Well, they’re utter bulls**t, of course. But there’s more. Obviously. See, the thing is, the world today is more connected than ever before. And this means that learning has become something that extends beyond the classroom. To survive intellectually in this age, one needs to adopt a sense of skeptical thinking. A scientific way of approaching things. A measured, calm, analytical mindset.
Unfortunately, this way of thinking critically is only possessed by a select faction of society. And that’s where the mass-hysteria surrounding pseudoscientific beliefs like the 2012 apocalypse proliferate. And we don’t have to look farther than our beloved World Wide Web to note that ideas catch on faster than wildfires.
Skeptical thinking doesn’t mean the rejection of all ideas. No. It means listening to all ideas (good or bad), and then assessing them critically, considering the validity of them, sometimes testing them scientifically or using logical thinking or accepted theories to determine whether said ideas are plausible.
It’s a refreshing change from submitting oneself to the hysteria surrounding claims that, for instance, there will be a magnetic shift of the Earth’s poles, or that some (fictional) planet called Nibiru will collide into us.
It’s very easy to succumb the mind to these claims. After all, it’s a lot more exciting than accepting the scientific approach (advocated by people like NASA, that December 21st will be just as ordinary as any other day). It allows one to feel like they’ll soon be living in some outlandish Hollywood film (I’m looking at you, 2012).
Technological streams such as Web 2.0 services (Twitter, Facebook, social networks and chat platforms) allow the more paranoid of our species to propagate irrationality. Sometimes I think theses guys thrive on the panic. It’s like some kind of weird mystical energy… jokes.
For us logical beings, December 21st is probably going to be just as hellish as the Mayans supposedly predicted. The Facebook updates, Tweets and BBM broadcasts are going to reach a frenzy. But when the storm passes over, when the day ends and December 22nd dawns, we shall once again be able to breathe as the tin foiled folk emerge from their bunkers to a world just as unchanged as when they’d retreated. Problem is, though: they’ll be fueled and ready to go for the next bout of doomsday predictions.
So please, I urge you: adopt the scientific way of thinking, and tell your friends about it too. It doesn’t bite (or cause any apocalypses…). I promise.