Why 2012 Doomsday Theories are Moot

There are so many 2012 doomsday theories that it has made making this article quite difficult.  I can easily understand how one could make a book out of this.  However, my aim is to quickly tackle the evidence from each and weight its credibility.  There are so many doomsday theorists in the past and they will never stop.  What needs to grow is people’s critical thinking and ability to discern credible predictions from complete fabrications.  It did not help that the movie 2012 had a marketing scheme incorporating bits and pieces of actual history to try and scare people into seeing the movie.

For each theory, I want to explain the basic premise and then look at the evidence provided.  I am not going to dive into details that rely on “coincidence?” type persuasion.  That is not a valid reason to believe in something.  I will be drawing from direct FAQ’s by NASA as they are most frequently used as evidence for believing in these doomsday theories.  (http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012.html)


Nibiru is the name of a planet that is said to be on a path to destroy earth.  There are few origins of this planet.  I will first cover grounds for claims and then counter evidence.

Zecharia Sitchin 

Zecharia is a fictional author about Mesopotamia and Sumerian civilizations.  He claims that he found a translated document that identifies the planet orbiting the sun every 3600 years.  On this planet is where aliens beings live called the Annunaki.  The Annunaki are god-like deities in Sumerian, Akadian, Assyrian, and Babylonia.  The Annunaki were introduced in a Babylonian myth named “Enuma Elish” which can be read here:


Zecharia claims that the Annunaki, who were separated from Earth and sent to heaven, exist on the planet Nibiru and are intended to return in 2012 and profoundly change the earth.  The part that Zecharia seems to ignore is that the myth claims that only half the Annunaki were sent to heaven while the other half remained on Earth.  Furthermore, what Zecharia refers to as Annunaki in the Enuma Elish story is actually Marduk which the Mayans referred to as Jupiter. (Jastrow, Jr., Morris (1911). Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria, G.P. Putnam’s Sons: New York and London. pp. 217-219.).

At length, Sitchin claims that Nibiru exists because of his interpretation of the texts.  However, there are many critics, like Michael S. Heiser, that find his interpretations to be far to extrapolated from the original context.  Considering Sitchin’s history of novel publications, there is an obvious bias that needs to be addressed; creating controversy over the mis-interpretations is entirely the only reason his works became known.

Phil Plait and Michael Heiser have done a great job demonstrating how Zecharia’s sholarly work is dishonest and out of context.  You can read more here: http://sitchiniswrong.com/

Nancy Lieder

Nancy Lieder is the founder of http://www.zetatalk.com who claims to be the emissary of the extra-terrestrials known as Zeta’s.  This is not the first time someone has claimed to be in contact with aliens on a foreign planet that created civilization.  We have seen the Heaven’s Gate group that is infamous for the “kool-aid” suicides in order for their souls to enter the space-ship that was Hale-Bopp’s comet.  The Heaven’s Gate website is still up and can be visited (http://www.heavensgate.com/).  Zeta Talk is not far from this concept.

Nancy claims that, in 1993, she was contacted by the Zeta’s and endured a hybrid program in order to become an emissary to Earth.  Now, aside from the obvious point that this lunacy is not enough persuasion for anyone alone, she claims that Planet Nibiru was sighted by astronomers all around the globe (we will clarify this momentarily).  In fact, she claims:

 That a middle aged woman with a high school degree, who does not even know which end of a telescope to look into, could pinpoint the RA and Dec of the brown dwarf, Planet X, is astonishing, and speaks to the validity of ZetaTalk

I agree… it does speak to the validity of ZetaTalk.  ZetaTalk had originally claimed that the world would end in May of 2003.  However, when that did not happen, they postponed it to 2012 which coincided with the Mayan calendar, compounding its appeal, though not its validity.

Proof of Nibiru..?

Infrared observations = Planet X

There is a great deal of reliance on the early 80’s project by NASA called Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) which can be seen here.  In short, there was some ambiguous readings that some, including journalists, took as evidence of “Planet X”.  However, one ought to consider:

A number of candidate identifications have been considered including near-solar system, galactic, and extragalactic objects. Further observations at infrared and other wavelengths may provide additional information in support of one of these conjectures, or perhaps these objects will require entirely different interpretations.”

Houck et al, Astrophysical Journal Letters, 278:L63, 1984.

Although there was research following up these ambiguous readings, the public had already got a hold on the idea and ran with it.  These are the two following publications that show that the infra-red readings were not objects coming towards us:

Unidentified IRAS sources – Ultrahigh-luminosity galaxies

+ The IRAS view of the extragalactic sky

Orbital perturbations = Planet X

A commonly referenced quote to best explain this theory is:

Unexplained deviations in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune point to a large outer solar system body of 4 to 8 Earth masses, on a highly tilted orbit, beyond 7 billion miles from the sun,


It is pertinent here to note that there is a belt in the reaches of our system called the Kuiper belt.  This is where some people believe that planet X exists and how it influences the deviations of Uranus and Neptune because of the planets significantly larger size to other bodies in the belt.  However, there is actually no evidence of these deviations and NASA has a thorough list of known bodies that influence these orbits known as the trans-Neptunian objects.  Here is that list: http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/astro/tnoslist.html

But there are photos of Nibiru!

Just as there are photos of ghosts, often these photos are relying on a sort of lens flare to prove the existence of Nibiru.  If it was not lens flare, then the photos ought to have compounding evidence with other photos of the same regions.  Unfortunately, this is not the case and there is no citation that can be given to prove the exact image or location of “Nibiru”.  Most photos are features of the sun, namely, internal reflections in the lens often called lens flare.  These images appear diametrically opposite the real solar image as if reflected across the cente rof the image.

Gas shell around the star V838 Mon.

Earths Defenses Against Asteroids

We do have measures to defend our planet from foreign cosmic bodies.  TED talks has a good video explaining these measures if you are interested:

Q: Is the Earth in danger of being hit by a meteor in 2012?
A: The Earth has always been subject to impacts by comets and asteroids, although big hits are very rare. The last big impact was 65 million years ago, and that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Today NASA astronomers are carrying out a survey called the Spaceguard Survey to find any large near-Earth asteroids long before they hit. We have already determined that there are no threatening asteroids as large as the one that killed the dinosaurs. All this work is done openly with the discoveries posted every day on the NASA NEO Program Office website, so you can see for yourself that nothing is predicted to hit in 2012.


Mayan Calendar Predictions

There are many claims that, because the Mayan calendar is ending in 2012, it must mean that they predicted the end of the world or some sort of transcendent change in the Earth or its population.  However, there are a lot of misleading information when regarding the Mayan calendar because it has several calendars and forms of calculating time.  It is when this is compounded with the other theories that makes it seem all the more appealing to those who do not investigate and separate the facts from fiction.

It is important to first state that this is not the first time the Mayan calendar has “ended” in the same way that your calendar, the Gregorian one, has ended many times before.  The specific calendar that is often reference is the Bak’tun and it will end, for the 13th time, in 2012.  Normally, I would never reference wikipedia, but they have done a wonderful job showing how the calendar works and anything I were to make would only look similar, please consider: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_calendar

The famous Maya Long Count calendar begins on August 11, 3114 B.C.–just as our own calendar begins on January 1 of the first year of the Christian era….Presumably, the Maya…attached some significance to their own day zero, but we don’t know what it was. (Diamond 2005: 167)

Jared Diamond (author of “Guns, Germs, and Steel”) tackles the Mayan Calendar in his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.

Long Count calendar, which is reset to day 0 every 1,872,000 days, a period known as The Great Circle (Diamond 2005: 167).

Doomsday sayers, like John Calleman (http://www.calleman.com/) and “Great Dreams of the Great Circe” (http://www.greatdreams.com/mynproph.html) claim that this Great Circle/Cycle is the end of times in 2012.  These reasons are based on dreams, visions, and some interpretations of actual Mayan text.. but out of context.  The Mayan calendar was not intended to predict, but calculate time.

In truth, the only real relevance the Mayan Calendar has to 2012 is that a Bak’tun is ending and it coincidentally lies with other theories (likely only because of the calendars date).  Let’s explore these other possible theories..

Polar Shift

Q: What is the polar shift theory? Is it true that the earth’s crust does a 180-degree rotation around the core in a matter of days if not hours?
A: A reversal in the rotation of Earth is impossible. There are slow movements of the continents (for example Antarctica was near the equator hundreds of millions of years ago), but that is irrelevant to claims of reversal of the rotational poles. However, many of the disaster websites pull a bait-and-switch to fool people. They claim a relationship between the rotation and the magnetic polarity of Earth, which does change irregularly, with a magnetic reversal taking place every 400,000 years on average. As far as we know, such a magnetic reversal doesn’t cause any harm to life on Earth. A magnetic reversal is very unlikely to happen in the next few millennia, anyway.


Reversal in rotation is impossible and has never happened and never will. Tectonic shift does not equate reversal. Magnetic field of earth does change irregulary around 400k years but does not cause any harm to earth. Rotation direction and magnetic polarity are not related, there is no reason to expect a reversal of magnetic polarity any time soon. A suddent shift in the rotational pole with disaster is impossible.

The science shows that magnetic pole reversal is – in terms of geologic time scales – a common occurrence that happens gradually over millennia. While the conditions that cause polarity reversals are not entirely predictable – the north pole’s movement could subtly change direction, for instance – there is nothing in the millions of years of geologic record to suggest that any of the 2012 doomsday scenarios connected to a pole reversal should be taken seriously. A reversal might, however, be good business for magnetic compass manufacturers.


Planetary Alignment

Some theories rely on the fact that there will be a planetary alignment that will cause tragic consequences. Firstly, the earth can not be the center of the galaxy.  We are 30k light years from the center of this spiral, we circle the galactic enter in a period of 225-250 million years always keeping the same distance. Alignment of earth and sun with the center of the milky way and the constellation Sagittarirus happens every December. Alignment with black hole at center of galaxy an its strong pull. It is 30k light years away so it has negligible effects on our solar system let alone earth.

Q: Could phenomena occur where planets align in a way that impacts Earth?
A: There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades, Earth will not cross the galactic plane in 2012, and even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible. Each December the Earth and sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way Galaxy but that is an annual event of no consequence.


There is also reference that the planetary alignment is in, what the Mayans called, “the Dark Rift”.  Broad and diffuse dust clouds in the inner arm of the milky way galaxy which glock our view of the galactic center.  The sun, in December, is always approximately in the direction of the center of the galaxy as seen from the Earth.

The first strike against this theory is that the solstice itself does not correlate to any movements of the stars or anything in the universe beyond Earth. It just happens to be the day that Earth’s North Pole is tipped farthest from the sun.

Second, Earth is not within range of strong gravitational effects from the black hole at the center of the galaxy since gravitational effects decrease exponentially the farther away one gets. Earth is 93 million miles from the sun and 165 quadrillion miles from the Milky Way’s black hole. The sun and the moon (a smaller mass, but much closer) are by far the most dominant gravitational forces on Earth. Throughout the course of the year, our distance from the Milky Way’s black hole changes by about one part in 900 million – not nearly enough to cause a real change in gravity’s pull. Moreover, we’re actually nearest to the galactic center in the summer, not at the winter solstice.

Third, the sun appears to enter the part of the sky occupied by the Dark Rift every year at the same time, and its arrival there in Dec. 2012 portends precisely nothing.


NASA/Google is Covering it Up!

First of all, this is exactly the path to paranoid conspiracy theorists.  When one cannot be proven wrong, they embrace un-falsifiability which broods illogical reasoning.  This is the very thing that perpetuates many imaginative, but false concepts (eg. tooth fairies, sasquatch, loch ness monster, etc.).  It is up to the theorist to prove their claims, not for others to disprove their theory.  Also, when considering a theory like Nibiru, it ought to be incredibly difficult to hide an entire planet from the astronomers of the world.

Google Sky is Covering Up Nibiru!

There is no cover up as alternate sources show blocked areas which are, in fact, just a result of data loss.

Solar Storm/Flares

Other groups claim that a solar storm is brewing, such as http://www.solarstormwarning.com/ but it is important to first note that these theories are entirely relying on NASA’s data.  Thus, we ought to consider what NASA has to say:

Q: Is there a danger from giant solar storms predicted for 2012?
A: Solar activity has a regular cycle, with peaks approximately every 11 years. Near these activity peaks, solar flares can cause some interruption of satellite communications, although engineers are learning how to build electronics that are protected against most solar storms. But there is no special risk associated with 2012. The next solar maximum will occur in the 2012-2014 time frame and is predicted to be an average solar cycle, no different than previous cycles throughout history.


Groups like Solar Storm Warning work a lot of hype up around an idea and compound it by including things like the Mayan calendar or Nibiru theories.   One such theory is the solar flares.

Given a legitimate need to protect Earth from the most intense forms of space weather – great bursts of electromagnetic energy and particles that can sometimes stream from the sun – some people worry that a gigantic “killer solar flare” could hurl enough energy to destroy Earth. Citing the accurate fact that solar activity is currently ramping up in its standard 11-year cycle, there are those who believe that 2012 could be coincident with such a flare.

But this same solar cycle has occurred over millennia. Anyone over the age of 11 has already lived through such a solar maximum with no harm. In addition, the next solar maximum is predicted to occur in late 2013 or early 2014, not 2012.

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft captured this image of a solar flare as it erupted from the sun early on Tuesday, October 28, 2003. This was the most powerful flare measured with modern methods. Credit: NASA/SOHOMost importantly, however, even the biggest solar flares are not powerful enough to physically destroy Earth.



Doomsday theories have been around for all of time.  Ever since man was able to write, there have been theories about the end of the world.  The truth is, we live such short fragile lives, and it comes as no surprise that some fantasize that their life is in the most climactic time in the history of human-kind.  David Hume said it best:

But the life of a man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster.

We must also learn how to question and analyze these theories so we know the truth from the fantasy.  There are some truths in 2012: a Mayan calendar is ending, there is normal Earth activity (ie. some alignments), etc.  However, we can not make the mistake of taking these small truths to lead us to believing the preposterous.

For more debunking of the 2012 hoax, please visit http://www.2012hoax.org/

➡ Follow-Ups

+ Earliest Mayan Calendar found, further compounding that 2012 doomsday theories are moot: http://www.livescience.com/20218-apocalypse-oldest-mayan-calendar.html


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