Rumors are that it will be a disastrous week

end of the worldA Blood Moon prophetic disaster?

The restart of the LHC makes big bang of doom?

Mercury in retrograde? Heaven forfend!

There are all these weird noises too! What does it all mean? The Apocalypse? Well if you buy into tabloids, and religious and conspiracy sites hype (specifically from the WND site), it sounds like the End. But we doubt it. While it may sound sciencey on the surface, such claims are a bunch of pseudoscientific nonsense. So you can stop worrying, really. OK, here’s the reasoning.

End of the world claims are common. Remember, the world was supposed to end in 2011 (twice), in 2012 (multiple dates), 2014, and when Pope Benedict was done with his tenure. See all the dozens of other times that the Apocalypse was predicted. All such predictions failed.

In early September, we told you about reverend John Hagee who was promoting his new book on the end times culminating with the “Blood Moon” concocted scare to happen on September 27-28. As we noted then,

  • Prophecy isn’t real.
  • Religion is not science.
  • Hagee is selling a book, encouraging fear to bring people to his brand of religion.
  • There is no natural reason why the end of the world has anything to do with this date.
  • There have been 62 tetrads since the first century, these are natural cycles, nothing special.

A story about the END OF THE WORLD!!! is guaranteed click-bait. Jewish mystics and Christian End Times evangelists promoting this view cite various recent catastrophes (drought, fires, volcanoes and earthquakes), increased murder rates [only in some cities], gay marriage legalization, signs in the sky, and Pope Francis’ visit to the US now as signals of the return of Jesus. Bookies are taking bets; I can’t quite figure how those will pay out.

Earth-Sky has this on the Blood Moon hype:

From what we’ve been able to gather, two Christian pastors, Mark Blitz and John Hagee, use the term Blood Moon to apply to the full moons of the ongoing tetrad – four successive total lunar eclipses, with no partial lunar eclipses in between, each of which is separated from the other by six lunar months (six full moons) – in 2014 and 2015. John Hagee appears to have popularized the term in his 2013 book Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change.

Mark Blitz and John Hagee speak of a lunar tetrad as representing a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. After all, the moon is supposed to turn blood red before the end times, isn’t it? As described in Joel 2:31 (Common English Bible):

The sun will be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood before the great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.

That description, by the way, describes both a total solar eclipse and total lunar eclipse. Sun turned to darkness = moon directly between the Earth and sun in a total solar eclipse. Moon turned to blood = Earth directly between the sun and moon, Earth’s shadow falling on the moon in a total lunar eclipse.

So, the Blood Moon stuff is nothing special. However, let’s all freak out over the restart of the Large Hadron Collider. This great machine, a particle accelerator, is being co-opted for the ultimate in fear mongering by people who really don’t understand what the purpose of it is. Never mind that pesky little black hole rumored to be inevitable, it can do a whole lot more:

  • The LHC could generate a magnetic field that could pull an iron-rich asteroid towards Earth. {Nope}
  • The LHC could open up a portal from another dimension (“Stargate”) through which an unexpected comet or asteroid could suddenly appear. {Uh, nope.}
  • And, the crackpot winner: The LHC could summon the Anti-Christ to earth to cause an apocalypse. {What a great plot for a sci-fi movie!}

We’ve given the Anti-Christ so many opportunities by now. It’s a cliche. The LHC-induced disaster reportedly will hit before the Blood Moon on September 24 It hardly matters that no evidence whatsoever is provided for this. It’s scary. It’s news. Visit CERN to read about LHC safety.

And if THAT isn’t enough to ruin your week, the icing on the cake for the superstitious and scientifically disadvantaged types is Mercury in retrograde through October.

According to astrological hucksters (and the flocks who follow them), the three periods each year when Mercury appears to be moving backward are total pandemonium, a time when the stars are liable to wreak havoc on technical devices, morning commutes and official documents.

Has anyone pointed out that Mercury in retrograde may cause the LHC to malfunction and BOOM!? J/K

Mercury just APPEARS to go in the other direction. It doesn’t really. As with the rest of astrology, this feature is BS inside and out. Such astrological “signs” or conditions make easy scapegoats. But positions of celestial bodies hold no power over people, except in their own minds and in the court of public opinion. Sadly, belief in absurd astronomy may be increasing. It’s trendy… to use nonsense to inform your actions. Strange. We don’t recommend that for a fulfilling and useful life.

Yet, there are people who will see merit to stringing unlike and unsupported causes together and will be afraid that these really are End Times. They suffer because of irresponsible fear mongering over technology and events that we SHOULD be trying to understand. Instead, the media and crackpot commentators whip up more horrors.

Societies have always feared the end of the world as we know it. We’re all still here.

(Edited for clarity, 22-Sept 2015)

  36 comments for “Rumors are that it will be a disastrous week

  1. terry the censor
    September 21, 2015 at 7:27 PM

    Sharon, I predict a few believers will come here and claim your strong opinion is motivated by denialist fear that the end times are really and truly approaching! That is one of my favourite fringer arguments: that skepticism is never genuine, that informed doubt is actually confirmation of belief.

    I hope you allow all such comments so I can psychoanalyse the commenters in turn. Such larks!

  2. Mark Richards
    September 21, 2015 at 9:23 PM

    What if the LHC were to summon the posichrist and trigger the rapture? Good times.

  3. Ben Malone
    September 21, 2015 at 9:44 PM

    I predict I will reply to my own comment here on October 1st 2015.

  4. Andrew Hansford
    September 21, 2015 at 10:05 PM

    A favorite tune for end-of-world predictions:
    Nickel Creek’s “tribute” to Harold Camping

  5. Headless Unicorn Guy
    September 21, 2015 at 11:17 PM

    Mark Blitz and John Hagee speak of a lunar tetrad as representing a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. After all, the moon is supposed to turn blood red before the end times, isn’t it? As described in Joel 2:31 (Common English Bible):

    The sun will be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood before the great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.

    During the (local) 1974 Comet Kohoutek Rapture Scare, they cited a passage from Isaiah as to how the light of the sun and moon would increase sevenfold, explaining Kohoutek as fulfilling that prophecy by reflecting the sun’s brightness.

    Well if you buy into tabloid, religious and conspiracy site hype (namely from the WND site), it sounds like it.

    Ah, yes, World Net Daily.

    Whose editorial staff includes Hal “Pin the Tail on The Antichrist” Lindsay and Pat “Blame the Jews” Buchanan.

    Who sponsored all those “WHERE’S THE REAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE?” Birther billboards two years ago along Route 15 between Gettysburg and Harrisburg.

  6. Bill T.
    September 22, 2015 at 2:02 AM

    People who most likely have no idea how the LHC operates, what data are collected, how results are extracted, what the discoveries mean want me to believe their predictions. Whatever. Actually, or course, we’re not the target audience.

  7. September 22, 2015 at 2:48 AM

    It’s the end of the world as we know it
    It’s the end of the world as we know it
    It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine

  8. September 22, 2015 at 5:49 AM

    Dr. Stuart Robbins covered similar material of doom recently.

    This and that are all good stuff.

  9. Mike C.
    September 22, 2015 at 7:38 AM

    There’s plenty of that nonsense on YouTube.

  10. idoubtit
    September 22, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    Wow. This is just as likely IMO. You should get an award for that. Brilliant.

  11. idoubtit
    September 22, 2015 at 9:22 AM

    Calming people about irrational fears gets extremely little response as opposed to freaking people the hell out with click bait.

    We can’t get reddit traction no matter how hard we try. The Skeptic subreddit is anemic. If you could, upvote this.

  12. September 22, 2015 at 11:32 AM

    If the end is so close, why sell the book? Give it away, there will be no use for money at the end.

  13. Bill T.
    September 22, 2015 at 12:15 PM

    “Aye, there’s the crux of the matter.”

  14. Tony
    September 22, 2015 at 12:53 PM

    Meh. Can’t be any worse than the hangover I had this past Sunday.

  15. terry the censor
    September 22, 2015 at 2:43 PM

    > Calming people about irrational fears gets extremely little response as opposed to freaking people the hell out

    Compare the headlines on Google news for “GOP presidential compaign” to the current “Canadian federal election.” Some top stories:

    “Prejudice is on full display in the GOP presidential race”
    “Republican candidate Carson says Muslims unfit to be US president”
    “GOP finds diversity in offending voters”

    compared with:

    “Canadian election: What’s the best way to increase voter turnout?” (That is the very first story.)
    “Poll Tracker: Canadians no closer to making up their minds in tight 3-way race”
    “Smoking out Canadian political parties’ plans for marijuana reform”


  16. idoubtit
    September 22, 2015 at 3:41 PM

    Americans are great at The Spectacle.

  17. September 23, 2015 at 8:04 PM

    Well, Terry, I’m an Evangelical Christian Believer who came here and declares that you are absolutely…. {drum roll, please}… right about John Hagee and his “blood moon” nonsense.

    So psychoanalyze that. 😉

  18. terry the censor
    September 23, 2015 at 9:10 PM

    Dave, could you be in denial about your feelings about Sharon’s denialist fear?

    (That comment should earn me an honourary PhD in psychotherapy!)

  19. September 23, 2015 at 9:15 PM

    I deny that!

  20. terry the censor
    September 23, 2015 at 9:34 PM

    Oh! You’re very good.

    (I’ll have to cancel the rest of comment-analysis sessions tonight. This could take a while.)

  21. September 23, 2015 at 10:35 PM

    Only God is good.

  22. terry the censor
    September 23, 2015 at 11:27 PM

    Dave, don’t be modest! You must quote the ancient Greek texts of Mark in full. My own translation:

    “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one — plus one other — that is, God and Dave.”

  23. September 24, 2015 at 5:00 AM

    I think you’ve mixed up your movies, Terry. I’m Dave, not Bruce.

  24. September 24, 2015 at 5:05 AM


  25. Leovinus
    September 26, 2015 at 2:32 PM

    Am I the only that finds it funny that John Hagee’s church is still planning events and sermons after this sunday?

  26. September 26, 2015 at 6:38 PM

    The one about smoking out marijuana reform is cute.

  27. Headless Unicorn Guy
    September 27, 2015 at 11:36 AM


    Hagee is selling a book, encouraging fear to bring people to his brand of religion.

    I’ve experienced Hagee’s brand of religion.
    During the heyday of Hal Lindsay.
    It can be summed up in four words:

  28. Headless Unicorn Guy
    September 27, 2015 at 11:42 AM

    Back when I was getting my head shrunk because of End of the World paranoia (yes, that’s how bad it got), my shrink said that she had actually run into Hal Lindsay (THE Pin-the-Tail-on-The-Antichrist EOTW preacher/author whose bestsellers started the whole thing) and that as far as she could tell, “He wrote those books for The Money” (as in All About the Benjamins, Baby) and got very very rich off the EOTW scares he started.

    Around the same time, I heard a reference to an unnamed End Time Prophecy author who put all those Benjamins from his books “into long-term investments”. As Lindsay was THE #1 End Time Prophecy CELEBRITY Author of the time, I always wondered if that referred to him….

  29. JDoherty
    September 27, 2015 at 7:55 PM

    I would not go so far as to say “prophecy is not real.”

    To paraphrase Shakespeare:

    GLENDOWER. I can prophesy the end of time.
    HOTSPUR. Why, so can I, or so can any man; But will it end when you do say it will?

    The prophesy may be real enough, and the prophet might even be sincere, but will it be true? That is a different thing entirely. I’ve met a couple of “prophets.” They were quite convinced of the reality of their “vision.” The astonishing aspect was how they would rationalize when the event they expected failed to come to pass. Some prophets are frauds, but most are mentally impaired.

  30. Christine Rose
    September 27, 2015 at 8:10 PM

    Hagee’s nothing if not vague. His analysis of previous lunar tetrads includes comments like “within three years” or “a short time later.” He counts a tetrad that happened after the founding of Israel as being associated with that. He gives the eclipses credit for wars and plagues that didn’t even happen during the eclipse years. He’s also pretty flexible about things like the rapture and the second coming.

    TL;DR version: He’s going to keep telling his victims that the end is nigh until they all lose interest and stop giving him money.

  31. idoubtit
    September 27, 2015 at 8:20 PM

    I was speaking of the truth sense.

  32. Headless Unicorn Guy
    September 27, 2015 at 9:39 PM

    I’m sure that’s getting pitched as a SyFy Original Movie…

  33. Headless Unicorn Guy
    September 27, 2015 at 10:18 PM

    In the Seventies, Hal Lindsay and his disciples claimed the founding of today’s Israel in 1948 was the Prophecy Fulfillment that kicked off the countdown. Back then the claim (with Bible proof-text, of course) was that It Would Happen within “one generation”. As time went on with no End, they had to redefine a “Biblical generation” to be longer and longer. (I remember “40 Years” being taught, the traditional time between the Exodus and the original settling in The Land; without any understanding of what the number 40 might mean in ancient Jewish symbology, of course.)

  34. Headless Unicorn Guy
    September 27, 2015 at 10:22 PM

    And the thing is, “Prophecy” has mutated from its original meaning, which meant “Saying what a god wanted said.”

    A “Prophet” wasn’t a fortuneteller predicting The Future, but a mortal who spoke for a god, “prophesying” the message the god wanted to communicate.

  35. Christine Rose
    September 28, 2015 at 10:40 AM

    I remember that, but what I remember is that once 1988 passed without event, they started looking at other milestones, like the first Israeli elections and the adoption of the constitution (which I guess still does not actually exist). Now no one even remembers this.

  36. James Wright
    September 28, 2015 at 5:04 PM

    This is priceless. Now while Hagee’s book is getting all of the attention it is based on the earlier work of Pastor Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministeries.

    They are actually CLOSED until October 7 – juuuust in case.

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