Gee, IcedBullet, you left out the Nazca lines! ;-)
Your statements are full of errors. Your comments about the pyramids are particularly erroneous. And crop circles!?!?!?
I will comment on one tiny aspect of your claims: the invention of writing. That has now been traced very carefully through Mesopotamian archaeology. Nobody taught it to humans; we figured it out for ourselves.
Unfortunately, as with so many people who become involved in belief systems surrounding so called paranormal activity, Icedbullet has fallen victim to so many myths and misconceptions about the topic that it would take volumes to correct.
I do have one question. What intrigues me is the sheer scale, intricacy, exactitude, and artistic brilliance of some of the crop-circles. If one labels them all “hoaxes”, one surely must provide evidence on exactly how they can be hoaxed. Merely stating that a couple of guys go out in the dead of night and create them begs a very large question. How? I would like to see the analysis that has been conducted on just what it would take for them to be “hoaxed”. If nothing else, the sheer scale and artistic brilliance of some of the designs is truly breathtaking and human nature being what it is, the fact that no-one is stepping forward to claim responsibility with precise explanations of exactly how it was done also beggars belief.
Most all of these crop circles are extremely easy to produce. They are patterns of circles. All you need to produce a circular pattern is a central stake, a long cord, and people to trample down the field grasses. Apart from that, you need a compass to do angular measures, and some poles to stake out at intervals to get the distances correct.
What beggars belief is that aliens would come to earth just to draw pictures in grain. They are also not natural phenomena; they occur mostly in England, and are all of recent vintage. This very clearly points to a British cultural phenomenon.
... and people have admitted to producing them, even some quite complex ones. For more, see HERE and the further reading at the bottom.
But I don’t understand. Doug and Dave were caught out making false claims about the creation of crop circles decades ago, how can you be still promulgating this hoary old chestnut. Another claim you make is false too. Many crop circles are not actually circles at all. I am still waiting for someone, anyone, to provide a detailed explanation as to how some of the most intricate and sizable “circles” were created - so far it seems there is no such explanation - and that truly surprises me.
I thought all skeptics require on first principle that before they claim to hold a particular belief they require reasonable evidence for that belief. I am not saying that crop-circles are anything but of human manufacture, but until someone provides reasonable evidence that they are exactly that - the crop-circle “phenomenon” will NEVER go away. C’mon guys, show us the evidence or drop what seems to be a faith based belief that all crop circles are of human origin. This is a hypothesis that also demands evidence. You cannot have it both ways.
Which false claims are you talking about with Doug Bower and David Chorley?
Re. the other shaped crop circles ... If we have good evidence that humans are responsible for most crop circles, and know how they are created, then what precisely are you arguing? That humans create 95% of them and 5% just happen to be caused by some as-yet-unknown force that doesn’t create circular crop circles? I can hardly think of a sillier way to reason.
Clearly the most likely explanation is that they are all human created, and that humans being humans, they are good at finding out new ways to produce images in cereal.
Once again, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The claim that a few non-circular crop-circles are non-human-created is an extraordinary claim. There is a very tight circumstantial argument that they are all hoaxes by bored british folk. People claiming the contrary will have to come up with the evidence.
(I should add that none of this has anything to do with an assertion that “the crop circle phenomenon” will go away. As we can witness on this very forum, people will believe any old silly thing that comes along. Or as PT Barnum is supposed to have said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”)
2. I never claimed that we “we have good evidence that humans are responsible for most crop circles” – you are reading that into what I stated (I am sorely tempted to add “from your own biases presumably” - oh I just did…).
3. You stated “That humans create 95% of them and 5% just happen to be caused by some as-yet-unknown force that doesn’t create circular crop circles? I can hardly think of a sillier way to reason.” I tend to agree. But that is your statement not mine.
What I actually stated was “I am not saying that crop-circles are anything but of human manufacture” – the implication of this – if you apply your critical thinking brain to it – is that ALL crop circles are of human origin. Doug, please, if we are going to argue with any satisfaction, we must apply our critical thinking brains to what the other says. You have so far demonstrated an unwillingness to do this (as just evidenced). This does not bode well for you if you claim to be a skeptic. (a bit harsh perhaps - but I am trying to get your critical thinking skills honed precisely to avoid me being able to say such things to you).
4. You stated “Once again, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” and hold the belief that “Clearly the most likely explanation is that they are all human created”. I am simply saying that THIS claim seems extraordinary in the face of the purported (notice the “purported here Doug) evidence and requires you to produce reasonable evidence of your claim. So far you have not done so. Is that possibly because there is no reasonable evidence to support your claim? (especially in light of the above two websites I offer in evidence of my own position)
5. You stated “There is a very tight circumstantial argument that they are all hoaxes by bored british folk.” Again, where is your evidence? (And I like the “circumstantial” – we’ll have you an expert in rhetoric soon I feel :)
6. You stated” I should add that none of this has anything to do with an assertion that “the crop circle phenomenon” will go away”. Again you misinterpret what I actually stated. I stated “until someone provides reasonable evidence that they are exactly that (of human manufacture) - the crop-circle “phenomenon” will NEVER go away” This is simply stating that people WILL believe in non-human intervention UNTIL someone comes up with a reasonable evidence that all crop circles ARE indeed of human manufacture. Bringing us neatly back to point 3 above. Notice by the insertion of “all”, I am now coming closer to your “silly” argument. There are obviously going to be crop circles that are hoaxed by pranksters. This is irrefutable. However, what I am interested in is the precise methodology of the huge, complex designs that (on the face of it) would seem to be nigh on impossible to create in the dark, with a couple of planks and a length of rope.
Now I feel certain that you will call me on this and require that I provide evidence that it IS impossible to create “circles” according to such criteria – but THAT is not the argument here. The ball is not in my court on this. It is you as the skeptic who need to show that humans made them all - to dispel the extant public mythology that perhaps it was the aliens. And be careful again – it is not I who is claiming alien intervention. I am merely pointing out what YOU must do to dispel that mythology. Otherwise it will persist. And that is EXACTLY my point. No other.
(I appreciate you never used or referred to the term “alien” in your correspondence – “as-yet-unknown force” is good - we are getting somewhere at least :)
Here’s my favorite example of circumstantial evidence. You wake up one morning and look out the window to discover everything newly covered in snow. Did it snow last night? Not necessarily. The snow on the ground is merely circumstantial evidence. It could have been trucked in by the local tourist board for a ski-weekend promotion.
Some explanations are just more parsimonious than others. This doesn’t mean they are correct. It just means there isn’t sufficient reason to look for more complicated explanations.
I’d like to see an example of a crop circle that could not have been created by terrestrial humans before I give this further consideration.
Rramjet, let’s get rigorous here. We have a set of observations: crop circles. We can shrug our shoulders and grunt, or we can formulate hypotheses to explain them. I can offer three obvious hypotheses:
I think we can all reject the third hypothesis on the basis that wind shears are never so steep as to permit the kind of resolution we see in crop circles. That leaves two obvious hypotheses. Perhaps you’d like to add some more hypotheses; go ahead. But of the two hypotheses, the second requires some pretty wild assumptions:
2a. there are extraterrestial creatures capable of interstellar travel.
2b. they have managed to find the earth.
2c. they chose not to contact us
2d. but they do want to mess with our minds
2e. they just started doing this in the last few decades, and never did it before.
2f. they decided to start in England and concentrated their efforts there, but later changed their minds and did it elsewhere
2g. they manage to sneak down to the earth’s surface without being noticed by radar, passersby, aircraft, or satellites—many times
2h. they can travel interstellar distances but they can’t do their design on any surface other than crops. Not sand.
2i. they can only create images smaller than a hundred meters or so. They can’t build really big images.
Now, each and every one of these assumptions is pretty far out, but assumption 2d is particularly crazy.
Now let’s examine the first hypothesis. It too makes some assumptions:
1a. there are people who’d go to a lot of trouble to play a practical joke.
1b. they are also motivated by the desire to ‘one-up’ other people
1c. They express this motivation by building crop circles.
1d. The one-upmanship has driven them to build progressively more complex images.
1e. As the phenomenon has drawn media attention, more people have joined in the fun.
What’s so wild and crazy about these assumptions? They all seem pretty safe to me. You seem to think that the complexity of the crop circles cannot be achieved by human activities. May I remind you of fraternity stunts? These people put a lot of effort into carrying out wild and crazy, highly improbable exploits, and they have done some things that are truly mind-boggling. I have no doubt that a fraternity could easily figure out a complicated pattern and deploy enough manpower to execute that pattern in a single night.
Rramjet, the only salient false claim I see in those articles is that these two did not actually create every single crop circle in the world. So what? The rest of my rebuttal stands without alteration.
If your claim is that “all crop circles are of human manufacture” (which it appears to be, from your use of the squirrelly wording: “I am not saying that crop-circles are anything but of human manufacture”) then what precisely is the importance of them? Why are they at all relevant to anything having to do with science, pseudoscience, aliens or supernaturalism? They are a social phenomenon, full stop.
If your claim is that some crop circles are not of human manufacture, then I am afraid that the onus is on you to provide the evidence.
You limit yourself, I can offer many other hypotheses – but the whole point is that NONE of the hypotheses you (or I) offer stands up under critical, rational examination. My point is that NO-ONE has provided sufficient, reasonable evidence as to HOW the largest and most complex designs might have been created. Hoaxing small inconsequential designs is a plausible explanation because on the face of it, possible to accomplish. Yet unless SOMEONE can explain how the complex designs were created than the belief in “aliens” (although utterly irrational) will persist!
I don’t understand how you cannot grasp this point. Perhaps you cannot get past the fact that you believe I hold some sort of irrational belief concerning the subject – something to do with aliens perhaps – and this is blinding you to the point of my argument. Are you not critically minded skeptics who require evidence before subscribing to any particular belief – or are you merely selectively skeptical and some things - your own beliefs for example - you just allow faith and personal bias to influence?
I will happily accept that all crop circles are of direct human manufacture when you show me the analysis that explains how this can be so. Until then I can hold to absolutely NO particular belief (NONE) concerning them at all except that they obviously exist (likewise with many other so called paranormal phenomena).
This brings me to another critical point. The only difference between UFOs and crop circles is in the number of witnesses. Crop circles can last for weeks whereas UFOs usually only minutes to hours. I would ask you to think about the ramifications of this.
Doug – are you being deliberately obtuse? I will reframe my points to Chris for you in case you are merely unwitting.
I continually assert that I hold to no particular belief concerning paranormal activity whatsoever. I continually assert that to talk of “aliens, ghosts, goblins, fairies, or whatever” is to buy directly into the haoxers and fraudsters agenda. I also assert that to dismiss paranormal activity as entirely imaginative or hoaxed is irrational and unsupported by the evidence and is also entirely unhelpful to the advancement of knowledge.
I DO assert however that there is a very real phenomena occurring - but even that is beside the point. MY point directly addresses your own agenda – which is to instill a critical and rational methodology in public thinking about these subjects - and so my point is this:
Unless YOU supply evidence for your claims of “hoax” - in the current discussion - for crop circles specifically (and this DEMANDS you supply a detailed methodological analysis of exactly HOW the most complex and detailed of them were created – and merely referencing a couple of yokels called Doug and Dave will NOT cut it – anyone can CLAIM to have done anything – but they must tell us exactly HOW they did it before we can – or should – believe them) there will always be a public perception manifesting along the lines of “oh, if it was not humans, then it must have been aliens”. In other words, it is YOUR agenda that this type of thinking be exposed for the misconception that it most likely is. I, on the other hand, do NOT have to show anything at all except to point out WHY you will fail in this exercise.
Yet after all, you still seem to think I believe that crop circles are NOT of human manufacture – even as I state directly that this is not so. All I am saying is that unless you want others to continue to believe in aliens (for example) YOU must show this to be a misconception. Critical thinking Doug, it is a marvelous thing when applied to ALL beliefs – even your own.
Evidence. Show the public your evidence or continue to be frustrated in your intentions. THAT is my point.
Chris, about 20 years ago, a group of graduating students dismantled a Volkswagon bug and reassembled it in the tower of UC Berkeley OVERNIGHT, and if I remember correctly, it could be started in the morning. No one saw them do it, it was done in one night under the cover of darkness. It caused a BIG stink. NO one thought aliens may have done it, no one saw it as a miracle. Occam’s razor, they assumed correctly that it was a college student prank (and a very good one at that!). This seems to be a much more difficult stunt to pull of than mere crop circles! If you want to see other amazing stunts, you should try to find some of the stunts pulled off by students at MIT and Cal Tech, although the administrations don’t have the patience or sense of humor they had in the past!
I will happily accept that all crop circles are of direct human manufacture when you show me the analysis that explains how this can be so.
OK, here’s how it’s done: a bunch of people draw up a detailed plan, then go out to a field and mash down the grain stalks at the designated locations. You seem to think that this is unimaginably difficult. It isn’t. It’s nothing more than a huge exercise in plane geometry. You bring long sticks, chains (ropes stretch), and pegs. You drive the first peg into the ground at a key location. Then you use chains to measure out the locations of other pegs. You can also use pocket lasers for precisely lining up things. You want an ellipse? Just use two pegs to mark the foci, and you can make a perfect ellipse. A gridwork? Just lay down pegs at regular intervals along two dimensions and mark out whatever grid you want. You can even make hexagonal grids using a simple method.
This kind of large-scale geometry exercise has been done all through history. How do you think they got the stones to line up perfectly for Stonehenge? It wasn’t magic, it was just careful work. They lined up big pyramids on a north-south axis—no magic involved, just careful geometry. They got the surface perfectly level over an area of many acres—all it took was water going through channels. People, not Chariots of the Gods, drew the Nazca lines. And they were Stone Age people at that! Marching bands have long mastered the trick of forming complex moving patterns. People who plant orchards can get the trees lined up perfectly along a grid covering scores of acres, so perfectly that you can see the third and fourth harmonic lines (and that’s how they get them lined up in the first place). There’s a guy in Texas who wrote his name in a forest covering hundreds of acres. He chopped down trees along a series of lines to spell out the letters of his name. You can read it from space (if you have binoculars). And it’s perfect!
Making geometric patterns on the land is no big deal. Indeed, “geometry” means “earth measure”.
Rramjet, I decided that you might not realize how easy this is to do, so I decided to actually work through the process of building one of these. Let’s take the most complicated example: the image of the alien face with the circular “CD-ROM” image. How would you build this?
1. Draw your image of the alien.
2. Grayscale digitize it in a 60 by 20 grid, with resolution of maybe four bits. You can do this by hand, but Photoshop would make it really easy.
3. Get 60 pieces of rope, each of length equal to the width of the image.
4. Tie knots at regular intervals along the length of each rope.
5. Between each knot tie a length of rope that is free to slide along the rope between the knots. Make the length of this secondary rope proportional to the brightness of the pixel.
6. Cut two pieces of rope whose length equals the length of the boundary rectangle, and two pieces for the width. On the lengthwise pieces, tie knots at regular intervals equal to the spacing between scan lines of the image.
7. Select the location of one corner of the rectangle. Set a pole on this point. Shoot a laser along one direction and roll your grain-masher roller along that line, using the length-rope to determine how far to travel along that line.
8. Rotate the laser 90 degrees and repeat the process for the width of the rectangle.
9. Continue in this manner to make the other two edges.
10. With all four rectangle-edge ropes pegged in place, lay out the scan line ropes between the lengthwise ropes, tying them at the designated knots.
11. Walk down each scan-line rope, using the secondary ropes as the tools to knock down the grain stalks at precisely the right distances.
The CD-ROM image adds some complications to this process, as it must be laid down at the same time. The procedure is identical to the procedure for the bitmap image, but it uses radial geometry instead of rectilinear geometry. But the same basic trick with ropes and knots works just as well here. This time, you move the primary rope around the center of the circle. There are only 16 tracks, so I’d use 16 people, one at each radial distance, each one walking along the cleared path and knocking down grain stalks at intervals according to a table he reads as he goes.
This plan took me all of 40 minutes to figure out and write down. I’m sure that, with more careful work, I could make it even more detailed. But I think I’ve demonstrated exactly how this kind of thing can be done.
Thank you Chris! – after a decidedly shaky beginning in your first couple of posts – you finally got the point! Someone with the sense and presence of mind to actually try and explain it rather than merely proselytizing and debunking from belief rather than critical analysis. WELL DONE! I wish more people in this forum had the critical thinking skills you seem to posses to be able to see past “aliens” “little green men” etc and actually tackle the main point. It is EXACTLY this type of critical analysis that I am calling for.
At the risk of testing your patience however, your analysis is still incomplete. You need to explain two more things (I reserve the right to add others but we are at least progressing very positively). First and most easily accomplished I presume (but critically) is an analysis of the exact amount of time it would actually take using your chosen methodology. Second, and more difficult because it may be (although I dare not presume) beyond the scope of your expertise, is a physical analysis of just how easily it is to get every single stalk of grain to lay over in precise patterns. I add this second point because it seems that not only do we have the external pattern outlined by the standing crop, in many cases we also have internal patterns contained within the flattened crop.
Another consideration is that sixteen people stomping about a field at night without utilising visible light (ie; they were not detected even though some of these designs occur in very populous places) may seem improbable (and I do not believe the “Volkswagen” example to be at all relevant here for quite obvious methodological considerations) does require some explanation, merely because it IS an objection often raised.
Finally, you must somehow crack the eyewitness reports (for example) of the Stonehenge” Mandelbrot set design (also pictured in Icedbullet’s post) who swear that the design took only twenty minutes to appear and that it did so in broad daylight. In other words, this would require an investigation as to whether of not he (primarily the Cessna pilot eye witness) was actually in cahoots with the makers or not. Unfortunately, simply because these things are considered to be part of the “lunatic fringe” of humanity, no resources are provided for their study, so this would be very difficult to accomplish.
But I must say, you have made my day. Well done and thank you.