NASA Goddard Meteorologist talks to the dead

Just in time for Halloween and from the “you just can’t make this stuff up” department we have this tale of hilarity. Rob Gutro is a Deputy News Chief in the office of Public Affairs at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. He writes a number of science stories, like this one on hurricanes or this one on the Gulf Oil spill. But, he also talks to ghosts. I’d like to ask him to ask the dead these questions: “Is climate change dead too? Is heaven green? Does hell use a coal powered furnace or is it nuclear or solar driven?” Inquiring minds want to know.

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NASA worker brings a scientific eye to his hobby: Talking to the dead

Ghost hunting in Baltimore

Medium and NASA Meteorologist Rob Gutro tries to communicate with a possible ghost beneath a bookstore in Baltimore.» LAUNCH VIDEO PLAYER

By J. Freedom duLac Washington Post Staff Writer

Rob Gutro was driving to the wake of a co-worker’s stepfather when a ghost began to speak.

“I kept hearing the name Cindy Lou,” Gutro recalled. “I had no idea what that meant.” But he knew this: Once again, somebody who’d died had something to say.

By day, Gutro is a meteorologist who works as deputy news chief at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, communicating the nation’s scientific work to the public.

By night (and whenever else the entities get in touch), he talks to the dead.

“I have an ability to communicate with and understand ghosts and spirits,” Gutro said.

During his off-hours, away from NASA’s advanced technology, Gutro actively seeks encounters of another kind by traveling to haunted houses and other historic sites where spirits might be found.

Sometimes, he said, entities seek him out. So it was, on the way to the wake this summer, that the disembodied voice in the car asked Gutro to deliver messages to his grieving friend and NASA colleague, Cynthia O’Carroll.

Gutro obliged, pulling her aside at the ceremony and saying he’d been hearing the name Cindy Lou. “I believe your dad has come to me,” he told O’Carroll.

She cried.

“My dad used to call me Cindy Lou,” O’Carroll said later. “But the thing that really touched me and made me cry was when Rob said, ‘Your dad said thank you for taking care of your mom.’ Just the way he said it sounded like the way Dad would have said it.”

Gutro is quick to acknowledge that some NASA scientists – and plenty of non-scientists too – approach his work with considerable skepticism. “Some people do think that mediums are crazy,” Gutro said. He shrugged.

There’s no scientific consensus on ghosts and spirits; the word paranormal, after all, means something beyond scientific explanation. But Gutro, who used to work as a forecaster for the Weather Channel’s radio division, insisted that the science behind his experiences with entities is sound.

Read the entire story here

h/t to WUWT reader “Bob”

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104 thoughts on “NASA Goddard Meteorologist talks to the dead

  1. We may have to file his one under “smart people can sometimes believe dumb stuff”: my best math teacher was a Velikovsky True Believer…

  2. Mod’s – There is an article out from the New York Times’ Peter Applebome titled “Ignoring the planet won’t fix it ”
    It would probably be good for some fine discussion along the same lines of “you can’t make this stuff up”.

  3. The “Law of Conservation of Energy” in the 4th non-matter dimension occupying the 3rd?
    Let’s send him to Mars on the next satellite to chat about past civilizations — maybe with a Monkey in tow to make sure he eats something. Nah, it would be mean to the Monkey.
    One has to wonder about NASA HR and we can throw GISS HR into the pot as well.

  4. I wonder what the correlation is between believing in talking to ghosts and believing in global warming? I do remember reading somewhere that the ghost believer percent is 39%, but there was a caveat.

  5. James Goneaux says:
    October 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm
    We may have to file his one under “smart people can sometimes believe dumb stuff”: my best math teacher was a Velikovsky True Believer…
    You would have to include Isaac Newton

  6. Auditory hallucinations are among the most common.
    There are treatments available for him, and I am sure that his medical benefits package would cover qualified treatment and therapy.

  7. I can’t believe that this apparently scientifically educated man believes in all this mythological mumbo jumbo, despite the complete absence of scientific evidence. And as well as AGW, he believes in ghosts!

  8. I here NASA is looking for a volunteer to go to Mars and start human colony there, but it is only one way ticket. That chap, their top man Gutro and his dog would be ideal candidates, he could always ask his granddad for a ‘lift back’

  9. “There’s no scientific consensus on ghosts and spirits; the word paranormal, after all, means something beyond scientific explanation.”
    Does this imply that “AGW”, ” CAGW” and/or “climate disruption” could be considered “paranormal”?

  10. I believe one of the lower profile ‘scientists’ at the CRU, UEA, also had some strange beliefs that might have influenced his ‘scientific’ views. Can’t remember his name,my brain is going, and in some constituencies of the U.S. his beliefs may be mainstream!

  11. Here in Germany, we call this “hearing voices” and it’s mostly caused by excessive consumption of skunk, the high-THC dutch marihuana variant. You’d better keep popping antipsychotics the rest of your live; sometimes the voices command you to do nasty things and you can’t switch them off and they keep demanding things…

  12. Isn’t this a bit of an ad hom attack?
    Where is the evidence that this in any way effects his NASA job?
    I’m not a believer in any of this supernatural stuff; in fact I think it’s evil and gives false comfort to people. But just because someone believes in something odd and does a bit of it on the side doesn’t automatically mean his performance at his primary job is suspicious.

  13. @David UK,
    Plenty of scientists are Christians, and there isn’t one whit of scientific evidence to support the central tenants of Christianity, and nobody thinks they are all that strange.

  14. You know, I have zero problem with this. First, it’s a harmless release for a little eccentricity. Second, it takes a certain amount of open-mindedness to take that kind of nuttiness seriously. And who knows, maybe there is something useful to be gained by having a trained mind delving into the paranormal. I seriously doubt it will, but no scientist should be shuttered from academia or blacklisted for entertaining eccentric views.

  15. He could ask some dead people whether it was warm during the Medieval Warm Period. That would be as accurate as using strip bark bristle cone pine tree growth rings.

  16. Maybe someone could script a new story for Christmas. “Climate Christmas Carol’, complete with George Monbiot as Scrooge, Michael Mann as Marley’s ghost – dragging iron hockey sticks bound together with barbed wire. The ghosts of Climate past, Climate present and climate future. The gentlemen asking Monbiot for a little coal or oil for the poor in Africa; “Are there no wind turbines? Are there no solar panels?” says Scrooge.
    The ghost of Climate past shows him the joyful Medieveal Warm Period (Mr Perriwig’s ball?), Climate present, showing Africans having look for firewood and carry water for miles… with pensioners in the West shivering from cold and fear of their fuel bills. Then ghost of Climate future… as snow and ice builds up and scenes of wind turbines crashing to the ground and millions starving and millions more dead…
    Then maybe repentance “need these things be?” says Monbiot…
    Oh, sorry, I got quite carried away.

  17. That’s precisely the consequence of believing in a kind of distorted “science” which postulates dis incarnate entities like Black Holes, Dark Matter, multi dimensional universes.
    Seriously, this is the deepest pit occidental culture has lowered since the times of Pythagoras. Long ago forgotten the simple formulas that explained the laws governing the universe, known by the old and transmitted to us through the “Symbols of the sacred science” (A Book written by the French mathematician Rene Guenon).
    The error began when the Church, as nowadays do the GWrs., proclaimed that they were the only ones who could show us the truth, thus they concocted a group of Dogmas, which people were supposed to believe in and which had no reasonable explanation possible. Thus it was proclaimed the supposed truthful concept of immateriality, an obvious crazy and irrational concept. Men, until then, knew that the Universe was absolutely material, as we know now, with, of course degrees of materiality in it, what we call Frequency: The higher the frequency, the shorter its wave length, the higher its energy.
    This clearly shows that a man like Max Plank envisioned and showed a general and simple equation for interpreting material reality; which was, afterwards, distorted to the phantoms and “beyond the grave” physics of today’s post-normal “scientists” . No one knows anything but Ouija like Models gaming or Vodoo sciences.
    All that came from the politically convenient notion of Agnosticism: The Church decreed the impossibility of knowing reality: They implanted the false notion of a supposed extreme complication of the laws governing the universe: They were the chosen ones to teach us and tell us what to do and how to live (paying “alms” of course).
    Now there is a pseudo church of the “Settled Science”, which revealed its internal delicacies in the recent “Climate Gate”.
    We are living in times of change, or renewal, let’s not be convinced again by who preach sophisms and lies with a similar purpose than those who blinded the eyes of generations

  18. You cannot have a conversation with the afterlife if you are still in this life (living), and you cannot spend time with someone who doesn’t have any. There is a reason for the saying : Dead to the World.
    There is no time beyond that alloted, thus there are but 2 concepts linking: faith & hope.
    Whomever the NASA met. is talking to, it’s not Cindy Lou.

  19. “I have an ability to communicate with and understand ghosts and spirits,” Gutro said.
    Yet another sad victim of Post Normal Science’s “teleconnection” principle?

  20. “James Goneaux says:
    October 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm
    We may have to file his one under “smart people can sometimes believe dumb stuff”: my best math teacher was a Velikovsky True Believer…”
    Before slaying Velikovski completely, please check Luis Alverez and Dinasour Extinction…

  21. I’d love to hear the takes of Newton, Einstein, etc, on the ideas behind anthropogenic climate change. Let’s hope this guy can locate them.

  22. “But Gutro, who used to work as a forecaster for the Weather Channel’s radio division, insisted that the science behind his experiences with entities is sound.”
    ========
    This must be a misquote, I see the word “science” mentioned.

  23. OK, enough of the “snitty” comments.
    I watched his video made at the Baltimore bookstore. I’ve been exposed to a lot of these claims before. And I don’t really have a “dog in the fight”.
    What disturbed me INTENSELY about the interview with Gutro is that he confused (clearly) sound intensity (decibels) with frequency. He says the spirits create sounds at a “higher decibel level”..and illustrates noting that DOGS can hear that. He makes the error not once, but about 4 times.
    Now is he THAT poor technically? Did nervousness cause a “Freaudian Substitution” (identified by Freude over 100 years ago..your mind throws in a “placeholder” in your conversation if you loose the word you should use..)
    Or is he really THAT CONFUSED that he doesn’t know the difference between INTENSITY and FREQUENCY.
    If the former is true, we’ll cut him some slack.
    If the latter, then “Houston, we have a problem..”

  24. I smell a movie in the making. It will involve three ghosts visiting Rob Gutro on the eve of Earthday. The last one, the ghost of Earthday yet to come, is the scariest. It shows Rob how the future will turn into a living hell for millions of people unless the world reduces its carbon footprint to near zero and turns the present into a living hell for billions of people.
    Rob’s future ghost told me that they are currently trying to decide between two names: “The Day After the Day After Tomorrow” or “The Grinch Who Stole Earthday”. His ghost wouldn’t reveal which movie title they would ultimately choose, but he hinted that the second one would allow them to include a character named Cindy Lou who would entice more children to see the movie. That’s a big plus when you’re making a propaganda film you want to have shown at schools.

  25. Anyone who’s seen the Grinch that Stole Christmas knows who Cindy Lou Who is. And Horton heard the Whos long before Robert Gutro did. There is no mystery here.

  26. People have been programmed to believe in the metaphysical since the dawn of man. This internal programming started when we developed the ability to have abstract thought, and is an inevitable, irrational side-effect of this useful ability to do ‘what ifs’.
    No surprise that some people believe in an all powerful intangible god or abstract theories to explain the universe. Others believe in luck or are superstitious and would never dream of buying a house numbered 13. It would seem that deep down we all have some strange, unfalsifiable belief(s)!
    So lets not knock Rob Gutro and his irrational belief he can talk to ghosts. At least it is mostly harmless, which is more than can be said about those who believe in the conjecture of CAGW. Illusion really is our personal reality.

  27. The body snatchers invaded NASA.
    Send the entire staff to Mars.
    And please, don’t forget to take Hanson
    Do it for your children and your grand children.

  28. People have been programmed to believe in the metaphysical since the dawn of man. This internal programming started when we developed the ability to have abstract thought, and is an inevitable, irrational side-effect of this useful ability to do ‘what ifs’.
    No surprise that some people believe in an all powerful intangible god or abstract theories to explain the universe.

    And what science do you have to back up this assertion? Your statement is purely faith-based itself. Faith in a naturalistic explanation for the universe and human beings.

  29. It wasn’t “Cindi Lou” that Gutro was hearing, it was “Peggy Sue”. He had the volume on his car radio turned down too low. I have made the same mistake myself (but did not decide that ghosts were talking to me). Go figure.

  30. P Walker says:
    October 28, 2010 at 3:08 pm
    Being a medium is probably a good thing if you’ve been an extra large most of your life .>>
    Cough, snort, hack, coffee up through nose, thanks buddy.
    Of course it does strike me that it depends on your reference point. If I open up my spam folder, it is chalk full of offers to make that which is medium, large…

  31. James Goneaux says:
    October 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm
    We may have to file his one under “smart people can sometimes believe dumb stuff”: my best math teacher was a Velikovsky True Believer…
    I have never ever met someone I considered to be smart and then later discovered that that person believed dumb stuff. It’s just never happened.
    And as someone said previously, believing in ghosts etc. is exactly as dumb as any of the more, let’s say, socially accepted beliefs.

  32. pax says:
    October 28, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I have never ever met someone I considered to be smart and then later discovered that that person believed dumb stuff. It’s just never happened.

    Well, I knew a guy in grad school. Really, really smart guy.
    Turned out he was a Cubs fan…

  33. R. de Haan says:
    October 28, 2010 at 3:26 pm
    Don’t laugh, but the Pentagon is looking for private enterprise to fund sending a Colony to Mars, on a 1-way trip.
    The idea is a ‘just in case’ Earth gets whacked by a big object and turns into a ball of lava.

  34. I’m with M.A.DeLuca II (October 28, 2010 at 2:09 pm) on this one.
    Yes, I’m (highly!) skeptical of this–but I can’t say that it is 100% a fraud. To do so would be to display the kind of hubris the AGW crowd does today. Why is that?
    Imagine it’s 1650 (only a short time ago–especially in geological terms). You tell someone that it will be possible, from the location where the two of you are situated, to speak with someone on the other side of the world. Better still, you tell them that it is possible to see what is inside one’s body without sharp cutting tools and a big mess. And that one day people will fly seven miles in the air across oceans while sipping champagne and eating food heated without a flame (never mind landing on the moon).
    Such concepts would be utterly alien, and immediately dismissed as complete rubbish.
    What if some of these n-dimensional theories (such as http://www.tenthdimension.com) turn out to be correct? And that lives lived do not disappear (only to us restricted to this plane of existence) but persist in the greater family of universes–and that through some quirk of quantum physics a person’s brain in our plane of existence can somehow interact–or at least receive input–from one of those lives/beings?
    No, no pot smoking or acid dropping here. More of a belief that anything is possible (progress is rooted in that, after all–and the profit motive 😉 ).
    Was it Einstein who said “As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it”? Mock this person if you want, but doesn’t that make you sound like Mann/Romm/Gore/etc.?
    On the other hand, if this guy starts charging for ‘readings’ or asking for tax breaks/subsidies, put him in jail.

  35. At least he’s not running around breaking the law like that other chap that truly reflects poorly on their employers.

  36. If one stops to think for a moment, this is an organization populated by scientists who for the most part believe in global warming despite any science to show it, launch telescopes into space after carefully ensuring that each part meets specification, but without testing the assembly itself, resulting in a myopic telescope, and when told by the design engineers of Challenger’s O rings that they’ll likely fail in a cold weather launch, decide that since the engineers couldn’t PROVE that they would fail, that it would be OK to launch anyway.
    The wonder is not that one of them believes in ghosts. The wonder is that there is only one of them.

  37. So maybe he could follow his boss’ latest book and author a tandem publication:
    “Disembodied Voices of My Great-Grandparents”
    Same audience.
    Actually, I might read that one because I am interested in the supernatural.
    However, the science is not solid, LOL
    Anyone notice how in the Washington Post video the reporter used the word “skeptics” (read: those who do not believe in ghosts) in the interview??
    Strange. The word “skeptic” being used in a negative light.
    Where have we seen that before?
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  38. Well — either the mind is an emergent phenomena that arises when the brain has established sufficient complexity, and the mind dies with the body and that’s the end. Or. The brain just holds part of the total mind, rather like a robot probe sent to Mars receives program downloads, while the bulk of the data and data analysis programs are back here on Earth. Analogous to this, when the brain dies the mind continues — because most of it is not “in” the brain.
    So which is true? Neither can be proved — or disproved. So really neither one is truly scientific — they are both just beliefs.

  39. This isn’t at all unusual for scientists. The great majority of them believe in- aside from the scientific hypothesis of CAGW- a scheme of absurd unreality utterly laking in any supporting evidence. Religion is everywhere.
    Religious folks don’t realize the way they ridicule Spiritualism, Scientology, Mormonism, and most other designated loony-ness is precisely the way many atheists see religion of whatever stripe- from Methodists to Buddhists.
    Only it’s not so funny knowing that the irrational believers dominate all the world, and shed blood everyday for their pet schemata.

  40. Only it’s not so funny knowing that the irrational believers dominate all the world, and shed blood everyday for their pet schemata.

    And Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot show that atheism results in a far superior view of things, right? Is it rational to believe in morality while at the same time believing that humans are the result of random, meaningless chemical processes? The rational conclusion of a completely naturalistic view is that everything is meaningless. But to avoid utter despair, the atheist irrationally lives as if there is a meaning to life anyway. The person who believes in God has a very rational basis for morality, not to mention order, beauty, art, music and love.

  41. Given that Cynthia O’Carroll was a “friend and NASA colleague”, it’s hardly inconceivable that Gutro had consciously or otherwise, overheard a reference to her father calling her Cindy Lou.
    “Unconsciously” is the charitable explanation – “consciously” makes my blood boil at the thought of the *******s who exploit the grief of others.

  42. Well it was only a matter of time before this thread turned to an atheism vs religion debate so before the mods shut it down:
    1. There’s no such thing as an atheist in a fox hole.
    2. Other than not attributing the rationale to a superbeing of some sort, there is no difference between Communism and any other religion. They are belief systems that rely on faith rather than evidence, and justify their actions on that belief system.
    3. I sincerely hope that there is an afterlife and that “ghost” is one of the options. (There has to be choices, it can’t be homogenous. Or linear. Or logarithmic. I’m thinking chaotic, consider the variety of the inputs. Also, I recall a rather amusing proof that it is exothermic). In any event, I want to choose “ghost” because there are some people that I really, Really, REALLY would like to come back and haunt.

  43. davidmhoffer says on October 28, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Well it was only a matter of time before this thread turned to an atheism vs religion debate so before the mods shut it down:
    1. There’s no such thing as an atheist in a fox hole.

    I understand what “reds under their beds” is, I think, but what are “atheists in foxholes?”

  44. SunSword says
    ” Analogous to this, when the brain dies the mind continues — because most of it is not “in” the brain.”
    —————-
    Of course it’s not. It’s in the gut! There are thousands of times more afferent nerves from the gut than there are efferent ones. They keep busy telling the brain what to think. Maybe that’s why ghosts smell so bad.

  45. Auditory hallucinations are a common symptom of schizophrenia. He should definitely consult a physician. While his symptoms may currently be harmless, there is a good chance they will not remain so.

  46. davidmhoffer says:
    October 28, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I also have an open mind on metaphysics and the paranormal. Dabbled a bit with groups who tried to construct axiomatics of consciousness.
    Anybody who knows a bit of history of science would know that the world we live in now, with radio, television, mobiles, computers, instant world communication would be considered a fantasy at best, the devil’s illusions for witches at worst from the 18th century “physicists” and educated public.
    It is true that there are more unknowns than knows, and the more we push the radius of our knowledge outwards, the circle enlarges and our periphery touches more unknowns.
    More so as current theoretical physics calls down 11 dimensions and an infinity of probable worlds. One does not have to believe the stuff, but one can keep an open mind and live and let live, as one does with religious beliefs, which are also metaphysics if anything.

  47. Let me get this straight.
    There is scientific consensus at NASA about global warming but no scientific consensus there about communication with the dead.
    Alrighty then. That explains a lot, actually.

  48. anna v says:
    October 28, 2010 at 9:50 pm
    No it was the electric light that slew the ghost.
    Except for those it allowed illusionists to create for the delight and bemusement of their audiences.
    It was the charlatans and mountebanks, never far behind, who took the technology and turned these harmless illusions into quasi mystical happenings to prey on and profit from the credulous.
    But it has always been so.
    Kindest Regards

  49. SunSword says:
    October 28, 2010 at 7:17 pm
    Well — either the mind is an emergent phenomena that arises when the brain has established sufficient complexity, and the mind dies with the body and that’s the end. Or. The brain just holds part of the total mind, rather like a robot probe sent to Mars receives program downloads, while the bulk of the data and data analysis programs are back here on Earth. Analogous to this, when the brain dies the mind continues — because most of it is not “in” the brain.
    So which is true? Neither can be proved — or disproved. So really neither one is truly scientific — they are both just beliefs.

    Yes.
    There are people doing experiments with the paranormal, not successfully at present. There are gripping stories of near death experiences, out of body travels, reincarnational memories etc. I find it better to be agnostic tending to “prove to me” then agnostic “nothing to prove”.
    The difference lies between the words “experience” and “experiment” .
    My only experience with the paranormal is with telepathy, which I find very strong with my daughter and sister. If telepathy exists, then there are other ways/dimensions of communicating physically than the ones we have discovered up to now.
    I have stopped delving into this as I near the doorway to the next experiment. Death is the experiment we will all undergo, and there will either be data to study, or not. If we disappear at death that is fine, no problem with zero; but if I find myself aware in other dimensions I think I have studied enough maps to be able to navigate.
    Richard Sharpe :
    October 28, 2010 at 9:04 pm
    and the rest of the too young to remember:
    The saying “there are no atheists in foxholes” comes from the first world war, where soldiers dug “foxholes” to shelter from fire and shrapnel.

  50. Richard Wright:
    “And Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot show that atheism results in a far superior view of things, right?”
    Stalin’s atheism had nothing to do with his wrongs. Not anymore than plain, unafraid apprehension of the natural world in acknowledgement of gravity is at back of one’s political opinions or ambitions. If two women disagree on whether Mark Twain or Jane Austen is the better author, which believes in evolution and which doesn’t has nothing to do with the mater. Their religious beliefs or lack thereof do not inform the matter.
    Correct beliefs may be held independently of other bad opinions and not inform them at all. Atheism does not any more justify State Communism than Christianity.

  51. Richard Wright:
    You assert that life is bereft of meaning or the ethical imperative without either of these is supported by faith, the purposeful blindness to reason.
    I do not find them un-justified, and so needing to be supported by locking out the fully free reign of rationality. I assert, as instinctualist Humanists are wont to do, that he who is blind to the ethical imperative is as blind as as any men bereft of one of his senses, like sight as in the metaphor. That we “ought” do good is a basic instinct and sensory truth, and so rationality serves it, not serves it up.
    Faith, however much emotional comfort it provides, shows by its diversity and my personal experience as a human, to be other than sensory and is avowedly a logical construct. Problem is, to remain valid, it requires its adherents to shut down their rational consideration at some point. Ethics is thus defeated, and served at the expense of religious faith, served with the approval of religion by coincidence, or ignored; this last is the great problem.
    Best,
    Mark

  52. I read a few comments, and I am with the NASA guy. I understand the purposes of character assassination and all, but belief in ghosts isn’t a good reason to take this guy and turn him into a pariah. Just because he is a meteorologist, he can’t have post-death beliefs not stamped ‘approved’ by the skeptic (and, for that matter likely the AGW) crowd? Nonsense and balderdash. Quit piling on the guy just because of this and find a real reason to.
    Or leave him alone. Anything else is just juvenile. Sorry, watts and blog, but this is out of line. I am sure someone will try to engage me in discussion on this topic, but it really isn’t open for discussion because of the subject matter. It is only open for introspection, and if you are not willing to perform that introspection, then you don’t have the proper basis to move forward. If only scientists were allowed to have open minds, perhaps one of them could explain Charlie Chaplin’s cell phone user.

    I’ll say this much, I am beginning to wonder if there are any scientific points to be made here on this blog? I have commented here for quite a while, but recently the posts tend to be more against a certain individual than promoting openness to a certain scientific view. This post forces me to ask, with all sincerity and no malicious intent, are they all disproved?

  53. Being considered a troll myself just don’t feed me, but…
    Enneagram, repeating it at nauseam doesn’t work here. If you want to know something new about Pythagoras see
    http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/ewd09xx/EWD975.PDF
    What you propagate isn’t even pseudoscience.
    [rant] If they continue on this road making wonderful and nice ’round’ numbers for natural constants from those ugly long and random looking ones then next pi will be exactly 22/7 with help of an electromagnetic force acting inversely with the distance and not inversely with the square of the distance like that silly gravitation. [/rant]

  54. Myron Mesecke says:
    October 28, 2010 at 1:15 pm
    Do they use a Magic 8 ball too?
    “Is the climate warming?”
    It appears so.

    Reply hazy. Try again later.

  55. By the way, my post should be read with a certain amount of sarcasm. I don’t mean to demean the work done here by Watts and the moderators, but posts like this are infinitely frustrating because picking on people who believe in ghosts, scientist or not, is futile. This thought might add the right color to the previous comment. I forget sometimes that my full meaning does not come through on blog posts. I am a very sarcastic person. This sarcasm really applies to the Chaplin cell phone user comment. I really do wonder sometimes if you’ve run out of ideas, or grow tired of talking about the same things (even though they merit discussion).

  56. Anthony, if this is meant to lead to discussion of serious issues, such as the meaning of consciousness, awareness, belief systems and the like, then it should be set up in a way that objectively approaches the issues. On the other hand, if this is just a chance to make fun of someone for their unusual beliefs, it is uncomfortably out of place on this blog.
    As someone who checks in with WUWT every few hours to see the latest information, I love to see new posts as much as anyone. But I would prefer fewer posts of more substance.

  57. The PR department must be groaning at this and wondering how to limit the damage, or you could take the view of Sir Patrick Moore about such things. He says “There’s one born every minute”.

  58. Dave F says:
    October 28, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    If only scientists were allowed to have open minds, perhaps one of them could explain Charlie Chaplin’s cell phone user.


    It is intriguing. I would guess it is a joke by the director or CC taken over from some kind of science fiction narrative: talking without wires .
    I am sure if one searches enough there will be a science fiction account pre 1928 foreseeing the mobile. Jule Verne had a lot of prophetic stuff that was created in the 20th century, for example.
    A walk on part to intrigue viewers.

  59. Pity this article. I don’t warm to lots of snide put-downs. Why not stay with what you know rather than venture in pronouncing on what you have not rigorously investigated. I feel pretty sure you have not rigorously investigated the issue of the reality of supernatural things like ghosts, or you would not start off with a WaPo level of observation.
    This whole area needs rescuing from sentimental fraudsters on the one hand, and ignorant dismissive put-downers on the other hand. There is more to this area of reality than Carl Sagan could concede, and it deserves more careful, objective handling – looking at the best evidence on all sides, not just the mediocre evidence that is always used to make Straw Men.
    Just like Climate Science.

  60. Some years ago a comment by David Suzuki annoyed me when he ridiculed anyone believing in spontaneous human combustion, illustrating how gullible the public was, and then proceeded to say that the only thing he had read about it was in an airport paperback . As there is at least a century and a half of eyewitness reports, and very credible witnesses some of them are, and not explained by the usual ‘candlewicking’ explanation, I thought he only displayed his own hubris.
    Likewise , some of the comments here and in the Washington Post do the same.
    Here is the comment I posted there, with no apology.
    “jbraggins wrote:
    Obviously none of the commentators so far have researched the subject in any depth if at all.
    The spirit life is as different from the present life as the macro world is to the nano world.
    I suggest reading the literature on the subject going back at least 150 years, a very good collection of research is in Victor Zammit’s e-book “A Lawyers Presents the Case for the Afterlife” which was available free a few years ago, in which he presents evidence that would succeed in a court of law for the existence of the afterlife, and offered $10,000 for anyone who could refute it.
    Please don’t knock something you know virtually nothing about.”

  61. I should have added that from being a believer in AGW it was only through reading the literature that I changed my views.

  62. Richard Sharpe says:
    1. There’s no such thing as an atheist in a fox hole.
    I understand what “reds under their beds” is, I think, but what are “atheists in foxholes?”>>
    I just said there’s no such thing! Oh… you want a definition of what it is so that then you would not what it is that doesn’t exist. Got it. Back in the day when armies fought to a stand still, each side would “dig in”. Take up positions from which they could shelter from and return enemy fire. A fox hole was just a small hole that could shelter perhaps one or two soldiers. A fox hole in use was a fox hole with a soldier in it, bullets, shrapnel, bombs going off all around him, the prospect of an enemy soldier appearing at the edge at any moment with bayonet fixed and finger on the trigger looming in his mind and wondering if that was worse or better than getting orders to jump out of the fox hole and charge the enemy line. At that moment you might find many young men pleading with God to let them live through this, but you won’t find any mumbling to themselves that God is illogical and on the face of the evidence doesn’t exist.

  63. Neil says:
    ————————————————————————————-
    October 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm
    @David UK,
    Plenty of scientists are Christians, and there isn’t one whit of scientific evidence to support the central tenants of Christianity, and nobody thinks they are all that strange.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Peter Jackson had an uninvited experience with a Ghost. So he mentioned it to his wife. saying, hey, I was in bed and I saw a Ghost and she said, “oh, was it the screaming lady.” It was. So when the script for ‘Bones’ came to him, he found it interesting and took on the movie.
    A British Javelin champion was in the telegraph talking about money so I happend upon this by accident. They asked what was his worst investment. He brought a house you see. And he never saw it, but visitors would always comment on it. He’d go out shopping and come back and his windows would be open. SO, he it drove him a bit mad and sold it. (Also from the Telegraph).
    So, I used to dismiss readily any storys about Ghosts. Peter Jackson doesn’t strike me as a B/S’er. And neither did the other guy. As i’ve heard many, many stories before, I’ve decided it’s no laughing matter. Even though it’s difficult for me to place in my Christian view. As for the Bible. As for the ‘no evidence’ part of the bible. Shame on you. Here’s your punishment: Repeat 100x what the Apostle Peter states ‘…the earth was formed out of water and by water…!’ 2Pe ch3 v5 It’s not science. But it is true. :-).

  64. Oliver Ramsay says:
    October 28, 2010 at 9:34 pm
    SunSword says
    ” Analogous to this, when the brain dies the mind continues — because most of it is not “in” the brain.”
    —————-
    Of course it’s not. It’s in the gut! There are thousands of times more afferent nerves from the gut than there are efferent ones. They keep busy telling the brain what to think. Maybe that’s why ghosts smell so bad.>>
    Evidence to the contrary abounds. Consider the male of our species. As any attractive woman can attest, they are prone to thinking with neither their gut nor their brain, they are hostage to another part of their anatomy. True, when exposed to stimulus that activates this portion of the male anatomy, behaviourists notice a pronounced incidence of males sucking in their gut. The brain being encased in bone, it is not possible to determine if the brain also gets sucked in, but in the presence of an attractive female of the species it has been noted that males make more “bone headed decisions”, a colloqial saying that may be rooted in science.
    One would think that the female of the species would exhibit a reverse variation of the symptoms, but empirical evidence suggests not. Open for example, any men’s magazine, and you will find it full of ads featuring attractive women in order to draw attention to the products being sold. Open any women’s magazine on the other hand, and you will find it full of ads featuring attractive women in order to draw attention to the products being sold. Only the products are different.

  65. It’ll only take a photo.
    —————————————————————————————
    Peter Jackson interview
    Personal loss led Peter ‘Lord of the Rings’ Jackson to find comfort in ‘The Lovely Bones’ and then direct its Oscar-nominated adaptation.
    By Will Lawrence
    Published: 4:49PM GMT 04 Feb 2010
    Peter Jackson and Saoirse Ronan on the set of The Lovely Bones
    Oscar-winning filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson believes in ghosts, because he saw one.
    “It was about 20 years ago in New Zealand in an apartment that Fran, my wife, had,” says the director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong. “One night I woke up and there was a figure in the room. She was really scary – her face was like a silent scream. She glided across the room and disappeared into the wall.”
    Jackson wondered whether his imagination had run wild. He told Fran in the morning. “And she said, ‘Was it the woman with a screaming face?’ We had never spoken about it. She had seen the same ghost two years earlier. So I do believe in some energy, a spirit or a soul, and there’s a version of it in our latest film.”
    The film is an adaptation of Alice Sebold’s best-selling novel, The Lovely Bones, which recounts the story of ill-fated teen Susie (played by Saoirse Ronan), lured into an underground den by her neighbour, George Harvey (Stanley Tucci, in an Oscar-nominated performance), a paedophile and child-killer, and then raped and murdered. As she passes on to the afterlife, she looks back on the world she’s left behind.
    “I would say this is the most difficult project I’ve taken on because the book is not set up to be easily made into a film,” says Jackson.
    The main problem is the way “heaven”, or the afterlife, is depicted, and Jackson has been criticised for the changes he has made to the book. Sebold’s “otherworld” is a hazy and somewhat mundane realm. “Yet we wanted to portray heaven in a way that would help us to tell the story, and the mundane version didn’t help us with the narrative. She has to discover the truth about her murder and then move on in her afterlife.”
    So Susie’s otherworldly realm in Jackson’s film looks like a pulsating, shifting Salvador Dali painting. Surreal dream imagery sweeps across a fantastic landscape. “We did use dream imagery, and the different visions we see in the afterlife represent Susie’s emotional state.”
    The story also plays out on Earth, and Jackson feels a connection to the events that unfold. “I find that the older that I get, the more I start to think about what happens when you die; you start to think about uncles and aunts that you’ve lost, some of which were a similar to age me and Fran now.”
    Jackson’s mother, Joan, died three days before the 2001 release of The Fellowship of the Ring; Alice Sebold’s book came out the following year.
    “Death starts to become a fact of life and the book I found very emotional and very comforting. If the book hadn’t been comforting in that way I wouldn’t have thought about doing the movie.”
    Susie’s tragic story also struck a chord with Jackson as a parent. “It does show how quickly disaster can strike, which is how life works. We have a 12-year-old daughter and she’s seen the film and she said, ‘Dad if it was me, I would have gone down that hole with Mr Harvey, too.’ It’s good that aspect of things can be portrayed.”
    Jackson is currently in New Zealand, picking up his producing duties. This year he produced Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi sleeper hit District 9, and is now working on Steven Spielberg’s eagerly awaited Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.
    “With Tintin, the filming and motion-capture is all done. Now we’re doing the post-production, which takes about two years. The film is very European and close to the book. You can imagine what Andy Serkis does as Captain Haddock!” While that visual effects magic goes on at Jackson’s Weta Workshop, Jackson and his wife (and long-time collaborator) Fran Walsh are revising the script for The Hobbit. The project encompasses two films that chart Bilbo Baggins’s adventures in the novel, before bridging the gap between the conclusion of The Hobbit and the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring.
    “I thought that there might be something unsatisfying about directing two Tolkien movies after Lord of the Rings,” says Jackson. “I’d be trying to compete with myself and deliberately doing things differently. I want it to be natural. So I thought about who might be an interesting director? It was an obvious choice.”
    He chose Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo Del Toro. “He’s going to make the movie he wants. He doesn’t want a carbon copy of me; he is who he is and he’s terrific. It’ll be very, very interesting.”
    • The Lovely Bones is released on Feb 19.
    —————————————————————————————

  66. The Article wasn’t about Ghosts. Steve wasn’t pushing Ghosts. They tend to be a nuisance. And are dismissed readily. I am actually glad that someone with some brains is actually deciding to look into this. The only time in my life i can remember, where I go ‘Help’ and nothing comes out of my mouth, was in the presence of something standing by my bed in the early hours while on vacation in Henley-on-Thames. I don’t know what it was. It moved out of the room without making a sound.
    and I dismiss it. I used to laugh at this stuff until I read the Peter Jackson article as I respect his integrity even though I don’t really know him. Here is the British Athlete from the telegraph…..
    —————————————————————————————
    Steve Backley
    The former javelin world record holder on octopus ink, being as big as Beckham (in Finland), and living in a haunted house
    Steve Backley: give him a Rubik’s Cube and he’ll be as happy as Larry. Photograph: Tom Jenkins
    Hi Small Talk, have you been expecting me?
    We have indeed, Steve, how the heck are you? Ready and willing, Small Talk!
    That’s good to hear, Steve. Unfortunately, Small Talk isn’t in such fine fettle. For as we speak Small Talk is being mocked and abused by colleagues for admitting that until a few minutes ago it had not been aware that octopi can squirt ink and … [Incredulous laughter] How can you not know that?!
    What, you mean you knew? Of course I knew! Everyone knows that.
    Really? How did you find out? Oh come on, it’s one of those things that you pick up as a kid from cartoons and so on.
    [Sceptically] Which cartoon? I don’t remember, but that’s where I got most of my general knowledge! I bet if I ask my four-year-old what an octopus can do he’ll know.
    OK, go ask him … Actually, now that I think of it, I can tell you how else I know: once when I was fishing for squid in New Zealand, we were shining a light on the top of the water to see all the crustaceans or whatever and I lifted a squid on to the boat and the captain went ballistic at me! He kept saying it would stain the deck of the boat. Apparently you’re supposed to lift it into a bucket of water.
    [Testily] What colour is the ink? Black.
    OK. And octopi blood is blue. Did you know that? No, I have to admit I didn’t [chastened chuckles]
    1-1! Can you handle another question? Go for it.
    Actually, it’s an easy one … because it’s not really a question at all, just the mandatory tee-up for the product you’re promoting today: what is so good about Alfa Romeos? Ah, well let me tell you first of all that they are the sponsor of UK Athletics so we’re very appreciative of their support. Beyond that, they’ve been a big hit in the car world recently. They’ve got a great fleet of cars. It’s a very refined car now I think, I’m certainly not a petrol head and I’ve enjoyed it very much.
    Well that’s great. Now then, is there any exciting British javelin talent we need to know about? It’s pretty good on the women’s side. There’s a female thrower called Goldie Sayers and she came fourth in Beijing and she’s holding the limelight in the javelin. As for the men, there’s Mervyn Luckwell – but it’s luck by name but not by nature at the moment: he can throw far but he needs to learn how to deliver at the championships, which is a whole science in itself.
    How did you get into the javelin? My father was a pretty decent middle distance runner in his day and I grew up going running with him and thoroughly enjoyed it. So I was kind of around the athletics scene but because I was quite big I didn’t have the physical conditions for middle distance running and one day I saw these guys chucking a thing around a field and thought ‘that looks like a laugh, I’ll have a go at that’. So that’s what I did. But it was no Cinderella story, quite the opposite in fact. I was bloody awful at first! But I enjoyed it and it seemed to make sense so I started on my journey, gradually making progress. By the end of the first year I was ranked fifth in the country for my age. And then I broke my arm and had a year off!
    Tell us this, Steve, with your phenomenal throwing prowess you’d probably have made a decent quarterback: did you ever consider a lucrative move into American football? I probably couldn’t have made it as a quarterback because that’s a very technical position but I’ll tell you what, there was some interest as a baseball pitcher. Pitchers are massively reliant on a fast arm more than technique. My sort-of-nemesis, Jan Zelezny, tried out for the Atlanta Braves and they were very impressed with his speed of relase, which was over 100mph, which only the top pitchers can do, but his aim wasn’t so flash. In fact, at this media day they set up to have another look at him he hit a Japanese photographer, which I found quite amusing. But apparently in the Atlanta Braves stadium, only three people have ever thrown a home run from the plate where you hit from, which is about 120 yards or something… and he did it with his first throw. You see, throwing flat wasn’t so easy but once you have to put a bit of elevation into it like a javelin thrower he was brilliant.
    So would you have fancied a crack at that? For sure! For no other reason than they earn a hell of a lot more money than a javelin thrower!
    Sound reasoning. By the way, have you ever been to Finland? Yes, I have. Javelin is the national sport in Finland. You know, here in England I may occasionally get recognised when I’m at Sainsbury’s or wherever but I cannot walk around the streets of Finland – I’m like David Beckham there!
    Seriously? Yeah, it’s hilarious!
    So presumably you go there whenever you need a morale boost? I used to spend a lot of time there but since I’ve retired I’ve not been back.
    Any idea why the Finns are particularly taken by the javelin? I don’t know where their love of the javelin came from, to be honest. I think it fits the personality of the race – you know, tall, strong guys, almost like Viking shapes. They’re pretty … um, how can I describe the Finns? They’re quite an unusual crowd actually. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. I think it’s the simple bravado of being able to throw something farther than someone else that is in line with their mentality.
    Sounds plausible to Small Talk. Then again, the only thing Small Talk knows about Finland is that exceptionally dark heavy metal bands abound there … They do, yeah.
    Javelin and death metal: it’s a heady mix! Are you a headbanger? I don’t listen to heavy metal, I skipped that bit.
    So what sort of music do you listen to? I like a wide spectrum really. A bit of pop, a bit of dance, a bit of Motown, that kind of thing.
    Did you have a particular song you listened to before competing to motivate you? I did actually. I had the same track that I listened to for my whole career: It was Soul II Soul, Back to Life. The words, the rhythm, it’s just one of those timeless tunes. You still hear it on the radio.
    And when you hear it on the radio now do you feel an immediate urge to fling a javelin? [Chortling] I do yeah, I’m one of Pavlov’s dogs! The only thing is it doesn’t work any more: I was at my kid’s school sports day the other day and someone convinced me to chuck a kid’s javelin. I flicked the first one and got a round of applause and then they said ‘go on, throw a big long one’. And the juices were flowing and I said to myself ‘right, this one’s going over the fence.’ So I lashed it with all I’ve got … and it went the same distance as the first one. I just turned around and said ‘that’s why I’ve retired!’. You know when you put your foot on the gas and nothing happens? That was me. A horrible, horrible feeling.
    It was still farther than the kid’s throws, though, right? Just about. And they were only four and five!
    Speaking of children, what was your favourite toy as a child? A Rubik’s Cube.
    Did you complete it? Yes. I taught myself to do it. I think that sums up my personality: I wouldn’t put it down until I worked out how to do it.
    How long did it take you? I think my fastest was 47 seconds. I picked one up the other day for the first time in about 20 years and did it in four and a half minutes and I was quite pleased with that. The system that I devised still applies.
    Who is your favourite TV detective? I’ll say Starsky and Hutch because as a kid I had a Starsky and Hutch car. I used to love the way they jumped across the bonnet to get into it.
    Would it be fair to say that that is the most iconic vehicle in TV history? Or is it overshadowed by the A-Team fan and the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine? I think so, but what type of car was the Starsky and Hutch one? I can’t remember.
    Nor can Small Talk. How about we say it was an Alfa Romeo? Good one!
    Steve, have you ever seen a ghost? I had a ghost in my first house, which I bought when I was 20. I never saw it but it came and visited some guests. It wasn’t a particularly friendly ghost and my friend described it materialising in the night as a beast that scared the living daylights out of him. It was bizarre.
    So let’s get this straight: it marched around in the middle of the night and your guests saw it but you never did. Do you, by any chance, happen to be a sleepwalker? [Guffaws] Well we never really got to the bottom of it, I just moved. But weird things happened. For example, I went out and locked all the doors and when I came back all the doors and windows were open. That happened a couple of times and it wasn’t burglaries or anything.
    Did you look into the history of the house? Not really. There were all sorts of theories, from World War bunkers and so on. I tried to dismiss it but once I started buying into it I just thought I’ve got to move.
    When you were trying to sell it, did you mention to prospective buyers that it might be haunted? No. But I think I can get away with it because I never actually saw anything. And if in retrospect anything happened, I deny all knowledge!
    That’s the spirit! Thanks for your time, Steve. It was a pleasure. Bye bye Small Talk.
    —————————————————————————————

  67. Mark:

    faith, the purposeful blindness to reason.

    and

    it requires its adherents to shut down their rational consideration at some point

    What do you base these assertions on? You also say that the “ethical imperative” is a “basic instinct and sensory truth” but that faith is “other than sensory”. It would be helpful if you supported your assertions instead of just stating them. As far as I can tell, you are saying that Stalin lacked the ethical sense organ (a conscience, I guess) simply because you think your view of morality is better than was his or that you can view morality and he couldn’t. But morality is right vs. wrong, and naturalism has no rational basis for believing in right and wrong. The universe just is. There is good nor bad and the actions of people are neither good nor bad, they just are. Where in the blind laws of chemistry and physics is the basis of morality?

  68. Mark:

    Correct beliefs may be held independently of other bad opinions and not inform them at all. Atheism does not any more justify State Communism than Christianity.

    And what in the naturalistic world view leads to the conclusion that communism, genocide, eugenics or just the plain killing of those you don’t like is wrong? Survival of the Fittest has no problem with any of these.

  69. Someone mentioned Velikovsky? I’d Never heard of her. So I did a bit of digging:
    —————————————————————————–
    In 1950, Immanuel Velikovsky culminated decades of research with a book titled Worlds in Collision that “proposes that many myths and traditions of ancient peoples and cultures are based on actual events.” His approach was interdisciplinary, a rarity in the 20th century, taking into account astronomy, physics, chemistry, psychology, ancient history, and comparative mythology.
    He noted, for example, that Venus, the second brightest object in the night sky, was not mentioned by the earliest astronomers. He proposed that the planet was a newcomer to our solar system, a comet, appearing in historical times with an irregular orbit that caused catastrophic events on our own planet.
    Coming in close contact with the Earth, the latter’s rotation altered, making it appear that The Sun had stood still, a phenomenon reported on in the Book of Josue. What has come to be known as Joshua’s Long Day is corroborated by the texts of the ancient Chinese, Japanese, Egyptians, Babylonians, and Mayans; the East Asians reporting a extremely long sunset, the Mexicans reporting an extremely long sunrise.
    Immanuel Velikovsky was too eminent a scholar to be dismissed outright as a kook, and he counted some respected people among his friends. (See The Einstein-Velikovsky Correspondence). Nevertheless, his Catastrophism was rejected outright by a scientific establishment that couldn’t stomach an interdisciplinary challenge to its dogmatic Uniformitarianism, even after Velikovsky’s predictions about the temperature of Venus and radio activity from Jupiter were proven true.
    Stephen Jay Gould summed up mainstream scientific opinion, saying, “Velikovsky is neither crank nor charlatan – although to state my opinion and to quote one of my colleagues, he is at least gloriously wrong … Velikovsky would rebuild the science of celestial mechanics to save the literal accuracy of ancient legends.” Velikovsky would counter that “the ancient traditions are our best guide to the appearance and arrangement of the earliest remembered solar system, not some fancy computer’s retrocalculations based upon current understanding of astronomical principles.”
    While recognized as “neither crank nor charlatan,” Velikovsky and his ideas were denied a hearing in what same to be known as the “Velikovsky Affair.”
    Australian philosopher David Stove, took up the Velikovskian cause in a 1972 essay – “The Velikovsky story: the scientific mafia.” He begins, “The story of Velikovsky’s theory, its reception, and its subsequent confirmations, constitutes one of the most fascinating chapters in the entire history of thought; and it is one which is still unfolding.”
    While acknowledging the book’s “enormous appeal to what I call the ‘anti-fluoride belt’ in modern societies,” he says “the books convinced me of two things: that a thesis of extraterrestrial catastrophes in historical times is at least a distinctly live option; and that in historical times Venus has done- something peculiar, at any rate.”
    —————————————————————————————
    ……………….hhhmmmmm.

  70. I do not want disparage Mr Gutro but unless he lands a least a $250,000 grant to study and report the catastrophic effects of AGW on disembodied spirits and has it published in peer reviewed literature ( American Metaphysical Letter – MPL), I cannot grant him high status.
    Now if he were to publish a study showing increased and accelerating conversion of gentle spirits to violent poltergeists with increased SST or CO2, backed up by a Paleodemonological study of pottery shard pits showing no increase in poltergeist conversion during the mislabeled MWP nor decrease during the mislabeled LIA, that would certainly gain him very high esteem

  71. Richard Wright:
    I do not mean that Joe Stalin lacked the ethical sense. He justified his empire’s actions in terms of what was best for the world- the ethical goal. He just had, we both contend, errors supreme in his rational consideration of what ethics requires.
    When I call ethics sensory and instinctual, intuitive and precedent to rationality, I mean to refer to the basic instinct to do good that all humans possess. I assert that there is such a thing inn the case of ethics by my own personal experience as apparently a holder of the ordinary human brain. I communicate it based on the other item of evidence for this claim, that everyone else not ‘crazy’ possesses this same instinct apparently and avowedly, and my trust that each human can relate to this sense.
    I assert that faith, though theoretically possible to be rational based purely upon internal experience just as with ethics, is not precedent to rationality as are sight and taste, because it appears from the above two evidences of the ethical imperative to be not at all evident:
    I have found no instinct to belief in Jehovah or Brahman or Apollo in my own mind, though emotional benefits I have reaped in my religious years from faith. I observe no such in the behavior and speech of my fellow humans- many of them claim guttural knowledge of deity, but the claim is always to a different deity (and thus a different knowledge) and coincidentally the one popular in that place and time.
    Thus, I do not believe faith is before reason, and if isn’t it must be rational- and to believe without evidence is irrational.
    Best,
    Mark

  72. Neil says:
    October 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm
    @David UK,
    Plenty of scientists are Christians, and there isn’t one whit of scientific evidence to support the central tenants of Christianity, and nobody thinks they are all that strange.

    Oh, I’m so sorry, you’re right of course. I personally believe in Fung Shui, acupuncture, the tooth fairy and goblins. And CAGW. (Just kidding about that last one – I’m not that gullible).

  73. Plenty of scientists are Christians, and there isn’t one whit of scientific evidence to support the central tenants of Christianity, and nobody thinks they are all that strange.

    Why is scientific evidence the only credible evidence? There is plenty of historical evidence that Jesus lived, was crucified, and rose from the dead. In fact there is more historical evidence for these than for most other things that we accept without question. The problem of the scientist who is of a purely naturalistic world view is that the physical world is all that there is – not because science says so, but because science, by definition, can only examine the physical world. It is the naturalistic world view that prevents consideration of the supernatural and leads to its ridicule by those who think too highly of themselves.
    The Christian believes God created the laws of nature and so there is a rational basis for science. That is, without laws of nature, science can’t exist. But why should there be laws of nature at all? Why should there be constants in nature? Laws cannot explain themselves. The atheist has no rational explanation for the orderly and predictable nature of the universe. This is an evidence for God. It is not scientific evidence, but evidence nonetheless. Stephen Hawking freely admits this in “A Brief History of Time”. And Einstein also believed in God. And Newton, Pascal, Galileo, etc. No doubt some on this forum think that these are/were all crazy and irrational.

  74. Mark:

    I assert that there is such a thing inn the case of ethics by my own personal experience as apparently a holder of the ordinary human brain. I communicate it based on the other item of evidence for this claim, that everyone else not ‘crazy’ possesses this same instinct apparently and avowedly, and my trust that each human can relate to this sense.

    That’s fine but hardly scientific. If your personal experience is to be the judge than you are in good company with people of faith. And according to surveys, at least 88% of the world’s population believe in God, so that also fits well with your evidence for ethics based on statistics, and so I would think that might give you pause.
    You say that the ethical sense exists like the 5 senses but where is it’s organ? What explains it? What in your world view rationally explains morality if we are nothing more than the product of time + chance + physics and chemistry? Morality is predicted if we posit the creator-God of the Bible, but it is not expected at all in a naturalistic world view. And I think we would all agree on the importance of predictability.

  75. RICHARD FEYNMAN:
    “………………..The way I see it is what we are doing is we are exploring. We are trying to find out as much as we can about the world. But what ever way it comes out, nature is there, and it’s going to come out the way she is. And so when we go to investigate it we shouldn’t pre-decide what it is we are trying to do except find out more about it!…..”
    —————-
    FRom BBC 4 Horizon…

  76. Richard Wright says:
    October 29, 2010 at 6:50 am
    And what in the naturalistic world view leads to the conclusion that communism, genocide, eugenics or just the plain killing of those you don’t like is wrong? Survival of the Fittest has no problem with any of these.>>
    Humanity left the survival of the fittest rule behind centuries ago. We haven’t been subject to that imperative for an extremely long time. We have concluded at the intellectual level we are best served by other constructs. While there may be no right or wrong in the survival of the fittest model, humanity has rejected that model and adopted a model (or variety of models I suppose) governed by our intelligence. As these models are governed by intellect rather than the rules of evolution, there is in fact such a thing as right and wrong, and it is central to what divides us from the animals.
    As for Mark’s assertion that man has a natural instinct to do good, this is also a fallacy. If you’ve ever been in a city where the police went on strike, you would know how incredibly fast society breaks down into gang warfare. The only instinct we have left is toward tribalism, and that is entirely a defensive notion of grouping together to protect “us” from “them”. It allows for leadership to raise emotions on issues to the point that they trump logic and en masse do what is evil. But it is intellect that returns them from acting out of hate and anger to consider that what they are doing is wrong. If hate wins, they rationalize the killing in their own minds. If intellect wins, they say this just isn’t right, and desert. There’s no instinct involved in doing good.

  77. During the pass-over event, It was instructed to believers (but not non-believers) of the Jewish God to: ‘………… take lambs blood and mark the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat the lambs.’ As a christian i always thought it curious that they had to mark the sides………and the top of the door frames. I supposed for a long time that this was to be done in this fashion so whom ever this was a message for; they didn’t miss noticing the blood and kill the first born in the house but instead, ‘passed-over’ that house’s habitants. The more satisfactory explanation came to me recently from Beth Moore: It represents the blood stain pattern of Christ on the cross. Hands for the door posts. Head denoted by blood on the top of the door frame……and the dripping blood to the ground for his feet. It’s a prophecy. A foretaste. A shadow of what was to come and a reminder to Christians (in the future) that the blood of christ works both in to the future and the past.’..because no one comes to father except through me!’. There is always a reason for even the minutest detail. It’s the way he works.

  78. Richard Wright:
    I clearly do not mean that I derive with enough confidence to argue by it the ethical sense from the fact that everyone expresses it- alone. The fact that the basic goal of ethics is universally acknowledged only gives me confidence in my own internal experience, as the rest of my experience has borne out the induction that I am of the same essential mental structure as all folks called sane.
    When I note the lack of a SENSE for deity’s presence- not a logical construct implying deity’s presence, importantly- in my mind, that is in my very self, I could look to popular opinion to see whether such a SENSE might be in others. Then, of course, I could only at best say it is a reasonable conjecture that such a thing is, as I experience it not. However, when I do look at the world, I see that the basic fact of deity’s existence is utterly and wildly different among believers. (polytheism, animism, monotheism) So, religious belief does not even have anything going for it to imply internal sense at back of it, though internal logical processes may result (I contend flawed-ly) in religious faith.
    I have experienced religious faith personally and as explained above examined it in popular opinion. I from these two things find only the strongest evidence that all the internal experience responsible for religious faith is only emotion and the reasoning faculties. I induce therefrom that religious faith is worked out the same way opinions about engineering and ethics are- by rational means- and that it is only a popular opinion.
    Best,
    Mark

  79. David Hoffer:
    I assert an instinctual sense to ‘do good’ in all sane people. This is not to say that it overpowers or even tends to overpower instinctual hungers and emotions which drive people to do things ethically wrong.
    This sense may be ignored just as what is seen with the eyes may be ignored- but it does not then mean that sight is an unreal sense if it may be ignored. That a chasm is up ahead may be seen but ignored, such as when one acts to gain the greater pleasure/avoidance of pain of driving one’s blue Mustang convertible off that cliff.

  80. David Hoffer:
    You know what? Strike my mustang-off-the-cliff example. It is logically fallacious, and I apologize for putting it forth. That was foolish of me.
    When one drives off the cliff, it is not that one is acting contrary to what sight tells one- that there is a chasm there. When one drives off the cliff, one is acting in accordance with the sense of sight. When one kills despite the ethical sense, one is by definition not acting in accordance with that sense. A sight-analogy for the triumph of ethical wrong must be different from the one I gave.
    Say, then, that one walks off a cliff, and has no desire to do so and wants to not fall even, but walks so quite on purpose. One sees the ledge. One bounds right on over it. The mind has received the fact that there is an- unwanted- fall ahead through the sense of sight. But, the mind also puts forth the reason to overwhelm the following of this sense (remember, remaining in accordance with sight would be to not bound off as one does not at all want to fall) in that its rational faculties are incorrectly applied to convince one that when one bounds off that cliff God will make it so that one can fly.
    The self supplies the reason for ignoring the sense of sight, but the sense was always there. It was just ignored because of whatever the religious belief in flying did for the individual.
    My apologies for this inelegant metaphor going on so long!
    Best,
    Mark

  81. But it is intellect that returns them from acting out of hate and anger to consider that what they are doing is wrong. If hate wins, they rationalize the killing in their own minds. If intellect wins, they say this just isn’t right, and desert. There’s no instinct involved in doing good.

    If intellect were the basis of doing good, then the smartest people would also be the most moral. This is the fallacy of the movement that says all of our problems can be solved through education. The heart of man is wicked and education just allows him to invent new ways of doing evil, it does not change the heart. I’ll take the kindness of the simpleton over that of the intellectually elite any day!
    But there is a more fundamental question that has yet to be answered from naturalism: how to we know what is good and what is evil? How can we even countenance the idea that there is good and evil? What makes one thing good and another bad? How does the almighty intellect determine this when it supposedly evolved via natural selection which has no concept of good and evil? And this also presumes that all cultures around the world agree as to what is good and evil. I would strongly disagree with that.

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