I’ve been busy compiling two new articles about the 2012 doomsday scenario. This time I’ve investigated why Planet X is not the same thing as the Sumerian planet “Nibiru”, and why a “killer solar flare” will not be possible in the year 2012. This brings the 2012 series up to its fourth edition, and the feedback has been very interesting. Probably the most important thing I want to emphasise about this whole 2012 prophecy stuff is that I am not trying to stamp on anyone’s beliefs. There are many reasons why 2012 may hold significant spiritual or religious meaning, and I am not disputing this in any way. I want to present the science facts, not the science “facts” that seem to overwhelm many of the end of the world scenarios. Alas, I suspect that I’m fighting a losing battle. I got it wrong, debunking the doomsayers who are doing this for financial gain are not concerned whether their evidence adds up, they are using one tool that I cannot influence. Fear.
Sometimes I feel as if I’m beating a dead horse. When planning the next 2012 article, I think “aren’t people getting a little tired of this?“, but then I scan the web to find another 2012 doomsday video on YouTube, another blog talking about the end of the world in four years time. Each one draws on the hysteria behind the possibility of mass death and destruction.
So I feel motivated again, I suddenly want to counter-argue these outrageous claims. This is why I posted two articles in quick succession in the last few days, one about Planet X (again) and another about a flare the Sun could never generate.
At the end of most doomsday trails there’s usually book for sale. In principal I have no problem with a publication based on factual claims (they don’t even need to be scientific), but when science is being moulded to fit in with doomsayers beliefs, that is when I feel anger. Fair enough, tell us why the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world, tell us why the ancient Chinese foretold our fate, even pull out the Bible and tell us why the book of Revelation is “right on” (after all, the Bible talks about the “Great Flood”, why not predict the “Great Fire”?). All this I have no problem with, as long as it is based on facts.
Personally, I don’t believe it, and I don’t believe in prophecies predicting the future with any accuracy (prophets, after all, kept their predictions general, leaving us to fill in the details after the event). But these are my beliefs and opinion, I’m not going to go out of my way to prove, with science, that the Bible is wrong, that the Mayans didn’t have a clue, this would be me stamping on ground that shouldn’t be touched unless I were some expert in archaeology or mythology (all very fine and very interesting fields I might add).
So, when the likes of Marshall Masters compiles the complete works of the 2012 Planet X scenario in a series of videos and a book entitled “Surviving 2012 and Planet X,” is it little wonder people might be a little uptight. After all, this guy is a former CNN science feature producer; surely he checks the facts behind his publications? Unfortunately, all his years immersed in science didn’t teach him to verify the facts he claims to have such authority over. For more information on this, see “2012: No Planet X” and make a note on why the 1983 and 1992 “discoveries” cannot be the same thing (and this is just using the evidence Masters provides in his articulate rendition of the Planet X conspiracy!).
In response to this example (and others), I try to pull up the scientific reasoning behind all this hype. “Reasoning” is the operative word. It’s usually a case of grabbing at any science study that might fit and cannibalizing it to re-enforce a very bizarre theory.
So why do these Doomsday theories have such stamina? Surely people can see through the hype by now? Actually, this can be hard. On watching a History Channel documentary about the 2012 prophecies, I could see why people might be worried. Being from the UK, I haven’t experienced US docs quite like this. Between the powerful (and a little frightening) theme tunes, bright imagery and atmospheric cross fades of actors dressed as Nostradamus and ancient Chinese philosophers, this documentary felt more like a blockbuster movie than anything factual. I found myself thinking, “hold on, they might have something here, perhaps the world is going to end! What a fool I’ve been!”, but I quickly recovered and realised that is the power of these prophecies: Fear.
No amount of science articles or reasoning or logic can fight off the air of fear that surrounds the question “What if?” Doomsayers will continue to use this powerful ally to argue 2012 is the end, they will also use it to argue that 2013, 2020, 2030, and the year 3000 will be the end of life as we know it. And the worst thing is, the guys at the end of the doomsday trail will still be making money from book sales and there won’t be a thing science can do about it…