Do You Believe In Ghosts?

On the whole, the scientific community has been cagey in responding to questions about their stance on all things religious or paranormal.

Until now.

In September of 2014, a Harris poll showed that approximately 42% of Americans and 52% of the respondents in the U.K. claimed belief in the paranormal, and in ghosts specifically.

Harris also performed extensive polls on religious beliefs, which proved to be quite illuminating.  They learned that 57% of Americans believe in a god, which is down from 65% in a previous poll.  As these percentages race toward a most certain collision, one can easily see lines being drawn in the proverbial sand over these conflicting beliefs.

On the whole, the scientific community has been cagey in responding to questions about their stance on all things religious or paranormal.  Until now.


The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider, and also Image result for large hadron colliderholds the distinction of being the largest machine in the world. Built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research between 1998 and 2008, the LHC lies in a 17-mile long tunnel buried 574 feet beneath Earth’s surface along the France-Switzerland borders.

The aim of the LHC is to allow physicists to test the predictions of different theories of particle physics, including measuring the properties of the Higgs boson particle and searching for the large family of new particles predicted by supersymmetric theories, as well as other unsolved questions of physics.

Physicists hope that the LHC will help answer some of the fundamental open questions in physics, concerning the basic laws governing the interactions and forces among the elementary objects, the deep structure of space and time, and in particular the interrelation between quantum mechanics and general relativity, where current theories and knowledge are unclear or break down altogether.

Does all that give you a headache? Well hold on…there’s more.


Brian Cox, a popular television professor and British particle physicist at the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester, claims he can “prove” that ghosts simply do not exist.  He uses the LHC to explain why he believes specters and phantoms are the stuff of fiction.

Like many similarly dubious claims made by skeptics around the world, it appears that Professor Cox may have to return to school.  On an episode of his BBC Radio Four program, The Infinite Monkey Cage, Cox had this to say.

“Before we ask the first question, I want to make a statement: We are not here to debate the existence of ghosts because they don’t exist.”

Quite a confident statement, you might say.  But is he right?


In a prior article here on, we discussed the differences between true skeptics and pseudoskeptics.

Pseudoskepticism is defined as thinking that claims to be skeptical but is actually faith-based disbelief.  Because real skepticism is a justifiable position, pseudoskepticism may also be defined as making pseudoscientific arguments in pursuit of a skeptical agenda.

Skepticism, by comparison, is something much different and respectable.  All pseudoskeptics will claim to be true skeptics, but regardless of how they define themselves, the proof, it’s said, is in the pudding.

Here is Cox’s public statement which he believes is the definitive answer to the question of ghosts:

“If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist then we mustImage result for professor brian cox specify precisely what medium carries that pattern and how it interacts with the matter particles out of which our bodies are made.

‘We must, in other words, invent an extension to the Standard Model of Particle Physics that has escaped detection at the Large Hadron Collider. That’s almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies.”

He goes on to claim that, because of the work being done with the LHC, he has found that “there can be no such thing as an energy source that’s driving our bodies.”

Do you see the error in his thinking?


Cox asserts that our living cells cannot persist beyond death.  However, nowhere is it claimed that we carry any physicality with us when we depart this mortal coil. So if we’re indeed not driven by a source of energy, how can we define dreams, or seizures, or the measurable activity that both science and medicine have already shown our bodies operate on? Basically, Cox is attempting to claim that scientists, researchers, and skilled doctors have been lying to us this entire time.

Perhaps Cox needs to be sent to detention for not doing his homework.

Here’s a definition of the word “energy” in physics, as stated by Encyclopedia Britannica: Energy, in physics, is the capacity for doing work.  It may exist in potential, kinetic, thermal, electric, chemical, nuclear, or other various forms.  There are, moreover, heat and work – i.e., energy in the process of transfer from one body to another.

In this way, Cox is also saying that we have no soul, because one of the definitions of ghost is the seat of life or intelligence; soul (give up the ghost).

Even devout atheists decline to debate the existence of the human soul.  Why?  Because we don’t know enough about the transition or transformation of physical energy at the time of death.

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it transforms from one form to another. For instance, chemical energy can be converted to kinetic energy in the explosion of a stick of dynamite. A consequence of the law of conservation of energy is that a perpetual motion machine of the first kind cannot exist. -Albert Einstein


Take water, for example.  At room temperature, it’s a liquid.  Heated, it becomes a gas.  Frozen, it Related imagebecomes ice. Three distinct states impacted by energy. Can we truly say with certainty that we humans are not made of energetically charged particles that shift and change millions of times a minute?

Cox seems to think so.  However, he has yet to offer an alternate explanation for the locomotion we humans exhibit on a daily basis.  If not energy, what? Even a hologram is made up of energy.

Perhaps Cox is merely trolling the whole world with his statements.  It wouldn’t be the first time someone has used their social status to stir up controversy.  Had he said instead, “There is not enough evidence currently to make a determination as to what happens to the energy we embody at the time our physical body ceases to function.” But no, he said, ‘Ghosts don’t exist.’

What are your thoughts?


  1. Paul

    February 24, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    I think he’s full of shit. I have past life memories therefore in my opinion we are all ghosts anyway. Like you said energy is all there is all there ever will be. Ie God universe or whatever you want to call it. I just call it nature.

    • Marcus Lyons

      February 25, 2017 at 7:25 am

      Likewise. It’s a “head in the sand” response to gain his dubious 15-minutes of fame, IMO.

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