Thursday, September 9, 2010

Jacques Vallée trolling the Web

Jacques Vallée seems to be hard at work to change our perception of the Paranormal, a perception he helped create all those years ago with his meme-generating Passport to Magonia. In a recent series of articles in BoingBoing he goes on to claim that all crop circles can be explained by army experiments on directed microwave weapons. Weird, right? After his first post generated a heated argument thread, his second post starts with this:
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.
The general rule among UFOlogists, up until now was DON'T GENERATE FALSE MEMES, which means don't do to others what you have been suspecting the Government is doing to you.
If his plan was to create a heated debate, then he succeeded, but I just don't see the point. I cannot even begin to recite the counter-arguments to his ideas, and some of the best are in the comments below the posts.
So, in case you didn't know: all crop circles are created either by low-orbit satellites carrying microwave guns or by crazed mathematicians. There must be thousands of them around us. Check your local math club. I will.
That was really disappointing, but the disillusionment was refreshing.

Nice article on forgetomori and hat tip


Anonymous said...

I'm puzzled at Vallee's posts. Indeed, he seems to be trolling. Could it be that a man with such an interesting body of work really decides to express these thoughts in this self-conflicting way?

For me, the highlights of this story are forgetomory's article and a part of a comment from Vallee's last post on the subject. The commenter is loonquawl. I quote:

"Crop circles were a phenomenon way before the interaction-driven media (internet) emerged. They, and their explainers, thrived in a multitude of articles, books and pamphlets.
Communication is always riddled with the problem of signal to noise ratio, and since the dawn of communication, misdirection and lies were injected for various purposes.
What makes the internet special, is that we all now have a much better view of the confused contents of other people's minds - in the olden days, we would have read a newspaper article hailing the aliens for flattening a field, one blasting the military for the same, and another presenting the hobbyist perpetrators. Then we all would have made up our minds. Later we would have read von Däniken, and would have either laughed or marveled, or cried. But now we all can participate in the 'quest for truth', which remains equally fruitless as it once did, as for everyone who goes into a random field and finds natural 'exploded nodes', there will be one who doesn't find them, and both will inject their citizen-scientist noise into the signal of thought that is purported to exist on the internet."

Illuminatus said...

Yeah, he seems to have forgotten the first rule of investigation, mentioned in the last paragraph of forgetomori:

"It’s always worth considering alternatives, even for their own sake."

And another passage that actually occured to me but somehow it does not sound funny :
"... perhaps Vallée knows The Truth and is playing with us. Or perhaps not. "

If he knows the Truth he seems to have joined the long ranks of the Knowing, doing his best to confuse and deceive.
I wish John Keel was alive. Maybe Vallee would not be so bold if he had a wit as sharp as Keel's to destroy his rationale (and his intentions)..