Being my first “official” submission to NPS, it may be important to explain where I am coming from. It is not my intent to provide answers. It is not my intent to decode individual experiences. It is not my intent to focus on what is right or wrong. It is my intent to leave readers with more questions. Hopefully, some will choose to research their questions.
My current perspective
As an investigator/researcher, my approach may seem contradictory. My focus is science and research but I accept that current science and technology are unlikely to provide useful data to even begin to explain paranormal events. Even though the evidence is worth consideration, I am a skeptic of evidence more than I am of the experience itself. I do believe there will eventually be widely accepted scientific explanations for many paranormal events but the popular technology and techniques currently in use are unlikely to provide these explanations. I trust my instinct and intuition more than any “paranormal data” I have collected or reviewed. From my perspective, all historical and current paranormal data have plausible scientific explanations other than being purely unexplainable paranormal in origin.
My numerous personal experiences allow me to accept that many things are not easily explained and are perhaps something from the paranormal realm. I accept that while theology and mysticism may be paranormal at their roots, they often provide some of the best explanations for paranormal events. By definition we must always remind ourselves that paranormal is simply that which lies outside of a definitive scientific explanation. At the same time, paranormal does not need scientific explanation. If it had scientific explanation, it would not be paranormal. I am, in a sense, saying that nothing is paranormal; it is just awaiting proper explanation.
So, why use science?
Grabbing a number out of thin air, I’ll estimate science has been involved with paranormal investigation, in an attempt to explain things, for at least 150 years. Have we gained a significant understanding in this time? We are still chasing noises, energy fields, odd images, and intuitive impressions. Yes, our technology to do these things has changed significantly but, are we doing anything new? Our ability to measure has become more and more precise (more finite in some cases) but, has this accuracy lead to specific solutions? More recent technology has us looking at brain waves but this is essentially a subset of energy fields. All this said I have to ask…why are we so dead set on applying science?
Regardless of our core beliefs and biases, we apply science because we have to. It is human nature to ask who, what, when, where, and why. If we ask questions and try to find answers, we are using science in its basic form (we do not need to agree on the answer to the same question). The more answers/information we collect and analyze, the more robust the science becomes. When we can verify and repeat the information over time, we begin to find theories and perhaps explanations. Notice that I do not use the word “proof”. “Proof” has been misconstrued to imply 100% fact. Some people like to use the word to shut down discussions. Proof is nothing more than compelling evidence. To insist on or to claim 100% proof is to stop asking questions. If questions are not being asked then science has been abandon. Similarly, to claim an opinion is 100% fact or simply “the way it is” is to abandon science. Question everything, nothing is absolute (yes, I am aware of the irony).