Mod+ 253. SUZANNE TAYLOR, THE SCIENTIFIC MYSTERY OF CROP CIRCLES

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by alex.tsakiris, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    My feeling is that this is one of a number of potentially relevant phenomena, that are just too hard to evaluate - so they aren't so interesting to me because there really is a chance that they are pure nonsense.

    Given that it seems at least probable that there is some concerted effort to debunk and trivialise real ψ phenomena, I wouldn't rule out the idea that some group has put some serious technical effort into making crop circles - simplyto try to discredit ψ phenomena in general.

    Can you elaborate on that idea, please?

    David
     
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  2. lhl

    lhl Member

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    It's basically a reiteration of the views expressed by crop circle researches like Rob Buckle and Matthew Williams.

    On the one hand almost all crop circles have "combing" marks easily visible from the air, which is a dead giveaway that the crop has been flattened by boards. And so it would seem a unavoidable conclusion that crop circles are made by people.

    On the other hand there are several accounts of odd occurences associated with the crop circle phenomena, although the evidence for this is somewhat weaker and on the whole mainly anecdotal.

    One of the strange phenomena associated with crop circles relates to the timing of their appearance and the choice of design and location. There are several accounts of people meditating or praying for a certain design only to discover the very next day that the design that they were meditating on has appeared during the night.

    For instance crop circle researcher Colin Andrews has an account of this happening to him. And Matthew Williams tells a story of him being involved in a similar incident as a member of the team actually making the crop circle; only learning afterwards that a group had been meditating on the very same (allegedly) design.

    There are also accounts of two different teams unbeknownst to eachother going into adjacent fields on the same night and making very similar designs. John Lundberg tells a story like that.

    If these accounts are true and if they cannot be ascribed to mere coincidence, they point towards some type of synchronicity or telepathy. Or perhaps even to another intelligence behind the crop circle phenomena, which is the view Matthew Williams subscribes to.

    And then it gets even stranger.

    Apparently many circle makers have experienced strange happenings in the field when they are making the circles. These reports include hearing strange sounds, seeing shadowy figures or balls of light behaving intelligently and interacting with the team - in some instances exhibiting hostile behaviour. In a few cases the teams got so scared that they abandoned the circle and fled the field. In these cases the evidence is very slim consisting only of photos of the unfinished circles and the accounts by the team members, so I suppose it can't be ruled out that it is some sort of prank played by (or on) the team.

    In summation: Crop circles are made by people. But if any of the unusual accounts above are true there still is a paranormal aspect to the phenomena.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  3. Alex

    Alex New

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    yes... I'm open to that as well. the hard thing about pulling apart these phenomena is that the head-on, straight forward approach I prefer can really only get you so far. this seems particularly true with crop circles.
     
  4. Lusikka

    Lusikka New

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    This is OT and therefore I'll write not so much. I have that book about Serios, the first edition. I have read it and I am able to confirm what Michael Prescott has written in his blog:

    http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2006/08/lets_get_serios.html
    It is possible to make similar images with a small gimmick as is shown here:http://www.niler.com/estitle.html


    The only unexplained thing is how Serios was able to make those images. Eisenbud has been in error in interpreting some of the images and there are many oddities in them, but discussing that would require a new thread.
     
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  5. Alex

    Alex New

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    UPDATE 10/16/2014: Soon after publishing this episode the good folks of the Skeptiko forum started tearing apart the Crop Circle phenomena and many of the claims made herein. I got the story wrong. The best evidence suggests Crop Circles are a man-made phenomena. Claims of paranormal activities surrounding the making of, and being in, crop circles may or may have merit, but should considered separately. These claims shouldn't obscure the evidence suggesting Crop Circles are man-made by ordinary means. I hope to do another show on this in the near future.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
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  6. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Great, Alex.
    I look forward to the next interview on the topic.

    A good example of skepticism at work :)
     
  7. DominicBunnell

    DominicBunnell New

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    I always enjoy listening to people like Greg Bishop and Nick Redfern speculating about whether the circle makers/hoaxers are themselves being led by some paranormal force to make the circles. This is a wonderful example of people making their theories unfalsifiable. No matter how much evidence we get that the circles are being made by human beings, it's always possible to say that there's some mysterious force there in the background too.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
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  8. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Clearly the value (if any) of crop circles as evidence for paranormal phenomena can't be enhanced by speculations of that sort. However, the fact is that crop circles do appear, and it is reasonable for those who accept paranormal phenomena exist (based on much better evidence) to speculate whether crop circles involve something paranormal.

    Skeptics (and I would guess you would count yourself as one) often fail to distinguish between discussions about proving that paranormal phenomena exist (the only kind of discussion that probably interests you) and more wide ranging discussions based an the hypothesis that paranormal phenomena do exist.

    I lean towards the view that paranormal phenomena do exist, and given that, they may contribute to a whole range of phenomena, for example the psychologist, James Carpenter thinks that ψ is part of perception in general, but it would be silly to claim that every act of perception is evidence for ψ!

    David
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
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  9. DominicBunnell

    DominicBunnell New

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    Yeah, but sky scrapers and sports stadiums also appear, but we don't hear anybody suggesting that mysterious paranormal forces may have been involved there. The fact that crop circles exist and paranormal phenomena exist doesn't give us any reason to think there's any connection between them.

    In fairness, though, Redfern and others have apparently talked to some of the circle makers, and they claim to have seen strange orbs and lights while making the circles, and they talk about synchronicities, dreaming of circle-patterns, and so on.

    I think the Vallee/Keel/Redfern perspective on the paranormal is a hell of a lot more plausible than the mainstream idea that there are spirits of the dead moving furniture around, unknown bipedal primates running around, and aliens in metal spaceships crashing in the desert.

    The problem is, once you start saying this sneaky tricksterish force is hiding from cameras, destroying evidence, silencing witnesses, sending the men in black and so on, it becomes unfalsifiable and essentially meaningless. It's a bit like the theory that we're all living in a computer simulation.
     
  10. Hans Bots

    Hans Bots New

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  11. Hans Bots

    Hans Bots New

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    Just curious, have you ever visited the crop circle area in the UK?
     
  12. Johnny

    Johnny New

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    I enjoyed this interview and Suzanne Taylor was pleasant to listen to, although in my own personal view I don't have any room left for mystery regarding crop circles, it has been shown how people can easily replicate even the most geometrical amazing looking crop circle, in a few hours overnight, we shouldn't underestimate the following of the UFO or alien phenomena movement, there are adherents everywhere, and as it has been shown how easily humans can create the most spectacular looking crop circles, with a little careful planning and team work, it wouldn't surprise me how many groups are involved in doing it globally.

    The mystery of batteries or cameras being drained, must be another additional gimmick, that I don't know the answer to, but I find little reason to assume aliens, I don't underestimate the lengths people would go to-to make their crop circles look authentic, even putting chemicals into the soil or brading the wheat.
    All this is possible and explainable via human endeavour.
     
  13. Alex

    Alex New

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    mostly agree... at the least the topic is so muddled with human fakery as to make it useless to study.
     
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  14. Suzanne Taylor

    Suzanne Taylor New

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    Sorry I am late to the party, but I just discovered this conversation and want to chime in.

    It 's understood by anybody paying attention that many more circles than crop circle lovers first thought were made by people. But that doesn’t mean you throw out all the years, all the countries, all the circles.

    There are some talented artists in the fields, although I have disrespect for destroying property and the intention to fool people, and for Matthew Williams, who isn't among that talented artist bunch.

    My interest in the circles is because they could affect our worldview, where greed and violence are our stock in trade. We need to move to where our mutuality is front and center. Looking for some mystery to the circles, where we would be one humanity in relation to the other, would serve better than arguing for a position that no one really can even know is true. Why not try to discern whether there are mysterious origins rather than trying to tear down what could be so world-changing?

    I have moved on from the more exclusive involvement with the crop circles that it took to make movies. And MY movie is "What On Earth?,” so if you want to evaluate me as a filmmaker please do it from that one. Having been nominated for an Academy Award, William Gazecki had creative control on our movie. I had no power to make him do anything, and the decision not to include hoaxers was his decision. I think it related to Michael Glickman refusing to be in a documentary that included hoaxers, and William chose Michael to include.

    Now that my film has been out for a few years and I’m not doing so much marketing, there isn’t anything keeping me involved so intensely with the circles. Here's a statement about what I do:

    “Suzanne Taylor, a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of NYU, produces stimulating events, projects and experiences for sophisticated audiences, with a visionary voice that challenges the status quo and helps people feel inspired to forward a collective vision.”
     
  15. Alex

    Alex New

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    right, but that's not exactly what you said when I interviewed you in September of 2014.

    I kinda feel like I got duped. and I think a lot of folks like me who have a casual interest in crop circles will feel duped if they watch your movie and then find out the facts about crop circles.

    Is there some kind of genuine mystery here? are people who make circles somehow part of a paranormal experience? maybe, but the crop fields are too muddled with fakery to tell.
     
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  16. Suzanne Taylor

    Suzanne Taylor New

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    Whoa -- I've been saying there are more hoaxed than we dreamed of for a long time, so what is it that I didn't say "exactly?" Duping people is a terrible accusation and not in my operating program. What I did keep telling you when you were skeptical after our show was what isn't being talked about in this thread, which is that biological changes to the plants and chemical changes to the soil are what I turn to as the bottom line for verification that there is a mystery. Although Levingood has been under attack, by my lights Nancy Talbott is straight arrow and this is her work, some with Levingood and some with others. There's too much indication of mystery to be so glib about throwing the phenomenon out, and progress would be better served by looking to verify it than by insisting on vilifying it. And knocking my movie is a cruel thing to do. It's the opinions of people who have given much of their life energy to involvement with the circles. When I thanked the NY Times reviewer for her good review and mentioned how there have been critiques because I didn't present "the other side," her response was that she reviewed the movie I made, not the one I didn't make.
     
  17. Alex

    Alex New

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    Come on Suzanne, I just re-read the interview, at no point did you mention the fact that most crop circles have been proven to be made by humans.

    As far as being duped, I'm responsible for that... the information was out there before I did the interview, I just didn't dig far enough. then again, you sure didn't clear thing up for me either.
     
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  18. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    Yes, and Suzanne went on about the Milk Hill Galaxy crop circle and said this:

    Suzanne Taylor: Well, all perfect questions, and look at the biggest one ever, which was in 2001, it’s the size of—now, you have to picture, two football fields, there are 409 separate circles, many of the crop circles are composed of other kinds of shapes as well. This one happened to be all circles, in a very sophisticated geometric pattern. No mistakes, everything—so you think an army would have—just for that particular formation, it would’ve taken an army to do, presuming they could have. You’re talking about four or five hours of darkness at night, because they’ll be seen in the fields if they’re doing it in the daytime, well it boggles the mind. It just boggles the mind, you can’t—that cannot be. So even though the mind wants to say, ‘It’s all people.’ When you look at the evidence, it’s more clearly in favor of the fact that there’s a mystery over the fact that people have made it, you cannot explain this away.

    But in this thread, we've gathered detailed evidence to show how in fact the MGH crop circle is full of mistakes, and how it could have been made in 5 hours. If she's read through this thread, does she still think the Milk Hill Galaxy circle was not man-made, and what are her arguments for thinking so?
    What are now the arguments to support the idea that any crop circle was not man-made? Are there any specific crop circles that Suzanne can point to that argue for their not being man-made?

    In terms of their appearance and formation (not the psi stuff that may happen around them), where is - if there is any - the "mystery" in these crop circles?
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
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  19. Suzanne Taylor

    Suzanne Taylor New

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    There’s no proof that “most” have been made by people. That’s a ridiculous statement. “A lot” is what I’ve been saying for a long time. Go back to the “bickering “ with Colin, who kept insisting I was thinking what I was not thinking about how much hoaxing was going on. Blaming yourself for being duped still has me as the duper, and it’s very distasteful to find you impugning my honesty. If anyone was duped it was me, coming on a program with someone so mired in skepticism. It’s a mean-spiritedness that the world could use less of.
     
  20. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    But if we turn this around, what is the solid evidence to suggest that "some", or even "any", has not been made by people?
     

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