TED to 'Reframe' Arguments Against Talks by Hancock and Sheldrake

TED - Ideas Worth Censoring

An update to last week's post about TED's removal (from YouTube) of talks by Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake: after a weekend of being slammed for both the removal of the videos, and the manner in which they handled it (ie. making up complaints about the talks), TED have edited the page to include a blistering response from Rupert Sheldrake, and retracted the comments originally made (by striking through the text, rather than simply deleting the text). They have also issued a follow-up response to the controversy, which will be clarified further in the next day.

Update: TED have posted separate pages for viewing the videos and discussing them further:

I've posted excerpts below, with a few points that I think TED need to address further:

When Sheldrake and Hancock’s talks were flagged, the majority of the board recommended we remove them from circulation, pointing out questionable suggestions and arguments in both talks. But there was a counter view that removing talks that had already been posted would lead to accusations of censorship. It’s also the case that both speakers explicitly take on mainstream scientific opinion. This gives them a stronger reason to be listened to than those who simply use scientific sounding language to make nonsensical claims. So we decided we would not remove the talks from the web altogether, but simply transfer them to our own site where they could be framed in a way which included the critique of our board, but still allow for an open conversation about them.

What happened next was unfortunate. We wrote to the TEDx organizer indicating our intention and asking her to take the talks off Youtube so that we could repost. She informed the speakers of what was coming, but somehow the part about the talks staying online got lost in translation. Graham Hancock put out an immediate alert that he was about to be “censored”, his army of passionate supporters deluged us with outraged messages, and we then felt compelled to accelerate our blog post and used language that in retrospect was clumsy. We suggested that we were flagging the talks because of “factual errors” but some of the specific examples we gave were less than convincing.

We would like to try again.

RE "specific examples we gave were less than convincing". Actually they were fictions. Don't couch them in terms as if they weren't the most convincing reasons you could have used. They. Were. Fiction. This is a serious matter. It also gets to the heart of the action - were these fictions the reasons given by the 'scientific board', or were they the unfortunate actions of whomever put up the blog (which I find hard to believe, that they would be given the freedom to make up reasons and attribute them to the science advisory board). Whomever is to blame, are they being disciplined for defaming Hancock and Sheldrake? Why is there no apology in this post for such an unprofessional course of action - I hope the subsequent post includes one.

RE "somehow the part about the talks staying online got lost in translation." I think most people considered the removal from YouTube (and therefore ability to be embedded...y'know, the whole "ideas worth spreading bit"?) to be the main part of the action. People commenting on the post were well aware that the videos had been reposted, but still felt offended. Additionally, I think most of the "outraged messages" from supporters of Hancock were in reaction to the fictional complaints that TED inserted into the post. Going through those comments, there are even a number of people who specifically said they were *not* supporters of the pair, but were still outraged.

We plan to repost both talks in individual posts on our blog tomorrow, Tuesday; note a couple of areas where scientists or the community have raised questions or concerns about the talks; and invite a reasoned discussion from the community. And there will be a simple rule regarding responses. Reason only. No insults, no intemperate language. From either side.

RE: "note a couple of areas where scientists or the community have raised questions or concerns about the talks". I'm hoping the "scientists" mentioned include the 'scientific advisory board' for TED, seeing as they were apparently the ones who decided the talks had to come down for some specific reason. And again, if you want "reasoned responses", it would be best to start with truth rather than fictional slurs against the authors.

We will use the reasoned comments in this conversation to help frame both our guidelines going forward, and our process for managing talks that are called into question.

If this is true then I welcome the discussion. I hope it will be more than just paying lip service to disgruntled TED viewers (seeing as the initial 'community consultation' on the talks appears to have completely ignored the majority view that they should be kept in circulation.

We don’t want to hear from a parent whose kid went off to South America to drink ayahuasca because TED said it was OK.

ZOMG won't somebody think of the children?! Seriously, if a kid can travel to South America and get their hands on some ayahuasca, I'm pretty certain they're at a stage of life where they should be taking (and hopefully want to be taking) responsibility for their own actions, rather than blaming a TED talk. And you better send a memo to Wade Davis for his talks as well...

But we do think a calmer, reasoned conversation around these talks would be interesting, if only to help us define how far you can push an idea before it is no longer “worth spreading.”

As I mentioned in my previous post, TED has previously set certain marks via talks by Wade Davis, Elizabeth Gilbert and others. I think they will find it difficult to rationalise their decision if these two talks are compared to some of those on any criteria, from 'unscientific ideas' through to drug use.

Hopefully TED's post tomorrow clarifies things better, and perhaps starting with a proper apology might help as well...

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ciamarra's picture
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19 April 2007
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Greg wrote:

retracted the comments originally made (by striking through the text, rather than simply deleting the text).

Greg you didnt respond to my comment in the previous thread regarding Ted, perhaps you didnt see it. anyhow if you did, you would of realized they did in fact deleted the text at one point, so your statment above is somewhat misleading.

after i saw this new thread, i went back to webpage and the comments with the striked line have been placed on the webpage, seems he is in editing it, after he had the comments removed.

perhaps he may of intended "talk" to be elsewhere in a previous discussion or video regarding graham, at this point
i like to know what exactly he intended because graham has been know to slip him and give inaccurate statement in past.

anyhow, in regards to the "serious factual errors" issue, are you claiming he had specifically stated that towards graham ?
i think that factual error statement was directed towards the other speaker and not graham.

ciao clemente

emlong's picture
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What is so great about all of this is that it reiterates the power of ideas. All of this fuss restores my faith in the power of the written and spoken word. When mere words can so inflame people it is a sign that we haven't all permanently gone to sleep yet.

Greg's picture
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ciamarra wrote:

Greg you didnt respond to my comment in the previous thread regarding Ted, perhaps you didnt see it. anyhow if you did, you would of realized they did in fact deleted the text at one point, so your statment above is somewhat misleading.

after i saw this new thread, i went back to webpage and the comments with the striked line have been placed on the webpage, seems he is in editing it, after he had the comments removed.

If they did delete any text, it wasn't for long. I've been keeping an eye on it each day for any change in the text, and those statements have been there each time I have looked.

Quote:

perhaps he may of intended "talk" to be elsewhere in a previous discussion or video regarding graham, at this point
i like to know what exactly he intended because graham has been know to slip him and give inaccurate statement in past.

I think the context of the post clearly shows TED were referring to the talk in question. The fact that they have since crossed those statements out and 'apologised' for them is strongly suggestive of that interpretation as well.

Quote:

anyhow, in regards to the "serious factual errors" issue, are you claiming he had specifically stated that towards graham ?
i think that factual error statement was directed towards the other speaker and not graham.

I think the introduction that says "factual problems with their arguments" in the plural gives an indication they were applying it to both talks.

Kind regards,
Greg
-------------------------------------------
You monkeys only think you're running things
@DailyGrail

emlong's picture
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http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/03/19/3-...

Article in The Waking Times on TED's recent censorship controversies.

ciamarra's picture
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Greg wrote:

I think the context of the post clearly shows TED were referring to the talk in question. The fact that they have since crossed those statements out and 'apologised' for them is strongly suggestive of that interpretation as well.

they mention they selected more than 200 TEDx talks to appear on ourmain TED.com homepage, and further down mention and Hancock’s talks were flagged, it may be possible it is indicating plural.

also the fact they crossed it out, shows they were editing, they didnt mention why. as for the apology, i glance at page today, and when one looks at the clumsy statement i dont know if it is intended to be a apology direct specifically to graham, he clumsy wording, but not being specific to graham so called errors, so one can only assume what was intended. in fact he seems to blame graham for wrongly thinking he was to be censor.

http://blog.ted.com/2013/03/18/graham-ha...

quote from the above link
"What happened next was unfortunate. We wrote to the TEDx organizer indicating our intention and asking her to take the talks off Youtube so that we could repost. She informed the speakers of what was coming, but somehow the part about the talks staying online got lost in translation. Graham Hancock put out an immediate alert that he was about to be “censored”, his army of passionate supporters deluged us with outraged messages, and we then felt compelled to accelerate our blog post and used language that in retrospect was clumsy."

Greg wrote:

I think the introduction that says "factual problems with their arguments" in the plural gives an indication they were applying it to both talks.

but it didnt have the "serious" part, which was intended for other speaker claiming "serious factual errors" .

ciao clemente

alanborky's picture
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Greg the key to this story is why TED came to flag Hancock and Sheldrake in the first place.

The truth is a lot of sites'd be ecstatic to have such exclusive Hancock and Sheldrake videos simply because of the traffic they'd draw yet TED're behaving as if some sympathetic fellow travelling minor backroom staff member surreptitiously sneaked a couple of soft porn based music videos on the site by some unknown snot nosed punk rock band without checking first.

Even the subsequent chaos resulting from the retracted justification conveys the impression TED don't really understand the point of the ban themselves and're now waiting for The Woos Woos to cobble together yet another explanation for them.

It's a pity Phil Klass isn't still around because I'm sure Hancock and Sheldrake would both be happy to admit the possibility as teens they may've watched at least one episode of Top of the Pops and yes the host could indeed've been Jimmy Saville!

Which brings me to what I suspect's the key to Hancock's ban at least.

A couple of months back you yourself posted a piece about Graham Hancock's Green Bitch apology in which he openly admitted to having overcome what was effectively a destructive addiction to marijuana which'd led to him mistreating his wife and others around him and neglecting his research.

Suddenly there was an excess of material from Graham himself by which his speculations plants might facilitate access to spiritual teachers located in other dimensions could in the right hands be discredited as the unfocused stoner ramblings of an addled brained wife abuser who himself now freely admitted his research'd literally gone to pot.

If there's anything in this Graham should allow himself a moment to purr because one of the sure signs you're making serious spiritual headway's when they start try'n'o crucify you.

Kudos to you too Greg for calling bullshit on the whole malarchy which I found particularly amusing given how you normally do your utmost to be restrained in these matters and which only goes to show how egregious the whole bleedin' thing's been from beginning to end.

emlong's picture
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It's like tit for tat I suppose - Graham's Green Bitch against Randi's latest exposed failings of character.
What is so striking about current discourse is that most of the participants are such armchair referees - they don't seem to be getting out into the world and actually having experiences. I often get targeted by these types when I promote orgonite for instance. When I offer to send them a few free pieces so they "can see for themselves" they don't take me up on it. They apparently don't want to have experiences - they just want to theorize abstractly and purely intellectually and remain barricaded inside their thoughts.

jupiter.enteract's picture
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl...

emlong's picture
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I love Silverman. She is one of the most dangerous people in the world because it is impossible to tell whether she is being serious or tongue in cheek which then puts the ball in your court. You have to decide whether to be cool and go along with her coolness as a comedian or be insulted by some profanity, i.e. you have to think outside your various peer groupthinkings. If you can't laugh at profanity then you are probably a way too self conscious thinker.
She is the perfect antidote to TED's genteel and Ivy Leageau-ish presumptions. I am so glad they had her on and then blacklisted her. She is a great performance artist. Thanks for this link.