No doubt about it, 2012 and doomsday prophecies are big nowadays. According to the Mayan calendar, the world as we know it will end sometime around December 21st, 2012. Of course, if it doesn’t, that won’t mean we’ll be out of the woods. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ may return at any moment to destroy the armies of the Antichrist and reestablish his throne in Jerusalem, thereby ushering in a thousand years of peace. And if that doesn’t occur, there’s always the chance that the Mahdi will arise to institute a kingdom of justice and, alongside the returned Isa Al-Maseeh (Jesus), will fight against the Dajjal, the Antichrist of Islam. Then, of course, there’s always the chance that—at least according to the Hopi Indians—a blue star will suddenly appear in the sky to signal the start of a great atomic war which will destroy the white man and other ancient races.
Sounds like there’s quite a few ways we might catch it, but what are the chances that any of these things might actually happen? Of course, there is no way to prove that something won’t happen, but below are the top ten reasons why one would be ill-advised to believe the end is coming in 2012 or any other time soon.
10. Because a reversal of the magnetic poles would not be catastrophic.
It seems that every few hundred thousand years or so, the Earth’s magnetic field dwindles to practically nothing and then gradually reappears with the north and south poles flipped. Now this flipping of the magnetic poles—which appears to have last happened about 780,000 years ago—isn’t particularly dangerous, but this brief period—about a century or so in duration—of decreased magnetic fields could threaten life on the planet, for without magnetic protection, particle storms and cosmic rays from the sun, as well as even more energetic subatomic particles from deep space, would strike Earth’s atmosphere, eroding the already beleaguered ozone layer and causing all sorts of problems to both man and beast (especially among those creatures that navigate by magnetic reckoning). Further, scientists estimate that we are overdue for such an event and have also noticed that the strength of our magnetic field has decreased about 5 percent in the past century, possibly signaling that such an event may be in our immediate future—within a few centuries if not sooner. However, in being so gradual, should scientists in the future discover that such a shift is in the works, there should be plenty of time to take the necessary precautions to avoid the most destructive effects by moving underground or off planet, or perhaps strengthening the planet’s atmospheric defenses through the use of exotic, futuristic technologies. In any case, it isn’t something we need to worry about in the short term—though it could be a concern for those living a few hundred or even thousands of years from now.
9. An increase in sunspot activity in 2012 will not have any particularly detrimental effect on the planet.
As every schoolchild knows, our sun is constantly shooting gaseous plumes of white hot plasma thousands of miles into space which our atmosphere generously shields us from. Sometimes these plumes are much larger than normal, however, and are what we refer to as solar flares (more properly known as coronal mass ejections). Fortunately, these enormous magnetic outbursts that bombard Earth with a torrent of high-speed subatomic particles are also largely negated by the planet’s atmosphere and magnetic field, so we seldom feel the effects of these plasmic bursts, beyond creating havoc for ham-radio users and increasing the luminosity of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. They are of concern mainly to space explorers, who really would have a problem if they are caught in orbit without suitable shelter when one of these things go off. The sun goes through a natural twenty-two year cycle when such storms increase significantly for a time before decreasing again. Such a period is scheduled to occur in 2012, which has some folks all atwitter. For those who are expecting the worst, it might be beneficial to realize that the sun reached similar period of solar activity in 1990, 1968, 1946, and it will again in 2034, 2056 and 2078. While these periods can produce large solar flares that can effect satellite communications and, in a worst-case scenario, adversely affect the flow of electrical energy through the power grids, it is unlikely to do more than produce some especially spectacular light shows in the northern skies and make people onboard the International Space Station a little nervous.
8. Because the poles cannot shift or the planet’s orbit be otherwise altered.
Some well-meaning but scientifically challenged individuals maintain that the planet’s physical poles are on the verge of reversing (that is, the planet is flipping over onto its top) or that gravitational forces from the other planets or from the galaxy itself could affect Earth’s orbit and, hence, dramatically alter its climate and environment. Fortunately, however, the gravitational forces that effect our planet and its place in the solar system are mandated by Newton’s laws of planetary mechanics and cannot be changed without some extremely rare (think one chance in ten billion over the next three billion years) and dramatic event taking place—such as a collision with a small moon or a massive black hole making its way through the solar system, both of which would be noted well in advance or whose effect would be so gradual as to take centuries to have any great impact. As far as we know, there are no such cosmic events known to be on the horizon—at least for the foreseeable future (and well beyond 2012).
7. Because Earth climate change is a gradual process and one easily adapted to.
Some take a more hand-on approach to the end, claiming that humanity will perish as a result of human-caused weather changes, which, it is claimed, will melt the polar ice caps, raise the ocean sea levels, and change weather patterns over large portions of the planet. Even if the science holds together, however—which many claim it does not—such a process would be felt over a period of years or even decades, giving human beings time to adapt to the changes (relocate, create shoreline reclamation technologies, etc.) It is even possible that a warmer planet might ultimately be beneficial by, for example, increasing arable land in Siberia and North America as the permafrost layer retreats northward. In any case, the year 2012 has no particular significance in regards to any Earth changes that may occur over the next few decades.
6. Because the people who suggest the end is coming don’t know what they’re talking about.
Unfortunately, human beings have a tendency to invest great authority in people who can convince them they are prophecy “experts” or have some sort of hidden knowledge others do not possess that allows them to read the future. Many of these people are sincere individuals who simply misinterpret ancient bible texts, while others are deluded crazies who only want to include others in their fantasy world. A few are even unscrupulous charlatans out to make a quick buck. The bottom line is, however, that nobody really knows what the future holds regardless of who they are or what methodology they use. There simply is no evidence that anyone has ever successfully prophesied some future event (beyond some short-term political or military events easily surmised by gauging current international trends) with anything approaching clarity or accuracy.
5. Because the Bible Code is a parlor trick.
Using a complex type of cryptographic code called Equidistant Letter Sequencing (ELS), journalist Michael Drosnin, author of The Bible Code, contends that one can find meaningful and related patterns of words and dates in close proximity to each other within the words of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament and the heart of the Jewish Torah) which would seem to go beyond mere chance. One of these, he says, suggests the planet will be struck by a comet in 2012, with all the unfortunate consequences that would entail. However, critics dismiss Drosnin’s methodology as little more than a parlor trick, demonstrating that meaningful words and phrases can be produced using his method on any similar sized manuscript. For example, Australian mathematician Brendan McKay, an ardent critic of Drosnin’s process, demonstrated that a computer search of Herman Melville’s nineteenth century classic Moby Dick found a number of meaningful phrases in close proximity to each other (specifically having to do with the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995), suggesting that just as the eyes can be tricked into seeing familiar faces in random patterns of light and shadow, so too can the mind be tricked into finding meaningful phrases in random collections of letters where none exists. And if that’s not enough, Drosnin has been proven wrong about other “significant events” he claims were contained in the Bible, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
4. Because the Earth isn’t that easy to destroy.
Sure, there are things that could do the planet in, but Earth is a lot hardier a place than many give it credit for. After all, it’s been here for four billion years now, had its clock repeated cleaned by asteroids and comets, endured climactic changes of biblical proportions, and even survived a collision with another planet that created our own moon, and yet it keeps on ticking. And you think a few melting ice caps and puny nuclear weapons are going to do it in? Please…
3. Because doomsday prophecies have consistently been proven wrong.
Literally hundreds of dates have been picked by various religious leaders and self-proclaimed prophets over the last two thousand years as being the end of the world and not a one of them has ever even come close to being accurate. So why do we believe these same people today when they tell us the end is coming in 2012 (or whenever they imagine it to be coming)? Listen, you wouldn’t believe your doctor if it has been repeatedly demonstrated that he has never once correctly diagnosed a patient, so why give these guys the benefit of a doubt?
2. Because Nostradamus never picked 2012 as the end date.
It has been popularly believed that Nostradamus, the famous sixteenth century French mystic, suggested the end would come in 2012, perfectly coinciding with the Mayan date, which, if true, would be very spooky indeed. However, in reading through Nostradamus’ many quatrains, nowhere does he specifically mention the year 2012 or even suggest that the end would come around that time. In fact, his predictions extend all the way to the year 3797, making it seem we have some time yet before the end is nigh. Additionally, his writings are so obscure as to make any interpretation little better than a guess. Most of them are likely referring to events that took place in his lifetime, with the rest being so vague that they can be made to fit any time frame the reader so desires.
1. Because the Mayans never claimed it would.
The Mayans had many calendars they used, one of which was known as the “long count” calendar, which measures very long periods of time. According to this calendar (which has been known to archeologists for decades, by the way) the Earth’s “fifth sun” would end at the Winter solstice, December 21, 2012, at which point a new, sixth 5,125-year cycle would begin. What significance this had to the Mayans is a source of some debate, but it is the general consensus that they did not attribute to it any catastrophic events. Most likely, they simply considered it a time for spiritual renewal or introspection, which doesn’t sound all that dangerous to me. The teaching that the Mayan’s believed it was the end of time, then, appears to be a largely westernized misreading (or deliberate misrepresentation) of the significance of the Mayan calendar and Mayan beliefs associated with it.
By J. Allan Danelek
J. Allan Danelek is a Lakewood, Colorado author who writes and talks extensively on subjects having to do with the paranormal and alternative science. His most recent book from Llewellyn Worldwide, 2012: Extinction or Utopia, deals in some detail with the entire 2012 controversy and the issue of doomsday prophecy in general, and is a must read for anyone desiring to get some sort of objective balance on the entire subject. His book can be ordered—and the author contacted—through his website at www.ourcuriousworld.com.