Originally published at www.thefrisky.com and republished here with kind permission of Robyn Pennacchia
18 November 2015
16 November 2015
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?