19. Is there evidence that humans have a spirit? Part 1: The Science of the Soul

As much as we talk about the idea of the spirit, you’d think it was a well documented fact, but is there any empirical evidence that proves spirits actually exists?

The Science of the Soul

Since science usually limits itself to studying that which can be observed, measured, and experimented upon, there’s seemingly little work that can be done in the area of the spirit; but there have been a few studies (oft labeled “pseudo-science” by skeptics) that infer the existence of a spirit, such as near death experiences, out of body experiences, communication with the dead, the mind/brain connection, reincarnation, etc.

That’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s dig in…

21 Grams – Weighing the Soul

In the 1880s, pictures of ghostly images caught on film were once used as evidence for the soul. And later, in 1911, the x-ray machine was even used to try and photograph the soul. These things are hardly considered evidence today, but there one experiment that is still rumored to have some truth, and that’s Duncan MacDougall’s 1907 experiment where he claimed you could shed weight quickly and easily by simply dying.

MacDougall weighed six volunteers before and after their death, and claimed they lost an average of 21 grams. But MacDougall’s results didn’t hold much weight (pun intended) with scientists because, 1) the small sample size (four people, two of them he discounted), 2) inconsistent results (one lost weight, two lost and then gained, and the final one lost, gained, and then lost weight again), 3) imprecise scales, and 4) not controlling for other factors.

Measuring Escaping Energy

Personally, I like Gerard Nahum’s idea of surrounding a dying body with various kinds of sensitive energy sensors. Nahum has even seriously pitched this idea to Yale, Stanford, Duke University, and even the Catholic Church, though none were interested. He believes they rejected the idea for the study because they already knew what would happen (nada). Still, it’s a worthwhile experiment, even if it’s just to dispel the popular notion that the some form of spirit energy escapes our body the moment we die.

The Out of Body Experience (OBEs)

The great thing about OBEs is that thousands of people have them and it’s something that can be tested empirically.

OBEs can be brought on by any number of things, including near death experiences, drugs, high fever, traumatic situations, meditation, lucid dreaming, powerful magnets, sensory deprivation, electrical stimulation of the temporal lobe, virtual reality, dissociative disorders, brain damage, Pink Floyd, and too much high fructose corn syrup.

With so many people putting so many frequent flyer miles on their souls, it’s a wonder why no one has ever been able to prove it with a simple test: leave your body and read a sign placed in another room. Think you can do it? The Amazing Randy has a million dollars waiting for anyone who can prove it.

Speaking to the Dead

Some scientists, like Gary Schwartz, PhD, take psychic mediums very seriously (though his methods and bias are debatable). Personally, I have difficulty moving beyond psychics’ subjective and vague statements, high failure rates, and their inability to prove themselves.

High Failure Rate

The insufferable psychic Sylvia Browne once told grieving parents that their missing 11-year-old son was dead. Fortunately, four years later, he was found alive and well. She told another woman that her missing granddaughter was alive… but being sexually exploited in Japan. She was later found in a shallow grave in Texas.

Fast talker and famous TV douche John Edwards once did a reading for the staff of 20/20. They later counted 41 misses and 1 hit. (With those odds, you’re probably better off just guessing what your dead relatives would want to say to you.)

Both Sylvia Browne and John Edwards readily admit they’re often wrong, but if they’re wrong so often, how do we know they’re right about anything?

Vague Statements 

If we really could talk to the dead, wouldn’t it be much more amazing and convincing? Shouldn’t the reading go more like: “Hi Ted, it’s me, Aaron Wood! Remember that time we drove up to Mt. Hood in Gary’s mom’s ’93 Buick Riviera? And you got totally drunk and we dared you to kiss that dead squirrel? Those were crazy times, man.”

But most readings are not that specific. They’re more like: “I’m getting a name… it sounds like a T… or an A… and I also see a mountain.” And the listener says, “OMG! My friend’s name was Ted, and mine is Aaron, and we once went on a trip to Mt. Hood!” Meanwhile, someone else hears the same reading and says, “OMG!  My grandma’s name is Tina Ann, and she lived near a mountain!”

This is known as the Forer effect, made famous by psychologist Bertram R. Forer, who once gave his students a personality test and the corresponding results. On average, they rated the results a 4.26 out of 5, indicating the results were excellent. Then Forer admitted to giving them all the same results, demonstrating that we humans have a tendency to personalize vague generalizations.

Inability to prove themselves

While our dead relatives seem more than happy to make vague and erroneous statements via mediums, they seem less eager to provide proof. For example, why can’t we ask the dearly departed to float into a nearby room to retrieve some randomly generated piece of information? Information that the medium would have no way of knowing? Or why can’t the dead give us the precise location of their dead body? Why must it always be by a road, or near a tree, or by some water?

James Randi’s million dollar offer goes out to psychics who claim they can speak to the dead. Randy says that hundreds of psychics from around the world have tried, but all have failed when tested under controlled conditions.

Photos and Videos of Ghosts

Personally, I find ghost photos and videos to be a lot like UFO videos: they’re usually grainy, ambiguous, shot from a distance, optical illusions, or manufactured hoaxes. They’re fun to look at, but I’ve never seen one that would stand up in court. And ghost stories are just too easy to manufacture.

The Mind-Body Connection

While many scientists believe that the mind is what the brain does, others suggest that things like consciousness go beyond the ability of the brain, and might be evidence for the existence of a spirit.

This goes back to the 40s and 50s, when Dr. Penfield probed the brains of conscious patients and concluded that the brain controlled only the mechanical functions of the body. He made this assumption because he was unable to isolate a part of the brain where thinking occurred, and he theorized that an invisible mind (i.e. spirit) must be responsible for conscious thought.

Fast-forward to modern functional neuroimaging and we now have a pretty good idea where thinking occurs (SPOILER ALERT!) — the brain. In fact, there’s never a time when you’re thinking that your brain is not active. All our thoughts appear to be died to brain function.

If we still wish to maintain a belief in the spirit/brain connection, we might suppose that the brain and spirit are interdependent, and brain is simply responding to spiritual input, perhaps uploading and downloading information to this invisible spirit source. But how exactly does that work?

According to Dr. Pim van Lommel, quantum physics can be applied to biological systems which results in electromagnetic fields forming a consciousness that broadcasts to our brains which act like receivers. This explanation is what some physicists call  “quantum flapdoodle,” as quantum physics is used to try and justify everything from time travel to quantum jumping.

The other possibility is that there is no mystery about the brain that requires an invisible, quantum mechanical, electro-magnetical, 21 gram transmitter to explain it. If a thought must originate from somewhere, why not from the brain?

Childhood Reincarnation

Like most good Christians, I never took reincarnation very seriously. (Christians believe in being born again, not in being born again, and again, and again. See Hebrews 9:27.)

In taking my first look at the evidence for reincarnation, I found the stories of young children like Cameron Macauley and James Leininger to be pretty impressive. On the surface, these individuals seem to hold “insider information” that links them to another past, but is this enough to prove such an extraordinary claim?

These claims are very difficult to empirically prove because:

  1. We can never be absolutely certain the child has never overheard the information or isn’t being fed the information (intentionally or by accident).
  2. We may only be hearing about the “hits” and not the “misses.”
  3. The parents may have incorrectly understood the child, or are applying their own interpretations.
  4. The parents may have (intentionally or unintentionally) encouraged the child with leading questions.
  5. The “recovered memories” are often sketchy and or missing seemingly obvious details, like names.
  6. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to subject reincarnation to a double-blind study or other rigorous scientific tests.

Even the researchers who have studied thousands of these cases admit that there will probably never be any scientific certainty of reincarnation.

Personally, I don’t recall any past lives of my own, but I have observed that my own children like to imitate every character in every movie they’ve ever seen. Multiply this tendency times billions of children and we might expect a few improbable (but not impossible) stories. Linking these stories to dead people may also be relatively easy, since billions of people have died in different locations from many different causes (i.e. if a child says he once died in WWII in a plane crash, well… lots of people died in WWII in plane crashes).

What we need is a child who can recite copious amounts of very specific information. For example, a 5-year-old who says he died in Pearl Harbor, who can still speak fluent Japanese.

If we really want answers, perhaps we should start interrogating children: “Who are you?! Where are you from?! Who sent you?! What is your mission?! Tell us what you know!!”

Adult Reincarnation

Adult reincarnation is far less impressive, and even reincarnation researcher Ian Stevenson is skeptical of these stories. Information about these past lives is often retrieved through regressive hypnosis, which is known for generating false recovered memories. How else do you explain 1,500 women all claiming to be the reincarnated Cleopatra?


I’m sure I’ve missed a few, but these are some of the more popular claims cited as evidence for the spirit (I’ve skipped the Near Death Experience so I can cover it more fully in my next post).

I’m open to the idea of the spirit, but if the spirit exists, I have to wonder why proof remains so elusive. Either God has some kind of weird spiritual protocol that limits how much proof can exist for the spirit, or proof is elusive because there’s nothing to prove. At some point we have to ask, “If there were proof, wouldn’t we have found it by now?”

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101 Responses to 19. Is there evidence that humans have a spirit? Part 1: The Science of the Soul

  1. rautakyy says:

    Rock on!

    I believe it was Aristoteles who once said the Brain is clearly a body part meant for the exhaustion of heat. That is why it has so much surface and is filled with fluids. Being an ex-hoplite he propably knew by first hand what the brain looked like. If I remember correctly, he also argued that the animals that have poorer heat economy such as the grazers have smaller brain. His final analyses was based on a well known “fact” at the time. Brain has to have some function as everyone knows the soul lives in the heart. They knew nothing about blood circulation at the time, hence heart problems were obviously problems within the soul as they manifest often when the “soul” of the person is under stress. The whole thought construction is quite logical by the physical knowledge of their day. The understanding of human physiology has evolved a bit from those days, but for some reason people feel reluctant to give up the idea of the soul.

    One reason is perhaps the hope for an afterlife. That even when we die some part of our personality is magically transferred to a preferably better wolrd. Now, that thought really requires faith, because there is no scientific or any other sort of knowledge about the afterlife. Even religions and folklore remain rather vague about that. Reason and logic do not allow much room for an afterlife to exist. All that remains after any sort of consideration, is that there could be such, because so many people believe and have believed such a thing exists. But the fact that so many people believed the world is flat really did not make it such. Instead one can easily smell the distinctive odour of wishfull thinking, when people reprsent their hope or faith for an afterlife. The fact that there has been people who have claimed to having attended it, or that some random divinity told them there actually exist one, is no evidence at all. It is all just hearsay. Even if there actually existed a god who really told someone there awaits an afterlife, we have no way of determining wether that god lied or not. Nor do we have a chance to evaluate wether the person who re-entered life after death had actually been anywhere. Even if we had medical records of a person who died and returned to life (and there exists none), and we knew that person to be generally truthfull, the greater propability is that what ever the person experienced during his/her death was the product of subconstious process, than that the person could actually describe an afterlife uniform to us all.

    The idea of a rebirth of a soul puzzels me. I have never been able to understand what is it for. What is the point of the soul travelling from one living being to a nother, if it carries no memories of the previous host with it. Even if some people claim to have memories of their former lives, for the recieving host those memories are as usefull as a memory of a dream. Even if there were souls that could travel from one host to a nother, it would make no difference if they did. Logically it does not matter to the dying host either. What ever his/her future life will be, as the memories do not transfer, neither does the persona. So, what is transferred? Absolutely nothing. Obviously most of the people who claim to actually remember their former lives were either Marie Antoinette or Napoleon Bonaparte. What use it is to the orginal Napoleon that he has been divided to the bodies of so many people living in insane asylums? Or is that some form of divinal punishment no religion has told us about?

    • Now that you mention it, I have heard that some of our ancestors used to believe the soul (or thought process) occurred in the heart. In fact, the Bible contains almost 900 references to the heart, often referring to it is the source of one’s thoughts. Of course, today we just take it all as metaphor, but it does make me wonder how literal they may have been. I’ll just have to chalk that up to one more thing the designer seems woefully ignorant of; neither God nor Jesus ever pointed to the brain as the real master control unit of the body. Why not?

      No doubt that if we didn’t die, the whole idea of the spirit would vanish! What would be the point? People would say, “A soul? Now what on earth would I need one of those for?”

      “Even if there actually existed a god who really told someone there awaits an afterlife, we have no way of determining whether that god lied or not.” Interesting point. We not only have to believe the testimony of the 3rd person, but also the words of the God they reportedly spoke to! In fact, one of the questions I have is whether God even designed us to have a soul. Maybe, in His mind, it was gift enough to grant us the bodies and the time we have now. Maybe our insisting on more life just makes us seem selfish, like Edmund demanding more Turkish Delight. As Douglas Adams said, “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

      As for reincarnation, that is another problem. Even if we do decide to believe in an afterlife, who’s version do we believe in? I think the hope behind reincarnation is the same as heaven: not to die.

      I once heard about an interesting survey where people were asked which they would rather have: God or eternal life. It’s an intriguing question because, I think, it gets to the heart of what we’re really after. Would we rather have God be real in this life, just as He is, and have that be the end of it; or no God at all, but live for as long as we can stomach it? Reportedly, the majority opted for eternal life. God is nice and all, but eternal life… that’s the real prize. It does seem a bit self-serving, doesn’t it?

      Party on!

      • rautakyy says:

        Yes it does. But notice, that eternal life only seems compelling, if one has the choise to end it, if or when it really starts to get boring.

        Maybe you could write something in your questions about the endless metaphors. I for one have allways wondered why the Bible has to be full of them? Why can it not be written in plain language. I maen the different interpretations of metaphors have lead to the church division into these numerous sects and even wars between them. Not to mention the difficulty people are having, when they try to make the Bible some sort of moral code. As it seems it is possible to turn every metaphor over and over until us common people have no idea whose interpretation of the Biblical metaphors is even remotely ethical. I bet you could write somthing inspiring even from that sad piece of history.

        Personally I think most often when religious people take the words of a philosopher such as Jesus or Paul, they turn them into metaphors, when the philosophers are staight forward and the opposite when they are actually trying to make a metaphor.

        • Maybe. But I always thought the Bible’s metaphors and parables were intentional, so that God could open the eyes and ears of the chosen while preventing non-believers from seeing the truth. It’s like… spiritual encryption that only the Holy Spirit can unlock. And if it weren’t for these metaphors, the unsaved might read the Bible and the truth would be so painfully obvious that they would become saved against their will. (Which, actually does sound rather silly when you spell it all out like that.)

          But you’re right, it does lead to a lot of confusion. Take Isaiah 53’s “Suffering Servant,” for example. This is a key verse for Christians who say it’s a direct prophecy about Jesus, but Jews disagree. Isaiah never says it’s about the coming Messiah, which he easily could have, but instead admits it represents the nation of Israel. But then the Christian retorts: “Ah yes, but sometimes the nation of Israel represents the Messiah. So…it’s actually a metaphor wrapped in another metaphor. The Suffering Servant is the nation of Israel, and the nation of Israel is the Messiah, and the Messiah is actually God. See? It all makes sense, but if the Holy Spirit hasn’t revealed that to you yet, you won’t understand.” 😕

    • Daniela says:

      “Reason and logic does not allow much room for the afterlife.” This is personal opinion and knowledge (or the lack thereof) and it does not reflect reality. It’s more of ignorance than the reflection of the fact.

      • Hi Daniela, thanks for reading and commenting. In case rautakyy doesn’t respond, I would like to.

        While having a spirit is a very pervasive idea, the reality is that when we look at the brain, it appears to be the entire mechanism responsible for allowing us to experience life and consciousness. This is why our conscious experience begins after our brain is formed, and we can assume it ends after it falls apart. If we had a spirit that was truly “us,” then we may not even need a brain.

        The reality is that if we damage our brain, we can damage the memories and abilities it contains. Like a computer, it runs on electric signals, and when we shut off power to the brain, it’s like powering down a computer. It is no longer processing, and can no longer retrieve data or produce the “life” experience. To insist it lives on in an invisible form is like suggesting that computers and electronic devices might also continue processing even when they are powered off. There is no evidence that can reliably and repeatedly demonstrate that spirit exists.

        So while I hate to argue (believe it or not), I would say it’s belief in the spirit that is truly a personal opinion — a bit of wishful thinking, perhaps — that does not actually reflect our present reality.


        • Daniela says:

          Thanks for responding. The info is sure worth in an analogy.
          “If we had a spirit that was truly ‘us,’ then we may not even need a brain.” I am sure software would need a computer to run on don’t you think? Even if the computer died, software would still remain and you still would have backup of that too. Most of us know what a computer is but we don’t know how software is made and work. Don’t you think the same concept applies here?
          “that is truly a personal opinion — a bit of wishful thinking, perhaps — that does not actually reflect our present reality.” Until quantum was discovered, scientists usually thought the idea of such thing can appear and disappear, is not a reality. Now those who can’t apprehend the quantum reality, are consider retards, don’t you think?

          • Sure, software resides on the hard drive, just like memories reside on our brain. We “install” our own software through our life experiences. But without power, this software in either case is completely useless, the values just sits there until they begin to degrade.

            I don’t think the analogy of a backup really applies. Though if we could back up our memory to an invisible spirit, then a good bonk on the head wouldn’t cause us to forget things, we could simply retrieve the backup from our spirit. The fact that we often can’t do this demonstrates that memory is only contained in the flesh of our brain.

            Quantum physics is indeed bizarre, but once evidence was provided for it, the scientific world was willing to accept it. They still question it and test the theories to confirm that they are indeed true, but they will accept them unless a better explanation comes along.

            I think the same is true of the spirit. There should be tests we could do to prove that it exists, like putting signs above emergency room beds to see if patients who almost die can read them, or if the spirit emits any kind of energy, we should be able to detect this energy when it leaves the body. But so far, no such proof has emerged.

            • netizen_james says:

              >Sure, software resides on the hard drive, just like memories reside on our brain. We “install” our own software through our life experiences. But without power, this software in either case is completely useless, the values just sits there until they begin to degrade.<

              Hmmm. the software that is 'me' is running on the physical substrate of the brain, just like this particular instance of iexplore.exe is running on the physical substrate of this particular computer. Unlike the electronic variety, the biological software can re-wire the physical substrate, and it's believed that making new connections, as well as changing the 'settings' of existing connections, is how we learn new things. So I would be more likly to phrase that as our genes 'install' the basic framework upon which environment/experience builds a 'self'. We know there are 'critical periods' for birdsong acquisition. Think of how many more 'critical periods' there are likely to for human infant development.

              But I agree with your basic premise. Like the data in that instance of notepad I hadn't saved yet when the cat steped on thepowerstrip, when our brains are no longer capable of 'running' the software that is 'us', then that unique datapattern – that unique combination of the genetic framework and every exposure to every environmental factor – that unique datapatern is lost, gone – poof – to oblivion, piped to /dev/null, dumped in the BitBucket; an EX-Parrot, as it were.


          • Anonymous says:


    • I am not religious, but I have since a child been aware of spirit manifestation. I do not have a mental illness, nor do I take drugs/alcohol. To those who know, there’s is nothing to prove. With regard to mediums, the ones most likely to be heard are those that do it for the money. No self respecting medium would charge money. They would use their “gift” to enhance the lives of others, and to bring comfort and happiness. True mediums do not get up on a stage and say “Ooh, I can see an old lady here”. Mediumship is not something to be learned; it is innate. You cannot get a BA (hons) in Mediumship and Healing. You can get a dodgy certificate which holds no clout in which the vulnerable will believe. These mass conglomerate telephone lines are a particularly nasty business. I feel that they should be banned for lacking integrity and truth. Fast bucks from the very sad people that use their services.

  2. rvfd42 says:

    If I am reincarnated, would I get to choose my next host? I assume not, as it’s billed as a reward/punishment manifestation. Since our world population continues to climb geometrically, some newborns are apparently their own (new) souls, while other infants are (un)fortunately born as empty vessels into a destiny of hosting parasites? It seems it’s almost a moral obligation, then, to continue exploding the global population, to avoid souls becoming “backed up” waiting for a host. It would seem there would have to be some sort of prioritization (inventory) scheme for doling out old souls to new hosts. Again, since it’s reward/punishment, it couldn’t really be FIFO. God would have to be intentionally matching parasite (soul) to host to ensure the proper caste. And what happens in times of a population anomaly? For example, the Holocaust. I would think during an era such as that you’d have a huge number of polarized souls (victims vs. perpetrators). That would take a lot of soul shuffling, I would expect. There’s some math in there that I don’t think I’m capable of figuring out.

    • Or it doesn’t exist (but I think that’s your point).

      But if we do get a choice, I’m asking to come back as a pig.

    • Carl. says:

      Please understand that our brains are locked into linear time and singular dimension status through our social conditioning. There is an infinite amount of physicality for said reincarnation. Jump out of your goldfish bowl for a second and experience the bigger picture. Conscious life is a continuous process that can transcend many dimensions and physical plains and our prehistoric physics tells us that you cannot create something from nothing and in the same sense an entity cannot become a zero as such. If the primitive human race were to have exacting proof of a spiritual plain we would end up with many suicides and social issues.

      Emotionally we are still basic animals with limited brain capacity 10% usage and 10% perception when we reach further development we will begin to understand the bigger picture.

      Why don’t we remember any past lives? We actually do in our subconscious states, which is probably our real lives, as opposed to our physical states which are the dream state as such.

  3. Mario says:

    All this is just a silly joke

    • In what way? Both a believer in the spirit and an unbeliever could say the same thing… so I’m not sure how you mean. But there are many who do take the subject very seriously.

  4. Daniela says:

    “We may search for them and find compelling stories, miracles, photos, videos, artifacts, and eyewitnesses, BUT THE REAL PROOF ALWAYS REMAINS ELUSIVE. AND THAT’S EXACTLY THE WAY IT SHOULD BE, we shouldn’t be able to find proof for things that don’t really exist.” Another word, regardless of evidence you’ll always deny such existence. It sounds like insanity.

    Even if you see superman you’d still need proof, proof like DNA? Even if superman toss you, with great force, over to the lake and you survive you still wouldn’t believe it because lack of DNA?

    • Howdy Daniela,

      The point I was trying to make in the above quote was that if something does not exist, you will never find proof that it does. If there’s good evidence for something, I see no reason not to accept that it exists.

      I’m not quite sure what you mean about needing to see Superman’s DNA to believe he exists. If I saw him fly, or lift and throw heavy objects (not that I’m heavy), I would then have all the evidence I need to believe such things existed (assuming it was not a trick).

      But if I told you I could fly, would you believe me? Probably not, you’d say “Prove it!” And if I then said, “No, you need to just BELIEVE I can fly,” would you believe me? No, you would insist on seeing some evidence because my claim was so extraordinary. Now, I might be able to show you some pictures of me flying, or tell you stories of how I can fly, but actual proof would always be elusive because I can’t REALLY fly. Likewise, proof of the spirit remains elusive, because it likely doesn’t not exist.

      If everyone were saying “Invisible fairies exist!” or “Invisible dragons are causing global warming!” we should demand some evidence before accepting every extraordinary claim that the human mind can dream up.

      While we may WANT to have eternal spirits, we shouldn’t just believe in them until someone can provide demonstrable evidence that they do actually exist. Do you have any such evidence?

      • Daniela says:

        Good, you seem reasonable. Of course, it would be hard for everyone of us to witness such event let alone personal experience, but we should regard authentic scientific evidence as fact or truth.

        “Do you have any such evidence?”
        Aha,… maybe you like to watch a carry movie. Go ahead and grab the DVD movie called “The Entity” and after watching it, watch the extra feature called “The Entity Files.” You can also find it and other related peer-reviewed videos in youtube, like “The real story behind the entity.”
        According to professor Storm (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vj0qKthCgg), knowledge and awareness are so much heighten in the afterlife and this means that they knows/aware more about you and I believe this is why not adults but little kids can see them.
        In term of “demonstrable”, the “alleged” rapist did respond to the demands of the investigators and according to frank, there were more than 10 interested scientists involved in this investigation.
        Have fun watching the movie.

        Oh, one more thing, watch Jeff Wheatcraft in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwSIczexst0), a non-believer who was being hung and thrown at the wall. What a rocky ride for him.

        • I’ll check these out when I have time, though I’m not sure old scary movies qualify as peer reviewed science.

          We must be careful not to confuse experimental evidence with anecdotal evidence. People will always have great stories about ghosts, goblins, leprechauns, fairies, bigfoot, UFOs, alien abductions, haunted houses, gods, magic, and tales of the afterlife. But until these things can be captured or routinely tested and observed, they’re unlikely to end up in any peer-reviewed science journals. Unexplained evidence is not the same as proof of a claim.

          I am actually very familiar with Howard Storm and even read his book. He gets a little weird in the end, claiming that in the future we’ll be able to grow plants with the power of our mind… he kinda lost me after that point. But the human mind is an AMAZING thing, and I am constantly amazed at what people seem to believe (a case in point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UAeSsvHhTg).

          • rautakyy says:

            @ Daniela and 500Q. Wow, I looked at the first video. How exeptional that an atheist might turn to Christian, it must prove Christianity is true just about as much as a Christian turn to Islam proves Islam is true. How do we know wether Professor Storm is describing a personal hallucination during an emotional stress and sedation for a medical operation, or actual spirit travel? Wich is more likely? Is it not more likely it is his cultural heritage, through wich he interpreted this experience within his mind, actually formed by his subconcsious, than that he actually went to hell? The fact that he felt it was more intense than a dream, does not separate it from how dreams are formed in our brain. Is it not more likely that this sort of hallucination is formed in the subconscious of someone in his situation, than that a god gave a glimpse of hell to him, to reveal the truth. Regardless of his former atheistic views. To me it seems his mind “ran home to mama” in a stress situation and his childhood indoctrination stepped in when he feared for his life and the matter was removed from his hands to the shoulders of the medical professionals.

            The most obvious explanation to what happened is, that the professor was under physical and mental stress and propably feared death, his subconscious formed a hallucinative dream to help him to deal with extreme cognitive stress. That is how our minds work. But how he came to interprete it is rather self centered and unintelligent. This sort of selfimportance is allmost sickening to me. Professor Storm sees himself as so important person, that god decided to turn his mind and convince him of the truth, but not of those many souls in the hell he claims to have visited. Such arrogance.

            It seems he was a bit of an a-hole as an atheist, and really harboured a need to reform his life. He then had a turnpoint experience and decided to give up his selfish ways. Did he become a better person? At least his understanding of ethics is not on a very high level for such an educated old guy.

            I do not feel myself to be “a rotten person”. Why should I call out for Jesus? Why should I not call out for example Allah, Krishna, Buddha, or Ahura Mazda, if I felt I was “a rotten person”? I do not know very many people who are in any way “rotten persons” and I certainly do not know anyone who would deserve eternal pain. Do you?

            It is exactly because we can study the cognitive mind of human beings and how these alledged spiritual experiences reflect the cultural heritage, childhood indoctrination and other personal backround of people, that we do understand these phenomenon as products of the subconscious rather than as actual evidence of spirit travel. Funny how, if the concept of monotheism had never been invented, we could just say that the cultural manifestations in such experiences are the result of people meeting the spirits of their own area, ancestry, totems etc. But since the different monotheists from particular cultural niches have these and their claims are mutually exclusive, they must be hallucinations. In that sense professor Storm is a perfect example.

            Storm claims that his god is not in the business of punishing people, but people have free choise in this life wether they want to choose to spend an eternity in light with his god, or in torment in the hell. Not much of a choise is it? I mean by presenting this claim he kind of puts his former alledged atheism in a very strange light. Was he an atheist before his marvellous experience, because he had made an aware choise between eternity in “loveliness”, or “exquisite” pain? Who, exept the total masochist, would choose eternal pain? If it is not an aware choise, but a cultural, like it is for most of the people in this world (since most people are of the wrong religion, or denomination according to most people), what is the point of the choise? To arbitrarily divide people into two different forms of eternal existance according to place of birth?

            The second video Daniela posted is banned untill they decide wether the content is and adult audiences only material.

            The Aliens video was interresting. Should we take the claims of the lady who said Obama not only tried to launch a war with Iran, but to fight aliens and that China destroyed a US warship with an EMP bomb, at face value, or do we have a right to expect her to demonstrate them. She seemed very convinced of her case and had nothing but ridicule to win by making these exraordinary claims.

            Again, wich is more likely, that her mind cooked up these stories because she has fears and as a human being her mind is supceptible to all kind of nonsence hormonal distres and cultural heritage, or is it more likely that she happens to be the one the aliens decided to make contact with on Earth?

            • Daniela says:

              With respect to professor Storm, his experience is just one of many. Look at what the experts are saying:

              I did check the second video and it was fine and I don’t know why you said it was banned. But more importantly, you didn’t seem to have watched the movie or at least comment on it.

              You also seemed to have an issue with regards to the number of religions. But know this, they all have one common belief, and the belief is that there are spiritual beings.
              While not all of them based on believing a creator, the largest of them believe a creator. The others just need to be educated.

              Regarding the alien-missile video, I am not sure why some people make such a firm claim but one important point she made is that she said she got it from her ears. It’s like she has a DNA receptive device that allow her to hear but no one else. I think we can draw one logical conclusion from this. In reality it is 1% logical chance that Obama would launch a strike on iran from the main land of the US. Secondly, if China did EMPed the US ship the world would have known about it.

        • Ok, I’m back. Just watched the videos you recommended.

          Howard Storm offers the (I hate to say) typical appeal to emotion rather than reason or evidence. The only reason he gives for believing the Bible is true is a possible “warming of the heart,” which is coincidentally the same evidence Mormons offer as evidence for the Book of Mormon.

          I’ve added The Entity to my Netflix queue, but they don’t seem to have it in stock. But there are many reasons one might claim to see ghosts, such as drugs, hallucinations, sleep paralysis, the power of suggestion, misinterpretation of events, schizophrenia, carbon monoxide, hoaxes, REM intrusion, lack of oxygen, seizures, lying, etc. The brain is a tricky thing. While there may be ghosts, proof of ghosts is as elusive as proof of UFOs or bigfoot. And in today’s world, where billions of people carry around video cameras, you’d think video evidence of ghosts would be much more common, but it’s not.

          But I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Paranormal TV Presents: An Unknown Encounter video, thanks for that recommendation.

          You’ve suggested that what happens to Jeff Witchcraft… er… Wheatcraft is proof/evidence that spirits exist, specifically his being “hung and thrown at the wall” by a ghost, so let’s take a look at these events.

          When Jeff is hung in the attic, the event is not actually captured on video. (In fact, throughout the entire video, there’s never a single levitating object that is captured on camera, with the possible exception of some lights). Had a video camera been on Jeff, we may have seen that Jeff didn’t see the wire loop in the dark attic and accidentally walked into it or tripped and fell into it. But I believe the more likely possibility is that Jeff intentionally brought this wire with him as part of a hoax to help them sell the story for bigger bucks (the quest for fame and fortune makes us do strange things).

          The video says that prior to the hanging, the attic was searched and found to be empty. If we go with the ghost hypothesis, this means that our poltergeist was magically able to pull old, 10 gauge, insulated copper wire out of thin air. (Why not just call forth some rope in the shape of a noose?) Either that, or he had to search the house for some old wire, levitate it up into the attic, wrap it into a circle and wait for Jeff to arrive.

          In either case, it would’ve been MUCH more compelling had the ghost hung Jeff in the friggin’ living room, in mid-air, in front of the cameras. Now THAT would be awesome. But no, he had to do it in a dark attic, when the cameras were off, when no one was looking. It’s also super convenient that Jeff’s partner manages to snap a few pictures before un-hanging him… because no one thinks to bring flashlights into a dark haunted attic. But it gets better.

          Jackie’s phantom travels with her as she moves to her next home. She frightens her new neighbors until they too start seeing spooky things, and who could ever doubt well educated and reputable witness like the Silcotts…

          Jeff Wheatcraft travels to Jackie’s new home, where they use a Ouija board (no, seriously) to try and communicate with the ghost. What’s interesting is that the same ghost that can levitate toys, throw lamps, tie wires into knots and violently shake tables is powerless to move a plastic Ouija board pointer by himself. So the team helps, and witness Tina Lawler assures us: “Everybody could barely keep their fingers on it, let alone move it themselves.” Okay, well, if that’s not enough to convince you, Jeff adds that the ghost used perfect spelling and “full sentences and words,” (something no one else in the room was apparently capable of).

          While the phantom was unable to move the Ouija pointer, it was able to throw Jeff and his chair up against the wall (ghosts hate chairs). Unfortunately, this spectacular event also went unrecorded, so we just have to take their word for it.

          The story gets even sketchier as the phantom moves in with the show’s producers, where it repeatedly turns on burners, rearranges photos, drops objects in various places (especially sharp objects), and flips jars upside down… because… nothing is more frightening than seeing an upside down jar that should be right-side up…

          Creepy. But once again, despite hours of filming, they NEVER catch a single thing moving on camera. They just come into a room and say “Hey, a ghost moved this!” The stove seems to be the hub of activity, yet they never think to leave a camera trained on it. Nor do they setup cameras in each of the rooms to capture the activity.

          If you’re still not convinced that spirits exist, I present you with undeniable photographic evidence, prepare to be amazed…

          • Daniela says:

            There is nothing much we can argue about Howard Storm except to say that he has no reason to lie or fake the whole thing and he is not alone. There are many adults and children with the same claim. You can’t claim them to be liars or mentally ill; their stories are consistent with one another.

            If you haven’t seen all the evidence I gave then making assumption or speculating on Storm or everything else, is foolish.

            As to the “Unknown Encounter”, I’m also sadden by the lack of actual motion caught in camera that involve the ghost as the event is occurring, but because the number of people presented at the scene demonstrates that the chance of it being a hoax is remotely possible. What about the liquid oozing out of the wall or the lights. If you can’t refute the liquid and the lights then dismissing the hanging of Jeff is utterly foolish and ignorant. You keep arguing that the levitation of things happened out of plain sight but let me ask you this, when you attack someone would you do it so everyone present can see? You should also realize that no camcorder can work up in the attic so this is obvious enough to say that the ghost is preventing everyone from seeing his attack. And again, you can’t claim this to be a hoax if you can’t refute the most apparent ones. If the liquid and lights are possible and real then everything else are possible and as good as real. And any argument against its reality is utterly ignorant and stupid. That’s how I see it.

            “If you’re still not convinced that spirits exist, I present you with undeniable photographic evidence, prepare to be amazed…” – I don’t know if this a sarcasm or something else, but It should be for your attention don’t you think?

            Another video for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8aOSs4EpZk Watch the 2nd and 3rd videos too. If you want to dismiss these videos then go through the publisher or owner to refute them. If you can’t authentically refute these videos than there shouldn’t be any question about them.

            • anna says:

              “There is nothing much we can argue about Howard Storm except to say that he has no reason to lie or fake the whole thing and he is not alone.”

              Yes, he does. It’s MONEY. Money can motivate a person to kill, so telling a little lie to rake in money certainly isn’t unfathomable.

              “There are many adults and children with the same claim. You can’t claim them to be liars or mentally ill; their stories are consistent with one another.”

              It may seem farfetched, but don’t you think the similarities in the stories could be because they heard the stories of those that recounted the same tale before them? It’s kind of like the way many people that claim to have been “abducted” have similar descriptions of the aliens.

              “the number of people presented at the scene demonstrates that the chance of it being a hoax is remotely possible.”

              The number of people present is not indicative as to whether or not it’s a hoax. It is quite possible for a large number of people to be in on a hoax. It is even more possible for a few people to be in on it, while having numerous others, not privy to the plan, present to “witness” the hoax.

              “What about the liquid oozing out of the wall or the lights.”

              It is very easy for a living, breathing, human being to make these thing happen. The question is, was an unbiased third party allowed to inspect the scene to check for human interference? I can make liquid ooze from my wall and rig my lights to flicker and I don’t need a ghost to help me.

              “You keep arguing that the levitation of things happened out of plain sight but let me ask you this, when you attack someone would you do it so everyone present can see?”

              No, I wouldn’t want anyone to witness me attacking someone. However, the reason I wouldn’t want any witnesses don’t apply to a non-corporal entity. A ghost doesn’t have to worry about consequences like jail or retaliation because they’re ghosts. If there was no chance of me suffering any ill effects as a result, I wouldn’t care if the entire world saw the attack.

              You keep saying “refute the evidence”. Provide REAL evidence and I’d be happy to refute it. So far all you have offered are stories from people that can’t be proven and video that has no way to be authenticated.

              • Daniela says:

                By your repudiatory standard, anything can be refuted. If Howard Storm’s claim was caused by money motivation, show me the evidence. Show me that he did actually make more money on his claim than his teaching position. If you can’t show me the evidence than shut the fuck up!
                You see this picture?: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/uploaded_files/images/0009/4170/sig12-013_Med.jpg This picture can make a lot of money and I can easily create a picture like this with any computer graphic program. It’s all about making money. How pathetic!
                If I were you, I would focus on my ignorant, arrogant and senseless mentality.

                • Angry much? Personally, I think Mr. Storm is sincere, or at least I’d like to believe he is, but as I’ve pointed out there are lots of people who believe crazy things.

                  But let’s look at the facts surrounding this case. Howard Storm spent several hours in debilitating pain, in a foreign country, waiting for surgery in an understaffed hospital. In this fearful and desperate state, Howard was given morphine, for which one of the side-effects is: “confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior.” What’s more, Storm never technically dies, but has this whole experience while he is unconscious and awaiting surgery.

                  What Storm experienced may have been a vivid hallucination triggered by a mix of pain, fear of death, desperation, morphine, and hallucinogenic dreams triggered by these circumstances and past recollections of people telling him he would go to hell for being an atheist.

                  What Storm experienced seemed very real to him, but people who take the drug DMT have also been known to have crazy hallucinations that are so vivid, they often later swear up and down that what they experienced was real. It happens.

                  • Daniela says:

                    Haha, When people look at the money I gave and tell me that the money is fake without giving any evidence supporting their claim, is disrespectful and I will simply tell them to get lost.
                    If you have looked at studies that deal with the hallucinating drug, you would see that nothing came in the way of what Howard and many other people have described. Even people without any drug have similar experiences. So the chance of you being wrong is far greater than 50/50. What I like to question is someone’s sanity. While people would buy a one-in-ten-million chances lottery ticket but would not buy a 90%-chances eternity insurance then one can only wonder. I mean if you know you’re going to have an accident but still refuse to buy the insurance that covers it then you know… I hate to say it.

                • anna says:

                  Let’s see, first, there’s the book that’s FOR SALE on his website. Then there are his “spiritual painting”, also available FOR SALE. He even has himself up FOR SALE. He’s more than happy to speak at any number of public or private functions for a substancial fee. These are all ways that Storm himself directly PROFITS MONETARILY from his “experience”. On another note, your “shut the fuck up” attitude is not only unecessary and un-christian, it’s also what people resort to when they don’t have any valid, verifiable point to make. You are also free to tell people to “get lost” if you feel they are being disrespectful in YOUR house, this is not your house, it’s 500’s. If you feel you’re being disrespected, no one’s forcing you to stay.

                  • Daniela says:

                    Mr. Storm had himself for sale (chuckle)… Online? How much is he, $10? All of your comments only amount to delusion.
                    Do whatever you want in here, just don’t comment on my information.

                    • anna says:

                      Feel free to start your own blog and bar me from commenting on it, but until 500 asks me to stop responding, I’ll comment on any remark I so desire. As I stated earlier, Howard Storm has turned his “conversion” into a very profitable industry. It’s all right there on HIS VERY OWN WEBSITE, not some other site that’s just trying to discredit his “beliefs”, HIS website. Unless the entire internet is delusional, the proof speaks for itself.

                      I don’t know what your problem is, but you should really see someone about that stick you’ve got shoved up your rear end. Several people have tried to have a mature, reasonable conversation with you and anytime you don’t have an answer for a completely legitimate question, you resort to acting like a spoiled toddler that didn’t get her way. That kind of behavior undermines EVERYTHING you have to say, not just the ridiculously outrageous ones.

                    • Daniela says:

                      Take a hike to school kid!

  5. rautakyy says:

    @ Daniela, thank you for the interresting videos. I am not a member of the tube-community, so that might be the reason why I can not watch your second film.

    Quite frankly, Dr. Jeffrey Long is not very convincing. Perhaps it is because the interview is so short, but he makes no effort to explain why should we think the phenomenon he has observed should be interpreted as some sort of afterlife. The fact that people have similar experiences goes nowhere to prove there is anything supernatural why people in strong sedation or simply during certain types of unconsciousness experience similar things. Would it not be more prudent to assume, that the similarities are the result of our physiological similarities in brain structure, than anything to do with the supernatural? As a scientist Dr. Long should face this question very seriously. The cultural influence may not be so much involved in our actual “near death” experience as it obviously is in the interpretation of those experiences. It will be interresting what kind of peer revues such a research will have. If this study has some ground braking evidence about the afterlife we will be expecting a Nobel price for the good doctor in the near future. Somehow, I doubt that. Because in science the most likeliest explanation is chosen, not the one we are culturally more inclined to choose, nor the one that would please us more.

    The fact, that religious thinking universally recognizes the idea of human spirit, goes nowhere to prove such a thing as a soul really exists. It is almost as universal as idea that the gods have created us, but even so there is no proof of any such claims. They are just easy explanations to somehting we have no answers to. However, the fact that humans culturally define just about everything else about the concepts of spirits and the supernatural so differently goes to show, that even if there existed something like a soul, we have no knowledge how it works, what it is for, or where it came from. These different cultural interpretations of the idea are all equal until there is evidence to back any of them up. There is no evidence for such a thing as a soul or spirit, and what Dr. Long presented as evidence for an afterlife in this videoclip is actually only evidence, that some people regardless of their cultural indoctrination have similar experiences within their subconscious mind during similar conditions of unconsciousness. The mere fact that Dr. Long jumped to the conclusion that this is evidence for an afterlife sets his scientific integrity in this matter into a questionable light, as it is far too long a jump to conclusions from the evidence he presented. That is, in the field of science.

    As for how do we know stuff like if Obama is trying to launch a war against Iran, or China destroying a US warship, one should remember how the US launched a bombing raid in Laos during the sixties, and before the western world knew anything about it (or even knew that there exists such a country as Laos), Laos had been bombed with more explosives than the entire total of explosives used in the WWII. The information technology has somewhat developed from that time, but it is not that long ago. I am not saying the claims the lady in the video made, were very likely, or even remotely believable, but you can see where such fears come from and how she might come to think this is possible. Yet all she had to support her notions was her own anecdotal evidence. It is her interpretation about the news flash about the missile. I believe, our host The 500 Questions posted it as an example of how a delusional someone might be, so the delusions of professor Storm and his interpretation of his personal hallucination requires more evidence, before we accept the interpretation he is giving to us. It is an example, just as the videos you posted, how weak anecdotal evidence is, in the first place. Do you see why?

    • Daniela says:

      I can see quite clear now why you make statement on one part of the equation and not the others. You seemed to see only what is most apparent and ignore what may be hidden or require more efforts to dig it up. You will learn very little if you do just that.

      Regarding the missile, the logic behind using a land-base missile to target a ship or a country is absurd when all the ships are out at sea. So her claim is illogical.

      • rautakyy says:

        Well, here you have a perfect opportunity to educate me, and everybody reading this blog, on how to see the hidden meanings, or how to dig them up. I am interrested, how does one go about that. 🙂

        Yes, the very point of the video about the lady who believes to be in contact with aliens here was, that her claims are so illogical and recognizably absurd. All I am saying is that they are just about as illogical as the claims made by Prof. Storm and Dr. Long. At least when one sees what is most apparent about them. She has just about the same amount of evidence to back up her claims.

        You see, even if we could not outright refute the claims of the UFO-lady by our knowledge of modern warfare, they would still not be true. For her to convince us should not require us to be able to refute them, but for her to prove them. Do you see the difference?

        • Daniela says:

          Look, no body can educate people with disorders or ignorant. If you would go back to my posts, above Storm’s video there is a movie and titles of videos I asked them to be watched and you either ignored or failed to see them. Under Dr. Long’s video there is a website that supports Dr. Long’s claim and you either ignored it or failed to see it. If you can’t see the information I gave then you clearly can’t understand the information you read.

  6. rautakyy says:

    @ Daniela, I think you are quite wrong about education. It is the ignorant who need education, not the educated.

    I commented on the Storm video, because that was easily awailable. It was not convincing. Did you find his testimony convincing? Why? Perhaps I will later look at your reference movie when I have the time and perhaps your other video link will become awailable to me also later, but do you think my comments about the Prof. Storm video were arguable? Did you see my point about it?

    The link below the Dr. Long video kicks of with the sentence: “…if NDE veridical perception could someday be duplicated, studied and verified under strict scientific controls, it would provide absolute scientific proof that consciousness can exist outside of the body after death.” Before that precise moment in history when that has been peer revued and accepted by the scientific community, I see very little reason to believe in any of this NDE stuff let alone any of the mythologies about afterlife. Why should I?

    • Indeed. Dr. Long seems to be regurgitating the work of Raymond Moody. According to Dr. Long, “By collecting NDEs via the Internet, I could examine the content of a large number of experiences, reliably determining similarities and differences, and find out once and for all if NDEs are real or imagined.”

      This is NOT science, because Dr. Long is completely ignoring the MUCH larger percentage of people who DON’T have NDEs. We need to recognize that the overwhelming MAJORITY of people DO NOT experience such things when they are near death. I recall one man reporting that, “It was like a light switch was flipped, one moment I was alive, and the next moment I don’t remember anything. I now know what death is like.” Our confirmation biases ignores stories like these, because they’re boring and not what we want to hear. So we solicit stories from people who had conscious experiences near death, and ignore those who did not.

      This is a bit like seeking out stories from people who had a miserable experience at Disneyland, and concluding: “According to everyone we interviewed, Disneyland is a horrible place. Many of the reports were similar, with people getting sick on the rides or getting injured.”

      Of the cross-section of people who do have NDEs, many of them are also more likely to have other conditions that would contribute to them having an NDE. I’ve listed a number of these in the next post, which deals specifically with the NDEs as evidence for a soul.

    • Daniela says:

      “It is the ignorant who need education, not the educated.” – That’s right! Who is blindly missed my information and demanded that I prove my claim? I can’t educate you when you willfully ignored or mental-blindly missed my information. Even if I supply evidence the size of an elephant you still wouldn’t be able to see and understand it. It is not that evidence is not available, but it is some mental-disorder people can’t see or understand the evidence.
      “because that was easily available.” – This is what I was talking about when I said “most apparent”. You only see the easiest most-apparent item to look at and neglected and blindly missed other less-apparent items but relevant and more critical information. All those information are required because each one confirm or support the other. If you miss one a part of the equation then don’t tell me the answer is wrong. It is not the answer that is wrong but it is you who is wrong about the answer.
      You can’t make argument on Storm’s testimony if you ignore the scientific evidence.

      ” it would provide absolute scientific proof” – Do you understand why they use this phrase? Just because it is not “absolute” it doesn’t mean that this is nonsense. It still is scientific evidence and fact. Like I said, if you can’t see what I presented to you then you couldn’t possibly understand what you read.

  7. rautakyy says:

    @Daniela, from your new link I could see the “Scariest ghosts” TV-program, wich presumably presented the same case in your original second video. I watched the parts 2 and 3 also. It was all amusing and entertaining. Thank you.

    Have you noticed, that the presenter says in the beginning of the film, that none of this stuff has been authenticated in any way? It reminds me of the talk shows where people come to expose all their nasty relationship problems just to get to be in the TV. No matter the cost.

    “A paranormal researcher” John Osborne claims that he could not find any evidence of foul play on the first poltergeist video. Now, that is just silly. I could make such a video right now. A person hiding underneath the table could have made everything on the video happen, exept of course the front door opening sound, wich must be the work of a ghost, since no living man can open a door. How did he determine wether if the type writer was plugged in or not? What is a “paranormal researcher” anyway? Is someone actually paying him to do that (perhaps the makers of the film), or is it a hobby? The glass, typewriter, chair and outer door video is a hoax. Same applies to all of these stories, though some of them are not as obvious.

    “A professional demonologist” (what ever that is) claims that these are devils, or demons causing the poltergeist. So, if these are the works of devils, it has nothing to do with the human spririts, or souls then, does it? Is he wrong? How could we verify his claim? Maybe he is the charlatan who has lived of from the superstitious fears of people for decades. Could that be so? If we could prove him wrong, would that change these phenomenons back to evidence of human spirits?

    The ghosts, spirits, souls, or demons, wich ever you prefer, are able to knok on wood like they had some physical capabilities and they obviosly are equipped with eyesight and hearing, but they rarely seem to have vocal cords to speak with. Why is it, that they are limited on some physical abilities but seem to have acces to some others? Could it be, that such hoaxes are just easier to manage, than actual speach?

    The Australian rock’n’roll ghost just seems to lean on the wall. Nobody, noticed anything there untill they processed the video, but it is interresting how fast people jump into the conclusion that it “definately was a ghost”. I can not make out from the video what that object was, but I hope the band understood to use this as a promotional publicity for their album.

    Whose religious beliefs about ghosts are correct? Is it a demon, or a dead person Guy and Terry claim to have captured on film in Greenhouse manor? According to the Bible the dead rest in their graves until the end of the world and Christian theologians claim, that only one person has come back from death – namely Jesus. However, people have made claims of seeing ghosts and returning from the death for eons. So, either the Bible and Christianity are completely wrong about this, or these apparitions are some sort of angels, or demons and not human spirits at all, or they are the apparitions of human spirits described by some other religion, or they are hallucinations/hoaxes of people. We do know, that people have hallucinations and that they make hoaxes. That is for sure. Correct?

    The makers of this TV-program have invested on their viewers believing these ridiculous stories, so they propably would not have a research team that reveals such photos as the ones by Guy,Terry and the famies of Caressa, or little Justin made as hoaxes? To me, taking kids into this kind of emotional play is really worrying, but is that not what all religious cultures do to kids? What kind of adults grow up from these kids? Easily supceptible ones, downright gullible kind, or even seriously mentally disturbed ones? Luckily, most kids grow out of toothfairy games rather unharmed.

    “A world renowned medium” (what is that then) Van Praag, asks little Justin, if he was awake, or asleep when he saw the ghosts. Have you ever talked to a kid who makes up things, or who thinks his dream was for real? I have. Van Praag also has a “feeling” that there used to be a gallows at the site of Justins home. So what? Did they hang little girls, like the ghosts alledgedly seen by Justin, there?

    “A renowned parapsychologist” Dr. Andrew Nichols has an obvious commercial interrest in people believing in ghosts, like all the other “experts” performing in this video, has he not? He has measured the electromagnetic fields of “orbs”, that is supernatural entities. So, in fact these orbs are not supernatural at all, but something existing in the natural world in a measurable sense. Dr. Nichols is sure to have a Nobel prize for his foundings. Now all he has to establish is how these phenomenons he has measured have anything to do with the spirits, or the supernatural as he “believes”. Pfff…

    I am open to the possibility of supernatural, gods, ghosts and all that. As of yet, I have not seen, experienced, or read anything that would convince me of such, and I am a person who has had an out of body experience myself. I just did not jump into the wild conclusions of it other people seem to be prone to make in similar situations.

    What is really “disturbing” in this video is, if it is true that the police actually consults Dr. Coots a “forensic psychopathologist” who claims to have a sensation of awareness of being observed by ghosts. Is this guy for real? I guess he has some sort of talent at setting himself in the mind of the criminally insane. Or something.

    For some reason these apparitions really like to appear in places like attics and cellars. Like in the McPike mantion. Why is it that they never tell us what are the “experts” doctors of? What is the field of science that Dr. Rene Horath recieved her Ph. D for? What is her job at the Californian University of Pensylvania? She and her crew “dismis the idea that the mist (they encounter in the cellar) is anything of this world,” but they can observe it and feel it anyway. If it is not of this world how can they possibly observe and experience it and how can it be on the film? “It felt electric.” Says one of them. As far as we know electricity is a phenomenon of this world and we even know how and why it appears. It does not appear as a mist in a cellar.

    Do you think all these ghoststories in the film are for real, or just some of them? Is it not even possible, that some of them were actually hoaxes? Do you think that the makers of such a program would bother to sensor any of these stories out, if they thought any of the stories offered to them were hoaxes, or could they join in on the hoax? Do you think it is unthinkable, that people might want to make such hoaxes? If you think some of them were hoaxes, wich were they? What strikes you as less plausible, than the others and why?

    It is as if these people had never heard of the million dollar reward by James Randi for presenting a supernatural phenomenon. If I had a poltergeist in my house, and was convinced it was for real, I for sure would invite James Randi to either to expose the prank, or to give me the million dollars, so I could afford to move somewhere else. Would you not?

    I must be “mentally blind”, since I can not be convinced by the evidence you have presented yet. I do not find it even remotely appealing, though I view myself quite an openminded fella. The films are somewhat entertaining though. It is curious how in the middle of the film the presentator refers to a Hollywood film and says it i pure entertainment, but then goes to assure us it is true to the people in this program, as if it was not made for our enterntainment. As if this film was some sort of serious documentary of real issues. This is not how documentaries are made. It is interresting, what you are ready to take as sufficient evidence of the most wildest claims. Do you honestly think this is enough, or was there something crucial in the movie you referred to. I live in Finland and propably can not find the DVD you mentioned (or the sequal) from shops down here. So, if you would explain what in that movie is the key factor (if any), that makes these other videos make any sense.

    Here in a local castle that was first erected in the 13th century the staff has been seeing ghosts for over a decade. These ghosts have appeared to certain people in a certain room in a tower that used to serve as a prison since the 17th century and as a gunnery turret before that (it is one of the new towers of that castle). The prisoners quarters and conditions were terribly inhumane. Perhaps these presice couple of people who claim to have seen the ghosts there, are more sensitive to the supernatural, or something because other people do not see the ghosts there, but everybody gets a suffocating feeling in that room. There was a renovation work there last summer and what they found was that the floor of the particular room was ifested by fungus, wich caused the suffocating feeling. Now, there of course could be some supernatural connection between the fungus and the ghosts, but is it not more prudent to assume it is the suffocating feeling caused by the fungi and knowledge of the horrific existance of the prisoners there to be the reason why some people explained their anxiety in the room by ghosts? You see, this is anecdotal evidence. You may believe it, or some parts of it, but I can not prove it. It is the truth, just trust me.

    Yes, I understand why they use the term “absolute scientific proof” on the link page you provided. It is an attempt to make a disclaimer. However, it fails to relieve them of their responsibility of proving their wild claims. No, it is not “fact” and it serves as very poor evidence for their claims. Singular case studies are not presenting any “facts” in the scientific sense. When the researchers are hell bent on proving their superstitious world view and just use their research to prove what they have preassumed as the truth, it is very poor science. It is in fact abusing the term science. A random internet page is not a very good source for reliable information of scientific research. You do understand that, do you?

    Extraordinary claims do need extraordinary level of evidence. However, these people are not meeting that demand even with the minimal level of evidence. The web page you provided is not an actual recognized scientific publication, is it? Have you looked at the sources they present? None of those are to any recognized scientific publications, or even to the study pages of universities. Why is that? Why is it, that the scientific community refuses to take seriously any of this research? Is it some sort of conspiracy against this field of study, even after all these decades of research?

    I am sorry this comment is so long, but when one has to answer an entire program of several cases of nonsense, it easily takes a lot of room. That is why I wanted to discuss one video or a source at a time. It is not because I only examined one of them. I think I can still see the big picture. So, in that sense I am not limited. Please, do not post any more videos, entertaining though they are, unless they present any new information to the “equation”. I am asking this because I think it would be more fruitfull to discuss the ones you have linked allready. I would be interrested in your answers to my questions about them. I am assuming, you are not awoiding any of my questions deliberately.

    • Daniela says:

      You are an open-minded individual alright. The problem is not where you stand; the problem is your mental conceptual ability. No body is talking about proof; we are talking about evidence. You have tons of silly (child-like) questions and I am not about to answer everyone of them. I can only touch some of the important ones or concern.

      “none can be authenticated” – Do you understand what this phrase mean? It was not about those videos but what is in the videos that no one can claims to know what they are. Although we are quite sure what they are, we just can’t officially claim them to be what we think they are. That is what it meant.
      “It is an attempt to make a disclaimer.” – This is one of the many misunderstanding you have. The statement means it needs a confirmation. A confirmation will give it an absolute (undeniable) proof.
      ” None of those are to any recognized scientific publications,” – Your utterly ignorance is well demonstrated here. There are links within the site but you blindly and ignorantly failed to look at them.
      “So, if these are the works of devils, it has nothing to do with the human spirits” – devil is an evil spirit. You have too much confusion going on there. You can’t be taught if you have a mental issue. Read these websites to see if they are related to you:

      Here are some of the video you have no idea how to go about finding them:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sfro7WO8YJg (Movie Trailer)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyO1Dllhe38 (peer review)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WI6hpXZb-hI (peer review)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjfZKAxiTuM (Dr. Taff)
      If you’re going to dismiss the authenticity of their claims you should find out more about the credential of the main investigators and why other publishers also use their claim like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DThTFWKCuek

      Science says we only see a narrow bandwidth of light so stop acting like you know what the capability of the supernatural including god, as to what they can and cannot do. And don’t try to argue like an ignorant with a negative attitude because when you’re wrong on one thing you are wrong on everything else and you will never know it; you will only mislead yourself and create more fallacies. I know you would feel like an idiot when the information has proved you wrong but as Howard Storm said, you don’t know what you don’t know.

      • rautakyy says:

        @Daniela, this succumbed to semantics, but in my native tongue we only have one word for both evidence and proof = “todiste”. In my language it is either percieved as strong, or weak evidence, but very much like in science universally, no absolute truths are declared. I naturally meant evidence, as you in English mean it. Now that we cleared that up, would you explain how the links about autism are relevant to our conversation? Or are they simply some sort of attempted “ad hominem” attack on my persona? I can only assure you, I am by no means autistic. Now you have my anecdotal evidence of it? Are you willing to accept my word at face value? However, to suggest I am, is rather a cheap way to defend your case. Since, even if I were autistic and even if my lack of understanding in these matters could be explained through that (though that is not what the articles you posted suggest at all), it would only explain why I personally am skeptic about what you are ready to take as convincing evidence, but not why such evidence is not generally considered scientific. The links you provided did not claim that atheism is the result of autism, but only that there is a greater number of atheists among autistic people. On a number of matters some form of autism may even make people more logical, than the rest of us. This is a well known fact.

        Are the devils you believe in, then human spirits in your opinion? If so how do you know this?

        The fact that the stories in the videos are not “authenticated” means the makers of these entertainment films take no responsibility in the contens of their programs. Nor, should they, since the cases they present are either hoaxes, or non verifiables.

        No, there are no links to any scientific publications on any of the pages you posted. Have you read them yourself?

        None of the videos you linked are “peer reviews”. You see, when only the “scientist” who was present at certain experiment explains his research, it is not peer review. It would also require the “peer” to give a “review” of the results of the experiment. You do realize that “a parapsychologist” is not even a scientific title? It is just as valid as an astrologist.

        I could replicate the seemingly very significant arc of light. You could too, by using a transparent plastic foil or plex between the camera lens and the rest of the room. Reflecting light on such a foil, would explain the strange photograph. I do not know if this is how they made it, nor do I even claim that, but it is a lot less convincing evidence after you realize it is not such a complicated trick. Much more likelier would be that the strange lights are reflections on the camera lens. Even, if it is not a trick there is the problem of jumping to the conclusion of what that is then. Note that this one photo is the only alledged ghost photo ever published in the photographic publication. Why would you think that is?

        It is curious how the woman in this case was sexually harassed by an immaterial ghost, just like so many of the UFO abductees claim to have been sexually experimented by the aliens. A nother parallel to this is the key story in Christianity, like in so many older religions before it, that is a god concieving a child with a virgin.

        It is somehow very sad that this woman in obvious need of spychiatric care was subjected to these unscientific studies, because of cultural storytelling traditions and outdated mythical explanation models. To me that seems like some form of fascism. “Everyone there fully believed and expected something to happen…” Says the author whose book was made into the motion picture film (and who propably made a load of money by exploiting this misfortunate womans distressed condition). That is exactly when something strange happens, because that is how human mind works. Especially when there are so many people in the room. So many, one can hardly controll what is going to end up on the film. It is the same effect as with an ouija board. All it needs is one prankster and that the rest of the lot are gullible. Wich is not rare at all.

        Take heed, that the videos you posted are all made purely for entertainment purposes. Even the ones where someone interviews a person with a diploma, or title and alledged strange experiences, it is not science. It is just entertainment meant to exite our imaginations. The fact that they may do that in front of an accepting audience with similar religious, or otherwise superstitious beliefs only makes the program more weird. It tells us much about the culture, but very little about the phenomenon. Entertaiment shows of ghost stories are not evidence of human spirits any more than entertainment shows about flying saucers are evidence of UFOs.

        Here is an important – though perhaps childish – question for you: Why are people ready to jump into the conclusion, that strange light balls in somebodys basemet have anything to do with human souls, or demonic entities, or any such mythical characters?

        You keep arguing that I refuse, or that I am somehow unable to see the evidence you provided for humans spirits. I have wathced all of your videos. Read all your links. Could it just be, that I do not accept as evidence what seems obvious to you?

        I am aware of the limitations of science, but it is the best way we have of determining the objective truth about anything complicated. Is it not?

        It is not I, who makes assumptions about gods, or spirits. I merely evaluate the plausibility of such assumptions made by people who actually believe in those claims. I make my evaluations based on scientific body of knowledge and logic. Is there another way?

        No, I do not know, what Howard Storm claims to know. How could I? Yet, to me it seems Prof. Storm makes a rather weak case of explaining, or conveying his knowledge to me. It all seem as if he imagined that knowledge. If he did, how would that differ from what he is now attempting to present? How he convinced you is beyond me, but I am very interested to hear about it in your own words. How do you know to know something, that is quite obviously unverifiable?

        • Daniela says:

          Semantic did not play a part with the confusion, it’s the lack of comprehension of the issue. We were not using another language but English.

          “Why are people ready to jump into the conclusion,” – Because they are more intelligent than some retards. They look at the characteristics, effects, responsiveness, repetitiveness and other similar events to draw the best logical conclusion. For some retards, they see nothing but objects and movements. Neither the word “UFO” nor “phenomenon” is the answer when we understand quite clear what they are.

          “how … autism are relevant to our conversation?” – I don’t have time for the mental. The fact that you can’t seem to follow relevant references demonstrated that you’re likely on the high side of autism. I do not dismiss your intelligence, even carnivores have intelligence, it’s having some mental deficits that undermine a coherent conversation. I don’t have time to guide you through every step as you seemed to have a bias approach with tons of misunderstanding and questions.

          • rautakyy says:

            @Daniela, now you have finally convinced me of the existance of at least one particular type of “supernatural” creature. By calling me a “retard” and “mental” you have clearly exposed yourself as a troll. 😉

            Yes, we are having a conversation in English, but you might be gracious enough to excuse my handicap of not being a native English speaker. Why are you expressing yourself so angrily? Are you affraid of something?

            I have followed the “relevant references” you have provided – a bunch of entertainment videos and a web page, that seemingly claims to be some sort of semi-scientific research news page, even though it had no “relevant references” to any scientific publications. You have yet to explain how this “evidence” convinced you.

            Sometimes evidence is convincing enough that it is called proof. Correct? Even when it is not absolute. What is absolute anyway?

            Yes, I have bias. All people have bias. Did you not know this? Recognizing your own bias is the first step towards any actual truth. However, I try to take an objective look at things and see what they really are according to the evidence, not by jumping to any conclusions. So should you.

            I ask you once more, how do you personally know what the UFOs and ghosts are? Or do you profess to have some inherent knowledge and understanding outside scientific and logical explanations? How does that work? Who is the “we” you are constantly referring to, who know what UFOs and mysterious phenomenons like alledged floating light balls in basements are? In reality there are a lot of things we do not recognize. However, it seems inherently human to try to give them names and personify them in order to not be so affraid of their unknown nature. Correct? Calling strange lights aliens, ghosts, or demons is an attempt to control, through naming what is happening, much like calling natural phenomenons like lightning, floods, tsunamis and earthquakes the wrath of a god? To andropomorphize what we do not understand, in an attempt to come to terms with it. Correct?

            You say you have no time to guide me through every step, but you seem to have an awfull lot of time to try to analyze my mental capablities (when you do not even know me). Or perhaps it was time well spent on attempting to insult me. Perhaps it would be good for yourself to try to answer my questions, at least in your own mind, to yourself. Rather than dismissing them because you imagine me to have some defect.

            I promise you the world will not loose its glister even when one no logner believes in fairies, UFOs, ghosts, demons, spirits and gods. It is still the magnificent, amazing and beautifull world. Though a bit more real, and in that sense maybe even more amazing, magnificent and beautifull. Do not fear the reality.

            And please, do not bring autism into the conversation any more. Your deduction of that matter is absolutely wrong. Is it the same method of understanding the world, that led you to think me as autistic, or “retard”, or “mental”, that has led you to think there are human spirits and demons? That sort of jumping into conclusions would certainly explain why you think these testimonies by Prof. Storm and Dr. Long seemed convincing to you.

            • Daniela says:

              @rautakyy, English is not my language either. And my arguments didn’t demonstrate myself as being a troll but your did. Your statements are full of incoherent arguments.

              I’m not sure what’s wrong with you. You seem responsive but dismissive about the evidence. It’s like if I toss some dollar bills on the table and all you see is a bunch of fancy papers and nothing as money. You don’t seem to see the value behind it. When 500-Questions respond he talk about the most compelling piece of evidence but you, you did exactly the opposite by referencing only the contradiction. I believe you deliberately but blindly and ignorantly trying to dismiss any evidence. You seem disingenuous or perhaps maybe just plain stupid, on the issue and it doesn’t help even if this conversation continues.

              “how do you personally know what the UFOs and ghosts are?” – Are you asking me to give you intelligence? You get that from school.

  8. rautakyy says:

    @Daniela, why are you trying to turn this conversation to be about my character? Instead of answering my questions, you attack my person. Why?

    Yes, in comparrison the 500 Questions is much better, than I am in evaluating such claims, but it would be really silly for me to make the same claims he allready did, would it not? Even though I agree with him. I have not just simply dismissed what you think as evidence for your case and that you have provided. I have infact made an evaluation of it. I actually thought my comment on your videos was a bit long and almost too precise, but I wanted to make it clear why I did not find any of that stuff plausible. What you seemed to think as evidence did not impress, let alone convince me, but I have also added the reasons why I came to these conclusions about your alledged evidence. Perhaps, I have missed something important, what might that be?

    My evaluation may be correct, or incorrect. However, to anyone following this conversation (including both of us) the fact that you refuse to stand behind the evidence you have provided by for example explaining where I got it wrong, or why my points were “ignorant”, is not making this issue any clearer. Yes, I dismiss entertainment as evidence of the supernatural. As well as I do dismiss any web pages, that try to give an impression of scientific study, when they obviously are presenting alledged studies that are not evaluated or examined by the scientific community. Why would you accept them as evidence? If you have superior intelligence to mine (as you profess to have), you should be able to put into words. Should you not?

    A study without peer review may give us interresting and even correct information about the subjcet, but it hardly qualifies as evidence of anything as extraordinary as the supernatural. Let alone, that the study of extraordinary phenomena such as the the strange lights in somebodys basement, attic or even a typwriter, would lead to any conclusions of human spirits. It is the so called “false positive”. We humans are just one species of animals who have the ability to make conclusions and our natural evolutionary survival mode helps us to cope with the world by enabling us to make conclusions and recognize patterns in the many ways random and chaotic environment we live in. Yet, these conclusions are not allways correct. Usually the longer the leap from observation to the conclusion, the more likely it is to go wrong. Correct?

    If you do not agree with my comments, you should explain why I am wrong. Instead of trying to make silly guesses about “what is wrong with me”. That is not an argument, it is just a bailout. If you refuse to discuss the issue in order to make assumptions of my character, the conversation is bogged and goes nowhere. Or is that your intention? Do you try to dismiss my points and questions by claiming I am “autistic”, “mental”, “stupid” or “retard”, instead of even trying to argue against my arguments? I do not know where this sort of line of reasoning is seen polite, constructive, or even valid, but it does nothing to support your case.

    I try to make my point through your allegory. To me, it seems the “dollars” you tossed on the table are either toy money, or forgeries. The strong entertainment aspect without “autentification” is what makes the videos toy money and the phoney science page with alledged anecdotal evidence (wich equals to hearsay and rumours), but without peer reviews is the obvious forgeries. Do you now understand, why I do not accept such as money, or evidence?

    • Daniela says:

      Now it is clear about what’s wrong with you. You have been brainwashed. Your mind is closed with Dawkins’s opinion. Anything that contradicts Dawkins’ belief is automatically false to you and this is clearly an insanity in your part. While being mentally deficient, you thought there’s nothing wrong with you eh? Wow, I tell ya.

      In your video, Dawkins talked about “superstition” and imply that believers are superstitious but he doesn’t know that his analogy is a fallacy? If you are mental how can you see the same way intelligent people see? You can’t. You have mental deficiency.

      Why wouldn’t I want to converse with a mental? The same way you wouldn’t want to converse with a chicken because there just can’t be any coherent conversation. My advice to you is check it with a doctor and get an education.

      • rautakyy says:

        @Daniela, there you go again, making assumptions about me and jumping into wild conclusions. Dawkins is totally irrelevant in the video I posted. The video was about the results of the research by psychologist B.F. Skinner. Did you not understand the point about how superstitious beliefs are formed? That research is peer reviewed actual science. His findings have been contradicted and challenged, but they have not been debunked and present a valid hypothesis on the subject where do the ghosts and the idea of spirits and other such superstitions like gods come from.

        The video migh just as well have been presented by Kermit the Frog, for all I care, though of course an actual scientist presenter makes the program a bit more plausible as a documentary, as opposed to pure entertainment like the ghost videos with “demonologists” and “parapsychologists” as experts in them. I have never read any of the books by Richard Dawkins and do not see him as a great influence in my world view or values, but he makes a very good point here. Perhaps, you could try to comment on the point instead of trying to make silly guesses about my character. Or sad attempts of insulting me, (if that is your goal). Or even weird excuses for not answering by refusing to have a conversation with imagined “mental”, or “retard”, or “autistic” people.

        What is the “mental” disorder of Professor Dawkins you would claim he, or I have in respect to the “intelligent” people you constantly refer to? How do you know about it? Have you read his work? Do you know him intimately? You are incapable of answering almost any of my questions, while I give a coherent answer to all of your points. Which one of us exactly is playing the part of the “chiken” here? Be honest and stop playing games.

        I suppose your wild, wild guesses about me are representative of your way of reasoning and also of how you would come to such wild conclusions from the material you provided, that there must exist such things as life after death, ghosts, spirits and souls.

        • Daniela says:

          Look, the evidence is clear and the dollar bills allegory is the perfect example that proves my point. The fact that you treat everything fake proves that you are insane. And with the lack in ability to go about finding out more detail, this makes you incompetent for having a coherent conversation. You make no attempt and having no knowledge on how to go about examining those dollar bills before concluding them to be fakes, is disrespectful and this proves that you’re not worth of a conversation. You are a fake and a troll.

          • Wow. Where to begin.

            I have to agree with Daniela, Rautakyy is demonstrably insane. Anyone who would continue a debate with someone who treats paranormal television like good scientific evidence, and then continues to debate them even after being insulted time and time again, is probably insane.

            But if Rautakyy is a retarded, biased, stupid, autistic, retarded, insane troll, then so am I, because I agree with 95% of what he’s saying. Just because people disagree with your conclusions, does not mean that they are mentally unstable.

            But let’s ignore the ad hominem attack and get back to the evidence (I believe it is evidence, it’s just not very good evidence, and certainly not science).

            What Daniela has presented are a number of ghost/spirit/demon stories. When strung together in such a a manner and presented without critique, they make a seemingly compelling argument, especially if you’re already a believer. But they lack any objectivity, because they fail in their responsibility to interview a single skeptic, magician, or anyone else who has produced similar hoaxes, like those in these famous ghost hoaxes….

            And it’s not just ghost videos that are faked. A few years back, a news team from Argentina was interviewing a woman when an alien suddenly appeared and walked through the background! It was video evidence that aliens exist! Why would a news station lie?

            When the news station was eventually confronted, they admitted they faked the entire thing, saying that people’s disposition to believe in aliens led many to accept it as proof. In other words, they were willing to lie and pervert people’s perception of reality in order to gain a little fame and fortune. How could anyone do such a thing? Who knows, but they did, and had they not been caught, UFO shows would still be running this piece of “unauthenticated” video and calling it evidence.

            And here’s an interview with another admitted hoaxer…

            For a more skeptical view of these ghost stories, I highly recommend checking out Penn and Teller expose on the subject. They interview several ghost hunters along with autistic retarded scientists (sorry about all the language).

            I had to laugh when Penn said, “They headed straight for the attic, why? Because in an old house, that’s where the creepy shit happens, everyone knows that.” Ya, I think we’ve already discovered that, here.

            Anyway, if someone is willing to spend $100,000 to fake a ghost video, and a member of the Amityville paranormal team was responsible for creating its horrors, and a news team was willing to fake an alien video, is it all that unthinkable that another news team would be willing to fake it’s ghost video?

            But what would constitute proof of the spirit?

            As I discuss in the nest post, placing images above the beds of dying patients could be one way. (Tests with people who have claimed to have out-of-body experiences have already proven unsuccessful.) Another way would be to place electromagnetic and other imaging devices in the room of a dying person, to see if anything like a “mist,” “orb,” or “energy” escapes their body in death. Another way might be asking a ghost to levitate objects in the company of magicians, scientists and skeptics. As Rautakky mentioned, James Randy has a $1 million offer for anyone who can prove the supernatural exists, but demonolgists, parapsychologists, paranormal experts, and other pseudo-scientists continually refuse to take part in the test.

            By the way, I should also mention that the James Randi Educational Foundation has made several public attempts to get Van Praagh to prove his powers in their million dollar challenge, and he has constantly refused (apparently, there’s more money in abusing children).

            I’ve seen many amazing magic tricks in my life, and while I can’t explain many of them, that doesn’t mean that it’s proof that magic exists. These ghost videos may be real, but we also know that people are willing to lie and perpetrate hoaxes on an unsuspecting and believing public. We also know that people can have delusions, and that people commonly misinterpret events (especially in dark, scary places). Since these kinds of events are far more commonplace in reality — and no repeatable test has ever concluded that spirits exist — then I think it’s more reasonable to suggest a hoax, delusion or misunderstanding has occurred than to assume someone actually filmed a ghost.

            Happy Holidays!

  9. Daniela says:

    @ 500 Questions, You’re back.
    Please understand that when I refer someone as being “mental”, “retard” or “insane” not because he disagrees with me but because his mind is fixed or that individual is having a awkward way of looking at thing or having a limited perspective view over the subject being discussed. It is clear that there are pure entertainment videos and hoaxes out there but if one would do a carefully look at thing for legitimacy and investigate more you would find the credential of individual or group and know who has legitimate evidence. Like any other claim, evidence is opened to scrutiny for fraudulence. If you could prove any claim to be an elaborate hoax, their popularity and credibility would be destroyed. Their careers would be in the drain. But dismiss some well known claims without evidence is neglectful and ignorant, and most of the time are due to religious bias or mental problems.

    In your “ghostbusters” video, the physicist was sitting in his office without experience in the field and without actual knowledge of the phenomenon, went on and speculate as if he knew it all. How stupid it is for a scientist who makes such a conclusion without knowledge. He should have known that in the quantum world things do not live by the law of the physical world, yet he seems to claim to know everything beyond the physical world. He must be the only physicist who fully understood quantum mechanics. The mental thinks that that type of highly-functional intelligence is an overly-active imagination, wow. It just sad that he didn’t realize he might be the mental one.

    • rautakyy says:

      @ 500 Questions. Yes, I am a “mental” case in the sense that I want to discuss this issue even after the other party refuses to defend their position and succumbs to childish attempts of insulting my person. However, I was not personally offended in the least bit. Perhaps, I could have been a bit offended for the autistic people, by the attempt to use serious medical condtions as insults. Or by claims that it is impossible to have a conversation with an autistic person. To me such terms as autistic, or retard are not insults at all. They are descriptions of certain kind of aspects of human existance, though not of mine. A retard, or an autistic person is not in any way responsible for their state, and you can have fully comprehensive conversations with them, if they are willing, but that of course is the same with all the rest of us. You can have a meaningfull conversation with a little child, an ignorant person, a mute person, or just about anyone willing. The use of such words as an attempted insults, or excuses for refusals, of dicussing the actual issue is interresting though. Is it not?

      By trying to insult me by calling me retard, mental, autistic, ignorant, or even insane and jumping to the conclusion that I am some sort of diciple of Dawkins, Daniela digged herself into a hole of showing how her reasoning works, by jumping into wild conclusions and strange assumptions about a person, or a matter, that she does really not know. If a person has a tendency to jump into very wild conclusions about any single matter, then it is more than likely that person does not use such a way of reasoning only in one aspect of her life. Though this is not allways so and I still hope she will prove me wrong about her general method of reasoning. To me this has been interresting in the sense, that it has opened up the way how the mind works, when a person comes to believe in such strange things, or flimsy evidence.

      @ Daniela. You wrote: “If you could prove any claim to be an elaborate hoax their credibilty would be destroyed”. Yes, but not in the eyes of everybody. There are allways people who really want to believe in the hoaxes. Think about the pyramid hoaxes, where people invest money to the hoax even after it has been all over the media, that it is a hoax. Some people really want to believe they were clever when they invested in the hoax and are not ready to give up that hope, however remote it is in the light of facts. People seem to have a tendency to wishfull thinking and they are all too eager to accept as evidence any nonsense, when it supports their hopes and predispositions. Do they not? The very idea of afterlife seems to be very compelling and it is easy to see why people really, really want to believe in it, but that alone does not make it any more real. Does it? Actually, the mere fact how much people want to believe in it, in comparrison to any evidence of such, shows how very unlikely it is.

      However, the burden of proof does not lie on the people rejecting extraordinary claims, like the spirit world, or afterlife, but on people making such wild claims, that they do exist. I do understand, that people in general do not see these as such strange claims, because they are so common in many cultures, but their common use does not make them any more real, or less extraordinary in comparrison to what is evident and testable.

      These days a video serves as a very poor evidence of even far less extraordinary events than ghosts. For example this video is a deliberate hoax:

      A quote from Tim Minchin, an entertainment artist (as it seem you find entertainment compelling), who said: “Every mystery ever solved, has turned out to be not magic.” This is a vague reference, but it is true, is it not? Then why should we assume, that any mystery yet unsolved could be explained by magic? It could be, but untill that is demonstrated, or at the very least accepted by the scientific community, would it not be prudent not to jump into any conclusions about alledged light balls in attics, or basements? Let alone the human spirits, souls, ghosts, gods, or any such subjects, that seem to evade any attempt to really research them, or as we do know are often shown to be either hoaxes, or mere misinterpretations of reality.

      I do not treat everything as fake, though you would claim so. Just the stuff you posted as evidence. I have explained why they are unconvincing from my perspective, but you have not given any reasons why they convinced you. Is there a reason why you can not put into words why you would find entertainment videos of ghosts and silly pseudo-science page with no reference to the scientific community as actual evidence? Or do you have some actual evidence?

      The fact that there are people who claim to have these extraordinary experiences is such a weak piece of evidence, because what they interprete them to be is so very much influenced by their personal hopes, subconscious hopes and cultural, or religious bias. Correct?

      Claiming I am “insane”, or “retard”, “mental” or any such thing, instead of explaining and defending your position, is infact the equivelant of putting your hands over your ears and yelling blaa, blaa, blaa, I can’t hear you, blaa, blaa… So, could we come over that bit, and concentrate on the subject. If I am wrong, explain how you are right, or provide actual concrete evidence and perhaps we can move on with this.

      Or should we simply conclude, that you accept such evidence as what you have offered because you find them compelling enough from your cultural heritage backround, and from my perspective of comparing them to hoaxes and my knowledge of science they do not seem as compelling at all?

      Oh, and I really suggest you read the second part of this topic post by the 500 Questions about the NDEs.

      • Our minds do do a bang-up job of protecting what they have come to believe. I once believed a lot of this same stuff, and just assumed that anyone who didn’t was just running from God (they couldn’t possibly be right!).

        But I do love the topic of NDEs. There was a time in my life when I really did believe that NDEs were the evidence I was looking for, but after spending a year or so reading about them, I began to see many inconsistencies. First there was the fact that self-proclaimed atheists didn’t always go to hell, but often said they felt surrounded by love, even though they had rejected Christ. Some Christians were so turned off by this idea that they began to debunk the NDEs themselves, calling them “tricks of the devil” that make atheists think they’re on the right track. Only in REAL death would they realize they’d been deceived. Second was the evidence from different religions and cultures. There were people from various religions claiming to have come back from the dead with the knowledge that THEIR religion was the only correct one, or they would have culture-specific experiences. In Western culture, the ideas of heaven and hell are so prevalent, I think these are the ideas our minds turn to when facing death. (This is a bit similar to how everyone began seeing “grey” aliens with big eyes once this idea became popularized). Third, as I mentioned earlier, most people have no experience at all, or have experiences that are more like dreams, but these more common experiences are just ignored. Fourth, there were people who were saying you didn’t actually need to die to have an NDE, you could experience them through sensory deprivation and other things. And finally, there were people like Howard Storm claiming that in the future, we’ll be able to grow plants with our minds. It just got weirder and weirder. Bottom line: these eye-witness reports were too inconsistent to be reliable. However, there are still enough interesting stories to warrant some more empirical testing, but based on everything else we know, I’m doubtful this will amount to much (but I would love to be proven wrong).

        So why do so many people believe in a soul? I think it’s because we humans are the only animals to actually be able to fully comprehend and anticipate our death. We are also problem solvers: we see a problem, and we figure out how to fix it. We see death as a huge problem, and so we’ve figured out how to fix it. We look at a dead body and refuse to believe the person is dead, we say “Just because this person is clearly dead, doesn’t mean they’re clearly dead… maybe an invisible part of them is still alive!” We don’t arrive at this conclusion by way of empirical evidence, we arrive at it because we want to believe.

        As for hoaxes ruining reputations, not always. Peter Popoff’s reputation was demolished by James Randy years ago. It may have ruined his reputation for a time, but he bounced back and is STILL making a small fortune selling religious quackery to the masses:

        By the way, my sister was once involved in a “pyramid” scheme of a similar kind. She guarded the idea religiously, and refused to believe that it was illegal or that she wouldn’t make a ton of money at it. Interestingly, religion and desire for wealth often seem to provoke the the same kind of zeal in people. My brother-in-law is obsessed with selling Amway (Quixtar). He attends their rallies, which are almost religious in nature, and no one seems to care that the average person only earns $115 a month (and the median is probably much less). They just happily ignore the facts and believe that THEY will be the ones to succeed. Both Amway and religion get people to work for almost nothing, by promising future wealth. And the same goes for the lottery: an unreasonable proportion of people who play the lottery believe that it will eventually pay for their retirement. Of course, it won’t, but the facts don’t seem to matter when you have faith.

      • Daniela says:

        If you see a dollar bill as a piece of paper and you can’t see the value behind it then go get an education. You’re still a kid and I am not about to waste my time and intelligence on you.

        @500 Questions, I have not read Howard Storm’s book but I know If you pay too much attention to detail you could get confused and I don’t believe anyone can elucidate an accurate view of the world beyond our own. I pay more attention to those irrefutable piece of evidence. In the mainstream of science where OBE is not possible because we have only a physical brain, so remote viewing would not be possible either. Well then how can the C IA and the rusian are watching each other secretly through remote viewing? I say those who can’t understand or see its (spirit/soul) existence are somewhat retarded. In contrast, consider you’re a ten year old kid.

        When it comes to making money off of claims, it would be more true with the general scientists. Whilst they don’t create hoax however, they deliberately ignore thing that relate to supernatural. They rather make false representation than lose their job over supernatural; and for this reason alone they will deny and ignore everything they can’t prove even if they knew what they’re dealing with. If you read Dr. Taff’s book, in the introduction you would find this argument to be true. This is sad for those who rely completely on the mainstream scientists for the real truth.

        • “I pay more attention to those irrefutable piece of evidence.”

          I hate to ask, but what exactly IS this piece of irrefutable evidence? Please tell me, so that I may believe (and collect my one million dollars from James Randy).

          “Well then how can the C IA and the rusian are watching each other secretly through remote viewing?”

          It’s true that there was once some government funding for remote viewing, but it was later deemed a failure. According to Wikipedia…

          “Remote viewing was popularized in the 1990s, following the declassification of documents related to the Stargate Project, a $20 million research program sponsored by the U.S. Federal Government to determine any potential military application of psychic phenomena. The program was eventually terminated in 1995, because it had failed to produce any useful intelligence information.”

          Wikipedia also notes:

          “The scientific community rejects remote viewing due to the absence of an evidence base, the lack of a theory which would explain remote viewing, and the lack of experimental techniques which can provide reliably positive results. It is also considered a pseudoscience.”

          “When it comes to making money off of claims, it would be more true with the general scientists. Whilst they don’t create hoax however, they deliberately ignore thing that relate to supernatural.”

          Science, for the most part, is just about finding ways to test ideas that lead to better explanations of how things work. For example, science discovered that bacteria and viruses are often responsible for causing illness, and later discovered that we can treat them with antibiotics or immunizations. If we’d stuck exclusively to the Bible as the source of all truth, we would still be battling plagues through prayer and by casting out of demons. But thanks to science, we know prayer is not as effective as these other treatments.

          Merry Christmas! 🙂

          • Daniela says:

            I don’t know what to tell ya. If someone gives you a car and you don’t know what a car represent for you then there is not much I can do because I am not your teacher or adviser. Even if you know what to believe you won’t be able to collect that one million dollars. You could try to get Dr Taff in to see if he could share some with you.

            The “remote viewing” project is a secret project and no one will be able to tell you the truth about its accomplishment and status. Even Bill Nye (the science guy) knows what UFOs are he wouldn’t tell you what they are. But it’s not that the project didn’t produce any reliable result, the fact is it did produce some result that contradicts science. What matters most is that science was wrong about it. Just like the chicken/egg argument (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2006/may/26/uknews). scientists unanimously agreed the egg must have come first and it is the only logically argument, but little did they know about the truth. Were they wrong? Of course, they have to be. God created the chicken first.

            “If we’d stuck exclusively to the Bible as the source of all truth,” – This is an oversimplification. The fact is that science ignore any answer that seems to meet the biblical version of the answer and this is the problem. But the general public doesn’t know this.

            Merry Christmas

          • Damir says:

            To be honest i am not even sure why i am commenting on such an old article but based on all the previous comment and discussion i can’t help myself 🙂
            I myself and am a Muslim and before you go “Oh lawd here we go” allow me to put forth my semi-proposition on creation, existence and the (sub)conscious reality of our physical world.
            All too often i hear the argument that the God concept is obsolete, not only that, but that science also has come to the point when a God (i.e. a divine creator) isn’t required at all for the universe and everything in it to exist.
            For this to be true, scientists claim that either everything that is has always been and that history of the universe is infinite or that everything has popped into being (big bang) but that the big bang was not the effect of a cause, it just happened from nothing and the universe evolved to what it is today with us in it by mere chance. There is also the multiverse theory but i won’t go into that since its too laughable even for an open-minded individual as yours truly 🙂
            Science seems to be the new religion of anti-theistic claims, in turn claiming to have a patent on a yet undiscovered truth while belittling their own inabilities. Also, science and scientists are able to observe, test and scrutinize theories within our own realm of existence. This means that they are bound by the physical laws of our universe and the time-space within it, which is at the same time their largest inability -> the inability to go beyond the moment of all creation. The moment when everything we know, observe calculate and subject to criticism popped into existence.
            Despite of this fact, science deems the existence of God or the “supernatural” as unneeded since we have some theories on how everything existed forever. To believe in this proposition, for me, equals to being a religious fanatic because of its far-fetchedness.
            So the question then remains: What is the alternative?
            What i personally believe (together with 1.8 Billion Christians, 1.6 Billion Muslims and 14 MIllion Jews world wide) is that the alternative is what has been told to us for thousands of years by God, our creator, who sent down his divine word through dozens of Prophets (peace be upon them all) who all told their people the same thing at different times and none demanded anything in return for their message except loyalty from their people.
            Why do i believe what i believe? Because not only do i “feel” the divine, it also makes most sense on a rational level.
            We are very limited during our existence in this physical reality we call Life. This goes for all man-kind from the sheperd who is watching his sheep in a field somewhere to Dawkins and Hawking. Both of these gentlemen surely agree on the proposition that the absence of proof of something is not a proof of the absence of it. This also explains why belief in God demands just that, Belief.
            If one believes that everything we see has sprung into existence through chance, or that it always has been and our existence is just a random result of different types of processes then surely one also believes that at any random time during the night (assuming you are a d00d) Kate Upton can just pop into existence in your bed dressed in her finest Cartier lingerie just waiting for you to grab her. Isn’t gonna happen is it?
            Scientists have a huge problem with intelligent design and their #1 question is “Well if God created everything, who created God?”. The Quran explains this in chapter Al-Ikhlas (Sincerity) as follows:
            In the name of the most merciful, the beneficent
            1. Say “He is God, The One”
            2. God, The eternal refuge
            3. He neither begets nor is He begotten
            4. Nor is there to Him any equivalent
            Why do these verses make sense and why can they be applied to our existence this very day? Because it’s rationally and logically correct. We live according to a linear timeline with no ups or downs or any known fluctuations that can throw us either forward or backwards on it. Also we live according to fixed physical laws which can not be manipulated to the extent or bringing about a different perception or dimension to reality.
            We believe that it is God who has created the universe and we are asked who created God, it is not more than pure logic to say that God has not been created. He is the eternal source of creation. The un-caused cause of which we are the ultimate effect.
            Then science says “Surely God must also have had a beginning” and the answer to that is No. Since God created us, for us he is eternal. What is 13.7 billion years for us, might be a few days, weeks or months for our creator. The divine is not bound by our timeline, our physical laws or any other limitations we humans have and experience since it is God who designed and implemented these into a unity (the state of infinite gravity, pressure, temperature etc before the big bang) and then decided it was time to create, hence “He said BE and it was” – Both the seen and the unseen world. He stands above it and operates according to His own set of rules and attributes which he as set upon Himself according to the scriptures.
            Science is fantastic and hunt for knowledge should be practiced by every sane individual but claiming to have disproved the existence of our creator is arrogance beyond its own good. Religion and sciene should co-operate not work against eachother.
            I’ve gone way overboard with my text here, way too long so the rebuttal of Darwinism and the Geneology of human species will be left for a next time.
            If you have made it thus far you are a champion and thank you for reading! 🙂

            • Hi Damir,

              Thank you for taking the time to write.

              I discuss the topics of Intelligent design and the Origin of God at length under questions 5, 6 and 36 if you’d like to check them out and respond to them there (since this post is mostly about the existence of the soul). But these questions are important to me, and ones that I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating.

              I agree that science cannot prove the supernatural doesn’t exist. Science can’t prove God doesn’t exist, no more than science can’t prove invisible fairies do not exist (see: Russel’s Teapot). There are an infinite number of gods and concepts that man can imagine that can never be disproved, which is why the burden of evidence needs to fall on those making a claim.

              In the case for God, we often argue that the burden of evidence cannot be easily met because God wants to remain hidden, He wants us to believe without seeing — to have faith. But does God really desire for us to believe in things without any evidence? or does God not exist, and therefore there is simply no evidence? and faith is just an explanation our ancestors invented to explain why God never actually does anything?

              There are proofs like those you’ve mentioned: first cause, intelligent design, and “feeling” the divine. These proofs deserve exploration, and I’ve hit the first two already, and plan to address “feeling” the divine in a later post.

              You also suggest proof from consensus, which is a fallacy. For example, you point out that there are more Christians than Muslims, so does this consensus disprove Islam? A very small minority also once believed that the sun revolved around the earth — the consensus was wrong. It’s proof and evidence that ultimately matter, not consensus.

              Science can’t test the supernatural, it can only test religious claims, like the claim that the world was once covered in water and the only survivors were on an ark. And while disproving such claims should result in serious doubt, it usually just becomes fodder for rebuttals and reinterpretations.

              Science can also test things like prayer. If prayers to Allah provide consistently better results than prayers to Jesus, then we can prove there’s likely some supernatural intervention going on, and that Allah is a better target for those prayers than Jesus. (I also plan to cover prayer studies in a future post.)

              Beyond physical evidence, we can use logic and reason, as you have done and as I’m trying to do with these questions. This isn’t an exact science, we can only ask questions like, “If God is real and benevolent, would He really do THIS?” or “If man likes to make up stories to explain things, and other men like to believe those stories, and everyone believes they have evidence that proves their stories, then isn’t it likely that I too have believed a made-up story?”

              The bottom line is that all of us feel we have many good reasons for believing what we do, and all these reasons can’t all be dispelled in just a few sentences. Each claim needs to be evaluated and decided on its own merit.

  10. rautakyy says:

    @ Daniela, how did you come to the conclusion, that I am “just a kid”? Is this some sort of lame attempt to patronize, or simply irritate me? Why? Is it because you have no words to defend your position? Perhaps, you concluded I am “just a kid” the same way you defined, that I am “autistic”, “retarded”, or “ignorant”. Is it the same logic by wich you concluded there exists ghosts, spirits, souls, demons, god(s), or that remote viewing works?

    For your information I have seen my 40th summer and I have had religion studies at the University of Helsinki, though it was not my particular expertise there, I do know the scientific methodology. What kind of education are you referring to when you tell me to educate myself? What is your respective education in this field?

    How do you know what the results of remote viewing projects were, if they are so secret?

    How do you know, that a god created the chicken first?

    For future engagements in the internet, I can give you a valuable advice. Do not jump into conclusions about the other party. It might make you look really silly, especially since the chanses, that you actually guessed right, seem to be rather poor for you. Actually, it is a worth while advice for all aspects of life, not to jump into any conclusions. Especially not based on “information” by pseudo-scientists, or religious leaders.

    Happy new year.

  11. Eddie says:

    Why do you think human beings are here? So many people are fast to say god deosnt exist although i beg to differ. Everything has a purpose in this world from the leaves to peoplew are all a part of a plan. We are on this earth to take a test, god wants to see who his true followers are, by putting us here he can separate the good seeds from the rotten, that is why we are not created to comprehend more than were permitted if you nd i used 100 percent brain power we would surely know that there is a super being that created all the dimensions and then there would be no point of living on earth because this life is simply a test its a test of faith each day is a page in the book of your life. There are so many testimonies from all over the world of seeing jesus and mary even people that have died and came back, iknow athiests that convert after seeing an apparition millions of people through the years have seen and heard even testimonies in my own family, my friends that is why life goes so qiickly you are here only to take a test, whether you deny him or accept him some day you will close your eyes and suddenly your spirit will detach from its flesh and your judgement shall be set, do mot fall for the traps of temporary worldy desires and pray for those who look away from the light may their beings be saved…amen

    • rautakyy says:

      What does this test serve? How does it segragate us to those who found a particular god claim to be true and to those who found it unplausible? Why do people find the testimonies to a particular god plausible, or not? Mostly because of their cultural backround and heritage. I bet your god is the one wich is worshipped in your own culture. Oh I know there are coverts too, there are just so good odds that you are not one of them. Some people convert to Christianity from Animism, some from Christianity to Islam, some from Hinduism to Buddhism and so forth, why would you think any of these people were any less sincere in their conversions?

      The testimonies you refer may be abundant, but the truth is not found by counting noses, and there are a lot of equally silly testimonies for any supernatural claims by any religions, or other delusions. What they all boil down to is anecdotal evidence, wich can not be seen as a very strong evidence for anything. No more to UFO abduction stories than that a god miraculously healed someones athleets foot, while there are millions of people suffering from malnturition and sincerely praying for help.

  12. Eddie says:

    Dont tell me that science has all the answers when science cant tell me how humans got here, science cant tell me the reasons for paranormal expieriences, science comprehends about 2% of all things that exist i feel sorry for those that say ” i dont believe because science hasnt given me proof yet”, but i say onto you the day science proves god is amongst you, it will be too late, it has already been written that people will cry out jesus jesus please save me and he will say “i dont even know you.” before one makes an accurisation as strong as saying god is not real first they should study some testimonies and try to accept the concept of faith then they will see that this short life on earth all makes sense.

    • rautakyy says:

      Actually science can tell you how humans got here. It is no mystery. We evolved to be a bit less primitive than our ancestors over a very long period of time. Science can also tell you the reasons for paranormal experiences. Science does not explain everything, but those two are well covered.

      What a nice fellow the Jesus you describe is. There is someone in anguish and asks for help, but even if your Jesus had the power he would not help because the request for help was not send before the person was in anguish. Sounds like the heavenly bureucratic rules are terribly unethical.

      • anna says:

        The best (and one of the most plausible) explanation for Jesus that I’ve heard was actually from a movie. “Man From Earth” is not a “religious” movie in any way and it only briefly touches on the story of Jesus, but the explanation and the way it’s integrated into the overall story is so good some die-hard Christians have caught themselves questioning their beliefs. Brief religious undertones aside, it really is a great movie for anyone that considers themselves a “thinker”. It’s one of the few movies I’ve watched more than once.

    • Faan says:

      I admit my knowledge is lacking so is there someone that can explain how a sperm and an egg cell (without brains) can in such a short time ( circa 9 months) produce a human with a brain. But the human with the the brain can’t create a sperm or an egg cell. To me with limited intelligence it is only logic to believe in an almighty creator God. To me the spiritual realm has always been there long before the material realm came into being.
      Thumbs up for Eddy

      • Excellent, but very complex, question.

        If you’re truly curious, you might want to start here:

        But fundamentally, what you’re arguing is an argument from ignorance (i.e. “I don’t understand this, therefore God”). Just because we don’t understand something, doesn’t mean it has a supernatural explanation.

        Like so many other discoveries that turned out to have natural explanations, there is every indication that the growth of a human is also a wholly natural process. Under question #24, I cite a number of examples of where cells “went wrong,” and continued developing a human even when the project was doomed to failure (i.e. when anyone “with a brain” would’ve called it off). This suggests that our cells don’t “know” what they are creating, but are rather just blindly plodding along, repeating a pattern that has worked for them in the past. Whenever they encounter something new or unexpected, they often keep building… sometimes with horrific results.

        Your next question, the question of why humans can’t build an egg or a sperm, is an entirely different matter, but I do agree that these cells are complex. These cells have had billions of years of trial and error to develop, and we humans are relative newcomers to the world of microbiology.

        Our human brains didn’t even discover microscopic organisms until 1665. Even then, it would take us almost 300 years to discover DNA (1953). It was only recently (2001) that we finally mapped the human genome, and in 2010, Craig Venter and his team built the first genome of a bacterium from scratch… and brought it to life! So we’re getting there.

        But it’s important to understand that we’re not talking about constructing a car or a house. These are things that exist in an entirely different world from the one we operate in; they are exceptionally small, they operate under rules that we don’t yet fully understand, and new tools have to be developed to work with them. It’s going to take awhile before we fully understand this world, and our genes, and why they work they way they do.

        Like so many other things in nature, it seems mysterious at first, and takes time to understand. But just as we no longer give gods credit for creating lightning, and we have learned to generate it ourselves, we will one day no longer look at life as the creation of gods, and will create life ourselves. There is really no need to force unproven spiritual elements into the equation, at least not yet. 😉


  13. Nixon says:

    I’m a bit confused as to why Duncan MacDougalls experiment doesn’t count as proof? Can someone please explain this to me? And why is it that no other experiments were conducted on a topic like this? Such as the experiment Gerard Nahum had in mind?

    • Hi Nixon,

      Sure. Duncan MacDougall’s experiments were discounted because:
      1) the sample size was extremely small (only 6 people, 2 of whom he discarded the results for technical reasons), and
      2) imprecise scales (part of the reason he was throwing out results).

      Of the four people he counted, MacDougall reports that one lost weight, two lost weight and then gained it back again, and the fourth lost, then gained, then lost weight again… so not exactly consistent results. If we ever did the experiment again, we would need more precise scales, a much larger sample size, and we’d need to control for numerous factors that might affect the scales.

      That said, I don’t imagine that even if the soul exists it has any weight; if 21 grams of anything left the body, it should be detectable.

      There are still some ongoing experiments like the one mentioned in the next post, where people are asked to identify images placed above hospital emergency room beds (to see if spirits really can float above our bodies, as many people report).

      But even if we performed every measurement possible and found nothing, believers in the soul could still claim that it exists, but it’s some kind of invisible substance that cannot be measured. I think the reason these experiments are no longer done is that most people don’t really believe you’d find anything… and they’re a bit morbid.

  14. Dear, 500.

    I realy like your Blog, I’d have learned so many things as if I’m reading a cover to cover full version of Bible’s entire list of contradictions. It makes mee feel wanting to debate with varioius people using what I’ve learned here.
    I will continue to follow your Blog, 500.

    And I just thought of something. Can you make this one?
    If we have spirit what does it realy look like?
    Because I heard many Christian (Including me, years before) Our Spirit resemble to our physical image.
    And my questions are.
    1) many people dies with different age. For example what if you die at the age of 90 and yet your father have died only at his 50’s. Then Am I look older than him in heaven?
    Many Christian’s answer to this questions were like (No, we’re going to be at our Young age around 20’s and 30’s)
    2)Then how about babies? Are they going to look 20 in heaven? Or are they still babies? Pity for us we will hear them crying in heaven for enternity.
    And lastly. Why does one think our souls resembles or identical to our physical image? (Thanks be to God, I don’t have a large tumor

    • Thanks schwaltreignheim, you’re funny.

      But ya… I could only speculate about what spirits might look like if they did exist, I really have no idea.

      I do have one question on my list about what God is made of. I mean, if he is truly made of nothing, then how can he still be said to be something? We say he is spirit, but if spirit is immaterial, isn’t that the same as saying he doesn’t exist? I dunno, will have to think about that one.


  15. It’s hilarious to see a “Christian” blog about how there’s lack of evidence for things such as; reincarnation, the human spirit, aliens, etc… when there’s equally no true evidence of God. How do you justify that he is real, when everything you’ve said about the other topics can be applied in the same way towards “Acts of God”. I mean, The Bible may be true about the stories of people who were living in time with Jesus, and that they chose to believe that he was the son of God simply because he had said so…. but come on! For all we know, Jesus had severe Schizophrenia and people back then were so easily swayed to believe because they were desperate and dim-witted. Skip ahead a few hundred years, and people are just the same. Christians (and people in every other religion) believe that there is some higher power entity… but just because thousands of people believe it, doesn’t make it true. —- I’m not trying to talk anyone out of their beliefs. The comment I wanted to get across was; that everyone needs to believe in something. Do we have to know if any of it is real? No. Humans are very complex… each to their own thoughts and feelings. If someone chose to believe in what someone else thought were crazy, than so what? What they choose to believe doesn’t make it any less real or fake than what the other person believes. We all have are own choices of realities and how we see fit to live our lives. As long as we believe in things that make our life a little easier to live, than why let others or yourself, question those thoughts?

    • Daniela says:

      I believe we all want to know the truth and live to that truth. Therefore regardless of what anyone believes, we ought to educate ourselves as to what is more truth than not. And I believe you and I both have a duty to educate each other the truth and not let someone like hitler go on his way to fulfill his belief with the cost of others. Don’t you deserve to know the truth? I do.

  16. Melodie says:

    A few tidbits for you all to think over.
    1) On ‘the soul’. I would argue the brain’s functions and lack of memories upon injury have no bearings on whether or not there is a soul. I say this because, factually, we have no notion on what a soul is (energy, atoms, etc.) or where it is IF it is. It may have very little, or nothing, to do with the brain.
    2) On reincarnation. There have been arguments here that reincarnation doesn’t make sense because the population is steadily rising, and that there would either be a shortage or souls or a shortage of bodies. Except if you consider our vast universe, and that there is likely plenty of life out there, along with all living things on Earth then population isn’t at all a problem.
    3) On afterlife. I would discard the notion of heaven or hell, or another plain. IF there is a soul, reincarnation would be more useful. Of course, there’s the possibility of souls becoming ‘lost’, for whatever reason, and hovering as ‘ghosts’ in this world or another. In this sense, if a soul were proven, I’d believe our afterlife would simply be a new form of existence. I say this because A) most people would agree that if there is a soul it’s probably a form of energy, and energy does not dissipate but changes. B) If we suppose there’s a soul, and that it retains some form of memory, then lingering as a ‘ghost’ could be explained by 1 – the ‘soul’ clinging to what’s familiar, or 2 – the ‘soul’ not yet having enough momentum to move on.

    Now I also wanted to shed some light on the things mentioned in the article.
    With the ’21 grams’ experiment. Now I agree entirely it was a very unscientific experiment. However, in the meantime several studies trying to discover a ‘soul’, or lack thereof, when compared to the 21 grams study show some interesting finds.
    A study was done using scientific equipment to measure the energy of dead people recently. The study did not call the energy levels ‘souls’. Still, it showed that people who died peacefully and/or naturally had a low energy reading which gradually faded. People who died suddenly or violently, however, had strong energy readings which would dissipate and arise, dissipate and arise, several times – especially at night. The results were consistent throughout all cases – and over 300 bodies were monitored.
    If you consider that, perhaps the inconsistent readings in the 21 gram study were just that.
    Philosophers believing in souls hypothesize that the energy readings are, indeed, souls and that those who died violently or suddenly return to their bodies – unable to believe they’re dead.
    Horrific, but worth consideration.
    Therefore, measuring escaping energy has been done and proven that there is some kind of escaping energy.

    Out of body experiences. It’s been asked by the author ‘if this is a true occurrence, why can’t the OOB soul read a sign in another room?’ I have a few theories on this. Firstly, the individual out of body is probably in shock (because those who have reported such experiences do confess to having thoughts and feelings) and such a thing wouldn’t occur to them. Secondly, assuming there is a soul, we have no idea what kind of control a soul would have. Perhaps the soul cannot simply move where it wishes, do what it wishes – it may be controlled by surrounding forces, like particles, or need to adjust to its energy state and learn to function like a baby. Finally, we must also admit that if there is a soul and OOB is real that there’s as much of a possibility that the OOB experiencer has forgotten some of their experience – whether due to shock, inconsistencies between the two states of being, or other variables. So maybe people have read signs in other rooms but never remembered it when back in their physical bodies.

    Speaking to the dead and videos. I would agree that they’re both highly unreliable, but with no proof as to a soul or its state or function, I would still admit there’s the rare possibility for truth in those areas.

    The mind body connection. I again point out that there’s no reason to believe the soul is connected to the mind, or any other part of the body. We could well find out the soul is ingrained with our DNA, our atoms, in the heart or the stomach – heck, we could discover the soul resides in our intestines and buttholes. Without evidence it is foolish to say one part of the body should indicate the existence of, or non-existence of, anything.
    To add to this, in the energy experiment I referred to the energy readings were throughout the body – most were in the stomach, some in the head and chest, and a bit at the feet.
    There’s also the possibility that the soul isn’t connected to our bodies, but exists along with it – like the quantum theory of parallel worlds, almost, with the soul residing in a plain of its own and simply ‘riding along’ with our existences. Or perhaps it’s like a parasite, something in us but not connected to us.

    Reincarnation is tricky. There’s no way (yet at least) to solidly prove or disprove it. And again variables come into play – such as the soul, while itself retaining information, cannot transmit that information to the new body because of some problem or another.
    For instance, imagine downloading a song. You download it and, for whatever reason, it’s incompatible with your media players. It’s there, it holds information, but you cannot get it. However, if you change the format of that file or use a different program, or different computer, you can open it.
    So there’s a possibility that reincarnation is very real, but perhaps the design of nature makes memories of past lives inaccessible in our new bodies to save us torment. (Example, Robert Downey Jr’s Chances Are.) The ‘soul’ would still have those memories and, if this theory were proved, we might be able to discover a way to ‘reformat’ our souls or ourselves to access such memories.

    Ultimately, the truth is there is ZERO evidence pointing to a soul or lack of soul, and when we don’t even have a definition of what a soul is or where it resides all of this banter is pointless personal assumptions. If people really want answers, we need to push science to experiment and explore more.

  17. Marion says:

    Why ask the question,if you already know the answer?
    Why make the journey,if you are already there?
    If you knew the answer,there would be no point in making the journey of life.

  18. igiwigi says:

    Logic says life would have no meaning If you cannot relate to It in an afterlife.

    • rautakyy says:

      No, it does not. I think afterlife is bogus and I find plenty of meaning to my life. How empty of meaning must life be for a person whose only meaning to life comes from an expectation of what could happen after it? What sort of logic are you even referrign to?

  19. Krishna says:

    It is very difficult to convince a non believer about soul. So I have given a simple explanation here from what ever I have realized.

  20. bbnewsab says:

    Reblogged this on Mass Delusions a.k.a. Magical & Religious Woo-Bullshit Thinking and commented:
    This article I found at the blog “500 Questions”. It’s about concepts like “spirit” and “soul”.

    The article has the following subheading, “The Science of the Soul”.

    That subheading looks like an oxymoron to me. I’d not even call “The Pseudoscience of the Soul”.

    To me the soul concept is so full of bullshit, contradictions and misunderstandings that it should be tossed into the rubbish-heap immediately.

    BTW, here’s an article discussing the similarities and differences between Islam and Christianity in their view of the soul, http://www.123helpme.com/islamic-beliefs-on-the-soul-view.asp?id=163194 .

    I quote from the end paragraph of that article,

    Muslims and Christians both believe that a person is not just made from his or her mind and body, there is also the soul. They both believe that each person has an immortal soul (cannot die) which cannot be seen and makes people different from each other, however Christians believe that only humans were given souls as they were in the image of God whereas Muslims believe that humans, plants and animals have souls too. Christians believing that animals don’t have souls allows them to eat meat normally, but because Muslims believe that animals do have souls, they have to sacrifice the animal properly in order to eat the meat. Christians believe that people were made in the image of God meaning that God put something of his own divine and everlasting nature into each person, which is the soul, but Muslims don’t believe that exactly as they believe animals and plants have souls too. Both Muslims and Christians both believe that the soul was put into the body during birth, and the soul leaves the body at death.
    Muslims and Christians both believe that a person is not just made from his or her mind and body, there is also the soul. They both believe that each person has an immortal soul (cannot die) which cannot be seen and makes people different from each other, however Christians believe that only humans were given souls as they were in the image of God whereas Muslims believe that humans, plants and animals have souls too. Christians believing that animals don’t have souls allows them to eat meat normally, but because Muslims believe that animals do have souls, they have to sacrifice the animal properly in order to eat the meat. Christians believe that people were made in the image of God meaning that God put something of his own divine and everlasting nature into each person, which is the soul, but Muslims don’t believe that exactly as they believe animals and plants have souls too. Both Muslims and Christians both believe that the soul was put into the body during birth, and the soul leaves the body at death.

    In other words, almost the same bullshit is taught to Muslims and Christians.

  21. Pingback: Revised YMCA Mission Statement | Ojo Taylor

  22. josh says:

    I have to wonder about the efficacy of using science to ascertain the truth of something like spiritual existence. When one tries, he/she runs into an insurmountable snag: science exclusively works with the PHYSICAL world, and spirit is decidedly NON-physical. How do you observe the unobservable? How do you test it? Though the scientific method is the only way to understand the natural world, we’re dealing with something supernatural. It’s like trying to prove someone prefers ice cream over cookies. You can only observe the reaction of physical objects being acted upon by the non physical, and there’s nothing to show we aren’t being acted upon by a spirit and don’t even know it…

  23. Critical Thinker. says:

    Dementia shows me that all we are is tied to our brains. Once the brain is destroyed, we are gone.
    But what then rests and waits for Christ to raise it? What is given a new body at the resurrection?

  24. Bruce Tull says:

    What a joke….

  25. Faan says:

    If I had lived just a couple of centuries ago and somebody then told me to believe him in saying that he saw ” a thing” about the size of my hand palm but is so amazing it can talk? take photos? etc. etc. I would have laughed to say the least. The poor “prophet” had no scientific proof.Same stands for arguments related to the soul, spirit or God.

    • Hi Fann, you ask some really great questions. 🙂

      Why would you have laughed at the idea of smart phones? Would you laugh if I told you that, in a couple centuries, there will be technology that would amaze you? This is just progress gained through knowledge, experience, science, and innovation. Yes, there are many things we STILL don’t know, but no new knowledge is likely to make (for example) the Roman god Zeus any more real. But there HAVE been scientific studies done to try and confirm many different supernatural hypotheses that people believe in (from prayer, to dying spirits floating above a bed, to remote viewing, to psychic powers), and all have come up empty. The evidence continues to indicate that all things are the result of natural processes, not supernatural ones.

      That said, if someone were to suggest that when the battery dies on your iphone, Siri turns into a ghost and her spirit departs from it, would you believe them? Evidence indicates that what powers your iphone is electricity, and when you remove the battery, it stops processing. The brain is also powered by electronic and chemical reactions, and there is every indication that when it’s damaged, it too stops processing.


  26. Aadam says:

    Surah kahaf from holy quran will surely help to understand

  27. Rose says:

    I really appreciate the comment left by Damir. I am Christian (Catholic) and I hold many of the same beliefs. To put them a different way: we and everything in the universe are contingent — that is, our existence is caused; we have zero ability to exist on our own. So if you add up all the zeros of our contingent universe, all you will get is zero. Zero ability to exist. Zero existence. Unless at the end of the line of causes there is something, someone, who exists in and of Himself. One who is existence, “I Am.” And then when you add everything up, you will get a 1. One cause of all existence.
    There are two reasons we must have a soul.
    1. To differentiate us from animals. Why treat humans different from animals? The whole animal kingdom is made from star dust, not just people, so that isn’t a reason for human dignity. “All men are equal” Well we aren’t equally smart, and we aren’t equally pretty, and we aren’t equally anything else. There’s only one way we are equal, and that is we are all equally men. I cannot be more human than you, you cannot be more human than me. But why should our equal humanness matter more than our unequal other attributes? Fish are equally fish, but we keep the good ones and throw back the types we don’t want. Pigs are equally pigs, but the runt of a litter might be killed. People have been treated in every conceivable way, and how are we to say bad treatment is wrong? The reason our equal humanity matters more than every inequality is because we have an immortal soul made in the image and likeness of God. What is done against us is done against God.
    I am not saying this as well as it can be said; to read it and understand it as I did, read Society and Sanity by Frank Sheed.
    2. The second reason eternal souls are necessary is the need for eternal reward and eternal punishment. You may enjoy being courteous 500Q, and I appreciate it, but in this discussion and every other it is obvious there are those who don’t. We may be satisfied simply to pride ourselves as better, but when it comes to being good, and being evil, what we pride ourselves on really doesn’t matter. There must be a reason to be good and act uprightly. The small man gets ruined. The vulnerable are exploited. The innocent are condemned. In this life there is no consolation. Evil wins. History repeats itself and evil wins again and again and again. Everyone who doesn’t believe in an eternal soul says those who do, need it for consolation. Yes, it’s true. When you see evil win, like my uncle who was a layer, you need to believe in some vindication in the afterlife. Some reason why what we do matters, and evil will not have the last say in the end. My uncle defended a men sentenced to 43 years in prison for a petty robbery he didn’t commit by a judge who didn’t like Mexicans. They won, on appeal, and he was cleared. But he couldn’t get a job, he couldn’t a house, he couldn’t get anything. He had told his wife to divorce him because he didn’t think he was coming out for 43 years and didn’t want to make her suffer that, and she’d married a different man. He walked away from her, and him, for the sake of his kids who called the other man “dad” now. But he couldn’t take it. The stigma of the whole thing would never leave him, and he was ruined. He blew his brains out. An innocent, and totally decent man, and his life was ruined by those who succumbed to evil — not just the judge, but the police, the prosecutor, there were several who helped bring a man they knew to be innocent to his ruin. You have to believe there’s some vindication, some reward, for him. You have to believe there’s some sort of punishment for those who worked to get him condemned for their own personal gain.
    There will be none on this earth (and don’t tell me there would have been for that man if he had waited for it, because I can tell you other stories). And this same thing happens every day somewhere in the world.
    So… ?

  28. idpnsd says:

    “If we really want answers, perhaps we should start interrogating children: “Who are you?! Where are you from?! Who sent you?! What is your mission?! Tell us what you know!!””
    This is a very good proposal. I think we should train all pediatricians to ask such questions to children as soon as they learn to speak. This will reveal more cases. But birthmark types with past life memory are much better examples. We do not need any more cases. One solid case is enough, just like Galileo did. Take a look at the other proofs of yogic powers, and destiny examples at https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/ The book suggests methods for tracking reincarnations for all humans using some kind of databases like the one we use for tracking terrorists.

  29. Kelz says:

    If we knew reincarnation exsisted 100% it would defeat our whole purpose on this earth. If everyone knew without a doubt their spirit would live on, why stick around when the going gets tough? There would be no reason to fight, no reason to preserve life. No reason at all to be. Our souls are here to learn, grow and feel. Something you cannot have through spirit alone. The universe is an amazing place. It’s vast and endless. It almost seems impossible all in itself. How can we say the soul does not exist? There’s so much we don’t know.

    • Hi Kelz,

      The universe IS an amazing place, which is all the more reason to stick around, even if one doesn’t believe in an afterlife or reincarnation!

      You say, “How can we say the soul does not exist?” I say, “How can we say the soul DOES exist?” It’s the person making the claim that must meet the burden of proof. There is an endless list of things we might imagine existing, but that’s no reason to believe in them. If the spirit exists, let’s create more empirical tests to prove it. Otherwise, it seems superfluous to assume the body needs a soul, especially when every thought can be traced back to neurological activity in the brain.

      Thanks for commenting!

  30. Jeff Combs says:

    You sure have devoted a lot of time and energy into things you don’t believe in. If you don’t want to believe in the soul or spirit, don’t. But why waste so much time trying to convince others to see it from your world view? Just curious is all.

    • Hi Jeff,

      I suppose it’s because it’s something I spent decades believing. At first, I couldn’t accept that I had been wrong about so many different things. I wanted to go back and review the evidence to see if there was something I had missed.

      When you’re a true believer, it’s natural to want to reexamining the evidence. You want to reassure yourself. If your eternal life hangs in the balance, you want to make sure you are correct, and if so, you want to understand the religion that had such a hold on you.

      So its just a hobby. Like philosophy, these are just questions I enjoyed pondering. I give them some careful thought, then move on to the next one.


  31. Darreb says:

    Great writing. I think my life would be much more settled if all people were logical (like you).

    I wish those who fear death would simply cry and admit they are scared instead of creating soul stories and at the same time rejecting any testable experiments which may harm their story.

    The lowest emotion is “belief”. It’s pathetic and caused people to burn witches or assume illness comes from bad energy etc.

    No one should ‘believe’. It’s a meaningless word.

    We should live our lives truthfully and forget about what happens after death. That is not our business, our business is living.

    • Jeff Combs says:

      Do you believe what you said is true?

      • Darreb says:

        I know this is how I feel, yes.

        To me, beliefs are a nuisance to society.

        • Darreb says:

          Here a thought;

          We could suggest that after death we go to heaven. Or that we don’t. Or that we have a spirit which is reborn. Or that we all become one with everything. Or we enter a different universe. Or we wake up to a new reality, or we are a hologram, or we become an animal or an alien.

          Or we become a living entity completely indescribable in human words, or the whole universe becomes a solid block of static time, or its ground hog day, or we find consciousness was an illusion, or a million other less well known ideas.

          Or (my favourite) we find that something happens that no human has postulated yet.

          One day we may find aliens and uncover that they have 1000 other ideas about what happens after death.

          In a million years we may have a million ideas.

          Now. Whatever YOU think happens is therefore statistically wrong. Because out of a million ideas about what could happen after death, only one can be true.

          Since we have potentially millions of ideas then we are probably all wrong. Me included.

          shouldn’t people just stop trying to think about what might be? I honestly don’t see the point. Maybe I’m crazy but it seems like an impossible question with very little use even if we knew. After death we will know so why do people care so much?

  32. To all who have contributed to this post and those who would add to it, may I suggest we look at the question of ”is there evidence for the spirit or spiritual things, or the after life, soul, etc.” from a less opinionated perspective. It must be conceded that we of ourselves do not know, indeed there is much we do not know, or can provide convincing evidence to come to a firm conclusion of the truth, especially when we deal with difficult to measure “únscientific” non-material things like ‘spirit”, etc. I believe there is a case to be made apart from strictly empirical science that is reasonably robust to suggest they do exist but will not pursue that here. There is a source however that does exist and provide much detail about the physical and non-physical world that explains a lot. That in itself may or may not be the evidence people may want in exposing the truth but when you look closely at the context and nature of that source we may have to concede a few things. What I am alluding to is the historical evidence of the life of Jesus Christ, who made huge claims about life, the beginning and end, who we are, who God is and God’s plan for us and the world, everything, and he is central to it. Now that could be preposterous but his actions and the prophecies about himself, about
    a wide variety of people, cities, events and nations backed his claims. Who else in history has done what Jesus did, the miracles, the fulfilled prophecies, his predicted death and resurrection. And who can refute his claims and say what he said isn’t the case and will not happen regarding the future. The fact of accurately predicting the future gives strong reason to accept what is the case and what will be as the past has shown. There is no need to directly ”prove” (whatever that means) anything regarding the ‘spirit’ to confirm its reality. History, people and places attests to proof, to the truth,to facts, not ideals and imaginations. What is at stake is not our ideas and opinions but the authority, wisdom, power and might of the one who made the claims. It is most reasonable given all the facts to behold Jesus being the Son of God, who is the ‘way, the truth and the life’ and reveal to us what we can never really know by ourselves. Humbling, yet reassuring because he knows and has the power behind him. So the issue is not proving it, but accepting the one who makes the claims. Can you do that? From that position, light is shone and our eyes and hearts opened if we are willing to believe and put our trust in him. Then we will know the truth including the truth about the spirit and Spirit of God and the truth shall set us free.

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