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Sheetz

A question for skeptics and non-believers

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I understand the viewpoints going back and forth, but have yet to see an answer to my question from any of the skeptics or non-believers.

I think I'm in that category, so...

Can you give an example of a type of evidence that would be shown to you that might change your mind.

A peer reviewed scientific paper appearing in a recognised journal.

A situation like the one you suggest, where the event was captured by more than one camera and a number of credible witnesses (including 'provenance' on the cameras and witnesses to ensure no collusion was involved.

Why, I'd even consider a successful payout from the JREF Challenge... :D

...while certainly anything we see on TV can be post produced, or even false altogether, what would it take for you to convince you?

There are some journalists and many scientists that I would have little hesitation believing if they were genuinely convinced of the proof. That said, even some of the finest minds go over the edge at times, and not just from old age/senility - but then it's pretty obvious.

For sake of argument, and is a hypothetical now being introduced here, what if this happened. A video of the most incredible offering was shot of a proposed ghost. The ghost was both witnessed by several people AND captured on video. The video was taken to an engineer (like in my main example above) and that forensic engineer confirmed that the video was not tampered with, was not a video composite by a computer or other FX trick and therefore confirmed as authentic.

Problem - ask any high end video expert and s/he will tell you that given the extent of today's technology pretty much anything can be faked in almost any way. They could not possibly 100% guarantee a video's authenticity, let alone the content of it. So unless the witnesses and other provenance was all credible and it was all watertight, it could still be a hoax.

Its not like you can run the video before a panel of scientists who can offer more input... they are merely now second hand witness to a video and can only comment on it.

But these situations can be quite complex to unravel, so why wouldn't you throw every expert at it that you can? And to be brutally honest, if this was a one-off incident that was not testable or repeatable.. why is it signficant? It is merely unexplained.

The witnesses' testimony from the video taped event will be thrown out as the above skeptic pointed out...the event, even though filmed (or reportedly) was their own "perception" which you shown can be flawed as human perception can and will be....even though it might be some type of mass halucination? I see what you say with dreams, they are real, but their content??

But that's the whole point - if it is testable and repeatable, and/or if it is unshakably 'proven' by adding up all the testimony and the evidence and it is all watertight and credible.. it WILL be accepted.

Thing is... THAT HASN'T HAPPENED! Nothing even vaguely close to it has happened, and that's why folks like seeker strenuously avoid the simple request to SHOW THE BEST EVIDENCE TO DATE. They don't want to go there, because the 'best' is unbelievably shaky, and wouldn't pass first muster in a court or a scientific forum...

Regardless, the skeptic throws that out as flawed, since human perception is not a valid piece of evidence.

Quite rightly, because we as a race have a cultural bias towards believing in the afterlife, in ghosts, etc, and movies and almost every aspect of our culture plays on that and promotes it mercilessly. So it's little wonder you will get lots of anecdotes. And that means you MUST NOT accept those anecdotes as being lots of evidence. It's the QUALITY that matters.

I would turn this around - what, in the eyes of the true believers, is 'good enough'? Every anecdote, every story? Which ones are the worthy ones, and on what basis do you select them? How do you recognise hoaxes and charlatans, or do you think they don't exist?

Me, I apply science and logic and look for normal explanations - I work from the known to try the explain the unknown. To date, I'm not seeing anything that makes me think twice, but I'm ready to see it.. So believers, what is the best evidence? Don't just give me a Youtube video - explain in your own words why your example is THE ONE, and what expertise you have applied to reach your conclusion..

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It's predictable

I predict people will see spirits in the future

It's quantifiable

A certain percentage of people see spirits

It's testable

I can run polls and gather statistics about how many people them see and what attributes they have.

It's observable

I can see spirits I have a relationship with several so do many other people. Some are fakers but some really do. I bet you can meet one yourself if you really wanted to. How is that not observable?

I'm not sure what you are looking for other than someone being able to produce a spirit. I don't think spirits are controllable.

That isn't how science works. You're still talking only about personal experience.

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I think I'm in that category, so...

A peer reviewed scientific paper appearing in a recognised journal.

A situation like the one you suggest, where the event was captured by more than one camera and a number of credible witnesses (including 'provenance' on the cameras and witnesses to ensure no collusion was involved.

Why, I'd even consider a successful payout from the JREF Challenge... :D

There are some journalists and many scientists that I would have little hesitation believing if they were genuinely convinced of the proof. That said, even some of the finest minds go over the edge at times, and not just from old age/senility - but then it's pretty obvious.

Problem - ask any high end video expert and s/he will tell you that given the extent of today's technology pretty much anything can be faked in almost any way. They could not possibly 100% guarantee a video's authenticity, let alone the content of it. So unless the witnesses and other provenance was all credible and it was all watertight, it could still be a hoax.

But these situations can be quite complex to unravel, so why wouldn't you throw every expert at it that you can? And to be brutally honest, if this was a one-off incident that was not testable or repeatable.. why is it signficant? It is merely unexplained.

But that's the whole point - if it is testable and repeatable, and/or if it is unshakably 'proven' by adding up all the testimony and the evidence and it is all watertight and credible.. it WILL be accepted.

Thing is... THAT HASN'T HAPPENED! Nothing even vaguely close to it has happened, and that's why folks like seeker strenuously avoid the simple request to SHOW THE BEST EVIDENCE TO DATE. They don't want to go there, because the 'best' is unbelievably shaky, and wouldn't pass first muster in a court or a scientific forum...

Quite rightly, because we as a race have a cultural bias towards believing in the afterlife, in ghosts, etc, and movies and almost every aspect of our culture plays on that and promotes it mercilessly. So it's little wonder you will get lots of anecdotes. And that means you MUST NOT accept those anecdotes as being lots of evidence. It's the QUALITY that matters.

I would turn this around - what, in the eyes of the true believers, is 'good enough'? Every anecdote, every story? Which ones are the worthy ones, and on what basis do you select them? How do you recognise hoaxes and charlatans, or do you think they don't exist?

Me, I apply science and logic and look for normal explanations - I work from the known to try the explain the unknown. To date, I'm not seeing anything that makes me think twice, but I'm ready to see it.. So believers, what is the best evidence? Don't just give me a Youtube video - explain in your own words why your example is THE ONE, and what expertise you have applied to reach your conclusion..

Chrlz, empiricism has its limits an fails just like all other forms of evidence, institutions have dogmas and gurus, and methods are limited. Being a fundamentalist is a sure way for you to miss the boat. There is plenty of evidence documenting "spirit" ( and I'm not talking about orbs and things that go bump) the problem is that you have limited yourself to only one kind of evidence based on a false premis then allowed yourself to have so much faith in this as to make you a fundamentalist in it. Not unlike our bible thumping brothers and sisters.

Would you like me to show you how empiricism miserably fails under your way of thinking?

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That isn't how science works. You're still talking only about personal experience.

How is it just a personal experience when there are thousands and millions of people stretching across the planet and history. That's not very personal.

I assume you mean plural of annecdote dosnt make something true. No... It dosnt... But it makes things more and more likely. Scientific conclusions are stated in likely hoods. Science ( rightly so) is also a purely empirical methodology. Empiricism fails just as easy as other types of evidence. A look at the greater picture of all the evidence would be prudent don't you think?

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Not what is meant by predictability. More like, if condition x is satisfied, then y will occur.

Spirit itself, not perception of spirit. What is it made of, how does it react to its environment, what effect does x have on it?

But then you are not testing spirit itself, but again perception of it.

So how can I see spirits? Seriously. I'm not being factious here. I must admit I often see you talking about OOBE I am a bit curious. PM me about it.

Sent you a pm

All "tests" are perceptions. There are just differences how those perceptions are made. a material fundamentalist can only accept material evidence.... But even this is flawed.

Ill say it again... All types of evidence are flawed. All types of evidence are usefull. Focusing on any single one you are bound to bump up against its flaw.

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I assume you mean plural of annecdote dosnt make something true. No... It dosnt... But it makes things more and more likely.

Nope, sorry. It does NOT, especially if there is any sort of bias. You don't think there is perhaps a cultural bias to believe in ufos=aliens/ghosts/paranormal/etc?

The plural of anecdote in this case simply means that the anecdoter merely saw some other anecdotes and/or movies/books/forum posts and/or is a troll.

In fact, I would argue the absolute opposite of your assertion. How is it that we have increasing numbers of anecdotes, yet any actual evidence that passes even the most basic tests of 'proof' is becoming even scarcer than it has ever been? There's a very obvious answer to that. See if you can join the dots...

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Having experienced or witnessed what is termed "supernatural", I an convinced that the phenomena occurs. I am not convinced that there is anything supernatural about it. Given outrageous and absurd ideas like entanglement theory, that the presence of an observer affects the outcome of an experiment, that science believes that at least 70% of the universe is composed of dark matter but doesn't know what it is or where it is (I say, look under your bed), that we live in a multiverse of at least 8 dimensions, well, if we have to believe 10 impossible things before breakfast, why not 11?

Science has proved what a strange & quirky world we live in, are we to limit our beliefs about what is "real" only to what science has currently been able to explain? If we do that, then we'd be changing our minds (upgrading) about every 3 months. Science does not have explanations for everything that occurs or exists, possibly it never will have; what it can do is help us understand ourselves & the world we live in a little, or hopefully, a lot better. But understand that science is an open-ended discipline, it is not finite, there will always be new things to study or discover or understand, either perfectly or imperfectly.

So I'm skeptical about the explanations for the phenomena I have observed or experienced, and I am skeptical about most of the current explanations for them, as most of the explanations seem rooted in religious doctrine or dogma, which are usually self-limiting systems and require the kind of belief that I'm not willing to extend. As I'm not a scientist, and don't have ANY scientific training, all I can do is observe, without making any judgments or drawing any conclusions about what I'm experiencing, with the understanding that it is likely that I will sometimes misinterpret or misidentify the experience. That may even be probable. What I do not do is dismiss my experiences, subjective or otherwise, and as the experiences are personal, it's hard to take the subjective part of it out, because there is something there for me to learn. And I give credit to the skeptics and believers both for adding to my store of knowledge, for forcing me to approach some ideas from a different angle, which has led to new thoughts & ideas, which keeps my life interesting.

So put down as skeptical believer, who currently thinks that science, quantum theory, will one of these days be able to explain all this monkey business. And there's a lot of monkey business going on!

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Science can't prove whatever can't be sensed with human's 5 senses.

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Science can't prove whatever can't be sensed with human's 5 senses.

\

You may be right about that. But maybe some of us ARE using some of our 5 senses when experiencing or witnessing "paranormal". I dislike that word, can someone come up with a better one that's not so loaded? Non-ordinary? Could it be possible that some bodies have higher than average nerve endings, for instance, that allow us to see/hear/feel stuff that can't normally be detected? In the same way that some people have more acute hearing, or sense of smell, or an ear for music, etc?

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how would you scientifically measure a ghost or something? if you can thn tht would be the best way i guess, idk ghosts are confusing to me more then god and the beginning of the universe is -.-

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how would you scientifically measure a ghost or something? if you can thn tht would be the best way i guess, idk ghosts are confusing to me more then god and the beginning of the universe is -.-

I don't know how one could scientifically measure a ghost right now. On the other hand, at one time we couldn't see or even fathom stuff that can be seen only through a microscope or powerful telescope, like Hubble, and because we were unable to see those things many people disbelieved in their existence. Who knows where science will be 50 years in the future? I think it's going to take us to some strange and marvelous things. And I'm with you, I'm probably more confused about ghosts than the existence of God, even though I've seen "ghosts" but have never seen God. But I'm getting pretty good at being confused these days, because that sometimes means I've thrown out some pre-existing ideas & concepts that haven't yet been replaced. So in my little world, being confused is a good thing, a sign that change is occurring.

Edited by Beany

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Nope, sorry. It does NOT, especially if there is any sort of bias. You don't think there is perhaps a cultural bias to believe in ufos=aliens/ghosts/paranormal/etc?

The plural of anecdote in this case simply means that the anecdoter merely saw some other anecdotes and/or movies/books/forum posts and/or is a troll.

In fact, I would argue the absolute opposite of your assertion. How is it that we have increasing numbers of anecdotes, yet any actual evidence that passes even the most basic tests of 'proof' is becoming even scarcer than it has ever been? There's a very obvious answer to that. See if you can join the dots...

Well I don't know about ufos, but how is there increasing numbers of anecdotes with spirits? I would think as a percentage of people there is a decreasing number... You are not makeing assumptions on this are you?

It means nothing of the sort... That is a total bias assumption. I'm sure some anecdoters just copy others, but I can promise you there are those that don't.

Evidence is not proof it's evidence...there is plenty of evidence that hints at a spiritual side of existence ... But empirical fundamentalists can never accept it. Instead when they feel threatened they cling to empiricism like fundamentalist Christians do the bible. empiricism is just as flawed as annecdote just in different ways.

What are these basic tests of proof, what authority do they have?

Edited by Seeker79

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Science can't prove whatever can't be sensed with human's 5 senses.

You have to build a device that will reveal something to our five senses which was previously undetectable to us. We can't see x-rays but film sensitive to them will reveal them. We can't see electrons but materials will convert them into visible photons. All scientific instruments are extensions of our senses.

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Science can't prove whatever can't be sensed with human's 5 senses.

Then how do radio telescopes and X-ray telescopes work when they detecting things incapable of being detected by our 5 senses?

How does infrasound and ultrasound technology work if they detect and record things outside human's 5 senses?

How do scientists create and detect electromagnetic phenomenon that can't be sensed with human's 5 senses?

How do electron microscopes work when detect things that can't be sensed with human's 5 senses?

How do X-ray and MRI machines work when they detect things in a human body that can't be sensed with human's 5 senses?

Etc.

The great thing about modern science is that it CAN detect all sorts of weird, wonderful, strange, bizarre, etc. things that are outside the scope of our natural senses and I don't know how it's possible for a scientifically literate person to not be aware of these things.

I don't think you've thought this patently false concept through to its logical conclusions.

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Sheets true photos can be faked but there is one little thing most people don't realize about digital pictures.

there is a file embedded with in the picture that tells the camera's settings at the time of the picture as well as any modifications to the photo. That makes it easy to tell if there a fake with the right programs.

The thing that convinced me is I went out with a paranormal group. With my camera and recorder and downloaded it onto my computer. Then you know the equipment and photos haven't ben tampered with

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I noticed a lot of people here want scientific proof of spirits. You forget one thing spirits are people. So let me ask you this. How many of you would like to be a lab rat? Cause with out a spirit to volunteer to be just that your not going to be able to test anything scientificly

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For all skeptics and non-believers, what proof (or type of proof) would you need in order to change your mind. Is there anything you can think of that, if shown to you, would make you believe in ghosts? (outside of you actually witnessing your own event of course) Can you give us those things whether its scientific or otherwise which would be deemed as proof and believable by you once said evidence was shown or exhibited?

What we do know:

no photographs - all non-believers will say in this digital age anything can be doctored

no recordings - will be deemed as outside RF interference or our brains trying to form words from the "noise"

no videos - same outlook as photos

no evps - same as recordings

so...what is left as what could be considered actual and real evidence?

note, I'm not trying to be facetious - I'm genuinely wondering if there is anything at all that could be presented that made you a believer.

for an absolute nonbeliever to turn around i'd say they would have to actually have a personal experience that they could not explain away.

for a skeptic, same as above, or irrefutable scientific proof of the phenomenon

for a skeptical believer, pretty much anything that looks or rings true is given consideration and/or benefit of the doubt. after all, we want it to be true, don't we? lol

Edited by JGirl
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Science can't prove whatever can't be sensed with human's 5 senses.

Hahaha! If you truly believe that, you should have paid more attention in school.

Sheets true photos can be faked but there is one little thing most people don't realize about digital pictures.

there is a file embedded with in the picture that tells the camera's settings at the time of the picture as well as any modifications to the photo. That makes it easy to tell if there a fake with the right programs.

The thing that convinced me is I went out with a paranormal group. With my camera and recorder and downloaded it onto my computer. Then you know the equipment and photos haven't ben tampered with

Actually, a lot of people know about metadata. And they would know your statement is not entirely accurate:

- EXIF, the piece of metadata most are familiar with can be easily changed and 'faked' by pretty simple programs, as it is just a block of text. Some of the manufacturer specific data is harder to spoof due to it's undocumented binary formats - but not necessarily impossible. If a forensic program claims to be able to read that data, then it can likely be inserted also.

- If you save a picture onto your computer, that act alone changes some of the metadata and identifies the picture as not fully original.

If someone were to present a ghost photo for metadata analysis, it would be easy to disprove it as being shoddily faked (this happens all the time) - however it would be much harder to prove that a picture HADN'T been expertly fiddled.

True, most hoaxers don't have these expert metadata manipulation skills, which I guess is why the photos that are trumpeted as being 'unaltered' just show unimpressive orbs or paraedolia, and the more dramatic ones get dismissed instantly.

TL:DR - don't put too much trust in metadata.

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there is a file embedded with in the picture that tells the camera's settings at the time of the picture as well as any modifications to the photo. That makes it easy to tell if there a fake with the right programs.

The thing that convinced me is I went out with a paranormal group. With my camera and recorder and downloaded it onto my computer. Then you know the equipment and photos haven't ben tampered with

EXIF data can be easily edited.

Lots of photos don't even have EXIF data at all because the image data has been copied and pasted into a new file before resizing, uploading, etc., which doesn't transfer the EXIF data along with it, therefore there is no info at all to be examiend.

The metadata attached to a photo tells you when the photo was last modified, but gives no clue to the actual modifications. Merely resaving or resizing a photo counts as a "modification".

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Spirits, ghosts, aliens, angels or God,...?

It seems that some people have a problem separating between personal evidence and scientific evidence.

Personal evidence (in science) isnt worth the paper its written on.

The reason is simple. In science, all measurable effects are measured several times, often in several different ways by different scientists. The methods and conclusions are then examined by other scientists to try to remove any and all bias that may be present. This ensures that the results obtained are objective.

So it doesnt matter how much you believe something to be true or real, that does not make it objectively true.

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Evidence is not proof it's evidence...there is plenty of evidence that hints at a spiritual side of existence ... But empirical fundamentalists can never accept it. Instead when they feel threatened they cling to empiricism like fundamentalist Christians do the bible. empiricism is just as flawed as annecdote just in different ways.

I'd like to see some of this evidence.

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Sheets true photos can be faked but there is one little thing most people don't realize about digital pictures.

there is a file embedded with in the picture that tells the camera's settings at the time of the picture as well as any modifications to the photo. That makes it easy to tell if there a fake with the right programs.

The thing that convinced me is I went out with a paranormal group. With my camera and recorder and downloaded it onto my computer. Then you know the equipment and photos haven't ben tampered with

Notwithstanding EXIF editing utils; composite images created in-camera will show as unedited metadata.

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I would accept any evidence if it was verified by a recognised Scientific source but please don't plaster a random Youtube video on here and then expect it to be immediately accepted as proof.

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I can't say for certain that a random youtube video hasn't ben tampered with. And we don't post our videos on youtube as a matter of privacy.

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