Metaphorical Madness

March 3, 2009

By Styrer

Don’t berate me just yet as an environmentally-unfriendly tosspot, but yesterday instead of my usual shower, I had a bath. I had some time to kill and so I simply watched the bath filling from the single tap, checking every now and then to make sure that the hot and cold streams were mixing nicely. Just for me.

I was suddenly struck by a mildly interesting impression. Thinking of the two streams coming together to make a comfortably warming third, I imagined the hundreds of miles of unseen piping required to permit little old me to wet his toes. Just for me.

During this utterly idle couple of minutes, by some metaphorical co-incidence I remembered the pathetically straw-clutching and risible story of Francis Collins, Director of the Human Genome Project, falling to his knees in theistic ecstasy before the wondrous sight in the Cascade Mountains of…a big frozen waterfall, divided into three separate streams. This peculiar fellow accepted Jesus on the spot because of what he’d seen and what he thought had been given by this sight to him. Just for him.

As various unsympathetic phrases popped into my head as I thought about this, I thought I’d have a bash at generating a little more empathy than usual for theists, at least for this particular world-renowned scientist. Not having a frozen waterfall to gaze upon just at that moment, I had a good old stare at the stream of water filling my bath (admittedly only two streams, but surely I could push a third in there, for the sake of an empathetic match-up with Collins if not also for the sake of this piece), imagining the two streams coming together to create a third and thinking ‘this should do the job’. More staring.

Perhaps it wasn’t working because it wasn’t grand enough, perhaps not ‘natural’ enough. But what of all that ingenuity, skill, time and effort, all that financial and collaborative commitment that had gone into getting this water to me? Was this not just as impressive as a big old waterfall, admittedly frozen, simply doing what waterfalls tend to do? Perhaps if I had dragged in a couple of shrubs to green things up a bit, I’d have felt something akin to Collins’ own curious experience.

If you are finding the metaphorical link I’ve made between my ablutionary non-revelation and Collin’s theistic epiphany unconvincing, then I’m happy to take it on the chin as an illustration of my point. For what can be more unconvincing, more absolutely smothered with inanity than Collins’ own metaphorical linking of a waterfall and the supposed realisation of the truth of one incoherent and vacuous doctrine (the Trinity) from one particular slavish and dignity-denying belief system?

It is theistically-inflicted casualties flagrantly abusing their innate capacity for the metaphorical, rather than those of us who properly engage with and enjoy for themselves their metaphorical and rational capacities, who laughably create the warm fuzzies which lead seemingly inexorably to the assured assumption that a deity considers them to be the very centre of existence. Must we commit our brains’ capacity for metaphor, in this case, to the sinbin of irrationality against which there is consensus that it is highly advisable to fight?

Not at all. It is my contention that this noble part of us – the metaphorical capacity – has been wantonly and indecently usurped by theist and superstitious supernaturalist alike, such that it is now of supreme importance – as Christopher Hitchens wisely noted that he could have done more of in his theistic encounters up till last year – to wrest back the numinous from the belittling minds of the faithful and reclaim it, together with our concomitant gift for metaphor, as the ennobling, beautiful, and ultimately rational phenomenon that has its rightful place in humankind’s awe-inspiring array of talents.  If theists were actually any good at this whole metaphorical game, then it might not be quite as bad as I’ve suggested, but they really are, when it comes to their religious interpretations, just so stunningly bad at it. There are different interpretations of metaphor, of course, but at least one – cognitive metaphor – supports my point here in its holding that metaphor is not only a mode of language, of linguistic usage, but a mode of thought. If this is true then theists everywhere should consider thinking a good deal more about the enormous disservice they are doing both themselves and the rest of us by selling out so promiscuously this worthy capacity we all possess.

Next week: why cats and dogs don’t actually cause multiple concussions when it’s raining heavily

Advertisements

Rapture, Really?

March 3, 2009
By Jonathan Ward.

In many religious circles there is an interest, verging on an obsession, with the end of the world. This manifests itself in many ways, such as the fringe cults that confidently predict the day on which the world will end, then continually put the date back when the day comes and goes without the entire Earth being utterly annihilated. In Christianity the most common example of end of the world thinking can be found among those who believe in the Rapture, and that the return of Jesus Christ is imminent.

Belief about the Rapture is tied in heavily with the book of Revelation, as well as certain verses from other New Testament texts. The basic idea is that Christ will return, and all true Christians will suddenly be transported up to heaven, disappearing from Earth without a trace. For those left behind, there will be a great time of tribulation, culminating in the final judgement by God and the defeat of Satan. The end of the world, in other words.

What should be troubling for all those who have even a passing affinity with reason and rationality is just how fervently many people believe in this story. It forms a significant part of fundamentalist Christian faith. And that means it creates very real problems for the rest of us.

The reason for this is simple: the belief that the world will end soon influences the thoughts and actions of many Christians, particularly those in America, to a worrying extent. It is well-known that a significant proportion of American fundamentalist Christians actually believe that the newly-elected president, Barrack Obama, is none other than the Antichrist himself. This is a preposterous notion that I can’t help but think wouldn’t have proliferated to the extent it has if the president’s name had actually been something like Stephen Johnson. Nevertheless, there are Americans who actually believe that their president is the Antichrist, and see in his inauguration the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy and the imminence of the Rapture. They fully expect to be persecuted by him, in fact, many of them almost seem to look forward to the notion.

The idea of the Antichrist is not merely an American phenomenon. This article for instance, claims that the future “new world order” will arise from the EU, and the Antichrist will be the EU leader and dictator. And the justification for this? Interpretation of the Bible, and almost nothing else.

The issue with Rapture-type thinking is the attitude that it can often engender in the believers. They fervently believe that the return of Jesus is imminent, while completely oblivious to the fact that the return of Jesus has been “imminent” for the last two thousand years. Regardless of that unpleasant fact, they are convinced that they will be the special ones who will be saved personally by Jesus. As a consequence, the problems of this world can end up seeming that much less important. 

The changing climate is likely to be one of if not the most critical issue that humanity will face this century. To minimise the inevitable upheavals, action needs to be taken as swiftly as possible. Yet there is resistance to this, and not just from those with vested interests in preserving the status quo. Many fundamentalists seem to have a “so what” attitude to climate change. After all, what does it matter if the climate is changing, when the world is going to end soon? Soon, none of this will matter. They believe Jesus will return in their lifetimes, a belief that their children and then their grandchildren will believe with equally blinkered resolution. So, why try to protect the environment? What does any of it matter, right?

And what about protecting endangered species? What about it, the fundamentalists ask? God gave us dominion over the Earth and everything on it. So what if species are allowed to die out as a result of human activity? After all, it’s all going to end soon.

It sounds absurd, but there really are people who think this way. Even worse is the fact that, up until recently, they held considerable sway in American politics, and it can perhaps be argued that they still do. One of the so-called “conditions” required to be fulfilled prior to the Rapture is for there to be peace in Israel. In recent years there have been prominent Christians donating money and using political influence in support of Israel, and doing so in an attempt to hasten the Rapture. Is this really the way that policy should be determined, on the basis of whatever is most likely to fulfil particular interpretations of texts that are thousands of years old?

But what can be done about this? As I have said, believers in the Rapture and the imminent return of Jesus are often to be found at the more fundamentalist end of the religious spectrum, so are quite likely to be young-earth creationists as well. This means that attempting to persuade them to change their minds is likely to be of limited use. However, that does not mean that the claims they make and the actions they attempt to take based on those claims should not be challenged. Against a tide of irrationality and fundamentalist superstition, all we can do is raise barriers of reason, rationality, and critical thinking, and let the waves break upon them.

The alternative, to do nothing, does not bear thinking about.

Get’ em while they´re young

February 27, 2009

By Oystein Elgaroy

In the midst of the Darwin festivities I would like to point out that 2009 is also the International Year of Astronomy.   It does sound a lot like a case of poor planning, but it is no accident that 2009 was chosen for this event.  In 1609 Galileo Galilei had the simple but brilliant idea of pointing the telescope he had recently built towards the night sky.  What he saw changed astronomy forever and deprived the Earth-centered Ptolemaic picture of the universe of what little credibility it had left.   

In a very short time, Galileo discovered craters and mountains on the Moon (he even estimated their heights from the lengths of their shadows), sunspots, the phases of Venus, and four moons around Jupiter: Io, Europa, Ganymedes and Callisto.  The moons of Jupiter demonstrated that not everything in the solar system revolves around Earth.  And the phases of Venus, while easily explained by the Copernican system, were simply impossible to understand in the Ptolemaic system.   

You all know the rest of the story.  Galileo published his attack on the Ptolemaic system, “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” in 1632, was rewarded with a date with the Inquisition, and spent the rest of his life in house arrest.  It took the Catholic Church more than 300 years to admit that perhaps they overreacted just a little in this case.  

Galileo has rightly become a symbol of the battle between science and superstition.  It is sad to have to say that 400 years later science has still not won a decisive victory.  Even in secular countries like my own, Norway, it is quite clear that secular is not the same as rational.  Scratch the surface, and underneath you will find layers of superstition several miles deep. Prominent politicians publicly endorse homeopathy, avail themselves of faith healers, and spend public money on phone calls to psychics,  Companies use astrologers as consultants when they hire staff or make important strategic decisions.  Royalties teach courses where adults and children learn how to get in touch with their guardian angels and talk to horses, cows and sheep.    

These examples of irrationality are, of course, relatively harmless compared with the grief and pain caused by fundamentalist religion. For me, however, there is no question that we need to combat all forms of shit, regardless of its wrapping.  

And this brings me back to astronomy.   One of the most effective long-term strategies we can adopt is to teach science to kids.  Not just scientific facts, but how science actually works.  And as an introduction to the wonders of science, I can think of nothing better than to explore the night sky with a telescope.  One of the cornerstone projects of the International Year of Astronomy is the Galileoscope, a telescope similar to Galileo’s, which will be solved at a very low price.  Check out www.galileoscope.org, and if you are in a charitable mood, why not donate a few to your local school? 

Egyptian Cleric: Jews Infect our Food with Cancer

February 27, 2009

In an epic fail in understanding how cancer works an Egyptian cleric said that Jews “spread cancer”. Not a particularly original claim. Some excerpts:

Ahmad Abd Al-Salam: “The Jews ‘will not fail to corrupt’ the believers. What does this mean? The Jews are never remiss – they invest their utmost efforts, day and night, in conspiring how to corrupt the Islamic nation, the nation led by the Prophet Muhammad.

“I want you, Muslim viewers, to imagine the Jews sitting around a table, conspiring how to corrupt the Muslims, and how to destroy their worldly and religious affairs. The Jews ‘will not fail to corrupt you,’ and this is why we hate them.”

 

It gets better… and better… and better…

“The Jews conspire day and night to destroy the Muslims’ worldly and religious affairs. The Jews conspire to destroy the economy of the Muslims. The Jews conspire to infect the food of the Muslims with cancer. It is the Jews who infect food with cancer and ship it to Muslim countries.”

Grade: FAIL!

Religion, fixing the world’s problems one cancer infected falafel at a time.

Worcestor Plans To Twin With Gaza

February 26, 2009

By Jonathan Ward

****

Yes, that’s right. Worcestor plans to twin with Gaza. When I read this story  it boggled my mind on about fifteen separate levels. Mostly, I find it hard to believe how incredibly stupid an idea it is.

“Its council said the move to twin with Gaza – which was backed at a meeting on Tuesday – would show solidarity with the territory’s 1.5 million inhabitants”.

Solidarity? What the hell does anyone in Worcester know about the plight of the Gazans? The last major conflict in Worcestor occurred during the Civil War!

The former Conservative MP for the area, to his credit, opposes this hare-brained notion. But the guy behind the bid, a councillor named Alan Amos, disagrees:

“He said he had come up with the twinning idea after watching news coverage of the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip and rejected suggestions that the council would be linking itself with Hamas”.

It seems that Alan Amos is either wilfully ignorant or naive to an extent that borders on being retarded. Of course any twinning would link Worcester City Council with Hamas, for the simple reason that Hamas is the elected government of Gaza! Just who the hell does Mr Amos imagine he would be dealing with?

“We are linking with the people, reaching out to these women and children and men who have been through so much”.

Does he honestly imagine that the people of Gaza will care? Will the knowledge that a bunch of stuffy councillors in a place they have never heard of have twinned their town with Gaza really make any kind of difference to their day to day lives? Of course not. They won’t give a crap. The only people who will care are Hamas, who will no doubt milk the propaganda opportunity for all it is worth.

Mr Amos rejects the notion that sending money to Gaza will not be popular with the taxpayers:

“He said: “It won’t cost the people of Worcester one penny that we cannot afford”.”

Oh, well isn’t that nice. I wonder if he has thought to ask the people of Worcester, those who elected him, whether they want their council tax to be sent to Gaza? Perhaps they would prefer it spent on things like roads, schools and suchlike. Worcestor’s council tax is not Mr Amos’s private fund to spend as he sees fit on whatever causes take his fancy. He was elected to serve the people of Worcestor. He seems to have forgotten that.

Another aspect of twinning is that exchange visits often take place. There have been several between my home town of Bedford and Bamberg in Germany, for instance. Do these councillors seriously imagine that they will go out to Gaza for goodwill visits? If so, just who does Amos imagine that they’ll be meeting? So much for no links with Hamas.

Bad enough that Worcestor’s councillors will be playing nice with representatives of a terrorist group. What if Hamas expect a return visit? Could we have terrorists swanning around Worcestor on the taxpayers’ expense account? It might sound unlikely, but who would have thought that an idea like this would even have been put forward before today?

In short, I think this idea stinks. It is the addle-brained notion of naive idealists like Mr Amos and his ilk, who in their rush to show “solidarity” with the Gazans have not considered the implications of such a ludicrous notion ever coming to pass. I expect this ridiculous plan will now be quietly dropped.

Cleric, Women Should Breast Feed Strange Men

February 26, 2009

I think I, and the religious scholars at al-Azhar finally agree on something. The lecturer, Dr. Izzat Atiyya, said women should breast feed men who they must work in close proximity to, alone. This makes the man a part of her family according to the Shariah (specifically a Hadith). Read the article here.

Choice excerpts to titillate you. (Oh yeah, a pun):

Dr. Izzat Atiyya explained his fatwa in an interview with Al-Watani Al-Yawm, the weekly of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Front party. He said: “The religious ruling that appears in the Prophet’s conduct [Sunna] confirms that breastfeeding allows a man and a woman to be together in private, even if they are not family and if the woman did not nurse the man in his infancy, before he was weaned – providing that their being together serves some purpose, religious or secular…

 

Dr. Atiyya further explained that the breastfeeding does not necessarily have to be done by the woman herself. “The important point,” he said, “is that the man and the woman must be related through breastfeeding. [This can also be achieved] by means of the man’s mother or sister suckling the woman, or by means of the woman’s mother or sister suckling the man, since [all of these solutions legally] turn them into brother and sister…

Got it. So I can motorboat some woman at my office. Perfect, loved the fatwa.

Obama Allocates Funds for Combat Ops

February 26, 2009

President Obama is attempting to get $75.5 billion more for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of the fiscal year. Change will come next year I suppose. Politics, little ever changes.

*****************************************************

b. 25 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama will seek $75.5 billion more for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of this fiscal year, according to three people familiar with the request.

It will be submitted along with the fiscal 2010 budget Obama sends to Congress tomorrow. That proposal will request $130 billion for the wars in fiscal 2010 in addition to a total Defense Department budget of about $534 billion, the people said.

The amounts for the wars are less than Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked for and in keeping with expectations that the president plans a major reduction of the 142,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq.

The extra funding for fiscal 2009, which ends Sept. 30, includes money for adding 17,000 troops to the U.S. force of 38,000 in Afghanistan.

Gates in December said he would need $69.7 billion more this year, not counting the cost of adding troops in Afghanistan. On Feb. 3, he told the White House he would need as much as $83 billion. Obama announced the troop increase two weeks later.

The $130 billion requested for the conflicts in fiscal 2010 is at the low range of the Pentagon’s request for $130 billion to $140 billion.

Congress already has approved $65.9 billion in emergency wartime spending for fiscal 2009.

Lower War Spending

The latest request would bring the total to about $141.4 billion, the lowest amount for war spending since fiscal 2006 when Congress approved $121.5 billion. Congress approved $171 billion for fiscal 2007 and $187 billion for fiscal 2008. That was the highest level since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Navy Commander Darryn James, a Pentagon spokesman, said “it would be inappropriate to comment” on the budget prior to its release.

The $534 billion Pentagon annual budget represents a 4 percent increase over the $513.3 billion approved this fiscal year, or a 2 percent inflation-adjusted increase, said an analyst.

“The outgoing Bush Administration defense plan projected essentially flat defense budgets for the next few years, apart from war-related costs,” said Stephen Daggett, a defense budget analyst for the non-partisan Congressional Research Service.

“The Obama administration’s plan for fiscal 2010 on its face doesn’t seem to change that, at least for the next year,” he said. “The total amount is bit higher, but that could reflect paying for some ongoing war costs in the base budget rather than putting them into the separate request for war funding,” he said.

“There are also always changes in overall inflation or in fuel costs which affect whether there is a real increase or decrease in purchasing power,” Daggett said. “So there may be some small net difference, but apparently not anything very substantial.”

Octomom Offered Porn Deal

February 26, 2009

Octomom, aka Nadya Suleman, (the one who had 8 babies) has been offered one million dollars to put down the turkey baster and do pornographic films.

My sole comment:

Hot dog through a barn door

****************************************************

Nadya “OctoMom” Suleman has been offered $1 million to make a pornographic movie by Vivid Entertainment.

The deal also includes health insurance for Suleman’s swollen family.

“Nadya obviously needs income to assure that her children are secure so we are offering her up to $1 million to act in one movie,” said Steven Hirsch, co-chairman of Vivid. “We’ve had many single mothers work with us over the years and their income from Vivid has been very helpful to them. We would schedule production so that the movie could be shot in less than a week.”

A Vivid spokesman said they hope she receives the offer in the mail today.

The story was first reported on TMZ.com, where they had a copy of the letter Vivid sent to Suleman.

In the letter, Hirsch points out that OctoMom would join the Vivid-Celeb imprint line, which has featured stars such as Pam Anderson, Kim Kardashian and former Miss USA and NBC daytime star Kelly McCarty.

Suleman’s octuplets, born on Jan 26. boosted her brood to 14, as she had six children already.

In case anyone was thinking that someone with that many children wouldn’t make a good porn star, keep in mind her numerous kids were all fathered through artificial insemination and delivered through C-section. We’re just saying.

The Archbishop of Canterbury loses the plot…again.

February 25, 2009

By Styrer

He’s up to his old tricks.

One year ago the Archbishop fucked up royally by publicly stating that Shariah law was inevitable in Britain and there was growing support for its introduction in the UK.

Shariah is the full body of Islamic law and is about as misogynistic, homophobic, unfair, cruel and anti-reason as any set of ‘laws’ could possibly be. Political Islam revels in each moment where it thinks it has succeeded in moving another step forward in prosecuting its war against the infidel, and so Williams’ utterly batshit crazy public announcement was music to every Islamist’s ears.

Trounced in the press, ridiculed in nearly all quarters, the fellow should have been quietly taken off to a place for some, shall we say, peace and quiet, and that should have been an end to it.

But nope. This maniacally hell-bent multiculturalist is back again in the media, pontificating that he was right all along and that it is abundantly clear that there is increasing public demand for Shariah in the UK, despite there being absolutely no evidence in favour of his assertion whatsoever.

So what’s really going on with this peculiar fellow?

He studied at both Oxford and Cambridge, and so is no intellectual slouch. Perhaps he really has lost his mind, though it seems unlikely. Perhaps it is the case that, with huge downturns in Church of England ovine membership, any faith at all is more worthy of support than none, simply to keep alive at whatever cost a theistic rather than a secular attitude to life. The worst possibility is that he genuinely thinks that he is right. The creeping dhimmitude his bizarre support for Shariah represents is extremely dangerous, not only because it gives encouragement for additions to be made to the already five Shariah courts known to be in operation in the UK, but also because of the succour it grants to every Islamist whose end game ambitions are to see Western civilization brought to its knees under the absolute control of the House of Islam.

Shame on him. It’s high time that superstitious supernaturalist muppets like Williams be ignored and marginalised away from the public eye when it comes to all matters which are not explicitly concerned with some arcane theological hair-splitting. Let him carry on with the latter to his heart’s content, but he should not be permitted to have any further media attention in his official clerical position for any of his utterly dippy and dangerous political ideas ever again.

Spirit Seekers

February 25, 2009

By Jonathan Ward
 
Every so often I come across a story about the supernatural that really makes me think. Not because I’m overwhelmed by the powerful evidence in favour of the existence of ghosts, but rather that I find it so hard to believe how desperately people can want to believe in something so patently ridiculous.This story is a prime example.
 
Apparently a courthouse in Arkansas is haunted. But never fear, since the brave men and women of the Spirit Seekers Paranormal Investigation Research and Intervention Team (SSPIRIT for short, although I imagine they drop the S) are on the case. But let’s find out more about the courthouse of horrors.

 
According to local lore in this 531-population town near the Mississippi River, a man who lost money gambling burned a string of hotels. He was convicted and ordered hung on the courthouse steps in the early 1900s. Shortly before his death, he declared his innocence and cursed the clock atop the courthouse, saying it would never work properly again.

 
As curses go, this one isn’t tremendously impressive. A man is facing death, and rather than swearing vengeance on the judge and jury he opts for cursing…..a clock. Hardly the stuff of Stephen King.

 
Some say the clock stopped immediately after the man died.

 
Well they would say that, since it isn’t so impressive when the clock stops forty or so years later, or whenever it actually stopped. I wonder if any of those who say this are actual witnesses from the 1900s? It’s highly doubtful. That leaves word of mouth, and we all know how reliable that is.
 

McElroy, the county judge since 1993, said the clock has never worked properly. Sometimes it jumps forward, sometimes back. Sometimes the long hand reads the hour and the short hand reads the minutes. The bell often malfunctions.

 
Here’s a crazy idea. Get someone to fix it.

Asked if she thinks the courthouse is haunted, Brown said, “Let me put it this way: There is some reason why that clock won’t work, and nobody knows why.

 
So they haven’t tried to get someone to fix it. But why would they? The repairman would probably find a prosaic explanation like rusted cogs, when a haunting is far more interesting, isn’t it?
 
Let’s find out more about SSPIRIT. What methods do they use for investigating the supernatural?
 

Holding a thin dowsing rod in each hand, Duvall told the ghost with whom she said she hoped to communicate to cross the rods if the answer is no, open them if the answer is yes.
“What is your name? Is your name Willard?” she asked. “Is your name Ben? Is your name Mark? Are you a female?”
“No, so you’re a male. OK,” Duvall continued. “Are you here because you were sentenced? Were you sentenced to 20 years? Life? Did you win your case?”

 
That’s right. The woman is using dowsing rods to talk to ghosts. This sounds like a really professional outfit. For those who don’t know, dowsing rods have been traditionally used to find water (although they don’t work). Quite how they’re supposed to help communicate with ghosts is a mystery to me.
 
Results weren’t promising, however:

 

Alan Lowe, co-founder of Spirit Seekers, said preliminary reports Saturday night showed little spiritual activity.
“We’ve heard some mumbling and footsteps and we saw some orbs on the video, although most of the orbs [balls of light] are nothing,” Lowe said. “Just from what we’ve seen preliminarily, I’d say there’s something paranormal going on in the courthouse and the church, but it’s not really grabbing you in the face.”

 
I would have thought avoiding being grabbed in the face would be exactly what a ghost investigator would want. But read the words. There’s something going on, but it’s really subtle. How convenient. But Lowe himself is no stranger to the supernatural:
 

Lowe founded Spirit Seekers after being convinced his own home in Roland is haunted. He said his wife asked him one night to sit on the couch silently and listen to an elderly couple, apparently spirits from another generation, argue with each other.
“The argument was as plain as day,” Lowe said. “I didn’t believe her at first but now I’m convinced”.

 
Hmm. Supernatural argument, or the neighbours’ TV on too loud? That’s a tough one.
 
But don’t worry, objectivity is important to SSPIRIT. 
 

“You don’t want to put trash out there, because if you do you lose your credibility,” Hall said. “We are cautious. We don’t just throw a bunch of junk out there. Everything we see, we don’t just say, ‘that’s a ghost.'”

 
No. But read what they actually do:

His recording sounded like this:
“If you want us to leave, make a noise,” Hall said, pausing for a response.
“If I don’t hear a noise I assume you want us to stay because you like us here,” he continued. “Great, I’m glad you want us to stay.”

 
So, hearing a noise proves that there are ghosts. Hearing nothing proves that there are ghosts. Sounds really objective, doesn’t it? These people have a vested interest in finding “evidence” of the supernatural. But maybe they have:
 

At that point, a noise sounding like two quick snaps of wind could be heard over the recording. A ghost?”

 
Hall claimed it wasn’t him. Right.