The biggest party last year that we celebrated was shockingly not the New year’s but the End of the world party on the 21st of December. The Mayan predictions have more or less proven true, hence the Mayan calendar which depicted that the last day would be 21st December 2012 caused widespread panic. There were news debates and reports of people who had sold all their possessions to enjoy the time that was left, while others prepared to survive through whatever catastrophe was to befall that day. Religious sects claimed it would be the end of days or the apocalypse and every man would pay for his sins, while many believed it would be due to the pole reversal. Of course, since we are all alive we know nothing bad really happened, except some people just accumulated a ton of debt. These end of the world theories though are still floating around, albeit with different dates. Some of the ways that we fear the world is going to end are:
10. Biological weapons
Most people believe that the end of the world will be due to a spread of some potent virus. As the success of most zombie movies such as Zombieland, Resident evil franchise, 28 weeks later etc. have proved, people are obsessed with the theme of the collapse of the world, due to effects of an unknown virus, which almost wipes out humanity. With recent advancements in technology and medicine, there has been a huge increase in research with viruses, to create hybrid strains and study them in order to develop cure for diseases, hence a lot of people worry about the leakage or accidental escape of these newly viral strains whose effects are unknown and cures unavailable which would definitely cause the world to end as we know it.
9. Planet Nibiru
Popularly known as the Nibiru cataclysm, most people believe that 21st century will see a doomsday due to a collision between earth and planet X or Nibiru. The origin of this theory came up in 1995 on a website called zetatalk and surmised by Nancy lieder who believed she was able to contact extraterrestrials and was capable of receiving messages from them via a brain implant, who told her to warn mankind of this impending danger. This belief was subsequently adopted by several cults and sects and modified to align with prophecies of Sumerian and Babylonian mythology.
8. Alien invasion
The world is still divided in their beliefs of whether extra terrestrial life really exists but most people do fear a war of the world’s scenario where human civilization would be destroyed by a highly developed alien race. The US government conspiracy to keep proof of alien existence secret in area 51 is a famously known by all as are the UFO sightings and the survival tales of alien abductions and probes, but no one knows for sure. In 1997, 39 people belonging to a believer group called the heaven’s gate cult committed suicide with the belief that earth was going to be attacked by aliens and the only way to be rescued by an UFO trailing the Haley comet was to commit suicide. There are several such sects of believers such as realism where followers believe that human kind originated from an alien civilization called Elohim, cosmic circle of fellowship, Ashtar Galactic Command to name a few. Several of the believers theorize that eventually aliens will destroy mankind on account of being more advanced or scavengers or as punishment for not taking care of our planet.
7. The Sun
Many people fear that the eventual destruction of earth will be due to its life giver, the sun. There are two different theories as to how that will come about. The first theory says that solar flares will bring back the Dark Age on earth again pushing back development hundreds of years. The activity cycle of the sun is about eleven years during which time the solar flares are produced due to flipping of the sun’s magnetic field and it is predicted that if ever there was to be a perfect solar storm it would wipe out our communication systems, the GPS satellite networks and the huge voltage surges would damage all electronic equipment to a huge extent. In 1958, a solar flare had caused the blackout of radio communication systems in USA and the effects in recent times would be more potent due to our increased dependence on technology. The other theory says that the end of days would occur due to the earth being gobbled up by the sun. Though scientists predict that it is still a long way off, this theory says that during the red dwarf phase of the sun, it will increase in size due to inner fusion probably destroying earth if its diameter increases to such an extent.
One of the greatest fears that people have regarding the destruction of the earth is by collision with an asteroid. Most people believe that the good luck that earth has had due to its near misses as we saw with QE2, will soon run out and eventually an asteroid‘s orbit will lead it to collide with Earth. According to NASA, earth is on a path of about 1400 potentially hazardous asteroids but fortunately the chances of a massive destruction are grim. Of the asteroids which are large enough to cause damage, scientists predict the probability of them hitting earth is one in a thousand. The problem with asteroid collision is not only the direct collision area but also the mount of dust released into the atmosphere as a result, which affects the whole of the earth. The most impending asteroid scare is Aphophis which is as huge as 390 metre wide and estimated to hit earth in 2029. NASA has improved monitoring efforts and is attempting to develop technologies to divert any potential collision possibilities. 66 million years ago dinosaurs were believed to become extinct due to an asteroid impact and as most people believe that is how humans are going to go too!
6. Global warming
A popular topic of debate in the past decade, global warming has been the bone of contention between weather scientists who have been trying to grab attention of all the world leaders and skeptics who believe it is overrated. But in recent times, the dangers of global warming have proved to be not only real but also more threatening than previously thought. Attributed to just changing weather patterns, global warming has become responsible for causing warmer winters which have resulted in crop destruction and extinction of several species of flora and fauna, melting of ice caps have raised the sea levels. Most people fear that the exponential increase in pollution and population which is greatly dependent on fuel will increase the global warming effects to such a level that the changing weather will cause a spate of natural disasters destroying earth.
5. Pole shift Hypothesis
This fearsome theory of earth’s destruction came up in 2012 when people believed this would cause the end of earth as predicted on December 21. The pole shift or reversal theory says that it is a natural phenomenon where earth’s magnetic poles drastically reverse every 250,000 years and most people speculate that would occur in the near future as indicated by the recent strange changes in climactic conditions. The result of the reversal of the poles is magnanimous causing calamities such as sudden movement of continents or even causing them to sink into the ocean. Other effects include large scale floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. In fact according to NASA, a breach detected in the earth’s magnetic field has resulted in solar winds entering our atmosphere causing weather changes. Even if the pole shift is not drastic, the slow reversal process is also believed to manifest in similar natural disasters.
4. Artificial intelligence
Apart from being super hit movie franchises catapulting Arnold Swarzenegger and Keanu Reeves into instant fame, Terminator series and The Matrix scared the fans into believing that computers are bad! The past decade has seen us become so dependent on gadgets and technology that medical diseases have been created to name our addiction to them. Everything today is electronic- our entire life can be stored in a computer file and as the movies depict, our excess dependence on technology can lead to our downfall with robots and other gadgets slowly replacing all manpower requirement. Though the overtake of human civilization by artificial intelligence will be going too far, there have been certain articles that do describe the possibility of a future where technological evolution would be so fast that humans would eventually be rendered obsolete.
2. Third world war
Einstein had said that if there was to be a third world war, mankind would definitely go back to the stone age courtesy the large scale destruction that would be caused by human civilization. With the horrific destruction due to nuclear warfare and its long lasting effects still present in Japan after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, most countries today possess nuclear firearms as a sign of its strength. Situations have greatly improved since after the Second World War which was followed by the cold war due to efforts for world peace by all countries. There are many strained relationships between countries though, and civil unrests and that combined with the imminent threat of terrorism have certainly made the world a fearful place today. Therefore any political catalyst which could result in a fully fledged war would definitely be a nuclear war and lead to complete annihilation of mankind.
There are religious prophecies in every religion which predict an Armageddon which will destroy the world. According to the Hindu mythology, the world has been through four eras or yugas beginning with the Satya yuga or the purest of all the eras, then Treta yuga, the Dvapara yuga and now the Kala yuga believed to be the worst era where evil is all around. It is at the end of this era that Pralaya or the end of the world is expected to occur by god’s wrath to end evil. Similarly according to Christian beliefs, the second coming of Christ is expected to herald the apocalypse or Judgement day, the Talmud writings of Judaism predict the world’s end by 2240 and according to a religious sect of the Muslims, it is believed that there is a hidden code in the Quran centered around the number 19 which states that the world will end in 2280 AD.