Posts Tagged “2012”

Veracicat has checked your facts and is not impressed with your lies.I’ve already blogged a number of times about the lies being told about the so-called “Mayan apocalypse” that supposedly will happen when the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012. The hoopla about it continues, in spite of the fact that the Mayan calendar is not “ending” at all! Rather, the “long count” calendar is merely turning a page; the 13th baktun will end and the 14th will begin. There are also no “planetary alignments” or “rogue planets” which will destroy the Earth.

It’s not going to happen. And I repeat: It. Is. Not. Going. To. Happen. Period.

The good folks at NASA have been trying to debunk all the lies, but to little effect. As Scientific American reports, they just released a video which they think will help (WebCite cached article):

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have put out a new video to address false claims about the “Mayan apocalypse,” a non-event that some people believe will bring the world to an end on Dec. 21.

In the video, which was posted online Wednesday (Mar. 7), Don Yeomans, head of the Near-Earth Objects Program Office at NASA/JPL, explains away many of the most frequently cited doomsday scenarios. [See video]

Addressing the belief that the calendar used by the ancient Mayan civilization comes to a sudden end in December 2012, and that this will coincide with a cataclysmic, world-ending event, Yeomans said: “Their calendar does not end on December 21, 2012; it’s just the end of the cycle and the beginning of a new one. It’s just like on December 31, our calendar comes to an end, but a new calendar begins on January 1.”

In case you’re curious, here’s the video in question:

As it turns out, this is not the first video NASA has released along these lines. Here’s one they did a while ago:

I have no doubt that neither of these videos will accomplish anything. All the “true believers” in the “Maya 2012 apocalypse” are going to continue to believe in it, regardless of anything NASA says about it … and in fact a lot of them will believe in it even more fiercely than they did before (due to the backfire effect, which coincidentally also figured into my previous blog post). They’re just too irrational — and too childish — to face the fact that their belief in the “Mayan doomsday” is a lie.

Update: Unfortunately I was right when I said NASA’s effort would be fruitless. The agency has had to continue its debunking efforts in the face of all the “Maya doomsday” lies.

Photo credit: PsiCop, based on original from quitor.com.

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Rick Santorum addresses the Ohio Christian Alliance conference, Feb. 18, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. (Credit: AP Photo/Eric Gay)The presidential campaign of Rick Santorum, former US Senator from Pennsylvania, continues to churn out ludicrous religiofascist gibberish. I’ve cited some of it previously, including his claim that the Crusades were not “aggression,” and his implication that the pro-choice movement are Nazis. Most recently he claimed President Obama had a “‘weird’ theology.”

It’s that last item that triggered the next spurt of Christofascist nonsense from his campaign. CBS News reports his spokeswoman was forced to take back comments she made in support of that assertion (WebCite cached article):

Rick Santorum’s new presidential campaign spokeswoman, Alice Stewart, retracted her comment Monday that compared President Obama’s policies to “radical Islamic policies.” …

“He was not questioning the president’s character, he wasn’t questioning the president’s religion,” Stewart said. “As he’s said, he has clarified the statement. He was talking about radical environmentalists. There is a type of theological secularism when it comes to the global warmists in this country. He was referring to the president’s policies, in terms of the radical Islamic policies the president has, particular in terms of the energy exploration.”

It’s true that Ms Stewart retracted these remarks, but they were said, so a retraction is like trying to un-ring a bell. And the fact that she said them, reveals a lot.

The problems with these comments are so numerous that I hardly know where to begin. First of all, she talks about “theological secularism,” which quite obviously is a contradiction in terms. There can never be anything “theological” about “secularism” because “secularism” is a rejection of “theological” influence.

Second, she talks about “global warmists.” I have never heard of this phrase before, although a Google search shows it’s not really new. It is a neat propaganda trick, to make “global warming” an ideology of its own. While some global-warming advocates may be ideologues, I’m not sure it really deserves that kind of a general apellation (not yet, anyway). But even if it did, there’s no evidence that president Obama adheres to it as an ideology.

Third, she said Obama has “radical Islamic policies.” This can’t be the case, though, because the president is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. This fits in with the old Rightist mantra that Obama is a Muslim — which is untrue, nevertheless it persists among Rightists.

What Ms Stewart was trying to do here is an old rhetorical trick, that of sprinkling certain keywords into her comments, ones the Santorum campaign hopes will trigger GOP primary voters to support him. In the process she ends up spewing nonsensical gibberish … nonsensical because it’s self-contradictory, and does not coincide with reality. That her remarks ended up being gibberish doesn’t matter; primary voters will have heard those keywords, and the implication that Obama is a Muslim, and will only remember that. Her retraction won’t matter to them, because they heard what they wanted to hear.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Eric Gay, via CBS News.

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Bible / Ian Britton, via FreeFoto (ref no. 05-02-11)In a move that’s sure to warm the cockles of the Religious Right within the Commonwealth, WITF in Harrisburg reports that Pennsylvania’s House unamimously voted to declare 2012 “the Year of the Bible” (WebCite cached article):

With a unanimous vote last week, House members declared 2012 the “Year of the Bible.”

The resolution recognizes the book that has shaped the Commonwealth and the “national need to study and apply the teachings of the holy scriptures.”

The article gratuitously adds a little of the “Christian martyr complex”:

Sponsoring Republican Rep. Rick Saccone of Allegheny County said he’s been getting a bit of critical feedback on the measure.

Oh, the poor thing! How utterly horrible to be criticized for this! Why, it’s intolerable!

Ironically, while he’s defending the importance of the Commonwealth “recognizing” the Bible’s importance, Saccone dismisses his own measure as meaningless:

Saccone said it’s like many other largely symbolic pieces of legislation recognizing Girl Scout Week, honoring Jewish chaplains, or paying tribute to military veterans.

Believe me, the Religious Right will not view this declaration as “merely symbolic.” They will, instead, fallaciously use it as “evidence” of their “Christian nation” scenario … insisting that the entire country must revere the Bible exactly as they do, and must, by extension, be Christian just like them. Sorry to break it to them, but this is not a “Christian nation,” and little maneuvers like this one can never make it so.

As for the “national need to study and apply the teachings of the holy scriptures,” I question this in the strongest terms. The Bible contains a lot of “teachings” which no moral or ethical person should ever even contemplate doing, much less “apply” in their lives. Among them are the following:

  • All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. (Gen 7:21-23)
  • Now it came about at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle. (Ex 12:29)
  • He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. (Ex 21:17)
  • We utterly destroyed them, as we did to Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women and children of every city. (Dt 3:6)
  • Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. (Dt 19:21)
  • If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. (Dt 22:23-24)
  • They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword. (Jo 6:21)
  • Thus says the LORD of hosts, “I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” (1 Sm 15:2-3)
  • How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock. (Ps 137:9)
  • And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths. (Rev 9:17-18)
  • And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (Rev 20:9)

The above is but a minuscule sampling of the horrific teachings contained within the Bible; there are many more I could have picked from.

It’s true the Bible contains some good teachings, such as what one finds in the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain, which includes sayings such as “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God,” “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God,” and “whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” But really, how many Bible-venerating Christians obey those particular teachings? None that I know of.

As it turns out, all the signatories to this declaration may well have expressly violated one of the Bible’s teachings:

Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. (Mt 6:1)

I can’t think of any more noticeable and public a way of expressing one’s Christian faith than by voting for this measure; hence, I can’t see how this couldn’t possibly be disobeying Jesus himself!

Photo credit: Ian Britton, via FreeFoto.

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Bell Rock, Sedona, AZNote: See below for a post-apocalypse update on this story.

I’ve blogged already about the various lunatic scenarios that New Agers and assorted wingnut cranks and crazed crackpots have been cooking up, over the last few years, about the so-called “Mayan apocalypse.” Supposedly the universe is going to end on December 21, 2012, when the Mayan long-count calendar runs out goes from its 13th baktun to its 14th. It’s one thing to beat the drum of the apocalypse in order to get media attention or sell books or videos. It’s quite another, however, to plan one’s own demise over it. As bone-chilling as it sounds, that’s exactly what Peter A. Gersten, Esq intends to do. He’s announced his plans in a page on his own Web site*:

On the Winter Solstice of 2012 at exactly 11:11 UT a cosmic portal will open in Sedona Arizona and a leap of faith — from the top of Bell Rock — will propel me through its opening.

That’s right, the man plans to leap from a cliff-face over the putative Mayan apocalypse.

Gersten provides details which — he thinks — justify his plan. As simply as I can put it, he believes the universe is a massive cosmic computer whose locus will be fixed on Bell Rock, Sedona AZ, at 11:11 (UTC) on 12/21/2012. His rationales are bizarre, a lot of hokum and supposition with only a bare sprinkling of fact, based on (in his own words) “genetically programmed intuition.” If you really want to understand his crazed ramblings, read them for yourself … I’m not repeating his nonsense and gibberish here. He closes with this:

Most of you will think that I am delusional and that my insane act will certainly result in my death. Death is inevitable — at least nowadays — and 100 years from now it won’t matter whether I died in 2012 or 2013 or even 2020. But I believe that some type of cosmic portal will be opening at that time and place and that an opportunity will present itself. I fully expect that it will either lead to the next level of this cosmic program; freedom from an imprisoning time-loop; a magical Martian-like bubble; or something equally as exotic.

In March 2012 I will reach 70 years of age and nine months later we arrive at the cosmic coordinate. I think it will then be time for me to move on — in one form or another. I’d like to see what else our Cosmic Computer has to offer.

We’re all going to die someday, so Gersten thinks he may as well take his “cosmic plunge.”

Now, I’m skeptical enough to wonder whether or not this is a hoax, some guy pulling our legs. It may well be a kind of Poe. I can’t say for sure. But I have looked into Peter A. Gersten, and from what I can see, judging from his appearances on the Art Bell/George Noory radio show (cached), he’s been at this for years — having told Noory and his listeners about the importance of 12/21/2012 11:11 as long ago as 2005 (cached). If this is a hoax or a Poe, it’s something he’s been maintaining for a long time. Since hoaxes are usually “flash in the pan” one-time events, my guess is, he’s sincere.

Sadly enough.

Update 1: Perhaps in order to avoid critique or attention to his self-destructive plan, Gersten has taken down the page I originally referred to from his Web site (i.e. http://www.pagenews.info/commentary/wintersolstice2012.php). However, I cached it using WebCite, and that’s the link I provide in this post.

Update 2: The Phoenix New Times reports Gersten never took his leap, because his vortex never opened up below Bell Rock (cached).

Hat tip: Apathetic Agnostic Church.

Photo credit: lawrence’s lenses.

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Note: This blog post has been updated with recent, new information.

Believe it or not — and yes, I know this runs contrary to what you hear from cranks like George Noory about the year 2012 — that year will not be the end of the world; the Maya did not predict this at all. Not even close! The truth of what the Maya thought is very different from the New Agey, pseudoscientific doomspeak you hear, and the Maya themselves are a bit annoyed, as the (UK) Telegraph reports (WebCite cached article):

2012 is not the end of the world, Mayan elder insists

The year 2012 will not bring the end of the world, a Mayan elder has insisted, despite claims that a Mayan calendar shows that time will “run out” on December 21 of that year.

Apolinario Chile Pixtun is tired of being bombarded with frantic questions about the end of the world. “I came back from England last year and, man, they had me fed up with this stuff,” he said.

A significant time period for the Mayans does end on the date, and enthusiasts have found a series of astronomical alignments they say coincide in 2012, including one that happens roughly only once every 25,800 years.

But most archaeologists, astronomers and Mayans say the only thing likely to hit Earth is a meteor shower of New Age philosophy, pop astronomy, internet doomsday rumours and TV specials such as one on the History Channel which mixes “predictions” from Nostradamus and the Mayans and asks: “Is 2012 the year the cosmic clock finally winds down to zero days, zero hope?”

Let me be blunt: The “2012 Doomsday” is bullshit. Complete, 100% pure, unfiltered and unmitigated bullshit. No one who has actually studied the Maya, their inscriptions, or their calendars believes they made any such prediction. One monument — just one, out of so many they left — mentions a god who will return in 2012, but the monument doesn’t make clear what will happen when he does.

Beyond that, as the Telegraph explains, the Maya thought the world would keep turning after 2012:

But [archaeologist Guillermo] Bernal also notes there are other inscriptions at Mayan sites for dates far beyond 2012 — including one that roughly translates into the year 4772.

The truth of the matter is something quite different than you hear amid all the raging hysteria. The Maya had a couple of ways of tabulating the passage of time in long eras, including blocks of 394 years called baktuns, and the year 2012 is the end of the 13th baktun as they reckoned things. They connected the passage of baktuns with primal forces and likely believed a great change would come about at that time … but this need not mean “the End of the World” as so many folks are saying.

In order to get around this problem, some folks have amplified the so-called “prediction” or “prophecy” of the Maya, to include bizarre phenomena they’re pegging to 2012, such as some kind of “galactic alignment,” solar flares, and all sorts of other crap they claim are coming — and in some cases that the Maya somehow knew about, which is why they leaned on the year 2012.

Again, however, all of this is bullshit. (I’m sorry to have to repeat a profane word so many times in one post … but really, no other word suits the claims that are being made.) If you want more information on how all these strange astronomical claims are also bullshit, check out this Universe Today article.

I will finish by posing a question that should be asked of anyone who honestly believes the Maya knew the world would end in 2012. If the Maya were so good at predicting the future, why were they blissfully unaware of the collapse of their own civilization, which ended c. 900 CE? You’d think they’d have been able to do something about it, no? But they didn’t! So how good can they be at predicting things?

The fact is that the world will not end on 2012, and anyone who says it will and that the Maya predicted it, is lying to you. I guess that makes them lying liars for doomsday, doesn’t it?

Update: National Geographic published a list of “2012 Myths” and reinforces that there is no “doom” that will hit in December 2012. (Hat tip: History & Archaeology Forum)

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