A Wooster Geologist on the 2012 Doomsday Phenomenon: Pseudoscience, Baseless Fears, and the Mysterious Planet Nibiru

January 31st, 2010


WOOSTER, OHIO–Last week I gave a talk about the coming End of Time scheduled for December 21, 2012.  You may have heard that the Mayan Long Count Calendar ends on the day before the 2012 winter solstice, and that all sorts of global catastrophes have been predicted to mark the event.  I was invited by Ohio State University Mansfield and North Central State College to describe the cataclysmic ideas about 2012 and explore the pseudoscience behind them.  It was a good opportunity to explore the value of science and scientific thinking … and hearty skepticism.

I’ve attached the 2012 lecture here as a PowerPoint file which should open in your browser with a click-through display.  There is no audio, alas, so you’ll just have to imagine the jokes.

You might also be interested in the “living syllabus” of our First-Year Seminar course on “Nonsense“.

7 Responses to “A Wooster Geologist on the 2012 Doomsday Phenomenon: Pseudoscience, Baseless Fears, and the Mysterious Planet Nibiru”

  1. Meagen Pollockon 04 Feb 2010 at 9:43 am

    Some of my FYS students and I went to see 2012 in the theaters. Overall, I think we enjoyed the action (even if it was a little over the top), but we also agreed that the scenario relied heavily on “pseudoscience,” as you say. Interestingly, we discussed many of the topics that you brought up in your talk. For example, Melissa Morgan (’13) was our expert on the effects of mass hysteria and how hysteria potentially leads to chaos and collapse. Wish you could have come to our class last semester!

  2. 2012hoaxon 05 Feb 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Professor Wilson;

    Thank you for posting this excellent resource! I am linking to it from the links page at 2012hoax.org.

    Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Bill Hudson. I am an amateur astronomer. For the last several years I have been going into local elementary school classrooms and giving talks on astronomy. Based on the feedback that I was getting in these talks, I began researching the whole 2012 phenomenon, and then founded 2012hoax.org. We have several amateur astronomers and a few professional scientists who contribute material.

    We are always happy to see resources like this from professional scientists. It goes a long way toward alleviating the hysteria attached to this date.


  3. Mark Wilsonon 05 Feb 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Dear Bill: You have the most comprehensive and accurate 2012 site on the web. It is spectacular, and its dynamic nature means it will respond to the changing ideas out there in the culture. It is an honor to be linked to it. If you need the services of a geologist, please just ask! Best Wishes, Mark

  4. 2012hoaxon 09 Feb 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Thank you, I may just take you up on that! My biggest need is for fact checking and more scholarly references. I’m working on a page about Yellowstone right now. I may ask you to take a look at it before it goes online.

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by 2012hoax, Marc Campanelli and Aryo Nugroho P., Sarin Kittisares. Sarin Kittisares said: RT @2012hoax: Geologist calls 2012hoax.org "the most comprehensive and accurate 2012 site on the web"! http://bit.ly/9vjhMv […]

  6. switch to consciousness 2012on 24 Feb 2010 at 1:01 pm

    A friend of mine mentioned 2012 last night to me and it’s the first I heard about it so I jumped on here out of curiosity. I think it’s kind of sick and sounds like a bunch of skeptical jargon.
    I choose to live every day like it is the last because let’s be real, WHO THE HELL KNOWS what is going to happen or when it’s your time to go on. The past is history, the future is a mystery and now is a gift, thats why it’s called the present. It’s not healthy to sit around and trip out about when you will die. Stop wasting your time you have now.
    stop frighten
    – some truth about 2012

  7. Hariharanon 12 Apr 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Will it be possible to get the download link for the ppt

    It will help me in taking seminar in my college



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