What are poltergeists?

Discussion in 'Parapsychology' started by Magical Realist, Feb 6, 2015.

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  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    LOL! I gave those as examples of phenomena we don't have to reproduce to know about. Keep up with the thread.
     
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  3. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

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    We don't have to reproduce them... true, we don't. because they happen often enough and are well documented. We do, however, actually reproduce the effects of earthquakes, and we do reproduce lightning... as for reproducing an eclipse, uhm... put your hand up in front of a light bulb - ahh, mini eclipse!
     
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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    No..we don't reproduce earthquake lightning, and we don't reproduce eclipses, and we don't reproduce tornados, and we don't reproduce black holes. I could go on, but the point is pretty indisputable at this point:

    "We don't have to reproduce them... true, we don't."
     
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  7. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

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    Uhm... yes, yes we do reproduce them.

    Earthquake Simulator - http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/earthquake-simulator-aims-prevent-future-devastation-n317106
    Lightning Simulator - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_coil
    Tornado Simulator - http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2014/08/07/tornadowinds
    Eclipse Simulator - http://astro.unl.edu/classaction/animations/lunarcycles/shadowsim.html

    Three physical, one computational...
     
  8. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    You gave examples of phenomena certainly...unexplained phenomena, not supernatural.
     
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    LOL! No..a computer simulation isn't reproducing the phenomena itself. Nobody produces real earthquake lightning. Nobody produces real tornadoes. Nobody produces real eclipses. And nobody produces real black holes. Hence nobody needs to produce real paranormal phenomena to know it goes on or to verify it.
     
  10. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

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    I see you didn't actually click on the links:

    The Earthquake, Lightning, and Tornado simulators aren't computer simulations... they are physical, scale reproductions.

    Now, if you can reliably reproduce the effects of, say, a poltergeist breaking a window, slamming a door, etc... even in a scale model, then you would have some evidence

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  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    You don't even know what earthquake lightning is do you? And can you distinguish between a vortex of smoke spun by a machine and a real tornado? I hope so. One of those you run from.
     
  12. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

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    Nobody has produced a real Poltergeist, either. What's your point?
     
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  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Right. Which is why it's one of those phenomena that can't be reproduced to be studied---yet!
     
  14. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

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    So you do not understand what a scale model is either...

    it is starting to become clear why you disdain science so much - you don't understand a lick of it

    as for Earthquake Lightning... http://news.nationalgeographic.com/...lights-earthquake-prediction-geology-science/
     
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  15. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    If reproducibility on demand is required in order for something to be real, then too bad for a whole host of physical phenomena ranging from meteorite falls to supernovae. The origin of life would seem to be another example. I think that earthquakes are a good example, since simulating earthquake ground movements for purposes of testing architectural structures isn't the same thing as calling up geological processes on demand.

    My purpose in posting this isn't to argue for the reality of poltergeists. I'm inclined to think that the only reality they have is as folklore. I just don't like seeing naive and simplistic philosophy of science being thrown around in the arrogant and insulting ways that seem to have become habitual on Sciforums.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  16. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

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    Except those have irrefutable physical evidence as to what they are and how they happen - that's a huge difference from "oh we heard a noise, it's a ghost!"

    Now, if someone captured a ghost, for example... or found a fossilized ghost... or even a body of a ghost... well, then we'd have something to go on

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  17. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Reproducing the effects of something (electric discharges, earth movements, wind vortices) isn't the same thing as modeling the processes that brought them about.

    I wish that you wouldn't be so arrogant and insulting. It's uncool coming from anyone, especially a moderator.

    There may be a fruitful line of argument that takes off from this bullshit.

    When explanations are proposed for physical phenomena, causal mechanisms are hypothesized. There's at least a proposal about how observed events (however unrepeatable they might be) come about, a proposal that consists of a series of intermediate causal steps that can individually be understood, and perhaps modeled or even observed, where evidence of them exists.

    The problem with things like parapsychology, intelligent design and divine creationism is that no mechanism for these things has ever been proposed. (At least that I'm aware of.) There's no explanation of how we get from A to B. It's just 'God did it!' or 'Mind did it!'. These kind of proposals simply aren't informative in the same way that naturalistic physical theories are. There isn't any nuts-and-bolts to it that might be exploited in the form of technology. (Imagine a technology that could create miracles on demand!)

    I want to emphasize that lack of parapsychological or theological theories with predictive and explanatory power isn't evidence that God or psychic phenomena don't exist. Inability to reproduce phenomena on demand or to model them in laboratories or on computers isn't evidence that the phenomena don't sometimes occur.

    At best, this lack of explanatory power argument is an argument for methodological naturalism, not for metaphysical naturalism, which is probably indefensible, since it asserts more than human beings can seemingly know.



    The problem
     
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Even if we could induce poltergeist phenomena in a lab, that doesn't mean we'd understand how it happens. We can induce quantum entanglement in a lab, but we don't really know how that happens. Besides, reproducing a phenomenon assumes the phenomenon is subject to reproduction on demand. Poltergeist phenomena, like earthquakes and life and consciousness, probably isn't like that. The conditions under which it happens remain largely unknown. But it DOES seem to be linked to the presence of a young woman or an adolescent girl. In this sense it appears to be a rare anomaly, something that occurs more by exception than by a rule.
     
  19. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

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    Except being able to induce, reproduce, or even simulate it gives us something to study and observe. Trying to study blurred images of something stalking through the underbrush that someone claims to be Bigfoot is about as helpful as trying to learn how to fix your car from examining a Matchbox(tm) car.
     
  20. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Assuming our reproduction of it tells us how it happens. But as with quantum entanglement, it doesn't. It is just as mysterious in how it happens as it would be if we couldn't induce it. Some phenomena are like that. Bigfoot btw is off-topic. We're talking poltergeist phenomena.

    We DO have investigations of poltergeist phenomena AS they occur. I already cited an ongoing one in Birmingham for 6 years now. See post #31.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  21. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    And science's methodological naturalism gives us a conceptual framework with which to try to understand what we study and observe. (I'm a strong supporter of methodological naturalism.)

    But that isn't the same thing as metaphysical naturalism that presumes to rule on what the ultimate nature of reality must be. (I'm very skeptical about metaphysical naturalism.)

    If this argument is about what kind of things we can know and understand, then I'm inclined to agree with much of what Kittamaru says. If it's about what can and can't exist, my sympathies are more with MR. (I have a very robust appreciation for the unknown.)

    That's why I wrote earlier that while I'm strongly inclined to consider poltergeist phenomena to be phenomena of popular folklore (that's certainly my working hypothesis) I can't 100% exclude the possibility that something else might be happening. If that's the case, then I don't know what it is.

    I have the same views about religious miracles.
     
  22. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

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    What's good for the goose is good for the gander - neither bigfoot nor poltergeists have any credible physical evidence supporting their existence. All they have is some circumstantial "we don't know what happened" instances.

    Uh huh - don't have time to sit and watch a video at the moment as I'm about to head out for an interview - however, a bunch of policemen unable to determine what or who is throwing stones is hardly support for a ghost - after all, anyTHING with enough of a physical substance that can pick up a rock and throw it should easily reflect/refract enough light to be caught on camera.
     
  23. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Science isn't about dismissing a phenomena because it doesn't conform to our expectations of how something like that can occur. Our overall knowledge of what is possible in our universe is afterall very limited and constrained by our limited sensory abilities and our historically-relative interpretive framework. Science is simply taking the phenomena as given by the evidence, in all of it's strangeness and defiance to what we deem natural laws. In this case, hundreds of eyewitness reports of poltergeist phenomena:

    http://www.acampbell.org.uk/bookreviews/r/gauld-cornell.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
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