Making sense of Ring gate?

By Ken Perrott 02/03/2011 161


Here is some sense on the Ring Gate  – the controversial interview of Ken Ring on Campbell live about prediction of earthquakes. Radio Wammo presented this interview with media commentator Russell Brown. He makes some important points

It does raise a lot of questions, though.

  • Why can people like King Ring get such large support and garner a dedicated following?
  • What does this say about the prevalence, or lack of, critical thinking in the population at large?
  • It look like Ring has taken advantage of the current understandable concern about earthquakes in New Zealand.
  • Is this ethical of him? Is it any more ethical than those who take advantage of human tragedies to claim they were caused by their gods. (Incidentally, the website http://www.christchurchquake.net/html/theWarning.html which claimed the Christchurch earthquake was cause by our naughty behavior seems to have been taken down).

See also:

For some scientific analysis of this issue see SciBlogs NZ and the posts Running rings around the Moon Man? and Ken Ring can’t predict earthquakes either.

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161 Responses to “Making sense of Ring gate?”

  • It was not about the credibility or otherwise of Ken Ring as a predicter of earthquakes. It was about the complete lack of professionalism by John Campbell, not his behaviour to Ring exactly, but to his viewers, who he did not permit to make their own minds up. We had our decision-making opportunity censored by him and his bosses at TV3. It offended us to be treated as unable to make a critical decision for ourselves.

  • Jim, yes the interview was a fiasco, which I believe was due to an overstressed John Campbell losing his cool.
    However, one does not need to rely on TV to find information to make a decision. This wonderful tool called the internet allows you to access sites such as the one Peter lists above as well as Ken Rings own site for comparison, if you feel the urge. Just take note how vague his opinions/predictions are

  • rereading my previous email the phrase “wonderful tool called the internet” could be construed as sarcastic. That actually wasn’t my intent. It is a very useful tool, and in my opinion provides more useful information than most media interviews which are quite short (and I take in information much better by reading that listening).

  • Peter, you missed my point entirely. We got nannied like retarded children by JC and it offended us. We should not ‘get over it’ because it happens on a consistent basis, and we should be ever-vigilant about the power of media discourse to influence us. The pros or cons of earthquake prediction (as in the article you referred me to) are another issue entirely. My point was about mainstream media manipulation of the viewer by the construction of the mass perception of reality. You may be content to have your world constructed for you by the media, but my guess is that you like to have all the information, both pros and cons, and then make an informed decision. All the viewers are asking for is the same courtesy, which JC saw fit to deny us.
    As an aside, there was a fair bit of misinformation in the quotes from these scientists referenced on the webpage. Ken Ring, accidentally or otherwise, did in fact make a fairly accurate prediction of the timing of the main quake in Chch. Time will tell whether he has got it right or wrong with his prediction of a coming seismic biggie, although I for one do not subscribe to his cult.
    Finally, it is common knowledge that throughout the history of science, established respected scientists who ridiculed new theories have unfortunately been embarrassed, sometimes many years after the ‘flake’s’ death, to find that in fact the new theory was correct all along. Let’s not become as arrogantly closed-minded as mr Campbell in our continuing quest to find out what is really going on in our little part of the universe.
    Best to you.

    • Jim, there is no debate about Campbell’s hostility. So let’s put that behind us (although have a look at Russell Brown’s interview for some relevant comments on whether Campbell should have included such an item).

      But your reference to “misinformation in the quotes from these scientists” and “established respected scientists who ridiculed new theories have unfortunately been embarrassed, sometimes many years after the ‘flake’s’ death, to find that in fact the new theory was correct all along” are disingenuous.

      What is Ring’s theory? Where has it been published for evaluation? How have you evaluated it? Have you compared it with existing information and scientific data? WTF is his theory? Has he done any quantitative measurements or comparisons? Tell me where I can find his theory presented in s proper manner for evaluation?

      Surely these question need satisfactory answers before claiming Ring’s ideas are in the category you claim.

      My take is that we all are susceptible to superstition. Many if us have “lucky” lotto numbers. So I can understand how people might grab at anything which offers them a chance to miss an earthquake. The people interviewed were quite clear that they did not understand Ring but were grabbing his advice. They are understandably terrified by the thought of another quake.

      So it’s worth asking if the advice Ring is giving is ethical? Isn’t he just taking advantage of a horrible tragedy and exploiting innocent and vulnerable people. Just as the web site blaming the quake on prostitution and homosexuality was doing.

  • Let us put this in perspective. Ken Ring is a weather forcaster (not predicter of some sith sense.). We all know that forcaster dont get it right all the time, but any forcast is better than no forcast. Forcasters give people a chance to prepare which, is exactly what Ken Ring is trying to do. Give people a chance to prepare. Ken Ring warned us about Septembers earthquake, he warned us about Febuarys earthquake and now he is warning us about a March earthquake. Two out of two and maybe 3 out of 3. If the moon can pull trillions and trillions of litres of sea water, sway it back and forward then maybe it really does put enertia forces on the earths crust. Many Scientist will agree with Ken Rings earthquake forcast but in John Campbells camp of scientist, they havent got it right once. For me my money is on Ken Ring and I`m going to prepare.

    • Rod, could you explain this assertion:
      “Many Scientist will agree with Ken Rings earthquake forcast but in John Campbells camp of scientist, they havent got it right once.”

      Which scientists, especially with skills in this area, support Ring’s prediction?

      Who is in “John Campbell’s camp of scientists?”

      You are of course welcome to take precautions but are you motivated by anything apart from superstition? Touch wood.

  • Ken Ring, accidentally or otherwise, did in fact make a fairly accurate prediction of the timing of the main quake in Chch.

    Could you clarify which ‘main event’ are you referring to? (People here are mostly writing about the recent M=6.3 on Feb 22nd 2011.)

  • Rod, Jim – he ‘accurately’ predicted the 2nd major Christchurch quake? Only if placing it somewhere on the Pacific ‘ring of fire’ is accurate. As to the supposed 3rd event- well, again the ‘prediction’ is so vague as to be meaningless: http://sciblogs.co.nz/bioblog/2011/03/01/predicting-earthquakes-hedging-your-bets/
    It’s not a case of a closed-minded bunch of scientists simply ignoring a misunderstood visionary. It’s more that the scientific community has evaluated Mr Ring’s claims & found them wanting.

  • Ahem! ..
    Phlogiston theory anyone ? Because an awful lot of people have evaluated the scientific community and found them wanting. Scientific shillery is the norm because that is how these people feed their families and keep a roof over their heads.

    As they have found out, not doing as they are told leads to loss of tenure or if still seeking tenure their hopes are blighted. The sun does not shine where the scientific shills hide their heads.

    We are all aware of the constant attacks upon the honest scientist. Dr Wakefield as an example and the absolutely disgraceful performance from the Lancet, BMJ and the BMA.

    Dr Wakefield has been vindicated but the shills for Pharmageddon have done the damage .. for now.

  • Paxman – how about some references/data to support your assertions? (or are you a Poe?)
    As for phlogiston – it was science that evaluated that particular theory, found it wanting, & moved on. That’s the difference between science & other ways of looking at the world; the former is self-correcting while the latter tend not to change when new data are presented to them. (& Mr Ring, with his adherence to astrology, remains very firmly in the latter camp.)

  • Bloody hell, Paxman. “an awful lot of people have evaluated the scientific community and found them wanting.”

    I guess you are anti-science so that makes “an awful lot if people” doesn’t it.

    But who do you go to when you have a problem. A specialist in the area or an astrologer?

    Science actually does seem to work you know.

  • Let’s not forget that ‘science’ is in itself often a rather disingenuous *ahem* term, because multinational corporations commission their ‘scientists’ to ‘prove’ this or that, often large pharmaceutical companies driven by profits for shareholders. Deaths by barely-tested pharmacological ‘medicines’ (often having to be recalled after a minimum number of deaths or complications arising from erroneous results) are huge in number; and unnecessary operations routinely happen as a way of paying the corporate private hospital bills. Science is also very ideological in nature – anything that disagrees with accepted (peer-reviewed) current scientific thought is pilloried via ridicule and misquotation, but many many advances have been made that had to ran that gamut before acceptance. Alison Campbell, you are a prime example of disinformation – it is astronomy, not astrology, that Mr Ring uses, and Ken, he forecast on his website the last major quake in Chch one day BEFORE the met service released a similar forecast on their site based on probability and common occurrances.
    Many people have found science as an industry of profit for multinational corporations wanting and have moved on, sometimes with surprisingly good results, results which threaten profits, so are routinely ‘debunked’ with fraudulent ‘information’, pro-corporate-science websites, and corporate PR scientists. Much of accepted science is in fact simply feeling its way in the dark in ignorance, and much of it is outright lies. That’s not to say that true scientific advances are not being made daily; I just wanted to point out that much of science today, even peer-reviewed, can be categorised as ‘hack’ because it has an agenda of profit rather than true knowledge.
    Don’t get angry; that’s just the capital-driven world we live in and you know it does happen.

  • Tammy, what a jaundiced view of life you have.

    But think about it – is Ken Ring immune to the profit motive you talk about or ego? And should that allow him to scare terrified victims if this quake for his own ends?

    I say his behavior is unethical. To take advantage of quake victims in this way.

  • Actually I’ll qualify that: Ken made a public statement that the quake would hit between the 18th and the 21st. He was one day off; and later, when his forecast became fairly common knowledge, the GEONET site released their data of expectation of another large seismic shock based on probability statistics, but they did it after the quake hit. Well, we will observe whether his forecast of another large shock around the 20th March comes to pass; until then I think it would behoove us as clinical observers to reserve judgement but only comment that it seems unlikely based on current accepted scientific thought. It seems to me that if the scientific community has not examined this particular theory for around 100 years… well, think of the number of debunkings a century past that have since been themselves thoroughly debunked. Thank the stars that Vesalius had the nerve to question Galen. This general debate of accepted versus ‘crackpot’ has been the constant companion of the science timeline. The Pharisees will insist on being the keepers of the temple.

  • Off topic? OMG!

    Ken I take your point because I would not go to an Astrologer for a plumbing problem but there are problems that I would take to an Astrologer .. I hope you may take my point.

    As far as I can make out Anti-Science is the same as Anti-Semitic. Of course science appears to work, its the theories of why it works that I find so amusing.

    Alison .. your claim is disingenuous. It was not Science .. it was Lavoisier versus Science of the day but that is always a problem with the poohbahs even today.

    Grant I used Dr Wakefield as an example of science at work .. you know the sort of stuff .. old boys network and tenures etc.

    We either have a science for the people or we have science for the corporations which appears to be the current paradigm. money money money! whatever happened to the concept of pursuing scientific inquiry to where ever it may lead? I think the concept is buried beneath the crinklies and hopes of tenure.

    What exactly has Ken Ring done wrong? Why ? What? but its for sure you guys have a very long standing problem that is never addressed.

    There are some excellent words of Virchow that have a most modern ring .. But I fear those seeds that Professor Virchow foresaw have born bitter fruit .. and the honor of science hangs by a few staunch threads of scientifically minded groups and individuals who follow wherever the truth leads them, by real, rather than corporate science.

    Everywhere good people are held by bonds of Usury but at least they must give thanks that their thoughts are untrammeled;Today we have a tyranny of science where millions are consigned to what is unspeakable on the say so of those advisers of governments and when wedded to blunt legal instruments .. then the social skull is cracked and trepanned. The results are clearly visible, we are awash with toxins, wastelands of failed applied science, and great armies of medical slaves held fast by chemical bonds.

    Our corporate food is systemically polluted with toxic chemicals .. is it any kind of gasping awe and wonder .. why so many of us are harvested as feed fodder for a monstrous system of transplants and body parts.But the new times are hard upon us .. a new wave is approaching the beach .. and surfing in are the Luna Men and Women of a new and tempestuous age .. Look to the family .. the neighbor .. the extended family .. the community. Rebuild those bonds that the corporate system has smashed ..

    But let Virchow speak from the past ..

    On the other hand, it seemed to him high time to utter an energetic protest against the attempts that are made to proclaim the problems of research as actual facts, the opinions of scientists as established science, and thereby to set in a false light, before the eyes of the less informed masses, not merely the methods of science, but also its whole position in regard to the intellectual life of men and nations. Let us hope that men of science in England also will not fail to examine this most serious question, whether the authority of Science will not be better secured, if it confines itself strictly to its own province, than if it undertakes to master the whole view of nature by the premature generalizing of theoretical combinations.
    RUD. VIRCHOW.Berlin, February 11th, 1878.

  • A couple of Frank Bacon’s quotes:

    “If we begin with certainties, we shall end in doubts; but if we begin with doubts, and are patient in them, we shall end in certainties.”

    “The general root of superstition [is that] men observe when things hit, and not when they miss, and commit to memory the one, and pass over the other. ”

    “But by far the greatest hindrance and aberration of the human understanding proceeds from the dullness, incompetency, and deceptions of the senses; in that things which strike the sense outweigh things which do not immediately strike it, though they be more important. Hence it is that speculation commonly ceases where sight ceases; insomuch that of things invisible there is little or no observation. “

  • Hi Ken,
    realistic rational observation based on the facts, not jaundiced. Or should we bury our heads in the sand and pretend it (confabulated scientific ‘results’ for corporate profit) isn’t happening? Do you think it isn’t happening?
    Please try to avoid becoming personal in a considered debate.
    My point was not Ken’s ethicality nor my view of life, but much of accepted science’s non-ethics and questionable motives. My point was that, whatever Mr Ring’s ethics, it is misleading to hold all of science up as ethical and based on clean motive. Much of it is creation of product for profit, and that is a generally-accepted fact of life. Sorry if that is hard for you to hear.

  • Paxman,

    Grant I used Dr Wakefield as an example of science at work .. you know the sort of stuff .. old boys network and tenures etc.

    Wakefield was a doctor, not a scientist. (Was, because he’s been struck off.) He’s not an example of science at work either. He and his work has been thoroughly rejected by science…

    We either have a science for the people or we have science for the corporations which appears to be the current paradigm.

    Actually, contrary to what you say, science in NZ at present is regarded as not especially well tied to industry compared to elsewhere, i.e. the version of science you paint doesn’t match the reality. Not really that unexpected if you’re not familiar with the industry.

    whatever happened to the concept of pursuing scientific inquiry to where ever it may lead?

    Some enquiry is done this way, the Marsden fund in NZ for example funds this type of work. Most of the drive for science to be targeted is on the public’s behalf. And here’s an irony: for what you want to happen, it would require… more money! (It’s the lack of money that makes people pragmatic.)

    But, y’know, I could have spared replying and called ‘Poe’ for fun to see what would happen 😉

    Tammy,

    Ken made a public statement that the quake would hit between the 18th and the 21st. He was one day off…

    I may explain this in a post later, but Ken Ring in fact “predicted” that NO earthquake would occur—very obviously wrong about that—but at a later date also made a very generalised prediction about an earthquake somewhere on the Ring of Fire, which he’s retrofitted to “fit” the recent event by jiggling his “prediction” around after the fact. That “prediction” is also actually false too (Alison has explained this), but the explanation is too long-winded for the hour and this comment. He’s made other “predictions” too — it’s sort-of a scattergun thing: do enough “predictions” and be vague enough about them, and something might pan out that he can then make out to be “right”.

    the GEONET site released their data of expectation of another large seismic shock based on probability statistics, but they did it after the quake hit

    In order to estimate an aftershock sequence, you need to first have the main shock: you have to start after the main shock.

    It seems to me that if the scientific community has not examined this particular theory for around 100 years…

    I’ve explained this in Peter Griffin’s thread (in reply to Mark, from memory). It seems people are repeating an incorrect reading of what Dr Berryman actually said, and in classic internet gossip fashion it’s spreading. This isn’t what he said. Check the SMC scientists’ comments I’ve pointed others to; you’ll see otherwise in print there. (Electronic “print” at least!)

  • Well, no, he forecast (not ‘predicted’; a forecast is sometimes inaccurate, there is no mystical precognition claimed by Mr Ring) that a sizeable aftershock quake would probably strike Chch between the 18th and the 21st, and it was on twitter. This was before the event, not ‘retrofitted’. And it was borne out by the event itself.
    As well, GEONET *retrofittedly* said that they were expecting the seismic event before the fact, but only released that information afterwards, and many are questioning the ethicality of this. If they were anticipating the event, why did they not make it public knowledge? I personally saw a geologist say this on TV3. Ethical? Perhaps they just didn’t want to scare people with a mistaken prediction with what is, after all, an inexact science.

  • Also, global multinational corporate science was critiqued, not just the NZ science scene. And yes, I am familiar with the pharmaceutical and ag / bio / chemical research industries. But it seems that you may not be. Corporate and government funding is still what is running the NZ scientific research industry.

  • Tammy,

    It’s still incorrect as a ‘forecast’. You can try a few other words, too, and my point remains. By the way, others say that Ring is pushed he has shown a tendency to shift from ‘prediction’ to ‘opinion’; they put this down to ducking being called out.

    GEONET *retrofittedly* said that they were expecting the seismic event before the fact

    You’re not making sense to me.

    If they were anticipating the event, why did they not make it public knowledge?

    *Sigh*. Seismologists did warn of the scale and general trend of aftershocks to expect. They cannot predict dates – no-one can (Ring included.) They said that M=6.3 event was unexpectedly large given the amount of time that had passed since the Sep. 4th event.

    I personally saw a geologist say this on TV3.

    You’re most welcome to back this with a quote. The interview is available on-line. Please do. I’ll consider it hearsay until then – just be correct about evidence 😉

  • One day out is pretty on-target. As a ‘forecast’, ‘opinion’ or even ‘prediction’.
    GEONET were expecting a large quake in the region of a 5 0r 6 sometime after the first quake (the one that hit on the 4th I think it was, the 7), but kept that info to themselves; It was not mediatised that they were anticipating a large aftershock until after it hit. At that time, they admitted that it had been expected. Is that clearer? They did not warn. The quake was not expected and was a surprise to the general public. That info was upped to their website after the event.
    I would point out that the people who did take Ken seriously were prepared when the quake came and were spared death.
    His information empowered them. They were prepared and organised.
    Ken is first and foremost a mathematician. He’s a very nice guy, not at all interested in anything other than helping people. He gets kids interested in maths by making it interesting. He’s not a flake at all, and he demonstrated his character and logic when interviewed by JC, pointing out clearly what JC was doing, stopping him for a couple of moments of dead air time. JC did not expect him to be so articulate and self-controlled. It was a great moment.
    Seismology IS an inexact science; it cannot accurately predict, only look to probabilities and past statistics and make educated guesses. That’s fine. Ken is also not claiming to be what many are criticising him for. There is a lot of misunderstanding all around. We all have our own opinions, and FYI I am not a big believer in Ken’s theories, but some are, just as some are believers in ‘accepted’ scientific claptrap. I am simply watching and waiting. I will not be surprised if the time he appointed (around the 20th March) passes uneventfully. I will equally not be surprised if a large (5 or higher) aftershock occurs very close to that date. I have an open mind.
    Try it.
    Best to you, heart out to the people of Chchurch, stay strong.

  • @ Grant ..
    I am not sure what you are saying .. Medical Doctors are not scientists ? Well if that is the case, are scientists qualified to comment on medicine.? Pleomorphic organisms reveal the utter fallacy of vaccination because the shape changers just dig the problem ever deeper. Dr Wakefield published his work, and everyman and his dog understands why he was persecuted, as do the parents of vaccine damaged children. After all that is why in the USA these monsters have been granted immunity from prosecution. Such a cash cow cannot be allowed to fail .. can it?

    So tell me again why is Ken Ring being persecuted?

    By science I take it you mean the people at Lancet, BMJ and the BMA because if it is, then they have covered themselves with fully digested egg.

    And nothing that those people have said can alter the fact of the damaged and autistic children and the parents who have lined up behind Dr Wakefield ..

    And the pitiful attempts to denigrate Ken Ring is typical academic snide .. re-read the words of Virchow and understand that in the eyes of 50% of the unwashed masses, science is a failure .. the whole of the current biosphere is an example of failed corporate science.

    Science has fallen a very long way and the reality of that still has to penetrate Academia and you may snide all you like but the people themselves will have the last laugh.

    Baaaaah!

  • BTW thank you for an enlivening and interesting debate.
    I’m off to bed, work tomorrow (today) *sigh*

  • Lets face it, Ken is probably just a good guesser. Many are calling this unethical. Perhaps it is, by their standards. However, he has done nothing illegal. Campbell ranting about how he was ‘scaring people’ was ridiculous, and it actually gave Mr Ring to demonstrate that he was the better interviewer. He certainly managed some good comebacks against many of John’s remarks.
    As to science vs unproven allegations, lets face it, science WORKS. However, just because something is unproven scientifically yet, does not make it necessarily incorrect (or correct, of course).

  • @paxman

    If it wasn’t for Science most of those unwashed masses would be dead already.

    Ever had an antibiotic?

  • Paxman….you’re on crack. Wakefield made fraudulent claims that were motivated by a conflict of interest. He had a vested interest in alternatives to the currently prescribed vaccine. A massive body of epidemiological data exists that does not correlate with Wakefields claims. This is fact.
    The unfortunate consequence of Wakefields whining through the media (as opposed to the peer review process) is that many children were not vaccinated. We are now seeing an increase of an incidence in measles and related illnesses, which will kill far more children than will develop austismn spectrum disorders. Mr. Ring should really, really keep his mouth shut at this juncture in the proceedings in Chch. It is profoundly counterproductive to all the effort put into dealing with the situation in an efficient, effective manner. If there is an outbreak of measles there, we can probably thank the Wakefield circus.

  • @Tammy

    “And yes, I am familiar with the pharmaceutical and ag / bio / chemical research industries.”
    Could you explain how you are “familiar” with these industries? My first impression of your posts is that you don’t know many/any scientists, give your comments about science. I’ve worked with many scientists and I know their dedication to science and to their fellow human beings. Seriously if they were interested in money they would have picked another career!

    “It was not mediatised that they were anticipating a large aftershock until after it hit.”
    Rubbish! I remember hearing the statement about the large aftershock and taking note of it as I live in Christchurch! Given the timing of your posting can I assume you are not in NZ? If so perhaps this is why you are not familiar with the warnings about a large aftershock?

    @Paxman
    “I am not sure what you are saying .. Medical Doctors are not scientists ? Well if that is the case, are scientists qualified to comment on medicine.?”
    Yes MOST medical doctors are not scientists. Those that are typically undergo additional training. You certainly don’t have a clear understanding of how science and medicine works.
    And yes, scientists are qualified to talk about medicine. It is scientists working with medical doctors who help produce most advances in science (and engineers as well).

    Some of the posters here obviously have no direct experience of science but source most of their information from ant-scientific reading.

    “So tell me again why is Ken Ring being persecuted?”
    He is producing fear in already traumatised population with more vague predictions.

    “science is a failure .. the whole of the current biosphere is an example of failed corporate science.”

    And the alternative is? We repeatedly hear that science is failure from those still happy to use the products of science – medicine, computers, the internet, etc – but we never hear what the alternative. As my boss says “if you are going to bring me a problem, bring me a solution as well”

    And for those who complain that corporate groups control too much of the worlds science, then what is your solution. Or do you expect scientists to fix this as well as doing the science? What are YOU doing to increase the amount of funding to science that is free of “corporate” influence.
    Or is the sum of your contribution to come on here and moan about science and corporate science while supporting pseudoscientific views?

  • damn

    ” It is scientists working with medical doctors who help produce most advances in science (and engineers as well).”

    that should read

    It is scientists working with medical doctors who help produce most advances in MEDICINE (and engineers as well).

  • @ Jody .. Have you ever had MRSA? Because the non propaganda version of antibiotics is not very pretty, Smashed immune systems and another lucrative cash cow that stands to fall.

  • Jim said:

    “We got nannied like retarded children by JC and it offended us.”

    Only a retarded child could attempt to defend Ken Ring and his ideas.

  • @Paxman

    MRSA does not negate the benefit of antibiotics to the millions who are alive because of them.
    And while treatment of MRSA might require drugs with unfortunate side effects, what is your preferred alternative? death?

  • @ Michael Edmonds ..
    @ Jody
    has it never occurred to you, that making a complaint is not necessarily anti anything .. like get your boot off my throat. I cannot breathe. Scientist just like everyone must poop and brush their teeth. what makes them think they know best for everyone ?

    As far as I can see many of them seem to be devoid of any knowledge as to how the real world works. I can see that book burning and glass bead games are still the order of the day, .. oh and let me not forget the semantic wriggles.

    The pedestals of science are empty most of the propaganda heroes have been outed for what they really were .. just look at Pasteur as an example and the damage his contribution has caused. Check this one out .. I suppose the academics who produced the report are anti science because what they have assembled is a litany of horror.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    ©DEATH BY MEDICINE October 2003
    Gary Null PhD, Carolyn Dean MD ND,
    Martin Feldman MD, Debora Rasio MD,
    Dorothy Smith PhD.

    ABSTRACT
    A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. The number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million. (1) Dr. Richard Besser, of the CDC, in 1995, said the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections was 20 million. Dr. Besser, in 2003, now refers to tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics.

    (2, 2a) The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million. (3) The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million. (4) The total number of iatrogenic deaths shown in the following table is 783,936. It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697; the annual cancer death rate, 553,251. (5)

  • @ Jockeyboy ..

    so another medical diagnosis of my condition .. on crack eh! and you shilling for science .. e.g.
    Paxman
    you’re on crack. Wakefield made fraudulent claims that were motivated by a conflict of interest. He had a vested interest in alternatives to the currently prescribed vaccine. A massive body of epidemiological data exists that does not correlate with Wakefields claims. This is fact. ..

    This is not fact and you are a liar. The facts are that those who mounted the attack on Wakefield forgot to mention their financial interests in the matter referred to. These people are of the Pasteur strain Wakanoodle Pasteuritus.

    What went down was a Kangaroo court, by a bunch of not very savoury academics .. so run a long there and read the facts then come back and talk about it.

  • Paxman: is it any kind of gasping awe and wonder .. why so many of us are harvested as feed fodder for a monstrous system of transplants and body parts.
    What the heck are you talking about?

    Also: as Michael says – most medical doctors are NOT scientists; their training is in medicine & not as scientists. Wakefield was a doctor, not a scientist (as is very clear from the appalling design of his work), and – whether you like it or not – his purported ‘link’ between MMR vaccine & autism was fraudulent. He.Made.Stuff.Up.

    And you might like to google Gary Null before you uncritically promote him as a reliable source of health information (eg http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/04/too_deliciously_ironic_for_words_gary_nu.php)

    Sorry, Ken (Perrott), I know we are way off-topic now!

  • Tammy,

    One day out is pretty on-target. As a ‘forecast’, ‘opinion’ or even ‘prediction’.

    I’ve already explained this: repeating it won’t make it right. Ring “predicted” (not) a very general thing that had good odds of happening anyway, didn’t get that right, then massaged it after-the-fact to fit.

    but kept that info to themselves

    Not true and you can prove it in print. (I haven’t time now – work to do.)

    Ken is first and foremost a mathematician.

    Nope. He’s an astrologer first. He may once have been a mathematician, however, but he seems to put other things above sound stats, etc…

  • First of all, it is silly to add the suffix ‘gate’ to a small problem: a bad TV interview. Second, trying to argue science with what essentially boils down to superstition is a waste of time. For example, newspapers, magazines and websites publish horoscopes despite scientists rightly claiming for years that astrology just doesn’t work.

    Some people feel outraged because Mr Ring’s views are being promoted and, moreover, because other people take those views seriously. Unfortunately, a rational explanation will not work and when the earthquake prediction does not pan out some of Mr Ring’s followers will still believe on his pseudoscience.

    As shown by this discussion thread, there is some commonality between believing on Mr Ring’s claims and believing on a number of other pseudoscientific or plain fraudulent claims.

  • If you were told someone had seen a shark in the water would they be trying to scare you? Or would they be trying to warn you to be cautious? Would they need to have seen the shark for themselves, and tell you the type and size? Would they need to be a marine biologist? Do you tripe the weather forecaster – cause they are wrong EVERY DAY? If you don’t want to take notice of Ken Ring DON’T. No need to tell the world.

  • I like Neil Armstrongs comments. Why is it that total Jerks like John Campbell are so hell bent on discrediting people like Ken Ring when they have no solid proof that he is wrong. The reason is , it just doesnt fit with there tiny winy IQ. Astrology / Astronomy / siesmology are all sciences in there own right. Closed minds destroy advances in Science. I`m not saying Ken Ring is right either but he`s lookin pretty good at the moment.
    If a March 20th 2011 NZ earthquake strikes around this date, Lets face it if Mr Ring is wrong about another quake around March 20th we have nothing to loose. I would prefer warning before listning to closed minded Jack arses like Campbell.

  • Neil – good analogy. In ethics its often discussed as the person who yells “fire” in a crowded theatre. Obviously good if there is a fire. If not the debate is wither he should be jailed.

    Of course people like Ken Ring exist in our society and we accept that as party of a liberal democracy. Some people are prone to listen to such characters – most of us don’t.

    So I think it was irresponsible for Campbell to have Ring on his programme and treat him the way he did. It provided beautiful free publicity to Ring – something he could never have got from an advertising agency. No wonder he refused to come back when Campbell apologised and offered him an open space. Without Campbells attack he would profit so well.

    Campbell obviously cocked things up. He provided unharrased space to ring supporters. And then he made Ring look like the victim.

    It was irresponsible of Campbell to have included this item. It was effectively shouting fire in a dangerous situation. No wonder he regrets it.

  • @Buck:
    discrediting people like Ken Ring when they have no solid proof that he is wrongn
    Um, they do. See http://sciblogs.co.nz/the-atavism/2011/03/01/ken-ring-cant-predict-earthquakes-either/.

    Astrology … are all sciences in there own right.n
    Just because it has -ology at the end doesn’t make it a science. Astrology is *not* a science.

    If a March 20th 2011 NZ earthquake strikes around this date,n
    An earthquake *will* strike around this date. There are many earthquakes every day.

    Look, people say Ken is just trying to prepare people and what is wrong with that? Well, Civil Defence and god knows how many other people have been trying to get us to prepare for years and many have. We don’t need vague predictions from someone pretending to do science.

  • Buck, we already know there are going to be earthquakes this month. Only someone who “wants to believe” will take this as support for Ring’s ideas.

    But what do you suggest? That on the basis of Rings claims everyone should leave Canterbury on the 20th March, or around 20th March? Should the government order an exodus.

    or should the government take advice from their scientists. people who have accumulated a lot of experience on the specific problems in the area and international experience. Who are a large team who interact nationally and internationally. And who will be provided invaluable assistance in the coming months and years ass policies and building codes are worked out. Who have also learned from that experience and have the money and equipment to make measurements.

    Or should they listen to a rather eccentric person whose interest is in selling books (and has a reputation for some rather strange adventures such as reading pets paws).

    Sure, allow people like ken Ring to make a living this way. But don’t give them the sort of platform to shout “fire” (or “shark) in the way that Campbell did.

  • Buck,

    Astrology is not a science. (Astronomy is.)

    If a “prediction” would happen based on random dumb luck anyway, then it’s not a prediction, right? — nub of the problem.

    People can look at Ring’s “predictions” *before* the event and poo-poo them and say that he’s not looking very good at all – because they can work out what would happen by dumb luck and point out it’s pretty much the same.

    Here’s a gloss on the story of his “prediction” of the Feb. 22nd M=6.3 event. He “predicted” that there would be NO earthquakes, that they would stop, then much later made a very broad “prediction”, not about Christchurch but anywhere in the world. He didn’t get that right either despite that it would have matched a decent number of times by dumb luck alone. He has then massaged that miss to make out that he got something right.

    See Alison’s article. His “predictions” not what many people are saying. (There’s more, too. I checked these independently and he is even further out that Alison has said.)

  • @neil armstrong

    “Do you tripe the weather forecaster – cause they are wrong EVERY DAY?”

    Weather forecasters are not wrong everyday! I seem to remember one of the other scibloggers comparing Ken Rings accuracy with weather to that of the weather forecasters and surprise, surprise the weather forecaster was more accurate.
    Can anyone else remember this?
    Ken Ring relies of vague “opinions”/predictions much in the way a newspaper horoscope or a sideshow psychic do. Keep them vague and they will fit any outcome.

  • @ Alison ..

    ©DEATH BY MEDICINE October 2003
    Gary Null PhD, Carolyn Dean MD ND,
    Martin Feldman MD, Debora Rasio MD,
    Dorothy Smith PhD.

    ABSTRACT
    A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. The number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million. (1) Dr. Richard Besser, of the CDC, in 1995, said the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections was 20 million. Dr. Besser, in 2003, now refers to tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics.

    (2, 2a) The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million. (3) The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million. (4) The total number of iatrogenic deaths shown in the following table is 783,936. It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697; the annual cancer death rate, 553,251. (5)

    TABLES AND FIGURES (see Section on Statistical Tables and Figures, below, for exposition)
    ====================================

    Alison lets us not nit pick facts because you think Gary Null is a flake, because there are millions that would not agree, and apart from that there are 5 authors what about the other 4 are they flakes as well?

    The report is well founded and extremely well researched. It was long overdue because science would not touch it with a barge pole, I dont need to further make the point of exactly why it was never researched .. everybody knows the Emperor has new clothes.

    As far as Dr Wakefield goes he is supported by the people and not paid shills. Who infest forums on a world wide basis with the misinformation paid for by pharmageddon. Because the Lancet, BMJ and the BMA are supported by pharmageddon by way of lucrative advertisements and grants (Bribes)

    Then they have the gall to accuse Dr Wakefield of what they themselves are guilty of.

  • @ the Astrology debunkers .. please read what an honest scientist has to say about the matter. All cultures have studied the moon except one notable culture.
    ========================================

    ‘The Scientific Basis of Astrology’ by Dr Percy Seymour.
    Published by W. Foulsham. Slough, U.K.

    When this book was published, Dr. Seymour was the Principal Lecturer in Astronomy at the University of Plymouth, UK. In an interview, Dr. Seymour made the following statement;

    “I am a scientist. As such I cannot propose or understand a model of reality which does not take account of scientific data. I am not an astrologer, in fact this theory developed out of an examination of the arguments that astrology cannot work!

    As a theoretical astrophysicist, with an interest in the relationship between fundamental physics and the large-scale structure of the universe, I am searching, as are many others, for a model to explain the current anomalies and paradoxes in these areas that are beyond the domain of astrophysics i.e. biology, chemistry, and to my amazement, astrology.”

    The following are selected quotes from the book;

    “It is now accepted by almost all scientists that the sunspot cycle effects the magnetic field of Earth, and the agency responsible for this effect, the solar wind, has been detected”.

    It is also beyond doubt that the moon causes tides in the upper atmosphere which give rise to electric currents, and these generate the lunar daily magnetic variation.

    There is also plenty of evidence that both the steady state as well as the fluctuating behaviour of the geomagnetic field can be used by organisms, including man, for purposes of finding direction and keeping internal body time. This much is all well documented, and widely accepted.

    There is evidence, largely ignored, that positions and movements of planets as seen from the sun, play a major role in the solar cycle. Furthermore, there is some evidence, highly controversial but difficult to dismiss, that some positions of the planets, as seen from Earth at time of birth and are linked to personality characteristics of individuals.

    “This evidence exists. What my theory does, is to prepare an interpretation, based on this evidence, which can be scientifically tested. Very briefly the steps are:”

    1. Planets effect the solar cycle in specific ways.
    2. The solar cycle effects the geomagnetic field.
    3. The geomagnetic field affects life on Earth in certain observed ways.
    4. Specifically, many species, including man, can be influenced by particular states of the geomagnetic field.
    5. The particular influences appear to correlate with the planetary positions.
    6. I propose that the behaviour of the foetus, at the time of birth, is linked to the cycles within the geomagnetic field, which in turn are influenced by the solar cycle and positions of the planets. Resonance is the phenomenon by which the foetus is phase locked to specific cycles.

    To put this in more specific terms, my theory proposes that the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, control the direction of the convective motions within the Sun, which generate the solar magnetic field.

    They do so because they play the major role in moving the sun about the common centre of mass of the solar system. As the solar cycle builds up to a maximum, so certain configurations of all the planets, at different stages, play a part in the disrupting the magnetic field of the sun, by means of the tidal tug (due to gravitation), of the planets on the hot gases in the Sun.

    Thus, the planets play a role in the modulation of Earth’s magnetic field by the solar wind. I am also proposing that the tidal tug of the planets on the hot gases trapped within our magnetosphere will, because of resonance, lock some of the vibrations of the Earth’s field in step with the planetary movements.

    The resulting fluctuations of Earth’s field, are picked up by the nervous system of the foetus, which acts like an antenna, and these synchronise the internal biological clocks of the foetus, which control the moment of birth.

    The tuning of the foetal magnetic antenna is carried on by the genes which it inherits, and these, to some extent will determine its basic genetically inherited personality characteristics.

    Thus, the positions of the planets at birth are not altering what we have inherited genetically, but are labelling our basic inherited personality characteristics.

  • Hey Paxman and Tammy:

    I have 3 children. My wife’s great great grandparents had something like 8. 3 of them died. My 3 children are still alive. It is thanks to antibiotics. Sadly, given the reason they were taking anitbots, if they had lived at the time of the GGGPs they too would have died. I am also thankful that your GGGPs and my GGGPs genes have survived through to us. It was because of those genes that we have survived for so long. Science explained that one too.

    I thank the scientist (Alex Fleming) who found penicillin AND the later scientists who rediscovered Flemings petrie dishes.

    I am impressed that you are still alive. I wonder if you have ever had any antibiotics?

    Carefully think about how you are able to take part in this discussion from anywhere in the world. Thanks to science and the discovery of semiconductors, quantum physics and through engineering and technology, you can turn your well chosen words into 0s and 1s and zap us within milliseconds from your keyboard (whcih probably includes a good wallop of plastic BTW, psst, discovered by scientists). 150 years ago it took 9 to 12 months to get a reply to a letter sent from GB to NZ.

    These results were not achieved by woo, They were achieved by evidence based scientific discovery.

    If you think scientists are barking up the wrong tree and taking backhanders from industry. Then feel free to discuss this by letter. We can reply the same way. You can use the free time between letter arrivals to read some better books. Remember those?

  • @ Grant ..
    you love it ? Are you a masochist because all I can detect is irritation .. I understand how you feel because that is how I felt on making my first forays into a system that I firmly believed in (Science) cognitive dissonance can be painful unless one blocks it out and ignores all the evidence to the contrary.

    One of the things that is currently getting up my nose is that pharmageddon has achieved freedom from prosecution, even though the general public are aware of all the fake and doctored scientific studies to sell more of the filth to be pumped into young children whose immune system has not fully developed.

    Baah!

  • because all I can detect is irritation

    Trying your hand at trolling now? I’m straight-forward, I thought it was hilarious for how wrong it was. A good joke, basically.

  • @ Paxman, @Grant Jacobs

    Dr Percy Seymours article above is an example of exactly why the public find Ken Ring’s theories plausible. People’s general sense of astrology as a valid factor in determining personality traits has been around for thousands of years. And here we have a genuine example of a scientist, who now lends credence to the theory. No doubt many have debunked these notions as wacky pseudo science and quackery over and over again, and probably still do.

    The point here is that if people the world over have a strong sense that someting is a certain way – perhaps it warrants further investigation. Even beyond the previous held paradigms that may debunk such a theory.

    I accept that what has occured over the past week, has been tinged with emotion due to the severity of the events in Christchurch. But I for one have been fascinated by the actions of the scientific community in response to Ken’s observations of possible correlations. A large number of explanations have been provided, which all delicately step around the real message of “we have really tried hard to explain why this is all nonsense, but its difficult, because mainstream people are either less intelligent than us, or too easily manipulated by the media to properly understand”.

    I think we understand that this is what you are trying to say – but find this approach totally unsatisfactory. Judging by the current mood, all the explanations that debunk Ken’s theories also appear to fall short, usually by running off a catch all rebuttal consisting of ‘we’ve considered it and the probability of the moon casuing earthquakes is tiny, the forces exerted are inadequate, its just not possible, so please could we just go back to what we were doing.’

    While you may be right (we will likely not know in our lifetime), failure to indulge the public appetite for open debate and/or further testing of the theory is perceived as arrogant and close minded. Hardly the perception the scientific community would want for itself.

    Many people in these blogs and on more mainstream social networking sites have commented that theories involving the moon and earthquakes are commonplace around the world. A simple google search on Moon Earthquake Correlations, brings up numerous articles where scientists admit it is a distinct possibility. ie: the first result below, from the crackpot rag National Geographic in 2005:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/05/0523_050523_moonquake.html

    I’ve probably banged on about this long enough, and it seems clear that no one in the scientific community wants to pursue this line of study. So as it stands the rift with the public will just stay as it is. I sense a desire amongst you, following this uproar, for a good old proper public debunking to occur just to shut everyone up. If only John Campbell had done it properly in the first place!

    I wonder if someone put up a $1m for a years study on this topic if there would be any takers, or if it would still be too ridiculous to consider worthwhile? I’ve been told that it’s Ken’s theory, so it’s his to prove. Perhaps the groundswell of opinion has shifted the onus somewhat…?

    Anyway – thanks for having me on this blog, I thought it would be intimidating discussing this issue as a complete science novice, but that hasn’t been the case.

  • @ Ross,

    I have 3 adult children all married and not a vaccination between them .. that was real hard work fending off the brainwashed medics not to mention coming to grips with the herd immunity nonsense .. because if vaccination is supposed to protect then there should be no problem except for those of us who resisted pharmageddons blandishments.

    If you would take your own advice and read some decent books. Because I know, it has been well documented about the corruption in science and academia and this has been most visible in the field of GMO,s and the refusal to label GMO food.

    The powers that be have pumped a lot of money into an unproven area of research because all of the reliable evidence proves that harm is inflicted. The powers that be will not label the junk because nobody would knowingly eat the stuff.

    there are lots of other areas of science that are just as riddled and why would you wish to discuss the matter by private mail instead of an open forum?

    And as for the illegal body parts, the Israelis have been caught at it in Palestine. All of this stuff came up because of the insufferable gall displayed by the attack on the moon man as he has been dubbed. well if you can put aside the prejudice instead of running round in circles and patting each other on the back .. then try ‘The Scientific Basis of Astrology’ by Dr Percy Seymour.

    Oh and do not forget the words of Prof Virchow because they apply very well to the current state of science.

    Baaaaah Baaaaaaah Bah!

  • @ Mark.

    very well put. I am sure that the scientists on this thread are appalled at the arrogance of a commoner who dares to criticize.

    But I too am appalled at their open arrogance toward we the commoners. Because it is our backs that these people feed off.

  • Paxman,

    I’m starting to believe you are some sort of performance artist, i suppose it would be breaking character to confirm or deny my suspicion?

    Mark,

    I think it would take you 3 seconds to find a rebuttal of Ring’s theories on scientific grounds, I’ve written one and Darcy has just posted some background information on the effect the moon on earthquakes. But just think about it: Earthquakes at a given place are very rare, the sorts of coincidences of the moon and sun Ring talks about are comparatively common. So it follows they don’t usually result in earthquakes. No?

  • @ MarkJ.

    Just reread yr post .. these tiny forces that you speak of. I thought it was common knowledge that these tiny forces lift vast bodies of water on a regular basis .. Tides.

    Wherever a water molecule is to be found on earth it is influenced by the moon. I believe there is a scientific branch that explores such matters and from memory I think it is called Bio -Chronometry.

  • Simplistically it follows, however, perhaps the conventional wisdom around faultlines and tectonics play a majority part in when and where earthquakes will strike (still unknown), and the relatively small additional force exerted by the moon at these times of heightened seismic activity are sufficient to trigger a bigger event? You may both be right. No?

  • Mark.

    Right. So the moon can’t predict earthquakes unless the plate tectonics stuff is going on, and if we knew that we wouldn’t have to worry about the moon…

  • What has grabbed attention, is that we are in a period of hieghtened seismic acticity, and someone has put forward a theory, that the major events may be correlated with the moon.

    So no – you need to keep working on the tectonics stuff, but if there is any correlation between the moon and the ‘big one’, then it would be good to know.

  • Markj,

    With all respect I’m quite sure why you are addressing this to me. I’m quite familiar with the issues and while I generally agree with some of your points (with a few reservations) you’re trying to teach grandmother to suck eggs as the saying goes 😉

    You might also want to distinguish better scientists and science communicators. I think it’d help.

    With all respect one common thread with your comments is that you don’t seem to see both “sides” well. For example, when you wrote “failure to indulge the public appetite for open debate and/or further testing of the theory is perceived as arrogant and close minded” did it occur to you that the misperception might be of the public believing that it needs testing? Whether you mean it or not, you’re playing only one side of the issue. Communication always involves more than one party 😉

    … and it seems clear that no one in the scientific community wants to pursue this line of study.

    You just crossed a line – that’s not correct (I believe pointed it out to you earlier) and in one sentence undoes all you’ve done. A real shame. (You’re welcome to stand corrected.)

    Did you read the SMC link I pointed you too. One of the scientists wrote

    “Around the globe, centres have been established that fairly and thoroughly test earthquake predictions against future earthquakes. One of these centres is established in New Zealand and anyone may contribute their predictions.”

    (A question to ask, then, might be why Ken hasn’t submitted his model for testing if he is sincere about it.)

  • Simplistically it follows, however, perhaps the conventional wisdom around faultlines and tectonics play a majority part in when and where earthquakes will strike (still unknown), and the relatively small additional force exerted by the moon at these times of heightened seismic activity are sufficient to trigger a bigger event? You may both be right. No?

    Size of effects matter. There’s difference in “influences” (i.e. a minor contribution to something) and being able to predict the event associated with it using them.

    All of this speculation is moot if Ken’s “predictions” aren’t better than dub luck as I explained to Buck. (Comment on top of page.)

    someone has put forward a theory

    A hypothesis (loosely, an idea): theory in science has a particular meaning.

    but if there is any correlation between the moon and the ‘big one’, then it would be good to know.

    As the geologists explained they work on this, too. It was brought up in the interview voluntarily, too. He said it wasn’t useful for major earthquakes. See the link I provided for you also.

  • @markj

    “And here we have a genuine example of a scientist, who now lends credence to the theory. No doubt many have debunked these notions as wacky pseudo science and quackery over and over again, and probably still do.”

    So what are we supposed to do about this? Virtually every field of science has one or two people with strange ideas which have no evidential basis.
    Should scientists just shrug their shoulders and allow such people to confuse the public?
    A umber of people have pointed out that sometimes there a visionaries in science who are initially poo pooed for their ideas, however, these people push the boundaries of science by then producing evidence that proves their theories.
    Those who embrace pseudoscience like to cast themselves as such visionaries, however, they differ in that
    1) they make no attempt to find further scientific evidence to prove their theory
    2) They don’t consider that they might be wrong and see if their theories are falsifable.
    3) Most of them clutch at theories which have been disproved over and over again (e.g. astrology)

    @Paxman
    ” I am sure that the scientists on this thread are appalled at the arrogance of a commoner who dares to criticise”

    Your criticisms have been addressed however, your problem seems to be that you won’t accept criticism yourself. Your expect everyone here to listen to your ideas and not challenge them. What hypocrisy!

  • @ Luis ..

    The refusal (or not) to label GMO food is not a scientific issue but a marketing one. oh yes, but a lot of scientists appear to have bet their shirts on the matter. But it is still not very ethical is it? it certainly is arrogant.

  • @ Michael Edmonds
    Your criticisms have been addressed ..

    The points that I have been posting have not really been addressed at all .. So you consider they have ?

    I can see no evidence of that, and my criticism was against the attitudes displayed by science and academia and not personal attacks. I am not into head games. But I have had dealings before and I can see that the main output is snide, if you think the points I have made are wrong then please have the grace to explain why. Without the snide please. And if I think the explanations are lacking then I shall say why.

  • @Paxman Personally I do not have a problem with GMO but I think they should be labelled so people that do have a problem with them have a choice to opt-out.

    I do not see an ethical problem for the scientists, but I understand that you can see their position as arrogance.

  • @Paxman

    “without the snide please”

    You mean like statements such as “I am sure that the scientists on this thread are appalled at the arrogance of a commoner who dares to criticise”
    If you are able to avoid making snide remarks, I’m sure I could do the same.
    With regards to addressing your criticisms perhaps you would like to list your most pressing one? It’s much easier to deal with them one at a time.

  • Gentlemen, do some god dam research and always keep an open mind. A boaty never goes fishing if the forcast is crap.
    1. Go there now, it’s much more interesting than what follows.
    2. As above note, and if I’ve missed any – sorry.
    3. Simpson, John F. (1967) Earth tides as a triggering mechanism for earthquakes, John F.
    Earth and Planetary Science Letters
    Volume 2, Issue 5, August 1967, 473-478
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V61-46YCX20-H&_user=10&_coverDate=08%2F31%2F1967&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=gateway&_origin=gateway&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=7cc1ca0acf764aed5da63b53b89c86c2&searchtype=a
    4. Hartzell, S. H., and Heaton, T. H. (1989). The fortnightly tide and the tidal triggering of earthquakes.
    Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 79, 1282-1286.
    http://ecf.caltech.edu/~heaton/papers/Hartzell%20fortnightly.pdf
    5. Vidale, J. E., Agnew, D. C., Johnston, M. J. S., and Oppenheimer, D. H. (1998). Absence of earthquake correlation with Earth tides: An indication of high preseismic fault stress rate. Journal of Geophysical Research 103, 24567-24572.
    http://earthweb.ess.washington.edu/vidale/Reprints/JGR/1998_Vidale_Agnew_JGR.pdf
    6. Kennedy, M., Vidale, J. E., Parker, M.G. (2004). Earthquakes and the Moon; Syzygy Predictions Fail the Test
    Seismological Research Letters; September/October 2004; v. 75; no. 5; p. 607-612
    http://earthweb.ess.washington.edu/vidale/Reprints/SRL/kennedy_revise2.doc
    7. Schuster, A. (1897). On lunar and solar periodicities of earthquakes.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 61, 455-465.
    Reference from “Earthquakes and the Moon; Syzygy Predictions Fail the Test” footnote #6

  • Well the number one is the Death by Medicine Study conducted by Null et al.

    The study is dated 2003. I am unable to find any evidence that the study has been taken on board. Given the importance of such matters then obviously the first question is .. why not? .. the second question is .. exactly who is it that is sitting on the report?

  • My sincere apologies Ladies and Gentlemen but I could not resist this one .. it has just landed in my inbox :-) The Salk thing is well known amongst the Alt Med community but this is the first time I have seen it published on an influential alternative web site.
    ============================================

    Yet more amazing news has come out revealing that Jonas Salk, the creator of the polio vaccine was engaged in illicit medical experiments on human guinea pigs in mental institutions. This is just one example in a long and torturous history of Big Pharma’s exploitation of human beings for medical experimentation.

    This article is incredible: Read it to learn why the drug companies use prisoners and mental patients — “because they’re cheaper than chimpanzees!” (Seriously, I’m not making this up…)
    http://www.naturalnews.com/031564_Jonas_Salk_medical_experiments.html

  • Could it be that Null’s study’s has not been ‘taken on board’ because – it’s been throuproughly examined & found to be nonsense? Just saying…

    Natural News?? By Mike ‘the health ranger’ Adams? I’m afraid he’s not a reliable source of scientific information either: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/01/the_decline_of_science_not_so_much.php Like Null, the fact that a lot of people like what he’s saying doesn’t make him right.

  • Science is based on doubt, so naturally scientists fear
    anyone with a lean towards nature and her cycles and phenomenen..plus you need cash from the government to stay alive…K.R doesn’t

    and because Mr Ring absorbs and understands meteorological nature better than you guys,SCIENTISTS lack the critical thinking needed, because it is not taught to you at tertiary level.
    In fact it’s probably suppresed, taken away so you rely on books,invalid data
    and weak teachers.
    If I had to choose between scientists and nature,I’d choose nature everytime..and so does Ken.

    Simple really..
    Oh by the way C02 rises..in case they didn’t teach you that at school!

    Sincerely,

    Dennis

  • @ Alison ..

    Who has found ‘Death by Medicine’ to be nonsense? Citations please. I think it may be better if you admitted that you have never read the paper .. Just saying.

    I read through the blog http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/01/the_decline_of_science_not_so_much.php and had a great chuckle .. scientists and wannabees whinging about the intractability of the great unwashed masses.

    Alison the people themselves are talking .. and their talk is in the main based on their experience of science and its hand maidens because it is we that are the consumers, please understand that once bitten twice shy. The main stream media is controlled and constrained by pharmageddon and the war mongers. Not everyone is yet awakened, but when they are. they are going to be looking for scapegoats

    Think in terms of basket head Lavoisier but to be fair he was also a tax collector and under the French regime at that time tax collectors were allowed to keep a percentage of what they collected (that was how he financed the experiments that unseated Phlogiston) So maybe that is the reason why he lost his head in the melee .. just saying.

    Medicine is my old age hobby horse .. so when I see what orthodox medicine does to people in the name of Beelzebub .. such as the aged and infirm, the mentally unstable, Prisoners and even the military, then I quail when I read things like they are cheaper than chimpanzee,s Then I understand who the real unstable people with the primitive eugenics mindsets actually are .. Mike Adams has provided the links if you can find the time to step outside of your fiefdom.

    So back to my questions regarding Death by Medicine.

  • markj,

    Just quickly looking back ‘With all respect I’m quite sure’ should read ‘With all respect I’m not quite sure’. Sorry about that.

  • paxman……isn’t Death by Medicine a book, as opposed to a paper? This of course does not necessarily mean the findings in it are spurious, but you seem to be making a concerted effort to dress it up as validated fact. It is naive to think that there are no deaths associated with the application of conventional medicine, but tarring the entire medical profession with that brush is not constructive. Treatment is about tailoring intervention to the specific problem at hand. If matters not if this treatment is considered conventional or alternative if it is effective. Your particular species of criticism would be more at home on a blog about the American health insurance system, because at least then you would be less likely to encounter individuals that are actually ill that could benefit from some considered and objective information regarding actual medicine.

  • @Dennis

    Science studies natures, its cycles and processes. It relies on evidence, not doubt or anecdotes.
    Rather than “doubting” their results it would be more accurate to say scientists test their results by carrying out more observations or experiments. This is a useful tool to provide more data for the critical thinking you think is lacking in scientists. You and I obviously have a different meaning for critical thinking! Critical thinking to me involves sorting through the data you have, working out which is the most reliable and then using it form hypotheses, and where possible using it to decide on how to find more information.

    Oh, and carbon dioxide is actually heavier than air, although I fail to see the relevance of this comment, other than to show you haven’t research your facts.

  • The following statement comes from “Death by Medicine”

    “The most stunning statistic, however, is that the total number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is an
    astounding 783,936 per year. It is now evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and
    injury in the US.”

    Lets consider some of the possible problems with this statement. Many people admitted to hospital are admitted for conditions they would die of anyway without medical intervention – e.g. severe car accidents, heart attacks. So of course a lot of people die in hospital. Think also of those who are hospitalised with cancer, meningitis etc who die there. Is it fair to claim that they have died because of medicine when medicine has most likely prolonged their lives and reduced their suffering?
    “Death by Medicine” is a propaganda piece by those pushing natural medicine. It is essentially quite a cunning counterattack against those who have challenged the more dubious natural medicines. Rather than struggle to justify such natural therapies (which is difficult, given the lack of evidence) a number of advocates of dubious natural therapies have instead launched these attacks on conventional medicine using skewed statistics and data.
    However, if you look at the underlying information there are glaring holes, some of which I have listed above.
    This is not to say that there are some issues with conventional medicine, including overuse of antibiotics, but scientists and medical professional are working hard to improve these issues. Some deaths still do occur from poor medical practice or errors, however, the majority of deaths which occur in hospitals occur because hospitals are dealing with sick people, some of whom, despite the best attempts of modern medicine, cannot be saved.
    In contrast to the deaths that occur in hospitals, one must also consider the many millions of lives which are saved by medical professional each year.

  • @ Grant

    I addressed the post to you, because the other thread that contained this debate was shut down before I had had a chance to reply to your comments on my previous posts.

    The issue for me in this debate, is not one of whether you guys are right, or Ken is right, or whether there’s merit on both sides. i think it is about respect, and the public’s perception of the science community reaction to Ken’s comments.

    Incidentally (this may be from another thread), but Ken definitely DID NOT get his 15 minutes, that was rudely hijacked by John Campbell, and subsequently Peter Griffen freely admitting to trying to inluence journalists into denying him further airtime. Is is that series of events that raised my ire, not some blind belief in Ken’s theories.

    The truth is, that I am open to the possibility that his theories have merit, and I also respect that science has its views and serves us well in many other areas of our lives. I categorically will not win a science debate on this forum, and have no interest in trying to.

    My point, is that since this debate began, science has, at every turn, responded (in my view) disrespectfully towards Ken, and towards the public. You may genuinely have no respect for him, and his theories, and that may have be something that has evolved over many years, whereas the public in many cases are hearing this for the first time. In the real world, in our communities, and in business, and even in our schools, it is not ok to visibly demonstarte your contempt in the way you have with Ken. Instead we are taught to be tolerant and respectful of opposing views. You were never asked to agree with Mr Ring.

    the scientific viewpoint may well be correct, but I reiterate that the blatant attempts to keep Ken’s theories from the public has been viewed by many as insulting to our intelligence and rude. The flurry of scientific outrage when Ken seemed to be getting airtime reflected badly on your profession, and left people wondering what you were trying to protect them from. A calm rational approach around engaging the public and allowing the questions to be asked and answered would have been far more successful.

    How difficult would it have been to respectfully ackowledge that Ken had beleifs that differed from those of the scientific community, but were considered by some to have merit. To further ackowledge that people were entitled to make the choices in their beleifs based on the information they have, and to offer to provide alternative information where requested. I found the the immediate aftermath of the Campbell interview extremely distasteful.

    I am sure I have now laboured the point, and I will bow out with this: I have found reading this forum, and the considered and respectful replies I have had to my questions and comments, enlightening and educational. Some people have continued to be dismissive, but from the ones who haven’t, I have learnt alot, and it would be nice if this kind of discussion could somehow be replicated in the public domain. Thanks

  • Mark,

    I find it very odd that people says things like this on these threads, and not on the several posts that have calmly showed Ring’s theories to be rubbish.

    The discussions about how to deal with cranks are interesting, but here’s a sincere question. Would you suggest a TV station present a 10min interview with a creationist? Or someone that claims vaccines cause autism? Or a climate change skeptic? Given the chance, plenty of people from all of those schools would be quite capable of presenting a reasonable sounding case, and scientists, being limited to only speaking the truth, would have to take a lot more time to debunk their claims than the others spend making them. Under those circumstances, I think the responsible choice is usually not to give these sorts of ideas oxygen.

  • @markj

    “science has, at every turn, responded (in my view) disrespectfully towards Ken, and towards the public.”
    I don’t think it is reasonable to say that “science” has responded disrespectfully. Science is not a person or even a group of people.
    And not all scientists have been disrespectful of Ken Ring. Many have commented on his beliefs but not on him personally.

    “but I reiterate that the blatant attempts to keep Ken’s theories from the public has been viewed by many as insulting to our intelligence and rude.”
    I’ll agree that John Campbell’s interview was extremely rude and also that I would have preferred that Ken Ring should have been given airtime, so long as a well informed scientist was also given airtime so that there was some balance.
    While Ken Ring did not get any airtime thanks to John Campbells rant (and remember John is not a scientist but a journalist) anyone with internet access could have looked up Ken RIng and his theories, and also critiques of them, so it is not that diffult for any interested person to find the information themselves.
    I think some of your comments about listening and tolerance and respect are important, however, there is always a practical limit. If someone makes outrageous claims or those which may cause harm in one way or another, is it not important to challenge these claims?

  • @David

    I guess we fundamentally disagree then. I believe if the goal is enlightenment, then the prerequisite is freedom. We are constantly bombarded with conflicting opinions and beliefs through all forms of media, and we mostly muddle through ok. We don’t need you too choose what we hear.

    @ Michael

    I apologise, I am somewhat of a generalist, and as such, I often speak broadly at times where i should be more specific. With respect to where the practical limits lie, I think that is for you to choose, and perhaps my comments are more directed at HOW these claims are challenged, than whether or not they should be challenged.

    In many cases (probably not all), Ken’s appearance was met with a reaction rather than a response. Surely, there should be a moment or two spent figuring out what the desired outcome is, then configuring a response that most likely to get that outcome. Managing public perceptions (ie: getting onside with people) is a game, and whether you like it or not, everyone has to play it. It’s probably a process that’s completely at odds with methods used in your work, but its a critical process for any sector that wishes to interact with the public and influence their opinions.

  • markj – you point is surely disingenious. “i think it is about respect, and the public’s perception of the science community reaction to Ken’s comments. “ and “science has, at every turn, responded (in my view) disrespectfully towards Ken, and towards the public. “

    The reality is that you confuse the rudeness of an interviewer with “science.” John Campbell behaved badly. He acknowledges that and has apologised. But what is your motive for the confusion?

    And why the sympathy for Ring. He did extremely well out of the encounter – far better than in a balanced interview.

    Campbell presented the views of several “true believers”. And I think the message of Rings about the effects of the moon certainly got across. He got huge publicity and sympathy.
    The fact that he turned down the opportunity to participate in a balanced interview showed he knows when to quit. Any balanced interview would only have subtract5ed from what he had gained. And he will have gained in web site hits and books sales. No doubt about it.

    Of course there is a body of scientific knowledge and specialists in the area are critical of Ring’s ideas. But – disrespectful? I think scientists appearing on TV have been very respectful and balanced. Very calm. If anything unresponsive to Ring.

    Scientific blogger certainly have commented and in some cases this may be forceful and opinionated. But are you going to remove that right? Are you going to insist on freedom of expression for cranks and meantime tie specialists hands behind their backs, refuse their right of contributing?

  • markj

    You make some good points, and while I don’t agree with all of them, I certainly appreciate the way you have articulated them in a very civil and thought provoking manner. Science communication is a very challenging area and I suspect that much of the problem with the current debate come from the fact that the starting point was a very aggressive and ill prepared interview by an obviously stressed John Campbell. Hardly a good starting point.

  • Ken – I have not read every blog, and every scientific counter to Ken’s claims, and I am sure there are some that are balanced and respectful. My point, which has now crossed threads, began specifically in response to Peter Griffen’s attempts to convince the media to deny Ken Ring airtime. Thats all.

    The discussion has obviously evolved, and I can’t say that my views on this issue will be accurate right across the spectrum. What is clear, is that during these discussions, many responses have reiterated the the point that theories such as these should NOT be given ‘oxygen’. Thats the crux of what I have a problem with.

    I expect freedom of speech for both sides, and I expect it can be done respectfully without using terms such as cranks, quacks, wackos etc. Engaging like this is condescending, and is part of what creates the perception issues I am talking about. This is my opinion, but I mix in non scientific circles, and it is one that appears to be widely held.

  • Michael – Thanks. I dont expect we will ever agree on all of it, but i do agree that John Campbells unfortunate starting point was the catalyst for it all. I had never considered the the issues that surround science communication before now, and my view on it has evolved while being up to my eyeballs in this somewhat challenging debate. Clearly it is genuinely fraught with difficulty. Anyway – we’ve probably done it to death now! Cheers.

  • Markj – surely the ethical questions are relevant here. We don’t really want to give free reign to the individual who shouts “fire” in a crowded theatre – where there is no fire. Similarly, in the extreme humanitarian situation of the Christchurch earthquake there is surely an argument not to give air time to every crank who wishes to create a mass fleeing of the city on a specific date – unless there is good reason. Why do you wish to deny people the right to express their concern about such behaviour.? It is surely a valid viewpoint.

    The fact is that the emergency bodies and the government do not think there is good reason to take ring seriously. They are not advocating an exodus on the 20th. And that is because Ring’s ideas don’t have scientific support. He has inflated one small aspect of earthquake causes. Responsible bodies cannot act on such advice.

    If Ring’s ideas have any substantive basis then they should be presented and discussed in the channels normally used for debating and validating scientific ideas. And you must remember Ring’s motivations are more to do with profit and ego than science (or concern for the citizens of Christchurch) – and that is why he prefers not to participate in the scientific debate.

    If you really wish freedom of speech then be realistic. The public are not as refined as you seem to think – terms like crank, whako, etc., are going to be used. As are terms like “condescending.” Sure they interfere with honest discussion but they are part of reality.

    Scientists are as human as anyone and they will often resort to emotional terms, even if less than most other people.

    But the insulting thing is that you seem to want to use this to somehow shut up scientists. In this dispute they are the ones with the relevant information and should not be inhibited in presenting it. Fortunately the government and media are not sensibly going to give in to emotional pressure on this.

    Ring was presented with an opportunity which he has greatly benefited from. Campbell unwillingly gave him everything he could have desired. There will now be opportunities to hear the science. My point is to be open minded and listen to it. Accusing scientists of being “condescending” just because they have the information only cuts off your own nose.

  • Markj,

    (Don’t take me as being curt – I’m short on time.)

    i think it is about respect, and the public’s perception of the science community reaction to Ken’s comments.

    That respect cuts both ways and for your argument to be fair has to be applied both ways.

    Regards understanding science communication issues, presentations always involve more than one party & if you want understand them (properly, anyway), you have to look at both.

    While scientists on the whole have been very respectful in the face of man who has disrespectful of their own lot, taken literally your argument can lead to a double standard.

    Just a thought: some of Ken Rings’ statements are quite disrespectful towards science and scientists.

    Scientists speaking in their own specialty have their hands tied somewhat; science bloggers are often more able to speak out more openly.

    that his theories have merit

    Just in the interest of accuracy: I pointed out to you in the other thread that they are NOT theories, but hypotheses; theory has a particular meaning in science.

    Incidentally (this may be from another thread), but Ken definitely DID NOT get his 15 minutes, …

    This hasn’t much to do with anything I’ve written.

    science has, at every turn, responded (in my view) disrespectfully towards Ken, and towards the public

    Remember I made the point about looking at both sides? It is your perception that is wrong here. Certainly the ‘at every turn’ is factually wrong. Either that or this is a straw man. Look at the comments in the link I offered you earlier. (I have to be honest, this response makes me question if you have even read this page, or the articles written by others.)

    You may genuinely have no respect for him, and his theories,

    Two separate things, and for two separate reasons.

    To the latter what he offers doesn’t stack up, so there is no reason to give it *scientific* respect. There’s nothing personal in that. Scientists routinely disrespect stuff that doesn’t stack up, but it’s not about the person.

    To the former, no *personal* respect from me personally for his promoting this immediately after the event when everyone was aware how awful what had happened was. He continued even after several people on different forums had asked him to stop. By his own words what got him to stop was someone threatening him. (Not on the sciblogs forums.) It was simply inappropriate, to put it mildly.

    it is not ok to visibly demonstarte your contempt in the way you have with Ken

    Two problems (I’ll assume by ‘you’, you mean me, as you’ve addressed the comment to me):

    – You seem to be conflating what was done on the Campbell show and what I have done (see above)

    – I have every right to object to him peddling that stuff immediately after the event. People objected hugely to the looters. I objected to Ring’s own form of exploitation of the event. That’s not about the (non)”scientific” nature of his “predictions”.

    The flurry of scientific outrage when Ken seemed to be getting airtime reflected badly on your profession, and left people wondering what you were trying to protect them from. A calm rational approach around engaging the public and allowing the questions to be asked and answered would have been far more successful.

    Maybe, but you’re misplacing what is that I actually complained about and placing the “sins” of others (who have done different things) on me. See above. What *I* complained about was his persisting to “promote” this false “prediction” immediately after the event. Go back and look at Alison’s original thread which spans before and immediately after the event. Others feel the same.

    As for the wider point, in a similar way you need to be careful of conflating him promoting his wares inappropriately with what the wares are.

    It is fair to say that precisely what was being objected to needs to be stated accurately, but my recollection is that Campbell did that (he started well, even if later on he felt compelled to cut in).

    While I’m writing this, there a place to cutting in. (Not quite as Campbell did in that interview.) If someone doesn’t answer the question asked (trying to dodge it or just not getting on with it), if someone tries to waffle on at length (boring TV if nothing else), etc. You’ll see this routinely done to politicians. Ring did actually err in the way I’ve just mentioned, and there was some justification for stepping in, but not to the extent Campbell eventually did.

    How difficult would it have been to respectfully ackowledge that Ken had beleifs that differed from those of the scientific community, but were considered by some to have merit.

    Two problems,

    – still missing what was actually objected to (see above)
    – the phrasing begs the question

    We don’t need you too choose what we hear.

    I isn’t a case of scientists controlling what you hear, or trying to.

    Can I finally point out that you have written “us v. them” throughout? That division isn’t there in the way that you seem to make out. This is often a public perception problem too, one you appear to hold yourself. Scientists are members of the public too. They have families, are non-specialists in things outside their field, etc., etc.

  • I don’t see how you can have interpreted my comments as trying to shut up scientists. I have stated again and again, that the basis for my irritability here was the repeated position of trying to deny Ken airtime. What is condescending is that you continue to write someone off as a crank when they have obviously grabbed the public’s attention.

    I’d like to channel John Campbell for a moment and specialize in quoting you to you:

    I like the slogan “If you have not changed your beliefs in the last few years, check your pulse as you may not be alive”.

    – and –

    Having said that, I do have my own beliefs, They are always evolving (aren’t we all) and they are a source of great spiritual comfort and pride to me.

    Both of these comments in your ‘about me’ page, seem to indicate an open mind to the evolution of ones beleifs. The public should have the right to evolve their beliefs with the information available, including Ken, and including science.

    How you react to his comments and beliefs are far more a reflection on you than on him, as John Campbell recently found out. I am really commenting on the public’s perception of the reactions to Ken, which is something i have noticed being discussed alot since it happened.

    I am categorically not wanting to shut up the scientists, I just genuinely feel it could have been dealt with more respectfully to Ken and to the public. If you dont feel that respect is warranted, then we have to agree to disagree. I dont have a problem with that, and I am sorry if you have been offended by my opinion.

    I’m not sure we can achieve a lot more on this topic.

  • My point, which has now crossed threads, began specifically in response to Peter Griffen’s attempts to convince the media to deny Ken Ring airtime.

    Then why are they addressed to me? Surely this means they should be addressed to Peter? (As a practical matter he will be pretty flat-out, probably. Me too, actually.)

    I expect freedom of speech for both sides, and I expect it can be done respectfully without using terms such as cranks, quacks, wackos etc.

    That should played both ways, too. Stereotyping scientists as cynical, out-of-touch, condescending, etc., etc. I see now that Ken has made this point another way.

  • @ Grant

    Thanks for that. incidentally my post immediately previous to this was directed at Ken, not a response to yours.

    I waded into this argument after noticing general outrage at what occurred and hearing it discussed around the traps. I have tried my best to explain where I am coming from, and I have learnt alot from your responses.

    This is a new argument for me, and I can’t debate every point you raise, because I simply dont have the depth of knowledge on these matters. I really do believe that people can make up their own minds, but I also accept that this issue is especially fraught because of the terrible tragedy in christchurch.

    I’m sure my position on this is clear, and I dont think I can expand on it any further. I take all the responses on board, and I will be interested to see how this evolves. I will certainly more aware of the complexities of science communication from here forward. Thanks

  • @ grant – I directed that post at you because I hadn’t replied to one on a previous thread. Earlier posts of mine which you replied to had been directed at Peter. Anyway – I think we agree. Everything should go both ways. I think we are done. Cheers

  • I have stated again and again, that the basis for my irritability here was the repeated position of trying to deny Ken airtime. What is condescending is that you continue to write someone off as a crank when they have obviously grabbed the public’s attention.

    To the first: it’s been pointed out that was about a journalist, not scientists. “again and again” to borrow your phrase 😉

    To the second: he was written off as a crank long before this interview. You still seem to be missing the main thing that was actually objected to, I think. Not his ideas, his promoting it at a time like that.

    Having said that, I do have my own beliefs,

    You’re crossing wires somewhere. Science doesn’t work with beliefs. It works with evidence.

    How you react to his comments and beliefs are far more a reflection on you than on him, as John Campbell recently found out.

    Excuse me, that really is drawing a false line between unrelated things. Campbell’s messing up the interview has nothing to do with scientists’ opinions of Rings ideas.

    I am categorically not wanting to shut up the scientists, I just genuinely feel it could have been dealt with more respectfully to Ken and to the public.

    Then why are you continually pointing at scientists, not Campbell? I pointed out that scientists have (all) been disrespectful is simply not true, as have others.

    I am sorry if you have been offended by my opinion

    I personally am not offended with it, but I do think some (not all) of the things you write are wrong-headed. (You some misperceptions yourself.)

    This is a new argument for me, and I can’t debate every point you raise,

    Basically you’re deciding “not to bother” with what I’ve written, despite Wish I hadn’t wasted my time, then.

    I think we are done.

    It’s bad form to tell others that you think it’s done.

  • markj – well its good that you declare you don’t want to shut scientists up. I got that impression from your tone in describing scientists. Sorry.

    Now, has any scientists publicly on TV called Ring a crank? I don’t think so. Sure some science bloggers have. Probably a lot more non-scientist bloggers though. Have a look around.

    And watch the brief interview with Russell Brown in my post – a media commentator, not a scientists.

    Personally I know very little about the guy and he doesn’t directly interest me. But when you realise he has written books like Pawmistry: How to Read Your Cat’s Paws perhaps you can understand why many people have that attitude. (He has been discussed more fully at Silly Beliefs – and No I have not read the article as I don’t have sufficient interest).

    Another thing I am aware of, and you presumably aren’t, is that there is a history of Ken Ring and science issues. Weather, obliviously, but he is definitely on the anti-science side of the climate change issue. And there is viscous criticism of scientists coming from that quarter. So I would give the mild reaction of scientists a bit of slack.

    Your dispute with the treatment of Ring and his air time is an issue with TVNZ and Campbell Live – not with science. Sure – I agree with your comment it could have been dealt with more respectfully to Ken and to the public – but again that is not the fault of science, is it? Why direct that criticism in our direction instead of Campbell’s?

    You have found one science journalist advocating Ring not be given air time – not all scientists. there would obviously be different views on this. I believe Peter had a right to express his concern (although I would not ahve advocated preventing Ring’s appearance on TV). Peter has similarly criticised one of my posts which he thought was advocating restriction of data for climate sceptics – so obviously these things are never simple.

    They are part of day to day life and should not be of the over-riding concern you seem to have about science.

    I don’t know why you have chosen to quote bits from my about page – what is the relevance? Are you implying I am not honest because I don’t accept Ring’s ideas?

    Certainly I reject the idea that my beliefs should be determined by the public’s perception of the reactions as you seem to advocate. That would be the last thing to influence me.

    I am quite willing to accept Ring’s ideas – if the evidence supported them.

    So far what I have seen doesn’t support Ring – have a look at Dave Winter’s brief analysis. In the absence of a thorough examination on my part I am happy to provisionally accept the advice of the experts.

    And from an ethical viewpoint I am concerned about Ring’s calling out fire. (That would have probably been a sufficient reason to advise Campbell not to give him air time).

    But we will see on the 20th won’t we if many people have been convinced by Ring. Hopefully the exodus is not large enough to disrupt the recovery and repair work.

  • Basically you’re deciding “not to bother” with what I’ve written, despite Wish I hadn’t wasted my time, then.

    Damn. Badly edited. Should read:

    Basically you’re deciding “not to bother” with what I’ve written, despite addressing the comment to me. Wish I hadn’t wasted my time, then.

    Ken,

    But we will see on the 20th won’t we if many people have been convinced by Ring. Hopefully the exodus is not large enough to disrupt the recovery and repair work.

    I worry here. (Something I do a lot of :-) )

    I do not advocate “wait until the 20th” because his “prediction” has been watered down to something that would likely occur anyway regardless of any sort of prediction.

    The real test is NOT waiting until the 20th. Whether or not there is an earthquake then actually doesn’t matter *at all*.

    The real test is comparing his “predictions” with the odds of an event of the kind he describes occurring anyway without his astrology-based model.

    You can test this *before* the event, too. I wrote a brief comment to Buck (top of previous page I think) that mentions this.

    If there is no earthquake on the 20th, people will see him as wrong.

    If there is one, he’ll crow about, but actually if there is one or not does not what matter.

    What matters is if his predictions are better than dumb luck.

    If his prediction is phrased in a way that is likely to happen anyway, it’s not a prediction.

    As Alison pointed out he softened his prediction (see http://sciblogs.co.nz/bioblog/2011/03/01/predicting-earthquakes-hedging-your-bets/) :

    “As to the 20 March, the “one for the history books” comment came from an interview with Marcus Lush. I was just agreeing with him to be obliging. I do not hold that 20 March WILL bring a severe earthquake to Canterbury, but an extreme weather event is possible that day worldwide, and an earthquake within 500kms of the Alpine Fault is a risk on that date. More likely to be a 4-6mag.”

    Aside from that this means his predictions are being changed by him (very odd – mathematically-based predictions should stay the same) and, importantly, it’s essentially a given based on dumb luck alone not anything about a “prediction”:

    – a M=4 earthquake, on average, occurs somewhere in NZ very nearly every day.

    – after a larger earthquake there are invariably aftershocks. This makes the odds a M=4 will occur much higher. He knows that.

    For this reason I do not advocate “wait until the 20th” because his “prediction” has been watered down to something that would likely occur anyway regardless of any sort of prediction.

    I can just imagine a M=4 occurring on the 20th, as could happen by chance alone, and him crowing on about his not-a-prediction and the mischief this will cause. Let’s see if he is the better man and withdraws it as meaningless.

    He did not predict the Feb. 22nd event either, as Alison explains. (He “predicted” a M=7+ somewhere in the Ring of Fire—not in Christchurch—then decided to accept M=6.3 as success after the fact.)

  • I am perhaps more concerned with public perception. While there has been a lot of upset over the interview this hopefully won’t be reflected in people getting it in to their head to exodus ChCh on the 20th.

    The credibility of Ring’s “predictions” is a slightly separate issue which will be ongoing.

  • @ Grant

    Firstly – Thank you for bothering. I certainly wasn’t calling a halt to these proceedings to be antagonistic, rude or dismisive of your response, but you had mentioned that you were short of time, and it felt like we were going round in circles a bit, so i was trying to respectfully finish up, agreeing on some things and disagreeing on others.

    @ Ken & Grant

    I am not confusing John Campbell with science. I have merely been trying to present the view that is held by many of the public (in my experience of the public). John Campbell started the process, and then Peter Griffen’s article appeared in the Herald (or on the Herald website). This is one of the most widely read publications in the country and engendered heated debate amongst lay people. I was one of them, and I chose (perhaps unwisely) to engage in that debate in this forum.

    Subsequently, many posters on this blog, reiterated the position that Ken’s theories, or predictions or ideas (whatever is the accepted terminolgy for describing them), not be given airtime. This fueled the debate further and here we are today. I reiterate that I am not confusing the media and the scientific community. i hope that helps clarify where I am coming from.

    The public were presented with those two soundbites from the mass media, one through a journalist, and one from a scientist, and reacted accordingly, I was trying to articulate why that reaction occured. We have ended up debating the finest points in each post, which i think could go on forever.

    @ Ken

    I probably shouldn’t have, but I quoted from your ‘about’ page, because in my experience, people often operate on their beleifs, not on hard evidence (as opposed to scientists, as I am reliably informed). As you rightly say, beliefs evolve for everyone, and they evolve based on the information that is widely available and the research people choose to do.

    When the public hear a couple of tantalising titbits like they did in this instance, followed up by an article from a scientist that essentially advocated censorship of this information, their beliefs can be altered. My main point, was that if science wanted to influence the public’s beliefs, there may have been a more useful way of approaching it than by publicly proposing censorship. I can quite understand how the public have an issue with this.

    I am now aware from, having entered into this forum, that these issues are deep seated, and are far more widely debated within this and other communities than I imagined. That is good to know, and I now have more resources at my fingertips with which to form my own beliefs.

  • OK markj – I have not seen Peters Herald article – unless it is his blog article, syndicated to the Herald (which sometimes happens).

    So you have a TV presenter and a journalist (yes a science journalist, but a journalist nevertheless). No-one speaking for science. No professional body or institute.

    There is a deeper problem which interests me – the problem of widespread denial and anti-science attitudes. This is happening on the climate change issue and has been the subject of several interesting books. Fortunately I don’t think it is as great a problems as in the US. Nevertheless, it is significant that most of the negative criticism here, and support for Ring, has come from people who specifically reject science and scientists in other ways.

    In other words, anti-science people are certainly taking advantage of the public fair play concern.

    Meanwhile I see the public uproar as being one basically of fair play, a rejection of Campbell’s behaviour, rather than a negative perception of science. I will be concerned if your story is more widespread but will await the evidence.

    The censorship issue is not a science issue at all. Surely it’s a public safety one. As I said we will wait and see on the 20th. But currently I don’t think authorities think that sufficient people have been taken in by Ring’s advice to seriously exodus the city on that date.

    More sensibly many people are choosing to leave the city anyway because of continuing aftershocks, irrespective of Ring.

  • I have not seen Peters Herald article

    It’s possible (v. likely) he means Peter’s blog post syndicated over at the NZ Herald.

    As I said we will wait and see on the 20th.

    Please see my earlier comment. I don’t think this is the right thing to encourage. The issue is how his predictions compare to chance (i.e. dumb luck), not what happens on the 20th. (Having said that, maybe he’s changed his prediction again?!)

    Many people left for a few days, partly because it’s hard to sleep through aftershocks and partly to wait for the infrastructure to be sorted out a bit.

  • and it felt like we were going round in circles a bit

    I don’t think so. You have things that you don’t seem to recognise as misperceptions and I was just pointing them out, so you might recognise some of your own issues in what you’re saying.

    I reiterate that I am not confusing the media and the scientific community. i hope that helps clarify where I am coming from.

    Although you appear not to have meant to, from what you say here, several of your statements did cross/confuse the two.

    followed up by an article from a scientist that essentially advocated censorship of this information

    Citation please. Who/where is this scientist that has done this?

  • Ken has pointed out that Peter Griffen is a science journalist, not a scientist – so you are right, that was a misperception. But a widely held one, from my recent experience from the comments I have heard, the people I mix with, and in the world I live in everyday. is that qualified enough for you?

    Several posts in this blog site, and I cannot quote for you the qualifications of every poster, have also agreed that these theories not be given airtime. They seemed to be posting from a science viewpoint, but I cant be absolutely sure, so i shouldn’t say they were a viewpoint from a scientist or otherwise.

    I will use the future disclaimer:

    The views contained in my posts are my views only, they do not purport to represent the views of any other person either living or dead. Any inference that could be taken otherwise is unintentional. References to ‘science’ and/or the ‘scientific community’ refer only to those who I believe to be coming from that angle, and I do not in any way purport to have knowledge of their qualifications or otherwise. these posts are for information purposes only and are not intended to cause offence or frustration. Viewpoints expressed may not be scientific and do not pretend to be, they are a viewpoint of a layperson, who may be underqualified for this debate on a wider scale. While some of the opinions put forth may contain misperceptions, they are still perceptions, and therefore valid until corrected. All communication is intended in good humour and the writer would be distressed if taken any other way. Citations will not be provided upon request because the writer is basing views on opinion and perception, which are his own, and could not be backed by citations if he tried.

  • Several posts in this blog site, and I cannot quote for you the qualifications of every poster, have also agreed that these theories not be given airtime.

    For me there are two separate things here: that he have airtime *sometime* and that he have that airtime *at this time*.

    Mark Quigley said this too (one of the geologists in the SMC list of scientists opinion that I linked to earlier) wrote words to the effect that he’d invite discussion, but this is an inappropriate time for it.

    As a practical matter it’s a bit moot now as Campbell sort-of has to offer an interview to make amends.

    What’s with all the qualifying and disclaimers?! :-)

  • Further Disclaimer:

    Sometimes views expressed may seem to be one issue, but in fact are more than one issue, but are cleverly disguised, or misperceived to be one issue. For purposes of brevity and generalisation, issues discussed that may appear to take the form of one issue, maybe as many as, but not limited to, two actual issues.

    @Grant – as I said, I am a generalist, and ave been trying to illustarte the viewpoint of the layperson, whois also a generalist (in my opinion), therefore I find it hard to write the way you do, with such clear disctinction between points and the inferences that each point may inadvertantly make. I have struggled to keep up with all the clarifications, citations and misperceptions and innacuracies I have accidentally included in my posts, so I thought it better to disclaim them from here forward. that, and I enjoyed writing the disclaimer. 😉

  • Markj, I think you’ve done a good job presenting the ‘lay’ view with calmness & clarity. Thank you; we really need this continued dialogue.

  • Thank you Alison. At time I have felt as if I may have bitten off more than I could chew, but people have been fairly patient.

    I look forward to the day I end up having a beer with a scientist!

  • Is it ethical of him. Absolutely not. I am you guys are trying to speak sense into a crowd of Ring-believers. Personally, I think Campbell Live should have never invited him to speak. They gave him a voice, and he doesn’t deserve this platform. You wouldn’t invite a basketball player to speak about his predictions about the next volcano to erupt, why invite a fisherman to do the same? I don’t get why people have such a problem with questioning his credentials. He isn’t a scientist. He obviously has no interest in the scientific method. He shouldn’t have the ears of the public on this issue. I imagine you guys are going a bit crazy, trying to carry on with the rationality. I know I am. And, as an ex-pat (American), I shudder to see the same anti-science attitudes here that I see coming out of the US. We all know where that has taken the US. I really don’t want that happening in my adopted home. Again, thank you to and all the other people who are continuing to debunking this man.

  • DrDave – we have earthquakes every day in NZ. What about all the othervquakes that have occurred but not been predicted? And I note from a quick review of the information presented at that link that several ‘predictions’ are more than a few days out.
    I’d also be very interested to know just where the author of that site has published their ‘very important research.’ self-publication like this is not usually a sign of good science.

  • @eviltwit

    I just can’t seem to help myself. But….

    He deserves a platform as much as anyone does. If you are worried about him gaining traction, then present your argument better. Shutting him down just raises more issues.

  • @Markj

    I agree with you in theory about presenting better counter arguments but there are some challenges in this. Science can be very hard to explain which pseudoscience is often by it’s nature easier to “explain”. Also while scientists will stick to facts, pseudoscientific proponents often confuse the issue using half truths and outright lies that are difficult to refute in a short soundbite.
    It takes a well informed scientist or science advocate to effectively debate someone promoting pseudoscience as they need to know both their science, science communication and debating techniques extremely well.
    Still perhaps someone can rise to the occasion :-)

  • @DrDave

    So are there any predictions for the following in Christchurch?

    Friday 4th March – magnitudes 3.6, 3.4, 3.4, 2.8, 3.4
    Thursday 3rd March – 3.1, 3.0, 2.6, 3.9, 3.5, 3.0, 3.5, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.9, 3.4, 3.3
    Wednesday 2nd March – 3.4, 3.5
    Tuesday 3rd March 4.6, 3.6, 3.4, 3.5, 4.3, 3.7, 3.6

  • they need to know both their science, science communication and debating techniques extremely well.

    I’d think it’d help if they also understood the particular pseudoscience in question well too. It does add up to a lot.

  • Good point, Grant. In such encounters I think most scientists do indeed spend more time explaining why the pseudoscience is wrong than explaining why the science is right.

  • @Michael Edmonds

    “I agree with you in theory about presenting better counter arguments but there are some challenges in this. Science can be very hard to explain which pseudoscience is often by it’s nature easier to “explain”. Also while scientists will stick to facts, pseudoscientific proponents often confuse the issue using half truths and outright lies that are difficult to refute in a short soundbite.
    It takes a well informed scientist or science advocate to effectively debate someone promoting pseudoscience as they need to know both their science, science communication and debating techniques extremely well.
    Still perhaps someone can rise to the occasion”

    ======================================
    May I suggest that you stand before your shaving mirror and repeat those remarks to yourself.

    Rational mind is not God, and rational mind is just one iota of the total sum of human experience, which in itself is just one iota of the cosmic experience.

  • @Paxman

    Weren’t you the one complaining about snide remarks a day ago?
    To which I suggested we both avoid them.

  • Paxman: Rational mind is not god… do you think you could stick to the subject being discussed, without making silly, snide comments that don’t add anything to the debate?

  • @Michael Edmonds

    Michael you broke the truce ..

    Also while scientists will stick to facts, pseudoscientific proponents often confuse the issue using
    ‘half truths and outright lies’
    that are difficult to refute in a short soundbite.

    When I read that post my first reaction was, what pompous arrogance, that is why I suggested repeating it back to yourself in the shaving mirror.

  • @Alison

    well Alison, just saying .. The PURPOSE of the subject being discussed was to hang, draw and quarter Mr Ring who did nothing wrong except offend a group of privileged people who appear to think that they are somehow special.For example at the genesis of this topic .. What does this say about the prevalence, or lack of, critical thinking in the population at large?

    And I repeat that rational mind is not a god of any kind and science as a way of thought is just one iota of the total human experience. It is a specialized tool which is only suited to deal with specific tasks. The problem here and was in the 19th century is just as Prof Virchow stated.

    So I really wanted no part of a further public stoning of a man who is perfectly entitled to his point of view. And I do not want to hear any nonsense about him scaring great herds of sheeple to desert Christchurch.

    People have a great deal of common sense and resilience and have responded magnificently to the great burdens that they must now shoulder again in a few short weeks.

    So please heed Prof Virchows complaint and give the rest of us a break, just saying!

  • @Paxman

    I’m sorry you find the following remark snide.

    “Also while scientists will stick to facts, pseudoscientific proponents often confuse the issue using
    ‘half truths and outright lies’
    that are difficult to refute in a short soundbite.”

    However, if one observes some early creationist debates, this is where scientists often come unstuck. Creationists get the scientist stuck in untangling a series of half truths or made up “facts”
    Fortunately there are a few biologists such as Ken Miller who are very able to cut through such facts. Perhaps scientists in other areas need to look at how he does this.

    I thought by generalising using the terms pseudoscience and often (rather than always) my comments were fair, but you obviously feel they were snide. Might I suggest that if this happens in future that you call me on it directly rather than being snide yourself?

  • @Paxman

    “So I really wanted no part of a further public stoning of a man who is perfectly entitled to his point of view. And I do not want to hear any nonsense about him scaring great herds of sheeple to desert Christchurch.”

    What public stoning? As some have pointed out sciblogs is hardly “public” and many of us are actually looking forward to a fair interview of Ken Ring along side a “conventional scientist” for balance.

    “People have a great deal of common sense and resilience and have responded magnificently to the great burdens that they must now shoulder again in a few short weeks.”

    With regards to the people of Christchurch, yes we have great resilience, but in conversations over the past week I have heard of a number of people who are leaving Christchurch either permanently or on March 20th because of Ken Rings predictions. So don’t keep telling me it is not scaring people when I know very well it is.

    “So please heed Prof Virchows complaint and give the rest of us a break, just saying!”

    The quote from Prof Virchow is only a complaint in your interpretation of it.
    And telling Alison to “give us a break” is not only a form of censorship, which you have spoken out against, but also arrogant. Alison is as entitled to post here as you or anyone else is.
    My impression is that you think Ken Ring should be entitled to say what he likes, but that scientists then do not have the right to say what they think – including to challenge what he has said.
    I do agree they should challenge only what he says and not him personally. And while some people have criticised him personally (an all to human thing to do, and if I have done so myself in the heat of this debate I do apologise for it) I think you sometimes confuse personal attacks with the “sharpness” of science, as described by Professor Virchow below.

    “No doubt science cannot admit of compromises, and can only bring out the complete truth. Hence there must be controversy, and the strife may be, and sometimes must be, sharp. But must it even then be personal? Does it help science to attack the man as well as the statement? On the contrary, has not science the noble privilege of carrying on its controversies without personal quarrels? ”
    Professor Rudolf Virchow

  • @Mark: Ok, let me clarify that, then. Yes, Ring can say whatever he wants. But, we do not need to put him on national tv – on a national show, as if he has anything valid to say on this subject. He already has public platforms. He has written books. He has a website (predictweather.com)! He is obviously well-capable of spreading his crackpot theories all on his own. My point is that, this country has been going through a really difficult time with the earthquakes. It does no one any good to have this man on the air spouting misinformation and bad science (barely science). It only legitimizes his views to have him on national TV. I’ve already had conversations/arguments with four people in the last two days who believe him! And, I know they’re not alone. The data doesn’t support his views. The science doesn’t support his views. It’s irresponsible tv on so many levels, especially considering the emotions involved. Really.

  • eviltwit,

    According to Russell Brown, he has a regular (weekly, from memory) radio spot too. Russell said he’s made more radio appearances of late. The Russell was trying to suggest at the time was that he’s not a media novice, as some people complaining about the interview implied.

  • @eviltwit

    There is nothing irresponsible at all about him appearing on national TV. As it was, his appearance on Campbell Live was as a result of viewer demand, not Ken’s request or a decision by TV3. People choose whether to legitimize his views by applying their own critical thinking processes to his views. Television itself does not legitimize his view.

    I’m tired of this barely disguised notion that the public are too dumb to decide for themselves. Even if they decide to believe Ken, they are not wrong. It’s their choice, and one of the basic freedoms the society we live in chooses to protect. You can not have it both ways.

    No one, especially not you, is the determinant of what is valid or not. By all means take any opportunity you can to respectfully debunk his theories, use all the same mediums Ken uses, and if you do it well you may get the same support he is enjoying. Or, if you don’t think the public are dumb, just let him go until he hangs himself. We don’t need you protection. At all.

    If the worst that happens is that a few people clear out of Chch, and there’s no earthquake, so what. If there’s a mass exodus, it will just be proof that the scientific community did not adequately explain their side.

    I also continue to object to your references to Ken as a crackpot. Anyone who is the first to resort to name calling, is already on the back foot. Get over, and let the people make up their minds on the info available. If you are so terribly concerned, then get your soapbox and get out there.

  • Markj – I am sure it is true that some viewers wished Ring to have his day on TV. Don’t confuse the understandable backlash over Campbell’s behaviour with support for Ring though. People in my family reacted immediately with emails of complaint but not one of them has condemned science or supported Ring’s ideas – just his right to express them.

    The question of responsibility is appropriate though regarding TVNZ decision – from 2 aspects:

    1: The respect for their viewers, and
    2: The right to balanced reporting.

    Now, ignoring the protection of viewers surely anyone who has a product to sell, like Ring, who has a following, like Ring, and is making a prediction, like Ring, would have the same right as Ring to communicate.

    Ethically then, Campbell Live should have offered the same time and coverage to other contenders. After all, we have heard some scientific comments – what about all the other points of view?

    What about a programme (make it 30 mins long), where Ring has a place. But where other astrologers with their predictions are there too? Also the psychics? And what about the religious claimants? Surely they also have the right to tell us about their theories of the influence of prostitutes, and gays? And isn’t there a group that has already claimed the 20th as the end of the earth? Surely if Ring gets a platform they should also? Theya ll have their followers.

    Any scientist who participated in that discussion would be a fool. And besides that her audience would not be the same as the audience for Ring and the others.

    I am sure scientists (and many other people) would complain about this. But then we already do complain about psychic and supernatural programmes. No one listens to us and they certainly have an audience.

    Point 1 is important though. I think many people would object to such a programme because they see it as disrespectful to both the dead and the survivors. Until this mistake by Campbell, TV coverage has been pretty good. I have seen interviewee’s attempting to, for example, push their Exclusive Brethren Church and its message of sin as the cause. But they have not been encouraged by the interviewer who refused to buy into their arguments.

    At a time like this most people are repulsed by those who are using the tragedy to push their products (eg Ring’s books and services) or ideology (Exclusive Brethren god beliefs and Ring’s tirade on science). Of course they (Ring and his mates) will argue that it’s the public’s right to know, let the public make up their mind. But they would, wouldn’t they. Their concern is with their back pocket, not the truth. Anything to feed and increase their following – sell their almanacs, services, readings and get tithes.

    I hope you are right that only a few people take Ring’s prediction seriously on the day. Certainly what I have seen on the internet has been mainly jokes about him.

    If there is a mass exodus I think it says more about people gullibility and superstition than about science getting its message across. I think where scientists have been given a chance they have tended to come across well. But the fact is that as a species we are not rational. Superstition comes naturally to us, science doesn’t.

    On the whole I think the fact that science works, and we all know that, does lead to a general respect. People like Ring have in their propaganda tried to discredit science, that influences a certain following, but governments and rescue organisations have to deal with reality. I think most people agree with that.

    Markj – you object to Ring being called a crackpot. On these sort of forums that is rather kind (I regularly get called a fool, a moron, buffoon and senile. It’s part of the situation.) But have a look at what words Ring has used to describe his critics. Have look at his weird and incorrect claims about science and astrology.

    When you have done that why not object to his behaviour too?

    But face it, on the internet, name calling is rampant. And no bones are broken.

    And he is doing it for the money. He admits he is running a business and is selling his opinions, not science.

    Finally, I notice that Peter has a new post on this issue of blaming science for Campbell’s behaviour and attacking science. Good on him. I think this experience does illustrate that t6here are anti-science forces out there. Some have even commented here. Anyone interested in science should be fighting against their influence.

  • @Mark. I am concerned that people are too terrified for their lives right now, thereby too emotionally compromised to see things rationally. That is why I am so angry at charlatans like Ken Ring.

    I do have a soapbox, and I’ve been using it to spread the science about the earthquakes and to help debunk Ring’s claims. Thank you very much.

    I am tired of giving men like him respect by default. He deserves none.

    Btw, I do do this because I, personally, need support for what I write about. The scientific method needs support. All too evident by the conversations I’ve been having lately and by the comments I’ve been seeing under various articles and blogs.

  • Sorry, that should read: Btw, I DON’T do this because I, personally need support for what I write about….

    Blame the chocolate on the keyboard.

  • markj,

    Paraphrasing lightly, not to hit on you but perhaps to try—yet again—for you to see a point:

    I’m tired of this barely disguised notion that the public are too dumb to distinguish between having Ring talk at some point in time, and having him talk now.

    Scientists haven’t try to shut him down in the “for all time” way you keep saying. Ken has been around for years. He has a weekly radio show, for example. Russell Brown said he’s getting extra airtime at the moment. Given this he’s hardly been “shut down”.

    No one, especially not you, is the determinant of what is valid or not. By all means take any opportunity you can to respectfully debunk his theories, use all the same mediums Ken uses, and if you do it well you may get the same support he is enjoying.

    There are several things wrong with this argument. FIrst and foremost is it blames the burden of proof on the wrong party. It is for Ring to demonstrate the correctness of his models, not for other people to disprove them. I pointed you to the SMC article giving scientists opinions. One thing I pointed out to you was that one of the scientist lists a site that Ken can submit his data for testing.

    Another is that it’s the wrong arena for sorting out science issues. The correct forum is the science literature. Ken is open to writing up his material as research articles, as everyone else is. They would then be open to scrutiny by all.

    On the “public” forums, I’m under the impression this debunking of his stuff has been going on for some time, e.g. on the Silly Beliefs forum Alison linked to, and Randi James’ sites on the internet. I can’t speak for radio much as I don’t listen to radio: I do know Radio Whammo (or whatever it’s called) featured a scientist explaining why Ring is wrong – before the Campbell interview.

    Bear in mind that a portion of the people who believe in these sorts of things are often inclined to just believe in them anyway more-or-less regardless of what you say.

    If you are so terribly concerned, then get your soapbox and get out there.

    What do you think these blogs are doing? 😉

    Why do you think a GNS scientist offered his time on Campbell’s interview?

    Just loose thoughts.

  • I have my Grandmothers 90th birthday this afternoon, and it would be bad form to be engaged in this debate all afternoon, so i will follow up later.

  • @Alison ..

    Lol did you know that Lavoisier was a taxman? He ended up with his head in a basket for his troubles .. my first thought when I read your comment was, aha, Freudian slip!

    I take no umbrage at what could have been a banana finger but thank you for the apology.

  • @ Michael Edmonds ..

    your words ..
    The quote from Prof Virchow is only a complaint in your interpretation of it.
    ================================================
    “On the other hand, it seemed to him high time to utter an energetic protest against the attempts that are made to proclaim the problems of research as actual facts, the opinions of scientists as established science, and thereby to set in a false light, before the eyes of the less informed masses, not merely the methods of science, but also its whole position in regard to the intellectual life of men”.
    =============================================

    Well Michael I would be interested to know how you interpret his words .. because what I understand is that he is complaining .. ” to utter an energetic protest” .. about ..

    1. to proclaim the PROBLEMS of research as actual facts,

    2. the OPINIONS of scientists as established science,

    3. thereby to set in a FALSE LIGHT, before the eyes of the less informed masses, not merely the METHODS of science, but also its whole POSITION in regard to the intellectual life of men and nations.

    That is still going on today and the Creation v the Big Bang theory is a prime example of that dishonesty. The creationist fundamentalists interpret the words 6 days and the 7th day he rested, literally as earth days whereas they may be Galactic days.

    The Big Bang is ludicrous .. No explanations just a mass of unanswered questions ..

    But right at the moment the Darwinist and the missing link theory seem to be badly holed by the concept of intelligent design. And those that support evolution and missing links have fallen into a trap that was intelligently designed especially for them.
    ==============================================

    “Oh when I am safe in my sylvan home, I tread upon the pride of Greece and Rome, and when I am stretched beneath the pines, Where evening star so holy shines, I laugh at the lore and pride of man, At the sophist schools and learned clan, For what are they in all their high conceit, When man in the bush with God may meet”.
    R. W. Emerson.
    ============================================

    Mankind in the scientific sense is much more than a rational mind and science cannot prove that we do not have a soul, so I cannot understand why science keeps trying to enforce a point of view that seems to me to be completely ridiculous.

    As I understand it, the experts educated guess is supposed to be the truth, which illustrates perfectly what Prof Virchow had said.

    We do know know and we cannot know without direct experience. or the accepted experience of others. So this stoning of Mr Ring is also dishonest .. scientists are entitled to their point of view but certainly not to the exclusion of everyone else and their ideas of how it is.

    I would be interested to know why such matters are so important for science. Why are they so frightened of opposing views? Is it because logical mind has constructed a wall which if one brick (concept) is removed the rest has also to be rebuilt?

    My youngest daughter and my son in law are in Christchurch and they are quite aware of Mr Ring and the HAARP (Tesla) rumours but they have no intention of leaving.

  • Paxman – “As I understand it, the experts educated guess is supposed to be the truth.”

    You don’t understand it at all. Clearly. You are making a fool of yourself with comments on evolutionary science, cosmology, etc. All because you think your own prejudices are the truth. Without and interaction with reality.

    Dont project your faulty epistemology onto others.

  • @Grant: Yes, Well,. I made the mistake of eating a few pieces of Swiss chocolate I’ve been hoarding from our last trip there while writing that comment:) Also, I’ve just been learning HTML code, which is why my italics went crazy in my comment. So little time, so much to learn.

    I have been learning a lot about earthquakes and NZ’s geography lately because of all this! Getting all het up about Ring has made me more informed. Always a good thing.

  • eviltwit,

    I almost typed evilwit. What’s it with a twit and a wit? :-)

    Swiss chocolate. C’mon, you want New Zealand chocolate. I fancy some of Whittaker’s darker chocolates myself. (Actually I have some sitting next to the computer…)

  • @Paxman

    “As I understand it, the experts educated guess is supposed to be the truth”

    No this is not what science is about, as Ken has pointed out. Science is about using hypothesis, observation and experimentation to come up with the best explanation for a particular phenomena.

    “I would be interested to know why such matters are so important for science. Why are they so frightened of opposing views?”

    Science, or more accurately scientists are not frightened of opposing views. They are frustrated by views that are not supported by the data, they are frustrated by those who hold onto old hypotheses that have been replaced by better ones because the old ones do not explain new evidence, or by those who overplay the meaning of old theories.
    As far as most scientists seem to be concerned Ken Ring is doing the latter two.

    Within science new hypotheses are promoted and old ones disposed of through vigorous debate. Peer review is part of this process and a non-scientist recently described peer review as being as ruthless as cage fighting.
    Perhaps this is one of the problems with science communication. The vigorousness with which scientists challenge each others ideas within scientific circles probably comes across as ruthless when turned on hypotheses outside conventional scientific circles. Perhaps scientists need to consider this difference more carefully.
    Despite some of your previous denials, it is becoming clear from your comments about evolution that you have a strong anti-science view. And now you mention HAARP?
    I am glad that your daughter and son in law have chosen to stay in Christchurch as many others will do.That does not negate the fact that others are leaving because of Ken RIngs prediction.

  • Rod said…
    “Never say never, otherwise you may get caught with your pants down. One step closer to Ken Rings theoery”

    Rod, your comment above, doesn’t apply to Ken Ring. The research article you quoted, is based on laws of science (causation & first principles), while Ken Ring just dreamt up his theory with no basis no physical laws at all.

    Here is why. Tarrot card readers, astrologers & numerologists are able to make unsubstantiated claims that the events on this earth are governed or related to the movements/locations of galactic bodies (planets, moon, etc,…), such as a death of a family member in a car or diving accident, etc,… This is done in a way that is not connected to the physical laws that govern this world. They just dreamt those things up, with no basis in science at all.

    Do you get the difference? Or are you still confuse? If you’re confuse, then try reading about homeopathy first, so you can see how ridiculous of the principles that it is based on.

  • @Grant: Whitaker’s is my NZ chocolate of choice. It Is good to have an embarrassment of riches, as far as good chocolate is concerned, don’t you think?:)

  • @ Michael Edmonds
    No this is not what science is about, as Ken has pointed out. Science is about using hypothesis, observation and experimentation to come up with the best explanation for a particular phenomena.
    ============================================

    That is a reasonable explanation. Its a pity that the public are not more aware of what the situation is.

    =============================================

    Despite some of your previous denials, it is becoming clear from your comments about evolution that you have a strong anti-science view. And now you mention HAARP?
    =============================================
    Evolution ? I have my own ideas which are just as open ended as the scientific explanations and as far as I am aware that is one thing, that it is not yet illegal to disagree with scientific explanations, after all, is that not what scientists do?
    It should be made clear to secondary students as to what the true state of affairs really is, rather than give the impression of tablets of stone being borne down the mount.

    HAARP (Tesla Tech) was mentioned because it is also part of what is going down as regards the earth quake and not just Mr Rings theory. I like to keep my finger on the pulse, it is quite amazing what one hears. To dismiss anything out of hand I fear is a grave mistake.

    There are numerous scientists and natural philosophers, both living and dead who I have a profound respect for, in that their ideas opened me in particular ways, which is one of the reasons that I am so fond of quoting them.

    So how about these ?

    “We do not know what matter really is. We do not know what a Proton is made of. We do not know what an Electron is made of, And the words only serve to cloak our ignorance”..
    Professor Louis C. Kervran
    Biological Transmutations.

    “It seems more certain that, as the cells of an immense organism, we are connected with everything that exists by an inextricable network of vibrations, waves, and influences, of nameless, numberless and uninterrupted fluids. Nearly always, in nearly all men, everything carried along by these invisible wires falls into the depths of the unconsciousness and passes unperceived, which does not mean that it remains inactive.
    The Unknown Guest, by Maurice Maeterlinck.

    The continuous protestations as to the purity of science tend to sound like a cracked bell. I think it was Thomas Szasz who said something like .. One cannot claim to be a scientist if one works for someone else, because one is the hirer,s agent and must do their bidding. The shameful case of Arpad Pusztai is a good illustration of that, and because he insisted on being a scientist he was fired and denied access to his papers and black guarded by The Royal Society amongst others .. Arpad Pusztai has since been vindicated. But of course the poop smear has done its work and I am sure it has been taken on board by Scientists everywhere, as to what happens to dissenters .. and when the corruption has spread into the upper echelons then the individual knows exactly what to expect. I bet Dr David Kelley never envisioned his end. I think that family and mortgage is the trump card for the run of the mill.

    It was in the mid 1950,s as a member (conscript) of HM Forces, at a time when many nations of empire were violently agitating for independence and we had the task of making them see the errors of their ways.

    It was then that I understood that we are all slaves, even scientists.

    So you may attack me all you please and I will give it back at the same pitch of disrespect that has been shown to me.

  • @ Paxman

    It’s amazing that when people challenge your ideas you describe it as being attacked but when you vigorously challenge others that is ok.
    In my opinion science itself, is not “pure” as you suggest is being claimed but rather it is simply the most effective tool we have for interpreting tho world around us. And it is not science which causes the issues you describe but the politics that sometimes occurs around science.
    “One cannot claim to be a scientist if one works for someone else, because one is the hirers agent and must do their bidding.

    Thomas Szasz is an interesting character, given that he himself is employed by someone therefore do his own theories mean he is not a scientist and his theories are tainted?

    In fact you will find most academics, at least, have considerable academic freedom and can propose many challenging hypotheses that will be vigorously examined by their colleagues. Academic scientists are safe to do this so long as the do not make claims without evidence to back them up.

    ““We do not know what matter really is. We do not know what a Proton is made of. We do not know what an Electron is made of, And the words only serve to cloak our ignorance”..
    Professor Louis C. Kervran
    Biological Transmutations.”

    What a strange quote. Scientists know what they don’t know, that is what science is all about – trying to “fill in the gaps”
    And my physics is a little bit rusty but I thing physicist do now know what protons and electrons are made of ***this IS what science is all about*** Science as time progresses works to fill in the gaps of what we know.

    You seem to have a wide knowledge of scientists with various “alternative views” which is fine, but in trying to argue their theories you challenge mainstream theories for which there is much greater evidence to support them. Without good evidence to support alternative theories mainstream theories stand because science is based on evidence.

    Your suggestion that science can be corrupted by politics is undeniable – there are some good examples of this. But to make the assumption that therefore all scientists are cowered by those they work for is wrong. Indeed where corruption has occurred in science it is typically OTHER SCIENTISTS who reveal any corruption.
    While errors are sometimes made within science regarding which theory/hypothesis is correct the continued research which gathers further information is a good self correcting process as the additional data will reveal any incongruencies in accepted hypotheses.
    Some of the theories/hypotheses you back, are those that have been set aside because of lack of evidence or evidence to the contrary. This is why I have suggested you have “a strong anti-science view.”

  • @ Michael Edmonds

    Thank you for your patience, and a detailed response to a layman, oops Layperson. Same telescope but looking through different ends.

    I have learnt quite a few things from this thread, and not the least, things about myself which I was unaware of. For that I am grateful.

    At the end of it all, Mr Ring seems to have avoided being boiled in scientific oil in this particular pot, which satisfies my sense of fair play, or fair go.

    The news that is currently issuing forth from the powers that be does not look very hopeful for the traumatised survivors. But I expect the speculators will wax fat, just as they did in the aftermath of Katrina USA. However that is another matter and far from the purpose of this thread.

    Science needs better public relations than they currently have. There are scientists who have followed the Faraday tradition but many more are needed. For what is hovering over us will need all of us to repulse it. So let me conclude by saying Pax!

  • @Paxman

    “Science needs better public relations than they currently have.”

    Agreed, some of the comments here have made this clear. Although the debate has been heated at times and drifted perhaps a little too close to personal insults than I think is helpful (on both “sides”, I might add), I have learned a lot from the your (and other) comments, and appreciate the recent efforts by contributors to bring it back to a more civil exchange.

  • Tammy said…
    Ken is first and foremost a mathematician.

    I seriously doubt that Ken is a mathematician. Perhaps he self-appointed himself as a mathematician with no formal qualification. It seems to me that Ken has no clue to what mathematical analysis is about. That shows that he is not a mathematician. The scientific stuffs/concepts that scientists have been arguing about Ken’s nonsense theory recently involved heavy mathematics (in terms of peer review & research publications). But wait, Ken doesn’t read those research publications, simply because he has no clue to what they are. If he had ever attempt to read them, he probably thinks on his first attempt that he’s reading a publication with some sort of swearing words from the beginning to the end.

    If he’s a mathematician, then we would see him argue on the basis of that, like, saying that mathematical techniques A, B, C (used by scientists in their arguments) are wrong because of reasons, X, Y, Z. But Mr Ring doesn’t do that does he? He offered no counter-argument at all. None. All he does is argue from a position of ignorance and it is sad that followers like you buy into that crap.

    I bet that this primary school kid knows more about mathematics than Ken Ring.

    “Algebra & Calculus Maths Kid”
    http://www.youtube.com/user/enthusiastmathkid#g/u

    Do you want to bet? Ok, you can contact Ken Ring to see if he wants to compete with that primary school kid shown above in those youtube videos, provided that they’re given the same topics to solve for a test at the same time. Perhaps it could be organized for them to sit the test in the same room so they can be supervised. That’s no doubt in my mind that the maths kid will outperform Ken Ring in the test.

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