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End of the World As We Know It and I Feel Fine

Jan. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Most of us acknowledge that some of our most cherished beliefs are based on faith, not facts. Even so, it takes a lot to dislodge those beliefs. When we are confronted by contrary evidence, we may dig in even more deeply. Consider a cautionary tale, exotic to be sure, but helping to explain why evidence-challenged thinking persists in a lot of areas, including politics and business.

Harold Camping, a Christian radio talk-show host, predicted that the world was going to end on May 21, 2011, with the coming of the rapture. He contended that the Earth would be ravaged, that all human beings would be judged, and that believers would ascend to heaven. He said that those who weren’t saved would experience five months of “hell on earth” until the annihilation of creation on Oct. 21, 2011.