June 20, 2005

Yet again, we're all gonna die

"Brother" R. G. Stair never met an interesting phenomenon he couldn't pronounce imminent doom over.

"Planet X" never hit us, and the December 26 earthquake that resulted in that devastating tsunami didn't shatter the planet either.

Now, ol' Ralph is gone ga-ga over the fact that for the first time since the 1600s, magnetic north recently moved outside of Canadian territory and is moving toward Siberia. Judging by the frequency that catchphrases like "total chaos," "unexplainable massive upheavals," and "catastrophic worldwide weather chaos" pass from his lips, you'd expect that the North Magnetic Pole just ran roughshod over the terrain like some sort of rampaging Japanese movie monster. And, of course, this is all taken as proof that the Second Coming is gonna happen Real Soon Now and, much to the delight of prophecy "experts" everywhere, bodies will pile up all over the place.

The truth is, as usual, much more mundane. The movement of the magnetic pole is a natural function of the planet; its average position typically moves several miles a year. Basically, the movement of molten iron and nickel in the core of the earth generates a giant magnetic field. In addition, solar radiation interacting with this field can cause the magnetic pole to fluctuate several miles even in a single day. This, too, is a natural function of the sun. The only "news" in this story is the fact that Canada no longer "owns" magnetic north despite it being within current Canadian territory for nearly 400 years.

Perhaps if the "Last Day Prophet of God" went back to high school and took a few remedial science classes, he'd be a little more obedient to the divine command to be "quick to hear, [and] slow to speak" (James 1:19).