Ghosts

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience Archive' started by Joaquin, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. Pineal Banned Banned

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    Yup, really. This almost sounded like an argument from incredulity.


    Which is precisely ruling it out by deduction. It was certainly not a conclusion arrived at via induction. The 'flatly not possible' was precisely the way scientists reacted to rogue waves. The phenomenon did not fit with current theory. It was deemed impossible and people were told they were imaging things because of emotions. It was presumed that it had to be like other waves - which come in batches. IOW it was decided that they knew that this phenomenon could not take place because what they considered similar phenomena could not possibly extend into this kind. This was deduction - with a lot of assumptions about what the phenomenon would have to be if it existed and none of these could exist.

    But then they did.
     
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  3. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Um, you made a comment...

    Nope.

    On what basis?

    Yes I get the rogue wave thing.

    But: we know, for example that immaterial things can't cause sound waves, so how do ghosts speak?
    How does an "energy field" (or whatever ghosts are claimed to be) maintain coherence?
     
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  5. Pineal Banned Banned

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    I made an assertion and then went on to hopefully support it or not, but it was part of an argument.


    I think if instead of asking these questions you made them statements and supported your skepticism you would see that you are coming at the issue via deduction. You would have premises about the properties of sound, immaterial things, sufficient and necessary phenomena for other phenomena, etc.

    IOW deduction.

    Let me point out one of your assumptions - one shared by some believers of ghosts but clearly not all...

    that ghosts must be/are supposed to be immaterial.

    See this is why I think deduction is weak and why scientific journals would not take a paper demonstrating that ghosts are impossible. You have to make assumptions about what the phenomenon is or would have to be, really, before demonstrating - yes via deduction - that it is not possible.

    For example,
    Premise 1, sounds are made by vibrations in matter.
    Premise 2, Ghosts are only immaterial.
    Conclusion, Ghosts, therefore, cannot make sounds.

    Scientists also thought elephants could not be communicating over very large distances, despite what some natives and some naturalists believed was the case. Sounds made by elephants could not travel those distances. One woman scientist got the impression she actually heard low tones and later discovered they communicated via infrasound through the ground. IOW the assumptions made by most scientists were used in deductive arguments that led to conclusions that a certain phenomenon was impossible. The arguments were valid, however there was a faulty premise about the type of sound and the medium.

    There are quite a number of people who believe in ghosts who consider them natural phenomena of some as yet unclear form. They do not seem to think ghosts are immaterial and go after them with various devices, devices used to pick up phenomena lumped under physical phenomena - note: physical has come to include stuff that would have shocked early materialists or physicalists.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011
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  7. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Yet the elephant uses a physical method.

    With regard to my "deduction"
    1) can you show how it is possible to make a sound without matter (given what sound is)?
    2) ghosts have been claimed to be immaterial (we go, as said, on the claims)
    3) follows from from the claims made (which is what I stated - "What science does is negate specific claimed "abilities" of ghosts") and reality.
     
  8. Pineal Banned Banned

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    That is not the point. So do migrating birds that use the quantum zeno effect, that is also a physical method, as any method that gets found and accepted in scientific community will be called physical, even if things without mass or fields or particles in superposition are involved. My point with the elephant story was the problems with deduction.

    You know, D. I specifically acknowleged that some believers in ghosts think they are immaterial - though these people probably have no idea what some now considered physical things are like within science. I then pointed out that it was an assumption by both them and critics that ghosts must be immaterial, but that other believers clearly think they are material. So this question shows me you did not understand my post. Could be my poor writing. I read it a second time and I think it is clear, but I am hardly unbiased. So who knows. But I just got pissed so that's when these kinds of discussions don't feel worth it for me.
    And I am sure you are aware of paraphychologists who go into houses with all sorts of devices with the expectation that ghosts will register. So they clearly feel that ghosts are physical, in some as yet unclear form of physicalness.
    That was not what you first stated, what you first stated was
    So if you think this is an important distinction, it would have been honorable to acknowledge backing down from your original formulation.

    I think the new formulation is problematic also....

    Yes, if someone says ghosts are immaterial and they speak - in the sense that the air vibrates around their immaterial mouths - science can negate that.

    But beyond arguments based on such self imposed restrictions around what ghosts must be by believers, I can't see science saying that there is evidence ghosts cannot have this or that ability. Only if specific claims about the mechanisms are made. As I said here....

    And the old material vs. immaterial is fairly naively looked at by most folk believers in ghosts and most skeptics - rather than say most parapsychologists who are aware that 'physical' does not mean the phenomenon must be already knows and understood and also does not have to mean it is like chairs and oboes. Stuff you can trip over or hit someone with.

    IOW it is convenient to in a sense assume a kind of physics sophistication, hell even a biological one given some of the 'physical' abilities animals and plants have, on the part of most believers in ghosts. IOW when they claim something is immaterial, they know that matter now includes things that are right now coursing through the earth in the billions - more? - without touching it or various kinds of fields or whatever we will find out and then call physical as technology changes in the future.

    Also the physical is not a closed set. It is an expanding one.

    And this might also include some naivte about what it means when they speak, what the actual phenomenon is.

    But I am going to drop this here, because, as I said, I am getting pissed. You'll mull over what I wrote or you won't. But I don't think you were open to it before now.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
  9. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Backing down?
    Did you not read post 43 where I stated: "What science does is negate specific claimed "abilities" of ghosts"?
    In other words what science shows us is that ghosts, as claimed, cannot be.
    This could, in the end, turn out to be a a multitude of differing phenomena, somehow all taken to be "ghosts" by the public, but, since science clearly negates specific individual "abilities" of ghosts then ghosts, as a phenomenon and as currently "lumped together" cannot be.

    The main problem is that so many people are willing to accept a "supernatural" "explanation", as opposed to a psychological one. We know that the mind glitches, we don't know how the works and there's lots of fertile ground there. Yet the psychological explanation is nearly always pooh-poohed.
    As for open-ness:
    Hell, I've met a ghost, but not once, not for one second did I assign it to a supernatural cause. My first reaction was "Well, shit, doesn't the mind play weird tricks".
     
  10. Arioch Valued Senior Member

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    @Dyw --

    I do hate that tendency of cranks like some of these ones to do the whole "science can't explain it, it must have been <insert supernatural/paranormal answer here>", it's so annoying. It's also self collapsing, which is nice I guess(but it does take some of the fun out of crushing it). Basically what they're saying is "this can't be explained so I can explain it".
     
  11. Gandalf I'm only Grey on the outside. Registered Senior Member

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    I do believe that there may be some form of energy in existence in the universe that many people call ghosts. Like Pineal, I think that whatever phenomenon people through the ages have experienced is part of the natural order of the universe, but we have not yet been able to record it until recently. I'm talking about EVP's, photographic evidence, etc. by devices that seem to record something that we can't ordinarily hear with our ears or see with our eyes.

    While I do believe that what we've learned about the nature of reality on the quantum level offers some basis for us to possibly postulate the existence of phenomenon known as ghosts, most people I've ever met are superstitious and completely unable to judge that bump in the night in any rational way. Too many people will assume that it's poor old Aunt Edie who died of a broken heart after dingos ate her baby

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    , when it's really just wood contracting as it loses heat during the night.

    Nearly all paranormal research shows that try to "investigate" these phenomenon, do a terrible job at it. They investigate in pitch blackness and in surroundings which psychologically and evolutionarily could by themselves be perceived by us all as dangerous. There's no better way to gather empirical, testable, measurable evidence about a subject that is already so open to scientific ridicule than to wander around blind in a pitch-black house scared totally shitless and jumping at every little noise. All the great scientific discoveries of our time happened in situations just like that!
     
  12. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    This is where you run into problems with physics...
     
  13. Gandalf I'm only Grey on the outside. Registered Senior Member

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    I take the opposing view and believe physics may (eventually) actually be a way to explain what these heretofore unknown phenomenon are.

    As a case in point, both my wife and I have heard bluegrass music coming from one of the bedrooms of the home we live in. We've heard it more than once and at the same time. There was no radio/TV/mp3 playing anywhere in the house. There was no sound of music outside when we went to check. Still, we heard bluegrass music. It had a "tinny" sound to it, like you'd expect from an old-timey radio, but we ruled radio out as a source already.

    What was going on? I don't know. Yet the phenomenon was experienced by two people simultaneously in at least three separate incidents. I can raise a hypothesis to explain it, even if there is no way to scientifically prove it. Many discoveries in science were predicted even before there was hard evidence for them.

    For my example, we could be looking at something involving the field of space/time. Some paranormal researcher believe that an area can "imprint" with an event (usually emotionally powerful) and the human mind and some electronics can pick it up.

    Why such a thing would happen in one bedroom of our home, only discernible at warmer times of the year (for some unknown reason) I have no answer for. To me, there is no grand event that I'm reliving. It's just that somehow, by a process still unknown, my wife and I heard bluegrass music coming from the middle of an empty room. The ordinary laws of physics should preclude us from experiencing bluegrass music out of empty space, but they didn't. So we're left with trying to find a cause/explanation based on sketchy hypotheses we try to develop.

    I speculate that these "residual energies", or whatever they are, are able to interact with the phenomenon we know as consciousness. Our music might not have come from empty space as its starting point, but may have been heard only within our minds. The fact that it was two minds simultaneously is what begs an answer for me. Either way,we're still left with: how did this process occur? What laws of the universe allow for it.

    Again, currently we only have speculations to which no one has any definitive answer. Still, that doesn't mean we don't stop exploring them. It's both intriguing and fun.

    Those of us who are intrigued by these phenomenon really need to do a better job at NOT couching our conclusions about them so smugly and being so sure of ourselves about the explanation. The truth is, we don't know what the heck it is we're experiencing.

    As Dwywyddyr posted earlier, it could be a glitch in our minds. It could be that, or it could be a process of the universe we've yet to understand fully. For me, it's not dumb to offer up possible explanations; the human mind almost demands them. What is dumb about the process for many who speculate on these things is that so many of us want to assign absolute certainty to our answers and immediately promote our sometimes half-baked ideas to "Gods-honest-truth" status. All we've been able to do, for the most part is merely throw darts in the dark.
     
  14. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    I have auditory hallucinations under chronic stress, mentioned before...the hallucinations, if they get loud enough, sound tinny.

    Mostly...they just sound like a radio might have been left on low in another room.

    They are accompanied by a peculiar pressure sensation in the ears, as if my ears needed to pop.

    :shrug:
    I dunno. Maybe relevant...if nothing else I am a thinking-person's nutter....
     
  15. whynot Registered Senior Member

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    They can't? Can't type on this.
     
  16. whynot Registered Senior Member

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    i can understand im a nut, hear exagerated foot steps up to my bed. but how is it i have bruise all the time, like around my ankle or just watching tv and my arms bruised to the bone, gonna accuse me of doing it?
     
  17. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    You know this is kind of weird, I was missing some water right about when that happened to you. Then, I kept having to put my phone back in the drawer because it seemed to be popping out whenever I turned around.
     
  18. Gandalf I'm only Grey on the outside. Registered Senior Member

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    That pretty much sums me up too, chimpkin.

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  19. Arioch Valued Senior Member

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    @Gandalf --

    I've heard that, but there's some problems. One problem is that they have no reason to speculate this, current explanations are more than powerful enough for the phenomena we're talking about. Another big problem is that they offer no possible mechanism to explain the phenomena, in other words their explanation doesn't actually explain anything. It's no different from the theists who just say that god did it.

    There's a much simpler explanation, one that doesn't require amending or discarding the laws of physics. You and your wife experienced shared hallucinations, these aren't as rare as one would think.
     
  20. Arioch Valued Senior Member

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    @whynot --

    Nope, they can't. A physicist once described matter as the stuff that kicks back, you need to give it some sort of kick(doesn't have to be an actual kick) in order for any interaction. Things which are immaterial are not made of stuff which can kick, and beyond that being immaterial by definition means not having any energy to do any work(energy being material by definition). So either ghosts can interact with the universe or they are immaterial, you can't have it both ways.

    Do you find yourself loosing chunks of time before these bruises appear?
     
  21. Gandalf I'm only Grey on the outside. Registered Senior Member

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    I'm not saying that what you're suggesting doesn't happen to people, it's just that I really don't think that this is a hallucination. It sounds absolutely nuts to me. If you'd of told me that I'd EVER walk into a certain room and hear bluegrass music coming from seemingly nowhere, I'd say you would be crazy. Yet it did happen, and I'm at a loss to explain it and I won't agree that I've lost my marbles (I do occasionally lend them out, but that's another story

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    )

    I think that it's often too easy to explain this away with the "hallucination clause" given by skeptics. After having experienced it, I can say that it was real. Weird, but definitely real. I also will not offer any definitive answer for what I experienced. I might toss some things around in my mind to explain it to myself, but as far as proof, I got nada.
     
  22. Arioch Valued Senior Member

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    @Gandalf --

    No, you can't say that it was real. The human brain is more than capable of generating an entire hallucinatory world complete with people, how do you know that your experience wasn't one of those? Especially since your experience doesn't accurately reflect reality.
     
  23. Gandalf I'm only Grey on the outside. Registered Senior Member

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    Real can often go beyond that which you can offer up solid empirical proof of. I'm just not going to call what I experienced typical reality, although I hope that one day (a thousand years from now) someone might use science to understand what I did experience.
     

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