Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

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webgrunt
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Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby webgrunt » Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:34 pm UTC

I welcome disagreements because I learn from them, all I ask is that you be kind. I realize I might be making silly assumptions here, and I welcome people to point them out, but leave my own idiocy as something that's implied (much like dark matter, I suppose)

It has come to my attention that 95.1% of the universe consists of matter and energy which apparently don't absorb or reflect any electromagnetic radiation. This portion of the universe is called dark matter and dark energy. We have no idea what it is, how it got there, why it's invisible.

Ten or so years ago we had no idea it existed. We thought the 4.9% of the universe we could detect was 100% of the universe. (I might be wrong about any of this. I'm very amateurish in my interest in astrophysics.)

Let me repeat this just because I don't believe it's easy to grasp the sheer magnitude of this discovery:

More than 95% of the universe is invisible to us no matter what instrument we look at it with. We have no clue about it. We call it dark matter and dark energy, but all those terms mean is that we don't know what it is. We might as well call it ectoplasm.

Ectoplasm is the hypothetical substance that ghosts are made from.

I consider myself a pretty logical person most of the time, and previously I laughed off supernatural phenomena because I reasoned that if spirit beings existed, we should be able to detect them with scientific instruments. It seemed reasonable that anything which can exist and interact with the world should affect instruments as well.

Oh, some instruments *supposedly* detect ghosts or spirits but none of them seem to do so consistently. I think most if not all of the "actual" detections are fake or misreads anyway.

But now I have changed my thinking about the possibility of ghosts existing, and here's why.

The fact that almost all of the universe is invisible dark matter and dark energy and we had no idea it even existed ten years ago is far more of a mental adjustment than simply believing in ghosts and/or a spirit world, in my opinion. If the spirit world consists of dark matter and dark energy, there's no way it could be detected directly by any instrument, but it can interact through gravity with our visible world. Perhaps it can also interact through other as-yet undiscovered forces.

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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:35 pm UTC

All I know is who I'm gonna call.
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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby Yoshisummons » Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:50 pm UTC

Ghost Hunters?
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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby SlyReaper » Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:58 pm UTC

Spirit Busters!

Spoiler:
Image


Ahem.

Yeah webgrunt, what you're doing is not science. What you're doing is called Argument From Ignorance, which as logical fallacies go, is right up there. The take home message here is that just because some things aren't known, doesn't mean you get to fill in the gaps with whatever idea takes your fancy.
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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:13 pm UTC

Also, follow with me here...


Ghosts are intelligent. We can determine this due to ghosts often favoring certain individuals over others - many haunts are described as some entities favoring young girls, others not liking dark-haired males, that sort of thing.

Ghosts have preferences, likes and dislikes. Some ghosts like people and are playful. Others like certain objects to be in certain places and get upset when they are disturbed. Some hate people and interactions and do what they can do drive people away.

Following me here? Ghosts are - at worst - like a pissed off racoon and at best they're a person who happens to be dead, complete with human intellect.


...

So why the fuck can't we train ghosts to do useful tasks, like we can train dogs? Why can't we get them to repeat actions every single time - if you spray water in a bear's face, the bear's going to punch the thing that sprayed it. If you move a ghost's favorite chair, it should shriek at you every time.

So why can't we get ghosts to repeat actions, more or less on command?

Because ghosts don't exist.
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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:08 pm UTC

Yeah, and this belies a common misunderstanding of scientific skepticism of paranormal phenomena: people aren't saying "ghosts don't exist" because current scientific theories have no room in them for possible explanations of ghostly phenomena; they're saying "ghost don't exist" because we cannot confirm that ghostly phenomena occur, so there's nothing in need of explanation there.

If we could confirm that ghostly phenomena actually occurred, then there might very well be some kind of explanation for them in terms of the kind of physics we're already familiar with, with no new science needed at all; it could just be, in effect, a reverse-engineering problem. Or there might be some kind of new physics needed to explain it. But until we can get a grasp on some concrete "it" in need of explanation in the first place, we're jumping the gun even asking those kinds of questions.

TL;DR: Before we ask "How can we explain the nature of ghosts?" we need to first answer "Do ghosts exist?"
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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby Brace » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:17 pm UTC

Everything that isn't metaphysically impossible could exist. There's nothing wrong with concluding that some specific, non-impossible thing is possible. It just doesn't imply an awful lot.
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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:27 pm UTC

Yes, Teapots and all that. It's truly mind blowing.
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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby curtis95112 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:58 pm UTC

While it's true that there is a lot that we don't know, the space of things that could fill that is unimaginably large.
You're giving undue weight to an arbitrary hypothesis for which there exists little evidence.

This kind of thing is a common mistake many people make when they first start learning science. You're at the point where you know that most things cannot be proven to not exist. But you haven't realized yet just how weak a statement that is.
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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby eran_rathan » Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:25 pm UTC

Something that always gets me is when ghost hunters bring in equipment such as thermal imaging cameras, etc. and get something on camera. I mean, yes, extraordinary claims and extraordinary evidence, and so on, but it seems likely that there is something going there.

I remain agnostic to the possibility, but it seems like there ought to be some sort of serious study or experiments done on some of this footage that is out there (of which there is considerable amounts), without it being automatically dismissed as a fallacy or pseudoscience.
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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby oauitam » Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:07 pm UTC

You don't just remain "open to the possibility", you remain "open to the possibility of something", as others in this thread have pointed out.
When you think, "I'm open to the possibility of X" then you're going to need to describe "X", if it's something unusual. "X" needs to mean something - at the very least to yourself!

Let's pick "ghosts" as our possibility, so we need to say what we mean by that.

If we mean "something you can get on camera" (thermal or otherwise) then we already know some stuff about those kinds of things.
For example, we know that the something must either emit or reflect electro-magnetic radiation. Otherwise there'd be no image to capture.
Things that do that aren't only visible to children or animals or on the night of the full moon though. They're just visible, they don't turn their reflectivity off and on at will.

Or maybe by "ghost" we mean a thing that can walk through walls.
So we know that our thing will have to be made of something that is permeable to brick/wood/mortar/nails, ie not solid.
Unfortunately, things that do that are the sort of things that just disperse, like a cloud or puddle.


As soon as you start describing the "X" that you're "open to the possibility of", then you'll be able to rule out the bonkers stuff for yourself without needing to ask an experienced expert. You'll see that you're saying words that don't even have any meaning for yourself.

--

As to studies, there have been innumerable ones. The sheer number of studies doesn't seem to help. People are content with "believing in X" when "X" is something they couldn't even define themselves, and content not even looking to see if there have been studies made.

The study of 'mediumship' is the one I know most about personally. For hundreds of years people have been exposing the frauds; seeing the assistant behind the cabinet, seeing the medium untie herself, turning the light on and seeing the medium standing up holding the trumpet himself, tuning in to the radio frequency on which the medium is receiving his assistant's information, seeing the medium arranging the show with his 'plants' etc etc.
Mediums still sell out expensive shows to hoards of believers (that can't even explain what their own words mean when they say they believe "it").

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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Aug 06, 2013 2:00 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:Something that always gets me is when ghost hunters bring in equipment such as thermal imaging cameras, etc. and get something on camera. I mean, yes, extraordinary claims and extraordinary evidence, and so on, but it seems likely that there is something going there.
There is.

It's called lying. At best, the ghost hunters are being duped by someone else for %reasons% (because it makes good TV. Because they own the "haunted" area and it's in their interests to keep the appearance that it's haunted).

...well, actually, at best it's inexperienced ghost hunters with equipment they don't know how to use properly, getting results perfectly explainable by misuse of the equipment and taking their mistakes to be evidence. For example, a person's body heat can reflect

But at worst, the ghost hunters are in on the dupe too.

Seriously, though - ghosts are universally described as being cold (And he turned towards me and walked through me and it was soooo cold! He was a ghost!) so why the fuck do they show up on thermal imaging as being hot? Because it's a person being filmed, or a thermal reflection, or some other thing I can't mention because I don't know much about thermal cameras.
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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby eran_rathan » Tue Aug 06, 2013 2:36 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:Something that always gets me is when ghost hunters bring in equipment such as thermal imaging cameras, etc. and get something on camera. I mean, yes, extraordinary claims and extraordinary evidence, and so on, but it seems likely that there is something going there.
There is.

It's called lying. At best, the ghost hunters are being duped by someone else for %reasons% (because it makes good TV. Because they own the "haunted" area and it's in their interests to keep the appearance that it's haunted).

...well, actually, at best it's inexperienced ghost hunters with equipment they don't know how to use properly, getting results perfectly explainable by misuse of the equipment and taking their mistakes to be evidence. For example, a person's body heat can reflect

But at worst, the ghost hunters are in on the dupe too.

Seriously, though - ghosts are universally described as being cold (And he turned towards me and walked through me and it was soooo cold! He was a ghost!) so why the fuck do they show up on thermal imaging as being hot? Because it's a person being filmed, or a thermal reflection, or some other thing I can't mention because I don't know much about thermal cameras.


Shiny!

No, seriously, I love finding out stuff like that. Very cool.
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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:06 pm UTC

Seriously, you take someone who has no education in how thermal imaging works or how the results can be misleading and how to tell false-positives from actual readings, let them buy a thermal camera and then expect anything they film to have scientific value?

Are you high?
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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby eran_rathan » Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:28 pm UTC

No, but I do expect that if there is something happening, it will eventually be observed - possibly by amateurs, possibly by experts.

Seriously - like the whole thing with UFOs - given the ubiquity of cell-phone cameras, dash cams, etc. the number of reported 'UFO encounters' is so low that many of the groups who were looking for such data have shut down due to an acknowledgement that it is likely that they were wrong.
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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby induction » Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:24 pm UTC

I always enjoy when the ghost hunters use magnetic field detectors to determine that the ghosts like to hang out near circuit breakers.

They determine this with both magnetic field detectors and geomagnetic field detectors, as if those measure two separate things.

Having an expensive box with dials and lights on it doesn't necessarily imply that you know what the hell you're doing.

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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby Schrollini » Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:28 pm UTC

webgrunt wrote:Perhaps it can also interact through other as-yet undiscovered forces.

Except there aren't any other undiscovered forces that (1) couple to normal matter, (2) act over at least a meter, and (3) have a strength more than one billionth that of gravity. Sean Carroll explains.

It's good to recognize that there's a lot we don't understand about the universe. But there's also a lot that we do understand. Finding something unexpected doesn't invalidate all the understanding we've built up over the millennia. Just the opposite -- that understanding strongly constrains what the unexpected can do.
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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby Jave D » Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:08 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Also, follow with me here...


Ghosts are intelligent. We can determine this due to ghosts often favoring certain individuals over others - many haunts are described as some entities favoring young girls, others not liking dark-haired males, that sort of thing.

Ghosts have preferences, likes and dislikes. Some ghosts like people and are playful. Others like certain objects to be in certain places and get upset when they are disturbed. Some hate people and interactions and do what they can do drive people away.

Following me here? Ghosts are - at worst - like a pissed off racoon and at best they're a person who happens to be dead, complete with human intellect.


...

So why the fuck can't we train ghosts to do useful tasks, like we can train dogs? Why can't we get them to repeat actions every single time - if you spray water in a bear's face, the bear's going to punch the thing that sprayed it. If you move a ghost's favorite chair, it should shriek at you every time.

So why can't we get ghosts to repeat actions, more or less on command?

Because ghosts don't exist.


Well that doesn't exactly follow. Ghosts are usually said to have limited ability to interact with the physical world, and humans are also said to have limited ability to detect such interactions.

Even were that not the case, if they are like humans with human intellects, then they're not going to automatically do X whenever stimulus Y is presented anyway, because they have as you just described their own preferences and volition and whatnot. Maybe instead of shrieking it would just pout and sulk in a corner. Maybe they'll be somewhere else. Maybe they'll be distracted by a shiny object or something. I mean why can't we get living humans to repeat actions, more or less on command? We can't, except when we have some sort of authority and control or power over them, and even then they can resist. So with dead humans it's even worse. Humans are useless, is what I'm saying here.

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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby Queue » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:49 am UTC

SexyTalon wrote:Also, follow with me here...Even were that not the case, if they are like humans with human intellects, then they're not going to automatically do X whenever stimulus Y is presented anyway, because they have as you just described their own preferences and volition and whatnot.

A fun, if silly, argument to have with people who believe that ghosts are the continuation of consciousness of a once-living person, who now interacts with the physical universe as an intangible entity, is that it can't possibly be so because a ghost doesn't rule the world. For example, I know a fellow who insists that ghosts are real, and possess the following abilities:

1) They can move small objects with telekinesis (rolling a pen off a table, rocking a chair, moving things on shelves, etc.).
2) The possess the memories and feelings of the once-living person.

At which point, all a would-be conqueror would need is a chalkboard, some chalk, and a reasonable understanding of how the human respiratory system is designed.

Nobody would dare disobey the chalkboard.

And that's it. That's my whole argument (I told you it was silly). Ghosts as we often imagine them don't exist because our rulers don't live in fear of having their windpipe or some artery compressed by Dr. Ghostly Lord Ghostington, First Emperor of Mankind.

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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby freakish777 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:55 pm UTC

Queue wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:Also, follow with me here...Even were that not the case, if they are like humans with human intellects, then they're not going to automatically do X whenever stimulus Y is presented anyway, because they have as you just described their own preferences and volition and whatnot.

A fun, if silly, argument to have with people who believe that ghosts are the continuation of consciousness of a once-living person, who now interacts with the physical universe as an intangible entity, is that it can't possibly be so because a ghost doesn't rule the world. For example, I know a fellow who insists that ghosts are real, and possess the following abilities:

1) They can move small objects with telekinesis (rolling a pen off a table, rocking a chair, moving things on shelves, etc.).
2) The possess the memories and feelings of the once-living person.

At which point, all a would-be conqueror would need is a chalkboard, some chalk, and a reasonable understanding of how the human respiratory system is designed.

Nobody would dare disobey the chalkboard.

And that's it. That's my whole argument (I told you it was silly). Ghosts as we often imagine them don't exist because our rulers don't live in fear of having their windpipe or some artery compressed by Dr. Ghostly Lord Ghostington, First Emperor of Mankind.



What are you talking about??!!! Didn't you know Dr. Ghostly Lord Ghostington, First Emperor of Mankind is the Illuminati??!!!

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Re: Because of science, I now believe ghosts could exist.

Postby Queue » Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:10 pm UTC

freakish777 wrote:
Queue wrote:Ghosts as we often imagine them don't exist because our rulers don't live in fear of having their windpipe or some artery compressed by Dr. Ghostly Lord Ghostington, First Emperor of Mankind.

What are you talking about??!!! Didn't you know Dr. Ghostly Lord Ghostington, First Emperor of Mankind is the Illuminati??!!!

Oh, that's what They want you to believe. In reality,we all know that ...*HURK*...<Choke>..."GASP!"...THUD

...O.b.e.y...t.h.e...c.h.a.l.k.b.o.a.r.d.


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