So, WTF? Why The Fuss about science? Why question evidence and ask investigators explain their results and conclusions? Why should everyone watch COSMOS? (Non-paid plug)

Why The Fuss about science?

At this point, science may be the only thing saving this community from the disinformation of the currently popular television shows. Without science our investigations become little more than entertainment. This discussion will not go into detailed scientific method. However, a handful of basics are important. No investigation can adhere to proper scientific method. No single bit of evidence is proof of anything. Situational association is not proof. Interpretation, opinion, beliefs, feelings, none of these are proof of anything. The use of some form of technology during an investigation is not required. At its core, science is observation, record of observation, comparison of observations. No, I’m not suggesting we ask for scientific proof. Asking for proof is a cop out; meant only to stop discussion. Science does not ask for proof. Science asks for information and explanation.

When a client is seeking answers, we owe them more than an opportunity to watch us play with toys in the dark. We owe them the answers they seek. We owe them science. We may offer them our opinion but, we best have some science to support our opinion. We owe our client explanations they may not be considering. We owe them peace of mind apart from any preconceived notions culture and media have trained them to believe. We do not owe them images of ghostly faces peeking through windows. We do not owe them video of orbs drifting about their property. We do not owe them our interpretation of recorded “voices”. Yes, we do owe them evidence but, we owe them alternate explanations for this evidence. We do not owe them proof of a visiting dead relative. We do not owe them solutions to family events or property history we are only vaguely aware of. Associating a single bit of evidence with previous events is pure speculation.

Granted, many clients are looking for baseless evidence and claims for reasons other than peace of mind. None the less, if we are to be taken seriously, we owe them nothing other than alternate explanations for events they wish to confirm. Simple confirmation of their personal experience with accounts of your own personal experience serve nothing but ego.

We need science to help know when it is best to walk away from a dangerous situation. Rather than stepping through the door for the thrill of the next investigation, listen closely to client then research the location and claims. Subtle clues as well as public reports may hint at something less desirable…family violence, noxious environments, etc.

Why question evidence and ask investigators to explain their results and conclusions?

This is what science is best at. We are responsible to teach one another which methods seem to bring results (be it intriguing evidence in support or plausible evidence to the contrary). We need to know why something might be beyond science as well as why science seems to explain it. Some will shout “Where’s the unity?” Unity does imply agreement, it only suggests working together to bring respect to the community. As a community, we can no longer take evidence at face value. Technology allows fraudulent evidence to be produced far too easily. Similarly, people are so anxious to have some level of notoriety, they will present the slightest anomaly as evidence without sufficient research of their own. Inversely, those presenting scientific data are often blind to the flaws in their method or research. As a community, it is more important for us to listen to those who disagree than those who agree. If we all agree, we will learn nothing.

There are, unfortunately, science extremists in the community. Oddly, all I have encountered hide behind their own hypocrisy. This group of people is damaging the community as much as their counterpart. These are the folks who accept no explanation other than science “fact”, and will in turn refuse to share their own data or “poof” to support any of their own claim.

So WTF? Why The Fuss about science? Because this community needs more than a shoulder to lean on and more than the warm fuzzy presented by belief and faith. We need to combat the wealth of disinformation the media is instilling in the public. We need to set ourselves apart from the sensationalism in the television shows and the news headlines. We should be telling our clients what we find and how it could be explained within science. Regardless of our personal impressions, we should not be telling clients how we felt while at their location. We should not be suggesting or implying anything of an unseen nature is lurking about.

Why should everyone watch COSMOS? (Non-paid plug) Because knowledge is good whether you agree with the subject or not.

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
Paranormal: Somewhat cliché but, my experiences began at a young age though I don’t recall making the “paranormal” association until the age of 9 when my grandmother died and returned for a visit. Through the years, I have given many phenomena more attention; from subtle dream images to apparent physical contact from “unseen” sources. I have been involved in independent research/study and investigation for about 30 years and began using some equipment about 20 years ago. I have been working with the Colorado based TEPI team since 2010. As a science oriented investigator, I am a bit of a contradiction. I believe the experience more so than the evidence. Simply because there can be many plausible explanations for most evidence. The experience on the other hand, can sometimes be very complex and difficult to explain easily. Professional: I have a Master of Science degree that essentially qualifies me to manage a multi-discipline team in their efforts to accomplish technical activities. (If I say more the MIB might show up.) My engineering background is primarily electronics but includes mechanical, astrophysics, and some aspects of thermal, optical, and audio. Previous careers were medical including paramedics and medical device technology (design, manufacturing, and training medical staff). I also dabbled heavily in photography before the wide spread use of digital imaging. Ideological: I was raised Presbyterian but allowed to find my own path. I studied Zen for a short time and explored many other faiths. In my late teens I attended a seminar on the subject of Quantum Physics and how it relates to our mind and consciousness; this was the turning point in my belief system. I did not become a scientific skeptic, I simply began to view nearly everything differently. I removed definitions I had learned and replaced them with relationships to my personal experiences and observations. Things once clearly defined as paranormal now had a plausible spin to them. Personal: In my spare time I write dark music, dark poetry, and horror/science fiction stories.
Rob Hillstrom

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