Editorial: No need for alarm over Ring's quake prediction


Filed in:

NZ Herald Editorial -- It is incumbent on people who advance controversial claims or argue against mainstream views to prove their case. They must substantiate their ideas to the satisfaction of experts in the field.

"Moon Man" Ken Ring has failed totally to convince the scientific community that his method for predicting earthquakes has merit. But, unfortunately, he appears to have persuaded many people that another large quake will strike Christchurch tomorrow.

Quite why they have been taken in by a view devoid of scientific underpinning is something of a mystery. Perhaps it is something to do with the fact that earthquakes, the cause of such death and destruction, cannot be predicted.

It is only natural to seek certainty, particularly in fraught times. There is, therefore, comfort of sorts in being advised when a quake will strike. But there is also heightened alarm. When people say they plan to flee Christchurch on the predicted day of danger, it is time for the scientific community to speak up.

Commendably, that happened this week. Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister's chief science adviser, strongly criticised Mr Ring.

Vulnerable regions could be identified and the likely magnitude of a quake could be predicted, but not the precise locality, depth or timing, he said. There can be no certainty.

On another tack, Government minister Nick Smith said he would lunch in one of Christchurch's highest and oldest stone buildings tomorrow. He has a doctorate in geotechnical engineering. If men with such scientific credentials are not alarmed, nor should Cantabrians be.

 

- This is an editorial by the Weekend Herald


Comments

So was that 5.1, on the 20th

So was that 5.1, on the 20th of March, the biggest aftershock since the 22nd of Feb, enough for an apology from the masses of media attacks? Ken Ring has been put through an amazing amount of negativity...the guy is just trying to suss out a formula for people to be prepared by. It's about being more aware of your surroundings, not to be afraid of life!

GNS said there was a 5%

GNS said there was a 5% chance of a 5 aftershock on that day
and it occured
not sure if it was worth people leaving CHCH for the weekend though?

I'm predicting there will be

I'm predicting there will be further earthquakes in New Zealand. And sometimes it will rain, other times it won't. LIkely to be cold over the winter months too.

There you go. 100% accurate methinks.

What an arrogant comment...

From the Weekend Herald article "...If men with such scientific credentials are not alarmed, nor should Cantabrians be".

How many times have experts been wrong?

This comment alone shows the arrogance and makes me even less likely to trust them - it's coming off as a huge ego-game. Anyone that I've ever known to have such a big ego can go jump and live their fantasy-filled lives where they are kingpin.
I lost any respect I would have had for Nick Smith when I read that a few days back. I'll actually never respect another word that comes from him - he forgets that that show of arrogance actually tells a great portion of voters that think there might be something in Mr Ring's ideas that they are ridiculously stupid.
He can have his lunch and polish it off with a glass of wine. Thank God he's not in my electorate.

At least Ken Ring's supporters don't feel the need to blow their heads up to "perigee" size.

Experts should be pretty happy - those who have listened to Ken Ring are probably some of the most prepared and organized people for the "Get Ready. Get Thru" campaign.

Finally, Weatherwatch - thank you. I know it's a contentious issue but I respect you for not censoring the discussions (or topic) and allowing people to talk freely about it.

One word's enough -

One word's enough - nonsense.

I would not be encouraging

I would not be encouraging people to not trust or listen to the experts
that is a foolish thing, and an arrogant thing to be suggesting

note, the experts are not saying , either, to not be ready for more aftershocks

As far as I'm aware, Ken

As far as I'm aware, Ken never actually said there'd be a quake in Christchurch. He merely posted a list of dates on his website where there was an increased likelihood of earthquakes around the Pacific Ring of Fire, which includes New Zealand but isn't limited to just our region.

The media has decided to interpret this as referring to Christchurch in specific, and incorrectly attributed this to Ken. They have also been harrassing him, hounding him, and stalking him to the point where he's frightened to go home, let alone go public and debuff what's being said about him.

I know Mr. Ring. He is a kindly older gentleman with a degree in mathematics. He is a maths teacher by trade, and a weather forecaster by profession. As a weather forecaster, his accuracy rating is around 85%, which is 20% higher than the Met Service, and he makes his predictions years in advance. His method is very scientific and established based off years of trial and error.

I know that he is not trying to frighten anyone. All he was trying to do was his job. If someone predicts that a storm is coming, it's not the weather forecaster's fault. Poor Ken is being villified over something that isn't his fault, and in fact having statement attributed to him that he never made. It is unfair and cruel, and very upsetting to those of us that know the man.

Kindly old gentleman, Eh!

Kindly old gentleman,eh! Seems more of a Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde personality to me.
Fact: He deliberately puts his head in the noose with his advancement of predictions relating to perceived future seismic and meteorological events based on lunar tides.
He clearly runs counter to the accepted scientific community and does not seem to mind creating controversy with what appear to be wacky theories. His weather almanac is a "have" - the free 2010 almanac I received for my birthday in 2009 ( I wasn't prepared to fork out for it myself) was more than 50% inaccurate - even the terminology was nonsensical at times. I gave up comparing it with actual daily weather analysis after about 6months - I think I "turfed" it in the rubbish bin.
"Poor Ken" eh! He's making money hand over fist selling his predictions to gullible ignorant suckers who clearly are either blindly spellbound and see him as some sort of "Messiah" or are very prejudiced against the scientific community.

Agree

Agree

Absolutely right. That such

Absolutely right. That such complete grabage can earn a person money is a serious commentary on the intelligence of some.

85%? That's utter and

85%? That's utter and hilariously inaccurate nonsense, whether assessed against daily, monthly, seasonal or annual weather predictions. The daily "maps" preprared well in advance have been analysed quite a number of times, and they perform worse than random guesses. I have checked out quite a number of his monthly and seasonal "opinions", and they are just ridiculous, especially when anti-warming KR keeps trying to inject too many cold periods into the picture, and the climate begs to differ. His 2010-11 summer one has already been referred to in another Ring thread. If I had Mr Ring as a maths. teacher, I'd be very depressed about the learning. I have already cited his mathematically-challenged statements in, for example, the case of Hamilton in January 2008, when he tried to change the meaning of "driest since....." in order to get himself out of a fix.

Please get in touch Vic, because I too would like to sell a bridge.

Vic - please listen to the

Vic - please listen to the 'radio live' link posted multiple times in this thread. It's Ken speaking on the radio for an interview, nobody else.

Degree in maths? How come he gets confused between a radius and a diameter? A teacher who uses miles as a unit of measure? ... miles were removed from teaching in the 70's.

As for an accuracy of 85% in his weather forecasts? Who measured and how?

My lawn enjoyed the 184mm in January, mostly from the ex-tropical cyclones that he didn't predict, while the much talked about drought never got going.
I basked in the warmth, despite the below average temperatures Ken predicted.

For my area Ken Ring's Almanac scored poorly
January
Days with rain: POD = 50%
Events: POD = 75%
Rainfall 66mm estimated, actual 184mm

February
Days with rain: POD = 25%
Events: POD = 0%
Rainfall 51mm estimated, actual 52mm. Not too bad on the surface, but rain was forecast on 3 days where it actually occurred, but it rained on 9 days that wasn't forecast, and 4 days rain was forecast where it was dry.
Plus some kind of a miss-print that meant the isobaric maps were repeated for 10 days of the month.

Of course there will be those that stamp their feet and say I have to use a 9 day window for events, and 2 days window for rain, (plus a 128km radius which isn't even written about anywhere in the almanac).

Where is the 85% accuracy in that?

caution but not panic

I'm 90% sure that Ken Ring's full of $#!^ HOWEVER, I'd never forgive myself if he was actually right (remember the scientific community took a fair bit of convincing that the earth wasn't flat) and I'd ignored him, then something happened to someone I love.

Anyone in Canterbury knows the importance of being ready for a disaster so perhaps this is a good time to ensure that you are organised, then if you're really concerned, rather than flee the city in panic, make sure there's nothing heavy up high and stay home. Have a No earthquake today party. Go to a park. Maybe stay clear of any suspicious looking structures, buildings or cliffs. But don't let Mr Ring freak you out, when it comes to predicting earthquakes, he's about as credible as a piece of cheese.

Just to set the record

Just to set the record straight, it wasn't scientists who thought the world was flat, it was the clergy, and only a small proportion of those http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth

Flat Earth

Actually in medieval times most people thought the world was round. The church objected to Columbus attempted circumnavigation of the world not because it was flat but because they thought it was too far for him to travel in the amount of time he estimated. They knew (or at least thought) the Earth was round but thought it was much larger than it turns out it is

predictions

I believe fear is the main culprit of why so many Christchurch citizens are leaving this weekend due to predictions given by a few psychics and Mr Ring.

The only person who predicted the Sept quake is Blair Robertson from Canada.He was a few days out but said at the end of August that strong tremors would hit the South Island that week. He was close indeed.

This weekend he says they'll be nothing more than the routine aftershocks and doesn't forsee anymore for Chch.

blairroberston.com

Respectfully disagreeing

I disagree with the notion that it is incumbent upon people who disagree with the mainstream to prove their points, particularly when the mainstream is generally what leads us into all kinds of troublesome situations in all kinds of fields, and is often a lie fed by the mainstream media to serve corporate and government agendas.

That said, it's also incumbent upon these commentators, when disagreeing with a person and using them as a scapegoat for all the fear and trepidation around an event or possible future event, to actually understand what it is they're aiming so much vitriol and criticism towards. Ken Ring has never said the date March 20th will see another big quake - he's said there's a higher risk around that date. As in, it may not happen, there is just a higher risk. And not just the date of March 20th, but potentially a couple of days either side.

The level if misinformation from the pushers of mainstream propaganda in this case is outright disturbing.

It seems to me as if this editorial is insinuating that everybody must believe the mainstream or we will have problems - you're crazy, you're a heretic. In fact, the opposite is true, and most people will believe the 'mainstream' simply because they don't know any better and are happy to accept what they're told - to not think for themselves. Just because many people accept something as truth does not make it the truth. Thinking outside the mainstream is what advances civilisation, science, culture... to imply that it's a fault that must be either proven definitively or discouraged is dismaying to say the least.

As Mark Twain so eloquently put it, "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."

Totally agree with your view

Totally agree with your view on mainstream media Erin, they do their utmost to plough through the wants if their masters, governments, corporate groups, and those with the dosh to set the agenda, best to get ALL points of view and make your own opinions on what you hear and see, I gave up the brainwashing programes of the maqinstream a few years ago, gee wizz, somebody opened the curtains and cleaned the windows, I see now the game being played, pity some others will continue to drink their polluted tap water and listen and watch the polluted airwaves.
In saying all of that - Ken Ring is entitled to his opinion, that is free speech, if some fear what he says that is a pity and I feel for those already affected by the quakes, maybe Ken should have taken that into account, but I still maintain that free speech and stating opinions freely is all about what we are as people, never try to shut that up.

Cheers.

Could you listen to Ken and report back please?

Could you listen to Ken and report back please?

Listen to Ken speaking here - http://www.radiolive.co.nz/Ken-Ring-and-his-natural-disaster-predictions...

Tell us what you hear him say.

On his website you can read statements like: "Next year, the morning of 20 March 2011 sees the South island again in a big earthquake risk for all the same reasons. This date is the closest fly-past the moon does in all of 2011. The node arrives on the 20th at 9.44am. As that date coincides with lunar equinox this will probably be an east/west faultline event this time, and therefore should be more confined to a narrower band of latitude. The only east/west fault lines in NZ are in Marlborough and N Canterbury. All factors should come together for a moon-shot straight through the centre of the earth and targeting NZ. The time will be just before noon. It could be another for the history books."

Tell us what do you read from that?

You may also perhaps would like to review Ken's backpeddling he has done on here and other places.

That "majority", along with

That "majority", along with Ken Ring, is completely clueless where science, mathematics or logic are concerned. Sad but true. Don't try to dress up shameless publicity-seeking as something else.

Just out of interest Erin,

Just out of interest Erin, who do you think is responsible for proving controversial claims? What if I were to express the opinion that the world is flat and the sun takes a journey through the underworld on the back of a giant tortoise every night. Should the scientific community sit up and take notice. But then not all crackpot claims are as harmless as that. Someone in Africa started the rumour that having sex with a virgin cured AIDS, should science look seriously at that, maybe run a few trials?
And how much of the country's scientific resources should be tied up dealing with Ken Ring's other wacky beliefs: http://www.sillybeliefs.com/ring.html#strange.
But then the idea that the moon causes earthquakes is not a new one. It has been studied and found to be either so small or non-existent as to have no predictive value. If Ken disagrees then he needs to present evidence. Providing evidence is not one of his strong points, playing to peoples fears and paranoid conspiracy theories is.

well said. well said indeed.

well said. well said indeed. Surely the premise of "science" was open mind until a theory could be proven one way or another.
What cause then for the vehement over-reaction and villification of Mr Rings theory by mainstream media? Bar to boost ratings.
Claiming a climate of fear pervades Christchurch residents because of Mr Rings theory is disingenuous .
The mainstream media provided the nationwide coverage ,and in sensational, emotive language. The only fear seems to be from the hyped-up hysteria the media provided.
Mr Ring may or may not be right, but he certainly is not feeding fear - that has been the sole perogitive of the very same media who brought Mr Rings theory to the nations attention.

"Quite why they have been

"Quite why they have been taken in by a view devoid of scientific underpinning is something of a mystery" says the author of the editorial seemingly with surprise.

Really?

Then consider how many people believe in God and follow the Pope's teachings.

Erin and Erica, thanks for your intelligent and rational thinking. The rest are blinded by over-reaction and have failed to see the media's involvement in this. They have been the real force behind creating alarm.

Nonsense. Read the other

Nonsense. Read the other replies. You clearly don't understand Ring's strategies. And his "theories" have been shown to have no validity at all.

He actually did say there would be another big one on March 20th

If you listen to the radio live interview he said exactly that

Taken from post by DH, 16 March

Quote from your RadioLive interview with Marcus Lush, Friday 10 September 2010
http://www.radiolive.co.nz/Ken-Ring-and-his-natural-disaster-predictions...
Lush "When's next?"
Ring "Next one? Well um 20th March next year."
Lush "Whereabouts?"
Ring "Well, the South Island is going to be right in the firing line, ah because right on the position the moon's gonna be directly over Spain in line with New Zealand through the middle of the earth which is a common time for us to get earthquakes. So I'm saying because it's going to a be an east-west faultline, the only east-west faultlines are in Marlborough and in North Canterbury. So, it's going to be a narrower range, but, um just around about lunchtime on the 20th of March".

Alpine Fault

I know of, and hear of people leaving Christchurch because they think Ken Ring said the Alpine Fault is going to go on March 20. They are going to places like Hanmer, Greymouth and Nelson. Those three areas are petty much right on the Alpine Fault. Are these people even aware of what the Alpine Fault is? Christchurch is quite some distance from the fault, yet people decide to go closer to it (the fault) because it may break! I guess each to their own.

not sure where you got the

not sure where you got the idea he was refering to the alpine fault going?
he refers to west-east aligned fault lines only
which there are some in eastern SI from canty northwards

Yes, I have read what he has

Yes, I have read what he has suggested may happen. But some people here in Christchurch believe (through media hype I presume) that the warning is for the Alpine Fault to go on March 20. People just making emotional decisions under stress I guess. Just shows how vulnerable people can become.