Do you believe in ghosts?
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07-03-2017, 04:48 PM
RE: Do you believe in ghosts?
(07-03-2017 03:35 PM)Ruby Crystal Wrote:  As an Atheist, I say 'I don't believe there is a God' however I can't disprove their isn't one.

It depends on the God concept in question. Most concepts can be disproved beyond any reasonable doubt at least, though many believers don't like to hear it.
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07-03-2017, 11:49 PM
RE: Do you believe in ghosts?
No. There is no real evidence to suggest they do exist. However the silly shows are entertaining to watch, even though they can be mind numbing.
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08-03-2017, 01:18 AM
RE: Do you believe in ghosts?
(07-03-2017 03:35 PM)Ruby Crystal Wrote:  
(03-03-2017 02:48 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Can you define what a ghost is? How would I know I'd found one?

Ghosts are more plausible than gods like Yahweh, I agree. But they still don't in any way mesh with our scientific understanding of the world.

As an Atheist, I say 'I don't believe there is a God' however I can't disprove their isn't one. With the understand I have no, there is no proof there is a God.
I don't claim to know 100% there is no God. However I know from who I can experience and witness there is no God. I tend to find Atheist who claim such a notion 'Their is not God' to be a bit annoying, true so far we know now there is no God, however there is a different say 'There is no Got to saying I don't believe there is a God." Confused

Same can be said for Ghosts. With the evidence I have now I can't prove there is such a thing. However I can't disprove it either.

Though I'd believe in Ghosts over God any day.

The reason I ask for a definition is because one is rarely supplied, for either ghosts or gods. These are such vague, elastic concepts as to be almost meaningless. Since they're not even slightly grounded in reality, any person can say pretty much anything they like about them and you can't say they are "wrong" to do so.

I'm ignostic rather than agnostic. Instead of saying, "I don't know if there is a god" I say, "I don't know what the fuck you're talking about". The same goes for ghosts. Until someone gives me a proper definition, I can't even have an opinion. I'll then base my opinion on the individual definition. But there's just no unambiguous, universally applied definitions.

So what is "a ghost"? It's a serious question. And until something is actually identified and labeled "a ghost", I don't believe it has an answer. So I can only refer to individual claims. I can say, however, that I'm very unlikely to believe any particular definition is something real. I'm not in the business of making claims of certainty though, about anything. I only deal with reasonable doubt. The only common feature seems to be a consciousness surviving death, for which there is no evidence (and barely even any coherence). But clearly a ghost is more than just "a consciousness", if it's anything at all.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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09-03-2017, 09:05 PM (This post was last modified: 09-03-2017 09:09 PM by mordant.)
RE: Do you believe in ghosts?
I have been subjected to way more "ghost hunter" types of shows than any rational person should be, because my stepson, inexplicably, despite being an atheist and empiricist in most areas of life, is fond of them. When he comes home from college in a couple of months he will catch up on all of them and insist his mother and I watch some of them with him. It's very sweet, but it's boring as hell.

In my *ahem* professional opinion these shows are showcases for confirmation bias and overdetermined pattern matching. Establish the right atmosphere, then show someone enough "white noise" ... like highly amplified background sounds, or rapidly sequenced snippets of radio transmissions ... and you'll eventually hear something "ghostly", even "compellingly" so. One of my favorite tricks is to keep my eyes closed when they flash subtitles for EVPs (garbled sounds that are supposed to be ghosts communicating). You can not make them out to be anything intelligible and sometimes not even to be voices. But when someone suggests what they mean, as with the subtitles, then everybody nods in agreement. Since these shows typically replay captured EVPs 3 or 4 times I have gotten to where I can ignore the subtitles after the first time and pretend I'm hearing them for the first time and they're either gibberish or I read it as something completely different than they're suggesting. Similarly when they zoom in on some video artifact and suggest that it's, say, a so-called "shadow figure", I can readily see it as, well, a video artifact. Half the time I can't see it at all, frankly. I have to replay the video a dozen times and then I can kinda-sorta see it.

By any standards, this is not "evidence" for anything.

I have talked to my stepson about this and I think the reason for his interest is a primal fear of the dark that he has harbored since childhood. These shows provide a framework of comprehensibility and control around something that subjectively frightens him that he finds useful in the dark watches of the night. That appears to be as far as it goes as he does not at all expect to be a discarnate spirit someday.

He is also his mother's son and she has told me her brain is wired in such a way that she "sees" moving patterns in any textured surface, that are as real as passing clouds that sometimes resemble things by shape. She long ago learned to ignore it and thinks nothing of it, but as a kid she could focus on this stuff and it would become more pronounced and quite elaborate. This leads me to believe that some people are just like syntesthetes, people whose senses are cross-wired such that they, for instance, "see" smells and the like. They quickly learn not to talk about it because people will think them crazy. I think there is a lot of perceptual cross-wiring in subsets of the population that make things like this seem more plausible / compelling than they really are for most of us. Some of it is a hidden secret and some of it they don't even realize is fairly unusual, they think everyone sees what they do, or if not, they are just being careless, unobservant, or obstinate.

And then of course there is just the human tendency to see pattern (mis)matches that don't exist.
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09-03-2017, 09:18 PM
RE: Do you believe in ghosts?
No. There's no evidence.

My wife believes in them though. Every time she hears something in the house she thinks it's a ghost. It's pretty entertaining to mess with her about it.
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10-03-2017, 07:03 AM
RE: Do you believe in ghosts?
(09-03-2017 09:05 PM)mordant Wrote:  He is also his mother's son and she has told me her brain is wired in such a way that she "sees" moving patterns in any textured surface, that are as real as passing clouds that sometimes resemble things by shape.

That sounds like a pretty common optical illusion. I can often get the effect from textured surfaces as well and have learned to look for it to make it happen. It's nothing except a side effect of the way our vision works and some may be more susceptible to it than others.

[Image: opticalillusion1.jpg]

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10-03-2017, 12:10 PM
RE: Do you believe in ghosts?
(09-03-2017 09:18 PM)Dark Wanderer Wrote:  No. There's no evidence.

My wife believes in them though. Every time she hears something in the house she thinks it's a ghost. It's pretty entertaining to mess with her about it.

My wife also.

But I think she knows it's learned behavior from her parents, just like many other superstitions she has.

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24-03-2017, 06:02 PM
RE: Do you believe in ghosts?
[Image: ghosts.jpg]

Don't let those gnomes and their illusions get you down. They're just gnomes and illusions.

--Jake the Dog, Adventure Time

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25-03-2017, 02:38 AM
RE: Do you believe in ghosts?
I still don't think anyone defined "ghost".

I'd be interested in any attempt, even from people who don't believe such a thing exists. I don't just mean getting stuff from dictionaries, I mean trying to be scientific about it. I doubt there's anything meaningful to say, but let's see Smile

"The manifestation of a disembodied consciousness"?

That's my attempt. What bullshit. That's not scientific.

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26-03-2017, 07:12 AM (This post was last modified: 27-03-2017 07:11 AM by mordant.)
RE: Do you believe in ghosts?
(25-03-2017 02:38 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I still don't think anyone defined "ghost".

I'd be interested in any attempt, even from people who don't believe such a thing exists. I don't just mean getting stuff from dictionaries, I mean trying to be scientific about it. I doubt there's anything meaningful to say, but let's see Smile

"The manifestation of a disembodied consciousness"?

That's my attempt. What bullshit. That's not scientific.
Your stab at a definition is as good as any. I would have said the same thing, but would have used "discarnate" rather than "disembodied" because I think the notion that ghosts are formerly living humans is too much of an assumption. If we acknowledge these manifestations for the sake of argument, they could just as well be telepathic beings from another universe who are just dicking with us. "Disembodied" assumes too much, particularly when so many people yearn for confirmation that they are in some way immortal rather than mortal. Or have an interest in ghosts purely to contact deceased loved ones.

By the way, you don't have to believe in ghosts in the conventional sense to be into this stuff. There is a whole Thing called After-Death Communication which uses a variant of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a therapeutic technique normally used for PTSD treatment, to trigger vivid hallucinations of deceased loved ones -- provided you're still actively mourning them and haven't fully resolved your grief. Such experiences are presented by proponents of the technique as a way to obtain closure in between your ears in an accelerated fashion, not all of the "practitioners" believe in an actual afterlife. That people can have such detailed and vivid, NDE-like experiences on cue, should tell us something about how much we should trust our subjective personal experiences in this area.
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