The Instigator
Darth_Grievous_42
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points
The Contender
Ragnar_Rahl
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points

Paranormal Research and Cryptozoology should be taken more seriously in the Scientific Community

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/6/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,226 times Debate No: 2448
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (8)

 

Darth_Grievous_42

Pro

First, the definitions from me:

Paranormal Research: investigation of anomalous phenomenon (unexplained events) including the study of spirits/ghosts/other.

Cryptozoology: Research on animals outside zoological catalogs. The study of "hidden animals"(wikipedia)

My stance, as explained in the title, is that these two areas of study are legitimate and should be taken into better consideration by the general scientific community. At the moment, both fields have been restricted by skeptics, and bastardized by science fiction. The general public should make more of an effort into accepting the field of study, if not the materials they are studying. By this, I mean you don't have to think bigfoot and ghosts are real to support cryptozoology and paranormal research. This means that I am not arguing for or against the existence of the topics either fields study, only for an acceptance for the fields to be legitimate.

Both fields of study are there to further human knowledge on events and beings which need explaining. They are only attempts at improvement. However the public criticizes them, saying only loonies believe such things. Such people also supported the claims that man will never fly, the world is flat, and that the sun revolves around Earth; accusing those who oppose the common view as crazies. Yet, those whom had to suffer criticism are now regarded as heroes and genius's. Is it then so impossible to think that maybe these fields of study could possibly have something to them?

Let me be clear: My opponents stance has to be that "paranormal research and cryptozoology are not legitimate scientific fields and should not be taken seriously by the public" and have evidence to show that nothing positive has ever or will ever come out of either field.
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

"
Let me be clear: My opponents stance has to be that "paranormal research and cryptozoology are not legitimate scientific fields and should not be taken seriously by the public" and have evidence to show that nothing positive has ever or will ever come out of either field.
"

That's known as the straw man fallacy. You do not get to dictate the stance of your opponents, only that your opponent has to oppose you. Your particular straw man attempts to shift the burden of proof.

"
Paranormal Research: investigation of anomalous phenomenon (unexplained events) including the study of spirits/ghosts/other.
"

This is a contradiction. A function of science is explaining. If you study an event scientifically, it is no longer fully unexplained. Also, anomalous: deviating from what is standard, normal, or expected. Science must necessarily come upon a "standard" definition of what a given event is, it must eventually come to be able to expect or predict it.

Therefore paranormal research as you have defined cannot be a science.

Plus, many supposedly " paranormal" events fall under present branches of science, different branches, requiring expertise in areas like physics or psychology. To call it a branch in itself, it would have to have nothing to do with any established scientific branch. This is not the case for any phenomena I know of.

"Cryptozoology: Research on animals outside zoological catalogs. The study of "hidden animals"(wikipedia)
"

To study a thing successfully, you would have to make it "not hidden," (i.e. observable) and it would inevitably end up in a zoological catalog. Thus, contradiction.

Also, wikipedia states for one of the branches "the search for animals that fall outside of taxonomic records due to a lack of empirical evidence, but for which anecdotal evidence exists in the form of myths, legends, or undocumented sightings,"

The trouble with this is, is that anecdotal evidence is not a part of the scientific method. Thus such a thing cannot be recognized as a legitimate scientific field.
Debate Round No. 1
Darth_Grievous_42

Pro

First off, I'm so happy you know debating terminology. You can't possibly imagine my extasy in knowing this. I happen to know some too, like attacking the straw man, which means the opponent challenges small, insignificant issues, as they cannot come up with good reasons to oppose the main point. What special little beavers we are.
I am setting forth the parameters of this debate only because of past experience, not for the want of an easy win, which I do not expect. I've found many opponents will go off on tangents, arguing more on a mis-phrased sentence or minor fallacy, rather than the main topic. Now you know what your supposed to be arguing on, the exact polar opposite of my argument. Don't think of it as a dictation, so much as a guideline. I will not touch on this further.

science: In a more restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method [the body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge], as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.

Now, tell me, how is it that PR and CZ (Paranormal Research and CryptoZoology) is not attempting to acquire new knowledge through research? How is setting up expeditions with state of the art equipment attempting to gain evidence of the supernatural and mysterious?

You claim that for something to be studied scientifically, it must no longer be fully unexplained. Well, there are explanations for many ghost events and most CZ animals. True, not fully explained, but also, not fully unexplained either.
As to anomalous, P Researchers are able to predict and expect ghost sightings based on witness accounts, in some cases gaining video evidence and EVP's (electronic voice phenomenon). With CZ, scientists are able to summarize general areas, again based on witness reports, where the animal in question could be living. They too, occasionally find evidence. In both cases, they use hypothesis, experimentation, and observation, to reach conclusions, processes which every other 'accepted' scientist does as well. They use the scientific method as well using techniques to investigate (video, sound, witness accounts), they acquire new knowledge/evidence (sound and video evidence, physical), and correct previous knowledge (this includes debunking some accounts, and also adding support for others).

You say that the fields cannot be specific scientific fields if they are integrated within other ones. Well, what you seemed to have missed is that I am not suggesting they have their own special branch, but rather the scientific community actively accept them into the appropriate field. CZ with regular zoology and PR with physics/other. Though, I don't think it impossible that they could not be deserving of their own branch, but that is not my proposition. Your point is void.

Your specific argument on CZ is that the animals must be not hidden, and absolutely identifiable in a zoological catalogue for the research of mysterious animals to be a viable form of research. You don't see the contradiction in that definition? Their goal is to prove that these species exist. The difference between them and regular zoologist who find new species is that RZ's have physical evidence. Before they got that, every creature that is now accepted as 'real' was as vague and mysterious as bigfoot or jackalope. Once a specimen, whether dead or alive, is found they will be accepted as 'real' researchers. However, no scientific proof has EVER been discovered without a discovery process, which is exactly what CZ's are doing. Anecdotal evidence also cannot be tossed out, as it is still evidence, just as personal accounts of wars, crimes, and tragedies are. They've proved to be helpful in the past in scientific fields in advancing their knowledge such as medicine, archeology, and physics. Thus, it falls under "a body of techniques for investigating phenomena", which as I've said, IS apart of the scientific method.

You have still failed to show that CZ and PR do not have some basis in science. They follow scientific protocol, using the scientific method, to come up with scientific evidence/proof. So explain to me again how this is not science?
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

"In a more restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method [the body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge], as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.
"

You left out the two most important elements- experimentation and repeatability.

"
Now, tell me, how is it that PR and CZ (Paranormal Research and CryptoZoology) is not attempting to acquire new knowledge through research? How is setting up expeditions with state of the art equipment attempting to gain evidence of the supernatural and mysterious?
"
Can this state of the art equipment be made by anyone else? What equipment is it? Specify.

"
You claim that for something to be studied scientifically, it must no longer be fully unexplained. Well, there are explanations for many ghost events and most CZ animals. True, not fully explained, but also, not fully unexplained either."

Then the field contradicts its definition.

"As to anomalous, P Researchers are able to predict and expect ghost sightings based on witness accounts"
Can they? show me the evidence.

"in some cases gaining video evidence and EVP's (electronic voice phenomenon)."

What's EVP? Show me the video evidence of ghosts. Show me that it hasn't been tampered with. :D.

"With CZ, scientists are able to summarize general areas, again based on witness reports, where the animal in question could be living."

Witness reports: e.g. anecdotal evidence, e.g. not science.

"They too, occasionally find evidence."
Show it off :D.

"In both cases, they use hypothesis, experimentation, and observation, to reach conclusions, processes which every other 'accepted' scientist does as well."

Show them doing so.

"Well, what you seemed to have missed is that I am not suggesting they have their own special branch, but rather the scientific community actively accept them into the appropriate field. CZ with regular zoology and PR with physics/other."

I am not an expert on CZ, but psychologists already investigate ESP, physicists investigate various accounts of will o' the wisps, etc. That is taking it as seriously as it needs to. your claim is that it needs to be taken MORE seriously, which, if you are not arguing for the necessity of a separate branch, would require that the scientists find some evidence worthy of further investigation.

"Your specific argument on CZ is that the animals must be not hidden, and absolutely identifiable in a zoological catalogue for the research of mysterious animals to be a viable form of research."

No, I'm saying that they must not be hidden, and that research would lead to their place being in a zoological catalogue if they exist.

You cannot research something that is hidden from you.

"Their goal is to prove that these species exist."
You can't do that if they are hidden from you :D. You cannot research something until you find it.

"Anecdotal evidence also cannot be tossed out, as it is still evidence, just as personal accounts of wars, crimes, and tragedies are."
Anecdotal evidence is not a part of science, it is outside of science. History, not being precisely a science, may use such matters as it wishes, but the scientific method does not make recognition of anecdotes.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

"
You have still failed to show that CZ and PR do not have some basis in science."
Shifting the burden of proof. :D
Debate Round No. 2
Darth_Grievous_42

Pro

CZ and PR both use experimentation (a set of observations performed in the context of solving a particular problem or question, to retain or falsify a hypothesis or research concerning phenomena) in very practical senses. Both fields set out to confirm and in some cases deny the existence of their subjects. You said to give you examples of where people are specifically going out and doing research. For PR, the best team would be TAPS, as seen on the Sci-Fi channel's Ghost Hunters, who were doing this work before the show caught on, and are internationally renowned for their research. They use night vision cameras for video evidence, recorders for EVP's (which as I clearly said before, stand for Electronic Voice Phenomenon), thermometers for temperature reading, etc in their research, all of which anyone can buy and use. They refrain from using 'magical" tools like rods, wegi boards, saionses, etc and instead use only recognizable and legitimate tools. There, specified.

http://www.the-atlantic-paranormal-society.com...
http://www.angelsghosts.com...
http://youtube.com...
http://youtube.com...
and just for fun
http://youtube.com...

This is their website, you can do your own investigation into their working, though I assure you it is in no way tampered with. In many shows they come up with nothing, and any show that just trying to get ratings would have a remarkable find every time.

For CZ there are several teams going out into the world attempting to find concrete proof of the beasts. There is not just 1 good team I can give out but good old wikipedia has some sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.cryptozoology.com...

Here is some, but not all the sources I'm sure are out there. I believe you are capable of doing some of your own research here.... :D ...
Evidence where previously believed to be false animals have been found to be real are as follows:
The coelacanth, believed to have been dead for millions of years was found to be alive
http://en.wikipedia.org...
The megamouth shark, believed by many to be a total fraud was documented and found to be real by "legit" scientists
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Further evidence you can find on your own, for now, these will suffice. You can find evidence of creature study on your own time, and plenty is out there. Many expeditions are documented on the discovery, history, and science channels as well as A&E. It is all a work in progress, so there is not 100% concrete evidence of many cryptids, though there is enough so that legitimate research can be done on them. So while they can't be catalogued yet, there is enough proof so that they cannot be written of the 'maybe' s', and this alone makes it more imperative that research be done. However, because the scientific community does not support or look well upon CZ or PR, research is hindered. This means that there is plenty of hard evidence that could be found, but is hindered simply because of scorn. Esteemed professors at places like MIT, who believe in things like bigfoot, must do their research in private time so they do not get looked down upon by colleagues. This is what I mean by the scientific community needs to take it more seriously. They must start accepting them as legitimate branches of science, rather than babblings of lunatic, regardless of whether they are granted specific scientific fields. You say one cannot research something until they find it. DOes this make the study for the cures of AIDS and cancer illegitimate, simply because they have no concrete results? Is the experimentation of better fuels null because they haven't found one that can forever replace oil? Absolutely not, so why is it that these fields are segregated? They could hold evidence key to the betterment of mankind.

Anecdotal evidence is evidence, and may not work as direct scientific proof, but has always been a factor in science. It provokes science to get to work, and builds upon the documented or otherwise observations of civilians. Thus, though it may not be direct scientific proof, it still has a hold over it, and is therefore perfectly viable.

SO far you have given NO EVIDENCE why either field should not be taken into serious consideration by the scientific community, rather you've only made me back my arguments up. Shifting the burden of proof is a fallacy used only because one cannot actually make any rebuttal, but would rather attempt his opponent to disprove himself. Well, I have backed everything up. You have not. I will remind the audience that the determination of voting is on who made the better argument, not which side you like. As of yet, my opponent has FAILED to refute any of my evidence, and as his own request, I have only strengthened my point. He has only attempted to point on minor contradictions and holes, all of which I have explained and given evidence toward. Once again, I say:
YOU HAVE FAILED TO SHOW EVIDENCE OF WHY CRYPTOZOOLOGY AND PARANORMAL RESEARCH DO NOT HAVE SOME BASIS IN SCIENCE.
Until you give some actual reasoning OF YOUR OWN, it would appear I have won.
Darth_Grievous_42 out.
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

"http://www.angelsghosts.com...;

Right, hear some wierd sounds, assume it must be a ghost. Great science...

*looks at one of the youtubes (the rest I can't access at the moment), sees nothing but a door opening, not even far enough to see whether someone is behind it at an angle. right, great science, phenomenal even.

Yes, there are search teams for the loch ness monster, bigfoot, etc.. But they've been looking for CENTURIES and come up with nothing. Can you name another bit of science that has so much investment, fails, and then asks for more? If we found the loch ness monster, would it have such value as to justify the degree of effort here? We're talking about a lot of money here, as well as many people dedicating their lives to this goose chase. So there's your evidence, the CZ researcher's failure provides me with it. The megamouth shark or colecanth successes you speak of? What do they achieve that justifies the investment in the fields? There's no fishing industry for them... :D

"
SO far you have given NO EVIDENCE why either field should not be taken into serious consideration by the scientific community, rather you've only made me back my arguments up."

It's unnecessary for me to give evidence (other than the obvious rate of return issues above) until you come up with something that isn't full of problems.

"You have not. I will remind the audience that the determination of voting is on who made the better argument, not which side you like."
Can you provide the evidence for this? (:D)

"As of yet, my opponent has FAILED to refute any of my evidence, and as his own request, I have only strengthened my point"

You can't refute that which is not there. Evidence that is not evidence is not a strength, and a few easily manipulatable internet videos and sounds, unbacked by any organization I've ever heard of, that even if accepted at face value provide nothing to indicate they are what they claim to be, is not evidence even if you were speaking of a passing curiousity rather than a scientific endeavour expecting the full load of millions of dollars necessary (that's part of being "taken seriously" after all) to achieve (what exactly? A bigfoot or nesssie hunting industry? Or is there some value to finding ghosts 'm not aware of?)

Last I checked I can open doors and make spooky noises without the help of ghosts, I don't know why people expect youtube and the rest of the internet to be otherwise.

"He has only attempted to point on minor contradictions "
There is no such thing as a "minor" contradiction. An argument that contradcts itself is ipso facto invalid.

The scientific community should not deceive people into thinking these fields have anything to offer that is worth "taking seriously." The results would be a number of bad investments. There is no evidence that there would be any return on much of that investment, and for that which there is a bit (the megasharks and whatnot) it is not a return that matches the value of keeping the investment. If you do not hold that people should invest in these, "taken seriously" becomes meaningless.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"I once read that using the latin terminology for logical fallacies makes you look like an expert on the subject (in the eyes of the audience). :D"

Why bother?

I just use whichever term, english or latin, comes to mind :D.
Posted by Logical-Master 9 years ago
Logical-Master
I once read that using the latin terminology for logical fallacies makes you look like an expert on the subject (in the eyes of the audience). :D
Posted by Logical-Master 9 years ago
Logical-Master
Eh, (in a way) somtimes . . . and that's when I know my opponent won't call me out. =D

I wasn't being antagonistic though.
Posted by Darth_Grievous_42 9 years ago
Darth_Grievous_42
Logical Master - I've read some of your debates, and you do the same thing. Don't get hypocritical on me. Read 2nd round, 2nd paragraph for my reasoning.

JustCallMeTarzan - Ah yes, the misguided self assured postulating of skeptics - a cultural disease, as history shows. Disbelief and close mindedness have no place in judging science at all. They belong in the field of anti-progress and general ignorance.
Posted by Logical-Master 9 years ago
Logical-Master
Darth Grievous, if you want your opponent to argue from a particular stance that you are prepared to argue against, the best method is to list your position as con and reword your resolution in according (not absolutely effective, although it does increase your chances).
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 9 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Ah yes - the ramblings of pseudoscience - a cultural pathogen, as I believe your Wikipedia article references. ESP and cryptozoology have no place in hard science. They belong in the field of superstition or hypothetics.

Also - it's impossible to show that nothing positive will ever come out of either of these fields... how would one present evidence of the future? It may be highly likely that it's TRUE nothing positive will ever come from these studies, but it's impossible to provide evidence for it.
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by lorca 8 years ago
lorca
Darth_Grievous_42Ragnar_RahlTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by FalseReality 9 years ago
FalseReality
Darth_Grievous_42Ragnar_RahlTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Mangani 9 years ago
Mangani
Darth_Grievous_42Ragnar_RahlTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Darth_Grievous_42 9 years ago
Darth_Grievous_42
Darth_Grievous_42Ragnar_RahlTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Idontcare 9 years ago
Idontcare
Darth_Grievous_42Ragnar_RahlTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Logical-Master 9 years ago
Logical-Master
Darth_Grievous_42Ragnar_RahlTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by blond_guy 9 years ago
blond_guy
Darth_Grievous_42Ragnar_RahlTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Darth_Grievous_42Ragnar_RahlTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03