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Do you believe in ghosts and other related phenomena?

13567

Posts

  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    When I was young, my parents bought my brother an I a series of books called "Unexplained", about ghosts, lost civilizations, aliens, ancient treasures, fairies, and so on. It claimed to present scientific and historical evidence, and to my young mind it was fascinating. And it really was an interesting read.

    Looking back though, it was so unscientific it's laughable. It was a lot of hearsay and stuff that would be cool if it were real, but their "research" was basically limited to statements like "why would anyone ever make that up?" and "maybe those people who investigated and found nothing were scared of discovering the truth!" It was embarrassing.

    RichyFlag.gifsig.gif
  • Dr Mario KartDr Mario Kart Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Taramoor wrote: »
    The best way I can summarize my beliefs regarding Supernatural phenomena is:
    Spoiler:

    Seriously. I want to believe in magic and superpowers and whatnot, but until I see it or experience it, I just can't take anything reported secondhand seriously.
    Even if you experience it first hand, you then have to submit that it is more likely that you suffered a delusion rather than the natural world bending a particular way in your favor.

  • RocketSauceRocketSauce Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    For Christmas I was given a gift by my grandmother that used to belong to my great-grandmother. We were sitting around talking about her, and my grandmother told me how much she had loved me (she died while I was still an infant), but she used to bathe me, and sing to me. While I was sitting in the chair I felt a cold chill on my forearm, as if someone was placing a hand on me in a comforting way. It was an amazing thing, and combined with the gift, I just felt really, really comforted. My mom's house is usually kept as warm as a lizard cage, so the cold draft centered only on my arm was weird.

    It was most likely a coincidence, and a number of explanations could be made. But it was an amazing feeling, ghost or not.

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    MrMister wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    I think that the most interesting thing to discuss here is what amounts to the proper form of scepticism.

    In other words, while it is good to be skeptical, it is not good to be skeptical out of hand simply because you assume something to be not true.

    I agree with you: what manner of skepticism to assume is the best subject of discussion here.

    However, I also think that it's important to point out that the degree with which an explanation consisting of "ghosts!" fails to cohere with the entire structure of our modern scientific understanding of the world: not only do ghosts fail to reduce or interact in an understandable way with physical laws, but the very methodology with which we evaluate ghosts is qualitative rather than quantitative, which directly conflicts with the central assumptions and methodologies of the post-medieval scientific tradition.

    So I think it's entirely reasonable to exclude ghosts from the realm of reasonable explanation. Of course, as you point out, there may be some other weird things going on, such that they could explain the temperature shifts and whatever it is that shows up on the ghost-o-meter, and those things may be worthy of study. So there could be interesting study to be done in these haunted manors (although I doubt there often is), however, the entire framework of our understanding of the world as it is currently rules out ghosts as a possible explanation. So dismissing them is pretty reasonable.

    Of course, our knowledge is always subject to revision: perhaps one day we will uncover something so undeniable that it will fundamentally alter how we view ourselves, the world, and our scientific practice. But my contention here is that it would take something that fundamental before we could legitimately admit ghosts as a reasonable explanation.

    I disagree with your definition of "ghosts". If I had to present a technical definition, it would be something like this:

    1) Phenomena or entities responsible for the things we attribute to "ghosts" like noises, stuff moving around, smells, apparitions, poltergeist activity, etc.

    2) These phenomena or entities are some how connected to deceased human beings.

    3) Some of these phenomana or entities are self aware and can be interacted with.

    Nothing in this definition absolutely precludes synthesizing it with known physics and biology. It requires a change in our understanding of physics and biology, but you could totally construct a theory involving free standing energy patterns and string theory and what not that would allow for ghosts to exist and do the things we think they do while not making them supernatural.

    And this is why quantitative measures like EM readers and thermal imaging and such are important to transforming the debate from "guys, I totally saw a ghost!" "No you didn't!" to something that can be scietifically analyzed and is verifiable.

    My dream experiment would really be the following:

    Take some abandoned building that has lots of supposed paranormal activity. Cover every single inch with cameras, in both visual and thermal and even ultraviolet wavelengths, and also with sensors to detect vibration, EM, audio, and anything else you can think of. Clear everyone out, and let it run for half a year or more. Then try introducing people maybe to see if there's any kind of response. Try different kinds of groups just walking around the building (skeptics, psychics, mediums, ghost hunters, etc). Have people come in and do that ghost hunters shit where they try to communicate and provoke responses. All that shit.

    Then correlate all the data and see if there are and statistical anomalies. Do that cloud computing shit and have people look at the footage online and see if there were any apparitions or shit moving by itself or whatever.

    If you got nothing, that should be enough to put this whole thing to bed. If you got something like a chair moving by itself and could say that you also detected anomalious EM fluctuations or thermal readings from the chair or something, then you would have a place to start creating a theory of what is happening.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    My family's old house in Memphis, which we lived in for nine years or so, was fucking haunted. Not a doubt in my mind, or that of any of my family.

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  • zerg rushzerg rush Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    And this is why quantitative measures like EM readers and thermal imaging and such are important to transforming the debate from "guys, I totally saw a ghost!" "No you didn't!" to something that can be scietifically analyzed and is verifiable.

    It's a joke to call that scientific or verifiable. If someone ever says "guys, I totally met a ghost, and he'll be visiting the lab at 12:30 tomorrow so we can take measurements and record him ghosting things" then I'll believe in ghosts. Otherwise it's people looking at the weather and saying spirits cause it.
    My dream experiment would really be the following:

    Those experiments have been done before. Repeatedly. It always ends up being 'well that wasn't a real haunted house.'

  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    My family's old house in Memphis, which we lived in for nine years or so, was fucking haunted. Not a doubt in my mind, or that of any of my family.
    Do tell...

    RichyFlag.gifsig.gif
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    zerg rush wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    And this is why quantitative measures like EM readers and thermal imaging and such are important to transforming the debate from "guys, I totally saw a ghost!" "No you didn't!" to something that can be scietifically analyzed and is verifiable.

    It's a joke to call that scientific or verifiable. If someone ever says "guys, I totally met a ghost, and he'll be visiting the lab at 12:30 tomorrow so we can take measurements and record him ghosting things" then I'll believe in ghosts. Otherwise it's people looking at the weather and saying spirits cause it.

    So are you saying neutron stars don't exist because we can't get one to come into the lab and do neutron star stuff?
    My dream experiment would really be the following:

    Those experiments have been done before. Repeatedly. It always ends up being 'well that wasn't a real haunted house.'

    They really haven't. One of the key things I mentioned was doing it for a long period of time. Going into a place for a night and not finding anything and then concluding that nothing is ever going on is like taking a trip into the jungle for a day, not seeing a gorilla, and then coming out and concluding that gorillas don't exist.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • LanzLanz Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Kupi wrote: »
    I will believe in ghosts when there is a well-documented, repeatable experiment to detect or produce them.

    Have you worked out what we're looking for?

    SEGATA SANSHIRO! LIVE AGAIN!
    Lanz.gif
  • Teslan26Teslan26 Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Smasher wrote: »
    Spoiler:

    Infinite mass in a finite universe would certainly collapse into a huge black hole (actually it'd have to start in a black hole; without one infinite mass in finite space would be impossible by definition), but I don't think that would be the case (necessarily) in an infinite universe. Assuming the universe is homogeneous on large scales you'd have infinite mass distributed evenly in every direction, and thus on large scales the gravitational pull would cancel out.

    Also, to the best of my knowledge gravitational effects are believed to spread at the speed of light, so once a given chunk of mass exited our light cone during inflation it would no longer influence our piece of the universe anyway.

    I had not imagined the universe itself could be infinite under our current best model. I agree that if you assume that then infinite stars/planets/atoms is possible.

    Snowbeat wrote: »
    get out of here, numbername
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Lanz wrote: »
    Kupi wrote: »
    I will believe in ghosts when there is a well-documented, repeatable experiment to detect or produce them.

    <img class=" title=":lol:" class="bbcode_smiley" />

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • SmasherSmasher Starting to get dizzy Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Teslan26 wrote: »
    Smasher wrote: »
    Spoiler:

    Infinite mass in a finite universe would certainly collapse into a huge black hole (actually it'd have to start in a black hole; without one infinite mass in finite space would be impossible by definition), but I don't think that would be the case (necessarily) in an infinite universe. Assuming the universe is homogeneous on large scales you'd have infinite mass distributed evenly in every direction, and thus on large scales the gravitational pull would cancel out.

    Also, to the best of my knowledge gravitational effects are believed to spread at the speed of light, so once a given chunk of mass exited our light cone during inflation it would no longer influence our piece of the universe anyway.

    I had not imagined the universe itself could be infinite under our current best model. I agree that if you assume that then infinite stars/planets/atoms is possible.

    At first thought I'd be inclined to agree with you, since the Big Bang to the best of my understanding would necessarily imply a finitely large universe. However, all of my google inquiries into the matter seem to indicate that it's an unresolved question.

    I'm not sure how to resolve the discrepancy.

  • Teslan26Teslan26 Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I guess we can just accept the hypothesis of there being inifinite planets. Of which a percentage would be habitable. Which means that there are infinite habitable planets. Which means there must be other intelligent life out there on a percentage of those planets.

    Ergo, infinite other life forms out there.

    Really? >_>

    Snowbeat wrote: »
    get out of here, numbername
  • KenninatorKenninator Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    zerg rush wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    And this is why quantitative measures like EM readers and thermal imaging and such are important to transforming the debate from "guys, I totally saw a ghost!" "No you didn't!" to something that can be scietifically analyzed and is verifiable.

    It's a joke to call that scientific or verifiable. If someone ever says "guys, I totally met a ghost, and he'll be visiting the lab at 12:30 tomorrow so we can take measurements and record him ghosting things" then I'll believe in ghosts. Otherwise it's people looking at the weather and saying spirits cause it.

    So are you saying neutron stars don't exist because we can't get one to come into the lab and do neutron star stuff?

    That's not a good analogy at all.

    Old, rickety houses (or even most houses. for that matter) have drafts and cold spots and hot spots. Electromagnetic fields can be caused by the ground below the house or power lines.

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Kenninator wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    zerg rush wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    And this is why quantitative measures like EM readers and thermal imaging and such are important to transforming the debate from "guys, I totally saw a ghost!" "No you didn't!" to something that can be scietifically analyzed and is verifiable.

    It's a joke to call that scientific or verifiable. If someone ever says "guys, I totally met a ghost, and he'll be visiting the lab at 12:30 tomorrow so we can take measurements and record him ghosting things" then I'll believe in ghosts. Otherwise it's people looking at the weather and saying spirits cause it.

    So are you saying neutron stars don't exist because we can't get one to come into the lab and do neutron star stuff?

    That's not a good analogy at all.

    Old, rickety houses (or even most houses. for that matter) have drafts and cold spots and hot spots. Electromagnetic fields can be caused by the ground below the house or power lines.

    Which is why you need to try and isolate such causes, do statistical analysis, correlate these quantitative results to personal experiences, and so forth.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • Teslan26Teslan26 Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Spoiler:

    Which is why you need to try and isolate such causes, do statistical analysis, correlate these quantitative results to personal experiences, and so forth.

    But, as has been said before, the people working in this field are generally untrustworthy and un-respected. The whole bunch are tarred with this brush. Therefore it is simply implausible to expect anyone to accept this phenomena as proven unless, quite literally, it is done under labaratory conditions with respected scientists.

    Unlikely to happen.

    On the plus side, Ghostbusters was on TV earlier. Zoooooooooool.

    Snowbeat wrote: »
    get out of here, numbername
  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Also, there's the issue with any "paranormal" phenomenon by definition losing it's luster once explained. People will continue to point to less and less possible things because well, what else is there?

    Hell, zombies have a tentative explanatory theory attached now. It's really down to aliens and ghosties.

  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt Damn you, eidetic memory! Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I have genuine bigfoot remains in my cooler. Give me $10,000 and you can have them and prove to the world bigfoot exists.

    Origin ID: Null_Cypher
    Thomas-Vail.png
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Ghosts are bullshit.

    The only reason why people are even having this debate is because of fucking dualism. If you think everyone has a magical soul then of course it seems reasonable that those magical souls can act all magically after their bodies, to which they are magically attached, expire. It's sort of like how people who believe in salvific, undead ancient Judean cult leaders also tend to believe in shit like angels and demons.

    Souls do not exist, except as an outdated term for "consciousness." Consciousness is an emergent phenomenon of brains.

  • Teslan26Teslan26 Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    Souls do not exist, except as an outdated term for "consciousness." Consciousness is an emergent phenomenon of brains.

    Only human beings have consciousness? Or all animals? Or a specific set of animals?

    Snowbeat wrote: »
    get out of here, numbername
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Teslan26 wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Spoiler:

    Which is why you need to try and isolate such causes, do statistical analysis, correlate these quantitative results to personal experiences, and so forth.

    But, as has been said before, the people working in this field are generally untrustworthy and un-respected. The whole bunch are tarred with this brush. Therefore it is simply implausible to expect anyone to accept this phenomena as proven unless, quite literally, it is done under labaratory conditions with respected scientists.

    Which is why we need someone serious to take it seriously enough to do a proper study. That this is unlikely to happen any time soon is dissapointing.
    Qingu wrote: »
    Ghosts are bullshit.

    The only reason why people are even having this debate is because of fucking dualism. If you think everyone has a magical soul then of course it seems reasonable that those magical souls can act all magically after their bodies, to which they are magically attached, expire. It's sort of like how people who believe in salvific, undead ancient Judean cult leaders also tend to believe in shit like angels and demons.

    Souls do not exist, except as an outdated term for "consciousness." Consciousness is an emergent phenomenon of brains.

    Which is Turing compatible and thus can run on any universal Turing machine. Thus, by the same principle that allows us to posit transfering conciousness to a digital medium, it is concievable that some function of space-time (strings, pocket dimensions, whatever) happesn to function as a universal Turing machine and that some facets of living consciousnesses can imprint themselves on it.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • Teslan26Teslan26 Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Spoiler:

    Which is why we need someone serious to take it seriously enough to do a proper study. That this is unlikely to happen any time soon is dissapointing.

    I agree, to an extent. Except there is a glaring issue:

    If 3 well renowned physicists went and tested rigourously in labratory conditions, 5 hotspots, and determined no evidence for Ghosts...

    The people who believed before would continue to do so. By its very nature the paranormal doctrine is designed to survive being 'disproven'. Who would waste their time in such a fools errand?

    Snowbeat wrote: »
    get out of here, numbername
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Teslan26 wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    Souls do not exist, except as an outdated term for "consciousness." Consciousness is an emergent phenomenon of brains.

    Only human beings have consciousness? Or all animals? Or a specific set of animals?
    Lots of beasties. I don't know where the cutoff point is. I imagine somewhere between echinoderms and chordates for our lineage.

  • Teslan26Teslan26 Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    Teslan26 wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    Souls do not exist, except as an outdated term for "consciousness." Consciousness is an emergent phenomenon of brains.

    Only human beings have consciousness? Or all animals? Or a specific set of animals?
    Lots of beasties. I don't know where the cutoff point is. I imagine somewhere between echinoderms and chordates for our lineage.

    What is the deciding factor?

    Snowbeat wrote: »
    get out of here, numbername
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Which is Turing compatible and thus can run on any universal Turing machine. Thus, by the same principle that allows us to posit transfering conciousness to a digital medium, it is concievable that some function of space-time (strings, pocket dimensions, whatever) happesn to function as a universal Turing machine and that some facets of living consciousnesses can imprint themselves on it.
    Right. And maybe I'm a Chinese jet-pilot.

    Besides, this is a moot point. Living consciousnesses do imprint themselves on stuff in the universe: other people's brains. I have simulacrums of all my friends' consciousnesses inside my brain. I can even animate them, imagining what they would say and how they would look under certain circumstances. This was a useful trait that evolved in our social primate ancestors.

    So when your mom or your friend dies, they do still live on, sort of, in your brain. Arguably they live on in whatever technological materials they left imprints of their consciousnesses on, as well. Once that stuff goes, though, they're gone foreva. Universal Turing machines be damned.

  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Teslan26 wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    Teslan26 wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    Souls do not exist, except as an outdated term for "consciousness." Consciousness is an emergent phenomenon of brains.

    Only human beings have consciousness? Or all animals? Or a specific set of animals?
    Lots of beasties. I don't know where the cutoff point is. I imagine somewhere between echinoderms and chordates for our lineage.

    What is the deciding factor?
    Between consciousness and non-consciousness? The point of it being an "emergent phenomenon" is that there isn't a bright line test. You can point to stuff that's clearly conscious (monkeys, octopuses), and you can point to stuff that clearly isn't (plants), but the boundary is indistinct. Is a starfish conscious? It doesn't have a brain, but it has a distributed nervous system and seems aware of the world around it.

    It's similar to how we don't really have any clear-cut boundary between life and non-life. At what point does matter become "living"? Are viruses alive? What about prions? The most useful definition of life is basically a tautology—your'e alive if you are a cell. Why is a "cell" alive? Life, like consciousness, is an emergent phenomenon, based on the chemistry of matter.

  • LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    Ghosts are bullshit.

    The only reason why people are even having this debate is because of fucking dualism. If you think everyone has a magical soul then of course it seems reasonable that those magical souls can act all magically after their bodies, to which they are magically attached, expire. It's sort of like how people who believe in salvific, undead ancient Judean cult leaders also tend to believe in shit like angels and demons.

    Souls do not exist, except as an outdated term for "consciousness." Consciousness is an emergent phenomenon of brains.

    I think that you mischaracterize dualists sir. I consider myself a dualist for reasons that I wont go into here, but I don't think that there's some "magical" soul that lives in me. When I die, my brain ceases functioning, a mind cannot live without a brain, as far as I can tell. Now, I'd like to believe in some eternal soul stuff, I think that it would make the world more interesting, less sterile. It would also make life more complex and neato. However, I can't honestly tell anyone that I believe in ghosts, or souls or anything like that. There's no reason to believe that such things exist non-physically, as well as there not being any real evidence physically.

    "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to give into it." - Oscar Wilde
    "We believe in the people and their 'wisdom' as if there was some special secret entrance to knowledge that barred to anyone who had ever learned anything." - Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Teslan26Teslan26 Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    Spoiler:
    Between consciousness and non-consciousness? The point of it being an "emergent phenomenon" is that there isn't a bright line test. You can point to stuff that's clearly conscious (monkeys, octopuses), and you can point to stuff that clearly isn't (plants), but the boundary is indistinct. Is a starfish conscious? It doesn't have a brain, but it has a distributed nervous system and seems aware of the world around it.

    It's similar to how we don't really have any clear-cut boundary between life and non-life. At what point does matter become "living"? Are viruses alive? What about prions? The most useful definition of life is basically a tautology—your'e alive if you are a cell. Why is a "cell" alive? Life, like consciousness, is an emergent phenomenon, based on the chemistry of matter.

    I was merely curious. It could have been a self-awareness type deal. Or a social structure, or a memory or... well. Whatever. Just wondered what you meant by conciousness :)

    Snowbeat wrote: »
    get out of here, numbername
  • MiserableMirthMiserableMirth Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    My mother and older sisters say the house that I lived in as a toddler was haunted by the elderly couple that died there. They have different stories about seeing shadows of people and how a bad light bulb was thrown into the trash ended back in the lamp it was removed (the good one was in the trash).

    The most bizarre one though evolves me. One morning my sister went to put some laundry into the washer, which is in the basement. She didn't close the door. At the time, I was in a walker. I don't remember any of this, but supposedly my very young self had managed to find my way to the open door and consequently down the stairs. My mother heard me screaming and came running. She saw me at the bottom of the stairs on top of pile of sheets. No one knows how these sheets got there. When my sister was in the basement, she said these sheets were still in the dryer.

    That house burnt down a few months after that. We built a new house in the same area. I have never had any experience with ghost, and don't believe in them.

  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    Ghosts are bullshit.

    The only reason why people are even having this debate is because of fucking dualism. If you think everyone has a magical soul then of course it seems reasonable that those magical souls can act all magically after their bodies, to which they are magically attached, expire. It's sort of like how people who believe in salvific, undead ancient Judean cult leaders also tend to believe in shit like angels and demons.

    Souls do not exist, except as an outdated term for "consciousness." Consciousness is an emergent phenomenon of brains.
    You know better than this. Ghosts and similar figures exist in every culture I've ever heard of, not just the ones that ascribe to dualistic theologies or believe in the existence of souls.

    Actually, I would say the vast majority of ghosts and ghost-like figures in the world exist without these concepts.

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Teslan26 wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Spoiler:

    Which is why we need someone serious to take it seriously enough to do a proper study. That this is unlikely to happen any time soon is dissapointing.

    I agree, to an extent. Except there is a glaring issue:

    If 3 well renowned physicists went and tested rigourously in labratory conditions, 5 hotspots, and determined no evidence for Ghosts...

    The people who believed before would continue to do so. By its very nature the paranormal doctrine is designed to survive being 'disproven'. Who would waste their time in such a fools errand?

    The experiment I proposed earlier would satisfy my own personal standards, one way or the other.

    Also, I think there is something to find even if it's not ghosts in any way, shape, or form. For example, the fact that EM waves can give you everything from headaches to hallucinations in pretty interesting, and poses some real questions to biologists and neuroscientists. And this is something that we would get data on in the process of such an investigation.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    You know better than this. Ghosts and similar figures exist in every culture I've ever heard of, not just the ones that ascribe to dualistic theologies or believe in the existence of souls.
    Such as?

  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    My old roommate used to say there was a ghost living in our apartment. She saw it multiple times. But in the year or so that I've lived there I never saw one. I think she was just going crazy.

    Games completed recently: Dead Island: Riptide, Batman: Arkham Origins, StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, Dragon's Crown
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Duffel wrote: »
    You know better than this. Ghosts and similar figures exist in every culture I've ever heard of, not just the ones that ascribe to dualistic theologies or believe in the existence of souls.
    So does astrology. And sky gods. What on earth is your point.

    Also, you're wrong. For most of history, ghosts weren't see-through noncorporeal manifestations. In the Middle ages, for example, ghosts were walking corpses. "Ghosts" have shifted form, just like how succubi and incubi have now largely been replaced by space aliens. None of these entities exist.

  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    So does astrology. And sky gods. What on earth is your point.

    Also, you're wrong. For most of history, ghosts weren't see-through noncorporeal manifestations. In the Middle ages, for example, ghosts were walking corpses. "Ghosts" have shifted form, just like how succubi and incubi have now largely been replaced by space aliens. None of these entities exist.
    My point was that ghosts - and this debate - are not a direct outgrowth of a dualistic worldview, which your post implied.

    Also, "ghost" is a vague enough label that it can mean practically anything even today. Stuff moving on its own is considered a "ghost". A weird noise is a "ghost". The librarian from ghostbusters is a "ghost". Et cetera.

  • KenninatorKenninator Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    Duffel wrote: »
    You know better than this. Ghosts and similar figures exist in every culture I've ever heard of, not just the ones that ascribe to dualistic theologies or believe in the existence of souls.
    So does astrology. And sky gods. What on earth is your point.

    Don't forget dragons.

    And yeah, supernatural things evolve over time. It used to be fairies or demons abducted people, now it's aliens. Or more likely just sleep paralysis.

  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Duffel wrote: »
    My point was that ghosts - and this debate - are not a direct outgrowth of a dualistic worldview, which your post implied.
    That's the only reason otherwise reasonable people even give it countenance, though.
    Also, "ghost" is a vague enough label that it can mean practically anything even today. Stuff moving on its own is considered a "ghost". A weird noise is a "ghost". The librarian from ghostbusters is a "ghost". Et cetera.
    Much like "God." Which, as you probably know, also pisses me off greatly when people conveniently forget to specify which god they're talking about when they argue about its existence.

  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    Duffel wrote: »
    My point was that ghosts - and this debate - are not a direct outgrowth of a dualistic worldview, which your post implied.
    That's the only reason otherwise reasonable people even give it countenance, though.

    I disagree, personally. I think there's two main reasons people believe in ghosts.

    The first reason is the obvious one - people who have had some sort of experience they perceived to be supernatural that they have to deal with mentally. They've either got to tell themselves that they saw/heard/perceived something weird, or that they're delusional. Most people don't want to believe the latter, obviously, since it implies they're not mentally sound, so they'll usually go with the former.

    Also, it's been pretty rare for me to meet someone who 100% "believes in ghosts", even if they think they've encountered one. Most of those people (once again, in my experience) will qualify it with things to the effect of "ever since then I've wondered if there really are ghosts".

    The second reason I think people believe in ghosts is strictly because it can be fun to contemplate. People enjoy getting scared, and ghost stories can be extremely scary. They're a lot scarier if those involved in the telling and hearing of those stories believe that they're true. That's why even bad horror movies command much higher prices at the box office than they deserve if they're "based on a true story". Ghost stories are one of the world's oldest forms of oral tradition; even if our descendants are cruising around in Mass Effect-esque starships and colonizing other planets, they'll probably still be telling ghost stories.

  • Teslan26Teslan26 Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Teslan26 wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Spoiler:

    Which is why we need someone serious to take it seriously enough to do a proper study. That this is unlikely to happen any time soon is dissapointing.

    I agree, to an extent. Except there is a glaring issue:

    If 3 well renowned physicists went and tested rigourously in labratory conditions, 5 hotspots, and determined no evidence for Ghosts...

    The people who believed before would continue to do so. By its very nature the paranormal doctrine is designed to survive being 'disproven'. Who would waste their time in such a fools errand?

    The experiment I proposed earlier would satisfy my own personal standards, one way or the other.

    Also, I think there is something to find even if it's not ghosts in any way, shape, or form. For example, the fact that EM waves can give you everything from headaches to hallucinations in pretty interesting, and poses some real questions to biologists and neuroscientists. And this is something that we would get data on in the process of such an investigation.

    It might satisy you - but the majority of believers would claim that the equipment interfered, or it was set up to show what it wanted, or... etc.

    I'd love to see it done too, however.

    Snowbeat wrote: »
    get out of here, numbername
  • zerg rushzerg rush Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I think that you mischaracterize dualists sir. I consider myself a dualist for reasons that I wont go into here, but I don't think that there's some "magical" soul that lives in me. When I die, my brain ceases functioning, a mind cannot live without a brain, as far as I can tell. Now, I'd like to believe in some eternal soul stuff, I think that it would make the world more interesting, less sterile. It would also make life more complex and neato. However, I can't honestly tell anyone that I believe in ghosts, or souls or anything like that. There's no reason to believe that such things exist non-physically, as well as there not being any real evidence physically.

    I maintain nonetheless that yin-yang dualism can be overcome. With sufficient enlightenment we can give substance to any distinction: mind without body, north without south, pleasure without pain. Remember, enlightenment is a function of willpower, not of physical strength.

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