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Author Topic:   Supernatural and undiscovered means of detection
Theodoric
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From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
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Message 1 of 47 (609305)
03-18-2011 9:47 AM


I recently had a conversation with a friend that claims to be an atheist, but has strong beliefs in the supernatural. He claims there is proof ghosts exist and such.

His argument is that we just have not invented the means to detect them.

His favorite argument is that at one time we could not detect quarks, but now we can. I have tried to explain that a basic difference here is that quarks are something that science predicted and then were later explained in a more concrete manner. For ghosts there are no scientific predictions.
The concept of ghosts are contrary to the scientific method, because "ghost hunters" are looking for evidence that fits their idea of ghosts. He claims the EVP(electronic voice phenomena" is hard evidence of ghosts.

Does anyone have any ideas of how to continue to counter this argument of his, or does anyone support his argument?

P.S.
Dr. Adequate
What happened to Skepticwiki?


Facts don\'t lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts
Replies to this message:
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Admin
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Message 2 of 47 (609307)
03-18-2011 10:09 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Supernatural and undiscovered means of detection thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
fearandloathing
Member (Idle past 1497 days)
Posts: 990
From: Burlington, NC, USA
Joined: 02-24-2011


Message 3 of 47 (609323)
03-18-2011 11:34 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Theodoric
03-18-2011 9:47 AM


EVP...
I think evp,s are like watching static on a empty channel, the human brain looks for patterns, you stare at one long enough and you might think you see something, I feel this probably applies to hearing as well. see link below.

www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=BFA8FA3...


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DominionSeraph
Member (Idle past 2106 days)
Posts: 365
From: on High
Joined: 01-26-2005


(2)
Message 4 of 47 (609324)
03-18-2011 11:35 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Theodoric
03-18-2011 9:47 AM


Ok, let's start off with his assertion of "proof exists." From what I gather, it's "Proof exists 'somewhere'."
As it's his belief:

"I believe proof exists somewhere."

But he doesn't believe we have the proof (beyond our means to detect), so:

"I believe proof exists somewhere (out of my perception)."

But beliefs should be based on perception, so his belief of "proof exists" translates to:

"I perceive proof exists somewhere out of my perception."

But if it's out of his perception then he isn't perceiving it. So we see that this is just his imagination.
So he is imagining a state of certainty and then using that to support his belief.
That's really retarded.

"Somewhere out there there is proof I'm a frog. So I must be a frog!"

People use magical terms -- placeholder concepts. "Ghost" is one of these.
Have him define "ghost." REALLY define it. He believes EVP is evidence of ghosts, but what is a ghost? He is applying "ghost" as an explanation for phenomena but was the concept built up from phenomena? No! The concept has no hard edges. You can replace "Ghost" with "Something" and you have just as much information.
"A book fell unexpectedly. A ghost did it."
"A book fell unexpectedly. Something did it."

It is an explanation of, "I have no explanation," that pretends to be more. Just like "Goddidit."


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frako
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Message 5 of 47 (609345)
03-18-2011 1:37 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Theodoric
03-18-2011 9:47 AM


He claims the EVP(electronic voice phenomena" is hard evidence of ghosts.

Well one word or 2 word long evp's can be discarded as the brain trying to find a pattern in all the static.

Tough there are some evs that would raise any skeptics eyebrows fully worded 5 word or more sentences in direct correlation with the questions asked.

Those are hard to dismiss as the brain trying to form patterns out of pure static, tough that does not mean that they are voices of ghosts, there are numerous other explanations for what those voices could be, one of those explanations is that its ghosts.

Tough currently we cant say what they are not enough evidence to say for sure that the voices come from ghosts, that the voices are imprints of events captured on matter....

More testing should be done tough its hard to find someone that is willing to do it and is objective <--(does not have a preconceived notion that these are ghosts, .....)


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NoNukes
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Posts: 9330
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
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Message 6 of 47 (609349)
03-18-2011 1:50 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Theodoric
03-18-2011 9:47 AM


Theodoric writes:

Does anyone have any ideas of how to continue to counter this argument of his, or does anyone support his argument?

Your friend is not giving you an argument for believing in ghosts. He believes in ghosts and is explaining to you why your contrary arguments and evidence do not dissuade him. Further, you cannot really provide evidence that there are no ghosts.

I would proceed by exploring the reasons for his believe in ghosts. Perhaps something will turn up that you can address. I doubt that the real reason for his belief in ghosts is EVP.


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Replies to this message:
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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 5700
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 7 of 47 (609352)
03-18-2011 2:01 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by NoNukes
03-18-2011 1:50 PM


I doubt that the real reason for his belief in ghosts is EVP.

Exactly.
I asked him for evidence for ghosts and he said EVP is evidence. He and his wife think a ghost lives in their house, because of odd sounds. Also, they say things are moved when no one around. I offered to investigate scientifically and surprisingly they refuse.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts
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Replies to this message:
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NoNukes
Member
Posts: 9330
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 8 of 47 (609359)
03-18-2011 3:10 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Theodoric
03-18-2011 2:01 PM


Perhaps you cannot help.
It sounds like your efforts to help may be considered intrusion. Will they even allow you to hear the strange noises?

"When it comes through your door
Unless you just want some more
I think you better call - Ghostbusters."


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Replies to this message:
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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 5700
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 9 of 47 (609365)
03-18-2011 3:28 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by NoNukes
03-18-2011 3:10 PM


Re: Perhaps you cannot help.
Of course it only happens when someone is alone in the house.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts
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NoNukes
Member
Posts: 9330
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 10 of 47 (609393)
03-18-2011 11:00 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Theodoric
03-18-2011 3:28 PM


Re: Perhaps you cannot help.
Theodoric writes:

Of course it only happens when someone is alone in the house.

Is this ghost something that alarms your friend or do he and his wife want to keep the spirit around? Assuming that your friend does not want the ghost, perhaps you can offer him some advice for setting up his own scientific investigation.


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Taz
Member (Idle past 643 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 11 of 47 (609397)
03-19-2011 12:40 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Theodoric
03-18-2011 9:47 AM


I'll be frank. Speaking as a skeptic, I have to accept the possibility of the existence of ghosts. Your 'excuse' about quarks is unfounded. Not every discovery made by science is previously predicted. In fact, many discoveries go unnoticed until they were needed. Take anti-biotics, for example. It was discovered by accident and lightly tossed aside. Some 20 years later, people had to look for a way to fight bacterial infections because soldiers were dying left and right in the trenches of WW1. Someone discovered the notes from the biologist years before and made use of it.

The point is just because something wasn't predicted by conventional science doesn't mean it can't exist.

Personally, I think your friend is a loon. But by denying outright the existence of ghosts for absolutely no valid reason, you are little better than the loons you're trying to disprove.


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pfrankinstein
Junior Member (Idle past 1798 days)
Posts: 5
Joined: 03-12-2011


Message 12 of 47 (609399)
03-19-2011 9:20 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Taz
03-19-2011 12:40 AM


Taz.

I'll be frank. Speaking as a skeptic, I have to accept the possibility of the existence of ghosts.

Personally, I think your friend is a loon. But by denying outright the existence of ghosts for absolutely no valid reason, you are little better than the loons you're trying to disprove.

By direct abstraction. Interestingly, the agnostic could level the same 'loon' accusation at both the Christan and atheist.

Paul.

Edited by pfrankinstein, : learning the ropes.


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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 5700
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 13 of 47 (609421)
03-19-2011 8:50 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Taz
03-19-2011 12:40 AM


you are little better than the loons you're trying to disprove.

You miss a huge point. There was a scientific concept of medicine and the development of new medications. The discovery of anti-biotics was based on previous scientific knowledge.

Show me any existing scientific knowledge that shows that anything supernatural exists.

You seem to be buying into the psuedoskeptic argument.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Taz
Member (Idle past 643 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 14 of 47 (609432)
03-20-2011 2:44 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Theodoric
03-19-2011 8:50 PM


You miss a huge point. There was a scientific concept of medicine and the development of new medications. The discovery of anti-biotics was based on previous scientific knowledge.

Ok, let me get this straight. Are you saying that anything that has never been previously predicted by mainstream science cannot possibly exist?

Show me any existing scientific knowledge that shows that anything supernatural exists.

(1) If we truly follow this statement of yours, science would never make any progress whatsoever. One of the strongest basis of science is that it allows for things we haven't thought of or haven't discovered yet to exist.

(2) It seems to be a popular thing nowadays to label something as supernatural or label someone as a conspiracy theorist in order to discredit them.

(3) Do you have anything to say at all beside "it's supernatural, therefore it must not exist"? Do you see the problem here? First, you assume that anything that is supernatural must not exist. Then you assume that ghosts are supernatural. Do you see a problem with your conclusion here?

You seem to be buying into the psuedoskeptic argument.

And what would this pseudoskeptic argument be? I'm vastly interested to know.

You, sir, are the reason why so many people misunderstand science and it's skeptical nature.


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ringo
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Posts: 12820
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 15 of 47 (609448)
03-20-2011 11:20 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Taz
03-20-2011 2:44 AM


Taz writes:

One of the strongest basis of science is that it allows for things we haven't thought of or haven't discovered yet to exist.


A library allows for new books to be brought in but they aren't really a "part of" the library until we can predict where they will fit into the cataloging system.


If you have nothing to say, you could have done so much more concisely. -- Dr Adequate
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