The Apocaylpse Will Not Be Televised

The Apocalypse Will Be TelevisedAs you’ve probably heard, the world is ending in a couple of days – or, beginning to end, as I understand that bets have been hedged a little by extending the process from a massive earthquake/rapturing on Saturday, through till the end of everything sometime next October.

For the last decade, any time the end of the world is imminent, I’ve kept a handy site on tap – (A Brief History of the Apocalyse.)

Where else will you learn great terms like:


The doctrine of a thousand-year Earthly reign of Christ.

– or even fantastic nonsense like:


A pseudoscience that teaches that the Great Pyramid of Giza is a divine revelation. Many pyramidologists believe that the future can be foretold by measuring the Great Pyramid’s inner passages.

I don’t mention the site simply to send them traffic, however – I wanted to post up a recap of Armageddons for this year, and next.

A brief overview of Apocalypses in 2011 - from:

Let’s start with “Professor Wang”, (stop snickering,) – given his claim, and the current date, I don’t think his professorship is in geology, but let’s dig into the details a little.

According to wikipedia, the Yucatán Peninsula impact generated an earthquake of magnitude 12.55.

Unclear as to what that means?

In March 2010, following extensive analysis of the available evidence covering 20 years’ worth of data spanning the fields of palaeontology, geochemistry, climate modelling, geophysics and sedimentology, 41 international experts from 33 institutions reviewed available evidence and concluded that the impact at Chicxulub triggered the mass extinctions at the K–T boundary including those of dinosaurs.


Given the nature of the Richter Scale –

An earthquake that measures 5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times larger than one that measures 4.0.


– a 14.0 earthquake would definitely be the end of life as we knew it, but not because of an earthquake/tsunami: such an event would have to be precipitated by an impact orders of magnitude larger than the most massive collision we’ve ever sustained. Unless someone misapplies the moon’s parking brake, I think we’re good.

One of Camping's billboards
One of Camping's billboards - is the date underlined, or a fill-in-the-blank?

Next we have Harold Camping, doomsayer of the hour, and, as you’ve probably already read, failed prophet.

Central to Camping’s teaching is the belief that the Bible alone and in its entirety is the Word of God, and absolutely trustworthy. However, he emphasizes, this does not mean that each sentence in the Bible is to be understood only literally. Rather, the meaning of individual Biblical passages also needs to be interpreted in the light of two factors. The first is the context of the Bible as a whole. The second is its spiritual meaning.


In 1992, Camping published a book titled 1994?, in which he proclaimed that Christ’s return might be on September 6, 1994. In that publication, he also mentioned that 2011 could be the end of the world. Camping’s predictions use 1988 as a significant year in the events preceding the apocalypse; this was also the year he left Alameda Bible Fellowship.


Fool me into an apocalypse once, shame on you, fool me twice, and I may be a Jehovah’s Witness.

The religion’s doctrines surrounding 1914 are the legacy of a series of emphatic claims regarding the years 1799, 1874, 1878, 1914, 1918 and 1925 made in the Watch Tower Society’s publications between 1879 and 1924. Claims about the significance of those years, including the presence of Jesus Christ, the beginning of the “last days”, the destruction of worldly governments and the earthly resurrection of Jewish patriarchs, were successively abandoned.


Anyhow, the proof will be in the pudding that was once your neighbour’s face, as they say, but, given his track record, and the fact that his methodology for determining the timing was to essentially squint at a Bible till the date popped out like a stereogram image, I’m not too worried.Hand Stereogram from

I’m just going to skip over Terence McKenna, as I’ve seen Novelty Teeth and Novelty X-Ray Spex, and I suspect his Novelty Apocalypse will amount to about the same level of effectiveness.

I rather suspect, though, that the current hand-wringing will be well forgotten by the end of 2012, and everyone will once again get their abandoned rapture-knickers in a bunch.

Fortunately, NASA has already done the heavy lifting in debunking the Mayan situation:

Q: What is the origin of the prediction that the world will end in 2012?

A: The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012. Then these two fables were linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012 — hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012.

Q: Does the Mayan calendar end in December 2012?

A: Just as the calendar you have on your kitchen wall does not cease to exist after December 31, the Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then — just as your calendar begins again on January 1 — another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.

To conclude: one man’s apocalypse is another man’s Saturday at the park. I’m not saying the world won’t end at some point, but it likely won’t be this weekend – in fact, the weather is looking pretty nice*.

(*Of course, if I’m wrong, most of you won’t be around to gloat about it.)