Is the world really coming to an end in December 2012, as the new movie 2012 suggests? There are certainly sites on the Internet that say it will, by a large rogue planet, maybe four times the size of earth â€“ our nemesis, this time coming to finish us off for good.Â Indeed, this planet Nibiru is returning after a close encounter with Earth 3,600 years ago. All this adds up to good movie material, but is it really going to happen?
Scientists like those at NASA say no. In fact, since they are beset by mail from worried citizens, they are at pains to squash such thoughts. One good source of their response is at http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/ask-an-astrobiologist/intro/nibiru-and-doomsday-2012-questions-and-answers.
If this planet were going to hit us in 2012, it would be already in the solar system within telescopic sight. Some web sites claimed it would be visible to the naked eye by spring 2009. Why hasnâ€™t anyone mentioned seeing it yet? The answer from the alarmist is the hoary old â€œgovernment conspiracyâ€ theory. â€œTheyâ€ arenâ€™t telling us, so we wonâ€™t panic. This is so ridiculous that itâ€™s laughable. The United States government could hardly keep every astronomer in the world quiet, let alone the thousands of amateur astronomers around the world.
The idea that the Mayan calendar predicts this dire event is also nonsensical. To the Maya, the end of a cycle and the start of a new one was the cause of celebration â€“ a far cry from the doomsday idea.Â The Mayan â€œdoomsdayâ€ was originally predicted for May 2003, but since that date passed without astronomical incidence, the date has now been recalculated to the winter solstice of 2012. Doesnâ€™t this remind you of religious predictions of the â€œraptureâ€? When it doesnâ€™t happen on one day, â€œrecalculateâ€ and set another date.
Associated with the rogue planet theory, we also hear obfuscating statements in pseudo-scientific gobble-de-gook, such as â€œgalactic alignmentsâ€, â€œdark riftsâ€ and â€œmutated neutrinosâ€, which donâ€™t make any sense and donâ€™t make the fiction any more real except perhaps to the uneducated.
Nibiru is a name that appears in the Babylonian poem Enuma Elish. It is associated with the god Marduk. Scholars are not sure what Nibiru is or what it may refer to. Marduk is the god that corresponds to Zeus or Jupiter. In planetary terms, Marduk is the planet Jupiter. I for one am prepared to accept the planetary nature of Nibiru, but it is not an unknown planet. Nibiru is the planet Venus, whom the Greeks associated with Athena (not Aphrodite, who was the goddess of the moon). Recall that in Greek mythology, Athena sprang from the forehead of Zeus. The planets Venus and Jupiter are therefore closely linked. (See my â€œScientific Orthodoxy and Venusâ€, August 26, 2009 below). We have the same association with Nibiru and Marduk. If Nibiru is a planet, it is the planet Venus, now safe in its inner orbit around the sun.
The alarmist statements, the misleading web sites, the pseudo-science, the misrepresented Mayan references â€“ all this hoohah has one direct commercial object: Go see the movie! Guess what? I will, but not because of these idiocies. No, special effects suck me in every time, even as I groan at the nonsense the characters spout, trying to make it all sound scientifically feasible.