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The science of Ghosts and Souls

  1. Jul 1, 2009 #1
    People all over the earth have to come across the term "ghost" at some point of their life (probably). Generally it has become a culture that any ordinary layman would believe in ghosts and any scientist would say that "there is no such thing as ghost..and it is a stupid superstition.."
    Then there arises a question- who among the two is correct? we cannot deny the "eye-witnessed" responses of a layman who believe in religion and all the mythology.. at the same time, we can't deny the words of knowledge of a scientist.
    If you think that what all the mythology has said about the god and devil is true then, there is a flaw in my above statement..!
    Is the knowledge acquired by the scientist sufficient to say the ghosts as superstitious beliefs?
    Is there enough knowledge to study about the ghosts by the way? Ghost and soul phenomenon can have some link with "QUANTUM PHYSICS" (which we have understood not even to an appreciable level) ..or could be any other branch of physics or even a "separate branch" ???
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2009 #2


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    What leads you to suspect that 'qauntum physics' could have any relevance to 'ghosts and souls'??

    Ghosts and souls fall under the same category as religion. You can't do an experiment to prove their existance one way or the other so believeing in them is a personal choice, not a question of science.

    If you know of an experiment could (or has) been done that could allow the existance of ghosts or souls to be examined scientifically then please share the information, otherwise there is not much to talk about here.
  4. Jul 1, 2009 #3
    Do you watch the notable discovery channel <which respects the "personal interests" of people who experience such phenomenon> . I don't exactly know the name of the show but i have seen it many times on discovery. they even try to explain it scientifically.
    I could remember that show, where they predicted an existence of some thing in bare air in a room far away from roofs and walls a "potential difference" and even ultraviolet radiations using thermocameras..
  5. Jul 1, 2009 #4


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    Even if ghosts exist, we don't know what they are and how they manifest themselves. How can we devise an instrument to detect them?
  6. Jul 1, 2009 #5
    A "potential difference" is a voltage and thermo cameras pick up infrared sprectrum not ultraviolet (other end). I can't imagine why people would think these two things would in any way suggest a ghost. If you're detecting an abnormal "potential difference" in a room you're probably standing next to some poor wiring, not a ghost. If you're picking up a cold section of wall it probably has a water pipe behind it. I suppose if they use a voltmeter instead of a divining rod people must think 'I don't know what that device does this must be scientific' which is kinda embrassing for scientists. Even if one did believe in ghosts these shows like 'ghost busters' are just down right silly from a scientific perspective. Personally I think they serve more to mock the beliefs of those who believe in ghosts then support it (if one could ever do such a thing).
  7. Jul 1, 2009 #6
    Other than religious fervour I've never understood why people believe in the supernatural (I guess they would just like to believe it's true because they think it makes the world more interesting). If one completely disregards the science and simply considers logic it still makes no sense. If there were really people who were telepathic of telekinetic or there were disembodied intelligent spirits capable of making contact with our world... it would be really obvious. And by considering the sheer number of people in the world and the number of death's it would be very common. It wouldn't be about debating whether a smudge on some grainy video camera footage was your dead mother or whatever or if some russian psychic could really bend metal when it is done as a show with her own props and potentially a magnet under the table. It'd be everywhere, someone with legit telekinetic power would just go on TV and just walk through a crowd of millions of people in plain site bending things around them willy nilly. There would be ghosts EVERYWHERE and they'd be really obvious. Anywho, that's just my humble opinion
  8. Jul 1, 2009 #7
    I think it's a minority of people that believe in ghosts.

    I have never heard of anyone that had any eyewitness account or evidence of a ghost. I've only heard of people who reported feeling cold air and the like, which has nothing to do with ghosts. These people believe in ghosts because of their faith, not because they saw something ghost-like.
  9. Jul 1, 2009 #8
    I know several really smart people who DO believe in ghosts. They claim to have seen old relatives at their funeral. I am not saying I personally believe in ghosts but you can not disprove the anecdotal evidence.
  10. Jul 1, 2009 #9
    Were these old relatives perhaps their living relatives who were attending the funeral?
  11. Jul 1, 2009 #10
    I meant to put that they were the relatives who died, if that was a sarcastic comment I am not amused. However I take it as a serious question since I did make a mistake by omitting that bit of key information.
  12. Jul 1, 2009 #11
    Your lack of a sense of humour has been noted.
  13. Jul 1, 2009 #12
    Keep in mind that the the onus is on the believer or witness to show evidence that he came into contact with a 'ghost'. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If he or she cannot provide evidence, the scientist cannot analyze it and the whole process becomes unscientific and since 'ghosts' are classified as unproven or even untrue by the scientific community, we can safely assume that the evidence for such a phenomenon is less than a grain of salt.

    What exactly does quantum physics have to do with it? :uhh: Quantum Physics has been used an innumerable amount of times by different individuals who have no understanding of what it attempts to explain or have at least have wholly misunderstood its meaning. You should go read an introductory book on quantum physics, it would do you a world of good.
  14. Jul 1, 2009 #13
    Anyone remember 'What the BLEEP do we know?'? That movie gave me a lot of grief
  15. Jul 2, 2009 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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    However, a witness is only required to tell the truth. Simply observing something in no way implies there is a burden of proof. In this case it means that there is no way to test the claim, so it can only be taken as anecdotal evidence. That, however, is not generally the fault of the witness. He or she may have no control over the claimed phenomenon or the conditions under which it occurred. And, if the witness is telling the truth, then it would be dishonest to deny that the events were indeed witnessed. There is also the clear distinction between claimed observations, and interpretations of those observations. For example, even if we assume for a moment that people really do see apparitions of dead people, in no way does this prove that they are the souls of the dead.

    In a similar vein, many people incorrectly and automatically associate UFO claims with ET claims. It may well be that people do occasionally see some unusual and unrecognized phenomena that gets lumped right in with Roswell and alien abductions due to entirely unjustifed assumptions. In my experience, this happens with both believers and skeptics. Once you tag "UFO" to the claim, the wall of assumptions goes right up. This is especially true if the claim is at all interesting!
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2009
  16. Jul 2, 2009 #15
    Yes, but like you said, they may have had no control over the claimed phenomenon or conditions under which it occurred. There are people out there who genuinely believe that they saw a 'ghost' but it could have been anything but that. There are explanations out there for what they saw and unless those explanations cannot withstand evidence for the contrary, there is no need to resort to every small mystery as some supernatural occurrence. No one blames the witness, but they should at least first attempt to explain it as a natural phenomenon rather than supernatural. So again, the witness, if convinced of what he or she saw, needs to provide strong evidence that can overturn possible scientific explanations for what was seen.
  17. Jul 2, 2009 #16
    Yes, but I believe the OP is enquiring about the existance of ghosts. Not the existance of unexplained visual phenomena
  18. Jul 2, 2009 #17


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    No, this is a correct assumption. UFO used to mean "unidentified flying object" but through repeated usage (or misuage, if you prefer) it now means "alien spacecraft." Language evolves; it is the fault of the witness for using the terminology incorrectly if he or she means a a literal unidentified flying object, rather than an ET.
  19. Jul 2, 2009 #18
    To get back to the original topic:

    There is no science of ghosts or souls, because there has never been any experiment which showed anything unusual or unpredictable related to souls/ghosts.

    The only "evidence" of ghosts is anecdotal evidence by people who claimed to have seen something, to have heard something, or to have felt something. Because these claims have never been verified and there is nothing to actually measure or test, there is no science of ghosts.

    You will find people who claim that ghosts can be detected by magnetic or electric fields, but there is absolutely no evidence for this, so they are crackpots.
  20. Jul 2, 2009 #19


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    No, they're crackpots because despite the near-total lack of evidence that ghosts can be detected electromagnetically, they persist in beliving otherwise. There's nothing wrong with putting forth the testable and falsifiable hypothesis that these phenomena can be detected with electrical or magnetic means and testing it; it's when you ignore the repeated failures (or worse, start faking results) that you begin to wander into crackpot territory.
  21. Jul 2, 2009 #20
    That is what I said.
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