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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)

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  • commented on Mar 14 2013

    TED “IDEAS WORTH CENSORING”

    Thank you for curating ideas Mr. Anderson. I feel safer at night knowing you are out there protecting me from the bad ones.

    http://imgur.com/9wZTA?tags

  • commented on Mar 14 2013

    Could someone explain to me why this is a matter of good vs. bad science? TED publishes plenty of talks that aren’t scientific theory and aren’t judged as such. I haven’t watched Sheldrake’s talk (yet) but I have Hancock’s, and I don’t see it as much of a scientific theory as a journalistic piece about his experiences and viewpoints. He IS taking a position about culture and consciousness, but he isn’t stating it as a scientific hypothesis or theory…at least that’s not how I see it.

    • Steve Stark commented on Mar 14 2013

      It isn’t a scientific talk. That’s just the excuse TED are using. The reasons given for taking the talk down show fairly clearly that whoever wrote them didn’t actually bother to watch it. Indeed, I suspect many of those who complained didn’t bother to watch it, or they would have come to the conclusion you (and I) did – it has very little to do with science.

  • Kim Tapio-Nuzzo commented on Mar 14 2013

    “I discovered that while I’d been busy playing business games, there’d been this incredible revolution in so many areas of interest: cosmology to psychology to evolutionary psychology to anthropology … all this stuff had changed.” – Chris Anderson

    (And now TED has now stagnated and may benefit from an evolution – perhaps the fresh perspective a new curator or co-curator?)

    It is an unfortunate display of censoring, if not censorship, that TED/TEDx has decided to block access to Graham Hancock’s video presentation – “The War on Consciousness” which he presented at TedxWhiteChapel – at its original location on the TEDxTalks Channel on YouTube and elsewhere.

    This “censorship” has unintentionally provided proof that there is, in fact, a very real war on consciousness – or at least a war on the very discussion of consciousness — an oppression by academia, mainstream science and media which serves to stigmatize anyone of us who might delve into the subject of metaphysical experience, origins of consciousness, altered states of consciousness or esoteric experience – experiences that might not be mapped, quantified or recorded with neuro-imaging or electroencephalography (EEG)

    With views in excess of 132,000, it is inexplicable that TED/TEDx’s curator would pull a popular talk because of the supposed scientifically offensive or scientifically contrary nature of the subject matter — let Brene Brown opine about vulnerability or shame, or Tony Robbins speak of “invisible forces,” but forbid Graham Hancock or Rupert Sheldrake to offer up an alternative viewpoints on consciousness, sentience and existence on the original platform offered and provided them at TEDxWhiteChapel? As if everyone who might view those video presentations needs to be protected from misinterpreting it as gospel or science dogma instead of opinion.

    I suggest that every TED/TEDx science presentation that presents the Big Bang Theory, evolution, the Higgs Boson, etc., add this qualifier from Mr. Terence McKenna:

    “And what these philosophers of science are saying is, GIVE US ONE FREE MIRACLE, and we will roll from that point forward – from the birth of time to the crack of doom! – just one free miracle, and then it will all unravel according to natural law, and these bizarre equations which nobody can understand but which are so holy in this enterprise.”

    Please restore this video at once — and not relegated to some disputed video storehouse on TED’s website hidden and piled high with qualifiers, disclaimers and warnings, but to its original and rightful place at TEDxTalks with the rest of the TEDxWhiteChapel presenters.

    Kim Tapio-Nuzzo

    • Dennis Scully commented on Mar 14 2013

      I could not have expressed it better Kim.

    • Casey Baker commented on Mar 14 2013

      Kim, your discourse has done a superb job of voicing my own feelings. Excellent work.

  • Kelly Rushing commented on Mar 14 2013

    I for one thoroughly enjoyed the talk given by Mr.Hancock. I do not understand why in the world he would be removed!!! Is he going against the status quo in some way? I personally shared his Ted talk on my facebook page and was shocked to see that it was removed! DISAPOINTED in Ted talks FOR SURE!!!!

    • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 14 2013

      I am delighted to hear you enjoyed the talk…great news is that they are still on TED and you can still watch them. Now tell me, why are you upset?

      • Toby Randel commented on Mar 14 2013

        Hi Barry, I don’t think your ploy of repeatedly posting that the black is white is going to work on here. I’m sure that you are an intellectual superman, but it is a tad condescending to keep suggesting that people on here do not know what “censorship” means.

        • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 15 2013

          I do keep asking you to explain what has been censored Toby, and you haven’t explained. You just keep repeating “censorship” without ever explaining why this action qualifies. Whenever anyone mentions “censorship” I am simply asking them to explain why they think this action qualifies. It is really interesting that no one has tried to reply. Maybe you will?

          And you should really refrain from sarcasm. It is perfectly possible to remain polite and respectful and still disagree.

      • Matt Hix commented on Mar 14 2013

        Insisting on the fact that removing the video from Tedx channel and placing it in a “special section” not as easily promoted, seen, or found does not qualify as censorship is blatantly and intellectually dishonest.
        Arguing there are accepted levels of censorship by painting over it with semantics and parsing out the reasons is shameless. Are there acceptable levels of racism?
        Maybe you missed the Rupert Sheldrake’s talk, but the irony is of course that this exemplifies his main point.

        • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 15 2013

          Matt, how do you define censorship? Are the videos still available on TED? Did TED edit or change any of the content? Did TED prevent people from seeing the videos? Did TED tell you not to watch them?

          Is it censorship for a newspaper to move an important story from the front page in the first edition to page 6 in the second edition? Is this really what your argument is about? In what ways, precisely, am I being “intellectually dishonest” for pointing this out?

  • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 14 2013

    I applaud TED for the decision to rid pseudoscience from pages supposed to be devoted to real science. Despite all the whining and hand-wringing (including Hancock himself no less) taking place in response, this is neither an act of censorship nor an unreasonable attempt to silence legitimate opinion. TED has published standards for talks of this kind and if it failed to act in the case of presentations that fail to meet those standards then it would be held for contempt. It isn’t an act of censorship to remove presentations that break those rules.

    Hancock completely misses the point regarding his requests of TED. My advice to him is to stop whinging and do some serious science. Stop speculating on matters where you are not qualified and attempt to pass off your pseudoscience as legitimate science. If Hancock doesn’t like what TED did to his talk, then answer with evidence and replicable theory. It really is that simple.

    Science never was decided by public referendum. It really doesn’t matter whether you found the talks interesting or feel that you agree with the message of the presentation…they weren’t science.

    The second reason why TED was right and didn’t censor the talks is evidenced by them posting the presentations here. There is no suppression of ideas here. It is a perfectly reasonable decision.

    • Toby Randel commented on Mar 14 2013

      Hi Barry, I’m sure this objecting to censorship does sound like whining to you. It is easy to applaud such actions when it means that your beliefs are promoted and anything that can undermine these beliefs is hidden. I could change a few words in your post, and it could be used to defend any type of censorship. Oh they joys of cognitive biases!

      • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 14 2013

        You could change any number of words in my post Toby and it would result in changing my meaning. I am not defending censorship because no censorship has taken place. Please tell me, did TED remove the videos? Did TED interfere with the content in any of the videos? Did TED tell people not to watch the videos? Exactly what censorship has taken place here that you think altering words in my post would justify?

        • Toby Randel commented on Mar 14 2013

          Of course you’re not defending censorship Barry. It would only be censorship if it was ideas that support your worldview that are “removed from distribution on the TEDx YouTube channel”. I’m sure at that point you would be doing plenty of “whining”, and I’d be supporting you. Unlike you Barry, I don’t just cry “censorship” when it is my ideas that are being attacked.

    • commented on Mar 14 2013

      Watch the video then read the statement TED has put forward about why this video has been taken down. All, i repeat, ALL of their claims are lies.

      • Toby Randel commented on Mar 14 2013

        Hardly surprising as the statement seems to be based on a couple of weak arguments made on “skeptic blogs”. These posts just use the word “woo” a lot to hide the fact that they do not contain much substance. The horrible thing about the “skeptic” movement is that it is made up of people who like soundbites and are too lazy to fact check. If a person like the blogger Jerry Coyne claims that something is “woo” that is enough to get his minions to push for censorship. It’s a sad state of affairs, but this is where we are at the moment.

        • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 14 2013

          Exactly what has been censored Toby?

        • Toby Randel commented on Mar 14 2013

          Hi Barry, if you are unaware of what is being censored I’d suggest you read the OP before you comment.

        • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 15 2013

          Toby, you are really only getting hot and bothered over a classification issue. You do realize the videos are available on this page and have been removed from the main science section? That means they are still available. So where, exactly, is the censorship you keep mentioning?

    • Steve Stark commented on Mar 14 2013

      Hancock’s talk was largely a political, rather than a scientific, talk. Thus your suggestion that it wasn’t science is correct, but for nothing like the reason you spuriously think. That is, the talk was about the long history humans have had with certain substances and arguing that the current war on such substances is actually a war on our own consciousness and as such should be stopped. That’s the first point. The second is that Hancock is simply asking TED to explain where he said the things they said he did. How could that be unreasonable, or point missing. I mean, I might as well say your entire argument is undermined by your clear advocacy of slavery!

      • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 14 2013

        Do you agree that TED has standards that presenters must meet for a talk to qualify as science?

        • Steve Stark commented on Mar 14 2013

          Do you agree that someone (you) has to be able to read in order to make a sensible response to a comment. Obviously not, or you would have noticed that I said the talk wasn’t a scientific talk. Thus your entire premise is complete nonsense.

        • Dennis Scully commented on Mar 14 2013

          Um maybe Barry, I saw big TEDx banners behind Mr Hancock..had you heard of him before you allowed him to use your platform, did you think he was perhaps a mainstream scientist?

        • Toby Randel commented on Mar 14 2013

          Hi Steve, I think that you’ve knocked the nail on the head there. There are too many “critical thinkers” who believe in commenting on things that they have not read.

      • Manric Gottfried commented on Mar 14 2013

        Political you say?

        I am confused, are we talking about the same talk here? I saw him talking about human history, human consciousness, relations with certain plants and herbal ingredients and his experiences with this. He criticizes policies yes, but those are merely footnotes, not titles of this presentation. Maybe you could say it is a biographical talk, or a sharing talk on toxicology with a final existential thought-provoking point/hypothesis/theory.

        You seem to point towards the idea that drugs annihilate civilization on a whole. There could be an argument that a completely drug-less society could thrive in sanity, though currently unrealistic, one would have to include all medical drugs too. Still, the fact that we function physiologically in a chemical way cannot be ignored. It is very relevant to talk about the War on Consciousness and mention the lack of freedom to delve into apparently “earth-shaking” experiences offered by many psychoactive flora.

        I think TED curators and administrators need to do an Ayahuasca journey before judging Graham Hancock. Either that or shut up and stiff a lip, for science, humility of the unknown and selflessness.

      • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 15 2013

        It’s unfortunate that you seem unable to comment without making denigrating remarks about individuals. I am being accused of both not reading (Toby…who doesn’t see fit to describe exactly what I haven’t read) and not being able to read (Steve Stark…which seems a silly comment to make as I can clearly write).

        In Steve Stark’s case he confirms “…you would have noticed that I said the talk wasn’t a scientific talk.” This is exactly the point. TED removed the video from the SCIENCE section because it wasn’t science. They shouldn’t have posted it there in the first place. Scientists who saw it recognized the error and it has now been corrected. I would be interested to hear why my “…entire premise is complete nonsense” given that we both agree this isn’t science.

    • Ethan Nichols commented on Mar 14 2013

      Then maybe sticking to science is not what we really need to change the world if a man can’t speak of direct experience. And consciousness is nothing science can put in words or evidence. All is within consciousness, that’s evidence enough. It’s still a shame that TED would categorize a video supposedly based on lack of “good science” when they should allow the viewers to do that themselves. Why did they need to touch it at all? Maybe these curators should take a mighty dose of ayahuasca, then this would never happen.

    • Dennis Scully commented on Mar 14 2013

      And what do you call serious science? You should read their statement again…when Isaac Newton, or Charles Darwin first published their ideas they were ridiculed by the mainstream “scientists” of the day, were they not?

      “Legitimacy” is only dictated as such by the people who claim to know it all at any given point in our history,and if TEDx proclaim to support unorthodox thought, thought which challenges the orthodox view with the aim of stimulating further thought and exploration…then they should do so…or change their mission statement in support of views which narrow-cast within so-called legitimate “qualified” science.

    • bohemian groover commented on Mar 14 2013

      The problem is not in moving the videos to a remote part of their site, where it’s hard to find. Although I think that’s petty, it’s their site and they can do as they so wish.

      The problem is they lied about their reasons, which implies deceit.

      • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 15 2013

        This is a very strong accusation. Are you arguing that these talks were scientific when it is clear to scientists that they are not? I wonder if you could point to the science in both presentations? I have watched both several times and only a magician could have done a better job of concealing the evidence.

        • bohemian groover commented on Mar 15 2013

          It’s not an accusation. It’s a fact. When you read the reasons given, and if you have watched the videos.you can see that they are not true.

          This isn’t even about science, but about distorting what someone has said, and then using that same distortion as the basis for the change.

      • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 15 2013

        bohemian groover, there is no argument I can provide to deal with your objections. You either understand how science works and what constitutes good science, or you do not. Making a strong truth claim about your position when you clearly don’t understand how science works really means that no amount of reasoning or evidence will convince you. It’s a bit like dealing with the “birther” movement, who are completely impervious to evidence.

        • bohemian groover commented on Mar 15 2013

          No need to patronize. I know how the scientific method works.

          The issue is with the disclaimer that TED have prefaced these videos with.

          If they want to be close minded to new ideas, then fair enough – but don’t lie about speakers.

    • Richard Coldman commented on Mar 14 2013

      Mr Conchie,
      Has it occurred to you how many other videos TED might have to take down if you were forced to define what is and isn’t “science” in your opinion and if your rules were to be applied rigorously?
      When you mention “pseudoscience” I’d like to hear your reasoned repudiation of any one of the ten false assumptions of mainstream science as challenged in Rupert Sheldrake in his book.

      • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 15 2013

        The consistent application of rules and standards makes complete sense and if there are presentations in the TED science archive that make untested claims or claims on false evidence or any of the litany of errors evident in these two videos, then they should also be removed.

        Pseudoscience involves the making of claims on spurious scientific grounds that testing and experimentation in science doesn’t support. One example from Sheldrake is his claim of unreported and ignored variation in the standard measurement of the speed of light. Sheldrake has done zero experimentation and testing in this area…indeed it is outside of his expertise. He has therefore published no papers that would enable scientists to test his ideas, assumptions and methodology.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

      Huzzah! A sane person!

    • Benedict Bubonic commented on Mar 14 2013

      “Stop speculating on matters where you are not qualified”

      How can a concious entity not be qualified to speculate on conciousness? Surely being alive is the only qualification obtainable.

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  • Dimitri Spice commented on Mar 14 2013

    WOW

    Has anyone else noticed that you can’t even find the video on Vimeo? Sure, it works in the embedded version here, but on they’re site the video is non-existent. The “tedconversations” account that it was posted under as 0 videos listed…..

    The plot thickens…

    • Dennis Scully commented on Mar 14 2013

      Many people have already saved copies,and as we all know Dimitri,once it’s out,it’s out.

  • Sascha Michel commented on Mar 14 2013

    This is shocking TED. I’m spreading this through my networks now. This will have an impact believe me. People will start talking about this. How can you disrespect these leading thinkers of consciousness. Shame on you

  • Adam Rubio commented on Mar 14 2013

    If this is a method used to prompt self justification know that self justification is being done and any resistance will be drained by our reception as a force of benevolent wisodm.

  • Dennis Scully commented on Mar 14 2013

    If that is the case…and knowing full well that Graham’s topics and books HAVE ALWAYS challenged conventional “science” and the “accepted” wisdom of the day – why allow him to express his opinions on TEDx in the first place? Does this indicate that you do not research people,or do your homework,when you allow controversial thought leaders to use your platform?

    You claim that you respect and support the exploration of unorthodox ideas,yet by your effective banning of Mr Hancock you make a mockery of that statement.

    In the history of mankind(and you should know this) the ideas that are unorthodox or have challenged the realm of “reasonable science” have usually been the one’s that have paved the way for a further evolution and revolution in the way we perceive ourselves, our universe, and our purpose here on earth.

    What happened to freedom of thought,the ability for men and women to make their own minds up…after all,not every idea expressed on your platform will be accepted by the mainstream?? The whole point is to encourage debate, and allow people to formulate their own opinions??

    And who,exactly…are your “scientific advisors”? Stay in their realm,limit your thinking, insult your captive audience, remain under their influence and let them proscribe and dictate to you!

  • Doug Gray commented on Mar 14 2013

    I fail to see the difference between Jill Bolte Taylor’s thought provoking message and the information presented by Graham Hancock and ultimately censored by TED.

    Both presenters express their viewpoint based upon direct experience.

    Consciousness exploration from whatever perspective deserves a multifaceted unbiased dialectic.

    Remember TED that the message IS the brand and not the message must fit the brand.

  • Toby Randel commented on Mar 14 2013

    Thank you TED for doing my thinking for me. I’m now free to concentrate on important things like cave paintings.

    Good luck with your new offices in North Korea – I’m sure you will fit in nicely there.

  • Philipp Walter commented on Mar 14 2013

    Lost for words. This is just ridiculous and very, very sad.

  • Jeff Heeney commented on Mar 14 2013

    I’ve told so many of my friends and colleagues about TED, and shared many wonderful presentations…but no more.

  • commented on Mar 14 2013

    Good science questions the status quo to move itself forward. We as a society and TED seem to have forgotten this. Graham and Rupert are leaders in their respective fields that are trying to help humanity break free of the dogmatic to reach new heights of understanding. We the people need open access, and discussion without the judgement of a few to move the many forward.

  • Casey Baker commented on Mar 14 2013

    Hancock and Sheldrake both present very compelling and unorthodox ideas that– in the spirit of TED– are very much worth spreading. The information conveyed in these speeches is necessarily subjective. The arguments presented by TED to justify excommunicating these wonderful speakers is very poorly written and conceived. Additionally, TED has severely misconstrued several statements from both speakers. Hancock, when mentioning “the emergence into consciousness,” stated rather explicitly that his suggestions were a possibility; in now way did he state them as fact. TED goes on to personally discredit Hancock, labeling him a “pseudo-archaeologist.” This kind of personal attack is immature, unprofessional, and irrelevant.
    TED is not displaying a spirit of openness here. If we require speakers to back up their ideas with statistics and graphs, we will never be able to discuss ideas that are inherently subjective. Up until today, I have been a huge proponent of TED. It’s incredibly disappointing to see TED commit such blatant slander

    • Dennis Scully commented on Mar 14 2013

      Salut on your observations…subjectivity is the key word.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

      “This kind of personal attack is immature, unprofessional, and irrelevant.”-and true. See Jason Colavito’s website. TED is refusing to spread ideas not worth spreading.

      • Casey Baker commented on Mar 14 2013

        True? In the spirit of science; truth requires evidence. What exactly is a pseudo-archaeologist? There is no single definition. It is an emotionally loaded label applied to Hancock in an effort to discredit his work. Regardless of whether or not one perceives the label to accurately apply to Hancock (There is no right or wrong, this is a subjective matter); it is a personal attack by TED. Such an attack was not necessary to justify the action taken by TED. It reveals that the author was, on some level, offended by the subject matter. It’s very unprofessional and irresponsible. You have ignored the innately subjective nature of both my statements and Hancock’s work.

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

          I don’t see how it is either unprofessional or irresponsible to not spread a talk by a pseudo-archaeologist.

  • Neil White commented on Mar 14 2013

    Dear TED, please end all this silliness and repost the videos.

  • commented on Mar 14 2013

    Chris Anderson answer the questions Graham Hancock has put forward !!!

  • Toby Randel commented on Mar 14 2013

    I doubt that it will make any difference but it will be nice to get a few hundred signatures on this petition http://www.change.org/petitions/ted-stop-the-censoring-of-the-graham-hancock-tedx-talks-video#share

  • Ben Brewis commented on Mar 14 2013

    I write in response to the taking down of presentation videos from Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake.

    In an age where so called open discussion about forward thinking subject matters are encouraged, I find it an insult that TED has taken a stance to stifle one of the most important questions we face right now.
    Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake are two pioneers in subjects that humans are still coming to terms with, based on science along with personal experience and testimonies going back thousands of years to the dawn of culture. How dare TED try and restrict these kind of speeches that make millions of people sit up and really think and engage with their culture, environment and even consciousness.

    Above all, let freedom of speech be heard… Let people make their own minds up. Please do not become a sensor of important information.

    I today lost a lot of respect for TED and will no longer view, recommend or support the company.

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