TEDx West Hollywood administrators planned to show Graham Hancock video

I don’t want to bang on about this too long, but the more I look at the TEDx West Hollywood event, the more disturbed I become.  As you know, the Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock videos from TEDx Whitechapel were deemed scientifically weak and sequestered to a Site of Bad Science by the TED administrators. That caused a ruckus from their woo-ster followers, who cried “censorship”.

Today the administrators of the upcoming TEDx event in West Hollywood, “Brother, can you spare a paradigm: making the quantum leap, ” have their knickers in a twist because they were going to show the Graham Hancock video at their event—and now they can’t. They’re whining about it on their own blog, decrying the “censorship” of Graham Hancock. And they’re also extolling, among other things, evidence for PSI produced by Russell Targ.

Whoever authorized the Hollywood TEDx event was asleep at the wheel. It is nothing more than a New Age SpiritualityFest trying to borrow some scientific respectability by putting “quantum” in the title and description.

This event is a disgrace and an embarrassment to the TED brand. I hope that the organizers of TED, who license these events, realize what kind of nonsense is parading under their banner.

32 Comments

  1. Chuck O'Connor
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Is this event Technology, Entertainment, or Design? It seems like this event could only count as absurd entertainment. Something like an Andy Kaufmann wrestling match.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted March 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      an Andy Kaufmann wrestling match.

      Why does that ring a faint, and faintly repulsive, bell inside my head?
      Ah, mixed gender wrestling, and lyrics. The guy sounds almost interesting.

  2. Vini
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I happen to live in West Hollywood. The peddling of New Age nonsense is not any surprise in this entertainment industry town, but it’s a shame that TEDx is so blatantly surrendering to low standards science. I would’ve loved to go. 😦

  3. Posted March 22, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Whoever authorized this TEDx event was asleep at the wheel.

    -Probably not. The Whitechapel event’s authorization was very much deliberate. See the comment at http://blog.ted.com/2013/03/14/open-for-discussion-graham-hancock-and-rupert-sheldrake/comment-page-28/#comment-34920
    I have been tirelessly fighting the idiots in that comment thread as “Enopoletus Harding”.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted March 22, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Apparently calling Targ a “liar and con-artist” violates the terms of service.

  4. rickflick
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Say it ain’t so Joe. Say it ain’t so.

  5. Greg Esres
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    This whole TEDx enterprise should be abandoned. This result was inevitable.

    • Posted March 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Yup. Just as inevitable and predictable as students watching “Ancient Aliens” in a Texan Bible class. http://tfninsider.org/2013/01/16/new-tfnef-report-texas-public-school-bible-classes-teach-races-come-from-noahs-sons-biblical-literalism-6000-year-old-earth/

    • Posted March 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      You might be right. TED violated the First Law of Franchising: control the product.

    • jesse
      Posted March 22, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      There is SO much money in woo that it will be fairly hard to stop the momentum. I’ve got otherwise smart friends and relatives who spend lots (and I mean lots) of money on all sorts of woo despite my trying to explain the science (or lack thereof) to them. They are looking for answers that religion and science-based medicine isn’t giving them, and they are looking for something to make them feel good.
      In my opinion, as there are fewer and fewer traditional jobs available, the woomeisters are going to pick up even more momentum. I think the momentum is all connected to the loss of traditional jobs that kept people busy and more fairly distributed the money in the past. I’m not pulling this out of thin air; it’s been discussed in media.
      Just my opinion.

  6. DV
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Nothing that can’t be fixed by a simple name change. Instead of TEDx rename it to ~TED, as in the logical negation of TED, though “approximately TED” may be also be accepted just to be kind.

    • Suri
      Posted March 22, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know , I think TED(w)oo would be a better name.

    • NoAstronomer
      Posted March 22, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      TED–;

  7. Posted March 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Puthoff & Targ, the Laurel and Hardy of PSI.

    • Calius
      Posted March 22, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      From what I’ve read above, no one here has looked at the double blind protocol that Russell Targ and Hal Puthoff used in their research, nor have they seen the data, including drawings made by subjects of the targets. If anyone writing here had seen the material produced as I have, you’d conclude that their work was based on good science sans woo.

      • Chuck O'Connor
        Posted March 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        How about you post a site to the full data set and research design so we can investigate on our own.

        • Calius
          Posted March 23, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          You can begin by reading a paper written by Puthoff posted at http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_10_1_puthoff.pdf From there you can follow his references throughout the document.

          Does anyone here think that such a highly respected scientist as Hal Puthoff would put his reputation on the line by engaging in such chicanery as some here seem to think? As for the comment about Uri Geller, Targ & Puthoff could not say for certain that Uri was actually able to do as he claimed. Results were officially inconclusive. Ingo Swann and Pat Price are another matter all together.

          • Posted March 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

            Yeah – like you go and publish a paper in Nature on such a controversial issue when you aren’t confident of the results!? What you need to appreciate is that, if true, P&T’s results would overturn pretty much everything we know about physics and presage a completely new science. But hey, they aren’t sure. Now go and check out Irving Langmuir’s indicators of pathological science.

            Puthoff & Targ don’t have a reputation to put on the line at least outside a very narrow circle of equally gullible sycophants.

          • Chuck O'Connor
            Posted March 23, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

            An historical meta-analysis as commentary of speculative secret research is NOT a well controlled experiment. Appealing to a person’s reputation as quantification of a conclusion is just silly. Do you know what well-designed research looks like?

      • Posted March 22, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        No doubt P&T also had impeccable protocol when they confirmed Uri Geller’s psychic powers in a Nature article and when they recorded Ingo Swann’s remote viewing of the planet Jupiter. Put these clowns on the case and you’ll likely get positive results for any PSI test.

      • BillyJoe
        Posted March 22, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        You could have warned me to put down my coffee before reading your comment.

      • JohnnieCanuck
        Posted March 23, 2013 at 3:58 am | Permalink

        I’m going to speculate that you are lacking in any training as an illusionist. That is what is required to first police the ‘experiment’ so that all the obvious ways of cheating are covered and second to watch to make sure they don’t come up with a workaround to counter your initial blocks. If they determine the protocol, they win, you get fooled.

        What? They seemed very trustworthy to you? Surprise, surprise, surprise!

        So how many sessions did you witness? Fooled you once, shame on them…

  8. Suri
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I think it is about time respectable scientists start distancing themselves from TED …The TED ship is sinking now …. Ok, it started sinking a long time ago but the level of stupidity now is just ridiculous .

  9. Posted March 22, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I don’t get it.

    If the government says the publishing of submitted articles or videos advocating X or on the subject of X or in the field of X is forbidden (in ANY journal or by ANY website), THAT is censorship.

    If a Journal or website having the purpose of publishing articles and videos advocating Y or Z or on the subject of Y or Z or in the field of Y or Z elects to NOT publish submitted articles or videos advocating X or in the field of X or on the subject of X, THAT is NOT censorship, that is editorship reasonably exercised.

    If it reasonable and NOT censorship for the editors of the Journal TROPICAL FISH HOBBYIST to decline to publish a submitted article titled (and about) “The Joys of an Aquarium-full of Native Icelandic Frigid-Fickled Catfish”…

    …then why IS it censorship for the editors of a website for showcasing SCIENCE videos to decline to publish submitted videos which in their judgment are NON-SCIENCE in character and logical content?

    To complain or argue that the TEDx folks are making an error in editorial judgment (respecting the science or non-science of submitted videos) is ONE thing (and maybe or maybe not a RIGHTEOUS thing), but to accuse the TEDx folks of CENSORSHIP when they exercise such editorial judgment is pure cry-baby EQUINE-FECES, steamy hot and stinky.

    • Chuck O'Connor
      Posted March 22, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Well said.

  10. Jon H
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    TEDx West Hollywood “Coordinator” bio: ” I was on camera for the pledge drive showing of my crop circle documentary, What On Earth?, on a Colorado PBS station”

    “Co-coordinator and web designer” bio: “I am the author of The Miracle Makers Club – Live The Prosperous and Soul-Filled Life That You Deserve Today, Make Your Life A Miracle, and Keys To Building an Amazing Practice for Chiropractors.”

    “Broadcast Technical Producer/Director” bio: “She produced and directed Flipping the Joy Switch, Teaching Corporate America the Law of Attraction, and Vermont Bio Fuels, spotlighting cutting edge research on corn.

    Cyrene produced and sound engineered Multi-Dimensional You: Exploring Energetic Evolution, an audio book, and currently is working on an audio book series, Elliot: The Return to Roswell.”

    “Team Member” bio: “Currently she is with Evolve the Planet Foundation as its event coordinator and curriculum specialist. Paramahansa Jagadish, The Master of Spiritual Transformation and Healing, founded the organization to raise consciousness around the world and to heal the planet and all living beings.”

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted March 23, 2013 at 4:12 am | Permalink

      Con artists, the lot of them. The only question is the extent to which they themselves have fallen for the cons.

  11. bacopa
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Doesn’t anyone sense the racism on the Ancient Aliens hypothesis?

    The natives of the plains of Nazca could not have figured out geometric similarity and must have had alien help to draw their figures. Egypt must have had help to do what they did.

    But when the civilization is whiter, no one says there was alien help. How did the Athenians build the long walls of Piraeus? How did the Romans align their aqueducts so perfectly? Oh, they were white people and thus did not need help.

    • dummy
      Posted March 23, 2013 at 1:34 am | Permalink

      Mmm, partly I guess but I figure it must be a bit different on the whole. Greece and Rome have become a more important part of the foundation myth of the West (race did have a role to play here in the 19th-20th centuries but I’d argue for other obvious reasons as well – no direct egyptian writings until rosetta, classical latin and greek writings well studied and influential before that) and as such are taught more in schools, studied more from an amateur perspective etc. (from my experience). Egypt and Mesoamerica appear more exotic and mysterious so they’re ripe for woo.

      Also, fwiw, I’ve seen “ancient alien astronaut whatever” woo wrt ancient Greece as well. Lol.

      • dummy
        Posted March 23, 2013 at 1:37 am | Permalink

        Duh, of course I meant pre-columbian America there.

  12. murci3lag0
    Posted March 23, 2013 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    The TEDx brand is a disgrace around the world. Last year at TEDx Toulouse there was also a talk about the “scientific proof of life after death” by Jean Jacques Charbonier: http://tedxtoulouse.com/editions-passees/

  13. Posted March 23, 2013 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    As I said yesterday, TED allows it to happen because they profit from it. They don’t care about the scientific integrity of the brand enough to vet these things themselves, so don’t go praising them like they’re worth helping out.


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