TAPped out

By Phil Plait | October 17, 2007 8:23 pm

Dear TAPS guys

This is a joke, right? I mean, it would have to be– you guys asking to be my friend on MySpace? Because honestly, it’s really difficult to believe that anybody — even self-proclaimed "ghost hunters" — would actually ask someone like me, someone who has devoted their entire life to debunking pseudoscientific nonsense (like say, ghost hunting), to be their friend.

I’m struggling with this one, guys. Really, I’m trying to understand. Why would you do this? Let’s see if I can scare up (haha! Get it? A little ghost humor!) a reason.

Well, first, it’s not really for your official TAPS stuff, it’s for your new radio show. Maybe you just want publicity for it? But, no, that can’t be it; you have literally 7 times as many MySpace friends as I do. And the kind of folks who sign up to be my friend tend to be critical thinkers, and the last thing you need is to get a bunch of people looking critically at what you do!

OK, so maybe it was just an error? A mistake? But then, as professional ghost hunters, it’s hard to imagine such a huge mistake slipping past you. Perhaps your EM meters need new batteries.

So now what? Well, maybe you didn’t realize who I am. But, it’s all over my MySpace page that I debunk garbage science. Type my name in Google and you get thousands of pages linking to my site where I debunk nonsense. I’ve even written about how silly the idea of ghosts is!

Hmmm… maybe… could it possibly be that you actually think that what you do is real science? Hahahahaha! Oh man, that would be funny, wouldn’t it? Forgive me. What was I thinking?

Oh oh oh! I know! You’re just advertising your other business! Of course! Well, thanks but no thanks — judging by the quality of your ability to flush out ghosts, I don’t want you anywhere near any real hardware. But tell you what: whenever I see a lot of crap around, I’ll think of you.

So sorry, but request denied.

Love and kisses, your (not) friend,

Phil

P.S. My real friend Alison Smith says “hi”!

P.P.S. See you at Dragon*Con next year! Oh, wait, maybe not. Never mind.

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Comments (64)

  1. perv

    I wish some network would hire Allison and Kari from Mythbusters to do a real ghost hunting show…while wearing bikini’s, yowl. I love sexy geeks!

  2. davidlpf

    Professional ghost hunters does that not go under the same category as Bart Sibrel investigative reporter.

  3. tacitus

    The only purpose of dren like Ghost Hunters is to fill up time on the SciFi Channel (and keep them solvent) until the final season of Battlestar Galactica comes on the air.

  4. ben

    The sadder bit is that you not only have a myspace page but give it more than a moment’s consideration.

  5. davidlpf

    Ghosthunting over the radio, I predict squeking door effects and when a ghosts “boohoohoo”. Okay never seen it because I don’t get it on tv but did see a parody SNL Hugh Laurie (House).

  6. Oh … good for alison. Good for her. Look at how good she is…

    By the way… how long until my website http://www.depletedcranium.com gets a piece from phil?

    I mean seriously, the only time it was even mentioned was with the “hug” video.

    May I add that I know both of the ladies who have been on here before: Rebecca and Alison.

    May I add that I’ve quoted Phil like five times on my page. And I have like four posts of astronomy-related stuff.

    I mean I’m just saying. Do I have to be a sexy sultry woman to get a bad-astronomy story done?

    Look, I already did a post on this. See: http://depletedcranium.com/?p=97

    And here’s a great post on the moon landing: http://depletedcranium.com/?p=90

    And… and…

    I give up :-(

  7. I swear, every time I watch those morons on ghost hunters jumping in the dark and explaining their “theories” (which seem to lack any type of accompanying model), I about die laughing. These are the same goons trying to use an infrared thermometer to measure air temperature. My wife and I (real scientists, she is biology, I am computer science) just crack up each time. I mean seriously, these guys honestly think that they’re doing science. And of course what plumber isn’t a qualified scientist? Screw all those years earning a PhD (took me nine), all you need is to buy that $15 Home Depot book on plumbing and BAM! You’re a scientist!!!!

    I’d love to go on a tour with these guys, but unfortunately as Phil has said, critical thinkers are the last people these r-tards need following them around. They set out to debunk, yet they are clearly biased observers, willing to attribute a bump in the night to a ghost as opposed to anything in the real world. And as has been said, only bunk can be debunked.

    Keep on rockin’ Phil

  8. todd1701d

    “r-tards”??? Wow, those nine years getting a PhD really paid off. I guess you skipped the english classes.

    I know I’m going to be in the (extream) minority, but I personally enjoy watching the show. I’m as critical as the next person who reads this blog, but sometimes it is fun to think that there might be more than what science can explain out there. That’s why I read fantasy books. Shows like these are fun to watch and get away from reality for awhile. But anyway, back to the general bashing that will occur in these responses.

  9. k9_kaos

    Hey, don’t you remember physics? Opposites attract! Just ask Paula Abdul!

  10. Thomas Nordström

    Hahaha! This was fun to read. 😛

  11. I wouldn’t have thought you were young enough to get a myspace account. I sort of figured they kicked you off after you graduate high school.

    Seriously though, I expect that you probably get weird friend requests all the time, like so many web celebs do.

  12. brad

    Ghost Hunters is a cool show, and I think there really are ghosts.

  13. I actually think you should accept their invitation and then FLOOD them with reason!!!, pwn them until a) they see the error of their critical flawed ways (unlikely) or b) they regret ever inviting you!

  14. Scott

    todd1701d you’re not the only one here who enjoys watching Ghost Hunters. It’s one of only two shows I simply can’t make myself miss. If there was a package available from the cable company that gave me only The Learning Channel, Discovery Channel and SciFi and nothing else, that would be the package I would get because those are the only channels you’ll ever find my TV on anyways.

    I do not believe in ghosts but I do believe that there are things out there that can’t be explained easily right off the bat. Ghost Hunters is shot on the premis that 80% of “hauntings” can be dismissed as not paranormal. A substantial amount of time is spent during each show trying to debunk the claims of Paranormal activity rather then prove them and quite often they will show a piece of evidence that i look at and think “If ghosts were real, thats what they would look like” and they say they don’t trust it because someone could have been toying with them or thier equipment.

    When I first saw the episode where the chair moved “by itself” the first thing I thought was that someone tied a thread to it and pulled it. Do i know thats what happened? no, but it is the most likely scenario for a skeptic like me. When I watched the episode where they were chasing the shadow up the lighthouse, it reached the top, peaked out over the edge then dissappeared and when they reached the top a motion sensor light turned on, well, short of the entire show being edited like a chris angel show I can’t explain that. It leaves me scratching my head and thats what makes entertaining television. Of course its alwaya possible that they just edited out the part where the janitor came back down the stairs and passed them on the way out but where is the fun in seeing that anyways.

    The majority of the bashing seems to be centered around the Ghost Hunters “scientific method” of ghost hunting and thier scientific credentials. I don’t recall ever hearing them refer to themselves as scientists. They refer to themselves as plumbers all the time, but never as scientists. They do say they use a more scientific method to perform investigations then most of the other groups out there because they employ more high tech equipment then the other groups do and less of the psyhic’s and dowseing and all that garbage. Occasionally they’ll have some guest investigator on the show who’s more into the pure hokie b.s. but they never give much credance to those methods of investigation. They have also never, that I noticed anyways, used a definate when refering to thier methods. I’ve heard them many times say “Some investigators believe that spirits do X which is why we use this particular meter in this particular circumstance” But I’ve never noticed them saying “spirits always do x so we investigate with y” This implies to me anyways that they realise and understand that thier field is not very well developed or understood and they are doing the best they can with what is available based on thier own experiance.

    Lastly, its entertainment tv and should be taken as such. I watched Chris Angel tape a show once and every trick he does is done with camera tricks and a lot of stop action photography. If you are there at a taping of his show, you are in on the trick. He is purely a television illusionist. Example, when he was doing the “pull a girl out of the box” trick, he pulled a few random mundane items out of the box then they stopped the camera, a girl walked out of the crowd and kneeled down behind the box, they started the camera again and he “pulled” her out of the box. Gee, Some trick. I have always assumed that ghost hunters is doing the same thing. But that doesn’t make it any less interesting of a show.

    I do however get a huge kick out of the high and mighty and better then you attitudes of most of the posters on this board. You brainiac “R-tards” crack me up:)

    Sometimes you need to just relax, check your brain at the door and enjoy the show for what it is. Entertainment.

  15. ydant

    I never realized they were the same ones who did the Beyond Reality show. I’ve never seen the TV show, but I tried to listen to the radio show – I think when either you, Phil, or Dr. Novella from Skeptics Guide was on there. If the TV show is as empty as the radio show, I’m not sure how anybody could watch it.

  16. ydant

    “They do say they use a more scientific method to perform investigations then most of the other groups out there because they employ more high tech equipment then the other groups do and less of the psyhic’s and dowseing and all that garbage.”

    From what I understand they use high-tech equipment in ways it was never intended to be used – with the result being little more than high-tech dowsing.

    Just using expensive technology doesn’t make you more scientific…

  17. JackC

    I was recently quoted on a plumbing job by a person (NOT one mentioned in this piece!) from Rotor-Rooter. The cost quoted (I have the receipt) was $5000.00

    I was kind of set for that – when I received a callback from a local plumber – very nice guy. He came and quoted, then did the job. The cost? $700

    I guess R-R needs the cash to help bouy up the show. I am SOO glad I didn’t give it to them. I do not watch the show and did not have any inkling of any connection – until now.

    Thanks, BA.

    JC

  18. Ghost Hunters isn’t real. It’s fiction that’s designed to appear real. The invitation was probably a generic one, sent to random people, from the publicity department of the production studio.

  19. Maybe its my mood this week but I’ve been very unhappy with a couple of posts recently on some of my favorite blogs (this being one of them) the other one is on Friendly Atheist (http://friendlyatheist.com/2007/10/16/atheist-shooter/) play spot the logical fallacy with that one.

    Do the TAPS boys do real science, No. Do they misrepresent what real science is? Yes. Do they run around in the dark and scare each other like a bunch of clowns? Yes. Do they catch some freaky things on camera? Yes. Is it ghosts? No.

    I’ll make sure to let my children know that if they ever decide to get a job that pays the bills (like plumbing, janitorial work or fast food burger flipper) that they will not be allowed to do science (or pursue it as a hobby) since after all, Who do they think they are? Stupid janitor, Why don’t you go clean a toilet or something. Don’t you dare buy a telescope and stare at the wonder that is the universe, you didn’t even go to college let alone get a *PHD*. Amateur astronomers should just quit, how could they possibly contribute anything useful.

    You ever hear of Perry DeAngellis (sic). What an r-tard. Who does he think he is? He’s not even a qualified scientist. How does he get on his own podcast and dare to talk about logical fallacies or any kind of matters relating to science. What possible contribution could he possibly have made?

    My question to Mr. PhD and his other Ivory Tower friends (that is if he can here me way down here). Did they teach that kind of condescending prejudice in your PhD program? Does that apply to black people, production line workers or just plumbers?

    Am I the only one who picked up on that? Crap, I am in a mood.

  20. Daffy

    You’re a skeptic, I’m a skeptic. Does that mean we all have to take ourselves so seriously?

    Sheeesh. Lighten up, you guys; it’s just a stupid TV show.

  21. They actually named their show Beyond Reality? That sounds fairly accurate to me, seeing as how they’re talking about things that aren’t real.

  22. Gary Ansorge

    Sheesh! I thought the ghost hunters were parody. You thnk they’re trying to be real? I don’t watch the show because there are so many better entertainments around, but they SEEM to be doing it toungue-in=cheek.

    As far as mystery is concerned, there are a few god bands(not referring to christian bands) that make music so exceptional it seems to be coming from,,,elsewhere,,,but I’m sure it’s just a manifestation of the highest level of intellect. Music is the only language that can consistantly elicit an emotional response as well as an intellectual one.Only a very few musicians are capable of doing that. How do they do it? Beats the hell out of me. But I’d sure like to know,,,

    Gary 7

  23. Feijoo

    I watch Ghost Hunters every week. It’s my favorite show. I read Bad Astronomy every day. It’s my favorite blog. I don’t believe in ghosts. I do believe in astronomy, but perhaps my shocking admission has now disqualified from reading about it.

  24. Actually, I’m a bit surprised, BA.

    I have a MySpace account (http://www.myspace.com/stopsylviabrowne), which is intended basically as an advertisement of the StopSylviaBrowne web site (www.StopSylviaBrowne.com).

    To me, the whole purpose of MySpace “friends” is to advertise my MySpace page, which in turn, advertises the StopSylviaBrowne web site.

    As a result, I pretty much accept anyone who applies to be my MySpace friend, unless they are the kind of account (“See my naked pictuers!”) which would end up drawing a lot of spam my way.

    I would gladly accept Sylvia Browne fans (hell, even Browne herself) if they applied to be my MySpace friend, as I would think a link to me on their page would reach people who could benefit from visiting my site – Browne fans.

    Of course, accepting someone as a MySpace friend means that I am “advertising” their page as much as they advertise mine. This does not bother me, as I have no problem with someone seeing both sides of the story.

    I seem to recall a thread on the JREF forum where you said that you decided to appear on Coast to Coast because you hoped to be reaching “believers” rather than just “preaching to the choir.” I felt the same about my appearance on the Beyond Reality radio show.

    I am surprised you didn’t consider having TAPS as a MySpace friend being pretty much the same situation.

    Sorry for the rambling comment.

  25. Daffy

    Gary,

    I loved your comment about music. As it happens, I am married to a musician like that; it’s a joy to behold, it is.

  26. Scott

    “From what I understand they use high-tech equipment in ways it was never intended to be used – with the result being little more than high-tech dowsing.”

    Exactly what kind of equipment was ment to be used for ghost hunting? ghost hunting seems to always be done in the dark so a video camera that shoots in total darkness makes sense. It may not have been designed for catching ghosts on film but I can’t think of a better option. If its true that many investigators believe that ghosts draw energy out o fhte atmoshere around them so they can manifest themselves and drawing that energy makes a cold spot around them then a thermometer might be a good choice for finding cold spots. The ones they use happen to be infered and have an ambient air guage on them so they can compare readings with whatever the laser is pointed at and the ambient air in the room. Nope, not designed for ghost hunting but if the theory holds up then its a pretty decent choice for ghost hunting equipment. They do give a reason for each and every piece of equipment they use. Its not like they pick up a hair dryer out of the back of the van and say they are hoping it will blow the ghost away if it attacks. Thier theories may not stand up to the scrutiny of a scientific board of inquiry but the paranormal field isn’t exactly a well developed and accepted field to begin with.

    This brings us right back to my real main point. It’s entertainment television. Check your brain at the door and enjoy the show. Or you could start complaining about Star Trek because, obviously, its not possible to travel faster then the speed of light or molecularly deconstruct a person, beam them somewhere else and put them back together again. After 5 trips to the middle east including the invasion of iraq and watching CNN’s reporting of whats really going on I can guarentee to you that Ghost Hunters is not the only made up show on TV. However, I would think the stuff I’ve seen CNN throw up on the screen that I know is a bold faced lie (because I was there) tends to be a lot more dangerous then Ghost Hunters.

  27. Michelle

    @Scott: Entertainment television is harmless when no one start believing it is real. People watch this thinking ghosts truly exist. They don’t quite work on disproving it.

  28. Jim

    Yeah, I think you should make ’em your friends–let these guys and their other ‘friends” get exposed to a little reality. Making someone a myspace “friend” doesn’t mean you have to have them over to play parchesi.

  29. Don’t forget to see Uri Geller on TV next week:

    http://itricks.com/news/?p=2297

  30. Gary Ansorge

    Daffy:
    I had the chance to hear Jackie Green playing lead guitar with Phil Lesh and Friends this weekend. He’s a phenomenal musician, especially for one so young. My friend, Shonna, who had never in her 35 years even attended a live concert, was blown away. Her comment was, “This is the sexiest music I’ve ever heard.”

    I think that pretty well covers it,,,

    Gary 7

  31. Oh come on, BA (mmm Boiled Apricot), you’ve been on Coast-to-Coast (sure, as one of the most rational minds ever there, but you’ve been there), so you’re a part of the whole pseudo-science circle of life (everybody sing!). True-believers are on one edge of that circle, you’re over on the polar opposite with the other skeptics. Then there’s a nice wide range of people existing around the Ring (boo! my precious). There are some people that start out on that mystic to skeptic chakram of reality description leaning towards the psychic who start to investigate it as the years pass on, and come to the conclusion that the mystical is either fraud or it’s fulfilling human physiological or sociological need (for good or ill) or both and moves on to studying physics or history or both.

    I’d argue that your role BA (mmmm Braughtworst Armageddon), whether you like it or not, is to help clear the road of rubble for those making their way over to the skeptic’s side as well as passing out informational fliers to those heading over to the psychic side (fliers with headlines like, “Clairaudiant hears own gas expelled, claims Caesar speaks!” or “10 Ways to know when you’re getting fooled…#1: you’re on this path and walking that way.” And so on.

    So, I’d say it would have been in your best interest to do the following…
    1. Accept them as friends and
    2. Immediately change your image to just text saying something like, “TAPS is fake, click here for why”.

    Also, note to those who think MySpace is only for kids…Bah (heavy language deleted out of respect for BA [mmmm Bolstered Aquaman]), humbug! MySpace is there for the taking, new medium for the exploration. Grab on to it while it’s still simple as in 10 years, all those silly (sorry, Jas) 16 year-olds will be 26 year olds with accounts on the “MySpace/Facebook/What-ever” of 2017 (unless, of course, my plans for world domination come true, then, well, prepare yourself for the nudity). Or, in otherwords, sites like MySpace can simply be a fun way to keep in touch with old friends (despite the horror-propaganda the media makes them out to be).

    Yup, early morning rambling done. Thank’s BA (mmm Borgnine Armpit, and speaking of Borgnine, you think that’s how they decided do name her, “Well, she’s a borg, yeah. And she’s one of nine, yeah that’s it. Well, not one, and we can’t use nine, Borg nine of nine, no no, how-about seven, yeah seven. cool.”

  32. Scott

    @Michelle – I honestly understand what you’re saying and I use to agree with it a few years ago. But I know a 37 year old man who believes pro wrestling is real. I have a 25 year old co-worker who has theories and idea’s for everything from magnetic free energy motors (which have been proven time and time again not to work) to time travel and he’s convinced that every one of his idea’s is plausible even though they violate every law of physics known to man.

    No matter how much we wish it were otherwise, there will always be stupid people out there. I am sure that somewhere out there there is a geek living in his mothers basement who is convinced that star trek was a documentary designed to help mankind come to terms with alien life before the government officially introduce us all to our little grey friends. This doesn’t mean we should put a disclaimer up before the opening scene to every star trek episode.

    For the sake of argument we’ll pretend I believe in ghosts and you don’t. I have a picture that I took in a graveyard one dark and stormy night that looks like a ghost peaking around a corner of a tomb. I can’t prove its a ghost, but I can’t prove its not either. You look at the picture and, not believing in ghosts decide its clearly swamp gas reflecting the light from venus onto a mist cloud. You can’t prove thats what it is, you can’t prove its not a picture of a ghost but you are convinced its swamp gas so you try to convince me even though you have no solid proof. Congratulations, you just became a priest in the religion of swamp gas worship. Ghosts, in my opinion, belong in the same catagory as an almighty omnipotent supernatural being who created the heaven’s and the earth just because he could. I can’t prove either one do or do not exist so I choose based on the evidence that is available to me, not to believe in either one. I also grant everyone else the right to make that choice as well. Even if you could disprove my one photo of a ghost you still can’t debunk every ghost photo, video or EVP ever recorded just as the people who have that “evidence” can’t prove its real. Some people will never be convinced either way. There will always be stupid people. You can’t educate them all and you can’t protect them all every moment of the day. Sometimes, you just have to let stupid people be stupid and hope they survive the day.

  33. Michelle

    @Scott: Are you nuts? I don’t try to disprove photographs because I’m not a photo specialist. If there’s a photography specialist out there, I’ll gladly show the “ghost” pic him for an analysis. Also, it would be intelligent to look at the terrain and think rationally of the conditions of the night this picture was taken of course. It’s not being a priest, it’s having a brain and knowing that your eyes are twisted and your brain is paranoid and likes creeping you out on stories you learned as a child. Twisted little gullible things. It’s still great organs mind you, because otherwise we would not have TV.

    Of course there will always be fools, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t disprove them. If they don’t wanna listen and run around in circles going “LALALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” then fine, I certainly don’t have to listen to them either. But one thing is sure, there’s a thing called reasonable doubt. If after a long conversation you end up noticing you can’t prove if it is a ghost or not, you must DISCARD it because it is evidence to absolutely nothing. It can be your brain playing with you, swamp gas (If there’s a swamp to begin with that is.) or it can be your grandpa. You don’t know, so you don’t assume. You go “There is a mighty high possibility it is nothing.”

    The problem with ghost stories is that if you can’t prove it is not a ghost to the fullest, then you’re stuck with the believer going around saying it is a ghost because ghosts are supposed to be unexplicable. Well that’s not how life goes. When you can’t explain something because of a lack of fine details it doesn’t mean that it’s paranormal either! S’why the ghost folks or any other paranormal creeps are annoying… They always try to sneak in their belief no matter how much common sense you radiate on to them.

    But one thing is important here: We have the right to debunk them. Yea, let them air their shows, I don’t care. But we have the right to tear their lack of logic to bits.

  34. @todd1701d

    ““r-tards”??? Wow, those nine years getting a PhD really paid off. I guess you skipped the english classes.”

    Actually yes it did, perhaps one day you can sit in on one of my comp sci courses. Although you will need to correct your spelling, since software engineering does require consistency.

    @Whoever-said-this

    The scientific method will explain everything, given time; running around in the dark with cameras and other various equipment used improperly will not. The EVPs are what crack me up the most; why is it that the crappy recording equipment they have pick up on all these ghost noises, yet those very expensive sound systems provided by Sci-Fi to record the show never pick up a thing?

  35. Thought to all those being serious and ragging on everyone else for being too serious…

    …this is categorized under “Humor.”

    Just an observation.

  36. aiabx

    Ghost Hunters is awesome. Egon Spengler is my favourite, especially when he tells Janice that he collects molds, spores and fungus. Classic.
    What’s that?
    .
    .
    .
    They think it’s real?
    No, that’s just too pathetic.

  37. To: The Centipede

    But ghosts arn’t funny…they’re scary! Boo! Ahh! See. BA should have a “Horror” category, hehe. Seriously, though…very good point.

  38. As I was one of the MSCD faculty to go to this show (with my skeptic buddy), let me address the guy who says it’s just entertainment. It’s entertainment to you, but to many of the people who were there, this stuff is real. When they talked about communicating with the dead and ran their tapes, the people in front of me were ‘all-in’ as they say in the poker world. Those are the people who need to be reached. I know these guys jason and grant are laughing their way to the bank, but is this really a victimless crime?

  39. Wicked Lad

    ydant is right. Steven Novella has good skeptic credentials, and Beyond Reality had Steve on as a guest earlier this year. Steve was good, but I wasn’t impressed by the hosts.

  40. Wicked Lad

    Oh no! I closed the italics tag improperly! Let me try to fix that.

  41. You hit it right on the nail, BA. I saw these guys in Denver and they were a joke. I asked them the million dollar question, which is of course, “Why don’t you take Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge?” They squirmed out of it as usual.

    “We don’t want a million dollars, we just want to help people!”

    bull crap

    http://schadey.blogspot.com/2007/10/ghost-hunters.html

  42. >> Those are the people who need to be reached. I know these guys jason and grant are laughing their way to the bank, but is this really a victimless crime?

    Yes, and my boss believes, despite the evidence, the no-Boeing conspiracy theory of the Pentagon attack. Some people believe, despite the evidence to the contrary, controlled demolition theories of the WTC.

    Why do I bring this up? Because ghosts hit upon a particular note on the human psyche, the issue of mortality. People get emotional when they are reminded that everything they were, are, and will ever be will be snuffed out for a moment never to return. Some cloak themselves in disbelief, in escapes to afterlives or reincarnation, others hide their primal fears in nonchalance and feigned (even to the point of self-delusion) uninterest. When it comes to such emotionally charged things, people will constantly demand proof that meets -their- emotional standards, not any standard of science or reason.

    Creationists ask for a missing link as proof of human evolution. You can’t find a missing link in a continuous mostly-steady process; every time you find a missing link, you make two more.

    9/11 conspiracy theorists ask for an entire airplane as proof of the Pentagon strike being the work of angry jihadists rather than MJ-12 or the Illuminati or the most intelligent evil mastermind to ever grace the planet, George W. Bush. You can’t find an entire plane because aluminum burns really well and you can’t really expect to find large fragments when an air-filled aluminum can slams into a reinforced concrete fortress at five hundred miles an hour.

    To paraphrase Lieutenant Colonel DuBois, “you can lead a man to knowledge but you can’t make him think.”

  43. Daffy

    Gary,

    I envy you! Phil Lesh is, IMO, absolutely the most underrated bass player of all time.

  44. KaiYeves

    Yeah, go buzz off, ghost busters. BA’s got better things to do than hang around a site for kidnappers.

  45. What the hell is with everyone wanting to promote their BS on Myspace?

    It’s just a stupid page of blogs which contain no entries at all, full of networks of people you don’t know and don’t care about and pages full of bull and really really really badly aligned html and graphics which look worse than an HTML-101 dropout’s work from 1995.

    Aside from that, and the obnoxious music, and the comments I don’t care about. I really am not looking to find out about how some local girlie is “tri-sexual” (cuz if it’s sexual she’ll try it LOL) or how many people love posting pictures that they took with their QVGA cell phone.

    I have no need for another instant messenger.

    And if I really was that damn interested in skanky 14 year olds (which I’m not), I could always just go to the local mall and hang around Hot Topic all day.

    I don’t and that’s why I don’t do myspace!

  46. Doc Buzz –

    In my case, it is an attempt to reach a different audience.

    Yes, MySpace pages can (and usually do) look (and sound) atrocious.

    Just like with desktop publishing back in the 80’s (“Let’s see how many fonts and pieces of clip-art I can use on one page!”), most of it looks embarrassingly bad to those with any design skills.

    But they give lots and lots of people the ability to have their own web presence, with no knowledge of HTML or CSS.

    And it gives them a way of posting blog entries, accepting comments, post pictures, music, and lots of other things.

    All this in a format (such as it is) which is already familiar and accessible to millions of other people.

    And if a person so chooses, they can get familiar with some pseudo HTML and pseudo CSS.

    All in all, that’s pretty cool.

  47. Phil

    It is a kind of anti-climax to read this post of yours and, when getting to the end of it, one must deal with a “Calculate your love compatibility” and an Horoscope Toolbar… 😉

  48. Ms. Whiplash

    This is a PR move by the plumbers. Their rationale: If we collect skeptics on MySpace, we’ll look more skeptical.

  49. I’ve tried to be BA’s friend for ages but he doesnt allow bands/musicians to be his friends on myspace..for shame.. and btw the plumbers are a pair of tw-ts (r-tards, reta-ds) who make rather a funny blair witch type show. I question their motives, does that make me a skeptic?

  50. KaiYeves

    Let’s all get T-shirts made that say:
    “TAPS are saps”

  51. Phil, you rock! Thanks for thinking of me in your quest to un-insaneify the universe 😉

  52. Skepterist

    There’s a relatively new hypothesis about ghosts and gravity. Something about echoes of light and energy from previous orbits of the earth around the sun. The energy is trapped in the sun’s gravity (similar to how light and matter are unable to escape from a black hole.) As the earth orbits the sun, it passes thru our own debris cloud. Images of people from the past would randomly appear, sometimes tied to a particular spot on the earth as well.

    Its hooey, of course, but would probably make for an interesting story. If it were even possible for the energy radiated from living things (as heat) to somehow last long enough to leave the earth’s atmosphere, it seems this would happen more often and be directly (and predictably) observed.

    I agree with the rest of you. These shows are strictly for entertainment. Even clever debunking shows like Mythbusters are indeed on the air to make money and to entertain. Its sad that some people believe these shows are real, but then again, some of those people probably think Gilligan’s Island was real. 😉

    B-)

  53. AdGuy1

    I’s just like to say this website is fantastic and I am enjoying myself completely.

    One night when I was a boy, something invisible walked up from the bottom of our staircase to the top, where I was standing looking down. The stairway was brightly lit. The sound was exactly like heavy boots hitting wooden steps. The sound grew in volume, just as the sound of someone walking up the stairs would. The number of steps matched exactly the number of stairs. I could hear the steps echo in the stairwell, a short slapback of soundwaves against plasterboard. I could hear the hobnails in the soles of the boots click against the wood. A feeling of absolute dread overcame me, disproportionately to even this bizzarre thing that was occuring. In the core of my being, I knew that I was witnessing a true horror, a real ghost. As the last step hit the landing next to my feet, I felt the vibration of it, heard the stomp of the boots, the scuffling of the heel as the step completed itself. Whatever it was was, it was here with me, next to me. I screamed and ran down the steps as fast as I could and told my parents. They searched the house and found nothing. I never heard the steps again. But I never forgot about them.

    Years later, I realize of course this could have been any number of things. The house settling. Pipes banging. Or even more likely, my active imagination. Occam’s Razor tells me that, given the choice between a waking dream and a ghost, the waking dream is the correct answer. Or if it was indeed noisy plumbing, more than likely my mind was filling in the details and creating the clicking of the hobnails. But my mind and my gut still tell me otherwise. Which is a problem, because my mind and my gut are completely fallible. Which is the same problem TAPS wrestles with.

    TAPS completely believes in the possibility of the paranormal. I can tell. I can tell because they are obviously reacting to a personal experience each one has had, much like mine. Their entire existence is devoted to one singular question: What did I see? They don’t want to fool themselves, because that won’t answer the question. They don’t want to fool other people, because that won’t, either. And they don’t want to take it on faith, because they are practical men at heart and that’s not good enough. They, like me, just plain old want to know, one way or the other. And so their whole organization, and their whole TV show, becomes one big search, on the road from one ruined pile of bricks to another, looking for the answer to that question. Their search will never end (or will end in tears), because the truth is that what they saw wasn’t real. Just like what I heard wasn’t real. But still the quest goes on. And that’s what the show is really about. A quest. They’ll never find what they’re looking for, but that’s okay, because ultimately life is never about the destination. It’s about the ride. Best part is, we all get to have fun with them on the way.

    Kirk to Enterprise. Two to beam up.

  54. Dor

    Imagining Other Dimensions
    by Rick Groleau

    The Elegant Universe homepage

    “For most of us, or perhaps all of us, it’s impossible to imagine a world consisting of more than three spatial dimensions. Are we correct when we intuit that such a world couldn’t exist? Or is it that our brains are simply incapable of imagining additional dimensions—dimensions that may turn out to be as real as other things we can’t detect?

    String theorists are betting that extra dimensions do indeed exist; in fact, the equations that describe superstring theory require a universe with no fewer than 10 dimensions. But even physicists who spend all day thinking about extra spatial dimensions have a hard time describing what they might look like or how we apparently feeble-minded humans might approach an understanding of them. That’s always been the case, and perhaps always will be.”

    So if the Universe does have “no fewer than 10 dimensions”, what do you think this means for the possibility that there is something unique going on here in regards to paranormal phenomena?

    I am intrigued by this as someone who is pretty much of a skeptic for 95% of the stuff that people pass as paranormal. But as one who has experienced many incidents that I can’t explain, I try to keep an open mind.

    Just because science can’t explain everything that we may experience on this planet, as of yet, does not mean that it does not exist. That is a fool hardy belief and a very narrow one. There is so much we do not know.

    One should not be clouded by their own cynicism.

  55. Jamie

    I like the show. Not saying I believe any of it but it’s entertaining. There are just too many “TAPS” members. Aside from the three main guys you can’t keep up with all the other lunk heads on that show

  56. necro_anu

    @Saps,
    Just like priests you try and convince what you think is right and what anybody else believes thats not in line with what you believe is wrong.
    I’ve had my encounter when i was a child BEFORE the influence of other people and their THEORIES.
    And also i am also a skeptic of all photos and audio recording as all fields have advanced to the point you cant hardly tell what is real and what is not.

    Lighten up. Take it as a grain of salt. You believe what you want to believe and I’ll believe what i want to believe.
    Remember, your not a priest so stop pushing your beliefs on other people like one.

    People are gonna believe what they wanna believe and thats that.
    I’ve had my experience and you haven’t.Yes i think that some of the (investigators) are making stuff up but you can’t assume that from everyone.

    The only reason you bash them is because we still have no positive and absolute proof that they exist and you don’t have anything else better to do.

  57. Ariel de la Campa

    Well first of all its 11 dimensions not 10, and being a good atheist I dont believe any of that crap either. Did anybody here see the Science Channel show where they say that the big bang happened when two other universes touched, then “Bang” here we are. Might as well belive in “god”….Look I dont miss one episode of Ghost Hunters, I have never seen a ghost, I dont thing I ever will, but I still watch every week. My point is get a grip. Take it for what it is entertanment, and thats it………….Please.

  58. Macrodelia

    I like how you had to go out of your way to write an article about how a paranormal research team wanted to add you as a friend and instead of thinking “hmm…maybe I should be their friend and help debunk their ‘evidence'” you blew them off and insult them…that shows that you are A) not professional B) you crave attention and this gets you that C) you would rather mock then engage in finding understanding through critical observation of evidence. This is rubbish and an insult to any true researcher trying to critically analyze a theory in order to further the truth of science.

    I do not believe in this science, but I also do not believe in a group that insults the other side of a theory rather then trying to find the truth. You are nothing more than a group of protaganist masking themselves as critical thinkers and that is an insult to your own ends.

  59. Desdenova

    Despite what some with noble if displaced indignation might think, the TAPS team has no intention of debunking alleged evidence, nor do they appreciate any third party offering criticism, as evidenced by Alison Smith’s interactions on the official Ghost Hunters message board. She, along with others, was banned from the board after expressing skeptical evaluations.

    http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/06-08-10.html

    The team has been found repeatedly guilty of faking evidence through creative editing, and due to such underhanded deception, deserve neither our respect or our unbiased ear. Their demonstration of a willingness to continue making fraudulent claims coupled with their refusal to allow unedited footage to be reviewed by interested third parties clearly marks them as charlatans. In light of this it becomes obvious that their ploy to add BA as a friend is just another unscrupulous maneuver to gain credibility through association. They are deplorable liars that deserve nothing more than a sound debunking coupled with unrelenting derision. Any skeptic deserving of the title should be ashamed to NOT slather these vermin with ridicule. They have lost all semblance of credibility, and should be mocked out of existence.

  60. EducateYourself

    Wow. You people are so blinded by your skepticism that you’re unable to make a fair assessment of this program. I watch it with an open mind and can say it is not as bad as you are making it out to be…

  61. Steve

    By the way, @Richard of Computer Science.

    Just because it has ‘Science’ in the title doesn’t mean it can’t produce both Intelligent Design *and* Global Warming by rejecting all other beliefs (like evolution or climatology, or all data from before the 70s) when constructing its models.

    I’m just *saying*.

  62. Steve

    Whoa, my last post was too long and didn’t get posted…. whatever.

    I’ll sum it up:
    You can dis Parapsychology all you want. Parapsychology is different from other forms of Psychology in that it actually uses the scientific method. Psychology is not science. It just *isn’t*. It is the only field that has declared, after so many years, that everyone is right.

    My fields of study are, for the record, Geology and Climatology, I could give you a really dull and lengthy discussion about the Permian-Triassic extinction and the shifts resulting from it.

    Parapsychologists are the guys on the show who say, “Wow, that’s *not* a ghost. You guys are all idiots for thinking it is.”

    Psychologists invented ADHD, and AS, and soon will come up with another mental disease of the week with even vaguer diagnoses so they can push pills on even *more* people.

    What else, oh yes, it’s been said quite nicely already, but Ghost Hunters is a show, it’s entertainment. It’s on the *Sci-Fi* channel for crying out loud. How much damage has been done based on a belief in ghosts? Psychology causes lots of problems in people’s lives. Aside from overdoses, lots of money down the drain (the industry is the only medical field where the goal is to *not* cure you, even when you run out of money).

    So, if you want to go after a psuedoscience that causes damage, that really hurts people, if you are justifying your entire site on that basis, why aren’t you taking on Psychology? Hell, they even teach it in school! Parts of the world still use it as an excuse to execute gay people (it was, if you remember, once part of the DSM-IV). What do ghost believers do… they put shows on TV. They personally annoy you.

    Or, take on Computer Science. They have inflicted Intelligent Design on us with faulty computer models designed for no purpose other than coming. That hurts people.

    Graphology, that one is a basis to deny jobs. OK, I’m picking on Psychology a lot.

    Anyways…. I could go on for hours… but then my post would be denied again for length.

  63. Mayr

    “Type my name in Google and you get thousands of pages linking to my site where I debunk nonsense.” Well, to be honest about it and this site is all about being honest, right? I did Google your name and I came up with exactly three, that is 3 – not thousands of links to your site.

    What exactly is your beef? So, you do not believe that TAPS is an honest group, correct? What of it!?! There is a lot of deception and fraud going on in the world and you choose you make TAPS the quest of your existance? Seems like your efforts and energies could be better used by on a real issue facing society, not going around getting your 10 mins of fame by harassing the TAPS crew. Come on, you mean to tell me that your interest in the “science” of paranormal is so overwhelming that it lead to investigating the personal lives of the TAPS members as well as calling government officials about whether or not they were non-profit? A little OCD going on here maybe? Talk about over the top! You call publishing members personal information on your website a genuine attempt to publish the truth?
    Your harassment smacks of McCarthy era tactics as well as a full blow witchhunt! If you were just satified with ‘debunking” things on your website I would say kuddos, skeptics are needed everywhere, however, even the name SAPS shows your repeated obsession with TAPS.

  64. justaguy

    Wow, I can’t get over how supposed “scientists” are blinded by hatred and seemingly motivated by biased hatred of all that disagree with there point of view. The point of science is to search for the truth. There are many ways to find truth, not just one. To Alison of SAPS, your site and your biased point of view really come accross as sour eggs, were you denied entry into Ghost Hunters Academy? Didn’t like what Taps had to say at a ghost-con? Doesn’t feel good to have what you say and believe attacked does it. Jason and Grant may not be the best of role models for science, but they have at least brought study of the paranormal into more of a main stream light and for that I give them kudoos.

    This was my first and last viewing of this site.

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