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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

I admit, I used to believe in ghosts myself. But I am not alone because those paranormal movies have made a killing!

This is a great article about how Einstein is misquoted to support evidence of ghosts. In fact, it's the same quote my woo friend posted on her FB page and I had to go look it up because I just knew it was taken out of context.

"Einstein proved that all the energy of the universe is constant and that it can neither be created nor destroyed..."

Every night, amateur ghost-hunting groups across the country head out into abandoned warehouses, old buildings and cemeteries to look for ghosts. They often bring along electronic equipment that they believe helps them locate ghostly energy.

Despite years of efforts by ghost hunters on TV and in real life, we still do not have good proof that ghosts are real. Many ghost hunters believe that strong support for the existence of ghosts can be found in modern physics. Specifically, that Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientific minds of all time, offered a scientific basis for the reality of ghosts.

A recent Google search turned up nearly 8 million results suggesting a link between ghosts and Einstein's work covering the conservation of energy.

Most of the "energy" that any dead person leaves behind takes years to re-enter the environment in the form of food; the rest dissipates shortly after death, and is not in a form that can be detected years later with popular ghost-hunting devices like electromagnetic field (EMF) detectors. Ghost hunters who repeat the claim that Einstein's theories provide a sound basis for ghosts reveal less about ghosts than they do about their poor understanding of basic science. Ghosts may indeed exist, but neither Einstein nor his laws of physics suggests that ghosts are real.

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Replies to This Discussion

Theoretically at least, ghost do not necessarily need to be supernatural to exist. Yes, the Idea of a "natural ghost" its still in the fringe science stage and isn't to be taught in schools, but every theory we've had started out as fringe science.

I have this discussion with my father a lot, he can't stand the Idea an Atheist believing in Ghost or even allowing for it to be theoretically possible, he says I'm a weak atheist at best. I'm fine with that if that's the way you want to label me. Atheist simply means I have no God believe, it has nothing to with ghost.

I have this pet theory and it may be completely ignorant, but if the brain works like a computer then our memories, thoughts and dreams are all organic data stored in our brain as data is stored in computer. If this is true then we will one day be able to translate and convert the data into something a computer would understand and we'd be able to transfer the data to a mechanical brain. We'd then be able to make a mechanical clone of ourselves basically with all our thoughts and memories. If we could do this perhaps nature already does, sounds fantastic but it's not out of the realm of possibility, or supernatural. 

I don't know what you'd call it but I've heard of phenomenon like natural recorders. Cave walls being able to record sounds.

I know cave walls distort sounds and echo happens afterwards but I have never heard of cave recording sound ?

It might not happen, but I've heard it happens. Who knows It could be just as unsubstantiated as ghost themselves, I don't assume it as fact. All I say is that its possible to have a "natural ghost."

Well,since neither you nor me have proof or disproof we can leave that to the very improbable but possible...

That's true. I don't know about you but my dad scoffs at the whole Idea saying it not worthy of study. I happen to think it is is all. I've seen things that made me think twice about it, that isn't proof of anything, just a thought.

As a scientist, I agree with your dad. In theory, everything is worthy of investigation by scientific methodologies. However, because we do not live in an ideal world or have infinite resources, ideas and hypothesis end up competing with one another, the arbiters being other scientists as to who ends up having their research project funded. To argue that a hypothesis is worthy of study, there must be some preliminary evidence, some piece of data to support the formulation of the hypothesis, otherwise is just any other idea, like the existence of unicorns. Although it is possible for unicorns to exist in some remote area of the planet, there is insufficient evidence pointing to their possible existence, therefore for the time being a project to go look for unicorns is not very promising in terms of yielding results.

The existence of ghosts has actually been probed by supposedly scientific methods, making measurements, etc., for quite a few years, by quite a few people. Yet not a single shred of credible evidence was gathered. Which is why not many funding agencies will fund the study of ghosts.

I would love if there was Bigfoot or Sasquatch. However, I would not fund any of the research expeditions because there is not a single shred of credible evidence pointing to their existence.

Now that's understandable, I personally would find a thrill in searching for the abnormal or very nearly impossible as I like to say, but its not like stem cell research which is way more important and deserves the money.  Don't get me wrong, I do not believe in anything that is supernatural or something other then nature, if it exist it is nature. I'm also a layman as they call us. I read science blogs here and there and watch science/discovery channel and that's all I have to go by, forgive my ignorance - I blame misinformation.

I also understand that coming up with something that is possible like a horse with a single horn, a unicorn, is not evidence of their existence.

No need to ask for forgiveness. We are all here to learn. Me too!You ae correct that there is a lot of misinformation in the science channels, sometimes their sensationalistic spin gives me a headache.

I understood you think that ghosts could be a natural phenomenon, which is why I brought science into the mix. Natural phenomena can be studied with the scientific method.

Well, if someone found a horse with a single horn, the actual animal, or an actual well preserved skeleton, that would be evidence for the existence of unicorns, or at least one unicorn (which could have been a mutant; I'm thinking Homo floresiensis here; aka "the hobbit")

I'm sure we'll eventually be able to record a personality: but it will be a high tech feat, requiring ginormous data space and very clever technology. This duplicate entity will 'live' as long as its fancy (but very material) substrate allows it.

It will not be a free-moving, naturally-occurring, self-sustainable immaterial spirit. Unplug the machine(s) and the copy is gone. Just like us.

As for natural recorders, I have yet to see the evidence supporting their existence.

What's a natural recorder?

I agree with you Keely and it so very often happens that somebody takes a sentence and put it out of context to give it a completely different meaning.

a) If you believe in afterlife, ghosts come with the territory.

b) If you don't know what energy really means, you might as well call it magic (and make it mean whatever you want.)

As for ghost hunting, you can have a look at this:


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