Founder: Set Science Free.org
The following statement is from TED’s website.
“Today, TED is best thought of as a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world.”
We challenge TED to follow their own principles, and as scientists and scholars who care about scientific integrity and accountability, we request that the (Rupert Sheldrake, Phd) TEDx talk, “The Science Delusion” be fully reinstated into the main searchable database of videos on TED.com.
On April 2, 2013, TED finalized their decision to remove Rupert Sheldrake’s TEDx talk, “The Science Delusion” from their main database of searchable videos and placed it into a segregated and somewhat hidden section of their website. According to TED, this decision was based on the recommendation of their anonymous scientific board.
Here is a statement from TED explaining why they made this decision.
“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.”
TED’s Anonymous ‘Scientific Board’ had 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, they proceeded to remove it.
The ongoing crisis of limited rationality reflected in TED’s action in removing Sheldrake’s lecture does not support scientific progress or the scientific spirit. The germ theory of disease – now well established as scientific canon – was once thought to be pseudoscience. Science, and therefore society, moves forward when the full body of scientific research is open and accessible to the public, which is one of TED’s objectives as an organization.
Any attempt to segregate, hide or suppress new research in science should be confronted and exposed. The idea of pushing psi research to the margins or cloaking it in secrecy is outdated. Bringing this research into the open will allow for greater informed criticism from the scientific community as well as the public. Asking questions, proposing theories, and conducting research is how scientific knowledge is acquired. We, as a scientific community, hereby request that you reconsider your actions.
We, the undersigned, hereby fully endorse Rupert Sheldrake’s reinstatement onto your website as well as the other recommendations named in this petition. We advocate for the respect of all fields within the sciences, and acknowledge that Sheldrake’s lecture did present a cogent, rational position based on real (as opposed to any form of pseudo-) scientific research. We agree with TED’s mission statement that the public should have open access to all useful and innovative ideas from every scientific discipline. However, it is unfortunate this very mission statement was not adhered to in practice by TED itself, vis a vis the removal of Sheldrake’s lecture from the main body of lectures on its website.
Our recommendations are as follows:
1. Reinstate Rupert Sheldrake’s Talk “The Science Delusion” into the main database of searchable talks on TED.com. Desegregate it and display it equally, among other talks, as it does not lack any quality or qualifying factors that other talks have demonstrated. The caliber of scientific research behind Sheldrake’s talk is solid, and he should not be rejected purely due to (what we believe are) paradigmatic differences based in the dogmas of various scientists, vs. any actual scientific justification.
2. Publish the names of all members of TED’s anonymous scientific board. Members of scientific boards and scientific journals must be public without exception because they are accountable to their peers and to their readers. The anonymity of TED’s scientific board lends credence to the idea that its scientists may be biased against good science that leads to conclusions which do not fit neatly into the common scientific paradigm. If TED’s scientific board members were not anonymous, they would presumably make themselves known, such that they could be engaged in an honest intellectual challenge such as the debate that has stirred around Sheldrake’s lecture.
TED, we agree with your mission and we advocate for open access of ideas. We simply ask that you put your own principles to practice in your distribution of information.
“There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.” – Isaac Asimov
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