There Isn’t Hope for the World

A while back, I did a post titled There is Hope for the World” talking about how I’d seen a show which, for once, instead of presenting a bunch of pseudoscientific bull was actually debunking the tricks psychics had used to fool people. I had begun that post talking about how I was annoyed with the pseudoscience shows on the Sci-Fi channel which had ruined my enjoyment of Doctor Who every time they advertised that they were searching for the Yeti or something during the commercial breaks because I would have to cover my eyes and say “teh stoopid! it hurts!”

At least this wasn’t during Doctor Who.

Skeptics argue that ghosts do not exist and that all paranormal activity can be explained scientifically. However, TAPS has proven otherwise. TAPS has gathered scientific evidence of the paranormal, and the TV show has helped bring ghost hunting into the mainstream.

Er… wrong. Skepticism is not presuppositionalist like that. I don’t know, maybe there are ghosts. The possibility is very slim, though, and random static which sounds like people talking (an inconvenient effect of our brains being programmed for language) and lens flares and electro-magnetic fields (which can be generated by light bulbs) and whatever else they present on that show certainly isn’t evidence for the existence of ghosts.

Who decided that ghosts generate electro-magnetic fields anyway?

As for “helping” to bring ghost hunting into the mainstream, I point to one of the comments left on the blog.

Hello,

My daughter who will be 21 and lives in Salida Colorado has recently moved into a rental house. The house was built in 1904. Every since she has been there she wakes up in the night ( her eyes are open yet she remembers none of this) wakes up her significant other and tells him that there are two men in the room and to turn on the light. He in turn turnes on the light and she lays down, this happens on a nightly basis yet she remembers none of it. One of these nights she was crying during this not really awake state. She remembers nothing of this yet it is affecting her health where as she is not getting good sleep. I have been trying to research the town to see if I can find any documentation of strange deaths, etc. and am having a difficult time. I have found that Chaffe County Colorado and particularly Salida have very many hauntings yet very little information on the specifics. Can you lead me in any particular direction so that I may begin to feel at peace. I have asked her many many questions IE: is she waking up with scratches or bruises ever, does her dog or cats act strange, lots of things like that. She has indicated lights turning the color of flourescent bulbs and doors opening on their own. She has not experienced anything physically threatening. Please give me any advice that you can.

Thank you,
a very nervous believer mother
Robin Morrill

I feel the mother’s concern for her daughter, but seriously… Problems sleeping therefore ghosts? My mum tells me all the time that when she passes by my room at night she hears me talking in my sleep, and I, of course, don’t remember any of it. Sleepwalking isn’t unheard of. 18% of people in the world are prone to it.

No, I most certainly don’t think that the Ghost Hunters are “helping” us with their crummy evidence. The only thing that it’s “helping” with is to get people to make huge leaps of logic and see ghosts everywhere before fully investigating all possibilities with healthy skepticism.

There isn’t hope for the world.

But, wait. I just got back from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. We were watching live video from NASA as we waited for Phoenix to land.

I was hanging around in Space Odyssey when I saw a boy looking bored. I asked him if he was having fun and he said that he was upset that he was stuck there. So, I started teaching him about the sun spots and he learned some real science about magnetic fields. Then I showed him a picture of the sun in infrared and I decided to take him over to the infrared camera to teach him some more about that. He learned some real science about infrared cameras. The boy thanked me about three times before he left. I think I turned his evening around.

It’s miraculous that we even do science at all and I just got back from a place that was built as a celebration of nature and science!

There is hope for the world.

Sorry to those of you who will read this by title only.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rowan on May 26, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Ah, just the other day, there was a boy on the train with his mum, and she was getting angry at him because he kept asking questions, telling him to sit down and shut up (he was 8 for crying out loud!). He asked why the boom gate siren’s sound changed as we went past it, and she wouldn’t answer him, so as soon as she turned away to tend to her other child I sneaked up to the boy, quickly explained the Doppler effect with simple analogies, and quickly snuck away again before she turned around. I felt like the Secret Sneaky Scientist, bringing the public scientific info undercover!

  2. Ghosts…hum…that’s actually one of my less confident points. Having had some experiences myself, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are things we don’t know yet, but that we shouldn’t assume they are “paranormal” just because we don’t know what causes them. Scientists hundreds of years ago would have assumed planes were paranormal, but with more understanding it becomes clear that they’re not.

    Ghost Hunters, on the other hand, are a bunch of idiots with no scientific knowledge whatsoever. I like to watch it occasionally just for laughs – the things they think are solid proof can usually be easily debunked by a little knowledge of physics and how hot and cool air move. The commercials don’t bother me, even though I see them on basically every break.

  3. This brings back fond memories of my brother putting away his Batman toys in the middle of his sleep! Sleepwalking, and it’s more sinister cousin Sleep Paralysis, are the mundane causes of many ghost or demon visitations. If only the mundane could be as glamerous as the paranormal, then we wouldn’t have such a lack of “belief” in science in our society.

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