Well done Nick and sceptics

March 13th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Andre Hueber in the HoS reports:

Nick Smith is the Minister responsible for ACC – but some might say he’s just asking to come a cropper.

Smith and the Skeptics Society are planning a lunch in one of Christchurch’s highest, oldest, stone buildings – on the day that “moon man” Ken Ring says the city will be hit by another devastating earthquake. Ring’s prediction of another earthquake on March 20 – a week today – has caused alarm among some Cantabrians, who have said they will flee the city.

But the minister, who has a doctorate in geotechnical engineering, said he took a very dim view of people causing alarm with no scientific underpinning.

“I believe in free speech but just as people should not stand up in a picture theatre and scream fire, people should not be making phony predictions of major earthquakes.”

That’s a good practical way to try and calm down people who actually believe Ring.

The lunch will be held at noon on March 20 at the Sign of the Kiwi, on the top of the Port Hills – which Smith said was the closest building to the epicentre of the February 22 quake.

Skeptics spokeswoman Vicki Hyde said she wouldn’t be surprised if a shake happened during the lunch because Christchurch had been getting shakes almost every day – “but it wouldn’t have anything to do with what Ken Ring’s been saying”.

Again, a good initiative.

Campbell vs Ring

March 1st, 2011 at 12:11 pm by David Farrar

Brian Edwards blogged:

John, Your mindless, bullying, tirade against ‘moon man’ Ken Ring on tonight’s Campbell Live was perhaps the worst piece of egotistical, self-important, out of control, closed-minded, biased, unprofessional  non-interviewing I have seen in more than 40 years of New Zealand television.

I have no brief for Mr Ring or his theories, but after watching your treatment of him tonight, I have considerably more respect for him as the reasonable exponent of an admittedly controversial point of view than I have for you as an interviewer.

What mattered to you in this exchange was not what he had to say, but what you had to say. And since he thought the process was meant to involve his being critically questioned on statements he had made and being given reasonable opportunity to reply, he had every right to complain when you preferred to deny him that opportunity by shouting him down. It was, quite simply, appalling.

This has led to a huge debate with 113 comments to date on Brian and Judy’s blog. Opinion is divided between those who say that as Ring is a charlatan, Campbell did good (Russell Brown noticeably in this camp) and those who say he didn’t let Ring even explain himself.

I like the take of Not PC:

If it’s true that Campbell bullied Ring, the greatest damage done by the bullying is …. that it didn’t give Ring a chance to bury himself in his own words. That’s surely the point of good interviewing. To let your audience see for themselves when a flake is being interviewed.

And in bullying rather than burying his interviewee, Campbell would have allowed Ring to gain his viewers’ sympathy instead of their contempt. Surely not at all what he intended.

Not PC also has some great links and graphs from scientists showing how Mr Ring has predicted earthquakes, well pretty much for every second day.

I didn’t see the interview, but what do people who saw it think?