Okay... I havent posted a though provoking question in quite some time... and in the "spirit" of bah humbug... I ask:

Do you consider it somewhat of a hypocrisy if an Atheist believes in ghosts, spirits, souls etc? Usually the atheist argument is.. if its not scientifically or observationally proven to be fact... we call BS on it.

While I am a non-believer religiously... I find it hard to believe that we are soul-y (sorry had to go there) just a bunch of organs and fluid. Does that mean that we dont have something representing a soul? Is the soul strictly a religious invention? And if it is okay for an atheist to believe in a soul... is it also okay to believe in ghosts?

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Buzz Killington.

In my capacity at work, I am often considered a "party pooper" when I simply ask questions pertaining to the challenge at hand. For example, I might ask: "How will this message, no matter how compelling to us, play to the audience we are trying to reach?" (I'm in marketing ad design).

That can shoot down a clever concept simply by being asked. But, it has to be asked.
Years after my mother passed away I could have sworn she was still around, now I know I was just mourning her loss and longed for her real presence. Although it was really strange that her horse died a week after her death, they both died of cancer in the spine, that was a little spooky.
A lot of atheists consider that you must strictly be open minded about the existence of gods, there being no conclusive proof either way – I think most of us are closet teapot agnostics, but choose to call ourselves atheists because it communicates more clearly where we sit on the scale. We call ourselves atheists not because we have an unflinching immovable faith in the non-existence of gods, but because we have made a very unflattering assessment for the probability of existence.
There are a great number of things for which we have no proof either way, but where we make a subjective assessment of the likelihood of their existence. Ghosts and spirits are in this category, but of course individual atheists will rate their chance of existing based on subjective judgment.
Are you saying that you have an unwavering faith in the existence of ghosts and/or spirits? Or simply that you rate their chance of existing a fair bit higher than that of gods? If so, how high?
I once heard a stock trader asked if he was an atheist, and he replied that he had never seen a barrel of oil, but he nonetheless believes in their existence. Personally, I would put ghosts / soul / spirit a bit higher up the existence probability scale than gods, but not so high as barrels of oil, quarks or the leaning tower of Pisa.
Certainly not high enough up the scale to say I believe in them, but the lack of any comprehensive explanation for the subjective experience of consciousness (perhaps one that conclusively explains consciousness as a function of the brain), does lead me to be a bit more open minded about what could be causing this experience. A friend of mine believes that consciousness is a fundamental feature of existence, and as a result she believes that everything is conscious and has a spirit – people, kangaroos, trees, rocks, stars, rock stars … everything. Hmmm …
I find it hard to believe that we are soul-y (sorry had to go there) just a bunch of organs and fluid

We have a natural desire to live on. Religion is partly born of this desire. The "soul" seems highly unlikely. At what point in the evolutionary process did we accumulate the "soul?" Do single celled organisms have souls? If so, a hell of a lot of souls must have accumulated since the begining of life on the planet. We are clearly just one strain of living organism. I can't think of any argument for the soul except, "I desire the soul to be real, so I don't have to die."
A high electromotive force field (EMF) field can lend itself to paranormal phenomena. Crystals, soil minerals, and EMF fields can combine to produce paranormal phenomenon under the right circumstances.

Shouldn't that read "A high electromotive force field (EMF) field can lend itself to apparent paranormal phenomena. If the EMF produces real phenomena then it is no longer paranormal. Not, perhaps, understandable, but not paranormal.
Nah. I see atheism as a logical conclusion one must eventually reach if one applies critical thinking to the question of gods. For me, it's an end point, not a starting point. Critical thinking and the scientific method are the starting point. Applying those to any so-called paranormal or supernatural phenomenon seems to make the boogeyman fade away. Upon closer examination of anything supernatural, there is never any there there. No miracles, no ghosts, no magic, no souls, no witchcraft, no psychic phenomena, no spirit world, no afterlife, no reincarnation. None of it ever stands up to careful scrutiny.

And what's wrong with being the result of natural physical processes and materials? Why isn't it sufficient that the fundamental forces and particles in the Standard Model make up the ghost in our machine? Aren't the things we can actually detect impressive enough? I'm perfectly satisfied by the explanation that consciousness is just the feeling of what our brains are doing. I don't need it to be more than that. I don't even think it's particularly mysterious, given the number of neurons and interconnections between them. How could it not be dizzyingly complex and hard to diagram in detail?

I don't see any reason to waste time on things that people think they see or feel, but that can't be confirmed. The simple explanation is that they were mistaken.
which part of life? the young or old?
an atheist of say age 12 just got rid of fearing things that go bump in the night...
generally once you get down to carbon thoughts and magnetic resonance it's obvious fossil fuel is the black death ghost we should all heed and suppress into a faint whisper in the minds of future generations; influence, psychologically upon the youth today through hi-tech media is over the top and over their heads until they grow up with a twitch form all the bad horror video editing

We're creatures of the light:
Do you consider it somewhat of a hypocrisy if an Atheist believes in ghosts, spirits, souls etc? Usually the atheist argument is.. if its not scientifically or observationally proven to be fact... we call BS on it.

It would really depend on what labels and definitions atheists use to describe ghosts, spirits, souls etc. We are a really nebulous group of people with one real solid connection; our non-belief in god/s. Based on the description I just used the answer is "no." Unless the spirits, ghosts or whatever are claimed to be god/s.

While I am a non-believer religiously... I find it hard to believe that we are soul-y (sorry had to go there) just a bunch of organs and fluid.

I am with you there. Based on observable evidence there does seem to be something funny with the way things seem to work. I have witnessed things I cannot explain. Things I cannot even give a good educated guess at. In order to describe things that cannot possibly have a good, detailed description we really have to pick the right words.
My mom once told me that my dad saw a ghost in the house. I asked him about it and he flat out dismissed it but did admit that what he witnessed was very hard to explain. The story goes that he woke up in the middle of the night and saw a little girl, in a white flower print dress, with long curly brown hair going through my mom's jewelry box. He shook his head and rolled over to go back to sleep and then thought, "Wait a minute." and looked back to the dresser. At this point the girl was staring out the bedroom window and she slowly faded out of existence. My dad did not believe he saw a ghost. Waking dream is what he called it. My mom did believe him and had always said something was strange about the room before he ever said anything. I have never seen anything that would qualify as a ghost and consequently am very skeptical. However, one day, a friend came over unannounced while I was home alone. He brought a friend of his that I had never met before and we proceeded up the stairs to my room, which was at the opposite end of the hall from my parents' room. The friend of a friend, which was a girl, headed left towards my parents room when we got to the top of the stairs but stopped about two feet from the door. And she says (and I quote), "Ooohh you have a ghost!" I said nothing. My friend laughed and said, "Yeah right! Stop messing around and being weird in front of my friend."
The girl said, "It's a little girl...and her hair is long and wavy...and I think I see her wearing a white dress."
I said, "You see her right now?"
She says, "No. In my head. It's a feeling I get and I am usually receptive to it. I think she's been here a very long time."
I never told anyone about what my mom told me because I didn't believe it. How that girl knew to say anything even remotely like what my dad told my mom is beyond me. The fact that she nailed it had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. I trust my judgment in people. I don't think she was fucking with me. She felt something even if no one else really did. Of that I am 100 percent certain. What you call it, I don't know.

I think it is ok to believe in things you can't prove. It is not ok to believe in things that have been proven wrong.

As to souls. It is possible that there is an essence to being sentient that is created by an organic body but not tied to one. Not only that, but it is even probable based on some of the wild theories coming out of quantum physics. Not very probable at the moment but probability is like pregnancy, you either are or you aren't. The degree of probability is hard to pin down for me.
I still knock on wood, why can't you believe in ghosts? Same difference :)

If you are counting Ghost Hunters as your proof, I can see where you would believe because they are so scientific and honest looking, but sometimes you have to step back and ask yourself, how much money are they making to do this? If the answer is "more than they make unclogging toilets with roto-router" then you should re-evaluate your faith in them.

However, that being said, I feel this is an area that science should consider exploring (formally) in order to find some concrete evidence one way or the other.

My $0.02
My definition of soul would be the spirit of the person, as in their personality traits but I guess I don't understand what soul means to religious people.

I also do not have a definitive answer as to the validity of ghosts. My mother, grandmother and best friend have all died and at times I feel their presence but you could say that it was actually just me missing them. My belief or non belief in ghosts does not matter and though I know that my loved ones may not actually be around in the form of ghosts, I am comforted by the feeling of still having their love with me.

I am however interested in knowing where one's life energy goes. Doesn't physics demand that one form of energy changes into another form of energy? I'm terrible with science so if anyone can enlighten me, I'd appreciate the favor. Hopefully I don't sound daft.
BB, life energy is just the chemical energy we get from the food we eat. When we die, it's still there and is expended as heat (or becomes food for the microbes that decompose us) when our body processes stop and our tissues break down. It's the reason that the inside of a compost heap gets hot--the compost heap isn't alive, but there's a lot of life in it, releasing the food energy of the organic material in the heap.

If by life energy you mean what animates us, that's just neurological processes powered by the chemical energy from the food we eat. Conservation of energy is preserved when we die. If it weren't, our bodies would instantly cool to room temperature when we die. But that doesn't happen; it takes time for the heat to radiate away into the environment, just as it would with any other object once the internal engine stopped working.

As to ghosts, I believe your guess is correct about what's really going on when you feel the presence of dead loved ones. It's just emotional stirrings and remembrance on your part. Doesn't mean it's not significant to you, but it's a far more likely explanation than anything supernatural.


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