Friday, December 9, 2016

Wayne Bartz: ‘Ghosts’ don’t stand up to scientific method

Via by Wayne Bartz

I wonder if other readers of The Union are bothered by your publication’s frequent uncritical presentation of scientifically-dubious claims in articles and advertisements. The most recent example was entitled “Haunted Nevada County”, comprised of nearly two full pages of credulous pseudoscientific pronouncements promoting the existence of ghosts and paranormal phenomena. Did anyone else find it as laughable as I?

If ghosts are real then:

1. Being non-physical spirit matter, how can we see them? Vision is based upon light reflected off of material objects and entering our eyes. Since spirits are not material, light could not reflect off of them and they would of necessity be invisible.

2. How could a living person hear a ghost speak? The sound of speech is produced by vocal cords vibrating in the atmosphere producing sound waves that enter our ears. But spirit vocal cords would have no mass, so they couldn’t produce sound waves. Ghosts would naturally be mute.

3. If ghosts can walk through walls, they must have no mass (atoms) at all. So if a ghost tried to grab a doorknob or pick up an object, their fingers would go right through it and nothing would happen. Poltergeists would be unable to carry out their mischief.

4. People who claim to have seen ghosts typically describe their clothing, often period costumes. If we believe that ghosts are surviving human spirits, then we must believe that their clothing also had a spirit that continues on with them into the next world. What could be more absurd? Ghosts should always appear naked.

So, for ghosts to exist they would have to be silent, invisible and unable to influence the material world … which seems to be a pretty good definition of nonexistence.

The Union readers who possess any modicum of critical-thinking skills and respect for the scientific method can rest assured that all so-called supernatural phenomena are simply the products of human imagination and wishful thinking. There are no spirits, no ghosts, no psychic phenomena, no vampires, no zombies, no angels nor mysterious forces that go bump in the night just to scare us.

Halloween is over, so remember that except for one night a year rational adults are supposed to put away childish things.


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