There were stones that fell from the sky, and witnesses that saw them do it (of course, they were only ignorant rural folks, though, what did they know?); but stones could not fall from the sky, so the evidence was disregarded.
Alfred Wegener had the geological and fossil evidence to prove that continents moved, broke apart, and collided, but he was fuzzy on how they did so, because the ocean floor was largely undiscovered. Only after paleomagnetism and seafloor spreading were discovered was the theory of plate tectonics developed...but the facts clearly represented in the rocks were ignored until then.
Doctor Ignaz Semmelweis reduced incidence of puerperal fever drastically in his clinic--the mortality rate dropped 90%--simply by having doctors who had handled cadavers wash their hands with chlorinated lime before examining patients. He discovered this by eliminating all variables until only the contact with cadavers was left. Others duplicated his results. But the facts conflicted with the current theories of how illness spread. The evidence was plain and the results were repeatable by anyone, in the best tradition of the scientific method...but it went against the current paradigm, so the facts were dismissed. (In fact the "Semmelweis reflex"--a knee-jerk rejection of evidence that contradicts established models and theories--was named after this shameful incident.)
The problem is not always with the evidence. Solid facts and repeatable results are no guarantee that facts will be accepted, if they go against the prevailing theories of the time.
Science is a marvelous approach to facts...but scientists are human, and subject to the same irrational emotional responses as the rest of this. Sometimes the facts are discarded in favor of the theory, despite all reason declaring that things should work the other way around. What makes a belief "extraordinary" is whether or not it fits within an accepted paradigm.
Sometimes you have to wait until technology catches up to the ideas under discussion. You can't discover Jupiter's moons unless you have a telescope. You can't devise a germ theory until you have a microscope that shows germs exist. You can't come up with plate tectonics until you can map the seafloor and see it spreading.
You say "The notion of free roaming masses of energy does not fit with how we know the Universe to work." This is incorrect. In reality, the notion does not fit with what we know so far about how the currently observable parts of the Universe work.
Surely you don't think we know all there is to know yet?
I completely understand what you are saying. Science and pseudoscience look the same when they start. There is skepticism and analysis that may seem harsh. Beliefs are challenged and feelings are hurt. Good science always tries to poke holes in ideas. Those ideas that regularly survive the gauntlet are deemed acceptable. Many people find that harsh treatment distasteful and disrespectful because it has the indirect effect of attacking beliefs.
After centuries of questioning and learning we have an incomplete but substantial understanding of the way things work. Yes, science does not have all the answers but the answers we do have indicate the notion of ghosts does not fit the way we understand the Universe to work. To some, that is evidence we have not advanced enough but that is merely a null hypothesis and not a constructive argument. Regardless of the level of human understanding, belief with hard evidence is the start of science. Belief without evidence is irrational. To date, there is no hard evidence to support the notion of ghosts.
Edited by sinewave, 19 October 2013 - 05:22 PM.