The debate about Graham Hancock’s talk

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At TEDxWhitechapel on January 13, 2013, Graham Hancock gave a passionately argued talk in which he described the transformative impact that ayahuasca (containing the drug DMT) had had on him and argued that responsible adult usage of such drugs was a fundamental right. The talk was viewed more than 130,000 times on YouTube.

TED’s scientific advisors who viewed the talk expressed to us grave concerns about it. For example, it suggests a world view in which DMT can connect users directly to “seemingly intelligent entities which communicate with us telepathically.” Graham Hancock does state he makes no claim to the reality status of these entities, but he also argues that they can teach and heal us, claims that are well outside orthodox scientific thinking.

Our advisors recommended that the talk be should not be distributed without being framed with caution. So… this is that caution. We invite scientists, skeptics, knowledge-seekers and supporters — and Graham himself, if he’s willing — to view and discuss this talk.

Is this an idea worth spreading, or misinformation? Good science or bad science? What’s the evidence for either position?

UPDATE: View previous conversation here.