David Morrison at the Skeptical Inquirer tells you everything you need to know about 2012 and the end of the world. The short version is that none of it is true–it’s either channeled New Age nonsense or movie hype. I wish I’d read his article sooner; we saw this spectacularly cheesey commercial for the movie during The Mentalist last night  and when my kids asked me what the real story is I wasn’t able to tell them all that much. I knew about the Mayan calendar turning over, but the Niburu and Planet X stuff is completely new to me.

It reminds me a little of Immanuel Velikovsky, what with the planets skooting into each other’s orbits. One of the many coincidences I found out about when I was writing CULTS, CONSPIRACIES, AND SECRET SOCIETIES is that Velikovsky, a psychoanalyst, published Worlds in Collision (all in all, a work of science fiction) in the same season that the science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard unleashed Dianetics on the world–a book that he claimed was an original contribution to psychology. Next year both books will celebrate their sixtieth birthdays.


2 thoughts on “2012

  1. Nice article.

    David Morrison’s column is good, and he’s been fielding thousands of “2012” questions. The problem with the whole 2012 thing is that it is basically a game of Whack-a-Mole… as soon as you kill off one rumor, another version crops up under a new author.

    There’s a whole slew of new-age woo-woo authors making money off of this hype, and the marketing scheme for the 2012 movie (which Stephen Colbert called “disaster porn”) has me really steamed: Why do they think that they have to build up fear in order to sell tickets? The whole “IHC” thing was *not* obvious, especially at first.

    Several “anti-2012 activists” (for lack of a better term to describe ourselves) have set up 2012hoax.org. Feel free to drop in, browse, comment, and especially contribute.


  2. I put the url for the hoax site in my “Blogs of interest” column; it’s filled with interesting things, including Penn & Teller’s very funny (R-rated language and all) takedown of some of the more egregious purveyors of the prophecy.

    Doomsday prophecies have been a feature of American religion since the Millerite Disappointment of 1844, when the world failed to end on October 22 as William Miller had predicted. Disappointment or not, the movement he founded spawned both the Seventh Day Adventists and the Jehovahs Witnesses. Yisrayl Hawkins of the House of Yahweh in Abilene, Texas has predicted doomsday a number of times, most recently on June 6, 2008, when he told 20/20’s national audience that a nuclear war would commence within the week.

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