Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Burden of Proof

More and more skeptical themed websites and blogs are popping up now-a-days. While I appreciate this trend, it's also producing more dilemmas for the skeptical community. I have been seeing more and more "debunking" of photos and videos lately and it has me thinking, just because someone has created a more plausible explanation doesn't automatically deem the subject debunked. The explanation might just be as much bunk as the original claim. For instance, I have seen several videos debunking the video of the Savanna cemetery ghost. While it could have been spanish moss or a deliberate hoax, both concepts are pure speculation. There's nothing wrong with coming up with alternate suggestions, but substantial proof is still necessary. It's a double edged sword.
Same with this photo that's been making the rounds on the paranormal forums.

While it could has been created with photoshop, it also could have been created by shooting through a pane of glass, or just a lousy picture taken in a poorly lit environment. If we skeptics demand solid proof, I think we owe it to the rest of the crowd to give the same. As for this photo, There are many ways it could be duplicated, but I cannot make any claims about it. I don't have enough information.

We skeptics are supposed to be the rational ones. Let's try and set an example.


  1. Kinda hate SciFake, but here is a nice explanation of the photo, anyway:

    Overall, your point is taken. Important for skeptics to provide facts, not just more speculation and consider it "case closed."

  2. Scifake is kind of what inspired this post. Funny you should mention them.