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Northern Lights Paranormal Research Society is headquartered in Marinette County, Wisconsin, and is dedicated to seeking out the truth in all things. Our mission is simple: to discover the truth, no matter where it may lie.
 
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 Trust me, I'm a scientist

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Posts : 265
Join date : 2013-04-11
Age : 44
Location : Marinette County, Wisconsin

PostSubject: Trust me, I'm a scientist   Mon Jun 08 2015, 11:23

This isn't so much directed at the paranormal community, but rather an all encompassing issue. How many times have you seen a post or topic or comment, or have listened to a speaker, and than have heard words to the extent of "Trust me, I'm a scientist, I know what I am talking about". A lot of times, a little bit of further research will reveal that the field in which the scientist has his degree is unrelated to the original post or the discussion at hand.

As an example, I am one of those that tries to hold a debate online. I'm not a troll, I don't flame; I'm always posting comments with links to verify or back up my claims. One of the topics that I try to debate is global cooling / global warming / climate shift / ice cap shrinkage / ice cap expansion. There are two persons who I run across on a repeated basis, both of which are self proclaimed scientists; one works as a satellite photo analyst and the other has a degree in geology. As one can image, both are highly credible when it comes to discussions on climate and global weather patterns.

What is it about the term scientist that automatically makes one an expert in any given field? A degree in A does not mean you are an expert in B; nor should it be assumed that you are an expert in A, it just means you are more qualified within that field than someone else.

When it comes to the paranormal, there are some fields that would be better suited to particular aspects. Biologists, for example, would give credence to cryptozoology. Aeronautics in relation to the study of UFOs, and so on. With regards to supernatural, what is there? Religious studies? That's assuming that ghosts or those sorts of activities are religious in nature... and of the denomination of the original Studies program. When you hear someone talk about the paranormal and then proclaim "I'm a scientist", you have to stop and ask yourself what qualifications that person has, and if it has any significance in the aspect that is being discussed.

As another example, this past weekend I attended a paranormal conference. One of the speakers was giving a presentation on common explanations for paranormal activities. Throughout his presentation, this gentleman repeated the words "I am a scientist" or "I am employed as a scientist" and even "with my background as a scientist". With a little reading and research, I found out that this speaker holds a BA in Biology, a Masters in Epidemiology and a second Masters in Cellular Biology. This sounds impressive, and it very well may be; the study of diseases on a cellular level is no laughing matter, and I do applaud and appreciate his efforts. However, this is where you have to ask yourself how does studying disease make you an expert, a qualified expert, in a field that is scientifically unproven? The short answer is, it doesn't.

There are standards that any person, scientist, student, or layman can apply. A scientist does not hold the key or the sole ability to perform the scientific method. Additionally, from searches on various job hunting sites, one cannot be employed as a scientist. There are no such positions. If anyone can show an employment category labeled "scientist", I would readily retract this statement. You may be employed as a lab assistant or researcher or a qualified Epidemiologist, but you cannot find a position where the employer is looking to hire a scientist. Those that use that term do so for the impression of the word.

What I want to stress is that, just because someone comes across as being a scientist, that does not make your work or experience anything less, unless that person holds valid credentials in a field that is similar to that which was experienced. I would trust a photographer, not someone who takes hundreds of pictures with their smart phone but an actual photographer, to analyse a camera and video footage over someone who has a degree in agriculture and is employed by the Department of Agriculture. Why? The ag specialist may have a hobby or interest in photography, but his living is in a field unrelated, whereas the photographer has taken the time to study his craft. I would trust someone who has a degree in law enforcement and who has a career within that field to conduct a proper investigation of a scene or hold interviews than someone who is a student chef; again, it's because of the related field and level of experience or qualifications.

This isn't to say that, of those examples, that each of those persons aren't equally qualified to investigate the paranormal. Each of them are as equals, and we can all turn on the television or pick up a book to see how to do things (or, as is often the case, how not to do something). However, the findings hold different weight depending on the qualifications of the person. I have a degree in Law Enforcement, and have taken classes and additional certifications on field investigations, conducting interviews, profiling, and so on. I'll be able to notice a behavior or a physical discrepancy that a student chef might miss. Might miss. I can take a series of pictures, find something out of place, return and take more pictures to either clarify my findings or debunk them, but I'll send all my photographic evidence to an actual photographer for his opinion; I have an opinion, but I'll actually take his opinion over mine simply for the fact that he knows what he is talking about. The agriculturalist might have told me the same thing, but it's the photographer's word that I'm going to trust.

Just keep all of this in mind the next time you are participating in a discussion and someone utters the words "I am a scientist". Don't automatically take his word as gospel or the truth... it is all dependent on the discussion on hand and his field of expertise. His words may hold more weight, but that doesn't necessarily mean his words hold more value.
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