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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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  • keithharmon snow commented on Mar 14 2013

    Who is having this debate on the TED side? Is PITHOM a spokesman for TED or just someone who argues on behalf of the TED decision?

    I asked the question (a few minutes ago) who is on the SCIENCE BOARD for TED? Is there anyone from TED involved in this discussion? Can someone please answer the question?

    • Toby Randel commented on Mar 14 2013

      I doubt that there is anyone from TED following this discussion. They are too busy celebrating “a victory of science over woo”. As far as I can see, the science board consists of a few influential “skeptic” bloggers.

    • Conor O'Higgins commented on Mar 14 2013

      Yes, TED needs to answer this question if it wants any credible claim to openness.

      We also need to hear why these talks were flagged in the first place. There is a rumoour going around that it’s because Jerry Coyne complained.

      • Toby Randel commented on Mar 14 2013

        Apparently the skeptic blogger Jerry Coyne complained about both of these videos. He seems to have a great deal of influence over “scientific panel”. After his first blog post on Sheldrake, a representative from TED sent him an email reassuring him that action would be taken. He later did a post on the Hancock video. Coyne’s blog isn’t particular popular, so I’m not sure how he has so much sway over TED.

  • J Brown commented on Mar 14 2013

    I viewed the second video, that by Graham Hancock. He speaks on a controversial topic and seems understandably nervous doing so. Hancock identifies himself to his audience as a writer, not as a scientist. He is an artist, as in, writer=artist, and clearly passionate about this topic on ayahausca/consciousness altering plants. Although he is speaking for the rarely publicly expressed positive aspects of such plants, he several times cautions viewers to be careful of dangers in their use but hammering out the negatives is not the purpose of his talk. Learning the dangers are easily found elsewhere, which is a main point of his talk: the dangers are focused on but these plants have a positive use as well that is less understood and perhaps it is beneficial to know that too. He clearly states he is presenting his “phenomenological”, that means his subjective, experience on ayahuasca, in particular, plus his ideas about consciousness altering plants used throughout history by various groups for spiritual use. It is up to the viewer to question, debate, reject, and/or consider his ideas. He clearly is presenting the more positive aspects of these plants as an attempt to balance against mainstream culture’s presentation of the negative aspects. This falls under TED’s expressed support of “RIVETING THOUGHTS” and “UNIQUE VISIONS”.

    • Steve Stark commented on Mar 14 2013

      Well done for understanding what “phenomenological” means – it seems you have TED’s science board at a disadvantage.

    • David Jones commented on Mar 15 2013

      An excellent,observant and astute comment Joe

  • Richard Coldman commented on Mar 14 2013

    Poor old Ted
    lost its cred

  • Toby Randel commented on Mar 14 2013

    I wonder if the TED organizers actually warn speakers that there talks may later be censored? It seems incredibly unfair if this is not the case. I’m sure people like Rupert Sheldrake have better things to be doing with their time.

    TED is not a venue for spreading good ideas. They are only interested in ideas that fit into a certain agenda. The fact that this type of censorship goes on in this day and age is a disgrace. The fact that TED doesn’t care about public opinion is appalling. It is obvious that their “scientific think tank” believes that the people who watch these videos are dumb. TED is a disgrace.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

      Do you realize nonsense isn’t worth spreading? Do you realize some ideas are simply not true?

      • Matt Mele commented on Mar 14 2013

        Neither Hancock nor Sheldrake claimed to be offering any truth. They were simply posing possibilities that lie outside of accepted science (gasp!). God forbid anyone should consider new ideas!

      • Toby Randel commented on Mar 14 2013

        What nonsense?

        Do you think that I’m too stupid to distinguish nonsense from good ideas? Do you believe that I need someone like you to define nonsense for me? Are you advocating censorship because you believe yourself to be my intellectual superior and you need to protect me?

        • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

          1. Yes.
          2. Yes.
          3. Yes, but not to protect you.

        • Toby Randel commented on Mar 14 2013

          Well Enopoletus Harding, if you are going to define nonsense for me, do you mind if I ask for your credentials? I’m always a bit suspicious of people who just assume that they are my intellectual superior. You could be right of course, but you see my problem?

          The danger with just trusting anonymous people online, who declare their own intellectual superiority. is that it is too open for abuse. I blame the “skeptic” blogs, forums and websites for this because they have fostered the idea that repeating certain soundbites makes you a genius. It is so easy for us humans to fall into the trap of delusion where we believe that we superior to other people. We can then become convinced that our intellectual superiority means that we are entitled to tell the “stupid” people what to do.

      • Steve Stark commented on Mar 14 2013

        How do you know what’s true? How do you know what the ultimate nature of reality is?

        And even if some, or even all, of what they say is false, they might still spark a useful thought in some mind or other. Unclear why so many feel the need to clamp down on speculative thought – it was the making of us after all.

        • Barry Conchie commented on Mar 15 2013

          Science doesn’t deal in truth, never has and never will.

          Science proceeds through hypothesis, testing and experimentation, publication and repeat testing and potential falsification. For this issues raised by Sheldrake and Hancock they have done none of this. So they don’t get to decide they are “scientists”. There is certainly a place for provocative thinking, but this isn’t science. Unfortunately, wasn’t engaging in provocative thinking, he was saying that the standard model for science and that scientists that see it as a belief system, is wrong. He was saying this on zero evidence and real scientists called him out for it.

          So no one is “clamping down on speculative thought”, this can be highly desirable. It’s just not science and that is why the videos were removed from the science section and posted elsewhere.

  • Conor O'Higgins commented on Mar 14 2013

    You have made the wrong decision. TED used to be the most exciting open marketplace of ideas in the digital world; today you decided to turn your back on that. Shame on you. I will no longer support the TED community.

    “Rupert Sheldrake bases his argument on several major factual errors… he suggests that scientists reject the notion that animals have consciousness”
    Your review board has made a major factual error: he said nothing like that in the talk. He was clearly referring to the Dennett/Churchland school of thought that consciousness is not a real thing.

    • Steve Stark commented on Mar 14 2013

      Lol yeah, the idea that mainstream scientists are stout defenders of the existence (in any meaningful sense) of consciousness in humans, let alone animals, is laughable.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

      Every truly “open marketplace” is 90% filled with spammers.

  • Annie Erdtsieck commented on Mar 14 2013

    Seems this is not the first time it’s happened… did you put Jim Viera’s talk in the dark barely searchable corner of this site as well? Or did you remove it entirely.

    This happened on the 13th December 2012. Jim Viera’s TED talk was removed ; here is an explanation from Mr Vieira , taken from his facebook page;

    “Censorship is alive and well. I have just been told that my TEDX talk will be taken down. At over 116,000 views it is the most watched TEDX video in the world in the last month. I imagine pressure from Anthropologists and Archaeologists led to the decision. the same professionals who have studied texts and scientific journals that have been censored of these giant skeleton reports. Alex Hrdlicka was named the Smithsonian’s first curator of the Division of Physical Anthropology in 1910, before Hrdlicka’s reign there were no denials of giant skeleton reports. Hrdlicka and associates purged further reports from the historical records but could not erase the thousands of accounts in the Smithsonian’s own Ethnology reports, town histories, Scientific American, American Antiquarian, New York Times headlines etc… so he explained that those accounts were made by scientists not understanding human anatomy. Beyond that the fact that many of these accounts reported anatomic anomalies like double rows of teeth was never addressed. Hrdlicka believed no race existed in America before 4000 years ago and called Louis Leaky a heretic to his face. Hdrickla was a pre-Nazi eugenist who was quoted in the Science News letter V13 #353 1928 pg.21 as saying “the greatest danger before the American people today is the blending of the negro tenth of the population into the superior blood of the white race.” In 1927 he endorsed a comparison of African babies with young apes. In 1937 he published findings in his American Journal of Physical Anthropology to “prove that the negro is phylogenetically a closer approach to primitive man than the white race.” He viewed Native Americans and African Americans inferior to whites based on cranial measurement. Not one of my historical and documented quotes was cited as in error but nevertheless my video will be censored. I have a host of radio interviews in the next few weeks including Coast to Coast AM where I am sure this will be a hot topic. I urge others to pass this post along and contact TEDX to convey your disgust. I am working with the crew from GCTV to do an hour and a half video on this subject that won’t be censored so stay tuned. Thanks for the support ”

    Source ;
    https://www.facebook.com/jim.vieira.5?fref=ts

    The video was named “European Stone Megaliths, Mounds, and the Giants of Ancient America ”

    So… this isn’t a new move by TED

    T ruth
    E very
    D denied

  • J Brown commented on Mar 14 2013

    Just joined and happy to see this email stating: “You are officially a part of the TED online community. We are glad to have you with us!
    Because we’re passionate about ideas, we hope you’ll visit us often and share the riveting thoughts, beautiful stories, unique visions and inspiring words that you find here.”

    I love this greeting, thank you, this is exactly what I hope TED will strive to live up to. Please pay particular attention to your support of “RIVETING THOUGHTS” & “UNIQUE VISIONS”.

  • Pingback: Graham Hancock Calls Out TED’s Blatant Censorship | Conspiracy Theories

  • keithharmon snow commented on Mar 14 2013

    Hello TED people:

    Commenting on both Sheldrake and Hancock —

    I have never done Ayuwasca, so I am not able to comment on it. However, I have done the far more dangerous halucenogenic plant spirit medicine IBOGA, which comes from the bark of a tree found in Gabon. Also, I became aware of Mr. Sheldrake’s work through studying the state of consciousness work performed by psychologist Stanislav Grof.

    Before I comment on this debate, I’d like to know who the TED science advisors / board are. Where can I find this information?

    thank you
    keith harmon snow

  • J Brown commented on Mar 14 2013

    I gave Rupert Sheldrake’s talk a once through. It seems his main point of how creative thinking outside the box of dogmatic ideas, i.e., in science, although it can easily be argued as true in all areas of expertise, is fiercely resisted by those deeply invested in their dogma. Ironically, the reaction by Tedx supports and highlights the truth of Sheldrake’s argument! Of course, academic and theoretical argument of ideas, both new and those held as unquestionable, is absolutely CRITICAL to advancement of life. The proper response is an intelligent argument back, not stooping to take police action! If Sheldrake has made a poor argument, show that in your argument! This process is not rocket science.

    • J Brown commented on Mar 14 2013

      and after your argument, expect arguments to your argument, hello!

  • Ed Malkowski commented on Mar 14 2013

    Tedstaff wrote “TED respects and supports the exploration of unorthodox ideas”

    How in the world can there be such a thing as an unorthodox idea!!!!!
    Ideas are IDEAS! They exist only in the realm of the mind.

    • Steve Stark commented on Mar 14 2013

      Yeah, they support unorthodox ideas as long as nobody within the orthodoxy disagrees with them.

      • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

        New Atheism is a very unorthodox idea.

        • Steve Stark commented on Mar 14 2013

          Yeah, and one can only imagine your indignation if the Archbishop of Canterbury asked for a New Atheist talk by, say, Dawkins, to be taken down because of invented “factual errors”. The difference between the two of us, though, is that I’d support allowing Dawkins to say his piece even if much of it did happen to be philosophically naive nonsense (as much of his writings have been).
          Just as a matter of interest, what do you take to be Hancock’s greatest error(s) in this talk? The thing(s) you are so sure are wildly false that the talk has to go?

  • Erhan Salaedin commented on Mar 14 2013

    Wow TED the “Ideads worth spreading” is quite ironic now if I look at your censorship. This is really disgusting.
    Freedom is an idea worth to be spread. I hope more people will now about this situation.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

      You realize some ideas aren’t worth spreading, right?

  • Ed Malkowski commented on Mar 14 2013

    It’s up to you, TED. What do you want to be as an organization and a website? – An organization/website dedicated to “Ideas worth spreading” or a ‘science forum.’

    If you choose to be a science organization/website then go ahead and disallow any talks that are not consistent with what you deem to be valid science. Keep in mind, though, that every scientist is human, and in being human he or she subjectively perceives this measurable material world we live in, just like everyone else. Science itself is a perspective, and there is far more to the world, to the human experience, than science.

    Ideas are not science. They are IDEAS. So, if you decide to be a science organization/website please change your motto to something else.

  • Linda Paddock commented on Mar 14 2013

    TEDx, I disagree with the stated reasons for your decision to remove the discussion by Graham Hancock from distribution.

    I have listened to the talk several times and I think that your statements, such as, “He suggests, for example, that no scientists are working on the problem of consciousness.” are unfounded. Mr. Hancock states: “…materialistic and reductionist scientists, they have nothing to say on the matter at all.” Materialist and reductionist scientists are a far cry from “no scientists” and the meaning that you attribute to him is just not there.

    “He states as fact that psychotropic drug use is essential for an “emergence into consciousness,” is simply untrue. I listened carefully for any such statement of fact and it just wasn’t there. He didn’t even imply such a thing.

    I do not understand why TEDx has taken this stand against Mr. Hancock’s talk. Graham Hancock is a well-known author who promotes interesting ideas that are rapidly growing in popular acceptance, and his following is likewise growing at a tremendous rate. Censoring his ideas, as you have done here, can only reflect badly on TEDx.

    Frankly, your statement: ” it’s no surprise his work has often been characterized as pseudo-archeology” sounds like something out of the dark ages. This is not a remark that I would expect to hear from TEDx.

    I also think that burying Mr. Hancock’s talk on this out-of-the-way page appears to be an unfair effort to limit the discussion on this matter and that also does TEDx a discredit.

    Please put this matter right by rescinding your decision to remove Mr. Hancock’s talk from distribution. That would certainly reflect the philosophy of TEDx that I have always respected and enjoyed.

  • Dimitri Spice commented on Mar 14 2013

    Maybe this guy is right, and humans are all really brain damaged
    http://leftinthedark.org.uk/

    That would explain a lot.

    • Dennis Scully commented on Mar 14 2013

      Well,it matters not, so what’s the matter? I will always read Mr Hancock’s material,and his subjective experiences of a reality beyond “the norm” or so called legitimate science…with our without TEDx! Amen,Salut,whatever!

      • Dennis Scully commented on Mar 14 2013

        “If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinise it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence.” Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970

  • wayne fowler commented on Mar 14 2013

    OMG the terrorists are going to bomb our imaginations. I’d like to see the creators of South Park do a Ted talk. Hancock is right about one thing, the Earth is beautiful but also f$&@ed and it could be resonating on much higher more harmonious level. The earth is actually perfect, we’ve just mismanaged a bunch of things.

    • Enopoletus Harding commented on Mar 14 2013

      Alternatively, we are perfect and the world before us has mismanaged a bunch of things (e.g., refusing to allow roast pigeons to fly into our throats). My statement contains the same amount of evidence behind it as yours.

      • Kyle Martin commented on Mar 15 2013

        Yeah because clearly Wayne intended that to be a factual statement. Ha.

  • bohemian groover commented on Mar 14 2013

    So have the questions been answered yet?

    Guess not.

    • Joe Anderson commented on Mar 17 2013

      TED won’t answer the questions, they’ll just continue to ignore them. It’s been several days now. Still no answer. Seeing as Sheldrake is a “pseudoscientist” according to them, albeit one educated at Cambridge and Harvard, it should be easy for TED to pick one of their members to destroy his ideas in a debate. I mean, they’re basically saying he’s a kook. They should pick one of their Science Board members to debate him and let the public see the video of the debate- DON’T CENSOR IT. A battle of ideas and research. And let’s see who wins. Since it was the Science Board members who allegedly reviewed his research and decided to take it down it should be one of them to debate him. If TED is confident in their Science Board they should be confident in their ability to debate. The sad thing is, I get the feeling from Chris Anderson’s response that Science Board might be nothing more than a group of people who rely on Wikipedia for their research- LOL!

  • Toby Randel commented on Mar 14 2013

    I think one thing is obvious from this action, TED couldn’t care less about the views of people who watch their videos. The vast majority of the comments on here are against this censorship, but it means nothing. I doubt that this shoddy treatment of TED fans (and people like me who are now ex-fans) will not go unnoticed.

  • Pingback: The Seeker's Lamp | TED Curator Censors Graham Hancock And Rupert Sheldrake’s TEDx Talks

  • JJ Johnson commented on Mar 14 2013

    OK all you ‘good scientists’ go drink some ayahuasca and come back and tell us what you think. Oh you wont… then shut up you have no evidence and are not qualified on such matters.

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