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Lower Learning

There is a new science being taught at college level educational facilities here in Connecticut. Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, Connecticut is offering what they are calling a “Ghost Science” class. This could perhaps be the most oxymoronic title I have ever encountered in all my years of skepticism.

Ghost related courses and studies are not entirely new to college campuses. There are numerous continuing education programs that offer courses in all sorts of paranormal and pseudoscientific garbage. Next time you get one of those local continuing education brochures in your mail, flip through it and I am sure you will find at least one example.

However, this is the first time that I have ever encountered the notion of ghosts being taught specifically as a science. Here is the official course description:

Have you ever wanted to know the science behind paranormal investigation? Let an experienced paranormal researcher tell you about the types of haunting and how they are investigated! From demons to poltergeists, you’ll learn the types of spirits commonly encountered and the means by which they are detected.

Skeptics, for as long as skepticism has been around, have yearned to be shown the science of the paranormal. We have begged, pleaded, and offered our assistance in perpetuity to paranormal researchers to apply real science to their trades. But there is a fundamental problem for the researchers: when you apply real science to the paranormal, all paranormal activity disappears. Oh no! That spells certain doom for the paranormal business, so paranormal researchers tend to stay clear of real science for obvious reasons.

In place of actual science, they offer their own brand of science. They have tools, techniques, and theories that do not meet the rigors and structures of actual science. In fact, their whole model is anti-scientific in that they start with conclusions (ghosts, demons, and poltergeists exist) and work backwards to try and create an environment in which their conclusions could possibly exist. It is the antithesis of science.

The course description continues …

Have you ever wanted to be able to identify or hunt for ghosts? Seasoned paranormal investigator David Manch (Author of the book THERE ARE GHOSTS IN OUR WORLD) will show you the difference between demons and poltergeists, and how to investigate the paranormal for yourself. David will discuss the types of haunting, where they occur, and what causes them. You’ll learn how to distinguish fakes from phantoms, and hear some of the astonishing EVP’s (voices from beyond the grave) captured during actual paranormal investigations.

Ok, so … where is the science? The title of this course is ‘Ghost Science’, and all we have is a dubious individual who wrote a book based on a wholly anti-scientific conclusion. They do say that we’ll hear some EVP’s (which stands for electronic voice phenomenon – I suppose it was too much work to write that out) which they claim to be ‘voices beyond the grave’. I can’t wait to taught the science behind that claim!

I called the college and asked them some questions concerning this course. The good news is that this is just a continuing education course, and there is no credit given to any students attending. None of the college’s actual courses that are covered by tuition are encouraging the students to attend for extra credit or anything else that could possibly impact a student’s grade.

The bad news is that the folks at New England Paranormal submitted their description of this course, title and all, and the college accepted it with no qualms. It turns out that although this is the first ‘ghost’ course they have ever offered, they regularly have local psychics come in to teach continuing ed courses on all of the nonsense that psychics peddle, such as tarot cards and seances. The bottom line here is that if it tickles the fancy of the folks at Asnuntuck Community College, they gladly lend their name and reputation to allow the woo crowd to move in and ply their pseudoscientific trades.

I am considering taking the ‘Ghost Science’ class so that there can be at least one skeptic there to offer some real scientific perspective to all of the anti-scientific concepts they will propose. I hate the idea of lining their coffers with my money, but it could be a very worthwhile experience. If anyone in the area wishes to join me, drop me a line so we can coordinate our efforts. (March 30th is the date.)

6 comments to Lower Learning

  • Jim Shaver

    You go, Evan!

    Suggestion: If you wear a T-Shirt to this “class” that says “Yeah, I’m a closed-minded debunker”, the ghosties might not know what else to say when they point their fingers at you.

  • - Attend a ‘Ghost Science’ course with Evan

    Yet another item added to the “Why I should move to CT” list.

  • domini1018

    How timely. I’m planning on attending Columbus State Community College in the fall to study medical laboratory technology, and I recently saw in their catalog that they offer a certificate…(A CERTIFICATE!)…in pranic healing. It’s listed under their nursing classes. (http://www.cscc.edu/nursing/certificates.htm)I was hugely disappointed to see this and have been wondering what, if anything, I should do about it.

  • springer.adam

    I wonder if they’ll have some ectoplasm they can sell me!?

  • DLC

    Ooh, I wonder if they’ll include a section on photographing dust motes err um I mean spirit orbs ?
    Seriously though — I do wish they would have had a class on the psychology of why people have these so-called paranormal experiences.
    The conditions under which they see or hear or experience such things, the hidden or un-remembered suggestion that something will be seen, heard or experienced. That would be an interesting and worthwhile class to have.

  • Hey Ev, did you notice the opinion poll at the bottom of NEP’s homepage? Just to be a cynical narrow-minded naysayer I clicked on the option “NDEs are a purely naturalistic phenomenon, and are the result of neurobiological mechanisms.” Ooh, I’m just so bad.

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