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Monday, December 11, 2023
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

It's time to find a new calendar

Predicting when the world will end is like predicting when the Bills will win a game – it's pointless and depressing.

Most people have thought about the end of the world at one point in their lives. Some may obsess over it, while others just think about it for a passing moment.

This is nothing new; people have been trying to predict the end of the world for thousands of years. In 431 A.D., a man named Montanus believed he embodied the Holy Spirit and added a third testament to the Bible. His teaching predicted that everyone would settle in Turkey, the new Holy Land, when the end of the world occurred.

There have been hundreds of predictions as to when the world will end, how it will, and why it will happen. A lot of these predictions are rooted in religion and the belief that "Judgment Day" is coming.

In 1806, a man from England reported an incident in which his hens laid eggs with the inscription "Christ is coming" on them. Many people believed that the psychic hens' message meant the end of the world was upon them.

It was later reported that the man had written the inscriptions with ink himself and that he then put the eggs back into the hen. The only thing crazier than a man inserting eggs back into an animal is people believing this hoax, which sounds more like a twisted variation of Charlotte's Web.

While religion has been a common denominator in many apocalyptic theories, science became a contributing factor as time and technology have advanced.

In 1910, another story sent people into panic and disarray. An article printed in The New York Times about Halley's Comet made people across the world think the end was approaching. According to the article, poisonous gases were in the comet's tail.

People soon began believing that the end of the world was near because humans wouldn't be able to breathe. Not surprisingly, scientists settled the claims of an apocalypse before the comet made its appearance.

The scare soon became a running joke for the time period. The Chicago Tribune ran a story the day after the comet appeared entitled, "We're still here."

Thus, a trend emerges: people joke after another end-of-the-world theory is disproved or another "catastrophic" event has come and gone without consequences but then wholeheartedly believe the newest theory about the world ending.

The fact is, people have been predicting the end of the world for thousands of years, and they will continue to look for signs until the world does actually end. The prediction that the world would end in 2000 – or that it will end in 2012 – is a recent example of man's ability to embellish and create panic against the world's better judgment.

Dec. 21, 2012 has become a day feared by people all across the world. There are books and movies predicting what exactly will happen on that day.

Apparently, the Earth will be in perfect alignment with the Sun and with the Milky Way Galaxy. Somehow, this will cause the North and South Poles to shift. Patrick Geryle, an astronomer and author from Belgium, believes that this will cause major disaster.

Massive earthquakes will cause every building on the planet to collapse; tsunamis will sweep out civilizations and kill off entire species. Volcanic eruptions will occur and continents will be moved thousands of miles away from where they are now.

The Mayan calendar says nothing about any of these things, by the way. It simply ends on that day.

Now, new evidence suggests that the calendar might not be accurate. Scientists think that they may have converted the calendar incorrectly, which would make the dates off by more than 60 days.

Just looking at the 2012 website makes me question those who believe in this new apocalypse theory. There are links to purchase survival kits that can help save the Earth's inhabitants from an entire world crumbling around them.

I don't think 10 ounces of purified water will do much good when a tsunami takes out Manhattan.

Even if I did believe the 2012 predictions, how would a $170 dollar survival kit save me from the planet's fate? The whole thing seems like a scam.

Also, let's not forget that the Mayan civilization collapsed. They may have used the concept of zero, and they may have had advanced astronomers for their time. But so do we.

I choose to listen to today's scientists when they say there is no validity to these predictions.

The truth is that future residents of Earth will look back on believers of the 2012 apocalypse the same way we look at the man with the psychic hen.



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