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Posted: 10/29/2006 9:08:48 AM EST
Article here


Science Bites Myth of Vampires, Ghosts
Thursday, October 26, 2006 7:50 PM EDT
The Associated Press
By SETH BORENSTEIN

WASHINGTON (AP) — It may be the season for vampires, ghosts and zombies. Just remember, they're not real, warns physicist Costas Efthimiou. Obviously, you might say. But Efthimiou, a professor at the University of Central Florida, points to surveys that show American gullibility for the supernatural.

Using science and math, Efthimiou explains why it is ghosts can't walk among us while also gliding through walls, like Patrick Swayze in the movie "Ghost." That violates Newton's law of action and reaction. If ghosts walk, their feet apply force to the floor, but if they go through walls they are without substance, the professor says.

"So which is it? Are ghosts material or material-less?" he asks.

Zombies and vampires fare even worse under Efthimiou's skeptical microscope.

Efthimiou looked at the most prominent child-turned-zombie case that zombie aficionados cite: the 1989 case of a Haitian 17-year-old who was declared dead and then rose from the grave a day after the funeral and was considered a zombie. The boy, who never died but was paralyzed and could not communicate, had been poisoned with toxins from a relative of the deadly Japanese pufferfish, later research showed.

Efthimiou takes out the calculator to prove that if a vampire sucked one person's blood each month — turning each victim into an equally hungry vampire — after a couple of years there would be no people left, just vampires. He started his calculations with just one vampire and 537 million humans on Jan. 1, 1600 and shows that the human population would be down to zero by July 1602.

Take that Casper, Dracula and creepy friends.

All this may seem obvious, but to Efthimiou and other scientists, the public often isn't as skeptical as you might think. Efthimiou points to National Science Foundation reports showing widespread belief in pseudosciences — such as vampires, astrology and ESP.

More than 1 in 3 Americans believe houses can be haunted, a 2005 Gallup poll showed. More than 20 percent of Americans believe in witches and that people can communicate with the dead. TV shows such as "Medium" and "Ghost Whisperer" are popular.

"We're talking about a large fraction of the public that believes in subjects that scientists believe are out of the question," said Efthimiou. His paper is in an archive awaiting publication either in the journal Physics Education or the magazine Skeptical Inquirer, he said.

University of Maryland physics professor Bob Park, author of the book "Voodoo Science," said scientists have to keep telling the public what seems all-too-obvious.

"There are things that we need to point out that are crap," Park said.

It's gotten so bad, Park has a hard time watching movies these days. Not Efthimiou, who liked the horror movie "The Ring."

"I have nothing against movies," he said. "I have nothing against people who like them, as long as they don't mix reality with fiction."

And Halloween? Both physicists will suspend disbelief when vampires, ghosts and zombies come to their doors.

"I give them candy and I feign fright," Park said. "They enjoy it, what the hell. The problem is the ones that never get over it."


Link Posted: 10/29/2006 9:11:22 AM EST
I don't believe in scientists

...and who said ghosts walk? They float.
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 9:13:02 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/29/2006 9:17:54 AM EST by DK-Prof]
Here's the actual article, in PDF format: arxiv.org/PS_cache/physics/pdf/0608/0608059.pdf


Of course the problem is that vampires, ghosts, etc - are non-falsifiable theories, because their proponents can simply change the theory to further make it impossible to "disprove"

For instance, on the vampire fallacy - people can jsut make the argument that vampires can "choose" whether or not to simply "feed" on a person or "turn" them into a vampire. In that case, the exponential population growth in the article fails.

Similarly for the ghosts, people can jsut claim that ghosts can "control" how substantial and physical they are - manifesting themselves in a soldi way to walk on stairs and floors, and then magically making themselves insubstantial to walk through walls.


Ultimately, when the explanation is "magic" then science really has no place even bothering to try to "disprove" anything. Plus, the credibility of the "article" is marred by the multiple typos. Plus, there really aren't any scientific "tests" per se, just logic, in the article.
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 9:15:38 AM EST
I bet hes a blast at parties!
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 9:16:26 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/29/2006 9:16:41 AM EST by theoneinthemask]
It doesn't sound like he really "dissproves" any of them. At all.
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 9:17:15 AM EST
He's wrong... So very wrong and will pay for it I tell you.
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 9:18:23 AM EST
Scientists only believe in that which can be explained reasonably. They utterly fail to accept that there may be experiences outside of reasonable.

In other words, they're zombie food.
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 9:19:08 AM EST
He needs to tell that to the ghost in my parent's house.
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 9:21:31 AM EST

Originally Posted By Fat_McNasty:
I bet hes a blast at parties!


Some people never have any fun. Hell, ghosts and ghost stories are fun, after all.


Except for zombies . Now his bullshit there is just gonna get people killed.
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 9:37:47 AM EST
Yeah what happens wheh\n the zombies are eating away at grandma's neck and everyones sitting around thinking everythings OK because some dumbass snobby rich scientist said they dont exist!?
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 9:41:39 AM EST

Originally Posted By theoneinthemask:
It doesn't sound like he really "dissproves" any of them. At all.
+1... it's just his take on the matter.


...and my take one it? i've seen some weird shit. i used to live in a house that was well over 100 years old. i saw and heard things that just can't be explained.
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 9:56:10 AM EST
What about all the zombie documentaries that are out there???What's Mr.SmartyPants got to say about them????
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 9:58:01 AM EST
...He didn't mention werewolves, which everyone knows are the real threat...
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 10:07:12 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/29/2006 10:08:02 AM EST by CWDraco]


Ya these guys are the first to get eaten in all the movies I've seen...dont listen to them.

Rules of survival.

1)Chics get naked for any reason...thats draws the monsters in...be prepared.

2)The scientist are never right...its only the cute young guy who knows whats going on, so freaking listen to the best looking guy around.

3)African-Americans never get away from the monsters...sorry but keep your distance from the brothers.

4)Even when you think you killed it...it will get up again, so dont stop shooting till the funny words run up the screen.
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 10:16:02 AM EST
When there is a Zombie outbreak, he will be unprepared and will die.
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 10:19:07 AM EST

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
Here's the actual article, in PDF format: arxiv.org/PS_cache/physics/pdf/0608/0608059.pdf


Of course the problem is that vampires, ghosts, etc - are non-falsifiable theories, because their proponents can simply change the theory to further make it impossible to "disprove"

For instance, on the vampire fallacy - people can jsut make the argument that vampires can "choose" whether or not to simply "feed" on a person or "turn" them into a vampire. In that case, the exponential population growth in the article fails.

Similarly for the ghosts, people can jsut claim that ghosts can "control" how substantial and physical they are - manifesting themselves in a soldi way to walk on stairs and floors, and then magically making themselves insubstantial to walk through walls.





and for zombies- sometimes they just bite people which turns them into zoombies, other times they disembowel/eat people. so what- sometimes zombies just want a snack, and other times they wanna eat til theys full?

damn these scientists and thier logic! damn them all to hell
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 10:24:38 AM EST
He reminds me of one of those guys in a horror flick who denies that monsters exists - up to the point that the monster is dining on him.
Link Posted: 10/29/2006 12:01:14 PM EST
Man, and here I thought people would be giving away their zombie guns because they won't be needing them after all.

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