Basic stuff: Brian Cox explains that there’s no physics to support the existence of ghosts, but I’ve also heard Sean Carroll explain the same idea.
Recent polls have found that 42 percent of Americans and 52 percent of people in the UK believe in ghosts – a huge percentage when you consider that no one has ever come up with irrefutable proof that they even exist.
But we might have had proof that they don’t exist all along, because as British theoretical physicist Brian Cox recently pointed out, there’s no room in the Standard Model of Physics for a substance or medium that can carry on our information after death, and yet go undetected in the Large Hadron Collider.
“If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist, then we must specify precisely what medium carries that pattern, and how it interacts with the matter particles out of which our bodies are made,” Cox, from the University of Manchester, explained in a recent episode of BBC’s The Infinite Monkey Cage.
“We must, in other words, invent an extension to the Standard Model of Particle Physics that has escaped detection at the Large Hadron Collider. That’s almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies.”
I can almost hear the protests already:
But that’s mere physics, the afterlife is metaphysical and supernatural and whatever other meaningless cliches they want to sputter. Read carefully. We, our bodies, are physical and bound by the laws of physics. If you want to claim there is a floofy physics-free metauniverse where your consciousness dwells, you still have to deal with the fact that there must be some kind of bridge or interface between our material forms and that etheric plane you believe must exist. There has to be an interaction, or there is no connection between my worldly identity and self and consciousness and the ghost/soul you claim is the actual me.
To put it in words the New Agers might understand, the vibrations have to resonate with my brain — and we’ve mapped all the frequencies that could do that, and we’re done, there are none left over to accommodate magic. Sorry.
There is also lots of other evidence against an afterlife, like the lack of empirical evidence, the inconsistencies of ghost stories, the necessity of mundane biology to maintain a mind, etc. The evidence for an afterlife consists entirely of wishful thinking.