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Does alot of poor evidence = good evidence?


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#31 angrycelt

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 05:32 PM

I prefer to look at an investigation objectively, and my rule is simple. Can the phenomenon be explained or not?

I'll give you an example. I was investigating an indoor pool room that is reported to be very active, I took some digital photographs as well as some video footage. Upon later review of my stills, I noticed that the curtain on a window overlooking the pool deck was pulled aside as if from the bottom. Consecutive pictures of this window showed the curtain pulling back more as if someone inside was looking out of the window at us.

We were locked into the property and the security staff was with us at the time. I interviewed the other security guard and night staff and none of them were in there.

The room the window is in has no floor vents and the curtains were heavy linen.

All of this is interesting, but I can't label this as a paranormal event because I can explain it in so many different ways.

However, looking at this event piled in with other events that occurred, the totality of the circumstances look interesting for that location.

Edited by angrycelt, 27 February 2008 - 05:33 PM.

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#32 Karen@DPI

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 12:51 PM

This is a great topic, some fantastic points put accross, got my brain working and I am a little stuck on the scientific aspect of this thread.

Whilst I see that scientific facts and theories do come into play in the paranormal field I am left wondering if we are in fact as advanced as we would like to think we are, perhaps we are waiting for the "right" scientist to come along and work it all out, an example of this could be that many great scientists came before Einstein but it was he that is noted for the theory of relativity during 1907 and 1915, all in all it wasnt really all that long ago.

We tend to take a very skeptical point of view of our work and any material from our investigations and always look for a natural or rational explanation for any "phenomena" that may be recorded/captured. All of our investigations are fully researched following our work at a property/area, but only when we are finished, our work is handed over to the University and then my historical research will begin, validations coming from archives and under the control of an archivist who also validates any findings. I think this is the best method and most reliable to back up any "sensitive or psychic" imformation put forward by the team and as for equipment, well technology is a whole other ball game.

#33 angrycelt

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 02:08 AM

This is a great topic, some fantastic points put accross, got my brain working and I am a little stuck on the scientific aspect of this thread.

Whilst I see that scientific facts and theories do come into play in the paranormal field I am left wondering if we are in fact as advanced as we would like to think we are, perhaps we are waiting for the "right" scientist to come along and work it all out, an example of this could be that many great scientists came before Einstein but it was he that is noted for the theory of relativity during 1907 and 1915, all in all it wasnt really all that long ago.

We tend to take a very skeptical point of view of our work and any material from our investigations and always look for a natural or rational explanation for any "phenomena" that may be recorded/captured. All of our investigations are fully researched following our work at a property/area, but only when we are finished, our work is handed over to the University and then my historical research will begin, validations coming from archives and under the control of an archivist who also validates any findings. I think this is the best method and most reliable to back up any "sensitive or psychic" imformation put forward by the team and as for equipment, well technology is a whole other ball game.


I wish I had that resource. My team are experienced investigators because of our profession, but none of us are scientists. So, we stick to what we know. It would be nice to have objective science check our findings.

At best, I can simply put things into two catagories. Explainable and Unexplainable, and let the world decide how to interpret that. You are so lucky! :clap:
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#34 CaveRat2

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 02:47 PM

Which is the reason why I insist on using only good equipment instead of things that have known problems. It seems we have two different types of people out there, researchers and hobbyists. Researchers strive for solid evidence and don't really care about the quantity; hobbyists take quantity over quality, they want those collections of EVPs or photos whether there is a mundane explanation or not. Otherwise why do many hobbyists keep on using those little voice recorders? There are numerous serious limitations present yet they keep on using them. Do they just want a bunch of explainable things caused by the medium they choose to use, or do they want evidence which can actually be studied,
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#35 Seeker

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 03:54 PM

Which is the reason why I insist on using only good equipment instead of things that have known problems. It seems we have two different types of people out there, researchers and hobbyists. Researchers strive for solid evidence and don't really care about the quantity; hobbyists take quantity over quality, they want those collections of EVPs or photos whether there is a mundane explanation or not. Otherwise why do many hobbyists keep on using those little voice recorders? There are numerous serious limitations present yet they keep on using them. Do they just want a bunch of explainable things caused by the medium they choose to use, or do they want evidence which can actually be studied,


DARN you busted me! I have the dreaded "little recorder". You win, you are a true researcher and I am a lowly hobbyist. I am going to go hang my head in shame now because I don't have expensive equipment to prove my worth. In fact, I think you should block my name so you will never be forced to read the drivel this hobbyist types.
/sarcasm :Spaz:

Edited by Seeker, 20 April 2008 - 03:54 PM.

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#36 R.L.crowley

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 08:10 AM

Replying to the first post:

alot of poor evidence does not equal good evidence

absolutely no way, saying there is paranormal activity based on poor evidence is like saying you've had a stroke..when all you've got is a headace.

LOL

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The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways--I to die and you to live. Which is the better, only God knows. - Socrates I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing. . - SocratesEnergy Hot SpotsEnergy Hot Spots New EnglandEnergyhotspots DemonicologyLet the house of Israel say / His mercy endures forever Let the house of Aaron say / His mercy endures foreverLet those who fear the lord say / His mercy endures forever


#37 canuck

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 11:30 PM

Replying to the first post:

alot of poor evidence does not equal good evidence

absolutely no way, saying there is paranormal activity based on poor evidence is like saying you've had a stroke..when all you've got is a headace.

LOL

-Roger


Yes, but of all the people who complain of headaches, some of them do have strokes.

That's why when faced with a lot of headaches, it is smart to check for strokes.

#38 R.L.crowley

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 07:51 PM

Replying to the first post:

alot of poor evidence does not equal good evidence

absolutely no way, saying there is paranormal activity based on poor evidence is like saying you've had a stroke..when all you've got is a headace.

LOL

-Roger


Yes, but of all the people who complain of headaches, some of them do have strokes.

That's why when faced with a lot of headaches, it is smart to check for strokes.



yesss, buttt, many headaches isn't good evidence of a stroke, theres just a small possibility there may be a stroke in your future, same applies to poor evidence of a haunting

The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways--I to die and you to live. Which is the better, only God knows. - Socrates I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing. . - SocratesEnergy Hot SpotsEnergy Hot Spots New EnglandEnergyhotspots DemonicologyLet the house of Israel say / His mercy endures forever Let the house of Aaron say / His mercy endures foreverLet those who fear the lord say / His mercy endures forever


#39 canuck

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 02:29 AM

Replying to the first post:

alot of poor evidence does not equal good evidence

absolutely no way, saying there is paranormal activity based on poor evidence is like saying you've had a stroke..when all you've got is a headace.

LOL

-Roger


Yes, but of all the people who complain of headaches, some of them do have strokes.

That's why when faced with a lot of headaches, it is smart to check for strokes.



yesss, buttt, many headaches isn't good evidence of a stroke, theres just a small possibility there may be a stroke in your future, same applies to poor evidence of a haunting



Since you started the headache analogy.......................

If one person complains of a lot of headaches, it is prudent to consider this to be suggestive of a pathological condition. Therefore it is standard practice to investigate until a mutually satisfactory explanation is found.

Only a totally incompetent and negligent doctor would tell the patient “It is all a figment of your imagination”, and not investigate.

If a number of people in a small area complain of a lot of headaches, this would be considered an epidemic; public health authorities would launch a formal investigation, conducted by suitably qualified persons, to investigate both the cause and its treatment options.

If a large number of people from all over the world complain of headaches, that would be considered a pandemic. A huge international effort of scientists and doctors would be mobilised to identify the causes, the effects, and treatment options.

To relate this to supernatural or paranormal phenomena: a huge number of people, all over the world have reported such phenomena for hundreds of years. Ie: it has all the characteristics of a pandemic, and warrants a corresponding scientific response.

However, to date, no credible and comprehensive scientifically based investigation of this pandemic has been conducted by any appropriately constituted and qualified research team, either on a local or on an international level.

Despite no such analagous studies having been performed, the scientific establishment denies the existence of such phenomena; even on this site, the cheerleaders for "science" confidently declare that such phenomena don’t exist. Ie: they express their opinions based on their beliefs; as opposed to opinions based on facts.

This state of affairs is equivalent to the “World Health Organisation” declaring that headaches are a figment of the sufferers’ imagination.

So to repeat the point: the volume of reports of supernatural/paranormal phenomena are such that they constitute the equivalent of a pandemic.

As such, they require properly constituted scientific investigations.

Only after such have been performed can anyone either affirm or deny their existence; or provide any credible discussion as to their meaning.

#40 stevenedel

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 05:14 AM

Hey Stevenedel:

Paranoia would imply irrationality and delusion. The counterpoint to that is knowledge and experience.

Granted, I am exaggerating and yanking chains to make a point, but the fundamental point I have been making is valid: “science” is dominated by particular belief systems and ideologies, and anyone who challenges those does so at their peril.

Yes, I am saying that the multiverse theory was cooked up in order to explain the observed facts in a manner that is consistent with prevailing ideology.

There is a prevailing view in “science” that the universe, and all in it, is a manifestation of random mechanical/chemical/physical processes; and that “life” and “consciousness” is the result of similar processes.

This is an ideological position, not a position based on “science”. The available facts have been interpreted to fit the prevailing ideology, and alternative and equally valid explanations are actively discouraged.

This ideological bias is reflected in your own comments noted above. You state that “in fact the outcome is....etc”.

Well, no; it is not “in fact” anything.

Your viewpoint is only one interpretation of the available facts, and your interpretation is made from within the confines of the current ideology. That does not make your interpretation “in fact”.

Furthermore you state that: “It is fallacious (and pretty arrogant) to conclude .... etc”. That may be true; but an alternative interpretation of the facts could be that the universe was created with a particular end point in mind, and life on earth is but one point on the line leading to that endpoint.

Also, you state that: “Evolution explains quite neatly... etc”. Well, no it doesn’t.

The current ideology of Darwinian evolution was formulated more than 150 years ago when our body of scientific knowledge was still pretty small and primitive. It seemed a reasonable explanation for the facts as they were understood at the time.

However, we now know a lot more about biology, cell biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, and statistics than was even imagined at that time.

The facts we now have available reduce the Darwinian theories to little more than the quaint musings of the ignorant.

It is significant to note that Darwin proposed his theories at a time when the world was undergoing a cultural revolution away from the then prevalent and dominant influence of religion. There was a backlash against all things religious, particularly amongst those with a “scientific” predisposition.

Darwin came along at the right time with an alternative view of the universe. Accordingly, his views were enthusiastically embraced by those who were seeking a secular view of existence. So one form of religion was substituted for another.

The tragedy is that the Darwinian theories are still taken seriously by a large percentage of the scientific community, and thereby precludes rational investigation of alternative explanations of the facts.

If the available facts underpinning the anthropic principle are viewed without the current ideological bias, they are highly suggestive of a consciously designed structure And this is why the principle is the subject of heated debate within the scientific community.

The core of the debate is that it implies that we scientists should start to use the “G” word; and this is anathema to the secular high priests of science.

Clearly, these ideological biases in science are major barriers to our understanding of the universe in that they actively preclude those areas of investigation that do not fit within the current ideology.


Oops, sorry for the late reply, have been doing other things. But to follow up: at any time, personal convictions and beliefs can and will play some part in science. But sooner or later evidence will clinch the matter. Einstein loathed quantum physics. "God doesn't play dice" he famously said. He also didn't like the idea of an expanding universe and a 'big bang'. Evidence proved him wrong on both counts, no matter how great a genius he obviously was. In the end, personal taste is irrelevant when we are presented with factual observations.

If we take all the facts and measurements there are into account, I don't see how the idea the universe was consciously designed fits in. Quite apart from the fact that this asumption doens't answer a single question, but only adds lots of new ones, first and foremost the question where the designer came from (and why he/she chose this very peculiar way of executing the design). Similarly, I suppose some fantastical theory may be constructed to offer an alternative explanation of the empriical findings that so elegantly fit Darwinian theory. But that alternative theory then would have to be more parsimonious and elegant yet than Darwin's, and have stronger explanatory power than evolution. If you know it, let's hear it!

****

More on topic, another thought. I see in these boards, when it comes to scientific investigation, a strong interest in equipment. But equipment doesn't make research 'scientific'- the basis for sound scientific investigation is well considered methodology. How will you guarantee that the measurements you take can be considered valid proof of what you are trying to measure? A strange sound on a tape is just that: a strange sound on a tape. How can you ever be sure that that sound was made by a ghost? People talk about ruling out all rational explanations, but how do you do that? Are you truly aware of ALL possible rational explanations? And even if you could rule all of them out, in what way does that prove the sound was made by a ghost? It only proves you cannot explain the sound.

Another aspect of good methodology is ruling out bias. Put me, a confirmed skeptic and non-believer in a house that's reputedly haunted in the middle of the night, and chances are even I'll get the creeps, and will be hypersensitive to 'strange' sounds etc. Like any human, I'm not at my best in dark surroundings (an evolutionary fact), and like many of us I've suffered additional conditioning from exposure to horror movies and folklore. So if you want to investigate a haunted house, send randomly chosen people there who don't know it's supposed to be haunted; tell them you send them there for some other purpose, and then have them report on their experiences. Don't do that once, but do it many times. Also, send similar groups with the same excuse to a similar house that is not supposed to be haunted. Compare all the findings. Does the 'haunted group' systematically report strange phenomena? Do they report similar experiences? Do they report significantly more of such experiences than the non-haunted group? In such a setup you would have the beginnings of sound scientific measurement. But even then, if you got positive evidence it would probaly not tell you much more than that people have strange experiences in the haunted house; even in this setup it is unlikely you will be able to prove that these experiences are caused by the spirits of the dead.

Which is only to say that doing good research is much, much harder than many people seem to think. Answering questions like the above, and devising good research setups, is only the beginning.
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. (Carl Sagan)

#41 CaveRat2

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 08:57 AM

More on topic, another thought. I see in these boards, when it comes to scientific investigation, a strong interest in equipment. But equipment doesn't make research 'scientific'- the basis for sound scientific investigation is well considered methodology. How will you guarantee that the measurements you take can be considered valid proof of what you are trying to measure? A strange sound on a tape is just that: a strange sound on a tape. How can you ever be sure that that sound was made by a ghost? People talk about ruling out all rational explanations, but how do you do that? Are you truly aware of ALL possible rational explanations? And even if you could rule all of them out, in what way does that prove the sound was made by a ghost? It only proves you cannot explain the sound.

But there DOES have to be a strong emphasis on equipment for that to apply. Methodology is a factor as well, I won't dispute that. But the use of inferior equipment is critical in preventing a debunking of any evidence.

Take that strange sound you record. If you capture it on a cheap inferior grade recorder, any debunker worth his weight will attribute it to equipment artifacts, not a ghost. Rightly so, because engineers have done studies on the equipment and can prove conclusively by their tests (repeatable, explainable, and scientific) that the equipment being used will create such anomalies. So how can any investigator who uses this stuff stand there and make a claim it is an EVP? Answer is he can't, because there is a provable, scientific non-paranormal explanation.

Now suppose the investigator gets the same sound using high quality equipment not subject to these anomalies. (Well shielded, analog tape, stereo redundant recordings for example.) Now when the debunker tries to blame the equipment artifacts, the investigator has answers for him to refute his argument. And also the scientific backing of the same researchers who put the equipment through its tests to PROVE the equipment is not subject to these artifacts. The investigator can make a claim its credibile, the debunker now has to go up against tests done on the equipment which prove it is not susceptable to interference, etc. This puts the burden to disprove on the debunker because the obvious causes have already been negated. Evidence quality is much higher.

I agree methodology is importent, and one of the methods an investigator must use is to use equipment that is reliable. Equipment and methodology are related in an investigation.
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#42 stevenedel

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 10:19 AM

But there DOES have to be a strong emphasis on equipment for that to apply. Methodology is a factor as well, I won't dispute that. But the use of inferior equipment is critical in preventing a debunking of any evidence.

Take that strange sound you record. If you capture it on a cheap inferior grade recorder, any debunker worth his weight will attribute it to equipment artifacts, not a ghost. Rightly so, because engineers have done studies on the equipment and can prove conclusively by their tests (repeatable, explainable, and scientific) that the equipment being used will create such anomalies. So how can any investigator who uses this stuff stand there and make a claim it is an EVP? Answer is he can't, because there is a provable, scientific non-paranormal explanation.

Now suppose the investigator gets the same sound using high quality equipment not subject to these anomalies. (Well shielded, analog tape, stereo redundant recordings for example.) Now when the debunker tries to blame the equipment artifacts, the investigator has answers for him to refute his argument. And also the scientific backing of the same researchers who put the equipment through its tests to PROVE the equipment is not subject to these artifacts. The investigator can make a claim its credibile, the debunker now has to go up against tests done on the equipment which prove it is not susceptable to interference, etc. This puts the burden to disprove on the debunker because the obvious causes have already been negated. Evidence quality is much higher.

I agree methodology is importent, and one of the methods an investigator must use is to use equipment that is reliable. Equipment and methodology are related in an investigation.


I'd say, methodology first, and equipment chosen based on the method. Good equipment does not necessarily produce more meaningful results. E.g., I would be more interested in an anomalous sound recorded at the same moment by two independent, mediocre dictaphones than in a sound recorded on a single high-specs recording device. 100% error free electronics don't exist, but it would be a statistically highly unikely event for two separate recorders to randomly malfunction at exactly the same moment. So again it's the method, not the exact equipment that does the trick. That said, I agree that I'd prefer to have two independent high specs recorders rather than those two dictaphones.
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. (Carl Sagan)

#43 CaveRat2

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 03:31 PM

The problem with that concept is that the design of the cheap recorders is very similar. Thus statisticly it IS likely a similar failure might occur in multiple machines. For instance consider Faraday shielding. In digital voice recorders is is almost never found. They use what is called a bus ground method (cheaper, but does not prevent srurious RF interference.) Thus this is a common failure mode for many similar devices. It is ordinarily not a problem, but should such outside interference occur it is likely that 9 out of 10 recorders present would experience similar results. Using the many low quality devices theory, this would be considered a positive, although not correctly.

On the other hand one high quality recorder with the cage type shielding ( Faraday method) it is very unlikley the same scenario would cause any response at all. Thus even one recorder is a more accurate repesentation of the correct status of the area since it does not respond to a false signal condition.

Finally, should the good recorder and a cheap recorder both respond, it could be assumed that something did in fact activate the good recorder since a false EVP likely would not be recorded. A degree of credibility is established by its known rejection of false signals. The cheap recorder may also be activated, however since it is known to respond to false conditions as well, its response means little in the way of credibility.

Edited by CaveRat, 12 July 2008 - 03:33 PM.

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#44 canuck

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 12:50 AM

Wow, have we ever opened up a whole range of topics here!

First, regarding the Darwinian theory of evolution of species: it is pointless to go through the numerous flaws in this theory point by point here; they have been enumerated ad nauseum elsewhere. Suffice it to say that alternative theories have far more merit.

As you have rightly stated, alternative explanations raise even more questions. That is correct; but so what? Do you reject alternatives because they raise questions? On that basis, Darwinism should have been consigned to the dustbin a century ago. Unfortunately, it still persists as an embarrassment to science.

The whole point of investigating alternatives is that they do raise questions; but it is only when those questions are raised that they can be addressed.

The standard response to questions in theology is: “that can never be tested”; coincidentally, that is also the standard response to questions regarding Darwinism.

Regarding the question of method vs. equipment. This argument is not an “either - or” issue; it is actually a sub text of a larger issue.

The larger issue is that it must first be agreed that a phenomenon exists, and that that phenomenon needs investigation. Having come to that agreement, then the next step is to devise a method to study that phenomenon. Intrinsic to that method is the equipment.

As the investigation proceeds, information will come to hand that will be applied to revision of both the method and the equipment. It is an evolutionary process and is normal to all scientific investigation; no scientific investigation ever gets it right the first time. Or even the 100th time.

At the moment, we are in the embryonic stage of investigations of the supernatural/paranormal. We don’t even know what it is we are investigating, let alone how to go about it. In light of this uncertainty, both the methods and equipment applied are relatively primitive.

Similarly, the methods applied to investigating ghosts may not be applicable to investigating mysterious sounds.

As more information is gathered, so the methods and tools will become more refined and more specific.

As an illustration of the difficulty involved: recall that last year I was trying to set up an experiment to create a ghost. The stumbling block was finding a definitive way of separating observations from the observers.

Despite the input from various people on this forum, nobody could come up with a definitive means of addressing this issue, so the project died.

So that’s where we stand: we don’t know what it is we are studying; or how to separate ourselves from the experiment; or what equipment to use. But we keep trying.

#45 stevenedel

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 08:16 AM

First, regarding the Darwinian theory of evolution of species: it is pointless to go through the numerous flaws in this theory point by point here; they have been enumerated ad nauseum elsewhere. Suffice it to say that alternative theories have far more merit.


Flawed it no doubt is, as any theory inevitably is; I doubt though that the flaws are as numerous as you suggest, and am pretty sure that any alternative theory has many more. If there is a theory that is at the same time simpler and more powerful than Darwinian evolution, I haven't seen it yet.

As you have rightly stated, alternative explanations raise even more questions. That is correct; but so what? Do you reject alternatives because they raise questions? On that basis, Darwinism should have been consigned to the dustbin a century ago. Unfortunately, it still persists as an embarrassment to science.


Yes, theories are rejected when they raise more questions than they answer. It is called Occam's Razor: theories should be as parsimonious as possible. Throughout history it has been proven that the simplest theories (i.e., the ones making the fewest assumptions) tend to be the correct ones. E.g., the Ptolemean model of the cosmos, with Earth at its center, worked fine and predicted the positions of planets admirably; but at the cost of complex mathematical descriptions to explain the weird, spiralling motions of the planets along the sky. Copernicus found that the mats became a lot simpler when you assumed the sun, not the Earth was the center of the universe, without any loss in predictive accuracy. Unlike the Ptolemean model, this enabled him to actually explain the reason for the apparent erratic motion of the planets. Keppler, finally, demonstrated that theory and observation reached a perfect match if you assumed that planets revolved around the sun in slightly elliptical rather than perfectly circular trajectories. And he was right.

Evolution, too, is a very simple theory, consisting, essentially, of just a single principle. Yet its explanatory power is huge. So is the evidence base supporting it. Sure, you could do the same explaining by assuming it was all designed by some sentient being, but that really doesn't answer anything at all, does it - it only shifts the problem, and adds to it by assuming without any evidence, (and worse, without any necessity) the existence of such a being. Try this link for a more considered exposé.

***

The larger issue is that it must first be agreed that a phenomenon exists, and that that phenomenon needs investigation. Having come to that agreement, then the next step is to devise a method to study that phenomenon. Intrinsic to that method is the equipment.


Agreeing the phenomenon exists seems to me a strange way of starting research. Hypothesizing that it may exists is the scientific way to go - you are doing your research to find out whether it exists or not, don't you? In your hypothesis, you should make clear what the unique characteristics of the phenomenon are (and also, where you got that information). Then you need to wonder how these characteristics could be measured in a way that is valid, repeatable, and unbiassed. Finally, you need to think what equipment you may need to do this.

As you say, research into ghosts still remains at the absolute beginning. There is no scientifically sound evidence at all that lends any statistical weight to the likelihood that the supernatural exists. You claim it is very complicated to do the research, but that I find hard to believe. Just look at the experiences told by people on these boards and elsewhere. They involve highly concrete, perfectly measurable phenomena. The only thing that needs to be done, as you rightly say, is to separate these observations from the observer. I suggested one setup in my previous post for doing this; many more can be devised.
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. (Carl Sagan)




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