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TED Talks, free speech and scientific integrity

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 3.15.39 PMThere’s a fascinating, fast-moving discussion join on right now sparked by a recent TEDx talk. If you aren’t aware of TED talks, take some time and check them out, they’re a fascinating group of short talks that cover a variety of ideas. Under the TED umbrella, there are also TEDx talks (TED-liscenced talks that are like the parent, TED talks, but more widespread and under less scrutiny), there are TEDed videos that provide short, educational videos targeting classroom use, etc. I’ve been a big fan of TED because of the caliber or speakers and the quality of their talks.

However, one talk has stood out and has received a lot of attention from the scientific community. This came to my attention recently because I follow Jerry Coyne’s blog and he posted the talk in one of his entries along with a strong critique of the talk. You can check out his post here.

Fortunately, and to the credit of TED, this critique has been taken very seriously and the TED site now has an open comment section where the value of this post is being discussed. If you are interested in thinking about what science is… what evidence is … you might like reading through the extensive comments that have simply exploded. As of right now, there doesn’t appear to be much flaming going on and there are some very good comments being made about what it means to do science.

I’ve had conflicting thoughts about whether to bring this discussion up here, because I think the talk is simply terrible in its treatment of science and I was worried that readers might be mistakenly wooed down the garden path by his wonderful oratory skills, but I think the comments section adds enough balance to the discussion and ┬áthe holes in his logic are laid bare.

Happy reading.

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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in Uncategorized


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