Will the world end in 2012?

Today marked the very first session of the McKinnon Secondary Sceptical Society (MSSS) for 2012. I was a little nervous that numbers would be down as the only advertising I’ve done so far was a note in the student bulletin. I was happy when I strolled over to my room and saw about five or six kids waiting to start. I waited about five minutes for the rest of the kids to turn up and soon found myself crammed into the room with 40 of them! It was looking like a great start to the year, a year of course which is destined to end on the 21st of December.

Given all of the misinformation being spread around about the end of the world I figured it would be wise to start educating the kids about it sooner rather than later. As much as I want these kids learning the facts, I also want them able to talk to other people about them. The less misinformation doing the rounds the better, I think.

Pretty much everything I spoke to them about came from the amazing website, 2012hoax.org. They have a tonne of information about the 2012 hoax. Seriously, if digital information had mass then this site would weigh 1,000kg. I highly recommend you go and check them out. It’s really well organised and will probably answer any question you might have on the issue.

I started by talking to them about the Mayan long count calendar. It counts the current time position from the 11th of August, 3114 BC. It’s broken up into five different time periods:

  • K’in (1 day)
  • Uinal (20 k’ins)
  • Tun (18 uinals)
  • K’atun (20 tuns)
  • Bak’tun (20 k’atuns)

So for example, my birthday (14th of December) this year would appear as on the long count calendar.

The reason people are so excited about the 21st of December is because the calendar will tick over to To be fair, it is a very exciting occurance. Most of us know the pleasure of watching the odometer of our car’s ticking over to a big round number. It’s a reason to party, and party hard. The thing is though, it doesn’t mean anything else! It’s exciting sure but not even the Mayans thought it meant the end of the world. It’s like saying that the world will on the 31st of December every year because that’s when my kitchen fridge calendar runs out.

Another heavy player in the hoax is the idea of a planetary alignment. Supposedly the visible planets will line up together and the gravity of them all will cause massive earthquakes, tsunamis and diarrhoea. Here are the facts though:

  • These alignments happen roughly once out of every 57 years
  • None will occur in 2012
  • They don’t do anything

My laptop is currently exerting more gravitational influence on me than the other planets are. Given that the sun contains 99.8% of the solar system’s mass it’s pretty hard for anything else to beat it. A planetary alignment just makes it easier to take a group photo of them all.

Rumours also abound about massive objects being on a collision course with the Earth. These range from asteroids and comets to stars and black holes. Nobody can seem to agree on what’s what. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if a star was due to hit us this year we would know about it by now. But wait! There’s the Orion anomaly conspiracy! You see, there’s a black rectangle covering up a spot on the publicly available star maps near the Orion nebula! Clearly it is the government’s way of hiding a massive interstellar alien invasion fleet bound for Earth. Or you know, it could just be a glitch.

I followed the session by asking them a very simple question, “who stands to make money out of this?” One answer is very simple. Go to Amazon and do a book search for ‘2012’. You’ll see dozens of books all about the “truth” behind 2012. Unfortunately I suspect that their sales are only going to go up as we get closer to December.

On the plus side, they’ll probably be really affordable on the 22nd.




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