Ghosts On TV

Question from Chris:
What would you say about ghosts and paranormal activity?
It is hard to deny the existence of ghosts or haunted places. There are many videos like this –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyrZh-SZRc8
– that show ghosts on tape and such.
How can you as an atheist explain this?
There are many documented cases of ghosts. Assuming that there is no God then how are there ghosts and spirits?

Answer by SmartLX:
There are many documented claims of ghosts, but not one confirmed actual ghost. Shows like Ghost Adventures in the video above do everything they can to convince viewers that that supernatural experiences occur, but with all the “evidence” they supposedly accumulate after multiple seasons they never bother to take their case to mainstream scientists for analysis. You eventually have to wonder whether the hosts and producers are at all sincere. (To their credit, the Ghost Adventures guys essentially filmed a retraction after their night vision camera caught a guest very obviously faking a poltergeist event. Whether or not they’re honest ghost hunters, that had to be embarrassing or at least annoying.)

There are indeed many videos purporting to capture ghosts or ghost activity, but they fall into two categories: those which have not been proven to be genuine, and those which have been proven not to be genuine. There are so many of them because not only are there many ways to fake such a video, there are many reasons to fake such a video. Many of these reasons, though not all, have to do with money. I’ll let you work out what they are. In the end there is just no available, substantive evidence for ghosts, so there’s no more reason to believe in ghosts than in gods. If you know of a particular video or story which you think does constitute substantive evidence, link to it in a comment and we’ll discuss it.

We actually have had a few people write in who claim to be atheists and yet believe in ghosts. Most of the time it’s because they’ve had an unexplained personal experience which convinced them, which is no good for then convincing anyone else but is very effective for creating belief in one person. The resulting rationales tend to posit that souls and an afterlife do exist but they’re not created or controlled by anything resembling a god, instead relying on supernatural energies and other non-divine phenomena. These atheist spiritualists therefore have a very decentralised concept of the afterlife, and of whatever non-ex-human spirits may exist in addition to ghosts. I say the same thing to them as I say to believers in gods: produce your evidence.

2 thoughts on “Ghosts On TV”

  1. Chris said: “It is hard to deny the existence of ghosts or haunted places. ”

    Wait, what? Excuse me? You think there is evidence for ghosts? Well, SmartLX basically said everything I could say about this and more. I just found that statement above too much, so I had to point it out. You speak as if you are talking about gravity or something.

    One thing I wish most people who believe in …well anything magical, supernatural, or paranormal would consider. Is that people lie for various reasons. Fame, fortune, respect, fear, mental illness, embellishment, incomprehension. ….to name a few.

    So I can tell you I personally know of 23 reported cases of warts that magically turned into frogs and hopped away (leaving no evidence of the wart behind!) I can do a ton of things to back up my claim, including doctored photographs, dramatic personal accounts, computer generated video, having ‘ancient texts’ describing this phenomena, creating a whole rulebook on why you can only see the frog sometimes (which is why most people never see these frogs), starting a wart-to-frog interest group. I can produce ALL this “evidence”! So obviously my claim is correct.

  2. I agree with Adam’a comment on ghosts on TV from Chris.
    I would like to add that it cracks me up that so many christians
    either believe in them or want non beleivers to believe that there
    has to be a god because there are ghosts. Do these people not read their bible. It says over and over again in both the old and new testament, that when a person dies, that is the end of him, period.
    Until resurection at the end of the age (world). Christ himself told his apostles” no one has went up to heaven but he who came down from heaven”, (himself). I am an atheist, but I have read and know what the bible says and does not say. It always amazes me how so many religious people are so adept at making up reasons to beleive in the bible when the bible says those reasons do not exist.

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