On Bryce’s Mind
In six days the world is supposedly going to end, if you believe the hype.
Why six days? If you go by the Mayan Long Count Calendar, December 21, 2012 is supposed to be the end of the 13th b’ak’tun (a b’ak’tun is a period of 144,000 days, or about 394 years). And doomsday theorists have predicted a whole gamut of bad things that could possibly happen that day including a planetary alignment with the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy (also called Sagittarius A), a sudden polar shift, nuclear war, that we will pass by or hit “Planet X”, that massive solar storms will hit us, that Betelgeuse (a red giant star) will go nova, and even aliens invading.
There are reasons that people can be skeptical of predictions of an impending apocalypse. My generation and others have gone through several that have passed.
Former Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping tried to predict the end of the world on three separate occasions based on numerology and the Bible. He first predicted it would happen in September 1994. Then he predicted the Rapture would happen on May 21, 2011 with the end happening on October 21. Then, when May 21 passed, he then said that both the Rapture and the end would happen on October 21, 2011. Camping has since retired, but plays a role at Family Radio, a California-based radio station group.
And let’s not forget Y2K. People thought there would be catastrophic technological failures because in a two-digit year system, 00 would be interpreted as 1900 instead of 2000.
In the 2000’s alone there were several predictions of an apocalypse, and they passed, although a few didn’t pass without incident.
And there have been countless other predictions that have passed before. There are predictions for the end going into the 22nd and 23rd centuries, after our lifetimes, and even millions, billions and trillions of years from now, way beyond our lifetimes, when scientists have predicted a shortage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere making the planet uninhabitable, the Earth getting really hot, no thanks in part to the sun becoming a red giant, and the universe going through heat death (a loss of what is called thermodynamic energy and an ability to sustain life).
People need to stop predicting when the world will supposedly end. It creates unnecessary panic in the lead up, and negative emotions when the prediction passes. If the world were to end tomorrow, chances are there would be nothing you nor I could do to stop it from ending.
That said, there may be something in this column next week. Hopefully someone reads it.
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