Crop Circles: Skeptics please

Ivan Seeking

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Crop Circles

We all know that many to most circles are hoaxed. It is my understanding that beyond any doubt, this phenomenon predates modern reports by at least decades. Some years ago I watched a Nova or similar that discussed this subject purely in meteorological terms. It was shown that meteorologist in the US studied this phenomenon as early as the 1940s.

Here is one link that I happened upon. How do we explain the real ones? Wind? Earthlights or similar? Some kind of electrostatic phenomena? IMO it is unfortunate that this subject is obscured by the National Enquirer stuff.

http://www.paranormalresearchonline.com/unexplained_crop.html [Broken]

The Mowing Devil:
http://www.rense.com/general39/mow.htm

Other mythical references: Interesting.
http://www.danu.co.uk/ne/66/mower.html
 
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Ivan Seeking

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A nice discussion from BBC:
FACTS:
There are reports of crop circles going back to 800 AD.

A famous woodcut depicting The Mowing Devil and crop circles in Hertfordshire dates back to 1687.


There are numerous stories of people playing in the crop circles as children in the 1920s and 1930s.

There are eye witness reports of crop circle formations from over 40 countries including Australia, America, Russia, South Africa and Israel.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/south/prog_03/index.shtml [Broken]
 
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russ_watters

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How do we explain the real ones?
In your title, you asked for skeptics. As a skeptic, that question has no meaning to me.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Originally posted by russ_watters
In your title, you asked for skeptics. As a skeptic, that question has no meaning to me.
Which explanation do you prefer: ET, wheat fairies, or some natural but unknown process? If the latter, then what?
 
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How is a skeptic (or anyone of such position) to identify an "unknown process"?
 

Ivan Seeking

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Originally posted by abhishek
How is a skeptic (or anyone of such position) to identify an "unknown process"?
First we consider the evidence; and then the physics required to produce such evidence. From this we can speculate as to the source. I am assuming that the explanation lies well within the bounds of known physics. We just don't understand the process.
 
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I haven't seen any photographs of anything that couldn't have been hoaxed. I haven't seen any photographs of anything that looked like the result of natural processes except the "Vacant Lot" circle you posted a month or two ago. Evidence from circles 800 AD to when modern ones began to be photographed is all gone.

So it looks like the only possible source of reliable descriptions would be the records of the 1940s meteorological studies. If you can find these then there might be photos and descriptions to look at of circles unsullied by association with the hoax movement.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Originally posted by zoobyshoe
I haven't seen any photographs of anything that couldn't have been hoaxed. I haven't seen any photographs of anything that looked like the result of natural processes except the "Vacant Lot" circle you posted a month or two ago. Evidence from circles 800 AD to when modern ones began to be photographed is all gone.

So it looks like the only possible source of reliable descriptions would be the records of the 1940s meteorological studies. If you can find these then there might be photos and descriptions to look at of circles unsullied by association with the hoax movement.
I have no idea if this early research is available on the net. Here is some more recent information.

http://www.diagnosis2012.co.uk/blt1.htm

Sorry; sometimes I forget that not everyone knows this stuff. I will spend a little time looking for the orignal research.
 

Ivan Seeking

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We begin with a publication in the prestigious journal Nature in 1880. In that summer a description of crop circles was published by a scientist who was a frequent correspondent to scholarly journals of that time. His name is J. Rand Capron, a spectroscopist who lived in the country at Guildown near Guildford, Surrey, in the south of England. The reference is Nature, volume 22, pp 290-291, 29 July 1880.
The content of the article is enough to prove that some of the basic crop circles, of the type that came under scrutiny a century later in the 1970s and 1980s, were similarly non-artificial. The marks which Rand Capron saw he described as having "a few standing stalks as a centre" of what were otherwise flattened circles, all possessing "a circular wall of stalks which had not suffered."
Rand Capron's account has been reprinted in the January 2000 issue of the Journal of Meteorology (ISSN 0307-5966: Volume 25, pp 20-21: "A case of genuine crop circles dating from July 1880 -- as published in Nature in the year 1880"). The rediscovery of this crucial narrative was made by Peter Van Doorn in the course of archival research arising from his ball-lightning interests. Peter Van Doorn heads the Ball Lightning Division of the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation, for which refer to http://www.torro.org.uk
http://www.stonehenge-avebury.net/scienceofcropcircles.htm
 
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The info at that link (in your post before last) is pretty much impossible for me to comment on. I know nothing about botany. If you have an unreadable notes by Hoover about this I can translate, though.
 
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Ivan Seeking

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Originally posted by zoobyshoe
The info at that last link is pretty much impossible for me to comment on. I know nothing about botany. If you have an unreadable notes by Hoover about this I can translate, though.
There is one famous quote from Hoover in this regard. Since you can't open pdfs I will tranlate for you. When the FBI was asked to stay out of crop circle investigations, Hoover responds:

I would agree to this but first I want access to the mowers recovered.
To my knowledge, the meaning of this comment has never be ascertained.
 
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http://www.stonehenge-avebury.net/scienceofcropcircles.htm
Well, this link is super-duper. Did you read it all? Eyewitness reports of a perfectly natural explanation for the "simple" crop circle.

Whirlwinds are weird. I was laying out on a towel sunning myself in a park once and one came along and dipped own right on me, disheveling my hair and towel, then retreated back up and whirled away. Another time I was driving slowly along a shady dirt road on a wickedly hot, dry day, and came upon something like a standing dust devil where another dirt road lead off the one I was on. I stopped and watched it for a while. It danced around quite a bit, got stronger, weaker, stronger, weaker, but never seemed to leave the spot. I got bored and drove on.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Originally posted by russ_watters
In your title, you asked for skeptics. As a skeptic, that question has no meaning to me.
Russ, I was hoping for some skeptical feedback towards a credible mechanism. For example, ionic vortices are one favored explanation. Is this possible? Could this be an example of micro-micro bursts? Could this be related to earthlights?

Many explanations have been proposed over the years - many of them could not survive the wrath of Russ. The denial of the mystery only serves to perpetuate the mystery. Explanations that make sense have a way of getting around.
 
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
There is one famous quote from Hoover in this regard. Since you can't open pdfs I will tranlate for you. When the FBI was asked to stay out of crop circle investigations, Hoover responds:

Quote
------------------------------
I would agree to this but first I want access to mowers recovered
-------------------------------

To my knowledge, the meaning of this comment has never be ascertained.
I know this note, actually. The meaning is clear in the context of the next sentence:

Quote
-----------------------------
For instance in the La. case the Army grabbed it and would not let us use it on the lawn at headquarters, here.
-------------------------------
 

russ_watters

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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
Which explanation do you prefer: ET, wheat fairies, or some natural but unknown process? If the latter, then what?
No, my point was being a skeptic I think there are no "real" ones.
Russ, I was hoping for some skeptical feedback towards a credible mechanism.
Fair enough. The mechanism I would suggest is a guy with a stick, a board, and some string.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Originally posted by russ_watters
No, my point was being a skeptic I think there are no "real" ones.
You claim to be a skeptic:
I think there are no "real" ones
This is a belief.

In order to be objective one must consider all evidence about which to be skeptical. You want to stop with the assumption that all are hoaxes. The evidence is to the contrary. As a skeptic, I don't accept your explanation. How do you justify your position?
 
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russ_watters

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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
You claim to be a skeptic:

This is a belief.

In order to be objective one must consider all evidence about which to be skeptical. You want to stop with the assumption that all are hoaxes. The evidence is to the contrary. As a skeptic, I don't accept your explanation. How do you justify your position?
Hehe, no. I have seen no compelling evidence that any are anything but artificial. Thats not an assumption, thats a conclusion based on data.

Further, the failure of the secondary goal of finding a non-artificial cause is more evidence that they must all be artificial.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Originally posted by russ_watters
thats a conclusion based on data.
Like I said, you are not a skeptic.

You have not responded to any of the information posted. If you wish to dispute the evidence, could you address each item point by point?
 
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selfAdjoint

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So let me respond as a skeptic. Of the three links you gave, only the first is addressable on a reasonable basis. The others are just cute.

The first link is BS. If the people who produced it had been interested in representing reality, they'd have followed every statement - especially those about chemical changes - with a reference to the original paper, which would have been published in a refereed journal, or at least posted online where we could judge its results for ourselves. Instead this essay is the usual in-group babble to the faithful.

That skeptical enough fer ya?
 

Zero

Originally posted by selfAdjoint
So let me respond as a skeptic. Of the three links you gave, only the first is addressable on a reasonable basis. The others are just cute.

The first link is BS. If the people who produced it had been interested in representing reality, they'd have followed every statement - especially those about chemical changes - with a reference to the original paper, which would have been published in a refereed journal, or at least posted online where we could judge its results for ourselves. Instead this essay is the usual in-group babble to the faithful.

That skeptical enough fer ya?
I agree...the problem is that you are starting from the assumption that some crop circles are real, and others are hoaxes. We KNOW that most of them are, so we put the rest in the 'probably also hoaxes' column until some evidence shows up. A search for a 'mechanism'(besides boards and rope) for this sort of 'event' is nearly meaningless. You can guess all you like, but then you have to come up with experimental or observational proof that your guess is correct. And, has anyone actually shown the existance of the "ionic vortices"?


Darn it, two places in a week that me and Russ agree on something!
 

Ivan Seeking

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Originally posted by selfAdjoint
So let me respond as a skeptic. Of the three links you gave, only the first is addressable on a reasonable basis. The others are just cute.
This is only an accusation. You don't address the evidence. The photographs are of real effects that are well documented. criticism without homework is just an uniformed opinon.


The first link is BS. If the people who produced it had been interested in representing reality, they'd have followed every statement - especially those about chemical changes - with a reference to the original paper, which would have been published in a refereed journal, or at least posted online where we could judge its results for ourselves. Instead this essay is the usual in-group babble to the faithful.

That skeptical enough fer ya? [/B]
No. This is a newspaper report; not a scientific paper.

Have that you checked all of the scientific reference listed in the third link? You must have since you have already dismissed it as cute.

Rand Capron's account has been reprinted in the January 2000 issue of the Journal of Meteorology (ISSN 0307-5966: Volume 25, pp 20-21: "A case of genuine crop circles dating from July 1880 -- as published in Nature in the year 1880".

Another cute source I suppose.

In my experience, these references usually check out. I am posting these particular links since I have seen much of this information before; from other more credible sources.
 
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Ivan Seeking

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Originally posted by Zero
I agree...the problem is that you are starting from the assumption that some crop circles are real, and others are hoaxes. We KNOW that most of them are, so we put the rest in the 'probably also hoaxes' column until some evidence shows up. A search for a 'mechanism'(besides boards and rope) for this sort of 'event' is nearly meaningless. You can guess all you like, but then you have to come up with experimental or observational proof that your guess is correct. And, has anyone actually shown the existance of the "ionic vortices"?
I have posted information and evidence commonly known to be accurate. People are simply trying to explain what is observed.
 
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russ_watters

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Originally posted by Zero
I agree...the problem is that you are starting from the assumption that some crop circles are real, and others are hoaxes. We KNOW that most of them are, so we put the rest in the 'probably also hoaxes' column until some evidence shows up. A search for a 'mechanism'(besides boards and rope) for this sort of 'event' is nearly meaningless. You can guess all you like, but then you have to come up with experimental or observational proof that your guess is correct. And, has anyone actually shown the existance of the "ionic vortices"?


Darn it, two places in a week that me and Russ agree on something!
Just a clarification, you quoted selfAdjoint, but that assumption came from Ivan Seeking in the opening poll.

Incidentally, your evalutaion of the invalidity of the assumption is impeccable. (damn, didn't meant to use so many big words, it just kinda happened)
Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
You have not responded to any of the information posted. If you wish to dispute the evidence, could you address each item point by point?
You asked for an opinion, not an evaluation of evidence. I didn't read the links because they weren't relevant to the question. I HAVE read plenty about the subject - I even have a book about it - and I highly doubt there will be anything compelling in there. You started the thread though, and if you want to change the topic, I guess thats up to you (though that is partly on me since I did challenge the validity of the assumption)....

With the links you provided came the assumption that your opinion was proven fact. Clearly from the other responses, that question is very much still open - though ironically I would consider it more close to closed in the other direction from your stance. I'll look at your links though and tell you what I think.

edit: Ok, I gave those links 30 seconds and thats all they are going to get. I said in a previous thread I'm a stickler for credibility: those sites have none and as a result, any information contained in them is suspect and therefore not worth evaluating.
 
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It's not clear to me what Russ, Zero, and selAjoint are objecting to in the information at this link posted by Ivan:

scienceofcropcircles
Address:http://www.stonehenge-avebury.net/scienceofcropcircles.htm
It gives a perfectly natural, non-extrordinary explanation for "simple" crop circles.
 

Ivan Seeking

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First, Self Adjoint, I was confused about the links that you referenced. There are two more down the page that I was referencing.

Originally posted by russ_watters
Just a clarification, you quoted selfAdjoint, but that assumption came from Ivan Seeking in the opening poll.

Incidentally, your evalutaion of the invalidity of the assumption is impeccable. (damn, didn't meant to use so many big words, it just kinda happened) You asked for an opinion, not an evaluation of evidence. I didn't read the links because they weren't relevant to the question.
Yes they were. This is why I posted them.

I HAVE read plenty about the subject - I even have a book about it - and I highly doubt there will be anything compelling in there.
You readily admit to lacking objectivity. You also use subjective terms by which to view the evidence. Would kind of compelling be OK; instead of complelling? It is either evidence or not.

You started the thread though, and if you want to change the topic, I guess thats up to you (though that is partly on me since I did challenge the validity of the assumption)....
I made clear a few posts later what my intent was:
I was hoping for some skeptical feedback towards a credible mechanism. For example, ionic vortices are one favored explanation. Is this possible? Could this be an example of micro-micro bursts? Could this be related to earthlights?
With the links you provided came the assumption that your opinion was proven fact. Clearly from the other responses, that question is very much still open - though ironically I would consider it more close to closed in the other direction from your stance. I'll look at your links though and tell you what I think.
I stated up front that this phenomenon is real. I was not interested in defending this point.

edit: Ok, I gave those links 30 seconds and thats all they are going to get. I said in a previous thread I'm a stickler for credibility: those sites have none and as a result, any information contained in them is suspect and therefore not worth evaluating.
Really? 30 seconds. Thanks Russ!
 
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