Doomsday 2012 Fact Sheet: Flawed
The source of the disinformation (once again) is David Morrison from NASA. Over at the SETI Institute is a 2012 Doomsday Fact Sheet. I’ve reproduced it in full, with my more expert opinion in red:
There is widespread and unnecessary fear of doomsday on December 21, 2012. Some people worry about a Maya prophesy of the end of the world, others fear a variety of astronomical threats such as collision with a rogue planet. Opinion polls suggest that one in ten Americans worry about whether they will survive past Dec 21 of this year, and middle-school teachers everywhere report that many of their students are fearful of a coming apocalypse. Following are brief facts that address these doomsday fears.
Mayan Calendar: The Maya calendar, which is made up different cycles of day counts, does not end this year. Rather, one cycle of 144,000 days (394 years) ends and the next cycle begins. MISLEADING: It is a 25,000 year cycle that ends this year, then begins again. By saying 394 years, he suggests that the last end of cycle was 1618, when nothing terrible happened. It’s like telling someone that New Year’s Eve happens every month.
Mayan Prophecy: The ancient Maya did not predict the end of the world or any disaster in December 2012. Such doomsday predictions are a modern hoax. OPINION, NOT FACT. There is plenty to suggest they thought Dec 2012 would be tragic. Given that thousands of their books were burned, and only four survived, it is quite likely that what they really believed went up in smoke – that doesn’t mean they never believed it. The Popol Vuh certainly says that the last three times the Long Count ended, gods destroyed humans. So a fair assumption would be that they expected the same for this year. The Aztecs, who inherited the Mayan calendars, carved their catastrophic prediction for this year in their famous Sun Stone.
Planet Nibiru: Nibiru is probably the minor name of a god found in ancient Mesopotamian writing. There is no planet named Nibiru, and the fictional books by economist Zecharia Sitchin about a civilization on this planet are a hoax.
Rogue Planet Headed for Earth. For the past decade there have been reports of a rogue object (Planet X, or Nibiru, or Hercubolus, or even Comet Elenin) that will collide with Earth in December 2012. These claims are not true. If such a threatening world existed, it would be one of the brightest objects in the sky, and astronomers would have been tracking it for years. If it existed, its gravity would be distorting the orbits of planets, especially Mars and Earth. Astronomers know that it does not exist.
Planet Alignments: There is no alignment of planets in Dec 2012. There is an approximate lining up of the Earth and Sun and the center of our Galaxy in late December, but this happens every year. In any case, planet alignments have no effect on the Earth. BAIT AND SWITCH. No half-decent 2012 researcher has suggested a planetary alignment, because there isn’t one, and that’s a fact. Debunkers keep bringing this up, but never cite their source because there isn’t one. He then says there is a galactic alignment, but planetary alignments are harmless. The planetary alignment does happen every year recently, but it is unique to our era. It won’t be aligned 100 years from now.
Pole Shift: There is nothing strange this year about either the magnetic poles or the rotational poles of the Earth. The magnetic polarity changes every million years or so, but that is not happening now, and it probably takes thousands of years when it does happen. A sudden change in the rotational axis has never happened and is not possible. If there were any change in the Earth’s rotation, it would be instantly apparent by failure of our GPS systems. CHANGING TUNE. For years now NASA has categorically stated that magnetic pole shifts take thousands of years, ignoring multiple orthodox studies suggesting it could be as quick as one year. Now Morrison says probably takes thousands of years.
Increasing Disasters. Our planet is behaving normally in 2012, although we see more and more news stories about natural disasters. There has been no increase in earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. There has been an increase in extreme weather, including both droughts and floods, which are partly attributable to global warming, but this has nothing to do with a 2012 doomsday.
Solar Outbursts: The Sun’s ongoing 11-year activity cycle is expected to peak in 2013, not 2012. Solar outbursts (flares and CMEs) can damage orbiting satellites but will not hurt us on the surface. The strength of the 2013 solar maximum is predicted to be lower than average, not higher. WRONG and MISLEADING. Solar outbursts won’t affect us biologically, but they can easily destroy our power grids, and to millions that would be harmful. Also, even though a massive solar event is more likely at the peak of the cycle, the Carrington Event occurred at the solar minimum, so any talk of the strength of the maximum is disinformation.
Bunker Conspiracy: Accusations of a massive government cover-up are nonsense. No government could hide an incoming planet or silence hundreds of thousands of scientists. Rumors that huge bunkers have been built in the U.S. or elsewhere to shelter the elite are lies. Apparently a few people are building private shelters, but their fear of 2012 is misplaced and they are wasting their money. PARTIAL LIE. Very large bunkers exist in multiple countries to protect our leaders. Mount Yamantau can hold tens of thousands of people, and it is pretty much accepted as factual. But yeah, a lot of the stories regarding bunkers for the elite are not true.
Scaring Children: The group most vulnerable to doomsday claims is children. Teachers report that many of their students are frightened and some are even considering suicide. This is the most tragic consequence of the 2012 hoax. YES and NO. Some children are deeply concerned, but the number of suicides are very small, and tiny compared to all teen suicides. Whether it is communists, nuclear war, global warming or 2012 – many teens always worry deeply about something.
The End of the World: The idea of the sudden end of the world by any cause is absurd. The Earth has been here for more than 4 billion years, and it will be several more billion years before the gradual brightening of the Sun makes our planet unlivable. Meanwhile there is no known astronomical or geological threat that could destroy the Earth. MISLEADING. True doomsday experts and survivalists are careful to call it The End Of The World As We Know It. Nobody suggests the planet is in danger – just humans.
Cosmophobia: Many young people write to me that they are scared of astronomy. When they read about some new discovery, the first thing they think is that it might hurt them, even if it is happening in a distant galaxy. There is no reason for such fears, which I call cosmophobia (fear of the universe). This rash of concern seems to be the result of too many conspiracy theories and sensational stories featured on the Internet and irresponsible news outlets. Astronomical objects are so distant that they cannot threaten the Earth. Please don’t be afraid of the Sun or the planets or comets or asteroids. The universe is not your enemy. EMBARRASSINGLY WRONG. What he should say is that while the Sun, asteroids and comets have caused major catastrophes on Earth, and certainly will again, the odds of them happening in this lifetime is tiny. It is concerning that a “senior NASA scientist” believes that a comet or asteroid cannot harm us.