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← One in seven thinks end of world is coming

Cartomancer's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Cartomancer

The claims in the first sentence-paragraph of this article are very misleading.


Nearly 15 percent of people worldwide believe the world will end during their lifetime and 10 percent think the Mayan calendar could signify it will happen in 2012

I shall leave aside the uncertainty as to whether this is supposed to be 10% of the original 15% or 10% of the whole global population (and therefore two-thirds of that 15%), because the survey question as asked shows neither such thing. According to the information later in the article the survey merely asks whether respondents think the world could end in 2012. It does not mention the Mayan calendar in any way. I would be very surprised indeed if more than 10% of the world's population had even heard of the Mayan calendar, let alone gave it any credence as a source of apocalyptic prophecy.

Though I do think they should have at least tried to differentiate between people who thought some horrendous man-made disaster such as nuclear war was possible (which is true), people who thought some natural disaster could wipe us out (also true, but unlikely) and the benighted drooling nutcases who believed in superstitious apocalypse prophecies. These are not all aspects of the same phenomenon. People who are afraid of nuclear war have every reason to be afraid, people who are afraid of the Revelations of St. John the Divine coming true evidently do not.

Fri, 04 May 2012 03:48:09 UTC | #939529