Doomsday or Apocalypse or Armageddon is the term applied to the end of the world as a result of a massive global catastrophe. There has been a significant increase in interest in doomsday theories since the discovery of the Mayan Long Calendar which puts the date as 21 Dec 2012. The interest is chiefly due to the fact that it is less than 3 years away. If the predicted date was 300 years in the future, no one would have lifted an eyebrow.
Common Predictions of Doomsday
Another reason for the recent interest in the end of world theories is that several sources have turned up the same year as the year of the Apocalypse. First of all, the seer Nostradamus makes a prediction of a great flood in 2012 which will submerge the whole world. Experts studying the Chinese I-Ching also interpret an ending of the world in 2012. A computer program called Web-bot, which was initially used to make stock market predictions, when used to make predictions about the future of the world also came up with the same year 2012 as the end of the world.
Believers in the doomsday theories have discovered that in December 2012, the Sun is going to align with the center of the Milky Way galaxy and some believe that this will cause a reversal of the North and South Pole as they are now. This will be the cause of massive upheaval of the earth resulting in earthquakes and floods, which are marvelously depicted in the Roland Emmerich film 2012.
Herein Lies the Real Danger
Whereas we cannot prevent global catastrophe due to natural disasters such as the Haiti earthquake, we can understand and control human factors that can lead the world to doomsday. These are the proliferation of nuclear weapons, use of technologies that harm the climate, and threats emerging from the advances in biological sciences – the Frankenstein of the modern age.
The nuclear threat has been apparent since World War II. Whereas even one nuclear bomb is sufficient to create global destruction, countries have embarked on an arms race that piles up more and more nuclear arsenal just as a show of strength or as a deterrent.
A threat that has surfaced in recent years is the deterioration of the atmosphere we live in due to use of technology that burns fossil fuels and increases the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Eventually, this leads to global warming and accompanied natural disasters.
Another threat is posed by our increased understanding of genetics. It is possible that people with bad intentions can create pathogens and viruses that can lead to a total destruction of life on the planet.
The above factors are all combined in a common perception of how far we are from doomsday in the symbolic Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists which shows we are only 6 minutes away from midnight. Whether the world ends in 2012 or not, let this not be a cause for postponing our attention to factors which are leading us away from a habitable planet.
Doomsday Clock Overview. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. 16 Jan 2010
Prada, Luis. The 6 best 2012 Apocalypse Theories. Cracked. 11 June 2009. Cracked.com. 16 Jan 2010.