Moon-gazer Ken Ring has been in the news again of late and while I’m choosing to ignore the whole “another quake’s coming” prediction, I can’t ignore the New Zealand Skeptics Bent Spoon award he has inspired.
These sensible citizens decided to give their annual award for “the most gullible or naive reporting in the paranormal or pseudo-science area” to the New Zealand media for promoting Ring and his theories. Well, that’s what it says on their website.
And yes, Ring did get a bit of publicity for his earthquake predictions and I’m sure those predictions scared the crap out of a lot of already scared people. Interestingly though, it’s not just the media coverage supporting Ring’s theories that scared people. In fact, it was probably the Campbell Live fiasco (when John Campbell lost his temper during an interview and proceeded to yell at him throughout without offering a chance of reply) that gained the most publicity and sympathy for the man.
Campbell apologised the next day for losing the plot but by that stage, the meltdown and shout-fest had already overtaken the actual message Campbell had been trying to get across.
I’m not sure how I feel about him getting this award and the ensuing press release from the group: isn’t it really just giving him more of that media attention that Skeptics New Zealand have already criticised?
As for what is science and what is pseudo-science: I’ve yet to see anyone show me they can predict an earthquake with any useful accuracy so I guess I’ll just carry on being boring and safe, making sure my survival kit is stocked up (I’m absolutely baffled by just how many people STILL don’t have one of these).