Nibiru apocalypse failed again


End of the world? Nope...Since you’re reading this, the world didn’t end, Saturday. Again. Damn…

All those wacky “predictions” from the fringe of the ignorati didn’t come true. Again. Not that that’s surprising: what’s surprising is that these conspiracy-minded folk keep proposing the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI) over and over, often regurgitating the same nonsense, just with new dates. And yet they keep missing the mark. Yesterday was no exception. Here we are, bereft of another apocalypse on a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning. Damn.

According to the wingnuts, the imaginary planet “Nibiru” (also spelled Niburu) was supposed to show up and crash into the earth, Sept. 23. Or at least wreak havoc with its gravity waves.

I’m writing this on Sept. 24, and as you can see, it didn’t. Possibly that’s because most of the claptrap about Nibiru is the creation of one person: Nancy Lieder, a seriously deranged woman who hears alien voices in her head. She had made numerous apocalyptic claims over the past two decades, none of which have come true, but her followers are True Believers and don’t give up on her.

Possibly, as her followers will likely spin it, Nibiru missed but it’s coming back on another date (those deadly gravity waves they predicted failed to materialize, too…). Or maybe the aliens decided to give us a second chance (the Annunaki the wingnuts claim live on Nibiru – despite it being in utter cold and darkness well more frigid than Pluto for most of its orbit – and are planning to take over the earth… go figure…). Whatever. These stories as so far from coherent that it’s hard to be clear on any of this.

I’ve debunked the Nibiru delusion in the past, along with the whole TEOTWAWKI madness. A lot of it comes from the extreme fringe of the fundamentalist/evangelical Christian world, spawned by people who claim to have uncovered “secrets” in the bible that predict the apocalypse. Usually this involves numbers deciphered not from the actual bible, but from an English version. The irony of deciphering allegedly hidden messages from an English translation is lost on them.

Nibiru nuts, by the way, have their own Facebook pages and YouTube channels, pushing all sorts of silliness as “proof’ – like obvious camera flares declared as a sighting of the Easter Bunny fake planet. One commentator posting after a YouTube fake video that shows a lens flare presented as a “brown dwarf” passing through our solar system, says, “This solar system going through ours is the real reason for climate change.” It’s mind boggling how abysmally stupid these people are.

Nibiru is a special delusion not simply because it’s so scifi wacky that it makes Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth seem like a good, solid story. And not just because of its aliens and secret planet none of the world’s astronomers can find. It’s because it was all made up by one lonely, batshit-crazy woman who claims to be in contact with aliens through a brain implant. And people actually believed her. In an age where people refuse life-saving vaccinations because they prefer New Age magic stones to protect them, this may not surprise you. Here’s an excerpt from a particularly nutty website dedicated to this bullshit:

Nibiru was populated by a reptilian super race and governed by elite aristocracy known as the “Nefilim” in Hebrew, which means “they who have come down from the heavens to earth”. The Anunnaki were one of the many technologically advanced alien races at the time. In fact, their civilization was advanced far beyond most others of their time. The Anunnaki called their home star (sun) “ZAOS”.
The Anunnaki are a belligerent and conquering race. They are fierce, evil, lustful, incestuous, bloodthirsty, deceitful, jealous and domineering. They are also carnivorous and are often cannibalistic. They also demand human sacrifices of virgins from those they conquer and from their own kind whom they enslave.

My brain hurts from trying to make sense of even a portion of this claptrap, and it’s a mere fraction of the whole page it came from. It makes Edgar Rice Burroughs’ fantasy writing read like a documentary. I can’t find adequate words to describe how batty – and childish – this stuff is. And it’s all over the internet.

Even those who don’t believe in Lieder’s zaniness have helped spread her fame, which only encourages more gullibles to jump off the intellectual cliff. There’s the headline in today’s Daily Star (okay, okay, I know: it’s a fake news publication, but it’s typical of the believer cycle…) that warns, “Nibiru SPOTTED? Is THIS proof end of the world is actually real?”

Well, no, you clods, it isn’t real. It can’t be real because Nibiru is a fantasy. It’s like saying you’ve seen Hobbits or Darth Vader or King Kong in your back yard and here are the photos. The story says, “One amateur Planet X researcher claims to have caught the elusive Nibiru – also known as Planet X – on camera.” Argh! These people aren’t “researchers” – they’re inmates. The guy took a photo with an extra lens taped to his iPhone camera, probably something he bought on eBay. That’s “research”?

But for all their mental maledictions, these folk are fairly adept at manipulating images and videos. While you might think only the really hard-of-thinking believe them, after Trump’s election, that seems to be a growing community. Pseudoscience seems to be winning over science, reason and common sense. Back in January, the Washington Post gently chided believers:

The closest thing Nibiru has had to an existence was a cameo in a 2013 Star Trek film. There is not, in reality, a planet called Nibiru boldly zooming through our solar frontier.

The Star continues, “The planet – believed to be 10 times the size of our planet – will supposedly signal the end of the world and destroy it with its gravitational waves.” No, no, no. No one – NO ONE – in science, in technology, no astronomer, no physicist, or anyone with a shred of common sense believes that nonsense because it’s bunkum. Something that size wandering around the solar system would have been spotted decades ago. And even the idea of a planet “wandering” outside the Newtonian rules of gravity is ludicrous. It’s supposed to have a 3,600-year orbit but a body that size travelling that far would perturb the orbits of every other planet considerably and that would be noticed, too.

(We can never be sure if the ignorati who perpetuate this nonsense actually believe it or are, as I consider more likely, simply culture jacking the story to get money from the gullible. And there are so many of the latter that the pickings are rich… as Time magazine noted, “The end-of-the-world theory — despite its high preposterousness quotient — has legs. Google “Nibiru” and “end of the world” and you get 1.27 million hits.”)

Forbes Magazine had a good piece by astrophysicist Brian Koberlein back last January, trying to educate readers about how these conspiracy theories (the polite phrase for delusions) are often spun from improper understanding of real data or images. It’s a good, complex explanation that probably got complete ignored because the followers of these delusions never read anything that doesn’t further strengthen their wild ideas (in many ways remarkably similar to The Block on Collingwood Council).

So Forbes tried again, Sept. 22. Science writer Eric Mack opens his piece with:

You may have heard by now that the end of the world will begin on Saturday, September 23. How exactly it will go down depends on which bizarre prophetic Youtube video you’re watching on the subject. Most involve some combination of Christian numerology, a story about a five-headed dragon and a pregnant lady and a fictional planet named Nibiru that will come out of hiding this weekend just before smashing into the Earth.
Just to be clear, there is no hidden planet in the inner solar system and new worlds don’t appear instantaneously on any given weekend. Even if Nibiru were somehow lurking about out of view of countless telescopes, its presence would be otherwise detected because an object of that mass would perturb the orbits of the other planets, as NASA explains.

That NASA debunking is a 2012 YouTube video that states there is “no credible evidence whatever for the existence if Nibiru.” But five years later, the ignorati were still pumping out warnings about it, and the impending end of the world (yesterday). NASA released another debunk last week, stating simply:

“The planet in question, Niburu, doesn’t exist, so there will be no collision.”

And as Time magazine wrote in its piece last week, “And as for Nibiru itself? It ain’t real either..” All of which of course set the wingnuts off in a frothing frenzy of conspiracy theories.

This latest bagful of claptrap looks and smells like what a big dog dumps on your lawn. It was partially dumped there by David Meade, who calls himself a “Christian numerologist” (although he later denied that name in an interview, his “calculations” are all based on numerology). That ought to set off the warning bells right there. Numerology is bunk. And Christian? The bible has numerous verses warning readers away from it and other magical practices and from false prophets. So he can’t be a Christian and practice numerology at the same time. They are incompatible, just as astrology, palmistry, iridology and reflexology are. If he predicts anything, scripture says he is a false prophet (not a bad line bad for a non-believer, eh?).

Even Fox News (almost as credible as The Sun, but with more ideological slant) was skeptical – albeit mildly, since if someone puts “Christian” in their job title, Fox becomes reverent regardless of the codswallop they preach.

Meade, Fox tells us, is “…author of “Planet X: The 2017 Arrival.” Well, that’s a warning, since the book is a load of dingo’s kidneys. Planet X, by the way, is not always associated with Nibiru by all wingnuts, but it’s just as real to them (and to us, since both are fairy tales). Fox adds Meade has,

…predicted that Sept. 23 will bring “a magnificent sign in the skies over Jerusalem, a historical event signaling an upcoming ‘Tribulation Period’ of seven years.”
He also asserted that a “Planet X” will cause the “greatest catastrophic infliction of life upon mankind, since Noah’s Ark,” – citing the biblical story of a great flood that wiped out much of the Earth and humanity. The Planet X will cause volcanic eruptions, a short stoppage of the Earth’s rotation, change in climate, tidal waves and earthquakes.

Here’s your first clue: nothing significant happened over Jerusalem yesterday. No magnificent sign was reported. Nada. Or anywhere else for that matter. I personally suspect the climate-change deniers are planning to blame Nibiru or Planet X for the disasters and extreme weather we’ve been having recently. Sort of like blaming the Sandy Hook massacre on the Easter Bunny. Fox adds,

Meade, who said he is using astronomy and the Biblical book of Revelations, has predicted that Oct. 15 will be the start of the tribulation – the seven-year period that brings the demise of the world.

Astronomy and an apocalyptic book full of bizarre, allegorical images about the end of the Roman Empire. Not exactly a compatible match for anyone in science. But the evangelicals eat up anything to do with the mythical “rapture” (itself a wonky, batshit Christian conspiracy worthy of its own debunking posts – I’ll get to it soon).

End of the world? Planet X? Nibiru? Biblical apocalypse? Annunaki? The Rapture? Ain’t gonna happen, none of it. So enjoy your weekend. Yes, the world may end – humans are doing everything they can to kill it, through fracking, climate change, coal power, species extinction, Donald Trump and consumerism. But  it won’t happen by way of some fantasy planet and alien invaders. As the Time article concludes,

The solar system was here long before cat videos, Facebook memes and Internet fruitcakes selling Internet hooey — and the odds are pretty good it’ll outlast them all. The real planets can feel free to go about their business and have a pleasant weekend — and so can the rest of us.

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Ian Chadwick
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  1. From Newsweek today (Sept 25):

    The conspiracy theorist who supposedly predicted the world would end on September 23 has clarified his doomsday prophecy, saying the rapture is, in fact, coming in October.

    Ah, David, just like all the others: miss one date, apply for another. Keep coming up with new dates as long as the money and PR keeps rolling in. Here’s the sort of wackiness Meade comes up with:

    “Jesus lived for 33 years. The name Elohim, which is the name of God to the Jews, was mentioned 33 times [in the bible],” Meade said. “It’s a very biblically significant, numerologically significant number.”

    What wingnut would think a coincidence like that had any meaning? He just cherry picks words and removes any context from them.

    Elohim actually means “gods” in at least two of those uses; referring to other nations’ gods. According to Wikipedia:

    …the term is also used in the Hebrew Bible to refer to other gods… The word is identical to the usual plural of el meaning gods or magistrates…

    But Meade can’t count! The word is used many, many more times than 33, Wikipedia reminds us (emphasis added):

    The word Elohim occurs more than 2500 times in the Hebrew Bible, with meanings ranging from “gods” in a general sense (as in Exodus 12:12, where it describes “the gods of Egypt”), to specific gods (e.g., 1 Kings 11:33, where it describes Chemosh “the god of Moab”, or the frequent references to Yahweh (Jehovah) as the “elohim” of Israel), to demons, seraphim, and other supernatural beings, to the spirits of the dead brought up at the behest of King Saul in 1 Samuel 28:13, and even to kings and prophets (e.g., Exodus 4:16).The phrase bene elohim, translated “sons of the Gods”, has an exact parallel in Ugaritic and Phoenician texts, referring to the council of the gods.

    You’d think a self-proclaimed numerologist could get his basic figures straight before pontificating on the subject. Oh well, we don’t expect accuracy from charlatans, do we?

  2. I felt compelled to leave the Facebook group “Doomsday Debunked.” It was supposed to be all about the debunking, not the spreading of claptrap. It’s supposed to be about exposing the charlatans, hucksters and con artists who make their living scamming the gullible. But way too many posts seem to come from people who think there is truth in their lies and cons. Who actually believe this codswallop. Way too many fake news and Daily Star articles touted as truth by the hard of thinking.

    Too much for me to stomach, I’m afraid. The world isn’t ending. The bible isn’t a book of prophecy.David Meade is a con artist not a prophet. Please use science, logic and common sense to avoid the pitfalls and come back to reason.


    Nibiru nuttiness is back in the fake news again, this time splashed all over Faux News:

    Silly fringe theories about Planet X—an imagined planet typically named Nibiru that is on course to hit or pass by Earth with disastrous consequences—are the kind of thing normally relegated to vanity press-published books or those tabloids you browse in the supermarket checkout aisle. On Wednesday, they made it into Fox News, with the added caveat that maybe some other Biblical catastrophe could surprise us instead.

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