From the “banned talks”of Hancock and Sheldrake to revoking TEDxWestHollywood
TED = Status Quo Ideas Worth Spreading?
TED’s website “open discussions” about the censored TEDx talks of Graham Hancock (The War on Consciousness) and Rupert Sheldrake (The Science Delusion) were closed on Wednesday (2nd April – see individual discussion pages here and here). Yet no convincing arguments were ever given by TED or their anonymous “TED Science Board” to justify pulling the talks in the first place.
Likewise the calls for free and fair debate with TED / a TED scientist from Hancock and Sheldrake fell on deaf ears, meaning the defamed speakers were never given a reasonable chance to defend their views following unsubstantiated claims of “scientific and factual errors”. For the background to this TED censorship controversy see this last blog post.
And yet, Hancock and Sheldrake’s TEDx presentations have been estimated to be the most popular TED talks of all time based on the number of comments received in the shortest time period in the TED website discussions on this issue – see this comment thread. Furthermore, some 90% of the comments in the discussions about these talks were supportive of Hancock and Sheldrake’s cause, with many people venting outrage at TED’s suppression and defamation of their ideas and voicing the opinion that these speakers deserved to be heard.
As one commentator, Steve Stark, concluded here: “Well, as with Sheldrake’s talk, we have reached the end of the road and no real reasons have been given for removing this talk. TED’s science board’s initial complaints had to be crossed out and neither they, nor anyone here, has been able to come up with any substantive problems with the talk. The community has spoken by about 10-1 in favour of reinstatement.”
So with mass popular opposition to TED’s unsubstantiated censorship of these talks, should TED be allowed to get away with it?
If the controversy went viral might TED be forced to meet the requests from Hancock and Sheldrake for free and fair debate?
TED’s apparent tactic to say as little as possible on the matter and hope it will quietly dissipate has thus far paid off. But for how long?
Meantime, TED are mired in further controversy with the recent revoking of the licence for TEDxWest Hollywood ‘s planned event “Brother, Can You Spare a Paradigm?”, due to take place on Sunday 14th April. Mirroring the recent censorship saga surrounding Hancock and Sheldrake’s talks, TED have revoked the TEDxWestHollywood licence along with claims of “pseudoscience”. Presenters due to speak at TEDxWestHollywood included three scientists that TED had already expressed concerns about including in this programme from the outset: Russell Targ (re the reality of ESP), Larry Dossey (re the revolution in consciousness) and Marilyn Schlitz, a social anthropologist and psi researcher (re “How do we shift our paradigm?”). Further details re the TEDxWestHollywood controversy can be found in this article by Craig Weiler on The Weiler Psi blog.
As US blogger C4Chaos, who has very comprehensively followed this TED censorship saga from the beginning, suggests – is TED making an official clampdown on ideas that challenge the scientific establishment and the status quo?
C4Chaos says: “By revoking the TEDxWestHollywood license, TED has now made it official that they will not allow voices from the fringes to be on the TED/TEDx platform. TED has no interest in ‘spreading ideas’ that challenge the scientific establishment and the status quo. The TED platform is only big enough for ‘skeptics’ and scientific materialists. Disappointing, yes but hardly unexpected…TED ought to change its slogan to ‘Status Quo Ideas Worth Spreading’.”
Yet as C4Chaos points out – TED may have proved Sheldrake and Hancock’s points by censoring their talks, which were about “Scientific (materialism) Dogmas” and “War on Consciousness“. And the community of support that has risen up to defend Hancock and Sheldrake amid this censorship controversy has only served to make the removed talks more popular than ever.
Graham Hancock’s final comment on the TED website page for “The debate about Graham Hancock’s talk” before the conversation closed yesterday, expressed his gratitude to this thriving, global internet community for their support:
“Thanks to all who have posted in my defence here. It means a lot to me. Big ideas are at stake, much larger than the individuals involved. But the knowledge that a community of good-hearted, open-minded people are out there, ready to fight for the freedom of ideas is the best thing to come out of this.”