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Crop Circle Documentary 'Biased' - Nancy Talbott

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  • visions
    Nancy Talbott emailed me this week about a crop circle show which aired in the US about a week ago. Here is a section of her note to me together with a
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 8, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      Nancy Talbott emailed me this week about a crop
      circle show which aired in the US about a week ago.
      Here is a section of her note to me together with a
      document in which she comments about the show.
      Dave Haith


      National Geographic recently released a new crop
      circle "documentary," in which I participated....and
      it was pretty awful....biased.... So I've written a
      "comment" about what I know about how it was made,
      why, etc. which I'm enclosing so you can read it. I
      thought it was important to write this, mostly
      because Nat. Geographic is expected to be a "cut
      above" other similar shows....and this one
      definitely was not.

      Nancy Talbott




      ----------------------------------------------------
      ----------------------------

      COMMENTS ON

      NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S

      ________ "BEYOND THE MYSTERY" CROP CIRCLE SHOW
      ________

      Nancy Talbott

      Another "documentary" on the crop circle phenomenon
      has recently been aired here in the U.S., this one
      under the auspices of the well-known National
      Geographic organization. Since it is generally
      expected that this organization will provide
      accurate, comprehensive information (when such is
      available) to the public and present opinions which
      reflect actual scientific inquiry --and since these
      standards have eluded this production -- I felt I
      should write what I know about the making of this
      show.

      In the spring of 2004 an independent TV producer
      called me saying that he had been hired by National
      Geographic to produce a crop circle show; he said
      that he knew little about the subject and wanted to
      learn about the scientific approach to the
      phenomenon, requesting whatever information I could
      provide. We had a long talk, in which I outlined the
      BLT Research Team's work over the years, providing
      for him all of the names, credentials and contact
      information for the many professional scientists
      involved--people I strongly urged him to contact. In
      additon to providing info about BLT we also
      discussed many other people and organizations which
      take, or have taken, a serious approach to the study
      of the phenomenon in several different countries.
      And these names and contact info were also supplied,
      with strong encouragement that the producer contact
      these people.

      After a long conversation the producer stated that
      National Geographic had given him only a very short
      time-period in which to produce this show, as well
      as very limited funds, admitting that he didn't have
      the time needed to do a really in-depth
      evaluation -- and then said that he had decided to
      go to the UK to film some of the "hoaxers" making a
      circle.

      I responded with angst, telling him that shows of
      this caliber had been done at least a dozen times,
      and that the public would certainly expect something
      more professional from National Geographic. He
      reiterated that he didn't have much time, that he
      needed to get dramatic footage and, surprisingly,
      that he "had two kids to feed and needed the money."

      Although I now realized that he had apparently
      previously decided to shoot his film in the UK, he
      did indicate that he would get in touch with many of
      the people I had suggested. He sounded like a nice
      guy to me and rational. He was openly of a skeptical
      bias, and apparently under-the-gun financially, but
      he sounded genuinely interested in the phenomenon
      and interested in learning about the scientific
      work. And, so, I had some hope that he would make
      the effort to inform himself and, as a result,
      produce a responsible show. I was definitely left
      with the impression that he would contact the
      various professionals I had suggested.

      It's a good thing I don't hold my breath about these
      things anymore. As Bertrand Russell once said, "it's
      a good thing to have an open mind...just not so open
      your brains fall out." What this nice producer
      actually did was go the the UK so as to hire what
      the TV show states is the "most expensive" group of
      acknowledged circle-makers, rent a field on the
      beleagured farmer Hughe's property next to Silbury
      Hill and all sorts of cranes and other
      equipment....and then spent 2 weeks or so talking
      with many of the people in the UK who mechanically
      flatten crop circles for their own amusement. I
      wonder if the President and/or stockholders of
      National Geographic know that quite a bit of the
      company's money was spent hiring hoaxers who, it is
      stated in the actual show, are criminals involved in
      a "risky" business ("every time they go into a
      farmer's field without permission, they are
      committing a crime")?

      I thought is was also pretty interesting to note,
      again in the actual show, that this group of hoaxers
      did all of the measuring for their National
      Geographic circle in daylight....and, so far as I
      could tell, flattened the formation in daylight
      also...and, over serveral days. I thought these guys
      were supposed to do this stuff in the dark?

      It was also interesting, in the finished product, to
      note that the announcer immediately established the
      bias which permeates the whole show by referring to
      all people interested in actually studying the
      phenomenon as "believers." And to realize that none
      of the professional scientists whose names, and
      published papers, were provided were even mentioned
      by name, much less contacted for an interview. It
      was less interesting and quite depressing to see
      that only a very few of the scientifically-derived
      facts (which I provided, at great length, and in
      detail) were dealt with at all-- and these few in a
      totally superficial manner. And so now I wonder if
      the august National Geographic incorporates this
      sort of prejudice into all of its presentations?

      At the end of the summer I got another call from the
      TV producer who, this time, wanted to know if he
      could use "2 or 3" of the BLT photos in his
      production. Since I was aware of how he had spent
      his time (and his production money) in the UK and by
      now also knew that he had not contacted any of the
      scientists or other people I had suggested here in
      the U.S. and only one or two of the people I had
      suggested in Europe, I refused permission to use the
      photos. It seemed clear that he was not interested
      in representing a balanced approach which included
      the scientific work, instead opting for
      superficiality -- all that he apparently felt the
      public required.

      I don't know what was going on down at the National
      Geographic offices, but I started then to get many
      calls from him and various assistants trying to
      convince me to let them use some of the BLT photos.
      I continued to say "no" because, without interviews
      with the scientists involved, I felt there was too
      much risk of the photos being used out of context or
      in an irresponsible manner, a situation which would
      not be fair to the scientists, the circles, or the
      already inadequately informed public.

      After many calls back and forth the producer finally
      said that, although National Geographic could not
      afford to travel to the various locations required
      to interview the scientists, Boston was close and he
      was willing to interview me. Of course he had had
      enough money and several weeks to cover the
      hoaxers...and I was to be allotted just a few
      hours....but I thought it was the best offer the
      scientific evidence was going to get. And given that
      the show was for National Geographic I expected
      professionalism.

      My interview lasted 3 hours. Although I knew the
      producer expected to simply ask me a few questions
      I, realizing that he might not be well-enough
      informed to ask intelligent questions and would most
      likely ask instead questions aimed at getting
      "sensational" answers, put together a very solid
      2-1/2 hour lecture which I insisted he film. I
      covered all of W.C. Levengood and John Burke's early
      plant and magnetic material work (pointing out
      Rodney Ashby's magnetic material work in the UK
      also), then presented the X-ray diffraction study
      results obtained by Dr. Iyengar, Dr. Raghavan and
      Dr. Reynolds, and finally described in some detail
      the BLT studies currently in progress (long-term
      growth study, the mycorrhizal fungi study, and a
      re-examination of the magnetic particles in crop
      circle soils). I believe I presented this
      information clearly, in depth, and in the context
      that would have been provided by the various
      scientists involved.

      The producer tried repeatedly to interject questions
      that did not help me develop the information I was
      trying to present, which at the time I attributed to
      his lack of knowledge rather than to any nefarious
      purpose. And I persevered; as those of you who have
      seen one of my lectures know, I tend to hammer it
      home in spite of any distractions. It is my
      impression that it is the scientific evidence that
      will eventually make the circle phenomenon available
      to the larger public -- not my (or anyone else's)
      personal impressions.

      It is my own fault that, at the very end of the
      interview, I answered one of his questions. He had
      read on the BLT web-site my personal account of
      having actually seen a crop circle form in the
      Netherlands in 2001 and, after a very brief mention
      of this event, he asked me for my personal
      impression regarding the cropcircle causative
      mechanism. Because I had just presented 2-1/2 hrs.
      of solid scientific data and discussed at length the
      hypotheses suggested by several of the professional
      people, I was sure that this would be the content he
      would find of interest, rather than any personal
      remark I might make--and so told him that my
      experiences over the years had enlarged my
      perspective to include the possibility that a
      consciousness of some sort is involved. Thus I
      joined the ranks of the "believers."

      The final show did make it clear that this was a
      question I, personally, was considering--that this
      was not an idea held necessarily by any of the
      scientists-- but why did this producer, or National
      Geographic, not feel that the public deserved to
      hear what the various scientists who have done the
      actual laboratory research think?

      The reason is a very bad one. The work that has been
      done by BLT and its professional consultants has
      slowly come to be respected in the crop circle
      community...and elsewhere also. I, as the most
      visible spokesperson for BLT, am identified in the
      public eye with much of the professional scientific
      work and, if you want to try to discredit the
      scientific results--but can't because you have no
      real ammunition--well, go after the spokesperson. In
      the beginning of the show the announcer refers to
      the BLT work as authoritative (we are called
      "experts"), but pointedly does not state that the
      scientific work is authoritative. Indeed, this show
      doesn't concern itself with the actual research at
      all. [Remember, National Geographic couldn't afford
      the time or the money to talk to any of these
      scientists. I now wonder if the scientists' names
      were deliberately left out to reduce the possibility
      of lawsuits based on mis-representation of their
      work?]

      It appears to me that National Geographic indulged
      their a priori bias and failed to value or take
      seriously their professional responsibility to the
      public. I suspect that they did not interview the
      majority of competent researchers because they had
      already decided to dismiss the possibility of a
      real, unknown phenomenon, and I suspect that they
      mis-used the information provided by the other
      serious people they did interview. It further
      strikes me as a very strange and unabashed emotional
      response to deride the impression that a
      "consciousness" may be involved in this phenomenon.
      The magician Randi was upset enough to suggest that
      those of us curious about the circles should "get a
      life." Of course he said the same thing about the
      hoaxers....maybe he thinks being a magician is a
      serious pursuit?

      A few final notes. Near the beginning of the show
      the suave-sounding announcer, attempting to
      establish the phenomenon as nothing more than one
      produced by mechanical flattening of the plants by
      humans, raises this question: "why don't the crop
      circles form in front of witnesses?" Isn't it
      curious that the producer of this show knew that I
      had seen one form...and yet didn't mention or go
      into this? I'll bet he also knew that other people
      have seen them form from time to time, and ignored
      this information also.

      At another point in the show their expert "Grain
      Doctor" suggests that apical node elongation is due
      simply a flattened plant's recovery process--cell
      elongation caused by the plant's natural inclination
      to reorient itself to the light and to gravity.
      Point #1: if this were true, why don't we see apical
      node elongation in all crop circles? (We don't, you
      know.) Point #2: the producer was provided with the
      BLT control study which clearly demonstrates that
      the degree of node lengthening documented in
      mechanically-flattened plants in that study was
      markedly less than that which has been regularly
      observed in thousands of flattened crop circle
      plants. Did you notice that the BLT photo held up by
      the "Grain Doctor" to illustrate node elongation did
      not include the control plants? If the control photo
      (which was supplied to the producer) had been shown
      it would have been clear even to a novice that the
      200+% node elongation shown in these samples was
      massively greater than any elongation caused by
      cellular development due to natural plant recovery
      procces. Point #3: The producer was also provided
      with the information that this node elongation has
      been documented in standing plants inside crop
      formations--plants in which no "recovery process"
      ever occurred because they were never flattened.

      Why didn't National Geographic present or discuss
      the BLT Control Study? Why did they fail to show
      appropriate control photos? And why did they leave
      out the information that node elongation has been
      found in standing plants inside crop circles but not
      in control plants outside the formations?

      The "Grain Doctor's" speculations about expulsion
      cavities (holes blown out at the plant stem nodes)
      being the result of "rapid growth" will, I am pretty
      certain, sound quite lame to the biophysicist who
      did all this work for 10 years, as will this same
      Grain Doctor's suggestion that no informed plant
      professional was involved with the research. How
      then were three papers presenting this research
      published in peer-reviewed scientific journals?
      Could it be that W.C. Levengood's years of academic
      study in college and at graduate school, and his
      laboratory experience and reearch as an employed
      professional scientist--not to mention his intensive
      examination of thousands of crop circle plants and
      their controls over 12 years in many different
      countries-- are inconsequential? The good "Grain
      Doctor" (it was admitted in the show) has never seen
      a crop circle--much less examined any plants taken
      from one. So, on what basis is he an authority?
      Because he now has the title of "Grain Doctor, "
      apparently bestowed by National Geographic?

      And then one has to look at the fact that the
      massive XRD study was completely ignored, a study
      which involved 4 scientists with excellent to superb
      reputations and credentials, all of whom agree that
      the data produced is competent and points to the
      involvement of something other than mechanical
      flattening as the causative mechanism behind many
      crop circles. Also ignored was the fact that, again
      this year, several new scientists have become
      involved in the BLT investigations. And maybe this
      is the real problem....as Bertrand Russell also
      wrote, "What men want is not knowledge, but
      certainty."

      It takes both courage and intellectual curiosity to
      pursue the uncertain; and it looks to me as if
      National Geographic has, in this case at least,
      exhibited neither.
    • visions
      Nancy Talbott emailed me this week about a crop circle show which aired in the US about a week ago. Here is a section of her note to me together with a
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 8, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        Nancy Talbott emailed me this week about a crop
        circle show which aired in the US about a week ago.
        Here is a section of her note to me together with a
        document in which she comments about the show.
        Dave Haith


        National Geographic recently released a new crop
        circle "documentary," in which I participated....and
        it was pretty awful....biased.... So I've written a
        "comment" about what I know about how it was made,
        why, etc. which I'm enclosing so you can read it. I
        thought it was important to write this, mostly
        because Nat. Geographic is expected to be a "cut
        above" other similar shows....and this one
        definitely was not.

        Nancy Talbott




        ----------------------------------------------------
        ----------------------------

        COMMENTS ON

        NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S

        ________ "BEYOND THE MYSTERY" CROP CIRCLE SHOW
        ________

        Nancy Talbott

        Another "documentary" on the crop circle phenomenon
        has recently been aired here in the U.S., this one
        under the auspices of the well-known National
        Geographic organization. Since it is generally
        expected that this organization will provide
        accurate, comprehensive information (when such is
        available) to the public and present opinions which
        reflect actual scientific inquiry --and since these
        standards have eluded this production -- I felt I
        should write what I know about the making of this
        show.

        In the spring of 2004 an independent TV producer
        called me saying that he had been hired by National
        Geographic to produce a crop circle show; he said
        that he knew little about the subject and wanted to
        learn about the scientific approach to the
        phenomenon, requesting whatever information I could
        provide. We had a long talk, in which I outlined the
        BLT Research Team's work over the years, providing
        for him all of the names, credentials and contact
        information for the many professional scientists
        involved--people I strongly urged him to contact. In
        additon to providing info about BLT we also
        discussed many other people and organizations which
        take, or have taken, a serious approach to the study
        of the phenomenon in several different countries.
        And these names and contact info were also supplied,
        with strong encouragement that the producer contact
        these people.

        After a long conversation the producer stated that
        National Geographic had given him only a very short
        time-period in which to produce this show, as well
        as very limited funds, admitting that he didn't have
        the time needed to do a really in-depth
        evaluation -- and then said that he had decided to
        go to the UK to film some of the "hoaxers" making a
        circle.

        I responded with angst, telling him that shows of
        this caliber had been done at least a dozen times,
        and that the public would certainly expect something
        more professional from National Geographic. He
        reiterated that he didn't have much time, that he
        needed to get dramatic footage and, surprisingly,
        that he "had two kids to feed and needed the money."

        Although I now realized that he had apparently
        previously decided to shoot his film in the UK, he
        did indicate that he would get in touch with many of
        the people I had suggested. He sounded like a nice
        guy to me and rational. He was openly of a skeptical
        bias, and apparently under-the-gun financially, but
        he sounded genuinely interested in the phenomenon
        and interested in learning about the scientific
        work. And, so, I had some hope that he would make
        the effort to inform himself and, as a result,
        produce a responsible show. I was definitely left
        with the impression that he would contact the
        various professionals I had suggested.

        It's a good thing I don't hold my breath about these
        things anymore. As Bertrand Russell once said, "it's
        a good thing to have an open mind...just not so open
        your brains fall out." What this nice producer
        actually did was go the the UK so as to hire what
        the TV show states is the "most expensive" group of
        acknowledged circle-makers, rent a field on the
        beleagured farmer Hughe's property next to Silbury
        Hill and all sorts of cranes and other
        equipment....and then spent 2 weeks or so talking
        with many of the people in the UK who mechanically
        flatten crop circles for their own amusement. I
        wonder if the President and/or stockholders of
        National Geographic know that quite a bit of the
        company's money was spent hiring hoaxers who, it is
        stated in the actual show, are criminals involved in
        a "risky" business ("every time they go into a
        farmer's field without permission, they are
        committing a crime")?

        I thought is was also pretty interesting to note,
        again in the actual show, that this group of hoaxers
        did all of the measuring for their National
        Geographic circle in daylight....and, so far as I
        could tell, flattened the formation in daylight
        also...and, over serveral days. I thought these guys
        were supposed to do this stuff in the dark?

        It was also interesting, in the finished product, to
        note that the announcer immediately established the
        bias which permeates the whole show by referring to
        all people interested in actually studying the
        phenomenon as "believers." And to realize that none
        of the professional scientists whose names, and
        published papers, were provided were even mentioned
        by name, much less contacted for an interview. It
        was less interesting and quite depressing to see
        that only a very few of the scientifically-derived
        facts (which I provided, at great length, and in
        detail) were dealt with at all-- and these few in a
        totally superficial manner. And so now I wonder if
        the august National Geographic incorporates this
        sort of prejudice into all of its presentations?

        At the end of the summer I got another call from the
        TV producer who, this time, wanted to know if he
        could use "2 or 3" of the BLT photos in his
        production. Since I was aware of how he had spent
        his time (and his production money) in the UK and by
        now also knew that he had not contacted any of the
        scientists or other people I had suggested here in
        the U.S. and only one or two of the people I had
        suggested in Europe, I refused permission to use the
        photos. It seemed clear that he was not interested
        in representing a balanced approach which included
        the scientific work, instead opting for
        superficiality -- all that he apparently felt the
        public required.

        I don't know what was going on down at the National
        Geographic offices, but I started then to get many
        calls from him and various assistants trying to
        convince me to let them use some of the BLT photos.
        I continued to say "no" because, without interviews
        with the scientists involved, I felt there was too
        much risk of the photos being used out of context or
        in an irresponsible manner, a situation which would
        not be fair to the scientists, the circles, or the
        already inadequately informed public.

        After many calls back and forth the producer finally
        said that, although National Geographic could not
        afford to travel to the various locations required
        to interview the scientists, Boston was close and he
        was willing to interview me. Of course he had had
        enough money and several weeks to cover the
        hoaxers...and I was to be allotted just a few
        hours....but I thought it was the best offer the
        scientific evidence was going to get. And given that
        the show was for National Geographic I expected
        professionalism.

        My interview lasted 3 hours. Although I knew the
        producer expected to simply ask me a few questions
        I, realizing that he might not be well-enough
        informed to ask intelligent questions and would most
        likely ask instead questions aimed at getting
        "sensational" answers, put together a very solid
        2-1/2 hour lecture which I insisted he film. I
        covered all of W.C. Levengood and John Burke's early
        plant and magnetic material work (pointing out
        Rodney Ashby's magnetic material work in the UK
        also), then presented the X-ray diffraction study
        results obtained by Dr. Iyengar, Dr. Raghavan and
        Dr. Reynolds, and finally described in some detail
        the BLT studies currently in progress (long-term
        growth study, the mycorrhizal fungi study, and a
        re-examination of the magnetic particles in crop
        circle soils). I believe I presented this
        information clearly, in depth, and in the context
        that would have been provided by the various
        scientists involved.

        The producer tried repeatedly to interject questions
        that did not help me develop the information I was
        trying to present, which at the time I attributed to
        his lack of knowledge rather than to any nefarious
        purpose. And I persevered; as those of you who have
        seen one of my lectures know, I tend to hammer it
        home in spite of any distractions. It is my
        impression that it is the scientific evidence that
        will eventually make the circle phenomenon available
        to the larger public -- not my (or anyone else's)
        personal impressions.

        It is my own fault that, at the very end of the
        interview, I answered one of his questions. He had
        read on the BLT web-site my personal account of
        having actually seen a crop circle form in the
        Netherlands in 2001 and, after a very brief mention
        of this event, he asked me for my personal
        impression regarding the cropcircle causative
        mechanism. Because I had just presented 2-1/2 hrs.
        of solid scientific data and discussed at length the
        hypotheses suggested by several of the professional
        people, I was sure that this would be the content he
        would find of interest, rather than any personal
        remark I might make--and so told him that my
        experiences over the years had enlarged my
        perspective to include the possibility that a
        consciousness of some sort is involved. Thus I
        joined the ranks of the "believers."

        The final show did make it clear that this was a
        question I, personally, was considering--that this
        was not an idea held necessarily by any of the
        scientists-- but why did this producer, or National
        Geographic, not feel that the public deserved to
        hear what the various scientists who have done the
        actual laboratory research think?

        The reason is a very bad one. The work that has been
        done by BLT and its professional consultants has
        slowly come to be respected in the crop circle
        community...and elsewhere also. I, as the most
        visible spokesperson for BLT, am identified in the
        public eye with much of the professional scientific
        work and, if you want to try to discredit the
        scientific results--but can't because you have no
        real ammunition--well, go after the spokesperson. In
        the beginning of the show the announcer refers to
        the BLT work as authoritative (we are called
        "experts"), but pointedly does not state that the
        scientific work is authoritative. Indeed, this show
        doesn't concern itself with the actual research at
        all. [Remember, National Geographic couldn't afford
        the time or the money to talk to any of these
        scientists. I now wonder if the scientists' names
        were deliberately left out to reduce the possibility
        of lawsuits based on mis-representation of their
        work?]

        It appears to me that National Geographic indulged
        their a priori bias and failed to value or take
        seriously their professional responsibility to the
        public. I suspect that they did not interview the
        majority of competent researchers because they had
        already decided to dismiss the possibility of a
        real, unknown phenomenon, and I suspect that they
        mis-used the information provided by the other
        serious people they did interview. It further
        strikes me as a very strange and unabashed emotional
        response to deride the impression that a
        "consciousness" may be involved in this phenomenon.
        The magician Randi was upset enough to suggest that
        those of us curious about the circles should "get a
        life." Of course he said the same thing about the
        hoaxers....maybe he thinks being a magician is a
        serious pursuit?

        A few final notes. Near the beginning of the show
        the suave-sounding announcer, attempting to
        establish the phenomenon as nothing more than one
        produced by mechanical flattening of the plants by
        humans, raises this question: "why don't the crop
        circles form in front of witnesses?" Isn't it
        curious that the producer of this show knew that I
        had seen one form...and yet didn't mention or go
        into this? I'll bet he also knew that other people
        have seen them form from time to time, and ignored
        this information also.

        At another point in the show their expert "Grain
        Doctor" suggests that apical node elongation is due
        simply a flattened plant's recovery process--cell
        elongation caused by the plant's natural inclination
        to reorient itself to the light and to gravity.
        Point #1: if this were true, why don't we see apical
        node elongation in all crop circles? (We don't, you
        know.) Point #2: the producer was provided with the
        BLT control study which clearly demonstrates that
        the degree of node lengthening documented in
        mechanically-flattened plants in that study was
        markedly less than that which has been regularly
        observed in thousands of flattened crop circle
        plants. Did you notice that the BLT photo held up by
        the "Grain Doctor" to illustrate node elongation did
        not include the control plants? If the control photo
        (which was supplied to the producer) had been shown
        it would have been clear even to a novice that the
        200+% node elongation shown in these samples was
        massively greater than any elongation caused by
        cellular development due to natural plant recovery
        procces. Point #3: The producer was also provided
        with the information that this node elongation has
        been documented in standing plants inside crop
        formations--plants in which no "recovery process"
        ever occurred because they were never flattened.

        Why didn't National Geographic present or discuss
        the BLT Control Study? Why did they fail to show
        appropriate control photos? And why did they leave
        out the information that node elongation has been
        found in standing plants inside crop circles but not
        in control plants outside the formations?

        The "Grain Doctor's" speculations about expulsion
        cavities (holes blown out at the plant stem nodes)
        being the result of "rapid growth" will, I am pretty
        certain, sound quite lame to the biophysicist who
        did all this work for 10 years, as will this same
        Grain Doctor's suggestion that no informed plant
        professional was involved with the research. How
        then were three papers presenting this research
        published in peer-reviewed scientific journals?
        Could it be that W.C. Levengood's years of academic
        study in college and at graduate school, and his
        laboratory experience and reearch as an employed
        professional scientist--not to mention his intensive
        examination of thousands of crop circle plants and
        their controls over 12 years in many different
        countries-- are inconsequential? The good "Grain
        Doctor" (it was admitted in the show) has never seen
        a crop circle--much less examined any plants taken
        from one. So, on what basis is he an authority?
        Because he now has the title of "Grain Doctor, "
        apparently bestowed by National Geographic?

        And then one has to look at the fact that the
        massive XRD study was completely ignored, a study
        which involved 4 scientists with excellent to superb
        reputations and credentials, all of whom agree that
        the data produced is competent and points to the
        involvement of something other than mechanical
        flattening as the causative mechanism behind many
        crop circles. Also ignored was the fact that, again
        this year, several new scientists have become
        involved in the BLT investigations. And maybe this
        is the real problem....as Bertrand Russell also
        wrote, "What men want is not knowledge, but
        certainty."

        It takes both courage and intellectual curiosity to
        pursue the uncertain; and it looks to me as if
        National Geographic has, in this case at least,
        exhibited neither.
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