ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON 11/05/09
Since I was a kid I have been bombarded with predictions of the end of the world. First it was the book ‘The Population Bomb’ published in 1968 that said that the population of the Earth would outstrip food production causing mass starvation in the 70’s and 80’s. Since it is 2009, and I am fat, and the last time I was in Wal-Mart the shelves where full, I guess it did not happen. But the fact it didn'tt happen hasn'tt stopped the overpopulation zealots from telling us the end is near. They do not let the facts get in the way of there visions of doom: populations in industrialized nations are dropping . True, there has been mass starvation in some countries. but that had more to do with the local governments mismanagement, or using food as a weapon than it did with a lack of world-wide food production.
Next there was ‘The Jupiter Effect’ a 1974 book that predicted that world wide catastrophes would occur when the planets of the solar system lined up on March 10 1982. Of course this did not happen, I don't remember what I was doing on that date, but I think I would have noticed the end of the world.
Throughout the 80’s it seemed that every world event was interpreted as a sign of the end times, but the main scare was world war, it seemed that every few weeks a new book or movie or special on TV told us that nuclear war was just minutes away. It was even part of the 84 and 88 presidential elections. The war scare ended with the fall of the Berlin wall and all was rosy in the world until Y2K.
I was working in the computer industry as a programmer when the 'Y2K is Gonna' Kill Us All' craze hit full swing. Governments and businesses around the world spent billions on fixing the Y2K bug. Was it hype? Was it real? I don't know; but I *do* know that I made a good living writing programs to fix the problem, and that the company I worked for made me stay at the office on December 31st, 1999 to fix problems that never happened. Of all the End-Is Near problems, Y2K was the closest to being true but like all the rest it turned out to be nothing.
Now we have 2012. For those of you that do not watch TV, or listen to the radio, or have been off planet for the last few years here is the gist of the new problem: According to some people, the Mayan Long count calendar ends on December 31 2012. Also, on December 21 2009 at the solstice the Sun is supposedly lining up with the galactic center. How this is going to kill us is... well, there is so many competing ideas it hard to keep tack off so here is a link if you want to join the fun. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_phenomenon
The idea that the Maya might just have gotten tired of calculating their calendar, or that they may have had something more important to do does not enter into the calculations of the end of the world prophets. (or should I say profits because predicting the end has made some people a small fortune.)
Starting in the mid 70’s the media started hyping the coming Ice age which by the late 80’s became global warming. The 70’s was one of the coldest decades on record and it started some scientist and the media on the climate change hysteria, with it picking up overtones of a political movement. The fact that historical and geologic records show that the Earth’s climate has varied colder to hotter and back again throughout the history of man has not deterred the true believers shouting from the rooftops that if something is not done the end is upon us. For the most part these are the same people that are still trying to sell the overpopulation version of the end of man.
Predicting the end of the world has become a mini-industry with books proclaiming the end is near using Nostradamus, the Bible, the bible code, Edgar Cayce, etc. as evidence of the coming doom. It is not just a western/Christian phenomenon, either. There have been end of the world cults in Japan, Korea and around the world. Is modern life so soul crushing that people wish the world would end, or is it something else? Sure, sometimes it fun to play with the idea of ending our civilization and starting over, but this current crop is getting scary because people are starting to act like it’s true. The more disturbing aspect of this is that there are people that are trying to actual force God's Hand to bring the end about, from the President of Iran saying he wants to nuke Israel to start the end times to Japanese end of the world cultist releasing nerve gas in the Tokyo subway, this dwelling on the end is becoming unhealthy.