Weather Forecasting by the Moon
Ken Ring is a long range weather forecaster covering NZ, Australia, Ireland etc. Living in Auckland, NZ, he publishes 'Ken Ring's Predict Weather Almanac and Isobaric Maps' and is the author of other books such as 'The Lunar Code: How the Moon affects our Weather on Earth', 'Ken Ring's Predicting the Weather by the Moon' and 'Moon and Weatherlore'. He's also the author of 'Pawmistry: How to Read Your Cat's Paws', in which he teaches readers 'how to use numerology, astrology and skullistry to determine your cat's true nature'. All these books (bar the 'Pawmistry' one for some strange reason) are, or were, promoted on his website and are based around his astrological theory that the Earth's weather is caused by the Moon's gravitational effect on the Earth's atmosphere, and therefore our weather can be predicted by observing the position and movement of the Moon. And these weather predictions can be written 'twenty or 200' years ahead.
Scientists and meteorologists give no credence to his claims. In this article we will look to see whether even a layperson can find fault with his theory and his claims. Do the things that you and I can check make sense? We will look at whether his claims can be trusted, whether there is any scientific credibility to his theory and whether his business is anything more than a fraudulent money making venture.
Our conclusion — our opinion — it's all a scam.
His website is called 'Predict Weather' and his book covers boldly proclaim: 'Ken Ring's Predict Weather Almanac' and 'Ken Ring's Predicting the Weather by the Moon', so can Ring really predict or forecast the weather, not just a few days, but years ahead? Perhaps all that is really needed to decide this matter is to read these statements from Ken Ring himself:
'I don't claim to be able to forecast the weather. That is your claim on what I do, again your interpretation. I claim to have an opinion on what might happen, that is all... I sell opinions.'Ask yourself, why would you buy a weather forecast — not just read for free, but actually purchase a forecast — from someone who plainly insists that he doesn't claim to be able to forecast or predict the weather, that he makes no claim to accuracy and who frankly admits that he has no proof that his method works at all? Surely only an idiot would buy Ken Ring's Alamanac and put trust in his weather predictions — sorry, his 'opinions' — when he himself has so little confidence in their accuracy and utters such negative and 'buyer beware' comments? But unfortunately such gullible souls do exist so we will therefore go on to make our case against Ring's view of 'Predicting the Weather by the Moon'. Of course rational folk might find themselves agreeing with Ken, that he can't forecast the weather, but are wondering why he nevertheless insists that he can on his book covers and in media appearances? Isn't this a little deceptive, a little duplicitous? Yes... Yes it is.
While this article is rather lengthy, it is broken into various sections and the time required to read it is but a drop in the ocean compared to the time that one would spend reading, studying and interpreting his Almanac everyday for years and years. If you are prepared to allocate this time to his Almanac, you should at least be prepared to see whether you should even bother buying it in the first place. Plus this advice is free, unlike Ken Ring's.
Luckily you don't have to read the entire article to understand our argument, since to begin with we offer 'The Short Version: 5 Reasons why it's all a Scam'. This briefly sets out why in our opinion Ring's claim to be able to accurately predict the weather is false. This may be all you need to convince yourself that Ring's claims and method is nonsense. But for those that want more examples of Ring explaining how everything works and more detailed arguments of how it all falls to pieces, we provide various sections that each, we believe, provide another reason for rejecting Ring's claim to being a weather guru. Most sections can be read as stand-alone arguments and in any order, although they each add to each other in building up the case against Ring.
First we will give some short, blatant examples of Ring's Jekyll and Hyde nature in 'Ken Ring's Amazing World of Contradictions'. Then we will briefly explain the basics behind Ring's 'Moon Theory' for predicting the weather. Following from this we will look at the confusion, in Ring's mind anyway, that surrounds astronomy and astrology, and show that it is ancient astrology that powers Ring's predictions. In the section 'It's Pseudoscience because...', we will list the numerous criteria that when applied to Ring's Moon theory and resulting business overwhelmingly show that it is a fake science masquerading as real science, solely to make money from a gullible public. In the section 'Ken Ring's False Claims', we will provide a multitude of claims, mainly involving science, that Ring has made to support the validity of his prediction method that are all false and error ridden. These demonstrate a gross ignorance of real science, incompetence at performing basic research, and a clear indication that we should have no confidence that true science or history supports Ring's claims.
We will look at the difference between weather and climate, and why Ring would prefer his customers believe there is no difference. And we will consider whether long-range forecasts are even possible. From a practical point of view, we will look to see whether Ring's weather forecasts are specific, that is, can he really say if it will be fine for your wedding, sports event or crop spraying? This, to many people, including us, is what Ring's predictions are all about. We will also examine Ring's claim that he doesn't actually make predictions or forecasts at all, but merely offers opinions, just like a doctor does.
We will show that Ring wishes to suggest that his method is scientific and that the success of his predictions can be easily verified, but if pushed he will admit that it is not scientific at all, and that validation is impossible. Following on from this, we will ask how Ring can quote his own accuracy figures while claiming it is impossible for others to check the success of his predictions. Surrounding Ring's claims to a university science education, we will ask whether Ring really is a scientist, and will discover a nebulous past.
We will reveal some embarrassing examples of how Ring, without fail, responds to those who are skeptical of his claims, who query his method and request more details surrounding the science, or lack of it. The threat of lawyers is bandied about, fear for the safety of his family members is expressed, conspiracy theories are invented and vile insults are issued, such as calling us a 'white supremacist red-neck jack-booted fascist nazi'. One must question Ring's need to resort to threats and insults rather than calmly responding with reason and evidence.
We will also list 'Some of Ken Ring's other Strange Beliefs', that while not connected to weather prediction, serve to seriously undermine his claim that he can separate sense from nonsense. Things such as his book on palm-reading for cats and his pseudo-history views. Did you know that man and dinosaurs coexisted or that Maori were brought to NZ as slaves?
We also expand on 'Ring reinterpreting his failed forecasts'. There is nothing special about these examples, they were picked merely because we were familiar with the actual weather that occurred and we compared it with Ring's predictions. While some are dated, they still serve to demonstrate how Ring's forecasts fail in the real world and how he later attempts to reinterpret these failed forecasts in the eyes of the public.
We have to also thank the many others out there in cyberspace that have also been skeptical of Ring's claims. In challenging him on the likes of internet forums that Ring trolls to promote his business and squash criticism, they have teased out of him some of the many contradictory and nonsensical comments that we have quoted in this article. On the internet Ring once denied a request for more information stating that, 'There is very little reason for me to co-operate with you in my own demise', but nevertheless, he has be unable to resist providing a wealth of comments that do contribute to his own demise. He's like the Vatican and doesn't know when it makes more sense to keep quiet. But like the Vatican he has a business to run and must balance promoting his service while being careful not to reveal the embarrassing skeletons in the closet, especially the fact that both of their businesses are based on fantasies. It's always difficult being upfront when you have things to hide.
So let's discover what Ken Ring would rather you didn't know about predicting the weather by the moon.
You don't have to read this entire article to understand our argument, since we're now going to summarise the 5 main points that discredit Ring's claimed ability to accurately predict the weather. If you find our claims unconvincing or confusing, we have provided more detail further into the article to substantiate them all.
In this article we will use quotes from Ken Ring's Almanac, website, books, Internet forums and email replies to us and others. The indented text in violet are Ken Ring's actual quotes. Our comments are in normal black text. For many of Ring's quotes we haven't provided links since Ring has removed the articles from his site, and some internet forums no long exist. However we still have copies of most of these articles and forums, and if you wish to read them in full, contact us and we shall endeavour to locate them.
This is the most telling failure of Ring's method, that his predictions fail in the real world. Without going further, this reason alone destroys his credibility. It could be possible the Ring's predictions are accurate even though he has no idea why they work. His ignorance of science, his insults, his lack of qualifications etc are all irrelevant if his predictions work. But they don't.
These well publicised and well documented events were simply taken at random and checked against Ken Ring's Almanac.
Every single prediction made by Ken Ring failed.
After devastating floods on May 18th, 2005 that he failed to predict, Ken Ring stated in defence of his forecasts:
Mention was made that I missed the 18 May heavy rain event... I don't think so.Yet his Almanac forecast for this period predicted:
"Little or no recordable rain anywhere"Are these phrases portents of disastrous floods? We don't think so. Also Ring falsely stated that he was one day out on the forecast when in fact he was three days out.
After the 2005 Canterbury September snowfall event, Ken Ring ignores his Almanac's 'Daily Forecasts' which failed to predict snow, and publicly quotes part of his 'Summary' which — strangely enough — does mention snow in both islands.
Attempting to back up a rain forecast Ring says, 'Look outside. It is wet'. When informed that 'it is not wet today Ken. Looking outside it is a beautiful sunny day...' , Ring replies, 'I wrote "it is wet" in Titirangi at around 11am. In this district the bush can glisten from rain from the previous evening until the sun gets at least overhead'. Who but Ring could describe a 'beautiful sunny day' as 'it is wet', simply because there is moisture on some leaves from the previous day's rain? This is typical Ring deviously reinterpreting his forecasts and hoping that people won't see through his lies by looking up his Almanac or looking out the window.
When talking publicly Ring highlights the odd past weather event that the public remembers and states that he predicted that it would happen. Of course the public and media almost never check his claims. Often when Ring says after-the-fact that certain weather would happen, he either never said that at all or he only said that it could happen, not that it would. We might get heavy snow, we might not. If it does happen then Ring insists he was certain all along. He only talks about vague predictions that can be seen as successes, and buries all his failures.
After the Dec 2004 Asian Tsunami occured, Ring reinterpreted this vague published statement of his:
"Interestingly some of the largest earthquakes in recorded history have been [at this time ~ Nov]"He claims that this statement is proof that he predicted the devastating tsunami centred on Indonesia on Dec 26th. Note that his statement makes no mention of tsunami, Indonesia, Dec 26th or even December. He makes the same bogus claim for the Sept 2010 Christchurch earthquake. Here is what he said before the earthquake:
'you'll be reading about floods and winds and earthquakes and snow over the next week or so, particularly the South Island'Notice that he never mentioned a disastrous earthquake, he never mentioned Christchurch, he never mentioned Sept 4th. He wasn't even certain it was to be in the South Island. And yet after the event Ring claims publicly:
'But I did predict the earthquake... a big earthquake in the South island'.But let's remember that in that prediction he also foresaw disastrous floods, winds and snow, none of which happened. We must assume they were also to be of disaster proportion since his disaster earthquake prediction was among them. Ring makes numerous vague predictions and if one happens somewhere in NZ, he highlights it, making it sound far more accurate and specific than it really was, while suppressing all his many errors.
Ring also distorts the truth to make it appear that certain events match his moon theory. Here he is describing — in separate articles — how a specific phase of the moon caused the large 2009 Fiordland earthquake:
New Zealand's last major earthquake registered 7.8 on the Richter scale and hit the South Island's Fiordland region on July 16, 2009 (just before new moon+closest perigee)Note that in the first quote he claims that the earthquake occurred on the 16th and was caused by an approaching new moon, ie 'just before new moon', and yet in the next quote he claims it occurred actually 'on new moon'. To make matters worse, and more confusing, he then claims in the third quote that it really occurred on the 8th and was caused by a full moon. He repeats the full moon claim in the fourth quote from a Feb 24, 2011 article. So did the earthquake occur on a new moon or a full moon? Actually neither, since the new moon was on Jul 22, not the 16th, and the full moon was Jul 7, not the 8th. Ring falsely and deviously claims that events match what the moon is doing and with his theory. You might think that the 8th is only one day from the full moon, but in fact both dates that Ring mentions are wrong too. The earthquake occurred on the 15th, not the 8th or the 16th. The 15th was neither a full moon nor a new moon. Ring lied, and hopes that people won't check the accuracy of what he claims. And Ring knows very well that this earthquake was on the 15th and on neither a full nor new moon. Here he is commenting on the Stuff website on the day after the quake:
No one has mentioned the moon. No coincidence that last night the moon changed phase and hit the lastQ mark bang on 9.54pm which was about the earthquake time... Big earthquakes usually happen around new moons and full moons, and a week either side.That's Ring admitting that the quake actually occurred midway between new and full moon, and then adding his ridiculous 'and a week either side' claim, so that his method now covers every phase of the moon, and every week of the month.
See also these separate blog posts exposing more of Ring's bogus earthquake claims:
The reality is that weather is an inexact science... So if a forecast says rain for Auckland but it only rains in Huntly, 60 miles away, then given the tools available it is as close as one can reasonably get, and therefore can be considered a successful forecast.So if he forecasts rain in Auckland but it rains somewhere else, but not in Auckland, that's a successful forecast according to Ken Ring. No wonder he trumpets his success to the gullible media. This forecast says only one thing: it will rain in Auckland. It didn't, therefore the forecast is wrong, end of story. Forget about where it might have rained, that's immaterial. Ken Ring seems to have no real grasp of why people look at weather forecasts. They want to know about the future weather at their location. People concerned about rain in Auckland couldn't care less about what happens in Huntly and vice versa.
And here's another, Ring states that 'a predicted event can be up to a week late... and I don't fret too much if I am out by a few days'. If the rain, sunshine, wind or frost that Ring predicts is a week late, or a week too early, Ring still claims his predictions were successful.
All the public hears are his claims of successful predictions and they are blindly unaware of the devious manipulations he has performed to turn actual failures into apparent successes.
Ken Ring claims that his prediction method is not about predicting how much rain will fall, but only whether it will rain. It is not about amounts. He says this in a 2005 email to us, in his Almanac and on his website:
The moon method is best suited for predicting the timing of rain rather than amounts.
Yet he contradicts himself when he assures the public that he can:
confidently predict droughts and floods FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS.He claims in the email that he predicted the BoP flood. In his Almanac he documents exactly how much rain he thinks numerous cities will receive each month. He markets his book on the premise that he can predict extreme weather, eg floods and droughts. Claiming that he can forecast a flood or a drought is to predict the amount of rainfall, yet he also claims that he can't predict the amount. One of these must be a lie.
His public claim is that he can reliably predict weather for very specific events: weddings, cutting hay, concerts etc. He then hides disclaimers in his work that deny this ability, that all his forecasts are plus or minus one day' and he even extends this by talking about a '3-4 day window'. He markets his Almanac on 'specific event' accuracy, then denies it in the fine print.
Here are some examples of how Ken Ring advertises his business, how he describes the service he offers. The first is from the rear cover of his 2011 almanac:
Ken Ring's Predict Weather almanac allows you to accurately calculate the weather for any day in the year ahead...The next three examples are advertisements Ring has placed on the internet over the last few years:
Predict Weather offers services at affordable rates... weather for a family reunion or a single forecast for a couple organising a wedding... rainfall patterns, sunshine amounts and temperature trends... It is just as easy to forecast for one day or one yearIn that last list, we wonder how much extra you have to pay to get Ring's 'Accurate weather forecasts' as opposed to his ordinary 'Weather forecasts'? But clearly Ring is claiming in all his advertising to be able to predict what the weather will be on any given day, to accurately forecast 'Rain, sun, wind, frost and snow', and that it's 'easy to forecast for one day or one year'. But skeptics who challenge Ring's claimed ability to predict the weather are met with the following denials:
'I don't claim to be able to forecast the weather...'In the media and to those expressing an interest in buying his services, Ring claims that he most definitely can predict the weather, but in less public arenas Ring admits that he can't really, and that grownups should know that. We maintain that he relies, deliberately or otherwise, on confusion between climate and weather, and that he childishly wishes to deny responsibility for his failures by relabelling his predictions after-the-fact as mere opinions.
Here's another snippet that he doesn't widely publicise:
Most data is taken at airports, and that data most of the time is all that is available for me and my associates to use... Thus unless your location is at or near the airport the forecast may be at least slightly and possibly way out.So if you don't live next to an airport Ken Ring's forecasts could be 'at least slightly and possibly way out'. It's amazing how many excuses Ring hides in his material to 'explain' why his forecasts are wrong.
Ken Ring clearly sees the conflict between his prediction method and that of mainstream science as a debate between astrology and astronomy. Ring states that:
Astrology is pseudoscience. Ken Ring's theory is based on astrology. Thus his theory must also be a pseudoscience. But apart from linking himself to a known pseudoscience, are there other signs that he is promoting pseudoscience? Yes.
So what is a pseudoscience and how do you expose one? Physicist Milton Rothman describes pseudoscience as 'a false science that pretends to be real'. The following is a list of things to check for. The more questions you answer YES to, the more likely the topic being examined is a pseudoscience. In regard to Ken Ring's claims, one can honestly answer YES to every one of these signs:
Later in this article we provide examples for every one of these points. Since our argument also hinges on the claim that astrology is a pseudoscience and superstition that has been convincingly debunked, we will also provide information to this end.
The above points were taken from "The Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science", by Robert L. Park, professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and an article by Lee Moller (1994) in the Rational Enquirer.5. Ken Ring's Research is Pathetic:
These are claims that are just plain wrong, as any school child could discover:
Dolphins beam sonar signals to the MoonLater in this article we provide explanations as to why all these statements and many others used by Ring to support his theory are wrong. And unlike his predictions, there is no way that he can put a spin on these claims. For example Sir George Darwin was NOT the father of Charles Darwin. End of story.
These claims are not only wrong, they completely destroy Ken Ring's credibility. They demonstrate that his ability to research even straightforward facts, unrelated to his theory, is pathetic. If Ken Ring can't be trusted to get the simple stuff correct, why should we believe he gets the complex maths and physics correct?
On a more devious note, it would be despicable if Ken Ring is aware that these claims are bogus and still uses them to give the appearance that there is wide support for his theory. Let's hope he's just an incompetent researcher.
That wraps up 'The Short Version: 5 Reasons why it's all a Scam'. Still not convinced? Or if you are but want to giggle and shake your head in disbelief over some more of the ridiculous claims that Ring makes to promote his business, then carry on to the 'The Expanded Version' or click here to choose from various sections. Details are provided to support 'The Short Version' and further reasons are offered that clearly show Ring pushing pseudoscience, nonsense and ignorance with the arrogance of a Mafia mobster.
A quick and revealing way to decide what confidence the public should have in Ring's numerous claims regarding his weather prediction business can be gleaned from the way he describes his method or responds to questions. Is his story consistent, does he give clients and skeptics the same message? Or do his answers change like the wind, depending on what he thinks the reader might believe? Remember that facts or strongly held beliefs should stay the same. If a person's story flip-flops from day to day, if different people are given different versions, then something is very wrong and no money should change hands. In other sections we look in more depth at Ring's many contradictions, but this short list reveals the real Ken Ring.
Are you confused? Which is the real Ken Ring? The man who can prove his method or the one that can't, the one who is scientific or the one that isn't, the one that spent nine years at university or the one that spent only three, or perhaps four? The real Ken Ring is the man who will say whatever it takes for you to hand over $50 for his almanac year after year. Integrity doesn't enter into it.
In this article we have just done what any layperson can do. We've simply looked at some of Ring's claims and forecasts and checked whether they matched the real world. They don't. But what about the 'science' behind his theory? We're not meteorologists, astronomers, physicists or scientists of any description, but from what we've read it appears to be pseudoscience, i.e. claims that sound scientific to the layperson, but which are utterly bogus.
Ring's Moon theory, or 'Lunar Science' as he sometimes calls it, is that the Moon not only influences the Earth's weather, it actually causes it:
a dwindling few still claim that the Sun causes the weather.We are some of the 'dwindling few' that do still believe that the Sun is the major cause of our weather. Even Ring, contradicting himself yet again, has said that 'The sun is the engine, the moon is the driver. Solar radiation is the true energy source'. But ignoring embarrassing admissions like this for the moment, the crux of Ring's theory is this: he believes the Moon creates our weather through its gravitational affect on the Earth's atmosphere, creating tides in the atmosphere similar to the tides the Moon causes in the oceans, and because these tides can be predicted, like those in the oceans, then so too can the weather:
It is little known that there are at least four separate... tides caused by lunar gravitation... the sea-tide... the inner-core tide... the land-tide... the air-tideIt is actually well known that the Moon's gravity causes tidal forces to act on the Earth and the atmosphere, as well as the more obvious oceans. The question regarding the atmosphere is not whether there is an affect, but how much?
The Earth's gravity is the only thing holding the atmosphere to the planet's surface. Thus it is indisputable that gravity has a pull on the atmosphere. Also there is no fundamental difference between the Earth's gravity and that of the Moon. Gravity is gravity. Thus gravity, no matter from what source — the Earth, Sun, Moon or the most distant galaxies — must have some affect on our atmosphere.
The crucial question is: How much affect do these different sources have? Ring falsely believes that anything that has an affect must have a noticeable affect:
You might want to think of weather as air tides.And not only a noticeable affect, but an influence that is 'total' and '100%':
The word tide isn't just confined to sea, land and air... Why should there not be tides within us... And why should not those internal tides be at least somewhat influenced by sun and moon, if these have been shown to at least somewhat influence the physical world? But influence is total. If it happens at all, it happens 100%...By the same logic every piece of matter in the universe theoretically has a gravitational affect on our atmosphere, and so should be taken into account when forecasting our weather. Gravity does not just suddenly stop when you get a certain distance away. But even though they have an influence, it for some reason, unlike the Moon, is not total, not 100%. According to Ring it is zero. Ring has conveniently ignored all these other sources of gravity, concentrating solely on the Moon:
The predictions have been generated only by calculating the orbits of the moon.His reason no doubt is that these other sources are inconsequential. That theoretically they do have an affect but are so minor that they can be ignored and thus play no part in controlling the weather. That the size and closeness of the Moon completely swamps all other sources. This is true as regards the stars and planets and galaxies, but not as regards terrestrial sources.
Evidently a 1kg melon held one metre above your head produces 200 times as much tidal effect in your body as does the Moon.  Humans have even more mass than melons do, so taking this to its logical conclusion a crowd of thousands at some outdoor event must gravitationally affect the local atmosphere to an enormous degree compared to that of the Moon. The affect of the crowd would swamp that of the Moon. Mass migrations of wildebeests must also influence the weather. Why isn't Ring factoring these variables into his forecasts?
But it's more than just gravity alone. Ken Ring believes that since astronomical cycles exist, eg the Moon orbits the Earth once a month, and since the Moon's gravity affects the Earth, then the Earth's weather can be predicted based on what point we are along these astronomical cycles. Put very (very) simply, the weather during a full moon will be the same every full moon. Just as we can predict that it will normally be hotter at midday than midnight, Ring believes that our weather repeats in a predictable manner over months and years. To this end Ring has obtained old isobaric weather maps from years gone by that were produced by meteorological organisations such as the MetService, and attempts to match them up with numerous astronomical cycles, mainly those involving the moon. Just as summer repeats, Ring believes a storm that happened on the 20th March 1969 for example, will repeat again and again years later as the moon goes through its cycles. Of course it's all very complicated to understand how these different cycles interact, but using old weather maps and ancient astrology Ring believes he can predict when our weather will repeat itself. Here he is describing these cycles:
'Suffice that I use the ancient astrological energy grid of the constellations, and lunar and solar cycles. I believe the sun comes first, then constellations. The moon answers to the sun but is also tethered to constellations.'There is no denying that most of these astronomical cycles really do exist, but unfortunately for Ken, no scientific support that they cause our weather. Furthermore, his argument screams pseudoscience when he claims to also use 'the ancient astrological energy grid of the constellations', stating that 'Constellations are really declination-energy roadmaps'. He further damages his case by using bogus astrology to crosscheck his astronomical cycles. That's like asking a witch to crosscheck a doctor's analysis of an MRI scan.
Also note how Ring in his fourth comment says that he uses 'no earth-bound factors', and yet in his two final comments he claims to use 'local topographic factors' and 'jetstreams'. He also said that 'I have never said the moon is the whole story, I use sun and planets...', which contradicts his claim a few paragraphs previously: 'The predictions have been generated only by calculating the orbits of the moon'. Just more examples of Ring failing to keep his story straight, failing to remember what he says and writes.
Do you know where weather is made? According to the Bible there are 'storehouses of the snow [and] storehouses of the hail... [and a] place where the lightning is dispersed, [and a] place where the east winds are scattered over the earth', but like us, Ring doesn't believe this. Here's Ring's version:
Remember weather is generated around 8 miles up...What does he actually mean by this? Certainly rain, hail and snow are generated in clouds which can be several miles high, but the heat that warms the earth is generated in a star 93 million miles away, which in turn bathes the ground and oceans at ground and sea level. Frost forms at ground level and sunlight heats the earth and drives the winds which can be found low or high in the atmosphere. Weather occurs in the band of atmosphere know as the troposphere, which extents from sea level up to around 7 or 8 miles. There is not a weather factory at the boundary of the troposphere and the next layer, the stratosphere. Weather is a complex phenomenon that occurs throughout the troposphere. When we experience a hot day at the beach it is not due to a weather factory 8 miles up. But the contradictory person that Ring is then comes out with this amazing claim:
Furthermore, the state of the atmosphere has nothing to do with the weatherSay what?? The state of the atmosphere has everything to do with the weather. My dictionary even defines weather as: 'The state of the atmosphere at a given time and place, with respect to variables such as temperature, moisture, wind velocity, and barometric pressure'. And to further prove his point that weather and the atmosphere aren't connected, Ring follows up with this statement:
There are planets with weather but no atmosphere. Just google that if you don't believe me.We don't believe you Ken. Weather by definition is the state of the atmosphere. If a planet has no atmosphere then it has no weather. Of course you can describe the surface temperature of a planet with no atmosphere, but talking temperature in this case is not talking weather, anymore than me saying what temperature you need to store icecream at is talking weather. Ring's problem is that he defines weather as the mechanism that he insists causes the phenomenon that you and I call weather. Ring states that:
Weather cannot arise from air or anything in air...From Ring's description weather sounds more like a visiting alien bringing salvation than a simple thunderstorm that disrupts my barbecue. To Ring weather is all about 'Huge cosmic forces' (tidal forces) that have been 'long in forming, traveling and arriving', and that these tidal forces can influence a planet whether there is an atmosphere or not. And that's true, tidal forces operate regardless of atmospheres. But tidal forces stretching and deforming the earth's surface is not what any normal person calls weather.
Of course if we take the opposite tack and accept Ring's assertion that 'There are planets with weather but no atmosphere, then this obviously means that weather has no connection to atmosphere. Thus on earth it matters not what the moon's gravity does to our atmosphere because, as Ring implies, the weather doesn't care what the atmosphere is doing since the atmosphere doesn't even have to be there for us to have weather. So Ring's theory that by observing how the moon's gravity stretches our atmosphere we can predict the weather, contradicts with his theory that 'the state of the atmosphere has nothing to do with the weather', since atmospheres aren't even necessary for weather. Or at least not what he calls weather.
But just to confuse us even more, in another article on his website and in one of his books Ring contradicts his own theory by giving us these 'facts' about Earth's atmosphere:
If it wasn't mixed and distributed by the Moon daily, more of the atmosphere would end up on the Sun's side because the Sun would be the only body in space with any gravitational pull. There would probably be one giant cloud always on the Sun's side, just as there is on Venus, which is why Venus always looks so bright.But since Ring's theory states that the Sun's gravitational affect on the Earth is inconsequential, why would the Moon's sudden absence see the Sun gaining new powers? It's not like the Moon is suppressing the Sun's gravity. According to Ring the Sun in isolation would create a giant cloud that rotated counter to the Earth's rotation, forever facing the Sun. But for a week every month during each New Moon, the Moon is located between the Sun and the Earth, so whatever power the Sun has in isolation, the Moon now adds its 'super' power. If the Sun alone would create a giant cloud, then the Sun and Moon combined should suck the atmosphere off the planet! Strangely enough we don't experience trouble breathing during these times. Also if the Sun's gravity is strong enough to create giant clouds then surely Ring should be factoring its affect into his calculations rather than ignoring it. In fact the Sun does play an important part in our tides, but it is less than half as effective as the Moon. If there were no Moon we would probably still have water, contrary to what Ring believes, and we would still have tides, just not as high.
And Venus isn't bright because of a single giant cloud either. Its entire surface is shrouded in highly reflective clouds that reflect around 76% of the sunlight that strikes them. It's just amazing what Ring doesn't know about astronomy, but that doesn't stop him making things up if he thinks it will help sell his method and his books.
We repeat, there is no scientific support for Ring's Moon theory. The Moon, tides, astronomical cycles, gravity and our atmosphere are all real of course, but there is no good evidence that the movement of the Moon is the cause of the Earth's weather, anymore than lightning is caused by angry gods throwing bolts from the clouds.
Initially, like most of the public no doubt, we didn't connect astrology with Ken Ring and his weather forecasts, hearing only scientific sounding explanations. We thought it was all astronomy. But the more we looked, the more the cracks began to show, such as this rhetorical question by Ring to the Auckland Astronomical Society [AAS]:
"Why re-open the conflict between astronomy and astrology that last saw vigorous debate in the 1850s?"This is a very revealing statement concerning how Ring views his conflict with mainstream opinion. It seems the conflict is not between mainstream science and fringe science, but between astronomy and astrology. Since in this 'conflict' the AAS is obviously on the side of astronomy, one must assume that Ring aligns himself more with astrology. His writing is certainly sprinkled with references that appear to give credence to astrology, a superstition that has been thoroughly debunked. Such as when he explains "apogee" on his website:
Apogee is curious... Perhaps it gives energy to all other aspects of the Moon. It doesn't really matter how. This is a very astrological aspect - how one planet can 'give energy to' another. Some say lunar apogee gives power to ALL the other planets.You could be fooled into thinking you're reading a book on horoscopes. He goes on to remind the Auckland Astronomical Society, and everyone else who will listen, that:
astronomy's founding fathers... were all astrologers.But this is as misleading as us claiming that the first scientists believed the world was flat. Maybe they did, but the point is that modern scientists don't still follow ancient false beliefs. All humans were once cave dwellers who had never heard of soap. We've moved on, it's called progress. What astronomy's founding fathers believed is irrelevant and a red herring. The fact is, as even Ring implies, they did move from belief in astrology to belief in astronomy. Finding astrology to be flawed, they ditched it and founded astronomy. Unable or unwilling to grasp this problem with astrology, Ring claims his theory uses algorithms that were:
once the occupation of astrologers like Nostradamus and Sir Isaac NewtonAgain, so what? Utilising algorithms from a failed belief is a mark against his theory, not for it. And note that he doesn't mention that prophesying the future and turning lead into gold were also the 'occupation of astrologers... Nostradamus and Sir Isaac Newton'. Those 'ancient methods' didn't work either.
Ring's foray into astrology, his acceptance of it and his attempt to integrate it into his theory of weather forecasting, more than any other factor, shows his theory to be utterly bogus.
The more you delve into Ring's articles, books and internet comments, the more you realise he is utterly convinced of the validity of astrology:
scientists even today still don’t fully understand the real laws of Gravitation as originally formulated [by Newton], because of their long maintained refusal to recognize the mechanics of fundamental AstrologyRing criticises scientists, but obviously hasn't been keeping up with scientific progress himself. He doesn't seem to realise that Sir Isaac Newton's theory of gravity, while brilliant and still widely used, was superseded many years ago by Albert Einstein's theory of gravity: General Relativity. And Einstein's theory certainly has no need of astrology. And neither did Newton's. And even though Ring states ad nauseam that Sir Isaac Newton was an astrologer, the fact is he wasn't. He was a physicist, as well as an alchemist and a devout religious heretic, but he wasn't an astrologer, paying it little attention.
Ring even puts forward this nonsense to make people think twice if they giggle at astrology:
'For anyone to state they don't believe in astrology is to say they don't believe in the fact that stars are out there.'This is just childish reasoning on Ring's part, but unfortunately typical in his flawed arguments. This is just as silly as saying, 'For anyone to state they don't believe in witchcraft or the prophet Mohammed is to say they don't believe in the fact that there are witches and Muslims out there'. Ring naively believes that the mere existence of some belief, be it astrology, witchcraft or Islam, gives it some sort of validity. Existence of a myth equates to its truthfulness in Ring's philosophy.
When someone points out to Ring that just because people keep buying astrology books doesn't prove it works, he replies:
Ken Ring: Wrong, it proves [astrology] does work or the same people wouldn't keep buying [astrology books]... Many people don't know what astrology is. Astronomy was and still is astrology, and at one stage a doctor had to qualify in astrology first.By this silly logic, Nigerian bank scams must work as well or else people wouldn't keep investing in them. We agree entirely that many people are ignorant regarding astrology, Ring being one of them. Astronomy and astrology have different names because they are different fields. Is that really so hard to grasp? Astronomy is science and astrology is pseudoscience. Astronomy works and astrology doesn't. Astronomy relies on evidence and astrology relies on superstition. And who cares if doctors in the dim and distance past studied astrology, they've long since realised their mistake and it no longer features in medical schools.
In case you're still thinking that Ring is simply acknowledging astronomy's origins in astrology, here are more quotes from him that make it perfectly clear that we should reject astronomy and return to astrology, the system he uses:
It is the old principles of Astrology that we should be turning back toNote that Ring in no way renounces the 'fortune-telling part' of astrology either, merely setting it 'gently' aside and implying that he is only concerned with weather prediction. Indeed, at one stage he even explains how eclipses fit into the 'fortune-telling part':
There are generally four eclipses a year - two solar and two lunar. The lunar nodes are very rich in symbolic meaning and are used extensively in Hindu astrology. It is said they form an axis across the birth chart, often pointing to deep, soul issues or moments of destiny in an unfolding life. The return of the lunar nodes occurs just before the ages of 19, 38, 56, and 75, and certain destiny-making events are supposed to transpire in one's life at these times.
On his website he used to conveniently provide a link for those that do want the 'fortune-telling part':
And in case you're thinking that unlike real astrologers and horoscopes, Ring never mentions the zodiac, constellations or star signs, in one issue of his 'Weather EZINE', Ring writes:
I posted an article about the astrology signs the moon moves through, and what general weather often results... "The moon goes across Cancer... Cancer typically brings downpours,... Leo is typically a still sign, not much wind... it is Virgo's turn again to have the moon pass through it. Blustery conditions may develop,... the moon enters Libra and pleasantness may return... Scorpio dictates the potential for severe wet with heavy falls.In another (weather ezine #052, 25 september 2001) Ring continues:
Other astrological descriptions used by Ring are:
Snow will also come when the so-called cold planets are in special angles to the location, as described mathematically by the famous astrologer Sir Isaac Newton.And look how Ken is still mired in his old astrology, claiming that 'We are far from explanations of most meteorological phenomena'. What nonsense to imply that science has no explanations for the likes of rain, frost, snow, hurricanes, thunder and lightning. Are gods still tossing lightning in Ringworld? And for your information Ken, gravity is not viewed as a meteorological phenomena. Have you ever heard a weather forecast that said: Monday should see some inland showers and possibly some low gravity along the coast, clearing by Tuesday.
And here he is in a Jan 2010 article, 'The Moon and You', describing how you and your actions might be affected by the moon, for example when to wash your hair and when to buy a house:
The ancient teaching, astrologically, was that the phase you were born under is the most comfortable one for you and the one that best describes your personality... Some believe it, some don't... You may wish to see if it matches who you are... Not for one moment am I saying they hold true, but if the cap fits you may wish to wear it...When challenged, Ring angrily insists that he doesn't believe in this sort of astrological nonsense involving horoscopes, personality and the like, and moans that 'Modern astrology has been denigrated to a party and coffee table game'. If that's truly the case, then why does he waste time and confuse his clients by offering them this bogus astrological advice that he believes is false and detracts from what he does? What else does he write about that he believes is utter nonsense but might draw in gullible customers? Could you ever imagine the Pope offering Catholics advice on how to live as atheists, you know, just in case the cap fits? Ring muddies the waters by talking about washing your hair when the moon is in Leo and clearly demonstrates that his astrological beliefs are just as silly and as worthless as they were thousands of years ago.
All this is plain evidence that Ring's weather prediction method is intimately tied to astrology — bogus, superstitious, old fashioned astrology. While it's possible to take his claims that the Moon's gravitational attraction may have an influence on the weather seriously, his belief that astrology plays the crucial role in explaining this effect shows his research and conclusions to be seriously flawed. If he can't see the fatal flaws in the superstition that is astrology, he has no hope of mastering the complexities of modern science. The problem is that Ring naively believes that astrology is science:
What the reader may have read about astrology is a beat-up... it is really science, not pseudoscience...In his ignorance Ring believes that by simply tacking the word 'science' onto 'astrological' will transform it into a science. This is as childish as believing that Creation science is a science rather than a religion. Does witchcraft become a science by calling it 'witchcraft science'? The very fact that Ring talks about 'science and astrological science' shows that they are completely different beasts. If we talked about 'humans and women', wouldn't this suggest that women weren't human? People do have a choice between science and astrology, but would be fools to choose astrology. It was science that landed man on the moon, not astrologers.
We now realise that Ring's talk of science is only a front and that his predictions are based soley on discredited astrology. There is no science involved, only pseudoscience. Predicting the weather by astrology is as silly as predicting it by plotting the movement of ghosts.
We now completely understand why he makes vague, open-ended and often contradictory predictions. It allows the people reading his predictions to find the answer they want. It is the exact same ploy that astrologers, psychics, mediums and tea leaf readers use. We now understand why he can't provide evidence to support his claims and must therefore manufacture bogus data and historical supporters. There is no evidence supporting astrology, only mountains of evidence that debunks it. We now understand why he must demonise scientists and suggest conspiracy theories. He must make his clients suspicious of them and their pagan ways and therefore unwilling to listen to their explanations.
If we have managed to convince you that Ring's method utilises astrology, but you're still not convinced that astrology really is utterly bogus, listed below are 3 short articles that clearly explain why you can safely throw away your horoscopes. They alone should convince you, but if not there are many other excellent websites, books and articles of a skeptical nature that explain why astrology doesn't work and never has.
In this section we expand on our earlier pseudoscience checklist, explaining why Ring's theory is a pseudoscience and not a real science. Here we are talking about Ring's claims as a whole, not just his use of astrology, which is also a pseudoscience. Recall that the more questions you answer YES to, the more likely the topic being examined is a pseudoscience. In regard to Ken Ring's claims, one can honestly answer YES to every one of these signs. The quotes by Ring that follow each question support this assertion.
So Ring's cup doth runneth over when it comes to immersing himself in pseudoscience. He confuses the layperson with bogus scientific claims and shuns the scientist, he detects a conspiracy to suppress his work, he works alone and relies on ancient beliefs, he fails to produce evidence for his claims and actually fabricates support, and when all else fails, he issues insults and legal threats. All signs of a deluded and paranoid individual requesting money for a bogus belief.
In a September 2010 media article looking at the accuracy of weather predictions in NZ — Whither goes our weather today? — the reporter looks at the likes of NIWA, the MetService and private providers such as Ring. The article notes that Ken Ring's predictions have 'an amazingly high strike rate for reliability'. Of course many others commenting on Ken Ring also claim that he is 'spot on' with his forecasts:
Before travelling, I always consult his site... He's been spot on every timeAnd 'spot on' often features in testimonials publicised by Ken himself:
G'day Ken... You were spot on for yesterday & today.But of course testimonials are worthless in determining whether something actually works, they're like asking the Pope if God exists. Opinion proves nothing, evidence is what is needed, and anyone who offers testimonials is doing so because they have no evidence and must rely on worthless testimonials instead. To see how testimonials can lead you astray, look at this one:
Hi Ken, I have used your almanac during the year and you seem to be right most of the time, I have even lent it to my neighbour who is a hay making contractor we had to ask for it back as he kept it for a number of months.Sounds supportive doesn't it, but how could Dick be using Ken's almanac and have determined it 'to be right most of the time', if his neighbour actually had it for 'a number of months'? Dick couldn't have compared Ring's predictions with reality if he didn't have Ring's book on hand to read what Ring actually predicted. We wonder just how many of these testimonials are genuine, and even if they all are, if they're anything like Dick, then their praise could be genuine but false nevertheless, since it would be based on a badly flawed view of Ken's predictions.
So what about the article's mention of 'an amazingly high strike rate for reliability', where might that have come from? We suggest from none other than Ken himself. In fact the entire paragraph praising Ring comes word for word from promotional material for his almanac. So how might Ring have established his 'amazingly high strike rate for reliability'? In a 2005 article on his website Ken stated that 'Currently accuracy seems to be running about 87-91%', which changed slightly in the Oct 2005 article that originally brought Ken to our attention. In that Ken claimed 'to get it right 85 to 90% of the time'. Regarding the accuracy of his predictions, in a letter to NZ Geographic in 2006, Ring asserted that: 'I can prove they work 85 per cent of the time'. (Let's overlook for the moment that Ring asserts elsewhere that his business 'cannot be proven'). When asked on an internet forum in Sept 2006 what his success rate was, Ken reverted back to: '87-91%'. It changed yet again in his 'Predict Weather Almanac 2008' which stated that 'Surveys carried out from time to time have indicated the method can deliver between 85% and 91% accuracy'. On an internet forum in Jul 2008 Ken noted simply that 'many farmers give me 85%+'. The 85% plus claim reduces to just 85% in an Aug 2009 'Herald on Sunday' article: 'I'd say my predictions are about 85 per cent accurate...'. The plus reappears in a Mar 2010 internet forum comment: 'I am told I am about 85%+ accurate...'. However the following month, Apr 2010, another forum comment and the claimed success rate has dropped yet again: 'I never claim to 100%, as about 80-85% is what others seem to give my method'. In an online interview he repeats this reduced rate: 'We all seem to claim about 80-85%'. Finally to two forum comments in Oct 2010, the first where the 'plus' pops back in: 'When I say 80-85%+ accuracy, this is a figure farmers have applied to my results...', and the second where, amazingly enough, he gives two different rates in the same sentence: 'The 80-85% and sometimes 85-90% claim is told to me by farmers...'. Although he is stating these figures online, when he wrote his 2011 'Predict Weather Almanac', he still went with an '85-91% accuracy'.
So we have changing claims of success rates from Ken Ring himself, starting out at a high of 91%, dropping to 90%, then to 85% plus, then to just 85%, with the low value starting out at 87%, dropping to 85% and finally to 80%. Of course you may argue that better surveys and analysis have refined the rate over the years. But who does these surveys, who works out these percentage values? When on an internet forum in Sep 2006 Ring was asked about the figures he quoted, he replied, 'A figure was called for and one given, from a survey done by an independent body'. So Ring claims that the success rates he invariably quotes, in his books, in media interviews and on the internet, are provided by an independent body, one presumably that is qualified to make such an analysis. So why does he never mention who this independent body was in his many books and media interviews? We have only managed to find two fleeting references to surveys by an 'independent body'. Back in an article on his website in 2005 Ring mentions not one but three groups. He stated that 'I have just been criticised for not doing such an analysis. Without analysing properly there is no basis on which to pass judgement on my work. Such analyses have been done, by a secondary school science project for Motat, by Massey University and by Carl Smith in Australia. Currently accuracy seems to be running about 87-91%'. He repeated two of these claims on the internet in Oct 2006: 'A prominent secondary school team did a science project that studied me for 3 months at a MOTAT exhibition sponsored by NIWA. They came up with 87%. A Massey University project gave me 85-91%. Auspacwx ran a Random Number Generator against me, and gave me above 80%'. On this Ringworld blog where Ring's success rate was running around a measly 50%, Ring was challenged to provide further support for these survey claims, but he was not forthcoming. Also note that in Ring's website article he claimed the accuracy rate was 87-91%, which means he has deviously taken the two highest values from his various 'surveys' and misrepresented them as the lowest and highest values. Quite dishonest, and also inexcusable for an ex-maths teacher. If we also take Smith's surveys into account, which evidently only gave between 50% and 60%, then the survey rate is actually 50-91%.
For a start, a science project by school kids for a mere 3 months is hardly what one thinks of when Ring mentions 'a survey done by an independent body'. Secondly, if Massy University had really validated his method at 87-91% then this would be highlighted in big, bold text on the cover of all his books. It's not. Thirdly, Carl Smith is a supporter, friend and peer whom Ring acknowledges in his book 'The Lunar Code', so he can hardly be called independent. We're not sure what competing against a random number generator shows or what data was used. The obvious fact is, if any of these surveys were real and/or robust then Ken would be continually referring critics to them, but he doesn't. He has never mentioned them again since 2006.
In his almanacs Ring states: 'Surveys carried out from time to time have indicated...', which implies that genuine, independent, professional surveys have analysed Ring's performance and produced the percentage rates that he continually quotes. This would appear to be blatantly false and misleading. In fact it appears that Ring has simply invented both the surveys and their results. He has of late made several revealing admissions, suggesting that it is actually farmers that have carried out the surveys of his forecasts, performed the statistical analysis and given him the results. Here he is revealing where he now claims his percentage values come from, and note there is no mention of Massy University:
I am told I am about 85%+ accurate by farmersBut again, let's remind ourselves of the sort of feedback that Ken gets from farmers regarding his success:
hey ken ,your predictions of the weather have been pretty much spot on.What sort of percentage would you give the phrase 'spot on'? 100% perhaps? The second last comment does give 75.5%, but we have no idea how accurate that is. The last comment gives Ring 90% even though he admits he gave up recording the results after just three weeks!! Yet it appears that Ken has indeed derived his boast of an 80-85% success rate from utterly vague and extremely questionable comments from farmers, fishermen and other clients.
But let's also remember that in a comment to us Ring has revealed this about farmers, his main clients:
'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.'Isn't that amazing, 'Some of these farmers can't even read or write', but they all seem to be able to flick through his almanac, compare its forecasts with reality, record the results, calculate the percentage success rate, and send Ken an email with the result. We're surprised that Ken's hillbillies even know what percentages are.
Ring's insult towards his clients aside, the fact is that his claim of an 85-91% success rate, or variations around that, is utterly worthless if he is just inventing a number based on how enthusiastic some of his fan mail is. Ring appears to believe that email compliments are the equivalent of a real, controlled, scientific, independent survey of his weather forecasts. He has tried to justify his success by stating:
If you want positive appraisals I can forward you any of the high numbers of emails per day that I receive.As we've said to Ken, he says he has hundreds of worshipping emails and that farming groups year after year ask him back to lie to them, sorry, we mean talk to them. So what? He confuses blind belief with evidence. Santa Claus gets far more emails from believers than Ken does, and they flock to his public appearances, so does that mean belief in Santa is justified too? As Anatole France said, "If 50 million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."
While we're at it we should mention another statement that Ring often makes that appears similar but isn't:
'The nature of longrange is inexact, and 85% is aimed for'What you aim for and what you achieve is not necessarily the same thing. When we buy Lotto tickets we always aim for 100% success rate, but to date we have achieved a consistent 0%. There is nothing wrong with Ken saying that he aims for an 85% success rate, that he wishes to achieve an 85% success rate with his forecasts, but he is being dishonest to twist this claim around and suggest that he has actually achieved an 85% success rate.
We suspect that all we can say concerning accurate claims regarding the success rate of Ken Ring's forecasts is that they fall somewhere in the range 0%-100%. Regardless of what Ken claims, apparently no reliable surveys have been performed that support his version of events. Like the magician he is, Ring has just simply pulled his numbers out of a hat, having first written them himself and hidden them in there beforehand.
But can one even check the accuracy of Ring's predictions? Yes and no. Frankly we don't believe you can if you are forced to factor in the many disclaimers that Ring insists one applies to his forecasts. For example, if Ring predicts rain on a specific day which doesn't occur, but it does rain a week later or did a week earlier, then Ring claims this as a valid prediction. Remember that Ring states that 'a predicted event can be up to a week late... and I don't fret too much if I am out by a few days'. Likewise if Ring predicts rain that doesn't occur, but there are clouds in the sky, Ring claims this as a valid prediction. Here is Ring explaining this fraudulent sidestep in these disclaimers: 'Readings are of potential for weather events...for example in the case of the naming of rain what eventuates may just be the gathering together of cloud' and 'there could be times when the rain maps only succeed in predicting clouds with a "rain look" '. If the weather Ring predicts occurs 100 kilometres away from the predicted location, then Ring claims this as a valid prediction. Furthermore, much of the detail that was in Ring's earlier Almanacs has disappeared from the latest editions, leaving maps and descriptions that are simplistic and vague in the extreme. For example, phrases like 'In terms of rain (meaning rain or snow)'..., and when Ring predicts 'snow', what he says he really means is that 'It can equally be frost, ice, cold rain, hail, or snow flurries'. So if instead of a snowfall you get a slight frost, in Ring's view he was still correct. If you get a heavy frost followed by a sunny dry day, or perhaps a day that has light snow or light rain, then according to Ring they are all the same thing weatherwise: '1-2mm can mean light rain, or equally, light snow, or again equally heavy frost=sunny dry day'. It's hard to get a prediction wrong when wet and dry mean the same thing. Look at this exchange from an internet forum where Ring attempted to back up his rain forecasts by saying, 'Look outside. It is wet'. However a poster living in the same suburb challenged him on this: 'it is not wet today Ken. Looking outside it is a beautiful sunny day...' Unperturbed Ring later replied, 'I wrote "it is wet" in Titirangi at around 11am. In this district the bush can glisten from rain from the previous evening until the sun gets at least overhead'. What deceptive nonsense. What idiot other than Ring trying to pretend his predictions are correct could honestly describe a 'beautiful sunny day' as 'it is wet', simply because there is moisture on some leaves from the previous day's rain? This is dishonesty in the extreme, and if it were seriously uttered by anyone else they would be considered eligible for a stay in a dementia ward.
Regarding what his predictions might mean, Ring has also said that 'in terms of my work [and] taking into account my disclaimers... you can't decide what you think I am claiming'. But if the public can't necessarily interpret his predictions correctly, then what use are they? Ring has even written in this extreme vagueness as a disclaimer:
'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... The vagueness is not a deliberation to deceive, it is in the maybe...'There are often several possible outcomes, weather 'is in the maybe', Ring claims in his defence. But we already know that, we're not stupid. It might rain or it might not. It might be sunny and hot or it might be overcast and cold. There might be high winds or it could be calm. There might be good snowfalls for skiing, or there might not be. When people buy Ring's Almanac or online forecasts they want to know what the actual outcome is going to be, not simply advised that it could be this, or if not, then something completely different. Using the criteria that Ring insists on, even blatant failures count as successes. In Ring's world he could convince you that you had won Lotto even though your ticket didn't actually match any of the winning numbers. As long as your numbers were similar to those that did win or matched a ticket that won the previous week, then in Ring's view this is close enough and you should be elated with your virtual win.
We remind readers that Ring does not want people to check the accuracy of his forecasts, and indeed states that any attempt to do a daily check is invalid: 'Daily analysis of results is not valid because the nature of longrange forecasting is not intended to be specific...'
However we disagree. If one takes a rational look at Ring's predictions, ignores his many disclaimers, his tearful protests and his reworking of his forecasts after-the-fact, then we believe some of his predictions can be checked for accuracy. If when he says specific weather will occur on a specific date at a specific location, and we take him at his word, then we can check to see if this weather event actually occurred. Of course many of his predictions are so vague they are little different from saying 'Tomorrow there will be weather', and therefore must be deemed worthless as predictions. But a few are detailed enough for any rational person to be able to judge his success. For example when Ring claims that there will be no precipitation and yet farms and houses get flooded, any sane person can judge that a failure. When Ring predicts heavy rains and warns people to stay at home and away from high country rivers, as he did for Labour Weekend 2010, and yet the country was blessed with fine weather, this again must be counted as a miserable failure. And embarrassingly so, since Ring made such a public show of issuing this prediction that was so wrong. Here is the challenge that Ring issued:
they [the Metservice] are still being irresponsible for not warning people taking young kids into the mountains to take protective clothing. Any tragedies will be on their head as a result.Lots of rain and lives could be lost. And yet so terribly wrong. What was Ring's answer?, simply to insist that there was plenty of rain outside Auckland, that 'Southland also received good falls, some heavy', and that 'Wellington hardly saw any sun at all'. Note that he didn't say it rained in Wellington, we infer that it was simply cloudy. All lies of course. I mentioned Southland since that was where I was for the weekend and Southland did NOT receive 'good falls, some heavy'. Apart from one slight shower that hardly wet the concrete around 10pm on Sunday night, we had no rain. The long weekend was dry, sunny and warm during every daylight hour. No lives were lost or even threatened. No washing got wet. He went on to concede that 'On the other hand no lives were lost by trampers or school camps', but that 'Amounts are not the forte of the moon method, and I make no claim on them'. And yet that is exactly what he claimed: 'The latter are predicting no rain whatsoever for the whole country. I am predicting lots'. Regarding his failed forecast he moaned that 'there is no way any credit would be given to me here. Bullies are unable to praise'. We don't praise idiots Ken, or those that aren't prepared to admit to their failures.
So the others were right and once again we got to see how Ring stacks up against real meteorologists. Very badly. Time and time again, as we have shown on this website, predictions made by Ring have been shown to be little better than guesses. Taken at face value, which is how we believe most people interpret his predictions, Ring's forecasts can indeed be evaluated for accuracy, and it's our opinion that they fail more often than not. Of course based on chance alone, and the fact that he reuses old MetService data, Ring will always get some predictions right, but as we've said, if Ring can't get the predictions for extreme weather correct most of the time, then what's the point? Why not just toss a coin, rather than waste money on Ring's Almanac and have him toss the coin for you?
When a forecast provided by Ring mentions a specific day and a specific location, can we expect it to match reality? And let's remember that Ring most definitely claims to be able to predict the weather for a specific day and a specific location:
'I would like to think moon forecasting might be of help to those who are already making planning decisions... like when to book hay, shearing or building contractors, or weddingsWhen it comes to the crux of Ring's weather predictions, most sane, rational people who may know little about meteorology, astrology or chaos theory, would say that he either gets it right on the day or he doesn't. They don't care that Ring uses the 'ancient astrological energy grid of the constellations' to produce his forecasts or that critics say this is nonsense. All they focus on is that when he says it's going to be fine on their wedding day or for crop spraying, is it? Are his forecasts reasonably accurate and reliable? Do we gain an advantage by reading them? Are they equal to or better than conventional forecasts? Ring claims a forecast accuracy rate that he reckons is similar to that of the MetService, although we have questioned those claims, but that aside, by his own admission we know he is no better than the MetService. In fact on several occasions he has made statements to ensure we are clear on this matter:
'I never claim I am more accurate than the metservice...'So evidently buying Ring's forecasts won't give you a more accurate outlook than you would get for free on the TV or radio weather reports. You'll just know one or two years ahead that you may be able to cut that hay that you haven't even thought of growing yet on Tuesday, Nov 20th. But do farmers, Ring's main clients, really want to decide when to cut their hay a year in advance? Having grown up on a farm, one thing I've realised is that farmers don't cut hay as soon as the weather is fine. They cut it when it has grown to maturity. They don't look six months ahead and say I'll cut it on Tuesday, Nov 20th. They wait to see how it is progressing and only when they're happy with its growth do they decide to cut it. When its ready they will cut and bale it on the first opportunity they get. If the weather is fine then they cut it, regardless of what Ring's forecast says. No sane farmer sits through good weather waiting for the good weather that Ring is promising two weeks later, waiting for the hay cutting day that they had planned six months previously. Farmers work in real time, they look out the window, consult their barometers and listen to the most up to date weather forecasts provided by the MetService. Any farmer, fisherman or tramper that planned and organised specific weather dependant activities a year before the event rather than on the actual weather patterns at the time is courting disaster.
But let's for the moment assume that Ring's forecasts have an accuracy — as he claims — that are similar to, but no better than, the MetService. Why should you buy his forecasts when you can get the Metsevice ones for free? Ring's only advantage is the fact that he makes his predictions a year or more in advance. So for the advance planning of a specific event on a specific day that Ring promotes his Almanac on, such as a wedding, a fair, a sports day, hay cutting, crop spraying etc, then knowing which day to choose would be well worth the cost of his Almanac. But as we've already argued, farmers don't, or shouldn't, plan hay cutting, crop spraying etc for a specific day come what may. They simply hold off until the weather is right. But you can't do that for weddings, fairs, sports days etc., so Ring's long-range forecasts would be brilliant for these events, if they really worked. Unfortunately they don't, and Ring gets very annoyed when critics complain that the weather for a specific day didn't eventuate on that day. That is, the actual day of the wedding. You can't say to your wedding guests, the wedding is on Saturday, but if it rains, or looks like rain, don't show up, we'll hold it when the weather picks up, maybe Monday. But this vague outlook is what Ring continually says that people using his Almanac should plan for. Here are some typical comments from Ring:
'the nature of longrange forecasting is not intended to be specific...An accurate forecast may not be 'that important' to you Ken, and you may not 'fret too much if I am out by a few days', but try giving that excuse to a young bride in a rain sodden dress and see how important a sunny day was to her.
How can Ring admit that his forecasts might be a week out, and yet try and attract business with claims such as the following:
If rain is due in a changeable fortnight preceding a sunny event-weekend, ads could appear on dry days to ensure best attendance.In that quote Ring is implying that he can predict not only a sunny weekend, but also exactly which days will be dry within a changeable fortnight leading up to it. No hint of a 3-4 day trend around those days.
And not only might Ring's prediction be a week out, he explains it could be spot on time-wise but out as far as location goes:
The range also covers 50-80mile radius geographically... so if I said dry in Huntly and it rained in Auckland, it would have to be considered a successful forecast.In simple terms, if Ring predicted a sunny day for your wedding and yet it rained, but it was sunny somewhere else 50 to 80 miles away, somewhere where your wedding wasn't, Ring still considers this 'a successful forecast'. Why do people trust this man to predict the weather for their happy day? They might as well ask one of those people that are honest enough to put the word 'Astrologer' on their business card.
So, our argument is that in reality farmers, fishermen etc who buy his Almanac will pay little attention to Ring's specific forecasts, and brides and fair organisers would be fools to take his forecasts as gospel, as Ring himself is at pains to point out. So the question has to be, why would you even bother buying his Almanac, if as Ring states, 'longrange forecasting is not intended to be specific'? What's the point of a weather forecast if it's not specific, especially one you had to pay for? If you really have to have an advance forecast, email us and we'll give you an educated guess for free! But like Ring, we will essentially just toss a coin. And deny any responsibility that the forecast be accurate or timely.
Ken Ring's theory is not implausible, or even completely wrong necessarily. However the end result is that Ring fails to show that the moon's gravity completely swamps that of all other sources, including the Sun, or why this would happen, or most importantly, that it affects the atmosphere to such a degree that it causes our weather. Also the innumerable silly mistakes that Ring makes when describing science, gives one no confidence in his scientific ability.
But what do we know? We're just laypeople and perhaps we've got too much of our 'science' from Star Trek.
Perhaps Ken Ring really is a scientist and is eminently qualified to challenge modern scientific theories. On attempting to determine what scientific qualifications Ring had, initially all we could find was this:
Posted [on 'Net-weather forum'] by: Ken Ring 30 May 2005.Nine years is a long time to spend at university without becoming qualified in something and yet no formal qualifications are mentioned, no mention is made as to what discipline this 'training' was in or what university was attended. We have since found these claims where Ring implies scientific and/or university qualifications:
Perhaps you forget that I have a university science education and am throughly familar with the scientific method.Note that in that last quote Ring's '9 years of university science training' has now shrunk down to only 3 years. You'd think you'd remember how long you had attended university, unless of course...
But still no hint of what his scientific qualifications actually are. However in a recent 2011 email provided by a reader we learn a little more and Ring also repeats the 3 year claim:
I assure you I am science-trained, at the University of Otago and Auckland . I did 3 years and 9 units of physics, chemistry and zoology for a science degree before I switched to arts.OK, so it might have been 3 years, but within the hour Ring sends another email to the same person and claims that:
I spent 4 years fulltime and a final year part time at universitySay what? So was it 9 years, a bit under 5 years or 3 years? Or none of the above? This inability to keep his story consistent smacks of fabrication. But at least we now have an idea of what science subjects Ring studied, right? Well, no, actually we don't. You see back in 2000 Ring took part in this internet exchange:
Weather ezine, 4th june 2000.So back in 2000 Ring was claiming to have studied 'psychology and anthropology' when asked about science, no mention of 'physics, chemistry and zoology', just as in 2011 there is no mention of 'psychology and anthropology'. Like the number of years Ring attended university, the papers he took change depending on who he is talking to, and obviously he forgets what other stories he's told previously. Are you familiar with that other fable, about the boy who cried wolf? Or perhaps the several high profile cases in the news in recent years of people falsifying their qualifications and/or experience to further their careers?
Before Ring started claiming an expertise in 'physics, chemistry and zoology', we had noted that even though he 'took' psychology and anthropology, he had not 'qualified' in either. And in any case, neither of these subjects lend themselves to the subject at hand. So we claimed that he was just a layperson with a '20 year hobby interest in the Moon'. It would appear that Ring now agrees that psychology and anthropology are not the subjects best suited to his career and so has decided to tell people he actually took physics, chemistry and zoology. If only gaining knowledge was that easy!
It is important to note that while Ring continually implies a university scientific education, he has never to our knowledge stated he actually has a science degree, or any degree for that matter. If he attended university it appears he never graduated. Regarding his present line of work, weather and earthquake prediction, Ring has stated: 'I have no degree in it... there isn't even a university chair for astrology'.
In addition to weather guru, on another website Ring lists other occupations that fill in his day, such as author, travelling maths teacher, magician, and, believe it or not, professional clown. (Yes, that is Ken in the photo on the right.) Now don't get us wrong, we love clowns and magic and even maths, but none of these occupations give him the qualifications or experience to claim that 'much science has become quackery'. Well... perhaps that of a clown does.
Of course we have no problem with Ring not having a science degree in the appropriate fields. We don't have them either. Our problem is with him implying he is a scientist and that he is eminently qualified to challenge modern scientific theories. Remember he has said that he is 'running a sincere business... I'm doing it as a scientist' and he reminds critics that 'Perhaps you forget that I have a university science education'. Ring, with no degrees and qualifications in his field — 'there isn't even a university chair for astrology' — nevertheless tries to imply that what he does compares favourably to the likes of doctors, lawyers, scientists etc, people with real degrees and qualifications. If respected qualifications are irrelevant to what he does, why doesn't he compare himself to others more in his line of work, like psychic mediums and witches? We also have a problem with his insistence that critics who aren't scientists, and even those that are, aren't qualified to critique his claims. We have a problem with a layperson who has no qualms at inventing a past to help him silence critics and push a scam.
But the lack of real qualifications don't stop Ring when one can simply change the definition of words to enhance one's persona. Does Ring even know what the terms science and scientist mean? He believes he does, but we suggest that he is living in a fantasy world where he believes his wishes create reality. He has created a definition that is so vague, so encompassing, so meaningless and so worthless that in his world he is a scientist and what he does is science. But by Ring's definition of scientist, this means that you also, what ever you do — author, blacksmith, skydiver, astrologer or bodybuilder — and whatever you're interested in — sex, sports, food or religion — you also are a scientist doing science. In Ring's world, even dogs are scientists. We're not joking, nor is Ring, read on to see how this man is willing to corrupt the very meaning of words in a childish attempt to compare what he does with the work of Galileo, Kepler, Newton and Einstein.
In the following statement during a Internet forum debate, Ring explains why religious nutters, as well as astrologers, are scientists:
'What is your definition of a scientist? There is the dictionary definition that encompases natural phenomena and the study of anything. I'd say the moon qualifies on both counts... Learn your language better, guys. Remember there is Creation Science, Christian Science, Scientology and science fiction. Anything can be a science, and one who studies it is a scientist.'Here Ring unambiguously states that what he does — he studies the moon using astrology — is a science, and that he therefore is a scientist. Of course this contradicts completely with his other claims that 'I don't think weather is about science... any rigorous scientific assessment of the moon method is just not viable... [and] ...what I am doing is pre-science'. But let's remember that Ring will say anything, true or false, in an attempt to silence critics and delude supporters. To demonstrate his extreme ignorance, he even claims that those religious nutters pushing Creation Science that believe the world is only 6,000 years old are all real scientists doing real science, just like him. Likewise Christian Science followers who claim illness is an illusion, or Scientology adherents and their alien ruler called Xenu, are also real scientists doing real science. He is certainly correct in comparing himself and what he believes in to those deluded souls, in that they are all morons who have wrapped themselves in superstitious nonsense, but neither he nor they are doing science. And to even claim that the genre of science fiction — like Flash Gordon and Dr Who — is a science merely because it contains the word science is the height of stupidity. By Ring's warped logic, even pseudoscience must be a real science, even though by definition the term means something that has the appearance of science but isn't science. And Ring has the arrogance to say to his critics: 'Learn your language better, guys'.
While this nonsense that we're all scientists must seem ridiculous to even children, once Ring had invented the lie he has decided to keep using it. When Ring was told on an Internet forum that topics such as astrology and alchemy weren't science, he disagreed:
'According to whom? Scientists? Would that be Christian scientists, Scientologists, or just your idea of what science should be?... Who elected you the pedestal to preach this dogma from?'In an article Ring wrote on the zodiac, he 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 first suggestion is correct, astrology isn't science, but then Ring restates his bogus definition: 'everything that can be studied and measured can rightly be called a science'. Think about what it would mean if we were to accept Ring's all-encompassing 'study and measure' definition of science. If an insecure 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.
But Ring's definition of science and scientists doesn't just include what adult humans do, as the following shows:
'...science just means learning and study. Everyone does that, even a 3-yr old, even a dog... And that's why we have sports science, food science, massage science, sex science, religious science, etc etc.'Evidently not only are three-year-old children actually scientists doing science, but even dogs are doing science. And by extension we must also include cats, parrots, chimps, dolphins and pretty much anything with a brain. When Ring's definition of science even includes what dogs do, then you don't have to have much more than half a dozen brain cells to rub together to realise that his definition is nonsense. And he again further demonstrates his ignorance by not understanding that simply adding the word science to another word — eg sex science — does not make a new science. Science can study sex and food and sports, but sex, food and sports are not science. Only in Ring's silly little world are you doing science when you and your partner play a game of tennis, then have a meal, followed by hot sex. As for 'religious science', the very term is an oxymoron. They are contradictory pursuits, you can do science or you can do religion, but you can't do both at the same time.
Ring's desperation for public acceptance of what he does and what he believes in — weather predictions utilising debunked astrology — causes him to create a lie, an illusion that suggests he's doing science. However this desperation to gain the respect and awe that the public generally has for the power of science is no doubt frustrated by his suspicious inability to correctly recall how long he spent at university and what subjects he studied. Has this little flaw resulted in the need to invent these nonsense claims that we are all scientists and we are all doing science? Only by this falsehood can he then claim to be a real scientist doing real science. And he just hopes that the few people stupid enough to believe him will fail to realise that they must also be doing science, whether they are an astrologer writing horoscopes for the Woman's Weakly, a child-abusing priest studying his Bible, or a dog sniffing another dog's butt.
In the previous section we demonstrated that Ring's misleading comments aside, he is not a scientist. But that doesn't mean that Ring's claims for weather forecasting by the moon might not have a scientific basis. We believe that Ring's method, based as it is on astrology, is not scientific, but let's set that aside for the moment and ask how Ring himself views his forecasting method.
Can Ring's weather forecasts and the method that produces them be evaluated, is his method subject to scientific analysis, and does Ring encourage or reject this evaluation? Well, yes his method can be evaluated, and no it can't. His method is scientific, except when it's not. Ring welcomes debate and analysis, but will call in the lawyers if you disagree with him. Confused? Do you think it should be one or the other? So do we, but unfortunately the response one gets from Ring depends on your knowledge of his method and whether you are supporting him or questioning his claims. He's a real Jekyll and Hyde character. The following are comments from Ring insisting that what he does is science, that his methods are scientific, that they can be tested and have been tested, even by Massey University, and that he welcomes and encourages further investigations. He claims that 'other scientists in other parts of the world have confirmed what I say', implying that he also is a scientist and that his colleagues support his views. We provide several comments to avoid the charge that we are quoting out of context or using ambiguous comments:
The science is based around the concept of risng [sic] and ebbing in the daily tide of the air... The method is as scientific as the science of ocean tides and just as accurate.There is nothing obviously untoward in any of those claims by Ring. They could all be true. But this one should immediately set alarm bells ringing:
'Any analysis of the moon method for long range forecasting should be fair and scientific... When we buy something we like, evidence of success is helpful to a prospective buyer of a product, which is why society has product endorsements by celebrities.'How could you confuse scientific analysis with celebrity endorsements? Surely Ring doesn't believe that 'product endorsements by celebrities' is 'evidence of success'? If he does, then his product isn't successful since he has no celebrity endorsement. But of course this is nonsense. Celebrity endorsements are evidence of money changing hands and nothing more, of celebrities willing to talk about something that they know nothing about in return for thirty pieces of silver. Tiger Woods may be knowledgeable about golf and hookers, but he knows nothing about shaving creams. Dan Carter's body may sell a lot of Jockey underwear, but I think we all know that women are thinking not about his underwear, but what's in it. Celebrity endorsements offer no proof that the product works and/or is good value, only that its makers have bribed a celebrity to say they use it.
The above comments are the types of replies that Ring offers when people make the first tentative queries and criticisms regarding the science or accuracy behind Ring's public claims. Ring clearly believes, or at least wants the public to believe, that his method is scientific. So what happens if you take Ring at his word when he says, 'I welcome any analysis' and 'I invite discussion'? Well, if you also believe his claims that 'I am scientific in my methods' and 'The evidence is out there', which implies that what he does can be put under the gaze of science, then you might be surprised at his response when people with a little scientific literacy and skepticism press him for more detail.
The questions are, can what Ring does be called science? Is his method scientific and subject to scientific analysis? That is, is it naturalistic, rather than supernatural or paranormal? Can it be tested, experimented with and potentially falsified? And if it can, has he done any of this research? When people on various Internet forums have queried Ring for evidence that his method works, that it has been evaluated scientifically and statistically and isn't just pseudoscience, his evasive replies are revealing. Again we provide several examples:
...any rigorous scientific assessment of the moon method is just not viable.Hidden in among all these weasel words is the admission that Ring is not even sure what scientific concepts like evidence and proof even mean, and in any case, they aren't important in what he does. In these claims Ring is apparently adamant that the method he employs and sells to the public is not science after all — in fact it is 'pre-science', and that 'scientific assessment of the moon method is just not viable'. He insists that his predictions can not be tested, that evidence of efficacy can not be produced, and suspiciously, that his work 'is not intended for the scientific community'. Should people then waste their money on buying his Alamancs under the false belief that there is some science behind them? Our advice would obviously be a definite NO. Why should we trust a man who states: 'my business, cannot be proven', and yet on his almanac's rear cover claims that his business is: 'a long-range system originating from a tried and proven method...' Ring's 'pre-science' arguments would be par for the course if he were pushing a silly book on horoscopes or daily prayers — since bogus topics receive bogus arguments — but not for a book that supposedly reveals patterns in nature. In fact his 'pre-science' arguments reveal that his books are woven from the same cloth as horoscopes or daily prayers. Remember also that since Ring's method is based on astrology, his almanacs are in one sense actually horoscopes.
By why take our advice, perhaps we should look to Ring himself for an answer as to what to do when we are suspicious of certain claims that appear to fail the tests of evidence and reason, of science. Look at what Ring suggests when he himself doubts the integrity of claims made by climate scientists:
Letter from Ken Ring to some of the NZ mediaFor once we agree with Ken. If data is 'poorly derived' and subsequent claims fail to meet scientific integrity, then there is the likelihood that what is being promoted is a scam and a deception and the public have a right to be informed before they hand over any money.
Since Ring admits that his moon method is not scientific and can't be tested, he must agree that by his own argument his method 'fails the most basic test of being truly scientific [and is] therefore a scam and deception'. Again we agree wholeheartedly with Ken, and are grateful that he himself explained the fatal problem with his method being unscientific.
And to finish this section with, here are some of our favourite juvenile responses from Ring that just scream SCAM:
I can take criticism, but not from someone who is not a scientistNote that Ring who is not a scientist will only accept criticism from scientists, and yet he refuses to debate with them and reviles them. Thus he childishly believes he has eliminated all criticism. And what does that last nonsense comment from Ring even mean, that his method is 'better than nothing'? How stupid would you have to be to give money to someone who reasons like this?
When forced into a corner, Ring himself admits that his method is not scientific and can't be proven, and for once we need to believe him.
On our comments page we noted that many people confuse climate with weather. Many think they mean the same thing, and certainly Ken Ring does:
The difference between weather and climate?So let's repeat our view. When should 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 a description of the conditions that characteristically prevail in a particular region during a particular period. 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 is snowing in Queenstown on July 10th and will likely rain on January 20th is describing the weather, what is or will actually happen at a particular place on a particular day.
By consulting Ring's Almanac one could determine that the best time to go skiing in Central Otago might be around August, or whatever. However we don't see this as long-range weather forecasting, we 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 MetService. However most people that support Ring believe he is capable of predicting the weather long-range, to a specific day, for a specific place, for a specific event. This he can't do. Perhaps many Kiwis are losing touch with nature and its 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.
It's like when people decide to go overseas on holiday, they normally choose a particular season to travel, often summer in the country of destination, or spring if it's a country with particularly hot summers, or outside the monsoon season in Asia. Their decision is based on climate, not the weather, as they have no idea whether it will actually be fine or wet on the day they arrive.
We think people confuse Ring's ability to describe the climate of a region with his claim to be able to predict the weather for a certain town on a given Wednesday. And when Ring is challenged on his claim that he can predict the weather on a given day, even he stops talking about weather and starts referring to climate:
'My emphasis and concentration is on trends. That is the nature of longrange.These are the excuses Ring provides to explain why his specific weather forecasts are frequently wrong. Although he doesn't accept it, he is explaining that realistically he can only describe the climate of a region, not the day to day weather. And yet when he's promoting his method and his almanacs, he doesn't make it clear that 'a predicted event can be up to a week late. I realise that may not be good enough for some, but it's simply the reality'. Instead he states how accurate he will be in predicting the actual weather for a specific day at a specific location. We repeat some of his claims, and note that all the talk of trends and potential are gone:
'I would like to think moon forecasting might be of help to those who are already making planning decisions... like when to book hay, shearing or building contractors, or weddingsRing cunningly alters his spiel depending on who he is talking to. With critics he says he is only describing trends — that is, climate — and is not expecting day to day accuracy, but to his customers he switches to predicting the specific weather on their wedding day. Ring refuses to acknowledge the difference between climate and weather, but smoothly switches from one to the other depending on whether he is defending or selling his method. His Almanac is called 'Predict Weather' not 'Predict Climate', because Ring, or at least his publisher, knows that most people would not be silly enough to buy a book that simply talked about trends, about climate. They would explain that they know it's more likely to be colder in winter than summer and people don't need Ken Ring to tell them that, they want to know on which weekend to hold their wedding, Santa Parade or local church fair. And so Ring maintains the ruse that 'Climate is weather is climate'.
With the recent popularity of Internet forums and blogs, Ring has encountered increased criticism and challenges to his prediction claims. This has seen rise to Ring claiming that his published weather forecasts and predictions are actually just opinions. It appears that in Ring's view, 'weather forecast' and 'weather prediction' are possibly phrases that the public sees as carrying some degree of responsibility towards expected accuracy and underlying proof, whereas 'opinion', especially if it's wrong, can be waved aside with a shrug of the shoulders. He's not highlighting this in media interviews or public talks of course, but this is the excuse he's providing to skeptics who question his many failures:
'I don't claim to be able to forecast the weather... I claim to have an opinion on what might happen, that is all... I sell opinions.'Let's take Ring's last silly claim first: 'By definition an opinion, just like a feeling cannot be wrong'. What nonsense! We have all had many, many opinions and feelings that turned out to be wrong. But if Ring were right that his opinions can't be wrong, then he can indeed predict the weather. If he predicts it will rain next Wednesday at location X, then even though he relabels this an opinion rather than a prediction, since opinions can't be wrong, then it must rain. Every single prediction — opinion — in his almanac must be right since it can't be wrong. Ring can claim 100% accuracy.
But of course, even though this is what Ring claims in that last statement, it is nonsense. His opinions are often wrong. But Ring knows this and it's why he now denies making 'predictions and forecasts' and claims only mere opinions. People shouldn't expect them to be accurate, or think they can demand their money back, because they are merely opinions. It appears to absolve Ring of any real responsibility. It's like a friend remarking as you stroll down the street, 'Looks like it might rain for the match tomorrow'. It's just an opinion, a guess, and you wouldn't make a big deal of it if it didn't rain, nor would you worship him as a weather guru if it did. In the above statements Ring appears to relegate his predictions to such casual guesses, to opinions. He may feel strongly about them but admits he has no proof that they are accurate.
But with Ring nothing is that simple. In case you should think that opinions are just casual or even educated guesses and that the value of opinions can be discounted in matters of importance, Ring explains who else uses opinions in their work:
I offer opinions, just like a doctor, a teacher, an economist, a political commentator, a stockbroker and a financial consultant... and I expect clients to seek second opinions or third etc from a variety of sources.So Ring believes he can favourably compare himself to doctors, lawyers, scientists etc, even though most of those he mentioned will have degrees and qualifications in their field, and most are disciplines based on reason and evidence (religion isn't of course). Note that he believes both scientists and ministers of religion make money out of a belief. He confuses the facts and evidence of science with the faith and myths of religion. His inability to tell the difference between sense and nonsense, between science and pseudoscience, between knowledge and belief, leads him to claim that the informed opinion of a scientist or doctor is equal to the opinion of an astrologer.
But do doctors offer opinions? Ring is ignorant of, or deliberately confuses, the two meanings of 'opinion'. Related to this context, my dictionary gives two definitions:
1. A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proofThe first is the general opinion that everyone has when asked who they think will win the next World Cup, whether prostitution should be illegal or whether the Greens deserve a seat at the next election. We all have these opinions, even though most of us have no expertise in these matters, and can offer no 'positive knowledge or proof' that our opinions are right. They are merely opinions or beliefs that we may feel strongly about but that we can not prove.
The second meaning is that of an 'informed' opinion, advice we receive from an expert. When people say that they are seeking a medical opinion or a legal opinion, they don't mean that they are going to ask their neighbour who is a plumber or a friend who works at KFC. They mean they are going to consult with a doctor or lawyer and they expect to get expert advice that is backed by recognised qualifications, evidence and experience in medicine or law. They expect an opinion — advice, information — that can be supported by reason and evidence and that will likely be accurate. Only idiots go to astrologers or psychics for an 'informed' opinion. So what about forecasts and predictions, are they opinions?
My dictionary defines the following:
forecast:It appears that forecasts and predictions can be uninformed or informed opinions, based on their context. Your mate predicting that the All Blacks will win their next game would be an uninformed opinion. A doctor predicting the course of a disease would be an informed opinion. But note that informed opinion, prediction and forecasts to predict weather conditions all talk about advice on the basis of special knowledge. And there is no doubt whatsoever that Ring is claiming special knowledge in his 'opinions'. And Ring certainly can claim to have specialised knowledge, in the same way that your local witch or priest can, arcane knowledge that is lost to the rest of us. However, the true Jekyll and Hyde that he is, Ring lays claim to both ordinary opinions and informed opinions. Ring wants skeptics to view his predictions as mere common garden opinions, which of course are just uninformed guesses, and could easily be wrong, so don't expect a refund. But he wants his clients to view his predictions as informed opinions, as authoritative and as reliable as they would expect from a doctor or lawyer.
But for all his recent talk about moving towards opinions rather than predictions or forecasts, note that his website is still called 'Predict Weather', not 'Weather Beliefs', and he is still pushing his DIY book: 'Predicting Weather By The Moon'. Ring's almanac has for many years been called 'Ken Ring's Predict Weather' and not 'Ken Ring's Weather Opinions'. The rear cover mentions 'weather forecasting, snow predictions, daily short forecasts and weather predictions', with no suggestion that these are really only weather opinions expressed over a couple of beers at the pub. The words 'Ken Ring' and 'Predict Weather' are inextricably linked by Ring himself in everything he does. He desperately wants potential clients to think of informed weather prediction and not simply weather opinions. But when his predictions fail, as they invariably do, he weasels out by vehemently denying that he ever makes predictions, and that we were naďve to think otherwise.
But it's revealing in that whenever Ring believes he has expressed a weather or earthquake opinion that has apparently come true, he loudly trumpets these successes in the media, and importantly, he always claims that they were predictions, never opinions. For example (our emphasis in bold):
'Australian weather predicted for whole of 2012'Update: Beginning with his 2013 Almanac, Ring and his publisher Random House have finally agreed (we assume) that he can't predict the weather and thus shouldn't falsely and misleadingly call his book 'Ken Ring's Predict Weather'. The explicit claim to 'predict weather' has been deleted and it's now called 'Ken Ring's New Zealand Weather Almanac'. Since the law states that a product's description must accurately reflect what it's capable of delivering, perhaps Ring and his publisher both rightly fear the inevitable court case over false advertising. Especially since Ring himself is now actively telling the public that he can't predict or forecast the weather (or earthquakes), and never could. However he's made no move to change the name of his website. Of course this is only a superficial change, since the claim to predict or forecast the weather is still implicit in the book's title: Weather Almanac. My dictionary defines almanac as: 'An annual publication including calendars with weather forecasts, astronomical information, tide tables, and other related tabular information'. And the book buying public know that this is what almanac means and fully expect to get weather forecasts. Or else why would they buy it, as a paperweight?
We don't believe Ring has the qualifications or expertise to claim true 'informed' opinions, but this is how he now markets his business. Therefore he needs to find the courage to stand behind his predictions and forecasts, and when they fail, stop hiding behind the excuse: 'My business is only a bunch of opinions'.
You may have heard that long-range weather forecasting — forecasting months and years ahead like Ring claims to do — isn't generally attempted by meteorologists, and many may cite something called chaos theory. This is yet another piece of modern science that Ring finds fault with. Chaos theory does not say that long-range weather forecasting is impossible, just that weather systems are so complex and chaotic in nature that long range predictions are so difficult that they might as well be impossible with current technology.
According to Wikipedia, Chaos theory is the study of nonlinear systems where 'Small differences in initial conditions... yield widely diverging outcomes for chaotic systems, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general. This happens even though these systems are deterministic... with no random elements involved... Chaotic behavior can be observed in many natural systems, such as the weather'.
Also note that chaotic systems are deterministic — that cause and effect is at play — and that chaotic behaviour does not mean that things just happen at random. This is important, and it is what trips up Ring.
Ring has stated that 'I understand mathematical chaos...', and asserts that, 'I do not believe that weather has any chaos in it. The weather knows what it is doing...' He also claims that:
'My understanding is that Chaos Theory... originated as a way of fudging uncertainty in weather forecasting... as an attempt to dignify incorrect forecasting of weather... 'Of course his silly belief that scientists invented chaos theory merely so they could have a scientific sounding excuse to explain away incorrect weather forecasts is pure conspiracy theory nonsense. But more importantly, Ring believes that scientists saying weather is chaotic means weather events just happen at random. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ring insists that:
'If weather was random it would, like a runaway engine, have long ago shot off by itself into space. It is not the weather that is fickle - it knows exactly what it is doing.'Even if weather events were random, this analogy is just nonsense. A coin toss is random, but you don't see coins shooting off into space. The weather occurs in the atmosphere and the atmosphere is held in place by gravity, and random or not, it's not going anywhere. Ring claims that the weather 'knows exactly what it is doing'! Is he suggesting that the weather is conscious, that it deliberately rained on my barbecue?
He does by accident get the phrase 'uncertainty in weather forecasting' correct. Unfortunately he confuses uncertainty with randomness. If it rains next week it won't be a random event, the right conditions — suitable temperature, clouds, moisture, winds etc — will all have to be in place, and every one of these conditions will have a natural cause. They will not all just suddenly pop into existence to satisfy some mystical coin toss — heads it rains, tails it doesn't. Ring implies that by invoking chaos theory meteorologists are suggesting that they can't predict weather because it just happens at random — 'water comes in and out whenever it feels like it'. Rubbish. Meteorologists know that weather is deterministic — not random — but they are uncertain what the weather will be next week because it is so chaotic in behaviour that it can and does vary wildly from what it is today to what it is next week. It's like me rolling a beach ball down a grassy hill. When I let it go I know roughly where it will roll and how fast, but only for the first few feet. A wind might suddenly get up and blow it to the left, slow it down or speed it up, it might hit a small bump and send it bouncing to the right, it might roll in to a small dip and speed up, a playful dog might give it a nudge, it might snag on a hidden object, a helpful person might grab it and return it to me thinking I had dropped it accidentally. None of these things would happen at random but nevertheless I would be uncertain as to the actual path and speed my ball would follow on its descend. Each time I released the ball the initial speed and direction would be fractionally different. Of course I could reduce my level of uncertainty by carefully mapping the terrain of the hill, by measuring wind velocity, by keeping out dogs and people, by carefully controlling the release speed and direction of the ball, by seeing what effect the ball's pressure had etc. The more knowledge I have of my surroundings — the less uncertain I am about bumps and wind etc — the better will be my prediction of where the ball will end up.
You may have heard the claim relating to weather and chaos theory that the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil can lead to a tornado in Texas. Known as the 'butterfly effect', what this means is that a very minor event can set in motion small changes in the atmosphere, and like a domino or ripple effect can trigger new changes that multiply and grow and can lead to a major event much further down the track in a different place. As my encyclopedia explains, 'a nonlinear system exhibits a sensitive dependence on initial conditions: small or virtually unmeasurable differences in initial conditions can lead to wildly differing results'. The problem is — obviously — that we can't monitor all the small changes — all the butterflies etc — and without this extremely detailed knowledge of what the initial conditions are we can't accurately predict what weather might develop long term. Thinking of our beach ball rolling down the hill, if we look at its movement and the terrain just before it reaches the bottom we can make a good guess as to where and when it might come to rest. This would be a short-term forecast. But if we have to guess when it is still at the top of the hill as to where and when it will come to rest, we will most likely be wrong. This would be a long-term forecast. This is because there are just too many things that can influence the ball that we aren't aware of. This is our uncertainty, but it's not random. If it bounces to the right half way down we can look at this movement and explain exactly what caused it to change course.
Meteorologists can make reasonably accurate short-range forecasts because only a few changes can occur over a few days. If you see a black cloud moving towards you, you can reasonably expect it to reach you. However if you spot a black cloud in Auckland moving south and you then fly south to Christchurch, you can't predict that that same cloud will turn up in Christchurch a day later. There are just too many influences between Auckland and Christchurch that you are unaware of that could influence that cloud's movement and very existence. Meteorologists just don't have the resources, time, money or technology to make themselves aware of the innumerable small changes that are occurring every second that influence the evolution of the weather. It's not impossible, an all-knowing, all-powerful god could monitor every change in the atmosphere and predict what this would lead to, but for humans it is so difficult that we can say it's virtually impossible. Of course as our technology and understanding improves, our uncertainty will reduce, and our short-range forecasts will get better, but accurate long-range forecasts will likely forever be in the realm of the gods.
So can Ring really predict what the weather will be like for Ken and Barbie's wedding day two years from now? No, he hasn't got a bloody hope! Sure he can offer a forecast, give an opinion, he can say it 'might' be fine, but this is no different from me buying a Lotto ticket and predicting I 'might' win.
When we attempted to challenge Ring's claims in a letter to the editor of the Southland Express in 2005, Ring responded in an email to the editor claiming:
I welcome further debate on this matterHowever we note that he made no request to forward his reply on to us (or email us directly, he had our address), so no doubt this boast was intended for the benefit of the Southland Express and Random House rather than us. No attempt was made to enter into debate with us, the ones that were challenging his claims. He merely wished to defend his reputation in the eyes of the media. Likewise when the Auckland Astronomical Society reviewed his theory, on his website he described it as 'Witch-hunting returns', and pleaded that they leave him alone:
We do wonder what their problem is. No one is threatening the respectable Society. Have they heard of live and let live?He went on to complain that:
The AAS should exist as a forum for debate...He doesn't seem to realise that debate means to consider something and to engage in a formal discussion or argument, and that's exactly what they were doing. Ring is more familiar with the media who positively promote his method after money changes hands, and has problems with reviews that are negative. He can't grasp the difference between paid advertisements and open debates, horrified that debates don't follow his script.
In an article in a farming magazine the following was claimed:
Despite Ring's views he doesn't want to get into "a slanging match" with meteorologists but he would prefer they did not pour cold water on alternate theories.However further into the article Ring contradicts himself:
Mr Ring said he has continually put out the call for a "square-off" with meteorologists so that once and for all this question can be settled.
But this is not true, 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. 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. 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. In doing so he demonstrates that his scam can only fool those that aren't experts.
What Ring really seems to welcome is support, not debate, and when a reader on the 'NetWeather.TV — Weather Forum' said they would like to know more about his method, he replied:
I suggest you first read my website. Don't read what others have said about me on the net on other websites because they have not studied any part of the method in length and are just looking for reasons to scoff, and for that reason they misquote me and then react emotionally to their own misquoted and distorted interpretations. The result is indeed gibberish, so they achieve their aim!'Don't read what others have said about me', pleads Ring. What is he trying to hide? What is he afraid that his critics will tell you that will damage his credibility? This statement is the sign of a true con-man and should scream 'scam', 'fraud', 'pseudoscience' in the minds of those hearing it. This what all scammers say to their victims: don't talk to your lawyer or your doctor or other family members, just believe what I say, a complete stranger asking for your money. And remember that Ring is asking for money! It's a blatant admission that he can't defend his position. Any claim that can't stand up to constructive criticism or exposure to alternative views is normally false, or at the very least requires a lot more work before people are going to take it seriously. Anyone that targets the man on the street and avoids scientific debate has something to hide. And we're sorry Ken, but your writing contains a veritable treasure-trove of claims to scoff at. The results of critically looking at your claims may appear gibberish to you Ken, but then real science often does appear that way to astrologers.
And here's another plea from Ring for people to ignore those that challenge him:
Doesn't it make you wonder why people put up anti-Ken Ring websites? Think about it. They know there is something to these theories and yet because they are control freaks they can't stand that there are people who have different ideas to their own. They are not scientists, they are frauds with no lives of their own who call themselves scientists... When someone wants to suppress someone else there is no science going on, just arrogant bigoted bullying. There are many such folk on the internet. You can waste your time allying yourself with no-lifers or you can start investigating what I am suggesting. It's your choice.... but make up your own mind, don't just parrot other dummies.Ring doesn't grasp that the same bogus gripe could be aimed at people, like Ring himself, who put up anti-climate change websites: They know there is something to these theories and yet because they are control freaks they can't stand that there are people who have different ideas to their own. They are not scientists, they are frauds with no lives of their own who call themselves scientists. Would Ring accept that his anti-climate change stance is groundless and simply based on him being a control freak? True or not, we don't think he would. Throwing insults proves nothing, evidence is what counts. Ring claims that 'When someone wants to suppress someone else there is no science going on, just arrogant bigoted bullying'. According to Ring's logic, if we wanted to suppress anti-Semitic websites or homeopathy websites or websites advocating racism or intolerance towards homosexuals, then that would mean that we were just being arrogant, bigoted bullies. Ring doesn't understand that many people have good reasons for trying to suppress what they see as false and/or dangerous claims. Ring's paranoia leads him to believe that almost the entire world is against him, that we secretly know he is right, but that we are just too arrogant to admit it. He also wants to encourage people not to be like sheep — 'don't just parrot other dummies' — which in reality means, don't repeat what science claims, follow me instead, for just $50 per year.
If those last quotes didn't specifically name us, the following certainly do, as Ring warns his potential clients about our website:
SillyBeliefs make claims I do not make. Read what I actually say, not what others say I say.In fact all the quotes from Ring are of course factual and Ring has not challenged one single comment. He knows that he made them and that we have the evidence. Furthermore, unlike Ring we have never claimed or implied that we are scientists, so can hardly be biased scientists. As for the claim that we have done 'no research', that is blatantly false. It is the embarrassing fact that our research has shown his method to be a scam that is Ring's major gripe with our website. If we had done no research then this critique of Ring's method wouldn't exist.
But let's move on. What happens if you do take Ring at his word and accept one of his many invitations — 'I welcome any analysis — Appraisals and investigations of the moon method are to be encouraged — I invite discussion' — and you present your findings for the public to consider? Let's ignore for the moment that even though Ring has said 'The reader is invited to check for accuracy of prediction', he contradicts himself by stating that 'Daily analysis of results is not valid'. Let's look at whether Ring truly believes anyone even has the right to challenge the beliefs of another. Remember that Ring himself is on record stating:
'Anyone is free to express an opinion, and anyone to refute it. Many have already, and there are websites devoted to knocking these theories down... We maintain that this is good for science.'Ring quite rightly realises that dissent is good for science, and that critical appraisals of, and challenges to, his 'theory' are essential to arrive at the truth of a matter. However this principled and honest statement from Ring is made for the benefit of his image and one he has no intention of keeping. Rather than applaud our freedom of expression and that debate 'is good for science', here's Ring criticising our website on an Internet forum:
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.As we've explained, Ring's tactic is to first claim that what he does is scientific and that he welcomes investigation, but when you take him at his word and attempt to evaluate his claims, he then tries to squash any investigation by claiming that his method is 'pre-science' and not testable. If you reject this excuse that what he does can't be analysed, and attempt to explain the flaws in his method, and in his promotion of it, then Ring adopts other stances, that of pleading, vile insults and/or intimidation.
When it is obvious that critics are going to challenge his weather forecasting method, Ring first comes out with his old favourite, pleading: 'Have you ever heard the expression 'live and let live'?' In other words, you may not agree with what I'm saying, but there's no reason why you should publicly challenge my claims or tell others what you believe. Let them find out for themselves if they want to. I don't criticise what you do, so please extend me the same courtesy, leave me alone and keep what you think you know to yourself. Of course a priest under investigation for child abuse could use the same plea to the police. Let's just ignore each other, live and let live.
When the plea to be left alone doesn't work, Ring turns vindictive. If you read through Ring's many comments to us, you'll see he has called us fascists, Nazis and bullies numerous times. Also cowards and skinheads, and compared us to such murderous bastards as Stalin, the KGB, the Gestapo, the Taleban, the Inquisitors, the Crusaders, hit squads, and the Ku Klux Klan. He has also said that the stance we have taken towards him is no different from those that committed 'the most heinous and appalling crimes in history: genocides, holocausts, ethnic cleansing, inquisitions, and persecutions'.
Here are some more examples of Ring telling us what he thinks of us for evaluating his forecasting method:
[You are a] white supremacist red-neck jack-booted fascist nazi... that hates Catholics, the Irish, Muslims, Jews, people of alternative medicine, of alternative immigrant cultures and descents, anyone of any other belief or creed other than western values, that seeks to cull or ruin the businesses of anyone not approved of by them...And of course it's not just us, anyone who can see through Ring's bogus claims and has the audacity to speak up is destined to suffer Ring's wrath:
'Take a good look at yourself and your actions... You are a Nazi, Gareth, and no less. You are displaying the very root of the type of scapegoatism that lead to the HolocaustWe had to giggle over that last complaint of Ring's: 'There has not been one supportive post'. He doesn't seem to grasp that that might be because no one has any evidence to support him. It's a little like 'The Flat Earth Society' complaining that no one is supporting them either. And surprisingly, or perhaps not, thanks to the internet there is a name for the situation when a debate degenerates to the stage when a person childishly tries to intimidate opponents by comparing them to Adolf Hitler and Nazi atrocities. It's called 'Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies'. We discovered this while watching the humorous and enlightening TV quiz show 'QI' hosted by Stephen Fry. It has always been accepted that when someone likens their opponent to Hitler/Nazis (or other such infamous identities) that the debate is over, that rational argument is now impossible and they can be ignored, but now it has a name. Examining numerous internet debates featuring Ken Ring, it is often surprising how quickly he implements 'Godwin's Rule'. In the future, dictionaries may have a picture of Ken Ring next to the entry for 'Godwin's Rule', with an example of one of his outbursts. His family will be so proud. But on a more serious note, look at how Ring takes what are of course 'heinous and appalling crimes' from history, and the individuals and groups that perpetrated them, and asserts that anyone who dares question his beliefs are committing an equally unspeakable crime. The gall and ignorance of this man to suggest that merely criticising his silly belief in astrology is equivalent to slaughtering six million Jews in the Holocaust or any of the other atrocities he mentions. For Ring to suggest that standing up to his nonsense is akin to murder and torture and rape and all manner of inhuman abuses is nothing short of the most disgusting and offensive insult possible. That Ring is so stupid and/or desperate to even resort to that embarrassing argument in a moment of anger is bad enough, but to use it time and time again screams fear and desperation.
But of course Ring's critics are only offended by his insults and his arguments, not intimidated. So then Ring tries a combination of legal threats and heartfelt appeals to sympathy:
'I'm asking for all this to stop, for the thread to be closed... I am amassing a fighting fund and will one day test it in civil court, meanwhile am gathering a lot of legal advice from family members who are lawyers.You can almost see the tears splashing on the keyboard as he typed that last comment. Again note Ring's disgusting assertion that criticising his belief in astrology is just as hurtful to him as if we slaughtered his family, and that his critics might even contemplate such a heinous act. Could it be that this man is some sort of psychopath that can't understand the difference between mass murder and intellectual debate?
We believe that these contradictory claims by Ring — yes it is scientific, no it isn't — yes it can be tested, no it can't — combined with the belligerent threat of lawyers and tearful pleas, are all just manipulative ploys to satisfy and placate or intimidate and silence anyone that might think of publicly doubting the claims made by Ken Ring. Ring resorts to silencing criticism by insults and intimidation because he lacks the one true weapon that would instantly discredit criticism — clear evidence that his method works. His method lacks evidence and the support of science, and resting on nothing but the jelly-like foundation of astrology, Ring likens his critics to Nazis, fascists, cowards and bullies, and shows that those attributes he fears most could well be reflected in his bathroom mirror.
Almost tearfully it seems, Ring made this plea to us: '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, this from the person that has almost made a career out of criticising the beliefs of climate change proponents, calling science and weather organisations 'corrupt' and academics 'liars and frauds'. Ring wants the right to express his views but denies the same right to others. This is a free society and no one has the 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.
It has been pointed out that Warren Judd, editor of NZ Geographic, made the following observation when Ring made a similar complaint regarding an article they published by Erick Brenstrum of the MetService that was critical of Ring's forecasting claims:
'...once you publish a book, you're fair game for public scrutiny of its content and your own competence.'Well stated, and we couldn't agree more. As long as Ring promotes his predictions in books and media interviews, we will question his claims, his competence and his integrity. His 'family members who are lawyers' should have told him that it is our right in a free society, and that honest dissent does not make us 'white supremacist red-neck jack-booted fascist nazis'.
Stars are rocks, the Moon is a planet, and other blunders
In the section we provide a multitude of claims, mainly involving science, made by Ring to support the validity of his prediction method, that are all false and error ridden. These demonstrate a gross ignorance of real science, incompetence at performing basic research, and a clear indication that we should have no confidence that true science or history supports Ring's claims.
These are all claims made by Ring in the course of attempting to explain to potential clients and skeptics alike why he is right and conventional science is wrong regarding weather prediction. If he's correct, then each claim is a chink in the armour of science and accepted knowledge, but if he's wrong, then each error he makes erodes his creditability. We will show that he is wrong — big time — and that his grasp of science and history is inept at best and devious and dishonest at worst.
Each silly mistake he makes undermines the confidence we can have in his professed knowledge. Ask yourself if you would continue to trust your doctor, accountant, lawyer, builder, electrician, mechanic etc if they continued to show such gross ignorance in their claimed field of expertise? We all make mistakes, but Ken Ring seems to build a career around his, supported by people that are too gullible for their own good.
Some readers may protest that we're a little unfair on Ring, in that, like us, you've forgotten much of what you learnt in science class and don't know the chemical formulas for hard water and heavy water, so Ring should likewise be excused the odd error. True, but you don't appear in the media and travel the world promoting your product and pushing your view of science, telling all who will listen that corrupt government-paid scientists are 'frauds and liars', that science and weather organisations are 'corrupt' and 'much science has become quackery'. You don't insist that science has been 'relegated... to the status of religion' and 'gone are the times when science could predict anything useful'. You don't claim that you're promoting your product 'as a scientist', or insist that 'I can take criticism, but not from someone who is not a scientist', or group yourself with 'climatologists and meteorologists', all which imply you are a scientist, an expert in science. You don't insist that meteorologists are 'people who don't know what the heck they are talking about' and that farmers are 'the only people who know anything at all about weather'. You don't claim to know more about science than scientists, issuing such statements as, 'I have pointed out before that the mathematics of the moon's gravitation is poorly understood and wrong in many cases'. You don't chide people when they question your claims with: 'Perhaps you forget that I have a university science education'.
Ken Ring aggressively promotes himself as an expert in the science related to his prediction method, therefore we should expect the same competence we would from a real scientist. Regarding Chaos Theory and its implication on weather, anyone that states, 'I understand mathematical chaos...', should not then make childish errors with simple percentages. Too many people let Ken Ring confuse them with scientific gobbledegook and pseudoscience, and he relies on his clients to just let the scientific words and concepts wash over them while imparting an aura of expertise to him. The problem with reading Ring's books, articles and internet comments is that it's a little like reading a science-fiction novel. You don't know where the science ends and the fiction begins. Of course a good science-fiction novel should be like that, but Ring, whose imaginary world is more in the fantasy genre than sci-fi, is insisting that his work is non-fiction. And thus his readers often aren't even aware that they have travelled through the looking glass, to a primitive time, long, long ago, when all doctors, scientists, mathematicians and meteorologists were astrologers.
These errors are in no particular order, and they certainly don't all have to be read to understand our argument and its conclusion, which is, Ken Ring doesn't know what he's talking about more often than not. His arguments are based on ignorance, ancient beliefs and conspiracy theories, all thinly disguised with a veneer of poorly understood science. Believe him at your peril.
Let's begin with this one, with Ring exhibiting a level of knowledge that would embarrass most children. And don't worry, you don't need a degree in astrophysics to expose his many errors. One can examine his claims at a relatively basic level and still discover that the foundation for his whole theory collapses.
As you know, the Moon is at the crux of Ring's theory, but here's something you probably didn't know: the Moon is a planet:
Pick up any popular book about weather... and look for 'moon' in the index. It is a rare book that even will be found to list the planet, let alone give it any role.For a self-acclaimed expert on the Moon, you'd think he'd know the Moon isn't a 'planet'. The Earth is a planet and the moon is its satellite. Nor does it orbit the Sun 'like the rest of the planets'. And as for Ring's last 'planet' comment, obviously he doesn't remember the first moon landing, since it was actually in 1969, not '68, but I guess it wasn't that important an occasion to remember the actual date. July 21st to be exact. And it was two astronauts who landed, not a 'bunch' of them. So just to recap Ken, the Moon is... well... a moon, or a satellite, not a 'planet' as you insist on calling it. Ring's insistence on calling the moon a planet appears linked to astrology. Planet means 'wanderer', since they moved against the background of the apparently stationary stars. Ring is an astrologer, and in ancient times astrologers called all the five visible planets, the sun and the moon 'planets'. It was these seven objects that were used in their astrological calculations, and astrologers apparently cared little that there were obvious major differences between the sun, the moon and the 'real' planets. All the ancient astrologers were really concerned about is where these seven celestial objects were in relation to each other and to the constellations. And this is why Ring still says things like: 'The Moon is right now passing through the constellation of Sagittarius, also a dry sign', and, 'I use the ancient astrological energy grid of the constellations... The moon answers to the sun but is also tethered to constellations'. Ring, mired in the false beliefs of the in the distant past, has great difficulty in accepting that modern astronomy has replaced astrology. And Ken, firmly grasping his astrology books, also insists that:
...even now in the 21st century, information about the orbital behaviour of our nearest celestial neighbour can mostly only be found in back-alley astrology shops.We wonder then how did NASA find their way to the moon and back, several times? Just blind luck, or did they have an astrologer doing orbital calculations in a back room? Or was it all a hoax after all?
And here's another myth that Ring perpetuates:
the moon... used to rotate but stopped doing so millions of years ago due to the gravitational pull on it by our planet.False. The moon does rotate, but its rotation is synchronised to its orbit. It rotates exactly once every orbit of Earth. That is, just as the Earth rotates once every 24 hours, the moon rotates once every month. We only see one side of the moon solely because it slowly rotates which keeps the same side facing us. Ring is correct that this has come about due to gravity, but wrong that the moon doesn't rotate on its axis. And note that Ring again mistakenly refers to the moon as a planet.
And what about this beauty:
there are times when Earth's gravitational force is nullified, and these are special positions of the Sun and Moon and planets, from which forces from above can effect changes on Earth.Rubbish. Does he not know that nullify means to neutralize or cancel? We would float off into space if that were the case, or if the effect was only short-lived, at least off the couch. Another sign of pseudoscience when you just join together scientific sounding phrases.
When describing the scale of the universe in 'The Lunar Code' Ken Ring notes that we:
...are wobbling around the centre of the Milky Way in the outer universe...For millennia we mistakenly thought we were at the centre of the universe, now Ken claims to know that we're actually in 'the outer universe'. We guarantee that's news to astronomers, but maybe not to astrologers. He then continues with this literary gem:
A walk along the shore of any beach confronts one with the endpoint of vast cosmic forces that began light years before the lapping of the latest wavelet.One would have thought that simply viewing the night sky would give one a better appreciation of the vastness of the universe rather than that confusing suggestion. But anyway, this passage yet again shows up Ken Ring's poor grasp of astronomy. Light years are a measure of distance not time. While he normally does use the term as a distance measurement, this example shows that when he's explaining his method in his own words rather than simply quoting from astronomy books, his understanding of light year is wrong.
Getting it right in the following example, he nevertheless trips up with another mistake:
The nearest star (meaning a sun and planets) to us is four light years away...When we talk about the nearest star to us, other than the Sun, we do not mean 'a sun and planets'. We just mean a star. We don't know whether our nearest star has planets orbiting it. To make matters worse, he then identifies this star as:
...our next-door star-neighbour, Alpha Centauri in Andromeda.While Alpha Centauri is our closest star system, it is in the constellation Centaurus. It's no where near the constellation of Andromeda, nor is it in the Andromeda galaxy if that's what he meant. A glaring and very basic mistake for a self-acclaimed 'expert' that claims to have studied the night sky for decades to make.
In the next quote Ring talks of a planet moving across the sky from one constellation to the next:
When a switchover of zodiac signs occurs there is agitation in the atmosphere and a weather change... this happens approximately every 30 days based on the Ascendant changing signs every thirty degrees of arc around the wheel.Yet this is ridiculous. Constellations and the boundaries between them are imaginary. They are simple human inventions to make navigation and identification easier. They don't actually exist out there in space. There is no way that a planet could 'know' that it had crossed some imaginary line and that it should therefore change the affect it was having on our weather. This is as silly as our TV weather presenters saying that it will be raining in Otago but fine in Southland. How does the weather know where Otago ends and Southland begins? Also as a typical astrologer Ring refuses to acknowledge that even though astrologers divide the zodiac into 12 equal constellations of 30 degrees to make their fantasy easier to calculate, the real constellations in the sky don't work that way. Once again Ken Ring demonstrates that he is stuck in the superstitious past.
Here Ring explains solar physics and geothermal energy:
Movements of the planets generate the Solar heartbeat and coincidentally our upwardly pulsing geothermal output.Scientists might be surprised to hear that. They believe that nuclear fusion powers the Sun and the Earth's own internal heat generates geothermal energy. The influence of the planets on the Earth and certainly the Sun is minimal. Then we have this piece of nonsense, placing the source of influence even further away:
The air is only a gas moved around by weather that was formed by forces millions of miles away and by interstellar tides.Yet this contradicts Ring's main argument, that the weather is influenced by the moon, rather than 'forces millions of miles away and by interstellar tides'. Interstellar means 'between or among the stars', and the distant stars have no affect on our planet or atmosphere. It's just another example of Ring introducing scientific terms that he doesn't understand in the hope that they will impress his clients. Pure pseudoscience.
Now for a pop science quiz. If you put an ice cube on your kitchen bench and the room temperature was a chilly 3°C, would it melt or remain frozen? Defying basic physics, it would stay frozen according to science whiz Ken Ring:
Wherever it is 0C, then ice cannot melt there, as ice needs to be 4C to thaw.Evidently ice won't melt until the temperature reaches 4°C according to RIng. And here you were probably thinking that ice melts and water freezes at 0°C? But you would be right. If you have liquid water and decrease its temperature, when it reaches 0°C it will freeze. Conversely if you have ice and increase its temperature, when it reaches 0°C it will melt. Obviously this freezing and melting isn't instantaneous, but 0°C is when these phase transitions begin. We suspect Ring is confusing thawing with the temperature at which water has its maximum density, which is 4°C. For someone that spends his time debating these topics, Ring's grasp of science is abysmal.
OK, one more quiz question. Is sunlight essential for photosynthesis? Not according to Ring, since evidently in Ringworld most plant photosynthesis happens at night. On two separate occasions he offers this nonsense:
CO2 does sink to the ground, we call it haze, and at night the heavier-than-air gas is no longer buoyed up by heat from the ground. That's when plants get it and when most photosynthesis occurs.Photosynthesis if you remember is the process where green plants utilise the energy of sunlight along with CO2 and water to produce carbohydrates, releasing oxygen as a byproduct. Without sunlight, eg at night, there can be no photosynthesis. In fact at night the cycle reverses and plants actually take in oxygen and release CO2. As if Ring hasn't made enough errors, a third mistaken claim is that haze is CO2. Haze according to my dictionary is 'Atmospheric moisture, dust, smoke, and vapor that diminishes visibility'. Not CO2. Although haze can also be defined as 'A vague or confused state of mind'. Now that might explain Ken Ring's claims.
Do you know how the sand on a beach came about? Science will tell you that 'Sand is made of minerals and tiny pieces of rock that have come from the erosion and weathering of rocks'. Not surprisingly, Ring doesn't know that and comes up with this ridiculous explanation (on two separate occasions) on how sand and soil forms:
'Earth (or Land) tides are the result of a visco-elastic deformation of the earth under the action of gravitational pull of the moon and the Sun. All land will rise each day between 15- 50cms to meet the transiting moon, and recede at moonset... Long term, it is the cutting-knives-like action of the earth moving up and down in this daily flux that slowly grinds rocks into fine soil and shell into beach sand. Otherwise, how else would these get formed?'It sounds like something a four-year-old might believe. There are land tides, but as even RIng says, 'All land will rise each day... and recede at moonset'. The land that your house is on will rise slightly, but so too will that of your neighbours'. Rocks will only grind together if they move in opposite directions. Try grating cheese if you move the cheese and the grater up and down together. We don't notice land tides, like we do ocean tides, because all the land goes up and down in unison. We notice ocean tides because the fluid water moves considerably compared to the solid land next to it. This 'cutting-knives-like action of the earth... that slowly grinds rocks into fine soil and shell into beach sand' is one of the most moronic things we've heard Ken utter. To arrogantly proclaim, 'how else would these get formed?', is to demonstrate true ignorance worthy of a medieval astrologer.
Do you know what causes the tides, summer and winter, night and day? Ring can predict them, but seems a little confused as to what causes them:
All forecasting is about potential, based on known factors. In nature there are plenty of unknowns, that we haven't discovered yet. We are not gods. That is why causality is just down to opinions and cannot ever be proven.Ring appears not to understand what causality means, and this from the man who chides us, 'Perhaps you forget that I have a university science education and am throughly familar with the scientific method'. Causality is the relationship between cause and effect. Ring has claimed to know what causes the ocean tides, eclipses, and apples to fall, and the weather as well, and that is: Newton's 'astrological' gravity. Yet now he's insisting that gravity and its effects is just an opinion, and it can never be proven to be the cause. So it could be gremlins or gods after all, is that what he's saying?
Ring claims that there is no causality related to the fact that day follows night, and that it's a waste of money looking for a cause. What absolute nonsense, and a claim that would embarrass a child. We know exactly what causes day and night: we live on a planet that rotates once every 24 hours, and we are bathed by sunlight for half this period. Ring also states that 'It is 100% certain and predictable that what we call day will follow what we call night'. Although it is not immediately obvious, he is wrong yet again. Because we do know the cause of night and day we can predict sunrise and sunset quite accurately, but we definitely can't prove with 100% certainty that the Sun will rise tomorrow, although nearly everyone is extremely confident that it will. Our science and our experience give us great confidence that it will rise and we get on with our lives accordingly, but the Sun could explode tomorrow or the Earth could be hit by a giant asteroid. We cannot be 100% certain that the Earth will still be experiencing day and night in ten years or 1,000 years time, or even tomorrow.
Here Ken Ring attempts to provide some robust evidence for his claims, but gets it wrong yet again:
We should stop being surprised about any extreme events... We have always had extreme weather, look at any page in the bible.The Bible? Does he mean the likes of the Earth-covering flood of Noah, the nasty storm that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, the Sun stopping in the sky and Jesus rebuking a furious storm on a lake and causing it to become calm? You've got to be joking Ken! What person in their right mind, who says they are being scientific, would quote the Bible as a reliable source for historical weather data? It's a book of fiction. Don't you understand that Ken? You can't use a fictional text as the source of historical and scientific information. You can't use another fantasy to bolster your own fantasy. (For a look at Bible errors, see the section 'The Bible contains no errors' in our article on Ian Wishart — Christian Fundamentalist).
This quote from Ring suggests he has watched one too many children's cartoons:
Oh, in case you haven't noticed, crabs, insects (like bees), birds, fish and cows obviously know more about astronomy than humans. They know when the moon is about to be full or new even though they often can't see it, and their behaviour, mating, migratory movement and feeding, alters accordingly. Now wouldn't it be good if one day we became smart like that.That's right. We keep forgetting that it was a fish astronomer that first calculated the distance to Mars, and it was a crab astronomer working with SpongeBob SquarePants that discovered galaxies. Keep the faith Ken. Maybe one day you will become as smart as a cow.
And before people email us to complain, of course we understand what Ken Ring is really talking about here. He's claiming that since supposedly dumb animals worldwide have been able to detect the moon's gravity, when will arrogant humans drop their air of superiority and admit that the moon's gravity obviously affects us as well. We assume he's talking about gravity, because if he's not then his whole blurb is worthless, offering no support for his theory whatsoever. However there is no evidence these animals are being influenced by the moon's gravity. He merely lists examples of animals altering their behaviour by being able to detect things like varying light intensity, different wavelengths of light, light polarisation and even magnetic fields. Furthermore, animals aren't being 'smart' when they do these things, they are simply operating on blind instinct. There is a monumental gulf between animals responding to stimuli in their environment and what humans 'know' about that same environment. It is disingenuous to suggest that these various life forms even have a concept of astronomy, let alone know more about it than we do.
Continuing on the theme of intellect, Ring tries to impress us with his mastery of logic:
Question: I know of no met office that uses the term "caused by the moon" when referring to average monthly rainfall. (Erin)Yes, the concept of months is based on the phases of the moon, but there's no justification to say that things that happen during the phases of the moon are therefore caused by the moon. You first have to prove 'cause and effect' which Ring hasn't done. You can't use logic to reach his conclusion. To see how silly his claim of 'Average monthly rainfall means average rain caused by the Moon' really is, let's replace the word 'rainfall' with 'income' in his claim to give us this: 'Average monthly income means average income caused by the Moon'. Now do you honestly believe that the moon causes your average monthly income? Ring states that a five-year old would accept his logic, and maybe many would, but this just means that Ring's grasp of logic is no better than a child's.
See if you can make sense of this part of Ring's theory:
when there is no moon in the sky, the air goes out, the cold of space comes down and condensesWhere does the air go to, and shouldn't we all suffocate if the air is gone? And if there is no air, what is it that condenses? Since the Moon is often not in the sky, doesn't that mean most days should be cold, even in summer?
Vacuum pockets of air may develop as a local atmosphere rushes towards a rising or setting moon.A vacuum is an absence of matter, including air, so this makes no sense at all. And there is no way vacuum pockets would form in what is essentially a description of wind. A pressure difference yes, but not a vacuum.
Next Ring explains why we have trouble understanding his theories. We're evidently using the wrong type of science:
You would not be able to assess my method either unless you viewed it through different eyes. For example if you went to an Eastern university rather than a Western one your outlook would be entirely different... The trouble is that we are used to stats and a validation system that gives us instant answers that belong to western science, not eastern. Natural science doesn't work like that.Bullshit. Science is science. There is no such thing as western, eastern or natural science. Physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, genetics etc are the same everywhere. The speed of light and 2+2=4 is the same in both western and eastern universities. We think you'll find that planes in Asia obey the same laws of physics and aerodynamics as those in New Zealand, and that women in the east or living with nature fall pregnant for the same biological reasons as they do in the west. Here Ring adopts the flakey New Age view that since eastern and western cultures, religions and values are different, then their science must be different too. Again he demonstrates his ignorance of science in a very fundamental way.
Here's Ken Ring making a patently false claim:
To only rely on "evidence" from instrumentation we have been thus far clever enough to invent, is only the tip of our world of gathered data. Instruments are only ever extensions of our 5 senses, so the senses themselves are still the best evidencers.Our 5 bodily senses are the best 'evidencers' we have, better than instruments? Is 'evidencers' even a real word? But never mind, it's still utter rubbish. We have instruments that far outstrip the sensitivities of our senses. Think of microscopes and telescopes, seismographs, EEGs and ECGs, CAT, PET and MRI scanners, radio telescopes and high speed photography, instruments that detect x-rays, cosmic rays and neutrinos etc. The list is enormous, and many of these instruments detect signals that we have no bodily sense of, such as radio waves and ultraviolet light. Does Ring not keep up with technological advances or even think about what he says? Without the wealth of data provided by our instruments, we would still be teaching astrology rather than astronomy. A state of affairs that Ring no doubt wishes we would revert to.
In this quote Ring demonstrates sublime ignorance:
In science there is no such thing as coincidence.What nonsense, of course science recognises that coincidences can and do occur in nature. This is one reason that scientists insist that experiments must be repeated, to ensure that the result wasn't just a coincidence.
In the following answer to a reader's question, Ken Ring demonstrates that his scientific ignorance isn't related solely to astronomy, but in fact knows no bounds. We provide his complete answer because it demonstrates how Ring weaves errors, fiction and pure fantasy around real facts to create what appears to be a genuine scientific answer, but is in fact bullshit:
Question: Is the world getting larger due to the cooling of the interior? Would that account for the continental drift and the breaking up of tectonic plates, so causing earthquakes? (Murray Willis, Great Barrier)Why is this guy asking an astrologer for the cause of continental drift and earthquakes, as if scientists didn't already know the answer? Unperturbed regarding his ignorance in numerous fields of science from geology and palaeontology to evolutionary biology, Ring rushes in and invents an error-ridden fantasy. We believe the theory of plate tectonics states that continental drift occurs because the earth's interior is hot, not because it's cooling. As it cools continental drift will actually reduce, not increase. Yes the sea floor is spreading in places as new crust is created, but it is also diving back into the interior in other places (as Ring himself notes) which means the size of the earth's crust remains relatively static. If the Earth were increasing in size, where does Ring believe all this extra material is coming from? As the interior's mass slowly gets turned into sea floor, will the Earth eventually become hollow? However, to our knowledge the Earth isn't expanding like a balloon and thus his explanation of why pterosaurs could fly and why the ancestors of seals etc returned to the sea is laughable. He doesn't even seem to realise that 'air pressure' and 'atmospheric pressure' are referring to the same thing, even though he claims to be an expert in this particular field.
The following statements demonstrate that Ring is confused about the difference between 'tidal pull' and 'gravitational pull', even though again this is the field he claims to be an expert in, and understanding these concepts is crucial to his theory:
The Sun... has a tidal pull..., but being much further away, has a pull less than half that of the Moon.The first statement concerning the Sun's 'tidal pull' is correct, but the second is wrong. The Sun's 'gravitational pull' is actually 180 times greater than the gravitational pull of the Moon. It is the Sun's influence or tidal forces that is less than the Moon's, not its gravitational pull.
To further highlight his ignorance of the very subject that he claims to be an expert in, here's a quote from his article 'Planets and Earthquakes'. Remember that knowing the correct size of the planets and their size relationship to the Sun and the Earth is crucial to his forecasting method. He writes:
'Planets and EarthquakesThey say that a picture is worth a thousand words so rather than quote figures and ratios, we made the following diagrams. The top image shows the size relationship between a basketball and grapefruit. The bottom image shows the actual size relationship between the Sun and Jupiter (ignoring the fact that they aren't this close of course). No wonder Ring's predictions are always wrong when he has no idea what size Jupiter really is. Again he's probably consulting Astrology textbooks that were written centuries ago. And claiming to be a teacher of mathematics, if he has the correct figures, he should be able to calculate ratios better than the rest of us. He gives us no confidence that he can get the complex calculations correct when he obviously struggles with the simple ones.
His theory on cloud movement seems to be a combination of the matter transporter on Star Trek's Enterprise and a TV cartoon:
Clouds... do not travel that much. If you watch a cloud it will disintegrate immediately and another will form further along, giving the impression of forward movement.
In the following exchange Ring explains 'wind' to a school child:
Hauturu School Yr 1-4 KawhiaRing got the first bit about the sun warming the air right, but then he seems to go off-track, although maybe he was just simplifying it for the school child. It is not strictly the 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 movement of air, this convection current, that is felt as wind. And it was initiated by the Sun, as Ring clearly states.
We mentioned that basically correct description of wind to highlight a contradiction, because in reality Ring doesn't really believe the explanation he gave to this child. He doesn't believe that the wind, which is a part of our weather, is caused by the Sun. He proudly states that only:
a dwindling few still claim that the Sun causes the weather.Ring believes the Moon causes our weather. And one wonders what drugs Ring was on when drafted the following gem:
Scientists are partly to blame for calling weather forecasting a 'science'. Bridge-building and chemistry are sciences but really weather is an opinion-based product based on best-guessing... [and] By definition an opinion, just like a feeling cannot be wrong.I'm sorry Ken but you're confusing what you do with meteorology. You're correct in that your forecasting method isn't a science — it's a pseudoscience based on superstition — but meteorology, the method that others use, is a real science. And what's this utter crap that opinions and feelings can't be wrong? Let's say I have the opinion that NZ will never have a woman prime minister or the feeling that an invisible elephant is sitting on the couch next to me. Am I wrong? Of course I am. Basically this false reasoning by Ring allows him to claim that since his forecasts are opinion based, and since by (his) definition opinions can never be wrong, none of his forecasts can ever be wrong. The fact that Ring and a great many of his devotees, people that are allowed to vote, can't see through this crap is quite scary.
How about some mathematical magic:
75% of the earth is covered by oceans. Of the rest, nearly 3% is covered by ice and of the remaining 24% less than 2% is habitable...Wrong! Subtracting 75% (oceans) and 3% (ice) from the total Ring states 24% remains. I don't think so. Try 22%. Further on he then states:
If we only occupy 1.8%, that means 98.6% of Earth is uninhabited.Wrong again, subtracting 1.8% from 100% leaves 98.2% not 98.6%. Regarding his bogus accuracy claims, Ring has admitted:
'I never say I am right all the time, only maybe 80-85%, which means about 10-15% inaccurate'.Of course this is completely wrong, his inaccuracy rate would be 15-20%, not 10-15%. In another post he said that:
'I never claim 100%, no one does. 80% means 2 months per year potentially out'.Rubbish! Using Ring's debatable logic, being right 80% of the year means being wrong 20% of the year. 20% would only equal 2 months if there were only 10 months in the year. Obviously the calendars in Ringworld are different to the calenders in the real world! While these errors with maths may seem like nit-picking we must remember that Ring claims to be an ex-maths teacher who wrote books on teaching maths and used to travel the country teaching maths to kids. Maths is where he used to claim that his real expertise lay, and yet even here, calculating simple percentages, he fails miserably and doesn't even grasp his error when it is pointed out to him. Why should anyone have any confidence in his far, far more complex calculations that he claims to utilise in his predictions, when he fails at what a young child would excel at?
Further to the maths bit, Ring has stated:
I am not anything special, I'm not the world's smartest mathematician...We would argue that not only is Ring not the world's smartest mathematician, he's not even a mathematician, he's just someone that taught maths to kids. Ring may be good at teaching maths, but that does NOT make him a mathematician anymore than understanding a little science makes a person a scientist. While Ring has been happy to adopt the public's description of him as a mathematician, we don't believe he is one. Our research has shown that at the very least; 'A bachelor's degree in mathematics is the minimum education needed for mathematicians', with most sources stating that 'A Ph.D. degree in mathematics usually is the minimum educational requirement'. Ring has no university degree, in anything, let alone mathematics.
Ring also writes articles on 'scientific myths' such as Global Warming/Climate Change, the Greenhouse Effect, ozone depletion, methane and cow farting etc. While it is accepted that these topics are complex and controversial even within scientific circles, Ring's conclusions can not be trusted due to his pathetic and incompetent research. He destroys his credibility with gems such as this on CFCs:
Secondly there is no evidence that they can destroy anything because they [CFCs] are very stable and unreactive substances. Most dictionaries and chemistry books describe them as inert gases.Rubbish. Inert gases are the likes of helium, neon, argon etc, whereas CFCs are composed of chlorine and fluorine. These are known as halogens and if Ring's 'dictionaries and chemistry books' describe them as inert gases he desperately needs to update his reference material. And while it's true that CFCs are generally chemically stable, both chlorine and fluorine by themselves are very reactive and strong oxidising agents. Furthermore, contrary to Ken's assertion, there is strong evidence that in the stratosphere CFCs do undergo photochemical reactions that cause ozone depletion.
Here he tries to explain why CO2 can't cause global warming:
Mars, also with a CO2 atmosphere is so frigid its polar caps are solid CO2... The coldness comes purely because Mars is further from the Sun. If CO2 alone heated planets up, Mars would be much warmer than it is.But no one claims that the mere presence of CO2 heats up the atmosphere. CO2 molecules are not little radiant heaters. The fact is that CO2 only helps to trap heat energy provided by the Sun. It doesn't generate the heat itself. The atmosphere on Mars, although around 95% CO2, is extremely thin and thus the greenhouse effect produced on Mars is very inefficient at warming the atmosphere as compared to Earth. Ring however reckons the greenhouse effect is just another scientific myth. Arguments like this that Ring uses to try and convince people that the science behind global warming is flawed, are in themselves flawed and mislead the public.
He further damages his credibility with silly analogies:
CO2 is heavier than air... CO2 does not rise. If it did, fire extinguishers wouldn't work.Atmospheric CO2 is a gas whereas Dry Ice extinguishers are full of solid CO2 at around minus 78.5°C. Yes CO2 is one and half times heavier than air and a cloud of pure CO2 such as from a fire extinguisher will fall and blanket a fire, however Ring's analogy pretends that the way CO2 behaves mixed in the atmosphere and then in a fire extinguisher are both the same. They're not. Think about it. If CO2 doesn't rise how does it reach trees for photosynthesis, especially trees high up mountainsides? It should all be lying in the valleys.
Ring continues this 'heavy' theme with the following analogy:
Bricks Don't Float Up... CFCs are so dense...For the same reason that bricks don't float, being heavier than air, CFC's won't be found in the upper atmosphere either according to Ring's logic. However since we often see heavier than air objects in the sky — planes, birds, hang-gliders, CO2 etc — it is obvious that there is a problem with Ring's analogy. It's quite plain that there are mechanisms that may cause heavier than air objects to rise into the atmosphere. In fact, regarding gases in Earth's atmosphere, in his book 'The Lunar Code' Ring specifically mentions one such mechanism: 'Many of these gases are heavier than air, but are kept high above the Earth by upper-level turbulence' (pg 41). Ring is now arguing with a claim he himself made, which is never an encouraging sign.
And while we're on Global Warming, here's Ken Ring's answer as to why it exists:
Why Invent Global Warming?Ken Ring certainly loves a good conspiracy theory. He is already convinced that his lack of public acceptance is due to the government, academics, and even the Church, conspiring against him: 'It is easier to suppress than to rewrite textbooks', his embrace of pseudo-history points at another massive worldwide conspiracy by historians and archeologists, and he has recently 'discovered' a conspiracy closer to home, accusing us of being mere puppets of an evil organisation bent on his demise. And now it seems climate change/global warming is just one big conspiracy as well. Does he honestly believe that the majority of the world's scientists, who have spent years gaining skills and qualifications, people who are deeply curious about how things work and want to make new discoveries that could benefit mankind and further our knowledge, would happily waste their careers on what they clearly understand is a hoax? Going into the lab each day to perform meaningless research? And remember that it's not the scientists that actually get the millions in research funds, it's the institutions that employ them. So why would these scientists that aren't actually benefiting financially or intellectually continue to keep this conspiracy a secret? Even if the institutions and governments wanted to maintain the hoax, why would the scientists remain silent? Why would the innumerable technicians assisting the scientists collect data keep quiet? Yes we know some scientists are speaking out, but the proportions are all wrong. If it was a hoax, then 90% plus of scientists with integrity would be screaming hoax and only a handful would continue to obey their paymasters. Yet the reality is just the reverse. The world's scientists could certainly be wrong, but to assert that they are part of a worldwide conspiracy to get their institutions more funds is ridiculous in the extreme. And why would the media, who love to expose scandals and cover-ups, play along as well? Many science writers are ex-scientists so they would not be easily fooled. We'd be curious to know where Ring stands on other famous conspiracy theories, like 9/11, the Apollo Moon Landing, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the death of Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe and President Kennedy, the attack on Pearl Harbor, government possession of alien technology, the truth behind Y2K, AIDS and Bird Flu etc. And are Ernie and Bert really gay? Based on Ring's extreme suspicion and distrust of scientists, historians, institutions, media and governments, his views could make entertaining reading.
And is this just another example of him making things up:
In the same way, 'hard' water molecules, H3O, doesn't prevent anyone from getting wet.'Hard' water is not H3O. Perhaps he was thinking of 'heavy' water, but that's deuterium oxide or D2O. Still not H3O.
And how about this old wife's tale:
The word tide isn't just confined to sea, land and air... Why should there not be tides within us...There is no evidence that the female menstrual cycle is regulated by the Moon. The Moon's gravity does not cause noticeable tidal forces in the human body. Recall that the oceans have tides but most lakes don't have noticeable tides, they just aren't big enough, and yet there is much more water in a lake than in a human. Evidently a 1kg melon held one metre above your head produces 200 times as much tidal effect in your body as does the Moon.  According to astronomer George O. Abell (note that's astronomer, not astrologer), 'a mosquito would exert more gravitational pull on your arm than the moon would'.  Other people, buildings etc would completely swamp any affect the Moon has. Also if the Moon's position caused and regulated the menstrual cycle then its effect would be identical in any particular geographical region. The cycles of all women in a particular area would be synchronised. They're not.
And in a similar vein we have Ring pushing these stories:
Much data has been collected connecting weather and human activities, from the increase of domestic disputes and violence around the Full and Perigee Moon to the frequency of the borrowing of non-fiction in public libraries...Ring claims that 'No-one has explained why these astronomical facts could be relevant. Scientists, psychiatrists and physicians have scratched their heads...' The trouble is that these are not facts at all. There is no evidence that these increases happen at full moon. Studies that have examined these claims give them no credence, and they exist only as urban myths in the minds of the public. Ring repeats and (no doubts believes) these myths since they appear to show that the moon has a spooky effect on us all. (Read this article on lunar myths at 'The Skeptic's Dictionary').
In the following claims Ring seems to believe that when a gas increases in volume, this will cause the pressure to rise also.
The Moon expands the air, raises the pressurePhysics however believes just the opposite will happen, increase the volume and the pressure will go down. Check out Boyle's Law.
Then there is his theory that the Moon is causing aircraft crashes, such as Ansett 703 and even the space shuttle Columbia:
Ansett 703... So what may do the damage? Vacuum pockets of airAgain with the nonsensical 'Vacuum pockets of air'. It's a wonder NASA haven't taken him on as a technical consultant!
Here he dreams up a cause for earthquakes, which he uses to explain the 2004 Asian tsunami:
Earthquakes were noticed to happen at the same time as planets formed a straight line in the sky, and the line-up of all of them, including the moon on December 26  gave us a good reason for the Asian tsunami.This sounds wonderful, except for the embarrassing fact that all the planets and the moon were not even remotely lined up on Dec 26th 2004. The last planetary alignment of the five naked-eye planets and the moon was May 5th 2000, and before that 1962. No severe earthquakes, floods or disasters occurred during these real alignments, contrary to Ring's claim. The next alignment won't be until 2040.
Next he claims that earthquakes aren't caused by planet alignment after all, but by a "magic" angle between the Sun and the Moon:
Earthquakes are triggered by Moon and Sun acting together at a multiple 45deg angle... when the Sun and Moon are at that angle... this required angle between Sun and Moon. This magic number... being the angle to a particular location at which the Sun and Moon acting together can exert a maximum combined gravitational force through a narrow force corridor from space, and yet be unopposed by Earth’s gravity.You may think that he really means 'astronomy' program, but no, he does mean 'astrology'. He evidently consults 'three astrology programmes — Astrolog, Solar Fires De Luxe and Janus4'. He describes the cause of earthquakes as 'This magic number... this required angle between Sun and Moon', but then states that the Bam earthquake was caused because 'the Moon was 45deg from the horizon'. But in another comment he claims that 'most earthquakes occur when the moon is on the horizon', even though there's a big difference between on the horizon and 45°s above it. Which is it? The angle between the Sun and Moon, or between the Moon and the horizon? Ring just makes up bogus alignments to confuse his clients and forgets what he might have said elsewhere. But the horizon angle raises a serious problem since the moon is always either on or 45°s from the horizon in relation to some point on Earth. As the Earth rotates, continuous points on its surface would present themselves towards these magical angles, this 'narrow force corridor from space' as he describes it, so earthquakes should continually trace a path along its surface like a Mexican wave. They don't.
While I was at it, I checked out the following 'angle' statement:
Anyway, back to the Tangiwai story. On December 24, 1953 at 9.19pm the Sun and Moon were exactly at the right angle apart for an earthquake in the Ruapehu area. Not only that, the Moon was at 90deg azimuth, 90deg being a multiple of 45 and one of the significant angle numbers.My astronomy program (and an azimuth calculation program on the internet: Astronomical Applications Dept., U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington) shows the Moon at 82° azimuth, which isn't a multiple of 45. Yet more bogus claims that Ring makes confident in the knowledge that few will check them out.
As we noted in our introduction, beyond predicting the weather, Ring claims that he can also predict these earthquakes (as well as volcanic eruptions and mass strandings of whales and dolphins). Here is Ring describing what resources are required:
'Predicting earthquakes requires a lot of calculation, which I did a few years ago one month ahead for three earthquake events in this country.'You'll note that Ring as usual varies his story from comment to comment. He says that working alone he has successfully predicted several earthquakes. But then he also claims that an astrologer working alone couldn't achieve that feat, he needs, according to his second comment, to work with a geologist. You should also note that Ring is clearly identifying himself as an astrologer in these quotes. At other times he vehemently denies he is one. By the fourth comment he believes earthquake prediction actually requires geologists and astronomers working together, and astrologers like him may not even be needed. However in his last comment he believes you need the cooperation of astronomers, astrologers, vulcanologists, meteorologists and geologists. He changes his story too often for us to be able to believe anything he says. And note that the one scientist he doesn't think could contribute to earthquake prediction is a seismologist! Update: In a Feb 2011 article Ring has again changed his mind as to what expertise is needed to predict earthquakes, and now includes seismologists but excludes vulcanologists:
Can we predict exactly where a major event will strike? Not well at this stage... [and would require] a willingness for geologists, astronomers, meteorologists, seismologists and astrometeorologists to work together for a common goal.He hasn't excluded himself, as 'astrometeorologist' is his scientific sounding name for an astrologer who specialises in weather forecasts. And note how he judges his present accuracy at predicting quakes: 'Not well at this stage'.
Ignoring the science of seismology, Ring explains what really causes earthquakes:
The law of nature is that all sticks that break require something bigger than the stick to break them... Massive forces are at work. An earthquake is the same. We can only imagine that to move and divide fields, shake entire cities and change the shape of a region, a gigantic force would be required that would have to emanate from something very large. Any production or event requires careful planning, and rehearsal. it is the same with earthquakes and extreme weather. The big forces get in line, they have trial runs. These are both predictable and observable.In another article he retells this story and provides some more details:
Massive forces are at work. An earthquake is the same. We can only imagine that to move and divide fields, shake entire cities and change the shape of a region, a gigantic force would be required that would have to emanate from something at least as large as the Sun, with a Director of Operations overseeing the event and focussing the energy - large and constantly orbiting at close range - the innocent-looking moon.So there you have it. Earthquakes are not caused by sudden movement of the Earth's crust, as explained by plate tectonics, but by a deliberate and apparently conscious act from the Sun and its henchman the Moon. They utilise careful planning and even have rehearsals. In fact it is not surprisingly that Ring disagrees with the theory of plate tectonics, claiming that 'Earthquakes cause fault lines, not vice versa'. Trying to understand the force of earthquakes Ring says, 'We can only imagine...', and that's his main failure, he uses his childish and frankly primitive imagination to understand the world, without realising that the real answers can be found in science.
Ring has certainly claimed to have predicted several earthquakes, including the one that caused the Dec 2004 Asian Tsunami and the Sept 4th, 2010 and Feb 22nd, 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch. Of course these claims are just more lies. You can read on our comments page where Ken claims to have predicted the Sept Christchurch earthquake and a subsequent aftershock and our debunking of his claims, and read here where we debunk his claims to have predicted the disastrous Feb quake. The most telling observation that Ring can't predict earthquakes is these separate denials from Ring himself:
'I repeat I am not an earthquake expert nor seismologist. I have no interest in being recognised as one'Anyone that has the skill and knowledge to reliably predict earthquakes is an earthquake expert. That's what 'expert' means. That Ring denies he is an expert and denies that he can predict earthquakes shows that Ring knows he can't deliver on his prediction claims. If you trust Ken Ring at all, if you believe him to be honest, then why wouldn't you trust him when he makes these claims? And while we're on the topic of earthquakes, here's yet another example displaying Ring's ignorance:
'Earthquake-frequent Los Angeles is a good example of a US city without skyscrapers.'Obviously Ring has never been to LA or even watched a TV show or movie featuring LA. Ken, haven't you even seen 'Die Hard' where terrorists take over an LA skyscraper and the heroic Bruce Willis saves the day? As the photo on the right shows, rather than an example of a 'US city without skyscrapers', this is yet another example of Ring just making things up to support his fantasy.
As we've previously noted, see also these separate blog posts exposing more of Ring's bogus earthquake claims:
We are not able to stop new moons, and new moons will induce volcanoes...Here Ring claims that a new moon caused the eruption of Mt Tarawera destroying the Pink and White Terraces. There are several problems with Ring's claims. Firstly, the eruption and destruction occurred on 10 June 1886, one week after the new moon. They were not 'wrecked' by an eruption on the new moon as Ring claims, and there were no obvious warnings of an upcoming eruption at that time. Secondly, the famous Pink and White Terraces were not 'dubbed one of the Seven Wonders of The World'. Thirdly, why did the real violent eruption occur on 'the 1st quarter moon' if 'new moons will induce volcanoes'? These fabrications completely destroy his argument, and it's just another example of Ring deviously distorting a famous event to match his fantasy. Here he is again spinning another version of this lie in his Nov 2010 'Christchurch earthquake update':
In 1886 the Mt Tarawera eruption that knocked out the Pink and White Terraces - the node was on 2 June, also the day of New moon and perigee, and the earthquake arrived then that did the initial damage (another massive quake exactly a week or one moon phase later finished off the job)Here Ring again fudges the timing and falsely claims that an earthquake did the initial damage to the Pink and White Terraces and that 'another massive quake exactly a week... later finished off the job'. He wants readers to now believe that the 'Mt Tarawera eruption' was actually two earthquakes rather than a volcanic eruption. His willingness to deceive knows no bounds.
And speaking of volcanoes, destruction and tourist attractions, see if you believe this observation from Ring:
NZ has always been tectonically active, and earthquakes, tsunamis, eruptions and volcanoes should not really come as a surprise. After all, it is what tourists expect and it is a chief attraction.Natural disasters are a chief attraction for tourists? Really? Visitors flock to NZ to view and experience earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions? Is there no bullshit story he won't invent to bolster his business?
Ring seems to have plenty of astrology books but no dictionary:
The month used to be called a moonth, because it's a moon cycle.According to my dictionary the word 'month' comes Middle English 'moneth', which comes from Old English 'monath'. While it certainly is related to the phases of the moon and the measurement of time, the word 'moonth' is apparently just an invention by Ring. And he doesn't stop there:
Our word 'measurement' came from 'moon', and 'meteorology' comes from 'meteor-astrology'Again, the word 'measurement' does apparently have a distant origin related to the phases of the moon and the measurement of time, but we challenge Ring to show how the word 'measurement' came directly from the word 'moon'. As for 'meteorology', Ring's claim is again nothing other than pure invention. Any decent dictionary will show that the 'ology' of 'meteorology' means a 'branch of learning' eg biology, geology, and is not an abbreviated form of 'astrology'. Ring's ignorance of this is suspicious. And here's another one:
...they weighed grains (hence 'grams')...
Wrong Ken, the word 'gram' comes from the Greek grámma 'which originally meant 'letter of the alphabet' but later came to be used for 'small weight'.' He's like a little kid who just makes up things that sound as though they might be right. Here he does it again:
'climate is weather at a particular latitude, the "clim-" part being the 'climbing' up the curved surface of the earth.'In fact, apart from the same pronunciation, the 'clim' in climate and in climbing have no connection whatsoever. And yet again:
'Astro means rocks in the sky'No it doesn't. Astro comes from the Greek 'astron' which means STAR, not rocks in the sky. Ring appears to actually believe, at times anyway, that the stars that make up constellations are rocks rather than huge balls of burning gas:
'There is no influence of constellations ... imagining that a bunch of rocks millions of miles away can of themselves exert some power.'And also the stars that make up constellations 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. Astronomy is not Ken's strongpoint, and of course astrologers don't care what stars actually are or how far away they might be.
In the following outburst Ring quotes figures and performs calcualations which again only serves to demonstrate how incompentent his research is:
Posted on 'Net-weather forum' by: Ken Ring, May 2005:Is it my 'arrogant western mind' causing me to reject this view or is he just talking crap again? As of Dec 2005, the world's population was estimated to be 6,478,344,396. That's around 6.4 billion, not 8 billion as Ring claims. Likewise the number of Christians worldwide was accepted to be around 2.1 billion, yet Ring claims it's only around 400 million, less than half a billion. Using the correct figures, Christians actually make up 32% of the population, not the meagre 5% that Ring claims. (The fact that no one debating Ring on the 'Net-weather forum' picked up these obvious errors is quite worrying). Seemingly unable or unwilling to learn from past mistakes, in 2010 Ring again wildly inflates the Earth's population, this time to 10 billion, and Christians have increased from around 400 million to 2 billion, perhaps aided by the Catholic ban on contraception:
Christianity believes only God controls weather along with everything else. In terms of numbers it represents 2 billion, but the rest number 8 billion. Doesn't that make Silly Beliefs look rather silly? Or are 8 billion wrong because you rednecks say so?Ring is not one to let facts get in the way of his arguments. We'll leave it up to the reader to decide who looks silly. Does he just make up these figures to falsely support his method, ie '95% of the world still adhere somewhat to lunar philosophy', or does he seriously believe in their validity, the same way he seriously believes in his moon theory? The fact is that Ring's argument relies on denigrating Christianity while praising the wisdom of other religions who, he claims, 'still revere the moon as the instigator of weather'. Here he makes more absurd claims regarding religion:
'because they favoured rational argument free of politicking, the Jewish culture did not fragment but remained cohesive, whilst other religions fought amongst themselves for meaningless moral high grounds and murdered each other along the way. Just count how many breakway religions gather under the Christianity label, vs the one enduring Judaism of the Jewish people, the one Islam of Muslims, the one Hindu, the one Buddha, the one Shinto of the Japanese, etc'What nonsense is this? Ring claims that 'because they favoured rational argument free of politicking, the Jewish culture did not fragment but remained cohesive'. This would be almost laughable if it didn't demonstrate such ignorance. Has he not heard of that little 'argument' that got that Jewish guy called Jesus killed? And to say that Judaism favoured 'rational argument' is pure bunkum, this from a religion who gave us talking snakes, women being turned into pillars of salt and men walking on water. Whether he is talking actual religions or merely sects, this is just Ring demonstrating once again his ignorance of history. If he really means religions, does he not know that Christianity and Islam sprung from Judaism, the religion he claims never fragmented into others? And if he's talking sects, which is more likely, then yes, Christianity has split into many sects, but so too have all the other religions. Has Ring not heard of the Sunni Muslims who are slaughtering the Shiite Muslims, and vice versa? And in addition to Sunni and Shiite, some of the other major sects within Islam are the Kharijis, Druze, Alawi, Ismali, Ahmadiyyah, Sufi and the Wahhabi Movement. Modern Judaism itself has Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Hasidism, and Kabbalah, and even back in the days of Jesus it had the likes of the Pharisses, Sadduccees, and Essenes. In modern Hinduism the major sects are Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, and Smartism. There are several different types of Buddhism, the major ones being Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. And Shintoism has Fukko Shinto, Jinja Shinto and Kyoha Shinto among others. What ignorance to claim that only Christianity has fragmented.
Ring seemingly has no qualms inventing lies regarding religion since he believes Christianity has coerced scientists and the public to reject anything to do with what he calls the 'pagan' moon, the source of his weather predictions. Let's look at the connection between Christianity and astrology, and Ring's deceptive view of it. Ring claims that:
'astronomy's founding fathers (Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Benjamin Franklin, Laplace, Lamark, Sir Isaac Newton) were all astrologers... In fact astrology WAS science. Three hundred years ago even doctors had to be qualified astrologers...'He repeats this claim ad nauseam. To a degree he is correct, but this claim is misleading and irrelevant. No one denies that the study of astrology wasn't considered important centuries ago and that many scientists and physicians would have had some knowledge of it, just as they used to think the world was flat or the centre of the universe or that bleeding cured most illnesses. What Ring refuses to grasp and/or acknowledge is that we've moved on from those times. We've thrown out astrology and embraced astronomy, thrown out leeches and brought in antibiotics. We can acknowledge the beliefs of our ancestors without having to continue belief in them. It doesn't matter what scientists 500 years ago believed, except from an historical perspective, if they were wrong. Unfortunately for Ring, since his method is intimately based on astrology, he must continue to claim, contrary to facts and evidence, that astrology still makes scientific sense and has been deliberately suppressed. So who might Ring think is responsible for falsely discrediting astrology? Simple, it was the Christians. Before we look at Christianity's part in the demise of astrology, we should note that Ring's hero, the one he attributes as being the astrologer that has contributed most to his method, was nothing of the sort. We're referring to Sir Isaac Newton. Newton was an alchemist, a Christian heretic and a brilliant physicist, but he was not an astrologer. The person that Ring relies on most heavily for support, and quotes and references most often, no more believed in astrology than we do. We have pointed out this embarrassing fact to Ring elsewhere, but he still continues to falsely insist in media interviews, in his books and on the Internet that Newton was an astrologer. He was not.
So what's the connection between astrology and Christians? The thing is that Ring needs to explain to his clients why science has rejected or ignored astrology and has gone with astronomy instead. Enter Ring's attack on the Christian church. Don't get us wrong, as atheists we're no fans of Christianity and the horrors it has caused, and is still causing. But Ring is only critical of Christianity, not any of the other religions, and his vocal gripe concerns their dismissive attitude towards astrology. Ring wants you to believe that you would know far more about astrology, especially as it relates to the moon and its amazing ability to predict our weather, if it wasn't for the evil machinations of the Christian church. Even skeptics, like us, are unwitting tools of the Church according to Ring, stating that by challenging his claims 'skeptics are aligning themselves with Christian fundamentalist zealotry'. Because we live in a country that used to have a powerful Christian influence, astrological knowledge has evidently been suppressed and hidden from us, and he attempts to support this claim with lies:
'I can assure you that at least 90% of the world's population still revere the moon as the instigator of weather and climate.According to Ring, nearly everyone in the world knows how accurate predicting weather by the moon and astrology is and they are laughing at us for being duped by the Christians. But as we've already pointed out, these figures are bogus and based on Ring's ignorance of how many evil Christians there are in the world. But even when you have the correct figures, the fact is that non-Christian countries are not using astrology and a version of Ring's moon method to run their meteorology departments and produce their weather forecasts. Nor are they using lunar calenders. Yes, there may still be some primitive peoples and third world countries where the moon is believed to be 'the instigator of weather and climate'. But likewise there are people who believe sex with a virgin will cure Aids, and countries where the majority don't have access to clean drinking water. Should we also adopt bogus cures and pollute our water so that we too match what happens in some other countries? Ring is pushing the silly notion that what is believed by the (false) majority must be the truth. But applying Ring's logic to the fact that Christians are the majority religion on the planet at the moment, so ergo Christianity must be the true religion, so their condemnation of astrology must be valid and therefore Ring's moon method based on astrology is nonsense. Of course looking at the bigger picture, there are twice as many non-Christians as Christians, so Christianity must therefore be false. This contradictory result just shows that we can't reach the truth by adding up who believes what. Numbers don't matter, only evidence counts. Even if Ring's myths regarding Christianity and astrology and the world's population revering the moon were true, based on the evidence astrology is still nonsense.
But Ring accepts none of this and believes that it is the teaching of Christianity that is truly behind citizens and scientists in predominantly Christian countries rejecting his astrology based weather claims using the movements of the moon. Ring states that:
'The reason lunar longrange forecasting experienced its gradual demise was fundamental Christianity of 2000 years ago... and that therefore anyone who predicted anything was a heathen... The old astrology, which was involved with predictive cycles, mostly of seasons and tides and based on lunar regularity was shunned'.However Ring is ignorant of the fact that Christianity did not suddenly become a dominant power 2000 years ago, able to dictate its dogma, or that the 'old astrology' was actually the same as modern astrology, that is, concerned mainly with the fate of human affairs, not the tides. Ring falsely claims Christianity is pulling the strings of science, brainwashing some scientists and threatening others to stay well clear of anything to do with the moon. Ring tells us about 'science's longheld bias against anything lunar, stemming from Christianity's paganising and satanising the older sciences'. He insists that based on centuries of church indoctrination 'western science... still thinks the moon is some evil pagan symbol'. Also that 'The Moon and acquiring any further knowledge about it is still actively suppressed as being a pagan activity and the mere mention of the Moon still sometimes creates fear and hostility'. Really? Have you ever met anyone, an astronomer or someone interested in astronomy, even a devout Christian, for whom 'the mere mention of the Moon still sometimes creates fear and hostility'? That Ring would even speak this obvious lie suggests both arrogance and stupidity. Regarding studying the moon Ring tells us that 'Science has not gone there simply because to do so was always considered anti-Christian'. And Ring even tells us what happened to scientists that were tempted to look at the moon: 'scientists were hunted down like rabbits and slaughtered'.
Of course now you might be a tad confused, believing like us that science has been researching the moon for centuries, and hey, didn't we even send a dozen astronauts to walk and drive on the moon, as well as many more unmanned spacecraft? Wasn't it scientists that worked out the theories of gravity and the tides, especially Newton and Laplace, that Ring's whole forecasting method depends on? All the many facts we know about the moon are thanks to science and no one else. Certainly not astrologers.
So, is there any truth to Ring's claim that Christianity tried to suppress astrology? Yes, but then what group or individual wouldn't try to show how silly it was? According to Professor Jean-Claude Pecker, 'Augustine (354-430 CE), one of the... early church fathers... was violent in his attacks on astrology... It is one thing to monitor the tides by the Moon, it is quite another to interfere with the 'free will' of men, given to him by God... The bulk of Christendom followed Augustine in its ban of astrology' ('The Battle Against Pseudoscience: The Case of Astrology'). You'll note that Augustine had no problem with studying the moon to predict the tides, ie science, his problem was with astrology being used to predict the fate of man. Pecker went on to note that even in this regard things later changed: 'The [16th century] Reformation did not accept the decrees of Rome, and astrology began to flourish in northern Protestant countries... Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)... profited successfully from it. It is well known that he cast the horoscopes of several influential people... and that he gained considerable fame for this in spite of the errors of his prediction'. Kepler was an astronomer and an astrologer, and called astronomy 'the wise mother' and astrology 'the foolish daughter'. The comment has been made that 'He may have meant by this that the "foolish" work of astrology paid for the serious work of astronomy'. And not just laypeople dabbled in astrology, even the pope that persecuted Galileo, Pope Urban VIII, turned to astrology rather than god to ward off the evil that he saw in eclipses.
But Christianity certainly did (and still does) try to discourage belief in astrology, as they did with every other superstitious or religious belief that wasn't found in their Bible. But for the last 500 years astrology evidently flourished in spite of the wishes of the Church. This is where we encounter a major flaw in Ring's argument. Remember that Ring claims that 'astronomy's founding fathers (Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Benjamin Franklin, Laplace, Lamark, Sir Isaac Newton) were all astrologers... In fact astrology WAS science... even doctors had to be qualified astrologers...' However, remember also that regarding astrology Ring claims that 'acquiring any further knowledge about it is still actively suppressed...' and 'Science has not gone there...', and also, 'scientists were hunted down like rabbits and slaughtered'. Of course if you know anything about history, and even though they committed many atrocious crimes, the Church is not infamous for hunting down scientists that practised astrology and slaughtering them like rabbits. Ring impossibly wants it both ways. Historically he wants every scientist and every doctor to be following astrology, and yet at the same time he wants astrology to be completely banned, suppressed and anyone that's silly enough to mention it to be arrested and executed. Logically at least one of Ring's claims must be false, and it is the second that is a lie. Ring himself names famous scientists who studied astrology and were never harassed, let alone hunted and slaughtered, and doctors had to be astrologers remember. Yes Galileo was persecuted, but not for belief in astrology, contrary to what Ring believes, and wants you to believe.
This nonsense that science is fearful of studying the moon, gravity, tides and astronomical cycles and of using this knowledge to predict future events because of ancient pagan beliefs or the annoyance of the Christian Church is silly in the extreme. It is a childish and ill thought out argument designed to fool the ignorant and gullible. Yes, science has rejected astrology for astronomy, but not because of a fatwa from the Church, but simply because astrology was long ago exposed as superstitious rubbish. Ring's conspiracy theory involving the Church is just another of his delusions or deliberate deceptions. Perhaps Ring could bring out a movie similar to 'The Da Vinci Code' that shows the Church trying to violently suppress the truth behind astrology?
Why does Ring spread these falsehoods? Is it through true ignorance of history, or are these myths deliberately structured to lend support to his beliefs? We suspect both. We believe Ring is probably truly ignorant of much in history and science, and this ignorance allows him to rewrite history in a way that supports his claims about the moon and the weather. Ring needs to convince customers that they are being lied to, that the authorities, the meteorologists, the academics and universities, are all conspiring to suppress the truth about weather forecasting that the rest of the world knows. And the instigator of this conspiracy according to Ring is the evil Christian religion. Christianity has certainly spread untold lies and misery over the centuries, but we don't seriously believe that it is Ring's evil arch nemesis. That's solely his delusion, invented to support his argument as to why he is seen as a failure by the public in general. The Church is suppressing him and his ideas, just like they did Galileo. Yeah right!
In a section on the ancient history of weather forecasting, Ring tries to convince the reader that ancient cultures had some impressive, unexpected scientific knowledge of the universe.
In West Africa the Dogon people in Mali mapped with precision the Sirius star system hundreds of years before NASA invented a powerful telescope in the 1970s through which at last they were able to see the same thing. The Dogons had been 100% correct without the use of technology. Further to this, the Dogons insist there is also a Sirius B further away that NASA still cannot locate.But as usual, Ring again distorts the facts to suit his purpose. The most serious error that Ring makes is to assert that the ancient Dogon tribe 'mapped with precision the Sirius star system'. He does this in an attempt to demonstrate that ancient cultures were far more advanced than scientists and historians give them credit for. It is true that the Dogon people have a tradition that claims that the star Sirius is actually a multiple star system. And it turns out that it is, made up of Sirius A, the star we can see with the naked eye, and Sirius B, a small companion. However contrary to Ring's assertion, the Dogon do not claim to have discovered this information themselves. They insist they were simply told this by visiting aliens from Sirius. They make no claim to possessing skills or abilities that allow them to study the universe or the weather. But there are yet other errors in Ring's account. Although NASA did photograph it in the 1970s, astronomers first determined that Sirius B existed in the 1830s, and it was first seen in 1862. Furthermore, the Dogons believe there is still a third star in the system, not a missing Sirius B as Ring says. However they believe it is 4 times the size of Sirius B, which considering we can see the smaller Sirius B and no Sirius C, this is unlikely. And yes, there are rational reasons that might explain how the Dongons knew about Sirius B that exclude aliens and ancient knowledge. Ring has taken a 'mystery' and changed it to invent a history that never happened, a false history designed to give apparent support to his claims.
Moving from Africa to South America in this next quote, Ring tries to tell us that ancient 'Peruvians' were investigating and recording El Nino patterns thousands of years ago, even though modern scientists have only caught on to them relatively recently:
The Peruvians have "El Nino" records of 15,000 years ago, recorded as tally marks and symbols.This is nonsense. There is no strong evidence that humans were even living in that area 15,000 years ago, let alone had developed a civilisation, had invented writing and had discovered El Nino patterns, which they were studiously recording. It is true that scientists have found evidence of El Nino stretching back 15,000 years, but from the geological record, not from records or 'tally marks and symbols' deliberately left by ancient Peruvians. And the sediment samples that provided this evidence were taken from a lake in Ecuador, not Peru. Again, this is just another example of Ring inventing a false past in an underhanded attempt to pretend that ancient man knew more about the weather than modern, arrogant scientists.
And some more rewriting of history:
Sir George Darwin, father of Charles, was the most eminent scientist of his day.More utter rubbish. George Darwin was actually the son of Charles Darwin, not his father. Does Ring know nothing about history? Does he not check any of his claims? While a respected scientist, he certainly wasn't the most eminent of his day. He doesn't even feature in my encyclopaedia and the likes of our own Ernest Rutherford and Charles Darwin himself were far more eminent. Furthermore, the conclusions Darwin reached regarding the Moon are no longer accepted.
And what about this one, where Ring brings in Galileo as one of his supporters, and also demonstrates how the "establishment" treats those, like himself, with radical ideas:
Galileo was forced to publicly utter that the moon had no effect on tides, or risk further imprisonment by Rome's papal courtRubbish. Is this just incompetence or outright lying on Ring's part? The real and well known fact is that Galileo was forced to deny the Earth went around the Sun. Galileo's theory on tides — that they were caused by the Earth's rotation — was wrong, and he was outspoken against the idea that the moon caused the tides. Even Ring would disagree with Galileo on this point if he researched real history, instead of inventing "facts" to bolster his pseudoscience.
Again referencing Galileo, Ring states that:
the barometer was invented, (with Galileo's help) by Torricelli in 1643While Torricelli was indeed influenced by Galileo, he didn't invent the barometer until after Galileo had died, and he didn't invent the altimeter at all, even though the invention of the barometer did lead to others inventing it. Ring mentions Galileo because he knows the public will have heard of him and not Torricelli, and because, according to Ring, Galileo was an astrologer. In fact Galileo was not an astrologer but an astronomer, 'a serious scientist who had contempt for traffickers in the occult'. Ring wants Galileo's fame and genius — and unjust persecution — to envelop him as well, as this quote shows:
Conservatism in science often gets to be viewed as more important than reform - this is not a relatively recent development. Galileo had his work cut out to prove a point 400 years ago. Funny that he was also a lunar forecaster and had an almanac going...And not just Galileo either, as the following shows:
I admit I use the ancient astrology that was the forerunner of astronomy. It was the same gravitational science as used by Galileo, Kepler and Newton. So I am in good company.How can we doubt Ring if historically so many important and intelligent men (well maybe not Nostradamus) believed in astrology? As he says, 'I am in good company'. Like Galileo trying to prove a point 400 years ago, will Ring be a man that will go down in history for his revolutionary ideas and his contribution to society? Ring certainly believes he is destined for greatness, and that people like him working on the fringe from their kitchen have been the cause of all the great paradigm shifts:
In history, all reforms have come from mavericks.One can only assume he is referring to the likes of Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein and Richard Dawkins. And he can be seen climbing onto his pedestal in this comment, when questioned about his lack of qualifications:
I... still question what credentials have to do with anything. What credentials did Al Gore have again... remind me. Or Galileo? Or Jesus Christ? Or Mother Theresa? Or the many many writers, humanitarians, explorers, and others who are so-called experts in their fields and who have made a difference... What degree did Sir Edmund Hilary have?What arrogance to compare yourself to the likes of Galileo, Jesus Christ or Mother Teresa in regard to the work you're doing, the impact you're having on society and the way the world views your ideas. Ring compares himself to 'humanitarians, explorers, and others who are so-called experts in their fields and who have made a difference', no doubt because he reckons he is 'busy trying to help genuine people at a difficult time'. It's a pity that Ring believes the Nobel Prize is so corrupt and worthless, otherwise we would nominate him for it. Perhaps in the future when people claim to have Near Death Experiences, instead of meeting Jesus, they'll report seeing Ken Ring.
But back to astrology and the moon. Interviewed in a 'NZ Herald' article, Ring again makes the claim that:
Galileo, Copernicus, Nostradamus and Newton: "They all had almanacs and were all lunar forecasters".We've recently read biographies of Galileo and Newton and no mention was made of lunar forecasts and almanacs, but let's refer to an expert. Also noted in the above article was this revelation:
'...there is nothing to suggest any of the four were lunar forecasters, says Britain's Dr Nick Campion, world authority on the history of astrology.'It's interesting to note that RIng made an official complaint regarding that article, concerning several points, and lost on all of them. Showing that anyone that actually thinks rationally about Ring's arguments, complaints and criticisms will soon realise that they are bogus.
If Ring can't be trusted to get the simple stuff correct, why should we believe he gets the complex maths and physics correct, especially when he admits 'I realise all this is hard to fathom, and you are not alone'.
On his website Ring claims that his theory is being suppressed and his reputation denigrated:
The Moon and acquiring any further knowledge about it is still actively suppressed as being a pagan activity and the mere mention of the Moon still sometimes creates fear and hostility. Also suppressed is any discussion about it, on NZ weather forums or in the newspapers.Yet in one of his books Ring assures his readers that far from being shunned and ridiculed by mainstream meteorology:
weather forecasters are now seriously beginning to look at the effects of the Moon and are in regular discussion on this with the author.And how can he say with a straight face that his views are suppressed in the newspapers? What about these claims, the first two from the rear covers of Ring's Almanacs:
Ken Ring's weather predictions are featured regularly on radio and in magazines and newspapers, in New Zealand and Australia [2011 Almanac]Or perhaps he is correct, and it's these claims that are a lie, since we've never seen his forecasts in any major NZ newspaper. Actually we believe both claims are false. Newspapers don't suppress his views, they simply ignore them, in the same way that they (normally) ignore tales of alien abductions and the appearance of the Virgin Mary's image on someone's bath towel.
Ring actually confirms this with the following comments:
I do regularly submit articles to the Herald, Metro and the Listener, but I am largely ignored.Ring is a real Jekyll and Hyde type character, with contradictory claims appearing everywhere, but never together in the same room.
Here is another example of him lying to the media. In Feb 2007 in two articles in the Wanaka Sun Ken Ring stated that two local skifield companies employed his services. We wrote to both companies querying this claim, one didn't reply but the other did, stating:
'The article was incorrect, we do not employ Ken Ring nor use his services.'It is far too easy to make false claims in the media on unimportant topics knowing that neither the reporters nor the readers will check their veracity. We did. Ring lied.
If you are interesting in reading more on Ken Ring's theory from a scientific perspective, there is an excellent article written for the layperson by astronomer Bill Keir. It's entitled "Does the Moon cause the Weather?" It's from the Auckland Astronomy Society's journal, and can be found online here in three parts: One, Two, Three (via the Internet Archive: Wayback Machine).
On his website Ring used to bring Bill Keir's article and its criticism of his theory to the attention of his followers and attempted to refute its claims. The item began:
Witch-hunting Returns.It ended with that well known method in debating circles of comparing the author to a follower of Adolf Hitler.
From a business perspective it seems rather strange to actively point your potential clients to information that effectively debunks your product. No doubt he did this in the mistaken belief that readers would believe his explanations over that of a mere astronomer. And the use of emotive language to describe his detractors must have surely aided his argument:
"Witch-hunting... In retaliation... savage and unwarranted attack... denigrated... evil, pagan and satanic... the Dark Ages... Stalinist Russia... strange attack... Hitler stiff-arm salute".We won't attempt to speak for Bill Keir, but we will point out a few of the more obvious errors that Ring makes while attempting to comment on Keir's article, along with a few other erroneous claims.
Bill Keir, Auckland Astronomical Society [AAS]: There are four known forces governing the universe — gravity, electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force. Of these, gravity is by far the weakest.To the layperson Ring's correction may seem to make sense and many would accept it as true. But he's wrong. For example, a baby can easily overcome gravity and lift a toy, but it takes the likes of a nuclear explosion to overcome the strong nuclear force. Timothy Ferris in his book "The Whole Shebang: A State-of-the Universe(s) Report" puts the strength of the forces into perspective:
We might compare gravity's strength with that of the three other fundamental forces. Doing so, we find that gravitation is remarkably weak. The weak nuclear force is 1028 — ten billion billion billion — times stronger than gravity. Electromagnetism is one hundred billion times stronger than that, and the strong nuclear force is a hundred times stronger than electromagnetism.So regardless of how gravity appears to affect us, scientifically it is indeed the weakest force, and you'd think Ring would know that. Gravity plays the pivotal role in his theory and his flawed 'common sense' view of it places his entire theory on shaky foundations. Also you'd think Ring would know that 'the cosmos and universe' are really one and the same, not separate things as he suggests. And here he is again not understanding what cosmos means:
The sun affects the moon and the sun affects the earth, as it does all the planets in the cosmos.The sun only affects the planets in our solar system, not the entire universe.
A site on the internet selling Ring's book 'Predicting the Weather by the Moon', describes it as 'the first book to present sound scientific evidence for the Moon's influence on our weather'. Yet Ring has trouble supporting this claim and producing the evidence when challenged:
Bill Keir, AAS: The existence of atmospheric tides is problematic. The few studies that claim to have detected them are not conclusive.1939? Has nobody done anything more recent than 1939? Back then we didn't have computers, jet engines or particle accelerators. We hadn't been into space and we didn't know about DNA. Evidence is pretty meagre if the best study to quote is from 1939. One can only assume that more recent studies are non-existent or critical of Ring's theory. In fact, Ring undermines his claim by admitting:
We can't see a high AIR tide because we haven't yet invented an instrument to detect it.Yes evidence is just so overrated isn't Ken? Let's all return to warm, fuzzy feelings, blind faith and good, manly convictions based on reliable common sense. If the world looks flat, then it is flat.
A website promotion of his book also stated:
"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.Since when have 'ancient divination techniques', ie ancient astrology, been a part of 'sound scientific evidence'? Just what century is Ken Ring living in?
His book 'Predicting the Weather by the Moon' also provides the following 'facts':
For two or three days at the time of every New Moon, the Moon shields us from the solar wind — that electromagnetic energy force-field put forth by the Sun.What utter rubbish! For one, the solar wind is not an 'electromagnetic energy force-field'. It is a stream of ionised particles. And two, the only time that the moon could even plausibly shield us from some of the solar wind would be during a total solar eclipse, which are quite rare and only affect a small portion of the Earth's surface. Although Ring's claim sounds scientific, this ignorance of what the solar wind really is and the moon's effect on it scream 'pseudoscience'.
For a reason why should we fear — weather wise — the solar wind, Ring proposes that:
'The solar wind... may be responsible for all forms of extreme weather, including earthquakes and volcanoes.'To be honest, we're not sure earthquakes and volcanic eruptions can really be called weather, let alone that the solar wind causes them. But the nonsense doesn't stop there, Ring has also stated that:
'the solar wind can be considered weather that goes throughout the cosmos, extending for about a light year'We think this is stretching an analogy too far. Ring confuses the solar wind, again, an outpouring of charged particles from the Sun, with winds on Earth. That's more like saying harmful radiation escaping from a nuclear reactor can be considered as 'weather'. Furthermore it doesn't extend for a light year, he has exaggerated the distance it travels by a factor of hundreds. Ring has also given us this challenge:
'If you believe a... Ozone layer is protecting... the Earth from the sun's intense energy that travels out one light year from source then you'll believe anything.'What do you think he might mean with that statement? At first glance it appears to suggest that the Earth is one light year from the Sun, that the Sun's energy has to travel that far to reach us, but of course that is nonsense. We are a mere 8 light minutes from the Sun. If we reject that notion, he then appears to be claiming that the Sun's energy — light or electromagnetic radiation — travels for one light year and then just stops. But we wouldn't see any stars in the night sky if this were the case since they are all further than one light year away. It is only when we combine two separate statements by Ring from two separate articles that we perhaps understand what he is implying. And these are the two we quoted above which highlight his false belief that the solar wind is 'electromagnetic energy' and that it extends for 'a light year'.
He therefore appears to be implying that any 'intense energy' powerful enough to be flung to a distance of a light year is too energetic to be stopped by a thin ozone layer. And this mention of a light year suggests that the 'intense energy' that he is referring to is the solar wind. Thus it appears that Ring is confusing the solar wind with ultraviolet radiation (UV) — which is electromagnetic radiation — and which is what the ozone layer actually helps protect us from. We receive protection from the solar wind from the Earth's magnetic field, not the ozone layer. He digs himself further into a hole when he states that:
As light from the Sun reaches us in 8 minutes, and thus we sit at only 8 minutes of a light year in distance away, the solar wind definitely has an efect [sic] on our environment.Light does reach us in 8.3 minutes, but the solar wind actually takes around 5 days. Again Ring confuses light with particles.
Ring is apparently utterly convinced that the ozone layer can't protect us from the solar wind, and he's absolutely right. His gross mistake is in thinking that scientists have said it could, and then going on to tell the public that they are being misled, when it is actually Ring's confusion and ignorance that is misleading the public. Most of the public is probably aware that the hole in the ozone layer increases our risk of skin cancer due to increased exposure to UV rays, but not Ken it seems. He thinks it's the solar wind.
After writing the above, we have since discovered a blog that also took Ring to task for presenting the same claim about the ozone layer, the sun's intense energy and one light year while debating climate change. In his defence he replied:
Sorry to disappoint but I never said the earth is a light year from the sun. I'm not that silly. I said the sun's energy emanates one light year from source, meaning into space. That is the extent of the solar wind.So Ring is still under the illusion that the solar wind is electromagnetic energy, rather than particles, still believes that science falsely claims that the ozone layer protects us from the solar wind, rather than UV, still believes that the solar wind only takes 8 minutes to reach Earth, and still suggests that the sun's energy and the solar wind are one and the same. But he does graciously concede that he got how far the solar wind extends wrong with the comment: 'But who cares? Jeez... I'm not going to lose sleep if it ISN'T a light year'. That's right Ken, does getting the facts correct really matter?
And here he is in Dec 2010, still ignorant and still proclaiming nonsense:
You might want to think of weather as air tides... [and] this factor lets in more or less of the sun's heat... i.e. if the moon is above the horizon then less heat or cold gets close to ground level... Solar radiation is the true energy source. The moon's gravitational pull distorts the Van Allen Belt and lets solar radiation slip by and get to earth...Once again Ring demonstrates that he fails to understand the difference between solar radiation, that is, electromagnetic radiation eg visible light, UV light, infrared light etc, and the solar wind, a stream of ionised particles. It is quite clear that Ring is talking about electromagnetic radiation when he mentions 'the sun's heat' and that 'Solar radiation is the true energy source'. Yet he then suggests that the 'moon's gravitational pull distorts the Van Allen Belt and lets solar radiation slip by and get to earth', which is utter rubbish. The Van Allen radiation belts (and there are two belts, not one as Ring believes) are doughnut shaped rings in space above the earth's atmosphere, made up mainly of high-energy protons and electrons from the sun, which are held in place by the earth's magnetic field. The moon's gravity and whatever affect it might have on the Van Allen belts would have no noticeable affect on light or solar radiation from the sun. Light is oblivious to the existence of the Van Allen belts. The sun's heat will reach us whether the belts are there or not. It is the solar wind that is affected by the Van Allen belts, but we receive no heat from the solar wind, so Ring's claims, once again, make no sense.
Time and time again Ring tells us that it is the moon's gravity that causes the tides in the oceans, and that the same gravity also causes tides in the land and the air, that while imperceptible to human senses, are just as real. And he's right. It's just that we don't believe that these air tides cause the weather. Yet while this is Ring's mantra, look at his following claim:
you would still get a geomagnetic tide without a sea - in the land, the molten core and the airHere he claims, correctly, that the earth would still experience tides even if it didn't have oceans. But here he also talks about a 'geomagnetic tide', that is, that the tides are caused by the earth's magnetic field, rather than by gravity. How could he get such a core belief of his method so wrong? It is a perfect example of pseudoscience, of Ring blindly throwing in scientific terms to make his claims sound more impressive. It is an error he should never have made, which either demonstrates an ignorance of what geomagnetic means, or an arrogance that his silly clients won't know what it means.
And yet more nonsense about solar radiation:
Solar radiation ionises the air to create storms and electromagnetism affects gravity and from there the tides of inner core, land, sea and air.How does electromagnetism affect gravity Ken? Scientists working on incorporating gravity into relativistic quantum field theories would love to know what you've discovered. Ring just strings scientific terms together with no thought of whether they make sense. Another ridiculous example of pseudoscience was found in this 2005 article by Ring entitled:
Why do dolphins and whales beach themselves?For a start, the moon doesn't have a magnetic field like the earth, so the answer can't 'lie in the geomagnetic forces of the moon'. But it gets worse. After a long and confusing discussion about electric currents and magnetic fields, he suggests:
It is conceivable that dolphins and whales use sonar systems to navigate, beamed toward the Moon which provides them with a geomagnetic map... It is also conceivable that in the lunar declination cycle... this signal from the Moon is at its weakest, if not stopping altogether.More than just "conceivable", it's a proven fact that dolphins and many species of whales use sonar (or more correctly — echolocation). It's also a fact that sonar employs transmitted and reflected sound waves, not magnetic fields. Since sound doesn't travel in space there is no way a sonar signal could be sent to the moon and reflected back. Even if a dolphin's "sonar" did emit magnetic pulses rather than sound waves, which is what Ring seems to believe, the enormous power required of a transmitter (and receiver) to send a pulse to the moon and back would fry the poor dolphin's head.
Returning to Bill Keir's article, he also discovered a problem with "rainfall amounts":
Bill Keir, AAS: He certainly can’t predict rainfall magnitudes successfully, as is obvious in my comparison of his monthly estimates with actual rainfall, for six months in 2004, for the towns for which I had MetService figures.As we've already stated, forecasts that can't predict rainfall amounts are useless for the people that Ring claims to serve. Once again Ring confirms he can't predict rainfall amounts, but this again contradicts his claim to be able to predict floods (a large amount) and droughts (a small or nil amount). He also asserts elsewhere that: 'I use solar cycles for rain amounts', 'I also use sunspot cycles (for rain amounts)' and he also makes predictions such as this in his almanacs: 'For rainfall amounts, Stradford may score highest overall...' (2010). So Ring clearly does predict rainfall amounts and his statement that 'More careful reading of my work would reveal I make no claim in this regard' is clearly false. In the next quote Ring tries to explain away his many failures:
Bill Keir, AAS: Over five years from 1999 to 2004 I have monitored his forecasts unsystematically and have documented many failures which you never hear him mention.Rather than 'mute point' we suspect he means "moot point", but moot means something of no practical importance, irrelevant. To claim that the correctness of his forecast is of no practical importance to farmers etc is unbelievable. He claims that they buy his Almanac solely because he gives accurate forecasts, but now states that they don't care if he gets them wrong. Farmers care very greatly whether the rain is where they are or 60 miles away. Contrary to Ring's view, it does make a big difference. He states on his web site:
"my job is to provide something useful for the farming community".We fail to see how his vague and often erroneous predictions can be any help at all. If he really wants to help the community, stop cutting down trees for his books.
Ring then goes on to make this amazing admission:
Bill Keir, AAS: He employs an engaging trick with his maps. He publishes two maps for each day, deliberately drawn very differently (using "lunar orbital calculations" of course), and invites you to select the one that matches the reality best. Now wait a minute. Aren’t these maps supposed to be a prediction? Or is this a matching exercise after the event?So even though the maps are produced a year in advance, now Ring states that you can NOT know which of his maps to use until after you have consulted the newspaper of the day, and matched it to NIWA's map (or MetService etc). Until then they are meaningless. If you have to wait until the actual day, buy a newspaper and trust NIWA's map to be correct, why waste money buying Ring's Almanac when all it does is point you to the newspaper map? It's not a long-range forecast if you have to wait for 'the nearer correlation to that in the newspapers'. Note that Ring's latest almanacs now only provide one isobaric map for each day, two are seemingly no longer needed. Did two maps just confuse his clients, or did he need the space for his newly added fishing and bogus biodynamic gardening advice? Silly advice such as this:
Gardening guide key: Rest period in the garden... it's a time when the moon is Void of Course, that is, travelling between one constellation (Zodiac sign) and another, and during this time the moon is deemed to have no energising power.How does the moon know it is travelling between imaginary zodiac signs and that it should switch off its mystical 'energising power'? Pure nonsense.
Let's end this section with Ring criticising the AAS with this silly gibe:
The AAS is not known for its expertise in agriculture. Those who spend their days peering upwards through high-powered telescopes are not going to be approached to comment on what happens day in and day out down on the farm.He is seemingly completely ignorant of the fact that the following criticism would also be true:
Ken Ring is not known for his expertise in agriculture. Those who spend their days peering at the moon are not going to be approached to comment on what happens day in and day out down on the farm.
In the following we will analyse various quotes made in Ring's 2005 email to the Southland Express and Random House, using quotes from his Almanac and website.
Ring's email reply begins with:
Mention was made that I missed the 18 May heavy rain event in the BoP [Bay of Plenty]. I don’t think so.
This statement is false for the following reasons:
How in all honesty can he then go on to dismiss our claim that he failed to predict the 18th May heavy rains with the reply: 'I don’t think so'. We guess he makes this arrogant and blatantly false assertion on the hope that no one will check it against his actual predictions. Did the Southland Express or Random House staff check them after reading his email or did they simply accept his word that he was right and we were wrong?
For the record, here is Ring's forecast for the 18th May, and one day either side of it:
May 17th: Little or no recordable rain anywhere. Overcast in Whangarei and Invercargill.Take special note of the phrases 'Little or no recordable rain anywhere', 'Fine and dry everywhere' and 'Little or no rain in both islands'. Are these phrases portents of disastrous floods? We don't think so.
His email reply continues with:
It was dry in the BoP on May 15th and started raining on the 16th. The flooding occurred on the 18th.False. Newspaper reports state that the heavy rainfall that caused the flooding occurred between 11 pm on the 17th and 8pm on the 18th. The majority fell on the 18th, not the 16th as Ring appears to suggest.
A glance at my Almanac reveals I predicted dry weather there for 14 [May]
False. His Almanac says:
May 14th: Showers in lower N Is., mainly dry elsewhere.He did not predict 'dry weather', he predicted 'mainly dry'. In other words, he thought the BoP would probably be dry, unless it was wet. No matter what happens he's correct. It's like taking a bet that you "might" win Lotto. You can't lose! He also claimed that his Almanac predicted:
rain all over the North Island including BoP on 15 and 16 [May] (p129 and p141).
False. His Almanac says:
May 15th: Showers in N Is, Auckland southward.
This is hardly 'all over the North Island'. Why can't he even be accurate in quoting his own work? This is further highlighted by the fact that his quoted 'p129' is a blank page! Also, in the real world showers do not cause flooding.
So I was one day out with my timing.
False. As we've already stated, the heavy rainfall occurred on the 18th. He's claiming that he predicted this rain (actually showers), would begin on the 15th. This means he was three days out, not one day as he claims.
I always ask for this grace,
False. In the Southland Express article he said the bulk of his clients were farmers and 'anyone who wants to go fishing, to cut hay, or plan a camping trip'. His book cover adds: 'Planning an outdoor event?'
If farmers want to cut hay TODAY, then they want to know if it's going to rain TODAY, not tomorrow. When extreme weather hits, being one day out means your freshly cut hay is wet and all your stock are dead. Yet now he's saying his predictions are plus or minus one day! Admittedly he does state this in his book and website, but he generally suppresses this information in the main promotion of his book and method. This "plus or minus one day" is useless for haymaking and other weather critical activities. But even if BoP farmers were prepared to move their stock one day ahead of the actual May floods, we must remember that Ring did NOT predict heavy rainfall, so no farmers actually moved stock or took any precautions, hence damage in the millions of dollars.
And if 'showers' is Ring's code word for extreme weather, then farmers would be moving stock every other day.
I always ask for this grace, just as the Metservice do, and everyone accepts forecasting is not an exact science.
Here he mischievously links his forecasting method to that of the more reputable MetService, forgetting that his 'ancient methods' are not actually a science at all, and bear no relationship to the science that the MetService employs.Regarding Ring's method, Ring's argument is that his method is based on predicable cycles, hence it doesn't matter when you do the calculations. He insists that his predictions could have been written 'twenty or 200' years ago and that writing them closer to the time wouldn't alter them. Indeed, this is the very basis of his business: accurate, reliable LONG-range forecasts. And yet look at the following statement:
'For my almanacs, which are written two years previously to cater for publishers timetables, I figure 1-3 days from two years away should be acceptable.'And Ring has even added this disclaimer: 'sometimes a predicted event can be up to a week late'. He now appears to be suggesting that errors are due to the fact his predictions were written two years prior, implying that if he wrote them closer to the time he would be more accurate. Of course this is the mainstream forecasters' argument exactly, and the reason they don't attempt long-range forecasts. Ring sells his books on the premise that he can accurately predict the weather long-range. And yet he continually tries to excuse the failures of his predictions by reminding us: 'Remember I write my books from two years away — From two years away that is as close as anyone can reasonably get — That was written two years ago — And remember the book was written two years ago'.
'As for amounts, the moon method is more about the timing of rain'
Even though he has already claimed he didn't miss the May 18th heavy rainfall prediction, he now seems to accept that he did miss it and attempts to explain away his failure. He does this with the claim that his method only predicts when it will rain, not how much rain will fall.
If this is so, then why does he sprinkle his forecasts with words that do describe how much rain will fall? Words such as 'heavy falls, large amount of rain, moderate amount of rain, rain, passing showers, showers, showery, light, intermittent showers, little or no recordable rain, and drizzle'. If his method can tell us little about the amount of rain, as he claims, is he just making up these descriptions? And if he can't predict rainfall amounts, his predictions are no different than the following: "Next Tuesday, or maybe Monday, or perhaps Wednesday, there may be rain. If there is rain, it will be somewhere between an annoying drizzle that will make your washing slightly damp to a deluge to rival the Biblical Flood".
However Ring wrote the following in his 'WEATHER EZINE febuary [sic] 2001' under a section entitled 'Accuracy now better':
Using this lunar longrange forecasting method it is possible to confidently predict droughts and floods FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS FOR ANY DISTRICT IN NZ.
He states that he originally made this claim during an interview on Canterbury-On-Air Radio. Note once again that he claims that he can 'confidently predict... floods... FOR ANY DISTRICT IN NZ.' So why doesn't he? Why didn't he predict floods in the BoP in May 2005, for the Hutt Valley in Jan, for Gisborne in Oct and for Gisborne again in Nov? He doesn't seem to grasp that prediction means to say what will happen, before it happens, not to explain why it happened after it happened.
The two preceding claims, of not being able to predict the amount of rainfall yet able to predict floods are completely, utterly and unambiguously contradictory. If one is true, the other must be false, yet Ring employs both. But probably never in the same conversation. When promoting his method he claims to confidently predict floods. On his website in 2005 he offered a service where for $5 he would tell you the amount of rain that will fall between any two dates, and his Almanac claims '5-year ahead monthly rainfall projections for all areas'. But when forced to explain his failures, as in the email, he opts for the opposite stance, admitting that his method can't predict the amount of rain. His contradictory claims really are confusing. Can he or can't he predict rainfall amounts?His email continues with this claim:
So I am pleased to have listed the mid-month rains correctly.
False. We've already shown that this claim is bogus, and yet another forecast from Ring's Almanac reinforces this:
For the whole North Island the longest period without any rain could be the 11 days in the second half of May (pg 16).
The BoP floods clearly fall in this period so no one reading this prediction or the forecasts around May 18th could honestly say that he predicted them. Predicting that it may rain but giving no information about exactly where, when or how much is no different than a guess. Remember that this was extreme rainfall, with Tauranga having its wettest calendar month for any time of the year in more than a century. There is no hint of this in Ring's forecasts, and no reason for his clients to have panicked. And they didn't. Likewise Ring was not on TV and radio trying to warn everyone of this coming disaster. He is guilty of the same crime that he berates mainstream forecasters of in his 'WEATHER EZINE December 2, 2005':
So why did the country's "experts" stay perfectly quiet before all the other disasters so far this year?"Perhaps he should ask himself the exact same question.
Regarding the May BoP floods, the really strange thing is why he didn't drag out the following prediction:
WEATHER EZINE December 29, 2004Perhaps because he would then be presented with the embarrassment of having to explain why there were no floods on or around March 12th, 19th or 30th, or in April, Nov and Dec.
Of course the skeptic would say that if you predict floods for five months of the year, with three in one month, you increase enormously the chance that you might fluke one. The trick is being able to bury all your failures, and the trouble with this prediction is that you can't flaunt one hit without revealing six failures. Best to ignore it all together.
His email then goes on to attack the Metservice:
the Metservice missed the event until when it was actually happening.
Here Ring attempts to shift our attention away from his failure to that of the Metservice. However, what the Metservice did or didn't predict is irrelevant to this discussion. They are not claiming that they got it right, or that they did so one year in advance.To allay your suspicion that we may be selectively quoting forecasts from the Almanac while ignoring others, below we have listed all forecasts for that period:
Daily forecasts May 10th to May 19th 2005:Furthermore, to answer the possible argument that Ring doesn't claim 100% accuracy and we are mischievously highlighting one of these expected failures, let us remember that the main purpose of his email to the newspaper and his publisher was to emphatically deny that he got this isolated prediction wrong.
We believe we have shown that most people would agree that on this occasion Ring failed to predict floods, and so we would have expected a reply that said "Our forecasts are just that, forecasts, and we don't claim 100% accuracy. On this occasion we got it wrong". But this wasn't Ring's response, and it would seem that Ring could well contest every example we provide, even though he himself states that 10% to 15% of his forecasts are wrong.
He was a little more forgiving, and might we say, honest, with Abby from Room 4, Y4/5, Waitaki Valley School, Oamaru:
[Abby:] How do you know your results will be correct?And here's another revealing quote from Ring:
Isolated torrential downpours and flash floods are the usual interpretation. So we shall see. Perhaps it will be a fizzer, who knows.Who knows? Well we thought he was supposed to know? Isn't that the whole point of his business?
The cold snap in Southland and Canterbury on Sep 17 and 18 of this year  was an event that Ken predicted twelve months ahead of time. He said farmers who bought his Almanac therefore had loads of time to move stock.
He has trumpeted this claim in other interviews around the country, but once again his Almanac makes no such prediction. Obviously the reporter didn't check this and Ring didn't bother to show him. The following is Ring's prediction, allowing plus or minus one day, and it makes no hint whatsoever of a cold snap in Southland or Canterbury:
Sep 16th: Over S Is, showers in W and S, also Kaikoura, but rest mainly dry.Honestly now, if you were a farmer reading the above forecast would you envisage weather which NIWA later described as "Significant snowfall event affects the eastern South Island"? NIWA goes on to document "Severe ground frosts followed in some areas over 20-21 September", which he didn't predict either. He does predict 'some heavy snowfalls' between the 23rd and 25th Sep, which didn't occur, and by which time your lambs have been dead for nearly a week!
So how does Ring support his claim to the media? By mischievously ignoring the above daily forecasts and solely quoting part of his summary for Sep 17th – 18th:
Sep 17th – 18th: More rain coming, with some heavy falls of rain and snow in both islands.
By definition a summary should be a concise form of the daily forecasts and their maps, yet Ring's summaries often bear little resemblance to the daily forecasts. They should tell exactly the same story, unless of course he's trying to put a backup forecast in place in case his main forecast fails. This glaring difference between the summary and the daily forecasts is not hard to find in Ring's Almanac.
This ruse may be fine to allow Ring to claim success after the fact, but how does the average reader of his Almanac, like you and me, obtain useful forecasts from these contradictory predictions before the fact?
On a more serious note, Ring has rewritten history. Readers of the Southland Express will now be of the opinion that he did indeed predict the September cold snap of '05. They believe in an event in history that never actually happened.
Nov 26th: Gisborne/HB rain.
Ring will no doubt claim this as a success since rain is predicted throughout this period, but this can only be achieved by selective reading. That is, claiming that 'rain and showers' in Gisborne should be interpreted as extreme flooding, whereas 'rain and showers, including sometimes heavy rain' in Northland should NOT be interpreted as extreme flooding, or even minor flooding (since we know none occurred).
And what of the Labour Weekend floods that hit Gisborne on Oct 21st,can Ring claim success there? NIWA records that "A major rainfall event [occurred] throughout much of Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty on the 20th, spreading to Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay the next day". Ring's daily forecasts were:
Oct 17th: Mostly dry in Far North, E of BoP, Gisborne/HB.However, to confuse the issue, his summary for these dates tell a different story:
Oct 17th - 18th: More heavy falls to both islands.
Again, it's as though you were reading two different forecasts. The daily forecast predicts things like 'mostly dry' yet the summary predicts 'heavy falls'. By ignoring the daily forecasts and just quoting the summary, Ring will probably claim that he predicted the heavy rainfall that caused the Gisborne floods, yet by this reasoning there should have been widespread flooding throughout both islands, since the summary makes no mention of Gisborne only. And why are the two forecasts so different if his method is so accurate? Surely the daily forecast is more detailed than the summary, yet it makes no mention of heavy rainfall in Gisborne. Or heavy rainfall in Northland, Auckland, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty for that matter.
NIWA states that for October "Rainfall in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, was at least 300 percent of (three times) normal". According to Ring Gisborne's average rainfall for Oct is 65. He predicted it would be 29 for Oct 2005, less than half the average, whereas it was actually three times the average. He wasn't even close with his forecast. We repeat: Not half the rainfall, but three times as much.
It's also strange that, while claiming that his method can't predict actual amounts of rain, he nevertheless sets aside several pages to document exactly how much rain he thinks numerous cities will receive each month.
"Heavy rain and floods over southwest North Island ~ 5-6 January 2005: Horowhenua, the Kapiti Coast and the Hutt Valley bore the brunt of a northwesterly storm which brought torrential rain, with severe flooding and damage to property".
Did Ring get it right this time? Let's look at his daily forecasts:
Jan 4th: Fine over much of the country.But yet again the summary tells the opposite story:
Summary:It seems that you choose the forecast that matches the actual weather you received, although note that neither predicts torrential rain and flooding.
To sum up, there is no honest way that Ring can claim to have predicted this flood or either of the Gisborne floods. And of course a long-range weather forecast method that can't predict extreme weather is next to useless.
We have already shown that Ring's forecasts for the same period and location are often contradictory. As I write this, today's forecast summary (Dec 1st) is typical and begins:
Much rain in N Island, dry at first then a moderate amount in South Island
and finishes with:
Over South Island mostly dry all districts, apart from isolated showers about Motueka.
So we're going to have a moderate amount of rain (even though he claims elsewhere that he can't predict rain amounts!) while remaining mostly dry. Talk about covering all your bases! No wonder he claims such a high success rate. If it rains he's right, if it's dry he's right, if it's both he's still right. Anyone can predict future events if they're this vague. Ring recognises that this contradictory type of forecast is unprofessional and complains about a "wet and dry" forecast by NIWA:
Ring: NIWA's latest 'Three Month Outlook' lists drier conditions September-November, yet on 6 Oct (NZ Herald) they said spring would be soggier - "don't put away your brollies just yet.." So - both drier and wetter from the orthodox meteorologists - this is a successful forecast?But he obviously doesn't see it as unprofessional when he does it, or understand that NIWA are perfectly willing to change their forecasts as new data comes in. Also his mistake is worse since he makes the contradictory claims in the same forecast and in the same paragraph!
As I glance at the forecast for Dec 2nd, I notice:
Rain, sometimes heavy in Gisborne/HB
So there you go. He is capable of forecasting heavy rain in Gisborne, of describing the amount that will fall. Just not at the right time though.
On his website Ring gave 'planetary alignment' as 'a good reason for the Asian tsunami', but on internet forums he could be found giving different reasons for the tsunami:
Posted by: Ken Ring 31 May 2005, 07:53 AMNo mention now that the 'planets formed a straight line in the sky'.
But one of the most surprising statements Ring makes is that of actually predicting the Asian tsunami. Exactly. And this included actually indicating the date:
[Internet forum question]: You have also posted... the reason for the  Tsunami... Yet, you made no prediction for this.He expands on this in a later message:
Posted by: Ken Ring 31 May 2005, 07:53 AMBut exactly where in this Ezine can be found reference to tsunami, Indonesia, or Dec 26th? Read the following excerpt. There is nothing — absolutely nothing — that indicates, even vaguely, a tsunami, let alone a tsunami centred near Indonesia. Nowhere does he indicate 'the date'. The only dates mentioned are Nov 15th/16th, his main prediction window for earthquake activity, and Dec 12th, his preferred date for a Ruapehu earthquake. The possibility that a large earthquake may happen, in November, somewhere in the world, is one that any idiot could make, and is next to useless:
WEATHER EZINE November 15
the exception is around the 15th/16th... which impacts on earthquake activity. This could be a danger time with the Ruapehu Crater lake... But perhaps a bigger danger time of a lahar will come... around Dec 12th.
Interestingly some of the largest earthquakes in recorded history have been when the moon is at or near this extreme once-every-19-year position
Read this EZINE online (Click on "Read This List" button, then "Previous Messages" then "Weather ezine, November 15, 2004") November passes and no major earthquakes happen, least of all at Ruapehu. In his next EZINE Ring repeats his Ruapehu earthquake prediction, now adding 'which is very likely'. Still no mention of tsunami, Indonesia or Dec 26th:
WEATHER EZINE December 5, 2004On to another EZINE (Dec 29th) and Ring finally mentions the tsunami. Unfortunately three days after it happened. Dec 12th has come and gone and still no earthquake at Ruapehu (thankfully), even though it was 'very likely':
WEATHER EZINE December 29, 2004and also, according to his website, '3am, 6am, 9am, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm, as well as when the angular distance between the Sun and the Moon is 0, 45, 90 or 180 degrees'. Also apogee is when the moon is at its most distant from earth, and according to Ring's theory when earthquakes are least likely.
As of Jan 2011, still no earthquake at Ruapehu, even though we've had plenty new and full moons, midnights, middays, mornings, afternoons, evenings and required angular distances.
Queried as to why he didn't predict the tsunami, he replied: 'I did... Exactly', but in the above message he changes this to only indicating the date of an earthquake, not its location:
I'm not God. I don't know EXACTLY where the earthquake will strike... At least I warned of the possibility and indicated the date.He takes the moral high ground by proclaiming 'At least I warned of the possibility'. Is he treating us all as idiots? We all know of the possibility of earthquakes. This isn't a prediction, it's simply a fact of life. It's as useless as predicting that a plane may crash somewhere in the world next month. You just aren't given enough information on which to take any reasonable precautions. Also note the cunning use of the emphasised word 'EXACTLY', which fools us into thinking that somewhere he has given us an approximate idea of where the earthquake will strike, and we've simply missed it. In fact he doesn't provide any location information whatsoever, apart from 'somewhere' on planet Earth. When you remove his empty prediction and the word 'EXACTLY', you see exactly what Ring knew about the Asian tsunami:
I'm not God. I don't know... where the earthquake will strike.
Ring should employ this statement more often regarding the weather in general.
The most significant weather event that Ken predicts for 2006 is a cyclone Bola strength storm that will hit the east coast of the North Island from March 17 to 19. He said the storm will create havoc in low-lying areas.Unfortunately this will be five months after the publication of the Southland Express article and all of their readers will have completely forgotten the exact dates, even if they remember the vague prediction. So even if a cyclone does indeed strike early next year (as it may well), but not on those dates, and at that location, and of that strength, many will nevertheless believe Ring predicted it.
We predict it won't happen. Like Ring we don't claim 100% accuracy, but if it does occur, it will be because of a statistical concept know as a "fluke".
Update: March 2006 has now passed and surprise, surprise, no 'cyclone Bola strength storm... hit the east coast of the North Island'. It's a shame that the Southland Express and other media outlets that also publicised this claim rarely write follow-up articles on topics dealing with Ken Ring's predictions.
This failure to follow-up on predictions is a major flaw that benefits Ring immensely. The media gains readers and attracts viewers with predictions of what weather we can expect, but few are interested in what weather we received after-the-event and whether it matched the predictions. Just as the headline 'Family chased by UFO' is big news, the mundane explanation discovered a month later that it was just a weather balloon receives little, if any, coverage. Unfortunately the public remember seeing Ring predicting the weather, and hear of UFOs being spotted, but seldom discover how flawed these reports were. And thus those that believe in Ring, or UFOs, never have their confidence shaken.
This section merely explains what first motivated us to look at the claims of Ken Ring, the Moonman.
Ring is incensed that we have produced this article debunking his weather forecasting claims and 'lunar science', asking us (and others who challenge him): 'have I done the same previously to you? Hardly. The bully is the one who starts the fight'. But as we've pointed out to Ken, 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 Ken sees himself, as a weak victim unable to muster a defence?
We did not seek Ken out, his deliberate efforts at publicity found us. We were the victims of nonsense in our own homes, to which we felt the need to respond.
In Nov 2005 we wrote a letter to the Southland Express (a weekly newspaper delivered free to households in Invercargill and parts of Southland) criticising an article by Jeff Elton. This short article enthusiastically promoted Ken Ring's Weather Almanac on forecasting using the moon:
Southland Express, Thursday October 13 2005The following was our letter to the Southland Express:
Reading Jeff Elton's article on Ken Ring's 'impressive' and 'popular' weather almanac (Oct 13 2005), I agree that he's having the last laugh with sales of his book — laughing all the way to the bank. Buying Ring's book to predict the weather is as useful as buying a book on horoscopes to predict your future.The Southland Express chose not to publish our letter, which was their right. However, from a newspaper perspective, we believe that reviews of books such as Ken Ring's need to be balanced and unbiased. If they can not be written as such, they need to be clearly identified as an advertisement. From a publisher's perspective, we're not suggesting censorship of books of a controversial nature, but there is a crucial difference between publishing someone's views and then going on to support and promote those views as factual.
However they did choose to forward our letter on to Sarah at Random House (his publisher, who provides Ken RIng with 'ongoing sponsorship and support'), who forwarded it to Ken Ring, who in turn replied to both Angelina of the Southland Express and Random House, but not to us. However the Southland Express, whom Ken Ring claims view him as a client, stating that they are one of many 'Print media willing to regularly carry our work', did send us a copy of his email reply to them. We have no idea whether any other communication passed between the Southland Express, Random House and Ken Ring, but it appears that both Random House and the Southland Express perhaps have good reason not to print criticism of their client. And we now know that Ring himself is extremely adverse to public criticism of his business.
Ken Ring's email reply to the Southland Express and Random House:
Dear Sarah and AngelinaRing asks: 'What is the problem?' Where to begin? Our letter highlighted three problems we have with Ken Ring's claims.
We also likened his scam to horoscopes twice, although at the time we didn't realise how dependant on astrology Ring's method actually is.
Ring's email to the Southland Express and Random House didn't address any of these problems, the bulk of his reply attempting to defend his May predictions. Judging by the tone of his reply we also suspect that he was unaware that our letter wasn't actually published.
As much as we disagreed with Ken Ring's email comments, we weren't going to waste time replying. If they wouldn't print a short letter then they certainly wouldn't print a more lengthy critique of Ken Ring's reply. However on Nov 29th, 2005, Gisborne was once again struck by devastating floods, just 5 or 6 weeks after its previous flood. Ring's Almanac predicted neither. Then we came across Ken Ring claiming on the internet to have predicted the devastating 2004 Asian tsunami. A little research showed his claim to be utterly false, so we were motivated to have another attempt at demonstrating that he is a fraud. Hence we researched and wrote this article and placed it on the Internet. We now feel vindicated for doing this because Ring himself has since told us that 'ideas should be challenged all the time' and that 'this is a democracy and that we are all allowed a free voice... I will never stand in the way of someone with a theory that is different to mine...' Ring has also said that he too likes 'to show how we can be led astray by others telling us what to think'. So evidently with Ring's best wishes, in this article we have challenged the ideas he presents in his many books, on his website and in media promotions, in which he tells the public what to think about the weather, the moon, ancient astrology, and the corrupt nature of science.
Is it just in the 'weather arena' that Ken Ring is in conflict with conventional views of science, history etc? No, not by any means. Ring believes in, supports, and researches all manner of New Age superstitions and is not opposed to the odd conspiracy theory. Ring seems to target those of like mind, those that are more comfortable believing they live in the "cosmos" rather than the "universe", are enthralled by ancient mysteries and prefer "common sense" explanations to scientific ones. For example his website used to provide a link to a pseudo-history site:
Prehistory of NZ from the point of view of ancient stone circles several thousand years old. www.celticnz.co.nz.In an article on his website he expounded on these pseudo-history or 'alternative history' views:
It seems that the prehistory of NZ needs to be written.If you're a little skeptical of that view of history, that Maori came to NZ as slaves 20,000 years ago, and are tempted to consult an archaeologist, in true conspiracy theorist mode Ring tells us to:
mostly disregard what western archaeologists say — they know nothing of any of this...Having just been told to ignore archaeologists, in this next comment Ring tells us that archaeology actually supports his view of advanced ancient civilisations:
It [the moon's influence on the weather] was known by the followers of Maatariki in NZ and the Australian aborigines, and before them by the ancient mariners who sailed the oceans before the last Ice Age and who probably first discovered the Pacific. Archaeology tells us that many peoples may have come to Australia and then NZ as far back as 20,000 years..., for example Egyptians, Phoenicians, Chinese, Vikings, Spanish, Portugese, and possibly early explorers and traders from the South Americas... But there are pyramids and stone structures across the Pacific, all recording principles of forecasting by Sun, Moon and Planets, as well as coded secrets of transoceanic navigation. The basic principles are part of an ancient global culture, encompassing and binding together Hindu, Egyptian, Chinese, Indonesian, Semitic, Celtic and indigenous traditions.Ring insists that archaeology tells us that ancient mariners such as Egyptians, Phoenicians, Chinese, Vikings, Spanish and the Portuguese roamed the world's oceans as far back as 20,000 years ago, before the last Ice Age. Does Ring think these ancient Egyptians and Vikings were like bears, and they all went into hibernation for thousands of years during the Ice Age, only choosing to wake up when things warmed up again? The fact is that not one of these cultures existed back then. There is no archaeological evidence that any stone age tribes were traversing the oceans, and note that Ring insists that not just one advanced tribe was doing it, but nearly every human on the planet from Egypt to China to South America were doing it. But of course it makes one wonder that if the Vikings could sail the world 20,000 years ago, why didn't they attempt sea travel again until the 8th century CE, and then mainly sticking close to home? Why did all these civilisations seemingly forget their advanced seafaring knowledge and shipbuilding skills and have to relearn it all over again, most never managing to regain their previous level of technology?
And where are these 'pyramids and stone structures across the Pacific, all recording... coded secrets of transoceanic navigation'? We've climbed pyramids in Egypt and Central America, none of which evidently mention 'transoceanic navigation', but have yet to encounter one in the Pacific. Ring mentions a large NZ ancient stone circle near Dargaville, but try finding that mentioned in any tourist brochure or archaeology text book. And why would transoceanic navigation be recorded as 'coded secrets'? If everyone was doing it, if there was an 'an ancient global culture' and everyone knew about the moon and the weather, it was hardly a secret!
And if you think pushing advanced civilisations back 20,000 years is a bit of a stretch, that's peanuts in Ring's version of ancient history:
'the ancient legendary land of Lemuria is said to have hosted civilisation for 800,000 years.'But more recently Ring has pushed human civilisation further and further back into the realms of fantasy. Writing in Nov 2010 he claimed that:
'We have simply lost traces of ancient civilisations,... Moreover, it is possible that we have been living in civilisations for over a million years, and, according to people of the Indus Valley... 2 million years.'Then in Dec 2010 he goes back further still:
'ancient maps, said to be 120 million years old have been recently discovered, which points to the possibility that man may have been living in societies for that length of time.'Does Ring believe in evolution? It seems not, or at least doesn't understand the time scales involved. Civilisations 120 million years old would mean modern humans lived with dinosaurs for at least 55 million years!! Fred Flintstone and Christian fundamentalists were right after all, man and dinosaur did coexist. Who would have guessed? Unfortunately Ring's hatred of scientists has caused him to reject all scientific knowledge that throws doubt on his deluded theories and has resulted in him fondly embracing all manner of nonsense. Humans didn't even exist 120 million years ago, let alone sophisticated humans that were exploring the world and making maps. Primates didn't exist 120 million years ago, and even mammals barely registered! The split from a common ancestor that eventually led to humans and chimpanzees only occurred some 7 million years ago.
This brief look at Ring's claims regarding ancient history shows that they are just as flawed as his claims regarding science. Ring, occupying a forgotten position far, far out in left field, overgrown with grass and long rejected, gravitates to any other nutty belief that will hold his hand and wipe away his tears with consoling words, "There, there, we believe you. They laughed at us too for choosing ancient stories over modern evidence".
And of course Ring is scathing of those skeptical of his many weird beliefs:
Of our methods it seems there are many folk who have found some use, but also many sceptics. That should worry no one. Scepticism has never founded empires, nor changed the world.Wrong Ken. Skepticism has arguably given us the modern world and its 'empires'. It was skepticism that generated much of the ancient knowledge handed down to us by the Greeks. It was skepticism that saw the invention of science and the demise of religion. It was scientific skepticism that saw astrology replaced with astronomy, it was skepticism that saw centuries old nonsense discarded and the rise of modern societies. We would still be ruled by kings and the proclamations of astrologers, suffering bloodletting and inquisitions and fearful of comets if skepticism wasn't adopted by an intelligent few.
Another link on Ring's website used to provide the chance to purchase an authentic 'Weatherstick':
World famous Woodman's Weatherstick, imported from USA. Pin to an outside wall and watch what weather is coming up. When stick bends up - fine weather coming. When it bends down - expect rain. Really works. $14.95'Really works'? Then why waste $50 on his Weather Almanac when a $14.95 stick does the job? And presumably you don't have to purchase a new 'Weatherstick' every year as you do with his Almanac.
Pawmistry: How to Read Your Cat's Paws.Initially we thought that this must be a spoof on palmistry, similar to books such as "Why Cats Paint". But no, Ring is perfectly serious, not only in his belief in numerology, astrology, graphology (handwriting analysis) and phrenology (bumps on the head), ancient beliefs that have been comprehensively debunked, but that they also apply to cats! My cat reckons it's all a load of bollocks, but then he would say that, since he's a skeptic like me.
Another Web site selling Ring's book provides more information:
Dismayed by the glaring lack of literature on the psychological complexities of [cats]... Ring... began experimenting with age-old tools of divination to open a window into a cat's inner self.When we challenged Ring on some of these points: "You said that you discovered palmistry for cats at a psychic party and in your ... book you claimed to explore psychic influences", he replied in a personal communication:
None of that is true, sorry.However the rear cover of his 'Pawmistry' book tells a different story (and thanks to Amazon readers can check this for themselves):
... 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.When we claimed that "his belief in astrology, psychics and other nonsense does reduce his credibility", he replied:
your made-up stuff again, not my beliefsAnd when we mentioned astrology to him as one of several examples of pseudoscience and superstition, he again asserted:
I have no experience of any of themAnd yet strangely Ken Ring knew enough to write a book about them and explicitly claims on this book that he 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 Ring tries to deny all knowledge of when peddling his weather prediction books.
So clearly Ring is lying. Either to his readers about his discovering palmistry for cats at a psychic party and his sincere belief in divination techniques such as numerology and astrology, or he is lying to us in an attempt to hide his belief in superstitious nonsense from those that might buy his weather forecasting books.
Note the important similarities in how Ken Ring approaches forecasting the weather and understanding cats:
If you laugh at a guy that seriously suggests that you give a paw reading to your cat, how can you defend his credibility when it comes to similar research into the weather using ancient divination techniques? If you look twice at a guy that seriously suggests that ancient mariners — perhaps the Egyptians or the Vikings — brought Maori to NZ as slaves, how can you have confidence in his equally outlandish claims regarding weather forecasting, science and evidence?
Each one of these flaky beliefs that Ring supports just strengthens our claim that he has great trouble separating real science and real history from pseudoscience and scams. A quote from British writer Damian Thompson is quite apt here: 'People who share a muddled, careless, or deceitful attitude toward gathering evidence often find themselves drawn to each other's fantasies. If you believe one wrong or strange thing, you are more likely to believe another'.
We believe we have clearly shown that:
The promotion of Ken Ring's long-range weather predictions by the media with no follow-up that would expose his failures puts him in the same camp as psychics and mediums. Actually the tricks that psychics and mediums use have a lot in common with the wording of Ring's forecasts and the way he attempts to rationalise his mistakes, turning them into successes. Just as psychics claim to have predicted the 9/11 terrorist attacks and President Kennedy's assassination etc, so Ring claims to have predicted most of our extreme weather events. However this is always done after the event with selective and imaginative reading of their original forecasts. These people vigorously suppress their mistakes and imaginatively reinterpret their vague predictions after-the-fact.
However it is blatantly obvious that Ken Ring's forecasts are no better than guesses. By sheer chance he will guess correctly sometimes and he will trumpet these successes for all they're worth, but the majority of the time he will be wrong. And when it comes to extreme weather causing loss of life and destruction of property, even he admits that he can only predict rain, not how much. Unfortunately he can't even do that.
Ken Ring's weather predictions fail. When and if he is forced to explain his failures he mischievously reinterprets forecasts, suppresses negative forecasts and simply invents forecasts that were never made, all in such a way as to make it appear that his apparent failure was actually a success. Although he claims publicly and often that he can predict droughts and floods 20 years ahead, if pushed into a corner over failed predictions he also refers you to disclaimers in his book that effectively deny this ability. Thus he believes the 'fine print' resolves him of any responsibility for these ongoing failures. Unfortunately the public seldom hear of these failures and when they do they believe they are rare occurrences rather than the norm.
The fact is that most people can put up with unexpected drizzle, it's the extreme weather that we want to know about, and if a forecast method can't predict weather that may cause loss of life and/or destruction of property, it's next to useless. As his latest Almanac is now in the shops, we suggest people save themselves $50 and leave it there. Spend the money on promoting your own lifestyle, not Ken Ring's.
We will give one final example of Ken Ring's duplicity. On his website Ring displays the image on the right and he used to provide a page that began:
Weather for your EventHalfway into the article he stated the following:
Longrange forecasting is more about trends over a 3-4 day window, yet we do try to get it as correct as possible. In the old days people were not required to be somewhere at, say, 2pm on a particular Friday; it was more a case of needing to know if big rains were expected later one week or early in the next.Here Ring appears to explain that his method is only suited to those that don't have 'to be somewhere at, say, 2pm on a particular Friday'. You know, like a wedding, concert or other type of outdoor event, or maybe a farming activity such as haymaking, shearing or crop spraying. Yet it is clearly these people that Ring promotes his Almanac to, not the hippie or retired types with 'a 3-4 day window'. The heading of the above page and the image of the bride and groom clearly targets those planning a wedding.
A specific event, at a specific location, at a specific time, on a specific day.
But hidden within the article is a disclaimer that states that he really hasn't got a hope of being that specific. And the umbrella in that image suggests that he got it wrong for their wedding as well! In our opinion:
This is dishonest. This is fraudulent. This is a scam.
Authors: John L. Ateo, Jason C.
Ken Ring has taken time out from his busy schedule to respond to some of the criticisms we have directed towards his weather prediction business. He first makes an appearance on our 'Comments Page' here, and foolishly we believe, keeps making further comments. It is revealing to experience first hand Ring's debate style, his evasion when clarification and evidence are requested, and his inevitable slide towards insults and intimidation. Ring's grasp on reality can be judged when he invents an evil conspiracy, accusing us of being mere puppets of an organisation bent on his demise, and again, his comments that follow are interesting to say the least. And following this post on a moon related theme: 'Healing by the full moon', Ring again attempts to promote his business, but fails miserably in our view. And he adds an accusation of racism for good measure.
 PredictWeather.com, Ken Ring's website
 'The Lunar Code: How the Moon affects the Weather on Earth', Ken Ring
 'Ken Ring's Predicting the Weather by the Moon', Ken Ring
 'Ken Ring's Predict Weather Almanac and Isobaric Maps', Ken Ring
 'Pawmistry: How to Read Your Cat's Paws', Ken Ring, co-written with Paul Romhany
 'Conceptual Physics', Paul G. Hewitt
 'full moon and lunar effects', The Skeptic's Dictionary
Last Updated Dec 2012