Year 2012:                  Will the World Really Come to an End?                                         Soumitro Banerje...
Cover Article                                                                    Among them, the Maya                     ...
Cover Article                               same interval.       priesthood had to devote a great deal of                 ...
Cover Article                                                                       ends, another great cycle             ...
Cover Articleaddition of knowledge. That is why it is            asteroids from that site, keep eye on them,unidirectional...
Cover Article                                                  also been epochs when no reversal happened                 ...
Cover Articlemigrating birds navigate using the magnetic          on a tripod), you will see concentric circularlines of f...
Cover Articletake place owing to the fact thatthe Earth is not a solid sphere.The inside of the Earth has softand molten p...
Cover Articledark spots appear where it has inward                    Can you remember what catastrophicmotion. This is wh...
amplitude, that is, the distancebetween one end of thisoscillation to the other, is about230 light years. The sun coversth...
competition will also be deprived of the         Sources of information:access to higher studies if their parents are    T...
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Will the world really come to an end year2012

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I would like to request my friends, colleagues and seniors to please find some time and go through this article. I am the member of the Breakthrough Science Society and this article was published in their forum.

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Will the world really come to an end year2012

  1. 1. Year 2012: Will the World Really Come to an End? Soumitro Banerjee For the past one year or so, a news item Pole, and the magnetic South Pole will gohas repeatedly appeared in the electronic close to the geographic North Pole. That willand print media: Some soothsayers have destroy human civilization. Some others arefound out that the doomsday is near. The saying that it is not a case of asteroid orworld will be destroyed in the year 2012. magnetic pole: the very rotation of the EarthEven the date seems to be known: 21 will change. Our planet rotates around itsDecember. A video CD has been in own axis as it revolves round the sun. Thatcirculation, showing what will happen on axis of rotation itself will change, and as athat fateful day; even a “2012 survival guide” result India, which now has a temperateis in the market. climate, may suddenly find itself situated on What made them conclude that the end the North Pole. Cold regions may move closerwas near? How did they know that it would to the equator. This will cause a very largehappen in the specific year 2012? What the scale climatic change. Still others are sayingproponents of the doomsday are telling us there will be a gigantic volcanic eruption;is something strange. Archeologists have or, that there will be a super-earthquake.discovered a calendar in the remains of the But all these foretellers are unanimous inancient Maya civilization of the South saying that whatever happens will happenAmerica. That calendar ends on the 21st of on 21st December 2012, because there is noDecember, 2012. Apparently the creators date after this in the ancient Maya calendar!!of that calendar did not proceed beyond that However fictitious such possibilities maydate. Why didn’t they? Simple answer: They seem, their repeated appearance in theknew that the world would not exist beyond media seems to be making an impact on thethat date. It is thus meaningless to keep lay people. It is creating a fear-psychosistrack of dates, months and years after among them. The impending catastrophe isthat day. becoming a point of discussion and But what exactly will happen on 21st speculation among school-children. ManyDecember 2012, which will destroy the whole are losing their interest in learning (what isworld? On this issue, however, we see the point in learning if we are to die soon?).different eventualities. Some are saying that In such a situation, the Hollywood film-a large asteroid is now heading towards us, makers are seeing a great businessand on that very date it will impact with the opportunity. We know their penchant forEarth. Some are saying that the magnetic capitalizing on peoples’ inner sense offield of the Earth will reverse that day; what insecurity and fear; recall how they madeis now the North Pole will become the South more than a hundred films on a single* Dr. Banerjee is the General Secretary of the Break- theme: the attack of aliens from Mars, andthrough Science Society, and a Professor at the Indian earned billions of dollars. It can be expectedInstitute of Science Education & Research, Kolkata. that a few films will soon appear in the4 Breakthrough Vol. 14. No. 2. November 2009
  2. 2. Cover Article Among them, the Maya civilization seems to have advanced the most, as evidenced by the small pyramid-type structures, temples, utensils, artwork, etc., that the archaeologists have found. These evidences indicated that the Maya civilization advanced the most in the period from the 7th to the 9th century AD. They had a written language and had well developed traditions in art. But they were far behind the contemporary civilizations in China (the Tang dynasty), India (the Pala dynasty), or Europe (the Charlemagne rule). Fig. 1 : The map of the area of Maya Civilization Theirs was a society dominated by the priests.market, capitalizing on people’s fantasy and Human-sacrifice was common at the timefear of the events of the year 2012. That will of sowing the seeds (in the hope of getting afurther fuel the fear psychosis. better yield by pleasing the gods). They had In this situation it has become necessary not discovered the extraction and use of iron;to present a scientific dissection of the so they were still in the bronze-age. Thearguments forwarded by the doomsday Indus-valley civilization and the Egyptiantheorists. That is the purpose of the present civilization are two thousand years olderarticle. than the Maya civilization. The Greek civilization, the Chinese and Roman empires,On the Maya civilization and its the time of Buddha and Ashoka in India –calendar these are also more than a thousand years older than the Mayans. So it can be said A long time ago, in the Old Stone Age, a that when civilizations in the other parts offew groups of mongoloid tribes of Asia the world had advanced significantly, thecrossed the Bering Strait and reached Mayans remained far behind, which theyAlaska. With time they spread over the whole could not overcome through exchangeof the two American continents. Initially they because of the geographic isolation.were hunter-cum-gatherers. When they But wherever a civilization had engagedreached Mexico and Central America, some in agriculture, it had to solve one practicalof them invented agriculture in the fertile problem: At what time of the year shouldland they found there. With land suitable seeds be sown? For this, it is necessary tofor cultivation, they created a settled specify a definite time each for every cropagrarian culture, which in course of time round the year; that is, one needs a calendar.led to urban life around the capitals of the That is why all agricultural societies had tokingdoms. Inca, Maya, and Aztec invent some kind of time-keeping systemcivilizations developed in this manner at within the year. In order to measure time,different times, and in different parts of one needs a unit of measurement –Central and South America. something that happens cyclically in theBreakthrough, Vol. 14. No. 2. November 2009 5
  3. 3. Cover Article same interval. priesthood had to devote a great deal of We can easily thought to calendar-making, and proposed identify three two different types of calendars. In one, the such cyclical year had 260 days, and in the other it had events which 365 days. The first one, based on the average could serve the human gestation period, was used mainly purpose: 1) the in religious events while the second one, rotation of the based on the solar cycle, was used in day- Earth around to-day life including cultivation. the sun, 2) the There was an important difference rotation of the between the ways we write numbers and the Earth around its way the Mayans did. We use a decimal Fig. 2 : The 20 digits of the own axis, and 3) system, in which there are 10 basic digits (0 Maya number system The rotation of to 9). We need two digits to write numbers the moon bigger than 9, three digits for numbers biggeraround the Earth. If these times were than 99, etc. In contrast, the Maya used amultiples of one another, there would be no base 20 number system, that is, it had 20problem. One could simply call one the day, digits. So the numbers were written in stepsanother month, and the third the year. But of 20.actually this does not happen. The duration The calendar with 260 days in a year wasof the day times a whole number does not called Tzolkin, and its division was 13 timesgive the year; the time in a year divided by 20. It is composed of 20 day-signs, each ofthe time in a month does not give a whole which has 13 variations, and was used tonumber either. That is why the solar year determine character traits and timedoes not contain a whole number of moon- harmonics, in a similar way to Westernmonths, nor does it contain a whole number astrology. One would count days 1 to 13,of days (a year = 365.242199 days). That is and then the second cycle would start. Whenwhy making a calendar is not a trivial affair. 20 such cycles are completed, a new Tzolkin The thinkers of different societies tried starts.to solve the problem in different ways. TheEnglish calendar (called the Gregoriancalendar) has 365 days in a year, and theremaining part is accounted for by adding aday once every four years (the leap-years).That also does not complete the story;another correction becomes necessary onceevery 400 years. The Indian calendar hasbecome very complicated because it tries tocombine the solar year with the moon-month. As a result, every year the calendaris different, religious events happen atdifferent times in different years, and thedates of events given by different calendar-makers often do not match. The Mayans also tried to solve theproblem in their own ways. In the Mayasociety it was the priests’ job to fix the datesof various activities. In doing so, the Fig. 3 : The time cycle of the Maya calendar6 Breakthrough Vol. 14. No. 2. November 2009
  4. 4. Cover Article ends, another great cycle starts. In fact, the Maya had names for time units larger than the great cycle: 20 Baktuns made a Piktun, 20 Piktuns made a Kalabtun, 20 Kalabtuns made a Kinchiltun, so on and so forth. When the Mayans had given these names for larger time units, they surely did not imagine that the world would come to an end after the end of the great cycle. This is just a fruit of imagination of the fear- Fig. 4 : The Maya pyramid mongers. Moreover, some people The other one, nowadays called the “long always try to tell us that the ancientcount calendar,” had 365 days. One problem civilizations were more advanced than ours.can immediately be noticed: the number 365 They knew what is known today, and inis not divisible by 20. That is why their cycle addition they knew many things that are yetwas actually of 360 days (18 times 20), after to be discovered by the modern societies.which the remaining 5 days were added. A Based on this belief, the articles published360-day cycle was called a “Tun”, and the repeatedly in newspapers are telling us that20-day months were called “Uinals”. Each when the Mayans said that a great cycle willday of a Uinal was marked by a separate end on 21 December 2012, they must havedigit, since they had 20 digits. Larger times known that the world will come to an endwere measured by multiples of those Tuns. on that day. Given that they were such an20 Tuns (7200 days) made a “Katun”, 20 advanced civilization, their beliefs must beKatuns (144000 days) made a “Baktun”, and true.13 Baktuns added up to a “Great cycle” of But actually, like biological evolution, the1872000 days. Thus this great cycle has evolution of human society is unidirectional.5200 Tuns. Now if we consider the additional In the history of human society, man has5 days in a year, there are 5126 years in a learnt about nature bit by bit, throughgreat cycle. struggle with nature. A generation has Today’s doomsday theorists are pointing inherited what the preceding generation hadat this 5126-year cycle. The Great Cycle of discovered, asked new questions on the basisthe Maya long count calendar started on 11 of what is known up to that time, and triedAugust 3114 BC. From that day, the 5126- to learn new things. Whatever a generationyear Great cycle is to end on 21 December could learn became a part of the collective2012 (when the Mayan date will be knowledge on the basis of which the next13.0.0.0.0). Hence the simple conclusion: generation tried to advance further. TheThe world must end on that day!! formation of knowledge is a continuous Yet, a little bit of rational thought will tell process in which the experience of theyou that, when a millennium ends the world present generation adds to the collectivedoes not come to an end, another millennium experience of all the past generations, andstarts. In the same way when a great cycle the society advances by the incrementalBreakthrough, Vol. 14. No. 2. November 2009 7
  5. 5. Cover Articleaddition of knowledge. That is why it is asteroids from that site, keep eye on them,unidirectional. This means that, though it and regularly update the information. Thatis possible for a culturally isolated is how we now have very concretecommunity today to remain more backward information about the asteroids that couldthan some of the societies of the past, it is possibly threaten the Earth. The “Near Earthnot possible for a civilization far back in time Object Program” of NASA keeps track of theirto have been more advanced than the trajectories. None of the professional oradvanced societies of today. That is why, one amateur astronomers engaged in this workshould not blindly believe in the romantic are saying that they have observed animagery of the Egyptian civilization, the asteroid that will hit the Earth on 21Mayan civilization, or the Vedic age in India, December 2012. They are not saying this,and count on hard archaeological evidence because without a proper observation it isto decide exactly how far those societies had ludicrous to say so.advanced. It is not difficult to understand the reason. It is not that an asteroid is comingWhat can happen that day? straight at us, and moving in a straight line path, one day it will hit us. The Earth is not The doomsday theorists did not just say static; it is moving round the sun. Thethat the world would end in the year 2012; asteroid also cannot move in a straight linethey also had to present some apparently path; its orbit is determined by thebelievable ways in which the world would gravitational attraction of the sun, Jupiter,be destroyed. Let us now turn our attention and any other planet that happens to beto those “possible doomsday events.” close to it at a point of time. In order to determine the orbit, the scientists writeThe theory of asteroid collision differential equations following Newton’s laws, measure the present position and We are learning from the doomsday momentum of the asteroid, and solve thetheorists that a large asteroid is now heading differential equations starting from thatdirectly towards the Earth, and it will collide initial condition. Because of the attractionexactly on the 21st of December 2012. How of multiple bodies which are themselvesdid we know that? Somebody must have seen constantly in motion, the trajectory of anthat asteroid with a telescope? Who has asteroid is generally very complicated. Slightseen? Where exactly in the sky is it visible? error in estimating the initial conditionWho has calculated its trajectory and has amplifies fast, and renders the predictionconcluded that it is indeed in a collision inaccurate. Scientists know that, with thecourse with the Earth? That it will collide current accuracy in measuring the positionexactly that day? and momentum of a distant object, the If you probe these questions, you will get prediction beyond a time-frame of about sixno answer. months is quite meaningless. That is why In fact, for a long time scientists have they do not make themselves ridiculous bybeen keeping an eye on the nearby asteroids, predicting where the asteroid will be threetaking note whenever a new asteroid is years later.reported by any astronomer, and keeping Scientists know that there are threetrack of their motion. There is a body of asteroids which can come close to the Earthastronomers doing this work. There is a at some point of time. But for each one it iswebsite that maintains the data for all those impossible to say whether it will really hitasteroids. Amateur astronomers from all the Earth or will pass by some three hundredover the world obtain the information of thousand miles from the Earth. The closest8 Breakthrough Vol. 14. No. 2. November 2009
  6. 6. Cover Article also been epochs when no reversal happened in 50 million years. There are two stable positions of the magnetic poles with respect to the axis of the Earth’s rotation. It is similar to a situation where a ball is released into a double-well as shown in Fig.6. It would have two possible stable positions. If it has some amount of energy, it would oscillate around one of the stable positions. If the energy is increased, it might jump from one well to another, and then would oscillate around the other stable position. Fig. 5 : The asteroid Apophis The Earth’s magnetic field behaves in aapproach is expected from the asteroid similar manner. At present the magneticnamed Apophis, in the year 2029. north pole is undergoing small oscillations Even if we assume that a few years later around the geographic North Pole. In thean asteroid is found to be heading for a direct past also such a situation existed for millionscollision, it is possible to send a rocket to of years. Then, the oscillations would beginintercept it, and to change its course by to increase in amplitude, and at some pointcausing an explosion nearby. The technology of time the North Pole crossed the equatorto do that is already in man’s hand. Way and moved to the southern hemisphere. Itback in 1988 a satellite was sent to take then settled in its new position close to theclose-up photographs of an asteroid. Now geographic South Pole, and continued tothe technology is far more advanced than it oscillate around it for a long time. Thenwas in 1988, and diverting an asteroid does again, the time for another reversal wouldnot seem to be a big deal. come. Cannot such an event happen again? Yes,The theory of magnetic field reversal it can. The only problem is that it is impossible to predict such an occurrence. We know that the Earth is a large magnet, Especially, it is complete nonsense to saywhose North Pole lies close to the geographic that a pole reversal will happen three yearsNorth Pole and the South Pole lies close to later, exactly on the 21st of December.the geographic South Pole. It is not that the Moreover, it is not a fact that amagnetic axis is the same as the rotational geomagnetic pole reversal is accompaniedaxis, but they are close. by mass extinction. Some specific species Was it always like this? No. Geologists may have problems. For example, thehave found that in the past the magneticpoles have reversed many times. At somepoint of time the South Pole existed wherewe now find the North Pole. Even earlier itwas the North Pole again. How often do thesepole reversals occur? Probing into thisquestion, scientists have found that thereis no order in these reversals. The timeinterval between two reversals changes Fig.6: The Earth’s magnetic axis has two stablerandomly. There have been epochs when the positions, the way the ball in such a containerchanges occurred in 5000 years; there have has two stable positions.Breakthrough, Vol. 14. No. 2. November 2009 9
  7. 7. Cover Articlemigrating birds navigate using the magnetic on a tripod), you will see concentric circularlines of force. Such birds may lose way when tracks of the motion of the stars. The circlesthe magnetic field undergoes change. But are centred at a point where the pole star isnothing of such a magnitude can happen supposed to be; that is why it is not supposedthat may drive the human race to extinction. to move. But if you really take such a shotSome newspaper reports and internet you will find that the pole star is not at thewebsites are saying that during the pole centre, and it also moves in a small arc of areversal the Earth’s magnetism will circle. Was it always so? No. Scientists havedisappear, and so cosmic rays will fall on found that the Earth’s rotational axis movesthe Earth’s surface. A little thought will in an undulating motion, much like theconvince you how baseless these motion of a rotating top. The pole star waspropositions are. Ultraviolet rays and other along the axial line in the past, but now theelectromagnetic waves are in no way affected axis has moved slightly away from it.by magnetic field. Ultraviolet rays are Citing this motion of the Earth’sblocked by the ozone layer – not magnetic rotational axis, some people are imaginingfield. Magnetic field can affect the trajectories that the Earth’s axis may move away fromof only the charged particles. Such particles its mean position by a large extent. In thatin the cosmic rays move along the magnetic case the tropic of cancer, which now passesfield lines and enter the Earth’s atmosphere through northern India at about 23 degreeclose to the magnetic north pole. That causes latitude, will move away. The places on Eartha brilliant display in the night sky, called through which the new tropic of cancer willaurora borealis. But nobody has ever heard pass will then have a climate similar to thatthat the Eskimos or the polar bears died of Northern India; and the climate ofbecause charged particles had entered the Northern India will either become too hot oratmosphere. The last pole reversal (the too cold. There will be large scale changesBrunhes-Matuyama reversal) is reported to in the climate of every place in the world.have occurred around 7,80,000 years ago. That will lead to the catastrophe.This is a time when the immediate Some people are saying that the axis ofpredecessor of man, the Homo Erectus, rotation, instead of changing with respectroamed on the Earth. They seem to have to the stars in the sky, may also change withlived happily through the pole reversal. This respect to the Earth itself. In that case theessentially points to the fact that nothing locations of the geographic north and southcatastrophic can happen during a pole poles, and the equatorial plane will change.reversal. One of today’s temperate regions may become the new north pole, and the changedShift in the Earth’s rotational axis equator may pass through a place that is freezing cold today. That will again lead to a Some doomsday theorists are saying that catastrophic climate change.on that fateful day the Earth’s rotational axis These two kinds of catastrophes are notwill shift. It is not that this axis never entirely impossible though, if we considerchanges. Indeed it does. There is an easy time-frames of millions of years. But suchway of understanding this. If you extend the an event cannot happen over short periodsaxial line into the sky, it is supposed to meet of time. The reason is simple: the rotationalthe pole star. While all other stars are seen inertia of the Earth. Because of the inertia,to move with time due to the Earth’s rotation, no abrupt change can take place in itsonly the pole star is not supposed to move. rotational motion – unless a large force isIf you take a long-exposure shot aiming your applied from outside, which is impossible incamera at the night sky (it has to be mounted the case of the Earth. Small changes can10 Breakthrough Vol. 14. No. 2. November 2009
  8. 8. Cover Articletake place owing to the fact thatthe Earth is not a solid sphere.The inside of the Earth has softand molten parts, whoserotation may not be the sameas that of the outer crust. Therecan be small changes of therotational motion of the planetdue to the constant interplaybetween the motions of variouslayers, but large-scale changescannot occur out of this. That is why it can be said withconfidence that no catastrophicdisorientation of the Earth’srotation is going to occur on the21st of December 2012.Super-Earthquake and Super-Volcanism theories Earthquakes and eruption ofvolcanoes are common events inmany parts of the globe. Thecrust of the Earth is made of a Fig. 7 : Solar flares on the Sun.few “plates,” which move withrespect to each other. That causes the a period of a few months. That is why, inearthquakes and volcano eruptions, and that the year 2009, or even earlier, it is impossibleis why such events mainly occur close to to predict that a super-earthquake or athe plate boundaries. super-volcanism will occur on 21st December Can a very large-scale earthquake or 2012. The Mayans foretelling such an eventvolcano eruption occur? Yes, that is possible. is simply ridiculous.But such an event is always localized. A city,a district, or even a province may be affected. Pole reversals in the sun and solar flare theoryBut an earthquake or a volcanic eruptioncannot affect the whole world to the extent The sun has magnetism, which has itsof driving the human race to extinction. polarities. The dark spots that sometimes Moreover, the occurrence of such a super- appear on the sun’s body are indicators ofearthquake or a large volcanic eruption the sun’s magnetic activity. There can alsocannot be predicted much in advance. Some be local magnetic fields due to the movementgeological and biological indicators do act of hot ionized gas. Movement of chargedas precursors to such an event, and can be particles means flow of current, and flow ofused in prediction, but that is always over a current produces magnetic field. That is whyshort span of time. The increase in local north poles and south poles can betemperature of soil and groundwater, the created on the surface of the sun. When thatswelling of land, the presence of specific happens, hot gases leap out of the sun’sgases in sub-surface water, and minor surface along the magnetic lines of force, andtremors often give forewarnings of an fall back at the local south pole. Where theimpending large earthquake, but only over gas has outward motion appear bright, andBreakthrough, Vol. 14. No. 2. November 2009 11
  9. 9. Cover Articledark spots appear where it has inward Can you remember what catastrophicmotion. This is what we see as sunspots. events happened in the year 2001? Or in The appearance of such sunspots does the year 1990? I am positive that you won’tnot occur uniformly over time. It has an 11- be able to recall anything special thatyear cycle, when the number of sunspots happened in those years. Those of us, whoincrease, which indicates an increase of the work in the field of engineering, know thatnumber of local north- and south-poles and certain things did happen. On 31 Marchhence an increase in the sun’s magnetic 2001, a few artificial satellites malfunctioned,activity. At these times, large solar flares leap shutting down internet and TV transmissionout of the sun, which can be seen with for some time. A transmission line fromtelescopes. Through this process, the overall Seattle to Los Angeles in the USAnorth pole and south pole of the sun reverse experienced dangerous over-voltage, and hadtheir positions. Then again the activity to be disconnected. As a result many placessubsides, and the sun settles in the new in the USA experienced power cuts. That yearmagnetic position for another cycle of 11 a solar flare was so large that the Earthyears. passed through it. When the activity of the sun increases, Except for the engineers handling thesesometimes gigantic solar flares come out of equipments, nobody on this planet feltthe sun. Storms of charged particles emerge anything. Solar flares are so tenuous thatfrom the sun and move outward, passing nothing happens if the Earth passes throughover the planets. These flows of charged one. On the basis of these facts, the readerparticles create their own magnetic fields, can now argue out how much “disaster” mayand the resulting “magnetic storms” affect happen when the solar activity againthe magnetic field of the earth. increases in the year 2012. This affects many things on the Earth.Many artificial satellites are affected. The Galactic equator theoryaurora borealis becomes extraordinarilybright. The Earth’s magnetic field undergoes If you serf the internet looking forrapid changes under the influence of the homepages dedicated to the 2012 doomsday,magnetic storms. We know that a change in another theory will attract your attention.magnetic field can produce voltages in It says that in that year, the sun will crossconductors. At present there are many such the galactic equator, and that will cause thelong conductors on the Earth – which catastrophe.conduct electricity from one place to another. This probably needs some explanation.Such long electrical transmission lines We know that the sun is an ordinary memberexperience over-voltage, which can damage of the billions of stars that form the giganticequipment. conglomeration called the “Milky Way” Citing such impacts of the increase of galaxy. The galaxy is shaped like a disk, andsolar activity, the doomsday theorists are has spiral arms. The sun is situated on anow saying that in the year 2012 a very large spiral arm, roughly two-thirds of the radiussolar flare will swallow the Earth, and will away from the centre. The sun is not placedcause a large-scale catastrophe. on the equatorial plane of the galaxy. In fact, In fact, the last solar pole-reversal event it and all the other stars in the galaxyhappened in the year 2001. Eleven years oscillate around the galactic equatoriallater, in the year 2012, the sun is again plane. Once the sun goes to one side of theexpected to experience increased magnetic equatorial plane, and then to the other side.activity. Thus far it is correct. But then, It thus undergoes a harmonic motion withimagination spreads its wings. the equatorial plane in the middle. The12 Breakthrough Vol. 14. No. 2. November 2009
  10. 10. amplitude, that is, the distancebetween one end of thisoscillation to the other, is about230 light years. The sun coversthis distance in about 33 millionyears. So far it is correct scientificinformation. But then, theproponents of the doomsdayhypothesis are saying that onthat very day, the 21 st ofDecember 2012, the sun willcross the galactic plane. How didthey know that? Simple answer:the Maya calendar makers hadcalculated that. The fact is, for an event thathappens once in 33 million Fig. 8 : All stars are part of such Galaxies, and theyyears, it is impossible to say oscillate around the equatorial plane.exactly in which year it willhappen. To predict the date is as ludicrous “Armageddon”. That battle will finish offas it gets. After a lot of observation through human civilization – an event called thethe modern telescopes, and after a lot of apocalypse. The Islam religion also hascalculation, the scientists can at most say similar ideas about the battle between thetoday that the sun takes about 900 years to god and the evil, and the destruction ofcross the central part of the galaxy, and at civilization. Hindus believe that when sin orsome point of time in those 900 years, the “adharma” increases in the society, the godsun crosses the geometric equatorial plane. himself comes down and destroysSince there is nothing special in that everything. It is believed that in the pastequatorial plane – only void between stars – there were ages or “yugas” called Satya,nothing special happens when it crosses. Treta, Dwapar, etc., which ended in suchThat is why it is impossible to say exactly destructive interference from god. At presentwhen it crossed the plane. it is the “kali-yuga,” and if sin, corruption, and adharma increase too much, it will alsoWhy do the “end of the world” be destroyed in a similar manner. Peopletheories appear again and again? hear about these stories from childhood, and thus ideas about the horrific “last day” enter This is not the first time that theories their minds unconsciously. When they hearpredicting the destruction of human some apparently scientific-sounding theoriescivilization have been in circulation. Every predicting an impending doomsday, theirreligion has fables and stories about the start minds tend to believe and not question.and the end of human civilization. That is There is another important aspect.why, the idea that the world will come to an Today’s youths do not have a bright futureend becomes a part of the consciousness of before them. Many students, who are lookingthose who believe in some religion. forward to building a bright future, will not For example, the Christians believe that get entry into the world of higher education.one day the “final battle” between God and The door to higher education is very narrow.Satan will take place at a place called Those who would overcome the hurdle of stiffBreakthrough, Vol. 14. No. 2. November 2009 13
  11. 11. competition will also be deprived of the Sources of information:access to higher studies if their parents are The websites that propagate the doomsday theories ofpoor. Today education is a commodity, which 2012:has to be purchased from the market. Those 1. www.survive2012.comwho are lucky enough to have parents who 2. www.december212012.com 3. www.polereversal.comcan afford it, may obtain a higher education 4. w w w . n a s c a . o r g . u k / a s i a n _ d i s a s t e r / 2 0 1 2 /degree. But the pain of unemployment 2012.htmlawaits most of them. When this is the actual 5. www.diagnosis2012.co.uksituation, the mind unconsciously sees an 6. www.2012doomsday.comimpending doomsday as a welcome event. The websites giving scientific information on asteroids:That single event will make everybody equal, 1. neo.jpl.nasa.gov (Near Earth Object Program)everybody will die together, and the hapless 2. cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/ephimerides/critlist/millions will not have to withstand the 3. cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/mpc.html (International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planets Centre)torment of deprivation. The unconsciousmind looks forward to this possibility along Websites giving information about the Earth’s magneticwith the fear of the “final day.” Instead of field:struggle against oppression and injustice, 1. www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/magnetic/reversals.html 2. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/geomagnetic_reversalthey dream of an alternative picture of acatastrophic event that will destroy the For information on the Maya calendar:oppression and injustice, and the difference 1. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya-calendarbetween the haves and have-nots. They are 2. www.mayacalendar.com/menu.html 3. www.michielb.nl/maya/calendar.htmlfed with this alternative picture. Theybelieve. Their minds want to believe. For information on the sun’s magnetic activity Among those who propagate such 1. science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast15feb_1.htmnonsense in the name of science, there are 2. solar.physics.montana.edu/ypop/spotlight/ magnetic/people who really believe in them. But most 3. solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/the_key.shtmlof them do this with an ulterior motive, with 4. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/a design – to keep people away from the 070323132406.htmstruggle against injustice and oppression, For information on the galactic equator:to keep them dreaming of a “final day” when 1. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/galactic_planetheir problems, along with everything else, 2. www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/223656/will come to an end. galactic-equator14 Breakthrough Vol. 14. No. 2. November 2009

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