Tuesday, 18 December 2012 00:46

Mayan end of days - what should you tell your children?


Pointing and laughing at the December 21st hoax is easy. Even easier to point and laugh at the (supposed) grown ups who think it's true. But what of the children who have heard the theories?

Children regularly hear all kinds of information. They may hear news, stories, jokes, yarns, instructions and even warnings.

It's the warnings that are at issue here.

Just recently, my iTWire colleague William Atkins wrote a summary of thoughts of Bill Hudson, who describes himself "I am an amateur astronomer. I am not a professional scientist. In my 'day job' I work in Information Systems (in other words, I'm a professional computer geek, hence the nickname 'astrogeek')." However he is leading the charge against all the rogues and charlatans who have barrows to push on his web site www.2012hoax.org.

Of significant amusement is the somewhat incoherent attack on Hudson and his site by one of those 'rogues', Pane Andov. To quote Andov's response, "The harm can be done to the poster Astrogeek or should we use the same approach that he is using - the poor and pathetic Mr.Hudson and his delusional and half blinded amigos, but we decided that its not reasonable spending of time and finance."

About the only reasonable response to this is, "huh?"

…and if anyone really needs evidence of just how bat-guano-crazy this guy is, take a peek at this page.

This is just one example of the kinds of 'warnings' that are being picked up by children around the world. As Hudson, commented, "That really upsets me that the rumors are out there, and they upset people, especially kids." Further, the wall Street Journal spoke of Hudson, "He was spurred to act some five years ago, he says, after listening to several frightened questions from fifth-grade students to whom he was giving a talk on space."

So, if our children are bothered by this, assuming they are old enough to understand some degree of reason, explain to them that there are two kinds of people who want to promote this myth.

The first kind are those who want to sell something. That might be some kind of bomb-proof shelter, spiritual advice or even some kind of trip into space to escape the threatened disaster. Explain to your children that they only way they can sell these wares is to keep lying to everyone about the upcoming disaster.

The second kind are those that have had some kind of magical insight into the future and are promising to meditate | astral travel | pray their way (and all of their cohorts) to some better life.

When your children understand why these people are constantly telling this lie, explain the actual facts to them. That…

When your children understand why these people are constantly telling this lie, explain the actual facts to them. That…

There is no comet / asteroid / planet capable of destroying the Earth. If there were, it would have to be so big that we'd have identified it years or decades ago. Objects on the solar system follow regular well-defined paths. They don't suddenly vary their path. Tell your children that scientists understand these things very very well.

The Sun is not going to suddenly explode. Astronomers have studied stars all across the galaxy and universe and they have an excellent understanding of the current state of our Sun and how it will evolve. While an explosion is a likelihood in its future, that isn't expected for another 4 billion years or more. Again, explain to your children that this is well understood.

There isn't going to be a huge eruption of some volcano in the next 3 days. Although we are regularly surprised by small eruptions, big ones take a while to build up and give lots of indications. There are no such indications. Neither is there going to be some catastrophic earthquake that rips continents apart; that simply isn't possible. Even the largest known earthquakes have only affected relatively small parts of the Earth.

Yes we have global warming; yes it's going to be a problem. But not in the next three days! Even three decades will be a relatively short period of time to start seeing the worst of the predicted outcomes. Tell your children that they will be grown up and old (at least 30) before they see real problems. When you tell them honestly of a real problem, one that everyone agrees is a problem, they will respect you and they will listen to what else you say to them.

They may have heard of other ways that catastrophe might happen:

  • Floods (where will the water come from?);
  • Nuclear war (the danger of that has long passed - any terrorists with such weapons could have but a very small number - they could not decimate the earth);
  • Aliens (aliens are in the movies, and we all know movies aren't real);
  • Extreme fire (sure parts of the earth burn every summer - Australia, California, Spain etc are well known for this, but the land has to be dry for this to happen, and even then only very small areas burn);
  • World War III (wars don't start in a couple of days, and even if they did, they'd take years to cause widespread destruction, thus failing the prophesy badly).

No matter what the crazy people suggest might happen, no theory stands up to any kind of scrutiny. Tell your children this.

In fact, a number of people have tried to imagine ways to destroy the Earth and have been forced to admit that it is a very difficult thing to do. Tell your children this.

And finally, remind your children that Christmas is due to arrive 4 days after the end of the world; have them look at the gifts you've placed around your tree and ask them a simple question: do they really think you'd have gone to all that trouble if the world was going to end just before they were going to receive all those gifts?

Tell your children you love them and that nothing strange will happen to the Earth on December 21st.

Heck, don't just tell your children, tell everyone. Point out the "lying scoundrels with agendas" and have as many people as possible laugh at them. For these people are either foolish or malicious and in both cases, they are defeated by laughter.

Merry Christmas to all our readers - please, look forward to it as you always do, and enjoy it as you always have.

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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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