Since so many of my acquaintances know me as “that skeptic guy”, it’s not rare for one of them to challenge me with an experience they had, often reporting something like a ghost experience and saying “Disprove THAT, Mr. Skeptic.”
Of course, this completely misrepresents what I do, and where the process of skeptical science leads us. I’m far less qualified than my friend to prove or disprove his ghost experience; I wasn’t even there. In fact I’m always a little disappointed to find that my friends think I’m obsessively out to tell people that they’re wrong. If there is one thing that obsesses me, it’s the challenge of finding solutions to interesting mysteries — and telling people that they’re wrong is not relevant to that process. Proving alternate explanations wrong is collateral damage when a mystery is eventually solved, but it’s never the goal.
Yet, plenty of unsolved phenomena exist, and so the field for possible explanations remains wide open. Perhaps some strange experiences are caused by ghosts. However, I don’t think that’s a very satisfactory hypothesis, and the main reason is that the rationale for the existence of ghosts is — forgive the term — illusory.
Here, in brief, are a few of the reasons I give most often why it’s never right to jump to the conclusion of “It was a ghost”:
- There is no theory in any life science that makes a prediction that ghosts exist.
- Ghosts have no properties that can be described.
- There has never been a reproducible ghost event. This makes it unlikely that the perceived phenomenon was a real one.
- The logic that most people use to arrive at a conclusion of “ghost” is faulty. It’s usually “Something inexplicable happened, what else could it be?” A ghost is an unknown. By no logic can a set of unknown properties be considered consistent with your experience. Any other unknown – leprechauns, sorcery, Bigfoot – is an equally valid match.
Continue here: Skepticblog » Do Ghosts Exist?.
- ghost hunters – Skeptic’s Dictionary for Kids (illuminutti.com)
- Hollywood ghosts – Ghosts of Hollywood Legends (illuminutti.com)
- NASA worker Talking to the dead (figsandgrapes.wordpress.com)