Is there any proof of the existence of ghosts or other such spirits?
AnswerAll ghost stories are event stories, stories of specific instances. Ghost stories tend to shrink when attempts are made to capture the spirit using scientific methods. Ghosts do not appear regularly as the result of a specific causal relationship. There is no uncontradictible scientific research that indicates the existence of ghosts. Most people believe that stories of ghosts can be explained by illusions, exaggeration or trickery of various kinds, though the stories themselves may well have a real purpose. To show that something exists only really requires one single irrefutable example. But it is rather more difficult to prove that something definitely does not exist. When Europeans began to sail the seas in search of new lands at the end of the Middle Ages, they would tell tales on their homecoming of wierd creatures they had encountered on their travels. One of these creatures was the unicorn, a beautiful white horse with a single horn in the middle of its forehead. The stories were published, and pictures painted. The unicorn became a highly esteemed creature. Powder scraped fron its horn was an essential ingredient in recipes used by wizards and miracle healers. Many people claimed to have such horns, and even had them available for display. Unicorns are no longer written about in scientific publications, though philosophers may mention them an example of a phenomenon that does not exist despite the fact that there is a word for it, and despite the fact that its existence is only supported by hearsay. Tales of unicorns no longer convince naturalists. But that does not mean that they definitely do not exist. Maybe, just maybe, there is a hidden valley somewhere in a distant mountain range where graceful unicorns roam free. Or maybe there is a planet somewhere, that is a unique sanctuary for unicorns, where all the earth's unicorns were moved because gods in a spaceship observed that they would no longer survive on earth. Maybe, maybe - but highly unlikely. There is nothing that indicates their existence except unsubstantiated hearsay. But one cannot entirely rule out the possibility that there may be a grain of truth in the stories.
Um þessa spurningu
Sigurður J. Grétarsson. „Is there any proof of the existence of ghosts or other such spirits?“. The Icelandic Web of Science 20.1.2006. http://why.is/svar.php?id=5578. (Skoðað 23.3.2017).
Sigurður J. Grétarssonprófessor í sálarfræði við HÍ