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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 (2157)

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  • CChaos CChaos commented on Apr 2 2013

    Rupert Sheldrake talks about his TED experience… btw, no response yet from TED on Sheldrake’s debate challenge. go figure.

    “Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: I think this whole controversy and the people who have weighed-in in favor of TED’s actions do indeed confirm what I’m saying. These dogmas are ones that most people within science don’t actually realize are dogmas. They just think they’re the truth. The point about really dogmatic people is that they don’t know that they have dogmas. Dogmas are beliefs and people who have really strong beliefs think of their beliefs as truths. They don’t actually see them as beliefs. So I think this whole controversy has actually highlighted exactly that.”

    ~ http://www.skeptiko.com/rupert-sheldrake-censored/

  • CChaos CChaos commented on Apr 1 2013

    in a related TEDxWestHollywood issue… here’s a kick ass response from Russell Targ. oh, snap! where are your anonymous TED Science Board members now? this thing just got more interesting. popcorn please!

    —-

    Russell Targ speaks out

    “In cancelling the TEDx event in West Hollywood, it appears that I was accused of ‘using the guise of science’ to further spooky claims (or some such),” said physicist Dr. Russell Targ in “The debate about Rupert Sheldrake’s talk” on TED Conversations. (Targ was/is scheduled to speak on “The Reality of ESP: A Physicist’s Proof of Psychic Abilities” at ExTEDWestHollywood.)

    “People on [the TED Conversations] blog have asked what I was going to talk about . That’s easily answered. I was co-founder of a 23-year research program investigating psychic abilities at Stanford Research Institute. We were doing research and applications for the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, Air Force and Army Intelligence, NASA, and others.

    “In this $25 million program we used ‘remote viewing’ to find a downed Russian bomber in North Africa, for which President Carter commended us. We found a kidnapped U.S. general in Italy, and the kidnap car that snatched Patricia Hearst. We looked in on the US hostages in Iran, and predicted the immanent release of Richard Queen, who was soon sent to Germany. We described a Russian weapons factory in Siberia, leading to a U.S. congressional investigation about weakness in U.S/ security, etc.

    “We published our scientific findings in Nature, Proc. IEEE, Proc. AAAS, and Proc. American Institute of Physics. I thought a TED audience would find this recently declassified material interesting. And no physics would be harmed in my presentation.”

    ~ http://www.kurzweilai.net/ted-removes-tedxwesthollywood-license-speakers-failed-to-gain-scientific-acceptance

  • CChaos CChaos commented on Mar 30 2013

    by revoking the TEDxWestHollywood license, TED has now made it official that they will not allow voices from the fringes to be on the TED/TEDx platform. TED has no interest of “spreading ideas” by the likes of Russell Targ, Marilyn Schlitz, and Larry Dossey. the TED platform is only big enough for “skeptics” and scientific materialists. disappointing, yes but hardly surprising. as i said before, their slogan ought to be changed to “Status Quo Ideas Worth Spreading.”

    speaking of Russell Targ… he is often lumped with New Age and “pseudoscience” by people who don’t his background. never mind the fact that Targ’s (and his colleague Hal Puthoff) research work was good enough to be funded by the CIA. incidentally, Targ has just published a new book where he has divulged declassified information in the CIA remote-viewing program. TED will never dare touch this material. so you and i will just have to rely on our own research and other alternative news sites to be informed.

    case in point: here’s a good interview with Targ on The Paracast.

    “Gene and Chris present the ever-elusive Dr. Russell Targ. Dr. Targ and Hal Putoff led the team at Stanford Research Institute that created the “remote viewing” protocols in the early ’70s, about which many stories have been written. Targ’s latest book is The Reality of ESP: A Physicist’s Proof of Psychic Abilities.”

    ~ http://www.theparacast.com/podcast/now-playing-march-10-2013-dr-russell-targ/

    • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 30 2013

      Where iiiiis your imagination? Tell us, how does a no one or a nobody company get noticed? Once they get noticed, tell us, what happens then?

  • Linda Peck commented on Mar 30 2013

    It is appalling that TED talks should decide what is the truth bottom line. How can you even continue on with your program? Are you totally out of touch? Who wants to listen to the same old thing? Your attitude is boring and I doubt you will be able to continue with the same popularity. I love Rupert Sheldrake’s ideas and always have. He is bright and engaging and far above the decision making of whoever is managing TED.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Apr 3 2013

      There is such a thing as truth. There is such a thing as falsehood. People can decide between them. While truth may be boring, why guild the Lilly? Why discard evidence in favor of imagination?

      • Marcus T Anthony commented on Apr 3 2013

        This is a good point, Pithom. I notice that TED did not respond to Sheldrake’s post outlining the evidence for his questioning several of the founding presuppositions of materialism. Perhaps you can step in and help them out by addressing those points. Thanks in advance.

  • Michael Bransome commented on Mar 30 2013

    I sense the decision to censor Sheldrake and Hancock is ill-guided. In fact one thing your move will likely do is create more copy for them (unintentionally I assume) and for TED (intentionally, I assume). Another is that it will reflect negatively on the apparent open-ness of TED, and I for one have been so happy about the TED talks – refer friends and colleagues to them all the time – that this apparent shift in your approach to alternative explanations for various phenomena, concepts etc is an unwelcome surprise.

    I thought TED was about “Ideas worth spreading”! But the phrase needn’t by definition imply “Scientific Ideas worth spreading”. TED has of course full freedom to define its phrase as it sees fit, but then in the interest of clarity I think the phrase might usefully be changed to “Scientific Ideas worth spreading”, or even “Peer-reviewed and well-established scientific Ideas worth spreading”.

    Feyerabend (RIP) would have a word or two to add regarding the assumed primacy (in our age) of materialistic interpretations when judging materialistic but also non-materialistic theories. Talking forever, he would point out that history teaches us that a great many non-materialistic theories were later understood to refer to materialistic phenomena. But then, PKF (like TED?) was more into “Ideas worth spreading” than science, its methods, or anything else…

    • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 30 2013

      Can you tell us who finances Ted? Who has the say and why? If Ted had good guys, scientists, lets say and bad guys, what one might call fringe scientists, who is the money going to support in this day and age, according to all we see? Good guys and bad guys can’t work together. There ain’t no good guys in congress!!! They all take bribes, to stay in office. A good guy wouldn’t sell out his/her, nation for anything. A bad guy does, for money and a job.

      If Ted started out using fringe scientists for the sake of recognition and now that it has recognition, if using such is now in the greater public eye and making millions, fringe is likely a problem.

      It’s your fault, you made this place kinda famous.

  • commented on Mar 30 2013

    It is unfortunate that TED has chosen to be so small. (One wonders why in god’s name TED invited them only to suppress them. Did TED not do its homework beforehand and read the work of these two brilliant men?) But then again, it is unfortunate that Sheldrake and Hancock seem to be so very angry because this is, after all, somewhat predictable, no? The mainstream, by definition, rejects what does not mirror its own narrowly defined values. The reduction of anger is a sign of an increase in wisdom.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Apr 3 2013

      How are either Sheldrake or Hancock “brilliant”? You fail to use the word “evidence” in your comment. You fail.

  • CChaos CChaos commented on Mar 30 2013

    i’ve been filling this TED saga since day one. as of this writing, there are only about 3 days left before the “debate” threads (on TED Conversations) close for good. so far, i haven’t seen any convincing argument from the TED staff, TED Curator (Chris Anderson), TED Science Board, or TED Brain Trust regarding a valid justification for pulling out Sheldrake and Hancock’s TEDx talks from their official distribution channels.

    Sheldrake and Hancock have issued a public challenge for a debate on this issue. so far their challenge has fallen on deaf ears. no one in TED has the courtesy and integrity to respond.

    i don’t think TED is serious about *real* debates on Sheldrake’s and Hancock’s talks. and this leads me to speculate that:

    1) the people at TED were not interested in a real “debate.” they just wanted a holding place for people to vent their frustration until they get tired and move on.

    2) they knew that they made a mistake of pulling the videos but cannot afford to admit this mistake in public. as a corollary, TED can’t issue a public apology to Sheldrake and Hancock for fear of the backlash they would receive from the “skeptical” community.

    3) they know that they are on the losing side of the debate if they accept Sheldrake’s and Hancock’s challenge.

    4) therefore, it is best to just stay mum on this and let this fiasco pass.

    maybe Jerry Coyne was right all along.

    “Besides, TEDx did not remove their videos—they just relegated them to a “website of shame.” And that’s exactly where they belong.”

    ~ http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/oy-vey-tedx-continues-the-woo-now-with-more-self-help/

    i just wish that if there are no takers from TED to accept Sheldrake’s challenge, maybe TED can arrange for a Sheldrake-Coyne debate.

    IMHO, if given the opportunity of a fair public debate setting, Sheldrake will rip Coyne’s arguments apart. Coyne is good at name-calling. but i don’t think he has what it takes to make a convincing case against Sheldrake. just sayin’.

  • A Careaga commented on Mar 30 2013

    Boy TED has really fallen off. When I first introduced my ‘community’ to TED, and I was one of the first probably 500,000 to know about it, it was a vibrant culture of freedom, expression, and possibility.

    Thanks to my efforts and others like me, TED has grown into a gargantuan machine. Fine. Congrats. BUT I warned TED admins that the intro of their YouTube-like comment system would destroy the foundation of freedom. When talks emerge that challenge the Religion of Science by using real scientific thinking to talk about ‘out of bounds’ topics (like Galileo talked about Copernican heliocentricity) there suddenly emerges a cabal of atheist oppressors who “for the sake of secular freedom” attack anything like this vociferously. They attack religionists and metaphysicists alike. Claiming it is pseudoscience. DUH that’s why it is called metaphysics. Aside from that anything not yet discovered or understood is by definition pseudo-science.

    Well I’ve been atheist and in this cult of “Science” which has at its core of beliefs that questioning the Church is heresy and should result in Excommunication.
    Don’t try to deny it, it’s right above my post! ^^^^

    The reality is that narrow-minded thinking has NOTHING to do with science. When Aristotle described atoms he may have been wrong but at least they didn’t stone him. But the dogmatic ideological, Nazi-like response herein is nothing short of what condemned germ theorists to asylums, or Galileo, or any number of scientists who didn’t do work for the sake of para-military industrial research to be used as weaponry in unholy wars.

    The reality is – when you understand it in the least, and believe me atheists, you do not, I was there you have no idea what you don’t know – you cannot embrace life and spirit-freedom if you don’t believe in a real living paradigm nor in spirit. If everything is just a bag of flesh, a chemical test-tube of organic compounds and (conveniently mysterious) electromagnetism (among other forces)… then of course anything that is different or “old” or challenges the assumptive paradigms of modern, plastic-based (lit: based on petroleum) society will seem heathen.

    It’s no different than a Westboro church; a Salem witch hunt. At its core is intolerance, blindness, and ultimately hatred. In MY understanding, basically the Dark Side.

    Therefore I am disappointed, if not surprised, at this turn of events.

    I will not be posting, sharing any TED talks until TED is freed from the MPAA-like (SS more like) Jesuit-inquisition of all that is DIFFERENT.

    btw – you can try to dissect me, I hope you do… and I hope any of you who dare to incite an arguer to come lay vengeance upon those who despise freedom (oh yes, I am one of those Don’t Tread on Me Mofos) do a FAR better job than TED’s “board” did against these fellows.

    -Sf. Ramon Careaga, BSEE (that’s Electrical Engineering if you don’t know), MSTOM (Master of the SCIENCE of Traditional Oriental Medicine), C.Ac., Dipl. OM

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  • Coleman Corrigan commented on Mar 29 2013

    Gosh, Rupert makes solid sense!, he still hasn’t cottoned on to the dogmas about the nature of time, but all in all a solid well presented commentary. Unfortunately to closed minds.

    • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 29 2013

      What do you mean that he hasn’t–he still hasn’t cottoned on to the dogmas about the nature of time?

      • Marcus T Anthony commented on Mar 30 2013

        One thing Rupert has suggested is that intention moves both forward and backwards through time. This is supported by EEG correlation experiments which show the “receiver’s” brain reacts a hundredth of a second before the “sender’s” brain experiences a deliberately induced stimulation. This has huge implications for the Benjamin Libet “free will” experiments, which discovered the brain reacts a fraction of a second before a person thinks they made a decision. The Libet experiment is often cited as proof there is no free will – despite the fact that it defies everyday experience, and has more philosophical holes than a block of Swiss cheese. If intention travels backwards through time then the conclusions drawn from the Libet experiment are probably wrong.

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  • Sher Lizz commented on Mar 29 2013

    What IS pseudo-science? We especially need talks of scientists who have an open mind. The average scientists are totally stuck into tunnel vision and navel-gazing that they are not willing to travel new roads to broaden their vision. The scientist who see beyond the horizon are being ridiculed.
    Let’s NOT forget the Indian physicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (the later Nobel Prize winner) who was publicly ridiculed by Sir Arthur Eddington and many more fellow scientists, for his work about degenerate stars and the existence of black holes… In the end he was right wasn’t he? Almost similar to Galileo Galilei saying that the Earth went around the Sun and not the other way round. Or the believers of the flat earth theory, not wanting to believe the world was round…
    TED talks should be inspiring and ALSO a platform for people like Sheldrake and Hancock who think outside the box. Their talks SHOULD NOT be banned. No CENSORING Please. Shame on you.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Apr 3 2013

      Pseudoscience are conclusions that contradict the findings of real science. The problem with an open mind is that people try to fill it with trash. They laughed at Galileo; they laughed at Bozo the Clown. The talks aren’t banned; they’re up at Vimeo. You fail to use “evidence” in your comment. You fail.

    • Ian Morris commented on Apr 5 2013

      What IS pseudo-science?

      It is pretty much anything you want it to be. There is no universally agreed definition of pseudoscience, and the lists of possible requirements is so long, that you can apply to anything.

      The only people I know who label anything as pseudoscience, are people who claim to be scientific, imply that using the label “pseudoscience” is scientific, when it’s not.

      There’s a word to describe pretending that something is scientific when it’s not, that uses scientific-sounding words like “pseudoscience”.

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  • Kelley Wheeler commented on Mar 28 2013

    Wow. So much for “a community of curious souls”. Apparently TED will decide what we are allowed to be curious about. TED, your entire intro about open-minded exploration just became a complete farce. Answer Graham Hancock’s rebuttal or reinstate his lecture. I’m betting you won’t because you’re only interested in an open dialogue when it suits your purposes. Your organization is a sham.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Apr 4 2013

      You fail to use the word “evidence” in your comment. You fail.

      • Noah Vickstein commented on Apr 4 2013

        You sound like a broken record. You sound.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Apr 4 2013

          That’s because the comments here sound like a broken record.

        • Terry Allen commented on Apr 5 2013

          The only broken record is you, but then again we can expect nothing different from a Troll.

          People stop feeding this troll he brings nothing new or of interest to the discussion and only detracts from it.

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  • Jim Ryan commented on Mar 28 2013

    Sheldrake and Hancock are big boys, they should know the score and so should all of you. Do you think Ted cannot be censored by those that can censor anyone? You are using censorship in sooo many ways, every single day. You help to create the censorship used on you. Quitcher crying, stand up and help to stop censorship–bullying. You claim to have a brain, but I don’t see it.

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  • rob frost commented on Mar 28 2013

    TED is doing something Magical here.

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  • Robert Bullock commented on Mar 28 2013

    TED SUCKS!!! You guys aren’t interested in IDEAS, you’re interested in what conforms to your worldview and conventional, materialist bias. Elitist assholes is what the world needs less of you fools.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 28 2013

      TED can’t be interested in all ideas. It does not support Holocaust denial, AGW denial, or homeopathy.

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