16 November 2015

Jon Donnis Answers Your Criticisms - "Ghosts do not exist"

Quite often in the comments section of this site, or on my forum, I get criticised for things I have said, and I always try to reply directly to that criticism, as I like to show people the personal touch. I do not fear criticism, and If I am wrong about something then I welcome people to challenge me, question me, and take me up on it. This is what true skepticism is about.

So today I received some criticism, and I wrote a length reply which I would like to share with everyone, since I get asked this quite often, I would like to clarify and really answer the point that the person made.

In the comments section of a review I had written about American Entertainment TV show Ghost Adventures, the following was left...

blah28 March 2015 at 05:28
"You state that due to the Ghost adventure crew starting the investigation with a belief in the supernatural, then they lose credibility: "it instantly means everything they say and do lacks all credibility, even if they are suspicious and bring up some good points." And yet, you then state your own presuppositional bias by stating that you "know that ghost don't exist." 

Using your logic, this means that you lose credibility as well."

Here is my response to that...

You make a fair point, so let me respond and explain.

On one side you have someone having a start point of belief, acceptance and bias.

On the other side (me) you have someone with a starting point of disbelief, non-acceptance and bias against.

So what is the difference?

Well my opinion is an opinion based on facts, based on science, based on hundreds of years of growth and knowledge about how the human body works.

From the moment a human is conceived to the moment the last cell of a dead body degrades, science knows and understands every single moment inbetween, using biology, physics and chemistry, we can chart every moment of every single change as we go from that fertilised egg to the last decomposed human cell.

No religious teacher found that out, no psychic ever discovered any of this, instead thousands of scientists over hundreds of years have.

So lets fast forward slightly to what happens when we die. And again due to science we know what happens when someone dies, the organs tend to shut down first, blood stops flowing around the body and most importantly to the brain, a lack of blood and therefore oxygen starves the brain, and eventually the electrical impulses in the brain stop, when this happens, we are dead, no turning back.

No human has ever come back from being truly dead, although the definition of what constitutes being dead has changed as SCIENCE and medicine have improved, no one has ever come back from true brain death. (You can ignore the story of that Jesus bloke, it was made up by a bunch of naughty Greeks decades after the alleged miracles happened.)

So we know everything that happens when a human is conceived to the point of death.

Now the afterlife. Evolution has meant that the human race struggles with the thoughts of death, due to our self awareness. Throughout human history, it has been shown that we give things supernatural meaning when we do not understand them, whether it is how the sun appears in the sky with the moon, to Earth Quakes, Tsunamis, you name it before SCIENCE explained it, we gave it a supernatural meaning, every single time, the same goes with modern phenomena, we see something move in the corner of our eye, or even if we have a full blown hallucination, we give it supernatural meaning until we truly understand it. Hear a knocking in the night, when no one else is around, must be a ghost right? Not the wooden beams or floor boards creaking as the temperature drops.

I've lived in hot countries where the houses are made of concrete, funnily enough you never seem to get reports of ghosts making noises in the night!

So for me to say that ghosts do not exist, is an opinion based on hundreds of years of proven scientific study, and not a single piece of evidence exists to say that ghost do exist.

So for me to have that position, is surely a fair one, to be skeptical of claims which break the laws of physics should be the starting point of EVERYONE who is investigating a situation where something "unexplained" has been reported.

Remember Unexplained is not the same as unexplainable.

If someone comes along and says that they are going to investigate a pond because someone has claimed that in this pond there exists an invisible creature that not only can travel through time, but cure illnesses while smoking a cigar and singing the theme to The A Team. In any possible situation should you start off with a position of belief? Of course not because the claim is ridiculous. But what if a million people all claim the same thing? All with no evidence, no proof, no theory, just a baseless claim, should you then start off with a position of belief? Still of course not.

You could line up a million people at night, get them all to look at the moon as it is low on the horizon and all of them would say the moon looks bigger! And ALL of them would be wrong. The moon is the same size, and and more importantly the same size in the sky! Yet 1 million people are wrong. And better still it can be proven they are wrong with a simple trick of getting an empty toilet roll, holding it up and looking at the moon through it, suddenly the moon goes back to its normal size. Science can explain the "Moon illusion", as it includes something that is testable, something that is physical and can be examined. And the fact that a million people can all being wrong, proves that we should never trust our own eyes as we can be fooled.

So when I say ghosts do not exist, this is not some throw away comment, this is a comment based on a  scientific understanding of the the universe.

So ask yourself now, if one person says they believe in ghosts and one person says that ghosts do not exist, who really has the most credibility?


Anonymous said...

Jon what is your reaction to my saying that I have heard a family member coming up the stairs a week after his funeral? before you ask I was too terrified to look!

JD said...

No reaction, I would wonder how you can tell who someone is just from hearing footsteps!
That is some kind of special ability right there!

I would also suggest that the very fact you have decided it was a dead family member just from hearing footsteps that you have already closed your mind to any rational explanations, and decided that the magical paranormal explanation is the one you want as it suits your belief structure.

You see a rational, critical thinking person would go look. Hell it could have been someone had broken into your house.

You heard a noise, did you call the police? Or did you just decide "oh that must be my dead relative"

And why were you terrified if you were convinced it was your dead relative? Surely the thought of actually seeing evidence of the continued survival of your lost one, would be a great thing?

So yeah, whatever way you look at your experience, one thing for sure is that, until you have eliminated every possible rational explanation (something you did not do since you did not look), it would be foolish to jump to such a conclusion as you have.

It may have been real, but logic dictates you are most likely wrong.

Plus ghosts do not exist.

Anonymous said...

I would like to answer you with complete truth although it makes me look such a wimp when I say I was a frightened 12 yrs old this is not an excuse it is an explanation which my mother was scornful of as she said 'you know your Granddad would never have hurt you'. The reason why I knew it was him was we lived in an old creaky house and when I heard the door at the bottom of the stairs creak open I thought it was my Dad who worked shifts and came home at all odd times and was surprised when I heard a creak from the bottom step as it was a standing joke in the family that he was the only one who could navigate the stairs silently but then there was the familiar slither on the banister rail which was made only by grandfather who suffered from Parkinsons Disease and was very trembly but needed to pull himself up each step and so the distinctive sound continued up each step. I was so terrified that my heart pounded enough to make the bed shake and I was so relieved when he passed my door and made his halting way along the landing opened his bedroom door (creakily) and closed it again. It was only then that I forced myself to look but of course there was nothing to see and I have felt guilty ever since that I was so frightened of a benevolent old man the only other experience I have had was a dream of the future 4 years later which I will tell you of if you would be interested which somehow I don't think you will but these instances leave me with an open mind over half a century later

JD said...

Ok, so lets clarify a few facts as there are only a few here.

Your experience was when you were 12 years old.
You were in bed.
This happened over 50 years ago.

So already we have some problems of credibility due to the fact you are remembering something that happened over 50 years ago, hardly the easiest of things for anyone. I would also like to interject here that I have a very clear and vivid memory myself from about 30 years ago, of levitating down the steps of my grandparents house, The memory is solid, I am not lying. Yet clearly this never happened. I am sure you can explain that. (I can)

So you are remembering an event from 50 years ago, you were a child. Could it be that your memory is wrong? Probably, due to the fact Human memory has been scientifically proven to be fallible, and that is for events that have literally just happened, never mind 50 years ago when you were a child!

So memory is an issue.

Next up you were a child in bed, it is completely feasible that you fell asleep, dreamed the whole thing, woke up terrified. Again much more likely than it was a ghost.

Next and this really disturbs me. you said in life your grandfather had suffered from Parkinsons Disease, and was very "trembly". Why would in in death be suffering from something that is a physical condition? As a spirit in any way you look at it, he does not have a brain, the brain disease of Parkinsons ceases to exist when there is no brain activity, we are often told by spiritualists that in the afterlife all disease is left behind, that quadriplegics can walk, that blindness goes away and so on.

So how unbelievably annoying for your Grandfather that he should die, and the condition that made his final days/weeks/months maybe even years so hard, is still there in the afterlife!

PERHAPS a 12 year old child, does not have the intelligence to philosophize such things, so during this dream, day dream, imaginative state, the child does what only a child is capable of doing, and that be imagine his dead grandfather of whom he is grieving for in the way he remembers him, as an old man with Parkinsons who would tremble, and struggle to climb the stairs.

I think it is pretty clear that the experience you had over half a century ago seems like a real event that really happened, but then I have a memory of a real event that happened, I levitated down my grandparents stairs. I could take a lie detector test right now (Yes i know they are bullshit but for the sake of argument) and I could pass that test 100% of the time if I told the story of levitating down the stairs.

Your memory of this is a strong one, but it is not a true recollection of events, it is merely the memory of a grieving child, who may or may not have heard a noise that he misinterpreted or imagined or even dreamed.

You need to let go of the guilt my friend, as there is no guilt to be had.

Everything you describe has multiple rational explanations, nothing you have stated sounds the remotest bit paranormal.

I hope you are open minded enough to accept another explanation to your 50 year old memory. I however expect a negative response, afterall I have kind just blown apart a 50 year old memory, I dont really expect you to accept the rational after living in the irrational for so long.

And yes I would like to hear your stories of dreaming the future, as I am sure I can offer a rational explanation to that too

Unknown said...

How come nobody sees a ghost in tracky bottoms and trainers.It s always a Victorian dressed one.

Unknown said...

I will refrase that comment ,what I meant was claimed to have seen a ghost lol

Anonymous said...

Jon sorry for delay I wrote back and when I tried to edit it deleted message I was so annoyed I shut comp down and left it. Here goes, these aren't memories from 50 years ago suddenly surfacing, I have discussed it frequently over the years with believers and non believers alike and my story has not changed one jot. Even as a child I knew the difference between dreams and reality for example my grandmother died 12 months later and I was afraid the same thing would happen but when she walked into my bedroom I shot up in bed and said 'but your dead '! I immediately woke up much to my relief. \I find it somewhat odd that you quote people you supposedly don't believe in as saying that people leave their earthly handicaps behind, who knows? perhaps granddad didn't know he was dead at that stage and hadn't 'passed over' I can't offer explanation but I am pleased that you would like to hear about my dream which again I have discussed over the years but as it is another quite long story and I don't want to bore you I'll save it for another time

Anonymous said...

Paul I presume you are just being facetious as may people claim to have seen their loved ones and even strangers to them but wearing modern dress

JD said...

Firstly I have told you, join the forum and post on there, its a whole lot easier to use, you can edit posts, it is easier for people to read and to find and to reply. And you will get more opinions.

This is a skeptical website, the forum is a mixed skeptical and believer forum.

Also you say that the story has stayed consistent for 50 years, that is the problem, when you repeat something that often you become convinced the story is real and happened as you recall. Much like my levitation story, I have repeated the story so much, I am 100% convinced in my memory. It is only logic and critical thinking that allows me to understand the psychology behind the memory.

What is more likely to be true, what I have suggested, or what you have? Look at it from an objective viewpoint, use logic, use critical thinking.

Every intelligent person in the world would say my opinion is the correct one, if only because what I say doesn't mean we need to re-write the laws of physics!

And I quote spiritualists, because that is where these beliefs come from. Their continued lies, are what fuels the delusions in thousands of people. Much like religion.

Please discuss this further on the forum now, as it is too hard to find your replies and search and then answer, and only you are reading my replies, so it really isn't the best use of my expertise in this matter.

I always want to reach the most people with what I say, and educate as many as possible, and even learn a bit myself along the way.

I also would hope you would make the effort to try and answer all of my posts, and if you cant then you need to accept that perhaps you are wrong. You can learn so much from me, if you are prepared to open your mind just a bit, that is all I ask, is to accept that maybe you are wrong, and that maybe someone else is right. Go on give it a try

I'll wait for your reply on the forum

Anonymous said...

I did try to join your forum but ,in turn, I was sceptical of your sincerity for after Knocking mediums for taking money I find you ask for donations which smacks of hypocrisy to me but go on how much is a suitable sum and I'll give it a go

JD said...

Hi, I do all of this for free. countless hours all free, never made a single penny from being a skeptic.
I often have people wanting to say thank you to me for the hard work that I do, so I said if they choose they can donate to my beer fund. To be honest not had a donation in well over a year, not a single one, I dont go begging, I never ever ask for donations, and if I never received a single donation again, I would still keep doing what I am doing.

So to be skeptical of my sincerity, seems just a tad ridiculous. I dont sell a product, i do not make a single claim that i cannot 100% back up, and I do what I say I do. NONE of those attributes you can put on a single medium

I actually take great offence at you calling me a hypocrite considering the thousands of hours I have put in to helping people, saving people money, all done for FREE.

I help people every day that I do not put on my website, I help people through email. I get nothing from it.

So no I do NOT ask for donations, and I do not expect them, if people want to say thanks to me for my hard work, they can donate, if they do not want to donate that is cool too.

Often I have told people i have helped NOT to donate, even after they have insisted. When I have helped them get a refund from a medium, they have wanted to give me that money, I ALWAYS SAY NO.

I have explained in detail, and answered every question you have asked, and at no benefit to myself, I literally have gotten nothing out of talking to you, apart from the hope that I have opened your eyes just a bit to the true realities of the world, I do not want nor expect money from you and I would never ever ask you for money.

One thing I have noticed that is very hard for believers and mediums to understand is true altruism, I am an altruist, I do not want fame, I do not want money, I am probably the only true altruistic skeptic in the UK who does as much as I do to help people. Yet despite the invitations, you dont see me lecturing at Skeptics in the Pub, you do not see me on shows like The One Show, or This Morning (Have been invited on both countless times)

Pretty much every time you read an article in a major newspaper exposing a medium in any way, I have helped that journalist, yet you never see my name given credit.

So yeah you pissed me off with your ignorance. Yet despite that I will still welcome you on my forum, and I will still spend countless hours trying to help you. I must be an idiot

Anonymous said...

I must apologies for offending you I thought you liked straight talk and what I was saying was it seemed to suggest hypocrisy when I tried to join your forum seemingly I couldn't get past the donation box and I don't like giving debit card details on line as you will know from recent events and from my own experience no personal details are safe on line. as for my 'pissing you off with my ignorance ' well do you realise you could have the same effect on me? I also am a true altruist not wanting to shatter the hopes of being reunited with loved ones ,trying to reduce the fear of death as Colin Fry used to do by bringing levity into his programmes so that people could feel perhaps it's not so bad after all .Just as you are convinced there is no life after death I am equally convinced that what I experienced was not a dream , I too had those quite normal dreams for youngsters where I thought I was flying but woke afterwards laughing at myself and an event so compelling as mine is not forgotten is not embroidered in any way over the years and I could take umbrage over what you obviously think of me but I don't because I take my stance from my knowledge where yours relies on all too fallible science Oh I should mention that I was awake and wondering why for several minutes before the door opened so that is another reason where I know I was awake you reminded me because you did say there wasn't enough detail which T had tried to avoid to keep my message short but length doesn't seem to be a problem .It's time to stop now though so can I just ask how to get into your forum as I just seemed to go from one advert to another and perhaps to save misunderstanding you could put the donation box at the end of your website?

JD said...

I have removed the donation box from the forum since it upset you so much.
That has NOTHING to do with how you join the forum and in NO WAY AT ALL do people need to pay to join.

To join the forum go to https://login.proboards.com/register/1798673

Also any ads on the forum are by proboards and nothing to do with me, if you install an adblocker on your browser then NO ads at all will show.

I have literally changed my site and gone out of my way to help you.

Oh and Colin Fry was a 100% proven fraud so not sure why you mention him now.
He died a broke pathetic man, with a terrible legacy of failure and disappointment.

Anonymous said...

Hi again Jon, If you have a moment for my dream I have just been reminded by your website of another one where I did dream the lottery numbers but was too idle to get out of bed to find pen and paper but committed them to memory in the hope that they were winners but being like you a sceptic I didn't expect a result but alas I forgot the last two so only won £10 I would have liked to give myself a good kicking! But of course there is no guarantee that the forgotten ones were correct so I don't offer it as proof of anything

JD said...

Hi, I would be happy to answer all of your questions on our free to join forum

Anonymous said...

I've just deleted again I'm not an idiot honest just not computer literate I was saying my last message took me ages to write and that I couldn't find how to send a message on your website Regards

JD said...

Join the forum, wait for me to activate your account, then go to the correct section and start a new thread and write what you want to write.
I wont be approving any more of your posts on here, as I have been pretty clear that i prefer you to share your stories on my forum, instead of filling up the comments section of an article that is nothing to do with what you are saying.

If joining the forum and posting is beyond your knowledge base, then how on earth can you expect anyone to take anything you say seriously.

I have given you a LOT of my time.

Posting on the forum is the only option now, and if you do not want to, or cant, thats cool, i wish you all the best

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