And so 2011 draws to an end. We are all still here despite the apocalyptic predictions of Harold Camping and his moronic followers. They are not the first failed prophets of doom and their humiliation does not deter those making similar predictions for future dates.
But fundamentalist religious loonies do not have a monopoly on outrageous and ridiculous predictions. A widely reported scientific theory released in 2007 suggested that by now the world human population would be down to less than 2 billion, with cataclysmic disasters wiping out 4.5 billion people. And just like Harold Camping, the response to failure of the prediction is is to claim mathematical error and give a revised date.
I like to think I keep an open mind on the science of climate change. The science has been delivered by some very clever scientists using state of the art technology. But I can’t help noticing that a lot of their early predictions that should have now come to pass have not been confirmed by reality. And their response to these discrepancies has been to successively revise the date of the apocalypse, rather like the Jehovah's witnesses who have made no fewer than eight successive stabs at the date.
Perhaps the problem is that some scientists share yet another characteristic with the fundamentally religious, that of assumed infallibility, the arrogant belief that their most prized “knowledge” is unquestionable. The finality of the word of god or the science that is “settled” are both manifestations of the same mentality. We should remember what Einstein once said; “We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.”