I’ve been catching up with back episodes of QI on BBC and the other night I came across the episode with the QI crop circle. The QI crop circle has become skeptic gold after it was covered by a Norwegian TV show (in the YouTube video below) with a woman who believes crop circles hold special powers. You might laugh (I did at first), but it’s a depressing insight into the mindset of someone so deeply into what they consider as extra-natural phenomena that their grip on reality has been severely compromised. The Norwegian crop circle enthusiast in the video displays what could be described as a religious experience with her first “fresh” crop circle. As the video will subsequently show, she is deluding herself. It’s what can happen when an innocent interest turns into blind faith.
Before I go further I should clarify my position on aliens. I’m not saying that there isn’t life on other planets in other star systems; according to some estimates it’s pretty likely that there are. However, the distances involved and our current understanding of physics suggests that it’s highly unlikely we’ve been visited, particularly given the lack of evidence of alien footsteps on our planet.
Crop circles as evidence of extra-terrestrial contact is not impossible, but incredibly implausible. If extra-terrestrials did manage to find a shortcut around the laws of physics, and did want to contact us, then why bother with cryptic corn communiques? If they have found a way to travel the countless light years of the cosmos, such an alien race would have no problem getting to grips with our puny telecommunications technology. Why not communicate by radio, laser or Facebook?
Alien involvement in crop circles has long been debunked, not least by crop circle maker Matthew Williams, the only person in the UK so far to be charged and convicted for property damage in relation to his mischievous activities.
Despite the evidence to the contrary, many still believe crop circles to be the work of extra-terrestrial visitors or supernatural powers, which have left the sites with mysterious energies and unexplained auras. Any ‘evidence’ that is collected remains in a permanent secret limbo of investigation by unnamed experts, with no release for independent analysis.
I can understand our interest with the skies and things we don’t understand. As I write Jupiter is rising is the east of South Shields’ skies, a bright orangey glow. Over our heads satellites and space debris zip around in orbit, showing as speeding white lights, or a strobe light reflecting light as they tumble along in their journey, occasionally catching sunlight. I know this because someone else has gone to all the hard work of mapping these objects out. To me the knowledge is more exciting than the mystery, but to so many others the mist of ignorance holds a magic, so much so that mundane sky objects like aircraft, fireworks and Chinese lanterns immediately become visitors from another planet.
So what’s the harm in mixing a bit of X-Files style titillation with New-Age nonsense?
Watch the video and make your own mind up.