"why do they use infrared (IR) or electromagnetic field (EMF) meters to "hunt" down paranormal activity, when there has never been evidence for ghosts ever emitting infrared or electromagnetic waves in the first place?"
"...there is a tendency to start with desired conclusions and then construct arguments to support them, many people will happily draw upon logical fallacies to make their arguments. In fact, if a conclusion is not true one must either employ a false premise or a logical fallacy in order to construct an argument that leads to that conclusion. Remember, a sound argument (one with true premises and valid logic) cannot lead to a false conclusion. So in order to avoid using logical fallacies to construct invalid arguments, we need to understand how to identify fallacious logic." (Top 20 Logical Fallacies)
"So, why are these ghostbusting programs so appealing and popular? Is this just due to an unfamiliarity with what "energy" really is?"
However, as it turns out, most people already know more than they're even aware of about electromagnetic radiation (EM) . EM is simply a scientific term for a bunch of different types of radiation. This specific type of "energy" spreads out as it travels. So, think of light from lamp or radio waves "emitting" from a radio station tower, these are both types of electromagnetic radiation. Radio waves, visible light (colors of the rainbow), x- rays, and even gamma rays are ALL fundamentally the same thing, electromagnetic radiation. Most people do not really think of energy this way, but radio waves are simply a color of light that we can't see!
From the great scientific discoveries made by physicists like Albert Einstein, we know that each single photon contains a certain amount of energy in a bundle or packet, and all forms of EM radiation consists of these unimaginably small subatomic pieces of atoms called photons. For example, the energies found in radio waves are very low, while on the other side of the spectrum, the energies of gamma rays are very high. So, it goes like this on the electromagnetic spectrum from lowest to highest; radio waves, microwaves, visible light, ultra-violet, x-rays, and then followed by gamma rays.
Take a look at this helpful diagram of the EM spectrum from the Science Learning Hub, a national project designed to support the effective teaching of science in New Zealand schools.
Basically, as states on the introduction to the electromagnetic spectrum under the science section of the Imagine the Universe! site,
"electromagnetism can be described in terms of a stream of [massless] particles called photons, traveling in a wave-like pattern and moving at the speed of light" (NASA 2011).
Bullet time for photons
It takes only a billionth of a second (nanosecond), if you can even imagine, for light to travel and scatter through an empty one-liter bottle. However, it took about the good part of an hour to collect all of the data that goes into the final "ultra-fast" video featured in the clip below. Ramesh Raskar, Associate Professor at MIT's Media Lab points out that,
"photons travel at around a million times faster than bullets" (Raskar 2011).
But, because of the high rate of speed that this special camera can operate at, we can most gratefully watch photons moving through space as they travel the length of a one-liter bottle! A laser pulse emits photons and they enter the camera through a slit opening, getting converted into electrons and then are bounced off in another direction by an electric field. It is a rather fascinating thing to note that as the photons bounce around on the inside of objects, their wave-like properties undergo some contrast of interference. The really cool subtle part that might go unnoticed is, that difference between waves can be quantified into visibility by using what is called "incoherent detection methods", or incoherent wave detection. We can see those particles inside objects, like those used for medical imaging. Think of an ultrasound with light. This type of ultra-fast imaging allows us to study how photons travel through the world more precisely.
In science, electromagnetism gets expressed in terms of energy, frequency or wavelength, depending on the specific types of units that scientists happen to be working with in their particular field of research. Frequencies gets measured in Hertz (Hz), in which one unit is equivalent to one cycle per second. Wavelengths are measured in meters, while energy gets measured in electron volts (eV). *The wavelengths of ultra-violet, x-rays, and gamma rays are too small to really even think about so scientists tend to call these photons by their energies, or electron volts.* The light that is visible to our eyes is all but a small fraction of the energy found within the electromagnetic spectrum. In fact, most people do not even stop to realize that we are constantly being bathed by these types of electromagnetism all of the time!
The people who promote electronic voice phenomena (EVP) as being scientific evidence of paranormal activity are often not considering the vast amount of various energies that are constantly bombarding us. There is atmospheric noise like static electricity, solar noise from the sun, and cosmic noise from other galaxies. But, man-made noise just might take the cake. We put out all sorts of electrical noise, but where humans really excel is in providing so many different kinds of noise with a wide range of frequencies that propagate through space in the same way as radio waves (RF). Try to think about all of the different waves passing through us, because the fact is, we are swimming in a sea of electromagnetic radiation.