Re: META: Psuedo-Science (crop circles)

Dan Clemmensen (
Wed, 03 Sep 1997 18:19:21 -0400

Rick Knight wrote:
> For instance, in the area of Crop Cirlces, about which I know
> relatively little, it is an intriguing notion to think that they might
> be communications (such as those suggested in the film "Contact"). A
> scientific mind may seek to discredit crop circles as hoaxes by
> pointing out the "proof" that they are man-made. In my mind, that
> doesn't take into account a number of variables, many, alas,
> metaphysical in nature and thus, likely discreditable under classic
> scientific scrutiny.
> However, I consider that the circles, whether they be hoaxes done by
> clever humans or cryptic messages from an advances off-world race, to
> be a fascinating phenomenon, at least archetypally and sociologically.
> Some "hoaxes" are deliberate, confessed after the fact to be so, not
> to discredit but to continue a dialog in earnest. The human-made
> circles I'm told are often done with the utmost reverence, employing
> sacred geometry, considering time and location thoughtfully and
> planned out for months in advance.
> One might say that such an elaborate hoax and expenditure of time is
> all for naught. But even the effect it has on the different camps of
> thought on the legitmacy of crop circles is a fascinating byproduct
> for it "shakes the tree of knowledge" so to speak. Whether it
> provokes with fascination or irritates and divides groups of
> discussion, it has its place.
> The real world of qualified scientific phenomenon may well be utterly
> more fascinating than the more fanciful and supernatural notions
> sometimes expressed here but whether one outweighs the other in
> importance is up to the individual to decide. Science and imagination
> should be free to comingle and dance together to produce possibilities
> to come. I'll leave it to the moderators as to how to regulate a
> balance that doesn't abruptly dismiss or matter-of-factly discredit.

Rick, the book I completed most recently was "Contact" by Carl Sagan.
The book I'm reading now is "the Demon-haunted World", By Cark Sagan.

Sagan was very active founding member of CSICOP. These are scientific
skeptics. In addtion to the Sysiphyan taks of debunking pseudo-science,
they also publish scolarly research in the area of belief and its
psychology. I strongly urge you to read "the Demon-haunted world.",
which has quite a bit to say about crop circles. You may also wish to
join CSICOP and thereby receive their magazine, "Skeptical Inquirer",
which reports on these issues.