I’m betting doughnuts against the world ending in 2012.
The “2012″ disaster-pic opens Friday, and some folks are actually asking, “Is the world really going to end in 2012? Will the Earth’s magnetic field really reverse? Is there really a planet Nibiru headed toward us? Is it all tied to the Mayan calendar?”
The short answer to all these questions is “no.”
Here’s how sure I am of that. If Earth’s magnetic field reverses and compass arrows begin pointing south instead of north by December 21, 2012 then I’ll buy you a dozen really good doughnuts - provided that there are any bakeries still open in the post-apocalyptic world envisioned by the folks claiming that life as we know it comes to an end on December 21st, 2012.
If Earth’s magnetic polarity reverses in 2012 then the doughnuts are on me.
Here at Clark Planetarium we settle differences of opinion with a three-step, tried-and-true problem-solving process:
First, competing opinions are required to make falsifiable predictions. An example of a falsifiable prediction is, “Earth’s magnetic field will reverse polarity in 2012.” An example of a non-falsifiable prediction is, “Something unusual will happen in the world in 2012.” Get the difference? One prediction is specific and you can test it, the other is vague and impossible to test.
Next, we find a way to test the prediction. In this case it’ll involve watching compass needles in 2012.
Finally, if the prediction is proven wrong then the person who made that prediction brings doughnuts to the next staff meeting.
Why am I willing to bet doughnuts on this?
Because while it is true that Earth’s magnetic poles have reversed polarity many times in Earth’s past, and doubtless will again many times in Earth’s future, it takes a minimum of several thousand years to accomplish a polarity reversal.
If you take this wager and the magnetic poles don’t reverse in 2012 then you owe me a dozen really good doughnuts.
I’m not only willing to wager fresh doughnuts against Earth’s magnetic field reversing in 2012, I’m also extending a “doughnut bet” challenge for all the other “the world ends in 2012!” predictions.
Specifically, I’m betting a dozen fresh, frosting-with-sprinkles doughnuts that in 2012:
#1. No Center-of-the Galaxy Alignment. The Sun is no better-aligned with the center of the galaxy on December 21st than it has been at any time in the past several hundred years or will be any time in the next several hundred years. On 12/21/12 the Sun will be more than six degrees (twelve times the diameter of the full moon) from the galactic center. That’s not much of an alignment.
The Sun will not align between us and the Galactic Center in 2012. Even if it did, nothing would happen.
More to the point, the center of our galaxy is two billion times farther from the Sun than the Sun is from Earth.
This is exactly like worrying about whether these two asterisks ** here in Salt Lake City ever “align” with Sydney, Australia when I move my computer monitor around. If there is anything the center of the galaxy can do to our solar system, it’s already doing it, whether it’s December 12st or the 4th of July. Galactic “alignments” are irrelevant.
#2. No mystery planet, whether it’s called “Nibiru” or by any other name, wanders through our solar system disrupting orbits and generally wreaking havoc in 2012. How do we know this? Because if such a large planet or Brown Dwarf star really did orbit our Sun every 3,600 years, as some imaginative folks are claiming, then 3,600 years ago the passage of this object through the inner solar system would have been devastating and tremendously noteworthy. There was plenty of history being recorded in 1,600 B.C.E., and the complete absence of records describing something as phenomenal as Nibiru is compelling evidence that Nibiru exists solely in the imagination. Plus, so large a planet or Brown Dwarf star would have been the #1 target of thousands of professional astronomers worldwide for the past 50 years, and the #1 target of millions of amateur astronomers for at least the past decade.
The only way to see “Nibiru” is with your imagination (and maybe Photoshop).
#3. The Mayan Calendar is interesting, but not a big deal. The resetting of the Mayan “Long Count” (144,000 days) calendar on 12/21/2012 will have the exact same impact on human behavior that the calendar that we use has when it “resets” to January 1st every year. There will be parties, and then we’ll go on with their lives.
The Mayan “Long Count” Calendar resets every 144,000 days, just as our calendar “resets” every 365 days.
Any takers on the doughnut bet?
Mmmmm… science. It not only works, it’s also delicious with a fresh cup of coffee.
And, yes, I’m planning to see the movie. I love a good disaster flick.