2012 and all that crap
I had fooled myself into thinking that the December 21, 2012 end-times nonsense had faded away - that most people are rational enough to realize that the end date on a calendar developed by a long-collapsed civilization signifies nothing. But I was wrong. 2012 seems be getting more and more attention again.
We have an upcoming apocalyptic movie coming out - 2012: The Movie - and probably advance publicity for the film is feeding the believers. But what do those believers really believe? There is no coherence to their end of days prediction other than the idea the Mayan calendar reaches an end on that date. According to an article in the September 2009 Playboy, those who buy into Dec. 21, 2012 include "survivalists, conspiracy theorists, alternative religion seekers, former military officers, UFO buffs, hard-core Bible thumpers, ordinary housewives who, post-Katrina, don't trust the government to save their loved ones." OK - I'll buy into the idea that Hurricane Katrina proved you can't trust the government to act promptly in case of a disaster, but none of it justifies thinking that the end of the Mayan calendar predicts anything about the end of the world.
But what about the Mayan Prophecy, you might ask. What Mayan Prophecy? There is no Mayan Prophecy. Their roughly 5,000 year calendar simply needs a page turned, and they did not find it necessary to carve a new page in stone before their civilization collapsed. That collapse was something their calendar somehow failed to predict. The Mayan Prophecy is an invention - a fictional device invented in the 1980s to sell books. And selling books is really what 2012 is all about - taking money from suckers.
Thanks to the increasing belief in 2012, a recent episode of Penn & Teller's: Bullshit! was devoted to exposing 2012. So they featured some of the crackpots promoting it.
There was Patrick Geryl, a Belgian author of three books on this coming apocalypse. According to him, there will be a massive sunspot which will generate a gigantic solar flare directed straight at Earth. This flare will be so powerful, it will cause the Earth's magnetic field to flip, reversing the rotation of the Earth, causing earthquakes, tornados, and a massive tidal wave which will sweep across the entire Earth.
But according to Patrick this can be survived by a lucky few. He is seeking a refuge in Morocco, South Africa, or Madagascar, and can set it up for a mere billion dollars. Yeah, right! If I had a billion dollars, I'd gladly move to a land of sun and sandy beaches - but Patrick is trying to avoid a TIDAL WAVE!!!! Not sip rum punches on the beach. He lives in Belgium! He could easily drive to the Alps or the Pyrenees in a couple of days on a budget of 500 euros.
But how does Patrick Geryl know this sunspot followed by a solar flare is going to happen? His evidence is.... The Mayan calendar ends on that date. That's his evidence.
Penn & Teller also featured a Dr. Jaysen Rand, Ph.D. Rand claims it is all going to end because of Planet X - which according to him is really a brown dwarf star. He's selling three books too. No real astronomer, professional or amateur, has found a planet or a brown dwarf heading straight at us yet, but Dr. Rand assures us it is on its way. We can't avoid it.
How does Dr. Jaysen Rand, Ph.D. know this is going to happen? He's been contacted by extraterrestrials from the Planet Epsilon and they told him. And of course the Mayan calendar's end date corroborates the extraterrestrials' story.
Two guys - two totally different nonsensical stories - each of them selling books. And the gullible are buying them. And that is what 2012 is really all about.
If you want to read one of their books (and I deliberately have provided no links) I expect you'll be able to pick them up on the $0.49 table at your local bookstore on December 22, 2012. They'll make great gag gifts for stocking stuffers that Christmas.
- Apocalypse 2012, by Frank Owen Playboy September 2009, p 38
- Every episode is well worth watching if you get it on cable / satellite... if you don't mind the gratuitous nudity. And if you do - well watch anyway and close your eyes during the closing sequence.
- I'm not saying there's no high ground in the three locations Patrick Geryl has chosen, but for convenience, existing facilities, and extent of high ground, I'd suggest a Belgian should logically stay in Europe.
- That's how he styles himself, though the norm for those with real doctorates is one or the other. And what is his doctorate in? "Dr. Rand received his Honorary Ph.D. in the field of Energyinformative Sciences, from the Academy of Energyinformative Sciences, conducted with Moscow University, Russia." And what is "Energyinformative Sciences"? Studies in "eniology," of course. (not a spelling mistake - we aren't talking wine here) It's bafflegab! Total bafflegab. You can google it if you want.
This extract from an Alley Oop cartoon from the late 1930s showing Earth's second moon exploding in 200,000,000 BC thus initiating an equatorial ice age has as much credibility as any of the 2012 theories.