Comment by Thomas, 28 May, 2006
Hi There. I had a run in with Ken Ring myself in our local Coromandel Chronical. I am writing a column on 'Green' issues there and wrote about climate change. Ken seems to be stuck with Augi Auer and cohorts in the climate change deniers corner. Anyhow, good on you. Your various articles, I am
sure will be good reading. May I quote your URL in my upcoming reply? It would save me doing the excellent research you have done. Thanks!
You can read my 'green blog' also on my website.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 28 May, 2006
Hi Thomas. Certainly you can quote our URL and from our article on Ken Ring. We're not in this for fame or fortune, merely to show that Ken Ring and his silly claims have no credibility. The more people that get to see Ken as the scam artist he is the better. While the debate over climate change is complicated and controversial, with reputable scientists on both sides, it's obvious that Ken Ring should not be considered one of these experts. You obviously have an interest in and knowledge of the climate change debate, and like us will be annoyed that Joe Citizen tends to listen only to media personalities like Ken Ring and Augie Auers. The media needs to realize that there are people in society who want to hear about real science from real scientists. They need to stop swapping science stories for entertainment ones. Climate change, genetic engineering etc, is ultimately far more important than what Paris Hilton's dog is up to or what Tom Cruise's baby's name means in Hebrew.
Comment by Thomas, 29 May, 2006
Excellent, I will publish your URL in our town chronicle together withsome words about Ken and his
antics. His latest association with the 'Climate Science' crowd is not bad... they use him and in doing so show their utter disregard to science and the rigor of scientific process. I think that this actually helps to debunk these people for what they are. Amateurs with Machiavellian attitude and manners.... just like big brother George Bush....
Enough said, thanks again!
PS: I am a physicist who 'ended up' in the software industry....
Comment by Mark, 30 May, 2006
Hi Just read your Ken Ring section. Many thanks for the fine work and research.
Comment by Rod, 19 Aug, 2006
Well done. I am a farmer, and a confirmed sceptic of any long term weather forecasting. I have seen these guys come and go. However, a surprising number of my farming mates follow Ken Ring, in spite of his being proved wrong every time I compare forecast with reality. This year has seen very severe winter weather in South Canterbury. Most notable was the snowfall around 12th June, which has been very expensive for many farmers. But they could have prepared if given six months warning, by reducing stock numbers or buying in feed. How did Ken Ring go with this one?
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 22 Aug, 2006
Hi Rod. It's good to hear that there is at least one sceptical farmer out there. Listening to Ken Ring you'd think that every farmer was a devotee of his.
Initially I thought that Ken Ring might actually believe his silly theory of long range weather forecasting, that he is simply self-deluded, and while this may still explain some of his beliefs, I have caught him out in too many deliberate lies to believe that he isn't aware that he is cheating people. He even claims in Internet forums that quotes of his that I mention in my article are outright fabrications on my part. Yet these quotes were from his website and are still there for all to see. He knows that he must continue to lie to maintain the facade that his forecasting by the moon actually works. Of course he will occasionally get it right since he also incorporates real Met Office maps and data into his predictions and combining this with mere chance means there will always be examples where gullible believers can highlight an apparent success.
However Ring must demonstrate that his prediction successes are better than chance and better than that offered by real meteorologists. He has failed miserably at this and coupled with his pathetic understanding of science, along with his embrace of pseudoscience and superstition, this marks him as a scam artist.
As regards long range weather forecasting in general, I personally believe if it's not impossible, it's at least extremely difficult and way beyond our present abilities. You may have read about something called chaos theory which describes weather systems as chaotic and inherently unpredictable. Even with massive supercomputers we still couldn't accurately predict the weather long term.
You mentioned the severe winter weather in South Canterbury around 12th June and asked how Ken Ring fared with this event? Well I did a little research, and like you I simply compared his forecasts with reality. The short answer is he failed once again, even though he has tried to reinterpret his predictions to make it appear as if he succeeded. And no doubt his devoted followers will believe him... [If you're interested in the slightly longer answer that quotes from his almanac, please contact us and we'll email it to you.]
So in conclusion, Ring's Predict Weather Almanac 2006 failed to predict the severe winter weather in South Canterbury around 12th June, and only by selective quotes, fraudulent reinterpretation and blatant lies can Ring hope to hide this fact from his followers. Like me, I guess you won't be surprised by this outcome.
Keep working on your farming mates. If they really want to throw their money away, at least convince them to put it into your bank account and not Ken Ring's.
Comment by Gillian, 26 Mar, 2007
Hi there, I was delighted to see your page on the complete and utter pin-head, Ken Ring. Were you aware that his main job is dressing up as a clown and a magician for primary schools? http://www.clown.co.nz/
Also, have you seen his lame e-zine? He highly recommends a documentary called "The Great Global Warming Swindle" [saying] "It is very good and well worth a look". This was done by a documentary maker called Durkin, who is actually in Wikipedia for all the times his work has been discredited. I sent Ken Ring this, before I realized he wasn't worth trying to reason with. (His response was this 'Yes, they have mounted an impressive campaign to discredit me. It must mean I have them rattled. Why, if they are so confident of climate change? Fact is they are not.') He has annoyed me so much, I have started emailing all the places he mentions he has had publicity to request that they do a follow-up interview/article checking the accuracy of his predictions. So far I have contacted 2UE, Channel 7, ABC, and also contacted Random House who distributes his self-published books. I have requested that the people who send out his e-zine to his mailing list investigate him for a scam as he is trying to profit by deceit and I can prove it. Just wanted to say thank you very much for the information.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 26 Mar, 2007
I also contacted Random House who publish his Weather Almanac, and they responded "I have forwarded your email to Ken Ring's editor; he will be in touch with you shortly." Neither his editor, or Ken Ring, have been in touch.
Comment by Doug, 18 Jul, 2007
Gidday, I'm writing an article for the student newspaper Critic, that examines the beliefs of climate change sceptics - including Ken Ring. You have done such a good job at your site that I intend to introduce Ring and then give the link to your site. Hope that is OK with you. Ring has confused CO2 levels rising (=increasing) with rising (=gaining altitude) and I had some odd emails with him on this point. I'd like to think no one can really be that dumb and it is all a joke but sadly I see he really believes it. I hadn't come across your site before I began searching for stuff about Ring. I like the style... I also enjoy railing against ignorance.
Comment by Devy, 21 Nov, 2007
John, on your page discussing this moon fellow, you write:
"[Ring:] The sun warms the ground and the warm ground warms the air next to it. The warm air gets lighter. Cold air is always trying to fall because it s heavier. So the cold air falling pushes up the warm air and this movement causes wind. Most wind flows parallel to the Earth's surface, not vertically as Mr Ring claims. Warm air expands, becomes lighter and rises. The cooler air rushes in from the sides to occupy the empty space vacated by the rising warm air and this flow is wind. Mr Ring got the first bit correct, but then he contradicts himself by claiming that falling cold air pushes the warm air up."
In a sense he's right. As I told you in a previous email I frequently fly planes, gliders to be more exact, and we gliderpilots want mostly one thing... thermals (rising columns of air...up and away) Anyway, back to that warm air rises issue. You write "The cooler air rushes in from the sides to occupy the empty space".
Oops. shouldn't have written that John. Don't let a scientist catch you on that. If you on any day can point to me (or show me) "empty space" in the atmosphere I'll buy you a free lunch. But it could be very dangerous. No wonder I sometimes feel dizzy in a glider. Must be hitting those empty spaces. :-)
In short, air, no matter what its temperature still has mass and therefore always sets firmly on the support underneath it! good old gravity at work here! In a sealed container, no matter how hot the air, the force exerted by the air will always be greater against the bottom of the container than against the top, the fluid pressure (equal in all directions) plus the weight of the contained air (on the bottom only).
People generally accept, without having thought about it, the naive pre-Newtonian principle of levity (antigravity). Those substances with levity naturally fall upward, away form the center of the universe, those with gravity fall downward, toward the center of the universe. Air is assumed to be nothing. Hot air rises because it IS heat, and heat has levity. The idea that heat rises results from abbreviating the naive identification of hot air as heat, with the misconception that warm air rises. Since heat is the kinetic energy (energy of movement, momentum) of the random (in any direction and changing) motion of molecules, and is transferred from molecule to molecule by direct interaction, heat is conducted equally well in every direction. The net movement of heat will always be from a place of higher temperature (higher concentration) to a place of lower temperature (lower concentration), regardless of direction. In a convection current, it is the matter with the higher temperature (and therefor lower density), that floats (is pushed) upward, carrying its heat with it.
In fact, for warm air to move upward it must be pushed, lifted, against its weight (gravitational attraction for Earth), by something else. To create a conceptual understanding of the cause and effect relationships involved in the process called convection requires understanding several component concepts. Generally text books and teachers "simplify" the explanation in not more than a paragraph, to save time and space. This is then reviewed in single sentence form, which is what the people memorize as the complete explanation. The highly abbreviated version leaves people with the impression that warm air somehow pulls itself away from Earth leaving a vacuum
...and the cooler air rushes in to replace the vacuum... nope.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 22 Nov, 2007
Yes Devy, oops indeed. Definitely shouldn't have said 'empty space' implying a vacuum. I should have said 'the denser cooler air rushes in from the side to occupy the less dense space created by the rising warm air and this flow is wind'.
You're right that warm air is pushed up. I can't say I was familiar with the principle of levity.
My gripe was Ring's impression that 'falling air pushes up' — 'So the cold air falling pushes up the warm air and this movement causes wind'. I don't believe it is cold air falling that pushes up the warm air. The warm air rises because of buoyancy. The pressure pushing down on the warm air "bubble" is less than the pressure pushing up, so the "bubble" of warm air is pushed up and rises the same way a balloon does. This reduces air density at the 'bottom', where the "bubble" was, so cooler more dense air flows in from the side to equalise the air density again. It is this convection current that is felt as wind. In the same way that a balloon isn't pushed up by falling cold air, neither is warm air, but when warm air is pushed up (by buoyancy) it will cause cooler air to fall and thus set up convection currents.
Like me and my mention of empty space, perhaps Ring just didn't express himself all that well so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and change that section.
Thanks again for your comments. We criticise charlatans like Ken Ring for distorting science for their own ends so we don't want to commit the same sins.
Comment by Devy, 23 Nov, 2007
John, "the denser cooler air rushes in from the side to occupy the less dense space created by the rising warm air and this flow is wind"
Not exactly either. The whole "less dense air" is pushed up. The denser cooler air is not occupying the less dense space. If that was the case then warmer air wouldn't rise. For less dense air to become more dense you need to cool it down and as the less dense air is rising it cools down, at a rate if the air is dry, with temperature change of 1°C/100 meters and this is called the dry adiabatic rate (DAR). If the air is saturated, the rate of temperature change is .6°C/100 meters and is called the saturated adiabatic rate (SAR). Anyway, If you like to know more, just google it.
"We criticise charlatans like Ken Ring for distorting science for their own ends so we don't want to commit the same sins." Yep, keep on doing the good work. Excellent article by the way. Have to hold on to my chair of not falling off laughing when I read the statements made by this Ken R.
Comment by John F, 24 Nov, 2007
Fyi... One of Mr Ring's claims is that there is less cloud on nights with a full moon. He mentions that this is an easily observable fact. To test this theory, I have studiously recorded the amount of cloud present at or close to midnight every night since August 2002. As one would expect,
there is no correlation with phases of the moon at all. The simple truth of the matter is that it is much easier to observe the amount of cloud present on nights when the moon is present, particularly more than 1Q full. Thus a dark night is easily confused with a cloudy night.
Btw: The moon was 99% full last night, and it was 8/8 cloud cover at midnight, with the best rain in some time falling in the last 12 hrs (61mm).
Comment by W, 26 Apr, 2009
For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who disbelieve, no proof is possible.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 27 Apr, 2009
Regarding that statement, I'm not sure where you stand on the Ken Ring topic, since it appears to belittle those on both sides of the debate, painting both as unreasonable views. While there are no doubt some who take these irrational stances, it's not usually this black and white. Many people believe in false things based on what they mistakenly believe is proof, and many who disbelieve would happily change their minds if convincing proof was provided. Your statement paints an unfair picture of many of those involved in the debate.
Comment by Russell, 31 May, 2009
Hi John. Interesting reading, looking forward to your critique of the NZ MetService! As a resident in Timaru I note that MetService failed to predict the 2006 snow storm also.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 31 May, 2009
If the truth be known Russell, I don't have a lot of confidence in the NZ MetService either. However I do respect the methods that modern meteorology uses, it's just that they don't have the accuracy that the brief nightly TV weather forecasts imply. Chaos theory suggests that long range weather forecasting is nigh on impossible and the nightly TV forecasts are too simplistic to be much more than entertainment. How can forecasters say it will be raining in Southland and fine in Otago? How does the weather "know" where the boundary between Southland and Otago is? Why do the likes of fishermen, sailors etc pay for detailed weather forecasts if the nightly TV forecasts are just as accurate, and free? Add to this NZ's narrow shape and location makes it extremely difficult to make accurate predictions. However the likes of NZ MetService do the best they can and technology is increasing their accuracy. People need to look at weather predictions as educated guesses and act accordingly, rather than believing they are gospel. To this end I think the likes of the TV networks are placing far too much emphasis on their weather forecast segments, elevating them to near certainty rather than educated guess. TV1 starts their nightly news with the weather forecast, breaks the middle of the news hour with another weather update, and then finishes with an extended, showy weather forecast. While the time spent on the weather segment is increasing the time spent on any particular region is still mere seconds. I think people need to get over their fascination with weather guessing. What will be, will be. Anyone that needs accurate weather forecasting would be better advised to look out the window, buy a barometer, and obtain detained forecasts for their local area from the likes of NZ MetService.
Comment by Russell, 12 Jun, 2009
Hi John, sorry for my late reply as it has been a busy week. Thanks for your comment re Ken Ring and the NZ Met Service. However, I couldn't help but smile at your "Freudian slip" which I have taken the liberty of highlighting for you below!! ;)
"People need to look at weather predictions as educated guesses and act accordingly, rather than believing they are gospel."
A mistake revealing an unconscious belief??
Cheers, have a good weekend
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 13 Jun, 2009
Hi Russ. A "Freudian slip"? You had me worried for a minute, but no, I don't have any confidence in Freud's methods either. I used the word ‘gospel' not in the religious sense but meaning, according to my dictionary: 'Something, such as an idea or a principle, accepted as unquestionably true: The teacher said it, and that made it gospel.'
But you're right, being interested in religion I do often sprinkle my speech with religious terms and this does throw a few people, some seriously believing I am a closet believer.
Comment by Dave-1, 08 Jul, 2009
Hi John. I don't know if I believe in any system to be honest, but I do not think that it is completely fair to say Ken is a fraud, as a lot of his predictions do come true. It is easy to point out after the fact that Ken got it wrong and he was a few days out, we got more than he was predicting etc but remember this is written 6 months to a year earlier. Anyone who takes this as what's going to happen and not as a guideline should have their heads read.
We tend to look at the Met Service and say "oh they got it wrong again" and leave it at that, not go bashing their name and service by, it's a scam and it's a fraud. The Met Service gets it wrong as much, if not more than Ken. I guess it's also easier to lay blame somewhere after things go wrong. Let's face it, comments on the heavy snow falls and if it was predicted 6 months out could have saved a lot of money etc are pointless as no one is going to get that right!!! The people who should have been onto it faster is the Met Service. Day to day tracking of weather? Shouldn't they be able to tell us? Shouldn't they be the ones who get it right all the time?
After saying this do not get the idea that I believe Ken's method is, to Quote "the gospel" in weather prediction but I believe as a general tool for an outlook on the weather it can be used as a good base for climate conditions coming up. As for predicting floods, heavy snow etc, I think not. I also do not think that it's a service that should be charged for. $150 for a years online weather is not for me. Shouldn't the weather predictions be free for all? What if it was all user pays? Half the country would know if a cyclone is coming and be safe, the other half? Oh well they never payed!! Come on Ken, shouldn't this be a side line, not a business?
As a green-keeper, naturally the weather plays a huge part to my course, my weeks work plan and also my year plan. I will be using a combination of Ken's outlook for a wet August 2009 to base my work plan, then using the Met Service to tell me how much rain will come at any given day (I hope they get it right LOL). This way I hope to get a better picture of what could be in store for me. Freak heavy downpours, weather bombs etc, I won't hold anyone accountable for these as they just can not be predicted effectively.
Then after all the speculation on what's going to happen from both their forecasts, I will use the one and only proven method and stick my head outside the window in the morning, look up and see for myself how it looks.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 09 Jul, 2009
Hi Dave, thanks for your comments. Regarding Ring's predictions, you say that, "it is easy to point out after the fact that Ken got it wrong", but unfortunately this is the only way that we can measure the accuracy of predictions, no matter who makes them. Yes, some of his predictions will have been correct, but the question is, are his successes greater than what we would expect by chance alone. His empty claims aside, Ring makes no attempt to prove that they are. His predictions are on public record, and combined with our weather records they could easily prove his method. If proven he could oust the Met Service and be NZ's sole weather predictor, making a fortune compared to his books, saving the country a fortune in weather related damage, and, best of all, saving lives. But he chooses not to.
You believe that some of Ring's predictions are not as accurate as they could be simply because they are written 6 months to a year earlier. Many people use this argument in Ring's defence, but Ring himself would disagree with you. Ring insists that his predictions could have been written "twenty or 200" years before the event and that writing them closer to the time wouldn't alter them. Indeed, this is the very basis of his claim: accurate, reliable long-range forecasts. Ring's argument is that his system is based on predicable cycles, hence it doesn't matter when you do the calculations. Also his long-range forecasts would be worthless if they weren't written long-range.
We don't bash the Met Service because they don't claim the accuracy or infallibility of Ring, nor do they use the likes of astrology to predict the weather. The weather is extremely difficult to predict in NZ, mainly due to our geography. Accurate long-range forecasts are nigh on impossible. Many people confuse climate with weather. Saying that Central Otago is likely to receive snow in July and sunny days in January is describing the climate of Central Otago. Saying that it will snow on July 10th in Queenstown and rain on January 20th is describing the weather, what will actually happen on a particular day. The Met Service can describe the climate but they can't describe the weather until very close to the time, and often not even then. The weather forecasts we see on the nightly news are usually too simplistic to be of much use, hence the reason the likes of fishermen pay for detailed forecasts from the Met Service. Technology is improving their forecasts, but I think people are fooling themselves if they believe the Met Service will get it right all the time. They are only educated guesses. Personally I believe the media, especially the nightly TV weather, bombard us with a distorted view of what the Met Service really think will happen. Fancy graphics and simplistic forecasts make the weather more like the Lotto draw than a detailed report from a meteorologist. Breaking a complex forecast down to punchy soundbites appears to deliver a certainty that the Met Service are no doubt not entirely happy with.
If Ring does offer valuable advice, it would be that in consulting and using Met Service weather records from past years he is describing what the climate — not the weather — is likely to be for a given month in a given place. However his public claim that he can reliably predict weather for very specific events: weddings, harvesting crops, concerts etc., is something that even you acknowledge can not be predicted. It is this claim that we challenge Ring over, and his claim that we should be using astrology to obtain this knowledge. Understanding climate is certainly valuable, for example farmers need to know when they are likely to get regular rain for crops, or warm weather for shearing sheep. In centuries past people lived intimately with nature and were very familiar with the seasons, but today this knowledge has been lost for many of us, and thus many turn to the likes of Ring to be told what sort of weather we can expect in June. This he can't do, but he can give you an idea of what the climate will be, but then so can the Met Service or anyone that studies the climate. I think people confuse Ring's ability to describe the climate with his claim to be able to describe the weather.
Unlike you Dave, weather has no real impact on my life, apart from psychological, but I agree that the most reliable method is simply to look out the window. As a farmer, my father swears by barometers, since they measure local conditions, and combined with Met Service data and knowledge of your local climate, this is the best we can hope to achieve at the moment.
Comment by Chris, 02 Aug, 2009
Gidday John — I just ran into your good site when searching for other stuff. I get the impression Ken Ring's star has faded somewhat since 2005/06 when he peaked in the media, owing to abysmal performance and efforts such as yours. I'm in Gisborne and did my bit in the local scene in early 2006, in the much-publicised lead-up to his prediction of a cyclone to rival Bola in mid-March of that year. My 'Letter to the Editor' published in the Gisborne Herald of 4 March 2006 tells much of the story.
Ken Ring is a colourful character. He reminds me of the story, possibly apocryphal, of the enterprising chap some 40 years ago who offered a course of pills to couples who wanted to choose the sex of their baby-to-be — blue pills for a boy, pink for girls. The pills were rather expensive, but they came with a money-back guarantee. And many customers were satisfied! But you, Sir, wouldn't have been sucked in by that scam to the extent of promoting it in order to serve the public's interests and needs, would you?
Why then all this "reportage" in your paper giving credence to a Ring-predicted cyclone in March then?
Let's try some basic checking of his predictions against results, bearing in mind that many may be "correct" by random chance. Ring doesn't just predict cyclones, he claims to predict the complete weather systems all round NZ, every day, and their results in the form of wind, sunshine and specifically rain in dozens of towns, Gisborne included.
He predicted westerly wind systems and no rain for Gisborne for each day from late January to 13 February. Then, to quote him from late January as reported in your article of February 2, "It would rain almost every day from February 14 to 27 before clearing," he said. "If it pans out roughly like that then we are on track for that later event in March." And that March event of course is of course a cyclone to rival Bola.
And the reality? In contrast to what we like to think of as typical Gisborne summer weather, late January to February 13 was notable for the frequent rain from persistent easterly winds with uncomfortably high humidity and much low cloud. But the resulting lush greenness of the hills is now drying off rapidly, as from February 14-27 we've had consistent westerly wind systems, much sunshine and zero rain recorded officially (though I noticed a few spots on at least two occasions).
So the weather systems are not on the track predicted by Ring. His predictions over this period are far worse than random.
You will be seeking his acknowledgement of this and a retraction of the cyclone prediction? Of course not. Half the parents with babies of the wrong sex wouldn't claim their refund either, they'd be too embarrassed. And March is the most likely month for an ex-tropical cyclone to visit, this year as much or more likely than ever.
And the rest of the story was of course that the weather around the time of the predicted cyclone was very ordinary mainly fine, and Ken Ring maintained a low profile for a while. From his web-site it looks like he's now gone international with a focus on Australia, no doubt because there are at least 5 times as many gullible people in Australia as NZ and beyond that the sky's the limit.
Although you indicate the underlying method to his predictions is astrological, I think you may not have picked up on what is really the technical basis of his MO — he recycles the Met Service's actual synoptic weather maps from either 19 years before, or 18 years 10 days before, and so "predicts" the same weather to recur as happened last time. 19 years is the metonic cycle, when the sun and moon repeat in exactly the same positions in relation to earth's orientation, there being near exactly 235 lunar months in 19 solar years; and the pseudo-science principle is that the atmosphere is driven by the "tidal" effects primarily of the moon and secondarily of the sun's gravitation. I gather he used to publish the two weather maps [for both those earlier cycles] as a prediction for each day, but this proved "confusing" to too many people, and he took to making the choice of one, I think settling on the 18yrs 10 day difference as in 2006, as it's a bit more subtle than simply predicting Cyclone Bola to recur on the 19th anniversary dates. The amazing thing is that in some cases he forgot to erase the names of the earlier ex-tropical cyclones that Met Service used to put on their maps when publishing them as predictions for the next year!
He popped up on the Stuff web-site last month the day after the interesting magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Fiordland, suggesting we should expect further big earthquakes around the globe in the following week, because it was no coincidence that the Fiordland earthquake occurred a mere 30 minutes before the "change of phase" of the moon at last quarter, because most big earthquakes occur "around new moons and full moons, and a week either side". I won't be upset if the less astronomically inclined take as much as two seconds to realise the full depth of entertainment to be had from this, albeit mixed with concerns for the future of society that such transparent charlatans get traction.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 03 Aug, 2009
Hi Chris, thanks for your interesting comments, and it's always good to hear that others are exposing Ring's failures. You're right, I haven't noticed any media exposure of Ken Ring for some time now, although I still keep tripping over his Weather Almanac in some bookstores, annoyingly, more often than not, in their Popular Science section. I usually move it to the Astrology section. :-) And yes, I had heard the story of that scam to pick the sex of babies. I believe I heard Prof. Robert Winston mention it on one of his TV documentaries.
You're right of course that Ring does base a lot of his work on old Met Service weather charts, 'stealing' their work and putting his name to it. He uses both elements of pure nonsense and true science to weave his scam. Astrology and ancient divination techniques combined with utilising the metonic cycle and old Met Service maps. The trouble is that Ring himself doesn't know where the science ends and the nonsense begins, and neither do his clients.
I missed Ring's prediction of further big earthquakes around the globe in the week following our big one, but since over two weeks have now passed and none recorded bar the expected aftershocks, once again Ring is proved wrong. I had to giggle when you mentioned that Ring claimed that most big earthquakes occur "around new moons and full moons, and a week either side". For readers that haven't thought much about the phases of the moon, they repeat each month, with one main phase each week — new moon, 1st quarter, full moon, 3rd quarter and back to new moon. So essentially what Ring is saying is that if an earthquake occurs, it will likely occur in either the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th week of any month. Or to put it another way, he has selected every single week of the year as a potential week for an earthquake. No matter when an earthquake occurs, he can claim to have predicted it. He can't lose. It's like predicting a coin toss will be either heads or tails. It's hardly a prediction. But it does demonstrate how Ring manipulates the public's ignorance of science to make what appears on the surface to be real predictions.
Comment by Arrianna, 06 Aug, 2009
Actually... I was looking for a "fine weather" weekend for the month of August 2008 for our wedding. I contacted Ken Ring (as a skeptic) ONE YEAR IN ADVANCE and he sent a report for Waikato, August, 2008. To my great surprise, it was pinpoint accurate. Every weekend was wet, except for the one that was predicted to be more settled which is the one that I went ahead and booked for our wedding day. We were married August 9th 2009. Friday was predicted as scattered showers. Saturday was a light drizzle in the morning, clearing in the afternoon but overcast, and Sunday was predicted for blue skies - and that's exactly how it happened. So could you explain that please? I don't think it's all as silly as you all think. I still have the prediction, on dated email.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 08 Aug, 2009
Arrianna, you ask if we can explain how Ring's prediction matched the weather on the day? Yes of course we can. It's called luck. Just as when someone calls 'heads' on a coin toss and 'heads' is the actual result. They aren't all-knowing, they don't have special powers, it's just dumb luck. However, to continue the coin analogy, if someone could consistently predict the toss, then you could conclude that they did have a reliable method of prediction. Likewise if Ring could consistently predict the correct weather for every day of the year, not just fluke it for your wedding, then the real world might take him seriously. Every government on the planet could subscribe to Ring's Weather Ezine and close down their meteorological offices, convert all the weather satellites to communication satellites and channel the enormous savings to reducing poverty and disease. I assume, in addition to your comment to us, you're also lobbying our government to scrap the tax funded Met Service, NIWA etc. and to adopt the much cheaper and more reliable Ken Ring method?
Unfortunately Ring can't reliably predict the weather, anymore than we can predict coin tosses, although on pure chance alone we'll all get it right now and again. And we must remember that Ring isn't working on chance alone, he is copying what the Met Office has said might happen at these times and places in years gone by. It's like you predicting that we're more likely to get hot weather in February than in July. Through experience and an educated guess, the odds are that you will be correct, but you won't be able to guarantee which days in February will be hot and which wet. Neither can Ring. Your comment suggests that Ring was confident that your wedding day would be dry, but if this is the case, then why does he always stick the following at the bottom of his predictions:
"Disclaimer... Allow an error of up to 2 days for all forecasts."
He wasn't as confident as you were. Would you still have trumpeted Ring as being successful if you had experienced heavy rain on your wedding day, but it was fine one or two days beforehand? Ring would still class that as a successful prediction. Would you have, standing there under your umbrella? In fact, 5 months after providing your forecast this is what Ring predicted for your area:
Notice he didn't mention that people didn't have to worry about the weekend of your wedding.
"All up a wetter than average year, with most rain coming in the second half of 2008. Wettest months August, March, and May... Winter may be relatively dry, but August is the danger month for heavy rain."
Ring makes thousands of predictions every year — thousands of coin tosses — and you're saying that because he got one right, then his method can't be all that silly. As we've said, chance alone says he must get some of his predictions right, many more than just one in fact, and yet you only provide one example. You have written to us defending Ring because he got it right for your important day. But why haven't you given us other examples from your life? Due to your apparent wedding conversion to the Ring camp, surely for the last year you have been consistently referring to his predictions, and should be able to give me week after week of correct outcomes? Or is this the only example you have? And why aren't other people writing to us in droves to say that he got their prediction right as well? Do they come to realise that each successful forecast is swamped by hundreds of incorrect ones?
I'm also a little dubious that you really were a skeptic when you contacted Ring. Skeptics as a rule do not give money to those they are skeptical of. While you could of course have used the occasion of your wedding to test Ring's forecast, an informed skeptic would know that one apparent success in isolation in no way validates his method.
You said you used Ring's forecast to pick your wedding day, again not something a skeptic would do, and yet you say that it was to your 'great surprise' that he was accurate. Why would you employ the services of someone you expected would most likely fail? Did you also pick a photographer for your wedding, who to your 'great surprise', actually produced some lovely photographs?
Like me, you'll no doubt say you haven't got the time or inclination to cross reference all of Ring's predictions with the weather that actually occurs well down the track. But Ring has got — or at least should have — all this data that 'proves' his forecasts are reliable. Why is he not interested in proving all his many critics wrong and earning some respectability in the weather forecasting arena? Why does he rely on the likes of you to challenge us?
Comment by Martin, 31 Aug, 2009
Hi, I use Mr Rings long range weather predictions from time to time and find them not always accurate to the day but generally a good FORECAST as the name implies.
I have also found that his long range predictions are as accurate as the forecasts of SCIENTIFIC meteorologists just a few days out.
If scientific study is the only way (in your eyes) then let the world see your predictions and see if they are more accurate. I noticed that you and yours didn't forecast any of the disasters you mention so if you don't have a better method then don't knock what is available.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 01 Sep, 2009
Hi Martin. Supporting Ring's predictions you nevertheless say that you 'find them not always accurate to the day' and 'just a few days out'. Having a weather prediction that is a few days out is like having a Lotto ticket that's just one digit off the winning ticket. While it might be close it's absolutely worthless. Farmers that want to shear sheep or cut hay, fishermen that want to go off shore for the weekend, climbers that want to go into the mountains for a day climb and a couple that is planing an outdoor wedding want to know what the weather will be on a specific date, and they're not impressed if the good weather eventually turns up a few days later. Anyone that doesn't care what the weather is doing to within a few days is not involved in a weather dependent event.
Challenging me to do better is just silly. I've never claimed to be a meteorologist. As an analogy, a patient can recognise an incompetent surgeon because he keeps botching his operations, but it's just childish to say that we should let him continue his work because that patient can't perform operations any better.
Furthermore, as I've mentioned in another comment, as regards long range weather forecasting in general, I personally believe if it's not impossible, it's at least extremely difficult and way beyond our present abilities. Chaos theory describes weather systems as chaotic and inherently unpredictable. Even with massive supercomputers we still couldn't accurately predict the weather long term. Whenever Ring does match 'the forecasts of SCIENTIFIC meteorologists', it will either be because he is simply 'stealing' their previously published weather data, and so the success is theirs not his, or he has made a lucky guess.
The fact is that scientific short term weather forecasts, thanks to the likes of weather satellites, are improving and are the method of choice of every modern country on the planet. While science can't yet predict extreme weather or earthquakes, tsunamis etc., I am not about to throw up my hands and put my faith in someone who believes in astrology and palmistry for cats.
Comment by Martin, 02 Sep, 2009
Hello John, I think maybe we aren't on the same wavelength. I would not recommend Mr Rings day to day or even week to week weather predictions (I don't even trust meteorologists to do that) but place some credence in his (whether it is his data or someone else's doesn't bother me to much) long range forecasts. When we are talking 6 months to a year out, a day here or there doesn't matter one bit but can give a reasonable weather pattern to start from if you are planning a week long operation. Something meteorologists cannot do, unless they, just a smidgeon, think along the same lines as Mr Ring.
I have some examples of forecasts which were useful ahead of time and in hindsight I maybe should have heeded, but things are always easier looking back aren't they.
As an aside I found very interesting the discussion on the hot air, cold air, wind thing and how people can have different views on the same outcome on such a simple subject.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 02 Sep, 2009
Yes Martin, I see where you're coming from, and in a sense I agree. However when do we stop talking about weather and start talking about climate? Weather is what happens on a specific day at a specific place, whereas climate is the conditions that characteristically prevail in a particular region. I mean, by consulting Ring's Almanac one could determine that the best time to go skiing in Central Otago is around August, or whatever. However I don't see this as long range weather forecasting, I see this as understanding the NZ climate. No doubt Ken Ring does have a better understanding of what weather is most likely at specific times and places, but this is just making educated guesses based on past climate patterns, usually provided by the likes of the Met Office. However most people that support Ring believe he is capable of predicting the weather long range, to a specific day, for a specific event. I agree that Ring's Almanac might tell you during which months heavy rains or snow or drought is most likely and where, but this is not weather forecasting. This is merely describing the climate for a specific region and the Met Office can do it just as well as Ring, but they tend not to as they are more concerned with short term forecasts of weather. I know my father, as a farmer and man of the land, didn't need the likes of Ring's advice to plan his yearly activities. Perhaps other Kiwis are losing touch with nature and it's cycles and thus need the likes of Ring to tell them what the weather might be like in the middle of winter. But that word 'might' is the important one. Ring is just guessing.
And yes you're right about the hot air, cold air, wind discussion, I guess we all think that we understand how a lot of apparently simple things work, and yet maybe we don't. It's not until we're challenged that we have to do a bit more research and maybe discover that the simplistic explanations we got at school are not the full story.
Comment by Trevor, 04 Sep, 2009
Thanks for the excellent essay on Ken Ring. I've always thought it was bunkum from observing the results of his prediction in NZ Herald & on TVNZ. I have never yet seen either of those media sources review one of Mr Ring's predictions.
Ken Ring will continue his business and people will listen to his mad predictions. The majority of people in this world will believe anything i.e. they don't think for themselves.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 04 Sep, 2009
Thanks for your comments Trevor. The media unfortunately will go with any crap that pulls in the public. Their greed overrides their integrity. And you're right, most people don't bother thinking for themselves, and people like Ring don't want that to change.
Comment by Johnny, 07 Sep, 2009
Hi John, just a note on Ken Ring, last April ken Ring predicted, to the day, the spell of good weather we got in Ireland this June. He was then invited onto a program on one of our national Radio stations to predict what everyone believed was to be a great summer for the British Isles. He predicted that July and August would be a washout and that the only prolonged period of good weather in Ireland would be between the 7th and the 23rd of September. June was the wettest
month in Ireland since 1942 and August was almost as bad. Today is the 7th and the forecast from our national weather station is for a prolonged period of good weather starting tomorrow the 8th of Sept... not bad for a silly scam eh... ??????
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 08 Sep, 2009
Hi Johnny, there is no denying that Ken Ring has had apparent successes. After all, the more predictions he makes, the more chances that he will get some right. But like a winning lottery ticket, everyone concentrates on that one ticket and immediately forgets about the millions that were losers. People often support Ring after hearing one of his predictions that appeared to come true, but they usually have no knowledge of the many other predictions he made that were failures. He also has the advantage of making authoritative sounding predictions months before the event, most of which are forgotten by the time the date arrives. All people remember is Ring making predictions, and often just assume he was probably right, since he then shows up again the following year. Surely they wouldn't have people on TV that are talking crap? But this is on the same shows that also feature psychics and fortune-tellers. These shows deal in nonsense, and their viewers love it.
What I wonder about is why a few members of the general public can immediately grasp how accurate Ring's forecasts are, and yet the world's experts can't see how good he is. Is it an evil conspiracy by people making money from issuing bogus weather reports and launching useless weather satellites?
Ring is like someone who guesses the winning lottery numbers and suddenly believes they have a method for winning. The test is whether they can predict the correct numbers every week. Likewise Ring needs to demonstrate that he can reliably predict the weather. This he has failed to do. Like all nutters with weird theories of how the world works, he concentrates on the general public who don't understand the science and won't do the necessary research to test his claims. Apart from denigrating them, he steers well clear of experts such as meteorologists and scientists who challenge his claims and dispute the validity of his method. Anybody who truly had a method that would overturn conventional thinking would be gathering data and debating with scientists. This is what Nobel Prizes are awarded for. Instead Ring chooses to target the person on the street who often, like Ring himself, doesn't know the difference between gravitational and tidal forces or astrology and astronomy.
The world spends billions each year trying to predict the weather and improving its techniques, one reason being to save lives, and yet Ring doesn't seem interested in getting his superior method used and saving lives. Perhaps one could answer that Ring doesn't care about others, he's only interested in making money, not saving lives, and that's why he peddles his method door to door so to speak. Yet proving his method and licensing it to just one country would make him untold riches overnight. So why doesn't he do it? Whether to make money, save lives, make his predictions widely available or just to stop people calling him a loony, getting his method accepted by science would greatly increase any and all of these desires. Ring claims he can support his method, but he refuses to produce this support and continues to work from home.
Have you wondered why no one in Ireland, or Britain or even Europe, has taken to predicting the weather by looking at the moon and consulting astrology? Ring hasn't patented his method. Why do you guys have to rely on an ex-maths teacher and ex-clown working out of his house in NZ to know what the weather will do? If his method is obviously so successful, why aren't people worldwide all racing to become the weather guru for their own region? There are fortunes to be made here if you get in early, so why can't anyone be bothered?
Ring is like that retired carpenter who says he can prove that the moon landing was a hoax, and his supporters claim that scientists either can't grasp his arguments or blindly won't look at them. Anyone that targets the man on the street and avoids scientific debate is demonstrating that his scam can only fool those that aren't experts.
Comment by Johnny, 09 Sep, 2009
Hi John, Thanks for the response, I did not expect a reply. A couple of points though...
I must take exception to your condescending manner, how dare you refer to the likes of me as some kind of gormless idiot who is easily led because I do not have a scientific background. So no one else on the planet is entitled to an opinion except you and your cohorts, you want us to ignore the layman and blindly follow the academics. I am presuming of course that you have some scientific background. We the public are well able to decide for ourselves what is scientific fact and what is informed opinion.
...you accuse Mr Ring of not adhering to scientific principles and debating his methods with learned men, yet when you discuss him you use words like "nutters", "loony", "clown", hardly the stuff of a man of letters...???
Have you ever heard the expression... "methinks he doth protest too much" ..!!! Come on get a grip, he is predicting weather for God's sake, not inciting racial hatred...!
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 10 Sep, 2009
Johnny, I apologise if you took my reply as condescending, however, if my acceptance of modern science over primitive superstition makes me sound superior, then so be it.
Of course everyone is entitled to an opinion, but opinions can be just that, opinions. Often they are simply beliefs that aren't supported by facts or proof. One person could have the opinion that the universe is only 6,000 years old, and another that the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids. The latter opinion is well supported by evidence but the first is not. Having an opinion about something is not the same as having knowledge about something. Scientists don't work towards theories strongly backed by opinions. They seek facts and evidence. The general public may be happy to have the opinion that we can talk to the dead, that there really is a god, that homeopathy works and that Ring can forecast the weather, but they should not fool themselves that their beliefs or opinions necessarily carry any ring of truth, the way science does.
And yes, in many cases I would suggest that we ignore that layperson and look to the academics, but not 'blindly follow' as you suggest. In subjective matters such as what is good art or a good movie or are blondes more attractive than brunettes, then the layperson's view is as valid as the academics, but not in objective science. Scientists have the education, training, experience and research data whereas the layperson has by definition none of these things. The layperson can only claim to have ignorance. When you have a problem or query about the law, medicine, computers or even your car's transmission, do you ask a layperson, or do you consult an expert? I hate to think what would happen to society if instead of consulting a panel of experts we instead started consulting laypeople. Civilisation and progress happened because people became specialised and laypeople let the experts build bridges, perform surgical operations and fly aircraft. Of course laypeople can challenge the experts, but this requires knowledge, robust debate, evidence and research. Ring wants the public to accept that he is right and the multitude of experts are wrong, but he refuses to engage the experts. On faith alone, he wants us to take his word over the mountain of evidence put forward by the opposition.
Ring could change all that. If his claims have some merit then he needs to demonstrate it, to produce proof. Ring simply arguing that a lot of laypeople buy his books and people like you support him are meaningless. By this argument astrology and Islam must also be true based on the number of horoscopes sold and the fact that Islam will soon have the most followers on the planet.
If you are able to decide what is scientific fact and what is informed opinion, then you should have already realised that Ring's claims are neither. Ring is no different than psychics, mediums and energy healers who refuse to be tested, people who insist aliens built the pyramids or that the holocaust never happened. They appeal to the public, seeking out the gullible and the ignorant, to whom they put their claims, while hiding from the experts who would see right through them.
And actually I called Ring an 'ex-clown', since clown is one of the jobs that Ring used to earn a living from. As for 'loony' and 'nutters', Ring himself acknowledges that many of his critics see him as a lunatic, and frankly any educated person today that still believes in astrology, and that it can predict the weather, is living in the wrong century. Admittedly Ring makes little public mention of astrology these days, preferring to sprinkle his talks with scientific phrases, but this is a common ploy of most New Age practitioners. Not only that, Ring also believes in equally silly things such as numerology, graphology, psychics, phrenology and palmistry. He has even written a book explaining how to apply palm reading to the paws of cats. This man is seriously deluded.
You suggest that we should leave Ring alone since he's not doing anything really criminal like inciting racial hatred. Yet you felt that what he's doing is important enough to write and support him. Equally we think that what he's doing is important enough to expose him as a scam artist. You seem to imply that even if he is a scammer, it's a minor offence. That's like saying we shouldn't worry about shop lifting when people are robbing banks. Sorry, but theft is theft, and Ring may not be raking in as much as Nigerian bank scammers, but he's still taking money from people through false pretences, and that's not something we support.
The ball is in Ring's court. He could prove to science and to us that he is genuine, but he chooses not to. Like greedy psychics fearful of exposure, he prefers to let his supporters fight his battles, while he stays hidden.
Comment by Ken Ring, 09 Oct, 2009
Hi all. I have read all comments and perhaps need to clarify some matters.
It is very easy to misquote someone and then construct an argument around the misquote such that the original person is denigrated in such a way that those with closed minds rub their hands with glee and satisfaction. I am criticized for running a business that offers opinions and opinions only. I never claim hundred percent accuracy and never would. My work is on a par with an economic forecast or a doctor's prognosis, a teachers report, or a political opinion. People buy my opinions, there is nothing wrong with that, nothing unethical about it, and no hint of scam behaviour. To suggest so is bordering on slander. If one person finds a forecast works and another that a forecast doesn't, it doesn't mean that nothing is proven or disproven any more than if one person finds a toothpaste works and another finds it is less effective than his previous favourite teeth washing method. Members of this forum seem to be intent on finding fault. I suggest they have not read my free 230-page book that I offer on my website so that people can become acquainted with the old science that was the forerunner of modern meteorology. All meteorologists were once astrologers, as were all doctors, scientists and all mathematicians. Astrology was not the coffee table game that is today and that is because it has been denigrated for religious and political reasons. By being a system of prediction using cycles it met resistance from the early Christian church which dictated that only God knew what was going to happen. If it was not for astrology we would not have the mathematics or the science that we enjoy now. We would not have navigation and we would not have computers. The early pioneers of our mathematical system were of ancient Indian, Arab, and Persian cultures, not Christian but Muslim (horrors, horrors) and no doubt the Chinese, who were sailing the world and making accurate maps 4000 years ago. Google the Harris map to see this part of the world.
It has not been worth my while to enter any discussion here because most contributors seem to have closed minds on my subject. My peers are not meteorologists, nor scientists, nor anybody university trained, although I have been privileged to have had a university education. None of the aforementioned know anything about weather except what they have read by others who also do not know anything about weather. The only weather experts that I find level ground with and capable of reasoned discussion with are farmers, fishermen, yachties and those others who live actually in it day by day. Those people do not have university chairs but that does not mean the ideas they have are invalid. At the moment I seem to be the subject of much media discussion in Ireland, because I am the only forecaster who correctly predicted when for 2009 the fine summer weather would come. This is easily googled. I put it down to the fact that the Irish, whilst being a gentle and tolerant people, are also close to the land and have been for a very long time.
I would also like to correct those who have made comments here about what my methods are. I do not use 18 and 19 years except for maps and yes I do recycle previous maps that were in the public domain and put out by the old Lands and Survey Department, a branch of the government at the time and that I as a taxpayer have every right to utilize. I obtained them on loan from the University of Auckland Geography department and see nothing wrong in that. Perhaps the shin kickers in this forum may care to point out what they think I am doing that is so objectionable. Taking money for a service? Doesn't everybody do that? It is not as if I make stuff up - each forecast takes a great deal of time to work out and cross check. I use past meteorological data which I have purchased from the Metservice, at great expense. For instance, past data for just 3 towns cost $1000 five years ago. In my almanac I cover 64 such locations, so my outlay has been considerable. Why should I not charge for the work I'm doing? Do meteorologists not also get paid? This seems to be a huge double standard in this forum, one rule for me and one for everybody else. I do not see the Metservice being criticized or for having silly belief's and yet some of their utterances would be laughed out of court by a sensible five-year-old.
One is the notion that weather comes from the air. This is nonsense. There is weather on other planets but no air. The weather comes first and blows the air around. It is virtually the tidal force that is above water. Next time you are at the beach you may notice that the air is joined to the water. There is no gap between the bottom of the air and the surface of the sea. Air and sea are one system. They interface and interconnect over 75% of the Earth's surface. They are therefore acted upon by the same tidal forces of moon and sun and other extraterrestrial systems both within and beyond our solar system. The surface currents of the sea create the worlds winds. The idea that the weather comes from the air suits global warmers because it infers that a gas put into the air can change the weather. If we are talking about silly beliefs then that one takes the cake. Watch steam coming out of the chimney. The weather, whatever is around, deals to it immediately, not the other way around. A gust of wind will blow it away or it will hang there until the next gust of wind comes. But it won't change the weather, any more than a bunch of ink spilt into the sea would in some way change the tide.
My ideas can be very simply put and that is that tidal cycles control weather as much as they control the movements of the ocean. It is a matter of finding out what a local cycle is because each will vary due to topological factors, and latitude/longitude. Once I have found an accurate tide cycle I can apply it to the weather for that region. To suggest that this is not sound science is patently silly. Perhaps it has not occurred to people here and therefore the notion is easily dismissed. But it did occur to people in the ancient past and the stone circles of the world which are all aligned to the moon demonstrate that they were the laptops of the day, erected to provide a calculating device for weather and climate for each village that had one. The stone circles in New Zealand are mostly on private land, but some evidence of them still exists in Council records, for example on Stockade Hill in Howick; they are or were all aligned in the same way as European counterparts such as Stonehenge. Yet you will not be told about these in schools or universities because the true prehistory of New Zealand seems to have been as suppressed as the science of weather. The reason as always is money, prestige and politics. For instance Stonehenge was decoded as a moon orbit calculator over 30 years ago, by one Professor Gerald Hawkins. You cannot buy his books anywhere in Britain for the simple reason that he was an American. It would be nice if scientific discussions could be held that discussed ideas only, and not who the person was, where he came from, what his other jobs might have been in the past, and what he was supposed to have said as reported by others. It would be nice if a forum such as this had that kind of grace. However having read all the posts, I doubt it.
A further misconception - I have never shied away from sharing my work. In every talk I give, I outline my method such that those attending can immediately go home and make use of it for their own farming operation. I welcome other people trying out what I do because it creates a community that can benefit from networking. It should not be that we can only get weather forecasts from watching TV where we have to view advertisers products or use 0900 numbers. The weather belongs to everybody. The moon belongs to everybody. However science these days is a profit driven industry and those who should be sharing the most, because the taxpayers pay their wages, seem to be denying the rest access to truth and knowledge. This seems rife in New Zealand. The preciousness of the state services here is quite rare. Australia is far healthier and the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is a joy to work with.
So the ball is not in my court. If anybody wants a reasoned debate then I am ready for it. So far, my almanac for this year has scored very highly. On 2 February in the ODT I said the Shotover River would ice up in the last days of July. It did. I can provide links or it can be googled. In the almanac I said this winter would be breaking records for cold temperatures. Compare this to what NIWA said in April, that the winter would be warmer than average. By May they were changing their minds. In my almanac for 10 May I mentioned the potential for tornadoes in the BoP. They came on the 11th. For this week on page 392 on the snow map of the country you can see where the central plateau from Taupo to Napier would be snowed in. Last years almanac correctly predicted the flood in Turangi that caused the rafting tragedy. I am doing the best I can with what is available to me. I am seeking usefulness and some are finding the work of value. It is unhelpful and just mean-minded to criticize somebody who is simply trying to provide an alternative service when one does not exist at the moment. To declare that long-range forecasting is impossible is not only bigotry and intellectually immature, but can be compared to the manager of the Smithsonian Museum who, it is said, closed the doors of the patent office in 1843 because he thought that everything had been invented.
True science is surely broadmindedness. Nobody who says something is impossible has the right to call himself a real scientist. To believe that something is impossible is, to my mind, the silliest belief of all.
If anyone wants to discuss my work, please go to my website and download then read my book. Then, at least, they will know what I am really saying, no more and no less.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 12 Oct, 2009
Thanks for your comments Ken, however they do nothing to challenge our suspicions of your method. You continue to assert that 'not meteorologists, nor scientists, nor anybody university trained ... know anything about weather'. Yet you provide no real evidence that your method works any better than pure chance. Testimonials from a few farmers and fishermen don't count as evidence. You state that farmers and fishermen don't 'have university chairs but that does not mean the ideas they have are invalid'. Quite true, but it doesn't mean they have to be right either. I knew a farmer that thought the Moon emitted its own light like the Sun.
You imply that there is a massive conspiracy going on, not just with the science surrounding weather, but with science in general as well as history. As an example you mention a Professor Gerald Hawkins, asserting that 'You cannot buy his books anywhere in Britain for the simple reason that he was an American'. Utterly false, Hawkins was an English astronomer, born in Great Yarmouth and educated at the Universities of Nottingham and Manchester, although he did go on to work in the US. You can go onto the British website for Amazon and buy his books for as little as a penny.
You attempt to support your argument that scientists are arrogant with a corrupted version of an urban myth. I refer to your mention of the museum manager closing the patent office. For one, it is naïve to think that a mere manager of a museum would have the authority to close the US Patent Office. Two, it seems to me that this is a myth perpetuated by people that fear science. And three, even it were true, a mistake made by one person should not condemn an entire community who don't think that way. Every sphere of inquiry has its individuals that cling to false ideas. I can give you a long list of astrologers, your heroes, who insisted that the Sun went around the Earth.
Speaking of the pseudoscience that is astrology, you continue to harp on about how 'all meteorologists were once astrologers, as were all doctors, scientists and all mathematicians'. So what? All humans were once cave dwellers who had never heard of soap. We've moved on, it's called progress. Yes, humans once thought that the planets and stars dictated our personality and controlled our destiny, but the rational and intelligent humans of modern society have ditched astrology along with tea leaf reading and human sacrifice. To suggest that without astrology we wouldn't have science, mathematics and computers is ridiculous. The ancient Greeks made great advances in mathematics and early science without worrying about whether Jupiter was rising in Aquarius.
You ask, 'Why should I not charge for the work I'm doing?' We're not saying you shouldn't charge for your work, we're just saying that people shouldn't buy it. If people want to waste their money after they've been warned, then that's their prerogative, we're just wanting them to be better informed while considering your product.
Regarding science you seem to adopt a contradictory stance. You appear to respect science, quoting it wherever you can to support your claims, yet when it challenges your beliefs you call it ignorant and arrogant and downright false. When science questions your claims you say things like 'Nobody who says something is impossible has the right to call himself a real scientist'. This demonstrates your desire to return to the old primitive, superstitious ways, when anything we wanted to imagine, no matter how silly, could be believed to be possible. As much as it may annoy you, science can say certain things are impossible. For example, we can categorically say that giant apes like King Kong and beasts like griffins are impossible. Anyone that tries to win a debate simply by parroting the claim, 'nothing is impossible', is really showing how weak their argument is.
You go on to claim that, 'So far, my almanac for this year has scored very highly', and you give some examples as 'proof'. Let's look at your claims and see how accurate they really were.
First, 'On 2 February in the ODT I said the Shotover River would ice up in the last days of July. It did.' As usual you tend to exaggerate your claims, pretending that you predicted more than you really did. All the article said was this, 'Sub-zero temperatures which could freeze the Shotover River have been predicted this winter by long-range weather forecaster Ken Ring.' You said that it 'could' happen, not that it 'would', and you made no mention of when it would happen, that is, 'the last days of July'. The only person to mention July was the Shotover Jet spokesman who said that there was ice in the river in July 2007, so it's not exactly unheard of. Certainly you did predict the possibly of ice in the Shotover, by why do you have to embellish this prediction after the fact, adding details that weren't in the original?
Second, you claim that 'I said this winter would be breaking records for cold temperatures'. I could find no mention of this prediction in your almanac, in fact I found just the opposite. Under the heading 'Winter, South Island', you wrote, 'Christchurch may be the warmest. Blenheim, Greymouth, Ashburton, Timaru, Oamaru and Invercargill may be average to warmer. The rest may have average temperatures'. Under the heading 'Winter, North Island', you wrote, 'Whangerei may again be warmer than average, along with Opotiki and Napier. Gisbourne may again be cooler, and the rest may be on average figures'. There is no way any reasonable person reading your almanac could interpret these predictions as meaning this 'winter would be breaking records for cold temperatures'.
Third, 'In my almanac for 10 May I mentioned the potential for tornadoes in the BoP. They came on the 11th.' Yet in your section entitled 'Severe Weather' there was a single sentence: 'Few, if any, tropical cyclones are expected in 2009'. Are tornadoes not a severe weather event in your opinion? And why don't you mention predicting the other tornadoes that have occurred, such as the Kaitaia tornado on the 4th July, the Taranaki tornado on the 21st July or other severe North Island storms over the 11th/12th July or even the large Fiordland earthquake on the 15th July?
Fourth, 'For this week on page 392 on the snow map of the country you can see where the central plateau from Taupo to Napier would be snowed in'. Again you exaggerate greatly, pretending that you said something that in fact you didn't. For readers unfamiliar with Mr Ring's 2009 almanac, for every day of the year he provides a small map of NZ entitled 'Frost/Snow' and shades in the parts that he believes have a potential for frost and/or snow. He gives no hint as to whether this shaded area might receive a mild frost or a severe snowstorm. There is no mention or hint on page 392, which corresponds to Monday 5th October, that the shaded area means snow, or that it will be severe. It is true that the Taupo to Napier area is the only shaded area on the entire country for that day. However, if we are to interpret a shaded section to mean that the designated area will be 'snowed in', as you do in hindsight, then how do you explain the days before and after Monday 5th? The 'Frost/Snow' map for Sunday 4th shows nothing in the North Island and approximately 80% of the South Island is shaded in. So why wasn't most of the South Island snowed in on Sunday? It was the same for Friday 2nd and Tuesday 6th, with the addition of the Wellington region. If a mention on the 'Frost/Snow' map means you're going to be snowed in, why weren't they? Even if this prediction was correct for this one day, which it wasn't, your predictions for the days before and after it were completely wrong. We also need to remember that while you draw our attention to your utterly bogus interpretation to the map on Monday 5th, the severe snow fall that caused cars to be stranded actually happened on the Sunday, the day before. Even if people using your almanac interpreted it the same way you did, they would still have been stranded in the snow storm, since they would have been expecting it a day after it happened. No doubt you will say that users should allow a 3 to 4 day window for your predictions to eventuate, but this is worthless as regards severe weather events. If we were to take any notice of your 'Frost/Snow' maps, always interpreting them as severe snow and extending them each side of the predicted event, then we'd be living in a state of perpetual fear and afraid to go out.
Fifth, you say that 'Last years almanac correctly predicted the flood in Turangi that caused the rafting tragedy'. I don't have access to that almanac so it's difficult to judge, but based on the very vague nature of most predictions in other almanacs, I doubt that it can be interpreted as such without a large dollop of imagination and selectively ignoring the same predictions that didn't come to pass. It's amazing how you claim to have predicted the severe weather events surrounding some of our most well known disasters, even the 2004 Asian Tsunami, but always after they've happened. Why don't you warn people before they occur? In your book 'The Lunar Code', you tell the story of approaching weather experts at the TV stations and asking if they knew about astronomy affecting the weather:
'Oh ,' said one on the phone, 'we know that stuff already'.
Apart from the fact that I doubt that conversation actually took place, that meteorologists think they are entertainers, why aren't you taking a more active role in warning people? Selling a book with extremely vague predictions isn't saving any lives. When you know a severe weather event, earthquake or tsunami is about to occur, why aren't you going to these locations in advance and actively warning the locals? They might treat you with suspicion at the start but a few successes would soon prove your predictions and force people to take note. Why do you always wait until after an event to run to the papers and say 'I predicted that'?
'So why not tell the people?' I asked.
'Because it's just folklore; besides, we're here to entertain, not educate.'
'But if you know a storm is coming, shouldn't you be warning people?'
You Ken are deeply involved in challenging the scientific belief in climate change at the moment, demanding that scientists produce more convincing data to support their claims. You likewise should be attempting to produce convincing data to support your weather forecasting method. Surely good evidence applies just as much to you as it does to them, and as I've said, testimonials from a few farmers and searching for and quoting vague predictions that might be interpreted as being correct after the fact is not evidence.
Comment by Ken Ring, 13 Oct, 2009
Thanks for your response. You have raised some other points which Id like to reply to, if I may.
"We're just wanting them to be better informed while considering your product."
Have you ever heard the expression 'live and let live'? Are you the Consumer Institute now? Your opinion is only your own, you dont speak for any group, nor have you done market surveys. Your opinion is therefore cancelled out by only one other who may have an opposite viewpoint. 10,000 buy my NZ almanacs each year. Random House are continually doing market surveys. They have to, because so many books these days are not popular enough. The same farmers buy my forecasts for following years, year after year. Big corporations, NZ's biggest names, buy my yearly report packages. Some multimillion dollar corporates in Australia buy my regional reports. Australias biggest TV network employs me as their longrange weather consultant, now for the third year running. I am seen in four States, once a month, with a round-up of the next month ahead. Longrange is my business, supported mainly by the agricultural sectors in Australia, NZ and Ireland. Come on man, are they all silly billies? Are they ALL misinformed, waiting to hear the real truth from you?
"You complained that I said that it 'could' happen, not that it 'would'."
I don't ever say things WILL happen, if I can help it, because I am not a god and weather is an inexact science. I point to potentials, thats all one can do.
"(Re: Shotover icing up), and you made no mention of when it would happen, that is, 'the last days of July'."
Yes I did say exactly when, in my almanac 2009, p12 and p265, also all promo for this year's book in all media!
"you claim that 'I said this winter would be breaking records for cold temperatures'. I could find no mention of this prediction in your almanac, in fact I found just the opposite."
Incorrect, you are cherry-picking out of context. See p11 under June "..country may be cooler than average" and July "very low temperatures", "July may be remembered for some very low temperatures" and p12: it may even be cold enough to freeze the Shotover River", "Some temperatures may be record cold", "global warming will be something to be longed for". Yes, overall some places had an average winter, exactly as the metservice and NIWA noted, and as I did way before them in the almanac.
"there was a single sentence: 'Few, if any, tropical cyclones are expected in 2009'. Are tornadoes not a severe weather event in your opinion? "
I was correct, few TCs occurred. As for tornadoes, I got the big ones. I obviously can't get every strong wind system that the media loves to hype up as a tornado, what they call these days 'mini-tornadoes'
"why aren't you taking a more active role in warning people?"
But I do. I do many radio talks on many radio stations, both here and in Australia. I warned in the Australian media two Junes ago of the potential for floods coming last February across QLD and it came to pass. Media here won't publish my warnings because the metservice have too great a hold on what gets to editors. I cannot get anything published in the NZ Herald despite many letters and articles sent. Only the independent newspapers host my columns. In the background various organisations take heed of what I tell them. The announcement that Turoa would stay open till November came a day after I emailed Mike Smith (Ruapehu mountain manager) that snow would remain on the slopes throughout summer and advised him to stay open. The Santa Parades for the major towns in NZ get their dates from me. I do what I can and would do more if allowed to. For instance, you mentioned last years Turangi fatality. I had heavy rain listed in the Central Plateau April 11-13 (p126 almanac 2008). The tragedy was on the 14th, after the rivers had a chance to become swollen. It is not my fault if people don't look this up before they plan a trip to the mountains. I can't force people to read my work.
"You likewise should be attempting to produce convincing data to support your weather forecasting method."
I think that anything I write will be taken apart by you like a mad snarling dog. I feel you are looking for fault to support your belief that I could not possibly have discovered something useful that others have not. It is the usual Kiwi knocking machine and it is unnecessary. Why don't you turn your energies towards the Grand Scam of all, global warming, and concentrate in that, the web of lies that is going to disadvantage billions and cause underdeveloped countries to become impoverished through financial suppression by the western world? The ETS will be hugely costly to NZ. But instead you go for the easy target. Can you not accept that there may be many who just may be getting something from my work? Why else was the book in the top 10 of the bestsellers list for the NZ Book trade (nonfiction ) two weeks ago? Is everybody deluded, and you the only one correct? It is discriminatory bullying to attack me for getting the odd forecast wrong in your eyes(what about NIWA saying June and July would be warmer?)and leaving alone the Metservice, whose track record resulted in the Herald Gallup Poll of 1998 concluding that only 37% of the public had faith in them. In the Shotover River article of 2 Feb (ODT), Bob McDavitt said the Shotover would not get cold enough to ice up. How wrong he was. Easy to quote someone out of context, as you continue to do. You say I should warn people before the events happen. Well, my warnings are in my almanacs, they are written well before the relevant year has begun. I don't write them afterwards, in hindsight. Yet that's what NIWA and metservice do, they tell us what weather we've just had, as if we weren't there. And to say I should be going to the locations and warning the people before every major event is so silly it is not worth addressing. We have Civil Defence organisations for that.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 14 Oct, 2009
Ken, you seem to believe that popularity indicates the truthfulness of an opinion. However, the truth of a matter is not reached by taking a vote. It doesn't matter how many people buy your books, just as it doesn't matter how many idiots buy yearly astrology guides or Bibles or Korans. The popularity of these books just means that too many people are sucked in by fantasies. And anyway, from a country with a population of over 4 million, the support of a meagre 10,000 hardly seems like you have the majority on your side. If mere support from a majority of the public vindicates a method, then the likes of the Metservice and NIWA win hands down.
You reject my criticisms by saying that my opinion is only my own and it's cancelled out by just one opposing opinion, that I don't speak for any group, that I'm just knocking you since it is the Kiwi way to criticise those that stand out from the crowd. Again you confuse opinions with facts, believing that adding up public opinions for and against a claim arrives at whether something is true. If this were the case, if this was how science decided things, then again you would lose big time since there are many more opinions against you than for you. But this isn't about you or your celebrity, it's about whether your long range weather forecasting method and the ancient divination techniques that you claim explain it can be backed up with reasoned argument and evidence. Of course you may have discovered something that others haven't, but you need prove your claims, and being on a bestseller list isn't proof. And what group may I ask is it that you officially represent that gives your opinions some authority? Astrology NZ perhaps?
Regarding my gripe about your ODT Shotover prediction, you reply that 'I don't ever say things WILL happen', and yet your comment to me clearly did: 'On 2 February in the ODT I said the Shotover River would ice up in the last days of July'. Would, not could. Likewise it doesn't matter if you mentioned 'July' in your almanac, you clearly told me that you said 'July' in the ODT which you did not. I acknowledged that you did correctly predict ice, my gripe was that when you related this article to me you exaggerated what you actually said in the article. Once you saw that ice had occurred, you told me that you knew it WOULD happen. Furthermore, your prediction on pg 265 actually said that the 'Shotover River may freeze over'. It didn't freeze over, there were, as you said on TV after the fact, merely 'ice blocks floating down'. When rivers freeze over you can walk across. I know it is a minor point but this is how psychics appear to be more accurate than they really were, by subtly modifying their original statements to match later events. It's the same with your insistence that your almanac did say that this winter would break records for cold temperatures. It is you that are cherry picking predictions. You seem to sprinkle predictions throughout your almanac so no matter whether it is hot or cold, wet of fine, there will be a comment hidden somewhere that supports the weather that did occur. It's like that trick when performing a coin toss, 'Heads I win, tails you lose'. The fact is that anyone perusing your book and curious as to what the 2009 winter might be like would naturally read your section entitled 'Summary for 2009: Winter'. This contains no hint of a potentially bitter cold winter. It is no good claiming that you have placed statements elsewhere in the book where you have expressed a different view. As for your claim that the severe weather I mentioned and that you failed to predict was just media hype, the insurance companies have received considerable claims for damage and don't consider them inconsequential.
Another example of your contradictory statements involves the media. You say you mentioned the Shotover River prediction 'in all media' and that you warn people on 'many radio stations', and yet two sentences later you state that 'media here won't publish my warnings' and that 'only the independent newspapers host my columns'. What papers would that be? The New Age Weekly or Astrologer Monthly? The only notable independent newspaper I'm aware of is the ODT and they don't print your columns. I have never seen your column in any of the main NZ newspapers nor heard you host a spot on any popular radio station. You can't say that you're a bestseller and that everyone from farmers to big corporations support you and then in the same breath say that everyone is against you. You can't say you're warning people about severe weather when hardly anyone in the country is exposed to your warnings. Let's assume that your warnings are correct. It's obvious that merely printing them in your almanac is having little effect, so you need a new strategy if your concern for your fellow man is really your motivation rather than simply making money selling a service to the same people that go to psychics and buy dream catchers.
As I've said, at the moment you are actively challenging climate change proponents, although why you bother I don't know since it's just your opinion which is easily cancelled out, and you speak for no group, but anyway, you implore them to produce evidence for their claims. I am simply adopting your stance and asking that you also produce evidence for your claims, and if you insist on referring me back to astrology and ancient divination techniques, then provide evidence that they work.
Considering you have made a career out of criticising people — remember that you have just asserted that 'not meteorologists, nor scientists, nor anybody university trained ... know anything about weather' — I think it's a little hypocritical that you say I can't do likewise and challenge your methods.
Comment by Ken Ring, 14 Oct, 2009
Considering you have made a career out of criticising people..
Perhaps you need to have some facts pointed out to you. I have not made a career out of criticising people - you have. My website is not called Silly Beliefs. You go after alternative theories with some kind of vendetta, which says more about you than your work, hiding behind a nom de plume. Who are you? John? Is that John Smith, or are we not allowed to know? I stand by my ideas and put my name on the line. So who's the coward? I don't mind criticism if it is fair. Yours is unconditional, because you have assumed I am in the same league as armchair astrologers who are as removed from real astrology as it is possible to get, and you criticise everything I do. When I get something right it is, well it rmust have been a fluke or a coincidence, because your basic silly belief seems to be that anything you disagree with is wrong, unnecessary and therefore evil; so evil that the person you are critical of should not be allowed to operate his business. You display this every time you mention astrology. I suggest you have done as much study in that subject as you have done in my methods; a grade above zero. Sir Isaac Newton was an astrologer, and he was the father of modern science. You seem to also have a tolerance factor of zero of those who think differently from you. This is not the taliban, not Stalinist Russia, people can make up their own minds, they don't need a self-appointed watchdog to explain the world to them and to tell them what to buy and when, and who to believe.
There are many more opinions against you than for you
Incredible. You have amassed all opinions? Did you do a phone poll? I think you missed my street or I would have been told. I think you missed whole countries, because in my feedback emails no mention has been made of any survey.
Would vs could
It clearly upsets you that I predicted, in February, the Shotover icing up in the last days of July. Now you are saying "icing over" is not "freezing". So unless I say exactly what you want to hear later, your choice of words, my work is invalidated? I do accept that my language may be a little vague at times, but that is the nature of weather forecasting. There are often several possible outcomes and intensities associated with a weather system. The vagueness is not a deliberation to deceive, it is in the maybe, in the same league as economists talking about the direction of commodity prices, the NZ dollar and house prices in the longterm. Yet I don't see them getting the same treatment.
I have never seen your column in any of the main NZ newspapers nor heard you host a spot on any popular radio station.
Well, go for a ride in Google. Try Ken Ring for TV3, for ABC regional stations in Australia, also 2UE and 2GB, for Independent newspapers, for RadioLive, for NewstalkZB and type in magazines. That's for starters. Then try Ken Ring for Ireland. But just because YOU haven't seen this is laughable.
You speak for no group
I am often asked to speak to farmers on both sides of the Tasman, and in the UK. I am approached to speak for Biodynamic associations, those who farm and garden by the moon. I speak, when asked, to fishermen. I am on monthly media spots in all these areas. If they didn't think I spoke for them, why on earth would they want to have me on?
anybody university trained (don't) know anything about weather'
They would only know if they lived out in it all the time, like farmers do. You can't get it from books. When you open a book no weather comes out. Weather is an experienced thing, that people gradually get an awareness about, then an intuition, just as the animals, birds, fish, insects and plants do. A cow hasn't got a meteorological degree, yet a farmer will look at what a cow does and get a weather imminence from that. A fisherman will watch mullet jumping and do the same. I've never seen a mullet browsing the science section at the Auckland Library. An experienced mariner will see a dolphin and know a storm is probably approaching, from the direction the dolphin is swimming in. The creatures live it and know what to do.
I think it's a little hypocritical that you say I can't do likewise and challenge your methods.
Sorry to be the one to have to tell you this, but you can't fairly challenge any methods unless you properly study them.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 15 Oct, 2009
Hi Ken. I have no problem with criticising what I see as silly beliefs, and neither do you. Think of global warming. Criticise means 'to find fault with'. Your career as an alternative weather forecaster is only possible because you have found fault with conventional meteorology. You take every opportunity to tell the public that meteorology is flawed and that its proponents know nothing about the weather. You use the media, write books and debate in public and on the internet to convince people that you have found fault with conventional meteorology. If any academic challenges your view you tell them in no uncertain terms that they are mistaken, that you have found fault with their view of the weather. Not only do you criticise the knowledge and integrity of meteorologists and climate scientists, you do likewise to historians, politicians, newspaper editors and TV weather presenters, accusing them of being complicit in a conspiracy against ancient weather knowledge. You even criticise or find fault with my view, and while I encourage criticism, you can't say that you don't criticise people.
Speaking of criticism, I would prefer it if you would attack my view and not me personally. Saying I'm hiding, calling me a coward and wanting to know who I am suggests you want to come around and break my kneecaps. I have no respect for people that attack the person rather than their argument. As regards my beliefs and general worldview, you can discern far more about me from our website than I can from yours. All I have done is criticise your grasp of science and history, and from this deduced that your weather predictions are a waste of money. From reading our website you will discover I'm an atheist and that I don't believe in silly things like psychic mediums. You are quite welcome to reciprocate and place articles on your site challenging my view of the world. I won't be offended.
You claim that 'real astrology' is nothing like the astrology that the rest of the world talks about. If you're talking about gravitational fields, tides, perigees and the declination of the moon, as you often do, then you are talking about astronomy, not astrology. However, if you're referring to things like 'Cancer typically brings downpours [and] the Moon will be in Pisces, a wet sign' (which are quotes from you), then this is exactly the nonsense we would expect from armchair astrologers. You said Sir Isaac Newton was an astrologer. You mention astrology and science in the same breath as if they were connected. Today Newton is rightly considered a scientific genius. However he is not renown or respected for his obsessive interest and research into astrology or religion or alchemy. People don't respect him because he stared at the Sun or stabbed a needle between his eye and eye socket just to see what would happen. We don't care about his questionable mental health or his trials over his covert homosexuality. Newton wrote far more on the likes of religion and alchemy than he did on science, and yet if it wasn't for his scientific insights, if all we had of Newton's work was his thoughts on astrology, he would now just be considered another superstitious crank. For all the things that Newton got right, he also got a lot wrong, and that includes astrology. You can't hijack Newton's reputation and pretend his scientific achievements concerned astrology.
Like connecting astrology with science, you continually make false comparisons, saying I have zero tolerance and vilifying me by comparing me with the taliban and Stalin. If this were true you would be dead by now or in an interment camp breaking rocks. I am simply challenging your view, just as you are challenging the view of conventional meteorologists. Yet when I do it I am told by you to let people make up their own minds, that they don't need me to tell them what to believe. But seemingly you feel that they do need you to tell them what to believe regarding the weather. Should I feed privileged that you see our website as a threat to your business?
You asked if I had amassed all opinions about your methods, implying that you believe public support is in your favour. Just more contradictions. You yourself admitted that only 10,000 people in a country of over 4 million buy your almanac, that the media won't print your columns, articles and letters, that academia is against you, and yet you seem to believe that the majority of Kiwis are behind you? What survey of yours supports this conclusion? Don't bother answering, since like you said, if I have never been surveyed about Ken Ring, then it never happened.
You mentioned the Shotover prediction. I have no problem with you getting some predictions correct. You base your guesses on what has happened before, and based on chance alone you will naturally get it right now and again. I would be more surprised if you didn't. However, since you bring up these same correct predictions every time you're interviewed, it makes me suspect that they are the only ones you can highlight. You make tens of thousands of predictions every year, you should have an enormous list of successful predictions you can trot out when asked. Yet on TV3's Sunrise program a few weeks ago, what example do you give? The Shotover River. As for people predicting the movement of house and commodity prices, I have no more confidence in their methods than I do in yours.
When I said that I have never seen your column in any of the main NZ newspapers nor heard you host a spot on any popular radio station, I was saying that the average Kiwi is not very likely to be exposed to your predictions. You side stepped my challenge and suggested I try Google, neglecting to name these NZ newspapers. Likewise, apart from a single appearance of around 3 minutes to plug your almanac on TV3's Sunrise program, I haven't seen you on TV3. It was you that said 'all media' and 'many radio stations', implying that it would be unusual if we didn't come across your predictions on a regular basis.
You implied that my opinion was worthless since I spoke for no group, and now you defend your position by saying you speak to farmers and fishermen. Oh please, speaking TO a group is not the same as speaking FOR a group, as in officially relaying their views to the public. Again you confuse the support of a few farmers as validating your beliefs. This is as empty as the claim that the support of a billion Muslims validates the Koran and belief in Allah. Perhaps they listen to you for the same reason I listen to Monty Python?
If farmers were the experts in weather prediction as you claim, if they simply need to look at a cow, then why in the hell do they need your books and guidance? If they are running to you then that proves that they don't know what the weather will do. You claim that the weather is all down to the moon and its perigees and declination etc. Growing up on a farm I would say that most farmers know squat about astronomical matters. This is not a criticism of farmers, city dwellers likewise know squat about farming. As for dolphins, last year I was lucky enough to spend some time with some marine biologists who were doing dolphin research. Dolphins were swimming in every direction and yet the marine biologists didn't interpret this movement as weather predicting. Of course being scientists, unlike fishermen, you will claim that they know nothing. However, I don't think dolphins are all that concerned with getting wet from an approaching rain storm.
Regarding weather knowledge you insist that 'You can't get it from books', and yet you claim to be the author of at least 14 books on the weather and climate in NZ. And you actively sell these books to a gullible public, books such as 'The Lunar Code: How the Moon affects the Weather on Earth', 'Ken Ring's Predicting the Weather by the Moon', 'Moon and Weatherlore' and of course your almanacs, 'Ken Ring's Predict Weather Almanac and Isobaric Maps'. If the public, including academics, can't get weather knowledge from books, then aren't you selling your books under false pretences? Which is it Ken, can we learn from books or not? And please don't say that you didn't mean books per se, that you actually meant academics spend their time inside labs with their equations rather than out in the field experiencing the real world. Many scientists spend a vast amount of time doing field research, far more than I suspect you do, and with far more sophisticated technology to record data.
You finish by insisting that I can't challenge you since I haven't studied your methods. How you know this you don't say. I have read your website, as the numerous quotes from it on our site shows, but no doubt you'll insist that reading and understanding are two different things. Since I disagree with you on many points of science and history, then in your view I obviously haven't studied the details properly and have thus failed to comprehend. I have also read some of your books: 'The Lunar Code', 'Predicting the Weather by the Moon' and of course some of your almanacs, although I admit I haven't fully read your 'Pawmistry: How to Read Your Cat's Paws'. But as you've said, books are useless for obtaining weather knowledge, so naturally this must include yours. Or are you now going to tell me that your books are valuable resources, it's only the books written by other people that are worthless?
The fact is Ken, if someone disagrees with you it doesn't mean that they haven't studied your claims, it could simply mean that you are wrong.
Comment by Ken Ring, 16 Oct, 2009
I have no respect for people that attack the person rather than their argument.
Well, that's a laugh. Who has put up a website being critical of me, with my name on it? And have I done the same previously to you? Hardly. The bully is the one who starts the fight. So who is the bully here and who taking it on himself to be personally critical of one man? Am I to stand by and allow some surname-less John to do that and not retaliate? Yet it seems if I do hit back I am then accused of mounting a personal attack.
You mention astrology and science in the same breath as if they were connected. Today Newton is rightly considered a scientific genius. However he is not renown or respected for his obsessive interest and research into astrology or religion or alchemy.
Newton wrote his Principiia about gravitation in astrological physics. Maybe you don't know much about astrology, perhaps only what you read in the Womens Weekly. Astrology is primarily about gravitation.
But seemingly you feel that they do need you to tell them what to believe regarding the weather. Should I feed privileged that you see our website as a threat to your business?
I don't tell people what to believe, or whose website is not worth subscribing to, nor whose books are fraudulent, as you do. My opinion is just that, and it is stated so on my website. I do allow and respect other opinions, and the right to express them and earn from them, unlike you. I have good friends who are meteorologists. We happily disagree and agree on many matters. But we don't want to annihilate each others businesses as you seem to want to do to me. In my website, articles, books etc I name no one by name unlike you. Can you not see the difference??
You yourself admitted that only 10,000 people in a country of over 4 million buy your almanac
I didn't say "only", you did. 5000 is considered a bestseller in NZ. You can't be a NZer, anyone living here knows there are not 4 million households in NZ. The babies or children wouldn't buy one, nor the illiterate, nor the prison population who can't get to the bookshop, nor the hospital population, nor the rest home inhabitants, nor someone else in a household where there is a book already. Then there are those of different languages, those who just don't buy books because they can't afford to, and tourists passing through. Kind of cuts into that 4 million.
Likewise, apart from a single appearance of around 3 minutes to plug your almanac on TV3's Sunrise program, I haven't seen you on TV3.
The links do not stay available for long. I still list some of the old ones on www.predictweather.com
If farmers were the experts in weather prediction as you claim, if they simply need to look at a cow, then why in the hell do they need your books and guidance?
A cow is not going to tell you much about next year's weather.
I don't think dolphins are all that concerned with getting wet from an approaching rain storm.
I don't either. They are chasing fish.
books are useless for obtaining weather knowledge, so naturally this must include yours.
Well, of course it is relative. People have been farming and reading weather from clouds, tidal movements and moon orbits way before books were invented. Astrology was primarily calendric, to keep track of the planting and harvesting seasons.
Not much more to say, really. Can't help noticing that as this drags on and you always require the last shin-kicking word, your points of debate seem to be getting more and more desperate.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 17 Oct, 2009
Hi Ken. So now I'm a bully as well as a coward. However a bully is not defined as someone 'who starts the fight'. 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?
The fact is Ken that you did start this debate, or 'fight', as you want to call it. You running to your publisher Random House when I attempted to comment on claims you made in a local newspaper prevented me from expressing my opinion. It was this censorship of my opinion that resulted in the creation of our website. I'm not saying that you personally wished to censor my opinion, but discussions between you, Random House and the paper eventually resulted in the paper deciding that it would be best if I was not heard from.
Why this obsession with me as a person, rather than concentrating on providing evidence that my criticisms are false? If you had read our article in its entirety you would have seen my name at the bottom, but how does knowing my name change anything? Do you honestly not understand the difference between attacking the 'person' and attacking their arguments? Do I ridicule your appearance, your dress sense, your choice of car or the place you choose to live? That would be a personal attack, criticising things in your life that have no bearing on your claims surrounding the weather. When you criticise Al Gore over his global warming claims, do you feel you are attacking him as a person, or are you merely attacking his claims on climate change? Do you think Al Gore would take your criticisms personally, or do you think he would realise that it's just about his climate claims, you're not attacking his family? Furthermore, try and imagine how you might publicly criticise the claims Al Gore makes without giving any hint of who you are referring to, so that you can't be accused of attacking him 'personally'. Try and explain to me how I might challenge your views on the weather without revealing your name, without making it 'personal'? If I merely mentioned forecasting the weather by the moon, might not the odd person infer that I was talking about you? Should I then deny I am discussing claims made by you so as not to involve you personally? The fact is Ken, discussion of any subject often entails mentioning the opinions of specific people, such as Al Gore and Ken Ring. The difference lies in whether you challenge their opinions or you shift your attack onto them as individuals. You seem more concerned with being able to recognise me in the street than pointing out where I might have made mistakes.
You say you never name anyone that you disagree with. What about Al Gore? And have you forgotten about your attack on Bill Keir of the Auckland Astronomical Society in your article 'Witch-hunting returns', where you concluded by likening him to followers of Adolf Hitler? And what about all the meteorologists and academics that you claim are ignorant and/or deliberately suppressing the truth about the weather? Even if you don't mention them by name, do you think they don't know that you are talking about them? Do you honestly think their families and friends don't know whom you are referring to?
Like movie stars and other wannabe celebrities, you have elected to go public with your theories on weather forecasting. Originally your books were just called 'Predict Weather Almanac', but now they're called 'KEN RING's Predict Weather Almanac'. If the opinions are positive you want your name in lights, but if negative, you don't what us to mention your name at all. Sorry Ken, that's not how it works. If you want to protect your name then you need to defend your claims and opinions.
You flatter me if you think I have the power to 'tell' people what to believe and what books to avoid. Like you I am only expressing an opinion, and nowhere on our website do I state that it is someone else's opinion. I try to support my opinion with reasoned argument and leave it up to the reader to decide whether I have succeeded. I respect everyone's right to hold personal opinions but I don't feel compelled to necessarily respect those opinions. Should I respect the opinion of a racist that believes some races are superior to others? Likewise I don't respect the opinions of astrologers since I find their arguments badly flawed.
This leads me to your naïve insistence that all scientists are really practising astrology. In your book The Lunar Code you make a fleeting mention of 'Astrologer Sir Isaac Newton' and you now inform me that 'Newton wrote his Principiia about gravitation in astrological physics'. To claim that Newton wrote about 'astrological' physics is as bogus as claiming Einstein wrote about 'astrological' physics. And let's remember that Einstein's theory of gravity replaces Newton's. Part of what Newton wrote about in his 'Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica' (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) was certainly about gravity and included comments on the Moon's orbit and tides etc., and it was revolutionary. But nowhere in these books will you find mention of astrology. You can't just tack the word 'astrological' onto any piece of science that you wish to lay claim to. You as an astrologer insisting that physics is really 'astrological' physics is just as ridiculous as a witch insisting that physics should really be called 'magical' physics. Nor can you even legitimately describe Newton as an astrologer. While Newton had many silly beliefs regarding religion and alchemy, he was not all that concerned with astrology, if at all. It is just another myth that you have been sucked into. Try reading this short article — Isaac Newton and Astrology, and this one — Isaac Newton's occult studies. In your book The Lunar Code you noted 'Kepler's significance in the history of astronomy'. Johannes Kepler was an astronomer who did dabble in astrology and died before Newton was born. However due to Kepler's astronomical discoveries, it is said that, 'in some respect, Kepler was the astrologer who destroyed astrology'.
As for astrology being primarily about gravitation, this is also bogus. Certainly many amateur and professional astrologers no doubt believe that it is the mysterious force of gravity that causes the effects they try to predict, but this belief is due to ignorance of science in general and gravity specifically. Lest you feel that I don't know what astrology is, let me quote a typical definition from my encyclopaedia:
astrology, form of divination based on the theory that movements of the celestial bodies (stars, planets, sun, and moon) influence human affairs and determine events.
Let me also quote from this article on astrology: 'Many people confuse astronomy — the science that studies celestial objects — and astrology — a belief that those same objects in the cosmos influence individual lives here on Earth'. It appears that you either wish to maintain this confusion in the eyes of your customers, or you honestly believe that astronomy and astrology are one and the same and that astronomers are deliberately suppressing the mystical elements. However, if astrology were real and some force is influencing our lives, that force is certainly not gravity. As I mentioned in our article, the Moon's gravity does not cause noticeable tidal forces in the human body. A 1kg melon held one metre above your head produces 200 times as much tidal effect in your body as does the Moon. Other people, buildings etc. would completely swamp any gravitational affect the Moon, planets or stars have. Unfortunately your reliance on ancient 'knowledge' means you probably didn't know this.
The crucial thing I do know about astrology is that it is superstitious nonsense and your rabid insistence on harping back to it and other ancient divination techniques and primitive nonsense puts you in the same camp as wizards and priests. I think you need to define exactly what you understand astrology to mean, how it differs from astronomy and science in general and how and why it differs from that pushed by your brethren in the Woman's Weekly. Why don't professional astrologers know what astrology is truly all about as you claim to? Another conspiracy?
And yes you are correct, you said you sell 10,000 books a year and it was I that said, 'only' 10,000? I mentioned 4 million because your number by itself means nothing until readers everywhere in the world know what the population of the target country is. Only then can they judge how many are rushing out to buy your book. For example, 10,000 in Australia wouldn't be as good as 10,000 in NZ. I'm also a little confused over your reply about your TV3 appearances. My TV doesn't have interactive 'links', only moving pictures, none of which you seem to be in.
As for my 'points of debate getting more and more desperate', I'm not sure why desperation would be setting in. You haven't given me reason to reconsider any of my criticisms. Sure this debate may cause me to lose a few potential clients and I'll sell a few less books but that won't ... umm ... No, wait a minute, that's you that sells the books isn't it? Christians assure me that I have a lot more to fear by dismissing their beliefs than I do by dismissing yours.
Let me finish with a poem on astrology by Michael Flanders:
Jupiter's passed through Orion
And coming to conjunction with Mars.
Saturn is wheeling through infinite space
To its pre-ordained place in the stars
And I gaze at the planets in wonder
At the trouble and time they spend
All to warn me to be careful
In dealings involving a friend.
Comment by Ken Ring, 18 Oct, 2009
You running to your publisher Random House when I attempted to comment on claims you made in a local newspaper prevented me from expressing my opinion. It was this censorship of my opinion that resulted in the creation of our website. I'm not saying that you personally wished to censor my opinion, but discussions between you, Random House and the paper eventually resulted in the paper deciding that it would be best if I was not heard from.
I have absolutely no knowledge nor idea of what you are talking about. A publisher has no control over a newspaper. I have never wanted to stifle anyone's opinion or alternative viewpoint, unlike you. Me naming Bill Keir? Sure. The guy erected 3 websites dedicated to jackbooting me. You have done the same. Gareth Renowden is another who established an anti-Ken Ring website. My name heads these websites. I challenge you to find any website with someone's name on it that I have written, apart from Al Gores but politicians are name-able because they handle taxpayer-funds so are 'owned' by the public.
Why this obsession with me as a person
Exactly, that's what I ask.
Originally your books were just called 'Predict Weather Almanac', but now they're called 'KEN RING's Predict Weather Almanac'.
Incorrect, what is on a cover is entirely a publisher's decision, that goes for words and pictures. I would have been just as happy for the books to be called Predict Weather Almanacs as they still are in Australia.
This leads me to your naïve insistence that all scientists are really practising astrology.
That's a laugh. I don't even believe that! They used to, but astrology changed as have the sciences. You had to be a qualified astrologer to practise medicine 300 years ago. It wasn't enough to prescribe a medicine it would have had to be administered e.g. while Venus was rising. Medicine has come a long way, so has astrology. You appear not to have caught up with that. If you want to know what Chinese medicine is all about, don't ask your GP, ask a Chinese doctor. Similarly if you want to know what astrology is about, don't consult a western dictionary ask an astrologer. Otherwise you'll be misled by your own self-fulfilling prophecy.
your rabid insistence on harping back to it and other ancient divination techniques and primitive nonsense puts you in the same camp as wizards and priests.
I suggest you stop ranting and actually examine what I'm really saying. I claim the sea and air are one interacting and interfacing system, there is no vacuum gap separating them, they are joined at the hip. As such, both are subject to lunar gravitational forcing. This forcing is regular and cyclic. Therefore it can be temporally measured. It is pure logical commonsense. Weather balloons float higher on new and full moons, because there is a kingtide in the air at the same time as in the sea. That is modern empirical science, not 'ancient primitive divination nonsense' as you like to call it.
the Moon's gravity does not cause noticeable tidal forces in the human body. A 1kg melon held one metre above your head produces 200 times as much tidal effect in your body as does the Moon. Other people, buildings etc. would completely swamp any gravitational affect the Moon, planets or stars have.
Incorrect. You are thinking along the lines of the schoolboy physics model of gravitation of an apple falling from a tree. But imagine a moving tree and a moving ground and the picture changes. That's what happens between Sun, Moon and Earth and everything on Sun, Moon and Earth (which includes on sea and air), which was astrologically what Newton was really saying, but he was misinterpreted then and since. It eventually took an Einstein to understand and rewrite it and rename it.
No, wait a minute, that's you isn't it that sells the books?
No, its the shops and the publisher. Most authors have to have other sources of income. The actual book-buying population is very small and shrinking all the time, as the internet expands.
Sure this debate may cause me to lose a few potential clients and I'll sell a few less books
Ah, a lot clearer now. The reason for this website is to promote your books, and kicking my name around is your idea of a drawcard?
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 19 Oct, 2009
Ken, after just admitting that you have indeed publicly named people that have criticised you, such as Bill Keir and Gareth Renowden, you immediately turn around and try to deny it: 'I challenge you to find any website with someone's name on it that I have written, apart from...' . That reminds me of the joke from Monty Python's 'Life of Brian', which I'll paraphrase: 'What have the Romans ever done for us? I mean, apart from the roads, sanitation, education, law and order, wine, irrigation, medicine and the aqueducts, what have the bloody Romans ever done for us?'
You say that you can legitimately criticise Al Gore because he handles taxpayer-funds. Only Americans can argue this. You have not paid a cent in taxes to Al Gore. However, if by paying money to someone does allow you to challenge their views, then since I have 'foolishly' spent money on your products and services then I can criticise you. I 'own' you. Since you have some of my money, I want to see some value, and so far I believe you are wasting my investment.
You say that your publisher's renamed your books 'KEN RING's Predict Weather Almanac'. Obviously they know what you seem not to grasp, that your weather forecasting method is most easily identified in the public mind with the name 'Ken Ring'. Since you can't understand the difference between 'the weather prediction method promoted by Ken Ring' and 'Ken Ring the person', are you now fearful that purchasers of your book might believe they have actually purchased you rather than just your weather predictions? One way I could prove to you that I'm not picking on you personally would be for you to hand your business on to one of your assistants. You would then find that my criticisms would be directed at 'JOE BLOGGS's Predict Weather Almanac'.
As for astrology, look Ken, no one cares that a doctor might have believed in astrology 300 years ago. 3000 years ago they might have believed in the Sun god Ra. It appears it is actually you who have not caught up with all the changes that have happened over the centuries. Stop living in the past. We've realised that all that stuff was superstitious nonsense, it's time you did too.
You say that if I 'want to know what astrology is about, don't consult a western dictionary ask an astrologer'. I could equally say that if you want to know about weather forecasting, don't ask an astrologer like Ken Ring, ask a meteorologist. And what's this derogatory rubbish about 'western' dictionaries? Is this similar to people deriding 'western' science in favour of 'eastern' science? Science is science, there are no western and eastern or southern versions. If science works, it works the same everywhere. Do you believe there is 'western' gravity and 'eastern' gravity? You reject a typical and well accepted definition of astrology, in both the West and East I might add, and yet still won't tell us what astrology means to you. I clearly asked you to 'define exactly what you understand astrology to mean, how it differs from astronomy and science in general and how and why it differs from that pushed by your brethren in the Woman's Weekly.' You claim to be a published expert in this field, so why won't you explain to us what astrology is in the 21st century and why you still believe in it.
While you're at it, why is it that you can read something into Newton's work on gravity that the entire scientific community can't, both West and East? You even go on to arrogantly imply that Einstein had no original thoughts, no genius except, like you, of being able to understand that when Newton said one thing he actually meant something else? And please try something better than 'imagine a moving tree' and 'which was astrologically what Newton was saying'. Simply putting the words 'astrologically' and 'Newton' in the same sentence explains nothing.
As for the sea and air having no vacuum gap between them, why do you mischievously imply that scientists have ever claimed that they thought there was? Scientists know that the land, sea and atmosphere are all acted on by gravity. That's why we still have an atmosphere, because gravity is holding on to it. The question is not whether gravity, from the Earth, Sun and Moon, acts on the atmosphere, it is whether this influence causes the weather. You claim it does, yet there is no good evidence of this. It is no use falling back on 'pure logical commonsense'. Common sense is often not logical and often leads us completely astray as to how the universe works. Common sense suggests that the world is flat, that the Sun revolves around the Earth and that time is absolute. For most of history common sense insisted that gods influenced the weather. You have merely replaced one flawed idea with another, that gravity from the cosmos acting astrologically causes the weather.
And what's this crap that you don't sell your books. The only time I've seen you on TV this year, on the infomercial show Sunrise, you were shamelessly plugging your book, mentioning it by name and continually holding it up to the camera even though you weren't asked to. On the bright side it is good to hear that your book buying population is shrinking, and it's becoming more internet based. At least on the internet potential purchasers will have a chance to consider your claims alongside the claims of myself and others and make an informed choice whether to purchase.
As for your epiphany that my criticism of your silly beliefs is solely to promote my own books by publicly ridiculing you, obviously sarcasm, like science, is not your strong point either. I don't have any books or product of any description to sell, which you would know if you had read our article as you claim. I was suggesting that the only person that might suffer desperation in this debate was the person that might be losing book sales as a result of it. That would be you. All we try and offer on our website is enlightenment from superstition. And it's all free. And I must say that your comments have encouraged me to add more of your erroneous claims to our article, such as Alpha Centauri being in Andromeda and the Dogon tribe precision mapping the Sirius star system. Every little bit helps people understand your claims better and judge your standard of research and comprehension of science and history, so thanks.
Comment by Brian, 07 Dec, 2009
Hello Silly Beliefs. I must compliment you on a great article, truly very thorough. You may be aware that Ken has been very actively publicising himself in Ireland this year and is about to come out with a book for 2010. As Erick Brenstrum, yourselves and others have pointed out, his forecasts, the ones he sells on his website for 89 euros, consist of simply going back in time 18 years and 10 days and recycling the climate data from the closest weather station. He's been making an interesting defense of his methods over on boards.ie and has admitted that his 'method' is based on astrology, "I use the ancient astrological energy grid of the constellations, and lunar and solar cycles." (here)
He also appears to be retrospectively doctoring his forecasts. I outline it here and in subsequent posts, but briefly he made a foolish forecast predicting widespread significant snowfalls in Ireland in November which didn't come to pass, and then his forecast seemed to mysteriously change on his website, and surprise surprise, the snow forecasts disappeared to be replaced by something innocuous and meaningless.
Nevertheless, he appears to have an appeal to people's imagination. There are those who love the story of the underdog challenging the system, and Ken really plays that up, and some people are seduced by it.
Anyway, good luck, I love the site, keep up the good work.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 07 Dec, 2009
Hi Brian, thanks for your comments re Ken Ring. Yes, I'd heard that he was now peddling his silly scheme in Ireland. As you'll be aware, phrases uttered by Ring such as the 'ancient astrological energy grid of the constellations' and 'The moon answers to the sun but is also tethered to constellations' are all utter nonsense.
It's interesting that you've detected Ring retrospectively doctoring his forecasts. As he moves more to the Internet I suspect we will see more of this, since he doesn't seem to be aware that editing web pages doesn't always remove all traces of your previous efforts. I also agree that many people are attracted to the underdog and gravitate to anyone that challenges authority, whether they have a good argument, or in Ring's case, are one step away from the lunatic asylum.
The next time Ring is in Ireland, feel free to keep him.
Comment by Ken Ring, 09 Dec, 2009
I did ask for someone to tell me if it snowed anywhere in November in Northern Ireland as I suggested there was the potential to do, (On my website I had- and still have) "Chances of snow in Tipperary are in the last few days of November" and "Meath may get flurries mid and in the last week of November," and forecasts usually take in about an 80 mile radius of potential, both in my more detailed forecast and the altered briefer version, briefer because of space, but not changed. I had virtually said for in November, chance of odd falls of snow in parts of the north, and rain for the rest of the country. "Octo" who calls himself a professional meteorologist, posted there was no snow anywhere, just rain. I wanted that verified by others because I found that hard to believe as I was sure that it would have been cold enough at the times I suggested. I am 14,000 miles away so am at a disadantage, and reliant on observations by others. And it has been demonstrated a la ClimateGate that meteorologists and climatologists see no problem with creating falsifications to support their case..
This was indeed borne out when 'Druiske' then posted "there was snow on high ground in the south-east on Saturday night (28 Nov). There was a covering of snow on Mt Leinster in Carlow, which was gone by Tuesday morning (1st Dec). There were reports of snow in counties Laois, kilkenny,Waterford and Kerry that same weekend, also on higher ground". "Black Friar" also posted "There was close to a foot of snow on the top of lugnaquilla mtn co wicklow in parts last week with several inches at the bottom. High ground in co wicklow had a fair splattering and theres still some around lug as I type". "Kindredsporit" also posted "There was snow on top of the Galtee Mountains in Tipperary. Don't know how deep but you could see the white caps".
So now, on this Silly Beliefs thread, Brian's claim "a foolish forecast predicting widespread significant snowfalls in Ireland in November which didn't come to pass" is completely incorrect and mischievous. I never did say widespread significant snowfalls. I said widespread and significant rain, and there was, leading to flooding in many places. I said snow in the north, which there was.
The thing is, winter full moons have the moon's position far to the north, which generate north winds and colder temperatures. Winter new moons in the south associated with apogees or perigees are also cold breeders and these bring rain and snow depending on latitude. The next snow potential periods in Ireland are Dec 15-16, Dec 27-Jan 6, Jan 16-17, 23-25.
"54321" has posted "To be fair Ken Ring has had very good results since i started following his predictions earlier this year. What he said about the month of December seems to be turning out true as well just looking at the various pressure charts discussed on other threads".
So yes, I seem to be fairly well received in Ireland, maybe because what I am saying is something people can find helpful.
Comment by Johnny, 14 Dec, 2009
Sorry "SillyGuys.com" it looks like Mr Ring has done it again...!
In the midst of the wettest period of weather in Ireland for over 40 years Mr Ring was invited onto the national airwaves to offer his prediction for the next few months, to see if he could offer any respite and hope to an ailing nation. And guess what ... on the 2nd of December, on a national radio station, he predicted that the weather in Ireland would moderate and settle on the 11th of December and remain so up to and including the Christmas period. Once again his opinions on the upcoming weather were met with scepticism and derision from the learned classes. But would you believe it... the rain which had poured incessantly for 3 months and gave no indications that it would cease, stopped on the morning of the 12th of December and not a drop since, furhter more the forecast from the national weather forecast station (www.meteireann.ie) is for a prolonged period of dry and cold weather. No more rain on the horizon, who would have thought...!!!
Well done Mr Ring and you are welcome in Ireland anytime....!
Comment by Leon, 19 Dec, 2009
Holycrap! Talk about persecution!
What is wrong with you and your silly beliefs team John, are you so jealous of Ken Ring, perhaps
scared that Ring may be right and a pseudoscience may actually hold some factual scientific credence? Boy are you over zealous in condemning this man and his ancient theories. Perhaps he's a wizard, or worse still a weather witch doctor who should be burnt at the stake. Relax, like astrologers, he is also an entertainer (ex-clown) who has the uncanny ability to draw on his intelligence to speak with some (arguably, from your standpoint) authority about the weather, and low and behold, how is this possible, predict climate and weather patterns well in advance, with substantial success. Call it luck, or call it a gift, but get off the guys back.
For me, Ken Ring has well in advance warned us about 'Climategate' (man-made global warming-yeah right!) and now the cats out of the bag with Copenhagen, and the greedy Maurice Strong and Ben Santa etc being shown as the tyrants they are. Ken Ring is alike Lord Monkton, someone who speaks sense about climate change and explains it in a sensible way, that any person can understand.
Ken has my vote, ok some of his facts on history may be incorrect, and the moon is a satellite of the earth (double planet perhaps?) however, no one's perfect. This climate debate is possibly the biggest global issue man has faced for years, so I don't really care that Ken predicts rain for a town on a date six months in advance incorrectly because it actually rains two days later. Get off your high horse and go for a walk to let off some steam. Ken will no doubt continue to entertain and inform us, who will listen.
Footnote: I couldn't care less if you don't reply to my comment, because reading former comments in your forum, anyone who says something positive about Ken Ring is considered the village idiot and they too should be burnt at the stake!
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 20 Dec, 2009
Yes, you've found us out Leon. We are jealous of Ken, of his reputation of being a crank and of his spooky ability to be able to discern the future by reading the paws of cats. We lie awake at night, scared that he might be right and that it just might snow in Queenstown on June 10th 2010. We also fear that three stars in the Andromeda galaxy are conspiring with the planet Jupiter to bring forth rain on our planned Xmas barbecue.
You say you've listened to Ken speak intelligently and authoritatively on his ancient theories, and yet you apparently still don't understand how he claims to predict the weather. You say it's either due to 'luck' or 'a gift', yet Ring would disagree and say it is neither. He would claim that his predictions are based on solid astrological cycles and influences. Nothing to do with luck or some mysterious gift, so obviously his explanatory talks are not as clear and instructive as you believed.
You claim that he is able to 'predict climate and weather patterns well in advance, with substantial success'. Perhaps you should produce your proof of this, since Mr Ring has been unable to demonstrate the efficacy of his system to anyone that matters, hence the reason he still runs his scam from his house rather than being a wealthy, respected consultant to the nation's weather bureaus. Of course Ring will get some predictions correct since he sources and reuses old weather predictions, and people remember those that he got right and forget those that he didn't. Also people are only interested in the area that they live and never check to see if he made correct predictions for other parts of the country or the world. This is no different to believers in psychics, which includes Ken Ring, who are completely overawed by the one or two correct guesses that the psychic makes and are completely oblivious to the mountain of predictions that were wrong.
You claim that 'like astrologers, he is also an entertainer'. I suspect that here you are implying that as an entertainer what he does is harmless and we should leave him alone and not criticise him for making mistakes. I disagree. Comedians, singers and magicians are entertainers, the likes of astrologers, psychics and ex-clowns using astrology to predict the weather are not. No one pays good money to an astrologer to be entertained, just as no one pays a doctor or lawyer to be entertained. They are paying for a service, for information that they believe to be factual and helpful. No one would trust a doctor or lawyer who mislead their clients about their university education and based their medical or legal advice on centuries old "knowledge", much of which is now demonstrably wrong. Indeed, if doctors and lawyers such as these were operating in our community, the public would demand that their silly practices were exposed. So why does the public demand a high standard of accountability from doctors, lawyers, engineers etc and yet are willing to let people like Ring and psychics and crystal healers offer a service with no need to prove it actually works? Until these charlatans prove to the world that what they do is anything other than a money making scam, then they leave themselves open to challenges from skeptical, intelligent people. Rather than writing to us and pleading that we leave Mr Ring alone, just as believers in psychics also do with their heroes, we suggest you plead with Ring to produce scientific evidence that his method works. We expect scientists to demonstrate that cell phones, drugs, genetic engineering and new aircraft are safe, why don't you ask the same from Ken Ring?
Also the climate change debate and Ring's weather prediction service are separate issues. If you read Ring's discussions with reputable climate scientists concerning climate change, you will find that Ring never brings up the astrological nonsense that forms the basis of his weather predictions. Ring is simply parroting the doubts of skeptical scientists and is normally careful to hide exactly what methods he uses to analyse weather patterns. Even you agree that some of his historical and scientific 'facts' are wrong and you state that you don't care if is predictions for rain are incorrect. In other words, you appear to be promoting Ring solely because he is a climate change denier. We on the other hand are challenging Ring on his astrological weather predictions, not on the debate surrounding climate change. However, that said, his belief in astrology, psychics and other nonsense does reduce his credibility and if he has chosen the correct side in the climate debate, then I suspect it was just luck, guided by his bias against an authority critical of him, and certainly not his scientific knowledge. Ken Ring may be able to explain climate change in a way that you can understand it, just as parents can explain Santa Claus to small children, but that doesn't mean their explanations are correct. Deciding on climate change based on what Ken Ring says is like asking the pope if God exists.
You also do us a disservice by implying that we are similar to the Christian inquisitions and witch trials and wish harm on Mr Ring or his followers. We feel no ill will to Mr Ring personally nor do we wish any harm to befall him. We are merely expressing a reasoned opinion on claims that he makes regarding a service he is selling to the public, and we will let the public decide. You no doubt believe that the public needs to be informed on little known facts about climate change, we believe likewise regarding Ring's weather prediction claims. Furthermore, we don't believe that burning the village idiot at the stake helps them see the error of their ways, and it would also seriously impact on one's carbon footprint. We prefer new radical techniques, like education in science and skeptical thinking.
Comment by Ken Ring, 22 Dec, 2009
"hence the reason he still run's his scam from his house rather than being a wealthy, respected consultant to the nation's weather bureaus." (the nation's weather bureaus make more money when they are wrong, because then they qualify for further grants. I wish to be correct, which is why I get no funding. No one is going to fund someone who is achieving success without funding. Besides, are we talking about government-paid scientists? those who have been shown to be the ones who have cooked the books and fiddled the figures to "prove" global warming so they could qualify for massive funding? I have no desire to be peer-reviewed by frauds and liars. What would that achieve? That would put me on the same level as they. I try to deal in science, not made-up numbers that will fit on a graph to prove a theory. I only use raw data. The nation's weather bureaus seem to run on politics, not real science)
"his spooky ability to be able to discern the future by reading the paws of cats". (I never claim that, that's very funny)
"three stars in the Andromeda galaxy are conspiring with the planet Jupiter to bring forth rain on our planned Xmas barbecue". (I never claim that either, it's just as silly)
"He would claim that his predictions are based on solid astrological cycles and influences" (I never claim that. My predictions are based on moon and sun positions, pure astronomy, and astronomical relationships. These constituted the original astronomy which was the common ancestor with a science then called astrology, bearing little or no relationship with present-day astrology)
"Mr Ring has been unable to demonstrate the efficacy of his system to anyone that matters" (so farmers don't matter, the rural population of Ireland don't matter, the largest TV channel in Australia doesn't matter, and NZ and Australian farmers and fishermen, those who interview me and employ me for columns don't matter, in short only YOU matter? So are you royalty now?)
"This is no different to believers in psychics, which includes Ken Ring" (I never claim that I am a psychic)
"we suggest you plead with Ring to produce scientific evidence that his method works" (it's a bit obvious from posts here that the method works, you might want to read them again)
"Ring is simply parroting the doubts of skeptical scientists" (I don't think so. My website is the longest running skeptical website in either NZ or Australia. I have been writing on the nonsense of global warming since my first website went to air in 1996. Rather, it is more that they have been quoting me)
"(Ring)is normally careful to hide exactly what methods he uses to analyse weather patterns" (Well, I do not have just one method, anymore than there is just one way to get to Hamilton from Auckland. For instance, I use ingress charts for seasons, as do most Asian, Indian and east European longrange forecasters. It is neither a secret nor is any method ever exact)
"his belief in astrology, psychics and other nonsense does reduce his credibility" (your made-up stuff again, not my beliefs)
"we will let the public decide" (I think not. You call yourself the only intelligent and reasoned voice on the matter, and anyone who goes along with what I say is misguided, illinformed, gullible and throwing good money away. You believe they have to be told they are being ripped off, they cannot for themselves decide whether or not what I do is helpful and worth their investment)
"We prefer new radical techniques, like education in science and skeptical thinking." ( I think not. Mine is relatively new, you yourself call them radical. Meteorology is not a science, except the science of applying for funding, for travelling business and 1st Class on junkets to climate conferences, and the science of getting most forecasts incorrect more than two days out - by their own admissions. Skeptical thinking goes both ways, but I don't see much on this forum re the claims of meteorologists and climatologists that support and continue the huge AGW left-wing deception that is currently poised to successfully fiscally wreck the economies of countries of the western world, and keep the underdeveloped countries at starvation levels, all in the name of protecting the environment. Easier to go after the little guy than tackle these dire and bigger issues)
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 23 Dec, 2009
Ken, you may have deluded yourself that governments and taxpayers are conspiring against you and only fund enterprises whose ideas are wrong and/or are producing worthless products, but no intelligent person believes this. We don't pour millions into drug companies and medical research because they have a record of being wrong. You say that government-paid scientists are 'frauds and liars', and yet you willing admit that you obtain old weather data including isobaric maps, rainfall levels, temperatures, frost reading etc that were collected by these 'frauds and liars' for use in your predictions. Do you not see a problem here?
As for cats and predicting the future, have you forgotten that you wrote a book on palmistry for cats? Palmistry is the bogus practice of discerning future events. I'm not saying that you use this skill to predict the weather, merely that you claim to have this ability, or are you now saying that that book was all a lie, a rip-off for a gullible public? Also, I said that you 'believe' in psychics, not that you are psychic. This is based on your comments about attending psychic readings.
Concerning my facetious comment re distant stars and Jupiter raining on my barbecue, you deny that you claim these things impact on weather. Yet it is you Ken that utter such phrases as the 'ancient astrological energy grid of the constellations' and 'The moon answers to the sun but is also tethered to constellations'. You are claiming that every single object in the universe has an impact on your 'astrological energy grid' and can therefore affect the moon and our weather. You can't ignore Jupiter for example and yet worry about far more distance stars in constellations that often have no connection to each apart from myths. This is the typical ignorance of the ancient astrologer speaking.
Regarding astrology, ancient astrology was never a science, and is actually little different from modern astrology. You now seemingly want to deny astrological cycles and influences and yet your material is littered with references to them: 'I use the ancient astrological energy grid of the constellations' and 'Astrologer Sir Isaac Newton ... wrote his Principiia about gravitation in astrological physics' and 'Cancer typically brings downpours [and] the Moon will be in Pisces, a wet sign'. You want to have a foot in both camps, in science and in superstition, yet no 'pure' astronomy book will mention astrological energy grids or astrological physics or Pisces being a wet sign. If the 'astrology' you use is actually 'pure astronomy', then why do you keep trying to differentiate your astrology with 'Women's Weekly' astrology? Just call it astronomy and don't keep mentioning astrology. But we both know that you do mean astrology and not astronomy. The only difference between your astrology and that in the 'Women's Weekly' is that you predict rain and snow and they predict financial woes and tall dark strangers.
No, people such as farmers and fishermen and the largest TV channel in Australia do not matter when it comes to demonstrating whether there is good proof that something works. They only matter when one is trying to sell a product. The fact that the Pope has millions of supporters doesn't make him and his claims any less delusional. Millions of gullible supporters can't sway reason and evidence, and likewise neither can your small band of disciples. I've tried several times to get this point across to you, that counting up your disciples only proves their gullibility, nothing else. Do the millions who believe in Santa Claus make him real? When scientists want to know if a drug is safe and effective, they don't just ask a few sick people if they would buy it. You seem to have no idea on how experimental proof of an idea or method is reached. You don't just count the people that are prepared to buy your product. And if we took notice of Australian TV channels then 'Home and Away' and repeats of 'Neighbours' would flood our primetime TV.
And again, someone in this forum saying that your method works, that is, one of your predictions matched the actual weather, is not scientific evidence. Have you not heard of coincidence and blind luck? Please read up on the scientific method. It is not based on opinion.
Regarding climate change and skeptical scientists, as you've already said, government-paid scientists are 'frauds and liars' and that you 'try to deal in science, not made-up numbers' and that you 'only use raw data'. So are you telling us that you obtained your own raw data on climate change? Have you drilled out ice core samples from Greenland and analysed their gaseous composition, have you recorded temperatures and sea level rise worldwide, have you measured and analysed solar radiation, have you measured atmospheric CO2 and methane concentrations worldwide and launched your own satellites to photograph changing ice coverage in the Arctic and Antarctic? Every argument I have seen you use has relied on data and analyses obtained by real scientists and simply repeats their conclusions. To claim that these scientists are coming to you for their data and quotes is extremely arrogant and patently false.
You claim that you do not believe 'in astrology, psychics and other nonsense', yet mention of them can be found in your public comments, especially astrology. You may not believe they are nonsense, but rational people do not write serious books on palmistry for cats and other ancient divination techniques.
I say we will let the public decide whose view is correct, yours or mine, and you reply, 'I think not.' So you're going to tell them what to believe? You then go on to say that I insist the public can't decide for themselves, when I clearly say they can. Perhaps what you misunderstand is that I believe the public needs to have information from both sides of a debate to make an informed decision. What you seemingly want is that the public only gets to hear your claims, and makes a decision from this and only this. Anyone that fears and tries to suppress opposing views, worried that their potential customers might decide the 'wrong' way, needs to improve their arguments.
It seems that like Leon, you also can't see that your long-range weather predictions and the debate over climate change are separate issues. Our essay looks at your weather prediction claims, not climate change. Don't change the subject. There are untold fortunes being spent on debating climate change, as you acknowledge, so an extra voice is hardly needed. However there are relatively few people debating your weather prediction method, so we are merely fulfilling a public need. I agree that you are just small fry on the scheme of things, but then so are those that you target, and so of course are we, so playing the sympathy card won't work. If I was to have sympathy for anyone, it would be for those three people that wasted good money on buying your book as a Xmas present.
Comment by Ken Ring, 24 Dec, 2009
"You say that government-paid scientists are 'frauds and liars', and yet you willing admit that you obtain old weather data including isobaric maps, rainfall levels, temperatures, frost reading etc that were collected by these 'frauds and liars' for use in your predictions. Do you not see a problem here?"
Sure, they have only become fraudulent latterly, to get the funding with the global warming gravy train. The data I use is from the 1930s onwards. They were reliable then and were responsible scientists. I have no problem with collecting that data. Nowadays the data is collected mechanically, but is not obtainable from some metservices who do not want the public to see that there has been no warming trend. Well, that is not science as I know it.
"have you forgotten that you wrote a book on palmistry for cats?"
No I haven't forgotten, it was about 15 years ago. You keep on and on about that, as if it was last week. Presumably because you have no other good argument. So what if I wrote that, which I did to make people aware of the pitfalls of New Age literature? Everyone treated the book in the spirit it was destined for. Only you have missed the point. I suppose you also think that cats can paint. I have never said that one can use the paws of a cat to predict the weather. That's your fantasy and it really is terribly funny and terribly sad for you.
"I said that you 'believe' in psychics, not that you are psychic. This is based on your comments about attending psychic readings".
Rubbish. I neither believe in psychics nor have attended psychic readings. There is a difference between psychic entertainment and psychic readings. One is a send-up of matters psychic but in a magical and semi-serious setting, which no one takes seriously, and the other is a ploy to get money from desperate and bereft people.
"You are claiming that every single object in the universe has an impact on your 'astrological energy grid' and can therefore affect the moon and our weather."
Oh dear. More rubbish. I never said anything of the sort nor do I believe it. At least if you are criticising my ideas please get correct what I claim. Every single object?? Ha ha.
"why do you keep trying to differentiate your astrology with 'Women's Weekly' astrology?"
The old tradition is not astronomy of today or I would use that expression. But the ancient astrology is the closest I can get to my idea of astrology. In the same way, medicine of today is not the medicine of yesteryear even though the word is common. But things change and evolve and move away whilst retaining the same word. It s the same differentiation.
"To claim that these scientists are coming to you for their data and quotes is extremely arrogant and patently false".
According to - whom? NIWA and NZ Metservice claim that no one can go more than a few days ahead in forecasting, let alone several months. That's what Jim Salinger said about me on the Sunday programme TV1 in October 2008. But they put out 3-month reports and longer, for instance in October what the cyclone season, November-April will bring. They did it on October 20, just after my almanac hit the shop shelves. Three months takes them to 20 January, not even halfway through the cyclone season. My access log is full of visitations from metnet and niwa.co.nz, regularly about every 7-10 days. Go figure.
"I say we will let the public decide whose view is correct, yours or mine, and you reply, 'I think not.' "
Yes, I meant that YOU are unwilling to let the public decide, because you have set yourself up as their adviser.
"Our essay looks at your weather prediction claims, not climate change. Don't change the subject".
I'm afraid the two are linked, despite your protestations about discussing it. If climate change was happening then my work would be increasingly incorrect. The fact that we are discussing it is because some have found that my method works for them and it seems you can't stand to hear that, because you have been self-nominated to speak for everybody, you, the guru of intellect and good science. You think that a silly belief is by definition anything you disagree with, which says more about your personality than science and has nothing to do with the work I am doing. If you were truly trying to help people then you would also recognise someone else who was trying to do likewise and encourage that, not try to bring them down because they are not operating within your narrow view of the world. I give away more forecasting than I get paid for. I donate books to events for raffles, columns to magazines free and I have set up my online transaction system to give part proceeds to the local surf patrol. You have said I am not wealthy. That is true, profit goes back to buying data for more research. If I sought wealth then longrange forecasting is the last thing I would consider devoting my time to.
"However there are relatively few people debating your weather prediction method, so we are merely fulfilling a public need".
No, we haven't even begun debating my methods, because you don't even recognise the old astrology for what it is and does. You can't see past cats paws, divination, predicting financial woes and tall dark strangers. All of your posts are about how silly people are for buying anything from me. You keep inventing different ways to warn them of catastrophe if they subscribe to my system and somehow you call that scientific debate.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 26 Dec, 2009
Sorry Ken, but we don't buy this silly conspiracy theorist idea that all government-paid scientists have suddenly decided that getting their departmental bosses more money, and not them personally, is what now drives them, and not the quest for knowledge. That thousands of scientists are now happy to waste their days working on what they know is a lie. You seemingly aren't prepared to obediently follow the view of some foreign government, yet you claim to know that every government scientist, politician, plus government admin staff are all willing to live a lie, even thought they know that their silence will cost them and their children and grandchildren as taxpayers a fortune. No sane person wants global warming to be true, so no sane, ethical person would conspire to keep the secret of its falsehood when they personally had nothing to gain and much to lose. Any scientist able to prove that global warming was a fraud would win the Nobel Prize, wealth and a place in history, likewise any employee that exposed the conspiracy would gain instant fame and wealth. Your belief that your morals soar above these immoral, corrupt, fraudulent, lying scientists and all their support staff is a fantasy.
Regarding your book on palmistry for cats, it appears that you are indeed now trying to distance yourself from it, claiming that it was all just a joke on silly New Age believers, and that they were happy with you making fun of their beliefs. I also clearly said that I don't believe that you use cats to predict the weather. Believing that I did is in fact your fantasy. I mention your book to highlight to other readers your claimed belief in such silly things as numerology, astrology, graphology, phrenology and psychic influences. You now say you don't believe in these things and people shouldn't have taken you seriously. In a few years are you going to say the same thing about your weather prediction books?
Psychic entertainment? There is no such thing. You are perhaps confusing the tricks stage magicians perform with psychics. If psychics are involved then so are psychic readings, whether you pay for them or not. People watch magicians to be entertained, they listen to psychics to be informed. You said that you discovered palmistry for cats at a psychic party and in your subsequent book you claimed to explore psychic influences. Are these more lies just to sell your books?
Regarding my suggestion that every object in the universe affects the weather, this is based on your astrological ideas. You have claimed that 'The moon ... is also tethered to constellations' and that 'I use the ancient astrological energy grid of the constellations'. Your hero Sir Isaac Newton, who you said 'wrote his Principiia about gravitation in astrological physics', also said that every material object in the universe affects every other object through gravitation. So why do you believe that distant stars in a completely arbitrary constellation can affect the weather, but other stars can't, even stars that might be much closer? So who is right, you or Sir Isaac Newton? Do you have a list of which stars and constellations are playing around with our moon and hence our weather, and those which are ignoring us completely?
What an utterly bogus and confused argument is your analogy on astrology and medicine. You say that medicine has changed and evolved over the centuries but we still call it medicine, and yet you also say that astrology has changed and evolved so much that we now call it astronomy instead. That isn't an analogy, it's the complete opposite. You claim that 'ancient astrology is the closest I can get to my idea of astrology', and yet ancient astrology is exactly what we see in the 'Women's Weekly'. In a previous comment you stated that 'My predictions are based on ... pure astronomy', and yet you now contradict yourself by asserting that you use ancient astrology which is not the same as astronomy of today. All you want to do is fool the general public into believing that the superstitious nonsense you call ancient astrology is just modern astronomy by another name. It's like a healer claiming that saying a prayer over a patient is just the same as giving antibiotics.
I stated that regarding the climate change debate, you are simply parroting the doubts of skeptical scientists rather than providing the raw data, research and scientific analyses yourself, and yet you replied: 'I don't think so. I have been writing on the nonsense of global warming since ... 1996. Rather, it is more that they have been quoting me.' My response was that to claim that scientists were coming to you for their data and quotes is extremely arrogant and patently false. I stand by that comment, and wonder why you aren't taking these scientists to court for stealing your ideas and data, since none seem to mention you as their source.
Regarding your prediction methods, we are perfectly happy to let the public decide once they have been made fully aware of both sides of the debate. That is the only way you can make an informed decision, otherwise it is just a random stab in the dark. And the definition of an adviser as you call us, is one who offers advice, not one who dictates. Our website is the only avenue we use to inform the public of our views. Unlike you we do not travel the country and the world, speaking on TV and radio, writing articles for magazines and speaking to various groups all with the intent of swaying their view of your methods. It seems that on the scale of things, it is you that are unwilling to let the public decide on their own.
I agree that weather prediction and climate change are linked, just as cancer and life insurance are linked, but biomedical scientists usually limit their research to the physiology of cancer, even though cancer impacts on life expectancies and insurance premiums. Likewise we wish to limit our critique to your weather prediction claims, which stand on their own. You and others however wish to set your weather prediction claims aside and discuss climate change instead. Yes the climate change debate is important, as is debate about genetic engineering, euthanasia and the Maori flag, but there is a time and place for each debate. We are challenging your weather prediction method, and regardless of whether you think climate change is more important, that is what we intend to stick to. When and if we create a page looking at your climate change views, we will let you know.
Regarding our website, you write that 'You think that a silly belief is by definition anything you disagree with'. You just made that up didn't you, to make us sound arrogant and authoritarian? Nowhere do we make or imply such a claim. We would actually say that a silly belief is one for which there is no good evidence, and often much contrary evidence. Especially a belief based on superstition and supposedly explained by recourse to the supernatural, paranormal and/or pseudoscience. Examples would be gods, ghosts, psychics, alien abductions and astrology.
You go on to accuse us of being 'self-nominated to speak for everybody, you, the guru of intellect and good science', but this is simply your annoyed view of us. We speak for no one but ourselves, and are certainly not gurus, although we would like to think we reflect good science. We have simply decided to speak out on certain topics that we believe the public are being mislead on, hoodwinked into trusting certain authorities seduced by power, greed and/or their own selfish interests, or by following others, that whilst often working with the best of intentions, are led by ignorance. When we speak out against something we see as wrong, you insult us and tell us to desist. Yet when you speak out against something you see as wrong, you see yourself as 'truly trying to help people', as doing the noble thing. Whether climate change is real or not, the majority of supporters are trying to do the right thing, and yet you are trying to 'bring them down because they are not operating within your narrow view of the world'. You are doing exactly what you accuse us of. You're little different than the Catholic Church of the inquisitions. Support their beliefs and you'll be fondled lovingly by priests, but criticise them and you'll receive a visit from inquisitors carrying hot pokers. Like you, they felt it just and right that they should spread their views around the world, and also like you, they felt opposing views must be silenced.
You say that there is no debate since we 'don't even recognise the old astrology for what it is and does.' Of course we recognise 'old astrology' for exactly what it is, and the fact that we are revealing this inconvenient truth to the public greatly annoys you. You simply continue to muddy the waters by claiming that your old astrology is 'pure astronomy' but not to be confused with modern astronomy, it's astrology but not to be confused with modern astrology, it's ancient astrology but shouldn't be confused with the original astrology that gave us modern astrology. I've already asked you to define exactly what you understand astrology to mean, how it differs from astronomy and science in general and how and why it differs from that pushed by your brethren in the Woman's Weekly. You have ignored this request for an explanation, and without it we can only understand astrology based on the views of academics and from what we can glean from your vague statements. If we truly don't understand your old or ancient astrology, then you only have yourself to blame. Also what a joke it is to mention a 'belief in astrology' and 'scientific debate' in the same paragraph. That's a little like the moron I once encountered who called himself a Christian atheist.
And what are you talking about when you say we are warning your potential clients of catastrophe if they believe in you? Do you make these things up yourself or have you got a malfunctioning toaster helping you? The worse thing that could happen is that they will be reducing their bank balance with nothing of value to show for it.
Comment by Ken Ring, 27 Dec, 2009
"Any scientist able to prove that global warming was a fraud would win the Nobel Prize.".
Quite the opposite actually, the Nobel Prize industry is about politics, mostly European and UN. Why else would Yasser Arafat, the worst terrorist in history get it, Henry Kissinger the arms dealer, Al Gore the biggest liar, and Barrack Obama, who not only hasn't done anything but was nominated for it even before he was elected?
"Regarding your book on palmistry for cats, it appears that you are indeed now trying to distance yourself from it, claiming that it was all just a joke on silly New Age believers".
I never said that. The reason for writing it was outlined at the time. But if, as you claim, it was a joke on New Age believers, isn't that par for your course?
"Psychic entertainment? There is no such thing".
You are out of touch with what you criticise so unkindly. Psychic entertainers such as Uri Geller, Kweskin, Doc Hilford and James Randi are legendary in the international entertainment world. You deny their very existence?
"You said that you discovered palmistry for cats at a psychic party and in your subsequent book you claimed to explore psychic influences".
None of that is true, sorry.
"Regarding my suggestion that every object in the universe affects the weather, this is based on your astrological ideas".
It can't be, it's not what I believe.
"Your hero Sir Isaac Newton, who you said 'wrote his Principiia about gravitation in astrological physics', also said that every material object in the universe affects every other object through gravitation".
Perhaps, I wouldn't know, you'd have to ask him what he meant.
"So why do you believe that distant stars in a completely arbitrary constellation can affect the weather, but other stars can't, even stars that might be much closer?"
How many times do I have to repeat this? I don't believe that. It's not what astrology is about and it is simply rubbish.
"You also say that astrology has changed and evolved so much that we now call it astronomy instead".
That's essentially correct.
"You claim that 'ancient astrology is the closest I can get to my idea of astrology',"
That's also correct.
"..and yet ancient astrology is exactly what we see in the 'Women's Weekly'."
No, you couldn't be more wrong. You need to study the subject, more than at a knee-jerk level.
"In a previous comment you stated that 'My predictions are based on ... pure astronomy',"
"..and yet you now contradict yourself by asserting that you use ancient astrology which is not the same as astronomy of today."
Yes, you seem to have a cognitive block understanding this difference.
"All you want to do is fool the general public into believing that the superstitious nonsense you call ancient astrology is just modern astronomy by another name".
I am not trying to fool anyone, but you are doing a pretty good job of trying to redefine astrology to suit your own narrow viewpoint. It's a fact that ancient astrology became astronomy. You are still doing your best to deny that ancient astrology is different to that carrying the name today. Look up the history of astronomy if you don't believe me.
"Regarding our website, you write that 'You think that a silly belief is by definition anything you disagree with'. You just made that up didn't you, to make us sound arrogant and authoritarian?"
Well, you do that entirely unassisted.
"We would actually say that a silly belief is .based on superstition and supposedly explained by recourse to the supernatural, paranormal and/or pseudoscience. Examples would be gods, ghosts, psychics, alien abductions and astrology".
All of those examples, as practised nowadays, may fall into the realm of belief systems. I have no experience of any of them, but would not deny anyone their belief it was their preference. I would certainly not call the belief of another, 'silly' , because the act of saying so would itself be a belief, and a silly one. I would not be that arrogant. It is one thing to call for evidence, but quite another to scorn someone who has a different idea about the world. In fact faith in science is also a belief.
"we would like to think we reflect good science".
Your idea of good science is what? Practised by whom, for example, in the current meteorological world?
"We have simply decided to speak out on certain topics that we believe the public are being mislead on, hoodwinked into trusting certain authorities seduced by power, greed and/or their own selfish interests, or by following others, that whilst often working with the best of intentions, are led by ignorance".
Aha, you must be talking about the now well-documented ClimateGate, Al Gore, Mann, Hansen, Phil Jones and his fellow climate change frauds, who comprise those scientists named in the leaked emails, like members of NIWA. Well, let's hear you speak out about it then.
"You're little different than the Catholic Church of the inquisitions. Support their beliefs and you'll be fondled lovingly by priests, but criticise them and you'll receive a visit from inquisitors carrying hot pokers. Like you, they felt it just and right that they should spread their views around the world, and also like you, they felt opposing views must be silenced".
Strange comment. Remember, I don't have a website thread about you, with your name to it, so who is being inquistorial?
"I've already asked you to define exactly what you understand astrology to mean, how it differs from astronomy and science in general and how and why it differs from that pushed by your brethren in the Woman's Weekly".
Just forget the word astrology, it is clearly too confusing for you. You seem to have no idea of what it entails. Even to an old-style astrologer, it is about 90% trigonometry. Just accept that is not what you think it is and criticise it for being.
"..have you got a malfunctioning toaster?"
Yes, I do. That's incredible, you must be psychic.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 30 Dec, 2009
Ken, regarding the Nobel prize, is there nothing major happening in the world today that doesn't involve some sort of conspiracy in your view?
Also I didn't claim your palmistry for cats book was a joke on New Agers, I said that this is what you appeared to now imply. You say you don't believe in palmistry and yet you still wrote an apparently serious book on the subject, and it is still being marketed as a serious book on New Age Web sites. You say your reason for writing it was outlined at the time, but to whom, just the publisher? I note that you still don't wish to reveal that reason to your public. You also deny you discovered palmistry for cats at a psychic party, yet this 'fact' was used to market your book which claimed to 'explore psychic influences'. These may have been a lies invented by your publisher, and maybe you didn't know, but you should have known. Ignorance is no excuse.
Yes, I do deny the existence of 'psychic entertainers' in the sense that you are implying. James Randi is a magician and Kweskin and Hilford are mentalists, none claim to be psychic. They openly admit that everything they do in their shows is a trick. These people are not entertaining by demonstrating psychic powers, but with magic tricks that merely give the appearance of psychic powers. There is a difference Ken. You refer to them as 'psychic' entertainers as if they have real psychic powers. Uri Geller on the other hand used to claim he had psychic powers, but he is a fraud. While he hasn't admitted this, he no longer claims to have psychic powers.
You've gone on about your 'astrologer' hero Isaac Newton and his work on gravity in 'astrological physics', implying that it was his work that was guiding your method, now you admit you know less about gravity than does a high school student. Regarding whether every object attracts every other object you express doubt and reply, 'Perhaps, I wouldn't know'. Have you not heard of his famous law of universal gravitation?
You claim that the belief that constellations (which are just a random group of stars) can affect the weather is just rubbish. And yet it is you that said 'The moon answers to the sun but is also tethered to constellations' ... 'I use the ancient astrological energy grid of the constellations' and 'Cancer typically brings downpours [and] the Moon will be in Pisces, a wet sign'. I agree it is just rubbish, so are you now disowning your own claims? If the effect of constellations on the weather is just rubbish, then what the hell are you talking about? Is this just New Age mumbo-jumbo to soothe your readers who are intimidated by science?
As for astrology not being about the influence of constellations, they are in fact a core component of ancient and modern astrology. The astrological effect on people is first and foremost based on the influence of the constellation one is born under, and only secondary is the effect of the sun, moon and some planets.
You go on to state that 'It's a fact that ancient astrology became astronomy. You are still doing your best to deny that ancient astrology is different to that carrying the name today.' No Ken, ancient astrology did not become astronomy. What became astronomy were merely elements of ancient astrology, observations of celestial cycles which were used in navigation and timekeeping. The core belief that celestial bodies have an influence on nature and human affairs remained in astrology and continues to define astrology, both ancient and modern. This is why we still have both astrology and astronomy today, because rational, intelligent and scientific people realised astronomy had to divorce itself from its superstitious parent to make any progress. Everything that ancient priests and astrologers discovered about the cosmos that was true is now incorporated in astronomy. Everything that they claimed that is now known to be superstitious nonsense remains as astrology. If it is true then it is found in astronomy, if it is only found in ancient astrology, then astronomy has rejected it as false. If you claim that we must apply some knowledge claim found only in ancient astrology, then you are resorting to falsehoods. You claim that 'ancient astrology is the closest I can get to my idea of astrology', and also confusingly that 'My predictions are based on ... pure astronomy'. If your method is explained by modern astronomy without recourse to ancient astrology, then why, why, why do you keep mentioning ancient astrology? Only a fool would believe that people could take separate academic courses on ancient astrology and modern astronomy and both would learn the same things. You repeatedly refuse to explain what you understand astrology to mean, even though you claim that I have no idea what it entails. Since you won't tell us we can only go by what academics such as scientists and historians tell us and by how astrologers describe their field. Seemingly none of these people know what your version of astrology is either. For you to dismiss the discussion of astrology by simply saying 'Just accept that is not what you think it is and criticise it for being', is typical of someone trying to defend a pseudoscience.
You keep telling us that, 'no, that's not what I believe'. This is a typical ploy of pseudoscience and scams, refusing to clearly say what you do believe beyond vague, ambiguous statements couched in terms that only you understand, such as 'I use the ancient astrological energy grid of the constellations'. Why don't you come clean and tell us all exactly what you do believe. And don't just say 'read my books'. I've read your books and articles and that's where I got all your vague quotes from. You will never convince us that your weather prediction method is based on good science — that which follows the scientific method and stands the test of time — unless you explain what this ancient astrology is that you claim to rely on. And it seems you can't, or are not prepared, to offer that clear explanation.
As for the definition of what a 'silly belief' is, regardless of what you think of us, you can't fairly win debates by inventing fictitious definitions and falsely attributing them to your opponent. This is called lying Ken.
Furthermore, in your attempt to criticise our definition of a silly belief, you quote us with the crucial piece about evidence deleted, and focus solely on our examples. Like you, we also would not deny anyone their beliefs, nor could we even if we wished to. However we, like all normal people, do reserve the freedom to judge different beliefs, to separate the good from the bad, the plausible from the impossible, the reasonable from the silly. You say that you would never be so arrogant as to describe someone's belief as 'silly'. I find your claim quite hypocritical and deceptive. We employ the phrase 'Silly Beliefs' as per the dictionary definition: Silly: Exhibiting a lack of wisdom or good sense; foolish, fatuous, absurd, preposterous, ridiculous, ludicrous. In your last reply alone you implied we were arrogant and authoritarian, described a belief of ours as 'simply rubbish' and our understanding as 'confused' and at 'knee-jerk level'. You call climate scientists, politicians and others 'frauds and liars' and I suspect you would call their beliefs 'so devoid of wisdom or good sense as to be laughable'. And you seriously want us to believe that you would never put a label like 'silly' on someone else's belief? Bullshit Ken! Look in the mirror.
Comment by Paul, 01 Jan, 2010
Just one thing, you mention Mr Ring failed to predict the Dec 2004 Asian Tsunami.
Tsunamis are caused by earthquakes, or by impacts, not weather, i would recommend taking that off, kinda makes you sound stupid.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 01 Jan, 2010
Actually Paul it makes Ken Ring sound stupid. I guess you aren't aware that Ring believes that not only can his method predict the weather, it can also predict earthquakes. Every month his online ezine has (or had) a section on the likelihood of earthquakes as well as rain and drizzle. After the 2004 Asian Tsunami Ring was arrogant and deceptive enough to go on the Internet and claim that he had predicted it.
[Internet forum question]: You [Ken Ring] have also posted... the reason for the  Tsunami... Yet, you made no prediction for this.
Ring pretends to be able to predict not just weather but earthquakes as well, and this example demonstrates not just another failure, but an attempt to rewrite his failed prediction in the eyes of a gullible public.
Posted by: Ken Ring 31 May 2005, 01:10 AM
[Ring]: I did. On my ezine. Exactly. What a plonker.
We provide more detail on his deception here: NZ's Moonman predicts Asian Tsunami. Exactly.
Comment by Ken Ring, 01 Jan, 2010
It seems quite incredible that I tell you what I think and then you inform me that that's not what I think, and that what I think is wrong based on what you think I think. I tried to tell you how my work links back to the original practitioners of astrology only to be told by you that it is not astrology but something else, based on what you read in the Women's Weekly. I don't know anything about psychic parties, yet you tell me I used to frequent them. I tell you about psychic entertainers, most of whom in this country belong to the magic fraternity and are known to me, from the days that I was a professional magician, and yet you try to tell me they don't exist. Psychic entertainers never do claim psychic powers, and I have never said that I believe in psychic powers, as I have had no experience of them. It even befell me several years ago to spend a day hosting James Randi and driving him around the city, and I share his views on the subject.
What you say about astrology bears very little resemblance to what an astrologer understands. There is no influence of constellations, rather the signs are only functional positions on the ecliptic. In the past these were given fancy names, because that was what people did back then, but there is a world of difference between a position exerting an influence due to its angle of application and imagining that a bunch of rocks millions of miles away can of themselves exert some power. For instance, the sun is overhead in our summer months, and in the position, or sign, of Capricorn. All of that is saying is that Capricorn means overhead. The winter sun is on the horizon in our winter months, and in the position of Cancer. All Cancer means is the horizon's position, which delivers less gravitational impact. The full moon on the other hand, is in Capricorn (overhead) when in our winter, where the summer sun occupies position, whereas the summer full moon is in Cancer, where our winter sun sits. For that reason, the fact that it is directly overhead in our hemisphere means that the full moon, due to its gravitational tidal influence is more destructive in the winter, whereas new moons are more destructive in summer time. Linking it to ocean tides is a concrete example. Perigeal full moons or new moons bring the highest tides, and pergieal full moons will be from now to April, whereas perigeal new moons will be from April to November. The highest tides of the months will be on those moon-dates. If you don't believe this go down to the beach and see for yourself. All this has nothing whatever to do with people being born when this or that is rising, meeting tall dark strangers or being a good time for romance.
That you try to link my work to that coffee table chitchat is a desperate attempt on your part to ridicule me and my work. You keep claiming that rational, intelligent and scientific people are the set that you belong to, which apparently includes people only of your belief system. Anything else is a 'silly belief' by your definition. You seem to have erected in your mind a vision of me that delights you to argue against. You keep reinventing this fictitious opponent in every posted reply. In response I keep endeavoring to point out that your image is entirely your fiction and that most of what you say I believe is incorrect. You never do seem to hear that message because in the next post you are again telling me what it is that I think and what I am supposed to believe. I'm sure if I did not respond, you would write a response anyway and subsequently write a damning reply to it.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 03 Jan, 2010
Yes Ken, we understand that you believe your work links to ancient astrology, but apart from repeating that, you won't tell us exactly what ancient astrology is. We consult encyclopaedias, dictionaries, academics and modern day astrologers for definitions and you claim they are all wrong. And since you won't enlighten us beyond vague statements such as, 'I use the ancient astrological energy grid of the constellations', then our problems with your method remain and we will continue to highlight the connection we see between ancient and modern astrology.
Clearly highlighting the vast difference in understanding between you and academics, modern astrologers and the layperson, you claim that 'What you say about astrology bears very little resemblance to what an astrologer understands. There is no influence of constellations, rather the signs are only functional positions on the ecliptic ... For instance, the sun is overhead in our summer months, and in the position, or sign, of Capricorn. All of that is saying is that Capricorn means overhead.' You now appear to be saying that you only make reference to the constellations as a way of indicating the specific time of year. When you say Capricorn you mean summer and Cancer means winter. But this is bogus for a number of reasons. For one, you say that your main clients are farmers and fishermen, and yet no farmer or fisherman (or anyone actually) that I know ever divides the year into signs of the zodiac. No farmer says, 'Capricorn is approaching, I better organise the haymaking.' Referring to a time of year by its zodiac sign would be completely meaningless to most everyone, not just farmers and fishermen. We have internationally accepted and recognised terms for the months of the year and the seasons. If you mean summer then say summer is approaching, not that Capricorn is rising. Two, the sun is not in Capricorn during our 'summer months'. As any horoscope reader knows, zodiac signs only cover approximately one month, not an entire season. Astrologically Capricorn only extends from December 22 to January 19. We normally hope for a longer summer than that. Three, in reality Capricorn doesn't extend from December 22 to January 19 at all. As you know Ken, the entire band of zodiac constellations or star signs has rotated over the years and every single star sign is now one entire position different to the dates published in horoscopes. If you think you are a Capricorn, you were actually born under the sign of Sagittarius. Everyone's star sign is actually the previous one and everyone has been reading the wrong horoscope their entire lives. This apparent movement of the zodiac is called the precession of the equinoxes, and while most professional astrologers are probably aware of this serious glitch in their calculations, almost all of them ignore it and continue to publish the utterly bogus dates on the star signs. So even the odd farmer who says 'Well, I know when Capricorn is because my wife is a Capricorn', even they are mistaken and will be a month out. Capricorn is now approximately Jan 20 to Feb 18.
So Ken, even if you are just being mysterious and difficult by using an obsolete and arcane method of describing the months and seasons of the year, these star signs are completely unfamiliar to your clients and are now so far out as to be completely misleading if used in any calculations.
Also the following throws doubt on your claimed separation from modern astrology. When I said that it is claimed that you discovered palmistry for cats at a psychic party and in your book you claimed to explore psychic influences, you replied 'None of that is true, sorry' and 'I don't know anything about psychic parties'. When I stated that your belief in astrology, psychics and other nonsense reduces your credibility, you replied: 'your made-up stuff again, not my beliefs'. And when I mentioned astrology to you as one of several examples of pseudoscience and superstition, you again asserted: 'I have no experience of any of them'. I was prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt, that perhaps some Internet bookseller was making unwarranted claims in hyping your book. However I have now viewed your actual book, and this is what it says on the rear cover:
... In addition to learning the secrets of your cat's paws, you will also discover how to use numerology, astrology and skullistry to determine your cat's true nature.
You explicitly claim that you will 'use numerology, astrology and skullistry ... [and] age old tools of divination ... based on your astrological sign'. This is pure Woman's Weekly type astrology, the version that you try to deny all knowledge of when peddling your weather prediction books.
Authors Ken Ring and Paul Romhany apply 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 ...
Ken Ring is a mathematician and a long-time magician, mind reader, and public speaker with a passion for the ancient discipline of palmistry. Ken stumbled upon his peculiar calling at a psychic party several years ago ...
So clearly you are lying Ken. Either to your readers about your discovering palmistry for cats at a psychic party and your sincere belief in divination techniques such as numerology and astrology, or you are lying to me in an attempt to hide your belief in superstitious nonsense from those that might buy your weather forecasting books. Either way you are lying to one group of potential clients in order to sell your books, probably both.
And you do yourself no favours by uttering scientifically illiterate statements like this: 'There is no influence of constellations ... imagining that a bunch of rocks millions of miles away can of themselves exert some power.' One, the stars that make up constellations are not 'a bunch of rocks', but huge balls of burning gas. Two, they are not merely millions of miles away. The very closest is trillions of miles away. Millions of miles would put them closer to us than our own Sun. Three, there is a force that they exert that reaches us. It's called gravity. Your claimed study of Newton's 'astrological physics' should have told you this. Silly statements like this almost convince me that you might be sincere, that you really are following the mistaken beliefs of some ancient astrologer. It also makes me wonder who wrote the astronomy content in your books, since it obviously wasn't you.
I notice you once again invent a fictitious definition of 'silly belief' and falsely attribute it to us, that any belief that our 'set of people' don't agree with is silly. I'll say again, this is lying Ken. We told you what we view as a 'silly belief'. Whether you agree with this definition or not, don't lie and claim we said something else.
However that falsehood pales in comparison to the libellous, disgraceful and dishonest accusation that you finished your reply with. To say that if you didn't respond to our comments we would fabricate a silly reply and put your name to it is highly offensive. You know full well that we have published every single word that you have submitted and have not edited your comments in anyway whatsoever. And you know we can prove this to others if need be. You falsely accused us earlier of picking on you personally, and yet now you side step our criticisms and attack our integrity. Is this defamation an attempt to get yourself banned from our forum so that you can cry to others that we prevented you airing your arguments? Or is it so that any real future reply of yours that we might criticise, you can now comment on other forums, 'I told you they would make up lies and put my name to it'.
You have placed us in a very awkward position, almost forcing us to delete any further responses from you lest some readers accuse us of fabricating any ridiculous statement you might truly make, as you claim we will. If we do publish your future comments, your supporters will attribute silly comments under your name to us. If we don't publish them then you will say we banned you to censor your views.
Whether you choose to make further comments on this forum or not Ken, because of your accusation you have sown the seed of doubt, and any comment under your name loses any credibility, thanks to your own deviousness. Did you write it or didn't you? The fact that you have pulled this despicable stunt further confirms that you are a scheming scam artist desperate to hide the truth from your clients. Up until now we have honestly said that we are not commenting on you personally, we are merely criticising some of your beliefs. However we would now add that we find your ethics less than honourable.
The trouble is though, if you don't respond Ken, and no reply appears on this forum, then readers will know that your accusation was libellous. Or will you not reply but say on other forums that you did and we must have deleted your comments? But if a reply does appear, no one will know if it really is you. If you say something silly, which is likely, then your supporters will assume it is a fabrication. If you say something enlightening that we agree with, then based on your previous comments people will again assume it is a fabrication. It seems you can't win Ken. You have effectively destroyed your credibility and your chance of explaining your views on this forum. But fear not, we will continue to host our article and explain your methods as best we can. We have even recently discovered more 'Ringisms' on the Internet which we will be incorporating into our article, like your explanation of what it takes to be a scientist, and how people belonging to the cult of Scientology and Christians belonging to the church of Christian Science are all scientists. The fact that you say these things to support your claims is astounding, and the fact that your supporters believe them depressing.
Comment by Ken Ring, 04 Jan, 2010
I have honestly never in my life read such hysterical ranting, all in the name of feeling threatened, with what? My alternative viewpoint? Jeez man, your inquistional fantasies are running mad. You have caught yourself in a web of your own making, like a spider trapped in his own gluey footprint.
This is the history as I see it. You became aware of my work and because it was so new to your ears and outside of mainstream science your gut reaction seems to have been that it must be fraudulent. So to inform an anxious awaiting world you set up a page entitled with my name, dedicated to taking me down, dissecting me piece by piece, in the most slanderous manner possible, with my name and business on the line, protected by the anonymity of your name and the ill-defined legal guidelines of the internet. You tried every way you could to convince your readers that I was a complete scam-mongering charlatan, only intent on scalping innocent people by tricking them into believing that I had a weather prediction system, when all along according to you I was only in it for the money. To justify your claims you invented a description of me that suited your arguments, that I was an astrologer, a mystical reader of tea leaves, a layer-on of hands, a soothsayer, snake-oil shaman, one step away from a witch, speaking with forked tongues whilst trying to remain aloof and mysterious, unapproachable and confusing to anybody who sought an explanation of my methods. If I was just a normal person, floating a different method, it wouldn't have been half as glamorous or salacious.
It worked for a while until I decided to start sending in posts, mainly because I was laughing so hard I was making myself ill. I claimed I was none of all of that invented description, and that everything I did was science-backed, me being university trained. Of course that all fell on deaf ears, because this is essentially a character-assassination forum called silly beliefs, and new evidence has to be found in every reply you make that my work continues to justify your labelling. That is what I meant when I said if I did not respond you would probably write a response anyway, as you have already done when you have dug out things I was supposed to have said in the past in reply to questions you have posed in the present. For instance you found jacket notes (not penned by me) in a book I wrote over 10 years ago essentially for skeptics, which you have used as your supposed answers from me, disregarding my actual answers. You call that debate? I keep telling you what my take is on the astrology and you tell me it is some other thing, because you choose not to hear what I'm saying. I notice you have done the same thing to Ian Wishart. You seem not to have the faintest idea what he actually believes, but you have treated him the same as me, painting him in a certain light and then attacking your own image of it. Not once do you understand that it is actually your own construct that is under attack. Not once do you stop and ponder that the whole problem may lie with you and the way you view people you disagree with.
I repeat, for maybe the 5th or 6th time, god knows I've lost count now, I have never been to a psychic party (I don't even know what that is), have never believed in nor practised divination techniques such as numerology or astrology, nor, as you put it (and I would somewhat agree with the label), "superstitious nonsense." You really do enjoy this vision of me as a spooky seance-type medium. I suppose my card-carrying membership of both the Rationalists Association and the Skeptics Society (even have been keynote speaker at not one, but two, of the latter's past conferences) means nothing to your warped view of what you think I am or how I think. In your mind I am the horned devil himself, intent on perverting all intelligent thinkers with my fanatic New Age weirdness. You really didn't even remotely get the Pawmistry joke, and every time you bring the subject up the joke is squarely on you and your humourless world view. Ever heard of satire? The very reason that I agreed to write (only half of) it was to suggest something about New Age literature. Just about everyone else got the point. Britain's Mail-On-Sunday newspaper, readership 4 million, serialised it. Kim Hill played along beautifully at the time when she interviewed me, as well as the many other radio and TV hosts. They all saw what I was doing because they were normal people, not fearful of a new idea and not threatened by it into writing or broadcasting screaming denigrations. Everyone had a good time and a good belly-laugh. Are you just jealous of new ventures, so are intent on tearing them down? Did other kids have more interesting toys than you, so you felt the need to vandalise them? Because that is exactly what you are doing with this forum. The targets of your misery do not put up Silly-Beliefs-of-John-Ateo websites, have you noticed that?
You also refuse to listen to what I said about my form of astrology, again for the nth time. It is extremely tiresome, like trying to explain something to a very very small child. Again (and again and again) it is not about horoscopes. I don't even know why I am bothering - you will still say that it is. Constellations are not about the time of the year, you are confusing this with seasons. Constellations are about grid points on the ecliptic. They have no power of themselves, but the grid points have power because declination brings gravitational positioning. It is just such positioning of the Sun that causes the seasons. But the positioning of other extraterrestrials like the moon and planets on the ecliptic "in" these same constellations have nothing whatever to do with time of the year. It is pure astronomy, but it seems you don't know anything about it because the Womens Weekly that you use as your oracle for astro-matters doesn't go into it. If you do desire to understand, may I recommend that you read this article https://www.predictweather.co.nz/assets/articles/article_resources.php?id=165 which sets it all out. I'm afraid the Sun is in Capricorn during part of our summer, it just happens to be a fact.
Towards the end of your diatribe you say I attack your integrity, and that is defamatory. But a bully has no integrity and only a bully puts up a website called Silly Beliefs. Then you say my ethics are less than honorable, inferring that yours are squeaky clean. So remind me again where is the website put up by me that personally defames your business? You say you are not commenting on me personally, merely criticizing some of my beliefs. Even if that was true, and anybody with half a brain can work out that you are targeting me personally, for decency's sake why? What gives you or anybody the right to comment on my beliefs? They are my own in a free society and I am entitled to them without public chastisement. People are not forced at gunpoint to buy my books or read my website. They do not need to be told which beliefs are good ones and which ones are silly. What one person might call superstitious nonsense, another might take seriously, for a variety of reasons, all perfectly valid for the person concerned. Historically, people who have taken a judgment stance on beliefs have brought huge and lasting shame on the human race. They have been responsible for the most heinous and appalling crimes in history: genocides, holocausts, ethnic cleansing, inquisitions, and persecutions. They have operated under names like The Inquisitors, the Crusaders, the Nazis, Stalinists and other hit squads. And their causes have all started with public pronouncements of what their leaderships demanded that their populations believe. I think your last sentence says it all: "the fact that your supporters believe them (my claims) (is) depressing". Yes, I can see how that must make you feel. What pesky rotters disobeying your website telling us what to think.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 05 Jan, 2010
Readers will need to make up their owns minds as to whether the previous post is really from Ken Ring or a fabrication by us at Silly Beliefs, as he implied it would or could be. We agree it is vindictive and silly enough to be from Ken, but perhaps it is just a little too silly? You decide.
Ken, you believe we feel threatened, but what might we have to feel threatened about? That your business might suffer or that you might be exposed as a fraud? Do you think we lie awake at night worrying about that?
You claim that we challenge your method simply because our 'gut reaction seems to have been that it must be fraudulent'. Rubbish Ken. We have a detailed article explaining why we doubt your method, and it has nothing to do with chemical reactions in our intestines. Perhaps you should read it. You claim that our article is slanderous, which means 'communication of false statements injurious to a person's reputation'. You claim that we 'have dug out things I was supposed to have said in the past', implying that we have lied, and yet you know that every quote attributed to you was actually made by you, either in your books or Web site articles or in the media and on Internet forums. All these quotes can be verified as coming from you, they are not false and therefore not slanderous. However you do make libellous comments in your response, going on to say that 'you invented a description of me ... that I was an astrologer, a mystical reader of tea leaves, a layer-on of hands, a soothsayer, snake-oil shaman, one step away from a witch, speaking with forked tongues whilst trying to remain aloof and mysterious, unapproachable and confusing to anybody who sought an explanation of my methods'. Apart from connecting you to astrology, you know the rest are lies. Please point to where we described you as 'a mystical reader of tea leaves, a layer-on of hands, a soothsayer' etc. You then say 'If I was just a normal person', floating a different method, it [our challenge] wouldn't have been half as glamorous or salacious.' Are you saying you're not normal? And do you not know that 'salacious' means 'appealing to or stimulating sexual desire'? Do you really believe we find you sexy and that publicly calling you an astrologer turns us on? It is these silly and blatantly false comments of yours Ken that made us doubt you in the first place.
You then claimed that our challenge of you 'worked for a while until I decided to start sending in posts'. How have your posts affected our challenge? We believe we have shown you to be as evasive as ever about your 'astrological methods', your knowledge of science hasn't improved, and we have even added new material to our article following your comments. Your posts are merely amusing and motivating us. You're like the Catholic Church, you just don't know when it makes more sense to keep quiet.
Defending your method you claim that 'everything I did was science-backed, me being university trained'. If you had fully read our article you would know that we have already debunked your 'me being university trained' claim. But for the benefit of new readers pray tell us all what scientific degrees you possess in the appropriate fields, such as astrophysics, climate science, meteorology or even simply physics. Or what university degrees do you possess in any discipline, even non-science ones? You are on record as stating that your method is not taught at any university, and yet we all know science is. You back astrology and universities back astronomy. You can not claim your method is science-backed when science tossed it out with the rubbish centuries ago.
When I said, "Regarding your book on palmistry for cats, it appears that you are indeed now trying to distance yourself from it, claiming that it was all just a joke on silly New Age believers", you replied indignantly:
"I never said that. The reason for writing it was outlined at the time. But if, as you claim, it was a joke on New Age believers, isn't that par for your course?"
And yet now you have done a complete flip-flop, confessing that it was just a joke after all:
'You really didn't even remotely get the Pawmistry joke ... Ever heard of satire? ... Everyone had ... a good belly-laugh.'
Why didn't you admit that initially, rather than trying to hide it? But if your latest comment is actually the truth this time, that you have a documented history of writing satirical books that expose folly or stupidity — a book viewed as factual by many — how do we know that you not going to make a similar confession in a few years about your weather prediction books? Did your cat book on palmistry make you realise how much easy money could be made by targeting gullible people?
As for your mate Ian Wishart, you're right, I may not know what he actually believes, but I can challenge what he says. If that's not what he believes then he needs to improve his communication skills. And it's the same with you and astrology. You need to improve your communication skills. You can't say of your method that, 'everything I did was science-backed, me being university trained ... [and] It is pure astronomy', and then say that I don't understand your 'form of astrology'. Which is it?
Then confusingly you say, 'I repeat, for maybe the 5th or 6th time, god knows I've lost count now, I have ... never believed in nor practised divination techniques such as numerology or astrology'
And yet you have said on your Web site:
"It is the old principles of Astrology that we should be turning back to."
And a Web site promotion of one of your books states:
"Predicting the Weather by the Moon" reveals vital information on how the Moon affects our weather, based on sound mathematics, ancient divination techniques and recently-discovered data from space research.
And you seemingly had the detailed knowledge to write a 'satirical' book on astrology and numerology, enough to fool many buyers.
You lament that, 'You also refuse to listen to what I said about my form of astrology ... It is pure astronomy'. If it's pure astronomy then why do you keep talking about astrology. This is what I can't grasp and you can't explain. If 'pure astronomy' can't describe and explain everything that you do, and you say it can't because you need to use your form of astrology, then you can't claim that your method is 'pure astronomy' and science backed. Astronomy has well accepted and understood terms that describe the seasons and where objects are in the sky. When they want to say the Sun has reached its highest position in the sky, they say zenith, they don't say Capricorn. They don't say as you do, 'The Moon (rising) is in Cancer and at 12th House', or 'The accepted "normal" way of viewing the constellations with respect to the order of their names is from above the north pole [because] All the horoscope wheels are that way around'. Your claim that astrology is not about horoscopes, and that zodiac constellations are not about a particular time of the year, would be denied by most everyone. If your version of astrology is not about these things, then you really do need to stop using the term astrology and call it something completely different, such as 'Ringology'. Every time some one challenges you over your method they almost always query your use of the pseudoscience astrology, and you get into heated debate stating that you don't use or believe in astrology, you actually use and believe in a 'form' of astrology. And you wonder why people are confused. Don't blame the students for not understanding Ken, blame the teacher for refusing to deviate from a failed lesson plan.
As for your membership of both the Rationalists Association and the Skeptics Society, that just demonstrates that they really do need to vet requests for membership. And how does your mate Ian, the fundamentalist Christian, feel about you belonging to the Rationalists Association, aka the 'Atheists Association'? I guess the climate change debate produces strange bedfellows.
You ask, almost tearfully it seems, 'you are targeting me personally, for decency's sake why? What gives you or anybody the right to comment on my beliefs? They are my own in a free society and I am entitled to them without public chastisement.' That's rich Ken, this from the person that has almost made a career out of criticising the beliefs of climate change proponents and calling academics 'liars and frauds'. And let's remember that it was you commenting on a 'letter to the editor' by us, and sending a copy to your publisher as well, that started this whole debate. You want the right to express your views but deny the same rights to others. As you say Ken, this is a free society and you actually have no right to limit free speech. We all have they right to hold personal beliefs, but we have no right to prevent others commenting on them. You're obviously thinking back to your ancient astrology times.
You assert that, 'People ... do not need to be told which beliefs are good ones and which ones are silly. What one person might call superstitious nonsense, another might take seriously, for a variety of reasons, all perfectly valid for the person concerned.' This smacks of relativism. Superstitious nonsense is superstitious nonsense whether you take it seriously or not. A serious belief in superstitious nonsense doesn't make it true or valid, no matter what variety of silly reasons one might offer. Strongly held beliefs are not the same as matters of fact. The fact that many people follow horoscopes, foretell their future with numerology, and pray to elephant headed gods would indicate that contrary to your belief Ken, many people do need help in identifying silly beliefs.
You finish your response likening our stance to 'The Inquisitors, the Crusaders, the Nazis, Stalinists and other hit squads'. You claim that, 'Historically, people who have taken a judgment stance on beliefs have brought huge and lasting shame on the human race. They have been responsible for the most heinous and appalling crimes in history'. You mention 'genocides, holocausts, ethnic cleansing', which are all basically the same thing actually, and 'inquisitions, and persecutions'. But this is a pathetic argument. Beliefs can be true and false, and can lead to good and bad outcomes. Merely selecting the outcomes of following some harmful beliefs and ignoring the rest is ingenuous. For example, I could suggest other beliefs that mankind took a judgement stance on, such as the equality of men and women, the abolition of slavery, democracy, voting rights for all, racial tolerance, that mental illness is not caused by demons, the adoption of human rights, free speech, and most importantly, the belief in science and a naturalistic world that produced the advanced society we have today. If mankind had not taken a stance on the validity of these beliefs, then we would still be consulting astrologers and our commenting on your beliefs would be classed as blasphemy. Also, do you not see it as ironic that you are allowed to take a judgement stance on your beliefs, going forth with public pronouncements, but your opponents aren't? And you have the arrogance to compare us with Nazis and Stalinists.
And I read your article on the zodiac Ken, and for the readers' benefit, it finished with a section entitled 'Implications for science', which began:
There are some who say that what we have been discussing is not science, but astrology. I think they are incorrect, because everything that can be studied and measured can rightly be called a science. The name pseudoscience is usually applied by people who like to imagine that they are the only true scientists.
The first sentence is correct, but the rest is more of your typical nonsense Ken. As for your 'study and measure' definition of science, if a male teenager was to intently study and measure his genitals, and a female teenager her breasts, does that really make them scientists, and what they're doing a science? If it does, then the world has far more scientists than we realise. If 'true scientists' apply the label pseudoscience then it's probably justified, especially if these 'alternative scientists' have adopted your silly definition of science.
Comment by Ken Ring, 06 Jan, 2010
I didn't set out to fool anyone. I do not claim palmistry works, but if it does then it obviously also works for animals as vertebrates are anatomically common. And many believe it. It has its place, as does hypnosis and counselling. But it isn't for everybody. It seems difficult for you to accept but what publishers and PR people write on jacket sleeves of books one part-writes is not necessarily one's responsibility. The publishing world works in teams.
I repeat for the nth of the nth time, I am university trained and do not practise ancient divination techniques such as numerology or astrology. My methods are derived from these, but so is every other science in every university today. Get over it, and try to stop shrieking over a historical progression you clearly don't fully understand.
Back to your claim that "my" astrology is not valid because there is not a university in the land that teaches it, well, the same can be said for a host of perfectly legitimate pursuits like sky diving, blacksmithery and bodybuilding, but that does not make them invalid. The university is only a training centre for specific crafts, it is not the oracle of all knowledge. As for ancient astrology, I do not practise it, but my work is unashamedly partly derived from it. The old astrologers like Galileo and Newton were expert mathematicians. So what? My work is also partly derived from Kepler's contributions to modern calculus. You can discuss what you think is astrology and you will always be inventing your own argument, because not everyone buys into your labels. It is a red herring and has nothing to do with life. It is akin to discussing what we should call hypothetical fairies dancing on the head of a pin.
No, what you are doing is arguably much worse, and threatens our precious democracy. It is one thing to hold an opinion about another's beliefs, even to hold an opinion on what scientists promote in terms of climate change and global warming, but quite another to name me as you have done, call a website by my name, and publicly slander me by actual name. I have never done that to anyone, especially not you, and I challenge anybody anywhere to show where and when and if I have done so.
I have no opponents, except those who decide to attack me first. They only do so, like you, because they feel threatened. The Fearful, like you, feel that if society opened its doors to innovative ideas and methods, the power of their intellectual monopoly is that much diminished. Quite to the contrary, I have praised metservice staff as being rather brilliant at what they do, which is what I believe, and I have friends who work for the metservice, but I point out that they are not equipped to comment on longrange weather patterns because, even by their own admission, they do not have a longrange system. Even their shortrange lets them down as it did NIWA in April when they said we were in for a warmer winter. I am justified in taking a stand in expressing the belief that they can't do longrange, because they actually say they can't. On the other hand, they are great in marine biology. I am talking about them as a body. But, I would not be justified in naming even one of them at the same time as their belief. That's the difference between persecution and opinion.
It is part of the moral and ethical fibre of our society that no one is justified in naming someone to the point of where they can be identified, and singling them out for personal criticism along with their business. That is the law of this land and it is slander. Why? Because it is an act of sheer bullying, of mini-terrorism and of a moralising rednecked thicko. Your annoyance that someone thinks differently to you is pathetic. Your anger increases when those named refuse to take your abuse lying down. Your actions are of someone who, having no original life of his own, seeks his thrill from publicly humiliating and vandalising an item of personal property, such as their name. It is like idiot graffiti splattered over carefully crafted sculpture. If someone besmirches my name I do what anybody else would do, I defend it. Perhaps you have missed your calling and your country and perhaps you miss a military uniform. Yes, you are to be compared with Nazis and Stalinists. I think you are doing exactly what they did. The cap fits so wear it. Shame on you.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 07 Jan, 2010
Yet another flip-flop Ken. One minute you're defending your palmistry for cats book as serious, then you claimed it was all a big joke, now you're back to suggesting it's kind of serious again:
'I do not claim palmistry works, but if it does then it obviously also works for animals ... And many believe it. It has its place ... '
I guess it's difficult not to offend your potential clients who think you're sympathetic to their belief in astrology, numerology and palmistry, while hiding this nonsense from those that think your weather prediction method is scientific.
You say, 'I repeat for the nth of the nth time, I am university trained and do not practise ancient divination techniques'. Yet for 'the nth time' you refuse to tell us what scientific university qualifications you have. Clown College does not count as 'university trained'. And for the 'the nth time' we mention the blurb on your book '"Predicting the Weather by the Moon" reveals vital information on how the Moon affects our weather, based on sound mathematics, ancient divination techniques and recently-discovered data from space research'. You claim you don't use ancient divination techniques, but you wanted buyers of your book to believe you did. It's strange how you suggest one thing in your books and another on Internet forums.
I didn't say astrology is not valid because no university teaches it. I said it's invalid because it's a pseudoscience, primitive superstitious nonsense and that science tossed it out with the rubbish centuries ago. You liken your form of astrology to legitimate pursuits such as sky diving, blacksmithery and bodybuilding, but none of these are 'science-backed' as you claim yours is. To match the essence of your pursuit, it might have been more appropriate to choose witchcraft, homeopathy and modern astrology itself as your examples. And as we've already demonstrated, Newton was not an astrologer, and Kepler made no conscious contributions to modern calculus, as he was long dead before it was invented.
You shouldn't feel so privileged Ken, our Web site is called 'Silly Beliefs', not 'Silly Ken Ring'. And again I must remind you that slander means 'making false statements about someone'. All our comments regarding you are true therefore not slanderous. And what arrogance, to continually say that you can express an opinion on something you disagree with, but no one else can. As for not naming those you disagree with, have you forgotten you have already admitted in a previous comment that you have indeed named and criticised others, such as:
'Me naming Bill Keir? Sure. ...Gareth Renowden is another... [but] I challenge you to find any website with someone's name on it that I have written, apart from Al Gores...'
And here's you criticising us on a Internet forum:
RE: Ken's Forcasting
Note that you claim that our Web site actually boosts your business, so why are you moaning to us that we do just the opposite? Which one is the lie this time Ken? We seriously doubt that our article on you boosts your business. If it does, maybe we should be talking about a cut of the profits?
Bob, any mealy-mouthed sad warmer can make up a silly-beliefs website to diss his opponents, and any number of equally sad co-kickers like you gleefully join him. It is a too-handy substitute from having to intelligently debate. But I don't really mind, as all such pathetically negative websites ultimately increase the traffic to my site. ...
And who are you trying to fool with this claim: 'I have praised metservice staff as being rather brilliant at what they do, which is what I believe'. Have you got Alzheimer's Ken? Have you forgotten how you described them to us:
... are we talking about government-paid scientists? those who have ... cooked the books and fiddled the figures ... for massive funding? I have no desire to be peer-reviewed by frauds and liars. ... The nation's weather bureaus seem to run on politics, not real science
You go on to say that 'I would not be justified in naming even one of them at the same time as their belief. That's the difference between persecution and opinion'. Grow a spine Ken and stand up for your beliefs. You sound like the sort of guy that wouldn't name a child sex abuser for fear of persecuting him. And anyway, do you seriously think we have forgotten about your criticism of Al Gore and his beliefs, and numerous others in the climate change debate? And don't repeat your bullshit that 'politicians are name-able because they handle taxpayer-funds so are 'owned' by the public'. You don't pay taxes in the US, and if it's about just being a public figure, you're a public figure too remember!
You again say that we feel threatened by you. In a sense you are correct, but we feel that it is actually society that it is threatened by you, not us per se. The only thing where're fearful of is that people like yourself will drag us back to the superstitious beliefs of the Middle Ages, where everyone will believe in ancient astrology and not just you. Where people will look at the their cat's paws to diagnose an illness rather than taking them to the vet. And where all vets will again be versed in astrology.
You claim that 'It is part of the moral and ethical fibre of our society that no one is justified in naming someone to the point of where they can be identified, and singling them out for personal criticism along with their business. That is the law of this land and it is slander.'
What utter rubbish Ken. The TV program 'Fair Go' exists for this very purpose, and shows such as 'Close Up, Campbell Live' and '60 Minutes' also expose bogus business practices at times. And look at the criticism the Catholic Church, Brian Tamiki and the Destiny Church, and Hone Hawariwa have received. You again misunderstand ''slander'. It is about making false statements about someone, not about exposing their suspect behaviour.
We're not besmirching your name Ken, if your reputation is suffering it is because of revealing comments that you're making on forums such as this. We are merely commenting on your weather prediction methods and your convoluted attempts to explain them.
To move this debate along Ken, you keep saying that your methods are 'science-backed'. This means — in modern science anyway, perhaps not in ancient astrology — that they have the backing and support of modern science, so could you please tell us what peer-reviewed scientific journals detail this backing and support. Also in what modern science textbooks — note again I said science, not astrology — might we find explanations of the methods you use.
Comment by Ken Ring, 08 Jan, 2010
Most of your comments rehash tired old arguments, and you keep dragging up cats paws and other red herrings like my era of entertaining children, some in hospital cancer wards, as if I was a low life for doing so, and you try to suggest that therefore my work is somehow allied to those past activities, to the extent that it is not science-based enough for your approval. Please define science without being self-referential about it, i.e, without mentioning “study” or “discipline”, because then it would have to cover me. If you mean I am not a physicist, or a chemist, or a neurologist, well no, and I don't claim to be, but science isn't just what those branches of science practitioners say it is, any more than artists have a monopoly on defining art.
To correct you, Kepler was the father of modern calculus. It wasn't called that in his time, but that is irrelevant. To also correct you about slander, it is about criticising someone by name. I'm glad you cite Fair Go, because Fair Go have been successfully sued and have settled out of court for unjustified slander. I have not broken any law, I sell opinions, nothing more, just as do economists, political commentators, doctors, teachers or consultants in the many varied fields of life consultants operate. I have not coerced anyone to buy from me, they have free choice. I have not robbed little old ladies of their life savings. Yes you have slandered, you have made up false statements about what I do, what I believe and what my ideas are based on. I tell you you are making it up and you go and invent a few more fantasies about me, based largely on your twisting of the words in my replies to bloggers! How very desperate to score points. You really should get out more.
“you keep saying that your methods are 'science-backed'. This means — in modern science anyway, perhaps not in ancient astrology — that they have the backing and support of modern science, so could you please tell us what peer-reviewed scientific journals detail this backing and support. Also in what modern science textbooks — note again I said science, not astrology — might we find explanations of the methods you use”.
Well, thank you, you saved the best till last. Modern science? That wouldn't mean ClimateGate modern science, would it? Where ‘peer-review' means making up and writing your own reviews, or getting your mates to do it mutually? Where magazines conspire to keep out authors unfriendly to a ‘cause' and of a different viewpoint? ClimateGate has finally exposed what many unpublished authors have long suspected, that peer review now means nothing except corrupt practice. “Scientific” journals? What would they be, perchance? All those who disagree with anything that is not mainstream? I am proud to say my peers are farmers and people who know about weather because they live out in it. Peer journals and textbooks? Some of these farmers can't even read or write, but they sure know about weather. If a farmer tells me something I listen. If a weather reader with a university meteorological degree tells me something I still question when he was last on a farm. And when a meteorologist repeats what I have said, like the drought looming in N Otago
after my pronouncements last September that a drought would arrive about now
and NIWA's Dr Renwick saying the hottest time in January will be at the end of the month after it says that in my 2010 almanac, then I think that perhaps the country's official metservice is now me. If they keep parroting me then I must be their source. There's the peer-review for you, I'm their peer review. According to my access log, NZ Metservice and NIWA visit my website about every 10 days, and have done so for most of the past decade. They have come in under the names “metnet” and the old “niwa.cri.” What is that about? If it isn't “science”, then we all go down together and nothing is left.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 08 Jan, 2010
Ken, as you well know we have never mentioned your entertaining of children in cancer wards or suggested that you were 'a low life for doing so'. Are you trying to win the sympathy vote now? Remember that even Hitler loved children and animals and painting, but he also did other things in his later life that we don't praise so highly. We highlight your connection with astrology, numerology and palmistry because, according to your evidently sincere comments in your book, you claimed to believe in these things. There was no note on the last page saying, 'Ha Ha. It's all a joke. We don't actually believe in this nonsense, and no, you can't have your money back'. If your past activities are reflecting badly on your present schemes, then that's your problem. You're like the Miss Universe contestant who now regrets having done that nude photo shoot the previous year.
And I just love your heartfelt and honest appraisal of NZ farmers:
"I am proud to say my peers are farmers and people who know about weather because they live out in it. ... Some of these farmers can't even read or write, but they sure know about weather."
Are you sure you're not confusing farmers with those little people at your local playcentre? Do you start talks at farmers' meetings with the question, 'Hands up who can read, so I know whether it's worth using the whiteboard'. And if these farmers know so much about the weather, so much that you are listening to what they say, then why aren't you buying their books rather than the other way around? Oh I forgot, they can't write books. They can't read or write, but you say they still buy your almanac year after year. Ahhh those farmers, they're just not too bright. Taken advantage of by that slick talking fella from the big city, with his book learning and his impressive knowledge of ancient astrology.
This 'Ringism' will definitely have to go into our article, even though you'll no doubt swear elsewhere that we made it up. What an insult to farmers Ken. You shouldn't assume that just because they throw your weather prediction handouts straight into the rubbish bin it's because they can't read.
Now that you've been told that Newton wasn't an astrologer, but Kepler was, you seem to have moved from idolising Newton to idolising Kepler, even to the extent of falsely attributing discoveries to him. Kepler is considered the founder of modern astronomy — note astronomy, not astrology — but he did not invent modern calculus. As the Wikipedia page on calculus states: 'Leibniz and Newton are usually both credited with the invention of calculus'. If you're going to reply that Kepler invented the basics of calculus and Leibniz and Newton merely formalised it, even this is false. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Chinese, Indians, Muslims etc all developed basic elements of what would eventually become modern calculus. Please carefully examine both the Wikipedia page on calculus and the page on Kepler. Neither page makes a single mention of the other. It astounds me that you make such fundamental errors on claims that are so easy to research.
The same shoddy research can be said for your definition of the word 'slander'. You again claim, 'To also correct you about slander, it is about criticising someone by name'. Try typing 'definition' and 'slander' into Google and here are just some of the results:
Slander: words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another
Note that they all express the same thing. Slander has nothing to do with 'criticism' and everything to do with 'false statements' concerning someone. This is a serious charge; to support it demands more than simple, unsubstantiated cries of slander. Remember also that if your accusation is untrue then you are slandering us. We have said that if we have made any incorrect statement on our Web site and it is pointed out to us, we will happily correct it. However we believe all your 'quotes' can be verified as coming from you, and we actually find it a little suspicious that you haven't detailed exactly which 'false statements' you have a problem with. Note also the comment in that last definition: 'If the statements are proven to be true, it is a complete defense to a charge of slander.' If you believe our claim that your method and your defence of it suggests it is pseudoscience, and that this is the 'slander' you refer to, then you only have yourself to blame. If we have a false view of your methods based on your comments on ancient astrology, your ignorance of science and the sentiments expressed in your palmistry book, then it is a view that any reasonable person would expect us to hold. It is an honest opinion reached through reason. Even astrology and New Age sites on the internet, such as this one, identify you as an astrologer if they advertise your weather prediction method and/or almanacs: 'New Zealand astrologer Ken Ring predicting weather for the next year.' They evidently see no difference between their 'modern' astrology and your 'ancient' astrology, and consider you as one of their own. So why aren't you giving them the same message: 'I am NOT an astrologer. I don't believe in your nonsense. This is slander. Cease forthwith!' Does your need to sell books override your integrity? If New Age believers 'knowledgeable' in astrology can't separate your astrology from theirs, and can't see that you even look upon them with disdain, then no court would insist that we should have been able to do so. That is why you get so much grief on the Internet Ken, people take you for your word when you say weird things supporting astrology, ancient or otherwise, call meteorologists liars and frauds and compare your pursuit to blacksmithery. Like you Ken, we offer an opinion, nothing more, although ours is free. Like you we haven't broken any law, coerced anyone to visit our site or robbed any old ladies. But you are right on one thing, we probably should get out more. Maybe if you stopped emailing us?
Legal Definition of Slander: A false defamation (expressed in spoken words, signs, or gestures) which injures the character or reputation of the person defamed;
definition of slander: Law: Oral communication of false statements injurious to a person's reputation. 2 . A false and malicious statement or report about someone.
Legal Definition of Slander: (1.) Words falsely spoken of a person
legal definition of slander: oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed ...
Slander Law & Legal Definition: Slander is the oral communication of false statements that are harmful to a person's reputation. If the statements are proven to be true, it is a complete defense to a charge of slander.
OK, now to your requested definition of science. Note that when you make a request, we try to oblige, unlike you refusing to say what your university training covered and what scientific qualification was the result.
The following I believe is a fair and typical definition of modern science, as understood by both the layperson and scientist:
Science: The investigation of natural phenomena through observation, theoretical explanation, and experimentation, or the knowledge produced by such investigation. Science makes use of the scientific method, which includes the careful observation of natural phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis, the conducting of one or more experiments to test the hypothesis, and the drawing of a conclusion that confirms or modifies the hypothesis.
I suspect you want to see a far more general definition, and to be fair I will provide one, courtesy of Wikipedia:
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2005
Science is, in its broadest sense, any systematic knowledge-base or prescriptive practice that is capable of resulting in a prediction or predictable type of outcome. In this sense, science may refer to a highly skilled technique or practice.
You I'm sure will insist that real science is as defined in its 'broadest sense', not in its 'more restricted contemporary sense'. It's any 'knowledge-base ... capable of resulting in a prediction ... [and] may refer to a highly skilled technique or practice'.
In its more restricted contemporary sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, and to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research...
Science is a continuing effort to discover and increase human knowledge and understanding through disciplined research. Using controlled methods, scientists collect observable evidence of natural or social phenomena, record measurable data relating to the observations, and analyze this information to construct theoretical explanations of how things work. The methods of scientific research include the generation of hypotheses about how phenomena work, and experimentation that tests these hypotheses under controlled conditions. Scientists are also expected to publish their information so other scientists can do similar experiments to double-check their conclusions.
But this is a typical pseudoscience ploy, to corrupt scientific terms so that the public believes your claims are real science. By adopting the broad definition you have so expanded the range of science that most everything is a science and nearly everyone is a scientist. You're a scientist, I'm a scientist, and your illiterate farmers are scientists. Your description 'science-backed' becomes meaningless because most everything is now 'science-backed', including blacksmithery and bodybuilding, witchcraft and Scientology. When people say 'I've got packing a suitcase down to a science', most everyone, maybe not you, and maybe not your hillbilly farmers, but most everyone else knows they don't really mean a 'real' science. When someone is identified on TV as a scientist, most everyone knows they are not then going to say they work as a blacksmith. When people say they hated science at school, no one is talking about Bible class. Most everyone views the term science in the 'restricted contemporary sense'. And in this true scientific sense, you Ken are no more practising science than is the Woman's Weekly astrologer, who let's remember, is also practising science by your definition.
My request that you provide references to the science that supposedly underpins your method obviously hit your conspiracy button. For someone that claims to be 'science-backed' you have a scathing opinion of the very thing that you say supports your claims. Did you think that your diatribe about climate change would cause me to fail to notice that you haven't provided any scientific references?
You mentioned predicting a drought in N Otago and that a meteorologist has repeated what you said. What you predicted was "North Otago is facing a six-month drought, with relief rains not due until June /July." This means that the drought was to start in January or February if it was to end six months later in June or July. The Otago Regional Council's resource management director in fact said that it has 'been dry since November', so you're a couple of months out. Also this 'drought' covers more than just North Otago. And why do you identify the resource management director as a meteorologist? Simply so you can claim 'devious meteorologists' are stealing your work? In a previous post (# 48) you began a comment with this claim '"Octo" who calls himself a professional meteorologist, posted ... '. On the forum you're referring to 'Octo' informs you at least twice that he is not a meteorologist, that he works at collecting weather data but that he doesn't produce forecasts. However you continue to criticise him and identify as a meteorologist, and on other forums such as this you even up your false identification to 'professional meteorologist' and falsely insist that Octo made this claim himself. Your continual misrepresentation of forecasts and your opponents is yet another reason why we have no confidence in you.
And what's this nonsense about MetService and NIWA stealing your work and calling it their own? They don't need to look up your old maps, you got them off them originally remember? Do you really think they would access your site with criminal intent and give themselves silly names so that any idiot, even you, could identify them? Why not just buy your book? You've said your predictions aren't modified after they're written or closer to the actual date. If any MetService or NIWA employee does legitimately access your site I'm sure it's just for a good laugh and to obtain some amusing stories for Friday nite drinks.
You finished with, 'If it isn't "science", then we all go down together and nothing is left.' What I assume you mean by this is that if your method isn't real 'science', then we having nothing to go by and the end is nigh. Fear not Ken, the world isn't going to end. Ancient astrology isn't science and this was actually discovered centuries ago. Didn't you get the memo? And rather than bring about the collapse of democracy and the world, we have actually gone forward. Rejecting superstition was the best thing mankind ever did, and whether you chose to publish your almanac next year or not, trust me when I say the world will not only go on, it will even see progress.
Comment by Rudi, 18 Jan, 2010
Is it not time for you both (John & Ken) to grow up?
Comment by Mike, 08 Apr, 2010
Hi John, Ken started his arguments again on the Australian based weather forum at www.weatherzone.com.au in particular in this thread. I counted just about every one of his arguments and using your blog and some further links I found I presented some level headed and unbiased information to the forum. He didn't answer anymore questions than he did in the Irish Boards when asked about scientific qualifications and when I asked him why he hadn't sued anyone for defamation he packed up and left in a hurry. As the threads in the forum are not deleted it will remain in place as long as Weatherzone is operational and will be searchable by anyone doing further research into him.
Another Weatherzone member from the USA (Aerology and his website) is claiming that Earth Tides and the 'magnetic influences of planets and sun when they appear in synod cause earthquakes', his description not mine and I have started looking into his claims which appear to mirror Ken's thinking as well.
I know he isn't a Kiwi but you might like to have a bit of a look at this bloke and maybe add him at a later date if you find his methods are similar to Ken's.
Please feel free to use any or all of my comments on your blog. Note: My Weatherzone forum name is 'Sir Boab Tree'.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 09 Apr, 2010
Hi Mike, thanks for the links. I'm reading through the posts and you're right, Ring is just pushing the same old tired arguments again, including listing Isaac Newton as a supporter, sidestepping the critical questions and getting annoyed when people ask about palm reading for cats.
I've had a quick scan of the Aerology site and I'm no expert, but it does sound like pseudoscience to me. Some of his claims about the solar wind for example are bogus which suggests that his scientific knowledge is similar to that of Ken Ring.
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