Crop Circles, Part Deux: Alien Glyphs, Human Myths, Blogging Bliss
Jacques Vallee - April 8, 2010
My previous post about crop circles could be considered, among other things, as a social science test of the role of belief systems in the manipulation of memes and factual data. One of the meta-questions that interest me has to do with the spontaneous rejection of new or unpopular ideas, even in the supposedly open, free and consciousness-enhancing environment of the web.
It seems that what was “forbidden science” in academia is also forbidden in cyberspace. The specific hypothesis offered–that crop circles are the result of a U.K. defense electronics development project–only elicited 19 responses discussing the facts or arguing for or against the idea itself. Among the other 40 responses while the thread was open, 15 asserted their authors’ strongly-held pre-existing belief (the circles MUST be made by Aliens or by hoaxers), 14 simply expressed a flat rejection with no arguments, and fully 11 responses can only be described as cyber-bullying: personal insults, whose authors did not even bother to refer to the subject of the post. What does that say for the ability of new web-based media to support intelligent debate on controversial scientific issues, censored or strongly discouraged in the scientific environment?
The kindest response was typically expressed as “this has to be a joke.”
So let me take things a bit further and explain why the hypothesis is not a joke but a logical result from observation and from the process of asking the right questions.
Tags: Crop Circles