Apparently the world is ending on Friday. But don’t quit your job yet, because every reason given for the apocalypse is ridiculous. Here are 10 reasons why we can still make plans for the weekend.
1) There is no evidence that the end of the Mayan’s calendar should be associated with their apocalypse mythology. According to cultural experts, the end of this calendar cycle would be the same as Dec. 31 on our (Gregorian) calendar – we have to buy a new calendar at the mall, not live in a bunker. (Picture: Evidence that 2013 will occur.)
2) There is no reason to trust the Mayans about anything. If we disregard their impressive building techniques, mathematics, and population, we see that the Mayan cultural beliefs were arcane and frequently wrong.
3) There is no “rogue planet”. If a planet was on an irregular, interstellar orbit, our own orbits would be demonstrably irregular, too. Based on our own orbit, and that of our moon and neighbor planets, nothing could have disturbed our orbit pattern in at least one million years. There is no evidence that our orbit has ever been tampered with.
4) There is no “Nibiru”. Some new-age groups claimed that a rogue planet named Nibiru would collide with Earth back in 2003. When it never materialized, they watched a few movies and backed the date to 2012. If a planet entered our solar system, we would know about it. If it was going to collide with Earth in four days, we would see it in the sky. Look up.
5) There is no “Planet X.” Planet X is what astronomers call undiscovered planets that they are looking for; even the name proves that this allegedly dangerous planet has not yet been observed in any way.
6) Earth will not collide with the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The black hole is an estimated 28,000 light years from the Sun, so we would probably notice if we were to be there in four days.
7) There will be no special planetary alignment. These alignments do actually happen, by the way, but astronomers can predict them years beforehand. Also, they have no apparent effect on the Earth. They do not cause blackouts or spiritual renewals.
8) Solar flares occur regularly and cycle through periods of unusual strength. The next strong cycle is predicted for 2014. Also, no massive meteors are predicted for 2012.
9) New Age folks who popularize these myths have been walking back their claims with language of a “Spiritual Apocalypse” or a “Cosmic Awakening.” Whatever that means, you will still have work on Monday.
10) The world did end for nearly 30 innocent people at Sandy Hook Elementary last Friday . Their families and friends may feel like their worlds ended too, but their grief will continue into the new Mayan calendar. You can help them here.
Apocalypse myths are popular forms of escapism. They can be fun, healthy ways to gain perspective on our daily routines. But if you have stocked up on duct tape and MREs then you are trading your emotional stability for emotional insecurity and giving your money to the liars who feed on paranoia. Get out of the bunker – physical or emotional – and live your life.