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TED - and Censorship

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by Open_Minded, May 3, 2013.

  1. Open_Minded

    Open_Minded We are all ONE

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    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 .....
     
  2. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Ignorant Atheist Capitalist Engineer Libertarian

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    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..
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2013
  3. Open_Minded

    Open_Minded We are all ONE

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    We agree completely


    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. :shrug:
     
  4. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Ignorant Atheist Capitalist Engineer Libertarian

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    63,870
    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.
     
  5. Skwim

    Skwim Well-Known Member

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    11,309
    Religion:
    Agnostic
    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.
     
  6. Open_Minded

    Open_Minded We are all ONE

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    Well ... firstly let's set aside the obvious bias implications of using the word "crackpot" :)

    Now let's go to the source

    From TED

    Part of Rupert's response:
    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????
     
  7. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Ignorant Atheist Capitalist Engineer Libertarian

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    63,870
    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.
     
  8. Open_Minded

    Open_Minded We are all ONE

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    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.
     
  9. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Ignorant Atheist Capitalist Engineer Libertarian

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    63,870
    Stop that! We're boring the hoi polloi.
    Call me a bad word or challenge my ethnicity.
     
  10. Mr Spinkles

    Mr Spinkles Mr

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    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.
     
  11. WyattDerp

    WyattDerp New Member

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    TED? Bleh! If anyone has a good idea, why would they present with these self-important whimps? Even @google talks are a better medium ffs.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ^ That's such lame posturing and brownnosing over mere 18 minutes that were clearly too good for those *******, that it actually wraps around from pathetic to slightly funny.

    [youtube]ci5p1OdVLAc[/youtube]
    Sarah Silverman: A new perspective on the number 3000 - YouTube
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2013
  12. Mr Spinkles

    Mr Spinkles Mr

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    10,861
    Yes but biased treatment of scientists who are going against the evidence, or against the scientific method, is a good thing. There is a reason we take Einstein very seriously, even though he was wrong about a number of things and even though he went against the mainstream a number of times. The reason is because he was diligent, thorough, knowledgeable, careful, objective. And his theories successfully predicted the outcomes of detailed experiments. So he commanded respect, even from scientists who disagreed with him. This, however, does not command respect:
    Why doesn't this command respect? It's because Sheldrake is playing fast-and-loose with facts. Not because of unfair prejudice against anyone outside the mainstream.
     
    Sunstone likes this.
  13. Open_Minded

    Open_Minded We are all ONE

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    From Rupert's Rebuttle
    From Rupert's rebuttle:
    And ... again ... from Rupert's rebuttle:

    I wonder if he's gotten any calls from these "other scientists eager to replicate the work". .....


    Anyway - Rupert's Bio lists the following qualifications ....


    [FONT=&quot]Hardly a resume to snub ones nose at. [/FONT]:shrug:
     
  14. Open_Minded

    Open_Minded We are all ONE

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    :D

    Well ... I'm sure we'd have different views on Rupert's actual assertions about the "dogma" within Science. And I'd be more than willing to have a philosophical discussion on those points.

    Since we agree on the basic foundation of the scientific process, I feel no need to scientifically prove philosophical assertions. But philosophical discussion around those assertions, makes complete sense. :)
     
  15. Mr Spinkles

    Mr Spinkles Mr

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    10,861
    Hi Open_Minded,

    I read Rupert's rebuttal. I also watched his TEDx talk. I'm still not seeing how it wasn't totally misleading. I'm a physicist and I am shocked that anyone can claim it's an unquestioned "dogma" that the fundamental constants don't change over time, matter/energy is constant, etc. That's simply not true. We're open to the possibility in fact that's how many astrophysics and high-energy particle physicists justify their funding and their existence, trying to test the fundamental constants, etc.

    Specifically, on morphic resonance and Sheldrake's publications in the British Journal of Psychology: TED admitted that it's reply that there were NO publications was too hasty. But TED is still right to be thoroughly skeptical of this guy. First, the fact that Sheldrake published in the British Journal of Psychology undermines his argument that scientists are too closed-minded to consider questioning of their "dogma". Second, a bunch of other researchers published their own follow-up experiments to Sheldrake's "psychic dog" research, also published in the BJOP, and they concluded the dog wasn't psychic. When different researchers arrive at different conclusions, even though they did essentially the same very simple experiments on the same supposedly psychic dog, that should raise red flags that someone might not be doing very good science. Call me closed-minded, but my money is that it's the guy claiming that dogs are psychic, and not the countless other people who disagree. On the face of it, that is the simplest and most probable explanation for the discrepancy. Furthermore, physics experiments in general provide indirect evidence against psychic phenomena generally, so that must be piled onto one side of the scales, too. There's just no known physical mechanism that could make this phenomenon work in principle--it would be like claiming that eating pizza has an effect on earthquakes in China, there's just no reason to believe it from the start. But there is every reason to believe, on the basis of psychology experiments, that it is easy to fool oneself into seeing psychic phenomena when none are there. So all this evidence, direct and indirect, must be piled on the scale opposite Sheldrake, and weighed.

    As I understand in one instance he called them, actually. And the conclusion that was reached was opposite that of Sheldrake's. See Wiseman, R., Smith, M. and Milton, J. 1998. Can animals detect when their owners are returning home? Anexperimental test of the `psychic pet' phenomenon British Journal of Psychology 89: 453-462.

    When two different researchers do the same experiment and come to opposite conclusions, on a hypothesis which was dubious and fraught with possible error to begin with, I don't dismiss it because it goes against my dogma. I dismiss it because there's not enough evidence to command taking it seriously.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  16. Open_Minded

    Open_Minded We are all ONE

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    262
    Hello Mr. Spinkles:

    I found a pretty interesting essay (Rupert Sheldrake -and the wider scientific community)on skepitico.com

    Skeptiko is, by no means, biased towards things like ESP, etc... but - over the years I've found some of their work to be pretty fair. This article falls into that category. It seems to treat the subject matter pretty even-handidly.

    Following are a few excerpts from the article:

    Specific to the dog research:


     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  17. Open_Minded

    Open_Minded We are all ONE

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    262
    And - from the paper's conclusion
    From the conclusion
     
  18. Mr Spinkles

    Mr Spinkles Mr

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    10,861
    Open_Minded,

    The relevant question is whether enough of the criticism of Sheldrake is justified for TED to suspect him of peddling pseudoscience. The answer to this question is "yes", even if it is also true that Sheldrake's critics have occasionally overreached or treated him unfairly.

    Now, to take up this separate topic of whether Sheldrake has occasionally been treated unfairly:

    First of all, notice once again how the dissertation and interview posted on skeptico you cited undermines Sheldrake's argument that scientists can't tolerate questioning of their "dogma". To the contrary, the links you have posted indicate skeptics, scientists and TED bending over backwards to give Sheldrake (and his critics) a hearing.

    Secondly, you can read all the papers that were published and all the replies and counter-replies between Sheldrake and Wiseman here. I find the dissertation you quoted, by Stevens, unconvincing. His most serious objection is the following. Using a particular metric for "success" which wasn't established beforehand in Wiseman's study, the full video data in both studies can be explained by either a new psychic dog phenomenon, or established phenomena and ordinary chance. What Stevens seems to miss is that, when that is the case, then according to the ordinary standards of scientific rigor, no new phenomenon has been demonstrated. Only data which unambiguously rules out known, non-psychic explanations can potentially establish a new, psychic explanation. For example, if I do an experiment in a particle accelerator, and obtain data which I admit could be interpreted as a new particle OR random noise, then I have not demonstrated anything. Occam's razor alone says we provisionally assume, by default, that my results were caused by noise. This default assumption becomes even stronger when the proposed phenomenon was implausible to begin with, based on the entire body of experimental knowledge. The fact that multiple studies obtained the same result--the data does not require psychic-dog phenomena to explain--makes this conclusion stronger, not weaker.

    Of course, it is true that sometimes the critics of pseudoscience may overreach and become overly dismissive or exasperated, especially in live debates or media appearances. This is partly because the supporters of pseudoscience are often frustratingly impervious to contradictory (or absence of) evidence in a way that good scientists are not. Personally, if I called a colleague and asked her to repeat my very own experiment, and she arrived at an opposite conclusion, my confidence would be quite shaken. Something has gone seriously wrong when that happens. Either my reputation and credibility, or my colleague's, would now have to be called into question, unless we could quickly reach some kind of mutual agreement. Things would look quite embarrassing for me if the phenomenon I claimed to see was implausible to begin with.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  19. Alceste

    Alceste Vagabond

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    26,030
    Can someone explain how the percentages describing the pattern were arrived at? Seems to me that a dog going to the window with increasing frequency the longer his owner is away would result in that pattern no matter how long she was away.

    I need a more detailed breakdown to get a sense of what the findings mean. For example, what percentage of time was the dog at the window when she came home after half an hour, and how does that compare to how long he spent at the window when she came home after three hours? Etc.

    Unless it's fifty percent of the time in both cases, it doesn't mean anything that the average is fifty percent.
     
  20. Mr Spinkles

    Mr Spinkles Mr

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