The difference with your other examples as compared to crop circles is that, for a given (say) computer I can trace all of the components to their manufacturer, and back to the design company that produced them -- and in some cases to the group of design engineers who worked on the project.
Some-one saw the Mona Lise being painted and identified Leonardo as a human (I can't say he was mind ).
Some trails of evidence lead to conclusive proof ... the rest result in a balance of probabilities.
I just prefer it when the difference is stated -- rather than saying (e.g.) "I saw a bloke on the telly make one crop circle with a plank and a bit of wood so clearly that's how they were all made."
Relying on opinion rather than strict evidence is a mistake that is often made when dealing with 'unusual' or 'disturbing' phenomena.
Not relying on opinion. Only the evidence.
I think it's based upon inference rather than strict evidence.
Which I suppose is Ok.
But suppose we have
(a) 1000 crop circles of which we know that 100 were definetly man-made (perhaps because we have video of the people making it).
(b) A method for making crop cirlces using 1-4 humans, a plank, and some rope.
(c) Observation that the 900 contested crop circles exhibit features consitent with method (b)
We can then infer that all crop circles were created via (b), but we don't know it as fact.
We can only say that the balance of evidence is in favour of human-manufacture for crop circles.
No, we can say that all of the evidence, bar none, shows crop circles as human endeavours.
No. We can say that all available evidence is consistent with the conclusion that crop circles are man-made -- it's not quite the same thing.
We cannot say that that is 100% how they are all formed.
Don't need to. All the evidence already says that for us.
If we don't need to say it, don't say it. Simply say that the balance of evidence is in favour of man-made crop circles -- which is all I've said.
To say the above, given the 'level' of evidence is like saying all biological life was intelligently designed because it kinda look s designed.
Doesn't follow. "Appearance" of design is an opinion. For crop circles, all evidence, and there are thousands of data points, all the evidence leads to only the one conclusion.
The evidence tends to suggest ... rather than conclusively prooves.
In science there are no absolutes so we leave the question open-ended pending further evidence as a matter of philosophy. But, there comes a time when when the evidence is so overwelming and conclusive it does science, reality, philosophy and society no good to wiennie around the obvious conclusion. The conclusion enters the realm of fact.
Few things in science should ever be accepted as fact ... if we did where would our research grants come from?
There has been no global flood in the past 500 million years of earth's history. Period. End of discussion.
That we have found evidence of ...
There are no gods that poofed the universe, the earth and humans into being by fiat creation in the last 500 million years of earth's history. Period. End of discussion.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
All Crop circles, all of them, are human creations not alien in origin. Period. End of discussion.
We cannot know that ... although I suspect this to be correct.
These are facts. Period. End of discussion.
They are informed opinion, not fact.
Here's a fact: When I heat pure water to 100 C at standard pressure, it changes phase from liquid to gas.
OK. So I'm a wee bit off my feed right now. I'll get over it.
The issue I have -- and the only reason I'm going on is that the standard of proof being asked for human manufacture of crop circles is of the same order as that being presented for ID (to try to tie this back to the OP).
If we relax our standards of evidence and 'proof' on one arena, we open a portal for others.
I'm against relaxing standards
Edited by Peter, : Changed a 'Nothing in science' to a 'few things in science' because it was too absolute.
Edited by Peter, : Thought I best correct a spelling mistake in a section on keeping up standards. Doh!
The difference with your other examples as compared to crop circles is that, for a given (say) computer I can trace all of the components to their manufacturer
A) You think you can, but you haven't actually done so. And until you have done so, you should consider the possibility of alien manufacturer just as much as with crop circles.
Actually, in my professional capacity, I have had to do this. You can trace each component via manufacturing labels and/or BOM's to it's source manufacturing facility. At that facility they have extensive records of manufacture, and of the design specifications to which the item was made (or a reference to the company that provided the component).
Once you get back to the documentation, you have a record of the design team.
B) You can only track them back to the alleged manufacturer and designers. You have to prove 100% that your particular components were made there, and that the original design was thought up by a human and not given to a human by an alien inventor.
Ok ... OK ... so I didn't request any DNA profiling to confirm that the designers were, in fact human.
Some-one saw the Mona Lisa being painted and identified Leonardo as a human (I can't say he was mind ).
'Someone said' never gets us to 100% proof or certainty. Besides, that someone may have seen Da Vinci at an easel, but since the painting presumably took a long time to do - they didn't see the majority of the painting.
You are also relying on simple witnesses to be able to tell that Leonardo was merely masquerading as a human. 100% I think not!
Except that over the time taken to paint the Mona Lisa, there were several independent witnesses.
However, much like the fossil record, we cannot say that Leonardo painted ALL of it ... there are gaps in the painting recorded that cannot be accounted for.
Besides if 'someone said so' is good enough then Doug Bower and Dave Chorley have stated that they made the first crop circle, and many subsequent ones.
They aren't independent witnesses ... so their testimony cannot be relied upon.
I just prefer it when the difference is stated -- rather than saying (e.g.) "I saw a bloke on the telly make one crop circle with a plank and a bit of wood so clearly that's how they were all made.
If you step out of your house and you see some poo, I suppose you think to yourself 'just because I've seen dogs make similar looking poos, that doesn't mean that this particular poo is a dog poo'...and I imagine that you berate anyone with the nerve to casually assert that it is a dog poo for so recklessly dismissing the alien poo hypothesis.
It might, upon closer inspection, turn out to be a plastic fake placed there by my children (or indeed an alien prankster), or cat poo, or a susbstance indistinguishable from dog poo except by chemical analysis ...
Basically ... yes I am criticsing the dismissal of something which has not, and possibly cannot be proven to be false.
I am an athiest ... but I concede that this is a position of belief. It may be based upon my reasoned opinion based upon the evidence, lack of evidence, or logic of the proposition, but I accept that without sufficient evidence to proove my position that I might be wrong.
That doesn't mean that I don't believe I am correct (in the same way that I believe that all crop circles are of human origin, and all life originated via natural mechanisms).
I simply conclude that without full disclosure there has to remain an element of doubt.
That doesn't mean that I accept that crop circles or life were created by aliens ... and evidence stacks up against that as far as I am concerned.
But when we are speaking of unknowables we have to keep that small possibility in mind -- else we are no different to a religious zealot sticking to their belief in miracles and signs.
You might say 'But WE have the evidence!' but then, that's what they say too.
You cannot claim to argue against faith, if you allow elements of that mentality into your own outlook.
But the major evidence of human manufacture of crop circles appears to be that we can produce geometric crop patterns using some simple method.
So saying that ALL the evidence points to human manufacture, when there is only one piece of evidence (possibly two when one counts witnesses/testimony of specific circle being man-made) seems a little too lax to me.
Whether the research is geneuine or not, there are articles that reference unusual physical changes to the crop stems and the presence of miniscule magnetised iron spheres.
This at least (even if it's from someone biased to a non-human explanation) is at least an indication of a 'proper' analytic approach.
Personally I've never really looked too hard at crop circles excepting their aesthetics, but it also strikes me that a very simple experiment would be to take a supposed 'real' crop-circle and try to re-create the same pattern using the plank and board, over night (i.e. in a similar time-scale) and comparing the two formations.
I'm not saying aliens here ... but it would be better evidence than Doug 'n' Dave with their plank and string.