A Conversation for The Freedom From Faith Foundation

... but there are ghosts!

Post 1

TRiG (Ireland) A dog, so bade in office

So there must be something out there.

smiley - erm

I've had this argument put to me a couple of times. There is, they say, definitely a spirit world of some sort, which suggests that there may possibly be a God.

No one has put any particular ghost story to me; they've just said that such stories are so frequent that they cannot all be false.

Thoughts?

TRiG.smiley - smiley


... but there are ghosts!

Post 2

taliesin

No, there are not

Other than imaginary ones in works of fantasy.

Hyperactive agency detection creates the experience of 'real' ones smiley - ghost

..., and argumentum ad populum is an unfortunately common fallacy

smiley - smiley


... but there are ghosts!

Post 3

Tumsup

Not only are there ghosts but they have spooky psychic powers. smiley - yikesThey are able to look into peoples minds and then only appear to the ones who believe in them. smiley - ghost


... but there are ghosts!

Post 4

Stealth "Jack" Azathoth

Well you've spooked me by reanimating this forum!


... but there are ghosts!

Post 5

taliesin

smiley - ghost
As I was going up the stair
I saw a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away...

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door... (slam!)

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away
smiley - ghost


Antigonish, (1899) by Hughes Mearns


... but there are ghosts!

Post 6

TRiG (Ireland) A dog, so bade in office

"Hyperactive agency detection"

Good phrase. I like it.

And why is the human brain so wired to hyperactively detect agencies?

TRiG.smiley - ghost


... but there are ghosts!

Post 7

taliesin

>>And why is the human brain so wired to hyperactively detect agencies?<<

If you'd ever observed a horse shy violently because it clearly mistook a small branch on the ground, moved by the breeze, for a snake, you'd know. smiley - ponysmiley - yikes

Humans possess a similar survival perception: We instinctively assume agency to aspects of the environment, and react accordingly, long before we become consciously aware of the stimuli invoking the reaction: The hair stands up on the back of the neck, the heart rate increases, adrenalin starts flowing, etc., and *then* we may begin speculating about that movement in the bushes...

Adding to the equation, our more complex neural system, and correspondingly advanced sentience/intelligence, causes us to assign agency to that for which we have not gathered sufficient explanatory facts.

Our minds project on to those unseen/unexplained events agents having similar faculties to those that our minds possess, (planning, intent, etc.), which necessarily require minds.

Wishful thinking about the dead not really being dead, and a perfectly understandably reluctance to accept the fact of our mortality fill in the rest.

smiley - ghost

iirc, Dennett has some fascinating things to say about the theory

smiley - smiley


... but there are ghosts!

Post 8

Tumsup

Thanks Talsmiley - ok

The short version, I don't know if it's Dennett: It's better from an evolutionary perspective to mistake a stick for a snake than the other way around.smiley - smiley


... but there are ghosts!

Post 9

Tumsup

Also, look up Pareidolia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia

Remember that your brain perceives reality by having already created a version of it in your head. When you look at something your brain percieves it by matching it against what is already on file. This allows you to see something more quickly than if you had to think about it every time. Unfortunately this also means that whatever you're looking at will be matched against file even if your eyes are not getting enough information. It's why ghosts seem to appear only in dim light or why leprechans appear out of the corner of your eye.smiley - smiley


... but there are ghosts!

Post 10

taliesin

Yep. Our brains are not simply pattern recognizers, but pattern assigners.

Agency detection and patterning are very closely related, neurologically.

smiley - smiley


... but there are ghosts!

Post 11

Tumsup

This thread is starting to mix with the God Delusion thread.smiley - smiley

We have a friend who insists that something is true because he sees it. No amount of argument can shake him.smiley - smiley


... but there are ghosts!

Post 12

taliesin

He 'believes' he sees it, because he 'wants' to see it, and his fear/desire prevents him actually seeing any truth.


Strong the farce in this one is, hmm. smiley - winkeye


Apart from minor entertainment, the real value of the discussion is that it is taking place on a public forum... smiley - bigeyes


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... but there are ghosts!

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