There is an objective reality out there, and this blog aims to sort out the real from the fantasy.
Are ghosts real? Poltergeists? Astrology? Psychics? Remote viewing? Dowsing? Telepathy? Are UFOs really alien space ships from outer space? Are people (several million of them) really abductees who have been experimented on by alien creatures? Will any alternative medicine really cure disease? Are paranormal “experts” onto something, or just kidding themselves? Is there a God (or are there hundreds of them, if all religions are considered equally)? Is the threat of legal action against criticism of paranormal claims a good enough substitute for providing evidence of such claims? If psychics are real, how does one objectively separate the real (if any of them are) from the frauds (or those who are well meaning but self-deluded)?
There is, in fact, no objective, confirmable proof that any of the above claims (and many others) are real. There is a lot of evidence presented, but almost anything can be counted as evidence. The trick lies in finding out which evidence is worth anything. There is a difference between an anecdote (very weak) and a randomised, double blind control group experiment (very strong).
I am sure that the paranormal and associated claims are not real, but because I can’t prove a universal negative, I often say that I don’t know whether or not the paranormal is real. But I’ll clarify that point by saying this: I don’t know whether the paranormal is real or not in the same way that I don’t know whether or not I will be the exclusive winner of the next ten lottery jackpots with a single ticket for each draw. Maybe I might win all that money; and maybe a psychic will actually solve a crime; or predict a disaster before thousands are killed; or maybe – just maybe – predict the next ten sets of winning lottery numbers.
It’s a cliché, I know, but ask a psychic what the next lottery numbers are going to be. Would you be surprised to know that the reflex answer from a self-proclaimed psychic is always, “It doesn’t work like that”? No, alas, it never does. And that reply is so predictable.
People believe strange things mostly, I think, because of bad thinking. Accepting an extraordinary claim without sufficient evidence is irrational. Let’s see if we can bring a bit of rationality into play. (It’s logical (I’m getting the letter J…), Jim!)
A final note: logic can be counter-intuitive. It just might not be what you think it is.