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Author Topic:   The Movie Paranormal Activity
Tram law
Member (Idle past 3041 days)
Posts: 283
From: Weed, California, USA
Joined: 08-15-2010


Message 1 of 285 (611485)
04-08-2011 8:34 AM


I just saw this movie for the first time. For those who have seen the movie, and based on the hypothetical if it's real, that is if actual footage like this was actually found, would this constitute real and hard evidence of the paranormal? Or would this all be chalked up to camera glitches because it looks fake?

You see, while I am not a believer in the existence of the paranormal, I do believe that "whatever remains after sifting through all the evidence, however improbable, must be the truth". That is to say, at least for me, finding footage like this would go a ways to helping prove the existence of the Paranormal. But even with this, I still prefer normal explanations first and above all.

But I also believe that denial is a powerful tool. Some people could not believe that their hair was on fire when it was on fire if they didn't want to, and no amount of evidence will convince them otherwise.

I also believe in putting all claims through the same analytical process. Just because something looks like a fake doesn't mean that it is a fake. It's far too easy to say that without true objectivity. This is what I mean, if somebody claims they did it and don't have a fake suit to wear, then it;s just a claim. Because the general rule is that an argument is an argument until there is proof to back it up, and the same standards must be equally applied across the board.

But the problem I see is that some people will automatically assume that if one's arguing that the claim is that it must be a fake to be false is arguing for the opposite claim (it must be real), but that simply is not true, and is actually arguing for a false dichotomy. For the general rule in discussion is if someone makes a positive claim then they must back it up, and saying it must be a fake is a positive claim. And arguing against it should in no way be taken for an argument that the footage or evidence must be real. It's just an examination of that individual claim.

So, so how does one know the difference between denial and actual skepticism?

And would footage like that actually be objectively considered to be evidence of real paranormal activity?

For those who haven't seen the move, here's the wiki on it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranormal_activity_movie


Replies to this message:
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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 2431 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 2 of 285 (611486)
04-08-2011 9:02 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tram law
04-08-2011 8:34 AM


I think by far the most likely thing would be the assumption that such footage was a hoax. Since we know that special effects exist and there is no evidence that paranormal activity exists I wouldn't consider the supernatural a better explanation than the already familiar natural alternatives.

I admit this sets up something of a Catch 22 situation if all the evidence being presented is simply anecdotal or videotaped, we might be dismissing genuine phenomena, but there is a reason why people keep repeating that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

It is similar to the way that even when someone who specifically states that they aren't psychic and are using trickery replicates all the techniques or 'genuine' psychics there are still people who will claim that just because you can do it by trickery doesn't mean that that is how the 'genuine' psychics do it.

The argument may be correct but it really doesn't undercut the fact that these phenomena can be easily replicated by natural means.

TTFN,

WK


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subbie
Member (Idle past 80 days)
Posts: 3509
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 3 of 285 (611487)
04-08-2011 9:21 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tram law
04-08-2011 8:34 AM


Denial
For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible.

Skepticism

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

Look at it this way. If a child came up to you and said there was a dog in the front yard, unless you knew this child to be a pathological liar, you'd probably believe there was a dog in the front yard. If the same child said there was a big pink elephant flying down the street, you'd need more before you believed it.


Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. -- Thomas Jefferson

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat

It has always struck me as odd that fundies devote so much time and effort into trying to find a naturalistic explanation for their mythical flood, while looking for magical explanations for things that actually happened. -- Dr. Adequate

...creationists have a great way to detect fraud and it doesn't take 8 or 40 years or even a scientific degree to spot the fraud--'if it disagrees with the bible then it is wrong'.... -- archaeologist


This message is a reply to:
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jar
Member
Posts: 31757
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.6


(1)
Message 4 of 285 (611491)
04-08-2011 9:58 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tram law
04-08-2011 8:34 AM


No it would not be evidence of the supernatural.

Even if such video did exist it would only be evidence of things not explained at the time of the video.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
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Trae
Member (Idle past 2643 days)
Posts: 442
From: Fremont, CA, USA
Joined: 06-18-2004


Message 5 of 285 (611493)
04-08-2011 10:14 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tram law
04-08-2011 8:34 AM


Wouldn’t you have thought it would be made the news before the movie was released? Conversely, wouldn’t it have to be a very rare occurrence in order for it to not be well documented?

Consider that actual skepticism perhaps requires not only evidence, but context and a framework? Some random piece of footage not adequately tested with questionable providence should not convince anyone.

quote:
But the problem I see is that some people will automatically assume that if one's arguing that the claim is that it must be a fake to be false is arguing for the opposite claim (it must be real), but that simply is not true, and is actually arguing for a false dichotomy. For the general rule in discussion is if someone makes a positive claim then they must back it up, and saying it must be a fake is a positive claim. And arguing against it should in no way be taken for an argument that the footage or evidence must be real. It's just an examination of that individual claim.


But there is no footage. You are talking about parts of a film, first you have to establish that the ‘so-called footage’ existed separate from the film.

Fake is often just a shorthand term. You seem to be suggesting that rejecting a claim requires the same support as supporting a claim. It is my understanding that one piece of evidence can invalidate a claim, while rarely is a claim validated by a sole or in this case, soul piece of evidence.

To answer your question, no for myself, footage by itself wouldn’t normally be evidence of real paranormal activity.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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fearandloathing
Member (Idle past 2482 days)
Posts: 990
From: Burlington, NC, USA
Joined: 02-24-2011


Message 6 of 285 (611499)
04-08-2011 11:12 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Trae
04-08-2011 10:14 AM


There are several shows on TV dealing with trying to prove such phenomenon are real, and data collected is reproducible. So far I don't think any of them have proven anything accept there are plenty of gullible people to watch their shows. Other shows are more about debunking these claims.

I personally group demons, ghost, bigfoot...ect...into one large group of BS that is going to take some hard evidence for me to be swayed. I want too see Bigfoot, dead or alive. The only thing that would keep me from shooting big foot if I was hunting would be the fact I wouldn't want to kill a moron in a bigfoot costume, guess I could aim for a leg and at least get a blood sample!!! JK


"I hate to advocate the use of drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they always worked for me." - Hunter S. Thompson

Ad astra per aspera


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 285 (611527)
04-08-2011 1:59 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tram law
04-08-2011 8:34 AM


Or would this all be chalked up to camera glitches because it looks fake?

If it's real, why would it "look fake"?

I'm not sure I understand your question. You're asking: "if there were footage of the supernatural, but it looked fake or like a camera glitch, would people conclude that it was fake or a camera glitch?"

Why would it be unreasonable for people to conclude that footage was what it looked like? From what basis should they conclude something else?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tram law, posted 04-08-2011 8:34 AM Tram law has responded

Replies to this message:
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Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 8 of 285 (611531)
04-08-2011 2:13 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tram law
04-08-2011 8:34 AM


would this constitute real and hard evidence of the paranormal? Or would this all be chalked up to camera glitches because it looks fake?

What do you mean by "the paranormal?" That word is pretty vague; it seems to be applied to "any phenomenon that the observer cannot immediately explain."


This message is a reply to:
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ringo
Member
Posts: 17653
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 9 of 285 (611534)
04-08-2011 2:25 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tram law
04-08-2011 8:34 AM


Tram law writes:

... if actual footage like this was actually found, would this constitute real and hard evidence of the paranormal?


I don't think it could be considered evidence of the paranormal until there was some explanation of how the paranormal works. Unless it fits into some kind of theoretical framework, it's just something that hasn't been explained yet. After all, fakery does fit into well-understood theories.


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

This message is a reply to:
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Tram law
Member (Idle past 3041 days)
Posts: 283
From: Weed, California, USA
Joined: 08-15-2010


Message 10 of 285 (611535)
04-08-2011 2:26 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by crashfrog
04-08-2011 1:59 PM


crashfrog writes:

Or would this all be chalked up to camera glitches because it looks fake?

quote:

If it's real, why would it "look fake"?

I'm not sure I understand your question. You're asking: "if there were footage of the supernatural, but it looked fake or like a camera glitch, would people conclude that it was fake or a camera glitch?"


Why would it be unreasonable for people to conclude that footage was what it looked like? From what basis should they conclude something else?

1
It would look fake to some people from a sense of denial. Some people do not want to believe even in the possibility that the supernatural could exist under any circumstances, and so would more than likely just dismiss it out of hand without being objective at all. One of my favorite quotes from the movie "The Mist" goes like this:

[quote]
Leave it alone, David. You can't convince some people there's a fire even when their hair is burning. Denial is a powerful thing.
[quote]

2

No, I'm entirely sure how to make it more clear to you. Sorry. but basically I am asking how much evidence would it take to convince some people. If a person didn't want to believe in the existences of dogs, they'd still deny them if a dog bit them and put them in the hospital for a day or two.

3.

It would be unreasonable because it's an assumption first, and not truly objective, and completely dismissive of the footage. In science you're supposed to examine the evidence first without a tailored conclusion before hand and be objective. When you come to the conclusion first and tailor all evidence to support that conclusion, that is not being objective, is it?


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Tram law
Member (Idle past 3041 days)
Posts: 283
From: Weed, California, USA
Joined: 08-15-2010


Message 11 of 285 (611536)
04-08-2011 2:26 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by crashfrog
04-08-2011 1:59 PM


double post

Edited by Tram law, : double post


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 285 (611584)
04-08-2011 8:13 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Tram law
04-08-2011 2:26 PM


Some people do not want to believe even in the possibility that the supernatural could exist under any circumstances

Um, no, I think the reverse is true. Almost everybody - including skeptics - wants there to be ghosts and goblins, because that would be a lot more fun. Skeptics are usually big fans of fantasy and science fiction, and who wouldn't want to be a Jedi with a lightsaber or something?

There's hardly a widespread problem of unreasonable disbelief in supernaturalism. Human brains just don't work like that. Everything about human cognition is biased towards finding intelligent agency "behind the scenes"; the notion that there would be any substantial number of people who would unreasonably insist in naturalism is just a non-starter.

One of my favorite quotes from the movie "The Mist" goes like this

And you're aware that the end of "The Mist" is that it turns out there never were any monsters, just a bunch of drug-induced hallucinations? And that therefore the guy shot his family for no reason at all? I wouldn't say that "The Mist" is a good example of unwarranted skepticism in the supernatural. (Those people in vampire movies who say "but there's no such thing!" even as everyone around them is drinking blood with pointy teeth and bursting into flame in the sunlight, that's another story.)

Sorry. but basically I am asking how much evidence would it take to convince some people.

Well, I think you've answered your own question - it would take a video that didn't look glitchy or fake.

In science you're supposed to examine the evidence first without a tailored conclusion before hand and be objective.

No, in science you're supposed to explain the data at hand with the simplest explanation, the one that proposes the least untestable entities. It's called "Occam's Razor", or the principle of parsimony. The supernatural would be substantiated when glitches, fakery, hoaxes, mental illness, and simple coincidence become less parsimonious an explanation than the existence of the supernatural.

When you come to the conclusion first and tailor all evidence to support that conclusion, that is not being objective, is it?

I don't know why you think anything is being pre-judged, here. Coming to the conclusion first would mean determining that the video was fake before you saw it. If you watch it and then determine the video is fake, because it looks fake, you're post-judging - arriving at a conclusion on the basis of the evidence, not before.


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Tram law
Member (Idle past 3041 days)
Posts: 283
From: Weed, California, USA
Joined: 08-15-2010


Message 13 of 285 (611617)
04-09-2011 10:27 AM


quote:

And you're aware that the end of "The Mist" is that it turns out there never were any monsters, just a bunch of drug-induced hallucinations?
[

I have read the novella a few times and seen the movie a couple of times and i have never seen that in print nor was it even hinted at in the movie. So I call shenanigans. And the quote still applies.

quote:

No, in science you're supposed to explain the data at hand with the simplest explanation, the one that proposes the least untestable entities. It's called "Occam's Razor",

Actually Occams' Razor states that one should not multiply entities unnecessarily, which is not the same thing as the kiss (keep it simple stupid0. It is different than keeping it simple, and that idea of keeping simple actually comes from Darwin and applies to evolution.

And no, science does not state you must keep it simple for it to be correct. Some scientists believe that but since science does not work by consensus, or at least so I'm told, science can not make that kind of a statement.

quote:

I don't know why you think anything is being pre-judged, here.

Saying something is going to be a hoax because history has shown everything else is a hoax is a pre-judgement.

If the camera footage found is a hoax, then when taken to a camera expert, or even several just to be sure, they should be able to use their equipment and break it down into the video's components and be able to pinpoint where the hoax is and identify the hoax, correct?

But here's where the pre-judging comes in.

Since it must be a hoax it shouldn't even be taken in to a camera expert for analyzation since it's going to be a hoax anyway.

Edited by Tram law, : added a statement


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 285 (611621)
04-09-2011 12:53 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Tram law
04-09-2011 10:27 AM


I'm clearly not successfully communicating with you.

I have read the novella a few times and seen the movie a couple of times and i have never seen that in print nor was it even hinted at in the movie.

Eh, maybe that's the alternate ending, then. I've not actually read or seen it, I just recall from the Wikipedia entry.

Actually Occams' Razor states that one should not multiply entities unnecessarily, which is not the same thing as the kiss (keep it simple stupid0.

Well, you cut off my quote before the part where I stated that I was talking about the principle of parsimony, not the "KISS principle". Although they're very closely related, KISS is a principle about engineering and the principle of parsimony is a principle about theory construction.

And no, science does not state you must keep it simple for it to be correct.

But that's not what I said, now is it?

Saying something is going to be a hoax because history has shown everything else is a hoax is a pre-judgement.

True. But that's not what we're talking about at all, now is it? We're talking about people who, when they see a video of the supernatural that "looks fake", reach a judgement that the video is fake.

That's not pre-judgement at all, because their judgement is based on the evidence of the video, which looks fake.

If the camera footage found is a hoax, then when taken to a camera expert, or even several just to be sure, they should be able to use their equipment and break it down into the video's components and be able to pinpoint where the hoax is and identify the hoax, correct?

I have no idea. Maybe? Several photographic experts were unable to determine that the Cottingley fairies were fake, because the hoax wasn't perpetrated via any kind of photo editing or compositing, which is what they were looking for. (The fairies were actually nothing more than paperboard cutouts affixed to stakes.)

Experts are people too; generally, they're people who hold a belief in their own perspicacity and consider themselves relatively immune to trickery and hoaxes as a result. In general, the people who think they're too smart to be hoodwinked are the easiest people to hoodwink.

Since it must be a hoax it shouldn't even be taken in to a camera expert for analyzation since it's going to be a hoax anyway.

This makes absolutely no sense as a statement in English. Can you elaborate?


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Tram law
Member (Idle past 3041 days)
Posts: 283
From: Weed, California, USA
Joined: 08-15-2010


Message 15 of 285 (611643)
04-09-2011 5:20 PM


quote:

That's not pre-judgement at all, because their judgement is based on the evidence of the video, which looks fake.


Except that just because something looks like something else, doesn't mean it is.

quote:

This makes absolutely no sense as a statement in English. Can you elaborate?

Sigh.

Probably not enough for you. I'm sorry.

quote:

Eh, maybe that's the alternate ending, then. I've not actually read or seen it, I just recall from the Wikipedia entry.

Here's the wikipedia articles:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mist

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mist_%28film%29

I see nothing about that conclusion. neither article mentions an alternate ending.

Edited by Tram law, : No reason given.


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