Saturday, December 31, 2011

Why The World Will Not End in 2012

For the sake of those people who are fearful of this year's predicted apocalypse, here's a breakdown of why the world WILL NOT end in 2012. 

This will not happen in 2012. Jury is still out on 2013.
You can blame the CIA for this 2012 nonsense.

No, I'm not joking.

It was former CIA agent Michael D. Coe (who once tried to topple Chairman Mao) who first shared the theory the world was going to end on December 21st, 2012.

As one of the foremost experts on the civilization of the ancient Mayans, he translated their calendar and noted it "ended" on December 21st 2012.

The Mayans kept time through periods called b'ak'tun, which lasted about 400 years each and, according to Coe, on the completion of the 13th b'ak'tun:
 "...there is a suggestion Armageddon would overtake the degenerate peoples of the world and all creation. Thus our present universe would be annihilated in December 2012 when the Great Cycle of the Long Count reaches completion."
The interesting thing about this theory, however, is that it's based on no Mayan writings whatsoever.

Michael D. Coe based his entire theory exclusively on the fact that the calendar he was studying ended on that date. He had no other corroborating evidence. The Mayans didn't prophosize that the world was going to end then. They didn't anticipate some oncoming Apocalypse. They simply didn't have any more entries in their calendar after December.

Now, obviously I'm no archeologist, and my background in ancient civilizations is limited [limited to a joint honors degree in history from a Cambridge-founded university, he whispers smugly - Editorial Bear] But the fact that a calendar ends doesn't mean civilization is going to.

Look at it this way. If aliens picked up a 2012 year planner and saw it "ended" on December 31st, they wouldn't assume that we humans believed civilization was going to end then. They might simply assume that this is the date upon which people go out to buy a new calendar.

Likewise, the fact that the "long count" of the Mayan Calendar ended on the 13th b'ak'tun didn't mean that they believed history would. In fact E. Wyllys Andrews V (V as in 5th) from Tulane University pointed out, entirely logically, that:
"The Maya knew there was a cycle before this one, and that implies they were comfortable with the idea of another one after this one ended."
From a purely practical point of view, the best way to interpret the Mayan calendar ending on December 21st, 2012 is to remember that this was a date FAR in the future at the time the calendar continued to be maintained. They probably weren't worried about having to deal with the transition following the end of the calendar because that eventuality was hundreds of years in their future.

(And if you want an example of this kind of tunnel vision, just look at the last proclaimed "apocalypse" which people believed in. Then it was Y2K, or the "millenium bug." Software designers throughout the eighties and nineties - even though the turn of the century was less than a decade away - were too short-sighted to build in a date matrix that included more than two characters. It didn't mean the world was going to end on December 31st, 1999 - just that we needed a software upgrade.)

Most of what we know about Mayan civilization dates back to the 16th century, when Europeans first landed on the shores of South America. There's not much in the way of Mayan history following that because the Spanish explorers raped, pillaged and murdered the entire civilization.

This is perhaps why they never had a chance to address the fact that their calendar inconveniently "ended." If they'd remained alive for the proceeding 500 years, it's likely they would have got around to knocking up a new one (and none of us would be having to listen to this 2012 drivel.)

The fact is; the 2012 "end of the world conspiracy" is based on nothing more than an administrative oversight by the Mayans; and there's no evidence ANYWHERE to suggest otherwise.

In fact, most of of these end of the world theories - like the theory Earth would be hit by solar flares, or a rogue planet - can be neatly shot down by astronomers, who can demonstrate inarguable evidence that such events cannot occur. In fact, just today the National Air and Space Administration (NASA) debunked some of the more pervasive myths about the 2012 apocalypse.

Even the creepily symmetrical date of the so-called apocolypse - 12/21/2012 - is fake. Michael D. Coe calculated the end of the 13th b'ak'tun would occur in December 2012, but he never said the exact date; and chances are he'd have got it wrong even if he did. Somebody else simply rounded up the date because the 21st was neatly repetitive and ominous.

It's all spin, you see.

Perhaps the clearest proof that the world is not set to end in 2012 is the fact that there have been dozens of dire predictions similar to the 2012 myth (some even within our own lifetime) and none of them have ever come true. Why should this one?

History has shown us countless times that doom-predictors aren't prophets; they're just attention seekers - and those that believe in the 2012 apocalypse are no different.


Anonymous said...

Well, you've reassured me! Hope that come 21st December this year we aren't all pointing and shaking our head however, grin. No, I'm glad you've summarised this. But I guess some people need to believe in some absolute deadline like this. There's some very odd attraction to this 'end of days' mythology going on.

Southampton, and much of the UK, felt like it was getting a head start on the potential apocalypse, today.

What a wonderful day to return to work :-)!

Anyway, great debunking, great read as always!

Unknown said...

While I agree that Coe overstated the case that the Maya may have thought that 12/21/2012 could have been apocalyptic, I think your refutation is a bit overstated as well. Coe was speculating that, since the Maya believed that the previous age had ended in catastrophe at the end of a 13th baktun (which, by their reckoning, would have been in 3114 BC by our calendar), they may have expected a similar thing to happen at the next end of a 13th baktun (i.e. 12/21/2012). However, he doesn't support his case with anything other than the casual comment "There is a suggestion...".
Also, you are incorrect in stating that the Maya gave no dates after the end of the 13th baktun--in fact there are many examples. Finally, while Coe may not have pinned down the end of the 13th baktun as 12/21/2012 (he actually gave 01/11/13), many others have, based on the best attempt to correlate the Maya calendar with ours. To me, however, the most compelling reason to dismiss the 2012 apocalypse hoopla is the fact that the so-called "end of days" was only written down ONCE in all known Maya inscriptions (Monument 6 at Tortuguero). Presumably, had the Maya been worried about that date being significant, they would have bothered to record it more than once.