Humanists In “Some People Are Women” Shocker

BHA gender quote

Today is World Humanist Day, a celebration of humanist values that has been celebrated on June 21st since the 1980s. I’ve identified as a humanist since my late teens when I first discovered atheism and humanism and in more recent years I have become a member of the British Humanist Association (I literally renewed my membership yesterday.) The thing that is so great about humanism, in my opinion, is that most people are humanists without even realising it because they take their moral code and their ethics from outside of religious texts. They do good for the sake of doing good and that’s really cool. Or, as Dick McMahan once said, A humanist is someone who does the right thing even though she knows that no one is watching.”

It was this quote that I was greeted with as I logged into Facebook this morning. An old school friend of mine had shared it from the British Humanist Association facebook page where it had been posted to celebrate today.

BHA gender quote

But some people weren’t too happy that the quote had been chosen because it says “she” and not “he” or “they”, or that it had been posted on what is also Father’s Day in the UK with one man describing the use of the quote as “insidious”. It also seems that some folks just can’t accept that women are humanists too with another chap pointing out “A humanist should be just a human being-no gender interpretation of Humanism”.

bibbidy bobbidy fuck
I think perhaps this last dude has confused humanism with a cult somewhere that removes the genitals of its members? I don’t know. Humanism is comprised of people who identify as men and women so why on earth we’d ever censor the gendered language we use to describe humanists is beyond me. He and She are perfectly valid ways to refer to humanists because men and women are humanists. That’s how simple it is to resolve this non-issue.

Interestingly, the same quote was shared on the FB page of the Atheist Foundation of Australia and received a similar reaction. It is incredible how easily people are offended, to be honest. Most people accuse “the feminists” (often calling them “social justice warriors” in the process in an attempt to belittle their position) of being over-sensitive to “stuff life this” but clearly that isn’t the case here. If people had been offended that the quote used male pronouns they too would have been overreacting – yet if that had been the case I am confident that the people kicking off about the use of a quote with “she” in it would not have cared at all. Deep down they probably think they’re not prejudiced in any way, and yet any act of giving women- or in this case female pronouns – an equal representation as men or male pronouns is considered an “insidious” or unfair act which involves some pretty special reasoning on their part.

Women, as well as men, have played a large part in the history of the humanist movement and continue to do so today. Congratulations to Prof. Alice Roberts who was awarded the Humanist Of The Year award at the British Humanist Association conference yesterday, by the way.

Perhaps those who protested the use of a quote that included the word “she” may be shocked to learn that religions are routinely used as a reason for denying women power. As a result, women’s right’s activists and campaigners have to challenge religious beliefs and traditions as part of the secular movements as they fight for equality, and the humanist movement in particular has a history of supporting women’s rights – like the early suffragette movement, for example, right through to modern day campaigns.

But I’m not going to spent my time justifying the use of a quote that refers to “she.” I don’t need to. As another commenter on the FB post called Jill pointed out ‘can we not just celebrate this without people getting upset about the quote used referring to “she”; it was a quote from a man, Dick McMahan, so he had no problem and was probably trying to make a point, as we’ve lived for centuries in patriarchal societies influenced by organised religion where “he” is used as the default pronoun. Besides, for the first 6 weeks after conception, we’re all female anyway.’

Preach it, sister.

 

You’re Probably Not The Scientific Ghost Researcher You Think You Are

Science, you're doing it wrong

Many people involved in paranormal research think that they are scientific when they’re actually using dodgy science instead. This makes them no better than those people who used biased methods of spirit communication, like ouija boards, psychics or dowsing rods even though they probably think quite the opposite.

Just over a month ago I wrote a piece exploring how methodologies set apart paranormal researchers from ghost hunters. I wrote that ‘a ghost hunter is someone who literally hunts or searches for ghosts and doesn’t seem to realise (or care) that this means they are using a completely biased methodology because they use tools and methods that assist in their quest to prove that they are encountering a ghost.’

I was amazed at how far this post was shared within different global paranormal communities and just how many people seemed to agree with what I was saying. Yet, when I looked closer at some of those sharing the post I discovered that those people who said that they agreed with what I was saying were actually the ghost hunters I had described and yet, for some reason, they thought that they were more like the paranormal researchers that I described. This is incredible and shows a lack of awareness within paranormal communities about what science actually is and how it applies to paranormal research.

If your first thought is that a scientific methodology in paranormal research involves Electronic Voice Phenomena and using EMF meters to detect fluctuations in the electro-magnetic fields in a location then you are wrong, and spectacularly so.

These are the two most common ghost hunting science myths, so let’s explore them a little further. It is no secret that the sounds heard on recordings that are called Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) are not paranormal in origin and that it takes a certain leap of logic to claim that this so as there is no evidence that supports the hypothesis that these so-called ghost voices are voices of the dead. There is no demonstrated mechanism through which the dead can talk or through which recording devices can detect them doing so. To claim you just know that this is the case is quite arrogant and presumes that you are personally able to rule out every possible other cause.

If it is your opinion that EVP is paranormal in nature then you are disagreeing with facts and although you are quite free to do so it doesn’t mean that you are right, and your personal experience with EVP does not afford you an authority on the subject. Personal anecdotes are not evidence.

Some ghost hunters claim that ghosts can manipulate the electro-magnetic fields in a location in their attempt to manifest or communicate with people. There is, again, no proven mechanism through which this is possible and there are many other reasons that the EMF might fluctuate.

It is often claimed that being exposed to certain levels of EMF can cause people to “feel haunted” and although this is true in a small number of cases it is a lot more complex than waving around a cheap K2 meter and saying that a high reading indicates that the EMF in a location is causing people to think there is a ghost. Most ghost hunters don’t know how to calibrate their EMF meters in the first place, don’t take decent base readings over a decent period of time (we’re talking months, not hours), and the meters they use (like the aforementioned K2 meter) won’t actually detect those sorts of experience producing fields anyway.

Science, you're doing it wrong

 

If you’re curious about some of the most popular dodgy-science myths in ghost hunting why not check out my Guide To Ghost Science here. If not, go and hunt ghosts but please stop claiming to be scientific when you’re not. It’s not cool.

Humanist Ghost Busting: A Clarification

graves

A short while ago I wrote how I am a Humanist ghost buster and this confused a few people who seemed to think that I was mistaking humanism with humanitarianism. While I understand that suggestion I can assure you that I am not mistaken when I talk about my discovery of humanism shaping the way in which I conduct my paranormal research.

A Humanitarian approach is certainly a large part of being humanist but humanism is the reason for our humanitarian involvements. Being good for the sake of being good and not for post-death reward is what sets humanists apart from those who would undertake humanitarian work through other inspirations.

Instead of writing a long post about this I thought I’d share this video instead which I feel sums this up in a more concise manner.

Weakly Ghost Bulletin #15

WEAKLY GHOST BULLETIN HEADER

Is this the world’s most haunted town?

Toowoomba by name too-woo by nature, am I right? 

According to various news sites Toowoomba, Australia is the world’s Most Haunted Town. Evidence has been flooding into a Facebook page called Toowoomba Ghost Chasers set up by Kylie Samuels and Katie Harvey. Shame then that the evidence provided to back up this claim is mediocre, at best. The latest batch of evidence includes a ghost in a red dress floating through an old train station, a gray ghost sitting on a tombstone and a “blue mist” wafting through a cemetery but a quick look through the Facebook page reveals psuedo-scientific ghost hunters getting excited about any little oddity that turns up in a photo submitted to their page. The priority with these ghost hunters is headlines and attention rather than accuracy and a decent methodology so I can’t even bring myself to pass comment on their collection rubbish photos which look like a whole bunch of nothing to me. Boring. Except, of course, for this particular gem. Described as a mournful spirit sitting on a grave.

shadow toowoomba

Isn’t that just a shadow from a gravestone? Come on, guys… really?

Does mystery snap show the disembodied head of a lost GHOST child?

ghost child head

This is a ghost photo that has left ghost hunters clueless apparently. Where did it come from? What does it show? The Express reports ‘Ghostsnghouls.com, which posts the picture, said: “Little info exists about this photo which appears to show a boy’s disembodied head floating in the woods behind a cemetery. What do you think of the spooky image?”‘

I too was completely baffled by this photo and while inspecting it I actually noticed something that others seemed to have missed. If you look closely at the gravestone to the right of the photo you can actually make out another face which I believe belongs to the most attractive, talented, brilliant and all-round lovely woman I’ve ever seen.

hayley face ghost2

I bet she’s got a great blog… she looks the type.

Watch Grandma’s Face Appear In This Ultrasound

For real though? I have questions. Why is her face smaller than the baby? Why does she look terrified? How does a ghost get in the womb? Are we even pretending that we don’t know this is just an illusion given sentimental value by those who saw it? And why aren’t we talking about the evil lady that appears at the 26 seconds mark?

evil lady in sonogram

Yvette Fielding, We Need To Talk About Your Ghost Problem.

yvette

Dear Yvette Fielding,

There was a time when I would be glued to the television set when Most Haunted was on the screen because I thought it was a factual programme because you ensured us that nothing was staged on so many occasions. I still have my DVD collection somewhere in the house which I used to love. In 2005 I created my own paranormal research organisation inspired by what the Most Haunted team did because I became disillusioned with your promises of authenticity and the behaviour that you and your crew exhibited in your so-called pursuit of contact with ghosts. Back then I believed in ghosts and I was appalled by the manner in which you “spoke” to the ghosts. Particularly those women and men accused of witchcraft on Pendle Hill.

It was my opinion that if the dead did roam this planet after death then the souls of these people in particular deserved more respect than you afforded them considering the fact that witchcraft isn’t real, they weren’t witches and they were persecuted and executed by people who favoured superstition above reason. That particular Most Haunted Live show was hailed a success because of the rate at which members of the team were “attacked” by ghosts and dragged out of the building by the security team for their own safety.

Yet, even as a naive gullible 18-year-old, I couldn’t even pretend to believe what was happening in that building on Pendle Hill. I don’t have conclusive evidence that you fake activity on the show, but your reliance on dodgy psychics (Kreed Kafer… need I say more?) and the lack of good evidence that supports your claims that your “proof” has a supernatural cause might just speak for itself. There are also videos online that raise questions about your honesty on the show, like the two below:

Through the power of suggestion, use of camera-work that focusses on people rather than their surroundings and a “just asking questions” approach that relies on folklore and historic accounts you have managed to build mysteries where none exist and that’s quite an achievement. All of this is why I couldn’t help but laugh cynically when you recently complained in an interview that if you found evidence of a ghost nobody would believe you. In the interview you state ‘if we did film a real ghost on camera, people would say we faked it anyway … You can never, ever win.”

Yet, this isn’t because those who disbelieve you are in the wrong here, Yvette. It’s because people feel that they cannot trust you or the show Most Haunted to be honest when you claim it is. I’m sure you’ve heard the story of the boy who cried wolf and you, Yvette, are that boy.

Without the “dodgy” stunts on Most Haunted I would not have started to truly question the claims of the people around me and I would not have been led to my current position. Yet you will receive no thanks from me for bringing about this because the bastardised version of paranormal research presented by Most Haunted and other similar shows has almost ruined the field of paranormal research – a field that used to have to put up with idiots occasionally but, on the whole, was driven by a curiosity that was kept in check by a scientific methodology. Now it is overrun with unethical ghost hunters who favour psuedo-science rather than science. It is tainted by people who don’t really give a damn about maintaining an open-mind but are pursuing what they believe to be an easy rise to fame as the next paranormal superstar with their own show, books and lecture tours.

That’s your legacy, Yvette, and that’s why nobody will believe you when you say “ghost!”