Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ghosts Can’t Exist, Because I Said So

One area where my views are at odds with most of the other atheist bloggers and forum participants whose writings I have read is on the subject of ghosts. Atheists tend to be skeptical and only believe in things for which they see evidence, and that pretty much describes me too. But where I diverge from the majority is that I have seen the evidence of ghosts. That being said, I have no way of presenting evidence of what I believe to be true.
As you are probably aware, my belief in ghosts actually put me at odds with lots and lots of theists also. There are plenty of good reasons to be skeptical about this subject; the paucity of evidence, the persuasive arguments of doubters, the long history of charlatans in the paranormal field, and fear of the unknown. The only people I have a problem with are those who flatly refuse to consider the possibility that ghosts are real.
Among atheists it is fairly common to believe that if there is no deity and religion is invalid, then there is no afterlife. Obviously, if there is no afterlife, the spirits of dead people can’t be running around. Then there are some Christians who believe that all people go to heaven or hell, so anyone still hanging around must be demons (personally, I’ve never seen any evidence to suggest that ghosts are demons). Other people have never seen evidence, have always associated paranormal claims with side-shows, hippies and magic acts and can’t believe anyone could take such things seriously, and lots of people have lots of other reasons that I either don’t remember or never heard. The thing is all the people who refuse to consider the possibility of ghosts could summarize their attitude as: Ghosts don’t exist because I say so.
What the heck, I can’t even convince some people that sushi is good so I can’t be surprised that I can’t sway them about ghosts, but I’m frustrated that the those insistent that ghosts don’t exist shut down all conversation on the subject. What I really want is to start a dialog with other open minded skeptics about possible explanations for this phenomenon that may lead to a greater understanding of nature, but refusal to consider the possibility pretty much kills that discussion.

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