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Cosmophobia… December 21, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Astronomy, Culture, Science, Uncategorized.
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This has to be the most depressing aspect of the recent stuff about Mayan apocalypse (and in truth was ever a people so traduced after the fact in terms of the contemporary nonsense about their supposed predictions? They should sue.). On this fact sheet produced by the SETI Institute to assure people all will be well there’s the following:

Cosmophobia: Many young people write to me that they are scared of astronomy. When they read about some new discovery, the first thing they think is that it might hurt them, even if it is happening in a distant galaxy. There is no reason for such fears, which I call cosmophobia (fear of the universe). This rash of concern seems to be the result of too many conspiracy theories and sensational stories featured on the Internet and irresponsible news outlets. Astronomical objects are so distant that they cannot threaten the Earth. Please don’t be afraid of the Sun or the planets or comets or asteroids. The universe is not your enemy.

Though this from Voyager 2’s twitter feed is sort of funny, appearing early this morning (and reported on the Guardian’s liveblog):

END MAYACAL BTUN 12.19.19.17.19 SHUTDOWN:UNIV(12) BEGIN BTUN 13.0.0.0.0 BOOT:UNIV(13)

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1. eamonncork - December 21, 2012

Interesting point Wbs and I think it affects not just young people. I wonder sometimes if there’s an eschatological element to the culture which, the threat of nuclear annhilation having receded, has switched its obsession to asteroids. Last year it was the Hadron Collider, the year before it was viruses. Maybe it’s Scientophobia as much as Cosmophobia. We seem to be still here anyway. It’s comforting to think that I might have spent my last few minutes on Earth engaged in arguments about the Soviet Union whose antiquity seems almost as great as that of the Mayan civilisation. My bet is that some enterprising gent is already working on the next best selling apocalyptic prophecy. God be with the days when our parents could take us out to see the likes of Kahoutek without the whole thing being spoiled by nutcase speculation.
What about the CLR prophecy which shows that an ancient Celtic scroll says that when the Hill of Tara is encircled by a motorway doom is at hand? We should set it rolling.

2. eamonncork - December 21, 2012

There’s also an extent to which the whole idea of scientific truth has been traduced, particularly in America, so that when NASA say they can’t see a sign of the mysterious hidden planet not everyone believes them. This notion of science as a conspiracy against Joe Public has been promoted by the oil and gas lobby in an attempt to attack the idea of global warming and by the religious right in their fight against Evolution. So it’s not surprising that you end up with panics like the current one.

3. eamonncork - December 21, 2012

Oh no, it’s happening.

4. Tawdy - December 21, 2012

Can I say that I`m not gonna be really disappointed if I`m still here tomorrow.

Tawdy - December 22, 2012

Well tomorrow has come and gone and I`m still here! Or have I missed the bus?

WorldbyStorm - December 22, 2012

The bus has gone!

5. Starkadder - December 21, 2012

Like Lenny Bruce, I’m not afraid: ;)

6. eamonncork - December 21, 2012

Neither am I.

eamonncork - December 21, 2012

Not at all in fact.

eamonncork - December 21, 2012

It looks like great crack.

eamonncork - December 21, 2012

Should have been.

7. eamonncork - December 21, 2012

If somewhat low on production values.


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