Posts Tagged ‘debunking

18
Aug
20

Do You Believe In Spooks?

Well… do ya?

I do.

I’ve had enough situations in my life that just can’t be explained through any normal means that I feel I kind of have to. I’d love to find rational explanations – though using the phrase “rational” here implies belief in spooks is somehow “irrational,” which seems awfully judgmental to me – but until I do, the ghosts are the answer. It’s kind of frustrating, really.

How do you explain waking up to find both you and your girlfriend bleeding profusely from numerous wounds that certainly weren’t there before you went to bed?

How do you wave away gashes and holes appearing in the walls of a room that no one goes in appearing overnight? Especially when it happens right after your brilliant girlfriend and her buddy start the usual crap of “give us a sign that you’re here!” Or how ever after, no one could sleep in that room, no matter who you rented it out to or if you bothered to tell them about previous tenants or not?

There’s others, though nothing so dramatic as those two. I try to find rational explanations. The girlfriend got a little nutty and decided to dose my coffee, slice away at both of us, hide the knife, then “wake up” screaming to call attention to the situation. The walls were poorly made, the plaster just happened to fall apart in patterns that pareidolia decided to interpret as tridactyl claw marks, and the eight people who tried to sleep in the room and were run off by insomnia and nightmares just all happened to have mental problems, insecurity or a bad drug trip just that one time. It doesn’t work so well.

That doesn’t mean I stop looking for other explanations. Some people specifically ask me to debunk things, to come up with alternate explanations, and I’m more than happy to oblige. I try to follow the scientific method; find a way to break it, and keep trying until I do or run out of ideas. Only then do I say “Spooks, I guess,” and move along… though nothing really leaves the mind, and I keep gnawing at it.

What about you folks out there? Have you had something happen, dramatic or not, that you can’t find a rational explanation for? What was it, and what did you try to do to debunk it? Maybe we can all banish each other’s oogity boogities.

It’d make me feel a lot happier and more secure in my house… which has a room the cats refuse to go in, that makes weird noises, and has lights that come on in the middle of the night, no matter how often you make sure to turn them off before bedtime.

Until next time, folks.

23
Feb
18

Goodreads Review: Why People Believe Weird Things

Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our TimeWhy People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I grabbed this book, expecting it to explore and debunk (or confirm) some of the weird things that people let cross their minds in the dark hours of the evening; even the chapter headings seemed to imply that would be the result.
What I found instead is a fascinating, psychology-lite explanation of just how people come to some of these conclusions. It may not have been the book I thought I was getting, but it was certainly interesting.
Providing a bit of insight into the why of how we think rather than just the what of it, the book provides rational explanations for such things as ghosts and flat earth logic, including discussions of what about such things provides comfort and logic to minds that desperately need it.
On closing the book, the only thing I felt could have been done better was the presentation of the weird beliefs themselves; while the book does a decent job of explaining why people cling to these beliefs, even in the face of evidence or when presented with potential alternative explanations, it frequently begins each chapter by presenting the “weird thing” as being utterly ludicrous and overblown, lacking any sense of nuance and leading the reader to genuinely believe in the insanity of anyone who actually believes it.
To be fair, I do tend to think a lot of those folks are crazy, but coming out of the gate swinging when you haven’t even presented the theory seems a little extreme, in my book.
Overall, worth poking at if you have an interest in psychology or the rationales that lead someone to potentially illogical beliefs, but less so if you’re actually looking for weird things.

View all my reviews




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