TED Gets It Right
A year ago I went to TEDxBogotá hoping to find some scientific and technological advancements and their promotion, as I had seen some TED talks and those had been great. Instead, TEDxBogotá sucked, because it was flooded with antiscience and the promotion of irrational beliefs!
Some days ago, TEDxValenciaWomen sucked as well, and portrayed women as being irrational, and prone to superstition and quackery. The outrage of the Spanish-speaking community was huge, so TED Directives were forced to take measures and they sent a letter to all TEDx organizers telling them to quit promoting health hoaxes and the likes.
This was my favorite bit:
Please know this above all:
It is your job, before any speaker is booked, to check them out, and to reject bad science, pseudoscience and health hoaxes.
Vetting your speakers is hard work, and can lead to uncomfortable moments. But as TEDx organizers, your audience’s trust is your top priority, over and above any other personal or business relationship that may have brought this speaker to your attention. It is not your audience’s job to figure out if a speaker is offering legitimate science or not. It is your job.
The consequence of bad science and health hoaxes are not trivial. As an example, Andrew Wakefield’s attempt to link autism and vaccines was exposed as a hoax last year. But while his work was being investigated, millions of children went without vaccines, and many contracted deadly illnesses as a result.
We take this seriously. Presenting bad science on the TEDx stage is grounds for revoking your license.
And you know what? We’re only two days away before this year’s TEDxBogotá, so I guess we’ll see how all this works out!