I have been receiving a good deal of emails from people who are seriously worried and scared about the end of the world as foretold by the Mayans and the Mayan Calendar. Probably because of the new movie that is about to be released “2012” from Centropolis Entertainment and starring John Cusack.
There is of course a ton of information about the Mayan’s and their Calendar out there on the web. The trick is trying to separate the BS from some of the good academic research.
Is it 2012 or 2220.
The first discussion from the world of academia is the accuracy of the original translation of the calendar and what methods were used to determine it’s correlation to the Gregorian calendar we’re all used to. The originally accepted translation put the date of the end of the world at December 23, 2012. But new research and updated information based on modern era discoveries have called that date into question. The Mayans used what today is known as a “Long Count Calendar”, which when applied to what we know about the Mayan Calendar extends their calendar to December 2220. There are several very good articles on the web about this subject by the scientific community who actually know a thing or two about the Mayans.
- FAMSI – 2012: The end of the World?
- Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar
- Is it really 2012? Or is that an error? – a discussion @ Slashdot.org
The Mayan Prediction:
Beyond the confusion of the translation, even the idea that the Calendar makes a prediction of the end of the world is false. The Calendar itself makes no predictions what so ever. There are no texts associated with the Calendar that says plant crops here, gather extra harvests there, or plan the end of the world on this date. Once again charlatans who scream the loudest to stir up fear and separate you from your money are shouting louder than the actual facts.
The frauds have made an assumption (and it’s a big one) that because the calendar ends, it means the Mayans know the world will end and there’s no reason to count the days beyond that period of time. Not so. The Mayans created an approximately 2000 year calendar and probably decided that’s far enough; we’ll update it for the next 2000 years later on. One would think that if the Mayans were so good at predicting the end of the world nearly 2000 years into the future; why couldn’t they predict the demise of their own civilization just a few decades into their own future?
NPR recently published a short story about 2012 and the doomsday theories currently prevalent out there on the web. The article is seemingly tongue in cheek, but when you read about the eMails NASA scientists and we Clergy are receiving from truly terrified people; you realize it’s not so funny after all.
Scared Of Planet Nibiru? NASA Would Like To Help
Published Nov. 15, 2009:
According to numerous sources on the Internet, in 2012 a planet called Nibiru will collide with Earth, resulting in the extinction of the human race. Or the Earth’s magnetic poles will flip, causing the rotation of the planet to reverse, resulting in the extinction of the human race. Or the Earth will fall into something called a “dark rift”in the Milky Way — resulting in the extinction of the human race.
So, what’s NASA doing about it?
“NASA has nothing to do with the Planet Nibiru, because it doesn’t exist,”NASA astrobiologist David Morrison tells NPR’s Guy Raz. “What I am doing is trying to answer all these people who are really scared, and see if we can’t get some facts out to counteract the mythology on the Internet.”
Morrison writes a column called “Ask anesthesiologist” on NASA’s Web site. Some years ago, he started receiving questions from people genuinely worried about what may happen in 2012.
The questions aren’t as funny as you might think. “I’ve had three from young people saying they were contemplating committing suicide,” says Morrison. “I’ve had two from women contemplating killing their children and themselves. I had one last week from a person who said, ‘I’m so scared, my only friend is my little dog. When should I put it to sleep so it won’t suffer?’ And I don’t know how to answer those questions.”
Morrison now maintains a 2012 FAQ, where he debunks the doomsday scenarios.
Magnetic poles flipping? “The Earth reverses its magnetic polarity once every 400,000 to 500,000 years. There’s no reason to think it will happen now, [and] no reason to think it will cause a problem if it did,” he says.
Dark rift? “The dark rift is just a place where there are dust clouds in the Milky Way. I can’t imagine where someone decided to be afraid of that.”
The only real proof for many 2012 believers will come on Jan. 1, 2013 — but Morrison says that won’t be the end of doomsday hoaxes.
“The Planet Nibiru was predicted to hit the Earth in May of 2003,” he says. “As far as I know, it didn’t. And someone just pushed reset, and now it’s coming in 2012. So I don’t think we’ll ever be rid of apocalyptic stories about Planet X and the end of the world.”
It’s a shame we can’t save all the misguided people in the world, but perhaps those of us who take the time and effort to conduct research from legitimate sources can share what we learn in order to ease the fears of those who seem to always just follow along in the crowd. Beyond that, the most we can do is just on the side line and watch the stupid go by.