Before you even read this post, before I even post it, I can hear the furious tapping of hundreds of angry Atheist fingers on keyboards ready to damn me for uttering such profanity. The mods were all just awoken by a Potential-Theist-Woo-Woo Alarm going off.
I must admit, I do love just saying
the phrase "Crop Circles" for the emotional and jump-to-conclusions reactions I get.
"Nonsense! There's no such thing as aliens!" Did I say there was?
"All proven hoaxes! The hoax team Doug and Dave admitted to being behind it all!" All of them? All 400 or so each year? Starting in the 1600's? Without ever being caught? On multiple continents in the same day? Because dude, I soooo want whatever sonic-speed jet they apparently have.
"All New Age hooey!" New Agers are also really into pyramids. Doesn't mean the pyramids of Egypt are complete
fakes* or unworthy of non-New Agey study. (*Though I doubt the pyramids are capable of all the magical powers New Agers tend to ascribe to them).
Many a crop circle has been shown to be pranksters with wooden boards. Many have been so elaborate - no tell-tale marks of human involvement, alteration of the plants down to the cellular level - as to make guys-with-wooden-planks-and-too-much-time-on-their-hands a stretch at best. Most are never given any serious investigation.
In fact, google it and it's hard to find any credible scientific journal or website saying much of anything at all. Like I would tell people on my tours of the Sedona "Vortexes," there's little scientific study of them because, well, there are few scientists doing the studying. If there's 'no evidence' because no one has looked for the evidence...
Yet, there they are. Crop Circles. Defying conventional wisdom. So they can only be either hoaxes or wildly supernatural (usually space aliens). Or ... god(s)? My first of two questions here:
1) Why are the Theists not all over Crop Circles as evidence of god(s)?
Here you have a phenomena which in some cases is a hell of a lot harder to explain as hoax, coincidence, or an optical illusion than Jesus-on-grilled-cheese. If the Virgin Mary appearing in your dog's ass is solid evidence of God, surely a quarter-mile or so geometric formation with all kinds of tantalizing supernatural clues (whether exaggerated by witnesses or not), would be sufficient proof of the ... well ... supernatural? Yet the mystical allure of Crop Circles seem to have been co-opted exclusively by the crystal crunchers.
My personal theory is simple: They're Crop Circles,
not Crop Crosses. Or Crop Stars of David (though I think one of those has appeared). Or Crop Images Of Muhammad (take that you paranoid Danish freaks). God itself can appear in a church, in a hail of fire and brimstone, with every miracle trick in the book, and if it's not what the pewsitters expect/want to see, they'll explain it away as a cruel trick.
2) Why do Crop Circles scare the normal people?
So the Theists are ambivalent at best because it isn't their
god(s) doing the talking. But it seems that Atheists and skeptics seem to feel the same way. The phenomena has been so heavily associated with UFOs and New Age pyramid power, there's an automatic dismissal.
The realist in me is nowhere near so arrogant as to say we have, as of 2010, discovered everything there is to discover.
The science nerd in me looks at something like Crop Circles, knowing that at least some are confirmed hoaxes, looks at the rest with a skeptical is-this-one-a-hoax-as-well? eye, but is also open to the possibility that there's something going on we simply haven't discovered yet.
Yet, the phrase itself is so emotionally charged, I wonder if there will ever be any truly objective research. The New Agers go into it already having pre-concluded it is some mystical woo-woo energy. The Scientists go into it already having pre-concluded that it is horseshit. Is it really such a scary idea that to whatever extent, we are seeing bits of phenomena that we simply haven't put a scientific label on yet?