Bill Nye explains why there's no such thing as ghosts


Bill Nye, celebrated Science Guy, has officially said ghosts don't exist. In a video for the website Big Think, Nye, currently CEO of the Planetary Society, takes a question from a viewer on whether ghosts exist, and what happens to your life energy when you die.

His answer is both matter-of-fact and apologetic. As for ghosts, "I'll tell you, I don't think there's any such thing, I don't think there's anything to be afraid of when it comes to ghosts," Nye said in the video.

I'm a member of both the Skeptics and the Counsel for Scientific Inquiry and we have looked and looked for haunted houses, for ghosts in cemeteries, for psychics who believe they're in touch with people who are dead. And there's absolutely no credible evidence.
Richard Shotwell/AP

Nye argues that human brains are, by nature, extremely active. We look for cause and effect. So when we hear a noise in the middle of the night — say, a strange popping noise — we need to know what caused it. 

In reality, it may be that that a change in weather is making the wood in our house rub together to create a popping sound. But if we can't come up with an explanation for the sound — or any other unexpected occurrence — we just assign it what Nye calls an agent.

"The first thing you might imagine is that there's somebody or some entity out there causing this effect," Nye said. "So then we intuitively or instinctively for ancient reasons put a pattern on it."

So there you have it: Unless Nye gets a personal visit from a ghost, science says ghosts aren't a thing.


As for an afterlife, Nye says there's no scientific evidence to support its existence: so everyone should live life to its fullest. 

"This is it. There's nothing afterwards," he said. "So what you've got to do is live this life as best you can."