Ken Ring, psychic cat paws and earthquakes
Christchurch earthquake: Sceptics take aim at Ken Ring
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.
There are few times I will ever pay kudos to Nick Smith, but I have to whole heartedly congratulate him for publicly calling Ken ring on his shonky moon quake nonsense, personally I think John Campbell was way too easy on Ken Ring and his predictions and it now turns out that Ken believes he can under stand psychic influences from the paws of a cat???
Moon Man Ring softens quake predictions
So-called Moon Man Ken Ring is backing away from his prediction that Christchurch will be whacked by a huge earthquake today. His back-pedalling comes as the Herald on Sunday reveals his background as a magician and fortune-teller - with expertise understanding a cat's "psychic" influences by studying its paws.
Did Ken Ring make his prediction of an earthquake based on the psychic aura of his cat? The quickest way to disprove Ken Ring (who sights 'magician' as a past job) is to line up when the moon was closest to earth and line up when earthquakes happen,
(Explanation of graph from Science blog for Tim Selwyn's benefit: This time the relationship at least goes the right way, the quakes seem to be, on average, more powerful when the moon is close. In fact, when you put this data into a model that factors in the general tailing off in earthquake activity following the initial quake, the distance between the moon and the earth is a statistically significant variable with regard to the energy released. And there lies an incredibly important point. “Statistically significant” means unlikely to happen if the null hypothesis (in this case “the moon doesn’t effect earthquakes at all”) was true, it doesn’t mean the result is “powerful”, “meaningful”, or even “capable of explaining a great deal of the variation in the data”. As is often the case, we didn’t really believe our null hypothesis to start with, so it’s no surprise a large data-set found a significant relationship. But the actual effect of the moon is tiny, it explains about 2% of the variation in the data. The feebleness of the moon as a predictor is obvious when you look at the graph – there are plenty of days when the moon is close and there was not much energy released and, equally, there’s a whole lot of days when the moon was far away and there were still magnitude 5 quakes. The moon might well be having an effect on intensity of earthquakes from day to day, but if it can barely explain any of the variance in this data-set, one that was almost designed to test Ring’s theories in the best light, how could it predict an earthquake? It can’t.
and as you can see, there is NOTHING to suggest the pull of the moon predicts earthquakes. NZ Sciblog does a great job of explaining why Ken is off the planet with his moon quake claims.
Look, I'm sure Ken is a lovely bloke and I'm sure your veggies grow great and the fish bite harder when he says the moon makes it so, but when quackery is allowed to trump science on important real life events, we have a deep problem in our education system.
The poor people of Christchurch deserved more from their mainstream media to discredit Ken than it gave them.