Sunday, March 13, 2011

Of Skeptics and Moon Men

This morning's Herald on Sunday carries a story that made us chuckle - check this out:

Nick Smith is the Minister responsible for ACC - but some might say he's just asking to come a cropper.

Smith and the Skeptics Society are planning a lunch in one of Christchurch's highest, oldest, stone buildings - on the day that "moon man" Ken Ring says the city will be hit by another devastating earthquake. Ring's prediction of another earthquake on March 20 - a week today - has caused alarm among some Cantabrians, who have said they will flee the city.

But the minister, who has a doctorate in geotechnical engineering, said he took a very dim view of people causing alarm with no scientific underpinning.

"I believe in free speech but just as people should not stand up in a picture theatre and scream fire, people should not be making phony predictions of major earthquakes."

The Herald on Sunday reported last week that both Ring and television psychic Deb Webber were predicting a further earthquake in the city, to the fury of city leaders and the scientific community. Smith said he was aware of other geologists and earthquake engineers who would also attend next Sunday's lunch, to "strongly discredit" Ring's claims.

We don't put a great deal of stock in Ken Ring's so-called earthquake predictions. And like Nick Smith, we're putting our money where our mouth is.

We're off to Christchurch next weekend; it's the first opportunity we've had to go down and catch up with family and with staff in the Garden City since the dreadful quake on February 22nd. We also plan to catch up with a Pastor friend who, with members of his church out east, has worked tirelessly since the Big One supporting a community in need.

If there's an earthquake next weekend, so be it. But we don't reckon that it will have anything to do with Ken Ring and his alarmist claims. And we commend Nick Smith and the Skeptics Society for their public stand against the Moon Man who, we believe, has caused unnecessary alarm to an already-frightened Christchurch populace. We won't be joining them for Sunday lunch however; we plan to get our hands dirty and help.


Anonymous said...

If only Smith was as skeptical about CO2 causing an extra 2+ degrees C of warming..
I hope some of his guests take him to task over it.

PM of NZ said...

Bye, Inv2. Nice knowing you.

robertguyton said...

Could we set a place beside Smith for Brownlee? Maybe two spaces, so he'd be comfortable, but having him there beside the pucker-faced Smith when the masonry starts to fall will be a coup for all decent-thinking people. What's Collins doing on the day? She'd enjoy a meal on the tenth floor from which lofty height she could look down her nose at the looters and perhaps quip that they needed a good 'double-bunking'. Paula Bennett! She'd be up for the grub then, if she survived, could take her scraps out to one of the down-trodden suburbs and cast them about her feet for the poor to scrabble over. Key! Why not! Tell him there'll be a camera there, lay out his 'earthquake-rescue-team-super-hero suit' at the foot of his bed and he'll be there quick as you could say 'Mr President'!
What a day it could be!
* I sincerely hope that no earthquake happens on March 20 and that no one at all is hurt for any reason on that day.

Inventory2 said...

@ Rob - why do you have to preface so many comments with personal abuse?

Could we set a place beside Smith for Brownlee? Maybe two spaces, so he'd be comfortable,

Aren't Greens supposed to be INCLUSIVE folk, tolerant of all?

robertguyton said...

Not personal Inv2 - satirical. It's supposed to be funny. Imagine a cheery smile on my face as I write, not the sneer you seem to have in your mind's eye.

robertguyton said...

Nah, not satire Inv2 - what I meant to do was lampoon. Like the cartoonists do, drawing Key with a Concord-like nose and Brownlee as a man-mountain (Brokeback wasn't it?), Bennett as a dumpling and Smith as a crazed rat. What's wrong with that? It's an ancient tradition and one that I think worthwhile.

Siena said...

RG: It's not satire, it's not lampooning, and it's almost always not funny.

It's almost always vicious, personal abuse to make the rather trivial point that a very self-important fellow like you doesn't much like the New Zealand Government of the day.

We are well aware of that already. You don't have to employ your cartoon-like "wit" to remind us of your egregiously narrow perspective.

Tinman said...

Buggered if I can understand why you allow the green scum to pollute your blog I2.

Adds nothing to the discussion.

Just like Smith's stunt really, to be held, notably, in a building that was untouched by the 22/2 'quake despite being almost on top of it's epicentre.

Inventory2 said...

@ Robert - don't give up your day job

@ Tinman - Unlike some blogs, I don't try to censor the comments on here; anyone is welcome to contribute. In the almost four years that I have been blogging I have deleted less than 10 comments, only one of which (from memory, which is sometimes unreliable) from Robert Guyton. People can read his words and make their own judgments as to what motivates him.

robertguyton said...

"Smith and the Skeptics Society are planning a lunch in one of Christchurch's highest, oldest, stone buildings."

That sounds very sensible.
Inv2 - out of interest - would you recommend that your daughter "plans a lunch in one of Christchurch's highest, oldest, stone buildings?
Just trying to get a handle on how 'sensible' you really think Nick's decision is, quite aside from any predictions, that is.

robertguyton said...

Siena, Tinman and Inv2 - this will no doubt infuriate the three of you!
Un-restrained lampoonage!

Inventory2 said...

Totally irrelevant to the subject in hand Rob, so please desist from threadjacking.

Suz said...

Did Ken Ring go bleating to the media, or did people just start talking about his predictions after the event? Can anyone enlighten me?

Inventory2 said...

Here you go Suz; this was in the Gisborne Herald less than 48 hours after the Feb 22nd 'quake.

Suz said...

That article reports that he posted his predictions on 14 Feb, and that the Gisborne Herald was the only media outlet to have interviewed him?

I guess my query is, did he go looking for publicity or not?

baxter said...

Suz ...According to his very interesting website he appeared with Campbell only because 1500people rang the TV station requesting that he do so. The rest has been beat up.

Suz said...

Thanks Baxter: that's my concern as well, that there's a lynch mob mentality forming for a guy, who is being villified along with the likes of Deb Webber, for deliberately being an alarmist and only in it for the publicity. My partner attended a lecture of his a few years back, and he came across as a passionate, sane man who genuinely believes in his hypotheses; whether he's on the money or not is up to conjecture, I bought 2 of his almanacs regarding weather forecasts, then gave up as they weren't that accurate..(phew for you next Sunday Inv,)

Inventory2 said...

Deb Webber is in a different league again Suz. I don't know if you say my post about her last Sunday, but her retrospective claim to have predicted the earthquake was nowt more than alarmist self-promotion IMHO. I'm sure it's just coincidence that she is due to start a New Zealand tour next month ...

Suz said...

I'm glad to hear you think they are in a different league Inv. Ken Ring backs up his theories, far more convincingly IMHO, than Debs, who hears?senses?sees? voices?visions? feelings from those who have passed on.

I don't believe Ken Ring can predict earth-quakes...I also don't believe he's deserving of the vitriol coming his way.

Good on you for getting down and dirty next weekend.

gravedodger said...

Our two poodles and the LH Min Daschund very accurately predicted the Sept 4th quake with abnormal restless actions starting at 0400 hrs then again at 0415 with demands to "go walkies" for toilet reasons and then the poodles hit our caravan bed at 0432, the dachy couldn't join them for reasons of leg length.
The only problem, we didn't have a bloody clue what they were on about until after the event that manifested some 2 minutes later.

On another forewarning, a large swim pool at Methven some 30/40 or so Kms SSW of the Charing Cross epicenter across the Rakaia River, with an overflow water level/filter system using a storage tank to maintain its levels, inexplicably sloshed water equal to the "reserve" contents of the 1000 ltr tank across the lawn at around 2000 hrs on Sept 3rd. The pool had a flexible sub structure,plastic or fibreglass so it suffered some sort of subterranean force some 8 hours prior to the 7.1 quake.

"Dr" Smith is a F**kwit and I hope he and his doctorate in Geotechnical engineering successfully negotiate the lunch without incident as he obviously places more credence on the dodgy science of AGW or Climate change than I do. On the matter of the "moon man's" theory, and that is all Ken Ring claims, on the gravitational effects on the techtonic plates that occur when major alignments of the earth, it's moon, the sun and other planets coincide as they do on March 19/20. Saturn is involved in this rare coming together as I understand it and that planet has a serious Gravitational effects.
The only reason I hope the idiot Dr who I would not consult with an ingrown toenail, survives his stunt is that there is enough wreckage death and destruction without any additions. I just want the bloody ground to stop shaking after some 5500 EQs, oh and for Dr F W Smith to put the ETS taxes to work in NZ not Russia or some other country that is seriously polluting our planet.

robertguyton said...

"Dr" Smith is a F**kwit"


Inv2! Swing into your 'personal abuse' indignity mode and give Gravedodger a good crack on the knuckles!

(Good on ya GD - how right you are!)

Inventory2 said...

Now, now Gravedodger; you're being unfair to F**kwits!

Robin Capper said...

I'm not going for the lunch but will be travelling to Christchurch this weekend too. I regard Ken Ring's "prediction" as no more of a threat than random chance.

Inventory2 said...

Sounds like a great trip Robin; I'll keep my eyes peeled for you!

Anonymous said...

Why "Dr" Smith aka a F**kwit" does not give us some qualified opinion? Or dr f**kwit is specialised only in empty threats and bulling people who hav something to say? My advise to so called skeptics and dr f**kwit go f**ck yourself in privacy their homes