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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ghosts & the Paranormal

I admit it:  I am a proud skeptic.  In fact, one of my favorite quotes is:  "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof".  Now that doesn't make me necessarily very popular in some quarters, where it's considered to be chic to watch "Ghost Hunters" and believe that some gizmo that looks like an Scientology e-meter can somehow detect the dead people.  Yes, it makes for good TV, but by and large it seems to make for bad science.

A good counter-TAPS website that I found is called SAPS.  Cool name.  You can link to it here: SAPS

I really do know that there are things we don't fully understand, but a lack of understanding doesn't have to translate to the paranormal.  Someone from the Middle Ages, if magically transported to the present day, could conclude that cellphones represent some form of paranormal activity (well if you try and read an AT&T bill you might conclude that as well...), but we all know that isn't the case.

When you get down to brass tacks, my problem with the whole "paranormal investigation" fad lies in the fact that it's perpetrators seem to want to find ghosts, which in my rudimentary scientific mind runs counter what I consider to be good know, that pesky idea where you use proof to come to a conclusion, not have a conclusion and then look for proof.  What's so bad about that?  Well if you have a conclusion and then look for proof, human nature dictates that if you want to believe something strongly enough, you will somehow find (or manufacture) the evidence to support your claim.

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