March 30, 2011

Quacks and Quakes - Fox News Earthquake "Expert" Exposed as Crank


USGS Hourly Global Earthquake Tracker:  Click here


                                                                                                As of March 30, 2011

Quacks and Quakes by Donald Prothero, Skeptic, March 30, 2011.  Also see Prothero's Quakes and Fakes where he discusses the geophysical and gelogical details of the March 11 earthquake in Japan and the misinformation and myths about it, including that of the "end-of-the-world" doomsayers.

In "Quacks and Quakes" author and widely respected geologist and palaeontologist Donald R. Prothero exposes one of Fox News' "experts," Jim Berkland, and Berkland's pseudo-science for predicting earthquakes.  Berkland called for the "Big One" in California between March 19-26 during the "Supermoon".  Didn't happen.  Berkland hasn't been back on Fox.

Prothero's latest book, Catastrophes!:  Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Tornadoes, and other Earth-Shattering Disasters, published earlier this month, presents the facts and science of these natural disasters.

With all the misinformation and pseudo-science being presented as fact regarding the March 11 disaster in Japan, it might be a good time to remind ourselves of why people seem so prone to believe such unreasonable claims.  Michael Shermer presents a pretty good take on the reasons in his book Why People Believe Weird Things:  Pseudoscience, Superstition and Other Confusions of our Time (2002).

NOTE:  I have referred to the work of Prothero in earlier posts for evidence supporting evolutionary theory:  Evolution:  What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters, illustrated by Carl Buell (2007).

From Skeptic, March 30, 2011:  DR. DONALD R. PROTHERO is Professor of Geology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He earned M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in geological sciences from Columbia University in 1982, and a B.A. in geology and biology (highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of California, Riverside. He is currently the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of 25 books and over 250 scientific papers, including five leading geology textbooks and three trade books as well as edited symposium volumes and other technical works. He is on the editorial board of Skeptic magazine, and in the past has served as an associate or technical editor for Geology, Paleobiology and Journal of Paleontology. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Paleontological Society, and the Linnaean Society of London, and has also received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Science Foundation. He has served as the Vice President of the Pacific Section of SEPM (Society of Sedimentary Geology), and five years as the Program Chair for the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. In 1991, he received the Schuchert Award of the Paleontological Society for the outstanding paleontologist under the age of 40. He has also been featured on several television documentaries, including episodes of Paleoworld (BBC), Prehistoric Monsters Revealed (History Channel), Entelodon and Hyaenodon (National Geographic Channel) and Walking with Prehistoric Beasts (BBC).


Anonymous said...

Hmmm for some reason only half the post can be seen. I tried reloading but still same.

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Jim Lassiter said...

Sorry, Gizosafe. Thanks for your interest. I opened the post and found it all there. I also checked the links found in it and they worked. If you still can't access it, let me know and I'll send it to you via email: Please let me know if you have trouble accessing any other of my posts. Jim

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