Just over three years ago, TED took the extraordinary step of removing videos of TEDx presentations by ‘alternative history researcher’ Graham Hancock and ‘maverick biologist’ Rupert Sheldrake. This move met with a mountain of opposition, as TED seemed to be censoring certain ideas that challenged the orthodox worldview – and they only inflamed the situation further when they offered bogus reasoning for doing so.
This view – that TED was censoring ideas that challenged the current scientific and historical paradigm – only seemed more likely when, just a month later, they removed the licence of TEDxWestHollywood, with a theme named “Brother can you spare a paradigm”, just a couple of weeks before the event was scheduled to take place.
Fast forward to 2016, and the more things change, the more they stay the same. A video posted to YouTube of Graham Hancock giving a talk at TEDxReading (in March this year) – titled “Is the house of history built on foundations of sand?” – has been pasted with the annotation seen above across the centre of the screen: “This talk, which was filmed at an independent TEDx event, falls outside TEDx’s curatorial guidelines. Read more below.”
And here’s what the ‘read more below’ is:
NOTE from TED: Please be aware that this talk contains outdated and counterfactual assertions, and should not be understood as a representation of modern scholarship on ancient civilizations.
If ancient civilizations interest you, TEDx Talks contain many fascinating and well-researched talks such as:
Sarah Parcak’s talk on space arachaeology at TEDxYale:
Leslie van Gelder’s talk on cave art at TEDxQueenstown:
Sarah Kenderdine’s talk on museums of the future at TEDxGateway:
Here’s the video for those interested in watching. Happily, the silly placard over the video can be removed rather simply by clicking on the settings button, and turning off ‘annotations’:
I was very careful with this talk. Indeed I did something I’ve never done before which was to read it to make sure no slip of the tongue, or over-running of the extremely limited time allocated, could be used by TED to delete it from Youtube as they did with my last one.
I don’t like reading talks from a carefully pre-prepared script, but having done so in this single case I am quite certain that the ideas I present are NOT “outdated and counter-factual” as TED allege and I challenge them to provide evidence to support this smear.
Hancock says this latest move has solidified the idea to him that “TED is a tool of the dominator society that seeks to keep us all asleep, and that believes itself to be the fount and guardian of all legitimate knowledge”.