OMG!!! The World is Going to END!

Over the course of my life, I’ve seen any number of doomsday predictions.   The year 2000 was supposed to be a major disaster with the collapse of the world’s computing infrastructure leading to financial ruin, massive social collapse, starvation, plagues,  etc.  Various religious groups latched onto prophecies made either in their religious books or by others to proclaim that the world was coming to an end.  Which it didn’t.

When it didn’t, which is what happens on a regular basis with end-of-the-world predictions,  most people just shrugged and moved on.  Others came up with new doomsday scenarios and times.  Yes, any moment now, a big asteroid or comet was going to smack into the Earth and wipe everything out.  Oh, wait, the Mayan’s calendar ends in 2012, which means the end of the world!  They predicted it!  There’s going to be massive supernova which will cause two suns to appear in the sky!   Or it will be the supervolcano erupting! The Rapture will happen! Obviously that means the world will end in 2012!  Because something will happen then to end the world!

The reality?  Well, that’s not as exciting.  The Mayan calendar does end a “long count” cycle in 2012.  Which starts a new cycle.  It’s not the end of the world, it’s simply the ending of one calendar cycle and the beginning of another.   Meteors hit Earth every day, but ones big enough to wipe out most of the planet?  Not very likely anytime soon.   Yellowstone is a supervolcano (really), and eventually will erupt, but not anytime soon – as we figure “soon.”  Betelgeuse is going to go supernova sometime, but it won’t be a “second sun.”  It’ll be a very, very bright star, a little brighter than Venus.   As to the “rapture?”  Well, no one is really sure if there’s going to be one, and the same Bible that mentions it also says that you won’t know when it’s going to happen.  If, that is, you’re one of the ones who are Christian, that is.

Doomsday scenarios, and the prediction of the imminent end of the world, have been around for centuries, and somehow the world keeps going right along.  It doesn’t mean that any of those things couldn’t happen, in fact, some of them will.   The “odds” approach certainty that Yellowstone will erupt, a large meteor or comet will strike earth, that Betelgeuse will go supernova, and so on – over the course of several million years.  The odds of it happening in a specific year are very low.   In a billion or two years, the Sun will start to expand to a red giant, basically vaporizing the planet, although it’ll be baked lifeless before that point.  So yes, the world is going to end.   Just don’t bet on 2012.

That isn’t to say that there might not be a point to the predictions.  After all, one sure sign of an impending apocalypse has been seen:  Duke Nukem Forever is being released.  Oh lord, we’re doomed!



Filed under Humor, Science

14 responses to “OMG!!! The World is Going to END!

  1. sjterrid

    Very funny!

  2. Beware! The world is about to BEGIN!

    Dammit. Late again.

  3. Liberal Librarian

    I just want to know when programs about the world’s future doom became appropriate fodder for the “History” Channel. I much preferred them when they were the WWII-all-the-time Channel.

    • I’ve noticed a lot of divergence in the cable channels from their original purpose over the years. 🙄 The Learning Channel is now geared towards motorcycles, History Channel goes off into never-never land, and so on. I remember when they actually were about … their subjects. (sigh)

  4. Aquagranny911

    Good one, Kiddo! (love the science cat)

    I was living in the deep rural South in 1999. So many were convinced of the emanate collapse of all social order on Jan 1,2000 that a lot of churches were stock piling food, water, etc. for their members. This actually turned out to be a good thing. When Katrina hit NOLA some of these churches were able to provide blankets, clothing, foods and water to the victims. Good can come out of ‘crazy’ sometimes.

  5. mem from somerville

    The best explanation I ever heard for the appeal of these scenarios was that people who are not happy in the current system think that if this happens they get another chance, and will end up king in the new system some how. Or at least at a new rung in the pecking order.

    That said, I do wish the Rapture would come and take those nutbags away. We could then move forward with science and governing.

    • It’s a good explanation. One of the better observations I ever saw about the survivalists was that they weren’t setting themselves up to survive, they were making themselves targets. After all, when you have a large horde of desperate people, that guy with the nice place, tons of food and ammo makes a convenient warehouse…

  6. lockewasright

    For how many millennia must people be warned that the end is near before they damn well believe it?!

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