The Sciences

Earthquake/Eruption Predictions Revisited and a Challenge

Rocky Planet iconRocky PlanetBy Erik KlemettiApr 23, 2012 3:30 PM


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So, if you missed my post about the fallacy of supposed earthquake and eruption predictions, you should definitely check it out, especially the comments section. Quite a number of supporters and authors of these predictions made appearances disparaging my take on their game of shadows. In an attempt to make this clear, I offer this challenge to anyone who claims they can predict earthquakes and eruptions: show it to us. If you send me your methodology clearly laid out, the data you've used to make the predictions, a complete record of the so-called hits and the (many) misses, and an assessment of the mechanisms and potential error in your methods, I will offer it to colleagues in the geologic community who will review your prediction method. I challenge you to support your claims by letting others seeing how your "predictions" work, in the light of day for all to see. This is how science works! You make an observation, hypothesize about the mechanisms involved, you collect data to see if your hypothesis is correct, modify the hypothesis if the data says you are wrong and then offer the hypothesis and data to the community for it to be reproduced. If the community can reproduce your data, then your hypothesis may become a theory - or your hypothesis might be shown to be wrong and require more study. Scientific knowledge is a fluid thing, based on our understanding - and it is this fluidity that allows science to progress. Anyone who says that just because a theory is disproven, then all science is wrong. It is not how it works. This is not to say that anything can occur and every hypothesis can be true. Without the sufficient support in the data, a hypothesis is merely an idea. However, merely stating that you are right is not science as it lacks the rigor needed to show that your methods and hypothesis truly work. In order for the scientific community to believe your "predictions", you need to offer up all of your methods and results for everyone to see and evaluate. If you don't, you don't have a leg to stand on in regards to scientific validity. Listen, I am as open as anyone to new ideas in science - I love the idea that there is a more in the universe than I can ever hope to understand and know. However, as a scientist, I need to be shown that the data supports the hypothesis ... and the more extreme your conjecture, the more robust your correlations need to be to really be seen as causation. If you want to claim that coronal holes or asteroids are triggering earthquakes and eruptions, you need to show a strong correlations between these events and geologic events. If that doesn't exist, you need to explain why with evidence or you need to admit that your are just making things up. If the scientific method and the rigor of review shows that your data, methods and conclusions follow your hypothesis, then I congratulate you and will happily add it to my current understanding of how the Universe works. Until then, you're merely espousing wild theories that rely more on belief and tricks than science.

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