Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Paranormal Investigations and Belief in Ghosts

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the in-the-heart-of-translvania-in-the-vampire-hall-of-fame-yeah dept.

Toys 606

Esther Schindler writes "Sure, everyone uses technology on the job. But you may not have contemplated the tools used by paranormal investigators (at least, not until you began thinking about Halloween) who look for the truth in ghosts and other things that go Bump in the Night. In Paranormal Investigations and Technology: Where Ghosts and Gadgets Meet, CIO's Al Sacco writes about the most unusual of tool chests, with everything from thermometers to blimp cams." You want spooky? An anonymous reader passed a link to a survey that says a third of Americans believe in ghosts. Who you gonna call?

cancel ×

606 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

NS (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135437)

First Ghost!

captcha: fainted

Photos (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135449)

Years ago a fellow I knew took to hanging out in graveyards with his camera and film sensitive to Infra Red (pick up the background IR, except where spirits, which apparently suck the energy out of their surroundings when they manifest themselves.) He claimed to have taken actual photos of ghosts hanging about graves, including some which were posessed. He offered to show me some of his work, but I wasn't in a mood for it as my Grandmum had recently passed away.

So here's this bloke:

Auerbach, on the other hand, strongly feels that ghosts and specters cannot be photographed. "If they could be, people would've already," Auerbach says.
So this fellow with pictures was fiddling the film?

I do believe in spooks! I do, I do, I do believe in spooks! Oh, sod, who was it then? [thinkgeek.com]

Re:Photos (4, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135603)

So this fellow with pictures was fiddling the film?

He was probably sincere, but ghost hunters are infamous for seeing ghosts in everything, especially from photographic effects. Google for ghosts and "orbs", as one example. It's a well-known flash effect from dust, but a lot of ghost hunters believe that they're paranormal.

Re:Photos (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135765)

Interesting that how ghost photograph go along with photography technology.
That why we have gone to pictures with ghosts that look like humes.(Actually a person from a previous pictures.
To nothing for a long while because they fixed the camera.
To blobs which are an artifact of digital photography.

AS well as a myriad of things out side the camera body.

Re:Photos (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135767)

Oh, yeesh. Someone get this guy a cheap lens that suffers badly from chromatic aberration (I hear Sony cameras come with one included) and watch the drivel about 'auras'.

Re:Photos (5, Interesting)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135797)

Agreed. I used to be rather interested in paranormal stuff. I still am to an extent. It can make for a fun evening and it sure would be cool to find real, solid, tangible proof if such a thing is possible.

In my experience, though, most of the people involved have no clue what they are talking about. They want to see a ghost and prove their existence so badly that they see them anywhere. They also do not understand the technology they are using.

The fools in this article seem to be the same... at least one of them, who talks of photographing ghost orbs. Ghost orbs are the most ridiculous load of crap. You know what else causes those orbs? Dust in the air. Moisture in the air because you're outside at night when the temps are changing (I've got just such a picture about with hundreds of "ghosts"). That streetlight off in the distance that you didn't notice while just standing there because it's just a streetlight (I've seen this from a local ghost hunting group with pictures of a place that was maybe 10 minutes from where I lived at the time). Reflections off of shiny polished headstones. About a billion other things.

I think the following quote sums up nicely exactly what the problem with the whole paranormal investigation field is, why it gets no respect, and why it deserves no respect.

Wilson says his camera work paid off roughly seven years ago at an investigation at a private residence in Western Maryland. Wilson got called in after a strange mist appeared in the home on various occasions. After setting up various recording equipment, Wilson's team captured images of a reverse shadow that looked like a moving cloud of mist, Wilson says. He's still unsure of what he shot on film, but Wilson says it was vaguely human in size and shape and it actually passed through furniture. That is the most substantial piece of evidence that he's ever collected, Wilson says.


To paraphrase, "I can't tell what it is in this picture, so it must be a ghost." That's their most solid evidence is a picture that they're not sure what it is. What the hell is a "reverse shadow" anyway? Light?

Re:Photos (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135899)

To paraphrase, "I can't tell what it is in this picture, so it must be a ghost." That's their most solid evidence is a picture that they're not sure what it is. What the hell is a "reverse shadow" anyway? Light?

Going by the description, I'd say it was the wing of an insect flying very close past the lens. You see these pictures occasionally floating around the net - a few frames of film showing this weird-shaped black-grey shadowy thing passing across the scene. OMG GHOSTS, of course. Or shadow people. Yeah, the Nazgul are hanging around in your living room, sure...

Re:Photos (1)

The Good Reverend (84440) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135607)

He was either lying or mistaken.

Re:Photos (5, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135841)

pick up the background IR, except where spirits, which apparently suck the energy out of their surroundings when they manifest themselves.

Fascinating. If that was me I wouldn't be trying to photograph them. I'd be trying to run a heat engine off them. You've got an object here that's going to be consistently cooler than ambient temperatures? That's a perpetual motion machine right there.

Okay, I'll bite. (0, Troll)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135473)

Whose definition of ghost do we use when we argue about this?

The scary things that go bump in the night?

The not-very-tangible non-physical essence of human nature and/or identity?

Demons from hell?

The "souls" which are for various reasons lost between heaven and hell and thus find themselves wandering the earth? (See wikipedia's jack-o-lantern article if unfamiliar with this class of legend.)

Are angels in the same class as ghosts?

What about "advanced" extra-terrestrial races who have "done away with the need for physical existence"? (As if there were something evil about physical existence.

(Yeah, mark this troll. It is.)

Re:Okay, I'll bite. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135561)

Are angels in the same class as ghosts?

Good point. Belief in angels and supernatural go hand in hand.

Re:Okay, I'll bite. (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135699)

Ah! but you can fit angels onto the head of a pin (though I can't quite recall how many) wheras ghosts just make that spooky 'wooooh' sound. I'd say they're in completely different classes.

Re:Okay, I'll bite. (2, Funny)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135641)

A third of americans believe in ghosts?

Well, 92% of americans believe in God [foxnews.com] , so, boy I wonder if there is something wrong with those polls or if America REALLY is in so bad intellectual shape (to express myself nice)...

Re:Okay, I'll bite. (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135785)

Are angels in the same class as ghosts?

Yes. Superstition comes in many forms.

-jcr

To quote Penn and Teller... (3, Funny)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135475)

... ghosts are bullshit!

Re:To quote Penn and Teller... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135491)

... ghosts are bullshit!

Perhaps so, but they do tend to keep these people busy, rather than trying to create a bot out of your computer. I'm fine with them, Bigfoot hunters and UFO weenies, so long as they behave themselves.

In Soviet Russia spooks believe in YOU!

Re:To quote Penn and Teller... (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135637)

I think the new Sony handheld cam has a filter that picks up bullshit so you're gonna keep seeing ghosts lol.

Re:To quote Penn and Teller... (1, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135673)

"... ghosts are bullshit!"

Show some respect, man. Ghosts were people, too!

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135479)

You want spooky? An anonymous reader passed a link to a survey that says a third of Americans believe in ghosts [CC] [MD].
...at least one third of Americans are retarded.

The supermajority of Americans belive in religion. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135483)

...so what's the big deal? Ever read "The Bible" or other associated works? They're full of as much fantastic nonsense as any ghost-spotting con artist could ever dream up.

Re:The supermajority of Americans belive in religi (2, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135721)

While pejorative in tone, this is essentially true. There's little practical difference between ghosts, angels, demons, and gods, other than how much power they have and their moral alignment. If you find any of them plausible, there's no reason you shouldn't believe in them all, other than peer pressure and social convention.

Hey, let's add some secular mysticism.... (-1, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135761)

Hey, atheists would have us believe in a bunch of secular stupidity as well. This mystical belief is at the heart of the environmental movement, and its utterly ridiculous. First and foremost is this notion that if we are nice to the earth, the earth will be mean to us. The earth is a fricking rock. It has no brain. You can't make deals with it.

Then, of course, there is faith in science itself. It is an act of faith... there's no proof that knowledge makes us happier, only that, knowledge lets us have more stuff, at least until recently.

The moral of the story is, any man can get up on his high horse and laugh at the faith of another, but, usually, when he does, he's all but proven he's the biggest fool out there. Everyone has something they believe in that they can't prove, and he's only saying that he lacks the self reflection and maturity to see it in himself.

Re:Hey, let's add some secular mysticism.... (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135783)

"Then, of course, there is faith in science itself."
Science is a method, it requires no faith. In fact it is a method through which provides it's own falsifiable test of itself.

No faith needed.

"Everyone has something they believe in that they can't prove," unless taken to an absurd level, that is not true.

Re:Hey, let's add some secular mysticism.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135809)

while that is certainly a true definition of science in the classical sense, arguments that pit science vs religion often group things into science that don't fall into that definition (specifically arguing over origins)

many intellectuals are actually aware of this and will admit it without dissembling. They simply believe that their faith is superior to that of others. No big deal there, everyone believes in the superiority of his beliefs, perceptions and opinions. Be honest, why hold to it if you don't think it's better?

Re:Hey, let's add some secular mysticism.... (2, Interesting)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135863)

arguments that pit science vs religion often group things into science that don't fall into that definition (specifically arguing over origins)

How exactly are origins not part of science? If you want to know how a system originated, you might carefully study its current state and the manner in which it develops over time, and thereby attempt to deduce by reason the state it would have occupied in the past. Or alternatively you might invoke God. One of these approaches is science, the other is not.

Re:Hey, let's add some secular mysticism.... (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135815)

Of course there's no proof that knowledge makes us happier. "Ignorance is bliss". Chances are at this pace, things may eventually be "proven" that will totally ruin our image in ourselves and the world... For example, it may be only a matter of time before it is "proven" that we don't even think for ourselves, and actually don't make our own decisions...that hormones, biology, etc makes em for us... People are deathly afraid of things like that... Maybe its true, maybe its not, who knows, but if it IS true, the fact that there will be a mass refusal of it won't change that it is true.

Truth sucks. Some people can deal with that, some can't and imagine stuff to make themselves feel better. Thats all there is to it, little to do with faith.

Re:Hey, let's add some secular mysticism.... (5, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135921)

Hey, atheists would have us believe in a bunch of secular stupidity as well. This mystical belief is at the heart of the environmental movement, and its utterly ridiculous. First and foremost is this notion that if we are nice to the earth, the earth will be mean to us. The earth is a fricking rock. It has no brain. You can't make deals with it.

This seems like a rather stupid argument, unless I'm missing something.

The earth is our environment. We live in it. If we don't treat it right, it won't treat us right; is has nothing to do with deals or brains, it's just simple physics and biology.

Would you take a shit on your dinner plate and eat it? Of course not. You'd get sick. Would you eat toxic wastes? Of course not; you'd get sick, and probable die. Polluting the earth is the same thing, only in smaller concentrations, and usually the concentrations are higher around people with less money. The toxins make people sick, and they die sometimes. These toxins don't just stay where we put them; as humans, we're dependent on air and water, which come from the earth. Pollute the air, and you're going to breathe it. Pollute the water, and you're going to drink it (at least water can be filtered; no one walks around with gas masks on, yet). Even worse, the food grown in fields for us to eat uses air and water. It's all a big cycle, so if you screw with it, it's going to come back and bite you in the ass most likely.

There's nothing mystical about this, and any idiot should be able understand it. Anyone who thinks it's ok to just pollute willy-nilly is either completely selfish (only cares about short-term consequences and not long-term), astoundingly stupid, or has some irrational belief that it won't affect them and others.

Then, of course, there is faith in science itself. It is an act of faith...

This is a rather stupid statement. Science doesn't require any faith at all; it's just a method for gaining knowledge where models are created and tested using evidence, and thrown out if contradicted by evidence. Do you have a better method?

Re:The supermajority of Americans belive in religi (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135949)

Actually, the stuff about ghosts at least seems more consistent and plausible than the religious myths. With the ghosts, there's various explanations for their existence, some ideas that they require energy and take it from the environment as thermal energy, etc. With the Bible et al, it's just a bunch of crazy stories about supposedly omnipotent gods who think that insects have 4 legs and bats are a type of bird.

Reminder: Ghosts aren't real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135487)

Neither are pixies, faeries, elves, Santa Claus, God, Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, Frankenstein or Darth Vader.

Re:Reminder: Ghosts aren't real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135495)

Santa Claus is too!!! Take that back!!!

Re:Reminder: Ghosts aren't real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135545)

Neither are pixies, faeries, elves, Santa Claus, God, Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, Frankenstein or Darth Vader.
Of course they aren't, they were all killed off in the Pirates & Ninjas war. God was pretty pathetic with only a little fire and brimstone before he was spent. Santa Claus fired present after present into the onslaught of ninjas while Darth Vader screamed "Noooooooooooo!"

Re:Reminder: Ghosts aren't real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135667)

Actually, zombies are real.

PKE Meter, Proton Packs... (1)

Faizdog (243703) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135493)

Gigameter, ghost trap, and a friendly overweight green ghost to help you out. I thought that was the standard package when investigating paranormal activities?

Although,
Others [wikipedia.org] would argue that all you need is an intelligent ape, a talking car, bubblegum gun and skeleton elevator inside which you change clothes.

A third? (1, Informative)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135497)

I thought it was well over 70% who believe in ghosts - at least the old bearded one in the sky.

Re:A third? (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135529)

apparently half of them believe his ant farm falls over every now and then and some escape. even though his ant farms are "perfect"

Re:A third? (1)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135833)

Odin?

A third, you say? (1)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135501)

This bodes well for that movie I hope to make. It has a vampire and an explosion.

Re:A third, you say? (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135757)

You're so nailed for copyright infringement.

Boo.
AH!

Depends on the con job (2)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135523)

a third of Americans believe in ghosts

More than that believed Saddam was behind 9/11 - it's not about people being stupid it's about effective storytelling and PR making people believe stupid things. See the "Amityville Horror" for a leading example. One of the major players (M. O'Gara ) in spinning that story to the public ended up spinning the story about SCO that people will be familiar with here.

Re:Depends on the con job (1)

antic (29198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135845)

I think you're going easy on the sheeple of the world. Sure, the storytelling helps, but it takes two... No one questions what they're told, read or see. No one looks for a natural explanation before a paranormal one.

IMO, that's about people being stupid.

Re:Depends on the con job (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135853)

Well if you grow up believing in what you're told, what do you expect? People can be taught to believe in many things. Just ask Stalin, Hitler or Pol Pot.

Growing up in a religious environment seems to prevent rational thinking in many people.

Only a third are religious? (3, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135553)

I thought that 70% of Americans are religious. All religious people believe in ghosts. It would be great if only 30% of Americans were so gullible.

Where is your proof... (0)

hasbeard (982620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135683)

that God does not exist? How do you know you aren't wrong?

Re:Where is your proof... (2, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135703)

that God does not exist? How do you know you aren't wrong?

Nobody has proof that God does not exist. Because you can't prove a negative.

Just as you don't have any proof that The Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn't exist, but that doesn't mean you've been TBHNA.

Re:Where is your proof... (1, Informative)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135711)

My proof that your god doesn't exist is your lack of proof that he does.

Anyway, my invisible red dragon in my basement is more powerful than your god.

Re:Where is your proof... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135725)

Life is uncertain. There might be a bearded man living in the clouds, or there might not be. Or maybe the Tooth Fairy exists. We'll never know. All we can do is use science to build a model of our universe that makes the most sense with our observations. Somehow, I doubt we'll ever see much evidence for the bearded guy or the Fairy. But, who knows?

Re:Where is your proof... (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135739)

I have no proof that God does not exist.

However, I have seen a whole lot of things in my life, and not a one of them requires a God to explain it.

Given a choice between two systems of belief, which would you prefer? The one with Maxwell's equations and quantum electrodynamics and all the rest that accurately predict things out to twelve digits, or "God does whatever he wants to at the moment."

I don't have proof that God doesn't exist, but it's highly unlikely that She does. That's enough for me.

Re:Where is your proof... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135935)

I have seen things that I cannot explain by science and can furthermore say that an ordinary scientific explanation is out of the question (board over hole having truck bounce off it then being shattered between two hands).

I have good intuitive reason to believe that you doubt me, but that's not the point.

It can no longer be proven to me by any means that this world is all there is because I have first-hand evidence otherwise.

Ghosts & Women (0, Flamebait)

Nato2k (656189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135555)

Ghosts are just proof that women are more gullible than men.

Mod parent down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135747)

-1 Insensitive Clod

Re:Mod parent down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135793)

the thing about girls is, once you know how to spot them, you begin to see them everywhere.

Nothing spooky about it, Zonk (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135565)

Several universities host ongoing paranormal research [virginia.edu] , including Princeton University, the University of Arizona, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Amsterdam, the University of Hertfordshire in England, and the University of Virginia. Obviously, there's enough evidence out there that needs to be confirmed or debunked (depending on your point of view) that centers for paranormal research are justified.

Zonk, why don't you leave the editorializing to those things you know something about, unless you're willing to share *your* paranormal research credentials with us...at which point I'll shut up and go away.

Re:Nothing spooky about it, Zonk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135599)

and they regularly find nothing. Ghosts do not exist.

$1M Challenge (2, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135731)

Obviously, there's enough evidence out there that needs to be confirmed or debunked (depending on your point of view) that centers for paranormal research are justified.

Now there's nothing a good academic center likes more than funding - I think we can all agree on that. So, why haven't they taken Randi's One Million Dollars [randi.org] from him to buy more Aeron chairs?

Re:$1M Challenge (1)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135829)

I've often heard of the offered million dollars, but never read more about it. It's interesting that they do a preliminary test and then a formal test; and that, as of yet, no one has even passed the preliminary test phase. ;)

Re:Nothing spooky about it, Zonk (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135741)

Actually, there is NO evidence, and I think half those places you mention have shut down this wasteful endeavor, if not more.
I mean 100 years of research, and nothing.

Re:Nothing spooky about it, Zonk (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135775)

Paranormal research is useful for finding out just why the human mind so easily believe certain things, with no evidence and no logical explanations. In other words, the people at the anthropological, philosophical and psychological departments get useful data from the poor sods at the paranormal research departments.
And it wouldn't surprise me that the real reason why the CIA did research on parapsychology wasn't because they thought there might be something to it, but to figure out how to better exploit people's gullibility.

Re:Nothing spooky about it, Zonk (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135817)

Several universities host ongoing paranormal research, including Princeton University

Actually, see http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/press_release_closing.html [princeton.edu] . The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory has closed. At any rate, how does the existence of these laboratories say anything? There are places you can go to study Christianity, and Islam and Judiasm, does that mean that obviously there must be something to them?

Important Warning (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135569)

Don't cross the streams. That would be bad.

Re:Important Warning (1, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135635)

Do you know what would really happen if you tried to cross a pair of proton streams? Nothing, because protons have a positive charge, and like charges repel each other. There's no way you could make them cross, no matter how hard you tried. Of course, what chance does Real World Physics have when it comes against a Hollywood Screenwriter?

Re:Important Warning (2, Informative)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135803)

Sure you can. If you send two protons directly at each other with a center-of-mass kinetic energy of E=q^2/(2r), where q is the charge of the proton and r is the radius of the proton, you'll get the things close enough that the protons interact via the strong nuclear force.

So? (4, Interesting)

Jediman1138 (680354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135577)

Not suprising, considering 49% of Americans believe this guy [wikipedia.org] is going to come back.

Not knocking the religious, just saying that 1/3 of Americans believing in the supernatural should not surprise anyone.

Re:So? (1)

kbaud (1001076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135625)

From the article above, "By 31 percent to 18 percent, more liberals than conservatives report seeing a specter." So even the demographic that is often included in the "reason" catagory have something they believe in. Faith is a good thing. Otherwise no one would take risks.

Re:So? (2, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135811)

From the article above, "By 31 percent to 18 percent, more liberals than conservatives report seeing a specter." So even the demographic that is often included in the "reason" catagory have something they believe in.

Faith is a good thing. Otherwise no ignorant people would take risks.
There, fixed that for you. Some of us without faith in anything supernatural still take risks, who believe in our own abilities to cope with the unknown. But I know that's a hard thing for lots of people who believe in God to understand, belief in oneself.

You too can see ghosts (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135605)

Dr. Michael Persinger can give people the experience of seeing god by manipulating the field around their head.

http://ladyscientist.com/the_ghost_in_the_machine.html [ladyscientist.com]

There is evidence that ghosts appear in regions with high electrostatic fields. The fields are often/usually the result of the piezo-electric effect of rock under pressure, ie in mountain regions. The other thing that will give people the willies is sub-sonic vibrations.

I think trying to find ghosts is the wrong idea. These guys should be looking for the things that make people see ghosts.

Since the existence of God can't be proved or..... (1, Insightful)

hasbeard (982620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135629)

disproved by scientific means, I remind those who are making statements to the effect that there is no God, realize that they themselves are making a faith statement since they can not prove that God does not exist. To say "there is no God" is to express an opinion for which there can be no evidence given.

Re:Since the existence of God can't be proved or.. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135723)

Your wrong.

Re:Since the existence of God can't be proved or.. (1)

Col. Bloodnok (825749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135869)

You are (you're) wrong.

Re:Since the existence of God can't be proved or.. (1)

izakage (808061) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135885)

Learn to spell.

Re:Since the existence of God can't be proved or.. (4, Informative)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135729)

Science can't prove that ANYTHING doesn't exist... I mean, science can't prove that giant pink whistling bears don't exist... so while you ARE indeed correct, it is -no more- a faith statement than saying "Giant pink whistling bears don't exist". The burden of proof lies on the side of people asserting something non-obvious is true/valid/exists/whatever, not the other way around, and it has little to do with it being about god or anything else.

People had to prove that the earth was round, because with my own two eyes, without knowing which signs to look for (even though in this day and age they are extremely obvious, but weren't always so), it looks flat. Therefore, its flat until someone proves its not. Someone proved it wasn't, therefore it isn't, until someone proves otherwise, and so on. No faith about it, its a methodology. Saying "there is no god!" is just short for "There is no solid evidence there is a god, thus by applying the commonly accepted scientific methodologies, we can say there is no god until proven otherwise". Thats just a bit long to say everytime, and people with scientific background, or who follows in standard science footstep just shortens, since they'll understand each other.

Then there are the morons who think they understand what science is but don't, and don't quite get that EVERYTHING in science is "theories until a better theory comes up", and use the words the wrong way. Can't help those.

I mean, now science says the earth is round. Sometime in the future we most likely will prove something similar to string theory (or some such), and realise that there were obvious signs around us that after all, earth isn't round, its in 1 dimention and our one dimentional human brain just interprete that 1 dimention as a sphere based on other inputs. Then scientists of the time will make jokes about "lol the earth is round rofl!". But we know that. Thats as opposed to people asserting something is true as if it was a fact, without evidence. There's a freagin big difference between "it doesn't exist until you prove it does", and "it exists until you prove it doesn't".

Re:Since the existence of God can't be proved or.. (1)

hasbeard (982620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135779)

I do firmly understand one thing about science; a negative cannot be proved. Therefore anyone who says that God does not exist cannot offer scientific proof of their assertion. Therefore, people cannot make iron clad statements that there is no God. They are making a faith statement themselves that cannot be verified.

Re:Since the existence of God can't be proved or.. (2, Informative)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135865)

They're not making a faith statement, reread my post for a sec. They're shortening an idea thats FREAGIN DARN LONG to write as a whole in a post on the internet, because other "science people" understand that its just a short.

There definately ARE some people that will say there is no god as a faith statement, and that IS equaly as rediculous, I completly agree with that. But when a scientist says "There is no god", that is NOT what they mean. Again, keep in mind: "There is no god" is equaly as valid or invalid as "There is no flying spaghetti monster". It does NOT mean "its impossible for it to be a god". It means "there's no reason for me to think there is a god, therefore I don't waste my time with it". Just shorter.

Again, let me repeat to be clear since my last post obviously didn't make that obvious: When a scientist says there is no god, it does not mean what you seem to think it does. Don't take it so literally. Do you know the difference between thinking something, and beleiving something? Both have to do with uncertainties. But there's a huge difference between the two.

Re:Since the existence of God can't be proved or.. (1)

hasbeard (982620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135943)

Again, I am responding to those making statements to the effect that those who believe in God are somehow defective. Whether they are scientists or not, they are making statements that they cannot back up. Therefore, they should be a bit more careful about how they word their statements.

Re:Since the existence of God can't be proved or.. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135773)

To say "there is no God" is to express an opinion for which there can be no evidence given.

Quite true. A good scientist cannot rule out *anything*, when presented with overwhelming evidence. But that doesn't mean he gives good odds to there being a real Flying Spaghetti Monster, no matter how many people tell him there is one. But, should the scientist meet FSM, he may well become a Pastafarian!

Re:Since the existence of God can't be proved or.. (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135791)

A statement of fact, however, is the following:

There have been no observations made, since the time when people started being careful about their observations, that require the existence of a God. No evidence suggests that there is a God that cannot be explained by simpler, purely natural phenomena.

I can't prove God doesn't exist, but I don't need to. My world works just fine without a God, and if you want me to give your superstitions a second thought, you need to give me a reason why I should.

The burden of proof here is on the supernaturalists.

Re:Since the existence of God can't be proved or.. (1)

hasbeard (982620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135897)

I'm not trying to prove anything to you. I'm simply stating the fact that people who say there is no God have gone beyond facts and evidence and are themselves making unverifiable faith statements.

Re:Since the existence of God can't be proved or.. (1)

dircha (893383) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135795)

"disproved by scientific means, I remind those who are making statements to the effect that there is no God,"

What does belief in ghosts have to do with belief in God?

I can't comment on other traditions, but belief in ghosts haunting or roaming the earth is clearly excluded by mainline Protestant and Catholic doctrine, and has been for many centuries.

Re:Since the existence of God can't be proved or.. (1)

hasbeard (982620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135861)

Hi dircha, I was responding to those using this topic to make statements to the effect that people who believe in God are somehow defective. That is my concern here. Look back over some of the other posts and you'll see what I am responding to. I myself do not believe that there are "ghosts" according to the common idea some have. In other words, I don't believe when people die they become ghosts who walk the and haunt the earth. I believe that the Bible teaches we either spend eternity with God or separated from Him-- not "haunting" houses. Sorry if I was not clear.

Re:Since the existence of God can't be proved or.. (1)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135851)

There's a difference between belief and faith. Faith is thinking something is true even though there is no reason to think it is true. But if there is a reason to believe something is true (even if it hasn't been proven) then it's belief not faith.

Re:Since the existence of God can't be proved or.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135879)

I remind those who are making statements to the effect that there is no God, realize that they themselves are making a faith statement since they can not prove that God does not exist. To say "there is no God" is to express an opinion for which there can be no evidence given.
you can't disprove the existence of santa claus in that respect either but you can say there is little evidence in favor of either.

Re:Since the existence of God can't be proved or.. (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135941)

Since the existence of God can't be proved or disproved by scientific means

Why can't it? Specifically, why can't the existence of God be proved by scientific means? If a god is proposed to exist, a being of vast power intervening in the world in response to human requests, why should we not attempt to observe these changes he allegedly makes?

Oh, wait. God does it so subtly that we can't tell the difference, right? God's hiding from us. Doesn't want to, you know, force us to believe or anything, by giving us actual evidence. Wouldn't be fair.

It's not that the existence of God couldn't in principle be proved by scientific means. It's that the existence of a God who uses all his divine powers and vast cleverness to hide his own existence that we could never prove. Of course, that raises the interesting philosophical puzzle of what exactly the difference is between a totally and perpetually undetectable god and no god at all...

oblig quote (2, Funny)

mackil (668039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135639)

Scully: "So now we're chasing ghosts?"
Mulder: "Who you gonna call?"

Spooky? (2, Insightful)

AbbyNormal (216235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135643)

People using science and tools to try and explain things that are currently unknown or understood? I don't think that is too spooky. True the second article is about people and their beliefs, but I don't really find it that strange.

Yeah I'll bet most Americans believe in God too (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135671)

Nearly as spooky in my opinion!

bwahahaha (1)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135679)

I have this grand plan about being the cause for paranormal events in a house i'd like to buy but cannot quite pay the amount it's worth. What!? You have a house to sell? Mmmmhmmm BWHAHAHHAHAH :o 600K townhome for 400K? With a couple ghosts you say? I'm cool with that. Where do i sign?

I wasn't serious...but if you really have a house to sell *WHOOOOOOOO* *WHOOOOOOOO*

Videos / photos of ghosts (1)

AsmordeanX (615669) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135687)

I've yet to see a photo/video of a ghost that convinced me of anything.

Thinks to consider:
- We're biologically programmed to see faces/figures in randomness. Seeing a vague human-like face in smoke is not a ghost. It is smoke.
- "They said it wasn't fake" Right...
- Special effects to make ghosts seem to exist are easier than you think. Most of the time the cheesiest solution is the correct one.
- Orbs are nothing. They are freaking motes of dust that are out of focus and caught in the lamp/flash from the camera.
- Low frequency noise can do some freaky things to your brain. Things like fans, wind through a roof, etc are able to generate a tone that you might not notice or be able to hear but it can cause you to feel like your not alone. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrasound [wikipedia.org]
- There are more malicious people out there than you would like to think. "Real" hauntings have turned out to be vindictive neighbors more than a few times.

To be honest I would love for there to be ghosts. That is solid proof of an afterlife. However, with the evidence collected to date, I see no logical reason to believe in ghosts.

Ghost Hunters (TAPS) on SciFi (1)

Nate Fox (1271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135727)

Disclaimer: its a TV show. I understand that.

What I really like about that show is that unlike most 'psychics', they go into a 'haunted' house trying to DISprove a haunting. If they have a 'personal experience' they note it, but it doesnt count. Audio holds a little creedence, but not a ton. Video evidence holds much more, but only if they cant reproduce what they say - and they try to.

You can watch episodes online (tho the website seems to be behaving oddly atm) http://www.scifi.com/ghosthunters [scifi.com]

speaking of ghosts, what happened to BSD? (1, Offtopic)

LukeCrawford (918758) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135749)

(the slashdot catagory, that is, not the operating system; I still have a bunch of NetBSD xen VMs and a few FreeBSD boxes kicking around) Last time I was on slashdot regularly, "bsd is dying" was a meame; but the section is gone, and that makes me sad.

Paradox (1)

realwx (1121843) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135751)

A lot of religious people believe in heaven, but also they believe in ghosts. So which soul goes where?

Tools mean nothing if the user is a layman (1)

SWG_Eddie (760714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135823)

That's great that ghost hunters use high tech tools but from what I can tell (see Ghost Hunters on SciFi) the hunters really have no clue when it comes to actually running an experiment. Has any validated that an EMF reading is a sign of paranormal activity? Of course not because its BS. What's worse is when they use it indoors surrounded by electrical equipment. Then theres the IR temp gun they use. They point it as if it reads the temperature of thin air but what they are really doing is reading surface temperatures of the walls/windows etc. Kinda sad...

Ghosts vs. Neutrinos (2, Interesting)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135849)

What is there more evidence of...ghosts, or neutrinos?

EVP? (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135855)

What's the Slashbot/atheist/rationalist/skeptic/debunker's perspective on EVP? That the people doing it/listening to it are mentally ill? ;)

Re:EVP? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135901)

Mistaken.

People get so hung up in their belief they see 'proof' in anything...and some lie.

EVP has never held up to any test, and is completely crap. Add that to the fact that very few(if any) even understand what they are doing with the equipment and have no experience with sound and how it works.

EVP has been look at many, many times alway false with no question.

Bring on some proof.

Paranormal Research can become Hard Science... (2)

Airw0lf (795770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135891)

I saw a British documentary recently about an investigation of a haunted house. In particular, the house had one room where just about anyone who had slept there reported hearing a child screaming, and a sudden uneasy feeling. This was traditionally attributed to the ghost of a child who had died in the room. One paranormal investigator surveyed the room and found out that the mattress coils in the 200+ year old bed was made of highly magnetised material. He was able to show that the magnetic fields were so strong as to be capable of generating hallucinatory states in anyone sleeping on the bed. So this was one instance where I thought that investigation of the reports led to an interesting scientific finding. Dismissing the reports of hauntings as pure nonsense wouldn't have taught us much, neither would have accepting the reports at face value.

Re:Paranormal Research can become Hard Science... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135939)

Very interesting, although I don't understand how magnetics could possible to this. I don't know anyone who ahd had an NMRI that have hallucinations, and I don't know of any magnetic testing that confirms that.

mod 0P (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135913)

most. Look at the

I hate evangelical atheists (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135919)

Just as much as I hate evangelists to begin with. I told this before to religious fanatics, I'll tell the same to atheist fanatics - MIND YOUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS, OK? I'm not going to take your word with no evidence to back it up, even if you really really really really believe it's true, and the subject matter of what you are trying to preach makes no fucking difference, whether it's pro or anti-God. So fuck off, will ya?

open mind? (1)

POds (241854) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135925)

I believe in ghosts.

I can't understand why most in the science and engineering fields, not only don't believe but disregard it, with out little thought.

As an engineer, I'm required to find solutions to problems. Some times, I'm required to look out side the square and consider things that at first might seem strange, but when understood, make perfect sense. This helps me be more creative and allows me to explore the possibilities.

It seems like it would be a core requirement of any scientist to be able to expect the unexpected.

Why is it so hard to comprehand that something like ghosts/spirits might be real, given all that we know that we don't know. We know we don't know everything. There fore, there must be a lot of things out there in the Universe that seem completely strange and foreign.

Not long ago, most people thought the world was round, but it was certain people who where able to think outside the square that would be proved correct in later years. They may have been looked upon as crazy for the time - now they're looked upon as visionaries.

I'm not asking people to fall head over heals and loose their brain. I just want people to understand there is a lot we don't understand. With the advent of Quantum physics and our understanding of certain aspects, we're now more aware than ever of just how much we don't know.

Is it that hard to entertain the possibilities?

Experience with believers in the paranormal. (5, Insightful)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135929)

I just finished college, and I am currently (until the 10 Nov.) on a bit of a hiatus from doing any work that remotely requires the use of my brain. For the past couple months I have been working at a small breakfast cafe that operates out of a house built around 1900.

As old as the house is, it has slightly unnerving properties: the floors creak, drafts blow napkins and receipts, etc.. I find it very easy to come up with reasonable naturalistic explanations for what my co-workers consider paranormal. All of the servers at this restaurant believe that it is inhabited by a ghost -- one that interacts with the world we experience. A poltergeist.

Most also believe in astrology and homeopathy. One server recently paid ~ $15 for a chalk tablet cold remedy. No matter how hard I try to dispel these harmful beliefs, I am (ironically) met with skepticism. For instance, today someone told me that they believed in symbols foretelling the future. I suggested that any notion of psychic ability is likely due to confirmation bias -- we are more likely to remember when our intuition was correct than when it had failed us. I also told this person about the JREF/Randi Prize.

At this point in most of my conversations with my mystically inclined associates, some "scientific explanation" is offered dealing with photons, leptons, "we're all made of light," and other new-agey pseudo-quantum-physics.

I am at the point where I have almost given up, except to always ask people to examine how they know what they proclaim to know without resorting to their feelings. I find it very hard to not come across as condescending when having these conversations.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?