TED Talk Controversy: 3 Powerful Talks TED Tried to Censor

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censorTED is a powerful and paradigm shattering initiative that brands itself with the slogan “Ideas worth spreading.” At this point, we have probably all heard of TED and the short talks given by inspiring people from all around the world to audiences at different conferences. These talks can range in subject and have included science, politics, entrepreneurship, consciousness, cosmology, inventions and more. As TED’s popularity grew, TEDx talks sprung up around the globe which gave a less moderated voice to inspiring people. As a result, TED has been involved in controversy as they chose to censor various talks they deemed worthy of their censorship. The issue is, these talks are of great importance and TED’s decision to censor them reveals their interest in preserving their own brand while not getting in trouble with the ‘big wigs.’ Here are the talks TED felt were ‘Ideas not worth spreading.’

‘Rich People Don’t Create Jobs’ by Nick  Hanauer

About two years ago, Ted censored Nick Hanauer’s talk called ‘Rich People Don’t Create Jobs.’ Billionaire Nick Hanauer (a venture capitalist from Seattle) gave the talk at a TED conference focusing mainly on income and inequality in America. Although the talk received a standing ovation from the audience, TED didn’t feel it was “An idea worth spreading” and refused to post it to their website. Regardless of the fact that TED has featured many presentations given by high-up politicians like Bill Clinton, David Cameron and Al Gore, this talk was somehow deemed too politically controversial and “explicitly partisan.

According to Christopher Andersen, the curator of TED, “The talk tapped into a really important and timely issue, but it framed the issue in a way that was explicitly partisan. And it included a number of arguments that were unconvincing, even to those of us who supported his overall stance.”

The Science Delusion by Rupert Sheldrake

Rupert Sheldrake is a fascinating member of the scientific world. His TED talk named “The Science Delusion” was controversially censored by the TED community after being aired. Rupert shares that humanity has become stuck in turning science into another belief or dogma vs. allowing the method to be what it is. Rupert Sheldrake outlines 10 dogmas he has found to exist within mainstream science today. He states that when you look at each of these scientifically, you see that they are not actually true.

The War on Consciousness by Graham Hancock

TED also controversially a talk by Graham Hancock called ‘The War on Consciousness‘. Graham brings light to the war on consciousness that exists in our modern society, especially in the western world. Sharing his experience of overcoming a 24 year cannabis addiction using an ecodelic drug known as Ayahuasca, he makes the argument that modern society does not allow us to truly explore our consciousness by making various these psychedelics illegal. Most people are given pharmaceutical “band aids” to cope with issues that can be cured by exploring our consciousness.

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  1. jparent@hawaii.edu


  2. Georgina

    As much as you have a good point about the Rick Hanauer talk the other two talks are totally different cases. The Graham Hancock talk quite simply creates liability issues. The Rupert Sheldrake talk is perhaps the most deceptive and delusional piece of anti-rational propaganda ever presented outside a homeopathy conference. His entire technique of argument building straw men – his misrepresentation/ fabrication of supposed scientific concepts is so extreme that if it isn’t the product of psychosis or pure ignorance then it must represent deliberate deception aimed at undermining the logical debates that allow ideas to be explored and tested. This man a grandiose ignoramus, who seeks to undermine the process of rational equiry to falsely cediting science with “dogmas” that are no pore than crudely fabricated parodies share no substance with anything that would pass for real science!

    • Ladybug_Brighteyes

      This response reminds me of the root word for Magnet with regards to it’s origin. :)

    • What i forgot to add: IMO both talks you mention do one common thing: They challenge beliefs. That is just what science should do. Beliefs will be protected by any means, even in face of evidence (that is what science is not supposed to do). Anyway, both economy and science involve much more than unbiased calculation, observation and mostly logical conclusion. Business and financial interests, career considerations, connections (as in who know whom, who has more, or more influential “friends”, funding, politics (within and without the scientific community, certain economists’ and scientists’ reputation, power, and once again business and financial interest (probably the most influential of all) all influence these fields and what passes to be published and be accepted by the community. How then, do we expect science to be infallible, or economics to be “economical”? And again, this is why Hancock does make a point, even though he speculates probably way too much in some cases.

      As for the third video: Anyone’s badtrip should be their personal matter, in that case we all agree…

    • Please deliberate. I am particularly interested in the gravitational constant (gravity being one of those phenomena science admittedly understands nay nothing about) and the speed of light. What I’d like to know more about is, how is he wrong about what he says, i.e. the differences in measurements. (I care less about speculations on evolution etc.)
      Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to argue with you, just asking to back up your points with something more than words, especially when trying to disprove someone’s claims. I have not read his book, but I imagine he’d deliberate somewhat more, providing evidence. If he does not, my bad, anyway, some of his thoughts actually make sense.
      Now, my actual point is, there is a (very much existent) phenomena, know as scientific arrogance. While this arrogance is not inherently scientific (more inherently human), it does definitely exist in science. In short science is not absolute and does not definenature. Establishing definitions of natural phenomena, and base other theories, ideas, measurements, etc. based on our own definitions seems out of the way of scientific observation. At this point he is most right.
      It is fashionable, of late,m to believe in the omnipotence of men, and the omnipotence of science. We believe we are the center of the universe, once again (resembles closely the olden days, when people believed the universe revolved around the Earth), and our science to have covered and explained everything, or most things. Those we have not yet explained either a, will be explained (that is a truly scientific mindset) b, do not exist (???).
      Now, apart from the insignificance of our species in this Universe (although we show some significance on our planet, inasmuch as we destroy it more capably than any other species we know of), this raises the question of the “what cannot be measured, simply does not exist mindset” (instead of, what cannot be measured, we are not advanced enough to build equipment for measuring). Measure gravity… if you can (don’t just observe it, quantify it.) Electricity could not be measured 500 years ago. yet electricity existed, although not understood, or even harnessed by men.
      Without going into speculations of what can/cannot be measured (although the Chinese are scientifically exploring the phenomena known as “Qi” for 40 years now, that is a different question), I’d like to ask again: please elaborate further about the aforementioned two points. Thanks.

      – The Ed.

  3. Natalie

    I haven’t watched the other two talks but in regards to Hancock>
    I am really not surprised they took that down. TED is a company. a business. and businesses have the right to be concerned with their image and marketing. Hancock seems like a genuine stoner to me, talking about all things stoners and entheo-heads always talk about. Consciousness and society being fucked. The way the world works being doomed unless everyone gets high and learns to enjoy getting high on the same shit they do. I mean no offense by this. I have many dear friends involved in these circles and I respect their choice to do what they want. and enjoy what they want. But you cant fucking go on TED and talk about your trips(unless you are talking about it as that – a trip and how that trip helped your life), a crazy spirit of the earth, the revelations you had while you were high, accuse our society of being fucked for not letting you legally by the drugs you want, NOT PROVIDE ANY SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT YOUR CLAIMS, make a large amount of vague statements (referencing the tree of life and stuff (without explaining what the fuck your talking about to the normal people watching)), BAG OUT SCIENCE and expect your video to NOT be taken down. There are a lot of contradictions in this talk as well, such as Hancock criticizes the level of consciousness that he claims most of the world exist in – the problems solving level of consciousness. He then listed a whole bunch of problems in the world which need solving. He then claims the only way for us to evolve is to expand our consciousness by taking mind-altering substances? But our fucking society has evolved BY THE HELP OF problem solving. Due to people working in the problem solving state of consciousness if you want to call it that. How the fuck did we get to the moon? We certainly didn’t get there by people in the jungle getting high. How did women get the right to vote? Protesting, intellectual writing… A whole fucking punch of hard work, thinking and problem solving.
    Sure people on drugs can contribute, but I think more to art than to science and the furtherance of our society. Many famous artists, writers and poets have created beautiful works and spent their lifetime taking shitloads of drugs. It is questionable whether art really furthers or changes society though. As opposed to new laws being formed, new scientific research and inventions.
    I am not saying taking aya isn’t interesting.
    I was told to take aya by enthoe-heads when I was going through an extremely rough patch. They ranted to me about all this stuff like it being healing and the mother spirit etc. I was open to it and tried it, I gave it my all, and to be honest it didn’t help me at all. This community seems to spend a lot of thought in justifying their drug use, but I don’t see how they are really contributing to society.
    To me it also sounds like Hancock has replaced his weed addiction with an addiction to aya and is just ranting and justifying his new found mind-altering chem. He claims its not possible to get addicted to aya but I know people who are. And that is really intense.
    Basically, I find his presentation of information really UNgrounded in reality (i.e. proof) and I am not surprised TED took it down.

    • antoni

      He doesn’t take ayahuasca every day. Not even every week, and not even every month. are you serious? He clearly said it is not recreation.

    • Skylar

      Scientific evidence? On an illegal substance? And as to the contradiction part that you are speaking of, I think, yes, our problem solving capabilities are fantastic. Technology and science are incredible. But, do you agree that there are a lot more problems to be solved? Actually, before I go further, I think you should watch the talk on science above. As for Hancock, I truly think his presentation was awesome, and that a lot more people should see it. P.S. I think art is a powerful tool that presents messages in meaningful ways that words cannot always capture.

  4. last 2 talks are nonsense. gj TED. keep what you are.

  5. alex

    Three great cognitive dissonance provoking talks as evidenced by the mental turmoil inflicted on natalie and georgina above :)

  6. Martin

    “Challenging Existing Paradigms” (huh?)

    Toss that one on the fire. We have a lot invested in them.
    Heads should roll for allowing this event to even take place.
    Move along now…nothing to see here

  7. The very idea that nature can be made illegal would set alarm bells off to those who’s minds still contain e residue of that primal common conscience we once all shared

  8. Walter

    Excellent, the way I see it I only saw these videos because they were censored and for that reason I got interested to know what is it that they desire to hide from us. The more they censor more interested I will be to see it.


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