Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ghost Hunting and the Scientific Method

Many ghost hunters claim to be scientific. They use tools and equipment to measure what happens around them. They take recordings, create theories and try to be as objective as possible. Sounds great, right? Right?? The problem with using the scientific method in ghost hunting is that science requires results to be repeatable. And anyone who has spent any time looking or ghosts knows how unpredictable they can be. They have a tendency to show up exactly when you aren’t prepared, when a camera is set down. When you are looking in the other direction. Sometimes it seems like it’s on purpose. Maybe it is.

Ghost hunters haven’t figured out how to get responses perfectly on cue and until they do, we're left with what we can capture on cameras and recorders. Of course any kind of equipment can (and will) fail. And it doesn’t help that there are so many people willing to fake evidence. A ghost hunter is only as good as their reputation. In the end it all boils down to whether or not you believe what they are telling or showing you.

The positive side of this is that people are working on finding better ways to capture information. Equipment is constantly evolving and I think that someday we will have a much more reliable way to find evidence of their existence. Ghost hunting is a relatively new field which means there’s a lot of room for growth.

Perhaps one day we really will be able to capture ghosts and interact with them. For now we will have to settle for whatever evidence we can find. Whether it’s a blurry picture or a garbled voice recording, it’s still one step in a good direction.


  1. I used to watch Ghost Hunters on television. The piece of equipment that they used and I found most interesting was the EVP (Electronic Voice Print?) collector. Some of the audio they played back on the show was eerie because of how clear it was.

  2. Conforming to an unprovable “Scientific” Method?
    Something to ponder…..

    Is science really just a Philosophy?

    The proof for this is relatively easy to demonstrate, just by examining the Scientific Method. The Scientific Method is the way in which scientists determine their truth. The Scientific Method is expressed as the following:

    1. Observation – observe something happen
    2. Hypothesis – make a hypothesis based on your observations
    3. Predictions – make predictions based on your hypothesis
    4. Experiment – do experiments to determine if your predictions are correct.
    5. Repeat until there are no discrepancies between the various steps.

    Now the first thing that can be noted is that the Scientific Method itself cannot be verified by the Scientific Method. That is, the Scientific Method is a system to determine truth. A system that determines truth cannot prove itself, for in the attempt to prove itself it must first assert that it is true in order to determine whether or not it is true, which is circular reasoning. Therefore, the Scientific Method is itself dependent upon the observer’s philosophical presuppositions to begin with—it must be presumed in order to be used. In other words, the Scientific Method is accepted because an observer decides by faith to accept it as true, not because an observer knows that it is true. This acceptance is not provable, but is instead merely assumed axiomatically based on the philosophy of the observer.

    The results of the Scientific Method are called “scientific.” But since the Scientific Method itself is dependent upon the philosophy of the scientist (that is, the Scientific Method can be used by both materialistic scientists, naturalistic scientists, and supernaturalistic scientists), the results of science are nothing more than a philosophical view expressed through a specific system. The same thing happens with logic (that is, people of various philosophical backgrounds can come to different conclusions while not violating the laws of logic because each person comes from a different presuppositional background).

    In other words, that which is “scientific” is nothing more than a philosophical view expressed through the Scientific Method, which is itself an unprovable axiomatic system. As such, the scientific answers presented are only as good as the philosophical presuppositions put into the system in the first place. This means that, rather than giving certain knowledge and distinguishing truth from error, the Scientific Method is nothing more than a way to determine whether something is consistent with your presupposed philosophy. Only if your presupposed philosophy is certain and true can the results of the Scientific Method be certain and true, and then only if the Scientific Method is also true (simply stating that it is consistent with your worldview would not necessitate the truth of the Method, even if your worldview is correct).

    So science, like religion, is a system of belief that conforms to a presupposed understanding of reality. Science is a philosophy, just as much as religion is.

  3. I agree with you there. Ultimately, the sceintific method is flawed and impossible to prove.