Tag Archives | TED

The TED Talks That Are Blatant Pseudoscientific Garbage

Bonnie Bassler TED talk in 2009Llewellyn Hinkes-Jones takes TED to task not for the kind of controversial TEDx talks that Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake gave but for the mainstream TED, writing at The Awl:

The long knives have been out for TED Talks for some time. Benjamin Bratton called them “middlebrow megachurch infotainment.” Evegny Morozov called the TED publishing arm the “insatiable kingpin of international meme laundering.” The gist of these arguments is that TED Talks are vapid, culty mass-selfies that fetishize technology for every solution. It is “placebo science” meant to make its audience feel good about learning and themselves, where ideas can hang out and do whatever, man—just turn the safety off on your brain-gun.

If not read in the voice of a perpetual techno-cynic, these might not be such terrible things. Is middlebrow entertainment bad? If cynics want to complain about shallow, self-indulgent infotainment there’s a whole world of sitcoms, reality television, and History channel documentaries on alien-Nazi collaborations for their critical ire.

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TED Talk About What’s Wrong With TED Talks

So what do you think? Does TED have a problem? Is a description like “Middlebrow mega-church entertainment” fair?

Via Gawker:

At a recent TEDx event in San Diego, [Benjamin] Bratton delivered a talk called “What’s Wrong with TED Talks?”

“The first reason is over-simplification,” Bratton says at the start of his speech. “To be clear, I have nothing against the idea of interesting people who do smart things explaining their work doing in a way that everyone can understand, but TED goes way beyond that.”

H/T: BoingBoing.net… Read the rest

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TED, Monsanto, Pseudoscience and GMOs

TED_CensorshipEarlier this year Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock suffered a form of censorship at the hands of TED, a dispute covered amply here at disinformation. However, we missed a none too dissimilar spat regarding TED telling its TEDx event organizers to avoid “pseudoscience” and that red flag topics included GMOs and “Food as medicine.” Mike Adams jumped all over it at Natural News, writing:

Allow me to be the first to announce that TED is dead. Why? Because the group that organizes so-called “TED talks” has been thoroughly hijacked by corporate junk science and now openly rejects any talks about GMOs, food as medicine, or even the subject of how food can help prevent behavioral disorders in children. All these areas of discussion are now red-flagged from being presented on any TED stage.

This is openly admitted by TEDx itself in a little-known letter publicly published on December 7, 2012. Click here to view the letter.

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Dear TED, Is It ‘Bad Science’ or a ‘Game of Thrones’?

Deepak Chopra MSPACThe botched handling of the TEDx Whitechapel talks by Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock continues to cause waves, now via an open letter to TED by Deepak Chopra, MD. FACP, Stuart Hameroff, MD, Menas C. Kafatos, Ph.D., Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., and Neil Theise, MD, published at Huffington Post:

One of modern science’s great strengths is that any questionable finding dies a quick death if it’s invalid. The safeguards are mainly two: Your new finding must be repeatable when other researchers run the same experiments, and peer review by qualified scientists subjects every new finding to microscopic scrutiny. So it surprised the millions of admirers of TED, whose conferences attract wide attention to new, cutting-edge ideas, when that organization decided to practice semi-censorship.

The flap is over two videos of TEDx talks delivered in the UK in January that were summarily removed from TEDx’s YouTube channel (TEDx is the brand name for conferences outside the main TED events that are allowed to use the TED trademark, such as TEDxBoston or TEDxBaghdad — so far, about 5,000 such events have used the name).

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An Open Letter to TED

arrangementsKen Jordan, Publisher & Editorial Director, Evolver/Reality Sandwich, has written an open letter to TED’s Chris Anderson in an attempt to get the TED organization to stop squirming around for a minute and talk about the real issues at stake in their decision to cordon off large swaths of scientific inquiry:

“TED’s prominence has made it, perhaps inadvertently, into an forum that validates worthy intellectual progress. If a good idea gets momentum, it will most likely end up, one way or another, presented by TED or one of the TEDx offshoots.

That’s why the censure of the TEDx talks by Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake is so dismaying. As you must know, to many of us the reasons behind their removal from the TED YouTube site are just not clear. On behalf of the Evolver community, I’d like to extend an invitation to you to help us understand the reasoning that led to TED’s actions, because we suspect that behind your decision is an uninformed prejudice against groundbreaking research in a critical area of study, the possibility that consciousness extends beyond the brain.”

The issue here is not one of censorship, it’s one of social engineering.… Read the rest

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TED Backs Down: People Power Wins Against Censorship

Following popular outcry in response to TED’s censorship of recent TEDx talks by leading thinkers Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake – and against the accompanying slanders on their reputations – TED is forced to retract its position and put the talks back online in a “reserved” area of their site. By then, however, pirate copies already existed and from these, in an example of guerrilla action on the internet, hundreds of people independently uploaded the talk to their own Youtube channels.  Just one of these many Youtube channels indepently hosting the talk in defiance of TED is here.

This week saw a remarkable victory in the court of human justice with the public climb-down by internet media giant TED in light of their error in censoring last week, the challenging talks by leading thinkers Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake. The much loved TED brand has been called on its trustworthiness for the first time and forced to retract its position.… Read the rest

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TED Talks: Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake, a fresh take

For those of you who took TED to task for taking down the Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock TEDx talks, you’ve partially succeeded: TED has at least addressed the censorship issue (below), saying

The goal here is to have an open conversation about:

- the line between science and pseudoscience

- how far TED and TEDx should go in giving exposure to unorthodox ideas

But they haven’t restored the videos themselves. Yet.

The hardest line to draw is science versus pseudoscience. TED is committed to science. But we think of it as a process, not as a locked-in body of truth. The scientific method is a means of advancing understanding. Of asking for evidence. Of testing ideas to see which stack up and which should be abandoned. Over time that process has led to a rich understanding of the world, but one that is constantly being refined and upgraded.

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Graham Hancock Refutes TED’s Allegations, Defends Reputation

Letter dated 15 March 2013 from Graham Hancock to TED. The letter and series of supporting documents below it are self explanatory. It will be necessary to take a look at them all and to follow some of the links given in order to arrive at an informed opinion of what has happened here but for all concerned with freedom of speech, and the negative attitude of a powerful lobby of self-styled scientists towards visionary plants, the exercise should prove worthwhile.

Dear TED

I wish to protest officially the damage to my reputation and my good name as a prominent author and public speaker currently being perpetrated by TED on its own website — see here – http://blog.ted.com/2013/03/14/open-for-discussion-graham-hancock-and-rupert-sheldrake/

I require TED either to substantiate the damaging allegations made there against me by TED or to retract them and publish a full and unconditional public apology.

The substance of my complaint is contained in my letter to Chris Anderson that I posted on the above blog page this morning replying to an earlier letter to me posted by Chris Anderson in the same place on 14 March.… Read the rest

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Graham Hancock Calls Out TED’s Blatant Censorship

Via Graham Hancock’s facebook feed.

In attempt to brush up their severely tarnished image after censoring my presentation“The War on Consciousness” from the TEDx website today (on the grounds that I was “unscientific”) and also censoring the presentation “The Science Delusion” by my colleague Rupert Sheldrake for the same reason, TED have now rushed to create a remote corner of their website, which I imagine they hope no-one will see, where our talks have been put back online and may be debated: http://blog.ted.com/2013/03/14/open-for-discussion-graham-hancock-and-rupert-sheldrake/.This gesture, they claim, is in response to my suggestion that they had censored us and should be taken as evidence of their “spirit of radical openness”.

All I can say is this is extremely devious behavior on TED’s part. On the one hand they take down two videos from Youtube that had generated enormous public interest and traction (mine had received over 130,000 views and Rupert’s over 35,000 views).

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