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  1. #1
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    Default "The house is haunted"? Is this a joke?

    My wife and I are big fans of the This Old House show. We live in the Boston area and have used the Trethewey Bros service. We also have enjoyed seeing the team at work on some of their local projects. So it was with some dismay that we noticed an article, apparently from the September issue of the magazine, on the CNN.com website (Living section, Nov 7, 2007).

    The piece, entitled "Critter in your house? What to do", by Josh Garskof, has advice on household emergencies. Sensible advice, it seemed, until we read the section entitled "The House is Haunted". Huh?!?

    Now I know it was just Halloween, and I like a good joke as much as the next person, but please don't imply to your readers that ghosts, goblins, poltergeists, leprechauns or unicorns exist. They do not. Implying that you believe they do, makes the magazine, and the This Old House team, look ridiculous.

    According to Harris organization polling, roughly 40% of Americans believe in ghosts, 68% believe in angels and 21% believe in reincarnation. While tolerance for other points of view is supposedly a virtue, I would submit that irrationality and belief without evidence are not admirable qualities. If you don't recommend taking a sick child to a witch doctor, why do you recommend that homeowners hold exorcisms? Such things have no place in your otherwise rational and practical magazine.


    Steve W.
    Cambridge, MA

  2. #2
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    Default Re: "The house is haunted"? Is this a joke?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevew View Post
    I would submit that irrationality and belief without evidence are not admirable qualities.
    And you see the belief in religion as???

  3. #3
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    Default Re: "The house is haunted"? Is this a joke?

    stevew, I doubt the editors of TOH actually read this forum. Feel free to write a Letter To The Editor, surely the necessary e-ddress and snailmail address is elsewhere on the site.

    Word to the wise: Never even hint at beliefs that could even be inferred as possibly religious or non-religious on any blog that is not already about such things -- doing so can end up being like an Olympic torch bearer running through a ruptured refinery!

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    Default Re: "The house is haunted"? Is this a joke?

    Belief without evidence in your experience. There are plenty of people that have had experiences to the contrary.
    Of course you have knowledge of all things seen & unseen, just because "scientific evidence" doesn't seem to exist.
    I wonder how many scientists would be included in that percentage of believers.
    To condemn people as ridiculous because they may believe something you can't see is quite arrogant.
    Besides, a witch doctor, medicine man, natural healer, acupuncturist, etc. may still have a few tricks in their bag although I'm glad we're well served by medevac helicopters & emergency rooms.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: "The house is haunted"? Is this a joke?

    See what I mean? It's starting already...

  6. #6
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    Default Re: "The house is haunted"? Is this a joke?

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    And you see the belief in religion as???
    Quote Originally Posted by C Ed Wright View Post
    Word to the wise: Never even hint at beliefs that could even be inferred as possibly religious or non-religious on any blog that is not already about such things
    Quote Originally Posted by ed21 View Post
    To condemn people as ridiculous because they may believe something you can't see is quite arrogant. Besides, a witch doctor, medicine man, natural healer, acupuncturist, etc. may still have a few tricks in their bag although I'm glad we're well served by medevac helicopters & emergency rooms.
    Quote Originally Posted by C Ed Wright View Post
    See what I mean? It's starting already...

    I have no desire to provoke a debate on religion and I won't take part in one here. The article in question did not mention religion but seemed to give credence to the notion that ghosts exist. The point of my post was to show why such things are inappropriate in a magazine ostensibly about home repair. This exchange is further demonstration, and to that extent I agree with C Ed Wright. If raising such things is out-of-line in the discussion forums, it is surely more so in the pages of the magazine.


    SW
    Last edited by stevew; 11-08-2007 at 11:58 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: "The house is haunted"? Is this a joke?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevew View Post
    I would submit that irrationality and belief without evidence are not admirable qualities.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevew View Post
    I have no desire to provoke a debate on religion and I won't take part in one here.
    Now wait a minute, first you say that irrational belief systems without evidence aren't admirable qualities, but then profess to that you're not trying to spark a religious debate. You cannot make the statement as you did without the end result.

    I too am NOT trying to spark a religious belief debate, as you said, this is not what your post is about, however, the belief in ghosts or other para-phenomenon are every bit as valid (or invalid ) as any religious belief system. Religion is based on faith not proof of existence - para-phenomenon is exactly the same. Hell, remove para-phenomenon from the picture and just evaluate one religion to another and gee, you've got a bunch of irrational belief systems without evidence, don't you. The point is, unbunch those panties, dude, not everyone agrees with everyone else's beliefs. Whether or TOH's editorial was a joke or not, who cares, read it, don't, it's not going to make a difference in your life because it's outside of your belief systems.

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    Default Re: "The house is haunted"? Is this a joke?

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    .. as you said, this is not what your post is about, however, the belief in ghosts or other para-phenomenon are every bit as valid (or invalid ) as any religious belief system. Religion is based on faith not proof of existence - para-phenomenon is exactly the same.
    Not counting my fellow educated and gentle PBS watchers, most people have no idea what words like "evidence" and "proof" actually mean. They will tell you there is plenty of evidence for para-phenomena, proof of miracles and so on.


    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    Hell, remove para-phenomenon from the picture and just evaluate one religion to another and gee, you've got a bunch of irrational belief systems without evidence, don't you.
    You said it, I didn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    The point is, unbunch those panties, dude, not everyone agrees with everyone else's beliefs. Whether or TOH's editorial was a joke or not, who cares, read it, don't, it's not going to make a difference in your life because it's outside of your belief systems.

    And here I thought that what we all could agree on was the importance of good plumbing technique and a quality oak floor. That's what TOH should stick to.


    SW

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    Default Re: "The house is haunted"? Is this a joke?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevew View Post


    And here I thought that what we all could agree on was the importance of good plumbing technique and a quality oak floor. That's what TOH should stick to.


    SW
    But all TOH did was to mention experiences some people have had with their old house.
    Because you haven't, why ridicule those who may have.
    After all it's all about the old house & that seems to be where the ghosts seem to gravitate.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: "The house is haunted"? Is this a joke?

    Quote Originally Posted by ed21 View Post
    But all TOH did was to mention experiences some people have had with their old house. Because you haven't, why ridicule those who may have. After all it's all about the old house & that seems to be where the ghosts seem to gravitate.

    Sorry, but you are incorrect. In a list of actual occurrences (a wild animal is loose, the basement is under three feet of water), the article includes "The house is haunted". The clear implication is that this is something of the same kind. It is not. Haunting is not an experience "some people have had", it is an interpretation of experience. While many people have tried to substantiate this interpretation, none have ever been successful.

    If you are interested, check out Michael Shermer's writings and videos on skeptic.com and James Randi's million $ "Paranormal challenge" on randi.com. Bottom line: no one who claims paranormal abilities or events can prove it. Not even for a million dollars.

    Back to the TOH article. The section includes a quote from a supposed authority, similar to the way Rich Trethewey is quoted in the previous section about cell phones in the toilet. And then, in a flight of fancy that really made me think the whole thing was a put-on, the article recommends a do-it-yourself exorcism. Maybe next time we have a plugged drain, instead of calling Rich Trethewey, we should assume that the problem is a nest of goblins and call the Ghostbusters.


    SW

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