Archive for January 2012

The end of the world, the apocalypse and other silly things…

January 2, 2012

In the immortal words upon the cover of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy; Don’t Panic.

It’s not going to happen. Yet.

How can I know this? What prompts me to stick my metaphorical neck out metaphorically so far?

Weellll…let’s just be clear; I’m not being brave and I’m not in denial, I am merely working on the balance of probabilities. So far the world hasn’t ended (and I don’t want to fall into the thought spiral of whether or not the universe is really just a hideously complex construction of my mind) and it is worth pointing out that everyone who has ever predicted the end of the world has been 100% wrong (or was the great dinosaur philosopher Dennis the Diplodocus the only one to really have a point when he started mumbling about the possibility of fire falling from the sky?), no matter how strong their conviction (and I suppose their perception of the strength of the evidence for their opinion).

Scientific observation, whether it emanates from the ancient civilizations or from the more recent discoveries of the Islamic and western empires, has proven – yes PROVEN – to be reliable in a way that leaps of blind faith and interpretation of obscure paintings, carvings or confused scribbled ramblings have not.

Is it possible that a huge natural extinction event could occur? Of course. It’s happened before, more than once, but hundreds of millions of years apart (which, shock horror means that the earth is actually older than 6000 years), the fact of which reduces the statistical risk to effectively zero for next year. If it happens I will probably be found having a thought such as “well isn’t that bloody typical of my luck”, but then since in those circumstances it may be one of my final thoughts, it will be of absolutely no consequence to the universe and nobody will be able to email me to point out that I got it wrong.

As for our Mayan friends – well it is becoming increasingly obvious that the much vaunted Mayan prediction of apocalypse is a mere fabrication, and that the Mayan calendar in fact predicts nothing more than the end of a calendar period (scholars of Mayan texts, where were you when we cried out for a voice of reason?). I hope that all those people who jumped on the bandwagon have made their money and will now shut up and let us get on with our lives. And those of you waiting for the rapture…well you wouldn’t be reading this now would you?

Until that big rock hits us…