The Weiler Psi

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TED Not Satisfied With Current Censorship: TEDxWestHollywood is Taken Down


TED, the parent organization, is removing the license of TEDxWestHollywood only a couple of weeks before their planned event “Brother, Can You Spare a Paradigm?” after they had spent more than a year preparing.  Tickets are already on sale. After summarily dismissing the program with no recompense at all for monies that had been expended, they amended their stance to offer a fraction of the operating costs in compensation and all because they deem the program to be . . . wait for it . . . unscientific.  Does this sound familiar?  It does indeed.  This is the same charge that was leveled at Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock when TED first pulled their videos.  (Link here.)

In an email to Suzanne Taylor, the organizer of TEDxWestHollywood, a representative of TED outlined the objections:

(…) And when we look at your speaker line-up, we see several people who promote — as fact — theories that are well outside what most scientists would accept as credible. We’re not saying all the speakers are off-base. Perhaps you could make a case for each of them individually. But when we look at the program as a whole, it’s clear that it doesn’t meet our guidelines.The problem is not the challenging of orthodox views. We believe in that. We’ve had numerous talks which do that. But we have rules about the presentation of science on the TEDx stage. We disallow speakers who use the language of science to claim they have proven the truth of ideas that are speculative and which have failed to gain significant scientific acceptance.

More than 2000 TEDx events will take place in the year ahead.  If your program is allowed to proceed, it will truly damage other TEDx organizers’ ability to recruit scientists and other speakers. (Indeed many in the TED and TEDx communities have already reached out to us to express their concern.)

We have reluctantly concluded that your program is not appropriate for TEDx, and we have to therefore terminate your license. You are of course welcome to still hold an event with these speakers. You just can’t associate it with TEDx. We are happy to work with you to figure out how to smoothly transition it into an event under a different name.  I’ll be happy to speak with you directly to facilitate this.

This line in particular is telling:

Perhaps you could make a case for each of them individually. But when we look at the program as a whole, it’s clear that it doesn’t meet our guidelines.

It’s basically an admission that the parent organization is not prepared to argue their case factually.  As science is, at its most fundamental level, about the facts and details, it’s rather curious that they would make a case for being on the side of science, but avoid addressing the science.  It’s the same thing they’re doing with the Sheldrake/Hancock controversy.  Sheldrake has asked for an opportunity to debate, but has been met with silence.

So what is the fuss all about?  (here is her lineup of speakers.)  Although TED refused to “name names” in their dismissal, whereby an argument could be made, it surely has to do with three of the speakers who are scientists, about whom they earlier had raised eyebrows asking for justification for their place on the program with the caution that if they weren’t pleased with the end results they would not post the talks on their YouTube page. Pulling the program was never brought up. The three are:  Russell Targ, who will talk on the reality of ESP and Larry Dossey, who will talk on the revolution in consciousness and Marilyn Schlitz, who is a social anthropologist and psi researcher, speaking on “How do we shift our paradigm.”  All three have the proper credentials along with ability to speak to the evidence and present their views using credible science.  They, more than the other speakers, represent the real threat to the Materialists/skeptics at TED.  However, in addition, TED also had objections to Marianne Williamson and Paul Nugent although neither was giving a science talk.  This is the pertinent email to Suzanne Taylor:

We will be especially interested to hear about the ideas that  Marianne Williamson, Russell Targ, Larry Dossey, Paul Nugent, and Marilyn Schlitz will be presenting.We feel that the pseudoscience struggle is an important one. TED and TEDx cannot be platforms that give undo legitimacy to false evidence and selective logic — regardless of brilliant packaging.

You can now add these speakers to the growing list of people that TED is using its influence to censor via withdrawing their support.

My best guess is that TED intends to take down the Sheldrake and Hancock talks at the end of the debate, but would not have much of a case if they went ahead and allowed the lineup of the TEDxWestHollywood event.  Allowing Larry Dossey and Russell Targ, but censoring Sheldrake and Hancock would not make any sense at all.  They seem to be on a slash and burn campaign dedicated to preserving their materialistic point of view, even though it has become increasingly indefensible over the years.

From a business standpoint, TED is destroying their brand with this nonsense.  With their motto, “ideas worth spreading” it looks like the worst sort of hypocrisy to the people who disagree with them.  It is a bad idea to piss off such a large section of their audience.  This part of their audience by the way, is the demographic that seeks out novel ideas and experiments with new things.  They are early adopters; the trend setters.  This group, that TED is antagonizing, is the absolute sweet spot of marketing.  If they abandon TED, the company will suffer disproportionally for their loss.  And for what?  To defend an ideology?  It’s madness.

What these actions by TED mean to the large group of people, including myself, who support these ideas about consciousness and physics is that we are being totally disrespected.  Our ideas are deemed unscientific for essentially nonsense reasons; we’re labeled anti-science, woo or other similar derogatory terms; they censor our popular speakers and won’t even to defend their position.  The completely reprehensible action  that TED is taking against TEDxWestHollywood is the most egregarious example of this.  We have enough influence and power right now to make them regret this and this is a good place to draw that line in the sand.  We don’t have to take it anymore.

Please show your support and help Suzanne Taylor get her program off the ground without TED.  You can make your tax deductible donation at:  www.TEDxWestHollywood.com

If any of the TEDxWestHollywood links fail, you can find the information at Theconversation.org.

Suzanne Taylor, the TEDxWestHollywood organizer, has added additional information in the comment section.

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152 comments on “TED Not Satisfied With Current Censorship: TEDxWestHollywood is Taken Down

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  5. gregorylent
    April 14, 2013

    TED is just the leading edge of the status quo … well worth ignoring for years now

    • marcos
      May 2, 2013

      TED, dull ideas worth spreading.

  6. xaerius
    April 12, 2013

    This paragraph is telling. Follow the money:

    More than 2000 TEDx events will take place in the year ahead. If your program is allowed to proceed, it will truly damage other TEDx organizers’ ability to recruit scientists and other speakers. (Indeed many in the TED and TEDx communities have already reached out to us to express their concern.)

    Even if they want to let you speak, their fear of losing money and standing with the hardline “scientists” stays their hand.

    Alternative science needs its own TED alternative.

    • Funky
      September 28, 2013

      Agree, we need a TEDalt. That’s a great idea.

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  15. Dave Troy (@davetroy)
    April 2, 2013

    TED is begging you to go compete with them. Do it! Come up with a conference and website that celebrates ALL ideas, regardless of their provenance, provability, or replicability.

    You could make a LOT of money, to be sure, and it would certainly be at TED’s expense. TED just doesn’t know the HUGE opportunity it’s missing, or the global horde of influential thinkers it’s disrespecting. TED’s days are clearly numbered!

    Let us know when you launch your competitor, as I am sure people will rush to be a part of this new community of open-minded thinkers.

    • craigweiler
      April 2, 2013

      Already in the works. it’s generating a lot of interest. Thanks for your support.

      • Tinglelight
        April 9, 2013

        It’s easy for me to say from so far away, but I hope it happens, Mr Weiler. You’ve done amazing work so far.

  16. ~C4Chaos
    April 2, 2013

    excellent response by Rupert Sheldrake on the TED/TEDx controversy.

    TED, Jerry Coyne, PZ Myers, you’ve been served!

    ——

    Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: I do see Chris Anderson’s point of view and indeed, I had a long conversation with Chris Anderson on the telephone. We got on perfectly well. I wasn’t particularly angry with him or anything like that. It was a reasonable conversation. They do have a point. There’s a lot of rubbish and there has to be some kind of filter. So I’m not against the idea of a filter but what I am against is the idea of applying the filter in a very partial kind of way.

    There are lots of things up on the TEDx website which are controversial. For example, there are a lot of talks by militant Atheists which a lot of people find controversial. A lot of people disagree with what they say and think they’re actually wrong in a variety of ways. But those haven’t been flagged up or put in the Naughty Corner. Those have been allowed absolutely free run on the Internet. They’re put up on the main website, talks by people like Richard Dawkins, for example.

    The difference here is that my talk was flagged up as being pseudo-scientific because Jerry Coyne didn’t like it. Well, Jerry Coyne is a very bigoted man who writes very loud-mouthed things on his website. I don’t take him very seriously. I mean, he’s a polemicist, a kind of Dawkins-type polemicist. So they pay a lot of attention to what Jerry Coyne and PZ Meyers said on their websites. If there had been a similar attack by, for example, Christian Fundamentalists on Dawkins they would have ignored it. But if it’s by scientific fundamentalists then they pay attention, and what’s more don’t just pay attention but dig themselves into a hole trying to justify this.

    So I think the problem here is an attempt to filter out content was done in an extremely biased way. If every TED talk which is controversial was flagged up by somebody who didn’t like it and put in the Naughty Corner, all the most interesting talks would be in the Naughty Corner. Only the dullest would be on the main website.

    What’s more, TED in their instructions to the organizers of the TEDx events told them they wanted controversial talks. They said controversy energizes. When it’s in a particular area, one that upsets the dogmatic materialists, then they back down and say it’s not the right thing to have. So I think that it’s been inconsistent. They’ve paid far too much attention to these very biased and I think minority and strident voices.

    ~ http://www.skeptiko.com/rupert-sheldrake-censored/

    • Rupert McWiseman
      April 2, 2013

      One phrase by Sheldrake bothers me a bit: “scientific fundamentalists”. It bothers me in the same way that the title of his last book (The Science Delusion) did.

      It’s a sorry state of affairs when the word “science” has become a synonym for “materialism” and “atheism”. Science is a method of inquiry, and a (constantly-changing) collection of models of reality. As such, is metaphysically neutral. It should never thought to be wedded to a specific
      philosophical worldview.

      And yet this has happened; to the point that even smart guys like Sheldrake use the word “scientific” when they mean “materialist”.

      This unfortunately gives the impression that Sheldrake is anti-science, when his stance is quite the reverse. (The American publishers of his book were astute enough to change the title to Science Set Free.)

      • i very much agree. this point is not a small one but possibly central to this whole debate. the folks studying psi topics seriously are scientists.

        • xcbsmith
          April 5, 2013

          Why is it important we call them scientists and the process science? What’s wrong with simply being referred to as a “scholar” or “professor”?

          Regardless of what definitions one might think are appropriate, the “method of inquiry” of science that is widely understood by the public has been claimed by the “materialists”, which is how it can be perceived as misleading to claim things as being scientific which are not materialist. There is a simple solution here: claim another term.

      • girtonseeker
        April 9, 2013

        I am afraid that Rupert is right. The science, as currently promoted and jealously guarded – not only by the majority of the scientific establishment but also by the western media – is not metaphysically neutral.

        Having been hijacked by these ‘guardians of true science’ it has ossified into a dogma thus degenerating into a scientism. Regretfully even after what some of us have – in the Charles Tart’s brilliant book The End of Materialism – seen as its death nail, materialism and militant atheism ‘rule OK’.

    • xcbsmith
      April 3, 2013

      I actually don’t see what is so excellent about the response. Let’s look at what we have in the above quote….

      He essentially approves of the notion of filtering out bad content, but takes issue with the criteria. Anyone might take issue with TED’s criteria for talks, and one can definitely point to even uncontroversial and meaningful topics that are completely unrepresented at TED… but since most of us didn’t create the TED brand in the first place, our judgement is kind of besides the point.

      He makes a straw man of Coyne being the distinguishing factor against his talk (Coyne doesn’t deserve nearly that much credit), then takes umbrage at Coyne’s labeling/name calling… and then proceeds to name call and label Coyne. Then there is a laughable analogy to Christian Fundamentalists (was anyone else aware of how Christian Fundamentalism embodies a core constituency of the scientific orthodoxy?).

      Sheldrake’s argument amounts to “I declare your filter to be inconsistent”. I’m not sure why it is deemed inconsistent to filter out talks that are both outside the filter’s criteria and seek to redefine the criteria… If you are going to have a consistent filter at all, that seems like a reasonable place to start.

  17. xcbsmith
    April 1, 2013

    Honestly, the claims of censorship are just ridiculous. It’s not like any event being organized is entitled to the TED brand, nor does pulling the brand implicitly cancel the event or prevent the speakers from getting their message out. I can understand disappointment, frustration, and a sense of betrayal by the organizers, but this is not censorship!

    The TED brand is about a certain kind of presentation, and I think most of the slate of speakers at this event would themselves be the first to admit that they are a different kind of presentation.

    And please… the justifications of some of these speakers are ridiculous. Targ’s work was published back in the 70′s… and to put it kindly has not withstood the test of time. This isn’t an “idea worth spreading”.. it’s an “idea that has been spread, and discarded”. Looking at the presentations, it’s not even the who or the what, but rather the how of the “scientific research” that is the problem. Much of the talks are precisely what Feynman described as “cargo cult science”. That doesn’t mean the ideas are necessarily wrong, but it does mean presenting them as science is misleading at best.

    • marcustanthony
      April 2, 2013

      I’m assuming you didn’t read the programme, nor Russell Targ’s response. Most of the speakers were not giving science talks. Most were talking about social, economic or paradigmatic shifts. Love and compassion in a connected world is the central theme. These are hardly ideas that are a threat to anyone, unless they have a vested interest in maintaining the illusion of separation and western hyper-individualism. Now there is an idea that just hasn’t stood the test of time in physics. And Targ was presenting material from recently declassified documents. It is not that suchideas are discredited. In fact the science and data have improved. It’s just that some do not want to be confronted with more data or ideas which THEY discarded years ago. Coyne and the skeptics are the ones who are out of date, and their worldview only grows more outmoded with every passing year. Their ideas and arguments have not changed in fifty years.

      • xcbsmith
        April 3, 2013

        I read the program both when I received an invite and before posting, I did read Russell Targ’s response and responded to it, though I think unfortunately those comments were deleted.

        A common trick of propagandists and charlatans is to seek to bind their message to terms and concepts that are so broadly unimpeachable in hopes that they’ll shield themselves from criticism. “Love & compassion”, basically “mom & apple pie”, as is “science” (which, btw, is invoked far more than “love” in the description of the theme for the event, and that’s even before we get to the talks…). Of course no one is against love, compassion or science, but some of the more vile ideas in history chose to describe themselves as such. I *don’t* think this event, it’s organizers, or any of the speakers are included in that list, but I highlight it to emphasize that there absolutely is a potential danger in allowing vocabulary, brands and ideas with broad, positive connotations to be co-opted.

        As even TED’s critics have noted, if you look through the TED talks & videos which have been promoted just this year, there is plenty of embrace of confrontation with more data or ideas that “they” discarded years ago.

        Good science tends to tend to thrive in the soil of skepticism, does not require a credulous audience’s sunny disposition, embraces independent reproduction of findings, and literally requires the acceptance of peers. Everyone knows the limitations of that process and recognizes that not all good and important ideas have those qualities. So why is it so important to use that label (which ironically weakens the label’s power anyway)?

    • Fran Theis
      April 2, 2013

      With apologies to Craig because this is the third time I’ve posted the name of this “basic” science book on his blog:

      Mr. Smith, you need to inform yourself and read “The Conscious Universe” by Dr. Dean Radin. The assertions you make in your last paragraph are simply wrong on so many levels. Please, don’t embarrass yourself further by blogging more before you actually do the homework. Dean Radin’s book is the homework you need.

  18. Chris Reeve
    April 1, 2013

    What TED — and many others — continue to fail to see is that their decision to accept the labeling of controversial, non-consensus science as “fake” science is a byproduct of the failure of our educational system to actually teach critical thinking in science. If our public schools and universities had already done their jobs, and we were all effective critical thinkers who understood the intricate nuances of models, based upon a wide fluency in scientific concepts, sufficient to spot problems in any scientific endeavor, “real” science wouldn’t need protecting. We would simply gravitate towards those theories which seemed to perform.

    But, most educators today still don’t know what misconceptions their students possess. And they are all trying to build these detailed, complex knowledge structures on top of those misconceptions. The future of science education is two-way communication which is designed to identify and remediate misconceptions in students — which studies consistently show *all* students carry with them to their science classes.

    The real question though is where TED fits into this. The TED business model does not appear to value two-way communication, or even apparently, controversy in science.

  19. Michael Gmirkin
    April 1, 2013

    In my opinion, which matters not, TED should be VERY SPECIFIC. THESE speakers are OKAY. THOSE speakers are NOT OKAY. REMOVE speakers XYZ and have your license restored. Keep them and it remains revoked.

    Otherwise, TED is just pulling shenanigans and diluting their own brand by becoming censors, and cryptic ones at that. No outside help needed…

    If they have a problem with SPECIFIC SPEAKERS or SPECIFIC TOPICS or SPECIFIC LOGIC/EVIDENCE, let them say so. Otherwise, TEDxWestHollywood should give them the finger and put on the event anyway.

    Just my 2c.

    Who is TED to arbitrate “truth”? Are they the “pope” of science? Let arguments be heard. If you disagree with the arguments, refute them. That’s how science works. Not by this pseudo-censorship…

    Point, counterpoint, man! I want to hear the arguments and I also want to hear the counter-arguments. That’s how people learn things and how science progresses. Not by “you’re not allowed to say that, because it makes me uncomfortable or because you make me uncomfortable.” Science should never “get comfortable” lest it become complacent and lazy, thinking it knows everything and every idea has been explored.

    So what if there are a couple blind alleys or garden paths. Good ideas prosper because they make sense, they are usable and testable. Bad ideas wither because they aren’t usable, testable or are easily refuted…

    Perhaps I’m being too naive / optimistic… C’est la vie. I’d like to believe in an “ideal world.”

    • marcustanthony
      April 1, 2013

      Of course it should be recognised most of the speakers were not scientists, nor were they basing their talks on science, as far as I can tell. This makes TED’s censorship even more absurd.

      • theoffensivatheist
        April 12, 2013

        I think i’ve lost some part of this story, how are TEDx doing any “Censorship”? They’ve asked that their name not be associated with the event, as far as i know they haven’t stopped the event. I understand the thinking behind TED’s decision as anyone that starts throwing the word “Quantum” around outside of physics is always going to start to seem a little suspect to some people, including myself.

        • girtonseeker
          April 13, 2013

          Your comment suggests you are still living in the universe of the classical Newtonian physics, unaware that the computer – that you have probably used to write your comment – is just one of several of today’s applications of the quantum mechanics; not to mention your TV, CD and DVD players.

    • Mark S. Ekdahl
      April 2, 2013

      Good point. They didn’t even have the courage to confront individual speakers, but threw out the baby with the bath water.

  20. Thomas Jespersen
    April 1, 2013

    This paradigm shift would change society as a whole. As far as I can see its not only materialist scientists that could object it.

  21. Dave Smith
    April 1, 2013

    <blockquote. They, more than the other speakers, represent the real threat to the Materialists/skeptics at TED.</blockquote.

    You're being much too kind. Those perpetrating this farce are not "skeptics" but actually "pseudoskeptics". Skepticism is valid and essential to good science. These folk are happy to throw the slur "pseudoscience" around, but they won't themselves like being labeled pseudoskeptics, which is what the facts show them to be.

    (…) And when we look at your speaker line-up, we see several people who promote — as fact — theories that are well outside what most scientists would accept as credible.

    “Most scientists” are happy to accept as credible that the event horizon of a black hole is a place where “the known laws of physics break down”.

    “Most scientists” are happy to accept as credible that there can exist in reality (as against in a mathematical expressions) a “point” of zero dimensions which contains infinite mass.

    “Most scientists” are happy to accept as credible that space is a four-dimensional “thing” which can be warped, twisted and bent to suit their own failing theories, and then they typically use a two-dimensional illustration with a ball on a rubber sheet to show the great unwashed just how this works…

    Doesn’t give me much faith in “most scientists”.

    • theoffensivatheist
      April 12, 2013

      That’s handy as “Faith” has no place in science.

      • girtonseeker
        April 13, 2013

        Not so. Since faith is defined as “Complete trust or confidence in someone or something” the stage of faith is an essential stepping stone in any scienific enquiry, which usually starts from an.assumption a hopefully end up with the evidence-based proof.

        • theoffensivatheist
          May 7, 2013

          Inquiry doesn’t = “Faith”. Faith belongs to religion. I think we’re just arguing semantics now though?

          • Steaphen Pirie
            November 11, 2013

            Faith in the future while being different to faith in a religious God is nonetheless faith (neither can be proved). “Faith” is involved In the former, and, ironically, not so in the latter if we define faith as having some linkage to some demonstrable, tangible result.

            Example: All the matter in our heads and bodies is both wave and particle. The wave-nature is the pre-physical field of possibilities component of the particle (collapsed) side to things, which we’re familiar with in everyday life.

            Thus, to choose, and think requires you to ‘reach into’ the near future and to be able to select one of those possibilites (e.g. any number up to infinity) by “collapsing the wave-function” of your brain neurons, etc. We can justifiably define that as faith, as there is no scientific mechanism to explain how we do that, nor will we find any (measurable, observable) method of doing that (that as much should be obvious, recognising the past-based nature of all observations and measurements, due to speed-of-light lag).

            As Lawrence Bragg rightly said, quite a few years ago “Everything that has already happened is particles, everything in the future is waves”

            How we engage those waves reduces to faith (more correctly, conscious desire coupling to unconscious nonlocal interconnections), since we can’t and won’t prove the mechanism by which it gets done.

    • Nja
      July 3, 2014

      Those are misconceptions. Most scientists are not happy to accept this. There is active research to find out what’s happening at the event horizon and beyond. And it’s not like scientists just agree to “keep the power”. On the contrary there are some very heated debates on technical physics blogs.

      We don’t think there exists a point with infinite mass. What you’re referring to follows out of certain “properties” in calculus. When dealing with gravity for example we can pretend that all mass is at a point which calculations easier while getting the same correct results.
      Generally, infinities are seen as unphysical. Prizes have been handed out earlier for those who found ways to remove infinities and provide real results.

      Regarding the four dimensions (relativity theory). It made several predictions and has been confirmed countless times. Every day all over the world in particle accelerators for one. Other examples are certain medical imaging devices at hospitals or GPS where relativistic effects need to be accounted for or they would not work properly.

      • Nja
        July 4, 2014

        *which makes calculations easier

  22. ~C4Chaos
    April 1, 2013

    i shudder at the thought that Jerry Coyne might be one of the anonymous TED Science Board members. just sayin’.

  23. Michelle Gibson
    April 1, 2013

    I suspected this might happen. Ever since I saw Coyne’s blog post decrying the TED talk, I wondered if he would complain again and cause TED to reject the event.

    I wonder if any further talk on scientific evidence for the paranormal/psi/spirituality, etc, will ever be allowed on TED again? It seems like Mr Coyne is keeping an eye on the organisation and the minute he gets wind of anything spiritual/New Age, he makes a fuss. It seems all Mr Coyne has to do is raise a red flag and any talk/event such as this one will be no more.

    I am really worried that there may come a time in my life when anyone wishing to pursue spirituality will be actively persecuted by Mr Coyne and others like him.

    • craigweiler
      April 1, 2013

      The skeptics don’t concern themselves with everything spiritual/New Age. Most of that stuff does not represent a credible threat to materialism. Rather, they get all wound up at any suggestion that the hallowed halls of science may have to accept as legitimate, science that contradicts their worldview.

      • Fran Theis
        April 1, 2013

        Precisely.

      • Mari Caplan
        April 4, 2013

        Correct. It is a threat to their power and ego that is at issue.

      • girtonseeker
        April 13, 2013

        It may be helpful to recommend to them some basic reading, e.g. The End of Materialism by Charles T Tart PhD, which would, hopefully, help them in getting rid of the affliction which seems to be affecting most of them – namely the superstition of materialism,

  24. Is it not the case that the legitimacy of these reasons depends on the basic claim of the incorrect use of scientific language where it is perhaps not acknowledged by the scientific community, particularly at the level of the preceding TED talks.

    Obviously TED does not promote only an exclusive, bottom up, materialistic type world view, and surely no one here thinks that. Otherwise to organise this event in the first place would be a pointless exercise.

    TED must maintain a standard which allows for general consumption at a certain level so that the events (and their shared knowledge) do not become obsolete by way of incorrect language or simply being categorised as pseudoscience. I would assume the concern here is where a good idea, perhaps a scientifically valid one, loses its impact or is not given credit where it is due as a result of the language used or in the context of the full list of speakers – this would be a waste.

    A reaction of this size surely means that those impacted by this may choose to collaborate with TEDx to ask what is required to have the license restored. Any energy spent outside of that is wasted if one thinks this is truly outrageous act.

  25. marcustanthony
    March 31, 2013

    Looking through the programme of that WestHolloywood TEDx event, there doesn’t seem to be anything that isn’t legitimate. The only thing that is particularly “out there” would be that one of the speakers – Gary Bobroff – has a book which mentions crop circles. A lot of the speakers talk about transcending imbalanced capitalism, or the nature of love and compassion. Are these topics taboo, unless they are reduced to neurochemistry? The “E’ in TED stands for “Education”. Surely discussing the nature of love and the nature of society are important aspects of education.

    Russel Targ was talking about ESP, but he is a physicist who has been involved in experiments at Princeton, and has been published in respected peer-reviewed scientific journals like “Nature”. The implications of this subject area are enormous, including in technology – the “T” in TED. And that is exactly why skeptics hate it. It threatens their mechanistic take on reality.

    One of the taboos that the TEDxWestHollywood organisers broke was using the word “quantum” twice in their home page. This word like is a red flag to a bull in the skeptics’ community. Take note. If you ever have to answer to an organisation which has any connections with skeptics, avoid the word “quantum”, regardless of context. The only exception might be if you are a physicist or have a very strong understanding of the subject area. Even then I’d avoid it.

    With these skeptics, the goal posts keep shifting. They will say “Where is the data”? If you point to the data they will say “It isn’t in a peer reviewed journal.” If you then point to the peer-reviewed journal they will say “That journal has no ranking!” If you then point to a major international journal like Nature or Scientific American they will then say “Just because it is in a journal doesn’t make it true.” Or “Joe Blogs has refuted that paper”, as if Joe Blogs is the final word in the matter.

    So it is pointless arguing with them. By all means discuss the problem, suggest solutions, and write to TED and voice you thoughts. But I suspect they are a lost cause. TED is caught up in the world of the ego and big business – another reason why would have disliked this TED event’s focus upon transcending imbalanced capitalism. And it pays to remember that not all media organisations are. Dean Radin and Rupert Sheldrake both gave talks at Google. You can see them on YouTube. Don’t lose sight of the fact there is progress. What you focus upon expands. This is the error that many conspiracy theorists make. They spend all their days reading about how Big Brother or the Illuminati is controlling everything. Pretty soon they become enraged, paranoid and half-mad. Let’s not end up like that!

    • Oliver Trussell
      April 1, 2013

      Good post. TED allow speculative subjects such as string theory and multiple universes on their MAIN CHANNEL: http://youtu.be/bf7BXwVeyWw Both of these things we haven’t found good evidence for. However their is a lot more evidence for psi, but it is still labelled as “pseudo-science”. Complete injustice in my opinion.

      Wouldn’t it be amazing if people like Jerry Coyne who continually shout “Bullshit” at this stuff will have to accept it’s existence one day. One can dream..

    • xcbsmith
      April 2, 2013

      Actually, the “E” in TED stands for Entertainment…

      • marcustanthony
        April 3, 2013

        Thanks for clarifying that. I had it in the back of my mind that it was education.

        • girtonseeker
          September 29, 2013

          I suggest in this lies the nub of the problem now evident for TED. To Entertain is to amuse and to cause enjoyment to the public, which is largely done by pandering to their egos.
          This is many miles from Educating – developing the abilities of mind so that one can discriminate between truth and untruth.

  26. Michael
    March 31, 2013

    “We disallow speakers who use the language of science to claim they have proven the truth of ideas that are speculative and which have failed to gain significant scientific acceptance.”

    Hmm where have I heard similar utterings from before? Oh yeah! Those who represent organized religion.

  27. Nicki
    March 31, 2013

    Some TED Speakers are really good, some great ideas, but TED promotes a particular paradigm. It’s agenda led.

    • Mari Caplan
      April 4, 2013

      It really is agenda led. And while they have had some very interesting speakers they all follow a formula that is fairly risk averse and generally self congratulatory towards themselves and their educated upper middle class progressive ( in theory ) peers.

  28. Bob
    March 31, 2013

    Thank you TED – without your censorship I would not have read this blog and found out about the people you are trying to silence. In my humble opinion if someone is being censored by mainstream science they must be doing something right and definitely be worth further investigation.

    • Thomas Bryson
      March 31, 2013

      Great report Bob! Advances in science historically have all been by people on the fringe, not the mainstream, which mostly works on the details of what is uncovered by the people willing to go outside the mainstream.

      • Cecil Rice
        April 11, 2013

        Yes. Galileo for example.

        • xcbsmith
          April 12, 2013

          Kind of ironic you mention that example, given the origin of TED’s definition of what qualifies as science is Galileo’s long battle.

    • BruceWayne Ryan
      April 1, 2013

      Agreed

  29. Pingback: TED is Dead: More Pathetic Sponsored Censorship – That’s How Terrified Mainstream Stone Age ‘Science’ Is Of The Truth | Global Conspiracy Book - David Icke Biggest Secret

  30. Pingback: Rising without TED | ExTEDWestHollywood

  31. JPL John Whiteside Parsons
    March 31, 2013

    TED , you lost a fan . From cutting edge to dull edge , and you’ve been catrated with it , by yourself .

    • JPL John Whiteside Parsons
      March 31, 2013

      Sorry , CASTRATED!

      • Freedom Defender
        March 31, 2013

        Message from Craig: No, no and no. Please stop the insulting comments or you’ll be banned.

  32. Freedom Defender
    March 31, 2013

    Fake economy, Fake science, Fake war on: poverty, hunger, cancer, drugs, illegal immigration, gangs, teenage pregnancy, illiteracy, terror, etc… Let’s face it, we all live in a BIG FAKE HIGHLY CONTROLLED REALITY, and it’s time for major changes. No THANK YOU Mr. obama “Berry Soetoro” CIA agent & FAKE president of the fake USA, AKA the military arm of the New World Order!!! No your majesty, we’re not interested in your plans for change!!! We want real change, change where there are no psychopathic elitist that want to cull and control the masses. The sun will come out tomorrow to start the dawn of a new day. A day when the masses get off their knees to rid this prison planet of the control grid we all helped to build. If you don’t like what TED is doing, stop going, stop supporting it with your money. I say “F” TED, it’s time we start having a REAL TALK about what’s really going on.
    Good Night & Good Luck :).

  33. pete
    March 31, 2013

    … just change the name of the event to exTED.

    • Anonymous
      March 31, 2013

      “exTED” — Brilliant.

  34. Barry Kort
    March 31, 2013

    The hypothesis of “censorship” is trivially falsifiable. TED is not silencing them. TED is encouraging them to speak their theses under the marquee of their own name, rather than under the name of TED as an endorsing sponsor.

    There are many who speak their theses sans endorsement from me, even on my own personal blog. Here is an example from the dubious field of “Cold Fusion” …

    “Excuse me sir, but exactly how did you falsify the Null Hypothesis?”

    http://moultonlava.blogspot.com/search?q=Excuse+Me+Sir

  35. Mark S. Ekdahl
    March 31, 2013

    I have a hard time believing this is much of a surprise to the organizers. Some of the positions of the panel are very “out there” and perhaps Marianne Williamson was just used as a figurehead to garner support and licensing. Some of the other descriptions of the panelists seem vague or toned down. TED probably researched them, as well as the organizer’s background, and decided some of them were too extreme. Thanatos. TED wants positive change makers, not just people who go against the grain and supplant normative reality with revolutionary or vaguely moralistic airs. I’m still surprised Rupert Sheldrake of all people was refused. I was pretty impressed by him on the radio.

  36. anneke
    March 31, 2013

    Critici van het ( huidige) materialistische paradigma worden geweerd uit TEDx. Na Hancock en Sheldrake nu ook Russel Targ (natuurkundige en psi-onderzoeker), Larry Dossey ( arts) en Marilyn Schlitz ( medisch antrololoog). Bizarre censuur voor alles wat niet in het straatje past..

  37. Raykatolo
    March 31, 2013

    The house of cards is soon gonna be collapsing for TED. Planet earth is healing itself.Goodluck to everyone making a difference!

    • Freedom Defender
      March 31, 2013

      You got that right. “F” this fake world, it’s time for a change. If you want to talk about population culling, or lifestyle reducing ideas in an effort to save the planet, then I suggest we start with the elite!!! Put your money where your mouth is Bill Gate, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Ted Turner, and all the other elitist; lead by example by killing yourselves and your offspring. Then you can cozy up to your god “satan”!!! Leave the planet and the rest of us alone.

  38. Pingback: Alternative News Network – TED is Dead: More Pathetic Sponsored Censorship – That's How Terrified Mainstream Stone Age 'Science' Is Of The Truth

  39. ageofreasonxxi
    March 31, 2013

    “What these actions by TED mean to the large group of people, including myself, who support these ideas about consciousness and physics is that we are being totally disrespected”

    of course you’re “totally disrespected”. in science, respect is something that has to be earned. pseudoscience and whining do not accomplish that.

    • Mark S. Ekdahl
      March 31, 2013

      I would have to concur. Is natural to be wary of quackery, since it is out there. Insanity abounds. Not that I’m judging the would-be panel. I’m genuinely interested in parapsychology, but personally think UFOlogy is highly suspect, along with a whole plethora of fields I needn’t go into here. Its normal to be suspicious of fringe thinking. Its amazing what people come up with these days. Its like a philosophical immune system. Perhaps TED did go to far, however. It should have let the process go through, let it play out, and not be so bloody concerned about its rep. I want to hear about how to deal with water issues, and nonlocality of consciousness, and psi research. I think remote viewing is probably bogus, but I know governments have funded research into it. But to most people, its an incredibly disturbing and evil thing to consider. And I doubt the universe would allow for any human being to have that kind of power. I think its a huge self deception.

      • Maud Nordwald Pollock
        April 1, 2013

        I taught “laying on of hands healing” for 24 years, and when I spoke to people like you, they would say, I don”t believe in that” which in essence was saying to me, “you are lying”, Very insulting. Just because you don’t have a personal capability, or know that you have,does not make remote viewing impossible, I would say to people, ” I know that healing with the hands is possible, I don’t think I know how to drive, I know I know how to drive.”You simply lack information of our very powerful human potentials. Don’t sell yourself short, you are much more than your intellect…Light

    • Danielle
      March 31, 2013

      The problem with this world is the credentialism that has so many ‘respectable’ well educated (or is it indoctrinated?) people of average intelligence deciding what is respectable and therefore safe for the general public to be made aware of.

      Even with all this censorship of ‘pseudoscience’, statistics don’t lie: if only people check the statistics before they allow themselves to be put on unnecessary medications and/or cut open by doctors.

      The war on cholesterol and pretty much every single thing that comes out of the highly respected AMA is pure pseudoscience, but it’s just too profitable to move to a model that would actually serve people’s health rather than turn them into ‘customers’ for life.

      I look forward to the day when people educated in the Ivy League can’t find a job because everyone realizes that respecting them is what got us into this mess.

  40. ageofreasonxxi
    March 31, 2013

    “This group, that TED is antagonizing, is the absolute sweet spot of marketing. If they abandon TED, the company will suffer disproportionally for their loss. And for what? To defend an ideology? It’s madness.”

    why are you so worried about TED if they censor the sort of “science” you’re pushing? If they’re antagonizing the “sweet spot of marketing”, make sure you and your ilk cash on it and stop whining. But then, few people care to pay for listening to scientific-sounding woo, which is why you need the endorsement of TED, isn’t it?
    btw, refusing to promote psi nonsense and discredit oneself does not constitute censorship, and surely you know this, projecting your own hypocrisy onto TED is just pathetic.

    • bob
      March 31, 2013

      you people are so close minded its pathetic open up your heart and you are way better off then not believing anything that you dont understand. thats how your being controlled

  41. Simian Gimp
    March 31, 2013

    It’s as though they have decided on a curriculum, as in selective education for the inquisitive masses. I thought the very idea of TED was to provide a platform to air these ideas/studies, where other stages would not usually give credence to alternative lines of thought. Is nothing sacred?

  42. Ichthyic
    March 31, 2013

    I have only two words for the organizers of this event decrying “censorship” all over the web:

    Streisand Effect

    • Bruce Partington
      April 2, 2013

      The Streisand Effect refers to trying to hide information. What are TEDxWestHollywood trying to hide? If anything, it’s TED that’s hiding information…

  43. Mark S. Ekdahl
    March 31, 2013

    Screw TED. What is it but a cheesy popularity contest to associate your name and ego with a brand, and its presumed association with Enlightenment and scientific progress. It must be extremely aggravating and insulting to have the license yanked after all this time and effort,even degrading, and the list of speakers looks pretty harmless to me, not what I would call off the bat pseudoscience or quackery. But TED is probably terrified of its image being tarnished by snake oil salesmen, or spirituality or New Age thinking. Its why no one with a traditional religious message has ever presented there. That excludes most of the human race. I doubt one poet has presented there. But I wonder…if they are so skeptical and objective…why not a blistering speech about the dark side of Tibetan Buddhism? I wonder if that would violate their religion requirements section…this is something you never hear about:http://www.trimondi.de/SDLE/Contents.htm

    • Freedom Defender
      March 31, 2013

      You hit the nail right on the head! Keep it coming.

  44. marcustanthony
    March 30, 2013

    I took a look at the Coyne blog. They are the ones behind this again. They even listed email addresses for their blog folk to write and complain about the WestHollywood TEDx event. I am surprised that TEDx is so wimpy in bowing to such a hyper-conservative group. It looks like TED is a lost cause for discussing these kinds of ideas, unfortunately.

    • Ichthyic
      March 31, 2013

      some of think that’s actually a good thing. Why do you need the branding of a science-oriented organization for your presentations? It’s not science, so why even make it an issue of Ted deciding to drop it? Are your ideas so poorly conceived that they only can exist under the pseudo-authority provided by Ted? I would have thought otherwise. You should see this not as a bad thing, but a good thing. It sucks that Ted is only now deciding how to manage their licensing issues, and so the timing is bad, but in the end this is likely a GOOD thing for what you guys are trying to do.

      • Danielle
        March 31, 2013

        Are you saying that Russell Targ and Rupert Sheldrake are not scientists?

    • Anonymous
      March 31, 2013
  45. Pingback: The TED Saga Continues on the Sheldrake and Hancock Debates (and TEDxWestHollywood) < ~C4Chaos

  46. Jock Doubleday
    March 30, 2013

    The truth about TED is that it’s controlled by pharmaceutical companies and has no allegiance whatsoever to “new ideas.”

    Graham Hancock: “It seems, fundamentally, that this is a branding issue, that the large corporate sponsors behind TED, who include members of the big pharmaceutical corporations, which I directly attacked in my talk, don’t want to see those talks online and don’t want to see them associated with the TED brand.”

    http://www.disinfo.com/2013/03/disinfocast-51-graham-hancock-and-the-war-on-consciousness/

    “It’s not what you think it is, because it has this kind of squeaky clean image. . . . It’s like: ‘How could you criticize TED? It’s like criticizing motherhood,’ you know? But actually, when you get to grips with it, find what you’re dealing with, you find you’re dealing with a big corporate brand, here, which wants to produce a saccharine, sort of sugary-sweet version of reality which doesn’t really want to get into any deep controversies that question fundamental basic issues in our society, like in my case the war on drugs . . .” – Graham Hancock

  47. ~C4Chaos
    March 30, 2013

    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 of “spreading ideas” by the likes of Russell Targ, Marilyn Schlitz, and Larry Dossey. the TED platform is only big enough for “skeptics” and scientific materialists. disappointing, yes but hardly surprising. as i said before, their slogan ought to be changed to “Status Quo Ideas Worth Spreading.”

    speaking of Russell Targ… he is often lumped with New Age and “pseudoscience” by people who don’t his background. never mind the fact that Targ’s (and his colleague Hal Puthoff) research work was good enough to be funded by the CIA. incidentally, Targ has just published a new book where he has divulged declassified information in the CIA remote-viewing program. TED will never dare touch this material. so you and i will just have to rely on our own research and other alternative news sites to be informed.

    case in point: here’s a good interview with Targ on The Paracast.

    “Gene and Chris present the ever-elusive Dr. Russell Targ. Dr. Targ and Hal Putoff led the team at Stanford Research Institute that created the “remote viewing” protocols in the early ’70s, about which many stories have been written. Targ’s latest book is The Reality of ESP: A Physicist’s Proof of Psychic Abilities.”

    ~ http://www.theparacast.com/podcast/now-playing-march-10-2013-dr-russell-targ/

  48. 4grrrl
    March 30, 2013

    What I find most intetesting is that the large corporate I work for has been asked to hold a TEDx event. IDEAS THAT CHANGE THAT CHANGE THE WORLD? ..Hardly; just recycled reworded rememed and oh so predictable repackaged vendor products, and yesterdays ideas with a sexier titles
    When I read about the Psi researchers talks being cancelled, I wasnt surprised. Im sure it’s the global vendors who support TED via advertising, and their vested interest is economic rather than scientific. They wouldnt want to upset the revenue stream now, would they? Further, that early adoptr sweet spot us no longer the sweet spot,,,,maybe it was originally;but nowadays its just so yawningly follower follower follower…Boring and predictable, nothing new at all.

  49. Zhahai JustZhahai
    March 30, 2013

    There is a huge difference between “choosing not to endorse” and “suppressing”.

    If a movie reviewer chooses not to present a movie in their “100 best” list, is that suppression or choosing not to endorse? Is it censorship?

    One could disagree with the TED organizers’ judgement call about a potential presenter, and one could present evidence for a change in it. That can be done with respect and courtesy, and would potentially earn a kind of credibility in turn.

    Trying to misframe this issue as “suppression” however does not build credibility or respect for one’s objectivity or intellectual rigor. Just state that you believe TED’s view of credible science is outdated, even if they have the right to make their own judgment calls about what to lend their name to, mistaken or not. I get that some people here believe that TED should have chosen to endorse as scientific some presenters whom they chose not to endorse, and I’m open to hearing in more specific detail why.

    But it sound more like political agitating for “my view is better than yours” when this is confused with suppression. The views are as free to get out as they would be if TED didn’t exist, they just didn’t chose to lend the name they have built to those ideas. So the ideas will have to float or sink based on their own merits, not borrowing any credibility from TED. I see nothing wrong with that, even if I like the ideas in question.

    • Mark
      March 30, 2013

      I disagree with so much of what you say, but let’s see if you’re intellectually honest. Please acknowledge that you have left out one of the most important points in all of this. This TEDx conference WAS ALREADY SCHEDULED TO GO ON AND THEN THE FUNDING WAS PULLED AFTER THE AGREEMENTS WERE ALREADY MADE. Also, while you are acknowledging that, acknowledge that you led us all down a red herring path by failing to add this important, critical bit of information.

      • Anonymous
        March 30, 2013

        TED doesn’t fund TEDx events, nor are speakers paid. TED simply controls the brand and sets the rules under which that brand can be used.

        • craigweiler
          March 30, 2013

          I’m not sure exactly what the arrangements are, but TED is indeed on the hook for at least some of the expenses of this event. I’ve seen the emails.

      • xcbsmith
        April 2, 2013

        There is a bit of chicken and egg problem with TEDx that has to be acknowledged here. It’d be difficult and kind of counter productive to assemble a slate of talks without attaching the TED brand to the event, but until the talks are assembled it is hard to have an accurate understanding of what the event will be like. It sounds like TED has made an effort ahead of time to be clear about what they were looking for, and it sounds like the organizers of this event thought they were embracing those principles. What do you do when all is said and done, but it turns out there is a gulf in understanding that only becomes apparent at the last minute? This isn’t something that can be fixed by removing a few talks, and having the TED people select the presentations for the event would entirely defeat the purpose of TEDx.

        There really aren’t a lot of *good* choices, and I’m sure this could have gone down better, but near as I can tell, the TED brand has been removed from the event, the event is still going on, and TED is providing some degree of financial support for it. That seems like about as good an outcome as any of the parties could have reasonably expected given the circumstances. Why can’t we all be adults about this?

        • craigweiler
          April 2, 2013

          Dear xcbsmith,
          You will notice that some of your posts were not accepted. On the one hand, I tried to choose your best posts, but on the other hand I did not want you to start flame wars all over my comment area.

          I don’t have a problem with your content, I just felt that the sheer quantity of posts you were making was veering into troll territory. If you keep that in mind, things should be fine.

          • xcbsmith
            April 3, 2013

            Craig, I can totally understand that while you could perhaps make the case for each of them individually, but when you look at them as a whole, it’s clear that they don’t meet your guidelines. The problem is not the challenging of orthodox views. I am sure you believe in that. You’ve had numerous comments which do that. But you have rules about the presentation of arguments on the Weiler Psi blog. You disallow commenters who use the language of honest debate to prove the truth of ideas that are inflammatory and which have failed to gain significant acceptance by the community. If all my comments were allowed to proceed, it would truly damage your ability to encourage other commenters. I understand you have reluctantly concluded that some of comments are not appropriate for this blog, and you therefore had to delete them. I appreciate that you still encourage me to present my full argument to the greater blogosphere, but just can’t associate it with Weiler Psi. I understand that you are happy to work with me to figure out how to smoothly transition my thoughts to a different blog.
            :-)

            [...and no, that wasn't intended to troll you or accuse you hypocrisy. I genuinely do understand your decision. I'm merely hoping that by framing it in such a humourous fashion everyone can appreciate that perhaps there isn't such a huge divide between the parties involved.]

            • marcustanthony
              April 3, 2013

              One thing I would dispute is the idea that such ideas are not accepted in the wider community. Ideas like the extended mind, and the importance of spirituality, love and compassion are widely held across all civilisations and all times. Skeptics groups and conservative elements in mainstream science and education’ are a small minority – they just have power in certain sectors related to knowledge production and dissemination at this time in history. That is changing even as we “speak”. Even amongst these conservative groups, many are quite open to such ideas, but are just too scared to voice their opinion in academic/professional settings.Surveys reportedly show that a vast majority of people in the modern western world are very open to such ideas. There are some surveys that indicate academics also are very open to them, including a majority in the hard sciences. If there is one thing this TED issue has made clear, it’s that there are a massive number of people who find TED’s behaviour objectionable – and just one or two small communities which support it – in particular, those that pressured TED in the first place.

              • xcbsmith
                April 3, 2013

                Ideas of the extended mind and spirituality are provably widely accepted by the wider community, the “skeptics groups” and “conservative elements”.

                What isn’t quite so widely accepted is the notion that ideas about the extended mind and spirituality are even in the domain of what science can inform. Science is the wrong crucible, and employing it as such is a waste of everyone’s time. It’d be like making the case for or against gravity in a political or legal arena, or making the case for a new law based on the quality and inventiveness of its prose.

                tl;dr: “Unscientific” is “unacceptable as science” not “unacceptable”.

            • craigweiler
              April 3, 2013

              And I understand where you are coming from. I, too, have fallen into the trap of responding to practically every comment I disagree with. In my opinion, it ends up being unconvincing. I have come off looking like some obsessed troll desperate to control the debate. In your case, as I said, I was fine with the content, I just didn’t want arguments going on everywhere all with the same person.

              I have found that fewer, better comments seem to work better in getting my message across.

              In the end, all the comments I’ve ever posted have not been as effective or satisfying as having a blog and taking the time to organize my thoughts into a coherent message and share them in article format. As your presence on this blog demonstrates, these messages do not just reach people who agree with me.

              I say this because you put a lot of thought and energy into your comments. They’re articulate and they have a point of view. You’ve also posted them on a topical article that will eventually fade into obscurity, taking your all your comments with it. It just seems to me that putting all this energy into your own blog would be far more fulfilling to you. It takes a long time to build an audience, but it’s worth it.

  50. Pingback: TED Ex’es TEDxWeHo Event, Citing Pseudoscience on Agenda | WEHOville

  51. Zhahai JustZhahai
    March 30, 2013

    I find the charges of “censorship” somewhat misleading. TED does not appear to be trying to keep other viewpoints from appearing at, or creating, other forums – they are just making the judgement calls about which presentations can use their name.

    There’s a big difference there, that might be more apparent if it was some other group which we disagreed with, that wanted to force TED to present their views.

    Imagine that you and some friends were organizing a local film festival which represented your judgement of the most worthwhile films in some genre. And imagine that somebody with a different opinion called you a “censor” unless you included the films they wanted you to include.

    Or suppose that the Creation Science people decided to force TED to include their choice of speakers about scientic truth. Would that benefit you the viewer?

    Let’s think it through. Why does anybody even care whether some talk is promoted under the TED brand or not? Why not just post their own recording on YouTube and forget TED? There’s really only one reason – because the TED organizers have by now built some credibility for their “brand” through the cumulative judgement calls they have made in the past. If the TED organizers had been making mostly bad judgment calls, nobody would be watching them and people would NOT want their gathering to carry the TED name. If you want the sanction of their name, if you want some of their accumulated credibility to rub off on your favorite speaker to give them a bigger audience than they would have without TED, then you need to accept TEDs right to make the kind of judgement calls that have made their endorsement carry value. You have no “right” to appropriate the good reputation they (not you) have created for their brand, just because you think your judgement is better than theirs. They have put their judgment to the test, and they have thereby earned the right to continue choosing which presentations to associate with that name.

    You can try to persuade them, but you have no right to coerce them, nor to feel that you have been down a wrong if they exercise their judgement differently than would would prefer.

    As a thoughtful consumer of diverse information, I strongly welcome those whom the TED organizer choose not to endorse – to join or form other series, with different organizers and mission statements, and create their own forums. We will benefit from having the “Open Minds” forums (making up a placeholder name for your new forum) IN ADDITION TO the TED forums, rather than have people destroy TED’s existing niche to promote their own style of memes.

    For example, if you think TED’s concept of science is too limiting, create an alternative brand like the “Open Minds Series”, and make your own judgment calls (based on your own mission statement) about which potential presentations you think fit your concept of good quality control. If your judgement calls are good, you’ll create a valuable additional channel of information with its own flavor, enriching us all. Both audiences and presenters will flock to your channel – or not. Perhaps your filters will prove to be just as narrow or more so than TED’s, but in a different area, where you turn down some talks which TED would accept and vice versa. Or from the other end, some presenters may prefer your channel and like being associated with your other presenters, and some will prefer to join TEDs’s lineup. Or perhaps your forum will be very wide open with very few people ever turned down and will thus have a different flavor than TED in another way, for those who appreciate it. Either way – go for it. Create more diversity, don’t just complain about TED’s choices.

    I make no pre-judgement of how much I’ll like your new “different than TED” forum for ideas, both I’ll be glad to sample what you produce, perhaps to savor both that and TED for different reasons (or all 12 varieeties). Or perhaps I’ll find more time for yours. Or perhaps you’ll make worse judgement calls than TED and learn from that some lessons you would never understand when criticizing TED from the outside.

    I support the other viewpoints having their own microphones, but I don’t support their right to force themselves onto TED to use their mike. Let TED control the flavor of what they endorse, and let others produce other flavors which they control. (I will in turn equally support your right to make your own choices whether or not they suit everybody, just at TED does).

    Forcing TED to endorse some particular presentation feels like forcing Roger Ebert to put some given movie on his 100 best list, even if is isn’t one of the best in his opinion. I as a reader would be ripped off by that appropriation of his name, even if I personally liked the movie in question. I am receiving something of value from letting him make his own choices, good or bad. On the other hand, I don’t mind if some other reviewer legitimately puts your movie on their 100 best because they have a different opinion.

    AND this overall principle is true for me, even if I disagree with some of the TED organizers’ judgement calls. I probably do have a broader view of truth than their filters accept, and that’s OK because TED is not my only source (nor is Roger Ebert the only movie reviewer I can read). It’s still their call to decide which things get THEIR endorsement and name, not mine. If I dislike too many of their judgements, I’ll switch channels more often.

    • Marcus T Anthony
      March 30, 2013

      Of course the reverse side of the coin (Coyne?) is that there are pressure groups behind TED’s decision here, and they are extremist in nature, with strong agendas for control and power. Beyond its internal mechanations and ideological preferences, the question becomes this: when a media organisation becomes as big as TED and influences so many across the world, do they have a moral obligation to represent a diversity of perspectives fairly? When it is clear that they are making false and misinformed judgments about speakers and their domains of knowledge, as is the case here, they are actually inhibiting the expansion of knowledge and understanding. And that is important. It’s an idea worth sharing.

    • Demi
      March 31, 2013

      For those suggesting that TEDx is right to make this judgement call and its not suppression, and that people with an interest in psi should form their own forums…do you also believe that homosexual couples should be happy to have civil unions because ‘marriage’ is only for acceptable couples.

      Science doesn’t work this way, what you are suggesting is anathema to science. There is no second rate science until you are accepted as first class, especially when the first class is doing all to keep the evidence suppressed/repressed. If someone has received their qualifications, I don’t care how offensive or ridiculous their views are, they have earned the right to be heard. If there is a professor out there who believes that the earth is flat, I want to hear him speak, so I can determine what to think about his views and so I can challenge him. I’m not a child, I don’t need to be protected and especially by people who have no respect for their fellow scientists and who are more concerned for their brand/money than honest science.

    • Freedom Defender
      March 31, 2013

      [Editor: no insults please] Can’t see the forest for the trees,here let me help. Pulling a license to prevent an organizer from presenting speakers from sharing their research is censorship. Intellectual members of the self-hearding sheeple community can’t wait to seize an opportunity to play their role as Defender of the Faith. You think you have a functioning brain, when you have no original thoughts of your own. We don’t care what you think, now go away please.
      P.S. The best way to get out of a hole is to stop digging!!!

    • Freedom Defender
      March 31, 2013

      When New World Order scum like Bill Gates, Al Gore, or the list of elitist garbage that flock to any stage to promote human population culling, or lifestyle reducing ideas in the name of saving the planet show up, you know it’s been taken over, and censorship is the rule. Let’s not talk about this research, here lets present this made up fake science which supports our point of view. Reduce the general population to surf’s living in squalor, while the elites live like gods controlling our every move. That would be a much better world for the elites to live in, and we should give them whatever they want since the general population should only live to serve them. Please take my guns, and run me down with you armored tanks. Don’t forget to use our children for target practice. My god the elites are so great!!! Hey, do you have any GMO food I can poison myself with and share with my loved ones, Yes I’ll pat through the nose for it just let me do your bidding for you PLEASE!!! I can’t wait for the NWO to control every aspect of our lives!!!
      Good night & Good luck.

  52. Marcus T Anthony
    March 30, 2013

    As I predicted a few days ago on my blog – http://ow.ly/jBesa – the “discussion” regarding censorship on the TED site is a chimera. No TED representative engaged in the discussion after the first couple of days, and it was obvious that they were just letting people shout themselves hoarse before they resumed business as usual. They were never listening. There were also very few skeptics or mainstream science people contributing, which was another give away.

    By pulling the westhollywood TEDx function they are showing that their views have only hardened. And they are merely showing that Sheldrake and Hancock are right in stating that there is suppression of ideas which challenge dominant science on consciousness and health.

    TED is not going to change its policies here. It’s a pity, as they are not backing science at all, but intolerant extremists. Coyne’s blog is evidence enough that there is no discussion or thinking going on amongst the people behind this, just shaming and derision. This is not science at all, but dogmatism. I have met Marilyn Schlltz, and she is an intelligent and respected woman. She was the director of IONS, which is a major international organsation set up by former Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell. Targ is a self-confessed “data-fiend”, a physicist and very much a scientist. Larry Dossey is a doctor. There is no reason why their views need to be silenced by TED.

    In the bigger picture this is just the dying throes of the mechanistic paradigm, so there is no need to take it personally.

    • craigweiler
      March 30, 2013

      Great comment Marcus. I like the skeptic movement to what the Tea Party has done to the Republicans. By hijacking the debate and radicalizing it, they are moving all the moderates, who couldn’t have cared less, over to the other side of the debate where all the sanity is.

      I’m reminded of a quote by Napoleon Bonaparte:
      “Never interrupt the enemy when he is making a mistake.”

    • Bruce DePalma
      April 1, 2013

      ION’s is a front company for the ‘CIA’ to find and suppresses alternative technologies. They get close to people to find out how far they are getting with their alternative research projects.

  53. Victoria Moran
    March 30, 2013

    Suzanne is a remarkable thinker, an irrepressible spirit, and refreshingly ahead of her time — just the sort of person the status quo likes to quash. But she’s un-quashable. I love that this event is proceeding against the odds.

  54. Robin
    March 30, 2013

    To me the issue is this: TED is claiming to present material to the public to expand the current paradigm. By blocking material presented by reputable scientists, this belies that stated belief of public record.

    Darwin in his time was incredibly controversial. Bohm and those fathers of Quantum Mechanics also faced firm opposition their scientific theories breaking through the Newtonian paradigm. And now we have cutting edge science, which although backed with verifiable protocols and data, is ‘taking the discussion too far’ for TED.

    The Envelope, Please?

  55. Pingback: We hit the Blogosphere big time!!!!!! | TEDxWestHollywood

  56. wil wakely
    March 30, 2013

    I hope the TED organizers live long enough to eat crow for their uber-conservative position on what is and is not science. On the bright side, perhaps their present illogical position may stoke the fires of outraged researchers to allow even more controversial subjects to be presented in the future.

  57. Pingback: TED усиливает цензуру независимых TEDx-конференций | Eugene Pustoshkin’s Official Website

  58. Aloha Gary
    March 30, 2013

    perhaps xTED will become a badge of honour for future events rather than TEDx?

    and eventually a bigger organisation than the lack-lustre lackeys of TED?

    or maybe just BETTER THAN TED for openness, honesty and truth?

  59. Dean Radin
    March 30, 2013

    I love this line: “The problem is not the challenging of orthodox views. We believe in that. We’ve had numerous talks which do that. But we have rules about the presentation of science on the TEDx stage.”

    In other words, it is not okay to challenge scientific orthodoxy, but it is okay to challenge other orthodoxies. Doesn’t anyone read the history, philosophy or sociology of science any more?

    • craigweiler
      March 30, 2013

      You can thank Suzanne Taylor for that. She pressed very hard to get TED’s reasoning in writing.

  60. Michael Horn
    March 30, 2013

    Since I received notice about this I will comment regarding doing “battle” with skeptics, etc. As I see it, I have been representing far more controversial information than any of the speakers here. And that’s not any negative commentary on them or their work, its validity, etc.

    And I have, since 2001, been engaged in a quasi-reluctant “battle” with virtually every professional skeptic, their organizations, etc. And, pardon the truth, I’ve defeated them all…based solely on irrefutable, legally valid evidence. That has resulted in no real direct challenge to the evidence, only attempts to censor, marginalize, ignore, suppress it, etc. Also I’ve got nothing personally against any of them. Actually, I like people like Michael Shermer, with whom I’ve crossed swords, and a couple of others.

    Of course now I know why my efforts, over a period of a few years, to present at Ted went un-responded to. The truth actually IS worth fighting for. I would agree that the fight is not to take any form of vengeful, vindictive, hateful, etc., exercise or action. One can and should be vigorous, principled, courageous, etc. – and call out hypocrisy, cowardice, censorship, etc., loudly and clearly, without personal attacks. I also admit to making some of the aforementioned mistakes in the process of learning how to make the case for my own “cause”, of course.

    Michael Horn
    Authorized American Media Representative
    The Billy Meier Contacts
    http://www.theyfly.com

    • craigweiler
      March 30, 2013

      Sorry for the slow approval of your comment. The spam filter got it and I just found it.

  61. George E Moss
    March 30, 2013

    This is all getting very wordy, but at the same time it is symptomatic of outmoded traditional science now finding itself in the melting pot … and in a strange way, this is refreshing. The huge leap forward for humankind, as sentient beings will happen when we SERIOUSLY work into the vast potential that awaits us beyond space-time. We might call the development ‘spiritual science’ for want of a better name. As a result of working in this field, our UK group of scientists and spirit mediums (considered unacceptable by learned institutions and media of course!) have made enormous progress. We communicate with other planets of this universe, we understand how and WHY our original pyramids were built (by ETs using THEIR spiritual science methods, some pyramids now radio-carbon dated to >30,000 years) and we have communicated with scientists long since dead! This is all very unacceptable to traditional scientists, but that old cookie now crumbles. Details on ‘Scientific Enquiry’ page of our website http://www.salumetandfriends.org .

  62. zenkat56
    March 30, 2013

    What you resist persist. Being against something gives it the momentum to go forward rather than stop. Be for your ideas and consistently pursue the truth in what you stand for with evidence to support it. This can be done without invoking negative seperation Us and them language. This non violent language spoken with confidence without tearing down the opposing thought will work in your favor. Afterall you are promoting conciousness. Use it.
    Stating what the facts of the situation are that you observe witout judgement and Stating your position in a cooperative manner.

    • craigweiler
      March 30, 2013

      I’m very aware of that line of thinking and I’m of the opinion that we’re going to have to put it in the back seat for awhile and get used to saying “No.” As in: no, what you are doing is unacceptable, you are being evasive and selfish and we will not allow this.

      • Mark
        March 30, 2013

        + 1 million. I’m having a similar problem with too many people in the UFOlogy community. They seem to think that if they ignore the problem of pseudoskepticism it will just go away and not hurt the field. Fat chance.

  63. Ed Lantz
    March 30, 2013

    Hmmm… I do not see how inquiry and dialog about fascinating, albeit fringe, topics is “unscientific” – perhaps I am missing something.

  64. Broadening Your Horizons
    March 30, 2013

    Reblogged this on Broadening Your Horizons and commented:
    The new TED censorship controversy.

  65. Robert
    March 30, 2013

    I applaud Suzanne and Craig for continuing in spite of the clear ‘intellectual phase-locking’ going on at TED. Adding Targ and the others to the Sheldrake and Hancock debacle clearly shows there’s an bulge in the envelope and it’s only a matter of time till it rips.

    ‘xTED’ would be a great name for the event…

  66. Suzanne Taylor
    March 30, 2013

    In response to Thomas Bryson, it’s hard to get bigger than situations like these, but did you note my attempt? “Am negotiating with TED, in light of the questionable legality of what they are doing, as some compensation to us to post about the Live Stream to the TED network. That will allow for a lively continuation of this dialogue about what is appropriate to a platform that presents only credible science.”

    • Thomas Bryson
      March 30, 2013

      Dear Suzanne, I support your efforts entirely. As I said, I was responding to the language in the conversation above. It is just so easy and often tempting to take a reactionary position. If I make the TED folks into objects, I make myself into an object. And that is counter to being particle, wave and field all at the same time.

  67. Anonymous
    March 30, 2013

    Hey Craig,

    I am interesting in psi and NDE’s etc and I do think these are legimate things. However about this culture war.. I think that eventually the materialist paradigm is going to fall on itself, but its going to take sometime. There is going to be more and more research into NDE’s etc, the flaws in neo-darwinian theory are going to become more open.. and attempts to try to find a materialist explantation for conciousness are going to fail….. but this is going to be decades into the future. Right now the materialist paradigm reigns… unfortunately.

    • craigweiler
      March 30, 2013

      We’ll see. We have the ability to speed things up.

  68. Fran Theis
    March 30, 2013

    What an amazingly bad decision on TED’s part! Their decision shows a total lack of respect for the credentials, experience and writings of Russell Targ (a physicist who directed a program at SRI), Larry Dossey, M.D., and Marilyn Schlitz, PhD, all well-respected scientists with mainstream scientific training!! How can the powers-that-be at TED not see that this sort of decision-making supports, rather than undermines, the claims that the mainstream simply refuses to look at solid evidence!!

  69. Pingback: TED revokes license for TEDx West Hollywood event! « Why Evolution Is True

  70. Suzanne Taylor
    March 30, 2013

    We will deliver the program. Stay tuned for where if you are in Los Angeles. If not, watch the Live Stream on April 14 from 9:30 to 7:00 pdt: https://new.livestream.com/extedwesthollywood — and please spread the word. Am negotiating with TED, in light of the questionable legality of what they are doing, as some compensation to us to post about the Live Stream to the TED network. That will allow for a lively continuation of this dialogue about what is appropriate to a platform that presents only credible science.

    In the dismissal, they would not “name names.” (I thought that stance was to protect innocent people. Why are they saying that here?) What Craig quoted was from an earlier warning, where the threat was that if TED didn’t like the talks they wouldn’t post them, and not that they would yank the program not having seen the talks. My argument, when it was yanked, included saying this to them: “Physicist Russell Targ, for example, whom you earlier pointed to as questionable, is presenting research on the nature of extra sensory perception. While the work is controversial, it has been published in IEEE, Nature, Proceedings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Proceedings of the American Institute for Physics, refereed journals that found it acceptable.” This made no never mind to them.

    Looking forward to more in this wonderful opportunity to tackle the entrenched skeptics head-on — a bigger issue that just TED. Craig Weiler is my hero! And so are so many of the people who post here. Do get on my TEDx mailing list so I can be in touch with you: http://eepurl.com/xr1Fz.

    • Anonymous
      March 31, 2013

      You have my support. Lennon watching the videos. TED is becoming lamer with each instance. Kudos for continuing your event!

  71. Thomas Bryson
    March 30, 2013

    While I am sorry that the organizer may lose money, this conversation more and more sounds like an us and them, ego-based argument. Trying to change other people’s views and behavior is usually not helpful.

    • craigweiler
      March 30, 2013

      I’m sure that Martin Luther King and Gandhi would disagree with you.

      • Thomas Bryson
        March 30, 2013

        Gandhi and Martin Luther King walked their talk first and lived by example. When this conversation has the depth and feel of Gandhi and King, there probably won’t be talk of being disrespected.

        • craigweiler
          March 30, 2013

          I don’t follow you at all here. How does this conversation not have the depth and feel of Gandhi and King?

          • Thomas Bryson
            March 30, 2013

            To me, the conversation lacks heart and supports an us and them attitude. It seems to fail to take a larger context beyond positions.

            “What these actions by TED mean … we are being totally disrespected.” This is what I call a conversation coming from ego.

            “We have enough influence and power right now to make them regret this and this is a good place to draw that line in the sand. We don’t have to take it anymore.”

            Do you want to punish your enemies? Why is drawing a line in the sand a good thing? Sounds too familiar. Does this lead to understanding of the interconnection we have?

            • craigweiler
              March 30, 2013

              Well, what do you suggest we do? Roll over and just take it? The psi wars have been going on for 140 years. Do you have a better way to invoke change against such hardcore resistance?

              • Thomas Bryson
                March 30, 2013

                Since you invoke the language of war, I suggest that attacking entrenched positions is bad strategy. Bypass where the resistance is and go around it. Abandon your position when it is stuck in resistance. Change will not come ‘against’ hardcore resistance. How much success has that gained in the 140 years you speak of?

                The words ‘roll over and just take it’ remind me of the conversations I hear from gun advocates.

          • Marcus T Anthony
            March 30, 2013

            There are subtle distinctions about the kind of emotional energy that can be put into things. MLK drew inspiration from Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violent resistance, “satyagraha”.

            In terms of what those of us with a more spiritual worldview can do, I believe it is possible to take action without being drawn into a “war”, metaphorically speaking. The fact is that directing anger at Coyne and co. is pointless, as they will go to their graves seeing the world in exactly the same way as they do today. Nobody listens to anyone who comes at them with an agenda to shame or fight them, even if they know they are wrong (just look at how we feel when skeptics do that).. So somehow we have to acknowledge our anger without becoming controlled by it. There is something here for the pro-psi crowd to learn as well. I wrote a bit about this here: http://ow.ly/jBeRQ A lot of the posts on the TED site, especially in the last week, have been unhelpful, just people bickering with each other. That;s the kind of thing that is best avoided.

            This “drama” will resolve itself in the long run due to forces which are beyond all of our control. If we keep that in mind, it will help us put a more peaceful “energy” into proceedings.

        • Danielle
          March 30, 2013

          What TED has been doing in recent weeks is disrespectful to free thought itself.

          One normally needs an ego to communicate with others in order to get things done in this world; we aren’t all required to be a Gandhi or a King, or to pretend our outrage is from a place of enlightenment when for many it feels more like it comes from a place of basic common sense.

          I hope that other people won’t feel bound by such pontifications, and will continue to spread the word about what TED is doing with the intention of exposing them and garnering support for alternative formats since TED’s funding is clearly linked to maintaining the materialistic world view.

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