Crop Circles Revisited
I recently promised that I would revisit the topic of crop circles, in response to comments left on a previous post on the topic. Many comments. Long comments. Too long to read even. Sigh. I did more research. I gave the topic more thought. At least as much as I have time for. And while I have not exactly changed my mind, I can say I am slightly less skeptical now. And I’ve expanded on my thinking a bit. Crop circles are an exercise in logic at least.
First thought bit. I was wrong, crop circles have illustrated “new” mathematical theorems. Proof they were generated by non-human intelligence? Sadly, no. In fact for a modest fee one can go to a web site where their computers will generate a new theorem named after you. In other words, I guess there’s basically an infinite permutation of theorems. However, there are classic unsolved problems in mathematics. So I restate my original conjecture, if crop circles are created by beings more advanced than humans, it wouldn’t be that hard for them to incorporate knowledge in the circles that would be amazing and new to humans. To the best of my knowledge this hasn’t happened yet.
Secondly, much is made of the physical characteristics of the broken stalks, with claims that various things are “impossible” to explain. Sadly, other than a lot of allegations along this line, repeated ad infinitum, I couldn’t find any reference to actual scientists studying the bent stalks etc to confirm this. If there really were impossible to explain effects in the bent grains, I’m pretty sure real scientists would have perked up their ears and investigated. I’m thinking that these unexplained effects are in the same category as cattle mutilations. IE, they may sound weird and bizarre and unexplained, but if actual experts investigated them, there would be nothing unusual found. Every cattle mutilation case that was examined by an actual forensic pathologist familiar with scavengers and decomposition … turned out to be completely natural. There was no there there.
Lastly, one of the main claims for the reality of crop circles is the claim that humans couldn’t have created them, and have no motive for doing so. This claim makes me get stabby. Humans are very clever. Modern humans have awesome technology to boot. (GPS devices, night vision gear.) And saying, “Well, how did they do it then?” is a cheap shot. I don’t know how they do it. I couldn’t tell anyone the details of how humans accomplish all sorts of things. So what? If someone starts transmogrifying crop circles into solid gold or some such then the crop circle proponents have a point. Right now though we have complicated patterns in bent grain. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb claiming that clever people might be able to accomplish this.
This in fact is one of the reasons I have a really hard time taking seriously the claims of crop circle proponents. I’m perfectly able to admit the possibility that crop circles, at least some of them, might possibly be of non-human genesis. Are crop circle proponents able to admit that just maybe they are of perfectly prosaic human origin? This says to me that crop circle proponents are true believers, not objective researchers.
Then there’s the, well, pathetic attempts to claim that the crop circle phenomena has been around for centuries. No, it hasn’t, it started in the 1970s. Attempts to shoehorn previous events into the crop circle phenomena are, well, classic cherry picking or retrofitting. What are the odds that somewhere in the historical record there would be something vaguely resembling cop circles? 100%. This is why things like the “Mowing Devil” pamphlet illustrated above are silly. This is no more proof of historical crop circles than the various “hits” that Nostradamus proponents get excited about. If crop circles really were a historical phenomena, there would be a lot more of a record than a 17th century pamphlet.
So where does the less skepticism part come in? Well, if we are really being open minded about the possibility that some sort of alien intelligence might try to communicate with us, then it’s possible they might choose this bizarre to us method. An alien intelligence would be truly alien, and it might have a very hard time understanding us as well. IE aliens might think crop circles are the most perfectly natural means in the universe to communicate with us. Yes, ET scientists at this very moment might by scratching their, well, whatever it is that they scratch, at our utter inability to interpret and answer their ever more clever and sophisticated messages in our rain fields.
Let’s hope they don’t decide to sterilize the petri dish and start over.
(The above image being made some hundreds of years ago is still considered Public Domain under US copyright law. That might change someday, but for now it’s cool. It’s an old illustration that some claim shows that crop circles have been around for centuries. So have snowmen.)