5 Ways Science Ruins Your Halloween

5 Ways Science Ruins Your Halloween

Here are five horror tropes that science disproves.

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reality has a way of ruining lots of things

Rhykker:
If a ghost passes through an object, then it can exert no force on it, and thus cannot manipulate it.

What if it works like a non-Newtonian fluid? Anything can move slowly through them, but fast movement causes them to act like a solid. If ghosts were real, why couldn't they be able to slowly walk through a door, then knock over a vase with a quick swing of their arm?

"The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom."
Isaac Asimov

In my opinion we are racing towards a new era of religion, spirituality and superstition. As science advances beyond the understanding of the vast majority of citizens who fund it (let alone 3rd world populations), another quote becomes more relevant. Clarke's 3rd law.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"

That's about where we are at right now. Most people could deal with the ideas of space flight and vaccinations, but as we discover more about quantum physics, genetics and advanced biology and realise we basically have to abandon notions of human purity and endless life on earth. Science may as well be magic for all the difference it makes to people.

So I don't think it matters that much to people whether the thing they believe in or draw entertainment from is real or not. So much of science is unreal to them that the line is being blurred every day and people care less and less. Halloween was never that big in Australia, the last few years its just exploded, hell we are having a Halloween party and that's something I never thought Id say, but the kids love it so.... whatever..

For the believer no evidence is required, for the unbeliever no evidence is enough.

Science, ruining everything since 1543

Agreed on all points but the final. Monsters.

Depends on which type of "monster" or monster-mythos we're speaking of. The possibility of such creatures existing, and more importantly, posing a threat to humans, isn't beyond the realm of possibility.

There are, of course, a lot of mitigating circumstances that would come into play. Just as there is the far more important question of the longevity of the threat, once the creature or creatures come onto the scene. But there's still that (slim) possibility.

ritchards:
Science, ruining everything since 1543

Cheer up. We haven't even explored one planet out of the entire universe yet. It's far too early for people to be claiming complete certainty on anything. Besides, science gets proven wrong all the time, usually by better science. So it's possible someone will invent a device and go "holy crap, ghosts are real, put it in the book".

Nimzabaat:

ritchards:
Science, ruining everything since 1543

Cheer up. We haven't even explored one planet out of the entire universe yet. It's far too early for people to be claiming complete certainty on anything. Besides, science gets proven wrong all the time, usually by better science. So it's possible someone will invent a device and go "holy crap, ghosts are real, put it in the book".

I'd love to see something impossible show up, something that leaves sufficient evidence of its occurrence for the skeptically minded but doesn't lend itself to complete understanding. The best example I could draw on would be the event that creates "The Zone" in the book Roadside Picnic. Of course, that example would involve the deaths of multiple thousands of people, so perhaps "love to see" isn't the best choice of words.

Drake Barrow:

Nimzabaat:

ritchards:
Science, ruining everything since 1543

Cheer up. We haven't even explored one planet out of the entire universe yet. It's far too early for people to be claiming complete certainty on anything. Besides, science gets proven wrong all the time, usually by better science. So it's possible someone will invent a device and go "holy crap, ghosts are real, put it in the book".

I'd love to see something impossible show up, something that leaves sufficient evidence of its occurrence for the skeptically minded but doesn't lend itself to complete understanding. The best example I could draw on would be the event that creates "The Zone" in the book Roadside Picnic. Of course, that example would involve the deaths of multiple thousands of people, so perhaps "love to see" isn't the best choice of words.

Get out of here STALKEaRa, this is mah arteefacta. If ever a zone popped up I would take a few years of hardcore military and survival training just to be able to enter one and expect to survive. My only real fear would be snorks, those guys are dicks. Oh wait, we are talking about the 1978 novel. I would personally prefer the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. one as it is supernatural yet not scientifically unlearnable, even if you have to create new laws to understand how everything works.

P.S. Goddamn, motherf!cking auto playing adds! ARGH!!! How many damn times do I need to refresh before they go away?! I am at my wits end here and it does not matter how many times I email the staff because there is always a new one to replace the previous one.

ARGH!!!

What about The Walking Dead type zombies?
First off, there isn't an explanation for what causes zombie-ism in that universe, everyone who dies simply comes back.
What if that's cause by some sort of parasite that's been secretly infecting people over generations, and just suddenly activates? Being inside the host body, they could repurpose human systems to create a binding agent that slows down the deterioration of the body while strengthening the tissues in the brain in order to keep piloting us for as long as possible.

chikusho:
What about The Walking Dead type zombies?
First off, there isn't an explanation for what causes zombie-ism in that universe, everyone who dies simply comes back.
What if that's cause by some sort of parasite that's been secretly infecting people over generations, and just suddenly activates? Being inside the host body, they could repurpose human systems to create a binding agent that slows down the deterioration of the body while strengthening the tissues in the brain in order to keep piloting us for as long as possible.

If everyone had it then it wouldn't go undetected. Scientific research into our own bodies with ever more powerful tools is still ongoing after all.

CAPTCHA: garlic, yum

No it isn't captcha. It tastes badly!

Drake Barrow:

Nimzabaat:

ritchards:
Science, ruining everything since 1543

Cheer up. We haven't even explored one planet out of the entire universe yet. It's far too early for people to be claiming complete certainty on anything. Besides, science gets proven wrong all the time, usually by better science. So it's possible someone will invent a device and go "holy crap, ghosts are real, put it in the book".

I'd love to see something impossible show up, something that leaves sufficient evidence of its occurrence for the skeptically minded but doesn't lend itself to complete understanding. The best example I could draw on would be the event that creates "The Zone" in the book Roadside Picnic. Of course, that example would involve the deaths of multiple thousands of people, so perhaps "love to see" isn't the best choice of words.

Well at the risk of being anecdotal, one of my friends lost all sensation in his body. It lasted only a couple of weeks and while he was hospitalized, all the doctors could determine was that he couldn't feel anything. They even burnt him just to be sure he wasn't faking. It was a medical mystery that was never solved.

As for personally witnessing something that science considers impossible... I think the key is to keep an open mind. Not open to the point of "Jesus appeared in mah toast!", but not immediately skeptical either. Personally i'd love to have the time/money to go around checking out unexplained phenomena, just in case there was that one experience that would change my world view.

Vigormortis:
Agreed on all points but the final. Monsters.

Depends on which type of "monster" or monster-mythos we're speaking of. The possibility of such creatures existing, and more importantly, posing a threat to humans, isn't beyond the realm of possibility.

There are, of course, a lot of mitigating circumstances that would come into play. Just as there is the far more important question of the longevity of the threat, once the creature or creatures come onto the scene. But there's still that (slim) possibility.

This is true, though apex predators have been identified (and generally hunted to the brink of extinction), they are boring nowdays.

That wasn't the final point, though, the point was that you should be scared of pirates, which is true. They are humans, and thus the most fearsome creature on the planet.

Unfortunately, this is true of most readers as well, which makes them a bit less scary than they would be to, say, pandas.

"You know what you should be afraid of? Pirates. Science can't debunk pirates."
Pfff, pirates! Everyone knows NINJA PIRATES are way scarier!!!

And about monsters; they *can* come from outer space or another dimension (see "The Mist")...
Their habitat etc. would all be there, so all they need is to suddenly be introduced on Earth.

And another thing; humanity can eventually genetically manipulate beings into monsters, as well.
We've turned *wolves* into *chihuahuas* already, and that was with no petridishes involved! :D :D :D

P.S.
To see humans without a sense of pain in action, I'd recommend Jet Li's movie "Black Mask":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Mask_(film)

What about Candlejack? I'm pretty sure you can prove he exi

The funny thing is that the baseline of several horror movies is "the science was wrong". And really, it isn't like in the real world hasn't ever existed a scientific theory accepted in the past that years later was proven wrong, and had to be corrected.

If there's anything worse than people who think magic/ghosts/whatever are real, it's people who smugly pat themselves on the back for being aware that it isn't. And one thing even worse than bad science is using bad science to debunk other bad science.

No, I don't believe in ghosts, but this is a terrible way to debunk them. There is literally nothing more unscientific than declaring that anything that doesn't fit our currently-understood models of reality must be impossible. And this article does precisely that.

(oh, and what does this have to do with Halloween? Does the author of this article think that anyone old enough to read this site dresses up as monsters because we think they're real?)

Halyah:

chikusho:
What about The Walking Dead type zombies?
First off, there isn't an explanation for what causes zombie-ism in that universe, everyone who dies simply comes back.
What if that's cause by some sort of parasite that's been secretly infecting people over generations, and just suddenly activates? Being inside the host body, they could repurpose human systems to create a binding agent that slows down the deterioration of the body while strengthening the tissues in the brain in order to keep piloting us for as long as possible.

If everyone had it then it wouldn't go undetected. Scientific research into our own bodies with ever more powerful tools is still ongoing after all.

CAPTCHA: garlic, yum

No it isn't captcha. It tastes badly!

The human body is still a mystery in many ways. The brain particularly so.
If everyone had it, I think it would be even harder to detect, because then there would be nothing out of the ordinary to find when studying a brain.

chikusho:

Halyah:

chikusho:
What about The Walking Dead type zombies?
First off, there isn't an explanation for what causes zombie-ism in that universe, everyone who dies simply comes back.
What if that's cause by some sort of parasite that's been secretly infecting people over generations, and just suddenly activates? Being inside the host body, they could repurpose human systems to create a binding agent that slows down the deterioration of the body while strengthening the tissues in the brain in order to keep piloting us for as long as possible.

If everyone had it then it wouldn't go undetected. Scientific research into our own bodies with ever more powerful tools is still ongoing after all.

CAPTCHA: garlic, yum

No it isn't captcha. It tastes badly!

The human body is still a mystery in many ways. The brain particularly so.
If everyone had it, I think it would be even harder to detect, because then there would be nothing out of the ordinary to find when studying a brain.

A parasite would stand out pretty easily seeing as they bring -nothing- good to the table. Hence the name.

Halyah:
A parasite would stand out pretty easily seeing as they bring -nothing- good to the table. Hence the name.

Well, first, the parasite would have to stand out as an anomaly. There are many areas, (in fact, most areas) we still don't completely understand. Considering that the brains functions are still far from completely mapped out, and in many ways the brain looks partially different from person to person, it would not necessarily stand out until they tested that specific area of the brain to find its purpose. If it was a noticeable parasite at all, it could just as easily be some kind of bioflora.

Kenjitsuka:

And about monsters; they *can* come from outer space or another dimension (see "The Mist")...
Their habitat etc. would all be there, so all they need is to suddenly be introduced on Earth.

That's what I was gonna say, like how in Half Life a portal was opened to an alien world or the Doom series where a portal opens to Hell. There's plenty of movies and games that pull that kind of thing.

Also for zombies 28 Days Later made the most sense, rabies. They're still technically alive and it's in a place where the gun laws they love so much completely screw them. That's why I like zombie movies set in Britain or another place with strict gun control, even the police don't have the firepower to stop the infection.

Tony2077:
reality has a way of ruining lots of things

Yes, and no. The problem with the justification being given here is that it's using the logic that if science can't measure something, or prove it exists, it does not exist. That is flawed logic and supremely arrogant. The thing about "supernatural" happenings is that they exist outside the realm of what we think of as being possible, and of course even with applied science we cannot make sense of them. That's part of what makes the unknown scary.

That said, you also need to consider conspiracy theories when having a discussion like this, some of which are more plausible than others. The bottom line is that in many cases a good conspiracy theory continues because it's impossible to ever truly disprove. Popular conspiracy theories involve things like hidden government tests, research, and of course attempts to debunk phenomena the government doesn't want known or can't control, at least in the public eye. This ranges from UFO cover ups, to cover ups of the supernatural, to theories about illuminati type groups and cults. The thing about conspiracy theories is they are easy to dismiss because "nobody could ever conceal something like this, or get enough people to cooperate" but at the same time when you look at some things governments have covered up successfully and were outed after it was no longer useful to do so, or some of the big "conspiracies" that failed it can become quite disturbing. For example the government was involved in wide-scale covert and propaganda ops. during World War II. It wasn't until fairly recently we learned how bad they were lying about the Nazis when testing showed things like "human flesh lampshades" made by Nazi psychos in concentration camps were actually made of goat skin for example. One of the best ways to conceal a conspiracy is with disinformation rather than pure secrecy. Of course even secrecy works as well to an extent, one reason why Scientology is such a "big deal" is because of how successfully it's closed itself off, this despite having it's own "Navy" (Sea.Org) which many people don't even know (or remember), even those who leave the cult at what they believe is a high level have no idea about a lot of the upper functions of the organization/business which is part of why it continues to thrive. "The Solar Temple" actually managed to infiltrate big business and government before it was eventually outed and shut down. "The Church Of Claire Prophet" was actually stopped from going on military massacres by dumb luck.

At any rate, since we're going into creepy conspiracy theories, a few of the ones I feel are most "relevant" are:

1. Hitler's "Magic Box": One of the things that made Hitler the force that he was, was an uncanny ability to convince a lot of people who would be his enemies or rivals to join his side. Unusual, especially when he was playing politics because a lot of the people he converted to his side were those who would have opposed him simply for a power base, like most politics right and wrong being irrelevant. That said, after various private meetings a lot of rivals for power basically came out as massive Hitler fanatics, he basically gave a lot of his leadership and supporters something bigger than themselves to believe in. Hitler was famously obsessed with science, history, and the occult in equal measure, and had some of the best scientists and archaeologists of the day working for him (which inspired things like Indiana Jones movies). Hitler's goal was to restore the true Aryan race through genetic science, Hitler believed the "true Aryans" were a race of blonde haired, blue-eyed giants with psychic powers who lived in Atlantis before some cataclysm destroyed the continent and forced them into the rest of the world where they bred with humans to the point of losing everything that made them special, although the "purist" fragments were of course in Germany. This is why Hitler preached a "Master Race" doctrine despite not fitting his own definition, he was out to basically prepare the world for the returned master race he planned to restore who would then rule us. Insane? Well according to many theories Hitler had proof of all of this, and even knew where Atlantis was. According to some legends he even took some particularly vehement opponents down on a submarine to an undersea Nazi base to prove his various theories directly... and it worked. These stories are arguably what inspired certain ideas like Bioshock's "Rapture".

Hitler also had guys like Mengele working for him, Mengele was a huge believer in psychic phenomena and was particularly obsessed with twins due to the link they happened to share. He was one of the doctors working towards the genetic research and breeding programs that was going to re-create the master race.

Here is the thing though, when World War II ended, almost all of Hitler's research was gobbled up by the US and Russia and both sides sat on it. This includes a lot of the stuff his Archaeologists found. A lot of the records of The Brotherhood Of Thule (Hitler's occult society) were likewise also seized. The thing is that everyone denies a lot of this stuff ever existing so we have no idea what Hitler actually thought he knew. At the same time though we benefit from a lot of the knowledge garnered by people like Doctor Mengele despite it being inhumane (a big moral question). To put things into perspective, as disgusting as his methods were Mengele was a genius, one of the finest minds the world has ever produced, he said psionics exist, scientists later said they don't, but at the same time without his resources or lack of ethics, and of course we don't know what kind of records the government is sitting on....

2. One fringe theory out there right now is that the government(s) have been heavily involved in encouraging the development of found footage movies, youtube hoaxes, and other things. The idea being a disinformation campaign for the information age. In a world where everyone has a camera keeping things like the supernatural under wraps would be neigh impossible, however if people are conditioned to dismiss even evidence of this sort as a bunch of kids trying to make their own version of Blair Witch or phrank people, they effectively do the government's job for them. After all if I put a video of myself up on Youtube telekinetically flipping cars, or if someone uploaded a video of people actually being hunted down and killed by monsters in the woods, ritual sacrifices by covens, parallel dimensions, cthulhu monsters waving tentecles around through portals, or whatever else, would any of us believe it nowadays? Given that we by definition distrust any evidence anyone could present, it thus means the ability of one person to prove anything to another is almost non-existent.

I could do others, but those are two big ones that deal with the idea of us not getting the full story from the "top men". Not to mention the simple question that if you had freaky powers that were useful, would you show up before a government panel and prove they exist? You have no personal benefit inherent in doing so, even if the government offers money your powers are probably more valuable (and could be used to get money). Basically some dude interested in say visiting a government panel to prove he can bend spoons is probably a fake, because a real person who could do something like that could do a lot of other things as well (screw with/bend locks, mess with slot machines, cheat at dice).

In parting I'll mention the infamous "Philadelphia Experiment", without going into the details (it's famous and you can look it up) the long and the short of it is that it's in no way not a creepy thing. See, the idea of them having made a ship teleport is creepy, but even worse is if you consider that the government made this all up to troll the Russians, and managed to actually succeed at it big time before coming clean. Basically, whether the government actually did this, or faked it with disinformation, leads to some rather interesting questions... conspiracies can't happen? Well this one trolled the USSR and the world long after it's intended usefulness. That display of power and organized control pretty much means the government could probably hide, or convince people they are doing, nearly anything.

So basically, if something malevolent and supernatural happens to you this Halloween, just remember it's not scientifically plausible as you go out screaming.... but remember, the tin foil hat brigade has been warning us all. Save the final curse you throw out before your death rattle for Uncle Sam, John Bull, or whatever patron figure represents your country... odds are they knew all along. :)

Therumancer:

Tony2077:
reality has a way of ruining lots of things

snipy

well it's just some things reality is like nope sorry i won't let that happen or didn't happen and some times she doesn't say anything just watches
nice post

Black holes scare me. Let your science debunk those, squire!

Saulkar:

Get out of here STALKEaRa, this is mah arteefacta. If ever a zone popped up I would take a few years of hardcore military and survival training just to be able to enter one and expect to survive. My only real fear would be snorks, those guys are dicks. Oh wait, we are talking about the 1978 novel. I would personally prefer the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. one as it is supernatural yet not scientifically unlearnable, even if you have to create new laws to understand how everything works.

P.S. Goddamn, motherf!cking auto playing adds! ARGH!!! How many damn times do I need to refresh before they go away?! I am at my wits end here and it does not matter how many times I email the staff because there is always a new one to replace the previous one.

ARGH!!!

Autoplaying adds are the worst. :(

Thinking about it, I can agree with this. Either one would be an impressive event, but the STALKER version is far more survivable. At least until you meet the Nosferatu. I'd say those were worse than the Snorks, at least when you'd get a swarm of them hitting you at the same time. And you're spot on regarding how comprehensible the game's artifacts are when compared to the novel. Perhaps not as useful, but just as strange and fascinating.

Nimzabaat:

Well at the risk of being anecdotal, one of my friends lost all sensation in his body. It lasted only a couple of weeks and while he was hospitalized, all the doctors could determine was that he couldn't feel anything. They even burnt him just to be sure he wasn't faking. It was a medical mystery that was never solved.

As for personally witnessing something that science considers impossible... I think the key is to keep an open mind. Not open to the point of "Jesus appeared in mah toast!", but not immediately skeptical either. Personally i'd love to have the time/money to go around checking out unexplained phenomena, just in case there was that one experience that would change my world view.

Sounds like a real-life House episode. Most impressive, though. Were there any long-term effects your friend was aware of?

II've tried to do just that, keep an open mind without letting my brain fall out of my skull. There's been a plethora of strange things I've run across in life, both first and second hand, and while I do tend to look for mundane reasons (so I acknowledge to myself that there might not be anything to it), there are events that just don't slot into a ready explanation. It's...oddly satisfying when that happens.

Xan Krieger:
[quote="Kenjitsuka" post="6.864046.21564365"]

Also for zombies 28 Days Later made the most sense, rabies. They're still technically alive and it's in a place where the gun laws they love so much completely screw them. That's why I like zombie movies set in Britain or another place with strict gun control, even the police don't have the firepower to stop the infection.

The downside of rabies zombies involves the fridge logic of how they can sprint like Marathon runners all the time and don't drop dead after a couple of days. Or just off themselves on accident(normal humans kill themselves on accident, and zombies are basically idiots).

In fact, zombies in general(even the undead ones) seem have an unlimited power source of some source, because you rarely see them eating anyone(or animals for that matter). In real life, a zombie Apocalypse(that wasn't stopped by the police/military) wouldn't last long because of how quickly they'd destroy their food supply and starve to death. Malthusian catastrophe in action,especially zombies don't farm or gather, they just hunt(There's a reason we invented agriculture, because it's hard to support any kind of population from hunting alone).

Of course, undead zombies have the strange ability not to rot away(at least to the point of not being able to move) fairly quickly, like real corpses do.

 

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