82 Days Until the World Ends on 21 December

Most of you know that the world is scheduled to end on 21 December 2012. Wikipedia summarizes all of the information in this article: 2012 phenomenon. This Countdown Clock is a handy reference which you can consult to determine how much time remains.

You may think this is far from our usual concerns about The Controversy between evolution and creationism, but we disagree Those who believe in Noah’s Ark and those who believe that it’s all going to end on 21 December aren’t too far apart at all. They all believe in one myth or another telling them that for supernatural reasons, this is the Planet of Doom.

We kept a faithful countdown for Harold Camping’s end of the world prophesy, and now we begin our latest End of the World series with an article from the website of Der Spiegel, one of Europe’s largest publications. Their story is titled French Village Offers Refuge from Apocalypse. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

At the foot of the French Pyrenees, among twiggy bushes and dusty rocks, lies Bugarach. Just getting there alone is torture. … There are many reasons why the village, population 200, is a popular travel destination these days. Some come to go hiking, others to relax. And some come for a reason that lies completely beyond the earthly sphere.

They believe that Bugarach is special because, according to the calculations, the village is supposed to be saved from the hellfire — at least that’s the story in Internet forums on the topic, which have selected the spot as a modern-day Noah’s Ark.

That’s good to know. But it’s not just wild speculation. Get this:

The village has its local 1,230 meter-high mountain, Pic de Bugarach, to thank for the attention. In the mountain, according to the conspiracy theorists, are slumbering extra-terrestrials, who will come to life on December 21. For them, Bugarach is actually a garage for UFOs, because they believe alien spaceships are parked in caves in the mountain. The aliens will rescue the chosen few — that is, anyone in the town — from the apocalypse. To prove their theories, hikers film their supposed encounters with the extra-terrestrials and post them on the Internet.

It seems like that’s the place to be on 21 December. Let’s read on:

So will the pilgrims of the apocalypse descend on the town in droves? At least the town’s mayor, Jean-Pierre Delord, is afraid they will. For two years the Socialist politician has warned about the forces threatening his hometown: invasion by New Agers, sect meetings and collective suicide.

He’s probably right. We continue:

Because apocalypse types have bought up all the land in the area in the last years, real estate prices in the area have already risen substantially, he [the mayor] says. Recently, he witnessed a type of procession happening in the forest. “They were all dressed in white,” he says. “I hope that they don’t all take their lives together at some point.”

It’s gonna get worse. Here’s more:

The French agency, the Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combatting Cultic Deviances (Miviludes) is just as alarmed. [BWAHAHAHAHAHA! What a bureaucracy!] “Until now, more than anything else, the topic has been exploited for commercial reasons,” officials at the agency wrote in their 2010 annual report. The report was referring to postcards, magic wands and “eternity stones,” which can all be ordered especially for the apocalypse.

We gotta get one of those magic wands! Moving along:

Still, the report said that the risks cannot be underestimated, especially in light of the collective suicide of the Sun Temple sect in the 1990s, in which 74 people died. The authorities say that they currently do not have any new insights into what might happen in Bugarach. “But we’re observing the development very closely,” says Miviludes spokesperson Claire Barbereau.

It’s comforting to know that the bureaucrats are keeping an eye on things. One more excerpt:

Meanwhile, the phenomenon at play in the French village is nothing new. “As far as end-of-the-world scenarios are concerned, there’s a centuries-old supply closet full of recurring themes,” says Eberhard Bauer from the Freiburg Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health (IGPP). Bauer and his colleagues counsel, among others, people who are afraid of the end of the world. A “spiritual refuge, in which only the chosen few are able to escape,” such as Bugarach, is one of the common themes, he says. “It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that some people are taken advantage with these ideas of redemption.”

There’s much more to the article, and we get the impression that whoever wrote it thinks the whole thing is a joke. Skeptics can try to downplay things — unbelievers always do — but we’re taking it all very seriously. Let’s see if they’re still laughing on 21 December. We plan to keep you updated on all developments, so stay tuned to this blog.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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15 responses to “82 Days Until the World Ends on 21 December

  1. I was going to post this in the free-fire zone, but this seems the better place. Let’s take a poll of your regular readers, Curmy — most here are a very thoughtful, rational bunch. The question is, “in your opinion, what is the greatest potential threat to: 1) Earth; 2) life; 3) civilization.”

    I’ll start the ball rolling by voting for a cosmic collision for all three. They have happened before with devastating consequences, and they are bound to happen again. The Chixalub impact 65 million years ago took out ~70% of species, and there is evidence the Permian extinction 250 million years ago (90% of species) was also caused by an impact. More recently, the Tunguska impact of 1908 did little more than knock down millions of trees in central Siberia. We were damned lucky it hit there, because if it had come in somewhere in the North Atlantic, the resulting monstrous tsunami would have washed away New York City, Boston, London, Lisbon, and just about everything else within miles of the coast on either shore.

    Of course, YECs would deny all this, and would fight any efforts by NASA to come up with a plan to divert a future potential impactor. That’s why I bring it up on this blog. People like Ken Ham are a danger to civilization.

    Other thoughts?

  2. The whole truth

    The question is, “in your opinion, what is the greatest potential threat to: 1) Earth; 2) life; 3) civilization.”

    My answers:

    1. humans

    2. humans

    3. humans

  3. retiredsciguy asks: “in your opinion, what is the greatest potential threat to: 1) Earth; 2) life; 3) civilization.”

    Read your bible. The Flood was worse than all those mini extinction events. So the answer is creationism. If that’s true, everything could be poofed away in a second.

  4. How do you know He didn’t “poof it away in a second”? You “Darwinists,” YECs and IDers are all alike. Harold Camping and I know The Truth (TM). The Universe really did end last year. This is the afterlife. Get used to it. ;-)

  5. Holding the line in FL

    I go with “the whole truth”. It is just a matter of time. The big rock from above is also just a matter of time, the question is which one gets us first. Given our track record, the old cartoon “we have met the enemy and he is us” seems more likely.

  6. Report states

    …the risks cannot be underestimated, especially in light of the collective suicide of the Sun Temple sect in the 1990s, in which 74 people died.

    If the redoubtable Klinghoffer is to be believed, one must assume the Sun Temple sect were rabid Darwinists who failed to reject materialism…

  7. Sci guy. Fun question or, er, thought provoking, ( gives one pause).
    A.Greatest threat to the earth in order( and let’s say for the next few million years). (And we’re talking the planets existence, it’s integrity as a planet.)
    Cosmic collision
    Uh that’s it( unless mankinds destructive capabilities increase dramatically).
    On a far lower probability level; God gets ticked and wipes out the planet( but no proof this cause is even viable, so I’m saying very very small chance there, it’s a Pascal’s Wager thing).
    B life, ……. Humans are the Immediate threat via nukes and nuclear holocaust. Depending on extent, some life might survive. What a strange biosphere 10 MY later that would be.
    Life: biological warfare is next on the list.
    Life: pollution is next, warming, making life untenable for most/ many species.
    Life: God gets pissed again ( low prob, he loves us)
    C Civilization: biggest threat? Thats too easy……Scandinavian Death Metal Bands
    Civilization; by far , again, Nukes, bio warfare,
    uncontrolled anarchy, crop failures, and Lindsey Lohan
    And now a final prediction,. Ham says, pestilence, plague, locust swarms, etc, ( (see Revelations),,,,,,,
    or any issue
    Dallas Morning News:)
    Or Dancing with the Stars reruns?
    Final entry and most dire threat, is ,
    Velveeta accidentally left in the back of the refrigerator for five years or more..
    Loved that question.! I

  8. So, to summarize, the dire threats that have been suggested are:
    1) cosmic collision
    2) creationism
    3) humans – nuclear holocaust
    4) humans – biowarfare
    5) humans – pollution
    6) humans – global warming
    7) humans – SDM bands
    8) humans – anarchy
    9) humans – pissing off God
    10) crop failures
    11) Lindsey Lohan
    12) DWTS reruns
    13) pestilence, plague, locusts, etc.
    14) Five-year-old Velveeta
    15) Dallas Morning News:)
    16 and up) Other threats? Ideas?

    Next question — which of the above is most easily solved or averted?

  9. Ceteris Paribus

    Hold on a minute, retiredsciguy, no one has yet suggested the most real and proximate threat to Earth, life, and civilization.

    So let me throw in my pick, which is capitalist economists. Somehow, without the sense that god gave a goose, in merely two centuries they have somehow convinced civilization that infinite growth is not only a good thing, it is the best thing possible.

    So on this finite planet, virtually all of the people and all of their leaders expect that the pixels on their computer screens that so easily display continuous exponential growth curves is a realistic model of what will happen.

    You would think that educated economists, many of whom are old enough to have been alive when the gold standard was abandoned for lack of continually increasing gold resources would know better.

  10. Ceteris Paribus says: “the most real and proximate threat to Earth, life, and civilization … which is capitalist economists”

    In my benevolence, I won’t respond. But I’ve noted that in your permanent record.

  11. Edit the list of dire threats as follows:

    16) human — capitalist economists
    17 and up) Other threats? Ideas?

    Next question — which of the above is most easily or averted, and how?

    There may be disagreement about whether some of the above-listed “dire threats” are truly dire. Since this is a brainstorming session, we’ll list all suggestions without making judgment.

    The real challenge is to propose solutions. Some of the threats may yield to engineering solutions; others will require a political solution. Personally, I have more faith in engineers than politicians, so I think it would be a better use of our resources to concentrate our efforts first on those threats that can be addressed by engineering. But that’s just my opinion.

  12. Am I alone in noting that by compelling Lindsey Lohan to consume the world’s supply of 5-year-old Velveeta two dire threats can be eliminated at a stroke?

  13. Megalonyx said:

    by compelling Lindsey Lohan to consume the world’s supply of 5-year-old Velveeta two dire threats can be eliminated at a stroke

    Or heart attack. That might happen before the stroke.

  14. Ceteris Paribus

    @The Curmudgeon: “In my benevolence, I won’t respond. But I’ve noted that in your permanent record.”

    Benevolence duly noted. Just please don’t disclose my identity to “certain parties”. It is absolute hell every time the Witness Protection Program people have to relocate me.

    Meanwhile, I will just lay in a new stock of Partagas Black Label cigars and mellow out for a while

  15. If the prediction was made by Central American Indians before Europeans even reached the Americas, why is the safe haven in France?