The world knows now that the various woo-masters of the world were predictably taken in by a fancy crop circle shaped like a computer chip in Salinas, California. And yes, that should be embarrassing for them. But Ben Radford makes what I think is a very odd statement about it:
The crop-circle phenomenon came to global attention in the 1970s, when simple circles began appearing in the English countryside. The number and complexity of the circles increased dramatically, reaching a peak in the 1980s and 1990s, when increasingly elaborate circles were produced, including those illustrating complex mathematical equations such as fractals. The obvious and best-supported scientific explanation — that the designs are made by artistic hoaxers — is, by far, the least satisfying for many people. Which is more fun to believe: that nighttime pranksters are at work, or that mysterious, unknown intelligent beings are trying to communicate with humanity using complex, coded messages?…
In this case, the “experts” were once again fooled; it was, undeniably, an advertising stunt. This hoax also reveals an embarrassing truth about crop circle research: that so-called experts cannot distinguish a supposedly real crop circle from a fake one. If the ones supposedly made by humans are so amazingly complex and intricate — and laden with so much hidden meaning — that they are mistaken for the real thing, then, by definition, all of them could be hoaxes.
I’m with the “experts,” I can’t tell the difference between a “real” crop circle and a “fake” one either. Since they all seem to be made by human beings, does that make them “real” or “fake”? They’re either all real or all fake, aren’t they?