“I hear the argument that predictions made by doomsday prophets like Harold Camping are harmless because the majority of people will ignore them. But, many people ruined themselves financially because of Camping’s prediction that the rapture would occur on May 21. In the past, predictions like this have even led people to commit suicide. It’s difficult to stand by and watch while people are harmed because of someone like Camping.” said Keating, author of Dialogues on 2012: Why the World Will Not End (www.Dialogueson2012.com). “Science and religion have both been misused by fearmongers to promote the idea that the world will come to an end in October, in 2012 or what ever comes next. There is always the next crackpot who thinks he has all of the great answers. I wish there was a way to convince the public that these people are merely putting forth these ideas for their own self-promotion and profit. Just look at Camping. He originally predicted the rapture would occur in 1994 and people believed him. Now, even though he was wrong last time, people mindlessly followed him again!”
The next big prophecy revolves around the ancient Mayan prediction that December 21, 2012 will be the day the world ends. Keating said that date is as erroneous as Camping’s flexible timetable.
“Claims about December 21, 2012 are fiction with no scientific evidence or validity,” Keating said. “The world will still be here on December 22, 2012. The basis of the 2012 prediction comes from the ‘Mayan’ calendar, but that calendar is not even Mayan. It was developed more than a thousand years before the rise of the Mayan civilization and was already well-established before the Maya ever appeared on the scene.”
Moreover, Keating pointed out that the Mayans weren’t necessarily the most qualified people to make any kind of enlightened predictions. While the mystery of the Maya civilization’s demise is intriguing, the Maya were not the advanced civilization that some are claiming.
“The Maya did not have any special powers or knowledge that would allow them to make any such prediction,” Keating said. “They were not an enlightened civilization. They engaged in terrible violence, including horrific animal and human sacrifices, frequently preceded by torture. The bodies of the victims were thrown into the source of their drinking water. The common people would bury their dead under the floors of their homes. They didn’t even have the wheel. How is it that this culture is supposed to have been so intelligent they were able to predict the end of the world?”
The difference between the latest Camping debacle and the 2012 predictions is that Keating believes the 2012 doomsayers are twisting science to support their wild claims.
“Camping used these bizarre numerology arguments to get his end date. 2012 people are using false arguments and bad science. As an example, recent news coverage concerning Comet Elenin has all the 2012 theorists in a tizzy,” he added. “Comet Elenin is a small comet that is currently over twice as far from Earth as the Sun, but some believers in the prophecy are claiming it will be responsible for earthquakes and a shift of the Earth’s axis. Basically, people just need to use a little common sense when they hear these stories about the end of the world. If people would do just a little research on their own we could quickly put the fearmongers out of business and prevent a lot of harm. It would be great if science received as much attention from the public as these false predictions.”
About Dr. Christopher Keating
Dr. Christopher Keating is a professor of physics with 20 years experience conducting research in space physics with several published scientific papers. His experience as a teacher includes nearly all topics in undergraduate physics, space science and astronomy. He has also served for over 30 years in the United States Navy and Navy Reserve working principally as an analyst in naval intelligence.
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