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Ghosts? - Page 7

post #91 of 312
ghosts aren't real.
post #92 of 312
I'm not one to give credence to paranormal phenomena, but I read this page yesterday and had trouble getting to sleep last night.
post #93 of 312
Ok, time for my contribution to this thread. I sure as hell believe in ghosts. When I lived at my dad's house, I'd see wierd shadows, the dog barking viciously at air and feel as if I were being watched. My mother also had a very odd experience when she was younger. She was an exchange student from Japan and her first stay in the US was in California in the early 70's. The family had an older home, but the house was kept very clean and it was odd to find something out of place. The first night she stayed there her and the kids of the family were in the basement playing a board game. Suddenly, all the doors that were open slammed shut and locked. She then heard a loud bang in the laundry room. She got the other kids together and they all walked over and slowly opened the door and flicked the light on as quickly as they could. There on the floor lay an old photograph of an older gentleman standing in the doorway of the house. She thought it may have veen a friend of the parent's, so she brought it up to them. The parents didn't know who it was....but they left the picture on the diningroom table. The kids went back downstairs to finish their game when their heard another bang in the laundry room. They went into look and there was the same picture, on the floor again. She ran upstairs with the picture and brought it to the parents and told them she found another one. The parents walked over to the table to put it with the other one, but saw the other one was gone. They thought my mom and the kids were playing games and thought nothing of it. The kids went back downstairs and the parents sat down at the table and looked at the picture closely, when they heard a bang in the living room. They walked out and there was that picture. The mom ripped it up and threw it away, then walked back to the table. The picture, completely intact was taped to the table. They all decided to leave and sleep at the mom's sister's house. They were all in the car when my mom remembered she forgot something inside. She went back in and smelled tobacco smoke (nobody in this house smoked). She remembered the man in the photo was holding a pipe. She then turned around to go back to the door when a black cloud blocked it off. She didn't come out so the father of the family went in to find her laying on the floor and a hair dryer from the bathroom was laying on the floor, broken. He thought it was her that grabbed it, until he saw where it had hit her in the head and knocked her unconscious.
post #94 of 312
wait, so this happened to your mother, who was a japanese exchange student staying with an American family? Assuming this is all true, I think this qualifies as more than a "very odd experience." An odd experience is what I some times have with people at the mall or others in public.
post #95 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by thinman View Post
As one of those "egghead science types", I'd like to point out to JammieDodger and anyone reading that, while a lack of evidence for the existence of ghosts means a reasonable scientist could not conclude that ghosts exist, he also could not conclude that ghosts do not exist. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence (the last paragraph quoted above treads close to this logical fallacy).

Egghead scientists aren't supposed to be doing ontology -- leave that to the egghead philosophers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JammieDodger View Post
Personal experience is personal. You can't peer review your personal experience, you can't properly share it with others.

Personal experience (observation) is evidence. It must be weighed against any contradicting or undermining evidence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JammieDodger View Post
What I'm saying, is if there is a lack of evidence then you shouldn't really believe something exists, which is also true. If given the question "do ghosts exist, yes/no" the logical answer would be no, that doesn't mean you're falling into the fallacy you mentioned, it just means you're going with the most likely answer. Which I am, because that's all you can do with any negative.

There's no single correct attitude for things we have no evidence about. If someone claims, without any evidence, that there's a teapot in orbit around Mars, a teapot so small that none of our instruments could ever detect it, the right attitude seems to be skepticism. In the absence of evidence, I'm justified in believing there is no teapot floating around Mars.

On the other hand, if I have no evidence for whether or not my neighbor has an ottoman in his house, the right attitude seems to be agnosticism -- maybe there's an ottoman in his house, maybe not.

These are ordinary objects. Extraordinary objects need special treatment. What should I believe about Zeus, a god who supposedly lives atop Olympus, hurling lightning bolts? First, I should survey the claims people make about Zeus and seek evidence for those claims. The nature of the claims will shape my evidence-gathering methods. People have explored atop Olympus (and all other tall mountains). If Zeus were there, we'd expect to find him with normal observation -- we know enough about Zeus to claim he's substantial, visible, and that he lives in a real and visible mountaintop abode. Even worse for the god, the evidence of his lightning has been explained in other ways. We've done a lot of targeted work and the work yielded no Zeus-evidence. The right attitude is: Zeus doesn't exist.

Absence of evidence can be evidence of absence. Provided you've made a thorough effort to look for evidence and consistently failed.

We can be wrong. But the mere fact that we're fallible isn't sufficient for us to suspend judgment forever. We're often justified in making a negative existential claim.
post #96 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by teddieriley View Post
wait, so this happened to your mother, who was a japanese exchange student staying with an American family? Assuming this is all true, I think this qualifies as more than a "very odd experience." An odd experience is what I some times have with people at the mall or others in public.

Yup, this was her first stay here in America. She was so traumatized, she wanted to go home right then and there but the agency convinced her to give it another try while she was over here, as it's a 12 hour flight back to Tokyo.. My grandma (dad's mom) took in foster kids and foreign exchange students and my mom ended up staying there (they lived in Bloomington, Minn.). She then met my dad and that's how it all started.
post #97 of 312
I love jan's story of honey their dog. That was more touching than scary.
post #98 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. J View Post
Egghead scientists aren't supposed to be doing ontology -- leave that to the egghead philosophers!




Quote:
Personal experience (observation) is evidence. It must be weighed against any contradicting or undermining evidence.

There's no single correct attitude for things we have no evidence about. If someone claims, without any evidence, that there's a teapot in orbit around Mars, a teapot so small that none of our instruments could ever detect it, the right attitude seems to be skepticism. In the absence of evidence, I'm justified in believing there is no teapot floating around Mars.

...

Absence of evidence can be evidence of absence. Provided you've made a thorough effort to look for evidence and consistently failed.

We can be wrong. But the mere fact that we're fallible isn't sufficient for us to suspend judgment forever. We're often justified in making a negative existential claim.

Since I'm playing devil's advocate (or maybe ghost's advocate in this case), I'd like to know the proper scientific experiment to test for the existence of ghosts. Anyone?
post #99 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLibourel View Post
Another eerie story involves our Great Dane, Honey. For about 25 years my family employed an African-American woman named Sarah to do cleaning and laundry. The dog, generally a placid, docile beast, always reacted strongly to Sarah--whether this was the result of an instinctive aversion to people of color that some dogs display or the fact that Sarah had a sort of bustling, nervous manner to her, I can't say. Sarah lived just west of downtown Los Angeles on Bixel Street, about three miles east of our house. One night, Honey appeared at her door. She was very surprised that the dog could have found her way through three miles of urban L.A. to her door, but she let her in. The dog went into a corner a lay down and remained there until Sarah went to bed. When Sarah awoke in the morning, the dog was gone. When she arrived at our house that morning, she started to tell my mother this strange story and wondered if the dog could have found her way back home. My mother cut her short, saying, "Oh, Honey died last night at the veterinarian's."
Great story. My uncle and a coworker were driving back home after work late one night. They were both exhausted and while the coworker had already nodded off my uncle was having a hard time keeping his eyes open. They were going down the same two-lane highway they would always take home when my uncle saw something blocking the road up in the distance. He slowed down and woke up his buddy to see if he was imagining things. In front of them right smack in the middle of the road was a brick wall blocking both lanes. They pulled up within a few yards of it and both got out to take a look at it. As the story went, when they started to approach it the wall faded away, as my uncle described it, like a mist. Suffice to say that they were both wide awake after that and both got home safely. My mother knows she saw a ghost and was actually within inches of it, too. She was at a party with some friends and walked into one of the guest bedrooms to retrieve her purse off the bed where everyone else had thrown their things. She opened the door and there was an old woman standing there in the room blocking her way. The woman didn't say anything but according to my mom had sort of an angry look on her face. My mom had to carefully go around her to get her purse and apologized if they had been making too much noise that night. She rejoined the party and asked her friend, the hostess, who the old woman was at which point a few other people remarked that they had seen her going from room to room in the hallway. The hostess sort of laughed and said, "Well, I guess you met our ghost." It turned out that she didn't know who the woman was but that she tended to show up mostly when she invited a group of people over. While neither of us physically saw or heard anything, I tend to think my father and I felt a presence over a period of a few months. I normally would go up to his house every few weeks or so and never felt anything weird or out of the ordinary about the place except this one particular long hallway that led from the bathroom down to the office. If I was sitting at the computer in the office I would often turn around expecting to see someone standing right under the door frame watching me. If I walked back through the bathroom then I would expect someone to be watching me from that exact same spot. Like I said, this went on for a few months and I never gave it a thought other than it was the product of an overactive imagination. Several years later when my father sold the place I mentioned the hallway. He gave me this strange look and without me saying anything noted the same time frame and experience. He said it was several months after it had gone away that he figured it all began just after a very close friend of his died of cancer. In one of her last letters to him she wrote that although they were far apart she felt that she would soon be watching over us... Yeah, I was a little creeped out after that.
post #100 of 312
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shoe View Post
I love jan's story of honey their dog. That was more touching than scary.

Thanks for the kind comment, Brian. She was a great dog. She had been roaming the neighborhood as a stray before we took her in.

On reflection, I suppose one could come up with a rational account of Sarah's story. A stray Great Dane similar to Honey just chanced to turn up at Sarah's door. In the dark of the evening, Sarah would assume that any older fawn Great Dane bitch would be our Honey and let her in. The dog, finding itself in unfamiliar surroundings, may have contrived to have somehow pushed the door open or jumped out a window and gone her way. However, the odds of that happening on the very night that Honey died do make it an amazing coincidence, to say the least! That is also assuming that Sarah did not lock her door. People were more relaxed about security 53 years ago, but still....
post #101 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by matadorpoeta View Post
i don't see how anyone can say they don't believe in ghosts. if you haven't seen one, then you haven't seen one. you don't know if they exist or not. if you've seen one, you believe.

So do you believe in purple unicorns? You can't prove they don't exist, so therefore, they must exist.

That said, I don't believe in ghosts, God, fairies, leprechauns, etc.
post #102 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by thinman
The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence (the last paragraph quoted above treads close to this logical fallacy).

The absence of evidence is not proof of absence, but it is most certainly is evidence of absence.
post #103 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by converge View Post

That said, I don't believe in ghosts, God, fairies, leprechauns, etc.

Astonishing to throw in God with fairies and leprechauns, because they are pretty similar, right? Not to get into a whole discussion of religion or the metapysical, but what the hell do you think happens when someone dies? That they just vanish?
post #104 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by teddieriley View Post
Not to get into a whole discussion of religion or the metapysical, but what the hell do you think happens when someone dies? That they just vanish?
Death is a biological process, not some vaunted spiritual awakening.
post #105 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by Connemara View Post
Death is a biological process, not some vaunted spiritual awakening.
How do you know? Care to try?
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