Adonis Diaries

TEDx West Hollywood event. License Revoked because talk unscientific?

Posted on: April 3, 2013

TED revokes license for TEDx West Hollywood event!

This is a Repost with minor editing and my comments.

Why this explosion of wrath from Sheldrake-ians, woomeisters, and other pseudoscience boosters who are ready at a moment’s notice to cry “censorship.”

Alert reader Jay stated that TED has revoked the license for the entire upcoming TEDx West Hollywood event, the parade of self-help and numinosity? called “Brother can you spare a paradigm?” (See my posts on it herehere, and here.)

The official notice is on this site, and is announced as follows (note the new name and plea for dosh):


An angry pro-PSI blog Craig in The Weiler Psi has published excerpts of an email from a representative of TED to organizer Suzanne Taylor, explaining their decision (Taylor’s credentials included making a video about how aliens produce crop circles):

…) 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 is a nice victory for rationalism, and big plaudits go to TED and TEDx for making this decision. They’re gonna catch a lot of flak for this, and many accusations of “censorship”, but what they did was to stand up for science. And keep really wonky, pseudoscience or anti-science at bay.

And don’t forget to keep an eye open for TEDx events in your area.

Note 1: The trouble is that very few graduate students are taught how scientific experiments are conducted and how to judge whether a research paper is valid and within the normal process of designing and running experiments. Basically, the judges are necessarily from this elite class who were lucky enough to attend courses in “experimental research” and “design of experiment”, courses that have nothing to do with courses in logic.

Note 2: If you search the key words “Design of experiment” you will find 50 articles that I wrote about comprehending research articles. For example

4 Responses to "TEDx West Hollywood event. License Revoked because talk unscientific?"

If you people are all going to steal pieces of my blog and attack and insult me, you could at least properly cite the blog and myself.

thanks for the reply: I added your name and blog. The way I understand it, you favor the revoking decision, and I was not attacking you. My notes should clarify my position since I didn’t read samples of the talks. I’ll appreciate it if you send me links to the transcripts of a couple of pseudo-science talks.

I in no way favor the revoking decision! It is censorship by people with a dying philosophy who use any means available to hold back future.

It is anti-science and anti-common sense.

The talks haven’t even happened yet. TED revoked the license strictly because they didn’t like the speakers or the message, not on any real scientific grounds. Go look for yourself and see if TED has anything specific to say besides a bunch of handwaving comments about pseudo-science.

That is my opinion. I asked the local TEDx in Lebanon to send me links on the pseudo-science talks in order to judge for myself. If you do have the manuscripts of the talks, I’ll appreciate the links

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April 2013

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