Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
Ken Jordan, Publisher & Editorial Director, Evolver/Reality Sandwich has done a marvelous job of encapsulating the main problem everyone had with how TED handled both the takedown of Rupert Sheldrake, Graham Hancock and TEDxWestHollywood. I’m going to post about half of it and then send you to Reality Sandwich to read the rest because they’re a business and need the clicks to make money. They’ve sent me quite a bit of traffic over time, so I ask you to overlook this inconvenience. This is my way of saying thanks to them and supporting people who support me.
I’m one of the many who in recent years discovered new and noteworthy ideas thanks to TED. You’ve grown TED into an important platform for the introduction of innovative thought to a popular audience; it’s a wonderful vision and your achievement of it is widely appreciated. 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 cause of our concern: while the original criticism against Hancock and Sheldrake was later retracted — literally crossed out on the blog page — after the speakers rebutted it, the initial decision to remove the videos still held. Statements from TED staff implied that the presentations were “pseudoscience,” but no specific allegations were made. Both Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock offered to debate a member of the anonymous science board, or any other representative, about actual criticisms, but got no response. To an outsider, TED’s actions are baffling.
In your personal statements you say that TED is not censoring the videos, since they are available on a back page of your site, and technically that may be true. But by relegating them to obscure blogs that are not indexed as part of the regular pool of TEDx talks, the unequivocal message is that these talks are not fit to be seen among the thousands of other presentations that TED offers through YouTube. Somehow they were mistakes that slipped through and need to be quarantined from the “good” TED talks, to keep them from contamination. Given TED’s influence, this treatment is unfairly damaging to the reputations of the speakers singled out.
To read the rest, go here. (no paywall)