As practically everyone knows, a few days ago was the supposed "Mayan doomsday", and yet nothing happened. I had waited years upon years for that day to pass. I've heard about it since I was little but took it seriously around middle school. I was watching some TV show where someone was preaching that we had "only 12 years left", and honestly that didn't settle right with me. I was relieved to actually take the time and research Mayan culture to find out there was no apocalypse prediction at all. Just an end to some long-count calendar.
As the days got closer, I used that fact to calm folks down or just get them to be rational. There was some idiot at work who thought it was all going to end when the planets aligned at 11 a.m. (they didn't) that day... Even if the planets aligned at any time, it sounds very voodoo-like for it to do anything meaningful. The worst thing is what? An eclipse? And don't get me started on those people who thought a huge asteroid/planet would crash right into Earth.
I guess we can blame ourselves for all these predictions. Humans have been very interested in the end of the world since the start our own worlds. The earliest known "prediction" was in ancient Rome. Romans had thought that magical eagles had revealed some mystical number to the legendary founder Romulus, and that it would be destroyed in its 120th year. When nothing happened, they made another prediction 245 years later in 389 BC.
Christianity has spawned some of the biggest and numerous predictions in our history. It also produced one of the earliest in the 1st century. They believed (including Paul the Apostle) that Jesus would come back in one generation of his passing. In the year 1000, many Christians thought this would be yet another end of the world. Wrong again.
Even a "reformer" like Martin Luther produced his own theory. He thought that the Earth's end would occur no later than 1600. Or maybe he's off by 400+ years?
Probably the most prolific goofbals were a group known as the Bible Student Movement. They made not 1, not 2, but 9 major end of the world predictions! Not a credible bunch of guys in my opinion.
For as intelligent as the human species claims to be, we've believed some dumb stuff over the course of our history. As children we're told that a magical man in red pajamas delivers toys to every house in the world. Men have gone on epic quests to find a magical "fountain of youth". And there was a time where people thought unicorns, dragons, leprechauns, pixies, mermaids, and yetis were real.
The only failed prediction with credible basis was the Y2K scare. The idea of all of our computers going crazy and uncontrollable was a scary thought. But I doubt even in 2000 that human civilization would be destroyed because of it.
So rest easy Earth. You're 4.54 billion years old, and you've got many to go. But billions of years from now, the Sun will turn into a red giant, and you won't be the beautiful blue sphere anymore. If we manage to stay around that long (doubtful), lets hope we are smart enough to avoid the end of the world by finding a new one.