2012: end of the world?

Cassandra Adams

All the hype these days seems to be focused on 2012.

Controversial predictions of the end of the world have ignited feelings of fear, confusion and nervousness.

Even before the release of the movie “2012” last November, countless Web sites, blogs and gossip surfaced, proclaiming the possibility of the end of the world.

The 2012 prediction centers around the ancient Mayan people. The Mayans, who were cosmologists, created highly advanced and precise calendars by scientific observation. The calendar began on Aug. 11, 3114 B.C.

According to ArmageddonOnline.org, one of the predictions taken from the Mayan calendar is the end of the world on Dec. 21, 2012.

The explanations revolve around numerous theories involving religion, science and philosophy. Despite the concerns, Will Pearce, sophomore visual communication design major, said he isn’t too nervous.

“I’m not really doing anything different than before,” Pearce said. “It’s like the whole Y2k and big end of the world theories throughout history. It’s just funny to talk about. We are going to get out of college and the world ends — great timing.”

What do scientists think?

Part of the rumors lie in the theory of Galactic Alignment. This is the theory that says in December 2012 the sun will align with the center of the Milky Way.

According to Alignment2012.com, this phenomenon only occurs every 26,000 years and it will be unlike anything ever seen before. While this may seem scientifically based, some Kent State professors say there seems to be no scientific evidence of the statement.

Pete Dahl, geology professor

“First of all, the 2012 end-of-the-world stuff racing around the Internet these days fails to rise to the level of a theory — at least not in the scientific sense of that word. Beyond that semantic point, there is absolutely no scientific basis to believe any of this stuff.”

Don Palmer, geology professor

“There’s no reason to believe the Mayans had any reasoning better than what we do. No scientist will be worried. They’ll be celebrating Jan. 1, 2013 quite happily.

“… the Mayans had a good, accurate calendar to number of days in a year, but they ran out of steam, I think that’s what essentially happens with those kind of civilizations. There’s no basis they are correct on the earth and solar system. Plus for all we know, there’s a disk out there with the rest of it. It’s one of these great stories to get people to talk.”

David Kaplan, geography professor

“I have not lost any sleep over it.”

The Mayan calendar isn’t the only reasoning for the topic. Recent solar storms have been overwhelming the Earth with a lot of radiation energy, according to merinews.com. This is predicted to only get worse and reach the deadliest peak in 2012.

Physicists at University of California at Berkley have determined the Earth is overdue for a major catastrophic event and their number – crunching calculates that we don’t have much longer.

The magnetic field that shields the sun’s radiation known as the North and South Pole surrounds Earth. Every 750,000 years or so they swap places, and currently there’s a lapse time of 30,000 years. Scientists have noticed the poles are drifting much faster than usual, indicating a pole-shift to be in the near future. The magnetic field is disrupted and will disappear while the pole shift is occurring. This causes no protection from deadly ultraviolet rays.

But, any pole shifting concerns do not offer enough information, Palmer said.

What the philosophers think

There have been countless claims prophesying TEOTWAWKI (aka The End of the World as we Know it), even including a description by Isaac Newton.

“About the time of the end, a body of men will be raised up who will turn their attention to the prophecies, and insist upon their literal interpretation, in the midst of much clamor and opposition.” Newton wrote in the late 1700s.

But professor David Odell-Scott, chair of the philosophy department, adamantly opposed any prophetic claims.

“Apocalyptic expectations are not new,” Odell-Scott said. “So far they’ve all batted zero. There’s something within us that has this foreboding sense that we cannot continue.”

What theologians think

Some Christian Bible interpretations acknowledge that the date of Armageddon, the final battle between good an evil, is in, 2012. The two books the theories are based on can be found in passages from Daniel and Revelation.

“Jesus tells us we know not the hour nor the day. That’s scripture,” said Carmen Roebke, Newman Center pastoral associate.

What students think  

“I think it’s stupid. Whatever greater power above us wouldn’t let us know about it to like scare us.”

Sarah Cook, freshman French translation major

“The future is the future, what will happen will happen.”

Kristal Dimon, senior fashion merchandising major

“I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but putting a specific date on the end of the world is improbable. There’s no way to tell with the calendar being so old. I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

Alex Weber, senior flight technology major

Contact features correspondent Cassandra Adams at [email protected].