December 3, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

Don’t Fall for the Monolith Myth

Some people are putting on their tin-foil hats after hearing about “mysterious monoliths” popping up around the world.

No, it’s not 2001: A Space Odyssey. No, advanced space aliens are not visiting earth. No, Arthur C. Clarke was not a prophet. If people would just use standard intelligent design theory, they would know that there is ample motivation for human tricksters to get clicks and likes with a stunt. Rachel Lynn Aldrich describes the phenomenon in World Magazine.

Only time will tell if the structure in Southern California will disappear like its two predecessors. A tall, three-sided steely column has appeared at the top of a hill in Atascadero, Calif., KEYT-TV reported Wednesday. It’s the third of such structures—the first was found in Utah two weeks ago, and the second in Romania last week. Both have since vanished.

What do we know about the monoliths? No one knows where the structures came from. Two extreme sports athletes said they were part of a group that removed the roughly 11-foot monolith in Utah out of concern that the hundreds of tourists coming to see it were damaging the area. No one has claimed any of the monoliths, and no one asked permission of U.S. officials to put them up.

Aldrich should not titillate the public with this appeal to the unknown. We know who’s erecting these things: people. It’s just the new “crop circles” fad for 2020. Remember when mysterious circles appeared overnight in grain crops a few years ago? Just like now, some people were attributing them to space aliens or mystical forces, claiming that it was impossible for human beings to make them. That was until the circles became much more elaborate, defying any physical explanation. Then, some tricksters were caught in the act, and others confessed. For awhile, groups competed with each other for geometric complexity of their artworks. After awhile the fad petered out, much to the relief of farmers.

These metal sculptures are certainly examples of “intelligent design” because physical forces cannot make such things and stand them upright in Utah, California and Romania. They’re made of ordinary metal with ordinary rivets. But the fad is catching on. One can expect more of them for a period of time, as other tricksters notice it’s a way to get notoriety. Not getting caught in the act is part of the trick. The news media love this kind of thing: mysterious, puzzling, photogenic (e.g., ABC News). It feeds their lust for clicks. For photographers, it’s a magnet to find them, just like those ever-popular geocaches. So there’s plenty of motivation to feed the fad.

The “monoliths” will most likely become more elaborate over time, too, like the crop circles. Expect wild theories to arise from crackpots. Expect a certain percentage of people, weaned on SETI and science fiction, to lose all discernment and wish it to be true that 2001: A Space Odyssey is being fulfilled, just 20 years late. They can hardly wait to enter the next stage of evolution and be birthed into godhood.

Expect certain scientists to use the phenomenon to launch into stories about evolution. But it’s just another silly fad to get into the news. This may be amusing for awhile to see what the tricksters do next, but it’s just a fad. Don’t be stupid-stitious.

Dembski design filter

William Dembski’s design filter is a method for assigning causation to unknown phenomena.




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