From Belief in Ghosts to the Contradiction of Pseudoscience

A few weeks ago, I wondered how many people actually believe in ghosts and the paranormal, so one sleepless night out of many, I researched it. Even though there wasn’t much found as trusted data, I did find a trusted site that published an essay on something similar to what I was searching answers for, dated 2002: Science Fiction and Pseudoscience

What is Pseudoscience?

According to the Encarta Dictionary, pseudoscience is defined as a theory, or method doubtfully, or mistakenly held to be scientific.

Let’s break this down.

Pseudo means: not authentic or sincere, in spite of appearances; not real but pretending to be real.

Science means: the study of the physical and natural world and phenomena, especially by using systematic observation and experiment; an activity that is the object of careful study, or that is carried out according to a developed method.

My opinion of the combination: Oxymoron: a phrase, in which two words of contradictory meaning are used together for special effect, e.g. “wise fool” or “legal murder”. What real scientists(s) uses special effect?

This part of the essay was interesting but I have a knack for thinking a teeny bit over the limit of literal. However, I did find the Gallup Poll through this reading.

As of 2005, more than half of the American public believes in haunted houses, ghosts, faith healing, and spirit communication. Although, the poll was out-dated, the data was surprising.

37% Believe in haunted houses
46% Do Not believe in haunted houses
16% Aren’t Sure

As more women than men believe in pseudoscience, more men than women believe in aliens from outer space.  That’s understandable.

What I didn’t understand was why the belief in ghosts declines with age in the Gallup Poll.

Ages 18-29 45% believe
Ages 30-49 35% believe
Ages 50-64 27% believe
Ages 65 and up 22% believe

When I was younger, I didn’t really believe in ghosts even though I had some weird, unexplainable experiences. Maybe it’s because I didn’t think about it much, or perhaps, didn’t want to think about it. Now that I’m older, my mind has opened to the “what if” factor. I’ve experienced even stranger phenomenon as well as photographed it without knowing at the time. Here is a photo taken in June 2012 while my sister and I visited the historical Furnace Town in Snow Hill, MD.

Furnace Town female ghosts

This picture was enlarged from the original photo of the museum. There weren’t many people there that day which made it extremely peaceful and relaxing and definitely no actors. Could it be a tree? Matrixing? Take notice of the vibrant colors of greenery and even the actual trees compared to the inside of the red circle.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to conduct a survey of who believes in the paranormal. I plastered the link on Facebook, twitter, and my blog but only 9 people responded.  Here are the results:

Do You Believe in the Paranormal?

1. Do you believe a house can be haunted by previous deceased occupants?

Yes

8

No

0

Not sure

1

 2. Do you believe a house can be haunted by LIVING previous occupants?

Yes

3

No

2

Not sure

4

3. Do you believe in ghosts?

Yes

8

No

0

Not sure

1

 4. Have you ever seen a ghost?

Yes

7

No

2

Not sure

0

 5. Do you WANT to see a ghost?

Yes

4

No

4

Not sure

1

 6. Do you believe in Spirit Communication?

Yes

8

No

0

Not sure

1

 7. Do you believe in Spirit Possession?

Yes

6

No

1

Not sure

2

It’s the same as demon possession

0

 8. Do you believe that there are certain individuals who can speak to the dead?

Yes

8

No

0

Not sure

1

 9. What is your gender?

Female

8

Male

1

 10. Which category below includes your age?

Under 17

0

18-20

1

21-29

0

30-39

1

40-49

4

50-59

2

60 and over

1

 *Notice how not one person believed that spirit possession was the same as demon possession.

Questions 6 and 8 are the same but worded differently just to see if there was the same result or a different result – they both had the same result.

Within the past seven years, we’ve seen more reality television shows on ghost hunting and more media coverage on actual ghost sightings like The Punchbowl Ghost, Jamaican Ghost, and the ABC Reporter Catches a Ghost on Camera. These are just a few sites I’ve found that are close to being considered as actual events.

Gallup needs to conduct another survey in order to compare the differences within seven years and at the same time; they need to develop more detailed questions like adding which paranormal shows, movies, and books the participants have read in the past year or so. It would give clearer data as to whether the media has brainwashed us into believing fake science.

Back to the scientific aspect; I believe that science needs another category – a certified category for paranormal phenomenon. After all, when one collects data from certain experiments for consistency, it IS considered a form of science. The question is: would it fall under Life Science or Natural Science?

What do you think? Do you think pseudoscience should even be a word in a real scientist’s vocabulary? What would happen if science and scientists acknowledged paranormal research?

12 Comments

  1. December 26, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Well, I think science is increasingly paying attention to such matters, and over time I believe we will find “scientific” explanations for things that seem purely paranormal now.

    In fact, I suspect the paranormal is simply a category of concepts that we do not yet understand scientifically, in the same way that we once did not understand that the world was round, or how germs were transmitted from person-to-person.

    New ideas and new technologies seemed like magic at the time, as spirits and the paranormal often do now. But I don’t think that condition will persist forever, and believe in such things is becoming increasingly mainstream.

    Very interesting survey – do you think your audience has any particular bias toward belief in the supernatural?

    • December 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      That’s what I’d like to know Jennifer. One of the reasons why added a multiple choice answer for question 7. Many people believe that there are no spirits just demons pretending to be spirits or deceased loved ones. I myself feel that if we can open up to the new age of religious belief many people would feel less fearful of death and hopefully look at life and living as a chance for enlightenment in spirit instead of just physical life. The question is, what blocks their openness?

  2. betty graham said,

    December 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    As we grow older, we turn more back to our teachings from our parents, as you already know “The Father,The Son,The Holy Ghost. Anything other than that is too scarey and may keep us out of heaven. My beliefs are a combination of Spirits.Some are Guardian Angels and some are just spirits. The bible talks about them.

    • December 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      That is true Aunt Betty. I find myself integrating those beliefs that I was taught as a child with what I’ve experienced and what works for me. One way just wasn’t working for me. The parts I’ve read from the Bible meant something different than what was preached to me. I was taught that true religion is felt from within and I never truly felt it from within until now. Science has proven that we are made of particles and such that can’t simply disappear when we die but only change form. So, what form? I guess I strongly feel that religion and science should bridge the gap instead of intentionally veering from one another and simply saying that the belief in spirits as human spirituality comes from being brainwashed by the media. It just feels too much of an insult. :)

  3. 1EarthUnited said,

    December 27, 2012 at 12:41 am

    Unexplained phenomena usually do get revealed over time as science catches up to it. They even have electromagnetic “ghost” detectors… so we shall see. Pseudo-science is a term to negate what is not considered to be traditional science, ie duplicated using the scientific method, observation etc. I think paranormal science may be a better term to describe unexplainable phenomena.

    • December 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      I agree 1Earth. I think it’s time that Scientists explore what is in front of them in order to get more answers for other aspects of science (if that makes any sense) that is a major part of human existence. Like trying to prove if we even have a soul, or what exactly is dark matter, even trying to recreate the big bang theory. There are so many gaps in these theories. Is it because they can’t see the forest for the trees? Are they purposefully ignoring and making fun of the possibilities of paranormal science?
      Ha ha I could go on and on about this as you can see :)

  4. 1EarthUnited said,

    December 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    I see where u’r coming from, anything that can not be measured scientifically is labeled subjective and not given the same attention. Metaphysical sciences explore the inner dimensions of being, like the soul, god, purpose of life. All the “BIG” questions are ignored by science because it is beyond the confines of that field. Plus, there no money in it! LOL.

  5. December 29, 2012 at 3:04 am

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  6. February 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm

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  7. February 21, 2013 at 9:53 pm

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