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Old March 28 2012, 04:49 PM   #31
EnterpriseF
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Re: Ghosts?

I am not sure. I firmly believe in Occam's razor, but I have "experienced" things happening that I can't explain how or why.
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Old March 28 2012, 05:12 PM   #32
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Re: Ghosts?

horatio83 wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
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Perhaps. There's really no proof either way.
Well not quite right....those who express a belief in ghosts must support their position, the current evidence is that they do not exist. Lack of evidence however is not proof.
That's not how science works. It works via the falsification of hypotheses. So claiming that ghosts do not exist without providing evidence is dubious from a scientific point of view (while being of course totally sound from a commonsensical point of view). In science the burden of proof is always on the guy who says this is wrong, not on the guy who theorizes and comes up with funky hypotheses.
That's not quite right. You start with a null hypothesis. If you want to assert the existence of ghosts, the burden of proof is on you. That's how it works. Plus, there's no way of proving a negative, so science can't work that way.
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Old March 28 2012, 05:17 PM   #33
horatio83
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Re: Ghosts?

You do not validate a null hypothesis, you only reject it. Burden of proof is never on the theoretician. That's why the only scientifically sound statement so far on ghosts is "maybe".
If people could not come up with all kind of funky hypotheses in science we would hardly make any progress.
In theoretical physics the folks opposed to string theory commit the same fallacy by the way. It is not unscientific just because it is not testable yet. One day it might very well be.
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Old March 28 2012, 06:56 PM   #34
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Re: Ghosts?

Have there not been many scientific studies to try and find anything that could be construed as paranormal? And, although this has already been mentioned it bears repetition, not so much as a ghost of proof has been found. I'd say that puts the paranormal squarely in the faith camp.
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Old March 28 2012, 07:21 PM   #35
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Re: Ghosts?

Decades of constant research, using equipment outside the reach of the combined income of most of the board and not one single shred of proof, ever.
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Old March 28 2012, 07:55 PM   #36
horatio83
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Re: Ghosts?

Sounds highly dubious. Which scientist would seriously try to hunt ghosts? Doesn't sound like something which could get published.

Of course ghosts do not exist. We cannot imagine to not be anymore one day so we make up this kind of stuff. But from a scientific point of view you could not say that they do not exist, just like you could not say that unicorns to not exist. There might be a funky planet after all where these horses actually roam through the forests. Doesn't mean that you cannot doubt the sanity of anybody who thinks that unicorns are real, merely means that the scientific method is fairly rigorous and doesn't always allow you to say the commonsensical thing.
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Old March 28 2012, 08:00 PM   #37
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Re: Ghosts?

I ain't afraid of no ghosts.
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Old March 28 2012, 08:06 PM   #38
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Re: Ghosts?

horatio83 wrote: View Post
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Old March 28 2012, 09:29 PM   #39
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Re: Ghosts?

horatio83 wrote: View Post
You do not validate a null hypothesis, you only reject it. Burden of proof is never on the theoretician. That's why the only scientifically sound statement so far on ghosts is "maybe".
Not sure where you're coming from on this. Criminal law employs the scienttific method, where the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, any scientific analysis of reported ghost encounters should presume the paranormal to be innocent of being the culprit until proven otherwise.
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Old March 28 2012, 09:32 PM   #40
horatio83
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Re: Ghosts?

You confuse in dubio pro reo with the scientific method where you never affirm but merely reject a hypothesis.
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Old March 28 2012, 09:39 PM   #41
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Re: Ghosts?

With all due respect, I'm not confusing anything even if I was addressing the issue a little obliquely. In both cases ithe hypothesis needs to be proven, not disproven.
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Old March 28 2012, 09:53 PM   #42
horatio83
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Re: Ghosts?

This is simply wrong. In science you can only reject a hypothesis.
Let me illustrate it via an example. Suppose your theory says that there is a positive relationship between two variables. Your null hypothesis is then that the respective parameter in your statistical analysis is zero. If this very hypothesis is rejected in your test (As you do statistics you are in a stochastic realm so there is always a certain likelihood that your test rejects your hypothesis although it is true. Reporting this likelihood is essential when doing empirical work as it should be as small as possible.) you can claim, loosely speaking, that you have indeed proven that there a non-zero relationship between your two variables. What you formally do is nonetheless to reject a hypothesis and not to prove it.
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Old March 28 2012, 09:59 PM   #43
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Re: Ghosts?

You're still ignoring decades of research in this. I'm assuming you're ignoring it because it doesn't suit you to accept all those findings against the paranormal. I'm assuming you're ignoring it because you have faith.
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Old March 28 2012, 10:04 PM   #44
horatio83
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Re: Ghosts?

Funny how you get called a ghost believer when you point out how the scientific method works.

I don't care about this paranormal nonsense and I seriously doubt that any scientist has bothered to spend time with disproving the crap of these people. Do you think you can get tenure via debunking something that is obviously hocuspocus?
But hey, like any guy who believes in the power of science I am eager to be proven wrong. So if you list a bunch of papers that deal with "ghost research" I will check them out.
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Old March 28 2012, 10:06 PM   #45
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Re: Ghosts?

Scrawny71 wrote: View Post
With all due respect, I'm not confusing anything even if I was addressing the issue a little obliquely. In both cases ithe hypothesis needs to be proven, not disproven.
I'm with horatio on this. Hypotheses often cannot be proven, no matter how much data you accumulate supporting them. On the other hand, hypotheses can be disproven fairly easily if they are wrong.

To quote Albert Einstein:
No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.
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