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Matt Ridley is the author of provocative books on evolution, genetics and society. His books have sold over a million copies, been translated into thirty languages, and have won several awards.

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Stretching credulity

Spiritual DNA energy, the creation of the universe and flattened wheat

Please look at these four objects below

Are they:

a) natural?

b) evidence of supernatural forces?

c) man-made?

As some of you know, crop circles -- those neat patterns that appear in British wheat fields in summer -- did more than any other phenomena to convince methat lots and lots of otherwise intelligent human beings can also be irredeemably credulous, gullible and plain irrational, not to mention prone to thinking what other people tell them to think.

It boggled my mind when I realised in the 1990s that there were people --including serious journalists -- who not only believed these things could not be man-made, but believed that `cereologists' -- self-appointed prophets and publishing profiteers of crop circles -- were `experts'.

So I went out and made some crop circles. It's not hard.

Well now, comes shocking news. News that brings together two of my favourite subjects: crop circles and DNA. Clearly I was wrong. It's time to admit defeat and to welcome a new and brilliant theory, an idea so extraordinary that all of science is a mere prelude to it. Crop circles were made by... well, I can't understand what follows but maybe you can:

The findings of the molecular biologists Dr Pjotr P. Garjajev and Dr. Vladimir Poponin of the Russian Academy of Science concerning the 'Phantom-DNA Effect' have a radical connection with the formation of crop circles in the United Kingdom and throughout the world in recent times. According to these scientists the DNA is emitting electromagnetic waves that continue to manifest even after the DNA sample has been removed from the experiment. Hence the name 'Phantom-DNA Effect'. The genetic procedures being adopted by these scientists have been commented on and explained by Grazyna Fosar and Franz Bludorf in their book Vernetzte Intelligenz (1), who have put forward the theory that self-radiating balls of light often seen in the sky and mistaken for extra-terrestrial visitors are in fact a group consciousness phenomenon brought about by hypercommunication within the DNA. This theory by Fosar and Bludorf can also explain the formation of crop circles which are also commonly attributed to extra-terrestrial visitors. In addition it will be shown that the precise technology being adopted by the aforesaid scientists in Moscow represents a new energy source, previously unknown to mankind, that is capable also of creating crop circles.

Hold the front page, reserve the Nobel prizes, set up a new United Nations agency! A new age is dawning.

While they were developing this energy, the divine intelligence in the DNA was creating these crop circles using exactly the same source of energy, as a means of demonstrating to us how the Universe was created in the first place, and how it may now be modified and colonized.

Crop circles taught me never to underestimate human credulity. Ever.