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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 (2155)

  • bohemian groover commented on Mar 14 2013

    Interesting results when you put “Graham Hancock” into TED’s search engine.

  • Dave Morgan commented on Mar 14 2013

    Dear Entire Universe: Choosing not to feature any particular content on your own personal or organizational website IS IN NO WAY “CENSORSHIP”. Thank you.

    • John Campbell commented on Mar 14 2013

      Ever hear of self-censorship? Do you understand that these men took time out to talk and can’t even distribute a video of their talk?

      • Dave Morgan commented on Mar 14 2013

        They gave a talk for a private organization and signed something that said the recorded video was for the use of that organization only. If they choose to, they can record HUNDREDS of hours of their crackpot ideas and post them all over their personal websites or the YouTubes for all to see. They are NOT being “censored”.

  • Brian Gross commented on Mar 14 2013

    Maybe we can focus our illumination here folks. I for one, and I feel that I am not alone here, would appreciate it if TED could please identify those responsible for the decision to relocate these amazing gestures from these incredible men?

    It is very simple; just give the names. I suspect this is a group effort. Surely one man didn’t choose this censorship. Perhaps we have multiple groups invested here. Maybe TED has some big brothers. If you would be kind enough TED, we would like to know your older friends as well.

  • David Jones commented on Mar 14 2013

    Get with the beat TED .. answer the specific questions that have been put forward by Mr Hancock or stand accused of predjudice

  • Samuel Brouse commented on Mar 14 2013

    Graham Hancock has been an amazing inspiration for me and my art. Why would TED hide this video from anyone. Has Coast to Coast taken down Mr. Hancock’s interviews from their database? I doubt whether coast to coast would be so inconsiderate and highbrow toward their audience. Is TED going to respond to Mr. Hancock’s questions? Or, are they going to continue to play the “im rubber your glue…” game?

  • Richard Coldman commented on Mar 14 2013

    Censorship is censorship – try to call it something else if you will. TED You have failed us so badly here. The wrong you have committed by hiding these videos away here can only be put right by replacing sacking your “science board” members and replacing them with unbiased, skeptically minded individuals.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

      Define “censorship”. The videos are available for all to see. Their contents are ridiculous. http://bkmarcus.com/2013/01/20/censorship-schmensorship/

      • John Campbell commented on Mar 14 2013

        A search for Hancock on the site turns up nothing gor Graham Hancock. A search for Sheldrake turns up some items, but not his video or this article. URLs for the posted videos are not available. The youtube channel has it hidden. You can’t get to the videos from the main site. So, this isn’t censorship to you? These men can’t even distribute the videos of their talks!

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

          You have failed to define “censorship”. Try again.

      • Matt Hix commented on Mar 14 2013

        Merriam-Webster
        cen·sor·ship
        noun \ˈsen(t)-sər-ˌship\
        Definition of CENSORSHIP
        1. The institution, system, or practice of censoring. 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.

        I think Tedx actions would fall under censorship of attempting to repress the talks. You may disagree or agree, but the talks have been removed from the previous availability of a wider audience and place in a “special section” that is not easily known of, found, and not advertised as were previously as well. If that’s not censorship, then what do you call it?

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

          And what is censoring? Who is a censor? Is it wrong?

  • Troy Tice commented on Mar 14 2013

    I sympathize with Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock, but I think Chris Anderson is right that a lot of these comments are hysterical. Profanity and exclamation points do not an argument make. Also, a lot of people don’t seem to know the difference between TED and TEDx

    Nevertheless, I am disturbed that TED chose to capitulate to a handful of atheist/skeptic bloggers. People like Jerry Coyne and P.Z. Myers definitely have an ideological agenda. I also think there needs to be more transparency here. For example, who exactly comprises your Science Board? The guidelines in your “A Letter to the TEDx community on TEDx and Bad Science” are generally sound, but what if I were a franchisee and invited Daryl Bem to give a talk on his presentiment experiments in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and, say, Coyne called you on it? Bem is a well-respected social psychologist, but his experiment caused a firestorm. Is that enough to have it cordoned off like Sheldrake’s and Hancock’s? Skeptics might cite, for example, the negative replication by Ritchie, French and Wiseman as proof that it’s bunk, but would TED be as skeptical of this replication? Hopefully they would, for they would find that the authors had failed to list several POSITIVE replications in their literature review, a major error.

    In any event, this controversy has brought the (often thin) line between science and pseudo-science into perspective. My hope is that TED will give these controversial topics a fair hearing, and not capitulate at the drop of a hat to ideologues. They should engage the evidence critically, carefully and impartially. Here is an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtNUIUr4fYw. One need not be convinced of the reality of these things, but one should engage the evidence.

    • Rachel Watkins commented on Mar 14 2013

      Enjoying the video right now.

  • Timm Christophel commented on Mar 14 2013

    Dear Chris Anderson, I would like to see you answer Mr. Hancock’s questions. Otherwise it might seem that you answer only those questions that are convenient to you. I must say I was put off a little by your suggestion that any critical voice here was a supporter sent by Mr. Hancock.

  • Benedict Bubonic commented on Mar 14 2013

    So the truth emerges, as it always does. TED is nothing but a weak willed waster, fearful of real thought and resistant to any real deviation from the so called ‘norm’. I will defenitely be unsubscribing and will not taint my mind with any more of your nazi-esque propaganda. Though I must state that this situation is rather comical, TED wages a war on conciousness by hiding a video titled “the war on conciousness’. Mmmmmm, the ironing is delicious.

    You coulda been a contender TED, but you nothin but a lousy bum.

    Peace and blessings!

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

      TED isn’t a government. It’s doing what every sane educational organization should be doing (i.e., not endorsing the two videos). Should it allow pornography on its website? Videos made by terrorists?

      • Mike Lindner commented on Mar 14 2013

        WOW!!! Really? You are comparing rational conversation that proposes theoretical opinions regarding consciousness – a topic not understood my mainstream science – to pornography and terrorist videos. I am so happy to see the individuals who are standing with TED on this issue. TED should be proud.

        Additionally, the world used to be flat, the speed of light has been updated multiple times, and today the Higgs Bosom was ostensibly cemented into history.

        I’m glad we can stop questioning the universe around us since we have all of the answers figured out.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

          I never said “we have all the answers figured out”. Extraordinary claims do, however, require extraordinary evidence. The speakers’ claims were not buttressed by extraordinary evidence.

      • John Campbell commented on Mar 14 2013

        Did they invite pornographers to have a talk? Did they invite terrorists? No. But they did invite Sheldrake and Hancock.

        • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 15 2013

          And that was clearly a mistake.

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  • Steve Varga commented on Mar 14 2013

    Nothing stays censored forever: the full video linkable and downloadable with “offliberty”

  • Miska Käppi commented on Mar 14 2013

    I would be delighted to see Tedstaff answer Graham Hancock’s questions!

  • Anne-Marie Evans commented on Mar 14 2013

    This is very disappointing! I thought TED could be relied on to shine a beacon of light on open minded enquiry. The Hancock/Sheldrake censorship issue and the spurious justifications cited in the commentary above is very revealing-it is a shameful attempt at reputation assasination. I’m having nothing more to do with TED – you’ve shown your true colours.

  • Nash Singh commented on Mar 14 2013

    Refer Graham Hancock’s comment below:
    “Chris, unless I’ve missed something no-one at TED, including yourself, has replied yet to my two posts posing four questions asking TED to substantiate the allegations you have made publicly against my presentations. Answer these questions, with reference to my statements within my presentation and referring us with minutes and seconds to the exact points in my talk that you feel justify your defamatory allegations against me. You are receiving a lot of criticism here and it is patronising and shameful of you to try to write that off as “this comments section is over-run by hordes of supporters sent our way by Graham Hancock.” My “supporters” are small in numbers by comparison with the millions who log on to the TED website, but their comments deserve to be taken as seriously not dismissed in this high-handed way. You want posters to read criticisms of my work but I still await your reply to the four questions I have posed in my two original comments here. Surely, if you have a leg to stand on, then those four questions offer you an excellent opportunity to present criticisms of my work?”

    I challenge any reasonably intelligent representative of TED (including YOU Chris) to respond to Mr.Hancock’s four questions… A lot of criticism has been levelled by TED at Mr. Hancock’s presentation. It would be a real feature for this debate if an intelligible reponse was presented to back up the comments given.

    I urge others to raise this challenge with TED. If they can justify their allegations, this matter will conclude in a civilized way. If not, then TED should be willing to offer a public apology to Mr. Hancock.

    If no response is given, then I think a public apology is still owed to Mr. Hancock. Constructive criticism should be backed up by facts.
    TED calls Mr.Hancock’s work Pseudo Science – To this I say that he has committed most of his life to research that has resulted in his literary contributions to alternative thought processes that sometimes conflict with science and its many beliefs / theories.

    How much of research has TED done to take the pedestal of judging the work of one who has “hordes of supporters”. I say back up your comments and we’ll all be happy. Meet Mr. Hancock on level ground…

    By the way TED, whose values are you upholding – really?

    • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 15 2013

      TED doesn’t have to answer Hancock’s questions. All Hancock has to do is show us the real science. At best you can describe Hancock’s presentation as speculation. It might even be mildly interesting to some people. But it isn’t science. If Hancock wants to argue that it is science then I look forward to his published papers in appropriate journals and the repeat testing and experimentation that might confirm his results.

      You earn the right to be treated as a serious scientist, you don’t demand it and mobilize an ill-educated mob to assert it for you on spurious grounds of censorship. After all, the video is still on TED and people can still watch it. It’s just not in the science section. Wake up folks it isn’t that hard to understand.

  • Christopher Lange commented on Mar 14 2013

    This is absolute bullcrap! There’s a huge difference between opinions and “mistakes”

    • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 15 2013

      The difference is between science and pseudoscience.

  • Matt Mele commented on Mar 14 2013

    TED only wants us to see material that is approved by the science establishment? Seems a bit fascist, doesn’t it? So much for openness and the free exchange of ideas.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

      Ideas that are not worth spreading are not worth spreading.

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  • Damien Abel commented on Mar 14 2013

    TED should allow the audience to discriminate fact from fiction. We do not need TED to do our thinking for us, thanks though.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

      Display on the TED website implies at least partial endorsement by TED. TED should not show everything.

      • John Campbell commented on Mar 14 2013

        Well, they DID endorse it! Hancock and Sheldrake were invited to talk at Whitechapel, they published the video, they knew both thinkers are controversial, and the videos were there for weeks! Hancock’s video garnered 132,000 views. If their so-called Science Board, (ie, senior clergy) wanted to, they could have invited someone to challenge their ideas. That’s what happens in free and rational discourse. Instead, no debate, no chance for the speakers to even defend themselves against charges.

        It’s ridiculous.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

          The challenges appeared spontaneously. As the arguments of the challengers were superior to those of the speakers, the challengers won.

        • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 15 2013

          What’s ridiculous John, is pretending any of this is science. The speakers don’t have to defend themselves. The videos were simply posted in the science section and they shouldn’t have been. You do know, of course, that science isn’t decided by debate. It’s a novel idea, but it isn’t how science works.

        • John Ratcliff commented on Mar 15 2013

          I just listened to the Sheldrake talk. It absolutely belongs in the ‘science’ section. All he says is that (A) material reductionism does not adequately explain reality and (B) we should keep an open mind to all of the data.

          That’s it. That’s all he said. And, both (A) and (B) are completely valid and true.

          The fact that radical atheists waged a war of suppression to take this video off of the site is truly disgusting.

          Yes, a critique or questioning of the reigning paradigm of material reductionism *is* valid to be in a ‘science’ section.

          This entire affair is a complete and total scandal. The ‘Ted’ conference is *not* a refereed scientific event. It is a place for people to spread new ideas.

          Sheldrake did exactly that in his very short speech. Now you, and a band of radical atheists, (and by atheists I mean material reductionists who staunchly want to attack anyone who dares suggest that any part of ‘mind’ is more than a bunch of cells in a meat brain) should be shot down as witch-doctors and psychics.

          How truly sad.

          John

        • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 15 2013

          John Ratcliff, if you listened to Sheldrake’s talk and decided that you thought “…it absolutely belongs in the science section”, exactly what science has Sheldrake done and published that provides evidence for this? And Sheldrake did more than make baseless assertions about how the standard model of science operates, he said is was wrong. Unfortunately this offended real scientists who are experts in the field.

          It’s hard to comment on your “radical atheists waging a war of suppression” without first wondering whether this presumption isn’t clouding your perspective.

  • Larry McCauley commented on Mar 14 2013

    ” including a survey of published scientific research and recommendations from our Science Board…” – which has no link(s) attached, no quotations from, no information of.

    And God forbid we should, as mere laypeople, choose to make our own minds up based on the veracity (or otherwise) of the evidence presented to us. So thank you for treating me like a small child, TED, I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to be condescended to by a pro-debate, pro-communication organisation intent on stifling debate that ranges beyond standard scientific parameters. No wonder Boltzmann committed suicide. The same small minded attachment to established paradigms is still alive and festering. How scientific is that?

  • Dustin Naef commented on Mar 14 2013

    What a shame…

    “TED: IDEAS WORTH CENSORING”

    • Jim Schneider commented on Mar 17 2013

      I agree. And notice how instead of answering Graham Hancock’s perfectly valid questions Chris Anderson attacks him- he doesn’t attack the talk he gave, he instead launches into a personal attack against Graham. Character assassination, how unbecoming. And boy has it backfired.