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TED Censors Alternative Speakers

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      April 1, 2013



      TED has removed the license of TEDxWestHollywood for their planned
      “Brother, Can You Spare a Paradigm?” event, says the TEDxWestHollywood blog.

      The takedown was only a couple of weeks before the April 14 event (and
      after they had spent more than a year preparing), the blog says.

      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 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.”

      Pseudoscience or suppression of radical ideas?

      So which specific speakers does TED object to? “The names of note they
      wanted us to qualify for them were Marianne Williamson, Russell Targ,
      Larry Dossey, and Marilyn Schlitz,” Taylor told KurzweilAI in an email.

      “’Pseudoscience’ is their phrase of denigration. When I said that
      Marianne didn’t fit in the science category, they mentioned a concern
      lest speakers talk about spirituality. When I assured them that her talk
      would not be about God or the like (?), they challenged my knowing that
      speakers weren’t going to veer off into subjects like that.”

      Nonetheless, the newly renamed “ExTEDWestHollywood” is moving ahead,
      Taylor said. “Speakers all are on board -- miraculously -- and energized.”

      A public dialogue needed

      “The current worldview needs a sea change to where we become a
      compassionate humanity, and taking care of one another, species wide,
      becomes the bottom line,” said Taylor. “This issue of what is or isn’t
      legitimate subject matter for TED could be the opening for the larger
      dialogue to loosen the hold on the culture of such a narrow, old,
      Newtonian, cause an effect perspective.

      “I am suggesting that TED promote the Live Stream of our program, Ex
      TEDx West Hollywood, as something to watch and comment on. Since their
      definition of what’s worthy has not sat well with their public, let our
      program either be the validation of their decision, where it’s plain to
      see how unworthy our talks are, or be the indication that the parameters
      they are using need to change.”

      TED created a similar recent firestorm by banning talks at
      TEDxWhitechapel on January 13, 2013 by author Graham Hancock and
      scientist Rupert Sheldrake from the official TED videos website.

      TED instead moved them here for viewing and discussion: The debate about
      Rupert Sheldrake’s talk and The debate about Graham Hancock’s talk.

      Russell Targ speaks out

      “In cancelling the TEDx event in West Hollywood, it appears that I was
      accused of ‘using the guise of science’ to further spooky claims (or
      some such),” said physicist Dr. Russell Targ in “The debate about Rupert
      Sheldrake’s talk” on TED Conversations. (Targ was/is scheduled to speak
      on “The Reality of ESP: A Physicist’s Proof of Psychic Abilities” at

      “People on [the TED Conversations] blog have asked what I was going to
      talk about . That’s easily answered. I was co-founder of a 23-year
      research program investigating psychic abilities at Stanford Research
      Institute. We were doing research and applications for the CIA, Defense
      Intelligence Agency, Air Force and Army Intelligence, NASA, and others.

      “In this $25 million program we used ‘remote viewing’ to find a downed
      Russian bomber in North Africa, for which President Carter commended us.
      We found a kidnapped U.S. general in Italy, and the kidnap car that
      snatched Patricia Hearst. We looked in on the US hostages in Iran, and
      predicted the immanent release of Richard Queen, who was soon sent to
      Germany. We described a Russian weapons factory in Siberia, leading to a
      U.S. congressional investigation about weakness in U.S/ security, etc.

      “We published our scientific findings in Nature, Proc. IEEE, Proc. AAAS,
      and Proc. American Institute of Physics. I thought a TED audience would
      find this recently declassified material interesting. And no physics
      would be harmed in my presentation.”


      UPDATE: April 1, 2013

      TED has now posted “A note to the TED community on the withdrawal of the
      TEDxWestHollywood license” and has opened a discussion on this here. The
      note states that a TED-like experience should exclude “talks that use
      the language of science to present speculative claims as fact.” Quoting
      the TED statement:

      The program theme (which has since been edited online) was described
      this way:

      Brother, Can You Spare a Paradigm? will deal with the need to change our
      fundamental value system or worldview to one in which humanity pulls
      together, superseding the current worldview where whoever has the most
      toys wins. The new ideation will be based on what science tells us is a
      quantum universe, with everything being interconnected and
      interdependent -- one organism that needs to function for the good of
      the whole.

      This language alone raised a red flag. (Characterizing the universe as a
      single organism is not a tenet of quantum physics.) As more details
      became available, we made the curatorial judgment that the program was
      not appropriate for TEDx. Our decision was not based on any individual
      speaker, but our assessment of the overall curatorial direction of the


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