The Science Delusion @ TED

3/15 Update: The video on the TEDx YouTube channel was removed by TED. I downloaded a copy before they took it down and posted it to Vimeo (creative commons license). TED created a page where people are invited to debate the merits of their decision to remove the videos. The statement from TED reads, “After due diligence, including a survey of published scientific research and recommendations from our Science Board and our community, we have decided that Graham Hancock’s and Rupert Sheldrake’s talks from TEDxWhiteChapel should be removed from distribution on the TEDx YouTube channel. Both talks have been flagged as containing serious factual errors that undermine TED’s commitment to good science. The critiques of these talks need much clearer highlighting.”

I’m a big fan of TED but removing these videos is a little childish. Sheldrake’s work is controversial. Oh no. The free market of ideas allows people to make up their own minds and censorship never has the intended results.

The science delusion is the belief that science already understands the nature of reality, in principle. The fundamental questions are answered, leaving only the details to be filled in. The impressive achievements of science seemed to support this confident attitude. But recent research has revealed unexpected problems at the heart of physics, cosmology, biology, medicine and psychology. Dr Rupert Sheldrake shows how the sciences are being constricted by assumptions that have hardened into dogmas. Should science be a belief-system, or a realm of enquiry? Sheldrake argues that science would be better off without its dogmas: freer, more interesting and more fun.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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