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Do you believe in ghosts and other related phenomena?

24567

Posts

  • MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Podly wrote: »
    yeah but what about aliens
    fuck that

    what about alien ghosts

    you fuckers never thought of that one, did ya

    HOW DO YOU FUCK UP BAGELS. YOU BOIL THE WATER. PUT IN THE NOODLES
  • EndomaticEndomatic Registered User
    edited April 2009
    I can't see how anybody with even a rudimentary grasp of biology or evolution could think of that as a plausible scenario.

    It's plausible of course, we exist. It's just so very unlikely.

    What about celebrity alien ghosts?!

  • PodlyPodly good moleman to youRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    MikeMan wrote: »
    Podly wrote: »
    yeah but what about aliens
    fuck that

    what about alien ghosts

    you fuckers never thought of that one, did ya

    MINDFUCK

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  • Rhesus PositiveRhesus Positive Damn these electric sex pants! Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Well, this topic took a turn for the predictable.
    Spoiler:

    Another successful post, thanks to the power of Spacestar Ordering™!
  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    one of my friends believes in ghosts

    she also believes that she is psychic, and that psychic powers are a matrilineal family gift.

    i think she's ridiculous.

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    archonwarp wrote: »
    Duffel wrote: »
    I mean, we can't even communicate all that well with chimps and for all intents and purposes they're identical to us on an evolutionary level. And yet somehow we're supposed to believe that aliens that evolved (somehow) on another planet/in another galaxy/whatever build ships and travel through the stars just like humans wish they could? I mean, hell, usually these "alien encounters" involve aliens that are functionally identical to humans - they communicate (in English, somehow), perform medical experiments, walk on two legs... I can't see how anybody with even a rudimentary grasp of biology or evolution could think of that as a plausible scenario.

    Not to nitpick, but I don't think the phrase "evolutionarily identical" really makes sense. Yeah, they're our closest primate relative still around, but we've got a good 1,500,000 years of evolution on our side.


    One of the things about bipedal anthro-aliens is that there aren't really too many other options that make sense. It wouldn't be practical for a large complex organism to have a lot of organs protected only by a cell membrane. There also aren't too many ways you can cause locomotion besides flapping appendages; I mean, how could you evolve a wheel ? Also, it's further proof that everything is made up by people who are experiencing problems wherein their brain plays tricks on them.

    This is a silly thing to say.

    We evolved eyes, neural systems, and brains - you think a wheel is going to be difficult? I mean there's already clearly evolved flagellar motors or whatever they're called, on the microscopic scale.

    Who even knows if another form of life, if it were even recognizable, would have something resembling DNA? I think evolution as a concept would broadly apply to any form of life, necesarily, but who knows how their reproduction and selection would function, and what it would produce, especially in alternate environments?

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    We are not 1.5m years "more evolved" than chimps; chimps evolved to adapt to a different set of behaviors than humans. You're probably not too good at brachiating, but chimps are (although not as good as orangs).

    Also, there aren't too many ways for locomotion to take place on the land on earth with our gravity/atmosphere other than some form of appendage locomotion. Why wouldn't these hypothetical intelligent aliens be aquatic, for instance, or adapted to any other environment you could think of?

    And for all intents and purposes we are identical to chimps on a universal scale. We're omnivorous primates with opposable thumbs who can use tools, stereoscopic vision, and rely on social groups for survival. Compared to something like a scorpion or a squid, we are almost entirely identical to chimps. And we would by necessity be even closer to a scorpion or a squid than anything that came from another planet.

    EDIT: EM Beat me

  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    No, I don't believe in such things at all. I pretty well reject spirituality of any sort.

    ragesig.jpg

  • Armored GorillaArmored Gorilla Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    My tolerance for ghost stories is inversely proportional to how drunk I am. The more I drink, the more likely I am to immediately it down.

    "Hey man, did I tell you I heard a ghost in camp the other night?"

    "You did not hear a ghost, but go ahead and tell me the story, I"ll listen."

    "I was in the camp kitchen and I heard a woman's voice and no one was around."

    "Was it windy out?"

    "Yeah."

    "In camp, you said?"

    "Yeah."

    "And you want me to believe you heard a woman's voice instead of just hearing the wind blowing through some cracks in that musty old kitchen?"

    "My mom heard it too earlier!"

    "So you think two people are incapable of mistaking the sound of wind for a very low woman's voice?"

    "I'm a mad god. The Mad God, actually. It's a family title. Gets passed down from me to myself every few thousand years."
  • MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Obs wrote: »
    There could be ghosts, but my theory is that they probably all stay at the exact spatial coordinates of where they died in the universe. So we never see them, unless they find a way to travel quickly.
    wow, tell us more

    HOW DO YOU FUCK UP BAGELS. YOU BOIL THE WATER. PUT IN THE NOODLES
  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2009
    Podly wrote: »
    yeah but what about aliens
    Aliens is easy, of course there are. In an infinite universe the odds that there's one sentient thing are pretty low. The odds of aliens that we can in any way converse/exchange with? That's mitigated by a lot more factors.

    Umm.

    The universe is not infinite.

    Spoiler:
  • CugelCugel Registered User
    edited April 2009
    Infinite infinite? No. Virtually infinite for all we are concerned? Yes. Though I have seen no evidence to suggest that they've had any contact with Earth, I do think that, given the incomprehensible vastness of the universe, there was, is, or will be other life in the universe, and probably even sentient life. Then again, my understanding of the math behind this is spotty at best.

    And if there are ghosts there are totally alien ghost zombie vampires, somewhere in the universe, who feed on the souls of malevolent plantmen of Alpha Ceti V.

  • EndomaticEndomatic Registered User
    edited April 2009
    I'll never see the edge of the universe, unless I do, in which case, I will.

  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2009
    Cugel wrote: »
    Infinite infinite? No. Virtually infinite for all we are concerned? Yes. Though I have seen no evidence to suggest that they've had any contact with Earth, I do think that, given the incomprehensible vastness of the universe, there was, is, or will be other life in the universe, and probably even sentient life. Then again, my understanding of the math behind this is spotty at best.

    And if there are ghosts there are totally alien ghost zombie vampires, somewhere in the universe, who feed on the souls of malevolent plantmen of Alpha Ceti V.

    There's still a difference there. Yes, Murphy's Law applies. Over a long enough period of time anything that can happen, will happen. But we're not actually dealing with infinites as far as the universe is concerned. So, maybe, we are it. Maybe we aren't. But we're just talking odds, and functionally, I'm alien-agnostic if we're talking about intelligent life. The odds are low, but they're there, and there's a lot of universe, but we're not talking infinite scale, so it's not a 100% certainty despite the small odds.

    Also, I'll just drop my two cents on the actual topic: ghost probably don't exist in any way whatsoever. We can simulate "ghost" experiences by prodding at the brain. It probably just boils down to neurological hiccups, paranoia, and various other entirely natural phenomenons.

    Spoiler:
  • EchoEcho staring is caring Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited April 2009
    Duffel wrote: »
    We are not 1.5m years "more evolved" than chimps; chimps evolved to adapt to a different set of behaviors than humans. You're probably not too good at brachiating, but chimps are (although not as good as orangs).

    I would like to take a moment to express my love for the word brachiate.

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I think that there is enough evidence to merit serious investigation of the phenomena.

    Like Ghost Hunters, but without the misuse of basic electronics and evidence tampering.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    I think that there is enough evidence to merit serious investigation of the phenomena.

    Like Ghost Hunters, but without the misuse of basic electronics and evidence tampering.
    What evidence is there?

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    I think that there is enough evidence to merit serious investigation of the phenomena.

    Like Ghost Hunters, but without the misuse of basic electronics and evidence tampering.
    What evidence is there?

    They have actually managed to get some cool shit. Like furniture caught on camera moving by itself, sounds that are actually sounds and not EVPs and that seem unexplained, anomalious readings in both EM and thermal, etc.

    Unfortunately, the validity of all this rests entirely on their credibility and there are some examples, such that from the Mansion murders thing where they showed tape from a thermal camera showing a cold spot forming but analysis of the shot by people shows that the numbers displayed were photoshopped, call this credibility into question.

    Which sucks extra because it means that if anything they capture is real it still isn't good evidence.

    EDIT:

    Or were you talking about the first part?

    Well, enough personal accounts taken together along with shit tons of video and audio recordings of wierd shit.

    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
    Podly wrote: »
    yeah but what about aliens
    Aliens is easy, of course there are. In an infinite universe the odds that there's one sentient thing are pretty low. The odds of aliens that we can in any way converse/exchange with? That's mitigated by a lot more factors.

    Umm.

    The universe is not infinite.

    I was under the impression this was still an open question. The observable universe certainly isn't infinite, but there's more beyond that.

  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    If the universe isn't infinite what happens when you get to the end of it?

    I don't really know anything about physics/astronomy but this has always really puzzled me.

  • SmasherSmasher Starting to get dizzy Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Duffel wrote: »
    If the universe isn't infinite what happens when you get to the end of it?

    I don't really know anything about physics/astronomy but this has always really puzzled me.

    It may be finite but without an edge, much as the surface of the earth is. You can walk around on it forever, but there's only a finite amount of it.

  • godDeadgodDead Registered User
    edited April 2009
    Ghosts are total bullshit, but I do enjoy reading stories and watching shows about them. They're usually good for a few laughs, especially the idiots who go on about orbs and evp and psychic impressions.


    Going off topic here, but as long as others are mentioning it - I was thinking the other day about the idea of infinity and eternity and basically how it's just about the most unsettling thing I can think of. That led me into thinking about the laws of conservation of mass and energy and how neither can be created or destroyed, which means that basically they've always existed and always will. That idea freaks me out more than any supernatural crap ever could.

  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    When I saw the thread title, I misread "related" as "retarded."

    Which pretty much sums up my feelings.

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    My problem with the debate about ghosts and their existance is that, at this moment, it really comes down to personal experiance. What one person justifies as "A ghost" another will say "Yeah, but it was really anything but a ghost, I am sure" and then procedes to provide logical (but not necessarily accurate to the situation) arguments as to why it was not a Ghost.

    In the end, you're left with what one person believed happened and the other person who argues it away and neither person has changed their opinion on the matter.

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Spoiler:
  • ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2009
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    My problem with the debate about ghosts and their existance is that, at this moment, it really comes down to personal experiance. What one person justifies as "A ghost" another will say "Yeah, but it was really anything but a ghost, I am sure" and then procedes to provide logical (but not necessarily accurate to the situation) arguments as to why it was not a Ghost.

    In the end, you're left with what one person believed happened and the other person who argues it away and neither person has changed their opinion on the matter.

    A fun thing to do is take all the names of the equipment they use to "detect ghosts" and look up what they are actually for, and realize almost immediately that they weren't detecting jack shit. Well, except the electromagnetic phenomena modern houses produce that those devices are designed to detect.

    DAMM
    Drunks Against Mad Mothers
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    My problem with the debate about ghosts and their existance is that, at this moment, it really comes down to personal experiance. What one person justifies as "A ghost" another will say "Yeah, but it was really anything but a ghost, I am sure" and then procedes to provide logical (but not necessarily accurate to the situation) arguments as to why it was not a Ghost.

    In the end, you're left with what one person believed happened and the other person who argues it away and neither person has changed their opinion on the matter.

    A fun thing to do is take all the names of the equipment they use to "detect ghosts" and look up what they are actually for, and realize almost immediately that they weren't detecting jack shit. Well, except the electromagnetic phenomena modern houses produce that those devices are designed to detect.

    Agreed: that's why i didn't include that equipment in my post :)

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Spoiler:
  • ThisThis Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Cugel wrote: »
    Infinite infinite? No. Virtually infinite for all we are concerned? Yes. Though I have seen no evidence to suggest that they've had any contact with Earth, I do think that, given the incomprehensible vastness of the universe, there was, is, or will be other life in the universe, and probably even sentient life. Then again, my understanding of the math behind this is spotty at best.

    And if there are ghosts there are totally alien ghost zombie vampires, somewhere in the universe, who feed on the souls of malevolent plantmen of Alpha Ceti V.

    There's still a difference there. Yes, Murphy's Law applies. Over a long enough period of time anything that can happen, will happen. But we're not actually dealing with infinites as far as the universe is concerned. So, maybe, we are it. Maybe we aren't. But we're just talking odds, and functionally, I'm alien-agnostic if we're talking about intelligent life. The odds are low, but they're there, and there's a lot of universe, but we're not talking infinite scale, so it's not a 100% certainty despite the small odds.

    Also, I'll just drop my two cents on the actual topic: ghost probably don't exist in any way whatsoever. We can simulate "ghost" experiences by prodding at the brain. It probably just boils down to neurological hiccups, paranoia, and various other entirely natural phenomenons.

    You guys have no idea whether the universe is infinite or not. Nobody does.

  • ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2009
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    My problem with the debate about ghosts and their existance is that, at this moment, it really comes down to personal experiance. What one person justifies as "A ghost" another will say "Yeah, but it was really anything but a ghost, I am sure" and then procedes to provide logical (but not necessarily accurate to the situation) arguments as to why it was not a Ghost.

    In the end, you're left with what one person believed happened and the other person who argues it away and neither person has changed their opinion on the matter.

    A fun thing to do is take all the names of the equipment they use to "detect ghosts" and look up what they are actually for, and realize almost immediately that they weren't detecting jack shit. Well, except the electromagnetic phenomena modern houses produce that those devices are designed to detect.

    Agreed: that's why i didn't include that equipment in my post :)

    As long as you agree that it's a fun game that's fine. :P

    DAMM
    Drunks Against Mad Mothers
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    As long as you agree that it's a fun game that's fine. :P

    haha, I enjoy Ghost Hunters as much as the next man. I do tend to call "utter bullshit" on it every now and again though.

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Spoiler:
  • Big DookieBig Dookie Smells great! Houston, TXRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I think David Wong summarized my feelings on ghosts fairly well in this update. The article is somewhat of a joke, but like all things he writes, it also has a great element of truth to it.

  • Teslan26Teslan26 Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Smasher wrote: »
    Podly wrote: »
    yeah but what about aliens
    Aliens is easy, of course there are. In an infinite universe the odds that there's one sentient thing are pretty low. The odds of aliens that we can in any way converse/exchange with? That's mitigated by a lot more factors.

    Umm.

    The universe is not infinite.

    I was under the impression this was still an open question. The observable universe certainly isn't infinite, but there's more beyond that.

    You could make an argument for it being countably infinite, but the reality is that it is entirely finite - just because we are not in a position to count it easily does not mean that it is infinite. Numbers never stop going up, there is no number 'before' you hit infinity. It is a concept.

    If you had infinite universe, you'd have infinite energy, you'd have infinite mass which would cause the instance collapse and crushing of the universe.

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

    There are some things that are simply too unreliable to be useful. This includes personal experiences and EVPs, the former is more likely to be just people imaginning things and the latter is too easily just matrixing.

    There are some things that are of questionable significance. This would be stuff like EM and thermal. You can have strange hot or cold spots on things but it's silly to go from that to "omg ghosts!" in a vacuum. But it you have a number of such things and are able to show that they occur at a statistically improbable rate, you have a basis for saying that there is something that needs to be explained.

    Then you have things that are strong enough to stand on their own, but are suspect because of credability. Video of stuff moving on it's own, full body apparitions, etc can all be faked. However, it is incorrect to go "Ghost don't exist, therefore, all such evidence must be faked." On the contrary, you have to deal with each instance by itself and if you have any left that you can be reasonably sure wasn't faked, you have a good reason to suspect something else to be going on.

    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: »
    Podly wrote: »
    yeah but what about aliens
    Aliens is easy, of course there are. In an infinite universe the odds that there's one sentient thing are pretty low. The odds of aliens that we can in any way converse/exchange with? That's mitigated by a lot more factors.

    Umm.

    The universe is not infinite.

    I was under the impression this was still an open question. The observable universe certainly isn't infinite, but there's more beyond that.

    You could make an argument for it being countably infinite, but the reality is that it is entirely finite - just because we are not in a position to count it easily does not mean that it is infinite. Numbers never stop going up, there is no number 'before' you hit infinity. It is a concept.

    If you had infinite universe, you'd have infinite energy, you'd have infinite mass which would cause the instance collapse and crushing of the universe.

    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.

  • archonwarparchonwarp Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    archonwarp wrote: »
    Duffel wrote: »
    I mean, we can't even communicate all that well with chimps and for all intents and purposes they're identical to us on an evolutionary level. And yet somehow we're supposed to believe that aliens that evolved (somehow) on another planet/in another galaxy/whatever build ships and travel through the stars just like humans wish they could? I mean, hell, usually these "alien encounters" involve aliens that are functionally identical to humans - they communicate (in English, somehow), perform medical experiments, walk on two legs... I can't see how anybody with even a rudimentary grasp of biology or evolution could think of that as a plausible scenario.

    Not to nitpick, but I don't think the phrase "evolutionarily identical" really makes sense. Yeah, they're our closest primate relative still around, but we've got a good 1,500,000 years of evolution on our side.


    One of the things about bipedal anthro-aliens is that there aren't really too many other options that make sense. It wouldn't be practical for a large complex organism to have a lot of organs protected only by a cell membrane. There also aren't too many ways you can cause locomotion besides flapping appendages; I mean, how could you evolve a wheel ? Also, it's further proof that everything is made up by people who are experiencing problems wherein their brain plays tricks on them.

    This is a silly thing to say.

    We evolved eyes, neural systems, and brains - you think a wheel is going to be difficult? I mean there's already clearly evolved flagellar motors or whatever they're called, on the microscopic scale.

    It would be almost impossible for a wheel to exist as part of a living creature on earth. Seriously, think about it, it wouldn't really work. I have a really strong understanding of evolution, but I'm speaking from an earthly/anthropic perspective, as that's all we have evidence of at this time. I'm sure there's plenty of other ways that things can go to together, but we can assume that the ways certain things work here on earth are likely to happen elsewhere based upon what we know about the universe.
    Who even knows if another form of life, if it were even recognizable, would have something resembling DNA? I think evolution as a concept would broadly apply to any form of life, necesarily, but who knows how their reproduction and selection would function, and what it would produce, especially in alternate environments?

    We don't, and all of that's speculation. We do know that what we have here on earth works, and that most of the 'stuff' that went into life on earth is pretty common throughout the universe. I do think it's fair to assume that selection rules will be similar throughout the universe-- things which are best suited for the environment will, all other factors equal, thrive. This is probably a discussion for another thread though. Unless we want to take it the direction of aliens being humanoids from far away that have come here to warn us of our inevitable destruction or something...

    873342-1.png
  • KenninatorKenninator Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I used to be such an expert on this shit. Reading books about ghosts and aliens were pretty much what I did in middle school. I always thought aliens could exist (not any that have been to Earth, or had anything to do with Earth for that matter) but were rarely something I truly considered as real. It was more "Wouldn't it be neat if I actually saw one?" I still loved reading about it, though.

    I fully welcome the day hard evidence is found, but it hasn't happened yet.

  • TaramoorTaramoor Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    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.

  • Curly_BraceCurly_Brace Not a Robot Skeleton A Robot Skeleton PartyRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Kenninator wrote: »
    I used to be such an expert on this shit. Reading books about ghosts and aliens were pretty much what I did in middle school. I always thought aliens could exist (not any that have been to Earth, or had anything to do with Earth for that matter) but were rarely something I truly considered as real. It was more "Wouldn't it be neat if I actually saw one?" I still loved reading about it, though.

    I fully welcome the day hard evidence is found, but it hasn't happened yet.

    This makes me think... perhaps our cultural fascination with things like UFOs and ghosts stems from a childhood desire for the awesome to be real. Think about it... I myself remember spending hours pretending there were aliens and dinosaurs roaming my back yard. Maybe some of us just haven't let go of the awesome pretend games of youth.

    This almost subconscious desire for The Awesome to be real... no doubt fuels many a UFO hunter.

    tQCnY.giftom_sig2.jpg
  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    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.

  • zakkielzakkiel Registered User
    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.

    Suppose you had the experience Ruzkin describes. How would you interpret it?

    I think the bar for completely revising our understanding of the world is much lower than you think. For example, our original understanding of space and time was arguably more fundamental in our system of thought than our current beliefs about scientific laws is today, and yet it took hardly any evidence - just minute deviations from theory in a handful of instances - to completely demolish everything we believed about it.

    I don't believe in ghosts. But there are possible experiences that could convince me otherwise. At a certain point, scientific explanations become the light of Venus reflecting off of marsh gas.

    Smash Bros - 4639-8632-8299 (WA)
  • Element BrianElement Brian Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I keep rechecking this thread to see if its evolved into the "scary crap youve seen thread" (because that would be alot more interesting to read than all of your nonsensical theory talk.) I'm disapointed everytime.

    I like the idea of the carbonation in your pop being too much for your mormon body

    too worldly nooooo
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