Deepak Chopra’s Reply to Chris Anderson, TED and the TED Community: ‘We’re Halfway There, But…’

Chris Anderson. Photo: Pierre Omidyar (CC)

Chris Anderson. Photo: Pierre Omidyar (CC)

At this point, you just know that Chris Anderson and the gang at TED wish that they’d never messed with Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock. Following his earlier diatribe against TED for censorship of Messrs. Hancock and Sheldrake, Deepak Chopra assembles a cast of scientists to hammer away again at the TED establishment, at Huffington Post:

Dear Chris,

Thank you for clearing up some issues, particularly the confusion surrounding TEDx’s decision to take down or shift the talks by Sheldrake and Hancock. Actions speak louder than words, and the talks were removed from the website, followed by your letter warning TEDx organizers essentially not to repeat the same mistake again by inviting similar talks. To underline the point, TEDx withdrew its brand name from a West Hollywood event that was by no means filled with “goofballs” or “questionable” figures.

TED has invited religious leaders to speak, but that’s not at issue. The “fusion of science and spirituality” that you warned against in your guidelines is the issue. The animosity of militant atheists against consciousness studies and their stubborn defense of conservative mainstream science seem to be the background noise, at the very least, that colored your warnings. It’s easy to envision that someone along the line at TED, seeing a talk entitled “The Science Delusion,” recognized an attack on Dawkins and chopped the limb off the tree.

I’m grateful for the even-handedness that you say TED displays in matters of atheism, religion, and science. In 2002 I spoke directly after Dawkins, mounted a vigorous riposte to his main points, and received a standing ovation. His talk appears in full at TED’s website. Mine doesn’t, nor can it be found with a Google search. I’d be grateful to see it restored as a gesture of TED’s lack of censorship.

TED is reacting to the widespread objections to your warnings/guidelines. This takes us halfway. An open forum without an anonymous science board giving thumbs up or thumbs down would go all the way. I recognize that TED is an independent organization; I am only making a suggestion. Please see the attached responses from accredited scientists and the broader community of concerned professionals, who have their own angle on the issues at hand…

[read what they have to say at Huffington Post]

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  • Charles Wharry

    What is this all about? It looks like something very important?

  • http://www.facebook.com/brent.quigley Brent Quigley

    Great article. But it’s too bad it was writen by Deepak Chopra. He always comes across as an Oprah-approved charlatan.

    • Calypso_1

      In this case Chorpa’s status as a cultural icon is significant regardless of any deeper merit his own works lack for the more initiated.
      TED has also taken on the status of culture maker.
      There are plenty in the mainstream who have no idea who Hancock or Sheldrake are or why there should be any merit/controversy to their work & involvement w/ TED.
      To place someone of public stature & popularity, followed by the voices of established scientists, into the forefront of opposition to TED’s censorship takes the effort to a new level.
      Hopefully one that will have an impact that yields deeper results.

  • alizardx

    Figures Chris Anderson would be the TED intellectual gatekeeper. I’ve read his articles on How 3D Printing Is The Future!!! Of Manufacturing, won’t waste money and time on his books. A person who owns a 3D printer has no excuse for mistaking it for a fictional Star Trek “Replicator”. There are reasons why you won’t be printing cheap commodity stuff of the kind one buys at dollar stores any time soon. Reading his kind of “Futurist” stuff makes me wonder if to be a qualified “Futurist” one has to not have a clue as to what one is talking about.

    I think he’s one of the people responsible for public and Futurist misunderstanding of what 3D printing is really good for and likely to become useful for. (No, you CAN NOT print a working gun with consumer-grade 3D printers – but if you don’t believe me, please print one and fire a few rounds through it for a youtube video.)

    This is based on Anderson’s articles. As for whether he is more of a charlatan than Deepak is …. feel free to discuss.

    People are increasingly noticing the limitations on TED-approved “thinking”. The last TED censorship scandal was over someone giving a TED talk questioning the social utility of the current distribution of wealth, infringing on TED “superscience” “sacred turf”.

    If you haven’t figured out just how limited the quality of TED-approved reality is, next time you click through to a TED talk, click through and read the transcript unattached to flashy visual presentation and/or attractive public speaker.

  • BuzzCoastin

    TED controversy, yawn
    Deepak Chopra, I’m gettin’ sleepier
    all the arguments about censorship, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • Calypso_1

      Repeat ‘Uncle Homeland’ 5X and you’ll come around in no time at all.

      • BuzzCoastin

        Pitchcap and triangle, noose and tinctunc.
        Uncle Flabbius Muximus to Niecia Flappia Minnimiss.
        As this is.
        And as this this is.
        Dear Brotus, land me arrears.
        Rockaby, babel, flatten a wall.
        How he broke the good news to Gent.

        • Calypso_1

          To think, when one is no longer young, when one is not yet old,
          that one is no longer young, that one is not yet old, that is perhaps something. To pause, towards the close of one’ s three hour day,
          and consider: the darkening ease, the brightening trouble; the pleasure
          pleasure because it was, the pain pain because it shall be; the glad acts
          grown proud, the proud acts growing stubborn; the panting the trembling towards a being gone, a being to come; and the true true no longer,
          and the false true not yet. And to decide not to smile after all, sitting in the shade, hearing the cicadas, wishing it were night, wishing
          it were morning, saying, No, it is not the heart, no, it is not the liver,
          no, it is not the prostate, no, it is not the ovaries, no, it is muscular, it
          is nervous. Then the gnashing ends, or it goes on, and one is in the pit,
          in the hollow, the longing for longing gone, the horror of horror, and
          one is in the hollow, at the foot of all the hills at last, the ways down,
          the ways up, and free, free at last, for an instant free at last, nothing
          at last.

          • BuzzCoastin

            “All I know is what the words know, and dead things, and that makes a handsome little sum, with a beginning and a middle and an end, as in the well-built phrase and the long sonata of the dead.”

      • BuzzCoastin

        oh & BTW
        I’m glad to hear that the phrase Uncle Homeland
        still stings & annoys
        just like real life

        • Calypso_1

          presumption of insertion does not equate to catalytic import

          • BuzzCoastin

            o i c
            sometimes a cigar is just a Freudian slip

          • Calypso_1

            I was just enjoying the sting of a fine Romeo amongst my Mayhaws & a midnight chill. The season’s first sonnet of tree frogs was slowly shuttered by the cold and thoughts were not of Herr Freud.
            I take that back…the spring brings an abundance of reverie on slipping phallus, insertion, catalytic copulation & the like.
            The wisteria will peak tomorrow or the next. That alone is always a hallmark of import to my most tender memories.

            I heard chortle of kits last night. The banshee wails of the vixen bore fuzzy fruit.
            I am most pleased.
            How dost the season find you in the antipodal realms of Asia?

          • BuzzCoastin

            the spring pollution in Beijing is in full bloom
            but I hope to see better weather in another country real soon
            in the meantime, my garden keeps me grounded
            as the earth bring forth her fruits

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