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The Paranormal

Manku Thimma
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Do you believe in the paranormal? Like ghosts, clairvoyance, tele-kinesis... It's interesting how these phenomena have been written and talked about throughout history, and in all cultures around the world, but there's never been any "proof".
It has been 100 years since the last big scientific revolution, when Max Planck & his buddies gave new life to physics... perhaps the next big thing is understanding the paranormal?

NN's new avatar.
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Manku Thimma:
Do you believe in the paranormal?
No.

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Cindy Glass
"The Hood"
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The problem is - as soon as we start understanding why one piece of the "paranormal" works, then it isn't paranormal anymore - it's just normal . Then something else is discovered that we don't understand and we label IT paranormal.
Therefore: we will NEVER understand the paranormal


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Anonymous
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Do you have a specific instance that you would like to discuss? I have yet to see convincing evidence of any paranormal event.
Manku Thimma
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>No.
Tom, you sound terse. Almost scared
>Then something else is discovered that we don't understand and we label IT paranormal.
There's a subtle difference, Cindy... Consider the contents of this book. Even though it deals with the unexplained, we don't call it paranormal. However, when something mysterious happens closer to home, on Earth, we label it "paranormal"... so perhaps there are laws of physics waiting to be discovered right in our local cemetery
Or maybe it's not new physics. Perhaps we need a different sense/depth of perception? I mean, we don't understand these mysteries because our normal level of cognition is inadequate?
Glen Tanner
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The unpredictability of my NT box seems paranormal to me.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Manku Thimma:
>No.
Tom, you sound terse. Almost scared.
No, bored. People who believe in the paranormal bore me because they are willing to believe anything without any supporting evidence. Try reading "The Skeptical Inquirer".
http://www.csicop.org/si/
Cindy Glass
"The Hood"
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Aw, come on Tom, its FUN to pretend that there might be a grain of truth to paranormal stuff. It gets my imagination going . Not that I live my life based on any belief in it . . . .
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Treating the paranormal as fun is OK. I like "X-Files" but I don't actually believe anything on it.
Eager Beaver
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Paranormal....gives me gooseflesh!! yet I get drawn toward it with a mixed feeling of anxiety, fear, curiosity accompanied by certain inquisitiveness of a rational mind. Does any one have instances to recount.
Nathan Pruett
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Watch "Scariest Places on Earth" on the Fox Family channel... It's a riot! Kind of like a Blair Witch Project television show. They pick a "scary place", talk about it some, and send a family in to run around with cameras and record the events. Lot's of cool stories, though it seems like all the "real" paranormal events are a combination of hystaria on the part of the participants and fakery on the part of the producers. The scariest thing on the show is that that english author who tells the background of the locations... every time he starts talking about how much horror and death has happened at each location I start laughing... he's hilarious!!! They also use the voice of the psychic from "Poltergeist" to announce segments... That's pretty scary, too, I guess...

-Nate


-Nate
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Dave Vick
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Not sure about ghosts and spooks and stuff like that.
What about things like the Loch Ness monster and bigfoot? I love to watch those programs when they come on the Discovery channel. You never know what could be out there that we dont know about.

Dave


Dave
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Dave Vick:
What about things like the Loch Ness monster and bigfoot?
So a family of huge animals have been living in Loch Ness for thousands of years and not a single skeleton has ever washed ashore? What would they eat? There is little food in the Loch.
Manku Thimma
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People who believe in the paranormal bore me because they are willing to believe anything without any supporting evidence
I agree. But if you personally experience something which has not been explained, would you accept that that phenomenon was indeed "paranormal"?
Does any one have instances to recount.
Yes. Ever heard of dowsing, also known as water-divining? Here usually a stick or a metal rod is used to locate naturally occurring underground water sources. I learnt how to dowse from my uncle - he had successfully used it to locate good water sources in his farm, for a borewell. Maybe learnt is not the right word. He helped me discover my dowsing ability. We used a copper rod bent into the shape of a V, with the ends bent again to form a handle. By stiffly holding this rod almost vertical, and slowly walking around the field, a strange thing happens when I reach an underground water source. The rod vigorously turns down to point towards the ground. Let me tell you this: the sensation through the body, and the arms when this happens is amazing, beautiful, stimulating. Very clearly I have no control over what happens - it simply is an involuntary muscular reaction that turns the rod down.
How did we know that there was an underground water table/stream at that point? My uncle wanted to confirm his findings in a "scientific" way, because, obviously spending thousands of rupees to drill the borewell shouldn't go wasted. He brought in hydrogeologists from the local Geological Survey, who confirmed that there was indeed a very good source of water, and it wasn't too deep either. And drilling the borewell quickly confirmed it.
We did some tests too. Got around five people who could dowse, walked over to a garden about 50'x50' in size. Each one of us would walk around (without the others watching) and locate the points. And when all of us were done, we compared the points located: it turned out to be the same for everybody.
Physics has no explanation of how dowsing works - so it's dubbed paranormal, and those folks at the Skeptical Inquirer have triumphantly pooh-poohed it. BUT, with my personal experience, I earnestly seek an explanation of what's really happening inside me when I am dowsing...
It's a beautiful experience. You should try it yourself!

[This message has been edited by Manku Thimma (edited August 21, 2001).]
Greg Harris
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i am sure there is an explination for dowsing... kind of like using a needle (sewing needle) as a compass.
you can take a leaf and put water in it... (or just find a small, stagnant puddle) then place the needle in the water. it will float on a small amount of water. the point of the needle will point toward magnetic north.
now, is that paranormal... or scientific?
i am just guessing here, but maybe dowsing has something to do with a disturbance in the magnetic force because of the presence of water (or lack of minerals) in the particular spot where the rod points at the ground?
sorry, i am just a skeptic.


what?
Manku Thimma
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i am sure there is an explination for dowsing...
There are plenty of theories trying to explain it. But there's no consensus. I am not claiming to believe in the paranormal... I just seek an explanation
kind of like using a needle (sewing needle) as a compass.
Yep, I've tried that. The explanation I heard was that these steel needles have some residual magnetism (A physics guru can confirm this, but I think I've read somewhere that all iron/steel objects are "magnetized" to varying degrees). So in the case of your steel needle, when you eliminate friction by floating it, it aligns itself in the North-South direction.
maybe dowsing has something to do with a disturbance in the magnetic force
My question would be, is the human mind reacting to this disturbance and triggering the response? Because a copper rod on it's own won't stir even a bit - it needs a human holding it
sorry, i am just a skeptic.
Me too - I still don't believe in Uri Geller's spoon-bending

[This message has been edited by Manku Thimma (edited August 21, 2001).]
Greg Harris
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yea, i saw the spoon-bending trick on tv a few months ago. i would have to see it happen in person... with a spoon that I provided to Uri.
and, i know that the needle has to be charged for it to work... actually, i think you have to rub it on cloth before it will work if it is not already charged.
so you are saying that the dowsing thing will not work if the copper rod (or whatever) is placed in a wooden frame? it has to be held physically by the human?
Anonymous
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Ghosts: Absolutely. I lived in a haunted house as a kid. If anybody wants details, I'll be happy to elaborate. Also, it kind of fits in with my religous beliefs that after people die, they continue to exist as sentient beings.
Loch Ness Monster: I wish, but maybe not. It's an intersting possibility.
1)Recent fish surveys indicate that the density of fish in Loch Ness is sufficient to support a predatory species at the top of the food chain there.
2)Fish float when they die because they have flotile bladders. Mammals and reptiles that swim don't float when dead because they have no similar organ. Therefore, it is more likely that dead monsters would sink than wash up on shore. Bigfoot: Maybe, but I think this is less likely.
Apatosaurus in the Congo: Maybe, but I doubt it.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Bodie Minster:
Ghosts: Absolutely. I lived in a haunted house as a kid. If anybody wants details, I'll be happy to elaborate. Also, it kind of fits in with my religous beliefs that after people die, they continue to exist as sentient beings.
Loch Ness Monster: I wish, but maybe not. It's an intersting possibility.
1)Recent fish surveys indicate that the density of fish in Loch Ness is sufficient to support a predatory species at the top of the food chain there.
2)Fish float when they die because they have flotile bladders. Mammals and reptiles that swim don't float when dead because they have no similar organ. Therefore, it is more likely that dead monsters would sink than wash up on shore. Bigfoot: Maybe, but I think this is less likely.
Apatosaurus in the Congo: Maybe, but I doubt it.

Dowsing is also called "wishful thinking". The Skeptical Inquirer has a long article explaining how dowsing doesn't work. Dowsing has never passed any scientific tests.
Uri Geller is a fraud. He has been exposed hundreds of times by the Amazing Randi but yet suckers still believe in him.
The Loch Ness monster is a fraud. The most famous picture of the monster was admitted to be fake by the person who took the picture. The Loch actually has very little food in it and could not support a breeding population of predators. Mammals and reptiles don't float? Is that why bodies are found floating in the ocean? Is that why whale carcasses end up on th beach? The fact is that any large dead creature will rot from the inside and become full of gas and float to the surface. BTW, reptiles and mammals are both air-breathing creatures. If there was a breeding population of "Nessies" in Loch Ness we would see them surfacing every couple of minutes.
Ghosts? And I'll bet you believe "Blair Witch" was a documentary.
Andrew Shafer
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Why does the US government train and research remote viewing?
Why have law enforcment agencies started consulting psychics?
I'm sure its all a bunch of crap. Those idiots. I mean the Russians researched this stuff for years, probably because they were a bunch of Godless communists idiots.
Some people believe anything without proof, and others refuse to see proof that is right in front of them.
and so it goes. . .


!_I_Know_Kung_Fu_!
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Andrew Shafer:

Why does the US government train and research remote viewing?
.

This is interesting. The CIA spent millions of dollars on this because they had heard that the KGB was researching it and the CIA didn't want to fell behind in the "ESP race". Fortunately, the government wised up and stopped spending money on it. By the way, the result of your tax dollars at work? Some well-paid fakers.
Originally posted by Andrew Shafer:
Why have law enforcment agencies started consulting psychics?
Started? Actually some law enforcement agencies have been doing this for years but never to any result. "You will find the body near running water" and when they find the body in a warehouse near a leaky faucet the "psychic" claims success.
Mapraputa Is
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Originally posted by Andrew Shafer:
I mean the Russians researched this stuff for years, probably because they were a bunch of Godless communists idiots.

"Godless idiots" would be enough, "communists" epithet is unnecessary here. There is no principal difference between "communists" and "capitalists" idiots.

[This message has been edited by Mapraputa Is (edited August 22, 2001).]


Uncontrolled vocabularies
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Andrew Shafer
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Mapraputa
I was being facetious.
Everyone knows the earth is flat.
Some things are not well established but there is no science that precludes the existence of these phenomenon.
The true scientist searches on the edge of explanation and anomaly.
Anonymous
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According to the report published here:
Bean, C.W., Winfield, I.J. and Fletcher, J.M. (1996) Stock assessment of the Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) population in Loch Ness, U.K. Stock Assessment in Inland Fisheries (Ed. I. G. Cowx), Fishing News Books, Oxford: Blackwell, Scientific Publications
there are sufficient fish to support a small population of predators in Loch Ness.
I have never believed any of the photos, but I still think unbelieveable things are possible.
Whale carcasses are often on beaches because the whales swim in close to shore to die. Currents in shallow coastal waters ( OF THE OCEAN ) often wash debris on shore. If all dead animals floated, there wouldn't be any fossils of marine animals.
Several marine mammals are adept at "holding their breath". Or in other words, they are adapted to require surfacing much less often than we might think. For example, several species of Rorquals (whales that have baleen) can hold their breath for over an hour.
I never saw Blair Witch. I don't watch movies that are rated R.
[This message has been edited by Bodie Minster (edited August 22, 2001).]
Andrew Shafer
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I never saw Blair Witch. I don't watch crappy movies.
Mapraputa Is
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Sheriff

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Originally posted by Andrew Shafer:
Mapraputa
I was being facetious.

Rats. I wanted to start a fight...
Andrew Shafer
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I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to step outside.
Manku Thimma
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>Dowsing is also called "wishful thinking".
Tom, lemme ask you this question again: If you personally experience something which has not been explained, would you accept that that phenomenon was indeed "paranormal"?
What we need is a blend of skepticism and curiosity. Taking extreme stances, where we either believe in everything, or believe nothing, doesn't help us evolve...
Taking the specific case of dowsing, basing your view entirely on what the Inquirer says is obviously not the right approach, because what you are doing here is, closing your eyes, and dogmatically stating that there's nothing in front of you... do you realize you are just refusing to see?!
So, what I am suggesting is, balance your views with a healthy dose of curiosity... and when you observe something strange happening, try to understand how exactly it happened; maybe your investigation will lead you to discovering a new facet of physics... Don't you sometimes feel there are so many more scientific discoveries to be made? What we currently know might perhaps be a fraction of what there is to be known.
>so you are saying that the dowsing thing will not work if the copper rod (or whatever) is placed in a wooden frame?
That is correct! Afterall, it is the dowser who initiates the impulse to move the rod.
>Ghosts: Absolutely. I lived in a haunted house as a kid. If anybody wants details, I'll be happy to elaborate.
Wow, you aren't kidding, are you? You are the first person I've met who's actually claimed to have encountered ghosts. Tell me about your experience, in full detail. This is amazing. What convinced you that your house was haunted? Was it just you, or were your parents convinced too?

[This message has been edited by Manku Thimma (edited August 22, 2001).]
Manku Thimma
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>Watch "Scariest Places on Earth" on the Fox Family channel
Yep, I've seen this. They try so hard to make it seem scary, it's actually funny
Has anyone seen 'Crossing Over' with John Edward, on the Sci-Fi channel? Here he actually claims to be communicating with departed souls, and brings messages of hope to the loved ones sitting in the audience. I've seen a couple episodes. He did make a few statements which seemed quite out of the way to be just pure coincidence. He's a very slick trickster, or he's onto something...

[This message has been edited by Manku Thimma (edited August 22, 2001).]
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Manku Thimma:
Has anyone seen 'Crossing Over' with John Edward, on the Sci-Fi channel? Here he actually claims to be communicating with departed souls, and brings messages of hope to the loved ones sitting in the audience. I've seen a couple episodes. He did make a few statements which seemed quite out of the way to be just pure coincidence. He's a very slick trickster, or he's onto something...
He is a fraud. He does what is called cold-reading and has been used by magicians for a little over 150 years. The fact that this guy tricks people who are hurting over the loss of a loved one in order to make money shows what a bottom feeding scum he is.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Manku Thimma:
>[b]Dowsing is also called "wishful thinking".
Tom, lemme ask you this question again: If you personally experience something which has not been explained, would you accept that that phenomenon was indeed "paranormal"? [/B]
No. There is no such thing as the paranormal so there is nothing to "accept". For example, if I saw ghosts I would be more concerned about the state of my mental health than I would be about the existence of ghosts.
Anonymous
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Both of my parents and my older sister and I are all convinced that there was a ghost in that house. The previous owner's wife had died in the master bedroom of cirrosis of the liver. We didn't find that out until after the fact. We had frequent experiences of closing doors and coming back to find them open, dresser drawers, etc. My mom used to experience that sort of thing all the time when she was by herself during the day. You would have to know my mom to understand, but an open closet or a dresser drawer is something she just can't leave. Then she would leave the room and come back and it would be open again. She said that sometimes she would be vacuuming and get the feeling that she was going to run into something. She would look up and nothing would be there.
But my experience with it scared the crap out of me. I was about 10 and my sister would have been 12. We were home alone while my parents ran to the store. We were sitting in the family room watching TV. The dog started barking and ran to the glass door like she saw somebody. The latch for the gate on the back porch lifted and the gate opened. Mind you that none of the trees on the back porch was moving like there was wind present. Then the gate swung shut and latched again. The dog ran along the glass door as if following someone. She ran around the fireplace to the glass door on the other side and continued barking fiercely. She ran all the was to the handle for the glass door and we thought we were going to die. Then she ran back the other way and the gate opened and closed its self again. I've never been so afraid for my life before or since. Nobody can tell me that there aren't ghosts.
Also, as a kid I knew a girl that died under the wheel of a school bus. Her mom (who was a good friend of my parents) saw her "in a dream" and was warned by her that the gas was on. When she woke up, she smelled gas and found that it had been left on in the fireplace.
Ghosts real? Absolutely in my opinion!
[This message has been edited by Bodie Minster (edited August 23, 2001).]
Anonymous
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Thomas, don't you find it a little depressing not to believe in anything you can't explain? Isn't it a little arrogant to think that if you don't understand something or can't explain it that it must not be reality? That sort of thinking would have halted the progress of civilization hundreds of years ago if we all subscribed to it.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Bodie Minster:
According to the report published here:
Bean, C.W., Winfield, I.J. and Fletcher, J.M. (1996) Stock assessment of the Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) population in Loch Ness, U.K. Stock Assessment in Inland Fisheries (Ed. I. G. Cowx), Fishing News Books, Oxford: Blackwell, Scientific Publications
there are sufficient fish to support a small population of predators in Loch Ness.

The total biomass of monster food (fish) in the loch was 15,675 kg. We know that, on average, ecological efficiencies are about 10%. In other words, only 10% of the energy or biomass in a trophic level is passed on to the next trophic level above. Therefore, Loch Ness can only support (15,675 kg) x (10%) = 1,568 kg of monster biomass. If Loch Ness monsters are about 300 kg in size, then the loch can only support (1,568 kg)/(300) = roughly 5 monsters (and fewer than 5 if monsters are actually bigger than 300 kg each). Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that Loch Ness supports a breeding population of monsters. The loch can support a maximum of 5 monsters which is hardly a sufficient breeding population.
Originally posted by Bodie Minster:

Whale carcasses are often on beaches because the whales swim in close to shore to die. Currents in shallow coastal waters ( OF THE OCEAN ) often wash debris on shore. If all dead animals floated, there wouldn't be any fossils of marine animals.

You are simply wrong. As I stated earlier, a breeding population of predators in the Loch would leave traces including floating corpses because all corpses eventually float to the surface. Once the gases escape from them they do tend to sink back to the bottom.
Originally posted by Bodie Minster:

Several marine mammals are adept at "holding their breath". Or in other words, they are adapted to require surfacing much less often than we might think. For example, several species of Rorquals (whales that have baleen) can hold their breath for over an hour.

Unless Nessie can hold her breath for 100 years, a breeding population of Nessies would be seen constantly. Even if there were only 60 Nessies in the Loch, which would lead to huge problems of in-breeding, we would see a Nessie at the surface every minute. If there were 30, then every 2 minutes, 15 then every 4 minutes. Since Nessies are rarely seen and only under questionable circumstances it is much more likely that Nessie is a product of the imagination.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Bodie Minster:
Thomas, don't you find it a little depressing not to believe in anything you can't explain? Isn't it a little arrogant to think that if you don't understand something or can't explain it that it must not be reality? That sort of thinking would have halted the progress of civilization hundreds of years ago if we all subscribed to it.
Actually you have it exactly backwards. Your kind of belief system is what held people in the the thrall of magic and astrology and kept civilization in the Dark Ages. It is belief in the mystical, unexplainable, and unverifiable that locks man in ignorance. I can easily be fooled. A saw a magician saw a woman in half and then put her back together. Must be the power of the paranormal, right?
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Andrew Shafer:
Some things are not well established but there is no science that precludes the existence of these phenomenon.
Yes there are. There are laws of physics that would have to be violated in order for these things to happen. There is no scientific evidence to support any of these paranormal claims. Whenever these claims are exposed to the light of science, they shrivel up and die.
Anonymous
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You make a convincing argument against Nessie in your statements about the numbers required to maintain a breeding population. On what do you base your information about the mass of fish in the Loch?
I have to disagree with you about bodies floating. If you jump in a lake and don't swim, you'll sink to the bottom and die. If it were true that all dead bodies would eventually float, the police wouldn't dregde rivers for bodies when people turn up missing. Giant squids and other large deep-sea creatures would be seen floating in high-traffic deep-water areas like the South Pacific. Based on your statements, anything that dies in the ocean must do a stint on the surface before coming to rest on the sea floor. By my own observations ( I used to spend a great deal of time in the Santa Barbara Channel snorkelling, spear fishing, deep-sea fishing, surfing, sailing, etc. ) there aren't tons of floating dead things in the ocean. Again, on what do you base your statements that dead things float? Self assurance is is not a very convincing argument.
As the Loch is over 20 miles long, in your 60 Nessie scenario, you would see one surfacing every minute only if they were all taking turns breathing like an orderly bunch of monsters, and only if they were all hanging out in a single viewable area of the loch just waiting for their turn to breathe. This scenario is even less likely than the existence of the monster itsself.
Although I concede that Nessie is not likely to exist, I maintain that the existence of a large, unidentified creature in Loch Ness is POSSIBLE, however unlikely. I am not a believer in the unexplained. I am a person that thinks the unexplained should not be dismissed off hand. It should be studied and explained. If a bunch of people think that they are seeing something, what are they really seeing? Maybe nothing, but maybe there is interesting new information there. I don't like to attribute unusual events to wizardry, but if someone claims to be a wizard, I'll look at that and see if I believe they are or not. Just because it seems impossible doesn't mean that it is. A few hundred years ago the idea that we would one day walk on the moon would have seemed like blasphemy or heresy or something just sick and wrong.
Anonymous
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What specific physical principles would have to be violated to produce what specific phenomenal events?
Lance Finney
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Thomas,
With your strong reliance on science, I'm curious what your result would be on the test in this forum: http://www.javaranch.com/ubb/Forum32/HTML/000931.html
I would guess Secular Humanist or Athiest/Agnostic, but I recognize I could easily be wrong.
Andrew Shafer
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Yes there are. There are laws of physics that would have to be violated in order for these things to happen. There is no scientific evidence to support any of these paranormal claims. Whenever these claims are exposed to the light of science, they shrivel up and die.

Poppycock and hogwash (to borrow an idiom)
Tell me what <>Laws of physics would have to be violated for there to be ghosts?
What would telekinetics violate?
What would psychometry violate?
What would remote viewing violate?
I'm not arguing that these are truths, I only want to know what laws you speak about preclude these as possible.
[This message has been edited by Andrew Shafer (edited August 23, 2001).]
 
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subject: The Paranormal