No one knows the day or hour

There are a surprising number of things on which the bible and modern scientists, often coming at things from completely different perspectives, say exactly the same thing, sometimes for entirely different reasons.

One of them is that nobody can be certain when the world will end.

Anyone who claims to be able to predict when the word will end from the bible clearly has not read it properly because Jesus himself said quite clearly than nobody, not even himself, knows.

"No one knows the day or hour" he said, when he would come again "like a thief in the night."

And equally, one of the slightly scary things about modern science is that physicists and astronomers have discovered a variety of ways in which the world as we know it could come to an end, sometimes with comparatively little warning.

We'd probably have time to spot a comet or asteroid on a collision course with earth. Depending on how far out it was spotted or how many orbits away the collision could be predicted, we might have years or decades to try to do something about it. Or we might not.

A rogue black hole on course for our solar system might not be spotted until a short time before it destroyed us. The probability of this event occuring in any interesting space of time - such as the lifetime of anyone reading this - is extremely low. But not zero.

And there are a whole load of other "existential threats" which could potentially wipe us out tomorrow. But probably won't.

Then there is the possiblity of a human made disaster. At the time of Cuba my late mother, on going to bed, said to my father "I hope to see you in the morning."

Throughout history mankind has been fascinated by "end of the world" stories, mostly myths concocted by charlatans or lunatics.

And the idea that the end of the world taking place tomorrow has been "predicted" by the end of the ancient Mayan calendar is one of the silliest myths of the lot.

The Mayan calandar goes in cycles. Tomorrow happens to be the end of the longest one, the so-called "long count" calendar - and the start of another cycle. To say that the ancient Mayans were predicting that the world will end tomorrow is like suggesting that a swimsuit model or pop star is predicting that the world will end in eleven days because her 2012 calendar finishes on December 31st. As far as I am aware most of them have plenty of engagements booked in their 2013 diaries.

The world could end tomorrow - but it is no more likely to end tomorrow than on any other day.

If anyone would like to bet me any sum of money up to a million pounds that the world will end tomorrow I'd be delighted to take the bet, provided you have a million pounds that I can collect when it doesn't.  Of course, if it does you may have a bit more trouble collecting from me ...

And on that note I'm going to bed in the confident expectation that we can speak again in the morning.


Jim said…
Tell you what, I will bet you £100 (not quite got a million - Yet) that the idiots such as David Wilcok who have made a fortune selling books and rubbish about 2012 will simply start again making such films as "the 2015 engigma"

You missed out, Gamma ray bursts from a super nova and Yellowstone going up.

Always amuses me the "exact date" thing though. In both those examples, the lifetime of a star and geological time, then anytime in the next 20,000 or so years is "tomorrow", on those sorts of time scales 22012 is the blink of an eye away.
Jim said…
Mind you I am quite surprised that the shops did not cash in on it.

Just think, could have been the biggest "new Year" party ever. The shops could have sold large "happy new long count" banners, The pubs could have all got a late (or rather early) licence. Even the buchers could have invented a "new long count dinner" of goose or something really expensive.

Talk about a missed 1 in 5126 year opportunity.


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