Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Dealing with paranormal claims: Are the basic points even true.

Often when skeptics deal with paranormal claim there is dismissal. It's like creationism, how often do you have to get the transitional fossil argument before you have had it?

But addressing paranormal claims has value. In dealing with skepticism in the paranormal you run into different skeptics.

There are the ones that don't want to waste time or even talk about overexposed photos, crackling on a tape, or ever lose a good night sleep. Then the other extreme are the true believers that call themselves skeptics then immediately will tell you about how they know demons are real and aliens have visited a friend of theirs.

Not too surprising. It can be a pain, with the first group to deal with so much hokum. Some skeptics just don't want to talk evolution or religion. Let's face it even the ID arguments haven't changed in over a decade, it can be tiring to see how that garbage just remains with us. Like with moon hoax and holocaust deniers, there can be a breaking point for us. And likewise how many true believers about the holocaust, moon landing, or evilution call themselves skeptics? So many.

So credit is deserved for those that stay in these areas. Those that keep up the fight for the reality of evolution, ensure that history is not rewritten, and also look at paranormal claims.

But in this it is important to look at claims and cut through to the core of claims to dismantle the bunk. Maybe it will reveal relevant facts in the paranormal hunt, or maybe it will kill teach people to better understand the natural world and what goes bump in their heads.

One example of this is the work done by Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society. They do work to be skeptical, and to challenge all claims and go into the field to take first reactions and cut through heresay. One good example of there work and the issues of cutting through to the key bunk is with the Stanley Hotel.

This is the hotel for being, The Shining hotel. And since then it has become a hot spot for fans of paranormal adventures. The claims about it are just burgeoning. And like many such sites, including old hospitals, and homes of notoriety, it is getting booked for paranormal investigations throughout the year.

The RMPRS looked at one claim about this site, that it is as haunted as it is (as it is claimed it is) due to quartz rock and limestone that lies beneath the hotel and the land it is on. You may find that an odd statement, particularly if you have not heard all the claims made among many "investigators".

To quote Ghost Hunters, "The leading theory in the field..." Which means the opinion one guy told me once in the dark in a creepy old house, or at one of the paranormal conventions...

Well the idea is this quartz and some other minerals apparently store ghost energy and reflect it back. So it soaks up spooky and amplifies it back. I am sure like every folk tale how this is explained is almost as diverse as the tellers. There are all sorts of stories about what minerals are beneath, and what they do.

Well this group coordinating with the government to determine the facts. Instead of just stopping at, "it's not haunted." They looked at this quartz claim. And through the USDA they found that there was no survey of the land, so no one actually knew what was beneath. Which in itself would make you wonder about a claim about the mineral composition there. Again, folk tales. They did a survey of the land and found no sign of huge amounts of any of the suspect minerals.

Which means claims based on that claim can now be scientifically addressed and challenged.

And this is important. It forces true believers to accept the scientific results (which they often claim to embrace), or ignore it. Gotta keep them honest.

UPDATE: Forgot the links.

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