by: Margarita Carrión
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I consider myself a person of science. I am an agnostic and highly skeptical about almost any issue. Also, I will believe anything that can be properly proven by the scientific method.
Last night I went out with a bunch of friends and the conversation turned to paranormal events. I was surprised to see that all of them believed in some form of these occurrences, be it ghosts, telekinesis or levitation. The reason I was surprised is that all of the group are medical doctors and are familiar with the notion that if it isn’t properly tested, you can’t use any new method or medicine. We study and practice evidence-based medicine.
And yet, they all were very prone to believing that a relative had seen a ghost, or that someone’s mom could separate her body from her soul. They even put David Blaine as an example. And there was no argument that could convince them otherwise. I told them David Blaine is a magician and he doesn’t claim to have paranormal powers, I told them that the mind can fool us (they know this, they have seen psychiatric and emotionally disturbed patients), I told them there can always be an easier explanation, if you look for it. And I told them there has never been a paranormal event under controlled situations. I thought this last argument was strong enough, but I was wrong. How can you control the circumstances under which you see a ghost, if it doesn’t tell when or where it is going to show up?
Not even when I mentioned James Randi and his $1.000.000,00 reward for ANY paranormal event that can be proven they gave in. In fact, James Randi has a whole organization dedicated to uncover these frauds. This website is illustrative for those interested: The Skeptic Tank
In any case, we had a lovely evening. In the end, it came up the same way it does with religious discussions with an agnostic: nobody convinces the other side. They went home still believing in children’s stories, and I went home thinking that no matter how hard science tries, it still has a long way before showing it is right.