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Dec. 13, 2012

When TED Talks, Pay Attention to the Facts

by Ira Flatow

Click to enlarge images
TED Talks are amazingly popular. Millions of people watch them. Even I have given one, on TEDx, so I have some experience with them. But there is one caveat to be aware of when watching or listening to a talk: chances are that no one at TED has vetted the presentation for accuracy. When I spoke, no one asked to see my slides in advance. No one asked me to cite any references. That opens the door, as critics say, to pseudoscience and a format that does not welcome ideas being challenged. 
 
 
This is not say that the talks are taboo. Uh-uh. But just consider that they may not be the most fact-filled sources of news and information and that many people who give them -- myself included -- may come with a message and agenda that might need to be more fair and balanced.
 
Any particular offenders come to mind? Any TED Talk you particularly loved? Share your picks and pans in the comments.
About Ira Flatow

Ira is the host and executive producer of Science Friday.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

Science Friday® is produced by the Science Friday Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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