Yesterday I put up the video of an absolutely dreadful anti-scientific talk by woomeister Rupert Sheldrake, a talk that he gave it for TEDx Whitechapel. After I kvetched about it here, I sent an email complaint to Emily McManus, an editor at TED.com (her TED biography notes that she’s an atheist!), adding a link to my post on Sheldrake’s video. Last night Ms. McManus sent me this obliging email:
Thanks for writing in, and for the link to your thoughtful blog post. I wanted to let you know we’ve been looking at this talk all day today, and my team is both analyzing it for content and pulling together a list of the specific issues with it. It’s good practice for us to prepare a comprehensive list like this — we learn a lot from engaging.
We will concurrently open a public discussion of the talk on our TED forum tonight. I’ll send you that discussion link when it’s up.
While TED does not vet speakers for independent TEDx events, we do hold the TEDx licensee to the standards outlined in Lara’s and my letter, and take it seriously when viewers suggest the guidelines have not been met. We also take seriously the act of removing a TEDx talk from the archive; this is why we’re thoughtful and deliberate in our analysis.
I appreciate your thoughtful blog post and comments. Please know that you have been heard.
And, sure enough, she wrote me this morning noting that they had started a comment site for Sheldrake’s talk. If you go there, you can leave a comment with your reaction to what you saw. I’ve already commented, and I urge readers to express their opinions about what Sheldrake said, or about the scientific quality of TED and TEDx talks. This is your chance to make a difference, and to promote quality science and good science communication. Leave any comments at the link above (note: you have to register, but it’s dead easy and you can opt out of TED emails).
There are only a few comments now, none of them (except mine) criticizing the talk, and some tout Sheldrake as a great scientist, e.g.: