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Gryfin210
2006-Oct-02, 04:44 AM
This might be the wrong place to put this, but here goes nuthin'...

Anyway, I happen to be an involved student at our local Community College. Recently, our Student Activities Director decided that it would be a very good idea to have a ghost hunter come to talk to us just before halloween. As much as I love spooky stuff around halloween, and as much as I otherwise like our SA Director, I seriously don't think that pseudo-science has a place on a college campus. It's also way to late to cancel this guy from talking. So I was wondering if anybody had some good questions to catch this guy with his pants down. His name is John Zaffis, just in case anyone was wondering.

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-02, 04:56 AM
Have you ever caught [LOCAL RELIGIOUS DIETY OF YOUR CHOICE] in one of your ghost traps?

01101001
2006-Oct-02, 05:11 AM
It might be fun to hear his opinion on which colleges offer the best programs in ghost-hunting.

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-02, 05:31 AM
Why are the ghosts you describe so different from descriptions of ghosts in Malaysia or Nigeria? Are ghosts are actually different in different countries or is it because Malaysian and Nigerian ghost hunters are just making stuff up to bilk money out of the credulous?

Maksutov
2006-Oct-02, 08:28 AM
Why are the ghosts you describe so different from descriptions of ghosts in Malaysia or Nigeria? Are ghosts are actually different in different countries or is it because Malaysian and Nigerian ghost hunters are just making stuff up to bilk money out of the credulous?It's all because of the indigenous ectoplasmic costumes they wear from where they were. Were they to wear other than what they were expected to wear, then they would get nowhere, and the ghost hunter would have to sell his wares to other gullible clients, perhaps those who believe in werewolves.

Good way to wear out one's welcome anywhere.

Meanwhile, I need to check my weir to see if I've caught any fish.


Where, oh, where are you tonight?
Why did you leave me here all alone?

I searched the world over
And thought I found true love.

You found another and
BLAAAATTTT!
You were gone.

Nereid
2006-Oct-02, 08:57 AM
Moved, from the ATM section.

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-02, 09:13 AM
Are you [INSERT DOMINANT LOCAL RELGION]? I see. So, are you commiting heresy by believing what you are saying or is it merely blasphemy because you're lying?

Swift
2006-Oct-02, 01:15 PM
Depending on his technique, you might want to ask about the science of it. For example, if he finds them by his mental powers (ESP or whatever) ask him what is the mechanism for such transmissions. If he uses some sort of technology, ask him about the technology. Ask him if he has done controlled experiments and if he has examined alternative explanations for what he claims to have seen.

farmerjumperdon
2006-Oct-02, 01:41 PM
Ask him if he has ever worked with Bill Murray. Ask it in as serious a manner as you can muster.

Five minutes later, interupt with one of the better known lines from Caddyshack, in your best Murray impersonation. Maybe something like "I don't think the heavy stuff is gonna come down yet for a while Your Emminency."

Do this while a friend stands somewhere out of sight wiggling one of those big pieces of tin that sound like thunder.

Lastly, do the redrum thing from The Shining as he's winding down at the end.

If all that is a little much, just stick with the first question, but try to get Sigourney Weaver to attend so she can ask the question for you.

korjik
2006-Oct-02, 09:11 PM
Ask him if he has ever worked with Bill Murray. Ask it in as serious a manner as you can muster.

Five minutes later, interupt with one of the better known lines from Caddyshack, in your best Murray impersonation. Maybe something like "I don't think the heavy stuff is gonna come down yet for a while Your Emminency."

Do this while a friend stands somewhere out of sight wiggling one of those big pieces of tin that sound like thunder.

Lastly, do the redrum thing from The Shining as he's winding down at the end.

If all that is a little much, just stick with the first question, but try to get Sigourney Weaver to attend so she can ask the question for you.

shouldnt that be Peter Venkman?

mugaliens
2006-Oct-02, 10:02 PM
This might be the wrong place to put this, but here goes nuthin'...

Anyway, I happen to be an involved student at our local Community College. Recently, our Student Activities Director decided that it would be a very good idea to have a ghost hunter come to talk to us just before halloween. As much as I love spooky stuff around halloween, and as much as I otherwise like our SA Director, I seriously don't think that pseudo-science has a place on a college campus. It's also way to late to cancel this guy from talking. So I was wondering if anybody had some good questions to catch this guy with his pants down. His name is John Zaffis, just in case anyone was wondering.

Just ask him for pictures or peer-reviewed proof. Hold him accountable for pics that are obvious fakes and proof that's not peer-reviewed. Take him to task. He's coming to you with his evidence - show him the same strict standards the rest of the scientific community holds other scientists to whenever they announce discoveries. If he can't produce, he's not worthy!

Gryfin210
2006-Oct-03, 10:14 PM
If you want to see just how rediculous this guy is, here's his cob-website:

http://www.johnzaffis.com/

If you want to see something funny, try scrollinging to the bottom of the page and trying to highlight the large black empty area. Rather convenient for a google search, don't you think?

Eric Vaxxine
2006-Oct-03, 10:38 PM
Ask him if he would ghost hunt for free, unpaid.

(Tell him you think ghosts are 'dead interesting'.)

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-03, 11:26 PM
Challenging him will not help. This is because we are large monkeys and whoever is capable of the most bluster will be seen as the alpha male and be respected. Reasonable people are not good at bluster as logic gets in the way. Far better to agree with him in such a stupid way that he's forced to argue against himself. "My friend says that ghost specialists like youself used real ghosts in the movie Ghostbusters because they didn't have special effects that good back in the 80's. Is this true?"

"So if they weren't real ghosts, how did they fake them?"

"So if ghosts can be fake that well, how can we tell a real ghost from a faked one?"

"So you are saying that it is easy for people to be conned when it comes to ghosts?"

Lurker
2006-Oct-03, 11:56 PM
Why spoil the fun... if some people want to get together for a little while and exchange ghost stories and imagine that ghosts could exist let them have some fun. I believe in logic and science, but I also read ghost stories, and stories about vampires...

It's not as if this is a classroom and students are being taught that ghosts are real... its a sponsered sponsored event where students can come and imagine for a while if they wish...

Science and logic have their place, but there is more to life...

Trebuchet
2006-Oct-04, 02:37 AM
Why spoil the fun... if some people want to get together for a little while and exchange ghost stories and imagine that ghosts could exist let them have some fun. I believe in logic and science, but I also read ghost stories, and stories about vampires...

It's not as if this is a classroom and students are being taught that ghosts are real... its a sponsered sponsored event where students can come and imagine for a while if they wish...

Science and logic have their place, but there is more to life...

I strongly disagree. This guy is an scammer who, if not actually being paid by the school for this baloney, is at least using it for free advertising. This sort of event inevitably attracts the gullible who will have their woo-woo beliefs reinforced. He needs to be challenged in the strongest possible terms.

01101001
2006-Oct-04, 02:57 AM
This sort of event inevitably attracts the gullible who will have their woo-woo beliefs reinforced.
Well, not exactly, according to my experieince -- but that is probably too much to hope for here.

At work, a monthly seminar consisted of a couple men doing extraordinary, seemingly supernatural, acts, exhibiting psychic skills and the like.

After an apparent wind-down that asked for a show of hands of people who thought they had witnessed the supernatural, it was then explained that actually the two were from the local skeptics organization, they had used tricks to dupe the gullible, and that they were actually here to give a talk on skepticism and critical thinking, which they did, well.

Very enjoyable. It was especially interesting to learn which of my coworkers had been among the believers.

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-04, 02:57 AM
He is either:

(a) a liar
or
(b) a nut

In which case he either needs:

(a) repudiation
(b) help
or failing that,
(c) pity

Lurker
2006-Oct-04, 03:18 AM
I strongly disagree. This guy is an scammer who, if not actually being paid by the school for this baloney, is at least using it for free advertising. This sort of event inevitably attracts the gullible who will have their woo-woo beliefs reinforced. He needs to be challenged in the strongest possible terms.
And how do we come to this harsh conclusion... because he is going to discuss his encounters with ghosts. I think that science and logic are fine things, but I also think there is a time to let go. No one is being forced to come to this presentation and I know that if I were there I would love to get lost in the idea of ghosts and tales of messages from the other side after long days in the computer lab or with my nose stuck in a calculus book. I think we get too caught up with the harsh realities of science here sometimes...

Let's face it...Cinderella's carriage could not have been zapped into existance from a pumpkin and her coachmen could not have been what... a mouse and a dog?? I forget at this point. I still love the story though and I do not think it suggests that the spinner of the tale is "a scammer".... Let the kids have a bit of fantasy... its good for them...

Hey... for a couple of months after Rose died, the Belgian cell phone company left Rose's voice mail active. I use to leave her messages just in case they allowed people to take their cell phones with them to the other side... I don't think I am a woo woo... besides it help ease the loneliness as I adjusted...



He is either:
(a) a liar
or
(b) a nut

In which case he either needs:

(a) repudiation
(b) help
or failing that,
(c) pity
My... aren't we sure of ourselves... I guess I should seek professional help for leaving messages on Rose's voice mail too... :)

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-04, 04:08 AM
My... aren't we sure of ourselves... I guess I should seek professional help for leaving messages on Rose's voice mail too...

You can tell the complete truth and still be a nut.

And as for professional help, I'm afraid there is no complete cure. Being a nut is part of being human.

Strider1974
2006-Oct-04, 06:47 AM
So I was wondering if anybody had some good questions to catch this guy with his pants down. His name is John Zaffis, just in case anyone was wondering.


Have a look at James Randi's website http://www.randi.org/ and the attached forum http://forums.randi.org/

"At JREF, we offer a one-million-dollar prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event." http://www.randi.org/research/index.html

Lurker
2006-Oct-04, 05:03 PM
You can tell the complete truth and still be a nut.

And as for professional help, I'm afraid there is no complete cure. Being a nut is part of being human.
Well Ronnie... aren't you the cold fish... Lets ban all the movie ghost because it concerns a relationship between a woman and her dead husband... lets be sure to burn all copies of Shakespeare's Hamlet because Hamlet has a discussion with the ghost of his dead father...

I pray to all the gods above and below that I will never be or have to deal with a cold stiff like you!!


I come to post here because I though I was dealing with an openminded, but skeptical group of people... instead I find myself among an intellectual tyranny... so stuck in the ideal of scientific rationalism that you cannot even think to let the young ones be ""contaminated" by a bit of fantasy and fun...


Ronnie... -- As for your comments on the loss of my love... come talk to me when someone you love drops dead...

Trebuchet
2006-Oct-04, 07:01 PM
And how do we come to this harsh conclusion... .... My... aren't we sure of ourselves... I guess I should seek professional help for leaving messages on Rose's voice mail too... :)

Did you look at his website? He's in this strictly for the bucks.

You will find very little sympathy for that sort of folks around here.

Lurker
2006-Oct-04, 07:18 PM
Did you look at his website? He's in this strictly for the bucks.

You will find very little sympathy for that sort of folks around here.
I am not asking for any one here to have sympathy for him... I am suggesting that there are worse things in life than spinning ghost stories... There are lots of people who choose to make money making movies... writing books... telling stories... and talking ghosts...

I think we tread a thin line when we say that we will pick and choose how such funds are spent on such things based on the purity of the motives of those who are selling. The film makers who made the movie Ghost were in it for the money. The spun a tale that was calculated to bring tears to the eyes of many because they thought it would put butts in seats so that they could make money. Personally, I liked the story and had no problem with the fact that the film makers were motivated by a desire to make money. The film was presented on a university campus where I was a student. The ticket prices were less expensive than at a movie theater because the film group there was giving funding from the university. I paid my money and I had fun... my choice...

You don't like talk of ghosts... you don't like people who make money off such talk... don't go... I don't care for arts and crafts, but I don't mind that some colleges or universities provide funds for arts and crafts faires... many of those people are in it to make money too... to each his own...

Nicholas_Bostaph
2006-Oct-04, 07:37 PM
(good points)...The film makers who made the movie Ghost were in it for the money....(other good points)
I can understand your position. On occasion I love to sit down and watch a horror movie, read a scary book, or hear ghost stories and really believe for a time. I think that's okay as long as we realize afterwards that it was all for fun.

The difference between your analogy and this situation is that the makers of Ghost never marketed it as a true story. This speaker would be just fine if he was just showing up to tell ghost stories for fun too. But from what I can tell (and I could be wrong) it seems like this will be more of an educational presentation to convince others to believe. I think that minor distinction is very important. After all, isn't preventing the spread of uncritical thinking what this forum is all about? :)

Lurker
2006-Oct-04, 08:04 PM
The difference between your analogy and this situation is that the makers of Ghost never marketed it as a true story. This speaker would be just fine if he was just showing up to tell ghost stories for fun too. But from what I can tell (and I could be wrong) it seems like this will be more of an educational presentation to convince others to believe. I think that minor distinction is very important. After all, isn't preventing the spread of uncritical thinking what this forum is all about? :)
As I have said in my other posts here, I think that critical thinking is important and good. On the other hand, I would not want to live my whole life that way. People have been telling and wishing to believe ghost stories since the beginning of recorded history. There are more than a few practicing witches, vampires, etc. in this country. I don't see the harm in it... Now that the woman I love has died, I would like to think that perhaps she and her love for me lives on somewhere... somehow... This does not affect my work as an engineer...

Certainly there are few spiritual practices that one can accept without at least some suspension of critical thinking. (I certainly do not plan to subject the feelings of love that I had and still have, nor my feelings of grief to critical thinking). I am certain that there are biochemical explanations, but there are spiritual aspects that I intend to cling to that will never stand up to critical thought... nor do I think they should have to...

The attitudes toward spiritual and religious practices is mixes and many do not support them and I join in their mixed feelings. However, if the sole purpose of this forum is to abolish uncritical thought, I will be leaving. There is a place for science and rigorous critical, logical thought. I would not wish to fly in a plane that was not so designed, I would not wish to be cared for by a medical establishment that was based on uncritical thought. However, having said that, I have no issue with a Boeing engineer who is a Jew, a Christian, a Buddhist (my own spiritual path) nore do I have an issue with a medical person who likes to hunt ghosts on their time off. All these pursuits are examples of uncritical thought.

Why should this forum become a "mind police" that must stamp out all flights of fancy and imagination simply because they cannot or may not be real. I doubt that the serious student who spends his days in science and math books is going to be poisoned into believing in alchemy by someone coming to campus and telling some ghost stories. On the other hand, I would find a society where such silliness was stamped out as "uncritical thinking" to be sterile indeed.

If this is a forum dedicated to the banishment of all uncritical thought let me know and I will certainly take my leave so that I may take my rightful place with the opposition.

mugaliens
2006-Oct-04, 10:08 PM
Fishhook 'em: Produce your own ghosts. Make it so realistic (hint, less is best), that everyone in town becomes a believer, but tape the pre-footage about what you're going to do beforehand, delivering it to a TV station that agrees to keep it mum until after the woooowooowooos get done chanting.

Then let them blow the case sky high, reap the rewards (and take the backlash) while you sit back with your friends and laugh. Tape that party, too, and air it later, as well. Double-whammy.

I dislike ignorance, but I can't blame or be angry for people who don't possess a comparable level of education as others. But I detest when people who either should, or actually do know better, try fishhooking the general populace for monetary gain. Yeah, let the buyer beware, but sometimes the best defense is a good offense, and the best way to disarm the deceivers is to beat them at their own game and discredit them forever.

Lurker
2006-Oct-04, 10:34 PM
Fishhook 'em: Produce your own ghosts. Make it so realistic (hint, less is best), that everyone in town becomes a believer, but tape the pre-footage about what you're going to do beforehand, delivering it to a TV station that agrees to keep it mum until after the woooowooowooos get done chanting.

Then let them blow the case sky high, reap the rewards (and take the backlash) while you sit back with your friends and laugh. Tape that party, too, and air it later, as well. Double-whammy.

I dislike ignorance, but I can't blame or be angry for people who don't possess a comparable level of education as others. But I detest when people who either should, or actually do know better, try fishhooking the general populace for monetary gain. Yeah, let the buyer beware, but sometimes the best defense is a good offense, and the best way to disarm the deceivers is to beat them at their own game and discredit them forever.
No one in this instance is suggesting that anyone "fishhook" the general public. We have someone coming to a college and giving a talk on ghosts and telling some ghosts stories.

We live in a free society where people are allowed to live as they wish. There are those who drink bottled distilled water that costs pennies to produce but costs a dollar or more per bottle; at that price it is much more expensive than gasoline. Are we going to outlaw this?? If we do... someone will find another way to "fishhook" those who wish to be "fishhooked".

If something makes someone happy, have they really been "fishhooked"?? As a Buddhist, I find the idea of investing in a large screen television to be the hight of foolishness and a way to part some from their hard earned money. However, if others enjoy watching the boobtube, I have no problem with this.

At what point do we intrude to deeply into the lives of others by telling them what they can and cannot believe... spend their money on... fantasize about?? If someone is conforted by the idea that religion tells them that their loved ones are in a better place... if someone is comforted by thinking that a ghost of a loved one is in their house looking over them... if someone enjoys the hideous taste of Pork Rinds... are any of us really the ones to tell them that they are not allowed to do so?? I for one think that is one arrogant step too far...

korjik
2006-Oct-04, 11:30 PM
My feeling is that most ghost hunters at best misrepresent their data, and at worst are charlatans. Either way, many pass themselves off as experts or scientists, even tho there is no science or expertise in their work.

This has nothing to do with wether there are spirits, or ghosts, or anything else.

The main problem with your analogy is that a movie is not real life, that a play is not real life, but an expert is real life.

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-04, 11:37 PM
Ronnie... -- As for your comments on the loss of my love... come talk to me when someone you love drops dead...

Sorry about the loss of your love. I did not realize from your post that this was a sensitive topic for you. I appologize.

Lurker
2006-Oct-04, 11:55 PM
Sorry about the loss of your love. I did not realize from your post that this was a sensitive topic for you. I appologize.

Ronald Brak --

I was going to send you this in a private message, but my insult and my stupidity were very public so I think it only fair that my apology be equally so. On rereading your post I think that this morning I misinterpreted your intent... I am under a lot of deadline pressure for a release of our product and I have not had a lot of sleep.

There seems to be a lot of anger over the issue being discussed on this thread and it has surprised me. I apologize deeply for not taking a deep breath before posting my reply. I have asked others to practice this type of restraint in the past... I should try the same... I should know better and I expect better of myself...

Again... I am sorry...

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-04, 11:58 PM
No problem. I am very dense sometimes and frequently thoughtless. Let's forget all about it.

Nicholas_Bostaph
2006-Oct-05, 03:28 PM
There seems to be a lot of anger over the issue being discussed on this thread and it has surprised me.
Perhaps you are misinterpreting the intent of some posts; or perhaps some of us are not communicating our intent as clearly as we should. I meant no disrespect and am certainly not angry about the issue. If I offended you, I apologize. I was just presenting some thoughts...




At what point do we intrude to deeply into the lives of others by telling them what they can and cannot believe... spend their money on... fantasize about?? If someone is conforted by the idea that religion tells them that their loved ones are in a better place... if someone is comforted by thinking that a ghost of a loved one is in their house looking over them... if someone enjoys the hideous taste of Pork Rinds... are any of us really the ones to tell them that they are not allowed to do so?? I for one think that is one arrogant step too far...
Oh, this is not what I'm suggesting at all. I live in the US and believe very strongly in the freedoms that we are granted in this country. I would never support creating a law that restricted any kind of freedom that does not actively hurt anyone else. Nor am I implying that anyone should have limitations, legally or socially, on what thoughts or beliefs they have as long as they are not a danger to others.

I noticed that you said this speaker was just coming in to tell some ghost stories and such. It seems that we read the intent of this speaker differently and that may be the source of our disagreement. If this is all the speaker is planning to do than I don't think there is a problem. Even if he wishes to show his evidence, as long as he does so reasonably, or admits that his conclusions are a matter of faith, that's not a problem either.

I think the problem many, including me, have is that we read the OP as though this presenter would use bad data to jump to conclusions and tell students that things were unequivocally real. While he is welcome to do this, I think it important that his methods be challenged if they are not scientifically valid. That was my only real point. Even well educated people are rarely experts outside their field and can believe some very unscientific things.

I would take this opportunity to point out that science does not preclude the possibility of ghosts, or any other religious beliefs. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The problem is only when one implies they have proof of such when they do not.

I agree that emotions and beliefs are an important part of what we are. However, I see the purpose of emotion only to set an end point, or goal. The process of reaching that goal within the confines of our ethic system is purely the place of science and logic. If pork rinds are yummy to you (blech), and you have decided that the enjoyment is worth any possible negative health effects of having them, then by all means enjoy. :)

Gryfin210
2006-Oct-05, 04:33 PM
Wow, I hadn't anticipated this much of a reaction to this topic. My personal view is that this person is touting something that is (to me, at least) obviously untrue, and while yes, he should be allowed to express his beliefs, a college campus is clearly not the place. Just like although I am not a christian, I believe that a chuch would be an inappropriate place to advocate atheism. And yes, he is free to "inform" people to his opinions, but I believe that if he has a question and answer session at the end of his presentation, I should likewise be able to do a little bit of informing to the audience myself.

Interestingly, about a year ago we had a mentalist come and do a perfomance for us during an off campus event. He did alot of cool magic tricks and some spoon and fork bending. He did however, announce several times throughout the show that what he did was merely illusion and require no actual psychic or telekinetic powers. Of course, that didn't stop a handful of girls sitting next to me from whispering "That's the Devil's work!" to each other.

The point is that people can believe what they want, but I think that they should know that there is another explanation. I realize that this must sound like a creationist arguement, but if I can make people aware of both sides of the debate, they can at least make up their own minds.

Lurker
2006-Oct-05, 05:42 PM
Perhaps you are misinterpreting the intent of some posts; or perhaps some of us are not communicating our intent as clearly as we should. I meant no disrespect and am certainly not angry about the issue. If I offended you, I apologize. I was just presenting some thoughts...




Oh, this is not what I'm suggesting at all. I live in the US and believe very strongly in the freedoms that we are granted in this country. I would never support creating a law that restricted any kind of freedom that does not actively hurt anyone else. Nor am I implying that anyone should have limitations, legally or socially, on what thoughts or beliefs they have as long as they are not a danger to others.

I noticed that you said this speaker was just coming in to tell some ghost stories and such. It seems that we read the intent of this speaker differently and that may be the source of our disagreement. If this is all the speaker is planning to do than I don't think there is a problem. Even if he wishes to show his evidence, as long as he does so reasonably, or admits that his conclusions are a matter of faith, that's not a problem either.

I think the problem many, including me, have is that we read the OP as though this presenter would use bad data to jump to conclusions and tell students that things were unequivocally real. While he is welcome to do this, I think it important that his methods be challenged if they are not scientifically valid. That was my only real point. Even well educated people are rarely experts outside their field and can believe some very unscientific things.

I would take this opportunity to point out that science does not preclude the possibility of ghosts, or any other religious beliefs. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The problem is only when one implies they have proof of such when they do not.

I agree that emotions and beliefs are an important part of what we are. However, I see the purpose of emotion only to set an end point, or goal. The process of reaching that goal within the confines of our ethic system is purely the place of science and logic. If pork rinds are yummy to you (blech), and you have decided that the enjoyment is worth any possible negative health effects of having them, then by all means enjoy. :)

I understand that you disagree with this because you don't think a college should support the use of bad data to jump to unscientific conclusions. However, you will find that in many spiritual paths there many individuals, Buddhists like myself, Christians, Jews, Muslims, who follow their paths because they believe the evidence supports their path. In this way, faith is not something that an individual on a spiritual path has, but rather a scientific observation concerning their beliefs.

Personally I am a Buddhist and a mystic... this comes from a number of experiences and observations that are personal to me. As a Buddhist I am certain of these experiences... as an Engineer I am aware that I do not have evidence or logic that will stand up to scientific scrutiny. I do present my experiences and beliefs as scientific evidence, and yet my beliefs are as real to me as any other aspect of my life.

Where I think that I have a difference with many who post on this thread is that, while I think science is a fine tool for the examination of the world around us, I and others do not wish to live our lives as exercises in scientific logic. We have no wish to tell others how to live, but we would wish for room to be made for all.

Science is a rigorous master that allows little room for fantasy and imagination... for a spiritual life that does not revolve around evidence and proof. It trains the mind along lines of rigorous, logical discipline. It is an extremely valuable tool and, as I have said, I would not wish for the tools that enhance my life, from antibiotics to computers and all that lies between, to be designed and built without aid of such rigorous discipline.

I do not want ghosts, religion, spiritualism, and many other things taught in school... In this case, however, this individual is going to come to an institution of higher education and present a short seminar on ghosts... I see no harm in a group of such students listening to what this individual has to say... Let the students listen... wonder... dream... then they can return to their text books and logical rigor.

If it should sway a few... there are those who devote their lives to religion, spiritualism, and other unscientific pursuits. This is the way of the world and would find life much impoverish if we did not let these people express themselves. I would go one step further and say that there is often, not always... but often, very little scientific thought in art, music, or fictional literature. These are all pursued in colleges and universities. How does one write a fictional ghost story if one is tethered to logic... how does one describe the longing of lost love if one is tethered to logic... how does move the heart in any art form is one is tethered to logic...

I see things in life that some posters here would laugh at as being completely unscientific... I would be presented with more mundane explanations and Occam's raisor would be used to show that the mundane explanation was more likely. I do not dispute the scientific soundness of this... but I do not accept it. As long as I understand the importance of science and logical rigor in my engineering field, what is the harm of exploring that which is not scientific in my personal life...

Must every individual apply scientific reasoning to each and every aspect of their lives??

Must our institutions of higher education sponsor only those presentations that pass the rigors of scientific scrutiny??

Personally I would not wish to live in such a sterile society.

Lurker
2006-Oct-05, 06:01 PM
The point is that people can believe what they want, but I think that they should know that there is another explanation. I realize that this must sound like a creationist arguement, but if I can make people aware of both sides of the debate, they can at least make up their own minds.
And I ask if we have reached a point in our society where every statement that is not or cannot be supported by a a significant amount of scientific evidence must be presented with a caveat that alternative explanations exist?? Since when does rationalism have to be forced down the throast of people even in an academic environment.

I am not suggesting that we teach religion in colleges, I am suggesting that rational does not need to be forced on an academic institution as a sort of political correctness. There is a great deal about the human animal that is not rational...how does one study and understand this animal and its relationship to its environment if one does not take this irrational-ism into account. gods people... we are not discussing a establishing a curriculum in metaphysics here... we are not even discussing teaching a semester course in basic wicca... we are talking about presentation about ghosts...

When I was a young boy, my father was a professor at Purdue University. He took me to a magic show at the Hall of Music on campus. The gentleman insisted that he could perform magic, and then proceeded to dazzle the audience with his magic. I am now a PhD in computer science with a very respectible resume. I have a personal life that is not based on scientific discipline, but a professional life that has little patience for lapses in logic and rigerous analysis...

To me there is room for both... for others there is not.... let all of us live together in peace... if you do not wish to believe in magic for a while, stick to the books... but some of us do not see an issue with a magic show that is presented as real even in an academic setting... it makes life a bit more sweet.

Gillianren
2006-Oct-05, 08:39 PM
Sorry, Lurker. I'm with the others on this one. I'm not real big on academic funding being spent on non-student-produced entertainment in any case (there's almost certainly other places that need the funding more), but this one is just flat out a bad idea. The man is a charlatan. Just because people believe in an afterlife (I myself am unsure what I believe), it doesn't mean that college funding should be spent on someone talking about one.

Besides, in this case, it's not that it isn't supported by scientific evidence, it's that it's unsupportable by objective evidence. So-called "ghost hunters" interpret things with completely rational causes as "proof" of ghosts without bothering to look at the rational.

Lurker
2006-Oct-05, 09:11 PM
Sorry, Lurker. I'm with the others on this one. I'm not real big on academic funding being spent on non-student-produced entertainment in any case (there's almost certainly other places that need the funding more), but this one is just flat out a bad idea. The man is a charlatan. Just because people believe in an afterlife (I myself am unsure what I believe), it doesn't mean that college funding should be spent on someone talking about one.

Academic funding is another issue. This is almost certainly funding that is part of the student activities budget supported by student activities fees. We are also talking about such a small amount of money that cheaper toilet paper in the bathrooms on campus would probably free up more funding than cutting the whole student activities budget.

I really hate this political correctness that seems to creeps into these activities these days. I saw Emmanuel, The Joys of a Woman, Deep Throat, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as part of a file cinema series at Purdue when I was a freshman. I really don't see that letting this individual come and talk in going to have a "corrupting effect" any more than the movies that were presented when I was a freshman.




Besides, in this case, it's not that it isn't supported by scientific evidence, it's that it's unsupportable by objective evidence. So-called "ghost hunters" interpret things with completely rational causes as "proof" of ghosts without bothering to look at the rational.

And this is just the ugly intellectual tyranny that I think has no place on campus. Not all intellectual pursuits are as tethered to "objective, scientific" evidence as the sciences. There is great literature and poetry, art, schools of diviniy that thrive on fantasy, imagination and illusion.

As I have said in previous posts... science as a tool is a wonderful thing, but some of us see it as a very sterile way to live our life. We do not ask others to live this way, but see no harm in it as a personal choice. I see no harm in living in a world where ghosts and magic live for an afternoon for a student who working hard over a long semester.

I think this gives a false support to such issues. As I have said the Purdue Activities Committee supported a magic act, presented as real, when I was a child. Purdue's reputation seems to have survived and I doubt that any of us who saw it sustained damage. Of course it was presented as real... that was the fun of it. we wanted to spend an afternoon deluded into thinking that elephants could disappear... if the presentation is on ghosts... I want to believe for a few hours... just as I believed Fantasia and Cinderella when I first saw they when I was a little boy... The boy grew up and realized that they were not real, but even when I saw the movie Everafter, for a couple of hours... the story was as real to me as the bug I am now chasing in my software...

I think it is a find way to live life... I do not ask others to live this way... I ask that we not ban those who would make their living deceiving us for a few hours...

Gillianren
2006-Oct-06, 04:03 AM
It's a difference of intent. If it's intended to be entertaining, I hold it to different standards than I do things claimed to be factual.

worzel
2006-Oct-06, 04:56 AM
Must every individual apply scientific reasoning to each and every aspect of their lives??
You're confusing "not a science discipline" with "mystical". I don't deny the reality of my emotions, nor do I deny the reality of the effect music has on my brain. While neither psychology nor music are science disciplines there are plenty of us who believe that these, and everything else, must ultimately have a naturalistic explanation. Ghosts don't.

Parsec.au
2006-Oct-06, 07:08 PM
Ask him if when he/they see a ghost does Schrodinger's probability wave collapse ?
Is that ‘cat’ dead or alive.....

publiusr
2006-Oct-06, 08:04 PM
Vernon Alabama is Dunwich. I can tell you a few tales about that place. My late Uncle swore he was awakened by his dog--to see his mom on the road flying back and forth. Yikes!

Monique
2006-Oct-06, 08:42 PM
Will be end of civilization!! :)

R.A.F.
2006-Oct-06, 09:06 PM
I ask that we not ban those who would make their living deceiving us for a few hours...

I don't mind being "deceived" by fiction...fact is I enjoy it...

But when fiction is presented "as if" it were fact, then it is not "intellectual tyranny" to point that out.

01101001
2006-Oct-06, 10:02 PM
And this is just the ugly intellectual tyranny that I think has no place on campus. Not all intellectual pursuits are as tethered to "objective, scientific" evidence as the sciences. There is great literature and poetry, art, schools of diviniy that thrive on fantasy, imagination and illusion.

Are there collegiate fields whose intellectual pursuits are improved by lack of critical thinking skills?

Gryfin210
2006-Oct-14, 09:04 PM
Well, the presentaion is going to be on the 16th, so any more really good questions would be much appreceated.

Since I often have access to the projectionists booth in the Theatre where this is being held, I did consider making the lights flicker and die while playing some eery sounds on the sound system. Maybe a, "Woo-o-o-o-o! John Zaffis! You have torrmented the spirit realm for too long! Be gone with your pseudo-scientific giberish being passed off as fact! Be gone, we say! BE GONE!".
Or better yet, "John Zaffis! This night you will be visited by three ghosts..."

I decided that this might be taking it to far, plus I don't exactly need to get kicked out for getting caught fiddling with the equipment.