alternate definition? Upon whose say so? Can you provide evidence that supports doing that?

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 23 2013

          What “standard definition”?

        • Noah Vickstein commented on Mar 23 2013

          Any dictionary definition. Language appears to be democratically maintained. You can attempt to create a new definition if you wish, but it’s not guaranteed to find much acceptance.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 23 2013

          Is the movement of videos from one video-hosting site to another “censorship”?

        • Noah Vickstein commented on Mar 23 2013

          Intentional suppression of undesirable content certainly might be.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 23 2013

          Is the movement of videos from one video-hosting site to another (with a slight delay between the deletion of the videos on one site and the re-upload to the other) “suppression”?

        • Noah Vickstein commented on Mar 23 2013

          A very good question indeed. I’m not in a position to say. But I think that the question of soft “suppression” is rather beside the point. The central issue is that TED have, as yet, not offered any justification for their defamatory comments.

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  • Bonnie Allard commented on Mar 23 2013

    Ohhh… the paradigms shift. Ted, hum, whom are those Science Board members, and what Published Scientific Research mind you??? Pseudoscience, according to whom? Big finger wag at ya Ted, your fan base just got smaller!@! Sounds like politics as usual in the Science “community”. Your fan base always respected your openness… well, so much for “free speach”, and “free thought”. Highly regarded on my bookshelf; http://www.amazon.com/The-Presence-Past-Morphic-Resonance/dp/1594774617/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1364028471&sr=8-2&keywords=Presence+of+the+past+Rupert+Sheldrake

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 23 2013

      Sprouting untruths is not a virtue. No one’s freeze peach is threatened by TED’s actions.

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