Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Robert Morningstar: Another busted prediction

James Concannon writes...

        The Great American Eclipse did not disappoint. A spectacular show, happening dead on the predicted times to a fraction of a second. That, of course, is because the predictions were made by science.

So how did pseudo-science do? Abysmally, is the answer.

On April 13th the science dunce Robert Morningstar posted this prediction (edited):
"A TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN & MOON CROSSING OVER THE NEW MADRID FAULT ZONE COULD CAUSE EARTHQUAKES DURING & AFTER PASSAGE on August 21st, 2017.  
This is in keeping with my theory that the growing strength of the gravitational forces of Sun and Moon at the moment of a total solar eclipse and their subsidence afterward can trigger earthquakes on both in the area of totality and on the other side of the Earth with [sic; presumably he means within] 36 hours of the event.  
My main concern is that the pinnacle point of totality will occur as the Sun and Moon line up over the New Madrid Fault lines as it passes over Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky and points East as it they head toward the South Carolina coast, which is a massive coastal fault zone."
        Robert is an expert in frisbee. He's so totally inexpert in astronomy that he doesn't realize that the gravitational attractions of the Sun and Moon combine once every month, in an event known as New Moon. Do New Moons cause more earthquakes? Well, they certainly didn't this July and August. Here's the data:

10th July: Full Moon

24th July: New Moon

7th August: Full Moon


21st August: New Moon & solar eclipse

        No statistically significant changes in the general seismic pattern are attrributable to the phase of the Moon. The strongest quakes were as follows:

10th July, Full Moon: 4.7 MMS, Mexico
24th July, New Moon: 4.0 MMS, Baja California
7th August, Full Moon: 4.7 MMS, Costa Rica
21st August, New Moon: 4.3 MMS, Costa Rica

        On each of those days there was a smattering of quakes in the continental US of magnitude < 4, including the usual Magnitude ~2 array along the San Andreas fault in California. On the other side of the world, the Himalayas saw three quakes in the 4.5 MMS range. There's nothing whatsoever in this data to suggest a link between New Moons and seismic activity. And bear in mind, lunar perigee occurred on 18th August--another event that pseudoscience likes to spread fear about.

        Thanks to useful articles like this one or this one, and recent discussion on this blog, we now know that the gravitational attraction of the Sun is 160 times more powerful than that of the Moon. However, tidal forces are created by the difference between the pull of gravity on the near side of planet Earth and that on the far side. Since the Sun is 412 times further away from us than the Moon is, the differential is nowhere near as great. In fact, the tidal force generated by the Sun amounts to only 45% that of the Moon.

        The best thing that could happen to Robert Morningstar at this point is that his fans stop paying attention to him. His information is pathetically misleading.

Update: Moving the goalposts
23 August: AM* has now posted this response:
"1. Within the last 24 hours since the tansit of the eclipse, there have been 13 seaquakes (in a rising crescendo") near Puerto Rico and Hispanola..
Although most Americans stopped tracking the eclipse at South Carolina, it did dontinue its track SouthEast into the Atlantic. According to my theory, seaquakes were anticipated, there and on the opposite side of the Earth where the Ring of Fire is "tingling" with activity.
2. On our West Coast, The San Andreas Fault is also percolating with small earthquakes every few hours and the perturburances continue up the coast all the way to Washington State and Vancouver, BC.
3. The Seatle area where "America's Eclipse" began, has experienced 2 small quakes since the transit.
4. On the opposite side of the Earth, where I contend that an eclipse's tectonic effects are usually more pronounced (but delayed in time up to 72 hours), 4 earthquakes have occurred in the 24 hours since the Sun-Moon transit.
5. Earthquakes have shaken the Phillipines (1), Indonesia (2), and have struck as far East as Borneo (1), which had one seaquake off its northeast coast."
         So having specifically cited the continental USA, within 36 hours either side of the eclipse, he now wants us to consider seismic events in the  Phillipines and Indonesia delayed by 72 hours. Even more hilarious, he draws our attention to a swarm of tiny earthquakes up the San Andreas fault--as if there was ever a time when there wasn't such a swarm.

         For info, here are earthquake maps for the ten days 10-19 August--events that by Morningstar's own definition are unrelated to the eclipse. In other terms, they represent "normal conditions." First, The USA and Caribbean region:


Now, the other side of the world:


        These maps prove that ascribing events of magnitude 2,3,4 or 5 in locations like Seattle or The Phillipnes to the effect of the eclipse is ridiculous and fraudulent.

22 comments:

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

Fortunately, no great tragic results can seem to be attributed to the eclipse, yet, but we aren't out of the woods until after the first of next month. As noted in a couple of threads down, Jim Berkland cautions that devastating quakes can occur within plus or minus ten days or so, of Syzygy concurrent with Perigee. You know, he always liked to have supporting indicators to confirm his predictions, such as an increase in run away pets, prior to the big event. He would read local news paper classified ads from the locations where he thought there might be a potential quake, to see how many ads were placed in seeking assistance in the return of distressed animals.

Two Percent said...

James:

Glad you had fun watching the eclipse. New Moon here was quite impressive too.

Your faith in science is laudable, or something...

However... Didn't we talk about this on that other thread as well?

He's so totally inexpert in astronomy that he doesn't realize that the gravitational attractions of the Sun and Moon combine once every month, in an event known as New Moon.

Again, you seem to be forgetting Full Moon, when again: the gravitational attractions of the Sun and Moon combine once every month ...

In that case, they "rack" the Earth differently, subjecting it to even greater gravitational tensions than it normally receives, which, I argue, is about equally (albeit, not much more) likely to trigger Earthquakes as the New Moon alignment (Ok then, syzygy).

So, these syzygies happen twice a month, and who really knows what tectonic effects they have?

It does make sense that they might have some, though. I don't know why you are so resistant to the idea. Morningstar may be OTT and 98% wrong, but it doesn't mean there is NO effect. Or that he isn't 2% right!

Plenty of scientists have been wrong before, and many still are! In fact, it's very much a "scientific" tradition, even when so-called "science" is obviously wrong.

As yet, no one seems to have established any correlation between these gravitational peaks and Earthquakes, but as before, that does not mean there isn't any. For all I know, identifying the correlation may require a preceding lull in Earthquake activity, while tensions build up, and then get triggered to release, by one of these syzygies. If that happens occasionally, it would arguably be a correlation.

I'm with the side that says there probably is a correlation, but yes, "the science" is still very much in its infancy. Let's hope there's no major EQ in the next day or two! ;-)

2% chance?

James Concannon said...

You guys just don't know when you're beaten fair and square, do you? Theadora points out EXACTLY what seismologists object to about Berkland's method-- i.e. he allowed much too wide a window for his predictions. Plus or minus 10 days is ridiculous, that's two-thirds of the entire lunar cycle.

« these syzygies happen twice a month, and who really knows what tectonic effects they have? »

Professional seismologists, that's who. The answer is NO CORRELATION. I think we just proved that, didn't we?

James Concannon said...

Postscript: Ok, not exactly NO CORRELATION. As mentioned previously, very high tides have been shown to affect seismicity in coastal regions, simply because of the weight of water.

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

Jim Berkland predicted devastating quakes within (+/-) 10 days of SYZYGY concurrent with Perigee, which is a relatively scarce occurrence.

expat said...

Theadora, you probably ought to STFU on this subject, seeing as it was you that predicted:

"There well might be a 9.2 along the Juan de Fuca Plate"
"If the Juan de Fuca Plate becomes activated, bear in mind that fault lines connect to the San Andreas."

FAIL

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

If you have to take my comments out of context to try and make a point, Patrick, and thinking that will silence me, you are doubly mistaken. I'm relieved that there hasn't been a devastating Earthquake and tsunami, but I haven't considered all of Jim Berkland's supporting methods, and there's still more than a week to have to wait. Remember, the longer the delay - the greater the quake. I haven't failed at anything, and if the big one hits, I take no credit.

expat said...

....and if the Big One doesn't hit, what then? Will you grovel and repudiate your crazy unscientific ideas? I think you should.

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

If nothing happens, it still doesn't disprove Berkland's methods. He has a 70% hit rate, and I haven't even been monitoring escaped pet reports. The fact that you resort to hyperbolic ad hominem attacks only serves to support my casual observations.

Ivan Horn said...

All this talk of predictions of future seismic events really seems like a sideshow to muddy the waters to me.

Surely the truly enormous amount of historical date on worldwide activity dating back over a century matched against the entirely known movement of the sun and moon during that period would provide all the data anyone would ever need to find any correlation.

James Concannon said...

Yes, Stuart Robbins did just that and found, of course, no correlation.

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

As James Concannon and Patrick are well aware, it's already been noted that Stuart, didn't evaluate Jim Berkland's predictions, which are based upon Perigee occurring concurrently with Syzygy, plus additional confirming indicators.

Two Percent said...

ROFLMAO!

I trust you are not including me in this, James:

You guys just don't know when you're beaten fair and square, do you?

This is EXACTLY the kind of pseudo-scientific hypocrisy I object to. You Mockers also seem to be quite prepared to say whatever you like, merely to win your arguments. Not much different to the people you so vehemently condemn and attack.

Example:

James Concannon said... [at August 23, 2017 at 7:13 AM]

Postscript: Ok, not exactly NO CORRELATION. As mentioned previously, very high tides have been shown to affect seismicity in coastal regions, simply because of the weight of water.


This is good, and I believe, more or less correct.

As I have been saying, there IS an effect, albeit very slight. OF COURSE, that makes perfect sense (which real science often does), since gravity is a force, and in this case, it's varying, and acting on a slightly unstable planetary crust, which cracks, breaks and moves from time to time, as it has been doing for millions if not billions of years. Of course it makes sense that the moon's effect is small, since, as has already been discussed, the Lunar gravity at the Earth is less than 1% that of the Solar gravity at the same location.

But then, in answer to a different poster, James make two major "scientific" blunders.

Anonymous James Concannon said... [at August 23, 2017 at 1:56 PM]

Yes, Stuart Robbins did just that and found, of course, no correlation.


First, [OF COURSE!!!] he contradicts his previous assertion by citing "evidence" that analysis of (we presume) a century's worth of data "confirms" that there is no correlation after all - despite having belatedly admitted a few hours earlier that, Hmm, well... there is one.

"Extra High" Tides and Weight of Water be damned as an attempt to fudge and drag out Red Herrings. They (them tides) are a result of the gravitational pull (attraction if you prefer), which is the core of what this argument is all about. Gravitational forces leading to Earthquakes (by whatever mechanism). Maybe it's the weight of all those runaway cats distorting the crust...

The second problem, as also previously mentioned in that other thread as unscientific, is that it's generally regarded as impossible to prove a negative hypothesis. That doesn't stop you mockers.

I'm not at all interested in Stuart Robbins' analysis for that reason. ALL it now PROVES (and ever could have) is that HIS analysis didn't show what other scientists HAVE ALREADY been able to show - that there IS a correlation. (However slight. Non-Zero, and that's the point!) Therefore, Stuart Robbins' analysis really belongs in the Recycle Bin, unless he can somehow prove that the correlation reportedly found by the other scientists is invalid. Until then, there is no point even mentioning it.


By the word of expat: FAIL

I agree, no M9.2 so far, but the (albeit, possibly oversized) "window" is not yet closed, and "may well be" hardly rates as a prediction anyway. Again, not worth saying, so FAILs on all sides!

Two Percent said...

Hmmm...

Another FAIL!

Copying and Pasting of quotes within the Blogger platform is not 100% reliable:

Anonymous James Concannon said...

James Concannon said...

There's a hidden "Anonymous"

that I cannot see in my browser (Firefox) that often appears when copied, depending on the exact method. So, I have to presume the three posts to date by "(Anonymous) James Concannon" are all one and the same person. Another handy escape route!

Two Percent said...

Sorry, I overlooked this bit:

James Concannon said...

« these syzygies happen twice a month, and who really knows what tectonic effects they have? »

Professional seismologists, that's who. The answer is NO CORRELATION. I think we just proved that, didn't we?


Again, I beg to differ. If "Professional seismologists" really knew, they would have found that correlation much sooner. And if they do know, why can't they predict Earthquakes like other scientists can predict "to a fraction of a second" (you say), Planetary eclipses?

Fact is, they don't really know.

Planets orbit like clockwork. Gravity and mass, space and time. "Simple" measurable, calculable stuff.

Rocks break when the limits of their resistance to overwhelming forces are exceeded. Two huge unknowns there. Maybe even unknowable.

I say, look at every angle, and try to see the patterns. Just as the ancient astronomers did.

Jim Berkland should be lauded, not condemned, but hey, that's scientists for you. Huge, fragile egos to the fore!

Graham said...

Looks like a bog standard case of retrodiction to me, all earthquake predictors result to it at some point or another.

James Concannon said...

I fully agree

Two Percent said...

This is quite funny, if you think about it!

Graham said...

Looks like a bog standard case of retrodiction to me,


Not sure of a couple of things here...

1. "What" looks like a bog standard case?

And 2. which definition of retrodiction do you prefer?

Here's one quoted on Wikipedia:

"Michael Clive Price has written:

A retrodiction occurs when already gathered data is accounted for by a later theoretical advance in a more convincing fashion. The advantage of a retrodiction over a prediction is that the already gathered data is more likely to be free of experimenter bias. An example of a retrodiction is the perihelion shift of Mercury which Newtonian mechanics plus gravity was unable, totally, to account for whilst Einstein's general relativity made short work of it.[5]"

while Google offers this:

"retrodiction
ˌrɛtrə(ʊ)ˈdɪkʃ(ə)n/

noun: retrodiction; plural noun: retrodictions

the explanation or interpretation of past actions or events inferred from the laws that are assumed to have governed them."

I wonder, which laws of astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, or of any field you like, are NOT, in reality, originally examples of retrodiction?

Please, give me a list!

Fact is, EVERYTHING we perceive is in the past. How else would science advance?

FWIW: Google again:

"science
ˈsʌɪəns/

noun: science

the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment." (Emphasis added)

James Concannon said...

Morningstar's April prediction was quite clearly busted. In response, he listed five earthquakes that cannot by any stretch of the imagination be ascribed to the effect of the eclipse. That's the retrodiction.

James Concannon said...

Actually, it gets better. On FB yesterday he cited as "very interesting" a series of ten small quakes in the state of Oregon. The series took place over 12 days, -- so an average of 0.83 per day. If you look at the annual average for Oregon, you find it's -- guess what? -- 0.8.

FAIL

Two Percent said...

OK, thanks. Couldn't have guessed that!

James Concannon said...

Actually, it gets better. On FB yesterday he cited as "very interesting" a series of ten small quakes in the state of Oregon. The series took place over 12 days, -- so an average of 0.83 per day. If you look at the annual average for Oregon, you find it's -- guess what? -- 0.8.

FAIL


At last we agree on something!

Dunno why he's not looking at Energy Released numbers (they MIGHT be more interesting), but I guess that would be like trying to teach a snail to fly...

Obviously, for some people, grand illusions are much more important than reality.

Thankfully, most actors realise that it's important to look credible.

I think the rest of us should be very grateful that we are not thus afflicted!

I am.

Actually, I don't know why you waste your time. He's doing a great job, all by himself. The only people he convinces won't be swayed by what you/we say anyway.

The densest matter usually sinks to the bottom, where the light don't shine.

And therein lies the biggest problem with democracy!

As clearly demonstrated by the 45th President... => Demofarcy

I guess this is all part of some process of evolution, just like earthquakes.

Speaking of which, do you have any explanation for the trend in Oklahoma? Wazzup, down there?

2%

James Concannon said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009%E2%80%9317_Oklahoma_earthquake_swarms