Why You Shouldn't Worry About the Impending Apocalypse

The last fifty years have seen a series of apocalyptic predictions, and not just of the Mayan Calendar variety. But human action should be motivated by present conditions, not doom and gloom. 

What's the Latest Development?


December 21, 2012, is the newest date at which the world is expected to end, allegedly due to the termination of the Mayan Long Count calendar and the Sun's alignment with the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Apocalyptic predictions, however, have not been limited to the "eccentric" among us. "The past half century has brought us warnings of population explosions, global famines, plagues, water wars, oil exhaustion, mineral shortages, falling sperm counts, thinning ozone, acidifying rain, nuclear winters, Y2K bugs, mad cow epidemics, killer bees, sex-change fish, cell-phone-induced brain-cancer epidemics, and climate catastrophes."

What's the Big Idea?

At the start of 2012, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its Doomsday Clock one minute closer to midnight, citing our failure as a species to prevent the looming disaster caused by changes in the Earth's atmosphere, i.e. climate change. Yet action justified by visions of the apocalypse do not only fair poorly through the historical lens, they fail the test of moral judgement, which seeks to determine the course of our actions as we make them, not just when we are confronted with massive failures. We are better equipped to manage threats to our existence as they arise than through "the mass fear stoked by worst-case scenarios."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

 

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

If you want to spot a narcissist, look at the eyebrows

Bushier eyebrows are associated with higher levels of narcissism, according to new research.

Big Think illustration / Actor Peter Gallagher attends the 24th and final 'A Night at Sardi's' to benefit the Alzheimer's Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 9, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
popular
  • Science has provided an excellent clue for identifying the narcissists among us.
  • Eyebrows are crucial to recognizing identities.
  • The study provides insight into how we process faces and our latent ability to detect toxic people.
Keep reading Show less

Why are women more religious than men? Because men are more willing to take risks.

It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.

Photo credit: Alina Strong on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
  • A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
  • The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
Keep reading Show less