www.sillybeliefs.com
Support Science Not Superstition
| Homepage | Links | Book & TV List | Contact Us | Blog |

www.sillybeliefs.com
Atheist
Blog

Stardate 13.024

Ascent out of Darkness ~ Armchair Philosophy from the 'Silly Beliefs' Team

Skeptic

David Attenborough glimpses God
Attenborough The other day I was made aware that the renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough had received multiple hate mail from intellectually stunted members of an organised, worldwide organisation that has, depressingly, been doing likewise for centuries to those it disagreed with. Attenborough revealed this back in 2009 on the eve of the broadcast of yet another documentary that promoted evolution. And who were his abusers? True and devout Christians. I read in this article that 'They write to tell him "to burn in hell and good riddance", he tells us, because he doesn't "give credit" to the Lord for the flora and fauna that appear in his programmes'. I say 'true and devout' Christians rather than Christian fundamentalists, although they are that too, because it is only the 'true and devout', be they Christian, Muslim or Jew, that take their holy books seriously, you know, as being actually true in all they say, and are prepared to obey god's dictums, no matter how evil or stupid the rest of us view them. Most Christians, Muslims and Jews would never think of screaming 'blasphemer' and 'infidel' at their non-believing neighbours and friends, never consider sending them hate mail over their beliefs, never rub their hands in glee imagining their future torture in Hell, even though their God wants them to. They don't behave like uncaring demons towards their fellow humans because their religious belief is solely one of convenience. They are lacklustre believers that treat their holy books as a menu, choosing what they like and ignoring what they don't. Unlike the true believer who understands that if their holy books are true then it's not a buffet, your typical believer lives their life believing that they will decide how they will treat others, not their god. Nearly all their days are spent as secular non-believers, at work, at play, at the supermarket, and just an hour or two are set aside for reading their fairy stories. And even after reading their fairy stories regarding what their god demands of them, they still don't think, well I better go and send off some hate mail. They are hypocrites. And this is good for everyone. Imagine if every believer lived their lives convinced that they had to smite heretics and infidels wherever and whenever they found them. And we should also be relieved that even most true believers are snivelling cowards, prepared to send anonymous hate mail in service of their god, but not prepared to debate their beliefs, let alone drag us into the village square and stone us as their god demands. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that god will be mollified if thou shalt merely send hate mail. Even most true believers aren't convinced that their god will support their vile actions if they stand up publicly. Unfortunately some are and they murder abortion doctors and homosexuals, blow themselves up in crowded markets and fly planes full of infidels into buildings. They are the really true believers. The ones that send hate mail to the likes of David Attenborough are merely gutless, ignorant scum who are more afraid of secular judges than divine ones. All of them too stupid to wonder why their all-powerful god needs them to fight his battles for him.

But ranting about hate-filled believers isn't the purpose of this post. Searching for that article on Attenborough I came across a later one entitled 'There could be a God, admits David Attenborough'. In the above 2009 article the journalist twice describes Attenborough as an atheist, now in this 2012 article Attenborough is evidently having second thoughts. He tells his interviewer that:

'I don't think that an understanding and an acceptance of the 4 billion-year-long history of life is in any way inconsistent with a belief of a supreme being. I am not so confident as to say that I am an atheist. I would prefer to say I am an agnostic.'
But I find this rather ambiguous. Certainly evolution (and the big bang theory) is not inconsistent with gods, after all Catholics via the pope believe in both God the creator and evolution. They simply claim, rather childishly, that God created evolution to run its course and create us. Yeah right, that sounds plausible. But beyond this, evolution is also not inconsistent with a belief in leprechauns or fairies either. They could still exist alongside evolution, with gods. One doesn't exclude the other. But intelligent, rational people refuse to be agnostic over leprechauns and fairies, it would be seen as childish, so why don't they have the guts to dismiss sky fairies as well? This is what I don't understand with agnostics, how they can vocally refuse to be agnostic regarding leprechauns and fairies as well as gods called Zeus, Ra, Apollo, Maui and Thor but stumble when a god called Jehovah is mentioned. Oh yes, they say, it's possible he might exist, we can't rule it out, but Zeus and Thor, don't make me laugh. They were just fantasies thought up by primitive societies, there's no reason or evidence whatsoever to believe that silly gods might be watching us from clouds. Well... except for that primitive Jewish god that we've never seen, I don't see why he couldn't be real, they say in all seriousness.

Again, I can't see how agnostics, especially intelligent ones, think they are being rational by provisionally believing in one supernatural being that was a favourite of their ancestors, while at the same time openly ridiculing anyone that has a belief in any one of thousands of other supernatural beings. Either it makes sense to dismiss all supernatural beings as nonsense or acknowledge that any and all supernatural beings might potentially exist. If I say there exists a being with supernatural powers that secretly watches everyone on Earth, dictates how we should behave, and then rewards or punishes us based on our behaviour, why do agnostics say that this is entirely possible if I say that this being is called God, but laugh out loud if I say I'm talking about Santa Claus?

Think about this for a moment. If I was to say that I'm agnostic about god's existence, many people would say I have every right to be, that god may or may not exist, that there is no good evidence that can answer that question, and agnosticism is the honest stance. Do you find yourself nodding in agreement?

Furthermore, they might add that the Bible says that..., and this is where I interrupt, telling them that I'm not agnostic about the Biblical god, he definitely doesn't exist, I'm agnostic about the Norse god Odin. Do you still think I'm being reasonable? If not why not? Why is your god plausible but not mine? I wish some agnostic would explain this to me, why is it perfectly reasonable and acceptable to be agnostic about the god of your parents, but not mine?

The article also notes that:

'Three years ago, in an interview with the Daily Mail, Sir David appeared less convinced of the existence of God. Again describing himself as agnostic rather than atheist, he said he was a 'little miffed' he couldn't come down more strongly on one side or the other. The following year he told the Radio Times: 'It never really occurred to me to believe in God.'
How can Attenborough say he's 'a "little miffed" he couldn't come down more strongly on one side or the other', where I assume he's referring to theism versus atheism, rather than agnosticism versus atheism? I've watched many hours of Attenborough's excellent documentaries over the years where he has promoted evolution, science and the natural world, and if God was ever mentioned, it was to dismiss religion as the answer. How can Attenborough now imply that evidence for the opposing views is so evenly balanced that it's difficult to strongly support 'one side or the other'? But note that after decades of pushing science, Attenborough mentions not one reason or piece of evidence that has suddenly caused him to doubt his life's work. Attenborough could quote a mountain of evidence supporting a naturalistic worldview, but he evidently can't, or can't be bothered, to quote a single worrying piece of opposing evidence, and yet he implies that it's difficult to choose between the natural and the supernatural. Agnostic

But regardless, like many people professing agnosticism, Attenborough fulfils the basic criteria of being an atheist when he says that 'It never really occurred to me to believe in God'. Since he admits to having no belief in god, he is an atheist. The common belief that you must insist that you know god doesn't exist to be an atheist is false. If you believe gods exist, then you are a believer, everyone else is by definition an atheist. Those that can't say they firmly believe in some god are atheists, even if they mistakenly call themselves agnostics. Many seem to think that by calling themselves agnostic they are somehow more open minded, but they are merely someone too afraid or too lazy to think about gods.

Attenborough goes on to mention the afterlife, but here he's confident enough to say that he 'can't see any evidence of that'. But seemingly in defence of his agnosticism, he explains 'that as people got older their human journey became less complex, adding: 'When you are in your 20s and 30s, life is swashbuckling stuff... But I tell you, when you get to 82, your views are very different. You are less certain of everything'.

I have a great deal of respect for David Attenborough, but I don't buy his argument for letting god sneak in the back door. Certainly our views change as we age, but not on the basics. I doubt if when I reach his age (barring dementia) that I will be less certain that racism and sexism is wrong or that the world might not be round after all. The reality is that we know far more about the universe now than when Attenborough was 20, so he should be more confident in his views, not less. God hasn't become more likely over the last fifty years, just the opposite. It's Attenborough's resolve that has diminished of late, he should realise that it is him that's changing, not the universe. However he implies that old age and experience now lets him see something that the rest of us are missing, and that causes him to be 'less certain of everything'. I see no evidence for this, that elderly people suddenly gain important insights into our complex universe. All I see is a resurfacing fear of the unknown brought on by their approaching demise, and fuelled by stories of the vicious gods of our ancestors. I hope that when I reach old age I will have the strength to maintain my convictions, that I will remain an atheist and not pretend to change my mind just in case some god is watching, or be too afraid to place my false teeth under my pillow in case the tooth fairy takes them.

Of course Attenborough's religious views may have been distorted, as the media are wont to do. However they know that because of their standing in society their comments will be reported so they have a responsibility to clearly express their views, not just throw out some hastily conceived remark that might be misinterpreted.

I'm annoyed when famous, respected, educated and intelligent people label themselves agnostic, implying that they wouldn't have the arrogance to call themselves an atheist. The public then says, well if people like David Attenborough, Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin, and even our recent prime ministers John Key and Helen Clark, call themselves agnostics and confidently claim that atheism can't be justified, who are we to argue? Role models are telling them that indecision is the correct stance. But would any of them argue that we can't confidently say that leprechauns don't exist, that the evidence just isn't there, that they're going to remain undecided? Of course not. But when it comes to the god of their ancestors, their logic, their rationality and their bravery deserts them. Too afraid to offend a potential god and too lazy to expose a myth. As you may have surmised, I have little time for agnostics, people that say they don't know anything about god essentially because they're too lazy or too afraid to even look. And then they arrogantly claim that this is a stance that we should all take. Of course people are ignorant in many fields of knowledge, but they don't try and argue that their ignorance is the preferred stance, as agnostics do. In what other field do people proudly profess ignorance and look condescendingly at those who possess knowledge?

I'm going to finish with a quote from Miguel Kottow's essay in the book '50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists':

'Much more irritating is the presence of fellow-travelers who do not believe but dare not disbelieve, taking refuge in agnosticism. This is playing safe, for you can always respond to circumstances by belatedly choosing what, during your whole life, was not worth a commitment or even a clarifying search. How can you live your life acknowledging that God may exist — which would be a transcendent and undeniable experience — but be too busy or lazy to decide for or against such an existence? Agnosticism seems more disrespectful to religion than atheism, for the atheist takes other people's beliefs seriously, whereas the agnostic takes a tepid view of what others hold dearly.'

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 29 Aug, 2013 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend
Blog

Comments:

  1. Comment by Bob, 30 Aug, 2013

    There are just a couple of points I would comment on from your article. The Catholic Church does accept evolution but regards it as part of God's plan. God has used evolution to produce mankind. Why he would allow 4 billion years for humans to develop beats me. To me there is a simple proof evolution was not God's plan. It was an unplanned undirected process. When evolution produced complex creatures they were reptiles. The scientists tell us the world was dominated by dinosaurs and other variations of reptiles such as lizards and crocodiles. Then a huge meteorite wiped out all the large dinosaurs. That was the end of the age of reptiles. Then with the world full of empty evolutionary spaces mammals took over. Was that meteorite part of God's plan or a random occurrence? It makes no sense that God allowed dinosaurs to thrive then wiped them out in favour of a different set of species. To me it is evidence that evolution operates randomly. As much as the believers don't want to believe it human beings are random creatures on earth. We could be as easily wiped out as the dinosaurs. Considering the trillions of trillions of stars and planets in the universe it is certain life must be cropping up all the time then being wiped out by supernovas and like. Perhaps Jesus is a travelling salesman for God popping down to planets as intelligent life emerges doing his dying and coming back to life again trick and leaving bands of followers.

    Your second point is regarding old people. I am in my late 70s. Far from being afraid of what lies ahead and jettisoning my atheism I have been an atheist all my life. The older I get the more atheistic I become because of what I keep learning. I am not in the least afraid of what lies ahead after death. There is too much that makes no sense in religion for me to take much notice. For instance humans have souls while dogs don't. Why? Certainly humans have much more advanced brains but dogs are still alive and still have brains. Dogs should have the same life force behind them as humans do even if it is of lesser quality. The idea that humans are fundamentally different from other creatures comes from our forbears who knew nothing about evolution or DNA. Humans appeared to be distinct and superior because they knew nothing about neanderthals and the earlier hominids. They did not understand we are the survivors of a group of species all of whom have become extinct except us.

    Unless I lose my marbles I can't see myself fearing what lies after death. I don't want to die but I expect nothing.

  2. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 01 Sep, 2013

    Exactly Bob. Clearly Christians who believe evolution was God's plan to create not just humans, but two humans called Bob and John who would scoff at that suggestion have no understanding of evolution and history. It's just another example that god believers will accept any nonsense on faith if it appears to support their belief, whereas actually thinking would destroy their belief.

    To me, the most obvious cause for some elderly folk to suddenly flip flop from disbelief to belief is psychological, a deterioration in our mental faculties. Couple this with a knowledge of Heaven and Hell that was easily suppressed by their intellect throughout their life, and doubt surfaces. They had never really addressed the god problem throughout their life, they had just ignored it, and now the fear of Hell and eternal torture confronts them. Note that no one fears dying because they might go to Heaven, just Hell. Their apathy and ignorance causes them unnecessary stress in their later years. For informed atheists like you and me Bob, we no more fear going to Hell than we fear being confronted by the Easter Bunny when we die.

  3. Comment by Anonymous, 02 Sep, 2013

    Hi John. That was a very well written response in your last blog and the fact that David Attenborough seems to be wavering in his old age. You certainly have a great ability to research and write such in depth expose's. This desertion seems to happen to so many Englishmen and it seems to me this is the response to them associating in the 'Upper Crust' and Royalty circles where they try not to (must not) offend the establishment. Malcolm Muggerige (if I recall correctly) was another who appeared to waver in his old age also. Your absolute adherence to Atheistic Principles is to be hugely admired. It leaves me absolutely floored that otherwise highly intelligent and well educated people can still believe in that gigantic lie and seem to be completely oblivious to the horrors of the 'Dark Ages' of religion much of Humanity endured! What a disaster we lost Christopher Hitchens so prematurely, Smoked cigarettes, Silly bugger!

    I should mention too the bravery of Julia Gillard to state publicly she was an Atheist when she became Prime Minister. I knew full well the knives would be out for her ever after. And now it looks like the more Catholic and nearly Priest Abbot will be voted in when there is still Court action against the historic molestation by so many in his church. So painfully slow is the progress from darkness.

    Keep up the great work for enlightenment.

  4. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 03 Sep, 2013

    Thanks for your comments. Re your mention of not upsetting the establishment, I was re-watching the movie 'Contact' the other night where the radio astronomer and atheist (played by Jodie Foster) was asked in a government interview whether she believed in God, and she couldn't simply say no. Of course they took her laboured answer to mean no anyway and she lost the job, since it's career suicide to be an outspoken atheist in America. We're lucky in NZ that we can be honest with our stance. I'd forgotten about Julia Gillard. And yes, it's a shame that we lost Hitchens, but at least we still have his books and recorded interviews.

  5. Comment by Phill, 05 Sep, 2013

    Hi John. As always another thought provoking piece. I would make one point which you alluded to, in that in the earlier 2009 article it is the journalist who claims Sir David is an Atheist, where as in the 2012 article Attenborough's statements would suggest a life time adherence to being an agnostic. In my limited experience that would sound right, I've known a lot of secular people who never really think about the possibility of god unless pressed and then will after some thought place themselves in the Agnostic camp. I suspect they do so not because of any real belief but because they have never bothered to think about the issue, it's not important to them, it's not part of their current life, the question has never really arisen. I suspect that a large proportion of non-believer's would fall into this camp. Religious belief is not part of their normal life, they give it no real thought but if pressed will accept the possibility of something more out there. I have yet to met a real Atheist who has back slid. I of course do not accept Kirk Cameron's claim of being an Atheist before he saw the light (really Kirk you were Atheist for how long??)

    In my own case I myself was an agnostic for many years, there was always some part of me that wanted to believe but I always ended being put off (mostly from Christian doctrine) because of its absurd morals. However, at that time I had a real soft spot for paganism (in its modern form) and if pressed would have considered the possibility of the existence of the Goddess. It was a family tragedy that caused me to re-access my beliefs and after much thought and internal debate I came to the only conclusion I could, and that's when I became an Atheist. Of course I was never a born again Atheist, and I would not consider myself a militant Atheist. I will defend Atheism to any who would attack it, and I will fight against any who wish to press their absurd fairy tales onto me. But if someone gets something out of dancing round a nine foot circle in the nude performing ceremonies with cakes and wine, and casting spells, who am I to interfere with their fun. Of course lines have to be drawn, we are all aware of the dangers of silly beliefs when it comes to medical interventions and children. And like Sir David Attenborough there have been times I almost wished I could believe in the supernatural if only to have the comfort of again meeting and being with loved ones who have died, it is a comforting notion and I can fully understand its power over people and its attraction. But then there is all the other silly nonsense that comes along with the package and reality steps in.

    I am more inclined to the view that Attenborough is, and has always been an agnostic and perhaps the journalist back in 2009 interviewing a man with a great love and knowledge of science and the world in which we live made a natural but incorrect assumption.

  6. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 06 Sep, 2013

    Thanks for your comments Phill. The problem I have with all this is why Attenborough is still an agnostic and not an atheist. I don't understand why intelligent, educated people lose their objectivity when it comes to the god of their ancestors. If Attenborough argued that Zeus or Odin might have created the universe they would dismiss him as an idiot, and yet this is clearly no more idiotic than saying that God (normally shorthand for the Christian God), might have created the universe. If you asked most agnostic people in Western countries if the Hindu god Brahma might have created the universe, they would without hesitation answer no. And yet with their agnosticism they betray their objectivity when they clearly have a favourite god in mind as the creator, if one exists. They can easily dismiss thousands of gods, most of whom they have never even heard of, and yet their reason and intellect deserts them when it comes to the god of their ancestors. They are left floundering, fearful and weak willed, utterly unwilling to dismiss one specific god from thousands of fantasy gods. How does this make rational sense?

    As you say, many people give gods 'no real thought but if pressed will accept the possibility of something more out there'. Apathy and ignorance will lead many people to agree that gods might exist, along with ghosts, Bigfoot and aliens abducting us from out beds, but how can intelligent, educated people like Attenborough publicly take this stance regarding gods? If they were to apply the same intellect, effort and research to the god question I don't see how they can still argue that we just don't know, it could go either way, there's no good evidence for or against. Even people that dismiss the personal Biblical God and opt instead for a deist god that simply created the universe and left never to return, reveal their lack of thought on the matter. As difficult as it might be to explain what caused the Big Bang, it's child's play compared to explaining what could have created a fully formed all-powerful, all-knowing god. Likewise, if something has existed forever, it's far easier to see a very simple vacuum as being eternal rather than an extremely complex god. How do agnostics such as Attenborough resolve these issues, and still come to conclude that either side might be right? They don't, in my view. They ignore reason and evidence and instead choose to leave the door open for a childish desire that they secretly wish were true. And yet people mistakenly believe that intellectuals like Attenborough must have reached this conclusion through research and deep thought, giving agnosticism a respect it doesn't deserve.

    Agnostics say I don't know if god exists, and neither do you. No one can know. They are arguing from ignorance. They reach this conclusion, not by studying the topic as does an informed theist and atheist, but by ignoring the topic. They often admit that they know almost nothing about god beyond what they learnt in Sunday School and nothing about science beyond what they saw in movies such as 'Ghostbusters', 'Star Wars', 'Jurassic Park' and 'What the Bleep do We Know?' It's like me arguing that I don't know how to make a laser, therefore no one does, and you can't convince me that they actually exist. There's certainly nothing shameful in admitting that you don't know something, but why do we respect people that admit ignorance and then go on to claim that the correct stance is to join them in their ignorance? If they are offered enlightenment they simply scoff, claim that people can't know these things and again invite us to reject knowledge and embrace ignorance.

    You say that like 'like Sir David Attenborough there have been times I almost wished I could believe in the supernatural...'. Of course I understand this feeling but I see it as little different from me wishing that superheroes like Superman existed to fight injustice, that simple magical spells could cure disease, and that fairies might frolic at the bottom of gardens. I would like these things to be true, but a little research leads me to conclude that they are fantasies. I would be considered deluded if I kept insisting that real superheroes, real magic and real fairies could still be possible out there somewhere. We all recognise these beings as coming from simple human stories that have no place in reality. It appears that agnostics have one childish story that they just can't let go of completely. They've taken a step further in doing so than have believers, but are still not willing to take the final step and close the door on a fantasy. Their agnosticism has nothing to do with knowledge and reason, and everything to do with a childish desire to still believe in magic.

    If people were asked if their neighbour might be a secret pedophile or serial killer or shape-shifting alien most everyone would answer no. Even though there would be no physical laws broken, no reason why any of these things could not be true, almost no one would entertain them as being true. They are prepared to take a stance and declare that their neighbour is none of these things. And yet when asked about gods, which break all manner of laws of physics and logic and contradict history, agnostics suddenly become too afraid to take a stance. They know their neighbour isn't a shape-shifting alien, even though they have no idea what one looks like, but aren't at all sure about silly gods. This is pure emotion overriding reason, and yet agnostics fool themselves into believing it is a rational stance.

    I have great respect and admiration for the work done by Attenborough and many others in exploring and explaining our natural world, but they all go down a peg in my estimation when their integrity fails them and they refuse to take a stance on gods.

  7. Comment by Anonymous-2, 08 Sep, 2013

    Hi John. First I have been meaning to e-mail you for a long time and thank you for your earlier piece on agnosticism. It was after I read your piece and corresponded with you that I sat down and zxc thought about my beliefs. The result was I abandoned an incoherent position and now call myself an atheist. Thanks again and keep up the good work.

    It was a couple of years ago that I encountered a video by Neil deGrasse Tyson about his position and why he called himself an agnostic — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzSMC5rWvos

    Neil from what I can tell does not think there is any evidence for a god but doesn't want to become tied to the label atheist. I understand his position. It seems that his argument boils down in some respects to being too lazy to think about it, and he attempts to reject the whole notion of a label attached to disbelief in a god. I don't have a problem with him calling himself whatever he wants provided he makes it clear what that label means to him. Calling yourself an agnostic and leaving it at that is not enough. In Neil's case tiptoeing around the question of him having a belief in god for political reasons, and admitting he cannot be bothered to think about it.

    So my stance is that I am OK with someone calling themselves an agnostic but they need to go on to explain what that means to them. We could then go on to debate if and why that does not answer the question of their belief in god. I think that I am free to assign that person the label of atheist if they don't state a belief in a god.

  8. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 08 Sep, 2013

    Hi, and thanks for your comments. The first I ever heard of Neil deGrasse Tyson (an American astrophysicist and science communicator) was when he appeared as himself on the sci-fi TV show 'Stargate Atlantis', and I later googled him.

    Neil is correct in one sense to reject the notion of the atheist label. As they say, we don't have labels for people that don't believe in the tooth fairy or leprechauns. We would think it too ridiculous to have to categorically identify ourselves to others as disbelievers in all manner of fantasy beings. I am truly too lazy to think deeply about leprechauns and fairies. The default position is that intelligent people in this modern age don't believe in such nonsense, and disbelief in gods should also be in the same camp as the tooth fairy and leprechauns. I shouldn't need to tell people I'm an atheist, anymore than I need to tell them that I'm a non-serial killer. But I also think that it is deceptive for people to correctly reject the need for the atheist label and then to label themself an agnostic. The agnostic label is just as superfluous as atheist.

    In NZ, publicly admitting that I'm atheist is no more damaging to my social standing or career than is admitting that I like cheesecake. But in the USA it is a different matter of course, in some states and some fields it would be like admitting that you sexually abuse children. Thus I perfectly understand that many American atheists will fudge their answers and if pressed will label themselves agnostic. I'm with you though, if people don't state a clear belief in a god then they are atheists, no matter what they choose to call themselves. Agnostic to me means one of two things. An atheist that can't be bothered to think about the existence of gods, but isn't prepared to dismiss them out of hand in case they do exist and are easily offended. Or an atheist that won't or can't reveal his true atheism since this revelation would do real harm to themselves or others. Neil deGrasse Tyson

  9. Comment by Renee, 25 Sep, 2013

    Dear John. A most enlightening article. It has answered many of my questions about agnostics and how to argue their stance. One is often made to feel arrogant for taking a totally atheistic stance. No more! I am an out-and-out atheist. Thanks for the clarification and confidence.

  10. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 25 Sep, 2013

    Thanks Renee. I know how you feel. We're asked to believe that it is arrogant to argue for atheism, but to argue for theism or agnosticism is evidently noble. But if an atheist's confidence in his or her worldview translates to arrogance, then surely theists and agnostics, being equally confident in their worldview, are equally arrogant? But of course confidence is not what it means to be arrogant.

    It is not arrogance to express shocked amazement when people profess belief in gods, anymore than it would be if an acquaintance said they believed the world was flat. The fact is that with the knowledge that now exists, we atheists are totally justified in our disbelief. It is not arrogance to accept that the Earth goes around the Sun, that the Big Bang happened, that evolution is real, and that gods and leprechauns don't exist. It is not arrogance to describe reality.

    No doubt many people are uncomfortable with learning the truth, but we are not being arrogant by revealing it. If they can't face the truth then they need to accept their own intellectual and emotional shortcomings rather than attacking the messenger. And annoying as it is to be falsely accused of arrogance, I take it as a positive that this is all most believers are capable of, desperately attacking our confident attitude so as to deviously direct attention away from our arguments, away from reason and evidence.

  11. Comment by Makarand, 04 Feb, 2014

    Hi John, I accidentally stumbled on this site and got a pleasant surprise... Thanks for the lively & rational debates, logical — scientific explanations..!! Indeed it's a very nice...; keep up the good work.

    However, not sure I really understood your point on taking a position either for or against instead of being an agnostic..??

    I had read somewhere that "absence of evidence is not or can never be an evidence of absence...!!" Don't you think this is very true and rational..?? Don't you think that taking a strong position as atheist is also like being a fundamentalist of a different sort..??

    I tend to agree with 99% or even 99.5% about non existence of god or a supernatural supreme being or whatever they may call.. but still not 100%... because there are several things which we are still not able to understand or explain by plain scientific logic or knowledge.... may be there will be a day when man will have definitive knowledge of everything that's happening in our universe, but till then it is better to be agnostic..

    If you happened to lay your hand on "Nasadiya Sukta" from Rigveda, please try to read it.. It has some very interesting arguments.. which says something like... "At first there was absolutely nothing, then came the sound... from sound came the matter & universe.. and life evolved and from the imagination of man came god... then how can we say that god created the universe or man..?? Who knows the truth..?? May be he knows.. or he also does not..!!"

  12. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 06 Feb, 2014

    Hi Makarand, thanks for your comments and query. First, to avoid confusion, let me define how an atheist such as myself views my stance. Yes, I do say that I don't believe gods exist, in that I see no evidence for them or need for them to help explain the universe. I say I don't believe in gods in the same way that most every adult says that they don't believe in Santa Claus. I definitely don't say that I can prove that gods, or Santa and his elves, don't exist, and nor do I say that my belief has 100% certainty. I do admit that I might be wrong, both about gods and Santa, fully accepting that powerful beings could easily keep their presence hidden from me if they chose to. To this end I am very willing to listen to new arguments, and will change my view if the evidence warrants it. To date, no such arguments have been raised. Furthermore, the evidence for and against gods is not roughly equal or balanced or inconclusive, the evidence against gods is massive and convincing while the evidence for gods is scant if not completely lacking. It is only rational to follow where the evidence points, rather than hang on stubbornly with blind faith. I don't argue that it is impossible for some sort of god to exist, although I do argue that some specific gods are impossible, such as the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient and omni-benevolent personal god as described by Christians. If the god that Christians believe in did exist, he cannot have all the attributes they claim he has, so their tightly defined god is impossible. On the other hand, a very powerful and knowledgeable god, compared to us, might exist and might have created the universe, but this god would be little different from a very powerful and knowledgeable alien. Should we even call him or it a god? Remember that in the past primitive tribes thought advanced explorers were gods, rather than just more knowledgable humans.

    Many religious types and agnostics falsely argue that atheists are wrong, and arrogant, because they claim that we say we know god doesn't exist, which they argue means that we can prove, or science can prove, that god doesn't exist. Rubbish. This is a straw man argument, making a false claim about what an atheist believes that opponents can then easily ridicule and show to be wrong. An informed atheist knows that no one can prove with absolute certainty that gods don't exit, or do exist, for that matter, Yes, some religious types and agnostics might view the confidence expressed by informed atheists as arrogance, but it isn't, any more than it is arrogance when an adult says that they don't believe in Santa Claus any more. They are merely saying that the best evidence indicates with quite high confidence that gods and Santa are very unlikely to be real. Thus the rational thing to do, barring revolutionary new evidence, is to live ours lives as if they're not real.

    If you're not a believer in gods, you are by definition an atheist, someone without a belief in gods. And as we've tried to explain in our post and in our 'Agnostics' article, you can't just be an agnostic, you must be either an agnostic believer or an agnostic atheist. And by agnostic believer or agnostic atheist I mean someone who says something like:

    'I am a theist (or atheist) and I believe that God exists (or doesn't exist) but I'm also an agnostic in that I accept that I can never prove my belief'.
    And yet can you imagine someone saying that they don't believe in leprechauns or Zeus, but then feeling that they need to remind us that they can't prove whether or not they are right? The problem I feel is that many people seem to fear the label 'atheist', thinking that it shows them to be unreasonable and arrogant, and yet no one fears being labelled unreasonable and arrogant when they dismiss leprechauns and gods called Zeus and Thor. Just the opposite in fact, they would fear being labelled ignorant and gullible if they did admit that they weren't sure about leprechauns or Zeus. Can you explain what the difference is?

    OK, moving on. I agree that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but if we take this argument at face value, that absence of evidence means we must remain agnostic, then we MUST remain agnostic not just about gods, but about leprechauns, fairies and trolls as well. Are you agnostic about trolls? I suspect not, so if you take a strong position against the existence of trolls, do you see yourself as 'being a fundamentalist of a different sort?' Or do you see yourself as being rational and informed, of following the evidence and taking a stance on what most likely reflects reality?

    I do take a strong stance on atheism, just as I take a strong stance on the likes of sexual equality, freedom of speech, justice and democracy, but the difference between me and the religious fundamentalist is that I have changed my mind based on new evidence, and I would change it again tomorrow if yet better evidence were produced. Fundamentalists earn their title because they refuse to accept that their view could ever be wrong, they are convinced that their holy books are infallible, that they contain no errors whatsoever. Science and philosophy have changed their views many times throughout history, striving to discover the answers that best describe reality. I view a fundamentalist as one who is dogmatic, who argues without evidence and against evidence, whereas my atheism is founded on reason and evidence, and it remains my view for only as long as it takes the religious to find evidence for some god, any god.

    You suggest that if we don't have 100% scientific certainty, and that even 99.5% isn't good enough, 'then it is better to be agnostic'. But we can NEVER have 100% scientific certainty, not just about gods, but about anything, not about gravity or dinosaurs or that you and I even exist. Even if we continue scientific research for a thousand or a million years into the future, we will never reach 100% scientific certainty. It's impossible. We can be utterly convinced that the Sun will rise every morning, but we can never prove it will. So without this 100% scientific certainty, should you and I live our lives being agnostic about everything? Should I go to work naked or step of a cliff to see if I can fly, since all this might just be a dream, I can't be sure it's not? There is very good evidence that prayer doesn't work in curing disease, but not definitive evidence, so should people pray rather than going to the doctor, because there is no definitive evidence that doctors will cure you either? Or should we opt for the view towards which the very best evidence points?

    You say that 99% or even 99.5% evidence against something is not sufficient, but how much would be sufficient... 99.9% or even 99.99999999999%? You imply that 100% evidence would be sufficient, but would it? There have been many cases in the past when scientists said that they were absolutely convinced that a specific claim was true, 100% certain, and yet they were later shown to be wrong. So even if scientists were to present what they call 100% certainty, many people will continue to doubt them, claiming that scientists aren't infallible and what is now needed is further evidence that the scientists are correct in their claims. It would be never ending, more evidence would always be called for to prove the previous evidence. There are people today that don't accept that evolution is real, or that the Earth is billions of years old, and some still refuse to believe that the world isn't flat. And embarrassingly, there is an absence of 100% evidence for evolution, an old Earth and a spherical Earth, so should we all be agnostic about these matters? Are you agnostic in regard to these matters? Might the world be flat?

    Of course you might argue that you're not debating the existence of trolls or a flat Earth, but the existence of a god. But let's remember that your argument is that without 100% scientific certainty 'then it is better to be agnostic'. So you MUST be agnostic about trolls and a flat Earth, not just the existence of gods. So again, are you? If you feel that 99.5% evidence against is sufficient for any rational person to confidently dismiss belief in trolls and a flat Earth, why is it not sufficient to dismiss gods? This unwillingness to dismiss gods as easily as you dismiss trolls exposes an irrational bias towards a desired belief. Again, perhaps you think it is unfair to place trolls and a flat Earth in the same basket as gods, that they are clearly different and require different levels of evidence? So let's just consider gods then. Are you agnostic about the gods Zeus, Ra, Thor, Maui, Jehovah, Baal, Quetzalcoatl, Allah, Apollo, Vishnu etc? I suspect, like all agnostics, you are not at all agnostic about thousands of gods, you feel that the available evidence, while still well less than 100%, is still clearly sufficient to dismiss nearly all of them. All but one that is. And suspiciously, the one god for which some doubt remains just happens to be the god that your ancestors probably believed in. Why do agnostics in a Christian society generally argue that we should be agnostic towards the Christian god, and yet agnostics in an Islamic society argue that we should be agnostic towards the Muslim god? No doubt the ancient Greeks would have argued for Zeus.

    You surmise that 'may be there will be a day when man will have definitive knowledge of everything that's happening in our universe, but till then it is better to be agnostic'. I would argue that day will never come. We certainly may develop an astounding knowledge of the Universe compared to what we know now, and even if we were utterly convinced on the evidence that it was all completely natural, we could never prove that some god hadn't created the universe to look natural and then left for places unknown. Fundamentalist Christians and Muslims argue that their god deviously planted the dinosaur fossils and manipulated the light from distant stars so that we would be fooled about the age of the Earth and the Universe. When you use an argument like this, that god is deliberately hiding from us and altering the universe to make it appear that he doesn't exist, then no evidence will ever be good enough. Even 100% scientific proof would be seen as god falsifying the data to stay hidden. If an all-powerful, all-knowing god wanted to hide his existence from us, we would have zero chance of finding evidence of his existence. Most humans have finally said that we have gathered sufficient evidence that convincingly shows that gremlins and tooth fairies don't exist, and we are so confident that we don't feel the need to add the qualifier that they might, we haven't actually proven 100% that they don't. When will we all realise that gods deserve to be in the gremlins box as well?

    Agnostics can dismiss thousands of supernatural beings effortlessly but then struggle with one called God or Allah (Arabic for 'The God') or simply the Creator. Why is a powerful god called Zeus clearly bogus whereas a powerful god whose name they don't even know might be real? Don't you think this is being irrational and inconsistent? I've asked this before of agnostics and have never received an answer, why do you not see a glaring problem with choosing to be agnostic about one specific god while somehow knowing enough to dismiss all the rest? Sorry to go on and on about this, but I think this is the crux of the agnostic debate. If agnostics would simply explain why their very, very narrow stance makes sense, why the available evidence and arguments don't justify us in taking a stand one way or the other, then perhaps both atheists and believers could be swayed to jump into the uncertainty box.

    So why should I be agnostic about a god with no name who is doing his utmost to hide from me, but not agnostic about other gods such as Zeus and Thor? Can any agnostic answer this simple question?

We want to talk to you about Jesus
The other day I was approached by three friendly, attractive young women who were evidently intent on chatting with me. Things were looking up. Maybe they had spotted my 'Born Again Atheist' button and wanted to learn more. But then the horrible truth was revealed. They were Mormons. First it seemed that all the cute women were lesbians, now they're bloody Mormons. When marvellous things happen, people jokingly exclaim, 'Yessss!!!... There is a God!' We atheists need an exclamation, well a polite one anyway, for when things don't turn out as we had hoped.

Once they had revealed their religious agenda to me, I directed their attention to my button, thinking it would work like garlic to a vampire, but if anything it appeared to motivate them. Maybe they earn more points for converting an atheist. Perhaps I should have insisted on seeing their magic Mormon underwear as ID, maybe that would have driven them away.

I guess we chatted for 20 to 30 minutes, it was all very friendly. But the thing that irked me most about our discussion was that each time they were at a loss for a convincing answer, and before they jumped to some other question, they repeatedly said, 'Well, we're sorry that you're not willing to seek the truth and haven't found the answers by accepting God's love as set out in the Book of Mormon' (or words to that effect). I kept reiterating that I'm not only willing to seek the truth, I am actively seeking the truth. Just because I'm not willing to accept their answers does not mean that I'm deliberately choosing ignorance over the truth. In their limited mind you either choose God or Satan, which translates to truth or ignorance. It's this naïve religious argument that everything is a choice of one or the other. It's either tea or coffee. They fail to grasp that there are often other choices, such as fruit juice or beer. I told them that I believe I have found many of the answers about the world, and for the others I'm still looking. But they just replied, 'Well, we're sorry that you're not willing to seek the truth...' There was this arrogance that their single book written way back in the early 1800s and based on an even more primitive book, the Bible, contains all there is know about life, the universe and everything. There is that saying: Beware those who only read one book. Or perhaps they're taught to repeat this mantra so that people will feel close-minded if they don't at least listen to their spiel and accept their literature.

As I was later thinking about my Mormon encounter, coincidentally I received the following email from Julian:

'I'm sure you will have the answer, please tell me what is the best way to respond to Mormon missionaries? Can they be shown the truth?'
My immediate response is that of course they can they be shown the truth, but will they listen? It's doubtful, but there are ex-Mormons out there so it's certainly worth trying. For example, on this website for ex-Mormons, one poster who has left the church asks how people can get through to existing members, and answers his own question: 'Unfortunately, the answer generally is that you won't and can't'. But he is living proof that while difficult, it is possible, so we should make the effort.

I suspect all religions are the same, in that some of their adherents are utterly captivated, engrossed and imprisoned by it's dogma, and that no amount of discussion and debate could sway them or give them pause. It would be like debating with a chimp. He may sit patiently and stare intently, occasionally nodding, but nothing is getting through. At the other end of the spectrum there are believers whose commitment is tenuous. They remain believers solely through apathy or convenience. These are the believers that can be most easily reached. Something as simple as making a new acquaintance, watching a movie or reading a book that presents some reason why gods are silly could be sufficient to encourage them to immediately ditch their religious belief and never look back. In between these two extremes believers have varying strength of belief and reasons for maintaining their belief. There are even examples of utterly devout believers that hovered near the extreme edge of belief slowly coming to see the light of reason and rejecting belief in their God. The following are just some whose books I have who have explained their reasons for moving from strong belief to disbelief:

  • 'How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science' by Michael Shermer
  • 'Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists' by Dan Barker
  • 'Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity' by John W. Loftus
  • 'To Hell With God?' by Steve Cooper
  • 'Why I Am Not A Muslim' by Ibn Warraq
  • 'Infidel: My Life' by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  • 'The Pagan Christ: Is blind faith killing Christianity?' by Tom Harpur
  • 'Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America' by William Lobdell
  • 'Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary' by Kenneth W. Daniels
  • 'Why I Left The Ministry And Became An Atheist' by G. Vincent Runyon
But this extreme shift in belief is rare. I don't expect the pope to see the light any day soon. That said, it is becoming far more common for less committed Christian believers in the western world to have an epiphany and simply walk away. Atheism is growing as church affiliation falls. Atheists are no longer the lepers, evangelists are. Society, movies, TV, books and magazines all clearly suggest that non-belief is not just acceptable and respectable, it's reasonable too. When books like 'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins, 'God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything' by Christopher Hitchens and 'The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason' by Sam Harris become international best sellers, this signals that religion's suffocating hold on society has loosened. And of course child abusing priests and murderous terrorists aren't harming the atheist cause either. Also I guess it's harder these days to believe in a primitive god when you're watching video of a Mars rover on your smart phone as you fly around the world, and the only one you know in your family who still goes to church is granny.

In the 21st century it has become harder to be religious than any other time in history, and consequently easier to embrace disbelief. Science has explained untold events that used to be attributed to gods as completely natural. Claims made in holy books regarding the creation of the world and life are now clearly seen as fantasy created by primitive, ignorant societies. Heroes in movies and TV shows either dismiss religion as superstition or more often than not, simply ignore it altogether, just as we ignore fairies. Anyone who lives in the wider society will realise that many of their friends, peers and associates dismiss or ignore religion, and that our government, schools, hospitals etc are all secular. To maintain a belief in a primitive notion such as God in the face of modern knowledge and modern attitudes must surely be difficult. This point in history is no doubt the best time to show believers the truth, that belief in gods is a silly belief. If successful, it's rewarding to see the light come on, the fog lift, and know that you've helped a fellow human throw off the shackles of religion, which allows them to reject blind servitude to a fantasy and embrace independence and the real world.

This must be where Mormons have an advantage, plus the likes of Exclusive Brethren, Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists, more so than Catholics or Anglicans, since they attempt to shield their followers from disbelief as much as they can, and surround their followers with other followers for reassuring support. I've seen Mormon missionaries all over the world, but never in numbers less than two. One reason will no doubt be for personal safety, but another reason will be spiritual backup, if one starts to have doubts after meeting someone like me, the others will soon bring them back in line. This makes it much more difficult to show a Mormon missionary the truth, or for that matter any typical door-knocking Christian evangelist, who all turn up in multiples. Not only that, you usually only have limited time to debunk their claims and explain yours. Worse still, if evangelists sense they are losing ground or that one of their colleagues is wavering, thinking too deeply about your scientific and atheistic arguments, then they quickly take their leave. I've even had evangelists promise to return with answers to my religious questions, but they never do. This is the problem in debating religion with evangelists compared to your friends and associates. You're just not given the time or a realistic opportunity to challenge the deeply held religious views of a truly committed religious believer, and let's remember that only truly committed religious believers become missionaries.

Think of those Bible courses that some churches offer (like the 'Alpha Course'), where they have you for a couple of hours each week for maybe a few months, where they can with the aid of videos, books and planned lecture notes, slowly build up a 'convincing' story. If I had the same opportunity to present a similar course in defence of atheism I'm sure I could be quite convincing too. But it does take time, deeply held beliefs, mine included, can not often be changed with a couple of quick comments. I suspect that the only people that these door-knocking evangelists convince to come along to their church are people that are already god believers, but not regular churchgoers. All these evangelists do is boost or rekindle religious beliefs, feelings and desires that already exist, I doubt if they ever convert an informed disbeliever. Of course I've heard believers claim that they used be an atheist, but this is like me claiming I used to be a virgin. It wasn't a stance I rationally chose or fought to retain, and it wasn't at all difficult to convince me to give it up. These ex-atheists are no different, they were looking forward to losing their atheism, it was their destiny.

So how might we show them the truth? Mormon missionaries and other Christian evangelists all have a game plan, they've practiced it, they have opening questions, they have points they are going to raise to hopefully force you to reconsider your path through life. They are going to appeal to your emotions and will ignore or belittle the great benefits we have gained from science. Likewise they will ignore the great harm that religions have done and are still doing. If it is mentioned, then it is always the false religions that are committing the atrocities, never theirs. They will ignore all the contradictions and inconsistencies within their religion, and with the real world, and will instead focus on our unknown future and the suffering in this life and the promised paradise that awaits a chosen few. They will steer the discussion towards their god and your acceptance of said god.

But why let them control the conversion to a new worldview? Why don't we do the converting? Rather than meekly listening or simply dismissing them, why not go on the offensive?

Next time I'll try something like this: Look guys, if you're going to have any hope of getting your message across, this is the problem you face and must address. I see no evidence for gods or need for gods, by which I mean I see nothing in the world that has the stamp of a god on it, not even beautiful sunsets and smiling babies. Furthermore, everything in the world has or is likely to have a natural explanation. There is nothing for which we need a god or else it couldn't exist, not even the universe. Gods, like tooth fairies and gremlins, are clearly superfluous to our modern needs.

I see the world as being some 4.5 billion years old and the universe around 13.7 billion years old, both arising through natural processes. Likewise for life, arising through natural processes and evolving over billions of years. We are related to the apes and the cabbage, we are not special creations above the natural world, not playthings created to serve and worship some egotistical tyrant. I see no need for souls or evidence for them or for their survival after death. I can see no fingerprints of the gods on the world, with no evidence of any god being involved in its design or creation or interfering throughout its history. In fact, if intelligent design was involved, there are numerous examples that it was incompetent design. History has revealed to us that untold societies invented untold gods to explain their world and all have been shown to be fantasies, even yours.

Every Christian can clearly see that Islam is false, while every Muslim can clearly see that Christianity is false, and every Jew can clearly see that they are both false. Why can you all see clear flaws and falsehoods in each others beliefs but you can't see the same flaws in your own? Can you not grasp that the ancient Egyptians, Sumerians and Aztec were as equally certain that their gods were real as you now are with yours, and they were all wrong. Doesn't that worry you even slightly? Thousands of gods in whose name people killed and died for have been shown to be no more real than the Tooth Fairy. The odds are astronomically stacked against you that your god among thousands is real when none of the others were. Furthermore, this is not like a murder where we can logically conclude that there must be a murderer hiding somewhere. If there was no divine creation of the universe and life, there is need to look for a creator. It's not a question of finding the god responsible for everything, as numerous primitive societies have thought, since the very concept of gods has been shown to be silly and unnecessary.

And how do you explain the worrying problem that most devout religious believers in the Middle East clearly see an Islamic god at work, whereas those in India can only glimpse Hindu gods, and those in the Americas, try as they might, can only see the Christian God. Surely this indicates that the religious see what they want to see, see what their parents and community want them to see, or are you suggesting that different gods are at work in different countries, as it was in the past? Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims are all sincere and utterly convinced that their worldview is true and the others false. What reasons would you give that clearly show that, not only is your God real, but that the rest don't also exist alongside your god? And they have to be great reasons, reasons that I will completely change my life for, even down to alienating my family and friends. At the same time, they have to be reasons not to just pick your religion, but they must also convince me to reject all that the scientific worldview has told us about the universe. Simply saying that some invisible god loves me desperately and wants to be with me for all time (which in itself is quite creepy) and that science is wrong, are not good reasons, they are childish reasons. Plus all religions say this so I would still be at a loss as to which religion to pick. You're a little like a peddler trying to sell me some delicious chocolate ice cream, and to do so he must convince me that the different flavours of ice cream sold by all his competitors would not just taste terrible, different flavours don't even exist. They don't actually have any ice cream at all he says. There is only one flavour of ice cream, it is chocolate, and only he sells it. If I want my taste of paradise I must believe in him and reject the false hawkers of ice cream. He may be able to tempt me with a quick tasting, but how would he convince me that his rival purveyors have no real ice cream, and perhaps better flavours, when they insist that they do? Moving from ice cream back to religion, how do you convince me that yours is the only flavour, with the rest being just fakes? And of course you must show the scientific worldview to be false as well.

If suddenly I decided I needed a god to worship, from all the thousands of gods available, why should I choose yours? Why must yours be real when all the rest are so clearly false, and even you can see they are false. And please don't say I just need faith that yours is the one true god. There are about 10,000 distinct religions worldwide, and just talking Christianity, there are around 34,000 different sects and they all say that they are the one true faith. At most only one can be right. Likewise, don't say I just need to ask your god for acceptance and he will respond with love, since again they all say that, and god never does get back to his followers, not even his devout ones. Even Mother Teresa wrote (privately) that she became depressed and her faith wavered because she never received any response from her loving heavenly father and his son.

We need to keep them on topic, and not let them hide behind some irrelevant nonsense from their song sheet. Remind them that if they can't give good reasons why their faith is true but all the other faiths clearly aren't or why the universe needs a creator but their god doesn't, then they are wasting their time. Explain that atheism coupled with scientific evidence dismisses all gods, from Zeus to Jehovah, and that they must first convince you that gods are even plausible, before they can work their way up to their chosen god.

Of course this means you will need to do some reading beforehand on science, history and philosophy etc. Without a basic grounding in how the real world works and a familiarity with religious arguments, an uninformed atheist's argument concerning god's existence will be little better than this: Does not! Does too! Does not! ...

But even with informed arguments, will any of this sway the missionaries? Doubtful, but who knows, you may plant a seed that eventually germinates and down the track causes a believer to come out of his religious coma. It's certainly worth trying, and at the very least you'll feel that you stood your ground rather than meekly listening to their sermon. You'll make the missionaries aware that some atheists take our stance based on what we believe are strong arguments, we're not simply angry with their god or too apathetic to consider the god debate. Plus you'll make them a little hesitant to knock on another door, fearful that they might encounter another atheist that feels as strongly about god talk as they do.

Evangelists do get one thing right, the truth is not something we should keep hidden. When they approach you and want to discuss the universe, life and everything, it's your moral duty to set them straight. I guess I should look at producing some brochures that they can take away with them.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 26 Aug, 2013 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend
Blog

Comments:

  1. Comment by Phil, 26 Aug, 2013

    Atheist brochures! Brilliant, I would carry them with me.

  2. Comment by Mike, 26 Aug, 2013

    John, I get rid of them by asking a simple question. When was the last time a "miracle" limb was regrown by an act of god? To which the answer is: never.

  3. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 27 Aug, 2013

    It didn't work with my Mormon trio Mike. Somehow the topic of miracles came up, so I asked why miracles were a dime a dozen in ancient times, but then they mysteriously stopped. No more stars raining to Earth, no more seeing the Sun stopping in the sky, no more seas parting, no more men rising from the dead or walking on water. They explained that miracles are defined differently these days, that people surviving disasters, disease and accidents are what we now call miracles. I said, like a baby surviving a plane crash where 300 others are horribly killed? That's not a miracle, that's a question! Why did God slaughter 300 people and spare only one? Only the religious are stupid enough and desperate enough to describe someone recovering from a cold as a miracle. They exhibit an incredible lack of imagination when it comes to what their God can do. God is only powerful enough to save one passenger in a plane crash, not all of them, he can cure a bad limp but not a missing leg, he can put the face of Jesus on a piece of burnt toast but he can't do it twice. Religious believers across the board have demoted their gods to rather ineffectual gods. They've been forced to do this because no longer can their gods be seen interfering in the world to enforce their will, no laws of nature are clearly seen to be broken, nothing with a supernatural stamp on it ever happens anymore. And in reality, it never did, it was simply primitive, ignorant people not understanding how nature worked. Looking at a patient recovering in hospital and calling it a miracle is no different to me looking at a TV and going, Wow... magic!

  4. Comment by Mikaere, 27 Aug, 2013

    Hi John. It seems that every time I forget to lock the gate the Mormon radar locks on and I get a visit, often from an older missionary and a couple of young and attractive god-botherers. Part of me wants to engage in fiery debate but as their beliefs are several parsecs away from reason and logic, I usually just politely refuse and they disappear, leaving literature purporting to point me in the direction of eternal salvation.

    So, your idea of an atheist pamphlet is a great idea — something to swap with the evangelists, like exchanging business cards. Lots of pictures, bios of eminent non-believers (atheist of the year), something for the kids, a book review... and for the e-evangelist, how about a link to the incomparable Pat Condell?

    http://nz.search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A0oGkmgcyxtSwT8AcC7zZgx.?p=pat%20condell%20atheism&fr2=sb-top&fr=crmas&rd=r1

    Thank you for your great site.

  5. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 27 Aug, 2013

    Difficult as it might be for some readers to believe, I more often than not can't be bothered debating with the morons either, since I know I'm unlikely to get through. I always start by refusing their literature and clearly pointing out that I'm an atheist, but for some this is like a red rag to a bull. Sometimes I'm in a mischievous mood though and like a cat with a mouse, I play with them for a little while.

    Of course my mention of an atheist pamphlet was a joke, but you're right, they would be a fun thing to have to swap with theirs. I might have to think about that. But why wait, if you want some humorous pamphlets you can get some free ones here: Printable Anti-religious Pamphlets.

  6. Comment by Anonymous, 31 Oct, 2013

    Hi John. I'm one of those old people. 2 young Mormons came to my door and I talked to them and I said that they were only Mormons because their parents were Mormons. But no they told me the were allowed to grow up with their own minds. So I said OK if you were brought up with Hindu parents in a Hindu religion then would you still be a Mormon? Silence. Then I said why is the bible all about the middle east. When god ordered this guy for example to make his bread with his own dung (I'm being a little harsh here because he is a loving god and he eventually let this guy use animal dung), did he command these type of things to all the other people who were living at the same time say in China, South America etc? Why doesn't the bible talk about all the other (millions) of other people whom lived at the same time?
    Should I ask Ken Ham?

  7. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 01 Nov, 2013

    Ahhh, yes, all embarrassing questions for evangelists, which just highlights how narrow their knowledge of religion and the world is. They may have their own minds, but they haven't truly used them. As you say, most everyone is indoctrinated with their local religion, and it never seems to occur to them that perhaps they are wrong and some other belief system is the true history of the universe. Regarding the Bible's tale concerning God, Ezekiel and dung, as you'll know, most believers are completely unaware of all the many, many abhorrent and offensive acts that their god did or ordered his followers to do. This puts them at a huge disadvantage. I know if I was going around the world door-to-door, I would want to understand the arguments and beliefs of those who thought differently, even if I didn't believe them, since it would be those arguments that I would face every time I challenged a non-believer. I suspect that the only people that these evangelists convert are just lapsed believers and/or stupid people. It's hardly much of an achievement to fool a fool.

Ken Ring's warning in hindsight
As we predicted (yes, predicted, not suggested or opined), Ring has rushed to print in an attempt to hide his embarrassing failure to warn of the 6.6M earthquake centred near Seddon on Aug 16th. His latest article entitled 'Sun Moonquakes and Tide' is, as usual, pure pseudoscience, where Ring quotes scientific facts and research articles and wraps them in conspiracy theory and primitive astrological beliefs.

Picking up his crayons, Ring implies that he predicted the quake in his August newsletter, but it's easy in hindsight for Ring to regurgitate one of his vague statements or point to some physical event that Ring claims is an 'earthquake breeder'. Let's remember that, according to Ring, to determine earthquake risk days we now have to watch the Moon for high tide, low tide, mid-tide, kingtide, perigee, apogee, full moon, new moon, supermoon, and on top of that, watch for solar wind, sun spots, eclipses, perihelion, planet conjunctions and oppositions, planets changing direction, declinations, jetstreams, dumb animals acting strangely and astrologers telling us that when the Moon is 'travelling between one constellation (Zodiac sign) and another... during this time the moon is deemed to have no energising power'. (And yes you could argue that dumb animals acting strangely and astrologers are one and the same.) Of course it should be obvious that Ring with his huge list of physical events has tagged every single day of the year as a risk day for earthquakes. No matter where or when an earthquake happens, it will be on or near a tide of some sort, the planets will be at some angle to Earth and in some constellation, some dumb animal will have done something strange and the continuous solar wind will be, well, continuously striking Earth. Of course Ring didn't start out with such an embarrassingly huge list of contributing factors, years ago it was just the Moon and a couple of factors such as full moon and perigee. But as the timing of extreme weather, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and the stranding of whales continued to ignore Ring's factors he was forced to add more and more until he was confident that he had every day of the year covered.

That Ring can unashamedly push such a clearly stupid theory is testament to his stupidity, but that so many people accept his claims, defend him and willingly pay for his services is clearly worrying. Decades ago I had hoped that we humans would be exploring our Solar System by now, if not the stars, but the rise of ignoramuses is clearly impacting on our progress. With Ring and his ilk we see this willing retreat into primitive nonsense, of deriding science and imploring us to embrace ancient knowledge.

They see no problem or irony in using science to discredit science. Using the tools of science such as the Internet, satellites and telescopes and the data and evidence they produce they cherry pick scientific evidence to argue that scientific evidence clearly proves that scientific evidence is wrong. Ring claims that scientists, academics and universities are corrupt and ignorant of how the real world works. So-called scientific evidence can not be trusted, it is either badly flawed or completely wrong, and thus can't be used or relied on to make important decisions. And yet throughout Ring's articles he can be found quoting scientific facts and referring readers to scientific research, all in an attempt to show that scientists don't know what they're talking about, or as he says, they're 'making it up as they go along'. But if scientific facts and evidence can't be trusted, that means that the scientific facts and scientific research that Ring quotes to support his argument can't be trusted either. But Ring is a monumental hypocrite, he implicitly asserts that the scientists and the scientific evidence that he agrees with are clearly honest and factual, it's just the scientists and the scientific evidence that disagree with his astrological claims that are clearly corrupt and factually wrong. In reality Ring's animosity towards science doesn't extend to all of science, but only those scientists who disagree with him. Ring's hostility towards some scientists is not based on strength of evidence and rational argument, it is based solely on their refusal to kowtow to his unsupported claims.

If Ring understood that his arguments were illogical then he would seek evidence and data from those that he continually claims do understand the natural world to form the basis of his argument. So who would they be? Well they would be long dead astrologers. Ring has told us that 'astronomy's founding fathers (Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Benjamin Franklin, Laplace, Lamark, Sir Isaac Newton) were all astrologers... In fact astrology WAS science. Three hundred years ago even doctors had to be qualified astrologers...' We disagree that many of the scientists Ring names were astrologers, but regardless, it is clear that Ring believes we should be looking to astrologers to learn how the world works. Ring sees nothing wrong in even doctors being forced to accept astrology. Remember this is not about whether doctors were forced to use astrology years ago, but whether we now think it was correct to force doctors to use astrology. Ring believes it was since he believes astrology has validity. But rather than quote his beloved astrologers, either dead or alive, Ring is largely ignoring them, and instead seeks out scientists to learn about the Earth, Moon, Sun, planets and the universe. But let's recap, if scientists are wrong and astrologers are right, why does Ring continually quote scientists and not astrologers? Look through his recent article where he tells us about gravitational effects, electromagnetic fields, the Earth's inner core and 4.5 billion year age, the Sun's coronal holes and solar wind, lunar magnetic anomalies, the Earth's solar radiation shield and seismic magnitudes. These snippets are all sourced from science, the very science that his article is arguing that we shouldn't believe. Ring using science to discredit science is a little like a vegan pontificating on the evils of eating meat as he dines on a hamburger. People are fools not to see through his hypocrisy. Ring is in the difficult position of being enamoured with astrology but too embarrassed to admit it.

Ring starts his article by assuring us that 'No natural event is more frightening than an earthquake', which is a typical scam ploy that Ring uses often, making statements and passing them off as fact. As truly frightening as a severe earthquake can be, I guess Ken is ignorant of the likes of hurricanes, tornados, avalanches, forest fires, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, landslides, asteroid strikes and a surprise visit from the police. If he is familiar with these natural events, what research did he perform to determine that earthquakes are more frightening? Or is he, as usual, just making things up to scare people?

Describing the internal structure of the Earth, goes on to claim that:

'4.5 billion years ago celestial bodies formed the Earth of which NZ is a small part. The same celestial bodies are still shaping Earth and having impacts on each other. Celestial bodies are Sun and Moon, and whatever influences them, being planets. All planets have quakes, including the Sun'.
umm... wrong. Celestial bodies comprising the Sun, Moon and planets did not form the Earth, and are not still shaping the Earth today as Ring claims. This childish description almost smacks of intelligent design, but is no doubt just Ring's astrological beliefs influencing his views. The Sun and planets all formed at the same time, thanks to the proto-Sun's gravity, and the Moon did not form at the same time as the early Earth. These celestial bodies did not all get together in committee and decide to form the Earth. While today the Sun and Moon have a clear influence on the Earth, the planets have no direct noticeable effect on the Earth. They could disappear tomorrow and we wouldn't notice.

Note also how Ring gives himself away by claiming that 'All planets have quakes, including the Sun'. The Sun is not a planet Ken! This is not a mistake on Ring's part, astrologers have always referred to the Sun and Moon as planets, and they refuse to change their terminology. Following this claim that all 'planets' have quakes, Ring refers readers to a 'Wikipedia article on quakes. Here Ring implies that this article proves that earthquakes occur on all celestial bodies, although it does nothing of the sort. The article is talking about quakes, that is, seismic or shaking events, not just earthquakes. It completely contradicts Ring's assertion that the Moon causes earthquakes, or that the Sun's gravity causes quakes on the planets. The article states that 'An earthquake is caused by tectonic plates', which Ring denies. It goes on to describe briefly what is thought to cause quakes on the Sun, Moon, planets and neutron stars. Almost none of these involve plate tectonics or tidal forces from a another body (Ring's hypothesis). Ring either doesn't understand what the article discusses, or hopes that readers won't bother reading it, and that they will simply assume that it supports his case. It was the same with Ring's opening paragraph where he describes the Earth's crust, mantle and inner core, it's just scientific sounding factoids that Ring hopes will impress his readers, since he makes no mention of how the structure of the Earth supports his argument.

Ring writes that:

'Earthquakes in Seddon do not just arise underneath Cook Strait.. There are tides in the "solid" crust, displacements of up to 20cms, which like any other tides are governed by the celestial bodies. The whole country rises and falls daily. This is an important clue in what is the timing mechanism of earthquakes'.
Firstly, Ring is again talking astrology when he claims that the 'tides are governed by the celestial bodies'. The Sun and the Moon govern our tides, but Ring believes that all the planets and even the stars are involved and their influence must be taken into account, which is why he says such silly things as: 'Pluto is over the North Island'. In his article he makes mention of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus and their influence on Earth, which is an imaginary astrological influence, not a real astronomical influence. But even sillier, he claims that 'Earthquakes in Seddon do not just arise underneath Cook Strait.. The whole country rises and falls daily'. But if this were true, that earthquakes arise because the whole country rises and falls daily, then the entire country should have felt the quake, and we should feel them every day. Ring's view is that quakes are not due to moving tectonic plates. This is apparently the important clue we should notice, that a daily land tide should create daily earthquakes everywhere. He goes on to state that 'Nature warns in advance when a big quake is due to strike. In NZ anyone with a barometer will have noticed there was a gradual drop over the 24 hours... Sudden drops always herald the larger earthquakes...' So as he says, anyone in NZ with a barometer should have been warned of a pending large quake, but why did this quake only strike barometer owners in the Seddon region? Everyone else in NZ will have concluded that their barometers are faulty, since no quake happened in their region. Note that he also says that a 'gradual drop' happened and yet it is 'sudden drops' that signal quakes. Clearly gradual drops and sudden drops are quite different things, so a gradual drop shouldn't have given barometer owners cause for concern. And surely it's obvious to even the most foolish of Ring's followers that if a drop to low air pressure (which happens frequently) signalled large quakes then we should be swamped with them. And written in red, the word EARTHQUAKE would feature on the dial of all good barometers.

Next Ring tells us about the state of sunspots and that 'The solar wind is expected to reach Earth this weekend'. Only Ring would attempt to point the finger at something that has yet to happen for an earthquake that has already happened. But of course, to make things worse for Ring's argument, if increased sunspots and solar wind did cause large quakes, then whatever effect Ring believes the solar wind might have should impact on the entire country. Why would the solar wind have a grudge against just Seddon? Ring is continually telling us that the Moon's gravity, the land tide, Pluto's influence, solar influence and untold other celestial influences are affecting the whole country, but can't explain why this celestial influence isn't then felt over the whole country. In fact Ring goes on to (erroneously) explain how the Moon allows the solar wind to interact with the whole Earth, and cause earthquakes over the whole Earth. But clearly these worldwide earthquakes don't happen, not even NZ-wide. In his explanation he tells us that:

'When the Moon comes close to earth (perigee) it weakens the solar radiation shield which allows through the solar wind, which then intereacts with Earth. This causes earthquakes to result on earth. Lunar magnetic anomalies have strong influence on the solar wind flow'.
To justify this claim Ring refers readers to a very technical research article about the solar wind and lunar magnetic anomalies, which I don't believe makes any mention of the Moon weakening the Earth's 'solar radiation shield'. As with a previous link, Ring either doesn't understand what the article discusses, or hopes that readers won't bother reading it, and that they will simply assume that it supports his case. I suspect both. Ring knows most of his followers will never read his links, they trust him, and his previous claims and this one further into the article about 'the positioning of planets that exert gravitational effects on our electromagnetic field' clearly demonstrate that he is woefully ignorant of science. Of course this is no surprise, as Ring recently said that anyone who wants to grasp his astrological nonsense 'needs to shed all affilitations to modern science, as it will only obfuscate and confuse'. With the clearly proven success of modern science, we find it utterly confounding that Ring openly rejects its findings and his followers agree with him.

Of course you may find this confident talk from Ring that the Sun's coronal holes and solar wind affects the Earth's solar radiation shield and that the planets exert gravitational effects on our electromagnetic field and cause earthquakes all rather confusing. I don't mean confusing in the sense that he gives no explanation as to how this might happen and that what he does say doesn't make scientific sense. I mean confusing in that for years Ring has been insisting that it is the position of the Moon that causes earthquakes (and our weather). He has been arguing incessantly that it is the Moon's gravity that creates a land tide (and air tide) on the Earth that triggers quakes (and our weather). But confusingly in this article he has ignored the Moon's gravity and now insists that 'the solar wind... intereacts with Earth. This causes earthquakes to result on earth'. And lest you think that perhaps Ring has just communicated his view poorly, in another article Ring wrote that 'The solar wind... may be responsible for all forms of extreme weather, including earthquakes and volcanoes'. So are earthquakes, and our weather, caused by the solar wind or the Moon? Why does Ring flip-flop as to the cause? It's quite simple really. More often than not, earthquakes, extreme weather and volcanic eruptions happen, embarrassingly for Ring, when the Moon is off doing other things. So Ring needs to find another suspect that he can point his bony finger at. And what could be better than the solar wind, something that is impacting the entire Earth continuously and is invisible. No matter what happens, where it happens or when it happens, Ring can confidently blame the solar wind as the culprit. Of course the Moon is still his favourite, he'll still blame it first if it happens to be about, but if not, the solar wind is the perfect scapegoat. Adding the solar wind to his pseudoscience means Ring always has an excuse ready when people ask why something happened when the Moon was elsewhere. A good scammer should always have a ready answer to calm his clients.

Talking about the Christchurch earthquakes, Ring then states, as if it had some connection, that 'Moonquakes are over 700kms below the surface and are tidal in origin', and refers us again to the Wikipedia article. Of course if you read that article, which Ring hopes you won't, you'll learn that 'there are at least four different kinds of moonquakes', only one of which is 'probably tidal in origin'. Ring implied that there was only one type of moonquake and it was definitely tidal in origin. Also what the article didn't mention and Ring probably doesn't understand is that the effect of tidal forces on the Moon is much greater than on Earth, and thus their potential to cause quakes much greater also. Even so, the article notes that moonquakes that are 'probably tidal in origin' tend to be mild. He also links to an article which looks at shallow moonquakes which aren't tidal in origin at all, so don't support his argument, but he deviously pretends that they do.

To show how utterly unreliable Ring's predictions are, he states that 'We should stay on alert until the weekend has passed', but then in the very same paragraph he states that 'we should regard Monday as a definite day to take caution'. He can't even keep his bullshit consistent in the same paragraph, although maybe in Ringworld Monday is part of the weekend.

He then goes on to condemn Wellington for hogging the media limelight, promising them that their time for true terror, destruction and fatalities will reach them soon enough:

'Wellington has claimed this earthquake series as its own, but the epicentre is nowhere near Wellington. Wellington will get its turn to be in the limelight... Wellington may be safe for now, but equally the lower North Island may become more at risk in a couple of years time. The lesson is the need to prepare now, both structurally and emotionally'.
Ring claims that 'Media reports of terrified people fleeing Wellington were untrue and sensationalised', that they spent the earthquake 'calmly window shopping' and any sense of fear and unease was invented by 'frenzied TV reporters'. Obviously Ring wasn't there and hasn't spoken to anyone that was. You don't need a building to fall on you to be terrified in a 6.6M earthquake.

So Wellingtonians, you've been chastised and duly warned by the Moon-Man. It's going to happen, the Moon has your number so you better get ready, or perhaps move south, since according to Ring there 'has been a northward shift of seismic stress... It means Christchurch is now relatively safe... The Alpine Fault is not in danger, nor is there any tsunami risk'. And you can then say you live on the Mainland too.

And evidently we should trust him. According to Ring it is to him that the public should be looking for earthquake advice, since he confidently informs us that 'media or official announcements could be misplaced and/or uninformed. Both seem to be making it up as they go along'. So there you have it, if you hear official announcements through the media or your tsunami or civil defence siren sounding, you can probably safely ignore them. Wait until you get home and send off an email to Ken to see if there is anything you should be worried about coming up. Ring once again criticises 'Dr Kelvin Berryman, head of GNS', even though he has been told by innumerable people that Kelvin Berryman is not the head of GNS, he is the Director of the Natural Hazards Research Platform and Principal Scientist at GNS Science. Of course Ring is totally incompetent at getting his facts straight, no matter how many times he is corrected, but in this case, like religious nutters, I suspect it suits Ring's purpose to keep telling the same lies.

And of course to accuse scientists like Berryman of 'making it up as they go along' and that their 'official announcements could be misplaced and/or uninformed' is totally unfounded, but not unexpected from someone mired in primitive superstition woven around an ex-clown's understanding of science. Couple this ignorance with a desperate need to fund his lifestyle by hawking his weather and earthquake predictions and assorted books such as 'Pawmistry: How to Read Your Cat's Paws', then of course what else would Ring say but that we should 'shed all affilitations to modern science'.

Ring then goes on invent a conspiracy by GNS, claiming that 'the earthquake seems to have begun as a 6.8mag, got downgraded to a 6.2mag, then allowed up again to 6.6mag. Is it because a 6.8mag might be classed as scaremongering?' Ring seems to think that measuring the magnitude of an earthquake is as simple, quick and accurate as measuring the height of a fence. But this aside, just look at how stupid his argument is. Why would the public panic if they heard that the earthquake they had already experienced was of 6.8 magnitude? GNS are not scaring people by saying what might happen in the future, they're simply putting a number on what people have already lived through. And really, most of the public have no idea what the difference is in energy released and shaking involved between 6.6 and 6.8M. And even the few that do would never suggest that you should flee screaming in a 6.8M quake but nonchalantly ignore a 6.6M quake. Ring displays his ignorance and naivety if he truly believes his nonsense argument reveals a conspiracy. So is Ring stupid, or does he just hope his followers are?

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 19 Aug, 2013 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend
Blog

Comments:

  1. Comment by Rob, 19 Aug, 2013

    Let's say Ken is right.
    How does this help anybody?
    It doesn't.
    Ken's ability to have a window of possibility that covers every day of the month does nothing.

    As a former maths teacher, he also needs to label his charts and graphs, because that's basic maths. He would fail presenting graphs like that in any class with no legend or key. The other role he needs to improve on, is imparting information in a meaningful way that the general public can understand. It's the mark of a charlatan that uses vague wording and strange looking charts without providing explanation to people who won't be experts in the field. In fact, the quality of his last few pieces have been that poorly written, I wonder whether Ken has assigned a junior staffer to write his pieces, because they have been going downhill.

    I also think his obsession with Kelvin Berryman being the head of GNS, which as you point out he is not (look up the GNS website Ken!!! idiot!!) comes from the same synapses in his brain that thinks you run the sillybeliefs website to sell ethics and the occasional forecast. ... (

    Life is to short for this balloon animal clown to be taken seriously.

  2. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 20 Aug, 2013

    Really Rob, you think Ring's recent articles are poorly written and going downhill? In the past Ring used to purloin a lot of his more sensible sounding passages, especially those concerning science, so that might have made them appear slightly more reasonable. But that aside, I've always found Ring's articles poorly researched, poorly thought out and poorly presented. Unless his junior staffer is a chimp on mind-altering drugs, I doubt if Ring could find someone to make a bigger hash of his weather and quake proclamations than he does. I also think that once people have read a few of Ring's articles and actually consider what he is claiming, and realise how often he contradicts himself, lies and misrepresents science, then suddenly his arguments seem childish, when of course they were all along. That's why pseudoscience survives, a superficial reading seems plausible, but a closer look and a little knowledge soon reveals the rot. And once the veil is lifted, pretty much everything Ring claims in future articles immediately has a whiff of nonsense.

    The only way Ring could write intelligent articles would be to carefully research his hypothesis and present logical arguments supported by clear evidence that is backed by science and reason. Unfortunately, all this is beyond him. Science seeks the truth, scams seek profit.

  3. Comment by Jamie, 20 Aug, 2013

    Hi John, congratulations on your successful prediction! I too was waiting with anticipation for Ken's usual after-the-fact bullshit babble.

    I noticed this time he's pointing to an air pressure drop as a warning signal of impending doom. Whereas in his July article, it was the opposite. "an air pressure rise is a sign to start an earthquake watch. A sudden rise occurred from the 15th - 16th, with a maintained high value until the 20th".

    So which is it? Air pressure drop — run for the hills! Air pressure rise — hang on to your hats! I'm sure next time it will be somewhere in between.

    I noticed on his earthquake timings chart for August, the 16th is one of only a handful of days for the entire month that he doesn't have some sort of "earthquake breeder" event noted. And yet he's posted the chart on his article as some sort of proof of his methods? How stupid does he think we are?

    After scrolling down the article past the ASTROLOGY software screenshots of New Zealand covered with pretty coloured lines, the purpose of which escapes me, we see some images taken from the website "Solar system scope". I'm not sure exactly what he's trying to demonstrate on these images, but I'm guessing some sort of planetary alignment thing? Anyway, the trouble is he hasn't set the display to scale. It's set to the default setting of around 40% to scale. Here's a good explanation of what happens when so-called "alignments" are displayed on Solar system scope not to scale: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXwEpDpthGg

    I think Ken needs to put his clown shoes back on and go back to his day-job.

  4. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 20 Aug, 2013

    Hi Jamie. Well spotted with Ring's conflicting claim that both an air pressure drop and an air pressure rise is a warning signal for quakes. This is typical Ring and typical scamming, saying whatever nonsense pops into his head and hoping that no one will notice. He'll probably be claiming soon that whenever oxygen or nitrogen is detected in the atmosphere, then it's a clear sign to expect some upcoming weather.

    As for that planetary alignment thing, morons have often predicted doom when astronomers speak of some alignment, but of course nothing ever happens. Only these morons and astrologers believe that distant planets can have an impact on events on Earth. It hard to battle ignorance, since it's so much easier to be ignorant than knowledgable.

  5. Comment by Ken Ring, 20 Aug, 2013

    My goodness, what a nonsense raver you are!

    I AM allowed to give opinions, they don't harm anyone. No one is forced to read them.

    I don't write for your eyes, nor anyone who has no other life other than to knock the work of others 24/7 as this website does. I put out articles on my OWN website to answer all the questioning emails people send me. By referring to an article that contains answers to the same questions I am continually presented with I can then get on with other work.

    Contrary to what you claim I have never made a single cent from earthquakes, unlike the thousands of others in the community: media, assessors, admin leaders, geologists, insurance spokespeople, authors, politicians, etc, whose profiteering motives I notice you don't question at all. I keep avoiding interviews for instance for the recent Sunday papers and TV (three requests last weekend) re Seddon, lest people think I am raising my profile by agreeing to appear in print or on screen on the back of a calamity.

    I am also not an astrologer, have never done a horoscope for anyone in my life, yet nor do I decry astrologers if that is their choice of paths. I am a scientist, university trained, with credentials that include a Queen's award. Yet you continue to raise the astrology flag, simply because I describe planets, sun and moon. You should really learn some basic science.

    My initial interest in seismic events was because as a longrange forecaster I am obliged to address the subject when it concerns folk in affected zones and has such strong links to lunar dynamics and the same tidal gravitational implications as I use for longrange weather predictions . When the Christchurch and Seddon shake clusters came along I wrote about them on my own website and tweets. I do not own radio stations, TV channels or newspapers. What the media do when they read my articles is not my responsibility.

    I have 9000 members in my free newsletter list, which anyone can register for here

    http://www.predictweather.co.nz/Register.aspx

    and on which I give my earthquake views. The newsletter came about due to so many private requests. I do not shy away from requests for information if I feel the information will be useful to worried folk who look in vain to the "experts" and in return only receive taxpayer funded high-salaried shoulder shrugging.

    One day perhaps the hidden gang who put out this hate-speech website may realise that people who visit my website and newsletters do so by their own choice. They are intelligent people and come from all walks of life. Telling them they have a silly belief is insulting their intelligence.

    It is perhaps not part of an intolerant world of censorship and suppression reminiscent of the Stalinist years, but actually we do all have the freedom to make informed choices about what we think, read and buy.

  6. Comment by Mike, 20 Aug, 2013

    I'd like to point out to Ken that when I laugh at his efforts I am indeed using my "freedom to make informed choices about what we think, read and buy".

    Moreover no-one is actually stopping him from doing anything — pointing out an idiot does not stop the idiot being an idiot.

  7. Comment by Brian, 20 Aug, 2013

    If Ken really was serious about answering questions ("I put out articles on my OWN website to answer all the questioning emails people send me.") he'd direct queries to people who actually have some knowledge...

  8. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 21 Aug, 2013

    Ken, you state that 'I AM allowed to give opinions, they don't harm anyone... I don't write for your eyes...' (blah, blah, blah). You write for the public Ken, and much to your consternation, we are part of the public, ergo you write for us. You are indeed allowed to give opinions, as are we, again, much to your consternation. And while your opinions may not do direct physical harm, they do harm nonetheless. By deluding people you commit intellectual harm, by selling nonsense you commit financial harm, and by unjustifiably scaring people you commit emotional harm. It's also true that no one is forcing us to read your opinions, just as no one is forcing you to read ours, but like a good cleansing enema, reading and critiquing your opinions just feels so good. As for your tiresome insults concerning intolerance, censorship, suppression and Stalin, you really do struggle with the concept of free speech don't you?

    One of your hobbies is to critique those who write about climate change, you've even travelled the country to do so, well ours is to critique those who have silly beliefs. And anyone who believes that dolphins beam sonar signals to the Moon, that humans lived alongside the dinosaurs, that we can determine the destiny of cats by reading their paws and that 'the ancient astrological energy grid of the constellations' creates our weather and strands whales qualifies as someone with many silly beliefs. Just like you, we also get questioning emails and writing an article saves having to repeat the same answers and allows us more time to annoy religious nutters.

    What nonsense it is to claim that those people in your list are profiteering from earthquakes. This is as obscene as saying that surgeons and paramedics profit from road accidents and undertakers profit from suicide and murder. Do you really think insurance companies and politicians want earthquakes to happen? That's when they loose money! And yes an author might profit from the public's interest in reading about earthquakes and their causes, but then aren't you an author writing about earthquakes and their causes Ken? So by your own logic, you are profiteering from earthquakes. You may not be selling earthquake predictions, but you say that people desperately want to know your opinion on earthquakes. You continually tell people that our debunking of your claims sends new clients to your website and your business. You clearly believe that your 'free' earthquake opinions and our 'bullying' criticism both serve to boost sales for your business. Just as companies sponsor an endangered species, a race car or some sporting event, and never make a cent directly from this, they nevertheless indirectly expect a good return from the public exposure. Your free earthquake opinions are no different, indirectly raising your profile and exposing people to your products that aren't free. You can't be very business savvy if you don't realise this Ken.

    Furthermore, we have no problem with people making money 'from earthquakes', such as seismologists doing research or engineers strengthening buildings or even insurance companies providing cover. All these people are providing a public good. But we have a huge problem with people such as yourself promising bogus advice and false security based on nothing more than a primitive superstition. We have no problem with advice from the likes of seismologists, since their predictions are evidence-based, free and they are more than happy to explain exactly how they believe earthquakes occur. And we don't care if your earthquake advice is free too. The silly evangelists that knock on my door offer free advice too, but I still tell them they're talking nonsense. Only you are concerned about the money Ken.

    Regarding your earthquake predictions, you claim that 'as a longrange forecaster I am obliged to address the subject', but because you 'do not own radio stations, TV channels or newspapers' you are forced to use your 'own website and tweets' to inform concerned folk in affected zones. You claim that 'I do not shy away from requests for information if I feel the information will be useful to worried folk who look in vain to the "experts". And yet when you are repeatedly invited to share your views with a wider audience you say that you deliberately 'keep avoiding interviews'. If you feel so obliged to inform, to allay fears, then why are you are refusing interviews? This is another clear example of you with your hand on your heart expressing conflicting sentiments, and why we never know when you are telling the truth.

    You now again say that earthquakes are linked to 'lunar dynamics and the same tidal gravitational implications as I use for longrange weather predictions', and yet in your most recent article you claimed that the solar wind causes earthquakes. Yet another example of you telling conflicting stories, but as far as we can see, neither lunar gravity nor the solar wind cause major earthquakes or extreme weather, and you are unable to provide scientific evidence to the contrary.

    You offend us by claiming that our difference of opinion is 'hate-speech'. When you bleat on about the falsity of climate change to its proponents, do you see yourself as spouting hate-speech and insulting the intelligence of those who think differently? Of course not. When you express an opinion you see it as a public service, but when we do likewise you label it hate-speech. You're not a fan of equal rights are you Ken? And of course we realise that people visit your website of their own choice, just as people freely send money to Nigerian bank scammers, join the Church of Scientology, visit Reiki therapists and follow their daily horoscope, but free choice does not imply intelligent choice. And frankly Ken, calmly and rationally pointing out the flaws in someone's silly belief is not an attempt to insult their intelligence, it's an attempt to help them recognise an error and correct it. Seeing the world as it really is, rather than as we would like it to be, is a positive thing we believe.

    You wrote:

    'I am also not an astrologer, have never done a horoscope for anyone in my life, yet nor do I decry astrologers if that is their choice of paths. I am a scientist, university trained, with credentials that include a Queen's award. Yet you continue to raise the astrology flag, simply because I describe planets, sun and moon. You should really learn some basic science.'
    Firstly, you are not a scientist Ken, anymore than the Queen is or any of her corgis. I know you've said that Scientologists and dogs are scientists, but this just shows that you have no idea what it takes to be a real scientist. You are also not university trained either Ken, you failed your time at university remember? 'University trained' implies successfully completing a university qualification, and you didn't. Attempting something and failing at it does not grant you the right to claim that your training was successful. Furthermore, you have told conflicting stories of how long you spent at university and what subjects you attempted, and failed at. And even a real university qualification would be worthless if it was in the likes of medieval poetry. You have recently admitted on the Irish Internet forum that you have NO relevant qualifications applicable to the business you now run, so your time at university is irrelevant and misleading, as is your Queen's Award which again has nothing to do with your prediction business. It is dishonest, immoral and possibly even criminal to continually misrepresent yourself as a university trained scientist.

    Secondly, we continue to raise the astrology flag because you continually imply that you are following primitive astrology. You continue to insist (erroneously) that Isaac Newton was an astrologer, even though he never did a horoscope for anyone either. If he was an astrologer, then by your logic so are you. You have repeatedly implied that you are an astrologer, you use astrology software and you insist we should all follow astrological principles. And yes, you do describe the planets, Astrology sun and moon, but you deliberately use astrological rather than astronomical descriptions. Just look at the worthless maps you used in your article, covered with meaningless astrological symbols (as our enlargement shows). And why do you advise us to 'learn some basic science', when you recently told your readers that the public 'needs to shed all affilitations to modern science, as it will only obfuscate and confuse'? Who but an astrologer (or witch or religious fundamentalist) would say such a thing? Your inability to remember what you say and write from one day to the next exposes you as being utterly untrustworthy. But taking your writing as a whole, it is perfectly clear where your allegiance lies, and it is with astrology and nonsense, not astronomy and science. You need to come out of the closet Ken.

    And of course you don't 'decry astrologers if that is their choice of paths'. You refuse to rubbish or criticise astrology, not because you believe people should be able to believe what they want, silly or not, but because you are a closet astrology believer. You openly decry Christians, meteorologists and climate change scientists, you have no concern whatsoever for 'their choice of paths'. Your willingness to decry Christians and not astrologers demonstrates your sympathy with astrology.

    You claim that you 'do not shy away from requests for information if I feel the information will be useful to worried folk', and yet you most definitely ignore requests for information from anyone who isn't a Ring groupie. Is it that worried folk don't ask inquiring questions? You claim that you have the explanations and the evidence that will eventually see your method accepted worldwide and yet you consistently refuse to take the steps that might see this happen. You instead reach out to the worried who will no doubt in their panic overlook the many flaws in your information. It's a sign of someone with something to hide.

    Answer us this Ken. We point out what we believe are the many errors in your articles, but in your replies to us you never challenge our assertions. You never attempt, beyond childish outbursts such as 'what a nonsense raver you are!', to show that we were mistaken and that you were right all along. We take from your silence that you have no answers, that you accept that you have been exposed pushing untruths and must leave it at that. When we say that your claims A, B and C are false, you simply raise a new claim, D. When we debunk that you simply invent claim E or move back to A. Why can't you, why won't you defend your method?

  9. Comment by Jamie, 21 Aug, 2013

    haha, Ken says "I am also not an astrologer, have never done a horoscope for anyone in my life" — I guess Tiddles doesn't count as "anyone"?

  10. Comment by Rob, 21 Aug, 2013

    I think as long as Ken makes basic mistakes like calling Kelvin Berryman the head of GNS, we can also label Ken an Astrologer and fool...

    One of these claims is provable to be true, and one of these claims is provable to be false...

    Yet Ken continuously gets them around the wrong way.

    Reminds me of a story told about former US president Lyndon Johnson. The story goes that he decided to accuse his high-riding opponent (a pig farmer) of having routine carnal knowledge of his barnyard sows, despite the pleas of his wife and children. His campaign manager was shocked. 'We can't say that, Lyndon,' he said. 'It's not true.' 'Of course it's not,' Johnson barked at him, 'but let's make the bastard deny it.'

    I am glad Ken is turning down the interviews, this is great because a lack of presence in the media of the charlatan talking nonsense, is a step in the right direction. Congrats go out to the man for this decision.

    But this website is not for him, the way you run it covers issues with robust rebuttals and evidence and science. Something Ken is yet to show any traits of, either on his website, other forums on the internet, or in the comment section you have open for his rebuttal.

    One day perhaps the fool who obtains money by providing inaccurate opinions, may realise the people who visit your website and want to read about the frauds and silly beliefs in NZ of which Ken is just one tiny portion, do so by their own choice.

    Seems like someone wants to shut down discussion of opposing viewpoints!!...

    I hope you keep this site going, and don't listen to Ken, because if sillybeliefs wasn't here, where would I buy my ethics and occasional forecasts from?

  11. Comment by Zafir, 23 Aug, 2013

    Hi there, I check in on your site most days. Generally you do good work; you encourage critical thinking and rational decision making.
    But...
    This Moon Man thing is getting a little tiring.
    I know what it is to be obsessive about a subject (mine is climate change data) and I have noticed that it bores the hell out of people around me.

    If you want to get a point out there you have to think about your audience. You seem to be preaching to the converted or ridiculing the wilfully ignorant.

    Try the "let’s look at the evidence , regardless of where it points approach." This is how I turned against Christianity. I used to pray "I want to know the truth, regardless of what it turns out to be."

    "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." KJV John 8:32
    Ken is pretty clueless or a conman.

    If you want to convince the undecided try changing your approach.

    Ken quoted this, data showed this.

    On the whole, good work, keep on track.

  12. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 24 Aug, 2013

    Hi Zafir, thanks for your comments. I quite agree, continually reading of Ring's errors could be viewed as tiresome. But that said, we get far more comments regarding Ken Ring than any other topic we've looked at, and many have said that they became skeptical of Ring's claim when they read how ill-informed he is about science, how he insults and intimidates his critics in an attempt to silence them, and how he blatantly lies to hide his forecast failures.

    You suggest we should try the 'look at the evidence , regardless of where it points approach', that we should reveal that 'Ken quoted this, data showed this'. We believe we already are trying to get people to look at the evidence that shows, as you say, 'Ken is pretty clueless or a conman'. Take his Yahoo! articles, he writes these to increase his profile, which he hopes will boost his sales. Likewise, he doesn't send out 9,000 free newsletters each month just for the fun of it. We take Ring's quotes from these and show how real world data exposes them as lies and nonsense. For example, here are some claims that Ring has quoted in his many articles and books:

    Dolphins beam sonar signals to the Moon
    Isaac Newton was an astrologer
    Humans lived alongside the dinosaurs
    The planets exert gravitational effects on our electromagnetic field
    The moon does not rotate
    Our next-door star-neighbour, Alpha Centauri, is in Andromeda
    Stars are a bunch of rocks millions of miles away
    The solar wind is electromagnetic energy
    By definition an opinion, just like a feeling, cannot be wrong
    All these claims are indeed wrong. Very, very wrong. This evidence that Ring pushes falsehoods should point people to the conclusion that he is clueless or a conman.

    Perhaps you are suggesting we should print more of Ring's weather quotes and what real world data shows. The problem with Ring's Almanac is that it's usually too vague to be useful. For NZ, its brief daily predictions are only given for four cities, everywhere else is guesswork. No matter what the weather does in these other places, Ring can argue that it matches his prediction, since essentially his predictions say: it might be fine, it might not be. Even if his prediction for Auckland mentions rain and it's fine, Ring will claim that he was only talking about the potential for rain, and that he's only 80-85% accurate. Occasionally Ring does make more concise predictions, saying that it will be a severely cold winter for example, and it's clearly not, or that a weekend will see hot, dry weather and instead we get heavy rain and floods. Regarding this wild diversion between forecast and reality, we have highlighted some of Ring's more blatant failures, eg:

    Ring's Almanac failed to predict the Oct 2005 Gisborne floods.
    Ring's Almanac failed to predict the Sep 2005 cold snap in Southland and Canterbury.
    Ring's Almanac failed to predict the Jun 2006 Canterbury snow.
    Ring's Almanac predicted a cyclone Bola strength storm would hit the N.I. in 2006. This prediction failed.
    Ring's Almanac failed to predict the Apr 2010 Southland, Central Otago floods.
    We could quote Ring's daily forecasts and the resultant reality, eg:
    Jan 4th: Fine over much of the country. WRONG! North Island & upper South Island wet.
    Jan 5th: Mostly fine and very warm in most places for at least the next 3 days. WRONG! North Island wet. Temps cool.
    Jan 6th: Mostly fine in N Is. WRONG! Most of North Island still wet.
    But I'm sure you'd agree that this would also quickly get tiresome. And when you look at every location in the whole country, which we can't do, by dumb luck alone Ring will sometimes get forecasts correct. It's more fruitful I believe to show that Ring's method and his understanding of it is bogus than debate each forecast with him. It's a little like arguing that mediums can't communicate with the dead. It makes better sense to show that the very concept is nonsense rather than demonstrating that every single medium is a fraud, one after another, which of course will never end.

    We're of the opinion that once people realise that Ring is a fool and a liar, then they will be unlikely to believe he can predict the weather and earthquakes. For example, in his last email we've again exposed Ring lying about being a university trained scientist. We've found that followers of Ring who only look occasionally at his weather forecasts or who hear of his weather and quake prediction 'successes' from the media tend to believe he is accurate because 1) they only hear what Ring wants them to hear and 2) they ignore forecast failures because even Ring tells them that he won't always be right. Ring's supporters tend to have a very superficial understanding of Ring's method and underlying claims. It's only when they look deeper and behind the façade that they begin to doubt that someone could be so wrong about the science of how the world works and yet still make accurate predictions.

    And as tiresome as hearing of Ring's latest embarrassing errors might be for some, we are compelled to maintain at least a token criticism since there is nothing Ring would like more than for us to tire of exposing his nonsense. He has begged us to do so, and threatened us with legal action. And if I were as paranoid as Ring, I might even suspect that you are actually Ring, and this is all a devious ploy to silence us. As I've said, Ring uses the likes of Yahoo! to promote his profile, and if skeptics like us went back to ignoring him, as it was a number of years ago, then Ring would be ecstatic and his following would only increase. Our articles are there when people need somewhere to look when they become suspicious of Ring.

    You mention your obsession over a certain a subject boring people around you, and I certainly recognise this flaw that we might all have. But luckily I almost never mention Ring (or gods and psychics) in real social situations where friends and associates might have to sit through another rant. If it's not sport or reality TV, most people don't care what I'm interested in. That's the advantage with the Internet, people only read articles that interest them and ignore those that don't. I'm far more interested in the likes of atheism and science than I am Ken Ring. I've worn a 'Born Again Atheist' button for years now, and while many people have commented in passing that they love it, I'm hard pressed to remember anyone (except door-knocking evangelists) wanting to have a discussion about why I wear it or why I'm an atheist. No one ever gives me the chance to bore them, although I do remember a Muslim associate asking me a few years ago: 'So you don't believe God exists?'. No, I replied. He then walked away. Evidently it only took one word to bore him.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your philosophy: 'I want to know the truth, regardless of what it turns out to be'. I wish more people would not only think this way, but would actually look for the truth, not wait for it to come to them during an ad break.

  13. Comment by Ron, 24 Aug, 2013

    Well, here we go again!!! What an arrogant cheek Ken has to call you a nonsense raver, that from the King of non sense himself. Your writings are amazing and to use an oft used statement; keep up the good work. PLEASE.

    Some more of KR's nonsense. In his Aug. newsletter again he singles out 2 areas, Darfield and Hanmer as being drier in an otherwise wetter Canterbury. Ken, these 2 places are small. Hanmer in the mountains has a different climate to CH.CH. but Darfield?? It sits in the Canty plains 20 mins from Christchurch. How in Hades can it be drier than CH or other places nearby? Where is an ounce of credibility in this statement.

    Ken, how dare you say "the alpine fault is not in danger". How do you know? Are you some sort of God? The top GNS scientists have all said they would not be surprised if it ruptured tomorrow. But even they don't really know, no-one does, except you, it seems. By the way, kindly cease saying about that fault blowing. Volcanoes blow, not faults.

    Ring's predictions re. a UK heatwave starting Aug.8 did not happen, nor did a Chicago heatwave last week of July. In both instances rainy conditions dominated those periods.

    Ken repeatedly says no-one is forced to read his writings and the opinions word crops up ad nauseum. I think this is a cop-out. Of course he expects people to read them, he believes in everything he writes, right? And people who find or target his writings will likely read them in the hope of learning something and educating themselves. Plus I'm heartily sick of this "I sell opinions" nonsense. Another mighty cop out. Who the hell sells nonsensical "opinions" and who buys non-sense opinions in this day and age. Really.

    In claiming success re. the 6.6 Seddon quake Ken goes on about "is it global" citing quakes in Russia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, etc. The fact is on any given day worldwide nearly 3000 earthquakes occur. 275 of these are easily felt by humans at various magnitudes. And as for Indonesia daily quakes are par for the course. Ken has been consistently exposed and laid bare on this site umpteen times but still continues and worsening. Like other scamsters exposed in the past why has he not done the decent thing, admit his failings, sling his hook and quietly move to a more honest business or retirement. Instead, he continues to refuse to answer very many perfectly intelligent sensible questions from John and insteads hurls regular illogical insults. I'm still waiting for answers to questions in my late July response to him on this site re. why his July forecasts were almost 100% wrong and why anyone should trust him to become a client etc. I will grow old waiting, no doubt.

  14. Comment by Mike, 24 Aug, 2013

    Ken claims to not be an astrologer because he does not make horoscopes? This is just another case of him demonstrating his ignorance about basic meanings. An astrologer is someone who practice ONE OR MORE of the forms of astrology. Horoscopes are only 1 of many aspects of astrology.

    I've posted the definition of astrology here before, but it bears repeating I think: "The study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs. —(from Google's "define:—function)

    By this definition Ken is definitely an astrologer... unless he is now going to claim that the position of the moon actually does not have any influence on human affairs?? :puz:

Ken Ring and the failings of science
I've just noticed Ken Ring's latest contribution to the 'News — Yahoo! New Zealand' website, an article on earthquake science (as he sees it) called 'Copernicus, please come back'. What does it say about intelligent, informed opinions when this is the sort of nonsense that Yahoo! continues to offer society? How can they believe or support what he writes, at least to a sufficient degree that they believe he deserves a platform to promote his views? Do they really think that he could be right and the world needs to know? Of course the situation is even worse if they too think he is spouting superstitious nonsense, but still help him spread said nonsense. Is Yahoo! so desperate to promote its website and earn revenue that they will be a pimp for an astrologer? No doubt they will argue that they are just giving their clients what they want, which is the argument lazy media bosses give for publishing horoscopes. Ethics seemingly don't come in to it, where because of their position of influence the media might feel that they have some duty to print the truth rather than profitable lies.

So skeptics are once again forced to expose Ken Ring's bogus view of science and history. Of course it's not difficult. It's like shooting fish in a barrel, and bloated, lethargic, handicapped fish to boot.

Ring starts off by telling us that before Copernicus in the 15th century (actually it was the 16th century) everyone thought that the 'Earth was the centre of the universe and other heavenly bodies revolved around us'. It is true that for many centuries most people did believe this, including all the astrologers, but the belief in a heliocentric system had been developed much earlier, for example by Aristarchus of Samos around 270 BCE. Ring tells us that in this Earth-centred or geocentric system it was believed that 'There could be little influence on Earth from other celestial spheres'. Of course they didn't believe this at all, since the people that were usually describing these celestial spheres — astrologers — claimed that humans and events here on Earth received huge influence from celestial bodies. They were wrong of course, but contrary to what Ring claims, astrologers spent their lives detailing the influence from celestial spheres. Ring goes on to claim that modern science now believes that celestial bodies — Sun, Moon, planets, stars etc — can have little influence on Earth. This is of course refuted by fact that everything that Ring says could influence the Earth, such as gravity, electromagnetic radiation, the solar wind, solar flares etc, was discovered and explained by modern science. Ring gets his facts from science not from his astrology colleagues.

Continuing his attack on science Ring tells us that 'Einstein's special relativity laws and explanations have only slightly dented the stronger and unshakeable belief that still says Earth is the centre of the universe and anything that disturbs the Earth must come from within or upon the Earth'. So many errors in just one sentence. Note how he falsely raises the ridiculous implication that most of us still have the 'stronger and unshakeable belief that still says Earth is the centre of the universe'. How ill-informed would you have to be to believe that scientists claim that? Second, he shows his ignorance of 'Einstein's special relativity laws' if he thinks that special relativity has anything to do with the Earth being at the centre of the universe. Then he argues that science claims that 'anything that disturbs the Earth must come from within or upon the Earth'. Again, it was science, not astrologers, that described the Moon's tidal influence on the Earth, the Sun's solar wind and solar flares and our now rare bombardment by large space rocks. Ring wants people to distrust science and flock to his primitive astrological principles that were rejected centuries ago, and the only way he can do that is to tell porkies about what science actually says.

For example, Ring implies that scientists believe that earthquakes are caused 'by 'tectonic plates' or oil exploration teams or secret masterminds collectively called HAARP'. Ring attempts to ridicule scientists by including a scientifically accepted explanation — plate tectonics — with explanations that are found in silly conspiracy theories.

The disturbing fact is that Ring really does struggle to understand reality and scientific descriptions even though he gives the occasional appearance of scientific literacy. Look at this claim of his from the article: 'An electron makes intelligent choices about what to combine with, to preserve the integrity of its atom'. The sentence is grammatically correct, and would sound to some as scientifically plausible. But an electron making 'intelligent choices'? Really? They can do that? Maybe in Ringworld, but not in my world.

Ring goes on to argue that 'Humans cannot change climates' and 'cannot change weather' because 'Big things affect smaller things. Tails do not wag dogs'. So bacteria and viruses can't affect bigger organisms? So a small O-ring or piece of foam can't destroy space shuttles? So the Earth's smaller satellite called the Moon can't possibly affect the Earth? Ring's poorly thought through argument against climate change and locally caused earthquakes, would if true, destroy his argument that the small Moon wags the large Earth. He needs to consider more carefully what he says, as he keep tripping himself up, and consequently makes a fool of himself. Of course in our primitive astrological past it was believed that small things like bugs and daggers didn't really kill people, it was the celestial spheres that actually killed people, merely using the likes of bugs and daggers.

Regarding his prediction claims, Ring tells us that 'debating these notions is discouraged' and for people like him we see the reintroduction of 'inquisitions and witch hunts of those who oppose this status quo'. Of course the reality is that the only person who is trying to discourage debate is Ring, when he makes tearful requests such as this: 'My family and I are as hurt as if you all went on a killing rampage of us for sport. I ask again for the sake of civil decency, please close all your Ken Ring websites'. It is only Ring that views the freedom of thought and expression as an inquisition or witch hunt.

Demonstrating his ignorance and blind fixation with the Moon, Ring states that it is 'the first controller of life down here on earth'. What about the Sun Ken, is it just an ornament? While the Moon's size and position does appear to have had an important stabilising affect on the evolution of life on Earth, it is the energy from the Sun that allowed life to arise and evolve. The Moon no more controls life than does the pope. If it disappeared tomorrow life would not end, that can't be said for the Sun.

He claims that 'the Moon also has a strong impact on the behaviour of healthy people, particularly as regards slowness to get to sleep on full moon nights'. What evidence is there for this? If there is any truth to it, slowness to get to sleep on full moon nights might simply be down to the increased brightness. We know it is easier to fall asleep in complete darkness. If it were the Moon's gravity as Ring implies, then the same effect should occur on new moons, but it doesn't. Next he'll be telling us how the full moon affects werewolves.

Ring is right to say that 'there is every reason to suppose the Moon has an effect on planet Earth as a whole, which includes the ground and what is beneath the surface'. Although, to use Ken's phrase, I'm not sure how the tail could wag the dog! But the Moon does indeed affect the Earth, eg the tides. It is of course plausible that the Moon's gravity might also affect the weather and earthquakes, but the research has been done and there is no evidence that it does, or at least not to any major, predicable degree. It's perfectly reasonable to wonder about the Moon's influence, but it's not reasonable to reject modern scientific evidence and settle instead on ancient astrological factors.

Claiming an expertise in gravity and the Moon's orbit, Ring states that 'the Moon is not self-regulated but is held in position by the mutual gravitational pull from Sun, planets and Earth'. Rubbish! The Moon is in Earth orbit solely because of the Earth's gravity, not because of the gravitational pull from the Sun, let alone the distant planets. The Sun, and to a minor degree the planets, slightly perturb its orbit, but if the Sun and planets vanished the Moon would continue to orbit us as it does now. Not content with relinquishing control of the Moon by the Earth, Ring goes on, with pure astrological thinking, to assert that everything that happens in our galaxy and beyond affects the Moon, and therefore our weather and even you and me: 'What happens on the Sun and its satellite planets controls the Moon. What happens in the Milky Way controls the Sun and other suns. It does not stop there, and Earth's diminution goes on forever'. This is rubbish, on a practical day-to-day level the planets and distant stars have no noticeable effect on Earth. They don't know we're here. Barring a nearby gamma-ray burst or supernova, we have nothing to fear and no need to take their positions into account when planning an outdoor event. As I said, this is pure astrology, the nonsense that objects at some mind-boggling distance from us can somehow influence events here on Earth. Spooky stuff Ken!

Ring finishes by assuring us that scientists will never really understand earthquakes because 'a thousand years of physics is being ignored', and, crucially, they're not listening to him. Of course there was no such science as physics a thousand years ago, what Ring asserts is being ignored is what astrologers believed back in 1013 CE. Ring's plan to go forward is to go backwards.

Some time ago Ring said, 'I repeat I am not an earthquake expert nor seismologist. I have no interest in being recognised as one'. For once, Ken, just once, could you keep your word. Please.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 01 Aug, 2013 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend
Blog

Comments:

  1. Comment by Ken Ring, 01 Aug, 2013

    You are the only one who calls me an astrologer just because I use the Moon and Sun and their repeatable orbits. If you turn on a light, does that make you an electrician? If you use a sticking plaster, are you then a doctor? Please get over yourself and your childish witch-hunting. I have never been an astrologer, unfortunately for your argument — you make it up so you have reason to attack me. Not that I have anything against astrologers, they are entitled to pursue their interest as we all are, without having first to ask for "John"'s permission.

    As you also distribute forecasts and you do not like competition, hence your continued campaign to diss my work. What a desperate person you are. Do you really think that running a website that guns down everyone you disagree with will make you clever?

    Adults can read my article and make their own judgement. They do not need the SB Thought Police telling them what to think or how to read and interpret articles. Clearly you do not want people to read for themselves and you are worried that they may accept that different viewpoints exist in a free society. Oh dear, then they may turn away from your blog.

    In my Yahoo article I was decrying that science refuses to recognise the influence of extraterrestrial bodies on weather, climate and seismic events, something that WAS known a thousand years ago. Are you now saying geologists accept the role of these? If so then you are out of touch with the universities.

    You probably did not hear it for the ninety-ninth time that I am not an astrologer, I only work in solid science and mathematical algorithms. So here it is for the hundredth time, but it will probably fall on deaf ears again. I am not an astrologer. I finished my article with the words of the "Vincent" song that they (scientists) are not listening still. I am not an astrologer. Can you hear that?

    Perhaps in your case you never will.

  2. Comment by Brian, 02 Aug, 2013

    Well done John. When I first read Ken's latest blog I could hardly contain my incredulity. Gradually, incredulity turned to mirth. The article is just too silly. Does Yahoo read this stuff before they publish it? Ken responds to your critique with "Adults can read my article and make their own judgement. They do not need the SB Thought Police telling them what to think or how to read and interpret articles." Fortunately Ken, yes, that is correct. We can make up our own minds, and anyone with an ounce of scientific training can see that your article is chock full of misinformation and fallacy. Ken, if you really view the scientific community as portrayed in your blog, how on earth do you trust the myriad scientific discoveries, inventions and remedies currently available to us, or is it only the ones that directly affect your beliefs you mistrust? If so, why are the scientists involved in those fields so different to other scientists? As John points out, yes, the Sun affects what happens on Earth, but Ken's belief that the planets and moon significantly affect weather shows a complete lack of understanding of gravity and the inverse square law, among other things. The only positive thing to come out of Ken's blog is that, provided he keeps publishing articles that are so obviously wrong, even people with half a brain will begin to realize that Ken's beliefs are rubbish. Unfortunately, however, there will always be those who wish to live in the dark ages or believe the unbelievable.....

  3. Comment by Graham, 02 Aug, 2013

    Excellent article. As much as I enjoy a laugh, I must admit I don't click on Yahoo news anymore, that just gets them the advertising revenue they want.

    Not just SB calls Ken an astrologer. None other than the Astrology Foundation Inc. calls him that: http://astrologyfoundation.org.nz/links/. What does ... "our own Ken Ring" mean? Did he take out membership?

    If the experts in the field consider what he does to be astrology, then we have no choice but to bow to their superior knowledge on the issue.

  4. Comment by Anonymous, 02 Aug, 2013

    Dictionary.com defines astrology as "the study that assumes and attempts to interpret the influence of the heavenly bodies on human affairs". I'm pretty sure Ken's claims fits that definition insofar as he proposes people should use his predictions to order their lives. It also fits my informal definition of thinking that there are significant influences from extra-terrestrial bodies that are not measured or measureable by real science.

  5. Comment by Gerald, 02 Aug, 2013

    Hi John, just read Ken Ring's robust rebuttal of 1 August 2013.

    I have to say, I do understand Ken's frustration with being referred to as an astrologer. Some astrologers are probably quite nice people who just do it for fun and don't expect to be taken seriously.

    I follow Ken Ring's articles and Twitter posts with much interest. I cannot believe there are people so ignorant of even basic General Science they would be so foolish as actually believe any of the twaddle he publishes. Clearly they do not track his weather or earthquake forecasts and see how pathetically wrong & completely worthless they are, as I have.

    A coin toss would give a higher probability of accuracy and costs nothing (unless you were tossing the coin in Ring's direction, I suspect, when you would probably be lucky to get it back). It is I believe quite sufficient for you to simply point out on a regular basis that he is a scientific ignoramus of galactic proportions, a prolific writer and (post-event) editor of appallingly bad fiction, and of course an obvious charlatan of the lowest possible order.

  6. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 02 Aug, 2013

    Typical of your responses Ken, of all the errors we pointed out in your article, you don't try and challenge a single one. We can only assume you can't. Instead you moan that 'You are the only one who calls me an astrologer'. Read the Internet and media Ken, you know that you are now commonly referred to as an astrologer forecaster. If it were just ineffectual us, remember you claimed that we are 'an obscure fascist blog laughed at across the land', then why do you care what we think? We did find a few articles that referred to you as the 'former cat palmist Ken Ring', would you prefer that description?

    You've implied you are an astrologer numerous times. You've admitted that you use astrological factors to chart the location of celestial bodies against the zodiac to predict their influence on events on Earth. And astrology was never ever just about influences on humans, it was also used to predict natural disasters, as you yourself admit. Traditional astrologers view you as one of them, and shouldn't they know? For example, see Graham's comment above, and this site — Tuesday Astrology — states that 'Ken Ring... can be controversial to the mainstream scientific fraternity because he integrates the philosophy of the history of the skies, that is astrology, and animistic cultural considerations... He publishes long range weather forecasts and is uncannily accurate in predicting earthquakes'. Uncannily accurate? You've got to be joking! And what does she mean by 'animistic cultural considerations'? You're not a typical horoscope producing astrologer Ken, but you are a subset of the astrology set. William Shakespeare, a man like you Ken who lived in the distant past, said 'A rose by any other name would smell as sweet'. At the end of the day Ken, you can call yourself a reptilian shape shifter or a Smurf for all we care. As long as your claims concerning your prediction method conflict with reason and evidence we will challenge them. Call them what you will, suggestions or opinions or even quantum multi-dimensional relativistic field theories, but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

    When you say the Sun has a repeatable orbit, you seem to be harking back to the ancient false belief that the Sun orbits the Earth. I don't believe it does, but then I'm talking astronomically, not astrologically.

    You say that regarding these mythical forecasts of ours, I'm a desperate person, presumably they are not selling too well. So why are we not advertising where people might buy these forecasts? Are they better than yours? Are they just weather or weather and earthquake forecasts? Do tell. And why do you assist us in stubbornly refusing to expose our devious conspiracy against you? Like leprechauns, it appears that these forecasts and discreetly packaged ethics of ours are mere inventions of a troubled mind.

    We agree Ken, certainly adults can read your article and make their own judgement, as we did. And our judgement was that it was misleading twaddle that deserved to be exposed as such. Do you not know what this 'judgement' that you recommend actually means? Judgement is an opinion formed after consideration or deliberation. This means considering all viewpoints, not just yours. You are exhibiting a typical scam trait, urging your potential clients not to discuss your claims with others, not to consider alternative views. You continue to tell us that we need to accept that 'different viewpoints exist in a free society', and yet all your comments are an attempt to silence our viewpoint in this free society. You post an article on Yahoo! that we view as being crafted to deceive, and we post an article on our website that you believe is equally devious. We can't have your Yahoo! article removed, and you refuse to even let people comment on it (Your free society is not as free as it used to be thanks to you). And yet you believe that you can demand that we desist with our articles. We know this because we do allow free exchange of comments. Why in your concept of a free society do you not allow comments Ken? And why in your free society do terms such as thought police, Hitler, Nazi, SS, Stalin, fascist, bully etc keep getting thrown at people whose only point of difference is that they don't believe you?

    You say to us that 'Clearly you do not want people to read for themselves'. How wrong you are Ken. We wish that more people would read what you write, but unlike you, we don't want them to stop there. We also want them to read what others have written, including us, so that they can reach a truly informed view. Only then can they make a judgement. Why are you afraid that your potential clients might believe us skeptics rather than you Ken? If the evidence is on your side as you claim, then what have you to fear? Let these intelligent adults decide for themselves, is that not what you're arguing for? Your continual attempts to shield your clients from reality suggests you have something to hide.

    Furthermore, I know only too well that you were decrying science. Did you not grasp that the purpose of our post was to decry your silly beliefs?

    I agree Ken that it 'WAS known a thousand years ago' that extraterrestrial bodies most definitely influenced events here on Earth, including the weather, climate and seismic events. You have just defined the strongly held astrological beliefs of the time. It was also 'known' that the Earth was the centre of the universe, that the Sun went around us, that there were only five planets and they also all orbited the Earth. It was also 'known' that the Earth was flat and created in six days a few thousand years ago by a sky fairy. I could give a huge list of other things that your esteemed colleagues 'knew' a thousand years ago, all of which were wrong and have failed to stand the test of time. It's almost inconceivable that you naively believe something must be true just because some ignorant peasant thought it was true a thousand years ago.

    You believe in astrology Ken. Remember you've said that 'For anyone to state they don't believe in astrology is to say they don't believe in the fact that stars are out there'. You've also said that 'what I am doing is pre-science, and cannot fit present day rigor. That is why I don't claim that it can be tested and suggest it objectively can't be'. So to now claim that you 'only work in solid science and mathematical algorithms' is rather confusing. Which Ken do we believe? You have a huge, and embarrassing problem trying to keep your story straight Ken. Even in this email you state that geologists and universities dismiss the factors that you believe in, but then you contradict yourself again by claiming that you too are following the solid science that they use. Can you not see that this flip-flopping on your part only makes you appear stupid or devious?

    If you want people to stop laughing at your claims Ken, then provide the evidence of your method's accuracy that you say you have. Your 'maverick thinking' won't 'advance science and facilitate progress' one inch if you continue to hide in the shadows with your treasured data clutched to your chest. Like Copernicus, are you waiting until you're on your deathbed? Copernicus feared very real persecution from the Church, what do you fear Ken? Failure perhaps?

  7. Comment by Rob, 02 Aug, 2013

    Ken is like the unwanted gift that keeps on giving.

    This last Yahoo blog of his, was enough to convince a couple more friends who had some faith in his "suggestions' to be convinced he has no idea... Is this an own goal by our sage of pre-science?

    Ken accuses you of being the thought police, whereas I would accuse you of thinking.

    He has never answered an honest question, he won't debate the points without resorting to KKK, NAZI and Thought police insults, whereas the only insult thrown at him is being called an Astrologer, something, as you pointed out, peers in the same field recognise him as. The rest is pointing out his inaccuracy and backpedalling ways.

    The most recent example of Astrology by Ken was his recent call in to Radio live, where he stated the Conjunction of Mars and Jupiter was occurring directly over the Cook Strait... The conjunction is a term that could be applied to both science and astrology, but the fact it was occurring over the Cook Strait as a contributor to the quakes, plus "Pluto is over the North Island" is also having an effect, is as non science as Dolphins beaming sonar to the moon.

    The closest Pluto to have an effect on New Zealand is Pluto in Toontown in Disneyland. A much better world than Ringworld....

    If we believe Ken when he says he is not an astrologer, we should also believe him when he says "No, I am not a scientist, just an ex-maths teacher who took psychology and anthropology at university and a 20 year hobby interest in the Moon behind me."

    He recently respouted on his site 22-July:

    "The moon has the greatest gravitational pull on our planet, being twice that of the sun because of the moon's closer proximity, but it is not something our earth scientists now choose to consider." = Ken Ring

    Copernicus would have kittens if he heard that, because that was totally against his theory of the Sun being the center of the solar system.

    Perhaps Herr Ring should consider that the Moon seems to have a stronger pull on the Earth because it is closer. The Moon's pull on the tides is greater because of the DIFFERENCE between the Moon's gravitational pull on the near-side and the far-side of the Earth. I thought a man who had a 20 year interest in studying the moon would get that right. Or does he not do the maths?

    The Sun is so massive that even though it is about 190 times farther from Earth than the Moon, Its pull on the Earth is about 178 times stronger.

    This is why we orbit the Sun, and the moon orbits the Earth...

    anyway, looks like cloud cover all day. small chance of afternoon shows... and if I am wrong, it was just an opinion, and you have no right to pull me up on it...

  8. Comment by Brian, 10 Aug, 2013

    Hi John. Goodness me. Does Ken's ignorance know no bounds? His latest diatribe — Earth is Blue, not green — is even more riddled with absurdities than usual. [A slightly shorter version of his article also appears on Yahoo!] For a start current estimates for global biomass put terrestrial biomass at around 100 times oceanic biomass (including bacteria), not the other way around as Ken suggests. Yes, aquatic animals obtain oxygen from the water, not the air, but has Ken not heard that many gases, including CO2, are highly soluble in water. Where does he think fizzy drinks get their acidity from? Acidification of the oceans is becoming a very real problem. And Ken, bacteria survive quite happily in fresh water (try drinking a glassful of sewage) — in fact many are killed by saltwater (which is why a cup of fresh water won't smell after two days if you add salt...). To find tens of thousands of phytoplankton cells in a ml of seawater, you'd have to be looking at a fairly murky sample. Much of the sea is crystal clear, with very low numbers of organisms floating around (trust me — I look at this stuff for a living). Oh, and last time I looked at a photo taken from space, I could quite clearly see land masses... As for Ken's explanation of the origins of life, I'd like to see the reference that shows that a huge collision by extra terrestrial body was what set things in motion. I don't think anyone is sure of what set things rolling. Collisions may have played a role, but I believe current thinking is that electrical discharges, such as from lightning, are a more likely candidate, or maybe geothermal energy. Besides, some of the largest collisions occurred well after life was established.

    Ah, now we come to sea controlling the weather. Yes, it does, but by causing changes in the temperature of the overlying air. But then again, so does land. Ever talked to a glider pilot about what causes thermals? Of course, the ultimate driver is the Sun, which heats the land and sea. Warm air or water rise because they are less dense. As air rises, it cools. If there is no sun, the land and sea cool. Cooler water and air sink so we get vertical displacement. Once it can't sink any further we get horizontal displacement. i.e. currents and winds. This is all school kid stuff, but Ken seems to have missed the classes that taught it. Ken then throws in something about rainforests or driving SUVs NOT causing weather. He's right, but I don't think anyone actually believes that anyway, do they? Ah well, nothing like a bit of smoke and mirrors to try to sway peoples beliefs. Oh, wait. Isn't that what Ken accuses the science community of? Keep them coming Ken. Your articles are highly entertaining.

  9. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 11 Aug, 2013

    Thanks for the comments Brian. And to answer your question (something that Ring never does), Does Ken's ignorance know no bounds?, apparently not. Like you I'm amazed that someone can be so ignorant of science and yet still put themselves on a pedestal as 'Mr Science'. In true conspiracy theory mode Ring informs readers that 'in their zeal to back political issues like taxation scientists are allowing themselves to become uninformed about the natural world'. So since scientists can no longer be trusted, their zeal for knowledge having been replaced by a zeal to serve greedy politicians, Ring once again decides that he must step up to educate us all about the natural world.

    You've clearly shown that Ring's article is 'riddled with absurdities' Brian, but I thought I might add my two cents worth as well. Some people enjoy the challenge of crosswords, I enjoy the challenge of exposing Ring's silly claims.

    Regarding the global biomass, Ring states that 'It is not well known except by biologists that about 99.7% of the earth's biomass... what we define as 'life', is under the sea'. I must admit that unlike you Brian I didn't know what the ratio was so I, unlike Ring obviously, had to do a little research on biomass: 'Apart from bacteria, the total global biomass has been estimated at about 560 billion tonnes C. Most of this biomass is found on land, with only 5 to 10 billion tonnes C found in the oceans'. How could he get it so wrong? We're not talking a few percentage points, the reality is the complete opposite to what Ring claims!

    Ring goes on to falsely clam that 'It therefore does not matter to 99.7% of all life (as we know it) if the air above cities is polluted or not'. Of course air pollution doesn't worry undersea life, but then neither does the state of the economy or the lack of quality documentaries worry them either. However, contrary to the lie spun by Ring, most life on Earth is above the water, so it most definitely does matter to this life if the air is polluted. Should we air breathing humans only worry about harmful pollution when the fish set up a Facebook page in protest?

    Ring misleadingly claims that 'Marine life still relies on oceanic oxygen... not from the air above the water'. What about marine life such as whales, dolphins and seals? They breathe atmospheric oxygen, not oceanic oxygen. And what about the likes of plants, algae, phytoplankton and some bacteria, they don't rely on oceanic oxygen either? They need carbon dioxide, most of which they obtain from the oceans, not the atmosphere. This is the essential gas that Ring implies isn't even in the oceans, it just stays in the atmosphere, where it can never 'affect most life... which still resides under the sea'. As for the problem of acidification Brian, we've already pointed Ring to this article: Ocean Becoming More Acidic, Potentially Threatening Marine Life', but he has no problem with blindly ignoring evidence that conflicts with the fantasy that he's pushing.

    Arguing that there is far more life in the oceans than above them, Ring goes on to state that 'There are far less microorganisms in the air' and that 'In just a litre of seawater are millions per ml of bacteria'. That would depend on where the seawater was collected from, but even so, the biomass Wikipedia article states that 'There are typically 40 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil and a million bacterial cells in a millilitre of fresh water'. So soil and fresh water is not as bereft of life as one might think, and not that much different from seawater.

    When Ring writes that 'From space you just see ocean, which is why Earth is blue', as you Brian say, one can 'quite clearly see land masses'. Even in the Earth photo that Ring put in his article, we can clearly see three colours; brown land, white clouds and blue oceans. Why does Ring only see blue? Seemingly because it suits his argument to ignore the land and the atmosphere.

    And I agree Brian, I've never come across Ring's 'origins of life' explanation, where he confidently states that '3 or 4 billion years ago a comet or asteroid landed in the sea and the intense energy from that impact was enough to enable amino acids, the building blocks of life, to form by fusing together C, N, H and O'. This to me is pure pseudoscience, something that Ring excels at, joining three real concepts to create nonsense that sounds scientific. First, there is truth to Ring's claim that '3 or 4 billion years ago a comet or asteroid landed in the sea and the intense energy from that impact was enough to...'. Actually it was likely a large number of both comets and asteroids, not just one, that hit the early Earth. And there was indeed intense energy released from those early impacts, so much so that the entire Earth's surface may have melted. This would have been enough to vaporise the oceans and sterilise the surface to depths of several kilometres. Hardly favourable for life. Next, it's again true that 'amino acids [are] the building blocks of life', going on to build proteins and enzymes, and that some or even all may have been delivered to Earth on comets or asteroids. Thirdly, it's also true that said amino acids are formed from the elements 'C, N, H and O'. But Ring argues that amino acids were only able to form when the intense energy from a comet or asteroid impact fused together certain elements. This is absolute nonsense. The amino acids either already existed in the oceans or on the comet and the energy from the impact would likely rip most of them apart, not create them. You don't need intense energy (think lots of nuclear bombs) to create amino acids, the elements don't need to be 'fused' (melted) together. We make half of the amino acids necessary for life in our bodies, and simple bacteria can make them all. We don't need the energy of a comet impact to do so, thankfully. Again, this is Ring recalling snippets of science and melding them into a plausible sounding fiction, all in a silly attempt to use science to discredit science and promote his view of reality.

    But he doesn't stop with life's origins, stating that 'Land volcanically arose from the ocean and life developed on land, sometimes returning to the sea via earthquakes'. I believe this is incorrect. In their book 'Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe', Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee write that 'Land formation on Earth has throughout its history occurred by two principal means: simple volcanism creating mountains and the more complex processes related to plate tectonics. Simple volcanism leads to the formation of small islands such as Hawaii and the Galapagos archipelagos...' A few small island perhaps, but the continents did not arise due to vulcanism but were created by 'the more complex processes related to plate tectonics'. Furthermore I can't see how any life ever returned 'to the sea via earthquakes'. Some land species did indeed return to the seas, eg whales, but this didn't happen because a single earthquake knocked the whale's distant ancestor into the sea and it decided to stay there. The transition from land to sea took ages. Ring just can't resist making up absurd claims to support his articles.

    ' Weather is huge in energy - a cyclone releases as much energy in one second as a dozen Hiroshima bombs', declares Ring in his article. Where does he get this figure from, did he just make it up? This Wikipedia article on thunderstorms notes that 'A 1953 study found that the average thunderstorm over several hours expends enough energy to equal 50 A-bombs of the type that was dropped on Hiroshima'. If we assume, say, a five hour thunderstorm, that works out at the equivalent of one A-bomb every 6 minutes, yet Ring has it at 12 every second, which gives a total of 216,000 A-bombs rather than 50 A-bombs. A huge difference. If you argue that Ring is talking about a cyclone rather than a thunderstorm, so he may mean a tornado, in a past interview Ring stated that 'A summer thunderstorm can unleash as much energy as a dozen Hiroshima-style bombs, and 45,000 thunderstorms are brewed around the earth every day. Yet one hurricane releases almost as much energy in one second'. In another article Ring claims that 'To produce one thunderstorm requires the energy input equivalent to a dozen Hiroshima-sized bombs... and one cyclone releases the energy of 45,000 thunderstorms every second'. These are two examples of him clearly stating that a thunderstorm equals 12 A-bombs which still conflicts with the expert view of 50 A-bombs. His hurricane rather thunderstorm energy is now at 12 A-bombs a second, but this article on Hurricane Trivia notes that 'Every second a hurricane releases as much energy as the explosion of a atomic bomb at Hiroshima'. Just one, not 12. Furthermore, his above claim that one cyclone equals '45,000 thunderstorms every second' equates to 540,000 A-bombs per second (at 12 A-bombs per thunderstorm), which is considerably more than 12 per second which is his claim from this article. Also is it not rather suspicious that '45,000 thunderstorms are brewed around the earth every day' and 'one cyclone releases the energy of 45,000 thunderstorms every second'. They both just happen to be 45,000? Does Ring just vaguely recall a connection between thunderstorms and A-bombs and simply pluck numbers from the air that sound impressive? It seems so.

    Apparently with no sense of irony, in his article Ring speaks out against 'Uninformed scaremongering' and says that he wants his 'children to know the truth and I want them to love real science'. This is commendable, but he ruins it all by telling his children and all who will listen that his primitive, ignorant beliefs are what he means by 'the truth' and 'real science'. Ring claims in most everything he writes that what you and I view as real science and the likely truth is nothing but a conspiracy spun by devious politicians and their obsequious scientists. As we've noted before, here are some quotes from Ring describing what 'real science' is:

    '...science just means learning and study. Everyone does that, even a 3-yr old, even a dog... '

    'And that's why we have sports science, food science, massage science, sex science, religious science, etc etc... '

    'I already know of shoe science, rugby science, toy science, fabric science, religious science, music science, food science and a zillion others, including waterskiing science. I would refer to what I do as Moon Science.'

    'Remember there is Creation Science, Christian Science, Scientology and science fiction. Anything can be a science, and one who studies it is a scientist.'

    Surely when Ring's definition of real science includes Creation Science and even what dogs do, or that simply adding the word science to another word makes it science, eg sex science, then it's pretty obvious that Ring's viewpoint is deluded nonsense. And there is consequently little chance that you will stumble across the truth by following deluded nonsense.

    Still thinking of his children, he writes that 'I don't want them to be stuck with misery all the time and thoughts that it is up to them to look after the planet. This 4.5 billion year old rock does not need any of us to look after it'.

    Well that's reassuring. Evidently we have no need to worry about polluting our waterways, our oceans, our soils or our atmosphere, whatever ecological damage we might do the planet will easily fix it. Actually this is not quite Ring's view, since Ring believes that humans are actually incapable of damaging the planet environmentally. We can pollute as much as we like, over-fish our seas, over-stock our land, clear our rainforests, destroy our ozone layer, melt our polar caps etc, and the planet will still carry on. And indeed it will, but it will be a very different planetary environment to what it is now, and humans could well be extinct or near to it. For Ring to claim that humans can't influence their environment is to be ignorant of history. He could start by reading 'Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed' by Jared Diamond. Of course if all Ring and his children are worried about is the survival of the planet, and they care not if human society collapses, then he's right, we can't destroy the planet. But I fear I would still be miserable and depressed if I thought my actions might be contributing to an early demise of the human species, even though the Earth will carry on in some form.

    Ring then goes on to argue that if 'theoretically' the planet could be damaged by human activity and changes needed to be made to our behaviour, then we are doomed, since he concludes that 'they are one of the very least intelligent species' on Earth, 'they' meaning us humans. He doesn't seem to grasp that he's just insulted himself and his own species! Anyone that can look around the world and think that they see many, many species that are far more intelligent than themselves, is not someone we should be looking to for advice. And just which species would Ring hand over the reins to if he is ever convinced that humans need help in sorting out our problems? No, not the chimps or even the dolphins, Ring says 'I would probably pick the termites'. And to think, this man is allowed to vote! Evidently the humans that understand the science of environmental damage and those that might implement changes can't control their drinking, fighting and killing long enough to make a difference. So, does anyone speak termite?

    He also once again devotes a paragraph to his myth that 'almost any bird, dumb animal, fish, creepy crawly insect, even household pet can predict earthquakes and extreme weather'. We've already referred him to this Scientific American article: 'Can animals sense earthquakes?', but as usual he blindly ignores evidence that conflicts with his fantasy. And if humans are indeed 'one of the very least intelligent species', doesn't that make us a 'dumb animal', so why can't we predict earthquakes and extreme weather too? We really are stupid it seems, since according to Ring we all agree that almost every dumb animal can predict earthquakes and extreme weather, and yet none of us take the slightest bit of notice of their predictions. Not even Ring, who is forced to fall back on using the Moon for his predictions. Not even Ring trusts the dumb animals. Why not Ken if it's so obvious what they can do?

    Ring finishes his latest attack on science by saying 'I would rule out humans as caretaker contenders' even though 'they optimistically refer to themselves as the Master Race'. Ignoring his insulting insistence on always identifying his opponents as neo-Nazis, these statements along with his previous claim that 'they are one of the very least intelligent species' all suggest that Ring doesn't see himself as human. So what is he if he's not one of us? Is he one of those reptilian shape-shifting aliens? He's too big to be a Hobbit. A goblin perhaps?

    But Ring's ongoing attack on science has a major problem, one that many fall into, especially religious fundamentalists. They all attempt to use science to discredit science, without realising how illogical this. If science can't be trusted, if many scientific claims are false and scientists corrupt as Ring alleges, then Ring's use of scientific statements concerning biomass, comet impacts, amino acids and changing ocean currents must also be false or at the very least suspect, and thus can't be used to support his argument. Ring can't conveniently claim that the scientific 'facts' that he uses are of course accurate and reliable while the scientific 'facts' that he finds inconvenient are of course blatantly false. If science is flawed and corrupt, then essentially all science is suspect and off-limits until such a time that scientists once again decide to seek knowledge rather than money and fame, until their integrity and curiosity once again overrides their greed and fear of their political overlords. Ring must use something other than science to attack science, but what might that be? He's not a fan of religious claims to knowledge, so witchcraft perhaps?

    Ring's article is just him on his soap box again decrying the possibility that humans could bring about climate change, with this particular rant about the potential of climate change to affect the oceans. He concocts lies and nonsense to argue that although most life is in the oceans, we needn't worry about their wellbeing because they are isolated from our meddling. But I think he misses the point really. Climate change isn't about whether fish might have to make life-style choices, it's about whether we humans need to make changes for the benefit of our societies. Few humans would be resigned to us going extinct as long as we don't harm our fish friends. Ring confuses the debate by making it all about whether we can decimate the oceans. If we can't, which is what he argues, then evidently climate change can be ignored since SpongeBob SquarePants and all his marine friends are safe. I agree that even climate change run amuck probably wouldn't decimate the oceans, but call me selfish, it's not the fish that are my first concern in life. Even if the oceans were impervious to our polluting ways, that's no reason to stop thinking about the affect of climate change above the waves, where we humans spend most of our time.

  10. Comment by Anonymous, 11 Aug, 2013

    In his latest Yahoo article Ken adulates termites because they produce more carbon dioxide than humans do, and according to Ken, that's a good thing. He also says that the oceans' surface currents produce winds, not the other way around as is usually believed.

    Two criticisms — Ken doesn't know his methane from his carbon dioxide. Termites do indeed emit a surprising amount of gas, but it is methane (CH4) not carbon dioxide (CO2). And methane is a much worse (22X) greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. So I suppose to Ken this is even more of a good thing? Methane is produced by gut bacteria breaking down vegetable matter, mostly cellulose — which cows and termites need to do.

    And secondly if ocean currents do produce winds then how come winds are so much faster than ocean currents? I have yet to see an ocean current going at the speed of typhoon winds, fortunately. He is correct if he is writing about the influence of ocean temperatures on weather patterns as the heat from the warm seas warm the atmosphere above them and create low pressure systems and accompanying rain. However what he says is "Currents in the sea drive surface winds which become above-surface air pressures that manifest as winds that blow from ocean to ocean crossing land, and before that the Sun and Moon initially produced ocean currents. Recent weaker currents have lead to less mixing in the ocean, bringing higher sea surface temperatures and higher air pressures, resulting in warmth and less rainfall this year."

    He seems to have some partial understanding of the relationship between sea temperature and weather systems, but gets it the wrong way around ("bringing higher sea surface temperatures and higher air pressures") when higher sea temperatures result in LOWER air pressures. Oh well, simple facts based on actual observations, and the understanding of basic principles, was never important in Ken's "science".

  11. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 11 Aug, 2013

    Thanks for highlighting yet more errors on Ken's part. As you say, getting his 'facts' right isn't at all important in Ken's "science". It's all about deluding his clients.

  12. Comment by Cathal, 11 Aug, 2013

    John, take a look at this thread on Boards.ie:

    http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2057010062

    Ken has previously been given a platform by our media to peddle his lies. On Boards, there's a fairly active weather forum, and people there tend to discuss Ken's media appearances.

    Ken himself joined a few years back, but got site-banned for continually pushing his commercial site without having a commercial account on Boards. He got un-banned last week with the warning about no commercial activity. He posted up a prediction of the August weather, and that degenerated into discussions of his methodology. Note that another of the regular Weather posters (m.t. cranium) also uses lunar modelling to do forecasts but in a properly scientific way, with some success for weather trends, so the boards regulars are well aware of the possiblity of resonances in atmospheric tides being possible drivers for weather patterns. Some of the posters are fairly well equipped to discuss these topics, and it makes for interesting reading.

    The thread linked above was started by one of the moderators as a rescue package for the August weather thread, and it was limited to discussion on methodology only, see the mod's note in the first post. tl;dr is Ken's an idiot, and the thread makes for good reading as to why.

    Please feel free to link to that thread if you want to, or to use any quotes by Ken from there.

    Let the world know what you think! :)

    It's amusing I think!

  13. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 12 Aug, 2013

    Thanks for the link. It's good to see that he's back on the forum, his earlier appearances revealed much about his weather claims and his knowledge of the science involved. I never thought his exchanges were to his advantage, but he's in the unfortunate position of having to promote his business everywhere he can. That said, he will soon blow a fuse, accuse posters of bullying, issue his stock standard Nazi insults and run off to sulk. Hopefully he will reveal a few embarrassing posts before that happens.

  14. Comment by Rob, 12 Aug, 2013

    That link to the Irish Weather forum produced an hour of entertaining reading.

    As yet, Ken has not started with the neo nazi, facist KKK name calling that you get John, but he has made attempts to silence discussion on the forum by stating

    "If this thread goes ahead I shall complain to as high an authority as I can. It is simply not right nor fair and hugely disrespectful of someone just trying to make a contribution to help people enjoy their lives a bit more. My contributions to any threads do not threaten anyone, they are just opinions. People do not have to read them. All are free to ignore or find interest. "
    I know a two year old who throws their toys when things don't go their way, but at least they will grow out of it. It seems Herr Ring won't.
  15. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 13 Aug, 2013

    Yes Rob, it was very entertaining seeing Ring throw his little hissy fits and continually refuse to respond to embarrassing questions. Did you note that immediately following your quote where he tearfully pleads that he is 'just trying to make a contribution to help people enjoy their lives a bit more. My contributions... are just opinions', that he then comes back with this: 'We are all adult enough to make up our own minds. We do not need the opinions and appraisals of others who think they know enough to tell others what to think or what not to buy'.

    What insufferable arrogance! He demands the right to freely voice HIS opinions, but then adds that the world does not 'need the opinions and appraisals of others'. I think Ring's fascination with Hitler and bullies has distorted his view of how a free society works.

    It's often difficult to tease from Ring's responses whether ignorance rules, that he truly can't grasp the problems that are highlighted regarding his method, or if he's just being deliberately devious, misleading and conniving to hide its many flaws. I think both apply, but his reluctance to enter into open debate or reveal evidence leans considerably towards the latter option.

  16. Comment by John, 12 Aug, 2013

    Hi John, just had a very amusing read browsing the Boards.ie link, and came across this absolutely insightful gem from Ken Ring:

    "Weather is not an empirical science and cannot be repeated in a lab. Results are highly subjective. What a groundsman might call a wet day because of a few isolated showers might be 'mostly dry' to a holidaymaker, and if windy, a 'perfect day' for a housewife hanging out washing." (http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2057010062&page=5)

    And there we have it, Ken's predictions/opinions can never be wrong! If Ken predicts a perfect day, we can expect either fine weather, windy weather, thunderstorms, rain, mist, anything — there will be someone out there who thinks that was a perfect day... Pity Ken doesn't say in advance which group (i.e. the tornado chaser, the holidaymaker etc) each of his predictions/opinions are aimed at!

    How can anyone take this nutcase seriously? Well, perhaps devious fraudster might be a better description of his character.

    Keep up the good work!

  17. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 13 Aug, 2013

    You ask, 'How can anyone take this nutcase seriously?', I suspect if Ken Ring operated in the USA where it seems to be normal for many to undergo years of therapy, every psychiatrist would be making a fortune asking their clients that very question.

  18. Comment by Miles, 13 Aug, 2013

    Hi, John. Found this site. He claims he's not an astrologer, but this page (written by his good self, it seems) says otherwise: http://weathersage.com/tributes/ring.htm

    I'm glad you're keeping tabs on hisself, although rather you than me — I wouldn't have the patience. It astounds me that Ring is so determined to make a total goat of himself. His "science" is so bad it's not even wrong (with apologies to Wolfgang Pauli), and he makes silly claims (currents cause wind; there's no carbon dioxide up there; termites rule!) without reference to any supporting evidence, or even without slightly considering the practical consequences. And then at other times, he nicks images from (say) metvuw.com without attribution, or uses images from scientists he claims to not trust. Hardly rational.

    But, maybe he's deliberately *not* being rational, and that the whole thing is just a big joke. If so, 9000 people (according to this http://www.predictweather.co.nz/ArticleShow.aspx?ID=466&type=home) have been sucked in.

    And we know he changes his web pages after the event. I've got a couple of examples; other people have probably got other examples.

    You've mentioned several times that Ring never answers the questions you put to him. I'd like to know why he thinks the moon has anything to do with earthquakes. I can download earthquake data from here (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/) and plot stuff until the cows come home and I can't find any correlation between earthquakes and full moons, new moons, apogees or perigees. Perhaps the good Ring can explain just how it all works.

    And this "80-85%" accuracy nonsense. His predictions might be 85% as long as you don't count the failures.

    It was a cheap shot of Ring's to bring his children into it (would they be Ringlets? Don't laugh: Maureen and Noel Gibb of Paiwaka have had Gibblets!). Everybody tries to do their best for their children; teaching them to think independently is crucial, and I hope they get the chance. On the other hand, maybe he's going to home-school them in Woo-woo.

    Anyway, keep up the good work.

  19. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 14 Aug, 2013

    Hi Miles. If I really had to keep tabs on Ring's inane utterings, if as Ring childishly claims I was in commercial competition with him, then I'm not sure I would have the patience to calmly challenge his claims. But since it's just a hobby, then I can highlight his errors and lies when I feel like it and completely forget about him the rest of the time. But Ring trolls the Internet looking for mention of his name and potential criticism, and needs to attack dissent where ever he finds it, since dissent can quickly grow into reduced sales. Of course his foolish attempts to dismiss criticism do more harm than good in my view, but unfortunately for Ring, he is forced to work with the intellectual abilities he has.

    As for Ring saying that he wants his 'children to know the truth and I want them to love real science', as you say, it's a cheap shot. He's falling back on that tearful plea: Won't anyone think of the children? Ring wants his readers to visualise an innocent child, and yet Ring's children are all mature adults so shouldn't still need daddy to tell them how the world works.

    Regarding his bogus accuracy claims, did you notice that he was challenged on his mathematical skills? He said, 'I never say I am right all the time, only maybe 80-85%, which means about 10-15% inaccurate'. Of course this is completely wrong, his inaccuracy rate would be 15-20%, not 10-15%. In another post he said that, 'I never claim 100%, no one does. 80% means 2 months per year potentially out'. Rubbish! Using Ring's deplorable maths, being right 80% of the year means being wrong 20% of the year. 20% would only equal 2 months if there were only 10 months in the year. Obviously the calendars in Ringworld are different to the calenders in the real world! Let's remember that the only qualification that Ring has (I assume) is the one that allowed him to teach mathematics in NZ schools. This is where he used to claim that his real expertise lay, and yet even here, calculating simple percentages, he fails miserably and doesn't even grasp his error when it is pointed out to him. Why should anyone have any confidence in his far, far more complex calculations that he claims to utilise in his predictions, when he fails at what a young child would excel at?

  20. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 16 Aug, 2013

    In Ken Ring's latest Yahoo! attempt to educate the world — entitled 'The Confusing Moon' — he laments that many of us find the Moon's antics utterly mystifying. I detect the implication that this is because we don't understand astrological physics, which Ring continually (but erroneously) insists elsewhere were what Isaac Newton (and Ring himself) understood and more recent physicists such as Albert Einstein have misunderstood. Ring writes that:

    'Many of us look up at the moon and wonder what it is doing. One minute it is here, next minute there, one day rising on one side of the house and later seemingly has jumped to the other side of the house. It appears to scoot along the horizon day after day and sometimes it looks bigger than other times. Just as we are getting used to seeing it high above our heads, we look again and it is skipping low across the sky above the horizon.

    There are sayings that mislead, sayings we have grown up with, been taught at school and are ingrained in our minds. We must first unlearn them. One is 'full' moon. The moon is always full but we only see it as such for one day in the month.'

    Ring insists that there are sayings and terms that mislead and we must 'unlearn' them. And he is correct, many 'common sense' phrases we use to describe the world around us are factually incorrect. However I would argue that, contrary to Ring's opinion, most of us already do know that these are just convenient sayings, and that they don't actually reflect reality. We know that when insurance companies talk about a disaster being an 'Act of God' that they don't actually mean God was involved, or when someone says, See you later alligator, they don't actually think you're a dangerous reptile. We know that the Sun doesn't rise, we know that the year doesn't actually end on December 31st, and when someone dies, we know that their last act doesn't involve kicking some mysterious bucket. But if Ring is truly concerned that we are confused about how the Moon behaves, does his article clarify things? Frankly I wonder if we're both talking about the same Moon. He says that regarding the Moon, 'One minute it is here, next minute there'. He talks of the Moon having 'jumped to the other side of the house', that it is often seen 'to scoot along the horizon day after day' and that sometimes it can be seen 'skipping low across the sky above the horizon'. Further on he says that each month the Moon is seen to 'drift once around earth'. I have yet to see the Moon radically changing it's location minute by minute or moving by jumping, scooting, skipping or drifting. In an article the purpose of which is to expose and dismiss childish and false descriptions, why does Ring suggest these ridiculous terms for how the Moon moves? Quite frankly, his article introduces more confusion than it clears up.

    Ring is more concerned with removing 'full' moon from our vocabulary. He says that 'The moon is always full but we only see it as such for one day in the month'. I disagree. It's true that one side of Moon is usually fully illuminated as viewed from the Sun, but this is not what a full moon means. My dictionary defines full moon as 'The moon when it is visible as a fully illuminated disk; The period of the month when such a moon occurs'. So full moon describes a specific point in the Moon's orbit as viewed by a person on Earth. There is nothing false or misleading about the term full moon as it is defined and used.

    The next phrase he has an issue with, or should I say, believes we are confused about, is when he informs us that 'the moon doesn't actually rise or set because it is neither a cake nor a jelly'. How stupid does he think we all are? Of course the Moon is not cake or jelly, we all know it's made of green cheese. And no astrologer has ever been able to dispel that belief. Although scientists are not generally great fans of the green cheese theory, it evidently matters not what scientists claim as they know nothing and can't be trusted anyway. Isn't that right Ken? Without referring to the work of ignorant and corrupt scientists Ken, what do you think the Moon is actually made of?

    In his campaign to rid the world of misleading terms, Ring mentions the 'horizon' several times. But following his full moon logic, the horizon isn't an objective thing either. Like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, if you walk towards the horizon you will never reach it. As my dictionary says, the horizon is 'The apparent intersection of the earth and sky as seen by an observer'. It's not a real thing. But if Ring wants to remove our use of the term 'full moon', why is he happy to ignore 'horizon'?

    Actually it's rather insulting that Ring thinks that he needs to explain to the rest of us that 'the moon doesn't actually rise or set', and it speaks poorly of his opinion of his readers. Immersed and enamoured as he is with primitive knowledge, he patronisingly and yet graciously decides to share his newfound knowledge of the Moon with us ignorant plebs. All was dark, then Ring spoke and the veil was lived. And the ignorant did rejoice.

  21. Comment by Alison, 23 Aug, 2013

    I did wonder if Ken's desire to change the meaning of 'full moon' had anything to do with his oft-repeated claim that earthquakes cluster around full (& new) moon. If the moon is 'really' full every day, hey, he can't miss!

Ken Ring's bogus quake warnings
On Sunday a 6.5M earthquake struck in Cook Strait, causing damage and unsettling those in the likes of Wellington, Seddon and Blenheim. It followed some lower magnitude quakes over the previous days. Ken Ring quickly rushes into print an article entitled 'Cook Strait earthquakes' to explain that the quakes were expected and caused by something he calls an 'earthquake breeder'. So what do we learn from his article?

Typical of psychics, spirit mediums, traditional astrologers and other soothsayers that falsely claim that they can predict future events, Ken Ring also makes innumerable vague and ambiguous statements, and then after a notable event occurs, he trolls through all his many statements in an attempt to show that he predicted the event before the event. Usually this involves considerable imagination and ignoring innumerable predictions that failed or predictions that contradicted what eventually happened. If only these soothsayers would clearly say what they believe will happen BEFORE it happens, so that we can clearly judge their predictions. Well, as it happens, sometimes these soothsayers do make clear predictions. To promote his scam Ring must maintain a public profile, and as such he writes Internet articles, puts out a newsletter, issues tweets, appears on the TV and radio, gives public talks, and trolls the Internet making comments and answering queries on various Internet forums, including ours. And it turns out that Ring did indeed make a clear statement regarding the Wellington earthquakes BEFORE the event.

So are we going to offer Ring an apology, and agree that there might be something to his method? No we're not, since Ring actually claimed that he had no knowledge of a coming quake. Contrary to what he now claims AFTER the quakes, prior to the quakes Ring was on the Internet telling those that were interested that he had not looked at quake predictions for nearly two years, and had no intention in doing so for another two years. And yet when specifically asked about Wellington, Ring was still confident enough to predict that the danger time for Wellington would not be until the cycle returns in 2015 or 2016.

And yet rather than wait two years, damaging quakes have struck now, seemingly with no thought of what Ring predicted. But this wouldn't have worried Ring unduly, since he would surmise that his clients wouldn't be aware of this failed prediction or of his ignorance regarding their imminent arrival. So when the quakes made the news around NZ and even the world, Ring quickly concocts an article and publishes it on his website that deviously implies to his gullible clients that not only did he know that these quakes were very likely, he had even publicly predicted them in his latest newsletter. Duplicitous con man that Ring is, he either forgot his previous prediction or at least hoped that critics like us had. As we said in a previous post — 'Lies, damn lies and Ken Ring' — Ring is terrible at keeping track of his lies, and many come back to haunt him. This new article from Ring clearly contradicts a previous assertion that he has made. In one he claims foresight, the other ignorance. Obviously his initial claim of ignorance is correct, and his later claim of foresight is the lie.

The gist of Ring's article is that he can reliably predict earthquakes using the position of heavenly bodies, a worthless method that most people know as astrology. He says as much in his article, implying that he predicted the recent earthquakes centred in Cook Strait that rattled Seddon and Wellington. He starts his article with a map of the region showing lines passing through various places, one of which is Cook Strait. These lines, typical of Ring, aren't labelled or explained. We can guess by his text that they perhaps have something to do with the position of the planets Jupiter and/or Mars and/or the ex-planet Pluto in the night sky. Or perhaps they're the flight paths of spy satellites or UFOs that Ken has observed, we're not sure. But whatever these lines represent, it's clear that Ring wants readers to interpret this map as complex evidence for his prediction method. Further into his article Ring goes on to explain that earthquakes are indeed predictable and goes on to publish his 'table of earthquake risk periods' for July:

'For reasons not explained earth scientists seem to have decided that earthquakes are... unpredictable... We do beg to differ, and included this below table of earthquake risk periods in our July newsletter... It shows the days of increased likelihoods of seismic activity. Purple indicates dates to take special note of, and bold purple even more special watch... The reader may note that our 21 July local time (LT) brought the largest shake, being the 6.5mag at 5.13pm, which is actually 22 July universal time (UDT).'
The problem with Ring's table, as with all his quake predictions, is that there are 16 days showing 'increased likelihoods of seismic activity'. That's just over half the month, meaning that people need to be alert for serious quakes, on average, every second day of the month. As bad as this sounds, it gets worse as Ring has insisted elsewhere that 'Potential earthquake time', that is, the dates in purple, must be extended by '+/- about 3 days'. So now every single day of July is a day where an 'increased likelihood of seismic activity' is above average. Be afraid, be very afraid. If you predict every single day to have potential for earthquakes, how can you ever be wrong? If a quake happens, no matter what day it is, Ring has already circled it since he effectively circles every day. If no quake happens, Ring still claims a success since he'll say he didn't say one WOULD definitely happen, only that there was the POTENTIAL that one might happen. It's like me buying a lottery ticket and saying I might win. No matter what happens I will be right. I wouldn't be making a prediction, I'd simply be making a banal statement that was worthless. Ring does the same with his silly quake predictions, but surprisingly gullible people think he is saying something important and profound.

But putting aside the embarrassing fact that Ring's 'table of earthquake risk periods' covers every day, it also makes no mention of where these quakes are going to strike. Its warning of increased risk of seismic activity covers the whole of NZ, in fact it covers the entire planet. As we've said, at the start of the article he provided a map with a vague line running through Cook Strait, but this map was produced AFTER the quake struck. Nowhere in his table (or the text of his newsletter, or else he would have mentioned it), does he predict that the Cook Strait region is what these purple days would likely apply to. Thus everyone in NZ, no matter where they live, in fact everyone in the world, should have thought those purple days applied to them and should have been taking special care. Maybe staying home from work. But again, if every day and every location on Earth is at risk, has Ring made a real prediction at all? Saying an earthquake MIGHT happen some day, somewhere on the planet and thinking that this is a meaningful statement is only something a fool would think.

Of course Ring is forced into making such silly claims for his newsletter content since he is desperate to find some vague statement that he can, using doublespeak and pseudoscience, reinterpret to clients as a valid prediction. An earthquake astrologer can't claim ignorance or admit mistakes. Of course you and I can easily admit ignorance or mistakes, since we don't claim to be experts or able to predict earthquakes or even summer showers. But Ring has a scam to run and profits to make, so existing and potential clients must be reassured that the Cook Strait quakes didn't take him unawares. And if his clients failed to glean the prediction from his newsletter then that's their fault.

But Ring's article, when compared to other sources, doesn't just expose his dishonestly, it exposes his ongoing ignorance of the very things he claims to be an expert in. His opening paragraph states that:

'Earthquakes are currently coming to central NZ because of the occurrence of the earthquake breeder: full moon+perigee+kingtide, today the 22 July. Also we have a Mars/Jupiter conjunction streaming through the Cook Strait, which is the location of the quakes. An added factor is that Pluto is over the North Island.'
Further on he claims that:
'The influence of Mars is that it is an inner planet whose orbit combines gravitationally with earth. This is not astrology as we now know it, it is purely about gravitational forces influencing other gravitational forces. Not for nothing was Mars known for thousands of years as 'the planet of action'. These factors are not recognised by mainstream geology, but would have been well known by ancient astrologers who were our original astronomers.'
He's right technically that Mars (and Jupiter and Pluto) 'combines gravitationally with earth', but it combines with the ENTIRE Earth, not just Wellington. But of course this gravitational influence is inconsequential as regards earthquakes, our weather and our love life. Of all the heavenly bodies, the Moon exhibits the greatest tidal forces on Earth, greater than the far more massive Sun and greater than all the planets combined. Even at conjunction, the combined tidal forces from Jupiter and Mars have no real effect on our tides, ocean or land tides. In fact, evidently a 1kg melon held one metre above your head produces 200 times as much tidal effect in your body as does the Moon. If Mars is causing earthquakes as it passes, then so too are our jet aircraft as they travel up the country, even more so.

Furthermore, to say the 'we have a Mars/Jupiter conjunction streaming through the Cook Strait' and that 'Pluto is over the North Island' is just primitive, ignorant nonsense. It makes perfect sense to astrologers, just as a flat Earth once did, but astronomers view it as ridiculous. To stare up at an object in the night sky, be it the Moon, Jupiter or Mars, and naively believe that it is above you personally and not also above someone else at the other end of the country is primitive ignorance indeed. To claim that 'Pluto is over the North Island' is to imply that it isn't also over the South Island. But of course it is, so anything that Ring claims Pluto is doing to the North Island it must also be doing to the South Island. Likewise the Moon, Mars and Jupiter, whatever effect they are having through the Cook Strait, they must also be affecting the rest of the country equally. We should all be getting earthquakes, so why didn't we? We've asked Ring why two adjacent regions under the same gravity experience different weather and seismic events, but he's refused to give us an answer, not even a stupid one. However, in this new article, obviously feeling the need to respond while not revealing who asked the question, Ring writes that:

'The question is often asked, why should the moon only affect NZ? The answer is that other countries are indeed also affected in the same time frame, because the whole earth rotates one whole revolution beneath the moon every 24 hours. Due to the land tide there is virtually an earthquake everywhere every day, but we are mostly interested only in the big ones.'
So here Ring finally admits that rather than the Moon only affecting NZ or that 'Pluto is over the North Island', the whole Earth is indeed affected. In fact Ring tells us that there is for all purposes 'an earthquake everywhere every day'. And yet you'd think we would have noticed those earthquakes that are everywhere and everyday? While it initially seemed that we had made some headway, Ring cancels it all by then saying that we are 'interested only in the big ones'. Of course we all know that most regions have no quakes whatsoever, a few have small quakes and a very, very small number have big ones. So our question remains unanswered, why do two adjacent regions under the same gravity experience different seismic events? Does Ring truly not understand the question or is he just being deceptive, realising how silly his claims are and simply fudging the issue to satisfy his easily appeased clients?

Note also how he said that:

'This is not astrology as we now know it, it is purely about gravitational forces influencing other gravitational forces. Not for nothing was Mars known for thousands of years as 'the planet of action'.'
He claims his method is not astrology, but then immediately uses primitive astrology beliefs — 'the planet of action' — to support how he believes Mars influences the Earth. He also asserts that: These factors are not recognised by mainstream geology, but would have been well known by ancient astrologers who were our original astronomers.' But this is also where he trips himself up with another lie, unable to keep track of them even in the same article, as he later claims that 'There is nothing about the moon, the sun, planets, orbits, gravity, cycles and electromagnetism that is not rock solid science as taught in universities under various disciplines'. This contradicts his (truthful) claim that 'These factors are not recognised by mainstream geology'. But Ring knows that most of his clients respect science and thus spins the lie that what he does is indeed science as taught in universities. Of course Ring doesn't believe this himself, having clearly admitted it numerous times, but he believes it keeps his clients happy. They would rather think they are following a man of science than an astrologer. At the end of his article Ring says that 'old science must make way for the new', which is Ring again falsely claiming that what he does is science. Do we really want science to make way for astrology?

Ring's comments are again him admitting that he still follows what was once 'well known by ancient astrologers', even though modern astronomers have now shown it was mostly wrong. Ancient astrologers had no knowledge of gravitational forces, and in no way did gravity enter their calculations. They had no idea that Jupiter was much larger than Mars, or how far away they were, and as such all the heavenly bodies were treated equally. This is why astrologers view Mars as just as important as Jupiter. It was the same with the stars in the zodiac constellations, they thought the planets (and even the Sun and the Moon were labelled 'planets') were affected by the stars, which is why Ring says that he uses 'the ancient astrological energy grid of the constellations' and states that 'Constellations are really declination-energy roadmaps'. As an aside, Pluto can't be seen with the naked eye. Thus ancient astrologers, ignorant of its existence, never used it (or the other minor planets) in their prediction calculations, which must have meant that their calculations would have always contained errors.

In an email Jamie also pointed out that the map that Ring used to support his claims was produced by Esoteric Technologies, the 'company that creates the Solar Fire suite of astrology products'. This is Ring consistently using astrology software created by astrologers, at the same time as trying to distance himself from astrology and astrologers. On their website we're told that Stephanie Johnson, a founder and the sole Director of Esoteric Technologies:

'...runs her own Seeing With Stars astrology consultation business... She holds a Federation of Australian Astrologers' Practitioner's Certificate and Diploma and is a member of the Federation of Australian Astrologers. She is a student of Medieval Astrology and the Ancient Wisdom teachings. She holds a Masters of Science degree in Esotericism from the University of the Seven Rays, New Jersey, USA, as well as the Robert Zoller Certificate of Medieval Astrology... her astrology articles have appeared in... the Astrological Monthly Review.'
She proudly calls herself an professional astrologer. She practices the very astrology that Ring claims to abhor, that he rightly ridicules as 'Woman's Weekly' horoscopes and silly coffee table astrology. And yet Ring embraces these astrologers and their 'Medieval Astrology and the Ancient Wisdom teachings'. Lest you're thinking that at least, unlike Ring, she 'holds a Masters of Science degree in Esotericism from the University of the Seven Rays, New Jersey, USA', that is a bogus degree from a bogus university, which should be another reason for Ring to shun her. But no, he seeks their counsel.

But back to Ring's silly claims. He writes that 'the seatide is the inverse of the land tide (earth tide) beneath the waves'. How could the Moon's gravity have an opposite affect on the tides of the sea and the land? As the tidal forces are causing a high tide in the oceans, why are they, at the identical time, causing a low tide, the inverse, in the land? Why are they, in simple terms, pulling the water and pushing the land at the same time? Our understanding is that the tides in the oceans and the land happen in unison and in the same direction.

Ring again states that:

'The moon has the greatest gravitational pull on our planet, being twice that of the sun because of the moon's closer proximity, but it is not something our earth scientists now choose to consider. Lunar orbit cycles are the cycles in all of nature, and geologists still recognise cycles as regards to ice ages and interglacials.'
We, and others, have corrected Ring on this before, but he either refuses to understand or can't understand. The Sun's 'gravitational pull' is actually 180 times greater than the gravitational pull of the Moon. It is the Sun's tidal forces that are less than the Moon's, not its gravitational pull. It is these tidal forces, the difference in gravitational forces from one side of the Earth to the other, that accounts for the tides. This may seem like nit picking, but the difference between gravitational pull and tidal forces is crucial if you are going to calculate what effect they have. And this is precisely what Ring is claiming to do. His inability to understand tidal forces is why he falsely believes that the Moon causes tides in the fluids of the human body, influencing human behaviour, and that objects like Mars and Pluto can make the ground shake. As for his claim that 'Lunar orbit cycles are the cycles in all of nature', this is clear exaggeration. Is the solar year cycle or the water cycle, carbon cycle or nitrogen cycle based on the Moon's orbit? In the past Ring has claimed that the female menstrual cycle is regulated by the Moon, but it clearly isn't. If it were then the cycles of all women in a particular area would be synchronised. They're not, but this doesn't stop Ring falsely claiming that nature's cycles are all based on the Moon.

In an above quote from Ring, he stated that:

'The reader may note that our 21 July local time (LT) brought the largest shake, being the 6.5mag at 5.13pm, which is actually 22 July universal time (UDT).'
This reader noted that Ring's claim appears to be wrong. I have no idea what UDT means, but since it follows 'universal time' I suspect Ring actually means UTC (Universal Time Coordinated or Greenwich Mean Time). But since NZ is 12 hours ahead of Universal Time, then UTC for that quake would be 21 July, 5.13am, not 22 July. If I were a teacher marking Ring's work, there would be red crosses everywhere! (See below as to why Ring introduces this confusion around the date.)

Yet again, and still producing no evidence for his claims, Ring falsely claims that 'The greatest magnitude shakes are usually before and after the kingtide'. We have already debunked this myth here, where we clearly show that major earthquakes from history do NOT cluster around kingtides (or high tides or low tides). Of course Ring must continue to erroneously insist that they do since otherwise his lunar predictions are not worth diddlysquat.

Ring also claims that geologists 'do not recognise the moon-based land tide'. Rubbish, scientists most definitely do accept land tides, it was scientists that measured them and explained them, not astrologers. What scientists don't accept is that land tides caused by the Moon cause our major earthquakes.

Ignoring and dismissing geologists, Ring adopts primitive thinking by believing that 'as Christchurch resdients can confirm, their two largest shakes arguably created new faults'. Is that right Ken, so they're done the experiments, run the tests and collected the hard data have they? Ring is of the sort that believes that the unqualified layperson can reliably decide matters of complex science, probably over a couple of beers at the pub. After all, if unqualified Ken can publicly pontificate on matters of science, why can't a Christchurch hairdresser or Reiki therapist?

Reassuring his readers that there 'may be relatively little personal danger' to Kiwis from earthquakes, Ring informs us that 'NZ gets about 15,000 per year and there have been about two million recorded since European settlement'. That's a lot of earthquakes per year, an average of 41 per day, and yet I thought we only had two high tides a day? Also two million quakes recorded since European settlement equates to roughly 3,000 lunar cycles. So that's 3,000 kingtides, and yet we've had two million quakes. Obviously something other than kingtides caused nearly all of them. Surprisingly, with so many quakes happening, Ring still can't even fluke a correct prediction. Which leads us to his next claim:

'Can earthquakes be predicted? Some may recall the warning tweets we sent out before each largest shake in the recent Christchurch series in 2010 and 2011.'
This is Ring once again falsely claiming that he predicted the Christchurch earthquakes. He did nothing of the sort. We debunked his claims here. Ring has not predicted a single major earthquake, but he evidently knows who can. He asserts that:
'The so-called dumb wild animals, insects, fish, birds and household pets can all detect earthquakes well beforehand. So with today's advanced technology, why would it be so difficult for this so-called master race to work out what an ant or a dog seem able to do with ease?'
But can they Ken, or is this just another urban myth? After thousands of years of observing these early warning signs, why do we still take no notice of them? Not even astrologers? People were quick to utilise canaries in mines to warn of gas, why do we stubbornly refuse to let them warn us of quakes? You instead try and get us to believe in your lunar prediction method. Why worry about consulting vague and complex prediction charts in your newsletters when we could all just get a pet cockroach? Kiwis have lots of dogs and cats, so why don't we ever notice them packing their bags and fleeing in terror the day or even the hour before major quakes? Some animals may well detect quakes before humans do, but they don't do it 'well beforehand' as you claim. And even if our dog were to rush up to us with his lead in his mouth, how do we know if he means earthquake or walkies? Look at this Scientific American article: 'Can animals sense earthquakes?'

And I notice that you refer to your critics as the 'so-called master race'. You just can't resist throwing in your Nazi insults can you?

You claim to be the quake prediction expert, you have all the data, you alone know what you have predicted, but your confidence seemingly deserts you and you finish by asking: 'Was the current series predicted? The reader may be the judge'. OK, we will. Having looked at all the evidence, much of which you didn't reveal, then the answer is clearly no. You didn't predict the current quakes, although you want people to believe you did.

UPDATE: 25 Jul 2013. We've updated this post on finding that Ring has placed a near identical article to his website one on his Yahoo website, this time called 'The Moon and the Cook Strait earthquakes'. The gist of the article is the same, but in slightly altering it he has introduced yet more lies and nonsense that scream out to be exposed. We start with this silly belief:

'Normally the land (land tide) lifts and falls again by 20cms per day in NZ... the land tide is the real tide, with the sea just flowing into expanded or contracted bays.'
This statement exposes another lie, since remember that Ring has claimed that geologists 'do not recognise the moon-based land tide', so where does he get his 20cm movement from if not from scientists? Astrologers, witches, Hobbits? Ring used to claim, correctly, that the Moon's gravity pulled on the Earth's air, water and land. This is true because they are all comprised of matter, albeit of differing density. Now Ring is apparently claiming that the Moon's gravity somehow ignores the water and concentrates solely on the land mass. He doesn't mention whether the air is still on side with the Moon. Evidently the water only moves because the Moon is altering the shape of the water container. As an analogy, we can mirror the vertical lifting effect of the land caused by the Moon by thinking of a rubber bath half-filled with water. If you mark the water level, then lift the entire bath and at the same time stretch the sides of the bath upwards, the water level will appear to drop slightly. For the water level to notably rise or fall the sides of the bath must move horizontally in or out. But the land tide is vertical, not horizontal, so the land movement would not cause the ocean to rise and fall the way it obviously does. Ring says that the land can rise by 20 to 50cms, and yet the tides can rise in some places by 15 metres! When the land is rising vertically the ocean should if anything go down. Why does lifting the land a small distance cause a much greater lift in the water, if the Moon's gravity is only pulling the land and not the water? Furthermore, at any time of the day or night there are always two high tides happening on the Earth, one on the face of the Earth under the Moon, and another on the complete opposite side of the Earth. It's easy to visualise the water (and land) facing the Moon being pulled towards the Moon and creating a high tide, and falling again as the Moon passes over head. But how does the pull of the Moon cause a high tide on the opposite side of the Earth at the same time? If anything shouldn't it be a low tide since the Moon is not above the oceans pulling on the water? No, two high tides happen because it's not simply about gravitational pull, it's about tidal forces created by the Moon's gravity. How does Ring explain the high ocean tide on the opposite side of the Earth by the Moon pulling the land and ignoring the water? Ring seems to be rejecting the little science that even he used to accept, preferring to now base his method on 100% pure nonsense.

Does Ken have any credible supporters for his astrological predictions? Not that are still alive, but back in the 18th century there was one, if Ring can be believed:

'This is not Sunday magazine astrology as we now know it, but... These factors... would have been well known by... gravitational physicists like Sir Isaac Newton who called themselves astrologers.'
That Sir Isaac Newton was an astrologer is a lie that Ring repeats ad nauseam. And he knows it is false, as we have debated this before. There is no doubt that Newton believed some silly things, but astrology wasn't one of them. Ring lies about Newton for two reasons. One, Newton formulated the theory of universal gravitation, and gravity is the linchpin of Ring's pseudoscience. Two, the public recognise Newton as a scientific genius, and if they are told that a respected scientist of Newton's calibre believed in astrology then there must be some truth to it. Thus no matter how many times Ring is shown that he is wrong about Newton, he continues to lie to his readers, hoping for respect by association. He's no different to religious believers who tell similar lies about scientists Einstein and Darwin, falsely claiming that Einstein believed in God and that Darwin found God on his deathbed. The stupid thing with Ring is that there were many famous scientists from history who did believe in astrology, and yet Ring picks one who didn't. Just not too bright!

In his modified article Ring gives a reason why science shuns astrology: 'the moon has a pagan religious association and is therefore still not something earth science chooses to consider.' This is an oft repeated claim from Ring, and is part of his suite of conspiracy theory claims. Ring's argument that Christianity has put the fear of God into scientists is simply laughable. Scientists have been studying the Moon and it's relationship to the Earth for centuries, and it is their data that Ring uses when he talks gravity, orbital distances, land tides, quake magnitudes etc. It was scientists that landed man on the Moon, not astrologers.

Regarding scientists, he goes on to say that 'for reasons not explained they have decided earthquakes are cycle-exempt'. More deception from Ring, falsely implying that scientists refuse to reveal why they discount his astrological predictions. Scientists have clearly said, over and over again, that there is no good evidence that the position of heavenly bodies cause major earthquakes, and Ring doesn't help his case by refusing to provide any. Scientists ignore astrology for the same reason they ignore gods and fairies.

Continuing his attack on science, he claims that 'Now all natural events are considered one-offs and therefore unpredictable because cycles do not attract as much research funding as the anomalies.' Surely even Ring can't believe such a stupid claim? The natural world as we know it only exists because on a macro scale most things are predictable. Even I can predict that the Sun will rise each day, that sex can result in pregnancy, that spring will follow winter, that a dropped glass will break, that lightning causes thunder, that death follows life, and that the easy availability of knowledge doesn't rid the world of fools. If the natural world weren't predictable then science would be a waste of time, if 'all natural events are considered one-offs' then we should never expect (or predict) any event to happen twice. But every year Ring publishes his Almanac, seemingly contrary to the new laws of science.

As for why earthquakes strike in one region but not an adjacent one, Ring claims that 'Earthquakes cannot be pinpointed to exact location yet, but general geographical regions in particular weeks can be achieved by astrometeorology'. For readers unfamiliar with the term 'astrometeorology', it's a pseudoscience term meaning the use of astrology to predict the weather, and more recently, earthquakes as well. Ring uses the position of the Moon (and sometimes the Sun and planets, it depends on who he's talking to) in his predictions. Ring makes stupid statements such as 'Pluto is over the North Island' in a childish attempt to explain why one geographical region can expect quakes but not an adjacent one, but since his silly astrometeorology is only considering the position of celestial bodies and not the varying geology of the Earth, there is no way he can make reliable predictions. Only guesses, or as he calls them, opinions.

Next we have Ring stating the incorrect dates to make it appear that the earthquake happened on specific lunar events that he claims cause quakes. He claims that:

'The day of perigee, 22 July has predictably brought the largest shake, being the 6.5mag at 5.13pm.'
This is wrong, as any fool can determine for themselves, since the quake occurred on the 21st July, not the 22nd. He got the quake date correct in his original article, as we noted above, although he then tried to confuse readers which this erroneous claim: 'which is actually 22 July universal time (UDT)'. He also fudges another date with these claims regarding the earthquake cause:
'full moon of 22 July... 'the earthquake breeder: full moon + perigee + kingtide, all combining on 22 July.'
He's wrong again because the full moon was the 23rd July, not the 22nd. Why does he lie about these dates? It's because he needs major earthquakes to occur on perigee and/or full moon to make his prediction method meaningful. If the quakes occur on days other than perigee, full moon, kingtide, apogee etc then that means they occurred on ordinary, run-of-the-mill days where the Moon is in an orbital position that is nothing out of the ordinary, at a distance where it can be found most of the time. If the Moon can cause major earthquakes when it is in middle-of-the road distances from the Earth, then that means that quakes can happen any old day, and we could never predict them. Ring's argument is that major quakes happen when the Moon moves from ordinary, run-of-the-mill distances to minimum and maximum distances plus full moon or new moon. In between these times we are safe. So if a quake ignores Ring's hypothesis and happens outside his crucial days, as nearly all of them do, he is not above deviously modifying the dates to make them fit, hoping that readers won't have the ability to check them. As another example of Ring lying about dates, in the same article he writes:
'Readers might recall that on 4 September 2010 the moon was second closest to earth for that year.'
Honestly now, how many readers are going to know that? Especially since it is false. The perigee was on the 8th Sep not the 4th Sep, so the Christchurch quake happened when the Moon was at a typical distance from the Earth, the perigee was still 4 days away. Lest people think perigees are a rare event, let's remember that they occur every month. So major quakes caused by them should be a common event for all of us, but they're not.

It's a necessity of all scams that lies must be told, facts must be suppressed, and if appropriate, pseudoscience must be employed to impress and confuse potential clients. Ring employs all these and more, such as insults and threats towards critics. I guess we should just be thankful that he does all these things poorly, and those with a modicum of intelligence and curiosity can easy see his scam for what it is.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 24 Jul, 2013 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend
Blog

Comments:

  1. Comment by Ron, 24 Jul, 2013

    Regarding Ring's latest on his site re. the cook strait earthquakes, the opening statement is pure crap. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Pluto, that little far, far distant hunk of rock over the North Island (only) and having an influence? What sort of morons does he think we are? This is diabolically stupid. He says his quake predictions were right and sent out to 9000 recipients. He told me 600 a yr ago and I cannot ever find quake "opinions" in the emails he sends me. The whole thing is pathetic and juvenile. If Ken was a teacher or tutor he would be laughed out of the institution and all his students would simply have walked off never to return.

    You know, I try to respect and find the good in most of my fellow humans but Ken tests that to the limit esp. this latest idiocy. Was fuming when I read this latest. Makes me bloody angry to think he is making lots of dosh, that in NZ in 2013 lots of dopey people follow and believe every dumb word from him and happily pay their money. Hell. For opinions!!!! Who in their right mind pays a person with such a dubious background for opinions on life and death situations such as quakes and weather? What is wrong with the mentality of so many kiwis these days? Can't blame the quakes for all of them. He says the quake band has left CH.CH. now going north and watch out Wairarapa. Fool. If we had a biggie today and you challenge all you get is "I sell opinions only". Not good enough. I've been debating with him about a prediction he made that the UK would get a very hot dry summer with many heatwaves. For July he appears spot on. June, no. UK metservice said summer would be very average esp. Aug. but July would be best mth. I mentioned this. His reply started with him only selling opinions, that he stands by his predictions and to challenge him at end of Aug, that UK metservice should have known better. The best was he explained the hot summer was caused by close perigees once a yr that occur only during their summers and our winters, hence our unusually cold winter, etc. UK met. said it was the high altitude jetstream moving further north than usual. Ken's explanation has more holes than Bonnie and Clyde's getaway car. Why only the UK? Why are hot UK summers rare and the exception instead of every yr then. Where is this terrible winter here? In CH.CH. July, our worst mth, so far has been a piece of cake. Many dry mild days with a run of 16 degree days at present yet he said the period of July 20 to 23 would be very cold with lots of rain and snow over most of NZ. I could go on and on. Out of all the topics you cover on your awesome site I feel Ken takes the prize as consistently the top scam, the silliest, the dumbest, the most infuriating. That's my big soapbox rant off my chest and I feel better, I think.

  2. Comment by Jamie, 24 Jul, 2013

    Hi John, it certainly didn't take Ken long to post an article "explaining" the Cook Strait earthquakes. As for that gem: "An added factor is that Pluto is over the North Island", I nearly choked on my cornflakes, reading that this morning!

    Is he serious?

  3. Comment by Gerald, 24 Jul, 2013

    Hi guys, thought you might enjoy this.

    Ken Ring explains on Radio Live how the moon, mars and jupiter caused the Cook Strait Seddon Sequence earthquakes. Hilarious. I can only assume they're broadcasting this nonsensical fantasy crap for its humour value. Even so, they should be given a good slapping for giving air time to this blatant cretin and charlatan. You will note that no reputable news media or journo even bother with him any more, they're well aware what a shyster he is.

    http://www.radiolive.co.nz/Ken-Ring-on-the-cosmos-and-Earthquakes/tabid/506/articleID/36889/Default.aspx

  4. Comment by Anonymous, 24 Jul, 2013

    In your considerations you could have mentioned his failed prediction for December last year when he issued a detailed prediction about size place and date and utterly failed. He later said that it was just a wind-up for those of us challenging him, but his articles and analyses were detailed. So he had done much work after the Chch quakes, so he's lying again. Blatantly. And failed abysmally.

    I tried to query those lines he uses on his maps — I think that they mark the transit of the planets across the Earth, whatever that means and from what perspective he never explained. To my thinking they must at least be sub-parallel to the equator because of the elliptic of the solar system, not almost north/south? Anyway, what he did reveal was that they are calculated by a programme called Kepler, which, if you check it out, is astrologically based and is for astrologers.

    Anyway. The lines are continuous — so how come he picked Cook Strait when the line went from west of Taranaki and off to the Southeast — surely the earthquakes would be all along that line? A bit like your query of how does the moon focus on specific areas? At least prior to December he looked at intersecting lines — goodness knows what the other set were, he wouldn't explain — but I think they were the old "lay lines" or something to do with the moon. At least he realised then that to predict a location you need a point, not a line.....

  5. Comment by Jamie, 26 Mar, 2013

    Hi John, thanks. I read this yesterday. I noticed his latest tweet (re: "dumb animals.. and the master race") attracted a few clever comments. Haha. It's good to see most people are on to him (?).

    By the way, his winter predictions for July are not looking too flash:

    http://www.predictweather.co.nz/ArticleShow.aspx?ID=455&type=home

    "July will be a spectacular month for snow, with reports of road and school closures the subject of daily front page newspaper stories."

    — erm, wrong Ken.
  6. Comment by Ken Ring, 26 Jul, 2013

    Ok, here we go again. I am not an astrologer, NEVER have been, but yes, I have never made any attempt to conceal that I do use astrological tools because astronomers have bowed out of that scene. If astronomers made animated planet charts I'd use them. I also use a tap every day but that does not make me a plumber. A doctor uses many tools electricians also use. Does that make an electrician a doctor? Everyone in NZ uses the names of the days of the week which have derived from astrology. So is everyone an astrologer now, by this "John" logic?

    I do NOT predict earthquakes, I use the 'predict' word to mean suggestions, and as such I suggest risk potential times. So far the track record seems good, e.g. the 22 July was the most potent day for earthquakes this month so far, as shown in my table, which was distributed in June. There's the proof the system works. On 22 July there were many above 5Ms around the world, including a 6.1M in South Africa and a 6 in China that took 47 lives.

    I have never made a cent from earthquake matters, it is not part of my business and I have no products to sell that mention them in any way. So whom could I possibly be ever ripping off? I write for those who request the information - I certainly don't write for SB readers so there is no need for them to read my work. My work is non-profit and my team all have other jobs. We established the business basically to help farmers. The feedback we receive, especially from top executive level of Federated Farmers, leads us to believe we are continuing to provide something helpful to the NZ economy.

    There are some things you obviously do not know because it requires study, which you seem to have no time for because you spend all your time attacking me in the manner of a mad dog.

    A perigee is always in position for several days, especially a close one. When I said the 4 September saw the moon second closest to earth it was in this position for nearly a week. The same can be said to 22 July. A day or so either side is immaterial. On 20 March 2011, the perigee was the closest for 19 years. This contributed to our 7-intensity Christchurch earthquake on the 20th, and also the 11 March Japanese tsunami because on that day the moon was in perigee-affected northern declination.

    The air tide is well known by meteorologists as weather balloons float higher on new and full moon days. The king-tide occurs in land, sea and air at the same rime, caused by the combination of sun and moon, but mainly moon. The fact of two water tides per day is not global because some locations only receive one, but the daily air tide which does not depend on shapes of coastlines is global, so there is no scientific contradiction there.

    As we busted you on some time ago, we discovered you supply weather trends and ethics to corporations from your Invercargill base. That you will constantly deny it is laughable, and part of your anonymous KKK style behaviour so typical of other self righteous brotherhood gangs who fear identification and hide behind masks. Competition is not a bad thing. The marketplace sorts out what works. We have no need for a Thought Police SB Gang to tell people what not to buy and what to think. This is a society with a rich diversity of opinions, cultures and beliefs. Some might not suit you. Get over it. Oh, and in a free society I think I am free to update and change the wording on my website occasionally, just as you do. Or is this one rule for me and another for the rest?

    As for Ron ****, in a series of emails to me he referred to "John" as "the bully at Silly beliefs". Now he appears here as part of the SB team of supporters!! Ron wrote to me "You are obviously onto something here, despite the silly beliefs website!! Those months have been very accurate for CH.CH. As we await the polar blast and metservice latest update for here your predictions and dates for this in your last email are shaping up to be very accurate.. Like the UK summer will see how it pans out. Next 3 days. But you're looking very close regardless. Ken, I understand where you are coming from here and accept the points!. I feel a growing empathy for you and your family over all this. It would have to be most unpleasant. I myself have long suspected the bullying factor is real and its threat a real deterrent for many would be disagreeing writers. I have seen stark evidence of this with the few who were brave enough. I especially identify with your analogy between marriage and intelligence. What you say re. Stalin and Hitler and their intelligence make a strong thought provoking point."

    So Ron is clearly a fool who wastes everybody's time because he cannot work out who he agrees with. But Ron does mention those who genuinely find your website obnoxious. You might ponder about those who email me with disgust at the unwarranted one-sided attacks on me, and who don't write anymore to challenge you because of the bullying insults when they have done so. Attacking me incessantly like some modern day Joe McCarthy (now considered despicable in US history) for having alternative ideas simply drives more traffic to my website. Is this not self-defeating?

  7. Comment by Graham, 27 Jul, 2013

    Hi John, if you're looking for a quote to counter Ken's "I'm not an astrologer" rant, then on this forum down the bottom he said: "Snow will come at certain times in the moon phase cycle, declination and when moon in particular zodiac House."

    I don't think you can justify the use of the "z" word without being an astrologer.

    It was one of the earlier debunkings, in the days when ken wasn't ashamed of his astrological roots.

    http://forums.ski.com.au/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=336431&page=1

  8. Comment by Gerald, 27 Jul, 2013

    Just read Ken Ring's latest comment of 26 July 2013. What a crock. I dunno why you even bother to reply to his bollocks. Ken, nobody cares that you're a moron. But people do care that conversations with you on the comments on your Yahoo News column (before you stopped allowing comments) showed you up as a blatant fraud and charlatan whose weather and earthquake prediction "methods" are worthless bullshit, and that you continue to bullshit and rip off gullible idiots.

  9. Comment by Anonymous, 27 Jul, 2013

    It was nice of Ken to address, if not answer some of your points. However, his first statement in which he says that he uses astrological instruments but that doesn't make him an astrologer is worth picking up. I do not think that his analogies are particularly instructive. Using a tap every day does not make him a plumber — on the other hand he does know what a tap does, what the result of turning the valve one way or another will do, and when it is faulty he will call a plumber, or fix it himself if he is confident and competent to do so. In other words, he understands its function and possibly how it functions. With his astrological programmes, like Kepler, he seems to have no idea what their output actually is — in the debates that we had with him leading up to his absolutely embarrassing failure in predicting an earthquake last December, I asked him what all those lines on his maps were. That is when he said that the Kepler programme calculates them for him and that they mark (or some of them do) the transit of planets across the Earth. But this is like the leaky tap as it is not working correctly — they are not, they cannot be transit lines. All the planets (except the non-planet Pluto) are circling the Sun on the same plane. So they should all transit across the Earth somewhere between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, allowing for the tilt of the Earth, provided that the observer is also on that plane. But he has them transiting across NZ at right angles to what they should be doing and they cannot do that.

    So either the programme that he uses is wrong, or he doesn't understand what it is producing, or, most likely, it is complete rubbish designed to gull the gullible. In Ken's case, I suspect the last of these. He doesn't know what he is doing, he takes the word of others even when it is simply illustrated that he must be wrong, but he ploughs on regardless. The mark of the believer, not the thinker.

    In his latest Yahoo posting (26 July) he lights into the geologists. First of all he gets his facts wrong — consider "Neither was the May 1968 Inangahua 7.1mag shake, the Fiordland 7.1 mag of August 2003, or the June 1929 Murchison 7.8mag considered The Big One, yet these all occurred on the Alpine Fault." Actually, I know that neither Inangahua nor Murchison are on the Alpine Fault. They are on branches of it, just as the faults north of Seddon are. So if those earthquakes were on the Alpine Fault, then so were the Seddon ones, and so his problem disappears.

    Then he gets into them for harking after the "Big One". "It is interesting how the conversation runs. Reporters always ask of geologists, So is this the Big One?, followed by So when will the Big One come? The inference is that future speculation of a myth is more important than what may have just happened. It does seem that the media is helping to running this circus." So it is the MEDIA who are on about the "Big One" rather than the scientists, so why knock the scientists for it?

    Then it is "GNS Science seismologist Stephen Bannister said scientists could not rule out the possibility that the quakes could stir up other faults and "kick off" the Alpine Fault. Then we hear there is disagreement amongst geologists and we have to wonder if this is a double act&.For on the other side of the same office GNS Science spokesman John Callan says the recent swarm of quakes east of Seddon was "not increasing or decreasing the risk of a quake on the Alpine Fault" and that the quakes were "too far away to affect the Alpine Fault". You have to wonder, if geologists are just guessing then is there any real cause for lay folk to get all steamed up."

    Firstly, John Callan is not a scientist, nor a geologist, but a journalist working for GNS. Secondly, the wording is quite careful — Callan is quite correct when he says that the risk of a quake has not changed. Ken has problems with statistics and specifically what "risk" means. If there is the risk of one large movement on the Alpine Fault every thousand years, then just because one happens, or precursory event may trigger one, it does not change the "risk". The risk is still one every thousand years (or whatever they say it is). Thirdly, if a system is under stress, as our part of the crust undoubtedly is, then quite small triggers may set off larger events. That is my understanding. So these two guys are actually saying something similar — the trigger is too far away to directly affect the Alpine Fault (which is way to the south by some 200 km?), but it may trigger others in-between and some sort of chain effect is possible. At least that's how I read it.

    In any case, why would different scientists be expected to be of exactly the same opinion? They are constantly developing their knowledge and modifying their techniques and understandings and explanations. That is how science works, Ken. It has long been the case that science is about probabilities, not certainties, which your opening paragraphs in your Yahoo opinion piece seem to have difficulty with. As we have learned more about how things work, we have come to realise that we cannot ever understand everything absolutely precisely — we don't have that capacity. So if it were two scientists with different opinions about something which was under active debate and investigation, then I would be surprised and disappointed if they then sang from the same songbook. That is why they continue to work on problems, to improve their understanding, and improvement comes from debate and challenge of ideas.

    Which is why Ken is no scientist and is, if not actually then in his own mind, of the same ilk as astrologers, because he uses ideas and techniques developed hundreds of years ago (albeit computerised) and long since shown to be quite mistaken, erroneous, wrong, contradictory and whatever other adjectives exist of the same general meaning. So it is easier to think of him as an astrologer. Which is why what he says in his "predictive opinions" is really rubbish and should not be given any weight at all. That some people do, including apparently the "leadership of Federated Farmers" is a tragedy for them and this country, that we have people around with so little scepticism. But then it was some of our best business leaders who got scammed by the Nigerians, wasn't it? So I shouldn't be surprised!

  10. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 27 Jul, 2013

    To use your opening phrase Ken, OK, here we go again. We're going to repeat what we wrote to a correspondent two years ago, since you probably didn't read it. It's true that we can't recall you ever declaring unambiguously 'I am an astrologer', but quite clearly you often imply that you are. Regarding earthquake predictions, you've said several times: 'You only need one astrologer and one geologist working as a team', where clearly you are the astrologer. You say that 'when it comes to the influence of sun, moon and planets on Earth and everything on the earth, this has already been worked out in the old astrology'. Only an astrologer would insist on using astrology software rather than astronomy software, as you do. Does NASA resort to astrology software to plot a planet's orbit? Only an astrologer would make statements such as: 'It is the old principles of Astrology that we should be turning back to... We are rediscovering answers about... the role that pre-Christian era astrology can still play... there's nothing wrong with basic good old working astrology... it is about time the truth got told'. Note that you keep referring to 'the old principles of Astrology', not some modern version stripped of primitive, ignorant nonsense. Speaking about apogee, you have stated that 'This is a very astrological aspect — how one planet can 'give energy to' another. Some say lunar apogee gives power to ALL the other planets'. You claim that this is an 'astrological aspect', not an astronomical one (thankfully, because it is absolute nonsense). And only an astrologer would say silly things like this: 'Cancer typically brings downpours [and] the Moon will be in Pisces, a wet sign'... You are supposed to care for the hair when the moon is in Leo... On a simpler basis, sell a house before a full moon — people are said to be more impulsive then and typically don't quite know what they are doing...' When describing your predictions, or opinions, only an astrologer would say, 'All I have ever offered has been an interesting correlation between astrological factors...' And who but a believer in astrology would say this: 'For anyone to state they don't believe in astrology is to say they don't believe in the fact that stars are out there.' You have also confidently asserted that 'What the reader may have read about astrology is a beat-up... it is really science, not pseudoscience'. (Also see Graham's quote above at Comment #7.)

    Of course when confronted with these embarrassing quotes, you try to pretend that what you mean by astrology and what the rest of the world means by astrology is two different things. We are all wrong except you evidently. You complain that 'I've never done a horoscope for anyone in my life so no one can level the word astrology at me'. You probably haven't, but people only level the word astrology at you because you keep using the word in relation to your method over and over again. When we say you probably mean astronomy, you correct us and say you most definitely mean astrology. We have tried to get you to define exactly what you mean by astrology, how it differs from astronomy (and it does, that's why you use it), and why every other professional astrologer is evidently mistaken in how they view astrology. But you refuse. When we argued that just because people keep buying astrology books doesn't prove it works, you replied: 'Wrong, it proves [astrology] does work or the same people wouldn't keep buying [astrology books]...' This is you arguing that traditional, silly 'Sunday magazine astrology' actually works!

    Pawmistry The fact is that astrology has always been nonsense and its essence hasn't changed since it was invented thousands of years ago. An astrologer is one who makes predictions based on the astrological method of charting the positions of the sun, moon and planets, guided by the belief that humans and events on Earth are under the influence of these celestial bodies. You concentrate mainly on celestial bodies influencing events rather than humans, but there is no denying that this still makes you an astrologer, albeit an unqualified one. You may not be writing horoscopes for a woman's magazine, although let's remember you did write your book 'Pawmistry: How to Read Your Cat's Paws', in which you used 'age old tools of divination to teach you what kind of cat owner you are, based on your astrological sign, and what kind of cat you have, based on its sign ...'. So you may not have written a horoscope for a specific person, but you have written broad horoscopes for people, and their cats. (And we also note that in communicating with your supporters you angrily claim that you have 'never read cat's paws', planting the false implication that we are lying about this book. You wrote the book Ken, don't blame us if you're now embarrassed.)

    And regarding your examples, using a tap doesn't make you a plumber, but fixing one using plumbing knowledge would mean that you are practicing plumbing. You use astrological knowledge so you are practicing astrology. (Or as the previous comment noted, you attempt to use astrological knowledge.) And if we want to get picky, and why not, most of the names of the days of the week are actually derived from the names of gods of various religions. They were purloined to name the seven days of the week because ancient astrologers in their wisdom believed the seven visible 'planets' (Sun, Moon, Mercery, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) were all that there were (Boy, were they wrong!). The names have changed over the centuries, and in English today only Saturday, Sunday and Monday derive from the original Saturn, Sun, and Moon connection.

    Moving on, you state that 'I do NOT predict earthquakes, I use the 'predict' word to mean suggestions...' So your predictions are 'suggestions' now? What happened to 'opinions'? My dictionary defines 'predict' as 'To state, tell about, or make known in advance, especially on the basis of special knowledge, to foretell something'. This is exactly what you do, you warn about major earthquakes in advance on the basis of special knowledge. What you want to quibble over is that you're not claiming that you're 100% certain quakes will occur, but that you merely 'suggest risk potential times. So far the track record seems good'. To warn of future events on the basis of special knowledge and then after the events claim that 'the track record seems good' is to successfully 'predict'. You can call them 'suggestions'or 'opinions' or whatever you wish, but by definition you are making predictions, and that is how intelligent, informed people view them. You can derive your 'suggestions' by means of astrology principles or by reading cat's paws, but the world will still see them as predictions. We know that your weather prediction business makes the bogus claim that 'accuracy has often been assessed at around 80-85%'. We accept that you don't say a specific event will happen with 100% certainty, but going from 100% accuracy to 85% does not change a prediction into a suggestion. They are fundamentally still predictions, just not foolproof predictions. If I predict the Greens will win 10 seats at the next election, and I accept I may be wrong, it is still a prediction whether I am right or wrong. You fear the term 'prediction' Ken because you feel that it implies a good degree of reliability and accuracy on your behalf, and instead are happier with 'suggestion' and 'opinion' since we all know that these are very often wrong, and no one holds another to account for a wrong opinion.

    You say that regarding your 'table of earthquake risk periods' for July: 'There's the proof the system works'. What is this if not claiming that your earthquake predictions were shown to be correct? When you believe your claims have been confirmed you are happy to imply 'prediction', but when they don't you insist that they were only 'opinions'. You say that 'On 22 July there were many above 5Ms around the world... ', but as even you said recently, worldwide there is 'virtually an earthquake everywhere every day', and that NZ gets some 15,000 a year. And why were there quakes in South Africa and China but not in Peru or Scotland? You refuse to explain why they happen in one place but not another. But as we demonstrated here, earthquakes don't cluster around your special dates. If a number did occur on the 22nd July worldwide, it was most likely coincidence. If you dispute this, then you are saying that you CAN predict when they will likely occur.

    You plead that 'I have never made a cent from earthquake matters, it is not part of my business and I have no products to sell that mention them in any way'. But you've just published your 'table of earthquake risk periods' in your newsletter (and seemingly this is a regular feature), and while your newsletters may be free, they, along with your talks on radio, TV and at public events etc are clearly designed to promote the money making side of your weather forecasting business. You take advantage of the public's interest in earthquakes to raise your profile and hopefully go on to sell more Almanacs. Furthermore, you don't have to take money from someone to rip them off. If you convince someone to believe in nonsense, we see that as harming them intellectually, and worthy of challenging. You say that you 'don't write for SB readers so there is no need for them to read my work'. This is a little like a Catholic priest saying, 'I don't abuse your children so there is no need for you to watch who stays over at my house'. While you may not like our attention Ken, we are interested in what you get up to, if just for a good laugh. And of course we could say that we likewise don't write for you, so there's no need for you to read our work.

    And now that you have confirmed that you're putting out earthquake 'suggestions' again, perhaps it's not a good time to remind you of this promise that you made the good citizens of NZ following your Christchurch debacle:

    'In a recent article on my website I expressed that because of the way some were misinterpreting my intentions, albeit accelerated by the media, it would be best stop talking about potential earthquake timings after April... I gave that assurance and unless there is some media or politician-led change I do intend to be true to that word.'
    To our knowledge no such change has occurred, not even in Hobbiton, so why have you reneged on your solemn promise? Can we not trust what you say? (Don't panic, that's a rhetorical question. To steal your phrase: The reader may be the judge.)

    You reveal to us that 'My work is non-profit and my team all have other jobs. We established the business basically to help farmers'. Are we to believe that your business loses money each year Ken, that you produce your Almanacs, travel the world, and employ staff all at a loss? Are you now seriously claiming that you are a philanthropist, that you make no money from your business? If you do actually make money but still claim non-profit status, then what charities or institutions does your profit go to? It's strange that in the past you've claimed that you don't make a fortune from your business, but now you're claiming that you don't make a profit at all! So which is it Ken, you don't make a profit at all or you do but give it away? And I'll tell you up front, we don't make a cent, let alone a profit, from our website in any sense whatsoever.

    You claim that 'The feedback we receive... leads us to believe we are continuing to provide something helpful to the NZ economy'. Wow, the NZ economy no less, and you still don't think you deserve to make a profit, even a measly one, for such noble work? Unfortunately, like you, the pope believes he is providing support for his followers too, and yet pope and followers alike are both following a fantasy.

    You say that 'There are some things you obviously do not know because it requires study...' Wrong again Ken. There is actually an enormous number of things I do not know.

    Contrary to what you've said previously, now you claim that 'A perigee is always in position for several days... for nearly a week'. This is nonsense. Perhaps your astrology programs blur perigees (and no doubt apogees) over several days, but astronomical software place a perigee down to not just a single day, but to the very minute. Remember that this is why you have been exposed manipulating dates to ensure quake and orbital position match exactly. Of course we accept that the precise day of perigee is not much different from the day before or the day after, but these days are also not much different from the day before that or the day after that. Very soon you have agreed that every day of the month is similar to the surrounding days and so if a quake is possible, it is possible on any day of the month. You have now expanded perigee to a week and apogee to another week, add to that your +/- 3 days that you insist on, then what does that leave as safe days for the month? Two days maybe? Of course when one takes into account your claim made elsewhere that 'Earthquakes cluster more around full moon times', I'm sure even these two safe days will vanish. Can you not grasp Ken that an earthquake warning (or suggestion or opinion), that effectively covers every single day is absolutely worthless?

    Here's something I do know. There was no '7-intensity Christchurch earthquake on the 20th' Mar 2011. You know very well that the earthquake you're referring to was recorded as a magnitude 5.1 aftershock. In conspiracy mode you continue to claim that 'GNS downsized it for reasons yet to be told'. Maybe they were just correcting an initial reporting error Ken? You need there to be a major quake on that specific day in Christchurch because that was the prediction your reputation was resting on, and consequently failed on. Regardless of its magnitude Ken, 5.1 or 7, it is clear to all that no major quake damaging to infrastructure or people struck Christchurch on the 20th. Terrified people fled the city on your warning for nothing. You then go on to claim that the March 20th perigee contributed to 'the 11 March Japanese tsunami because on that day the moon was in perigee-affected northern declination'. This is a blatant falsehood. The apogee was on Mar 6th, the quake was on Mar 11th, and the perigee was on Mar 20th. The quake happened 5 days from apogee but 9 days away from perigee. It was roughly twice as close to apogee than it was to perigee. Are you just pathetically incompetent when it comes to technical details or did you deliberately craft your statement to deceive? Which is it Ken, fool or liar?

    You make mention of air tides and king tides. We're not sure why as we didn't raise the issue and your comments do nothing to answer our challenges. You seem to have no problem with completely ignoring the problems we raise, such as how do you explain that you said there would be no quakes in the Wellington region until 2015, and when one occurs in 2013, you then claim that you predicted the exact day and location? You don't explain how the land tide is the inverse of the ocean tide. You don't explain how the vertical land tide raises the oceans when it should lower them or why gravity doesn't attract the oceans. You don't explain why you falsely altered the dates. You still don't explain why do two adjacent regions under the same gravity experience different seismic events. You don't explain why you keep calling Newton an astrologer. You don't explain how the vertical land tide causes ocean tides on the opposite sides of the Earth. Ignoring all these issues, you instead set out to confuse with this statement: 'The fact of two water tides per day is not global because some locations only receive one, but the daily air tide which does not depend on shapes of coastlines is global, so there is no scientific contradiction there'. The fact is that only in extreme cases are there just one high and low tide per day, two tides are the norm. This is typical of you Ken, throwing in some irrelevant element and pretending that it somehow answers our question. But the problem for you would still remain, how does the moon's gravity cause even one high tide by pulling vertically on the land and not the water? How Ken? And why did you veer from the question and start rabbiting on about the air tide?

    You once again assert that 'we discovered you supply weather trends and ethics to corporations... That you will constantly deny it is laughable, and part of your anonymous KKK style behaviour'. Really Ken, KKK style behaviour, have you found a burning cross on your lawn? What's laughable Ken is that you constantly refuse to provide any evidence or details whatsoever of our nefarious business dealings against you. Surely you want to name these fraudulent companies and expose our duplicity? By keeping silent it's you hiding them Ken, not us. Do you not realise how all this works? The purpose of a righteous whistleblower is to release information, not help us suppress it. You even drop hints to your supporters but refuse to give us the same info. What are you afraid of Ken? You're like those conspiracy theorists fearful of black helicopters, who flee into the shadows, whispering, 'I've said too much already'. Do you truly believe this silly conspiracy of yours or do you just hope your supporters will? We've heard from our spies that you believe that, among many others, a business linked to us sells business ethics in Southland. Why have you reached this conclusion? Well, evidently your spies claim we are connected because our websites share the same IP address. You really should hire experts to do your snooping Ken, someone that understands what sharing an IP address means. We did some snooping of our own, and website analysis for 'sillybeliefs.com' provided the following details. There we are in bold:

    Websites that are related to 202.49.144.129 IP address.

    • www.lappfund.co.nz
    • www.wellingtonbahais.org.nz
    • www.sillybeliefs.com
    • teachmenav.com
    • www.aaron-slight.com
    • www.cluthadc.govt.nz
    • accessiblewalks.co.nz
    • www.lappfund.com
    • www.textglow.com
    • www.civicassurance.co.nz
    • www.ss2000.co.nz
    • www.hauraki-dc.govt.nz
    • www.christinetaylorfoundationformentalhealth.org.nz
    • www.accessiblemotherhood.co.nz
    As of writing this we share our IP address with 13 other websites, none of which we've ever heard of, not that you'll believe that. It seems we are connected to local government in Hauraki and Clutha, and also a site called accessible motherhood. But how can that be Ken, don't we hate women? Which one is our Southland business selling ethics Ken? And more importantly, why are we not receiving an income from any of them? Research these companies yourself if you believe they are connected to us, and see if you find a link. We await your response Ken, but of course it will never amount to anything beyond an empty, deluded accusation.

    If anyone is still suspicious that many unconnected websites would share the same IP address, we ran the same test on your website Ken — predictweather — and this is what was revealed:

    Websites that are related to 119.47.114.168 IP address.

    • drivingtestsuccess.co.nz
    • coastalclassic.co.nz
    • predictweather.co.nz
    • promedtech.co.nz
    • ponsonbycommunity.org.nz
    • prosis.co.nz
    • suntec.co.nz
    • newmediasystems.co.nz
    • eurocardirect.co.nz
    • smeagol.co.nz
    • nzmgregistration.co.nz
    • saviq.org
    • hookedonbarrier.co.nz
    • chorebuster.net
    • lawspot.org.nz
    • justrentals.co.nz
    • myproof.co.nz
    • midwaycateringequipment.co.nz
    • govideo25.com
    • gafferglass.com
    You Ken are connected to 19 other websites, even more than us. 19 other businesses that I'm sure you're not declaring to the Inland Revenue. I see you even have your own media company, which must be handy for advertising your weather prediction business. Also a rental company, a catering company and even a legal firm perhaps? And what's your interest in the Ponsonby community? Please don't try and deny your obvious connections with these businesses, that would just be laughable.

    The above probably hasn't swayed your view Ken that we're part of a huge conspiracy, a web of companies plotting your demise, but perhaps your supporters might see that your claims are rather silly.

    OK, moving on Ken. You correctly state that 'Competition is not a bad thing'. The crucial error that you make here is that we are not in competition with you (see above). Business competitors share a similar product and region. You're in business with a product for sale, we aren't in business and have no product for sale. Of course in one sense we are in competition, a competition between worldviews, but remove our right to that Ken and we are no longer in the free society that you mention. Perhaps you should concentrate on your real competitors, such as the MetService and NIWA, and not on imaginary ones. No wonder you're not making a profit. And let's not forget that you keep telling us and your supporters that our 'alternative ideas simply drives more traffic to my website'. You wonder if this is not 'self-defeating? This question would only be relevant if we were actually competing. But no matter how you view our 'competition', it seems to be working in your favour, so why are you complaining? Unless of course this is another lie?

    You are also absolutely correct that 'The marketplace sorts out what works', but to do so fairly the marketplace must be informed. To decide whether a product works, is safe, value for money etc, consumers must be free to listen to and consider differing views regarding that product. However you would deny consumers this freedom, labelling anyone that has a view contrary to yours as 'Thought Police' that somehow force their narrow views on the community. Even though you agree that 'This is a society with a rich diversity of opinions, cultures and beliefs', you feel that this obviously shouldn't include people that have an opinion or belief different to yours. Well, we do have views different to yours Ken, and thus we could throw your statement back at you: 'Some might not suit you. Get over it'.

    We've never said that you shouldn't update text on your website, especially spelling or grammar or to make an explanation clearer, our problem is with you furtively altering text to hide failures, mistakes and to distort what you originally proclaimed.

    As for Ron's comments, it appears you have some growing dissent in your camp Ken. Against your wishes some are visiting our site, considering both sides of the argument and finding enlightenment. Some of those that you have duped are now duping you. That they continue to sing your praises in your presence to determine how low you might sink to maintain your scam no doubt turns into a fun game for them. What will Ken say next?

    Unlike you Ken, we haven't formed our view based on the comments of strangers. Our view of your method and your claims for it are based on personal research, reading your books, your articles, your media appearances and your lively exchanges on Internet forums, including ours. We've compared your claims with the little we know of science and history and found your grasp of both appalling. We've compared your weather and earthquake forecasts to the real world and found them worthless. And while we've tried not to let this influence our view, since even obnoxious liars can still be right on occasion, we've also judged your behaviour in debating your method with that of someone with integrity and civility, and find it lacking. Could do better, so overall a fail.

    Sorry that we've written so much in reply Ken, but it's our hobby (as opposed to business) to expose nonsense, and you have the rare skill of writing where almost every paragraph is dripping with errors. Errors that scream to be put out of their misery.

  11. Comment by Rob, 29 Jul, 2013

    Ken will never get "it".

    Firstly he states "I write for those who request the information - I certainly don't write for SB readers so there is no need for them to read my work". But we love reading your work Ken, pulling it apart, and writing pieces so we can help people that might take your work as accurate, and pointing how it's vague, inaccurate, poorly written and self-contradicting.

    If Ken understood his work is being analysed and he took the criticisms as a learning opportunity, rather that calling you a Nazi or the KKK, or attacking universities as being "Pakeha Male institutions", whenever he is backed into a corner, like a scared possum with a torch shining in his eyes, he could make his woo science and his writing better, and appeal to more than just the narrow gullible audience he has now.

    As for Ken's constant changing of the verbal maps, it helps confuse his point while making him look a bit nuts:

    "I do NOT predict earthquakes, I use the 'predict' word to mean suggestions, and as such I suggest risk potential times."

    When is a prediction a suggestion, and when is a suggestion a prediction? It depends on whether Ken was right or not.

    Ken Ring regarding an earthquake in Wellington:

    "As the last in the series of above-7s was in 1992 we can reasonably expect a 7 mag between 2013 and 2016."

    It won't be long before Ken will accuse GNS of downgrading the earthquake last week just so he was proved wrong, he does this constantly.

    However, let's say I will never agree to Ken's woo woo astrology. I will make the challenge easier. Ken needs to back up his assertions that you "supply weather trends and ethics to corporations from your Invercargill base".

    It seems he is more rattled than a magnitude five, if he is trying to work out where you are and what you do, John. If your site really didn't matter, and Ken was more than happy with his customers, and just saw your site as ramblings of some skeptic who won't affect either his Almanac buyers, his twitter followers, or his newsletter subscribers, he seems to have gone to a bit of effort in trying, but not succeeding, into researching your "ethics and occasional forecast" business... I hope he didn't pay the private investigator too much.

    When is he going to realise that you don't write your site for him or his followers, but for people who are interested in real science, real logic, and exposing his silly beliefs for what they are. Ken is not the target audience. I appreciate your site, as Ken has an advantage with his ramblings and fraud business, as Mark Twain once said "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."

    The comments on this site and other forums about his charlatan tendencies, and Ken's spitting responses show that it is having some effect.

    Sometimes it's fun, but its more serious when he tweeted on the twentieth last month:

    "Powerful full moon Sunday + chance floods. Need extra care. Alert police + hospitals. Snow + eq risk Chch next 4 days."

    A tweet only has a limited amount of characters, yet every single piece of that tweet was wrong...

    To finish off, I have to chuck in Ken's long range forecast:

    "25-27 July, high seas on Thames coast may endanger boats. Bitterly cold southerlies in South Island and snow to sea-levels in eastern NorthIsland and Wellington to Gisborne. Snow may reach Rotorua and KapitiIsland. Desert Road may close for 10 days (to first week in August). In Wellington, heavy snow and ice may close Rimutaka Hill road. Snow flurries to sea-level and northern Wellington hill suburbs above 200 meters. Heavy snow to low levels in Southland and Otago with Dunedin and Queenstown airports possibly affected."

    Compare that with reality... not a single piece correct... how wrong can he get before he wakes up?

  12. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 29 Jul, 2013

    Thanks for the support Rob. I especially love this bit (I wish I'd said it): 'When is a prediction a suggestion, and when is a suggestion a prediction? It depends on whether Ken was right or not'.

    And yes, true to Ring's prediction/suggestion for this week, I haven't been able to get out and about selling ethics since we're snowed in down here... no wait a minute... no we're not. I'm thinking of Alaska.

    You finish by asking, 'how wrong can he get before he wakes up?' Like most people in the Matrix movie who went through their 'life' never waking up, I suspect that Ken likewise will never take the red pill when offered and experience the world as it really is. When the Grim Reaper visits, they say you can't take your money with you, but I predict that Ken will take his beliefs with him. That's also a real suggestion if you're reading this Ken.

  13. Comment by Ron, 30 Jul, 2013

    Greetings John. I would like to respond to Mr Ring's response to you of July 26 in which he referred to me as the fool who is wasting everyones time, tried to use my full name, unsuccessfully, to denigrate my privacy and quoted me from several emails to embarass me and stir up trouble. Sorry KR but you are the fool. I was baiting you, duped as John said, with everything except the bully comment. (John and I have amicably sorted that latter issue.) An act of treachery, if you like. I have been doing this for a long time mainly through your newsletters and site as many others will be doing the same. "Grist for the mill" as they say. I've experienced a great deal of pleasure actually, almost becoming a sport, as I get to read more ridiculous statements, useless predictions and lots of contradictions thrown in. All badly written. It was motivated by a growing contempt for you and what you do. I do not believe you are capable of predicting weather accurately. I know you need your ego massaged frequently and it's paramount to agree with you and not dare criticise you. To clear things up a bit, I wish to state here that I am 100% a supporter of the Silly Beliefs site. I stand by everything I have written on this site, including my recent comment that it is an "awesome site". This country needs such a site badly. I did not recently become a supporter, have been so since mid 2011 after finding it in a Google search after becoming very disillusioned and suspicious due to endless failed quake predictions/suggestions?/opinions? I then read heaps relating to Ken, on SB, which shocked, enlightened and changed my thinking enormously. After all it was full of KR quotes and umpteen responses from Ken himself. If anyone is on the fence read these, they are a must. Since then via SB, emails exchanged with Ring and reading his site articles, taking notes from his almanac and newsletters and simply letting time pass the result was failure. Big time. Ken, you have brainwashed yourself into believing what you do is right and ethical. You have built a business and charge people plenty for something based on what is unproven, tenuous and flimsy. I would be happy to see you closed down but in this society that is unlikely, so you are within your rights to continue and you will. To me it is scandalous but all I can do is post comments on SB.

    Ken, you need to focus on the argument not the personal. I disagreed with you via an email way back re. quake issues. You got very nasty, wrote silly senseless stuff back with denials, etc and told me not to write anymore. I was axed. To me this is a form of bullying. You cannot do it to John can you? I genuinely have had empathy for you and family re. death threats etc as I don't agree with this rather common kiwi method. However, you appear to blame others for this. You caused it by incensing some individuals with endless scaremongering with quake predictions that did not materialise when they were feeling vulnerable. It can come with the territory. We were sucked in. Not knowing you, shocked and traumatised, we fled prior to Mar 20, 2011. It cost us heaps but not even an apology from you. At that time your ego must have been so inflated, how did you get inside your house? You like saying in your replies on SB that comments here drive traffic to your site. Really? Are they would be clients summing you up, checking you out? You don't quantify. In fact, to me, you imply it brings extra business. I doubt it very much. Does someone sensibly read comments on SB and say this poor Mr Ring is getting a bum rap, being picked on and victimised here by this terrible person called John. We feel sorry for him. He seems to know his stuff, after all he has this website and business so to hell with the research etc, I'm going to sign up now and send him the money for an almanac immediately. Not likely.

    Finally, I want to challenge you Mr Ring for some answers. You are good at not answering many of my email queries or good points and questions from John, when you are backed into a corner and have no answers. The topic is your July newsletter and weather predictions therein. These free letters are obviously a form of advertising to drum up new business and income. What a disaster. Most likely they should cause existing clients to terminate their subscriptions, esp. based on your July issue. It is so damn wrong in so many ways that you hang yourself with it. No one else needs to. I speak generally but mainly for CH.CH./Canterbury.

    You stated strongly that July would be a shocker, bitterly cold, record snows, many storms, gales, heavy rain with particular emphasis on the east coast of the Sth Island. Wintry blasts on July 9-10, 20-23, 25-27,29 and 31. Dead wrong!!! Only 9/10 was right (fluke?). This has been the best July weather-wise I've experienced all my life. Apart from NW gales and some rain earlier in the month it has been dominated by fabulous warm sunny days, little wind, light frosts. Today is the 29th. You said snow central NI, very cold Waikato, cold blast in SI. Checking today I found virtually all the country fine except some showers in one or two areas with good weather in next 2 days, becoming mostly cloudy later in the week in many places. So wrong it's not funny, it's pathetic. You cannot forecast accurate weather on a day to day basis. Period. Day to day is what matters. Ken, what do you have to say as to why you got it so wrong? Why would anyone want to believe in you after this? Are you not utterly ashamed and embarassed or are you frantically trying to think of ways to wriggle out of it? I beg you to give us some straight honest answers or admissions here so you may be able to restore some lost credibility and respect. Or is it far too late for that. I am waiting. Why, too, in your newsletters do you fixate on a place. For example 3 times you have mentioned Omarama as being cold on a given day. Why not Twizel or Otematata down the road. Are they not cold also? Saying Omarama or Fairlie will be cold on a given day in winter could be predicted by an average 7 yr old. Why not say inland Nth Otago or similar. This sort of childish poor quality writing shows you up and draws suspicion.

  14. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 30 Jul, 2013

    Excellent response Ron, giving Ring plenty to consider. It will certainly cancel out the sycophantic comments from many of his true supporters. He just won't know who is leading him down the garden path to the slaughter house.

    As you say, Ring can't forecast accurate weather on a day to day basis, and that's what matters. If you're getting married or holding a fair on Saturday, you don't care what the weather will be the following Wednesday, and yet Ring claims that if the promised fine Saturday actually turns up on Wednesday, then he was spot on with his prediction. Also your question re Omarama is quite valid, but he won't answer it. Why does the Moon's gravity cause cold conditions at one location but not at its close neighbours? It's all very mysterious, but I suppose that sums up astrology.

  15. Comment by Jamie, 30 Jul, 2013

    Hi John, I just stumbled across this tonight:

    Official Information Act request re Ken Ring

    [In summary, Mark Honeychurch asked DOC this question: 'Ken Ring has recently informed me that the Department of Conservation (DOC) was/is a customer of his. Please can you tell me... If DOC has ever used Ken Ring's weather predictions...]

    This was the reply from DOC:

    Dear Mark

    Official Information Act request

    This letter responds to your request of 10 July 2013 for information on the Department of Conservation's use of Ken Ring's weather services.

    The Department is not a customer of Ken Ring and does not currently use his weather services.

    The only instance of use was approximately 2 years ago when the Department's avalanche control team in Te Anau accessed Ken Ring's Almanac and compared his seasonal predictions to those of the Met Service and actual observations. The Almanac was not used in any decision-making capacity however.

    Please contact me should clarification be needed.

  16. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 30 Jul, 2013

    Well spotted Jamie, and excellent work on Mark's part on exposing yet another of Ring's false claims. DOC looking at his Almanac hardly qualifies them as a customer. By that that logic I'm also one of his satisfied customers. How embarrassing for him, you'd think he'd learn not to make these bogus claims, since we've exposed him in the past for claiming that certain companies used his services when they didn't. He arrogantly believes that people will never check his wide-ranging claims, and unfortunately most don't, naively believing that he can be trusted.

  17. Comment by Jamie, 31 Jul, 2013

    Hi John, in case you missed it, Mark Honeychurch has left a new comment on the FYI.org website:

    "I'd invited Ken Ring to this year's Skeptics Conference, and he ended up getting a bit upset and angry. Here's his original email to me:

    http://conference.skeptics.org.nz/blogs/kenring

    It was followed by other emails, including the one where he claimed that his predictions were used by DOC, along with other organisations such as Vector and Air NZ."

  18. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 31 Jul, 2013

    Unbelievable! Yes, I had missed it Jamie. Ring states that his speaking fee would be $5,000 plus travel and accommodation costs, and yet he tells us he doesn't make a profit. Where does this money go then? Evidently fearing for his safety, he insists that 'I would want continual professional security protection as a condition of my appearance'. And does the NZ Skeptics have that sort of money to waste on nonsense? I would hope not. What would be next, paying psychic mediums to give a reading?

    He claims that the NZ Skeptics 'have denigrated me for many years to the status of public enemy', have 'slandered' him 'relentlessly', and have 'been so persecutory that I have in the past had to approach the police because of physical threats on behalf of NZSC [NZ Skeptics]'. Note how he claims that the physical threats were issued 'on behalf of' the NZ Skeptics. Are we to believe that the NZ Skeptics put out a contract on him? Evidently the police didn't. Fearful that these ninja assassins might attend his conference talk, he states as a condition the right to flee screaming back into hiding: 'I would therefore need a contract guaranteeing my freedom of choice to terminate the session if I felt my physical safety was being compromised'. True to form, he also accuses the NZ Skeptics of a campaign 'to ruin my business', and falls back on one of his old favourites: 'It reminds one of anti-Semitic propaganda in pre-war Nazi Germany'. What is it with Ken Ring and his fascination with Hitler?

    Typical of Ring, able to stack a lot of nonsense into his writing, he states that he wishes to discuss the acceptance of 'science both western and eastern', stubbornly ignorant of the fact that there is only one science. He arrogantly elevates his status to the next Newton, Einstein or Darwin, suggesting that his 'maverick thinking' will 'advance science and facilitate progress'. Advance science first Ken, then we'll talk about your statue. Ring insists that 'We are taught that there are no coincidences in science'. Where were you taught that Ken, clown college? And while he almost tearfully pleads with us that he doesn't suggest that earthquakes can be predicted, in his conference talk he 'would also suggest how earthquakes can be predicted'.

    Based on what he wishes to include in his talk, it appears that most of that time would be spent arguing that others don't have the freedom to criticise his silly beliefs, and very little if any will be spent on producing evidence for his claims. And perhaps some photos taken when he was in hiding. This one's of the cave entrance, this one is the back of the cave...

    Of course it is reassuring to see Ring distressed and aggrieved by the NZ Skeptics, and throwing at them the identical baseless accusations and vile insults that he levels at us, but I thought we were his favourite. Now I'm torn emotionally. Should I feel relieved or hurt?

  19. Comment by Mike, 31 Aug, 2013

    You ask where his profit goes at $5,000 per appearance — but remember one has to get hired in the first place to get any of that... so how many such payments do you think Ken gets at that rate? I'm going to punt for... um... er... none?

  20. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 01 Aug, 2013

    What, what, what? Mike, you wouldn't pay a measly $5,000 plus expenses to hear a paranoid astrologer pontificate on heavenly omens?

    Seriously though, while I hope you're right, I don't have the same faith in some of our corporate leaders, conference organisers and media bosses. Ring is listed on the Celebrity Speakers (NZ) website along with other flaky speakers that I wouldn't pay 5 cents to listen to, let alone thousands of dollars. But people do hire these morons. I know Ring does speak at farming field days in NZ, and he doesn't seem like the sort that would do it for nothing.

    While it would be entertaining to hear Ring try to defend his claims in front of informed skeptics, considering the stance that NZ Skeptics take re Ring it would be ridiculous for them to pay for the privilege. Ring should be prepared to speak for free in an attempt to change minds and rescue his reputation.

  21. Comment by Jamie, 27 Aug, 2013

    Hi John, re Ken claiming to have predicted/opined/suggested the recent Seddon quakes, remember this article? — https://nz.news.yahoo.com/opinion/post/-/blog/14628661/the-next-big-earthquakes/. I can't see any clue for the Seddon events there, can you?

    Perhaps he'll claim this useless babble as the "hit" — "The moon cycle of 18-19 years suggests that 2013/14 may be the next active time". Those of us with a brain realise that a suggestion made in 2012, that there may be a sizeable earthquake somewhere in NZ, sometime during the following 2 years, was highly likely to come true.

    Plus, how about this gem from the King of Contradiction:
    "The Richter Scale was devised in 1935, so magnitudes have only been verifiable since then."
    Followed by:
    "Wellington has had over 50 above 5Ms, with maybe 2 above 7M (1904 and 1934) and 4 above 6M. The most active year was 1934."
    Nice one, Ken.

  22. Comment by Graham, 07 Sep, 2013

    Hi John. I wasn't sure if I should send this comment to the earthquake thread or the lies, damn lies thread.

    Ken states in comment 6: "I do NOT predict earthquakes...", but here he is on Perth radio claiming to have predicted the Christchurch earthquake. http://www.6pr.com.au/blogs/6pr-perth-blog/summers-long-range-forecast/20130906-2ta06.html (4:20) He also restates his 85% weather forecast accuracy lie.

    Also unbelievable is that the interviewer claims to have done some research, he's obviously not very good at it. Maybe we should send him a bent spoon.

  23. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 08 Sep, 2013

    Hi Graham. Ring is infamous for denying that he can predict earthquakes but as you say, he keeps saying (falsely) that he predicted the Christchurch quake. I wish reporters would say, But Ken, out of all the earthquakes that have happened over recent years, if you've only predicted the Christchurch one and missed all the rest, then surely it was just a fluke? If your method works, why don't you predict them all, why do you keep referring back to the Christchurch one as your only success?

    You're also right that the reporter had done no research. The page said that 'Long range weather forecaster Ken Ring joined Peter Bell to scientifically predict our summer forecast'. Astrology isn't a science moron!

God made me do it!
A few days ago a one year old child was rushed to hospital with fatal head wounds, and we're told that the police are once again investigating a homicide. It's a disgraceful situation that in NZ we have children being physically abused and dying of their injuries. It's bad enough that adults attack adults, but children?

Of course these events are very sad and difficult for those involved, but are they really improved by lying to yourself and those around you? On the TV news the distraught grandfather of the dead child said that 'God had another purpose for him' (or words to that effect). Why does our society encourage people to delude themselves like this? Clearly these people spend no time thinking about what this statement, if it were true, might mean. But we have.

For what purpose might an all-powerful god need a toddler? And not just a toddler, but another toddler? Stephen Law wrote in 'Believing Bullshit' that 'In ancient times and during the Middle Ages, almost one in three children died before they reached the age of five'. God and Heaven must be literally overrun with billions and billions of toddlers. Why does God need so many? Like in the movies 'The Matrix' and 'Monsters Inc', are they utilised as a power supply? Many spirit mediums tell us that when these children die (and pensioners too for that matter), they all remain at this age in Heaven. Like drug addiction, where addicts must gradually increase their intake to receive the same effect, must God likewise continually increase the number people around him singing his praise to feel that he is loved? But if God is deliberately killing toddlers to worship him in person, does he really deserve to be loved? But perhaps this isn't why God wants freshly killed toddlers. However let's remember that God is an all-powerful god, so this means that regardless of the purpose he needs toddlers for, he could just clap his tentacles together and a newly created toddler (identical in every respect to those he has killed) could appear in front of his throne, or spa pool, depending on where he is when he feels the urge for a fresh toddler. Why does he rip a child from a loving family when he could just make a clone for his nefarious purposes? For those that argue that a created clone wouldn't be as 'good' as the real child, let's remember that God created the first child as well. Both are his creations, the only difference is when they were created.

But returning to God's purpose for having an innocent child killed, horrifically in this case, not humanely. Again, God is all-powerful, and believers seem to struggle understanding what this means. What abilities, skills or attributes could this simple child possess that God desires that God doesn't already possess or couldn't create in an instant without killing him? Why does God crave dead children, so much so that he'll actually plot to have them killed? Of course you might argue that to God, these dead children in Heaven aren't 'dead' the way they are to us on Earth. Here they're in a grave, up there they're running around doing who knows what to pleasure a vicious, sadistic killer.

And we call God a vicious, sadistic killer because he is. Having spied an innocent child that he must have for his collection, what must God do next? God must pick a killer, an executioner. God needs dead children, not live ones. Unlike the past, in modern western countries children now have a great chance of growing to adulthood, so the young children God salivates over aren't likely to suddenly die of natural causes. When God decides that he 'needs' a certain child for some mysterious purpose, he must arrange for that child to die. He could choose a humane method to dispatch the child, but if history is a guide along with children still dying horribly in third world countries, God seems to think that suffering builds character. So if a certain child is required by God for some purpose and someone suddenly abuses and kills that child, are we to believe that the killing was just a lucky coincidence for God? Of course not, like the Mafia arranging contract killings, God has chosen his victim and arranged for an assassin to commit the murder. But unlike the real world where the Mafia assassin is fully aware of his actions and is acting with free will, God chooses and forces his assassin to strike completely unaware that he is being manipulated.

If, as believers sincerely claim, God has deliberately taken these children for a purpose, then their death was planned by God. We can't be expected to believe that God desires a certain child, although he certainly wouldn't kill them, but then suddenly spies them being murdered and says, 'Well... that was convenient'. Clearly God, as the Bible shows him doing many times, has forced people to unwittingly perform acts that they had no intention of performing. God uses innocent people to act as his murder weapon, and hides this from them and us. So if believers are correct, can we really blame the people that we think were the ones that abused and killed children in their care? If they have been hypnotised or turned into a murderous zombie or placed under a spell by an all-powerful God, merely so that he can get a child he craves, should we hold them responsible, or should we put out a warrant for God's arrest? Are we sending innocent pawns to prison while God indulges himself with his new acquisitions? But even if the perpetrators of these crimes somehow glimpsed that God had made them commit their deeds, and insisted in court that God made them do it, no one would believe them, not even a jury of Christians. Even the very Christians that insist that God had another purpose for the victim wouldn't believe they were innocent. God has committed the perfect crime, over and over again.

But God is also all-knowing, which creates another problem for believers. If God desperately needs certain children for special purposes that he can't find other solutions for (as ridiculous as this is), then he has always known that certain children will need to be killed and whisked up to Heaven. Knowing in advance who these children are, why does he allow them to be born, loved and then killed? Remember that he creates every child, so for those that he needs, rather than allowing them to be born on Earth he could simply have them be born and grow up in Heaven, and save their families all the anguish. Could he do that? Of course he could, he's God! Or he could, as the religious believe he already does, place the child's soul in the mother's womb at conception or sometime afterwards and then remove it down the track before the woman is even aware that she is pregnant. God cancels far, far more pregnancies than those that go on to full term. Since he already knows he needs certain souls for certain purposes then it is extremely cruel on his part (being totally unnecessary) to give a child to a family just to kill it horribly. And worse still, he fingers an innocent party as the killer.

Of course believers will trot out that pathetic excuse, that God works in mysterious ways, that what we atheists see as disgusting, offensive, immoral behaviour would all be totally acceptable if we only knew God's reasons for murdering innocent children. Perhaps, but he won't even tell his followers let alone tell us atheists. Without these reasons we are forced to fall back on our humanity and the belief that God collecting dead children is immoral. And it's not just the murder of children either. We condemn the Vatican for hiding the sexual abuse of children, but admit that a few ethical priests have exposed offending priests, but their God has not exposed a single pedophile, which makes one ask why not? Again, we are not allowed to know why God likes to watch boys being raped by his priests, and does nothing. Accepting that God works in mysterious ways is an excuse for accepting evil.

Believers can only continue to love and worship the sky fairy that abuses their loved ones if they refuse to face facts, and refuse to think about the very thing that they claim is all important, to this life and their next fantasy life. It amazes us that those that arrogantly claim otherworldly knowledge can exhibit such ignorance.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 16 Jul, 2013 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend
Blog

Comments:

  1. Comment by Bill, 18 Jul, 2013

    "We condemn the Vatican for hiding the sexual abuse of children, but admit that a few ethical priests have exposed offending priests, but their God has not exposed a single pedophile, which makes one ask why not?"
    Wait a minute.. if God is all-powerful, has he not exposed peds through those ethical priests?

    My take on God is that we are not supposed to know anything other than to have Faith no matter what happens here in the corporal world. We are given free will and as such, whatever the intensity of 'man's inhumanity to man', God will not interfere. All must have free will, or no one.

    There's a site called 'God and Science' which answers many of my questions re 'qualifications' (I've never read the Bible and don't go to church or follow Jesus). According to them, I'm pretty much screwed (although I'm a good person) and will be tossed into the lake of fire and have my ass burned for eternity.

  2. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 18 Jul, 2013

    Sorry Bill, but your suggestion that God might have used other priests to expose pedophile priests is full of holes. First, if God gave us free will to act as we choose, and this is indeed a clear Christian assertion, then God would never suppress the free will of innocent priests, not even to expose others. It would make a nonsense of the very notion of free will if God might take it away on a whim to satisfy something that he wanted to achieve. If he did behave this way then he would be making these whistle-blower priests act in a way that they may not truly wish to act, that is, unwillingly exposing the sexual abuse of their fellow priests and friends. By creating unwitting and perhaps unwilling whistle-blowers despised by their church God would be harming innocent priests while the real culprits got to keep their free will. Furthermore, we would never know when people were acting voluntarily and when they were mere puppets of God. Whether people did good deeds or bad ones, we could never be sure if they were doing it on their own volition or being forced to act this way by God. We could never praise people or criticise them because we could never be sure if it was really them acting independently or actually God pulling their strings.

    Secondly, if God decides that he must secretly suppress an individual's free will for the greater good, why pick on the whistle-blower priest? If God is distressed over the sexual abuse of children, why wouldn't he suppress the free will of the pedophile priests instead, and stop them from committing the abuse in the first place? But he doesn't, he watches the priests rape untold children and watches the children suffer, not just during the abuse but as they grow up, some even committing suicide. Then years later he forces another priest to expose the abuse. And not all the abuse that has occurred over the years, but just a small fraction. What sort of benevolent god could fool himself into believing that forcing a few priests to expose their abusive fellow priests is helping the victims? If you had the ability to either prevent a murder or simply report it after it happened, which would you opt to do? If you were to simply to call the police after the fact should we praise you for your action when you could just as easily have prevented it? Which do you think the victim would rather you do?

    Thirdly, this exposure has had little impact on the church as a whole. The Catholic Church is still wealthy and blindly supported by its followers. The priests that are fingered as abusers are often moved to other areas where the abuse continues, or go into seclusion, and very few, compared to those accused, ever face criminal trials and go to jail. Indeed, it is the whistle-blower priests that often suffer more, being disbelieved, sidelined, ostracised and even expelled from the church for exposing their fellow priests and harming the church's reputation. If manipulating priests against their will to betray their friends is God's plan to stop child sex abuse, then he has failed big time. It's a pretty pathetic plan for an all-knowing God.

    If an all-loving God was protecting his flock by acting through certain people, occasionally suppressing their free will to prevent harm towards innocent others, then we would see no child sex abuse, murder, violence, rape or crime of any description. We agree with you when you say that the Christian claim is that 'God will not interfere. All must have free will, or no one'. Unfortunately Christians want it both ways, insisting that we have free will and that evil is a result of some of us behaving badly with no interference from God, and then contradict themselves by saying that God does interfere through miracles and by suppressing free will and replacing it with his will. They are hypocrites, but need to be to maintain their belief.

    We also agree that the Biblical belief is that we should not think about God in the way that we just have, we are to believe on blind faith alone. Martin Luther said that 'Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has' and that 'Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his reason'. I've just read in Steve Jones' book 'The Serpent's Promise that 'St Augustine criticised Godless curiosity about the tangible universe as "the lust of the eyes... a vain inquisitiveness dignified with the title of knowledge... To satisfy this diseased craving... people study the operations of Nature which lie beyond our grasp, when there is no advantage in knowing and the investigators simply desire knowledge for its own sake"'. Unfortunately for Christians, believing on blind faith means that you can believe the most ridiculous nonsense possible.

    You didn't give a link to the 'God and Science' you mentioned, but I did find this one: http://www.godandscience.org/. If it's the one you meant, getting real rational, scientific answers from it would be like asking the pope if God existed. I looked at a couple of its articles and found them pushing the nonsense one expects from devout believers. By all means read their articles, but they are defending God not science. If you want to know how science views the universe then consult experts on science, not 'experts' on God.

    And yes, if this all-loving God exists, then most everyone is destined for eternal torture. Me thinks the 'all-loving' bit must be a misprint.

Lies, damn lies and Ken Ring
Yesterday we received the following email from Jamie:
Hi John, I love the opening two sentences of Ken's new article: Welcome to this website
"Longrange weather is about timings of future weather events, which we believe can be predicted from the position of the moon. It is really an older form of astronomy, not quite astrology but something in between."
So, basically he's saying that Longrange weather forecasting is somewhere between fantasy and reality.

Brilliant!

Jamie's description of Ken Ring's weather and earthquake prediction method is excellent. As he'll be aware, he's just described pseudoscience, a belief that contains elements of both fantasy and reality, or as physicist Milton Rothman described it, 'a false science that pretends to be real'. It would be nice to think that Ken was finally coming to accept this but it seems not, as he goes on to claim that what he does is 'commonsense and solid science as taught in many universities under different banners, such as astronomy, solar physics, oceanography, meteorology and vulcanology...'.

Despicable Me Of course this is utter bullshit and a blatant lie, one of many from Ring, and even at lying Ring is inept. Recently I read the (very short) book 'Lying' by Sam Harris. In it he noted that 'One of the greatest problems for the liar is that he must keep track of his lies... Lies beget other lies. Unlike statements of fact, which require no further work on our part, lies must be continually protected from collisions with reality. When you tell the truth, you have nothing to keep track of... But the liar must remember what he said, and to whom, and must take care to maintain his falsehoods in the future... The liar must weigh each new disclosure, whatever the source, to see whether it might damage the facade that he has built'.

Fortunately for us Ring is quite incompetent at keeping track of his lies, and his work is littered with embarrassing examples. His new claim that his method is 'taught in many universities' conflicts with his numerous past assertions that there is 'no university chair for my line of work...', 'there are no university chairs for astrometeorology, no astrometeorologist journals...', 'My peers are not meteorologists, nor scientists, nor anybody university trained... None of the aforementioned know anything about weather'...', 'there isn't even a university chair for astrology'. Note how he used to claim that the method he used was astrology, whereas now the new lie is that it's 'not quite astrology'. Ring asserting that university courses in solar physics or meteorology teach his method — something in between astronomy and astrology — is as childish as a witch falsely asserting that universities support her magical spells because they teach something between biology and witchcraft.

On his new page he claims that 'Weather is always an inexact science', falsely implying that, although not as precise as some others, weather is a science, which is another lie since he has asserted elsewhere that 'I don't think weather is about science..', 'Weather is not a science... Weather doesn't fulfill any scientific criterion...', 'what I am doing is pre-science, and cannot fit present day rigor'.

Another lie that he repeats is that 'Modern meteorology calls weather 'chaos' and 'random'. We feel this idea is incorrect'. Of course it's incorrect because it's a lie he concocted. Ring claims that 'meteorologists are brilliant at what they do', but how could they predict even short range weather if they believed weather was 'chaos' and 'random'? It's like me saying that coin tosses are random, and yet insisting that I can always accurately predict 5 in a row, but no more. Since they are random, I shouldn't be able to consistently predict even one coin toss. And how can he claim that meteorology is flawed when he has already claimed above that it follows the same 'commonsense and solid science' as he does? Another example of Ring not keeping track of his lies.

Want another lie? Ring claims on his webpage that 'For the proof longrange predictions can be done, and can be accurate, see Events'. And yet when skeptics ask for proof of his method, these are typical of his replies: 'As for proof, I have already explained proof of opinion is impossible...', 'My business is only a bunch of opinions as I have wearily repeated. There is no claim on accuracy, proof or anything other than that I have opinions...', 'You keep calling for proof. Of what? Opinion, which is my business, cannot be proven....', 'That is why I don't claim that it can be tested and suggest it objectively can't be'.

And it matters not which statement Ring or his defenders wish to accept as being true, since logically the opposing one must be a lie, remembering that Ring told them both. They are not conflicting opinions held by opponents, they are clearly conflicting statements of fact expressed by the same person at different times in a deceptive attempt to sway the person he was talking to at the time.

Related to his conflicting claims that his method can and cannot be proved, Ring throws out another lie with his bogus claim: 'Our accuracy has often been assessed at around 80-85%'. His accuracy has not been independently and professionally assessed, not even once, let alone often. It is deceptive, deceitful and dishonest on Ring's part to continually claim that it has. Look at his Almanac and website, nowhere will you find a reference to a reputable body that has assessed his method, and Ring himself refuses to divulge this information.

Ring tells us that his method is 'not quite astrology' and yet previously he has been very clear that it is astrology that he uses. He admits he uses astrology software to make his calculations, not astronomy software. He's referred to himself several times as an astrologer when discussing earthquake prediction. He claims to follow 'astrological physics' and the 'mechanics of fundamental Astrology'. He has insisted that 'It is the old principles of Astrology that we should be turning back to' and that he uses 'the ancient astrological energy grid of the constellations'. Worse still, he's said silly things like: 'Cancer typically brings downpours [and] the Moon will be in Pisces, a wet sign' and 'For anyone to state they don't believe in astrology is to say they don't believe in the fact that stars are out there.' So clearly Ring is fudging the truth once again when he writes on his website that he isn't using astrology, no doubt fearful that honesty will alienate potential clients.

Beyond this, Ring has lied about the time he spent at university before dropping out, and lied about the courses he took. He's lied about whether he is a scientist or not (he's not). He's lied about his weather and earthquake predictions matching reality. He's lied about matters of science and history, and on and on we could go.

But really, is this lying unexpected? No, of course not. After all, how does one keep a scam going without telling lies? Ring is committed now, and as Harris says, lies beget other lies. Creating a falsehood, propping it up with more and covering over the ugly cracks with lies is the very basis of a successful scam. Of course if you're not skilled at deceit, and Ring clearly isn't since he has great trouble keeping track of who he tells what, it means that he's forced to target the truly gullible and ignorant in society, those that don't know the difference between astronomy and astrology and who find that any talk of what that difference is makes their brain hurt.

We can expect many more lies from Ring as he childishly tries to convince gullible people that some ancient belief in between astrology and astronomy is more powerful, more accurate, more reliable, more experimentally verified than 21st century astronomy that has landed rovers on Mars, mapped the cosmic microwave background radiation following the Big Bang and detected planets around distant stars. Think what he's asking here. Expecting intelligent, rational people to choose some ancient belief in between astrology and astronomy is like saying that for communication we should choose something between smoke signals and smartphones, or for health, something between witchcraft and medicine. Who would be so foolish in this age of knowledge? But depressingly there are people, many people according to Ring, who choose ignorance over enlightenment, who freely buy his almanac, who can't detect his lies and who happily retreat into our superstitious past. I've heard that this new trend is called endarkenment.

But there are yet more serious problems with Ring's 'welcoming' webpage. Describing the essence of his method, Ring states that it 'relies on the logic that there is not only a tide in the water but also in the interfaced air above the water and in the connected land beneath the waves. Tides have repeatable patterns, making them predictable, and the air is joined to the sea. Weather is simply the tide of the air'. Ring is correct that the sea tides are predictable, we have tide tables that accurately tell us when to expect high and low tides each day. The cycle is clear for all to see. So if Ring's logic of predictable tides extends to the weather, and since the cause of the sea tides and air tides (ie the weather) are one and the same — the moon's gravity — then we should also see clear a weather cycle that matches the sea tides. Since we see two low tides and two high each day, we should also see distinct weather patterns that also repeat twice a day. But our weather clearly doesn't follow the twice daily pattern of the tides. If 'Weather is simply the tide of the air' then why isn't it following the movement of the Moon as the sea tides clearly do? And remember that according to Ring our weather has nothing to do with the Sun. The Moon's tidal forces on the Earth are varying from maximum to minimum twice every day, hence the tides, but our weather can sometimes stay consistent for days and even months, which clearly suggests that air tides are inconsequential in determining our weather. If Ring claims, as he does, that a particular high tide will bring rain or sunshine or whatever, he needs to explain why the previous 10 or 20 (or whatever) high tides didn't also cause the same weather event. If we experience 20 high tides and it rained through every one, and then we have sunshine on the next high tide, surely it is obvious to even the village idiot that the high tide had nothing to do with the arrival of sunshine? Not to Ken Ring it's not.

Following on from our previous point, another ridiculous flaw in Ring's method is the Moon's apparent ability to affect one region and ignore an adjacent region. Ring states that 'the moon influences and controls weather; ...the same pulling force that hauls daily tides also hauls the air. The moon has no eyes or brain and so cannot work out the difference between land, water and air. It's gravitational forces must go through the air to reach the sea'. We agree of course that the Moon has no eyes or brain, and yet time and time again Ring's predictions imply that there is a consciousness at work here. Ring tells us that Moon's gravity pulls the land, water and air, and we agree, but we would also add that it affects entire regions on the planet to essentially the same degree. And yet Ring's weather predictions tell that it will rain in region A but not in region B, which is adjacent. His earthquake predictions tell us that city A (usually Christchurch) is at extreme risk but city B (often Wellington which is on a known fault line) has no need to worry. In Ring's predictions it seems that the Moon does indeed have eyes and a brain (and a grievance against Christchurch) since its gravity can pull the air and land in one region causing rain and earthquakes and then be switched off or toned down over various other regions under its gaze. Let's remember that while the Moon is over Christchurch casing havoc, the very same Moon can be seen over every other region in NZ. Why isn't its quake causing gravity causing earthquakes or snow storms over the entire country? It's the same gravity, the same intensity, so why isn't its effect consistent over very city? The Moon's gravity doesn't strike the Earth like a tightly focused laser beam that must zigzag slowly over the surface, striking some places and missing others. And yet this is analogous to what apparently Ring believes, since elsewhere he has written that specific points on the Earth are struck by a 'gravitational force through a narrow force corridor from space'. But as we countered, as the Earth rotates, continuous points on its surface would present themselves under this 'narrow force corridor from space', and so earthquakes should continually trace a path along its surface like a Mexican wave. They don't. The reality is that the Moon's gravity expands out from its centre as an ever increasing sphere, and essentially strikes the entire surface of the Earth facing the Moon at the same time with the same strength. There is no way that the Moon's gravity could impact on Christchurch or even the entire South Island while somehow missing the entire North Island. And yet if you look at Ring's weather and earthquake predictions it consistently does just this. Imagine if Ring claimed that there would be high ocean tides in Christchurch and Auckland next week but not in Dunedin and Wellington. Everyone would call him a fool, stating that the Moon's effects (the tides) will be felt equally all over NZ. They can't be switched on and off in places of his choosing. And yet this is exactly what he does with the weather and earthquakes which he claims are caused by they same thing as the tides. He claims that the Moon's gravity will cause extreme weather or a quake in one region but that same gravity will do nothing in an adjacent region.

Earth-Moon

We found the above image on the Internet which depicts the Earth and the Moon to scale. We've modified it slightly, adding blue circles as a representation of the Moon's gravity expanding towards the Earth. Look at the size of the Moon and its distance from the Earth. Look at the almost flat surface of the huge gravity wave as it strikes the Earth and try and imagine how this wave could surgically strike at, not NZ, not Canterbury, but just the city of Christchurch and cause an earthquake there and nowhere else on the planet. Without invoking gods we are at a loss to understand how the Moon's all encompassing gravity can act so selectively. Ring apparently imagines the Moon's gravity as some laser death ray aimed at a specific point on Earth, somehow switched on and off, and then moved off to target some other region later in the year.

We challenge Ken Ring to explain how the Moon's gravity picks and chooses its targets, and why two adjacent regions under the same gravity experience different weather and seismic events. We're not expecting an answer, or at least not one that doesn't involve 'astrological physics', which is little different from invoking gods.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 12 Jul, 2013 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend
Blog

Comments:

  1. Comment by Ken Ring, 12 Jul, 2013

    There is a challenge to me to explain how the Moon's gravity picks and chooses its targets.

    Well in my mind it doesn't, so that is quickly and painlessly settled. But trying to tell that to a blog such as this which traditionally hates alternative medicine, art, eastern science, practices of alternative cultures, anything about Maori, young people, Jews and women, or anything that they may NOT have learned at school or pakeha male university, and who make up what they think I say and then attack that as if I meant their meaning, would be like trying to reason with poison.

    A bully is he who attacks another. I do not attack SB on any of my websites, not ever. It doesn't take an Einstein to figure who the bully is. I have 9000 on my newsletter list, each having registered singly expressing their interest in our work. I have 3522 twitter followers each of whom chose to join my account. My point? I write for THEM, not for SB. I have as much interest in writing for Nazis as for collecting slimeballs, with apologies to slimeballs.

    Almost every meaning that has been wrung out of the above lengthy rant by John bears no resemblance to my own intentions for writing the quoted phrases. The lengthy tome here is the invention of someone with a longstanding belief that he is Leader of the Thought Police, Sole Interpreter of Everything Anyone Writes, self-elected Boss of Worldly Wisdom and the Saviour One we should all turn to to lead us into something called the Age of John's Enlightenment.

    But who has heard of 'John'? I work and can be seen on overseas television. Where can John be seen? I am to be found on bookstands in 5 countries. Where can John be found? Here on SB, an obscure fascist blog laughed at across the land.

    My challenge to John is to explain how the he picks and chooses his targets, all of which have never attacked him in any way. Does he pick them because he knows they will turn a blind eye, because they each actually have lives? How can someone else's opinion that differs from his own even remotely be a threat to John or anyone else, when people can choose to read what they like or turn away?

    Ah wait — money, I almost forgot, the threat is pecuniary. I, and collectively we are competition to John's company that sells ethics and occasional forecasts. Of course this will be denied, but anyone can do the forensic through IP addresses.

    As to the moon's gravity? Roughly one sixth that of the earth. But I'm sure you will find reason to hate that fact, twist it, describe it as astrology, charlatanism, heresy and scaremongering. Like other things I have said about the moon, like the existence of the airtide, its effect on weather and earthquakes, and even the possible moods and emotional states of certain people at certain times, it happens to be believed by a sizeable portion of the population. To believe it is their choice and yours not to if you so desire. But it is not your right of choice to tell them what to believe..

  2. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 13 Jul, 2013

    I wasn't going to bother replying to your insulting diatribe Ken, letting it speak for itself, since you make no attempt whatsoever to defend your method, instead choosing to just cut and paste some of your earlier insults, unwilling to even treat us to some new ones. And you certainly didn't count to 10 before you pressed SEND did you? But from you we would expect nothing less. However we then realised that you would take our silence as a victory, that we were unable to respond or too afraid to respond. So, let's get to it.

    Rather than answer our challenge, as we correctly predicted you wouldn't, you cherry pick part of our argument and ignore the true challenge. You take our words literally, childishly pretending that we claim that the Moon consciously 'picks and chooses its targets'. Why did you ignore the second half of the sentence you quoted Ken, where we asked 'why two adjacent regions under the same gravity experience different weather and seismic events'. Did you not understand our argument? Beyond tying you to a chair and producing some paper and crayons or perhaps some hand puppets, I don't know if I can make it any simpler for you Ken. Your brief attempt at rational argument exhausted, you then launch into your insults.

    Our post title — Lies, damn lies and Ken Ring — was quite apt wasn't it Ken?, since in your tirade you immediately concoct more. Lies apparently just trip off your keyboard. But by their very nature, being untrue, they are impossible to substantiate. When we say you've lied, we provide your very own quotes as evidence of your duplicity, but you just throw out a lie and never offer any support for your accusation. We challenge you to demonstrate our hatred of 'art, eastern science, practices of alternative cultures, anything about Maori, young people, Jews and women, or anything that they may NOT have learned at school or pakeha male university'. I see, compared to earlier emails, you've now added art, young people and women to the list. Do you even read what you type or have you stopped taking your medication? You've provided a huge range there Ken, surely you can substantiate at least one or two? We missed out 'alternative medicine' because we do challenge the claims made for it, but we don't hate those that practice it. Furthermore there is no such thing as 'eastern science' for us to hate, and we're starting to doubt that you were even at university if you believe that only the 'pakeha male' is found there. You really do have a problem with universities don't you Ken, even though in your comments that we challenged, you claimed that they actually teach what you believe in? Remember: 'solid science as taught in many universities'. So why the animosity towards them? You've labelled academics as 'frauds and liars'. Oh that's right, it was another lie wasn't it? They don't actually teach your nonsense at all!

    Like a stuck record you claim that 'A bully is he who attacks another. I do not attack SB on any of my websites, not ever'. Firstly, how many times do we have to explain that a bully is not defined as someone 'who attacks another'. A bully is one who victimises a much weaker opponent, knowing that they don't have the skills or strength or intellect to fight back. Is that how you see yourself Ken, as a weak victim unable to muster a defence? Apparently so. Secondly, you may well not attack us on 'your' website (probably because you don't want to alert your clients to our criticisms), but you cowardly attack us on the websites of others, lies such as: 'SillyBeliefs make claims I do not make. Read what I actually say, not what others say I say... More rubbish from silly beliefs... As far as the [Silly Beliefs] reference is concerned, my response is, to go to websites run by biased scientists to find out about my work will obviously yield negative report. These guys do no research of their own'. And every time you comment on our website it is to 'attack' our opinions. And furthermore, you are welcome to make comments on our website, critical or otherwise, whereas everyone is barred from making comments on websites you control. As your behaviour regarding your Yahoo articles shows, you found it necessary to ban comments to silence your critics. So much for open debate and free speech. You say that you write for those that have an interest in your work, and yet you deny us the same right, to write for those that have an interest in silly beliefs. You don't write for us (thankfully, as insults get boring very quickly) and we don't write for you. We write for those that are interested in an independent analysis of the claims made by those pushing various views. You seem to believe that when it comes to the product that you sell, there should be your view and only your view. And you call us Nazis! But just as you vehemently claim the right to criticise the likes of climate change and chemtrails, even though they have never attacked you, we likewise claim the right to freedom of expression. Like your twit following, people freely choose to visit 'Silly Beliefs', and judge for themselves whether we have made a believable argument. Only you childishly insist that we are somehow able to 'tell them what to believe'. If this were true, then you also would believe us.

    You once again imply that we quote you out of context and misrepresent your views. We deny this utterly. You are very welcome to provide your full quotes to demonstrate the validity of your accusation, but surprisingly you can never be bothered to do this, in the past or now. We need evidence Ken, not vague accusations, and if we have misread your claims we will happily retract our relevant statements.

    You ask who has heard of 'John', while lauding your own public image. You confuse worth with celebrity. Since you mentioned Einstein, did they not also say, Who has heard of Albert Einstein?, when he published the Special Theory of Relativity? While I'm not in any way comparing myself to Einstein, hopefully you'll grasp my point, that you don't have to be well known for your observation to be correct. You are seemingly of the opinion that people must be able to see the whites of my eyes to judge the veracity of my claims. It's not about me Ken, it's about the evidence. Unlike you Ken we don't seek celebrity and we don't have a product to peddle. The Bible, the Koran, horoscopes and books telling us how to talk to the dead can all be found on our bookstands Ken, alongside yours. Peddling nonsense is nothing to be proud of. And if it's not another of your lies and we are indeed 'an obscure fascist blog laughed at across the land', then why do you seem to have the worried impression that people take us seriously? If people across the land read our comments, have a good laugh, and go away still believing that you are the great weather soothsayer, then surely all our website is doing is helping to advertise your products? You yourself have admitted this previously, saying that we drive business to your website. Are you against a good laugh and free advertising? Why do you fear our obscurity, surely you should be pleased that we're not on TV and don't have a book on the bookstands?

    You challenge us to explain how we choose our targets. It's quite simple. If you're an idiot pushing nonsense then you're a potential candidate. We don't care if you sell your views or give them away for free. If you're refusing to employ reason and evidence in your views, if you're relying on blind faith and embracing primitive knowledge that is clearly false, if you're dragging society back towards the Dark Ages then you qualify to be on our list. That said, there are far too many silly beliefs out there for us to challenge even a small fraction of them, so we target those that particularly annoy us. You should feel lucky that you made the grade. As for those that we disagree with turning a blind eye to our debunking, such as Christians, psychics, magnet therapists and chemtrail proponents, you know quite well that this is not the case. You even wrote to support Christian fundamentalist Ian Wishart in his debate with us. People can and do challenge our viewpoint, unfortunately, like you, most either refuse to be forthright in their discussions or simply resort to insults and abuse. And if we are truly afraid of conflict with those we challenge, why have we not fled from your demands that we cease and desist?

    You naively ask, 'How can someone else's opinion that differs from his own even remotely be a threat to John or anyone else...?' Let me give an extreme but perfectly valid example. Islamists are told in the Koran to slaughter infidels wherever they find them. In their opinion they are perfectly justified in doing this, and in their opinion I am an infidel. Can you see how this could be a threat to me, or do I need to give some history lessons? As for a lesser threat, if a friend was to spend money they could ill afford to spend on worthless psychics or useless weather prediction books, then their overall wellbeing suffers, so the opinions of these charlatans is a real threat to them. Is it not our ethical duty to remove or lessen those threats if we can? One final example, you are of the opinion that the opinion of climate change proponents and the opinions expressed on Silly Beliefs are a real threat to you. So let's turn your question back towards you: how can our opinion be a threat to you or anyone else? Do we cause you sleepless nights? Do our opinions stalk your nightmares? Perhaps now you can see that the opinions of others can indeed affect us all. Of course we could ignore your opinion, ignore what you're doing, as you and your supporters plead with us to do, just as many ignored what their local Catholic priests were doing with little boys, but we think we can make a difference to the lives of some by speaking out. If we can prevent one or two people fleeing their city in terror following your silly earthquake opinions or save them $50 a year on buying your worthless almanac, then our conscience is clear. We will have helped where we could to make the world a better place by reducing its ignorance content, if only by a smidgen. If we can get people to marvel at astronomy and giggle at astrology then we're doing something right. But then that's just our opinion, which we're sure you won't even remotely view as a threat to your opinion.

    And of course 'people can choose to read what they like or turn away', so why do you choose to read our posts rather than just turning away. Are you not like normal people? People read our posts because they have similar interests, eg Is God real or Is Ken Ring for real? Contrary to your claims, no one is forced to adopt our views upon stumbling across our articles. Like you, they are free to abuse us and retreat back to your website.

    You say that we criticise you solely because of money. That old lie again Ken? Really? You claim you have the 'forensic' evidence that we sell 'ethics and occasional forecasts', so again I ask you, why don't you produce it instead of just always talking about it? We must be the worst company in existence since nowhere on our website do mention we have something to sell. Can you provide links to us advertising and selling 'ethics and occasional forecasts' Ken? Of course you can't. If readers are wondering why Ring is accusing us of being some mysterious company that is competing with him, he has reached the totally absurd and utterly bogus conclusion that the accredited domain registry company that charges us to register the 'sillybeliefs.com' domain name actually pays (forces?) us to surreptitiously criticise Ring's weather prediction business. Ring has claimed, while typically refusing to provide details, that this company (and others) are in direct competition with him, and they created our website solely to destroy his business. Someone is getting a little paranoid I think. Can readers even think of who this evil company competing with Ken might be, and we're not talking of the likes of the Metservice, NIWA or Billy-Bob's Hillbilly Weather Service? By Ring's logic we must also be pawns of NZ Telecom and Vodafone since they have registered our phone numbers. And what does it even mean to sell 'ethics and occasional forecasts'? How much does one charge for ethics or an occasional forecast? And since Ken doesn't deal in ethics, even if this company did sell ethics, how could this compete with him? If only Ken would front up with real information instead of baseless lies. Our criticism of religion, UFOs and chemtrails is, one supposes, just a front so that we don't appear to be picking just on poor ol' Ken. And really Ken, how much of a threat could we be to you if, as you claim, everyone is laughing at our efforts to discredit you? Why are our overlords still paying us if we are failing so miserably at our task? See Ken, you're not keeping track of your lies again. (As I wrote this we received a similar accusation from a chemtrail proponent, again pushing the ridiculous assumption that we're being paid to spread lies. It's obviously a conspiracy theorist way of thinking, the only reason that they can comprehend as to why others might express differing opinions.)

    Inexplicitly you finish with this claim: 'As to the moon's gravity? Roughly one sixth that of the earth. But I'm sure you will find reason to hate that fact, twist it, describe it as astrology, charlatanism, heresy and scaremongering'. Why would you imagine that we would dispute the strength of the Moon's gravity? This totally weird accusation of yours suggests that you are truly struggling to understand the criticisms we skeptics have of your claims.

    Finally, in an attempt to justify your astrological method you say that 'Like other things I have said about the moon ... [blah, blah, blah] ...it happens to be believed by a sizeable portion of the population'. So what Ken? You seem to be one of those people that believe the truth of the matter is reached by taking a vote or adding up believers. A sizeable portion of the world's population believes that killing infidels will see them receiving 72 virgins in Heaven to rape over and over again, and yet more believe that a sky fairy stuck Adam and Eve onto a world he created 6,000 years ago. A sizeable portion of the world's population also believes that the position of heavenly bodies can predict the future, while others believe that Santa Claus delivers presents at Xmas. Does this mean that Islam, Christianity, astrology and Santa are all true? Wake up Ken. It doesn't matter how many intellectually challenged people believe these myths or believe yours, they're still nonsense. Of course it is their choice to believe what they wish, just as it is our choice and right to believe what we wish, that all the above beliefs are nonsense. It is also our choice and right to express our views to those that wish to hear them. You tell us that you are on overseas TV and in bookstands in 5 countries, (and previously you've said you are also on radio and in newspapers), and you're quite right that we aren't. And yet you have the arrogance to accuse us of trying to tell people what to believe, you, the person that travels the world pushing your view onto people innocently turning on their TV and radio. Please explain how what you do is right and just, and yet our single website that people must choose to visit is unjust and dictatorial. Admit it, you just fail to see why you should have to put up with any criticism of your method. You continually accuse anyone that thinks differently to you as fascists and Nazis, but perhaps your obsession with these terms more accurately reflects the way you would like to control your critics.

    If you're going to reply Ken, let's try reason and evidence this time, and we'll just take the insults as read, OK?

  3. Comment by Graham, 14 Jul, 2013

    Hi John, please publish your price list on ethics. Do you give discounts for bulk orders? I've completely run out.

    Thanks

  4. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 14 Jul, 2013

    Oh this is so embarrassing Graham, as we seem to have misplaced all our product lists and associated prices. Luckily Ken has all the details so we'll put a call through to him and see if he's willing to send us a copy. Barring that, you could contact him direct requesting our pricing. Just make sure you send the money to us and not to Ken. And yes we do give discounts for bulk orders, with further discounts if you also purchase one or more of our guaranteed weather forecasts. Unfortunately we also seem to have misplaced those as well (Chinese hackers?) so I must remember to ask Ken for a copy of that as well.

  5. Comment by Mikaere, 14 Jul, 2013

    Re Lies, Damned Lies...., oh the irony! Being labelled a bully by someone who hasn't offered a shred of objective rebuttal, who instead throws 'Nazi' and 'Slimeball' into the mix, is certainly going to make me abandon my sexist and racist tertiary education.

    Seems like there could be a huge market out there for ethics. Perhaps you could start a franchise, sell occasional forecasts on the side...?

  6. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 14 Jul, 2013

    Irony? That's not a word to be found in Ken's vocabulary or dictionary. Like some playschool new entrant arguing with his teddy bear, he no doubt believes he has delivered a withering response that will see us questioning our very existence and rushing to delete our website. It's quite sad really. As for considering selling ethics and occasional forecasts, evidently we already do.

  7. Comment by Rob, 23 Jul, 2013

    Hello John. I haven't been on for a while (busy, you know how it is :)), and got a huge surprise when I saw Ken's latest response.... Once again he shows that even though you are insignificant like a mosquito, you can have a great affect on a genius of pre science such as the Moon Man Ken Ring...

    "proving the proverb 'If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito'." (Ken Ring)
    I honestly hadn't seen him on TV much recently, and thought he had faded into obscurity.... I do hope he publishes his almanac in ebook format soon, so as to save a tree from being pulped for such a needless endevour as becoming a Ken Ring Almanac of lies... But even Ebooks will take up bandwidth for delivery...

    Re his amazing numbers of 3522 twitter followers.... he undersells himself, it's now 3712.

    I follow Ken's Tweets, doesn't mean I value them.... I just use them for mocking, and compiling his inaccuracy...

    His latest tweet is:

    "Earthquake reasons. So-called dumb animals can all detect earthquakes, so why so hard for the so-called master race?."
    Yet even humans can detect earthquakes. Perhaps he meant predict, but then I am placing words in his his mouth, and giving him more credit than he deserves...

    There is a strange use of language by our scholar in his single tweet, apart from detect/predict mix up, he calls you a nazi, and then invokes the term Master Race.

    I thought he meant master species, but I retract that as he obviously has an obsession with white Aryans known as the master race.

    But, I digress... enough about the idiot...

    I have some ethics I am willing to sell you... You can then sell them at a substantial markup on your website, and we can share in the profits... They are of the hedonistic type, so not sure that it is the area you specialise it.

    I can't believe Ken Ring brought up ethics, given his business and what he does to feed himself. No sense of morals there at all...

    Just rereading all the things Professor Ring thinks you hate:

    "... alternative medicine, art, eastern science, practices of alternative cultures, anything about Maori, young people, Jews and women, or anything that they may NOT have learned at school or pakeha male university"
    Reminds me of a great joke:
    "Do you know what they call alternative medicine that works?"

    "Medicine"

    And because Ken says you hate art, it looks like I can no longer support your blog... Unless you tell me this is just another thing he has made up?
  8. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 23 Jul, 2013

    Yes Rob, just when you think Ring can't get any worse he does. He's had these vile outbursts before and still doesn't learn that they just make him out to be an obnoxious fool, which he is of course, but I don't know why he wants other people to know that. It is of course pleasing that he gets so wound up that reason deserts him and he falls back on insults, it means we must be doing something right in exposing him.

    I missed the 'detect' error but I did again notice his fixation with 'master race' and all things Nazi.

    As for us hating art (as well as young people, Jews and women etc), it really shows that Ring will invent any silly lie in an attempt to discredit his critics, seemingly confident that, as they do with his website, no one will ask if it's actually true. It's the sign of a con man, expecting people to blindly believe him without providing evidence.

  9. Comment by Anonymous, 23 Jul, 2013

    Gone quiet on your Druid Ring blog, I guess he gets the last laugh this time, but you both are wrong!

  10. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 24 Jul, 2013

    Unfortunately we have no idea to what you are alluding. Take a deep breath and try again.

  11. Comment by Ron, 24 Jul, 2013

    Howdy John. Read your excellent response to Ken who I thought never read your site anymore. Thought you may be interested that a hiking friend also receives regular emails from Ken but must have mentioned your site to him which really set him off. He received an angry email with the usual stuff about fascism, bullying etc. Two things that stood out was he said many of his followers are shocked by what they read on your site about Ken and want to respond by supporting Ken and disagreeing with you, but don't because you intimidate and bully those who disagree. The other is he apparently, in an effort to drum up sympathy, ranted on about he and his family being forced into hiding and having to contact police 3 times etc. This was written as though it was all your fault. The way I feel is Ken brought all that onto himself and his family and they should admit that. His constant, always wrong scaremongering about quakes here incensed some anonymous people into sending threats to him incl. death threats. Though I disagree with such measures Ken should have known the risks that come with the territory. He has only himself to blame. I feel for his family in all this.

  12. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 25 Jul, 2013

    Hi Ron. Thanks for your comments. In his reply to us Ring, with hand on heart, states that 'I do not attack SB on any of my websites, not ever'. And yet we've personally seen evidence to the contrary and several people such as yourself have told us of Ring attacking us behind our backs. We have no problem with Ring and others debating the issues we've raised, but we do have an issue with Ring making false and malicious claims to damage our reputation and elevate his. I guess in one sense confidence in our stance is bolstered since he feels forced to sink to such despicable means to maintain his public image, but at the same time no one likes lies being spread about themselves. But as you mention about Ring, there are 'risks that come with the territory', and we were fully aware when we started our website to encourage critical thinking that we would annoy, infuriate, irritate, incense and enrage those who held silly beliefs. And perhaps it is one of the flaws that allow them to adopt silly beliefs in the first place, but most, like Ring, can only respond with nonsense and insults.

    Ring tells people privately that his many supporters would love to challenge us but that we silenced them through intimidation and bullying. They're not afraid that we might bully them, Ring insists that we have bullied them. And yet every single comment from Ken's supporters is on our website. They probably number in single digits out of hundreds of comments criticising Ring. I challenge Ken to point out to us those supporters of his that we have intimidated so we can all judge whether his accusations have any merit. Please provide details Ken, gather your supporters' emails and our bullying responses, since whispering behind our back is not evidence. Of course there is the real possibility that Ring's silent supporters feel intimidated by our use of reason and evidence, and feel ill-equipped to muster a counter-argument. On our pages they no doubt see Ring lose his composure when unable to explain his method, and question how they could do better when their Master struggles so.

    I believe he spins this lie in an attempt to explain to his clients why almost none of his many supporters bother to write to challenge our debunking of him. According to Ken they evidently don't have the courage. Not even the courage to send an anonymous comment? They could do as Ring now does, throw out a few insults and disappear, or they could write saying simply that they support Ring. It seems they are too afraid to do even that. However the glaring absence of Ring supporters from our website could simply be for the same reason that we get very few people arguing for gods and psychics: while they blindly believe, they know not why they believe.

    Reading your email I initially agreed with what Ring maintains, that 'many of his followers are shocked by what they read on your site about Ken'. And so they should be shocked. But after reading about Ken antics on our site, I'm shocked that they continue to support him. Obviously they didn't comprehend what they read.

    As for us being in anyway responsible for him fleeing into hiding after his quake warning fiasco, why did he never mention this to the media or the police? After all, is it not a crime to incite hatred? But why would he think anyone takes us seriously, in his comment above he told us that we are viewed as 'an obscure fascist blog laughed at across the land'. This is another perfect example of Ring's problem, his stories change to suit the situation. From supporters he tries to garner sympathy over his persecution, while with others he arrogantly states that the notion of him fleeing from angry critics is preposterous. Back on the 21st Jun, 2011 we wrote that in an article on his website Ring implies that reports of his going into hiding, the death threats and stress were all lies invented by the media. Ring himself wrote that 'The media seem to be at it again... This is ludicrous... the media nonsense that has Ken Ring hiding in secret locations, claiming continuing death threats, seeking medical help for depressions... The NZ Herald asked me for an interview 3-days ago, about where I was supposed to be "hiding". Last week New Idea Magazine wanted the exclusive on the "death threats".' So did he or did he not go into hiding and/or receive threats? It apparently depends on who asks him the question.

    You're right that Ring has brought this upon himself. If he does indeed have those that might threaten him, it is because of his lies. No one likes to be ripped off by buying his Almanac, no one likes to be lied to regarding how the world works, and it's even worse if those lies engender terror as his quake predictions did. Of course none of this justifies violence or even veiled threats towards Ring. The way to defeat people like Ring is through education. People must learn to apply critical thinking when approached with claims that seem too good, or too silly, to be true.

Ken Ring and the supermoon alert
Be afraid. Be very afraid. Supermoons are on the prowl.

In astrologer Ken Ring's latest Yahoo article entitled 'Supermoon coming soon', we are advised not of a new sci-fi movie or yoghurt flavour, but warned of impending disaster that could be coming to a neighbourhood near you. Or maybe not, strangely this supermoon is rather selective as to who it attacks.

Graham advised us that Ring is once again on his soapbox, keen to get people under their beds or fleeing their cities with his silly and irresponsible predictions of doom from the heavens. Graham wrote:

Looks like Ken is scaremongering again with his "supermoon"

Many times I've heard people ask "What planet are you on Ken?" I didn't realise it was meant literally. [He wrote that] "Not many know that the earth's distance from us can vary each 27-day month by up to 20%". Speak for yourself Ken, the earth's distance from me stays pretty much constant.

Good to start the day off with a laugh.

I must admit I didn't notice the error that Graham mentioned, until I thought about his comments and re-read it. Of course Ken would have meant that it is the Moon's distance from us that varies, not the Earth's. An innocent mistake perhaps that we could forgive, if it were not just the first of many errors in his article. As is typical of course.

For a start, there is no such thing as a '27-day month'. A 27-day 'period' perhaps, but Ken is a fan of redefining common terms to suit his pseudoscience. I also challenge his claim that the Moon's distance 'can vary each 27-day month by up to 20%'. If you take the mean distance to the Moon, then depending on whether the Moon is moving closer or further away, the distance will decrease or increase by just over 6%. If you take the closest distance (perigee), and increase it by 14% you get the maximum distance (apogee). The maximum percentage increase possible is experienced when moving from apogee to perigee. Moving from perigee to apogee the percentage variation is slightly less. If you take either the apogee or perigee distance and decrease or increase it respectively by 20% you place the Moon around 30,000 kms outside it's accepted orbit. Of course, unlike Ken Ring I don't claim to be a maths teacher and so might be in error, so perhaps he could explain to us how he arrives at his figure of 20%. (I took the Moon's minimum perigee to be 356,400 kms and maximum apogee to be 406,700 kms, giving a difference of 50,300 kms.)

Ring states that 'Supermoons bring higher kingtides', but then goes on to claim that 'Earthquakes are larger just before and just after kingtide'. Of course this is as unproven as me claiming that Santa Claus employs a staff of 3000 elfs. He goes on to predict that 'In NZ, we might expect a windy time... during the supermoon interval, bringing snow and rain. Auckland to Manawatu, the top of the South Island and Canterbury may be affected'. He also points out the other places on the globe that will be hit, claiming that Tasmania, Melbourne, Virginia, Texas and the Glomma River basin in Norway are 'areas at risk of the effects this supermoon'. But this makes no sense! This supermoon is not just above Canterbury, Tasmania, Texas and Norway, it's also above Ireland, China, Chile and Wellington. Why are they not affected at all by the Moon's close proximity? Surely the Moon should affect the entire world equally? Why does it apparently switch it's earthquake creating rays on and off, targeting poor old Canterbury yet again while ignoring the mountainous hideouts of al Qaeda. Perhaps in your next article Ken you might explain how your supermoon can be so precise and so fickle as to its targets?

Ring goes on and on about supermoons which he is happy to inform us were named by a fellow astrologer, no doubt their only modern contribution to science. Ring tries to connect supermoons with natural disasters by employing misleading statements such as the following: 'In 2011 the superduper perigee was on 20 March. The Japanese tsunami occurred just 9 days beforehand... '.

The Japanese tsunami did NOT happen at the perigee, but Ring deceptively mentions how close it was — 'just 9 days beforehand' — while hiding the embarrassing fact that the Japanese tsunami actually happened closer to apogee than perigee. The Moon was at a typical mid-distance that happens every month. If there was anything special about its position we should have super tsunamis all the time, since the Moon is almost always somewhere in between apogee and perigee. Only the exact dates of the closet apogee and futhermost apogee are the least bit special. All the other orbital positions of the Moon are being repeated all the time. So did the Moon do anything to Japan? Think of this analogy. Imagine if I said every time a friend visits things go missing from my house. I would suspect my friend. But what if I said things actually go missing before he arrives and after he leaves, but seldom while he is here. Should I still blame my friend who was usually elsewhere when the thefts occur? Of course not. But this is what Ring is doing. He says when the Moon comes really close it's always responsible for earthquakes, but strangely, if earthquakes do happen, the Moon is always somewhere else, still en route. Ring says, OK the moon wasn't here on that day, but it was on its way. But like my friend who wasn't present when the thefts occurred, can we blame the Moon if it wasn't present either? Worse still, Ring blames not just perigees but also apogees, full moons, new moons, high tides, low tides, and all points in-between these opposing states. You name a day in any month of the year and Ring will name a disaster caused by the evil Moon. You are never safe. Well, not if you listen to Ken.

Embedded in Ring's article was the following about Apollo 11, providing an example of how urban myths start.

The Apollo team that took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon left the launch pad 16 July 1969 and arrived on the moon 21 July. Perigees were 29 June and 28 July and were the first and second closest perigees for that year. Departing when they did ensured that with the closer moon the mission would save 50,000kms of fuel, plus a further 10,000kms because of the extra closeness of the June and July perigees. The moon was not as close to earth again until October 1971, but in their frantic race to beat the Russians to the moon the Americans could not afford to wait two extra years, even though the October 1971 moon was closer.
That he could make so many errors in just a few sentences is amazing, but again demonstrates that Ken writes from the heart and not the mind. Why let facts and reason spoil the crucial part his supermoon played in the moon landing.

Like many people, especially the Moon landing hoax crowd, Ring seems oblivious of the fact that Apollo 11 wasn't the only mission to the Moon. NASA went to the Moon 9 times and landed 6 times. He implies that Apollo 11 had to go when they did to take advantage of the 'second closest perigee' since 'the Americans could not afford to wait two extra years'. This is utter nonsense on Ring's part, but typical of the bullshit he invents to fool people that he is some sort of expert. If the closest perigee was so crucial, why did they ignore it and go instead on the 'second closest perigee'? But it gets worse. If July 1969 was the optimal time to reach the Moon, how does Ring explain that Apollo 10 had already been there and back in May 1969? Why didn't they run out of fuel Ken? And if after Apollo 11's July mission, the next optimal launch date was Oct 1971, how does Ring explain Apollo 12 that zipped back to the Moon in Nov 1969, then Apollo 13 in Apr 1970, Apollo 14 in Jan 1971 and Apollo 15 in Jul 1971? Then NASA completely ignored Ring's Oct 1971 launch date and waited until Apr 1972 to launch Apollo 16, with Apollo 17 following in Dec 1972.

There seems to be no clear pattern of launch date being tied to perigee. Apollo 11 launched 12 days before perigee, Apollo 8 was 2 days after, Apollo 10 was 14 days after, Apollo 12 was 1 day after, Apollo 13 was 8 days after, Apollo 14 was 3 days after, Apollo 15 was 14 days after, Apollo 16 was 2 days after and Apollo 17 was 12 days before. The launch dates were not allocated to the year's closest perigee, although this is not to say that NASA never took advantage of a shorter trajectory when it arose.

But let's look at why Ring falsely believes the perigee is crucial for success: 'Departing when they did ensured that with the closer Moon the mission would save 50,000kms of fuel, plus a further 10,000kms because of the extra closeness of the June and July perigees'. First, how could 'the extra closeness of the June... perigee' have any affect on the fuel used in a mission that didn't leave until July? But far more embarrassing for Ring, the Apollo spacecraft would NOT 'save 50,000kms of fuel' since it's propulsion systems are switched off during the entire journey to the Moon and return. Rockets are used in what's called a trans-lunar injection (TLI) to leave Earth orbit and set the spacecraft on a path towards the Moon, but from then on the spacecraft simply coasts to the Moon. Whether the Moon is close or far, no fuel is used on the journey bar the odd few second bursts of retro rockets for course corrections. If no fuel is used, no fuel can be saved or needs to be saved. Ring claims to be an expert on the work of Sir Isaac Newton but doesn't understand about inertia and movement in a vacuum. Flash Gordon I guess he thinks that spacecraft in space blaze away like an old Guy Fawkes skyrocket or an alien spaceship from a 1940's Flash Gordon movie. Of course a slightly shorter journey would mean a saving in life support resources and less trips to the toilet, but this is not what Ring claims.

But there are yet more problems with Ring's childish view of astronautics. Again, he claims that going to the Moon when it is close to Earth 'would save 50,000kms of fuel, plus a further 10,000kms...', since it would be 50,000kms further away at its apogee. But here Ring adopts the naive belief that a spacecraft would follow a simple straight line between Earth and the Moon, like a laser beam fired at the Moon, whereas the spacecraft's 'trajectory approximates an elliptical orbit about the Earth with an apogee near to the radius of the Moon's orbit'. So the spacecraft has to travel a lot further than the straight line distance between the Earth and the Moon, and yet Ring shrinks even this distance by 'plus a further 10,000kms'. Where he gets this figure from is anyone's guess, perhaps his Astrology program threw it in to balance Mars passing through Scorpio.

And as we've already said, in the case of the Apollo 11 mission, NASA ignored the closest perigee of the year and instead launched 12 days before the 'second closest perigee' and were safely back on Earth 4 days before that perigee!

And if we're going to be really picky about Ring's lack of concern about accuracy, we would add that Michael Collins was also part of Apollo 11, not just Armstrong and Aldrin, that the Americans were racing the Soviets, not the Russians, and that they landed on the Moon on the 20th July, not the 21st. For us Kiwis the landing did indeed happen on the 21st, due to the International Date Line thingy, but since Ring gave the launch as the American date, he must remain consistent, he can't mix American and Kiwi dates.

This is all pure pseudoscience from Ring, where snippets of poorly understood maths, science and history are wrapped around silly, superstitious predictions to promote his scam. Even if these errors are unintended on Ring's part, even if he honestly can't see them, the errors are still widespread so what confidence should we have that the far, far more complex calculations and science required as part of his predictions are not likewise riddled with errors? As we've said before, Ring's articles show that his grasp of science and history is inept at best and devious and dishonest at worst.

Ring finished his 'The End is Nigh' article by telling readers that 'We can mentally prepare for supermoons so they do not take us unawares. They arrive out of the blue but are quick to pass'. Well they don't 'arrive out of the blue' Ken, you said they were predictable, and for once we agree with you. All you're doing Ken is mentally preparing gullible people to be afraid of the Moon. There are already imbeciles running from innocent contrails in the sky, you're just giving them something else to fear. Besides being ridiculous, it's totally irresponsible as well. The Moon is a beautiful sight, we shouldn't be falsely implicating it in crimes against humanity. The astrological idea that the position of the Moon (and planets) can bring about disastrous events on Earth was debunked centuries ago. To paraphrase you Ken, the purpose of this article is so we can mentally prepare the less well-informed for the real world so that morons and conmen don't take them unawares. They arrive out of the blue from the mire of superstition but are easily seen off with reason.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 17 Jun, 2013 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend
Blog

Comments:

  1. Comment by Brian, 17 Jun, 2013

    [Note from Silly Beliefs: We received this comment from Brian just after we published the above post, hence he was unaware that we were also troubled by Ken's NASA claims. Thanks Brian for providing further information which helps to discredit Ken's claims.]

    He's at it again folks. According to Ken's latest post "The Apollo team that took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon left the launch pad 16 July 1969 and arrived on the moon 21 July. Perigees were 29 June and 28 July and were the first and second closest perigees for that year. Departing when they did ensured that with the closer moon the mission would save 50,000kms of fuel, plus a further 10,000kms because of the extra closeness of the June and July perigees. The moon was not as close to earth again until October 1971, but in their frantic race to beat the Russians to the moon the Americans could not afford to wait two extra years, even though the October 1971 moon was closer."

    According to NASA, "Lunar orbit insertion ignition was at 17:21:50 on 19 Jul 1969. At that time, the Earth-Moon distance was 394,505.575 km (center-to-center), and decreasing at the rate of 170.3 km/h.

    Also at that time, the lunar orbit had a perigee of 360,095.730 km and an apogee of 404,093.340 km. So the Moon was about 21.8% of the way down from apogee."

    So, in reality, the moon was nearer apogee than perigee. Not sure where Ken gets his saved 50,000kms fuel from (plus 10,000kms) but I was always under the impression that once the craft had reached the required velocity and left Earth's atmosphere no further burning of fuel was required until decceleration.

Churches, charities and tax breaks
I've known of Sanitarium since I was a kid, eating their Weet-Bix for breakfast. But beyond this I had no inkling that this breakfast food company had an ulterior motive, to promote the Christian religion. And seemingly almost no one else knew either. Until recently very few connected Sanitarium and its products with Jesus and God or knew that the company's mission was to spread the message of our approaching Armageddon. But it gets worse.

Seventh Day Adventist I've known for a year or two that Sanitarium was owned by a church, although I couldn't have said which one, but I definitely didn't know that this connection allowed it to be registered as a charity, which was revealed on TV3's 'Campbell Live' the other night. In an item by reporter Rebecca Wright, we were told that 'Sanitarium is a registered charity and as such doesn't pay tax'. They have seemingly managed this con of not paying company tax because the company is owned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

So why don't churches have to pay tax? It's because they are classed as charities. The Charities Commission website has a page entitled: 'Advancement of religion'. Reading from this page Rebecca told us that 'Under Charities Law the organisation's purpose must "be for the benefit of a religion" and "aim to pass on the relevant religious faith to others".' She also said that 'To "advance" religion, the faith must be passed on to others by spreading its message and taking positive steps to sustain and increase the religious belief.' Clearly this is why the Seventh Day Adventist Church has charitable status, since their minions are certainly more active in trying to spread their message than many other Christian cults. When was the last time a Catholic or Anglican knocked on your door wanting to talk about Jesus? (And yet Catholic and Anglican churches are registered as charities as well).

With these 'Advancement of religion' conditions in mind, Rebecca asked the General Manager of Sanitarium, Pierre van Heerden, 'So how does the manufacturer of breakfast cereal advance religion?'. He replied:

'It's not necessary advancing religion. What we are about is if you look at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, a lot of what we are doing is in terms of improving health in the communities, improving education and it's that whole looking after the whole person that we're interested in. One component of it is eating healthy foods.'
So this is Sanitarium's General Manager clearly admitting that the company's purpose is not the advancement of religion at all, which means they do not meet the criteria of being a registered charity. They are a fraud, hiding under the cloak of the Seventh Day Adventist Church for monetary gain. But of course their charity status won't be revoked.

Of course some might argue that we're confusing the church with the company, that it is the church that is promoting religion, not the breakfast food company, that it is Seventh Day Adventist followers knocking on our doors, not Sanitarium employees. But if this distinction can be clearly made, why can't the Charities Commission make it? Why do they see the church and the company as one and the same? If the company isn't advancing religion, as the General Manager indeed maintains, then why does it still get tax breaks?

If we ignore the Seventh Day Adventist Church ownership, is there anything about Sanitarium, as a company, that justifies them being a charity? What about a similar company, Hubbards, that also makes breakfast cereals and is likewise keen on improving health in the community? Considering its owner is also deeply religious, why do they have to pay tax? If it's just about helping children, what about companies that make child restraints and safety seats for cars or children's books, why can't they call themselves a charity? Perhaps because they sell their products, but so too does Sanitarium. Obviously it has nothing to do with the products they make or services they offer, but who owns them. Unfortunately for them it is not a church. And the commercial competition between Sanitarium and the likes of Hubbards is obviously not on a level playing field, since Sanitarium receives massive tax exemptions. The state is assisting Sanitarium at the expense of other breakfast food companies.

When quizzed on the financial windfall of not paying any tax, van Heerden refused to divulge the figures, and tried to mollify us with this vague claim: 'we do a lot of different things in a lot of different areas'. Unperturbed, Rebecca consulted the Charities Register, which revealed that the total income for 2012 for the Seventh Day Adventist Church in NZ was $187,132,559. How much of this income is generated by Sanitarium is not disclosed, but we can probably assume much of it is, unless they have other 'secret' companies as well. I doubt if many minor Christian cults in NZ earn $187 million each year merely from what their followers put in the donation plate.

It should also be noted that in that amount, the Church also received $1,796,846 in government grants. Why is the government giving them huge grants on top of already not having to pay tax? Does every church in NZ, big or small, get these grants in excess of a million dollars? I always thought that not having to pay tax was the very generous exemption that the government gave these institutions. And yet even with these impressive tax breaks the churches are seemingly arrogant enough to ask for even more. And let's forget this myth that it's the government that gives money to companies or individuals or causes, it doesn't really affect you and me. The government has no money of its own, every cent they have comes from the taxpayer, from you and me, so it's the government giving out our money. They only get to decide what our money will be spent on and which churches they will give it to. It's always easy to spend other peoples' money.

So with all that untaxed income, what did the Church spend on charity in 2012? Independent researcher Michael Gousmett said 3 million dollars went to the South Pacific, 4 million went to elder care (Adventist Retirement Villages) and 10.2 million went back to the church itself, noting that once in the church it is impossible to know whether this money was used for the public good or just for the good of members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. In response to this concern, of who actually benefits, van Heerden replied:

'There are a lot of things being done out in the communities by the church, a lot of them are educational as well, so it's really making sure that the communities benefit from it.'
Which actually reveals nothing. Can you name one thing that the Seventh Day Adventist Church does to assist your community, educational or otherwise? I certainly can't, and I mean activities that their name is clearly attached to, where they can say this is why we are a registered charity. Not just doing public good, but seen to be doing public good. Van Heerden may reiterate that 'we're feeding kids', but that's Sanitarium, not the Seventh Day Adventist Church. And let's remember that 'feeding kids', as in donating free Weet-Bix to schools, is only a very recent charitable endeavour and only a very, very small part of its business. Every Weet-Bix and jar of Marmite we've ever had over the years we've had to buy. We've never seen any indication that Sanitarium was a charity. The Church's name appears nowhere on their products, and almost no one knows that Sanitarium and the Church are connected. And how did Kiwis benefit from this secret charity? Three million dollars went to people in the South Pacific, not back to NZers who actually bought Sanitarium products. Four million went to Adventist Retirement Villages, presumably fill of Seventh Day Adventist members, and presumably not free. And 10.2 million simply disappeared back into Church coffers. This is not my idea of an open and transparent charity, where the public know they are donating to a charity and they know where their donations are going.

This charity revelation has arisen because both Sanitarium and Fonterra are donating Weet-Bix and milk respectively to some schools for a free breakfast for kids. Ryan Malone of Dart Communications explained to Rebecca Wright that Sanitarium 'don't need to pay income tax because they do what is considered to be "public good" services'. Sanitarium General Manager Pierre van Heerden said that 'we're feeding kids but on the other hand trying to get them active as well'. But Malone's explanation can't be true, since Sanitarium are doing no more than Fonterra, and yet Fonterra can't call themselves a charity. There is in fact no legal compulsion on churches to use their tax breaks on 'good works' or 'public good' services, in fact they are legally compelled to spend it on advancing religion, not feeding school kids. And in reality Sanitarium are doing far less than Fonterra, since Fonterra are donating the milk out of their own profits, whereas Sanitarium are merely donating the Weet-Bix out of the tax they don't have to pay. Malone's claim is that Sanitarium are forced to do charitable acts, whereas Fonterra aren't but are doing it anyway. Anyone can appear generous by giving away some of the millions they shouldn't even have. Note also that there are other categories of charity, such as where the purpose 'relieves poverty', 'advances education' or 'is another matter beneficial to the community', but churches are registered under 'advances religion'.

But let's ignore the subterfuge operated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church and their company Sanitarium, which is perhaps little different from those operations that the police say are just a front for the likes of the Mafia. A legal enterprise used to launder their ill-gotten gains.

There is a far more important issue at stake here than Sanitarium and it's shady dealings. Should churches — any church — let alone the commercial companies that they run, be exempt from paying any tax on the questionable condition that they actively promote religion? Should taxpayer money in the form of grants, your money and my money, go towards promoting religion? Rebecca, noting our ever growing secular society, ended her item with this question to Ryan Malone: 'Is the advancement of religion as a tax exemption out of date? Is it still relevant?' His final answer was: 'nowadays you'd get a lot of people who would say advancement of religion isn't a charitable purpose'. And we're some of those people that argue that no one whose mission it is to advance religion should get tax exemptions or grants from the government. This isn't the Middle Ages.

This charity loophole is a throwback to an ignorant time when governments were formed by Christian members and supported by a Christian populace. Whether you were an MP or a citizen, your community benefited from the tax exemptions and grants because it was a religious community. The church that you belonged to benefited, and they could afford to send out evangelists to covert the odd heathen, which was good thing to do. Or so they thought back in those primitive times.

But that was then. We're now a secular society, and atheism is fast becoming the new worldview accepted by intelligent and rational citizens. Church attendance has plummeted, so much so that many churches have been sold off for use as art galleries, cafés and private houses (after having magical incantations uttered so that God doesn't find out). As atheists, why should we be forced (indirectly) to pay for the promotion of Christianity?

Advancing Islam But maybe you're not an atheist, maybe you're still a lazy agnostic. Or perhaps you're one of those that, while noticeably shaken by the discoveries of science, are not yet willing to throw off the security blanket that is religion, and so you can still see some benefit in assisting churches. But let's remember that the law as it stands talks of the advancement of religion, not the advancement of Christianity. So these tax exemptions and your tax dollars could in the near future, if not already, go towards the advancement of Islam for example. Your local Muslim mosque could apply for and could receive the same benefits that your local Christian churches receive. It matters not that you might not agree with the dangerous and silly beliefs of Islam, you will, through the Charities Commission, be forced to help them spread their messages, such as: 'Behead those who insult Islam'. While in NZ it is mainly, perhaps even solely, the Christian religion that greedily takes advantage of the charities law, but every religion, such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Wicca and Scientology, could be gorging themselves from the taxpayer trough. No matter what your beliefs, you will be forced to support numerous other silly beliefs that you believe are utterly false. While you're perhaps not too peeved that Christians are using your money to increase their numbers, are you happy to give Muslims the same support?

And let's remember that while this charity tax loophole remains, we're not just assisting Christians to maintain their beliefs, since one crucial condition is that they must actively work to convert society to their religion. We have evidently agreed that we want these churches to be talking to our children about Jesus while treating them to a free breakfast. If they don't we could revoke their charitable status. Of course this stipulation reveals a hidden assumption, that the religion referred to is Christianity. The outdated belief that existed when this charity law was passed was that Christianity was the only true belief and as such deserved the support of society against all false beliefs. It was not about freedom of belief, and of supporting many different beliefs, but of only promoting Christianity. While the law mentions the advancement of religion, the terms 'Christianity' and 'religion' were seen as one and the same, and still are by many people. But this wording creates problems in today's world. If we 'assist' Christians (through tax exemptions and grants) to convert society to their beliefs and at the same time 'assist' Muslims to do the same then obviously this would lead to conflict. But now that our society has and allows multiple religions, the only result can be that taxpayers will indirectly fund different religions to battle for converts. We won't be able to complain when a Scientologist or Muslim harangue us at some public event since we have made it a condition of their charitable status. But even if we see this happen, the law as it stands is still not entirely equitable, in that it only gives financial support to those following silly beliefs, that is, a religion. If we atheists wish to win converts we will have to use our own funds to get our message out there. Is that fair? We think not. Of course the religious might justifiably argue that with the evidence from science, history and ethics all supporting the atheistic argument, giving us public funds to publicise our message even more than it already is would be totally unfair. Unlike atheists, they desperately need help to halt their decline.

The NZ Bill of Rights Act guarantees everyone freedom of belief, and there is no law that allows anyone to force their beliefs onto others. And yet as atheists we are being forced, not to believe their beliefs, but to indirectly fund the advancement of their beliefs. It's quite plausible that funds from an atheist will help convert someone to Christianity. Atheists are in effect unwilling religious evangelists. Every tax dollar that churches are excused from paying is a dollar that you and I have to make up. Tax revenue from atheists go towards funding some public project, and this frees up the churches to spend their tax exemption windfall on advancing their nonsense. Atheists are subsidising messages of ignorance and intolerance. We are forced to help maintain the very institutions that we find so damaging to society. In NZ we believe we have a clear separation of church and state. And yet our parliament opens with a prayer to Jesus, and the state grants churches tax exemptions in order to 'advance religion'. This 'separation' is not what we believe it to be.

We have no problem with registering not-for-profit groups (religious or secular) as charities who perform 'public good' services, such as running food banks, soup kitchens, homeless shelters or combating disease and poverty locally and overseas. But they should be clearly identified as charities, allowing people the choice of whether they donate, knowing where and how that donation would be used. Their purpose must clearly be 'public good' services, and the advancement of religion is most definitely not for the public good.

Evangelist It also needs to be asked why churches even need to take this devious secular route in order to survive? Remember that these churches claim to have the most powerful being ever to exist supporting their cause. If this is true, why do they still need to force atheists to help spread their message? Where is their God? Surely this sorry state of affairs suggests that their benefactor has deserted their cause (or never existed in the first place)? Does their God's indifference to their plight not worry them at all? Do they not find it a little embarrassing to accept help from their enemy? This is a little like an atheist praying to god to smite the churches. Is it arrogance, greed or fear that keeps churches insisting that everyone, not just Christians, must pay to spread their message?

It's truly embarrassing that in this age of knowledge that we must still endure religious messages from imbeciles. Silly beliefs such as some sky fairy creating the world 6,000 years ago, that he then wiped out all life bar Noah and his little boat of animal friends, that distributing condoms to Africans to prevent the spread of AIDS is immoral, and that when we die we all go either to a big retirement village in the sky, or will be tortured for all eternity. It's astounding that we've mapped the human genome and landed rovers on Mars, and yet our communities are still awash with churches, and increasingly with mosques and temples, their disciples still distributing messages of superstition, ignorance, hate and intolerance. But it's sheer madness that everyone, not just the religious, have to help fund these messages, that we have to help them advance their religion, even though we vehemently oppose it. It beggars belief that the religious are permitted to use the tax laws to favour their belief over all others.

It's another mark against the religious in that they find no shame in forcing atheists to support them, and that their very survival hinges on an injustice.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 30 May, 2013 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend
Blog

Comments:

  1. Comment by Anonymous, 30 May, 2013

    Hi John. Very well written. It's a pity I didn't alert you to this previously. I have known about Sanitarium and have refused to buy their products for many years now. Great that we have journalists of Rebecca's calibre to ferret out the truth and expose it all. Not that it will make the shattering change it should. I was aware it was on but failed to watch it. Pity! Never mind, you have taken up the cudgels to expose it more.

  2. Comment by H, 31 May, 2013

    Up here in the big smoke we have known about Sanitarium being 7th Day Adventist, there have been industrial disputes over employment, they only employ "their own".

  3. Comment by Jeff, 31 May, 2013

    As a big supporter of your intelligent analysis I'm very surprised that you didn't know that Sanitarium and god botherers were joined at the hip... this was no secret and I think most people were aware... now as for tax evasion!!... come on you are dealing with people who believe in fairy tales and the superiority of their 'mission'.

  4. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 31 May, 2013

    Thanks folks for pointing out that some of you did know that Jesus had moved from carpentry to the breakfast cereal business. I guess that Christian evangelist that I annoyed recently was right, I don't know everything. Who would have thought that they might get something right for once?

    My aunt and uncle, staunch Catholics, lived right across the road from Sanitarium in Christchurch for decades, often talked about it, always took visitors through the company's impressive gardens, and yet never once mentioned the Seventh Day Adventist Church connection. I wonder if they knew?

    Of course Jeff I don't expect churches to willingly give up their tax exemptions. As you say, they're on a mission, but we must remember that it is the state that allows these tax exemptions, and it is the state that can take them away. But before that will happen the public must be made aware of this injustice, be incensed by it, and then advocate that it be removed. It should not be the state's role to advance religion, and the taxpayer should not be unwittingly maintaining their local church, building new ones in the South Pacific and funding Jesus freaks to go door-to-door to brainwash gullible people. Perhaps far more people than we were aware of do know that every taxpayer subsidises churches to try and convert us, but the question then is, what are all these people doing to change it?

  5. Comment by Des, 02 Jun, 2013

    Excellent post. Your readers should check out Purple Economy NZ which exists to oppose the tax exemption for advancement of religion:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/354306091308443/

  6. Comment by Fred, 16 Jun, 2013

    Hi John, another superb breakdown of an important issue. I wrote a letter to the editor of the NZ Herald last month where I made the point that despite what religious people think, spreading their exclusive religious viewpoint is not a form of charity. By way of example, I pointed out that societies in Africa torn apart by sectarian violence are in dire need of the basics — food, clothing, medicine, not more of the dogma that divides them (I can't see any real world tangible benefit in teaching people that Jesus was born of a virgin).

    Anyway, the reply came a couple of days later from a Baptist correspondent who claimed my arguments were not based in reality. They went on to claim that we are spiritual beings (no evidence of reality) that religion helped give them hope (maybe but actual help would give real hope) and that the issue is helping these people become self sufficient (religion does this how??)

    They are right in one sense — self sufficiency must be the goal but then real education about how to have some measure of tangible control over their environment (farming, fresh water...) and health is what is really needed. As with every domain I can think of, religion is always an unnecessary extra, especially in vulnerable populations of the developing world. We need to keep the pressure on groups that claim to help and receive state benefits to do it, but are in fact only pushing their religion. Our mantra? "Demonstrate actual benefit or else drop the entitlement mentality".

  7. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 17 Jun, 2013

    Thanks Fred, and they're all excellent points you've made. I remember seeing a 'South Park' episode years ago where a starving, emaciated child in Africa told a Christian missionary that he desperately needed food, and she said she could help him with that. He looked pleased, until she returned and gave him a Bible.

    Prayer
    How to do nothing, and
    still think you're helping

    It was your Baptist correspondent whose arguments are not based in reality, how many calories does he think can be found in an invisible box of hope? Teaching people religion can only serve to keep them ignorant and create intolerance. Look at Islam. since it retreated into dogma, Muslims have made no contribution to knowledge and of late have only made the world a more dangerous place. As you say, it's terrible to think that society still believes that the promotion of religion is a form of charity.

Why can't I be Pope?
Recently Pope Benedict did something utterly surprising, he resigned as pontiff, evidently because he felt he was no longer capable of doing his job. This is the first time in some 600 years that a pope has let ill health and senility prevent them from lording it over their deluded flock, until dribbling and muttering incoherently under their silly hat death prises control from their bony fingers. These are troubling times for the Catholic Church. Having been exposed as the world's largest organised pedophile ring, this disgusting revelation of abuse and cover-ups has resulted in many Catholics deserting the Church, but far, far fewer than one would expect. It appears most Catholics are perfectly willing to overlook the sexual abuse of children if it gets them a reservation in their heavenly motel, something with a view. But of course to the Vatican even a single Catholic deserting the Church is one too many, to them it signals both a real reduction in income and another poor soul who might mistakenly think sex can be enjoyable or that the sexes are equal, which naturally condemns them to Hell. And now a pope suddenly deciding that he's had enough, that someone else can turn the business around, only adds to the Vatican's many problems.

So now the search is on for a new old man, one that can reverse membership flow, one able to put a new spin on sex abuse and capable of restoring the Vatican's rightful place as an authority on world affairs. It's a good thing that Catholics believe in miracles, otherwise the task would seem impossible.

Advert To this end we were sent a copy of an advert, placed by an outside recruitment firm on behalf of the Vatican, advertising the position of Pontiff and describing the attributes required. Click to view a larger image.

While it's not a real advert, it could well be used as such. It's amazingly accurate, EVERYTHING it mentions will no doubt be part of the criteria that the Vatican uses in vetting it's new old men short list.

Which got me thinking, why couldn't I be the next pope? I know what you're thinking, I'm not a Catholic cardinal or bishop, hell, I'm not even a Catholic. Worse still, I'm an atheist, I don't even believe in gods. But since when has believing that some vindictive god is watching your every move been a prerequisite to being pope, or even a cardinal, bishop or priest? Lest you think that these men do indeed believe in their God, it's part of their job description, let me explain my reasoning.

We're all familiar with the terrifying threat of going to Hell when we die, and of being subsequently tortured for an eternity. And while sitting through a Catholic sermon can be mentally harmful and it certainly seems like an eternity, I'm told that Hell's eternity is even longer, and its torture infinitely more harmful. Demons employed by God will torture us forever as punishment for serious and not so serious sins we committed while alive. Compared to Hell, the likes of Hitler's death camps would look like resort spas that people clamoured to gain access to. When Hitler's minions tortured you and you died, your suffering at least ended, but with Hell God has designed it so that no matter how horrific the torture, there is no release on death, since you're already dead. Monster that he is, God has ensured that there is no escape from the terrifying future he has planned for you. And if you think that unremitting pain might eventually cause you to go insane, allowing you to somehow ignore the pain, then God will simply cure your insanity, allowing you to relive the horror from the very beginning, again and again. And please don't argue that a loving God would never do that, since surely a loving God would never create a place of eternal torture in the first place.

If you honestly believed that God's Hell actually existed, and Catholics, and the clergy even more so, are a Christian denomination that focus on the reality and the horror of Hell more than some, would you deliberately commit the sins that would send you there? And the Catholic clergy with hand on heart, from pope down to priests, all tell us that they honestly believe that their God's Hell is real, and isn't just a story to scare children.

Putting aside feelings of loathing and revulsion for a moment, imagine that you're Catholic priest, and that your indoctrination has been successful, that you believe utterly and sincerely in the Catholic faith. God is real, Hell is real, and a future in Hell is certain for those that sin. So would you rape a child if you KNEW God was watching, and you KNEW you would suffer horribly for all eternity for a few minutes of pleasure? In the secular world people commit crimes on the belief and hope that they will get away with them, that they will avoid detection, that the authorities will be oblivious of their involvement. But a devout Catholic priest KNOWS without doubt that the ultimate authority is aware of his crime, God watched him commit it, God watched him cover it up, and God will certainly condemn him for it. And yet complete with this certainty, untold numbers of the Catholic clergy commit heinous crimes and still others assist them in covering them up. This conspiracy to hide their crimes from the public and the authorities highlights that they realise that their actions must be hidden, and potentially can be hidden. They understand only too well the need for secrecy. This also clearly implies that they believe that if they can hide their crimes from the public then they are in the clear, they need have no fear of punishment. Obviously they give no thought to the childish notion that God might have caught them in the act, or that he will inflict a punishment upon them of infinite magnitude. They rightly fear secular authorities, but clearly no other authority gives them pause for concern. Their actions appear to say, Why fear that which doesn't exist?

I don't believe that any of these abusive popes, cardinals, bishops and priests, or those that conceal the abuse, truly believe in God. That's God with a capital G. I'm not talking of some remote, unknown deist god that created the universe, perhaps accidentally as an after-school science experiment, and then disappeared to pursue other projects. I'm referring to the personal, hands-on God that has set out exactly how he wants his creations to behave, and what he'll do to them if they transgress his commandments. His user manual is commonly called the Bible. Combined with innumerable Catholic commentaries on it written over the centuries, the Bible leaves believers in no doubt what might displease their God, and how he might smite thee. And yet knowing all this, the abusive priests et al. continue with their crimes, crimes in both the eyes of their God and the secular authorities, apparently as fearful of their God's wrath as I am fearful of short changing the Tooth Fairy.

I am thus of the conclusion, regardless of the sincere piety they profess in public, that these popes, bishops and priests no more believe in their God than I do. If they did, then they would be the saints they claim to be, understandably terrified with sinning, and they would be busy protecting the children from monsters, not their fellow priests from the police. They are at the very least hypocrites, and at worst, abusive, criminal hypocrites that deserve nothing but contempt and incarceration.

So with this realisation, that if the pope, bishops and priests don't actually believe in God, just like me, then why can't I be pope? If it's just a matter of acting, of reading from a script, of wearing silly outfits, of being paid handsomely to live in a fantasy world, then I could do that. I enjoy sci-fi movies and books, I love cartoons with wily coyotes and daffy lisping ducks, meaning that I can easily suspend my disbelief and immerse myself into fantasy worlds. I can lie convincingly when I'm given a crappy gift at Xmas or when someone asks if her bum looks big in a new outfit. When I'm at a religious event such as a funeral I can, with some difficulty, refrain from screaming out: 'Oh come on... You can't seriously believe that nonsense?'. Rather than start an argument and miss out on a second helping of cheesecake, I can likewise hold my tongue when people I meet socially claim that the moon landing was a hoax or insist that aliens built the pyramids. Some debates are just not worth having, such as when those holding silly beliefs are unlikely to be swayed or the disagreement might ruin the occasion for those attending. All this shows that if need be I'm perfectly capable of keeping my views to myself and telling you what you want to hear. I've often thought I'd make a good scam artist, if it wasn't for an annoying conscience that keeps intruding. There are a lot of stupid people out there with money they're more than willing to give away on silly, bogus schemes. Over the years, just as a joke, I've convinced some people of utterly ridiculous things, so if I had a devious bent I'm sure I could easily weave a fantasy and convince others that it was true. But being pope is legal and all aboveboard, even respected in some circles, so I'm sure my conscience could be convinced to keep quiet for the greater good.

Experience and qualification wise, I have a better than average knowledge of religion and science in the wider sense, certainly better than most Catholics on the street, and probably considerably greater than that of most bishops and priests, who tend to live very sheltered lives, forever reading only one book, and then only selected parts of it. I'm well travelled, I've been to the Vatican a couple of times, I speak a few words of several languages, including ancient Egyptian and Klingon. And just like the pope, after some flights I've also been tempted to kiss the ground after landing. I'm easy going and can count those who are Christians, Muslims and atheists as amongst my friends. I'm comfortable with the trappings of wealth, but still happy to order in a pizza, which should be easy in Rome. Granted that the Vatican hierarchy know far, far more than me about Catholicy things and all its silly rules and regulations, but they say one of the attributes of a good leader is the ability to delegate tasks to others. So as pope I could happily farm out the technical work to subordinates, listen to the counsel of my advisers, and simply exist as a very popular and beloved figurehead.

And I would be a real friend to children. Not in the disgusting way that many bishops and priests befriend children today, especially little boys, I would show my friendship by protecting the innocence of children, by exposing child sex abusers in the priesthood and handing them, and those that hide them, over to secular authorities with indecent haste. I'm much younger than those normally offered the job, meaning I could get about without the aid of a walking frame and this would give the (false) appearance that a benevolent God was looking after my health. I'm also heterosexual and have no sexual interest in children. Since there is nothing explicit in the Bible dictating that Catholic clergy should, or even could if they feel like it, sexually abuse children, I feel I could still be pope while strongly condemning it, just as they pretend to do now.

That said, I would, perhaps surprisingly, also maintain strict adherence to celibacy for priests and nuns and no women in the priesthood. I believe that both of these unnatural and unjust practices unintentionally helps keep many young men and women from joining the church and throwing their lives away. If men and women could have a normal sex life and women could find equality in the church then giving your life over to Christ would be far more enticing, whereas presently it's akin to going to prison, voluntarily. This general reluctance of young adults to join the church is to be encouraged, and I would faithfully support the Vatican commandments that maintain this state of affairs. Of course as pope, and with the confidence and authority of papal infallibility, I would remind my minions that celibacy doesn't apply to the pope. After all Peter, the first pope or bishop of Rome, wasn't celibate, nor were those that followed for the next thousand years, and God himself is infamous for raping and impregnating Mary, mother of Jesus. I would live by that excuse popular with those in authority: Do as I say, not as I do. Of course, contrary to the innumerable sexual acts committed in the church at present and in the past, my sex life as pope would be legal, moral, natural and voluntary on all parties.

The job advert says that the Vatican is looking for someone capable of leading the organisation back into the Dark Ages. I could do that. But I think that perhaps this requirement is a little misleading, since it implies that the basic dogma of the Catholic Church has actually advanced from the primitive superstition of the Dark Ages, and needs to return. The reality is that the Church is still firmly rooted in a book written long before the Dark Ages by ignorant desert nomads, and while the Vatican may utilise some modern tools, such as jets, TVs and pacemakers, the beliefs that drive the organisation haven't changed for millennia. The departing pope was head of what used to be called the Office of the Inquisition, which clearly shows that the Vatican believed that the barbaric and ignorant ideals of the Inquisition should still dictate the running of the Catholic Church. And let's remember that when I'm elected pope, the world will be advised, not by a tweet or cell phone call, but by white smoke from the Vatican. That clearly shows that whatever century they're hiding in, it's not this one. But speaking of modern tools, I'm not a fan of much of social media such as Twitter or Facebook so they'd be the first onto the Index of Forbidden Books and other Tools of the Devil. The world is in trouble when people care what the likes of Justin Bieber thinks. If indeed he even does. And while I'm not homophobic or a misogynist, in my public speeches I could be convinced to push this view if it served to keep the Church intolerant and anchored in the beliefs of the distant past, if this stance continued to alienate it from the public at large.

As pope I might understandably become the object of ridicule and animosity for intelligent, educated people, but knowing that I was helping speed up the demise of this so-called nest of vipers and source of dangerous and silly beliefs would make it a cross I would be willing to bear. Plus getting well paid, living in the lap of luxury with the adulation of millions, and jetting around the world meeting famous people has to be a bonus.

So I should receive the support of both Catholic and atheist alike in my push to be pope. For Catholics I would root out those guilty of child abuse while still staunchly defending their Catholic dogma, as well as maintaining celibacy in the clergy and the exclusion of women in the priesthood. For atheists my strong defence of Catholicism would see the welcome protection of children and paradoxically, this outspoken description of Catholicism would highlight its intolerance which would assist its demise. Of course Catholics might argue that while defending their dogma and protecting children is all good, using their beliefs against them to eventually destroy the church is not. My answer would be to trust me, and to trust in their God. Surely he wouldn't let me as pope do anything that might harm his church?

But then how do we explain the abusive priests you might ask, why didn't God stop them from harming the church? Let's not go there OK? Just elect me as the next Pope. The fact is that the world desperately needs a 21st century pope, one who was born after the Enlightenment, not before it, and I need the money. Voting papers are in the post. And while I'm embarrassed to use this ploy, I fear I must, since it's one of those rare occasions that it's actually relevant: Think of the children.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 24 Feb, 2013 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend
Blog

Comments:

  1. Comment by Phill, 01 Mar, 2013

    Hi John. Interesting blog this week. A wee bit heavy handed I thought, yes the pope has resigned, which I think has confirmed to everyone that this pope has been more of a thinker and a practical leader than the more celebrity type the last one was. He's accepted that in today's modern world the idea of leadership carrying on into dotage is neither wise nor good politics. The fact that the Queen of the Netherlands has also chosen to abdicate in favour of a younger successor maybe a new way of doing things, perhaps good Queen Liz should reconsider her vow to hang on till deaths door, but I digress. Yes the Catholic church has had to deal with the child abuse scandal but though it may have been bought kicking and screaming to account it has now faced it and is working with law enforcement. I cannot imagine any priest now being found guilty of child sexual abuse getting off scot free and being protected by mother church. And through its long history many crimes have been placed at its doors. In our own time, facism and the Catholic church walked hand in hand. But for its faults there have been exceptions, there have been church members and church leaders who have striven to do good not only for their own people and members but have including others. Should we consider the case of Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli who as Apostolic delegate to Turkey during World War 2 abused his position and powers to save thousands of Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution and murder (horror's some of those were children!!) And yes we are all aware of the rabid church officials who threatened Galileo with torture if he did not recant his science. Still this is the same church whose last two popes have come out in support of Evolutionary biology, but even more surprising whose teachers have been teaching evolutionary biology since way back. I direct your attention to Stephan Jay Gould who in (one of his books of essays I've forgotten which one) remembers attending a biology conference in Rome during the 1970's and was called over to a table of Jesuit Biology teachers to try and explain to them what was happening in America (it was at the time that in Kansas, I think, was attempting to introduce creationism into the public schools) these guys were absolutely dumbfounded that a modern nation like America could still have problems teaching basic science like evolutionary biology. In other words in an organisation as old and as large as the Catholic church there are going to be a few skeletons in the closet. So perhaps we should keep in mind there have been some good things done, priests who developed liberation theology and took their stance with ordinary people. Catholic church members who have cared for, looked after, educated and protected children such as Edward Joseph Flanagan who established his boys town in 1917 and strove not to just create a place to care for orphaned children but to develop the techniques to allow disadvantage youngsters to take their place in society. Today "Boys Town is a national leader in the care and treatment of children and families through its research-proven treatment for behavioural, emotional and physical problems. (Wikipedia)" Flanagan caused a bit of controversy in his time with criticisms of other institutions, both catholic and secular, which looked after children but no one from his own time or since his death has ever accused him of abusing the children in his care.

    Of course I have to remember that for all the good and bad the Church has done in the secular world, they still believe in the Sky Fairy and still have not dealt with or come to terms with the human sex drive. They still possess a questionable stance on homosexuality and for every priest who teaches liberation theology you have renegade conservative catholic's like Mel Gibson, I say no more. I am an atheist, I have never been a practising Christian, so I've never had an axe to grind with Christian institutions. I've come to accept that fact that belief in the sky fairy is a fact of life and over time I have come to the point that I would be willing to argue for the possibility of the God gene hypothesis. What I like about the Catholic Church is that it is willing to both change and adapt over time. The Church of Galileo's time is not the church today. It may be an immense wealthy institution with a lot of ideas that I do not agree with but it has been willing to listen, occasionally, to reason. In short — give me a sexually neurotic Catholic priest over an anti intellectual fundamentalist card carrying member of the KKK Baptist minister any day. I can at least talk to the priest.

| Homepage | Links | Book & TV List | Top of Page | Blog |
Support Science Not Superstition

www.sillybeliefs.comFacebook

Last Updated Feb 2014