The Existence of Ghosts

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What is your view on the existence of ghosts?

I believe ghosts exist and nothing will change my mind.
1
7%
I believe ghosts exist, but I would be willing to change my mind if presented with good evidence to do so.
1
7%
I believe the existence of ghosts can never be shown one way or the other.
1
7%
I believe ghosts do not exist and nothing will change my mind.
1
7%
I believe ghosts do not exist, but I would be willing to change my mind if presented with good evidence to do so.
8
53%
Other (please clarify in the thread).
3
20%
 
Total votes: 15

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The Existence of Ghosts

Post #1

Post by Kylie »

From a discussion in another thread with Purple Knight.

Do you believe in ghosts? Please feel free to add any more information as a post in this thread, such as a story where you encountered something you believe was a ghost, etc.

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Re: The Existence of Ghosts

Post #71

Post by brunumb »

AgnosticBoy wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 12:51 am More specifically to your point, I believe that the supernatural involves physical and non-physical aspects. In my understanding, the point of the supernatural is not to bring up things happening in some bizarre or magical way, but rather it's to say that everything of the physical universe has limitations. These limitations are enforced according to the laws of nature that govern the Universe. Anything that goes beyond those regularities and limitations is termed supernatural. However, if we remove the concept of the supernatural, then you're basically saying that there are not any limitations nor regularities.
Supernatural is defined as being beyond scientific understanding. In that sense it is just a place-holder for the unknown. Lightning and thunder were once considered to be supernatural phenomena. Now they are firmly within the natural world. The problem as I see it is that people have experiences that they cannot readily explain in terms of what is known or natural so they jump to an unjustified interpretation that involves the supernatural in some way. So-called supernatural phenomena have been studied for ages at all different levels of expertise, and so far nothing verifiable has emerged.
AgnosticBoy wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 12:51 am However, I also believe that there are laws for the supernatural. The limitations for that world are not the same for the natural world. God can be bound by logic and other laws without being bound by our laws.
What you believe is irrelevant. What you can demonstrate to be true is what counts. We can speculate until the cows come home but that is of no value without some verifiable evidence. How can anyone know anything about the supernatural, its laws, or God, if it is all beyond the scope of the scientific method of investigation which is essentially all we have at our disposal to find the truth?
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Re: The Existence of Ghosts

Post #72

Post by AgnosticBoy »

brunumb wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 2:37 am Supernatural is defined as being beyond scientific understanding. In that sense it is just a place-holder for the unknown.
Here's a definition that captures all of the uses of the word "supernatural":
(of a manifestation or event) attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.
- Oxford Languages/Google

Your definition does not mention the laws of nature. Those that say it doesn't exist usually define it out of existence when they say everything is natural, as opposed to proving that it doesn't exist and that's faulty. Before dismissing anything, I would think logic and evidence should be used to answer the following:
- Are there regularities and limitations in the Universe? In other words, do laws of nature exist?
- If something or someone transcends those limitations, does that mean the law does not exist or is it that the law is not binding in all cases?

* Even if we did away with the terms supernatural/natural, you're still left with my questions. Do any laws exist?

When someone says that everything is natural, they are basically saying that if someone was discovered walking on water (unaided by man-made technology), then that automatically means that it's a natural ability. If it is then why can't everyone do it? How do you know that there aren't laws, and that the law wasn't violated? You would either have to deny it was a natural event or remain agnostic, at the least.

Think of the movie, The Matrix. A simulated world ran on computer code. Just because someone can hack the system doesn't mean that rules don't exist. It's possible for rules to exist and still be broken.
AgnosticBoy wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 12:51 am How can anyone know anything about the supernatural, its laws, or God, if it is all beyond the scope of the scientific method of investigation which is essentially all we have at our disposal to find the truth?
I wouldn't automatically say that the supernatural is beyond science. We obviously experience it in some way, shape, and form, so the observation aspect of science can apply. I suspect we may not be able to fully explain it, but like UFOs, we can gather plenty of good observational data.
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Re: The Existence of Ghosts

Post #73

Post by Purple Knight »

AgnosticBoy wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 12:51 amMore specifically to your point, I believe that the supernatural involves physical and non-physical aspects.
So do you think energy itself is supernatural? Or that anything to do with energy is supernatural? A computer, turned off, is physical, not supernatural, but one awakened with electricity flowing through it that allows it to do all these magical things... is supernatural?

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Re: The Existence of Ghosts

Post #74

Post by AgnosticBoy »

Purple Knight wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 3:26 pm
AgnosticBoy wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 12:51 amMore specifically to your point, I believe that the supernatural involves physical and non-physical aspects.
So do you think energy itself is supernatural? Or that anything to do with energy is supernatural? A computer, turned off, is physical, not supernatural, but one awakened with electricity flowing through it that allows it to do all these magical things... is supernatural?
No. I was claiming that supernatural events can be physical, like for instance, the resurrection. That's an event that can be witnessed and examined.
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Re: The Existence of Ghosts

Post #75

Post by Purple Knight »

AgnosticBoy wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 3:51 pm
Purple Knight wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 3:26 pm
AgnosticBoy wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 12:51 amMore specifically to your point, I believe that the supernatural involves physical and non-physical aspects.
So do you think energy itself is supernatural? Or that anything to do with energy is supernatural? A computer, turned off, is physical, not supernatural, but one awakened with electricity flowing through it that allows it to do all these magical things... is supernatural?
No. I was claiming that supernatural events can be physical, like for instance, the resurrection. That's an event that can be witnessed and examined.
So why is the resurrection (involving both energy and matter) supernatural and not a computer turning off and then turning on again?

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Re: The Existence of Ghosts

Post #76

Post by Tcg »

AgnosticBoy wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 3:51 pm
Purple Knight wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 3:26 pm
AgnosticBoy wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 12:51 amMore specifically to your point, I believe that the supernatural involves physical and non-physical aspects.
So do you think energy itself is supernatural? Or that anything to do with energy is supernatural? A computer, turned off, is physical, not supernatural, but one awakened with electricity flowing through it that allows it to do all these magical things... is supernatural?
No. I was claiming that supernatural events can be physical, like for instance, the resurrection. That's an event that can be witnessed and examined.
Whose resurrection? Certainly not Jesus'. He died almost 2,000 years ago, according to the tales. How could an event from 2,000 years ago be witnessed and examined today?


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Re: The Existence of Ghosts

Post #77

Post by AgnosticBoy »

Purple Knight wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 4:05 pm So why is the resurrection (involving both energy and matter) supernatural and not a computer turning off and then turning on again?
The short answer is that a supernatural event is an irregularity (not to be limited or confused with a rarity). It's an irregularity that occurs with the laws of nature (as opposed to just any law, like man-made ones).

Here's the long answer. You asked about the resurrection and a computer. We know the regularities and limitations of both. The regularities or functions of a computer are different than those of the human body. We know that when someone dies, their cells die and eventually breakdown into simpler elements/atoms and that gets recycled into the ecosystem. That decomposed matter will no longer exist as organs or function as such. In a computer, the system does not degrade unlike the body that's deprived of its crucial energy sources (e.g. oxygen). Secondly, the computer is man-made so it can be made to operate any number of ways.

Despite the body being made of matter and energy, we know that dead and/or decomposed cells don't just reconstitute themselves into functioning organs. It's not built to operate like that. Now if it does reconstitute itself to where it can function again, then we would not say that it was natural because then that would be contradictory. Christian apologists tend to be aware of that. They don't argue that the resurrection happened naturally because there is a ton of evidence against that being a natural processes based on biology, chemistry, etc. But they do claim that it happened supernaturally and that avoids the contradiction although there's still the issue of proving God's existence or the mechanism behind such occurrence.

Oftentimes the difficulty of distinguishing between supernatural and natural is epistemic, as in our ability to have correct knowledge about regularities in nature. But a genuine supernatural case would have to be one where we are very certain of a regularity and then call it supernatural when it is violated, as opposed to just saying that the regularity wasn't in fact a regularity but a misunderstanding that needs updating.
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Re: The Existence of Ghosts

Post #78

Post by brunumb »

AgnosticBoy wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 5:42 pm But a genuine supernatural case would have to be one where we are very certain of a regularity and then call it supernatural when it is violated, as opposed to just saying that the regularity wasn't in fact a regularity but a misunderstanding that needs updating.
Until we have a verified case of such an event, it is merely speculation and contributes nothing to the case for the existence of the supernatural. The supernatural is really just an invented explanation. For example, unexplained sound and visions are the observed phenomena. Ghosts are not the observed phenomena. Ghosts are the speculative or hypothetical explanation for the phenomena, but we have no valid basis for proposing the existence of such things.
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Re: The Existence of Ghosts

Post #79

Post by AgnosticBoy »

brunumb wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 9:04 pm
AgnosticBoy wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 5:42 pm But a genuine supernatural case would have to be one where we are very certain of a regularity and then call it supernatural when it is violated, as opposed to just saying that the regularity wasn't in fact a regularity but a misunderstanding that needs updating.
Until we have a verified case of such an event, it is merely speculation and contributes nothing to the case for the existence of the supernatural. The supernatural is really just an invented explanation. For example, unexplained sound and visions are the observed phenomena. Ghosts are not the observed phenomena. Ghosts are the speculative or hypothetical explanation for the phenomena, but we have no valid basis for proposing the existence of such things.
My argument is not that the supernatural actually exists, but rather it is that the concept of it can be applied to the real world. The simple fact is that if there are laws or regularities in nature, then there is room for a supernatural existence, assuming that those laws can be violated.

Those that argue that there's no need nor room for the concept of the supernatural being applied to the real world, need to provide an explanation for what they'd call an occurrence that violates a law of nature (assuming that they accept that laws/regularities exist). To simply say that it wouldn't happen is an assumption on the nature of laws, as if laws can't be broken. To say that if it happens then it is still natural would be contradictory. You're basically saying that an irregular behavior is how it regularly or naturally behaves. I mean we can see that it contradictory based on definition. And if we consider the human body as an example, and how it regularly functions, then there's plenty of empirical evidence to show that the human body is not made to return to life after it dies.
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Re: The Existence of Ghosts

Post #80

Post by brunumb »

AgnosticBoy wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 11:09 pm Those that argue that there's no need nor room for the concept of the supernatural being applied to the real world, need to provide an explanation for what they'd call an occurrence that violates a law of nature (assuming that they accept that laws/regularities exist).
I am not aware of any verified occurrences that violate a law of nature. Do you have any in mind?
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