Proving the Paranormal

I wanted to post briefly on a topic I’ll be exploring more, likely in a future article for The Bent Spoon Magazine, today on the blog.

What’s the deal with ghost hunting groups giving such strange definitions for “paranormal” and then contradicting themselves through their actions?

Here is what I mean:

Some teams are defining the paranormal, basically, as “that which is outside of, or cannot be explained by, science.”  It’s very convenient for them, of course, and an easy way to attempt to avoid criticism.  If they are questioned as to why they believe they are hunting ghosts when there is no good evidence that ghosts exist, they can just say, “Well, science can’t explain the paranormal…”

Bullshit.  If these were real effects, not only would they be considered part of the natural world (and therefore not “paranormal”) but science would be equipped to detect them.

But then, wouldn’t you know it, the same ghost hunting team who claims that the paranormal is outside of the capability of science to prove, say they OPERATE UNDER SCIENTIFIC METHODOLOGIES during their investigations.

It’s madness!  Forget the fact that the vast majority of paranormal teams don’t know how science operates.  How can you say the paranormal cannot be proven by science, but then go around saying you are finding evidence of the paranormal by using science?

I’ve contacted several teams across the country who have both defined the paranormal this way and who claim to use scientific methods on their websites.  I wanted to understand if they realized their contradiction and, if so, how they could justify it.  Unfortunately, I have not heard back from any of them.  It has been weeks since my original contact so I think it’s safe to say I’m no longer expecting a response.

So, maybe you can help me.  What do you make of all this?  Do you define the paranormal in similar ways, or know of a “scientific” group who does?  How can the contradiction be justified?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Leave a comment, or contact me elsewhere, and tell me what’s on your mind.

For my buddy Andre Frattino

2 thoughts on “Proving the Paranormal

  1. I wrote a piece of the different meanings of paranormal, supernatual and othe like words and how they are applied on Skeptoid blog. We had heated discussion about this online in university discussion boards. If you say something has a supernatural cause, like angels or demons, science is out the window. Paranormal is a false category.

  2. Well done. Your article was helpful.By the way, in a somewhat related story, I recently remembered that you sent me (and probably many others) a copy of your thesis long ago. I'm not sure we were even friendly yet. Maybe just exchanged a Twitter comment once or twice. Pretty cool, I think.

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