Posted: May 14, 2010 7:41 pm
by jerome
JWG wrote:jerome-

I agree that the phenomena of what we as a collective have come to call "ghosts" is not "supernatural", but merely a phenomena we do not have sufficient empirical evidence and understanding of the circumstances that are involved in said phenomena. I agree with the notion (who's author and exact phrasing eludes me at the moment) can be paraphrased along the lines that the supernatural is merely the natural not known/understood yet. I don't think we should shrug off this encounter so many people obviously experience, but I don't think we should claim we know what is going on without sufficient evidence either, that's speculation. We have a lot of theories of what this phenomena is, but really, it's all assumption and speculation and lacking clear evidence still; at least to my knowledge. As always, I welcome this evidence, and my mind is always open to change where that evidence leads me.


Hi JWG - I think we are in full agreement here. Ghosts, if such exist, are to my mind products of and explicable by natural laws. As such, they are a valid subject for scientific investigation. Those law may well not yet be fully understood - but for a sizeable number of "ghost" experiences they are - hallucination, neurology, medicine and wishful thinking. Some re,main however outside our current understanding, and anomalies fascinate me.

To just add a little on my position -- o far, most of the theories have to my mind chipped away at the mass of experiences that are classified as "ghosts" -- I'm pretty certain this category contains many disparate phenomena. The evidence for infrasound or electromagnetic effects causing spook experiences is much weaker than many realise (the fault of over enthusiastic media reporting more than the researchers claims) - at best it's mildly suggestive and riddles with difficulties, and in the standard from one reads in say the Skeptic's Dictionary it bears almost no resemblance to the original theory as was put forward). I spent much of the 90's and 00's looking for environmental cues that could lead one to have an experience that might be classified as a "ghost". I know think that journey ultimately led nowhere - so I have been re-evaluating the case literature for a couple of years now, and what I have found surprised me. Hence my desire to debate what is really quite an interesting (to my mind) problem. As i have said before, external natural causes of misperception I think account for a small number of cases, hoaxing a smaller percentage, and internally generated causes (psychological, medical, neurological) a LOT more. Yet there remains some highly strange material that is explicable by no generally recognised scientific hypothesis -and that's what I want to look at.

I guess a good debate question might be "Ghosts exist and are more than misperception, delusion or imagination, but represent a phenomena currently unexplained by science". However Im happy to revise that, or for some one to come up with a better question - "Do Ghosts exist?" is brief and more to the point perhaps. If AE or Campermom are still interested I'd love to debate -- I accept happily. I'm out tonight with my girlfriend (whose PhD research is on this area) but will be about later. Campermom has already given a firm yes, but AE mentioned it first, but I am happy to have a multi-participant debate if you chaps are? Eases the work load I guess! :)

j x