When Anne Mitchell-Hedges found a crystal skull at a Belizean excavation site, rumors spread like wildfire. People claimed that the skulls possessed supernatural powers. Science has debunked these claims, but they still persist. Why?
End of World Predictions
Y2K? A bust. Judgment Day 2011? As quiet as a mouse. The Mayan apocalypse? Certainly not now.
As they have throughout history, failed doomsday predictions come and go. But with the Pope resigning, an asteroid whizzing near the planet Friday (Feb. 15) and a completely unrelated space rock exploding over Russia, it seems a good time to ask: What’s next?
Plenty, as it turns out. Previous failures have in no way shut down doomsday predictors, and dates are set for possible apocalypses in 2020, 2040, 2060 and 2080 (zeros have an appeal, apparently). One of these doomsdays was even predicted by Sir Isaac Newton himself.
“It’s clear that these kinds of scenarios return over and over and over again,” said John Hoopes, an archaeologist at the University of Kansas who has studied doomsday predictions.
The end is nigh
Doomsday prophecies date back thousands of years. The ancient Persians kicked off the hobby of apocalypse predicting in the Western world, Saint Joseph’s University professor Allen Kerkeslager told LiveScience in December 2012. When the Zoroastrian Persians conquered the ancient Jews, they passed their end-of-the-world beliefs into Jewish culture, which subsequently handed them to Christianity. Now, everyone from Protestant preachers like Harold Camping, who predicted Armageddon in 2011, to UFO cultists and New Age mystics occasionally jump on the doomsday train.
The most recent apocalypse prediction was tied to the Mayan calendar, even though actual Mayans and scholars who study ancient Maya culture pointed out repeatedly that the calendar was never meant to predict the end of the world. The appointed day (Dec. 21, 2012) came and went without fire and brimstone.
But failures haven’t stopped aspiring doomsday prophets in the past. In one of the most notorious apocalypse failures ever, American Baptist preacher William Miller predicted the return of Jesus Christ on March 21, 1844. Nothing happened, so Miller and his followers revised the prediction to Oct. 22. When that day, too, passed without incident, it was dubbed the Great Disappointment. [Oops! 11 Failed Doomsday Predictions]
Likewise, Camping predicted the Rapture three times in 1994 before his 2011 predictions.
The Pope’s doomsday
So it should come as no surprise that doomsday believers have plenty of dates to fixate on in the future. Friday’s ultimately harmless asteroid flyby may trigger more anxiety about world-ending asteroid impacts in the near future, Hoopes told LiveScience. A Friday morning meteor explosion that shattered windows and injured more than 1,000 in Russia is likely to do the same.
The surprise announcement of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI last week has also triggered doomsday chatter.
- Mayan apocalypse failure bad news for believers (msnbc.msn.com)
- After Mayan Apocalypse Failure, Believers May Suffer (livescience.com)
- Doomsday, All Human Predictions are Always Wrong (socyberty.com)
- Sad The World Didn’t End? You Aren’t Alone (businessinsider.com)
- Apocalypse Predictions Are Nothing New: A Look At Doomsday Theories (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Why doomsday debunking is no laughing matter for troubled scientists (thestar.com)
- Denver sirens are just a test, not doomsday signal (sfgate.com)
As you may have noticed, last December was not the last month of life on Earth, nor was there some great transformation or spiritual awakening. We still have politicians, right? So I had my fun pointing this out on the alleged moment the end was supposed to come.
Now it has been nearly a month since the lack-of-doom date, and usually there are excuses for why the end did not happen. So I tried to look around the Internet, especially at the recognized websites that promoted the 2012 Apocalypse, such as December212012, 2012Apocalypse.net, and 2012Apocalypse.info. It looks like there is no updates at all since the winter solstice, at least as of now when I am writing this. My searches on Google also didn’t come up with anything much, though there may be something buried in some forum somewhere.
I’m actually surprised by the lack of reaction…
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Note: by the time you read this, you won’t need to read this because you’ll know the world didn’t end as some people said it would on December 21, 2012. Doomsday predictions are a dime a dozen. Why anyone believes them is the real mystery.
In a nutshell: The Mayan prophecy for 2012 is something made up by people who don’t know much about the Maya. The Maya didn’t predict anything, much less the end of the world.
The idea that the Maya predicted the end of the world on 12-21-2012 is a hoax.
The Maya had several calendars and one of them starts over in 2012. Some people think this means they predicted the end of the world. Why? I don’t know. Maybe they like to scare people. The Maya didn’t predict the end of the world. But even if they did, so what? The Maya couldn’t even predict the end of their own civilization, which collapsed over one thousand years ago. Anyway, anyone can predict anything about the future. That doesn’t mean their prediction will come true.
Mayan civilization was at its peak for over 750 years in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula and parts of Central America. The Maya, like all farming societies, had to study things that affect the soil and the growth of plants. They studied the pattern of the seasons and knew when to plant and when to store up food for the dry months. Their studies led them to create several calendars. We don’t really know much about these calendars. For example, we know that the Long Count Calendar—the one that ends on 12-21-2012—began about 5,000 years ago on August 11, 3114 BCE. We don’t know why the Maya started their calendar on that date and we don’t know why they ended it on 12-21-2012. We don’t even know if 12-21-2012 is the actual date the Long Count Calendar ends. All we know is that the Maya reset this calendar to day 0 every 1,872,000 days, a period known as The Great Circle. We don’t know why they thought this number was important. It’s a big number and amounts to more days than the oldest Egyptian pyramids have been around.
We know that the Maya had a large empire, but they were not able to solve some important problems. They had too many people on too little land. They destroyed their own environment by cutting down too many trees and by farming in ways that ruined their soil. Climate change brought long periods with no rain. Why should we think the Maya prophets would be any better at seeing the distant future than failed prophets of other times and other peoples?
The fact is that anybody can predict the end of the world, but nobody knows when it will happen.
MORE . . .
- BEST OF THE WEB: It’s smart to take all date-specific predictions with a spoonful of cynicism: 2012 ‘End Times’ prophecy corrected by Mayan priests (sott.net)
- Mayan Calendar: NASA Releases “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday” Video Too Early (bostinno.com)
- NASA Releases Video Dated 12/22/12 Explaining Why We Didn’t Die (geekosystem.com)
By Alexandra Alper via Reuters
IZAMAL, Mexico, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Thousands of mystics, New Age dreamers and fans of pre-Hispanic culture have been drawn to Mexico in hopes of witnessing great things when the day in an old Maya calendar dubbed “the end of the world” dawns on Friday.
But many of today’s ethnic Maya cannot understand the fuss. Mostly Christian, they have looked on in wonder at the influx of foreign tourists to ancient cities in southern Mexico and Central America whose heyday passed hundreds of years ago.
For students of ancient Mesoamerican time-keeping, Dec. 21, 2012 marks the end of a 5,125-year cycle in the Maya Long Calendar, an event one leading U.S. scholar said in the 1960s could be interpreted as a kind of Armageddon for the Maya.
Academics and astronomers say too much weight was given to the words and have sought to allay fears the end is nigh.
But over the past few decades, fed by popular culture, Friday became seen by some western followers of alternative religions as a day on which momentous change could occur.
“It’s a psychosis, a fad,” said psychologist Vera Rodriguez, 29, a Mexican of Maya descent living in Izamal, Yucatan state, near the center of the 2012 festivities, the site of Chichen Itza. “I think it’s bad for our society and our culture.”
MORE . . .
- Does Anyone Really Believe in the Mayan Apocalypse? (livescience.com)
- The truth about the Maya ‘apocalypse’ (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
- 2012 Mayan Doomsday Countdown: 5 Ancient Must-Visit Ruin Sites on Dec 21 to Celebrate Mayan New Year (VIDEOS (sfluxe.com)
- So, 21.12.2012 is the end of the world? (guardian.co.uk)
- Mysticism, Internet fuel Mexico’s Maya “Armageddon” fears (theneteconomy.wordpress.com)
- Mysticism, Internet Fuel ‘Armageddon’ Fears (hawaiireporter.com)