Building on its successful 2014 campaign, The TED.com Public Rebuttal which was backed by 250+ PhD/MDs, Set Science Free (SSF) is now spearheading a related campaign to support consciousness research and education in university programs. The purpose of the TED Campaign was to demonstrate to TED that there is support among the scientific and academic community to challenge dogmatic materialistic belief systems. Our goal was also to challenge TED to live up to its own mission statement.
We discovered in our conversation with Chris Anderson, curator of TED, that he alone made the decision to pull Rupert Sheldrake’s controversial TED talk (about the limits of materialistic science) based on an “informal discussion” with a few unnamed scientists and journalists. Anderson also cited entries that were critical of Sheldrake from the online crowd-sourced ‘Wikipedia’ as a reason to segregate Sheldrake’s talk. Wikipedia, a known hotbed of consciousness deniers and organized pseudo-skeptic groups was a part of the decision making process for TED. These disclosures do not bode well for the reputation of TED’s curatorial process.
In short, belief-laden interests as well as willful ignorance of research has guided TED’s actions. To be fair, Mr. Anderson’s decision reflects a common and well known academic and institutional bias in support of philosophical materialism. With that said, willful ignorance and institutional bias do not constitute any semblance of a plan of action for the new generation of scientists. The very spirit of science itself is at stake when research (from Sheldrake and a multitude of others) is dismissed sight unseen, solely based on the subject matter and not on the content or merits of the actual research. The educational system must change to combat this hindrance to scientific progress.
In recognition of the critical and timely need for paradigmatic change, Set Science Free’s sophomore campaign has now been launched. SSF is focusing on assisting the introduction of new consciousness research programs (and related curricula) into the American educational system. We are doing this by offering direct assistance to the professors, researchers, and students who are initiating these programs through an awareness campaign and fundraising. The consciousness research findings that are presently available are not being utilized in academia and we are advocating a change to include appropriate representation.
While many scientists and academics worldwide understand and regularly experience the challenges of materialist politics firsthand, they are justifiably engaged with research and professorial duties, and thus do not have the time to act as educational activists. This is where Set Science Free aims to insert itself—in the role of aid and advocate. Our new campaign can be defined as tersely thus:
Set Science Free is currently working with any professor or student organization that has an interest in starting a Consciousness research program at their respective university. Our current effort is focused on the Center for Education and Research in Consciousness (CERC)—an initiative at the University of Washington, Bothell. Click here to download the official CERC proposal. This is an initiative that began through the vision and persistent determination of UWB professor, Dr. Kathleen Noble and a group of devoted students who organized a consciousness club. The university has recently completed a historic first quarter of Consciousness as a minor. This is a significant milestone for consciousness research and education as a whole, as it has set a precedent for the possibility for similar programs on a national level. U of WA’s consciousness research program is the first instance of such a program at a public research university and in a School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. CERC’s logical next step is to develop and offer an undergraduate major (a BA or BS) in Consciousness, and it hopes to achieve this in the next two years. In the next four years, CERC’s objective is to offer an entire graduate-level program. These goals cannot be met, however, without a 20 million dollar endowment. Set Science Free is coordinating the fundraising effort for CERC and is actively seeking donations. Help us raise 20 million for CERC. But first let’s get to $250,000. This would give CERC the official status within the state of Washington as an entity within the university system. This would be a major boost in terms of development and fundraising capacity.
Set Science Free is also actively seeking professors and/or students who might have an interest in starting a similar program at their own universities. Our close partnership with CERC has given us the opportunity to learn key political, organizational, and fundraising strategies. Please contact us if you are a professor, student, or teacher and are interested in bringing Consciousness Studies to your university or school, and/or if you would like more information on CERC. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The abovementioned campaign will define Set Science Free’s primary focus and ongoing priorities until it is fully realized.
For Financial Donations to CERC please send check made out to “University of Washington – Bothell” and send with attention to:
18115 Campus Way NE Bothell, Washington 98011-8246
On April 2, 2014, Set Science Free held its public rebuttal of TED and delivered the petition signed by 251 PhDs and MDs.
Chris Anderson, curator and leader of TED, kindly accepted the petition and spoke with Set Science Free supporters for about 15 minutes. Furthermore, he promised to review the petition and list of signatories.
We invite Anderson to contact Set Science Free for any additional assistance in bringing together scientists who are uninformed or even willfully ignorant relevant research. We support TED’s mission and we look forward to assisting TED should they call on us to help Set Science Free from dogma.
Set Science Free congratulates the signatories for their effort to support science and challenge dogma. Stay tuned for further updates.
For those TED watchers who signed a petition on Change.org, that petition will be left in place gathering additional signatures before being sent to TED.
Science should be open to challenge and anonymous scientific boards must be exposed as a matter of scientific principle. Help us set science free. Petition for PhDs and MDs. Let’s make this ‘Science Spring 2014′. 251 signatures.
On April 2, 2013,TED.com finalized their decision to ban Rupert Sheldrake, PhD‘s TEDx talk “The Science Delusion” from their main database of searchable talks. Sheldrake’s talk focused on general dogma and other assumptions in science, more specifically the theory of materialism (the view that all reality is reducible to physical matter including mind, will, humor, emotions, and memory). Read more about materialism
The decision to remove the talk was handed down by TED’s ‘anonymous scientific board’ which, according to TED, consists of a few unnamed scientists and journalists. TED’s ‘scientific board’ initially challenged the scientific validity of the talk but failed and their objections were ultimately retracted. Yet despite being unable to find any reasonable justification, TED proceeded to remove it, ignoring the advice of a multitude of scientists who had called for them to reinstate it. The removal of the lecture has ignited an intellectual and scientific backlash against TED that has been raging for nearly a full year.
Here is the TEDx Talk that started the controversy and inspired this movement. “The Science Delusion”:
It was disrespectful for TED to remove his talk without giving a valid reason. In response to TED’s action, we are organizing a public rebuttal to be held at the TED Headquarters in Lower Manhattan, New York City. This is scheduled to occur April 2, 2014 on the one-year anniversary of the removal of Sheldrake’s talk. ALL PhDs and MDs are encouraged to attend and/or sign the petition today.
Sheldrake challenged TED’s ‘anonymous scientific board’ to a public debate. TED refused, and additionally refuses to name the members of the “scientific board” that called for the removal of his talk. Legitimate scientific boards are not anonymous. Science is based on personal accountability and members of scientific boards and scientific journals must be public.
While we understand Ted is a non profit with no legal responsibility to accept the thought of all scientists or thinkers, it has become the central hub of cutting edge social and scientific thought internationally. With 1.5 billion+ followers, Ted is often referenced by schools, universities and other institutional communities (scientific, religious, philosophical and more) as the online hub for the most current thought. We accept and appreciate Ted for this. Our goal is not to destroy Ted, but rather to keep its stage one that doesn’t promote dogmatism and provokes evolving thinking. We believe Ted, as an institution with so much influence and trust from its constituents has a duty to hear, acknowledge and respond to those same constituents.
Join our growing list of scientists and academics, including Nobel Prize winning Physicist, Brian D. Josephson FRS, Emeritus Professor of Physics at University of Cambridge, in signing the petition calling for the Sheldrake lecture to be fully reinstated. If you are a PhD or MD and you care about scientific integrity and open science for all disciplines, click Petition & Recommendations to sign the petition.
We urge everyone, including PhDs and MDs to attend as the larger number of people who participate, the greater impact we can have. IF YOU CAN BE IN NYC, WE NEED YOU IN PERSON. PLEASE TAKE THIS CALL TO ATTENDANCE SERIOUSLY. The public rebuttal will held at the TED Headquarters in Lower Manhattan, New York City.
250 Hudson St.
NY, NY 10013
To read more in depth about this controversy and discover why the scientific and academic communities are organizing to fight forward, click here. Summary of TED Controversy
If you are planning to attend in person, please email us at email@example.com so that we can better gauge how many are coming and plan accordingly.
Wish you could be there but it’s just not feasible? Read the Petition and sign the demands here. Petition & Recommendations. Take immediate action. Enter your information to the right under “Sign the Petition” and we’ll add your name to our petition of supporters which will be delivered to TED’s corporate offices on the day of the public rebuttal.
If you prefer to sign the petition by email, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your full name and a link to your credentials.
Please feel free to send us your comments below in “leave a reply” which will be made public, or contact us directly in the “feedback form”.