A common reason people give to explain away ghosts is they have never seen one. But there are many things in this world people have never seen. People living on a remote island in the south Pacific having probably never seen a car. And yet we would laugh if one of them told us that cars do not exist. I guess this reason sticks out in my mind because I have seen ghosts. I have seen them so I have no problem believing in them. But believing in something you have never seen is a common practice of just about every world religion. Why then, is it so much of a stretch from ghosts to God?
People seem to be afraid to take things on faith. I think this stems from the untrusting nature of people and the fact that we are afraid of things bigger than ourselves. As a group, people tend to mistrust each other over just about anything. This explains why a person will not believe in something they have not seen. They do not trust the source. Or they do not trust that they will ever see it, so they dismiss the thoughts of it altogether.
People are also afraid of their own existence being insignificant. By ruling out ghosts and the supernatural altogether, humans can place themselves at the top of existence. This makes people feel better about themselves and leaves those looking for the supernatural in the same place as the mentally ill. In my opinion, if human beings are the end-all-be-all of existence, that is very sad. But the comfort factor always wins out. If something has never been seen, then the zone of protection around our top-notch existence has not been breached. To say ghosts exist, is to say that people are just another animal. Or people are just a tiny speck in the huge expanse of the universe. That realization can be very unnerving to some people. So, people have created a delusion that has been passed down through the ages that being seen is the key to existence. If something is out of sight, it is out of mind and all the people can go about their daily lives comfortable in their own existence.
It is in the arms of science where others find comfort from the existence of ghosts. Since science has no hard proof that ghosts exist, this must mean they do not. In fact, science is to blame for the stigma put on belief in all supernatural occurrences. With the Enlightenment, came a new way of thinking. For science, this meant a radical move away from the normal search for knowledge and toward an arrogant view of the natural world. Ghosts and the like must not be real because they cannot be tested in a laboratory or made in a test tube. For this reason, paranormal study was banished to the realm of superstition and folklore.
One of the key principals in science is the continuing search for knowledge. Another is no matter how much or how little evidence exist on a subject, that subject cannot be completely proved or disproved. What this means is science is suppose to deal only in ideas. Science does not deal in absolutes. An example of this is the theory that all living things are made of cells. For this particular subject, there is a multitude of experimental data that points to the truth in this statement. Yet, any scientist that tells you all living things are made of cells beyond a shadow of a doubt is either a bad scientist or stupid. That scientist should know viruses throw the proverbial “monkey wrench” into the theory. It is not known if viruses can be considered living or nonliving. But if they are considered living, the theory of cells in all living things has doubt cast upon it.
When I was in college, one of the things my science class professors tried to drive home was scientists never prove anything. They only help build a case for something to possibly be a good idea. Why then are ghosts and other supernatural occurrences immediately ruled out by much of the scientific community? I think it has to do with the arrogance and assumptions of the Enlightenment. Scientists took it upon themselves to rationally and logically explain everything in nature. To do this, they first had to assume that nature works in a rational and logical way. With this assumption in place, things that did not fit the pattern of nature, as they saw it, where immediately dismissed as the workings of a troubled mind. And that put ghost hunters high atop their list of crazy people.
The question is not whether ghosts exist; it is why do people not believe in ghosts? Some will say that not seeing something means it does not exist. However, there are many things on this Earth that we cannot and have not seen. But these things still exists. Others people turn to science and its lack of evidence on ghosts. Evidence for the existence of ghosts does exist. However, over the course of human history, science has given paranormal study a negative connotation and this evidence has remained unchecked by objective eyes. Religion is another excuse given for the nonexistence of ghosts. But with all the fantastic events of the Bible, how can one not believe in something as simple as ghosts? Though they give many reasons, the main reason seems to be because ghosts make people uncomfortable. Ghosts are an affront to the meaning of existence. If they exist, they question the human status as the top level of being. As long as comfort is a top priority of people, the existence of ghosts will always remain in the realm of fiction. Perhaps one day, paranormal will be normal and the negative stigma given to the field will be lifted in the continuing search for knowledge.