Suzanne Taylor and TedxWest Hollywood: The word is ‘Science’

Suzanne Taylor has had Tedx revoke her license in regards to her event due to take place in West Hollywood. Now, this clash between a more mainstream scientific approach and something more left-field has been rumbling within Ted since Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock first felt they had been ‘censored’ by Ted. (That’s another story, let’s not get into it, this post is connected with crop circles as we shall see)

According to Tedx, in an email to Suzanne: “And when we look at your speaker line-up, we see several people who promote — as fact — theories that are well outside what most scientists would accept as credible. We’re not saying all the speakers are off-base. Perhaps you could make a case for each of them individually. But when we look at the program as a whole, it’s clear that it doesn’t meet our guidelines.The problem is not the challenging of orthodox views. We believe in that. We’ve had numerous talks which do that. But we have rules about the presentation of science on the TEDx stage. We disallow speakers who use the language of science to claim they have proven the truth of ideas that are speculative and which have failed to gain significant scientific acceptance.”

The speakers who have irked Ted are: Russell Targ who will discuss ESP and Remote Viewing, Larry Dossey who will discuss the revolution in consciousness and Marilyn Schlitz who will be discussing how we can “shift our paradigm”

In fact, the guidelines for an Ted event are very explicit: “Speakers must be able to confirm the claims presented in every talk — TED and TEDx are exceptional stages for showcasing advances in science, and we can only stay that way if the claims presented in our talks can stand up to scrutiny from the scientific community. TED is also not the right platform for talks with an inflammatory political or religious agenda, nor polarizing “us vs them” language. If Talks fail to meet the standards above, TED reserves the right to insist on their removal.”

The aforementioned speakers are presenting subjects that are fringe at best. Whilst the speakers may have credentials in their chosen field, the subject matter they are discussing can not stand up to the scientific scrutiny that Ted and Tedx demands. This is the same problem that Suzanne has with her films on the subject of crop circles. Namely, dressing something up as science that can never withstand proper scientific scrutiny and promoting scientists who were not as qualified as she had led people to believe (namely Mr. Levengood).

Those involved in this little spat will yell about censorship, challenging the scientific status quo etc etc but the bottom line is that some of the these speakers and Suzanne have been disingenuously promoting their beliefs as science. They have been throwing around their credentials to try and convince that what they say is science because they have qualifications, credentials and experience. Sadly, it doesn’t work like that. If some of these speakers actually produced some quality research, they’d have something to argue with.

5 thoughts on “Suzanne Taylor and TedxWest Hollywood: The word is ‘Science’

  1. Andy I think you need to be specific before you yourself start ‘throwing around’ accusations that some of the speakers don’t produce quality research.

    I certainly think Targ and Schlitz could put forward some pretty hefty arguments which would disprove this.

    I do think TED have been pretty heavy handed with Sheldrake and Hancock – have you read their rebuttals up on the web which even resulted in the TED management striking cross-out lines through their accusations which must amount to a rebuttal?

    But this time of course TED do wriggle out of potential problems by saying that individually speakers may not break their rules.

    I do agree though that if Suzanne had begun her evangelising about her ‘truth’ on crop circles, it would anyway have resulted in some action from TED.

    No doubt the conference will go ahead anyway and we’ll be able to judge just how non-scientific it turns out to be.

    1. The thrust of my argument, is that Targ or Schlitz, can not produce evidence that would satisfy the Ted rules, primarily because their evidence can not be proven scientifically. By scientifically, surely we must be looking at something that is measurable and is something that can be reproduced. Also, what is being promoted as science is being done in, what I believe, a slightly disingenuous manner. Targ states that “statistical proof is evidence so strong it would be logically or probabilistically unreasonable to deny,”. Now, is statistical proof different from scientific proof? Because give a statistician some figures and he/she can tell you all sorts of stuff that might not accurately reflect the reality. I believe that research that produces results that are statistically significant are not the same as research that produces results that are scientifically significant.

      I think I just want a slightly more water-tight set of results before I believe a scientific case has been made, irrespective of whether I believe in it or not.

      Hancock and Sheldrake may have a case to feel hard done by, but I believe Taylor was caught bang to rights, in my humble opinion.

      1. I guess we could argue till the cows come home about what exactly constitutes scientific proof.

        But I do know that arch sceptic Richard Wiseman did say: “By the standards of any other area of science, psi is proven. That begs the question, do we need higher standards of evidence when we study the paranormal.”

        Which does seem to me like moving the goalposts to fit his prejudices or the ‘extraordinary events require extraordinary evidence’ mantra which in itself is unscientific in the sense that ‘extraordinary’ is an undefined personal opinion.

      2. I had been hunting for an original source for the Wiseman quote, but to no avail, however I was reliably informed that after the aforementioned statement he went to explain the true meaning of his statement of ‘psi is proven’, in which he states that it is no more than a statistical anomaly. I will get the quote and we can take it from there 🙂

  2. Russell Targ has declassified research results, done with the DOD at a legitimate research institution, Stanford Research Institute.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s