Science vs. the Paranormal
Science vs. the Paranormal
June 16, 2009
Bunk. Pseudo science. Garbage research. These are just a few of the many colorful names and phrases that get tossed at people in the field of paranormal studies. The offenders are plentiful in the scientific community, and it has unfortunately been ongoing for years.
For whatever reason, studying the paranormal seems to really get under the skin of many scientists. Since the first seance was held by gaslight, men and women in lab coats have been calling for our heads. Admittedly, in many cases they have been right. The popular psychics and mediums of those days, and even now, are mostly, if not all, frauds and scam artists. But when the playing field is moved from this realm and into the world of personal experience, I feel it crosses a line.
The fact is, for many years and in many cultures, strange things have been reported by rational and intelligent people. Everything from the apparition of a deceased loved one to Bigfoot to UFOs have been witnessed and documented time and time again. The scientists say it is impossible. There are no such thing as ghosts and there is no giant ape creature wandering the wooded areas of the Pacific Northwest. We are the only intelligent life form. Us. Earthlings.
But what if theyâ€™re wrong? Scientists say that ghosts and the paranormal cannot be proven legitimate because instances of their existence cannot be recreated in a laboratory. First of all, paranormal experiences are not a constant. It is not like adding one part oxygen to two parts hydrogen to create water. There are no formulas or chemical compounds to balance out.
Secondly, and even more important to this argument, is the fact that the inability to recreate an experience in a controlled setting is not proof of its nonexistence. Simply put, just because I cannot prove to you that something happened, doesnâ€™t mean it did not.
Think of the innumerable pieces of our biology that make up the human body. Our skin, our blood, our heart, and our brain, for instance. Under controlled settings in labs the world over, scientists have succeeded in creating likenesses to certain parts of our anatomy. Pacemakers, artificial limbs, and much more have granted some people a better quality of life. However, try as they might to recreate the human heart itself or to faithfully reproduce living tissue, they have failed. Does this mean our hearts and skin do not exist? Are they fallacies of our collective imaginations because they cannot be recreated in a lab using chemicals and test tubes?
Furthermore, the experience of being human itself is a uniquely personal thing. I wake up each day, breathe air in and out, walk, talk, and feel. I think, speak, eat and laugh. In other words, I exist. I am in control of my own human experience. And though I can describe in great detail my thoughts when it comes to each part of my experience, I cannot describe anyone elseâ€™s. In fact, it is a hallmark of the philosophy of ages that, though we are sure of our own human experience, we can never be sure of that of others.
Think of that. Itâ€™s quite fascinating. I can tell you what I am thinking and feeling right now but how can I prove that you are? Or vice versa? I cannot. But we each have faith that we are indeed having our own experiences, donâ€™t we?
So this is my challenge to the scientific community. In any lab, and in any controlled environment you see fit, sit across from me and prove my experience. Recreate it. The simple truth is, it is impossible. For now, so too is recreating what those in the paranormal community refer to as a ghost or apparition. But be that as it may, it simply does not mean that it isnâ€™t real. And until we can verify the existence of consciousness inside the human body, we'll be hard pressed to prove it exists outside of the human body.
For far too many years, far too many people have reported seeing things; strange things. Things that arenâ€™t supposed to be real. Ghosts, monsters, aliens. Is every report factual? Of course not. But, likewise, is every case fraudulent? Even the most closed minded dismissive would have to admit that there must be something to at least a few of these stories, right? Not everyone can be crazy, can they?
Science and the paranormal have been at odds for years. But, in truth, we can and should learn from each other. From scientists, paranormal investigators can learn techniques for collecting evidence and how to properly research specific claims of activity. But from the paranormal community, I believe scientists can learn a far more valuable lesson: the benefit of keeping an open mind.
Thanks for reading.