My level of skepticism
Posted 28 November 2009 - 03:43 PM
Perhaps I'm wrong to feel this way, but alot of it comes from experience.
Here we go.
The mention of a psychic, medium, or sensitive.
Any mention of Native Americans in a report.
If one simple question is asked and the response is anything like "I don't have to prove anything to you!"
If the report comes from a group consisting primarily of 13 and 14 year old kids.
That goes double for reports coming from 13 and 14 year old kids who claim some type of Paganism, or are what would be considered "Gothy".
Any mention of a "little girl in a white dress".
A report from an individual or group who seem preoccupied with death.
A report dealing with what is said to be the ghost of a famous person.
Not to say that I would immediately discard a report with any of the above mentioned attributes, but they would give me pause.
Perhaps I set too high a standard?
Posted 28 November 2009 - 06:34 PM
Too many of the explanations you read or hear about nowadays are just prepackaged versions of more contemporary explanations for ghosts, and over the last 120 years we are no closer to knowing what causes people to experience the different phenomena, and it's because of these ideas that many people stop looking for more mundane explanations for what they experience. To offer a client the best chances of trying to figure out what is happening I MUST remain open-minded but completely uninfluenced by the suggested ideas that are out there.
Posted 28 November 2009 - 08:04 PM
I don't feel that when we die we just cease to exist. I was in a motorcycle accident several years back where I flatlined twice enroute to the trauma center. I was revived both times and I recall only one thing. I was waiting for a direction to go. Not an OOBE just a limbo of a sort I woke up after 2 days comatose and it took several months for me to remember everything.
That said, I believe that spirits can get stuck in that limbo long after the body is gone. What makes me skeptical is certain claims and presentations of so-called "evidence". I am very scrutinizing when it comes to claims and gathered evidence. If I do find something compelling, I often ask for opinions and discuss it with team members to see if is explainable. If I find something compelling, I will present it to the client without editorial or opinion. Let the person make their own judgment call.
I am a believer in spiritual activity but a skeptic on the claims and evidence. Someone on GV quite some time ago used the term "guarded skeptic", that's probably not the most accurate in terms but for lack of a better term it'll do.
Posted 29 November 2009 - 06:38 AM
Posted 29 November 2009 - 09:11 AM
AXMAN:i was born dead,me and my mom both died and were both revived and i had dreams my whole life about this field of yellow flowers i have never seen before i was walking down this road inbetween these tall flowers heading towards what resembled a cul-de-sac only it was still the flowers(kind of like a "dead end")i was happy there and i did not want to leave but someone was telling me to go back and to go with my mother.i never understood the dream and then one day my mom told me that she had seen something when she had passed and it was the same place.flowers,road,deadend,being told to go back.and neither one of us could see our own bodies in the dream.i dont know if it was heaven,but i doubt it was a coincident.p.s. my mom never heard about the dream til after she told me about her i guess afterlife experience?for lack of better word.so that said i agree that the spirit can live after the body.not that that proves that ghosts are real and that the spirits can live HERE after the body.
STEVENDEL:if open-minded is to skeptic what little is to giant that just means in your eyes open-mindedness and skeptism do not coexist,which seems to be a very bad argument for the skeptic cause.
skeptic:a person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual. also: a person who maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others.
skepticism:1. skeptical attitude or temper; doubt. 2.doubt or unbelief with regard to a religion, esp. Christianity.3.(initial capital letter) the doctrines or opinions of philosophical Skeptics; universal doubt.
i will accept any of these definitions as to what a skeptic is,you are not the law on that.you are not explaining what a skeptic is,youre explaining your own views.the word "systematic" doesnt come up in the definition of the word skeptic once.on this one i'm gonna go ahead and take websters word. so to be a skeptic which you can take your pick of the definitions to apply to the word,does not mean you doubt or question systematically or scientifically,it just means you doubt and/or question. with that said
open-minded:1.having or showing a mind receptive to new ideas or arguments.
2.unprejudiced; unbigoted; impartial.
so to take the definition of a skeptic that best resembles your idea of what a skeptic is exclusively,and openmind skeptic would be
open-minded skeptic::1.a person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual while having or showing a mind receptive to new ideas or arguments. 2. a person who maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others while having being unprejudiced, unbigoted, and impartial.
guarded skeptic:a person who maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others whilst being cautious, careful, prudent 2.a person who maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others protected while their views are watched, or restrained, as by a guard.(guard here not having to be physical)
that said i think their qualified skeptic labels fit just fine based on the statements they used to determine them.not all skeptics have the same views so an openminded skeptic is simply a skeptic with an open mind.not all skeptics have that,this i have learned from experience
Posted 29 November 2009 - 03:59 PM
Posted 29 November 2009 - 08:33 PM
Posted 30 November 2009 - 05:57 AM
Posted 30 November 2009 - 09:52 AM
I used the word systematic because with regard to science skepticism is a method - systematic questioning of the evidence is the best way to improve standards of evidence. A good researcher gathers his evidence, and then asks himself, 'so, why does this still not conclusively prove my hypothesis?' Which is just about the reverse of what I see most paranormal investigators do, who present something very vague and inconclusive and then say, 'see, this proves my point!'.
Systematic also implies that your skepticism is guided by rational thought/arguments rather than personal sentiments (Einstein doubted quantum physics on the misguided esthetic grounds that 'god doesn't play dice').
For the purpose of looking at evidence this way, it doesn't matter how 'open-minded' you are. Every good researcher needs to be his own severest critic. If you look at your evidence honestly and thoroughly the conclusions won't depend on whether you are a believer or not. I mistrust this 'open-minded' notion anyway - it sounds so nice, but more often than not it simply appears to mean 'prepared to apply slack standards of evidence'.
Posted 30 November 2009 - 11:00 AM
Posted 01 December 2009 - 07:38 AM
i do agree that in the eyes of most believers,and if not most at least a significant amount of believers,skeptics seem close-minded.to be fair a lot of sketics are close minded,they just have a fun little nickname "cynics" all a cynic is is a skeptic that refuses to believe,here on the believers side of the fence we dont have that kind of luxury,and so i am constantly lumped into the same category with the crazy "believe alls"(patent pending) while skeptics and cynics are viewed as 2 different camps.(i present beleve alls to the consideration as a term used to describe people who dont use logic at all and just believe blindly) this may or may not surprise you,but i also find reason to question every piece of evidence,i am in many ways a skeptic truth be told.my belief stems from things i have seen that i can not doubt,not things moving on their own or pictures i have seen.i cant think of a single picture that i have seen that i have ever concluded to be a ghost.heres where the close mindedness becomes an issue:lets say i present you with a picture right,and its an image that is unexplainable put to the test and theres no conclusion.if a person came and asked us if it was a ghost,not argued with you about its validity but simply questioned,what would you say?a close-minded believer would say yes because there is no other explanation,a closed-minded skeptic would say no ghosts arent real. an open-minded believer and and open-minded skeptic however,would have extremely similar answers,the answer being "i dont know",or some variant of the same meaning of i dont know. when i say close-minded skeptic,i mean what most people call cynics.the only thing i disagree with is the whole "true" skeptics thing.i dont think skeptics or believers are so black and white,i think each would vary and have a different way of looking at things.
but see not all skeptics are as scientifically inclined as you are.youre an intelleigent guy judging on conversations that we have had,at times it might sound as if i am trying to buttheads,but this isn't my goal.i think more skeptics should think like you,weither or not they are based in science or not.you do have an open mind,more open than some who claim open-minded skepticism,which is why i felt i had to respond to you.but even with that way of thinking where you need proof,a skeptic can be closed or open minded,its different case to case,and if you can make claim as to what classifies a skeptic,i need a claim as to what is a believer cause i have met too many believers that arent as crazy as the stereotype.
i know you dont think ghosts are real OR that they are not real.i like that you dont pretend to have the answers and you simply state that we have no scientific evidence to back it up.as i have said many times before,i believe science needs to play a major role,but i think many things need to go into ghost investigation that have not and i also think our science isnt quite up to par yet to prove or disprove.this isnt a judgment of science.without it we would be in caves or huts still and couldnt possibly be having this conversation,you in netherlands me in california.without science all is lost and were pretty much animals,but i dont think anyone should have all their eggs in one basket,regardless of how safe a basket science is in comparison to most.
main point.your explaining what a skeptic SHOULD be.nto what every skeptic is.theres crazies in your camp just like there is in mind,i think more of these debates should be on open and closed mindedness and what constitutes evidence rather than believer vs. skeptic.since,as long as were rational,were really all on the same curious side.
p.s. since i didnt read it til afterwards systematic questioning is the best was but not the only way,some do have a personal bias,some skeptics hurt the investigation cause as much as some skeptics.
i agree with you for the most part.but the investigator can be as good or bad as the equipment itself,if their attitude and intuition sometimes leads to false answers.to me the best weapon in their arsenal is logic and open-mindedness.a gut feeling should be followed for sure every single time,but then it should be tested and tested in an unbiased manor.a lot of believers rely so heavily on this gut feeling that they turn from investigating if a ghost is there or not to trying to prove that one is there for sure,and instead of trying to disprove that their is a ghost by eliminationg the mundane theyre set on how to prove a ghost is there,when really there is no way to do that.the best we can do at this point is prove to the best of our ability that what is there can or can not be explained,if it can you proved it was not or atleast probably was not(depending on the circumstances) a ghost.thats a successful investigation.if you prove it can not be explained,you have another example to use against the nay sayers,but unless the investigator is willing to see it through in an unbiased way,its useless
Posted 01 December 2009 - 04:42 PM
I have encountered lots of, "open-minded", folks that are frankly delusional. We can measure effects and changes in the environment. We generally cannot attribute a causal agent to those effects.
If it cannot be measured, experienced by "normal" folks, or experience independently by many folks I tend to not buy it.
Posted 02 December 2009 - 05:18 AM
"open-minded" i don't think should be put in quotes here,atleast not in my case,not to brag.i have seen things that i don't think can ever be explained as anything other than ghosts.and yet i still question if they might have been something else,maybe less crazy,maybe more unheard of.my general consensus is simply "i don't know".i believe in ghosts,but i don't know anything to be fact.what is more open-minded than that?i guarantee i have seen things that are atleast on par to such events that have made self proclaimed skeptics believers and have made them stop questioning the existence of ghosts,and i who have never made such a claim still question what it was i saw.if seeing something that would make most people jump to conclusions faster than titanic passengers jumped for life rafts and still having an open mind that it could have been something else and that your views may be incorrect makes one delusional,i would gladly carry that label cause to me,it sounds a lot like being "open-minded".thats not to say that there isnt delusional ghost believers,but im sure you have ran into at least a couple of delusionals who if asked would claim not to believe as well.
thats completely fine if you tend not to buy it,even if you tend not to buy it with a mind that is closed very tightly.if you were an investigator of such things though,as opposed to being a psychologist,i would feel comfortable saying that,while being highly educated,you could be for more intelligent in choosing how to spend your time.no this is no insult,but to anyone who is going to study anything,not just ghosts, and not have an open approach, what is the point truly? especially with something that is highly unprovable/disprovable as ghosts.either one of us can sit here and yell back in forth that they do or dont exist,but we would get no where.so why not go at it with an open-mind regardless of what our own beliefs are?read omprdave's post,if youre someone who is even slightly curious about these things instead of having your mind made up 1 way or another,his approach is as near to perfect in theory as i have seen. sure have your beliefs,but accept that your hypothesis may be incorrect regardless of which direction it leads.
"If it cannot be measured, experienced by "normal" folks, or experience independently by many folks I tend to not buy it."
measured is debatable,you admit we can measure effects and changes in the invironment.that to me is when a delusional believer would say"well that means it is a ghost".no,that is not necessarily true by any means and can not be proven.you can say it is BELIEVED that a ghost can cause this effect,which is just fact,we can not argue that people believe this.and then you can choose if its worth looking into further.
and i think the vast amount of people who have claims of experience are "normal folk" certainly i am a "normal folk" who you will never lay claim to such titles as "psychic" or "sensitive" because anything i have gone through i do not believe it is because i am special.could be,but i doubt it.maybe im like the male jennifer love hewitt?haha.
also almost any claim of paranormal experience is independent,sure not the ones where you go into like chillingham castle and expect something around your ever corner,but from what claims i hear most experiences are in average peoples homes,independently,definitely not looking for them.
like i said i have no desire to prove ghosts to you or anyone,also if they were unquestionably disproved i would want to know,i would not shy away from it,i would want to know how it was done and if it was truth because to me curiosity is what links skeptics and believers,we all for one reason or another want to know the truth. and you "tend not to buy it"i respect that,in fact i tend not to buy the paranormal on a wide scale,almost everything i hear about just sounds crazy,including ghosts experiences which is about the only thing i lean towards and truthfully believe.but do you atleast accept that you can be wrong?talking to stevendell over the time i have been on here has been enlightening,one thing i know that he holds to be true is that there is no proof of ghosts,but that doesnt necessarily mean theyre not real,in his own words he admitted he does not know,i admit the same.though we both have different views that makes us both open-minded to the possibility one way or another without any kind of bias,atleast without extreme bias.you tend not to buy it,but are you atleast willing to admit that there is a chance youre wrong?even if it is a highly unlikely teeny tiny chance?if not that's called being close-minded,or in fact delusional.
Posted 02 December 2009 - 10:32 AM
Raymond Moody used to teach a class on visionary experience at West Georgia College (now the University of West Georgia). One day he brought in a crystal ball. I was dubious to say the least, but given a chance to use the ball, I had an experience of a rather vivid vision. This is hypnogogic imagery. Sort of like that state between waking and sleep. I had an experience, I don't attribute a meaning or even truth to it.
I want folks to find hard evidence and to be rigorous in their methods. I am tired of seeing orb pics where the orb appears in the same spot of the camera's field in several different shots. I really think that they need to clean their lens.
I am interested in pursuing investigations. But only if they are based in a rigorous scientific protocol. Then I would still disqualify much of personal experiences. Ask any friend that you have who hunts. As them about sitting in a tree stand before daylight. The mind plays tricks on us. A stump appears to be a deer and so forth. I could see how this very common experience when moved by a believer into a creepy setting becomes "proof" of what they already believe.
I am convinced that human beings have yet to tap the full potential of their brains. I recognize that their are many types of human experience that we cannot explain. I just want to be really clear with myself and my methods so that I don't leap to unsupported conclusions. Others are free to belive as they will. I am only attempting to satisfy myself.
Posted 03 December 2009 - 04:50 AM
i say this often to skeptics on this board;we think more alike than you probably guess.for me i don't care so much about believer/skeptic trivial debate when it comes for proof(thats more for here on the boards when i am not motivated to sit and write).and yes i get upset when it comes to psychic skills being used on an investigation,honestly only because they generally refuse to be put their skills to the test yet still expect their "experiences" to be used as evidence and in some cases proof of some place being or not being haunted."sammy psychic didnt have an experience, close the case." to me if they want their word to be taken as more than just a personal experience by any ordinary joe,they need to be willing to prove themselves first.if someone claims to have had a lot of experiences however,be them psychic or not, and they are brought along simply to try and find hotspots to be investigated for real,thats fine in my mind.in a way theyre humbling themselves as opposed to how lots of "psychics" have that"i dont need to show proof,but believe every word i tell you cause i am of a special breed" attitude. the experiences i have had are a bit crazier than most i hear about,i havehad the type where an object moves on its own and all that,those instances i will never claim amongst the ones that have made me a believer.that said i know i have no proof,i am also one of the "normal" folk you spoke of earlier and so i dont use my experiences as evidence either,no more than any proven fictional story would be considered evidence.i mean i know i am not making things up,but how could anyone else know that?the fact is people do make these things up and so all stories are just that to anyone who was not there to experience it for themselves.
interesting about the crystal ball.makes me wanna check it out haha.
do not get me started on orbs!i hate orbs,cana picture of orbs mean something more?i dont know,maybe,but unless you can give me a reason to believe that isn't dust,well thats what it looks like to me.and i agree about the hard evidence,while all the unexplainable photos and videos out there are a good start,they are not quite hard evidence.sure theyre "hard" to debunk but thats about it.o.s. i love puns.i have my doubts that there is any way to prove or disprove ghosts right now,i dont think we as a people are there yet when it comes to scientific knowledge,equipment,approach etc.if ever there is proof one way or another i would be surprised if i live to see it and im a young guy.heck maybe i'll be the gost they test it on!haha
and i am with you here as well.why hunt if the basis of what you do there is not scientifically sound?i dont think that 100% of faith should be put in science,i think personal encounters should be taken into account and noted,but definitely not used as evidence.also gut feelings i believe should be trusted,but then should be gone about correctly.and yes i am aware of how bad your mind can play tricks on you,i have been on only a handful of what would be called "hunts" myself but i can assure you i go about them sensibly.i cant tell you how many times i have thought i saw something out of the corner of my eyes and laughed about what it turned out to be when i looked into it.also my hair has hung infront of my face and as i turned a corner i thought it was a black mass of some sort,then when i turned and it turned with me i laughed so hard.the things i claim to have seen are dead on straight infront of my eyes and did not immediately fade as is popular in claims,it was so clear that i couldn't think of anything else to attribute it to.and as i said i still may be wrong,and that still doesnt make ti evidence.it just makes me a believer personally.
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