Myths People Believe About Doomsday Believers


Myth: If you get caught up in doomsday nonsense, it's your fault and you deserve whatever happens to you as a result.
Truth: Many people who came forward at 2012Hoax.org were often fairly young and had very little prior experience with fraudulent doomsday claims, so they were caught completely unprepared. These people don't "deserve" it any more than someone deserves to be mauled by a vicious dog they were never told was there in the first place, let alone how to defend themselves. Others had underlying anxiety issues that magnified their fears despite a strong desire to disbelieve, and they didn't "deserve" what happened anymore than someone deserves to have a severe allergic reaction because they accidentally ate the wrong candy bar.


Myth: You have to be mentally ill or stupid to believe far-fetched claims like these.
Truth: There are many factors that can cause a person to believe something that might seem completely ridiculous. One can be a simple lack of experience and/or education - Sham-Spotting 101 isn't exactly a required course these days. Another can be desperation - people will often grasp at straws if their lives (and the world at large) seems to be hopeless. Also, many people are programmed from childhood to expect the end of the world within their lifetimes, as an imminent apocalypse is a prominent feature in many major religious sects.


Myth: If parents don't want their children to be terrified of 2012/other doomsday scenario, they should just monitor what their kids are watching more closely, and people with anxiety disorders should just shut off the television. Problem solved.
Truth: This solution is far from perfect. Parents cannot monitor their children 24/7, and the television isn't the only place someone can learn about 2012 or other doomsday scenarios. They can learn about it from classmates/coworkers and friends, for example, and there are many books with extremely vivid titles. So while monitoring what kids watch or turning off the television when something potentially triggering comes on certainly helps, it's not a silver bullet.


Myth: People should just read the Bible. It clearly says that (insert whatever you think it clearly states here).
Truth: First, not everyone accepts the Bible as authorative, so reading it wouldn't make any difference. Secondly, the Bible has been convincingly interpreted to support many false doomsday claims, including 2012. (I use the word "convincingly" to mean "a lot of people were convinced.") Even if you think it "clearly" states that something can't or won't happen, you can pretty much always find someone who thinks it actually supports their beliefs, proving that it's not a magic cure-all for wacky doomsday beliefs.


Myth: There's a possibility that doomsday believers will panic and riot come the date of the disaster.
Truth: Hollywood and Chicken Littles would like us to believe that mankind is one disaster or scare away from mass panic and anarchy. But in fact, the evidence shows just the opposite. In the face of disaster, people tend to become more cooperative. What we really have to worry about is on a far smaller and more personal scale - eg, people getting caught up in potentially-destructive end-of-the-world cults, being scammed into paying for survival kits they'll never need instead of their kid's college tuition, or individuals with anxiety disorders being triggered by the sensationalist nonsense going around.


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