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Crop Circles: Skeptics please

  1. Oct 22, 2003 #1

    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
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2003 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    A nice discussion from BBC:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/south/prog_03/index.shtml [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  4. Oct 22, 2003 #3

    russ_watters

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    In your title, you asked for skeptics. As a skeptic, that question has no meaning to me.
     
  5. Oct 23, 2003 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Which explanation do you prefer: ET, wheat fairies, or some natural but unknown process? If the latter, then what?
     
  6. Oct 23, 2003 #5
    How is a skeptic (or anyone of such position) to identify an "unknown process"?
     
  7. Oct 23, 2003 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    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.
     
  8. Oct 23, 2003 #7
    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.
     
  9. Oct 23, 2003 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    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.
     
  10. Oct 23, 2003 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    http://www.stonehenge-avebury.net/scienceofcropcircles.htm
     
  11. Oct 23, 2003 #10
    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2003
  12. Oct 23, 2003 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    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:

    To my knowledge, the meaning of this comment has never be ascertained.
     
  13. Oct 23, 2003 #12
    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.
     
  14. Oct 23, 2003 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    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.
     
  15. Oct 23, 2003 #14
    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.
    -------------------------------
     
  16. Oct 23, 2003 #15

    russ_watters

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    No, my point was being a skeptic I think there are no "real" ones.
    Fair enough. The mechanism I would suggest is a guy with a stick, a board, and some string.
     
  17. Oct 23, 2003 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    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?
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2003
  18. Oct 24, 2003 #17

    russ_watters

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    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.
     
  19. Oct 24, 2003 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    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?
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2003
  20. Oct 24, 2003 #19

    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?
     
  21. Oct 24, 2003 #20
    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!
     
  22. Oct 24, 2003 #21

    Ivan Seeking

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    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.


    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2003
  23. Oct 24, 2003 #22

    Ivan Seeking

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    I have posted information and evidence commonly known to be accurate. People are simply trying to explain what is observed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2003
  24. Oct 24, 2003 #23

    russ_watters

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    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. 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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2003
  25. Oct 24, 2003 #24
    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.
     
  26. Oct 24, 2003 #25

    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.

     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2003
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