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  #1  
Old 05-03-2013, 07:50 AM
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Default TED - and Censorship

I just became aware of this situation today. It seems best to link the article and let the conversation unfold.

Banned TED Talk: Rupert Sheldrake – The Science Delusion

Quote:
Rupert Sheldrake is a fascinating member of the scientific world. The video below is of his TED talk where he covers “The Science Delusion.” This TED talk was controversially banned by the TED community after being aired.

If you have studied any area of science on your own or in school, you may have noticed or have come across the fact that there are many differing beliefs in the scientific world. While this statement seems impossible given that science is supposed to be based on evidence which produces theory, it is a delusion not to realize that much of what is strictly believed in the scientific world is only believed due to the common acceptance that is put into mainstream ideas — much like what takes place within religion. That is not to say that there aren’t amazing scientists out there coming up with profound findings and adding powerful contributions to all fields, it’s to bring light to the fact that in a mainstream sense one could say science is “stuck” or more accurately put, we have put a freeze on certain areas of science. ....


Rupert Sheldrake outlines 10 dogmas he has found to exist within mainstream science today. He states that when you look at each of these scientifically, you see that they are not actually true.
  1. Nature is mechanical or machine like
  2. All matter is unconscious
  3. The laws or constants of nature are fixed
  4. The total amount of matter and energy is always the same
  5. Nature is purposeless
  6. Biological heredity is material
  7. Memories are stored inside your brain
  8. Your mind is inside your head
  9. Psychic phenomena like telepathy is not possible
  10. Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that works
There are two things going on here
  1. Censorship of a site who's stated mission is "TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design."
  2. And the larger conflict happening within the sciences
I look forward to the thoughts of others .....
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Open_Minded View Post
I just became aware of this situation today. It seems best to link the article and let the conversation unfold.

Banned TED Talk: Rupert Sheldrake – The Science Delusion



There are two things going on here
  1. Censorship of a site who's stated mission is "TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design."
  2. And the larger conflict happening within the sciences
I look forward to the thoughts of others .....
As with all other overturnings of the scientific apple cart, one must find documentable real world examples which disprove
accepted norms. It happens, eg, relativity replacing Newtonian mechanics, quantum mechanics replacing a more clockwork
approach, etc. This Rupert fellow has some homework to do before his novel ideas will gain any traction. Hell...if methodical
observations weren't needed, I could get TED to air my program about how pixie dust is the fundamental building block of the universe..
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Last edited by Revoltingest; 05-03-2013 at 10:59 AM..
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Revoltingest View Post
As with all other overturnings of the scientific apple cart, one must find documentable real world examples which disprove
accepted norms. It happens, eg, relativity replacing Newtonian mechanics, quantum mechanics replacing a more clockwork approach, etc.
We agree completely


Quote:
This Rupert fellow has some homework to do before his novel ideas will gain any traction.
I'm not disagreeing here, either. But.. he is putting his ideas out there. He is willing to go through the process of analysis ... he was invited to speak by the organizers of this particular TEDx event ..... So what's the problem??? One doesn't have to agree with what he is exploring, one doesn't even have to listen to his video. He was invited to speak at a TEDx event, by the organizers of said event. The video was pulled only after an outcry from those who disagreed.
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Open_Minded View Post
I'm not disagreeing here, either. But.. he is putting his ideas out there. He is willing to go through the process of analysis ... he was invited to speak by the organizers of this particular TEDx event ..... So what's the problem??? One doesn't have to agree with what he is exploring, one doesn't even have to listen to his video. He was invited to speak at a TEDx event, by the organizers of said event. The video was pulled only after an outcry from those who disagreed.
I'm not privy to their reasoning on the matter, but were I in their position, I'd reject unsupported loopy proposals.
Apparently, others would disagree. But with limited time & money, one can't provide the venue to every crackpot
who wants his 15 minutes of infamy.
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:34 AM
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From Wikipedia.
"Sheldrake's ideas have often met with a hostile reception from some scientists, including accusations that he is engaged in pseudoscience, and at least two respected scientists who have sought to discuss his work, thoroughgoing metaphysical naturalists Lewis Wolpert and Richard Dawkins, reportedly refused to even examine his evidence—a fact cited as illustrating the allegedly dogmatic nature of mainstream science alluded to in Sheldrake's book The Science Delusion"
Obviously Sheldrake is working on fringe-science at best, and therefore TED doesn't see his work as "ideas worth spreading" (TEDs slogan). It's there prerogative. So it isn't censorship at all. No more so than a publisher rejecting a manuscript for whatever reason. I say, quit whining and go back to your parapsychology.
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Revoltingest View Post
I'm not privy to their reasoning on the matter, but were I in their position, I'd reject unsupported loopy proposals. Apparently, others would disagree. But with limited time & money, one can't provide the venue to every crackpot
who wants his 15 minutes of infamy.
Well ... firstly let's set aside the obvious bias implications of using the word "crackpot"

Now let's go to the source

From TED
Quote:
UPDATE: Please see our new blog post Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake, a fresh take, which replaces the x-ed out text below.


To discuss the talks, view them here:
The debate about Rupert Sheldrake’s talk
The debate about Graham Hancock’s talk


After due diligence, including a survey of published scientific research and recommendations from our Science Board and our community, we have decided that Graham Hancock’s and Rupert Sheldrake’s talks from TEDxWhitechapel should be removed from distribution on the TEDx YouTube channel.


We’re not censoring the talks. Instead we’re placing them here, where they can be framed to highlight both their provocative ideas and the factual problems with their arguments. See both talks after the jump.


All talks on the TEDxTalks channel represent the opinion of the speaker, not of TED or TEDx, but we feel a responsibility not to provide a platform for talks which appear to have crossed the line into pseudoscience.


(The following strike out text was included by TEDx as well)


According to our science board, Rupert Sheldrake bases his argument on several major factual errors, which undermine the arguments of talk. For example, he suggests that scientists reject the notion that animals have consciousness, despite the fact that it’s generally accepted that animals have some form of consciousness, and there’s much research and literature exploring the idea.
He also argues that scientists have ignored variations in the measurements of natural constants, using as his primary example the dogmatic assumption that a constant must be constant and uses the speed of light as example. But, in truth, there has been a great deal of inquiry into the nature of scientific constants, including published, peer-reviewed research investigating whether certain constants – including the speed of light – might actually vary over time or distance. Scientists are constantly questioning these assumptions. For example, just this year Scientific American published a feature on the state of research into exactly this question. (“Are physical constants really constant?: Do the inner workings of nature change over time?”) Physicist Sean Carroll wrote a careful rebuttal of this point.
In addition, Sheldrake claims to have “evidence” of morphic resonance in crystal formation and rat behavior. The research has never appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, despite attempts by other scientists eager to replicate the work.
Response to the TED Scientific Board’s Statement

Part of Rupert's response:
Quote:

I would like to respond to TED’s claims that my TEDx talk “crossed the line into pseudoscience”, contains ”serious factual errors” and makes “many misleading statements.”


This discussion is taking place because the militant atheist bloggers Jerry Coyne and P.Z. Myers denounced me, and attacked TED for giving my talk a platform. I was invited to give my talk as part of a TEDx event in Whitechapel, London, called “Challenging Existing Paradigms.” That’s where the problem lies: my talk explicitly challenges the materialist belief system. It summarized some of the main themes of my recent book Science Set Free (in the UK called The Science Delusion). Unfortunately, the TED administrators have publically aligned themselves with the old paradigm of materialism, which has dominated science since the late nineteenth century. .......


TED say they removed my talk from their website on the advice of their Scientific Board, who also condemned Graham Hancock’s talk. Hancock and I are now facing anonymous accusations made by a body on whose authority TED relies, on whose advice they act, and behind whom they shelter, but whose names they have not revealed.


TED’s anonymous Scientific Board made three specific accusations: (You can find the rest of his rebuttal - where he addresses the accusations - at the link)
Now the facts are pretty straight-forward.

  1. TED was a sponsor of the TEDx event in Whitechapel, London, called “Challenging Existing Paradigms.
  2. I think it's fair to say that Rupert's position definitely fits the subject matter of "Challenging Existing Paradigms"
  3. The material was not removed from the site until there was a campaign against it.
  4. And ... the one highest ideals of scientific inquiry is to "Challenge Existing Paradigms" - I mean - isn't that what science is suppose to be about always pushing ahead into new frontiers of knowledge? And won't that push sometimes lead down dead-end roads? And isn't it suppose to be the job of the entire scientific community to analyze and test the new frontiers?
TED set itself up as a place to air information. And - more to the point of this discussion - the speaker at this event was addressing the main topic of the event. So ... why should TED remove the material only after the outcry of detracters????
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Open_Minded View Post
Well ... firstly let's set aside the obvious bias implications of using the word "crackpot"
I used "crackpot" in its clinical sense.

Quote:
Now let's go to the source
From TED
Part of Rupert's response:
Now the facts are pretty straight-forward. TED was a sponsor of the TEDx event in Whitechapel, London, called “Challenging Existing Paradigms.
  1. I think it's fair to say that Rupert's position definitely fits the subject matter of "Challenging Existing Paradigms"
  2. The material was not removed from the site until there was a campaign against it.
  3. And ... the one highest ideals of scientific inquiry is to "Challenge Existing Paradigms" - I mean - isn't that what science is suppose to be about always pushing ahead into new frontiers of knowledge? And won't that push sometimes lead down dead-end roads? And isn't it suppose to be the job of the entire scientific community to analyze and test the new frontiers?
TED set itself up as a place to air information. And - more to the point of this discussion - the speaker at this event was addressing the main topic of the event. So ... why should TED remove the material only after the outcry of detracters????
I can't speak to the clumsy politics of this debacle.
But he should keep trying to collect evidence & develop his ideas.
We shall see if they lead anywhere productive.
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:50 AM
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I used "crackpot" in its clinical sense.

I can't speak to the clumsy politics of this debacle.
But he should keep trying to collect evidence & develop his ideas.
We shall see if they lead anywhere productive
.
We agree completely ... time will tell. But... it is important for folks (if they are going to work within the scientific paradigm) to do the experiments. Put the experiments out there for peer review and replication.

It is also important for the scientific community to do the work of living up to its highest ideals of unbiased objectivity, and avoid biased treatment of scientists who are going against the mainstream.
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:51 AM
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We agree completely ...
Stop that! We're boring the hoi polloi.
Call me a bad word or challenge my ethnicity.
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:17 PM
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So ... why should TED remove the material only after the outcry of detracters????
For the same reason that any organization might make a mistake of judgment and not realize it, until people call attention to it.

The relevant question is whether TED gave plausible reasons for judging the talk to be factually misleading pseudoscience. You presented TED's reasons, but then ignored them when you summarized what happened in your three-point list, giving the misleading impression that TED had no reason. Finally, you say TED "removed the material" but they actually just moved it.

They are supposed to be "Ideas worth spreading", not "Any idea that we can spread". That pretty much sums it up.
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