There have been a number of TED (or TEDx) talks on science that fail the top three criteria [TED: Alexander Tsiaras, "It was hard not to attribute divinity to it" ] [The Trouble with TED].
Apparently the high command at TED has woken up to the fact that they are being bamboozled by pseudoscientists. Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy alerts us to a letter that they recently sent out to all TEDx organizers [TEDx Talks: Some Ideas Are Not Worth Spreading]. (I love his title!)
Here's a copy of the letter: A letter to the TEDx community on TEDx and bad science. And here's the opening praragraphs—you should read the entire letter because it contains a lot of information about how to recognize bad science.
Hello TEDx Community,Apparently TED will take down videos that spread pseudoscience. That explains why I was having so much trouble finding examples.
In light of a few suspect talks that have come out of the TEDx movement — some of which we at TED have taken action to remove, some being examined now — and this recent thread on Reddit [http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/1444lm/the_ted_name_is_being_dragged_through_the_mud_in/], we feel it is important to reach out to all TEDx organizers on the topic of bad science and pseudoscience.
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.