From the Washington Post’s reliably irritating “On Faith” blog, Jeffrey Stanley writes about being the faculty adviser for a student-led paranormal investigation club while being a skeptic, but not happy about being a skeptic.
Friends and fans assume I am a true believer but the truth is that I am not. I am a healthy skeptic. And that’s depressing for me because it means that on some level I feel certain there’s nothing out there. I try contacting the spirit world before live audiences to keep an element of hope simmering on the back burner of my mind.
Nothing? Why does he call it nothing? There’s a lot. The fact that he doesn’t think he can find magical stuff doesn’t mean there’s nothing.
He explains about “spirit boxes”…sort of.
You turn on a video or audio recorder to document your session. You now ask a question into the air and await a response. Sometimes the responses are immediate and crystal clear. Others are difficult to understand beneath all the static and only come to light during amplified playback. Some responses have to be slowed down and have their volume boosted to improve clarity. In my experience, a five-minute recording might contain 20 or 30 audible “responses.” Only about 10 of these will be easily understandable to the average listener. So while the results are not as instantly gratifying or dramatic as using a Ouija board in front of an audience, the results after post-production can be quite stunning and difficult to explain away.
Skeptics will try, though. I chuckled when I first Googled “EVPs debunked” and read various naysayers’ biased conclusions. They generally start from their subjective presupposition that listening to the dead is impossible, then loop to their own self-gratifying conclusion that spirit boxes are indeed not receiving voices from the dead.
Wait, what? Their subjective presupposition that listening to the dead is impossible? Subjective? Really? Aren’t there very good objective reasons for thinking that listening to the dead is impossible?
This is like agnostic atheism, and science doesn’t have the tools to investigate the supernatural, again. Same old bullshit – it’s all a tossup either way; the two are evenly matched; it could be yes or it could be no and nobody knows anything either way. Yeah no that’s not right. It’s not just some stupid prejudice to think that the dead are dead. And what’s “self-gratifying” about that anyway? It’s the longing for immortality that provides the motive for wishful thinking, not the opposite.
Subjective presupposition nothing.