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Robert Lea on ghosts and the laws of physics
#1
Courtesy of the SPR Facebook page, here's a sceptical article on ghosts (for Halloween, I suppose). Robert Lea takes as his text Brian Cox's claim that the Large Hadron Collider has disproved post mortem survival (along with all other paranormal phenomena, logically), and preaches a long sceptical sermon on the theme of the laws of physics disproving the existence of ghosts. (The characteristics of ghosts are deduced from the activities of "ghosthunters", and from particular ghost stories.)

To me, this article seems like an extreme example of a rather naive approach to paranormal phenomena, which always reminds me of Duncan McDougall's attempt to weigh the soul using a set of scales. Still, here it is:
https://sciscomedia.co.uk/science-supernatural/
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#2
(10-26-2017, 02:27 PM)Chris Wrote: Courtesy of the SPR Facebook page, here's a sceptical article on ghosts (for Halloween, I suppose). Robert Lea takes as his text Brian Cox's claim that the Large Hadron Collider has disproved post mortem survival (along with all other paranormal phenomena, logically), and preaches a long sceptical sermon on the theme of the laws of physics disproving the existence of ghosts. (The characteristics of ghosts are deduced from the activities of "ghosthunters", and from particular ghost stories.)

To me, this article seems like an extreme example of a rather naive approach to paranormal phenomena, which always reminds me of Duncan McDougall's attempt to weigh the soul using a set of scales. Still, here it is:
https://sciscomedia.co.uk/science-supernatural/

I had a look at it, Chris. That picture next to Einstein is definitely a ghost; you can tell by the circular eye-holes in the white bed sheet.  To be serious, materialists will have to tell us what "material" consciousness is constructed from before they can inform us that they can't find it in a particle accelerator.
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#3
(10-26-2017, 05:18 PM)tim Wrote: I had a look at it, Chris. That picture next to Einstein is definitely a ghost; you can tell by the circular eye-holes in the white bed sheet.  To be serious, materialists will have to tell us what "material" consciousness is constructed from before they can inform us that they can't find it in a particle accelerator.

Not to mention find a way to dismiss 150 years of research.
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#4
(10-26-2017, 02:27 PM)Chris Wrote: Courtesy of the SPR Facebook page, here's a sceptical article on ghosts (for Halloween, I suppose). Robert Lea takes as his text Brian Cox's claim that the Large Hadron Collider has disproved post mortem survival (along with all other paranormal phenomena, logically), and preaches a long sceptical sermon on the theme of the laws of physics disproving the existence of ghosts. (The characteristics of ghosts are deduced from the activities of "ghosthunters", and from particular ghost stories.)

To me, this article seems like an extreme example of a rather naive approach to paranormal phenomena, which always reminds me of Duncan McDougall's attempt to weigh the soul using a set of scales. Still, here it is:
https://sciscomedia.co.uk/science-supernatural/

Looking at this again, it occurred to me it might actually be a kind of April Fool hoax, transposed to Halloween. 

It includes the following argument. Ghosts move. Newton's first law states that for an object to begin to move it must be acted on by a force. Humans move by means of frictional force caused by contact with the ground. It's reasonable to assume ghosts move in the same way. Therefore ghosts must be material. But if ghosts were material they wouldn't be able to walk through walls.

Surely some kind of joke, perhaps intended to make Brian Cox's arguments look sophisticated by comparison?

But then I realised it was written by the author of the blog that used to be called "Skeptic's Boot" (now "The Null Hypothesis", though he's still stuck with the "Skeptic's Boot" URL). And that makes me think it isn't a joke, but was written in deadly earnest.
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#5
He's asking legitimate questions, but first a ghost story. A little background. My maternal great-grandparents had a house built for them way back in the 30's. Over the years my relatives died. My great Grandfather died in 59. Then my grandfather died about 7 years later. All that was left in the house were my great-grandmother and grandmother. My great-grandmother as she age even more was no longer able to use the steps so she spent all of her time upstairs. When she needed something she would call out to my grandmother, her name was Mabel, Mae for short. Eventually my great-grandmother had to be moved to an old folks home. That's what they were called back then and that's where she died. Now for the good part. One evening long ago and short time after her death, my mom, dad and little brother were visiting my grandmother. While sitting around the breakfast table talking my mom said she distinctly heard my great-grandmothers call out just once Mae. My mom looked at my dad, but said nothing until they all got home. She asked my dad that evening did you hear something while at the breakfast table and he said yes. Just recently I asked my brother if he remembered that evening? Yes, he replied. I asked if he heard something too, he answered yes. I would loved to have been there that evening.

He's asking how a ghost can interact with the world we know and yet skirt the laws of physics? Why is that a naive question?
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#6
(10-26-2017, 09:56 PM)Chris Wrote: written in deadly earnest.

Haha. Very good.  Smile

Like the two worms in a coffin - they made love in dead Ernest.
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#7
(10-26-2017, 11:23 PM)Steve001 Wrote: He's asking legitimate questions, but first a ghost story. A little background. My maternal great-grandparents had a house built for them way back in the 30's. Over the years my relatives died. My great Grandfather died in 59. Then my grandfather died about 7 years later. All that was left in the house were my great-grandmother and grandmother. My great-grandmother as she age even more was no longer able to use the steps so she spent all of her time upstairs. When she needed something she would call out to my grandmother, her name was Mabel, Mae for short. Eventually my great-grandmother had to be moved to an old folks home. That's what they were called back then and that's where she died. Now for the good part. One evening long ago and short time after her death, my mom, dad and little brother were visiting my grandmother. While sitting around the breakfast table talking my mom said she distinctly heard my great-grandmothers call out just once Mae. My mom looked at my dad, but said nothing until they all got home. She asked my dad that evening did you hear something while at the breakfast table and he said yes. Just recently I asked my brother if he remembered that evening? Yes, he replied. I asked if he heard something too, he answered yes. I would loved to have been there that evening.

He's asking how a ghost can interact with the world we know and yet skirt the laws of physics? Why is that a naive question?

I don't say that's a naive question, but he's doing more than asking questions - he's saying that because ghosts can move they must be physical themselves, and therefore they can't walk through walls! It's just silly.

I am fairly sceptical about post mortem survival myself, but obviously the weak point of the Brian Cox argument and this one is that if ghosts are non-material, then you don't need any new physical particles, you just need a mechanism for consciousness to interact with matter - just as you do for psychokinenesis. And why should that have been found by the Large Hadron Collider, as they didn't do any psychokinesis experiments, as far as I know? (Unless the whole thing is a huge psychokinesis experiment, in which the physicists are willing the apparatus to obtain the results they're expecting!)

Anyway, ghosts have generally been believed to be non-material, and in particular it's commonplace to hear stories of them walking either above or below the present ground level. This has been the case at least since antiquity. The second-century apocryphal letter known as the Epistula Apostolorum says, in one version "The foot of a ghost or a demon does not join to the ground" (or in another, "a ghost or demon leaves no print on the ground"):
https://books.google.com/books?id=TDW0Pe...&lpg=PA256

Thanks for the ghost story, by the way.
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#8
(10-26-2017, 11:23 PM)Steve001 Wrote: He's asking legitimate questions, but first a ghost story. A little background. My maternal great-grandparents had a house built for them way back in the 30's. Over the years my relatives died. My great Grandfather died in 59. Then my grandfather died about 7 years later. All that was left in the house were my great-grandmother and grandmother. My great-grandmother as she age even more was no longer able to use the steps so she spent all of her time upstairs. When she needed something she would call out to my grandmother, her name was Mabel, Mae for short. Eventually my great-grandmother had to be moved to an old folks home. That's what they were called back then and that's where she died. Now for the good part. One evening long ago and short time after her death, my mom, dad and little brother were visiting my grandmother. While sitting around the breakfast table talking my mom said she distinctly heard my great-grandmothers call out just once Mae. My mom looked at my dad, but said nothing until they all got home. She asked my dad that evening did you hear something while at the breakfast table and he said yes. Just recently I asked my brother if he remembered that evening? Yes, he replied. I asked if he heard something too, he answered yes. I would loved to have been there that evening.

He's asking how a ghost can interact with the world we know and yet skirt the laws of physics? Why is that a naive question?

Assuming you haven't made that up, Steve (as proponent bait)  what you've told us there is very common. What do you think about it, you haven't told us ?

The second bit about 'why is it naïve' to ask how a "ghost" can skirt the laws of Physics (Newtons' or spooky quantum action  or both ? ? ).

It isn't naïve if you've never had access to any possible "answers."  But you have and yet you keep returning to the simplistic
....tell us what a ghost is made out of or shut the fuck up kind of thing (basically)
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#9
(10-26-2017, 11:52 PM)Obiwan Wrote: Haha. Very good.  Smile

Like the two worms in a coffin - they made love in dead Ernest.

Right, that's me for cremation then !
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#10
(10-27-2017, 11:30 AM)tim Wrote: Assuming you haven't made that up, Steve (as proponent bait)  what you've told us there is very common. What do you think about it, you haven't told us ?

The second bit about 'why is it naïve' to ask how a "ghost" can skirt the laws of Physics (Newtons' or spooky quantum action  or both ? ? ).

It isn't naïve if you've never had access to any possible "answers."  But you have and yet you keep returning to the simplistic
....tell us what a ghost is made out of or shut the fuck up kind of thing (basically)

I think nothing of it. But what you're asking I think is why doesn't that experience by three people I trust make me more receptive. The answer is, there's no incontrovertible empirical evidence.


Classical physics.

I never asked what a ghost is made of. I have no empirical evidence. I have a friend of nearly 40 years who would likely see eye to eye with what you know is true. I posed that very same question Cox has to her a very longtime ago. No matter what I said I could not get her to see that a ghost must be physical because it interacts with us.
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