Something pretty cool has just happened over at that “2012 Comet” doomsday site (I won’t link to it, I can’t stomach sending any traffic to it, but here’s my Universe Today article about the subject).
I’ve had equal measures of praise and criticism for my most recent “No Doomsday in 2012″ article. Most of the praise came in the form of: “I’m really glad you addressed the 2012 comet scenario, those ads were p***ing me off!“. However, it did get criticised for chasing after a “small website” with “very little written on it” which “obviously confuses” what a comet is and what Planet X is.
However, this “small website” (which actually receives an awful lot more traffic than Astroengine.com), has decided to comment on my views on the subject. And you know what? I think it has enhanced their content ten-fold.
Here’s my reply…
I’ve probably received the most emails asking me about the 2012 comet scenario, and to be honest, I’ve found it hardest to explain. The critics were right, there was little information on the 2012 comet site, and only one piece of flimsy evidence was used to foretell an Earth-shattering comet (i.e. the “missing data” from a patch of Google Sky). So, why bother? Obviously it’s not something worth exposing, let alone argue against with real science… usually.
The one thing that makes this website (plus forum) different from the others is the sustained advertising campaign. I’ve never seen such a prolific Google ad, flooding any website that mentions the year 2012 or anything astronomical. Is it any wonder people are getting concerned about a comet impact in 2012 when they keep seeing a bad animation of a huge lump of ice smashing into Earth?
As I’ve addressed in previous articles (2012 Doomsday Fabrication: Abusing Science and Making Money), doomsday in 2012 is turning into a hype-mongering cash cow for unscrupulous authors trying to make fast money from people’s fear by using inaccurate science (and yes, publishing a website with lies about science fact is still not right — Internet traffic generates revenue). At this stage, I’m not talking about ancient prophecy, Nostradamus, Bible Codes or Mayan calendars, I’m focusing on doomsday scenarios that depend on scientific fabrication to give the impression of some kind of authority on the subject.
There is no comet approaching Earth, and there is no Google/NASA/Government cover-up. Case closed. I’ll leave the conclusions to my Universe Today article.
However, the 2012 comet website is apparently focused on the prediction from the Bible Code that a comet will hit Earth in 2012 (they even go so far as specifying December 21st, 2012), so we are pretty science-lite at this stage.
In reply to my article, a forum post is displayed on the front page saying, “You’ll notice that the [Universe Today] article barely mentions the Bible Codes and the writer did not even know that the 2012 Comet prediction came directly from the Bible Codes.” Actually, I did know that, but it doesn’t stop the website from citing the end of the Mayan calendar, Nostradamus’ prediction of World War III and Zecharia Sitchin’s Nibiru to “strengthen” their reasoning. The Bible Code is not a scientific analysis of the Torah, it is a glorified word-search puzzle. The reasons why the Bible Code is so hopelessly flawed deserves an entire article, but I’ll leave this little nugget of information that sums up my thoughts on the matter pretty well:
“[The Bible Code] book states that the codes in the Torah can be used to predict future events. This is absolutely unfounded. There is no scientific or mathematical basis for such a statement, and the reasoning used to come to such a conclusion in the book is logically flawed. While it is true that some historical events have been shown to be encoded in the Book of Genesis in certain configurations, it is absolutely not true that every similar configuration of “encoded” words necessarily represents a potential historical event. In fact, quite the opposite is true: most such configurations will be quite random and are expected to occur in any text of sufficient length. Mr. Drosnin states that his “prediction” of the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin is “proof” that the “Bible Code” can be used to predict the future. A single success, regardless of how spectacular, or even several such “successful” predictions proves absolutely nothing unless the predictions are made and evaluated under carefully controlled conditions. Any respectable scientist knows that “anecdotal” evidence never proves anything.” — Harold Gans, a retired Defense Department cryptologist, excerpt from The Skeptic’s Dictionary.
The rest of the arguments used for the evidence of an incoming comet are based purely on the belief that something will happen on 2012. There is no actual evidence cited, just prophecy. So, in some regards, this website isn’t quite as malicious as many of the doomsday publications that use scientific misinformation to fool people into believing their pet doomsday theory. But the 2012 comet website is still intended to make money by shouting as loud as possible (via Google ads) about their flawed beliefs. How can a forum have a balanced debate when the outcome of 2012 is already decided in the ads portraying a comet destroying Earth?
I have no problems with discussing 2012 concerns, but this site is still using fear to generate income via an irresponsible advertising campaign.
Hilariously, at the end of the doomsday comet website, the author summarizes: “Let’s pray that the Mayans & Nostradamus were wrong and nothing happens in 2012!” Hmmm. How about reading my “No Doomsday in 2012” articles? You might start feeling a little better… unfortunately, I don’t think the comet site is intended to make anyone feel better. Just so long as the Internet traffic keeps on coming…