The following hub will likely be a bit rant-y, let me apologize in advance for that fact however I hope that by the end of it you will understand why I treat this issue with some emotion. The issue at hand, if you've guessed from the title, is the purported Mayan Doomsday of 2012. Much like Y2K before it this coming apocalypse was supposedly predicted by nearly every civilization ever - or so I've been told. I've also been told that it was the Mayans who are primarily responsible. Well actually that isn't true at all. In fact pseudoscientists and new age con-artists are behind this phenomenon and they've used it to sell books, DVDs, and even multi-million dollar survival bunkers to those gullible enough to buy into this stuff.
The Persuasive Nature of Pseudoscience
In previous hubs I've talked about how pseudoscientists and conspiracy theorists often create webs of interrelated content to make their ideas seem more plausible. The human mind likes detail and likes correlations. If you can draw a line between the Bilderberg group and the Bohemian grove and then tie THAT to Baphomet, however incredibly tenuous the link, than the chances of someone pointing out the issues with any one piece of the web are rather small. Very few people who feed from pseudoscience do any real questioning of what they're told, unless they suspect the person telling it to them to be a government agent or part of the Zionist plot for world domination (or both).
2012 relies on this web of seemingly convincing ideas, because how could there be this much detail and this much thought put into something that's total BS right? Wrong. The Mayan Doomsday does everything right from a pseudoscientific perspective. For one thing it can come off as entirely scientifically sound. Pseudoscience does a great job at mimicking real science from a layman's perspective. The average layperson knows very little about quantum mechanics or even physics in general and even fewer understand what the hell is going on out in space. So presenting the idea of a planet on a bizarre orbit outside our planetary plane, or the idea that our planet will align with a black hole at the Galaxies center and get sucked in all sound plausible on the surface.
2012 can't rely entirely on bullshit science though, it also needs to draw from the ancients. Any good doomsday has to be backed by prophecy even if only very vaguely. The Mayan Calendar is the perfect candidate for this since almost no one in the general public knows how it works. It also gives the illusion that the Mayans were far more advanced at math than we are and, as we all know, New Agers and conspiracy theorists are obsessed with the ancients. After all its obvious that either Atlanteans or Aliens gave knowledge to the Mayans, I mean there's no way they could have been proficient at math on their own.
They then invoke the Mayan knowledge of the Heavens claiming that too was far better than our current understanding. Of course this is complete nonsense. The Mayans were not smarter than us when it comes to space. Ancient does not automatically equal wise. There is a fallacy at work in many new age ideas that somehow ancient and natural are ALWAYS better than technology, it's the reason homeopathy and new age medicine manage to seduce people and for some reason acupuncture and astrology are more reliable than modern medicine and astronomy. Now I don't want to pretend that modern is always better, certainly not, but we also shouldn't pretend that because the Mayans had a good grip on mathematics and the stars above that they could prophesy doom.
- Introduction Ask an Astrobiologist NASA Astrobiology
- Introduction Ask an Astrobiologist NASA Astrobiology
The unified web presence for the NASA Astrobiology Program which includes the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI), Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP), Astrobiology Science and Technology Instrument Development (ASTID) and
Choose the Form of the Destructor
One of the most annoying aspects of 2012 is the number of different competing hypotheses about what is going to destroy the world. Some say its a brown dwarf star either named Nibiru or Nemesis depending on who you talk to. The idea is that this star has apparently been hiding behind the sun OR has a very bizarre orbit that brings it near to the Earth only once every so and so number of years. In fact most of the ideas rely on data about cycles of mass extinction on Earth. It certainly is true that Earth has faced an awful lot of extinction events, in fact many argue we are in one right now known as the Holocene extinction (which has been happening for about 10,000 years). And that's the problem with these events, despite being portrayed as sudden events they are actually on going and take a great deal of time (from our perspective especially). So most extinctions in Earth's history do not fit into a neat little pattern and aren't necessarily sudden.
So if not a rogue sun what would bring about the destruction of life as we know it? Geomagnetic reversal aka a magnetic pole shift. There is a lot of confusion about this however few people realize that the magnetic pole is always shifting. It's currently moving toward Siberia at a decent pace. The chances of this creating any catastrophic affects are slim, nearly non-existent. Then there is the OTHER type of pole shift where the entire Earth actually spins on it's axis. I'm not sure how this is supposed to happen or how rapidly it would take place. Then there's the fact that it would take an immense amount of force to move the planet that much. The recent quake in Japan managed to move Earth a bit changing its axis by about a foot (25cm actually).
What about the idea that we'll be aligning with the Milky Way's massive black hole center? Well actually this one is true, the only issue is that this happens every year not just in 2012.
There are a myriad of other ideas about 2012, talk of alien invasions, crustal displacement (see the movie 2012), the Rapture, the Four Horsemen, etc.
When I get into a debate with a 2012 believer they often attempt to invoke the idea that they believe 2012 is not a doomsday but instead a day when all life on Earth will ascend to some higher spiritual plane. This is hardly a reason to continue perpetuating this 2012 nonsense. You don’t think that this “ascension” will be quite jarring? Do you really think that things will be business as usual? No, of course not! Why believe in it unless FUNDAMENTAL changes to the world are coming and as long as you are positing some fundamental change, good or bad, coming in 2012, you’d better back that up with some facts. Of course no one could ever back up new age spiritualist gobbledygook about reaching a higher plane with facts.
The truth of the matter is that NO ONE has any real justification to believe that 2012 is going to bring about doomsday or any sort of spiritual or even physical ascension. While I’m sure 2012, just like every year, will be filled with disasters and triumphs alike it will likely be no different from a typical year in human history. Unless you have evidence otherwise I suggest you keep things to yourself, and here is why:
Why 2012 Angers Me
There’s a reason why I refuse to be gentle and polite about the whole 2012 thing and that is the amount of blood that could be on the hands of the people who spread this stuff. I understand that many 2012 proponents actually have good intentions however that is hardly an excuse to perpetuate panic and fear in the name of something you have no good reason to believe. I watched a lecture once by a NASA scientist named David Morrison, while he had a fairly easy time debunking the claims of 2012 believers he also showed emails that he’d received from panicked fearful citizens. Some even said they would take drastic measures and possibly kill themselves AND THEIR FAMILIES to avoid the agony of dying in 2012. If you think this 2012 thing is harmless pseudoscience THINK AGAIN.
Yes, there are people out there considering killing themselves because some con-job morons wanted to make a quick buck off the gullible. Most pseudoscience is entirely harmless, nobody is out there killing themselves over Bigfoot or Nessie, at least I hope not but this 2012 thing is not. Not only are people being driven to suicide but there are other serious consequences. Some have spent thousands or even millions on doomsday bunkers stocked with food specifically for 2012. It’s not just survivalists who do this stuff as a hobby or people who just want one just in case there are people being sold bunkers specifically for 2012 purposes. And how much panic and emotional stress has all this hysteria created? All so that some con-men could make a quick buck. That is why I hate to see well-intentioned otherwise intelligent individuals defend 2012, they are perpetuating the madness started by these snake oil salesmen.
- FORA.tv - David Morrison: Surviving 2012 and Other Cosmic Disasters
Dr. David Morrison is the Director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute and Senior Scientist for Astrobiology at the NASA Ames Research Center. He holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard. Here he debunks 2012 and talks about the emails he gets.
Who is to Blame?
It isn’t just pseudoscientists who are to blame, the media also should carry with it a great deal of the guilt for allowing this 2012 thing to gain prevalence. History Channel in particular seemed to relish showing shows about 2012 and Nostradamus rather than real History. Many other supposedly fact-based networks also turned to 2012 for ratings airing sensationalized programs that never focused on debunking the nonsense of 2012 and always left an open door where it might be true. While I can look the other way for programs about Nazi UFOs and hunting down Sasquatch I draw the line at stirring up panic about the Mayan prophecy as if it held any merit whatsoever because THEY ARE HURTING PEOPLE.
Your beliefs are perfectly fine until they start doing real harm to people. Those who started this craze, especially those who made profit from it, should truly be ashamed of themselves. If you’ve been misled don’t feel bad, so have a great many others.
I used to think that come December 22nd 2012 I was going to throw a party as an insult to all the people who believed the world was going to end, until I realized that real financial and possibly physical harm was being done by this belief. The only thing tragic come 2012 will be the number of people that have been misled and subjected to emotional duress and those so worked up by these heartless charlatans that they hurt themselves and others. I used to think 2012 was a joke... but now I’m not laughing.