Sun Oct 21, 2012 08:45 PM ET
(4) Comments | Leave a Comment
For some reason, people really want to remind the world that today (Oct. 21) marks two months before the biggest nonevent in recent history. Even more perplexing is the fact that others seem to really want the world to end in 61 days time.
If the doomsayers are to be believed, on Dec. 21, 2012, the Universe will unleash a maelstrom of inexplicable fiery carnage on our planet. At best, we'll undergo some kind of rapid planetary change; at worst, a weird cosmic alignment will cause the sun to turn the planet, and all of civilization with it, into toast.
Why do these strange individuals want us to believe in this nonsense? Some have a book to sell, while others have a horribly-edited YouTube video they want to share. Others are just plain odd. But regardless of the intent, the result is confusion and fear. Sadly, it is often people who would have otherwise gotten on with their lives peacefully who have swallowed the doomsday nonsense and become needlessly worried about the end of the world.
The current 2012 doomsday nonsense focuses on an ancient civilization that somehow had the divine ability to predict the future. I am, of course, referring to the Mayans, who had a wonderfully complex culture throughout Central America that peaked between A.d. 250-900. They had a calendar, you may have heard about it, called the "Long Count." Apart from being an ingenious means of recording dates, it has another, rather odd attribute -- it "runs out" this year.
But like any calendar, many Mayan scholars agree that the Mayan civilization, if it existed today, would have probably begun a new calendar cycle. Unfortunately we're not going to find out as the Mayans, as a civilization, disappeared centuries ago. Archaeologists have even found evidence deep in the Guatemalan rainforest that the ancient Mayans mentioned dates after Dec. 21, 2012, in texts. Although there are a handful of mentions of the calendar end date, there's no reference to the end of the world. If you ask me, that's a pretty rubbish "prophesy."
But wait! There are still Mayan descendents who live in Central America. Are they currently digging bunkers and stocking up on canned "Apocalypse-ready" baked beans? Um, no. Why's that then?
The Mayans never predicted doomsday! The end of a calendar cycle doesn't mean it's doomsday. The calendar wasn't a magic calendar, it was just a way to document time, remember future dates and record past events. That's what calendars do. Lacking a culture to renew the Long Count, it looks like the final cycle -- the 13th bak'tun -- will come to an end... and that's about it.
All the hype surrounding marauding celestial bodies (Planet X, Nibiru, errant asteroids and comets), weird cosmic occurrences (killer solar flares and galactic alignments) and crazy Earth-shattering events (polar/geomagnetic shift), is just that, hype. They're about as real as the tooth fairy.
The Mayans, on the other hand, are real and their descendents are planning on having a big party on Dec. 21. It is a reason for celebration, a time to remember the last cycle of a wonderful calendar system that represents the last breath of an ancient civilization.
There are many mysteries in this universe and many unexplained phenomena, but don't let that fact cloud your judgement when it comes to Dec. 21; science really does have this covered.
There are no cataclysmic events predicted to happen. There are no coverups. I am not covering up the coverups of some large government coverup. No, NASA isn't hiding anything. No doubt that Dec. 21 will have its fair share of turmoil, but there's no more turmoil predicted to happen on that date than on Dec. 22. Or tomorrow, or next week, or a week next Thursday. The Mayans were advanced for their time and had wonderful astronomy skills, but they did not foretell doom and gloom hundreds of years into the future.
If you want to believe that Dec. 21 will mark a time of some great global enlightenment or celebrate the winter solstice, go right ahead, but ignore anyone spouting crappy stories of doomsday. The "Mayan doomsday" is a marketing fallacy, intended to spread fear and disinformation. Nothing more, nothing less.
For more news and REAL science behind doomsday, browse the Discovery News Wide Angle "Will the World End in 2012?"