The short answer is an emphatic, ‘no.’
Before explaining what this article is all about, I should declare two things up front:
- I am not qualified to speak on behalf of TED, I do not work for them and, other than the fact that I am delivering a TEDxToronto speech in one week, I have had no other affiliation with them. This article is based on citing two references which are public domain and obtained as such.
- I am biased; as stated, I am delivering a TEDxToronto speech next week.
So, what is this all about? A large website published an article yesterday that was titled, “TED aligns with Monsanto, halting any talks about GMOs, ‘food as medicine’ or natural healing”
The opening of the article:
Allow me to be the first to announce that TED is dead. Why? Because the group that organizes so-called “TED talks” has been thoroughly hijacked by corporate junk science and now openly rejects any talks about GMOs, food as medicine, or even the subject of how food can help prevent behavioral disorders in children. All these areas of discussion are now red-flagged from being presented on any TED stage.
That sounded pretty harsh.
The article disects a memo to TEDx organizers (presumably around the world). The article also offers a link to the memo (you can see it here), which includes this section:
2. Red flag topics
These are not “banned” topics by any means — but they are topics that tend to attract pseudo-scientists. If your speaker proposes a topic like this, use extra scrutiny. An expanding, depressing list follows:
Food science, including:
- GMO food and anti-GMO foodists
- Food as medicine, especially to treat a specific condition: Autism and ADHD, especially causes of and cures for autism
They also offer guidance on how to fact-check a speaker.
Do I agree with 100% of what is said in the entire letter (it should be read to get it’s proper context before completely writing it off)? Of course not; but I don’t tend to agree with 100% of anything. I do, however, think it’s a good thing that they are trying to get rid of pseudoscience on both sides of any issue. And I’m not afraid of extra scrutiny either!
I haven’t been asked to alter a single thing in my speech since the time I wrote it. I don’t specifically mention GMOs but I think you’ll see I’m pretty direct about several related topics; in order to do so I’ve made sure that my arguments are based on fact, mainstream science and are defendable as such.
If you want to read the original article (and many comments which essentially say the same as above, you can check it out here.
In the meantime, I have a speech to memorize…