Tag Archives: Yucatán Peninsula

Mayan prophecy 2012

via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

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.

mayantempleThe 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. 2012_failWe 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.

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