Johannes Stöffler, a German mathematician, predicted that a flood would cover the world on February 25, 1524, when all the known planets would be in alignment under Pisces.
The San Francisco Call newspaper published this headline on February 8, 1910 when Halley’s comet was due to appear: “Comet May Kill All Earth Life Says Scientist.” Obviously, the science was not settled.
Many religions and mythologies have an end-of-the-world scenario. The Aztecs believed that a never-ending solar eclipse would end the Earth. The end of the world, according to Norse mythology, happens in an all-destroying battle between the gods. Zoroastrians believe that the Earth will be devoured by fire.
Perhaps the prediction of the Native American Hopi tribe that the world will be covered with iron snakes, stone rivers, and a giant spider’s web is most ominous. We might assume that the snakes, rivers, and web are symbolic. Maybe not.
“Rat ‘apocalyptic plague’ ravages eastern Australia. A massive plague of rats and mice has ravaged Australia in the past week.” Some farmers have already lost entire grain harvests to the rampaging mice, while hotels have had to close because they cannot keep the animals out of the rooms.
Eschatology is a part of theology and philosophy concerned with the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity. That “ultimate destiny” usually ends badly. But if you can write a best-selling book on the subject, at least you can greet the end-times with a fat bank account.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought out the people that are anticipating Armageddon or Ragnarök or whatever as the final curtain of humanity. But you must admit the global condition is a little strange, Covid and Australian rats notwithstanding.
“With nearly two-thirds of the United States abnormally dry or worse, the government’s spring forecast offers little relief, especially in the West where a devastating mega drought has taken root and worsened. Weather service officials warn of possible water cutbacks in California and the Southwest, increased wildfires, and damage to wheat crops.”
In 2020, armies of locusts the size of major cities marched across parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. “Millions of farmers had their crops wiped out, and experts told us that it was unlike anything they had ever seen before.” Now it is happening again. “Swarms of the pests in Kenya are wreaking havoc on the food supply.”
The United States Geological Survey says that the world gets about 15 earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater each year. Currently in 2021, we have already had 7 that are magnitude 7.0 or greater, and that includes a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that just shook Japan. That is worrisome. Everyone fears earthquakes.
But here is the reality. Mice numbers boomed after unusually heavy summer rains fell across eastern Australia. Data from tree rings suggest the Southwest drought is the worst in the region in 500 years. Perhaps a 500-year rain cycle?
Kenya has not seen so many locusts since the 1950s, not in recorded history. In 2019, there were 10 magnitude 7 or greater global earthquakes and in 2020 there were only nine. Based on the 100-year average, 2021 should have more than 15 large earthquakes.
Maybe it is too soon to predict the end of the world.