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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The Apocalypse In 2012?

What’s on the cards?

“But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.”
The Last Judgement, Michelangelo, Rome, Capella Sistina
The Last Judgement (the Apocalypse).
(Michelangelo, Roma, Capella Sistina)
If this question didn’t jump out at me so often on the Internet, it wouldn’t even come into my mind to seriously consider it. However, just because the Mayan calendar ends on Dec 21st 2012 many people seem to be fretting about possible cataclysms that could wipe us out of existence, and there’re a lot of theories about what possible events could trigger off Doomsday that has loomed large on the horizon since the dawn of time. Why on earth does everyone seem to attach so much significance to this calendar that some researchers claim the Maya simply took from an earlier Olmec civilization?
Doomsday in 2012?
  Doomsday in 2012?
Anyway, it's not the only blood-curdling prophecy.
In the late 1990s, a Russian astrologer foretold among other catastrophes that New-York would suffer severe terrorist attacks at the turn of the century. I dismissed them as hearsay or a would-be seer's gibberish at the time, but on 11/S it immediately sprung to mind. Unsettling, isn't it? Another of his prophecies of doom and the only one I remember, which I now regret, was that UK was going to sink into the ocean some time before 2050.

Throughout history humankind have always stayed in denial and refused to acknowledge the ominous signs of oncoming disaster until it’s too late — it's in our very nature. When it finally strikes many people die, mostly the expendable poor — the top rich usually have access to the first-hand information and always manage to save their hides. Volcano eruptions, Katrina, Bhopal, Chernobyl, WW2, Mad Cows, etc, etc are a shining example of social class inequalities.

Is the Apocalypse due?
On one hand, our civilization is in the state of flux — there're too many people on this planet for the available resources and the insatiable appetite of the greedy bunch, so, like it or not, the problem has to be addressed. If we don’t (a virus is a useful tool, although contamination is doing a great job, too), Nature will.
Species that can't keep its number in balance is doomed to die out due to starvation when it destroys its habitat, in the animal world predators are key to population control, humans are supposed to know better.

Personally, I don’t believe in exact dates (or I don’t want to), instead catastrophes are more likely to strike when we least expect them just to screw us better — Sod’s law. The point is that whether polar shift or any other disaster, natural or man-made, is going to happen gradually or suddenly is anybody’s guess! And scientists haven't the remotest idea how the weather patterns would change if any of these calamities should take place. Mind that they even seldom forecast weather properly much further ahead than a week.

What could trigger the Apocalypse?
Solar wind. (The Apocalypse)
 Solar wind.
(The Apocalypse?)
Cataclysmic pole shift is one of the hypotheses that are very much in the vogue these days, although it shouldn’t be muddled up with geomagnetic reversal, the periodic reversal of the Earth's magnetic field (switching the north and south magnetic poles), since the term is sometimes used for both phenomena, which is beyond my ken. Pole shift is also called crustal displacement (picture yourself sliding from, say, Arctic zone to the tropics in a couple of hours without using any means of transport together with your home and landscape, but hardly in one piece). The geographic poles of the Earth are the points on the surface of the planet that are “pierced” by the axis of rotation. A sudden change in position of these “points” with respect to the underlying surface is what the hypothesis refers to.

Geomagnetic reversal is considered more plausible by the scientific community than pole shift hypothesis, and I give 0.0000....1% probability to the latter and 0.0000.......2% to the former.

Small magnetic pole shifts take place every year, but a total one could leave the planet without any magnetic field at all and therefore without protection against solar radiation for some time, enough for the atmosphere to fly away — which means all life on the Earth would be scorched or choke to death, although the exact order is open to discussion.
Meteorite hitting the Earth. (Armageddon?)
Meteorite hitting the Earth.
(Armageddon?)
Magnetic reversal could be produced by the inner mantle and outer core changing direction or stopping its flow, but what would make them? There isn’t much scientific evidence to support these theories apart from the whole-frozen well-preserved bodies of a mammoth and rhino with fresh tropical fruits in their stomachs found in Siberia. We can also dread the prospect of black holes sucking up matter, the Earth’s cooling, impacts of asteroids or huge meteorites and the like — a wide range of bogeys to put us off real problems, unless there are some signs that I haven’t heard about.

A bunch of boffins smashing particles to create minuscule black holes in Hadron Collider (SERN) could be considered a bad sign? On its website expert wiseacres say openly they are looking forward to creating small black holes, which would prove the existence of multiple dimensions and, therefore, universes. No mention of how that would justify $600,000,000 of taxpayers’ money and how much would seep back into their pockets.The results of such experiments are totally unpredictable at the moment. The word unpredictable is a telling example of how large are the leaps of faith science geeks are taking to justify their salaries.

But the chance of planetary annihilation by this means "is totally miniscule," experimental physicist Greg Landsberg at Brown University in Providence, R.I. told Live Science.

So there is a minuscule chance of messing it all up, he didn’t say “the chance is 0” for some reason (by the same token I have no more confidence in scientists than in pseudo scientists, prophets, or soothsayers) — that’s what I mean when I say that even the most absurd theory has an infinitesimal chance of proving true. For my money, if any apocalyptic cataclysm is going to happen it’ll be almost certainly of our own making, to put it more exactly, we’ll owe it to the scientists who brought this planet to the brink of disaster by providing the necessary tools for greedy plunderers.

Hadron collider
Hadron Collider
You’d ask how we mere mortals are going to benefit from this will o’ the wisp, my best guess is that mankind will open a portal to parallel universes and move to greener pastures. But we’ll hardly live long enough to see that, so for the time being we can kiss our money goodbye.

Like I said, none of these theories trouble the quiet of my mind, but trying to be an open-minded person I grant at least 10-1000000....... % probability to any idea however nutty it might sound. There might be something to any statement independently of what I believe to be true. Abstractly or mathematically speaking there’s always at least an infinitesimal chance for any hypothesis not being beyond the realms of possibility. Like it or not, there exists an objective reality we’ll never get to comprehend fully.

In turn, no theory is ever 100% certain or complete — everything comes down to the count of probabilities, says quantum physics, and we still have a very vague idea of what really goes on in the universe, not to mention our planet. To think that we know anything for certain is pure hubris, which will probably be our downfall as a species.

Even if I don't buy any of Doomsday theories, that doesn’t entitle me or anyone with the ability to reason to categorically rule out the 0.0000000....1% possibility of it coming true. I just leave some room for doubt precisely because humans aren’t infallible and can’t ever reach the absolute truth. The question isn’t whether to trust or not, but to what extent, nor what margin of error to allow, but that it simply exists. Some people try to see the world in black and white, yes or no; conversely, I try to see undertones.
A 100% certainty is for God alone.

Supernova blowing the Earth up. (The Apocalypse)
Supernova blowing the Earth up.
(The Apocalypse?)
There are crackpots that can’t think of a better way of spicing up their otherwise boring lives than worrying about the explosion of the Sun in a massive super-nova, the fact that it’s going to happen million years or so from now and we’ll have long since become extinct by then doesn’t seem to allay their fear.

For the lovers of mysteries, auguries and stuff, as well as astrology buffs there are Nostradamus' predictions, which are so encoded, scrambled, disordered, abstruse and obscure that nobody has ever managed to actually make any positive sense of them. His writings lend themselves to so many dubious interpretations, that I wouldn't lose any sleep over their meaning, I honestly believe their meaning is lost for ever. Even if we could decipher all the prophecies, we wouldn't be able to head any disaster off, so why take the trouble to worry about it?

Nostradamus
Nostradamus
Mind that all his so-called fulfilled prophecies were matched to the events post factum, which belongs in the realm of sheer shoehorning! Well then, I could call myself a prophet, too, since I predicted, second-guessed or sensed certain events in my life with unsettling precision, as well as a couple of wars.

What use are the prophecies if we can't prevent them from happening? The biblical Apocalypse is full of doom-laden prophecies, but so far nobody has found a clue as to what events it might refer to.

Did they avoid the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger, the destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11/01 etc?

It's not the prophecies, but contamination with all its attendant dangers that is really a good reason to be horrified. In addition, civilization dependent on electricity as much as ours is always at risk. Solar storm strong enough would disrupt electrical supply with catastrophic or even apocalyptic consequences.

While past generations thought they lived in end-times, we are indeed much closer to Doomsday than ever, because technological progress has never posed a greater threat to life on this planet than today.

I’d have confidence in science if it were combined with wisdom, but as A. Einstein once put it  'Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal'.

There’s nothing more dangerous than intelligent fools. Even mainstream ideas should be broken down critically, just because a vast majority of people buy into them doesn’t mean they’re flawless (actually it's rather the other way round).

Beats me what use good scientific ideas are, if the bad ones are going to finish us off? I’d rather be led by common sense than trust either minorities or majorities.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
The following products of human genius surely qualify as such:
DDT, Asbestos, feeding sick sheep to vegetarian cows later fed to people, military experiments in Chernobyl, Nukes, gender-bending chemicals, biological weapons, fossil combustibles, stuffing our food with hormones and antibiotics, and the list goes on. Although I highly doubt the victims of these brilliant inventions wouldn’t prefer them to have been nipped in the bud! It seems we are definitely bent to sacrifice ourselves for more than questionable “modern comforts” and are dragging the Earth and soon the rest of the universe into the abyss with us.

Very few things invented by science have really proved beneficial (and if they did, for whom?).

Admittedly, many theories work (Nukes work, but can we control them once they went off?), but that doesn’t mean we fully understand why, and no serious scientist worth his/her salt would claim his/her theory as an absolute verity. Newton’s theory, for instance, was thought to be complete for a long time, and the rest is history. New evidence eventually turns up to either confirm or debunk ideas.

One of the last brilliant ideas is to use space shuttles (with all the pollution every launch would suppose) to produce energy in the space (by placing solar panels on the Moon, for example) and then beam it back to earth. Some bright minds recklessly propose to tackle Global Warming by increasing aerosol pollution (Global Dimming).
That's along the lines of "the guillotine being the most efficient remedy for dandruff, headache and a bunch of other diseases". Thank God their plot has been rejected...so far! I wish we could open these scientists sculls to figure out what mutations in their brain cells make them throw up such twisted ideas.

Admittedly, what seems faulty reasoning to some might look quite convincing to others. When asked how he hit on the idea of the relativity, Einstein said: Everyone knew, I didn’t, that’s why I made a discovery.

Some scientists now say that other scientists falsified the reports of rising temperatures, which smacks of professional rivalry and makes you wonder who is really pulling the strings. Personally I don’t see any telltale signs of climate change around me, so who should I trust? Yesterday it was Global Warming and they had enough scientific evidence to back it, today it’s Climate Change and again they have enough evidence. Contamination, in my opinion, is much more dangerous than a simple climate change, but if the latter is true, then the prediction I mentioned before about the UK sinking into the ocean gains some credibility.

The problem is that nothing is ever enough for the disproportionate and ever growing world population. Modern throwaway society goes by the principle ‘Après nous le deluge’. Throughout the 20th century we basically tried to eat our cake and have it, that is, to contaminate but not to have to suffer side effects. If we have a fairly good understanding of the current theories, how on earth have we ended up in this mess? What use is our expertise if it doesn’t stop us from destroying ourselves?

Tomorrow we’ll quite likely end up in a big Gas Chamber, because that’s what contamination is going to turn our planet into, and we’ll start to choke, unless we mutate into methane, CO2 etc breathing species. Whoever doubts we contribute to Climate Change must be living in cloud-cuckoo-land. I wish the future would prove me wrong.

Red Planet
Mars, for sale soon!
Those who say we aren’t causing climate change probably have already built themselves houses on Mars or elsewhere. I thought I was kidding, but it turns out many corporations, businessmen, institutions, John Travolta and the like scramble for parcels of land on the Moon. The Lunar property company is raking it in issuing purchase documentation. Is it legal and what does it all mean? Is moon already colonised? Can you otherwise picture stingy millionaires throwing their money away on aerial palaces? 1m2 goes for $20. Quite a bargain! Hurry up!
Estates on Mars are up for grabs.
In the end everything has to do with greed and uncurbed ambition.

It’s in the 20th century that we lost moral grounds and science started to threaten our future ironically through our insatiable quest for comfort.

Humankind survived thousands of years without sophisticated technology and just in about 150 years this very technology brought us to the brink of disaster! Isn’t that paradoxical?! What was supposed to make our lives better is actually destroying us.

Any thinking person should wonder if we chose the right path.

And now that we have come to know we are responsible for the harmful changes in our environment what measures are we going to take? Are we going to stop contaminating, using cars, planes etc, etc, etc? Nope, I’m afraid we can’t, even if we wanted to. We are trapped, forced into using modern technology and adopting modern lifestyle. One way or another we are all at fault.

So why would anyone waste their time thinking about an impending apocalyptic cataclysm? If it’s due to happen, it will anyway and there’s nothing we can do about it. I really don’t believe it’s going to happen so soon, but like I said, I might be wrong.

If knowledge is power and power corrupts, what can humanity do so as to survive?


(You can ask your questions, submit answers and vote on the answers you think are the best in the Get Answers gadget below the posts. Just sign in first with GFC (the 'Follow' button) right above the gadget.)

3 comments:

  1. Hi Stella,

    Thank you for commenting on my blog. I had kind og given up on it...but you have made me consider it once more.

    Again, thank you :-)

    Tim

    ps. I'm going to have a look around your blog - it looks very cool!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Covenant. I'm glad to hear you're taking it up again, I liked your blog and I'm really happy I made you change your mind. I'll be popping by more often from now on.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Stella,

    Your blog is really cool - I like the idea of asking questions, posting answers, commentaries, etc.

    I'll keep on visiting and see what new things you have posted!

    Keep up the good work.

    Covenant

    ReplyDelete

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