With a deeply-felt awareness of our announcement’s likely effect on the lives, plans, and beliefs of peoples the world over, WOOF, after much soul searching, has decided to cancel the end of the world formerly scheduled for today, December 21st. We apologize for the short notice. See, to be perfectly honest we knew it wasn’t going to happen in the first place. We know you probably think we cheated and asked our colleague in Zug, Switzerland, Dr. Gootensteiner Johannes Walter (world famous futurologist, reader of the Akashic record, and former life coach to renowned monoloquist Theodore Gottleib) to check the future for us using one of his well-tested remote viewing techniques, but no, not this time, we did it ourselves! And it is, we are pleased to tell you, entirely impossible that the world can end today. How do we know? It’s simple arithmetic, really. If you understand probability theory and in particular the analysis of random phenomena held as non-deterministic quark-related systemic complexes describable by statistical mechanics when the probabilistic nature of phenomena is configured in accordance with the (second-order) law of total probability thus ensuring that marginal probabilities and conditional probabilities are not conflated, you can see how we did it. Besides, the end of the world has been predicted about a bazillion times and nobody’s been right so far, so what are the chances? Like zip, that’s what! Consider this brief and highly truncated history of the ends of the world:
Back in the 2nd century, AD, two doomsday predictors named Maximilla and Priscilla and a prophet named Montanus predicted that Jesus would restore Jerusalem in Phrygia around 160 AD—which he didn’t—but the cult persisted for about four centuries, and came to include Tertullian, who was a big shot theologian in those days. In 365 AD Hilary of Poitiers predicted the world would end in 365, leaving little margin for error. Hilary, a bishop of the church whose name meant ‘happy’ was pretty unhappy about the impending apocalypse, but presumably he cheered up when the year elapsed with no doom in sight. But by 380AD, the Donatists of North Africa (another Christian sect) predicted the end of the world that very same year. But the world didn’t end—in fact, it outlasted the Donatists.
Roman theologian Sextus Julius Africanus (60-240AD) revealed the End would come 6000 years after the Creation. He did the math and somehow concluded there were 5,531 years between the Creation and the Resurrection, and confidently predicted the end would arrive as scheduled in 500 AD. A nice round number, but no apocalypse. But then came the Spanish monk Beatus of Liébana Elipandus, bishop of Toledo, who foresaw and helped precipitate an end-time panic, We were supposed to be toast on
Easter Eve, 793, but lasted through the year. Beatus, ever the optimist, rescheduled for 800 AD, but his followers were again disappointed. In heavy competition with Beatus was Bishop Gregory of Tours who proved mathematically that the world would end in 799, and then when that didn’t happen he proved it would end in 806, but his figures, like Beatus’s, proved incorrect. Then came 848AD and the prophetess Thiota, who got a lot of people excited just by being gorgeous and mystical and stuff, but proved a bit of a poser when her predicted doomsday fizzled and she admitted inventing her prophecy for laughs. As a remonstrance, she was publicly flogged. Bernard of Thuringia calculated that the earth would check out in 992, and of course the year 1000 invited a lot of apocalyptic certitude, sending much of Europe (yet again) into what might be considered a kind of Y1-K panic—but the millennial transition occurred (in 1001, actually, yes we know) and the world was still turning on its axis and no computers are reported to have crashed anywhere.
Are you beginning to get the picture here, fellow earthlings? Since the year 1000AD, just to name a few, we’ve had:John of Toledo who saw the alignment of planets dooming us on September 23, 1186; Joachim of Fiore, who liked 1200 and then 1260; Pope Innocent who struck out in 1284, Gerard of Poehlde who blew it in 1306, and look, you get the basic overview, right? So let’s skip to after America was discovered and stuff began to matter.
Cotton Mather predicted a fiery judgment in 1716, having initially predicted 1697. The Shaker sect took a crack at 1792, then tried for 1794. John Wesley took a stab at 1836. William Miller told his loyal Millerites that proceedings would wrap up on March 21, 1844. He then realized an imperfection in his exegetics and explained that the correct date was really October 22nd, which also failed to pan out. The Seventh Day Adventists were founded in the belief that 1874 marked the end, but obviously they overcame their disappointment and soldiered on. Unrivaled for his dogged tenacity, Herbert W. Armstrong of the Worldwide Church of God chose the year 1936, followed by the year 1943, followed by 1972, followed by 1975. None were winners. Meanwhile, the Jehovah’s Witnesses took another shot with 1941, piggy-backed with Mr. Armstrong in 1975 and then set their sights on October 2, 1984, a couple of years after the end of the world per Pat Robertson, who predicted November of 1982. Back in 1967, Jim Jones (who later gave us the phrase “kool-aid drinkers” ) said the time was at hand, but the only pestilence that hit us in 1967 was the hippies. And remember Hal Lindsey? He wrote that the 1980s were the end (but he said probably so we really shouldn’t count him). Louis Farrakhan was much more definite about Gulf War One, declaring it the final war before Armageddon. And of course, we all remember self-taught exegete Harold Camping who had half the world in conniptions with his prediction of May 21, 2011—generously held over until October of the same year, but to no good end, as it were.
So why is the earth supposed to be ending today, December 21, 2012? Well, it’s mainly the fault of the Mayans, who are extinct as a culture and cannot explain why their calendar seems to end today, let alone their weird preoccupation with tearing beating-hearts out of victim’s
chests. But say, if calendars ending perfunctorily predict doomsday what about the Seiko prediction? We have a Seiko phone on which the calendar ends on December 31, 2099—and if you think that’s weird, we have a colleague with Samsung cell phone and it ends on the same day! And you know what happens if you try to take it further into the future? Are you sitting down? It flashes a message that reads, “Invalid date.” So here at WOOF we’re pretty much going with December 31, 2099. Hold us to it, gentle readers! True, the Hopi Mesoamerican Long Count calendar supposedly also ends today, 2012, but those Hopi look like they’re just along for the ride on this one—besides, they take a lot of peyote, don’t they? And their shamans’ names are hokey, like Prancing Coyote and stuff—who can take that seriously? And experts in Mayan culture – which is traceable to 250 AD in Central America and faded into the jungle by 900AD, insist that the 2012 prediction is a gross misrepresentation of the Mayan’s long-count calendar and is not reiterated in any surviving Mayan texts. Besides, why should anybody take a culture seriously that based all its most important calculations on the life cycle of maize?
And then there’s the idea that some planet named Nibiru is going to do us in because that nice lady who is in psychic contact with the UFO aliens says they warned her it’s swooping in on its vast elliptical orbit and smashing into us today. Well, we don’t doubt the lady’s sincerity but—if she would just read John A Keel or Jacques Vallee instead of listening to a bunch of stupid aliens, or, geez, just read “When Prophecy Fails,” huh lady? –she would know that the aliens are just a bunch of liars—and besides, the whole theory of “Nibiru” is derived from the works of the late writer Zecharia Sitchin and his semi-famous interpretations of Babylonian and Sumerian mythology, and the problem with believing this is that a) it was mythology—hello? And b) Sitchin himself denied any connection between his work and various claims of an impending apocalypse, and c) he, Sitchin, never accepted the obvious reality of the earth’s being hollow, so he can’t be all that reliable to begin with!
SO: Is there any reliable evidence that earth will end on this day? The only really troubling indications that we may actually be doomed are found in the disquieting fact that both NASA and the Obama administration have taken pains to assure us there is nothing to worry about—that none of the doomsday prophecies associated with this date are in any respect valid. But even in the face of these admittedly consternating pronouncements, WOOF confidently declares the earth’s destruction to be cancelled for today, and postponed until at least 2099. Doubt us today, fellow earthlings, if you so choose—but you’ll be thanking us tomorrow! See you then! Don’t sell short! We’re here for you! ________________________________________________________