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Response to "no scientific evidence" of ghost


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#136    Avallaine

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 04:25 AM

View Postsinewave, on 31 October 2013 - 03:34 AM, said:

The arguments in general, of course!  

Well, I can't really respond to arguments that aren't directed at me. The arguments "in general" are far too numerous and varied to make a cohesive argument for, even if I believed in them all, which I don't.

I'd much rather you you respond to the arguments I'm actually making; otherwise, we'll always be talking at cross-purposes.


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Not at all.  I speak in subjunctive tones on matters of science because that is the correct way to speak.  There is always a measured amount of uncertainty when discussing hypotheses.

Subjunctive tone...?  I'm not sure what you mean here.  I wasn't talking about your grammar....

What I meant by "speculation" is you taking a speculative theory (like "ghosts are free-floating energy clouds" or "spirits are created every time a person is born") and then arguing against it.  It's fine if you want to disprove those particular theories, but the concept of ghosts is not dependent on those theories (except in the least sophisticated side of popular imagination).


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But they tend to go together, don't they?  Ghosts are usually said to be the souls of those who are not at rest.  At any rate, people have used the terms interchangeably often enough to cause confusion.    

Yeah, but is that really the kind of people you want to argue with?

If you really want to take on a subject, you can't just sit back and attack the weakest theories.  First, it's unsportsmanlike; it's like shooting fish in a barrel.  Second, it's pointless; those theories are usually only held by people with a casual interest who don't think much about the subject to begin with.  People who are serious about the subject put a lot more thought into it and come up with more sophisticated theories.  It's them you should be going after, if you really want to challenge the concept of ghosts in general.

When we deal with ghosts, there's two sides to the issue: the side of folklore, and the side of scientific investigation.  Ghosts as souls who are not at rest is right out of folklore.  If it's the folklore side of ghosts you want to argue against...I'm not sure who your audience would be.  Most of the "folk" who believe the "lore" without question aren't going to care about what science says; while the people who care about science already know the popular conception of ghosts is based on folklore, and take those notions with a grain of salt.


#137    sinewave

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 03:42 PM

View PostAvallaine, on 31 October 2013 - 04:25 AM, said:

Well, I can't really respond to arguments that aren't directed at me. The arguments "in general" are far too numerous and varied to make a cohesive argument for, even if I believed in them all, which I don't.

I'd much rather you you respond to the arguments I'm actually making; otherwise, we'll always be talking at cross-purposes.

Fair enough


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Subjunctive tone...?  I'm not sure what you mean here.  I wasn't talking about your grammar....

What I meant by "speculation" is you taking a speculative theory (like "ghosts are free-floating energy clouds" or "spirits are created every time a person is born") and then arguing against it.  It's fine if you want to disprove those particular theories, but the concept of ghosts is not dependent on those theories (except in the least sophisticated side of popular imagination).

Grammar is how we communicate, after all.  When speaking in the context of science it is correct to express an appropriate level of uncertainty.

How else would you describe ghosts?  Granted, witness accounts run the range from normal human appearnace to faint mist-like clouds but the consensus seem to be (and people here have said as much) they are "energy beings".   Likewise how else do you characterize the creation of the spirit / life force / creamy filling that supposedly survives the death of a person?  Leaving out the notion of recycled souls for reasons stated earlier, I have to assume this particular attribute is created along with the person.

Again, this whole thing is predicated on perception and belief.  Accepting it as fact is an act of faith.  Being "open to it" is good.  Hell, I am "open to it" too but not until every mundane explanation is completely exhausted.


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Yeah, but is that really the kind of people you want to argue with?

That is a well taken point.  :)  I agree 100 percent.  There is no chance of an intelligent conversation under those circumstances.

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If you really want to take on a subject, you can't just sit back and attack the weakest theories.  First, it's unsportsmanlike; it's like shooting fish in a barrel.  Second, it's pointless; those theories are usually only held by people with a casual interest who don't think much about the subject to begin with.  People who are serious about the subject put a lot more thought into it and come up with more sophisticated theories.  It's them you should be going after, if you really want to challenge the concept of ghosts in general.

When we deal with ghosts, there's two sides to the issue: the side of folklore, and the side of scientific investigation.  Ghosts as souls who are not at rest is right out of folklore.  If it's the folklore side of ghosts you want to argue against...I'm not sure who your audience would be.  Most of the "folk" who believe the "lore" without question aren't going to care about what science says; while the people who care about science already know the popular conception of ghosts is based on folklore, and take those notions with a grain of salt.

The Mythbusters determined it is actually really difficult to shoot fish in a barrel.   To be honest, all of the ghost notions I have ever heard are weak at best.  No argument is any stronger than the weakest part.  They are all based on perception and / or belief.  Not sturdy stuff if you are trying to build something that will endure the rigors of peer review.  One would have to demonstrate conclusively it was not due to gray matter frailties.  Hey, it would be interesting if someone were to pull it off.  I think it is highly unlikely that will ever happen.


#138    White Crane Feather

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:02 PM

View Postsinewave, on 15 October 2013 - 11:16 PM, said:



They never saw their gods but they did see space debris streak through the sky and hit the ground.
How do you know they never saw their gods?

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
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#139    Angel1510

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:16 PM

View Postsinewave, on 31 October 2013 - 03:42 PM, said:

Fair enough




Grammar is how we communicate, after all.  When speaking in the context of science it is correct to express an appropriate level of uncertainty.

How else would you describe ghosts?  Granted, witness accounts run the range from normal human appearnace to faint mist-like clouds but the consensus seem to be (and people here have said as much) they are "energy beings".   Likewise how else do you characterize the creation of the spirit / life force / creamy filling that supposedly survives the death of a person?  Leaving out the notion of recycled souls for reasons stated earlier, I have to assume this particular attribute is created along with the person.

Again, this whole thing is predicated on perception and belief.  Accepting it as fact is an act of faith.  Being "open to it" is good.  Hell, I am "open to it" too but not until every mundane explanation is completely exhausted.




That is a well taken point.  :)  I agree 100 percent.  There is no chance of an intelligent conversation under those circumstances.



The Mythbusters determined it is actually really difficult to shoot fish in a barrel.   To be honest, all of the ghost notions I have ever heard are weak at best.  No argument is any stronger than the weakest part.  They are all based on perception and / or belief.  Not sturdy stuff if you are trying to build something that will endure the rigors of peer review.  One would have to demonstrate conclusively it was not due to gray matter frailties.  Hey, it would be interesting if someone were to pull it off.  I think it is highly unlikely that will ever happen.

History has shown that many famous scientists have been dismissed by their fellow peers for their 'outrageous' claims and have later been proved to be right.  Einstein for one and also Ludwig Boltzmann.  Surely we must learn from history!


#140    White Crane Feather

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:40 PM

Scientific methodology cannot predict life, it could not discover the expansion of the universe, or even other galaxies if it were a trillion or so years from now. It cannot not probably will never be able to tell you why virtual particles do their dance or where they come from, why quantum tunneling exists, or even ultimately why stars shine.

Why? It's because science is necessarily based on physical philosophy. If there are ghosts and spirits they are a NONPHYSICAL phenomenon. Quite obviously one cannot use physical methodologies and tools to investigate no physical phenomenon. The only non physical thing we interact with is our minds.

With this in mind ;) there is plenty of evidence for spirits and other phenomenon. It's just not scientific evidence. It falls within the religion and dogma of sciencism to suggest that there is nothing but what exists inside of ones own accepted phiisophical methodologies.

The funny part is that science is actually so effective that it has prooven its own philosophical premis wrong, yet still people absurdly  cling to the idea that there can be nothing other than what is boxed in by the physicalist premis. In truth we measure things by their effects. Especially things like gravity. We would not know gravity exists if we could not see its effects on matter. it's an entity that magically attracts all matter. Not even Einstein really knew what it was, he could only describe its behavior. The problem of course arises when we eroniously decide that it's behavior absolutely must be consistent. When we discover it isn't, we don't modify what we know we cling to old habits and rules for a few generations until the younger generation comes to full acceptance and moves on.

We are not going to box in the universe. It has us boxed in. It's  probably larger and more complicated than can even fit into our perceptions.

Over entities exist in some sort of substrait reality or encompassing one. I have seen them, interacted with them, called on them, am friends with a few, and have physically interacted with a couple. Although only one class of entity seems to me to have that ability.

One can deny the affects they have on our culture and society if you wish, but its a bit like explaining away gravity with no real evidence for your explanation. From our earliest ancestors to modern day institutions, from childhood interactions to laws of world powers. The powers that be are interwoven into the very fabric of our societies and always have been. The off shoot of physical fundamentalism is but a fad that has already been prooven wrong by its own methodologies. It is to be respected but not worshiped, used but not taken for grantid, checked with but not constitute our reality as we move foreword.

Ultimate reality is defiantly not a physical reality as shown to us by quantum mechanics. There is a substrate reality the writes the rules. This opens the possibilities up like a piņata and negates the religion of physicalism.



"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-

#141    aquatus1

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 06:20 PM

View PostAngel1510, on 31 October 2013 - 05:16 PM, said:

History has shown that many famous scientists have been dismissed by their fellow peers for their 'outrageous' claims and have later been proved to be right.  Einstein for one and also Ludwig Boltzmann.  Surely we must learn from history!

History also shows that for every scientist dismissed and found to be right, there are dozens dismissed who's outrageous theories went absolutely nowhere.  Heck, part of the reason why some of these scientists are so famous is because being right when the entire scientific community is against you is such a rare occurrence it merits attention.

Just because we can point to dozens of people who won the lottery, you shouldn't take that to mean that buying lottery tickets is a reasonable way to plan for your economic future.


#142    Draco20

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 07:14 PM

Great post White Crane feather. That sums up pretty well my feeling on the topic. I couldn't have explained it better.

I've a passion for science but it appears to me that the actual scientific methodology might not be the right filter to encompass paranomal phenomenon and modern science. That may be due to the fact that our understanding needs to be improved and so the methodology will be optimized and refined in the process as to acknowledge nonphysical phenomenon. Whatever ''ghost'' truly are, I am optimistic that a form of progressive science will one day find out at least part of the truth and the mechanisms involved.

Edited by sam_comm, 31 October 2013 - 07:20 PM.


#143    Angel1510

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:24 PM

View Postaquatus1, on 31 October 2013 - 06:20 PM, said:

History also shows that for every scientist dismissed and found to be right, there are dozens dismissed who's outrageous theories went absolutely nowhere.  Heck, part of the reason why some of these scientists are so famous is because being right when the entire scientific community is against you is such a rare occurrence it merits attention.

Just because we can point to dozens of people who won the lottery, you shouldn't take that to mean that buying lottery tickets is a reasonable way to plan for your economic future.

You just have to keep an open mind to all possibilities.


#144    sinewave

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 12:26 AM

View PostWhite Crane Feather, on 31 October 2013 - 05:02 PM, said:

How do you know they never saw their gods?

Figuratively, perhaps.  

View PostAngel1510, on 31 October 2013 - 08:24 PM, said:

You just have to keep an open mind to all possibilities.

Again, science is open to anything with substantial supporting evidence.  Feelings and anecdotes are not enough.

Edited by sinewave, 01 November 2013 - 12:27 AM.


#145    White Crane Feather

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:37 PM

View Postsinewave, on 01 November 2013 - 12:26 AM, said:



Figuratively, perhaps.  

Again, science is open to anything with substantial supporting evidence.  Feelings and anecdotes are not enough.
Science isn't open to anything. It's a method. How do you know they did not see their gods like you are seeing these words on a screen?  Do you think a god is going to jump through hoops for human scientists?

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-

#146    sinewave

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 07:00 PM

View PostWhite Crane Feather, on 01 November 2013 - 02:37 PM, said:

Science isn't open to anything. It's a method. How do you know they did not see their gods like you are seeing these words on a screen?  Do you think a god is going to jump through hoops for human scientists?

Right, it is a framework for assigning probability.  All hypotheses are considered valid but are assigned value based on correlation with existing science.  Science is open to any hypothesis but only accepts those for which strong evidence exists.  Ghosts have no such support so are considered fringe belief.


#147    White Crane Feather

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 05:15 AM

View Postsinewave, on 02 November 2013 - 07:00 PM, said:



Right, it is a framework for assigning probability.  All hypotheses are considered valid but are assigned value based on correlation with existing science.  Science is open to any hypothesis but only accepts those for which strong evidence exists.  Ghosts have no such support so are considered fringe belief.
You have said it absolutely perfectly. By assigning probability and only accepting things close to the top of the bell curve, you have effectively eliminated the margins. This does not mean that the margins do not exist. It only means that you are marginalizing a great bit of reality. It dosnt mean that science says that spirits don't exist. It dosnt even say they probably don't exist. It says that we are sure within these margins  about these specific things that we can and have tested.  We know that there is a non zero chance that I might simply disappear from my living room and apear right in front of you. We have labeled  things like this and say they are impossible, but in truth it is accepted physics.... So which is it? The chance is so tiny that we marginalize it and say impossible, but that is completely incorrect.

The point being, is that science says nothing about the existence of spirits and frankly I'm tired of people claiming they know how science works saying that science has spoken on the matter. It's not true in the slightest. Science has nothing to say about the matter.

You should read "the undiscovered self" where Carl Jung discusses the fallacy if marginalization in "scientific" proclamation.

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-

#148    sinewave

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 06:03 AM

View PostWhite Crane Feather, on 03 November 2013 - 05:15 AM, said:

You have said it absolutely perfectly. By assigning probability and only accepting things close to the top of the bell curve, you have effectively eliminated the margins. This does not mean that the margins do not exist. It only means that you are marginalizing a great bit of reality. It dosnt mean that science says that spirits don't exist. It dosnt even say they probably don't exist. It says that we are sure within these margins  about these specific things that we can and have tested.  We know that there is a non zero chance that I might simply disappear from my living room and apear right in front of you. We have labeled  things like this and say they are impossible, but in truth it is accepted physics.... So which is it? The chance is so tiny that we marginalize it and say impossible, but that is completely incorrect.

The point being, is that science says nothing about the existence of spirits and frankly I'm tired of people claiming they know how science works saying that science has spoken on the matter. It's not true in the slightest. Science has nothing to say about the matter.

You should read "the undiscovered self" where Carl Jung discusses the fallacy if marginalization in "scientific" proclamation.


Yes, that is the way science works. It separates the likely from the unlikely.  No reality is being marginalized. Where is the evidence to the contrary?  What reality is being ignored?    

BTW - I am pretty sure Carl Jung was not suggesting science should value irrational belief the same as verifiable evidence.


#149    aquatus1

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 07:06 AM

View PostWhite Crane Feather, on 03 November 2013 - 05:15 AM, said:

By assigning probability and only accepting things close to the top of the bell curve, you have effectively eliminated the margins. This does not mean that the margins do not exist. It only means that you are marginalizing a great bit of reality.

Just to nitpick, the margins of the bell curve don't really represent the great portion of...reality (or whatever it is you are measuring).  That's kind of the purpose of bell curve chart: To show us where most of the beef is by lumping the greatest distribution in the middle of the curve.

Again, not really significant, just a nitpick.


#150    White Crane Feather

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 12:30 PM

View Postsinewave, on 03 November 2013 - 06:03 AM, said:




Yes, that is the way science works. It separates the likely from the unlikely.  No reality is being marginalized. Where is the evidence to the contrary?  What reality is being ignored?    

BTW - I am pretty sure Carl Jung was not suggesting science should value irrational belief the same as verifiable evidence.
Of course not. He was describing that what is considered irrational is not always irrational because of a tendency to marginalize things especially human experiences. You should read it.

I gave you the evidence. Most would say that it is physically impossible for me to disappear right now and appear right in front of you. It is not. In fact an advanced physics student can calculate the odds. This is just one example of marginalization.

I can tell you the believing in spirits, spiritual entities, and gods is categorically, and completely not irrational nor illogical. It may not be right, but it is not an irrational belief for everyone. Certainly there are those that attribute certain things to spirits irrationally for a verity of reasons, and that even may be the bulk of the curve, but there is always the margin. And in this case it's not nearly as thin as the possibility that I might teleport to mars at any given moment.

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-




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