Paranormal skeptics are in many cases just cynics pretending to be skeptics and although they may claim they formed their opinions without being subjective or biased, this is rarely the case. This is directed at those that chose not to believe, whatever evidence of the paranormal may be presented to them. And disbelief without question is equally as biased as belief without question
Top 12 arguments cynics use
1) There is no scientific evidence
2) It can’t be measured scientifically
3) If you can duplicate it, it’s fake
4) Eyewitness testimony is invalid
5) I only believe things I have seen with my own eyes
6) I never take peoples word as evidence
7) I don’t accept hearsay
9) Occam’s Razor principal
10) Stacking the odds
11) Why isn’t there more evidence?
12) There’s is no evidence
1)There is no scientific evidence
Here is a definition of the words science and scientist. Nowhere does it mention you must have a PhD, work in a laboratory, wear a white coat or be more intelligent then any other member of the population.
“The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment”.
“A person learned in science, a scientific investigator”.
Paranormal skeptics always claim that science and therefore they are always right, but here are a just a few examples of science being wrong.
“For 40 years scientists in England were fooled into thinking that a missing link in the evolutionary scale had been discovered, they named it Piltdown man. However Piltdown man actually turned out to be a hoax in which the jawbone of an ape had been stuck to that of a human skull.
In 1983 Astronomer Dr Carl Sagen calculated that a nuclear war would cause a nuclear winter with the fallout causing a temperature drop that could end civilization. In 1990 he later wrote a retraction that due to overlooking several crucial factors he had miscalculated and that the nuclear winter would only have reduced temperate climate by at most 36F.
Research Scientists claimed the drug Thalidomide was safe to prescribe as a sleeping aid for pregnant women but it actually caused over 12,000 severe birth defects, and 4,000 premature deaths.
In 1986 during a test of a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl Russian scientists used only 8 carbide rods instead of the required 15 to control the fusion rate. In the resulting explosion over 4,000 people died and almost 70,000 were injured.
In 1999 the $125,000,000 Mars Orbitor disintegrated, Nasa scientists had calculated its descent in metric newtons, but the engineers of Lockheed martin had engineered the craft in the English units of poundals”. Science is clearly not always a “self correcting system of understanding” as is so often claimed.
Another definition of science is that it attempts to create a standardized set of re-creatable experiments to prove a theory as fact. But does that mean that that while these experiments are being formulated and tested that the people that perform them are not scientists until the theories are proven? What if these theories are never proven, or the variables are such that they can never be standardized does this mean that it isn’t science because it’s contrary to its definition. But these are the same allegations that are often leveled at those that are researching the paranormal. There is a condition referred to as an “experimenter effect”, this is when a scientist or researcher expects a specific result due to their own bias, and therefore unconsciously (or consciously) manipulates and interprets the results of an experiment to suit that of their own beliefs. Debunkers and cynics are not always neutral testers they are often people with rigid, often inflexible opinions, and these opinions simply invalidate their test results, no matter what they may claim to the contrary. Scientists are members of the general public just like everyone else, and like everyone else they can be influenced by what is a social bias against the paranormal. It is the same bias that is the reason that many would not choose to investigate the Loch Ness Monster, or Big Foot, as even to be associated with the subject invites ridicule from the general public and more importantly their colleagues.
Gravity has never been photographed, or witnessed by anyone, does that mean it doesn’t exist. If someone is found murdered do we need to see who did it to know there was a murderer? Cynics are always looking for a way to continually “raise the bar” to make a logical and tested response to their accusations impossible. The paranormal skeptics continual reference to the 1979 Project Alpha hoax, doesn’t mean that all tests to determine psychic ability are flawed just that particular one, but this is the implication. This was over 25 years ago, research and testing methods have progressed, but not the paranormal skeptics argument that this single incident is reflective of all psychic testing that has taken place since. Such claims that ultrasound, sleep paralysis, or hallucinations, can explain every, or even the majority of paranormal occurrences simply are not correct, because there are such an infinite number of variants. Just in the same way that one medicine, may treat a specific disease, it never works under all conditions, on all patients. Proof of paranormal phenomena doesn’t require that there be multiple examples of evidence, just one. If the primary basis of your argument against the paranormal is that there is no scientific evidence for its existence, you’re using a validation that is clearly not infallible, and therefore neither is your argument. The standard “paranormal research is pseudoscience” accusations by paranormal skeptics are based on principles that are flawed. The definition of pseudoscience is a “theory, methodology, or practice that is considered to be without scientific foundation”. But in regard to the paranormal how can these methodologies be judged when the vast majority of scientists refuse to study them. Being a scientific expert in one field does not automatically make you an expert in all scientific fields.
Why would a Professor with a PHD in Astronomy be more knowledgeable of the paranormal if they never studied it, as opposed to an investigator that has been doing their own research for a lifetime?Scientists can, and have faked data. So why should we always believe that their evidence is always truthful or accurate but those that believe in the paranormal isn’t. Don’t forget that scientific research is often dependent on grants, and that scientists have to produce results in order for those grants to continue.
“1996: Shrink Copies Shrink
Scientific fraud makes headlines in Holland, when popular psychologist Ren Diekstra (LeidenUniversity) is accused of plagiarism. Diekstra is said to have copied entire pages from other researchers % and even from himself. Oddly, Diekstra also copied autobiographical details from others. Diekstra is suspended and loses most of his freelance assignments.
1997: German Scam
Germany is shocked to learn that two prominent cancer researchers, Marion Brach and Friedhelm Herrmann, have been concocting research results for years. In perhaps the biggest scientific fraud scandal in Europe to date, the two researchers are accused of faking data in at least 12 publications.
2000: Caught In The Act
Japan’s most respected archaeologist, Shinichi Fujimora, is caught on film while reburying ancient stone tools he had earlier uncovered. Fujimora is fired, and Japanese history books are suddenly outdated.
2002: No 118
California‘s prestigious Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory woefully admits that one of its scientists has fabricated the discovery of two new chemical elements: elements 118 and 116. The researcher, Victor Ninov, is fired. The embarrassing stain remains, however. How could a sole researcher fake the discovery of something so massively important as two new elements? (MK)”
There are of course scientists that do believe in the paranormal such as Cambridge-based Nobel Prize winner Professor Brian Josephson, and J.B Rhine P.H.D founder of the Rhine Institute, so the blanket claims that skeptics make that you can’t be a scientist and believe in the paranormal are incorrect. According to recent polls about 40% of scientists believe in God, which is a belief that has far less supporting evidence then anything paranormal. Probably the foremost critic of the paranormal is James Randi who is not a scientist at all but a magician. Paranormal skeptics who are the first to point fingers at anyone else that doesn’t have a scientific background when it comes to making claims about the paranormal are quite happy to allow him to be their “skeptic figurehead”.
There are of course scientists that do believe in the paranormal such as Cambridge-based Nobel Prize winner Professor Brian Josephson, and J.B Rhine P.H.D founder of the Rhine Institute, so the blanket claims that skeptics make that you can’t be a scientist and believe in the paranormal are incorrect. In this instance the skeptics “critical thinking” is not based on these scientists research and their adherence to scientific principles but because their beliefs are different to those of the paranormal skeptics. This is just “pseudo skepticism”.
2) It cant be measured scientifically
The first crude thermometer was not invented until the 16th century; Energy could not be measured until the late 20th century. Does that mean that prior to that temperature and energy didn’t exist. The only reason that paranormal phenomena can’t be measured could be that there simply isn’t the ability to do so at this time. The universe is believed to be composed of over 90 % Dark matter. It is something which cannot be observed directly, be photographed or recreated in laboratory conditions by anyone including scientists, but they believe that it exists. But the majority of these same scientists would refuse to apply these same criteria to establish proof of the paranormal. No matter how advanced we may believe our science is today, in 500 years time it will be considered primitive. The fact that after many years of serious research into a particular phenomena, that there may still be no definitive proof, is not a criteria to say that there never will be. Science itself demonstrates that this is not the case.
3) If you can duplicate it, its fake
One of the major arguments used against the existence of the paranormal is that if something can be duplicated it’s fake. Does that mean if someone takes a picture of a bird sitting in a tree, and then someone else takes a picture of the same bird and tree separately, then uses Photoshop to recreate the picture that this makes the original fake. In reality the recreation is actually the fake. What if a car manufacturer designs a prototype then decides to put it into production, does the fact that there are thousands of exact duplicates of the original make the prototype fake? The argument that if something can be duplicated then it’s fake, although one of the most frequently used by paranormal skeptics is actually one of the weakest. Duplication is not the same as analysis.
4) Eyewitness testimony is invalid
If you were to constantly evaluate eye witness testimony and verify its accuracy you would in fact find it is consistently valid. While someone’s degree of recollection may diminish when required to recall something extremely detailed, this degree of accuracy is very rarely applicable in regard to an event of a paranormal nature. Paranormal skeptics will often point to examples of discrepancies in eyewitness testimony that revolve around criminal investigations, and compare them to the testimony of those that have claimed to have witnessed something paranormal. But any conflicting details that while critical in a criminal investigation are often not in a paranormal one. If you saw a ghost you don’t have to remember the color of its eyes, how tall it was, or what it was wearing, you just have to know if it vanished in front of you, was transparent or appeared to walk through a wall. If two people in a murder investigation witnesses someone being shot a few feet away, you rarely hear about a conflict between them as to if they saw they the murderer shoot the person. The discrepancies if they occur will be about the description of the person that did it. It’s just another example of how a paranormal skeptic will compare one example with another one although it’s completely irrelevant, and present it as a supposedly definitive response.
Remembering if you witnessed something that was extremely unusual or out of the ordinary is always going to be easier then trying to remember or describe a trivial everyday event or experience. Which could you remember more, seeing a person in front of you suddenly vanishes, or someone that simply walked out of view. Would you be more likely to remember a cylindrical glowing object in the sky that moved at abnormally high speed, or a passing passenger jet? If you have ever practiced any memorization techniques that help you to remember things by associating them with something else, it is always suggested that the association item is something bizarre or out of the ordinary, never an everyday event or item.
And why do cynics always assume that they are in a better to position to judge what someone else saw then the person that actually saw it just because it may concern the paranormal. One person didn’t see it, didn’t witness the exact conditions it was seen under, and the other one did. If one person watched a T.V program and the other didn’t who would be in the better position to judge the T.V program. Just because the setting may change, the laws of logic shouldn’t. Eye witness testimony is valid in a court of law and can be considered a crucial factor even in crimes that are serious enough to warrant the death penalty. But apparently this is not considered sufficient for it to be taken as evidence to determine if ghosts exist or not. Eyewitness evidence has proved to be reliable from people with a wide variety of vocations, even Winston Churchill stated that he saw an apparition of Abraham Lincoln when he stayed in the Whitehouse. His powers of observation and logic were enough to lead an entire nation into war, but presumably not enough to convince a cynic that he saw a ghost. But skeptics are equally dismissive of the many police or military personal that have witnessed something paranormal, and claim their observational and recollection skills are equally as flawed as everyone else’s.
If you look at any of the major police recruitment websites, one of the key criteria for hire, is for the applicant to have observational skills, and they are consistently evaluated on this and their powers of recollection throughout their entire career. As arresting officers their eyewitness testimony is also used in a court of law on a regular basis. Military personal are also tested and evaluated on their observational skills. Military pilots who have often observed UFO’s, are regularly put in high pressure situations where correctly identified a target can literally mean a life or death situation. Just as with any skill, if something is constantly used and evaluated, it reaches a higher level of efficiency then if it isn’t. Ask a paranormal skeptic on trial for their life, whose eyewitness testimony they would prefer to rely on for their acquittal, a police officer a fighter pilot or the person that stacks the shelves at their local supermarket ?
5) I only believe things I see with my own eyes
Paranormal skeptics often state that they don’t believe something unless they have “seen it with their own eyes”. So by implication it means that if someone else witnessed an occurrence but they didn’t, they don’t believe that person is telling the truth. But If they genuinely believe that then they should uphold that belief at all times, not decide under what circumstances to apply it. What would happen if they returned to their home and a policeman was outside warning them not to go in as there was a ghost in the house? Presumably they would not believe him. But what would happen if the same policeman said there was a man with a shotgun inside threatening to shoot anyone he sees. Would they go into the house to find out for themselves, as they only believe what they “see with their own eyes?” Of course they wouldn’t go in, and therefore their acceptance of eye witness accounts are in fact subjective which is often the argument used against people with a belief in the paranormal. Once you start deciding that you only abide by the statement “I only believe what I see with my own eyes” under circumstances that you chose, it invalidates the statement.
6) I never take peoples word as evidence
If you state that you never take someone’s word as evidence, then presumably you also don’t react to any of the claims people make without verifying them. But how many times a day at work or at home do you do exactly that. You couldn’t function if you never took anyone’s word, because you would never act upon it. The manager at your work tells you there is a meeting in an hour that you have to attend. Your wife calls and says you have to pick the children up from school. Someone says it’s raining out and you’re going to need a coat. Do you verify their claims first before deciding to take action? No you don’t. One of the reasons is because upon verification you will find that what people say is consistently accurate with what you later find out to be factual. But when someone says they saw a ghost, a paranormal skeptic will chose not to take there word. If you state you never take someone’s word for something then but just decide when to apply that statement this is not actually any form of critical thinking, but merely being subjective based on your own bias.
7) Hearsay evidence is always invalid
Hearsay: “Evidence by a witness based on what the witness has been told by a third party”.
The television news consists of a newscaster reading news that was delivered to him by a reporter that often contains information sourced from a third party. A newspaper is edited by someone on the basis of written articles submitted by a journalist that often received their information from several other sources. These examples of information based on what someone has been told by someone else are in the majority of cases verifiable as being accurate. What happens when you go on holiday to a country you have never been to. You may of seen pictures of it, seen it on a map, talked to people that have been there, even seen it on television. But until you go there the evidence for doing so is based on hearsay. It is not a place you have seen with your own eyes, and the only information you have received to confirm its existence is the verification of other people not your wown. But you have taken the time off work, purchased an airline ticket, booked a hotel and committed yourself to accepting the existence of where you are going as fact, based on principles that as a paranormal skeptic you claim are invalid. You are constantly exposed to hearsay in everyday life, whether at home or at work, if it wasn’t consistently accurate, you would be spending all your time verifying it before reacting to it. You don’t. Contrary to popular belief in certain situations hearsay is also admissible in a court of law. The cynics belief that hearsay is never admissible as evidence of the paranormal isn’t in fact based on any logic but on there own pre judged prejudice. But they won’t hesitate to use it, if it supports their position. Have you ever seen, touched or heard gravity? But you accept its existence and cause. Why because a scientist told you. You accept that gravity is caused by the force of attraction between particles, but you base that solely on the hearsay of other people. Can you prove that gravity is not in fact caused by a energy beam transmitted from a UFO that is hovering at a undetectable location beyond the earths solar system. An illogical theory, and yet most people can’t personally prove it without accepting hearsay as fact.
When paranormal skeptics fail to provide an even remotely plausible explanation for something, (even by their own standards) rather then admit defeat, they will simply provide an implausible one and present it as fact. Their fully aware of much of the public’s perception of anything considered paranormal. They are also aware of the Media’s bias in favor of cynics and how that ultimately has shaped public opinions. Three prime examples of this are the Rendlesham UFO incident, crop circles, and Roswell.
In Rendlesham it was claimed the UFO sightings were in fact lights reflected from a distant lighthouse. The reality was that the beam was barley visible and over three miles away. In the 1990s two men in England admitted to faking crop circles. The reality of this was that they could not possibly of created thousands of crop circles dating back over a hundred years and made all over the world. The Roswell UFO crash has now been attributed to weather balloons containing crash test dummies. But these weather balloon tests, although they did occur were it fact never on a feasible trajectory to have been the wreckage that was found at the Roswell Crash site. The Roswell explanation is also an example of a retro fitted fact, also a popular technique with paranormal skeptics. Unfortunately many times it is the “logical” explanation that the public more readily accept and remember, but these have consistently proved not to have always been the most truthful ones, and the only thing that gave them more logic was how it was presented in the media.
9) Occam’s Razor principal
There is a principal applied by paranormal skeptics called “Occam’s razor”. In its simplest form, Occam’s razor states that “one should make no more assumptions than needed. When multiple explanations are available for a phenomenon the simplest version is preferred”. This principal is clearly flawed. For example if a skeptic saw on the news that someone was found dead at the bottom of a cliff, and there were no witnesses to the event, using “Occam’s razor” it would mean that they must always assume that the person fell from cliff as this is the most statistically common cause in this situation. But by the same token it also implies that people never commit suicide from a cliff and are never pushed, because this would not be the “simplest version out of possible multiple explanations”. This is clearly wrong, and the Occam’s razor principal is clearly wrong, and yet it is consistently used as a benchmark against the existence of the paranormal.
10) Stacking the odds
Paranormal skeptics will also change the laws of probability to suit their own belief, although it may be contrary to the law of logic. If 500 people said they saw a man walk across the street and into a shop but 5 people saw the same man vanish halfway across the street most people would believe those that saw him cross the street and go into the shop. But if 500 people saw the man vanish in front of them and 5 people said that they didn’t, and then cynics would still side with the people that said he didn’t vanish. Not because it meets any form of applied logic, because it doesn’t, but merely because it suits their own opinion.
11) Why isn’t there more evidence
The vast majority of ghost sightings are made by people in the place they live or work at. How many people always carry a camera with them at home and work, does a cynic? Ghosts are a very rare occurrence; even the most active hauntings don’t involve more then a few dozen sightings over the course of a year lasting little more then seconds at a time.
The chances of a fully equipped team of paranormal investigators going to a location for a few eight hour overnight stays during the course of a year, and being able to see and capture on film a ghost are almost zero, but that’s not proof that something doesn’t exist. How many people a year commit suicide by jumping from cliff tops or tall buildings, how many pictures are there of them doing it in relation to the actual number of incidences ? Other rare occurrences have indictors that allow some degree of predictability. Even ball lightening that is exceedingly rare, is preceded by storm clouds, and changes in atmospheric density. It was not until recently that scientists could recreate it a laboratory and even then the results have been limited, but previous to that scientists still believed in its existence.
In 1938 a fish called a Coelacanth was captured; it had previously been thought to be extinct for almost 80 million years. That was only one recorded sighting in millions of years. A rarity of sightings or being unable to recreate phenomena under laboratory conditions clearly isn’t an indicator that something doesn’t exist.
12) There is no evidence
Cynics often use blanket statements such as there is no evidence that the paranormal exists. But there is actually much evidence, including eye witness accounts, photographs, and tape recordings, but they choose not to accept it.
These and many other highly credible organizations, including numerous University’s and independent research facilities continue to study the paranormal throughout the world. This is not because its existence has been definitively disproved, if that was the case research would have ceased years ago. It’s because the nature of it has not yet been fully understood. There actually being evidence and people choosing to ignore it are two completely different things. Ignoring the evidence is not the same as disproving it. There are no photographs or physical evidence of Julius Caesar, George Washington, or Napoleon Bonaparte, only eyewitness accounts, hearsay, and paintings. Does a cynic believe they existed, do they believe their own great, great, grandfather existed. Presumably not, as there are no pictures, no physical evidence and only hearsay to support such a claim. If paranormal skeptics actually abided by their own standards of logic as they pretend, they would have no evidence to suggest they could possibly have been born.
Pseudo Skeptics Beware – Debunking Skeptics
How To Debunk Paranormal Events – Wikihow
Paranormal Hoaxes – Museum Of Hoaxes
Debunking Charlatan Ghost Hunters And Psychics – Decoded Past
Paranormal Investigator – The Skeptics Dictionary