Tag Archives: earthquake

Earthquakes and twitter

Making sense of Ring gate?

Here is some sense on the Ring Gate  – the controversial interview of Ken Ring on Campbell live about prediction of earthquakes. Radio Wammo presented this interview with media commentator Russell Brown. He makes some important points

It does raise a lot of questions, though.

  • Why can people like King Ring get such large support and garner a dedicated following?
  • What does this say about the prevalence, or lack of, critical thinking in the population at large?
  • It look like Ring has taken advantage of the current understandable concern about earthquakes in New Zealand.
  • Is this ethical of him? Is it any more ethical than those who take advantage of human tragedies to claim they were caused by their gods. (Incidentally, the website http://www.christchurchquake.net/html/theWarning.html which claimed the Christchurch earthquake was cause by our naughty behavior seems to have been taken down).

See also:

For some scientific analysis of this issue see SciBlogs NZ and the posts Running rings around the Moon Man? and Ken Ring can’t predict earthquakes either.

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A human response to Christchurch quake

Rescue teams at the Christchurch CTV building site - Credit: MailOnline

New Zealanders are becoming aware of the magnitude of the  earthquake that hit Christchurch last Tuesday. I mean the human magnitude – not the geological one.

We had become so used to the aftershocks from the September 2010 earthquake that this one took a few hours to hit home. Now we have a nation-wide state of emergency and the death toll is rising. Its expected to be in the hundreds.

We are now seeing an Erebus effect: Every New Zealander will have a family member or friend who has died or been injured. In fact, because Christchurch was a centre for tourism and education of foreign students, the personal influence will be much wider than the country itself.

Human empathy

At SciBlogsNZ, Peter Griffin describes the losses suffered by the NZ News media in Christchurch (see Amid carnage media bears brunt of disaster). He also stresses that “the New Zealand media has actually responded impressively, with dignity and respect for the people of Christchurch.” I agree – their coverage has been very effective within New Zealand and  in supplying the overseas media.

This rapid and effective response by the media helped mobilise public sympathy and the huge efforts by the rest of the country to help in the search and rescue effort and support for survivors.

I have also been really impressed by how quickly other countries have responded with help. We had Australian search and rescue teams operating in Christchurch the day after the earthquake. More specialist teams are arriving from around the world. Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, USA, UK and probably other countries. Medical and police teams are also arriving.

The media coverage is bringing home the seriousness of this earthquake to the rest of New Zealand and the rest of the world. And there has been an immediate response.

I think this illustrates something about our species. We are basically social and empathetic. We can sympathise with the plight of others and feel their pain. We do respond automatically.

And our ability to empathise goes well beyond our direct kin. In a sense technological developments have brought this about. Today news of such human emergencies spreads very quickly. People on the other side of the world can be aware of such problems within hours. And the ready availability of news, images and TV produces a reality which enhances our empathy.

In a sense members of these search and rescue and other specialist teams are fortunate. In such emergencies they have skills which can be immediately put to use. Consequently these teams often operate in countries other than their own.

The rest of us often feel frustrated that we can’t help more. However, there is always the need for financial help – and that is particularly appropriate in this particular emergency. Just be aware that there are a few scams out there – support the reliable charities.

For example: The NZ Red Cross, or the Christchurch Mayoral Earthquake Appeal (via Give a Little).

See also:
How to donate to Christchurch quake appeals
Help support Christchurch earthquake victims
New Zealand Earthquake Appeal
Humanity. Much better than expected.

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Judgement & compassion

KatrinaI’ve been watching the uncut videos of interviews made for the TV series “The Root of all Evil?” (They are all now available on DVD). The interview with Michael Bray (from the Army of God) raised an interesting point for me. There seems to be two attitudes towards knowing – one is based on evidence and provides a basis for good moral decisions. The other is based on authority and can lead to some very immoral conclusions.

In this interview Bray interprets natural disasters, such as the effect of hurricane Katrina on New Orleans or the tsunami in South east Asia, as acts of God. He see these disaster as God’s punishment for the sins of mankind. Specifically he saw them as punishment for the “sins” of homosexuality and sexual promiscuity.

So what is the outcome of such an interpretation? To minister humans to repent and turn away from sin or expect further natural calamities as punishment?

This may have been some consolation to primitive humanity which didn’t understand the causes of these calamities. But not for modern humanity!

Today we understand the natural causes of flood, storms, tsunamis and earthquakes. We may not be able to stop them but our knowledge enables us to prepare for them. We can set up early warning systems, build storm protection or establish stingent building codes. We can lessen impacts, save lives and more adequately help survivors.

I find Michael Bray’s interpretation of these events immoral. He seems more interested in making an extreme judgement of others and punishing them, rather than helping. This may feed his own feelings of ‘Christian’ virtue but it does nothing to change the real world. It doesn’t prevent the death and suffering of a single person in future natural disasters. And these will, of course, occur whatever the sexual practices of humanity.

Only real knowledge and a world view based on evidence, reason and compassion saves people.

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