Posts Tagged “apocalypse”

2008-08-29_a_Imhoff-Schokoladen-Museum-24The fraudulent “Maya Apocalypse” is just under two weeks away as I type this. As one would expect — with humanity being a collective mass of ignorance and stupidity — this lie has touched off panics in various places around the world. The (UK) Telegraph reports on several of these (WebCite cached article):

Ahead of December 21, which marks the conclusion of the 5,125-year “Long Count” Mayan calendar, panic buying of candles and essentials has been reported in China and Russia, along with an explosion in sales of survival shelters in America. In France believers were preparing to converge on a mountain where they believe aliens will rescue them.

The article cites panics in places like Russia and China. But it adds:

Meanwhile in Mexico, where the ancient Mayan civilisation flourished, the end time has been seen as an opportunity. The country has organised hundreds of Maya-themed events, and tourism is expected to have doubled this year.

I say, good for the Maya in Mexico! Go ahead and take advantage of the “Maya Doomsday” fraud, and milk the idiots who subscribe to it for all you can get. When December 22 dawns, laugh at the fools all the way to the bank!

As I always do when I blog about this, I’ll make the situation as clear as possible. The Maya “Long Count” calendar will not “end” on December 21, 2012. All calendars are cyclical and perpetual. They never “end.” The Maya calendar can no more “end” than our own can. What will happen on that date, is that we’ll go from the 13th baktun to the 14th. That’s all. As for Nibiru, it doesn’t exist, it never has, and it will never collide with the earth. It’s a fantasy spun by a crank who claims to be the world’s only expert on Sumerian and Babylonian texts, but who actually knows nothing about them. Put bluntly, it’s a lie.

NASA has a very useful page explaining everything you need to know about the so-called “Maya Apocalypse 2012.” There’s also an excellent compilation of “Maya Doomsday” bullshit — and a thorough refutation of it all — at 2012hoax. I suggest going to either site and being educated about this presumed doomsday.

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InscriptionsOver the last couple of years, I’ve blogged a few times about the so-called “Maya apocalypse.” That’s the assumption that the Maya prophesied that the planet would be destroyed — or the universe grind to a halt — on December 21, 2012 because (supposedly) that’s the day their long-count calendar will “run out.”

Since this whole pseudohistorical and pseudoscientific scenario is predicated on Maya astronomy, the folks at NASA have, over the last several years, been barraged with questions about it. In response, they’ve periodically released information intended to calm the fears of many who actually believe all of this bullshit. As December 2012 arrived, they published an article on their Web site explaining the nonsense (WebCite cached version):

Dec. 21, 2012, won’t be the end of the world as we know, however, it will be another winter solstice.

Contrary to some of the common beliefs out there, the claims behind the end of the world quickly unravel when pinned down to the 2012 timeline.

Here’s a Newsy video report on NASA’s latest debunking effort:

They address a number of claims that have been made about what will happen on December 21, 2012. Among them is the wild-eyed claim that a planet Nibiru will collide with the earth. (That particular aspect of this lunacy owes its origins more to the laughable spew of Zechariah Sitchin than to anything the Maya left behind.)

That said, I have no doubt this will not actually calm the fears of the “Maya apocalypse” true-believers. Rather, they’ll decide that NASA’s efforts to debunk their delusions and lies are merely further evidence of their veracity (for instance, they’ll ask, “Why would a federal government agency spend so much time debunking ‘nonsense,’ unless there was something to it in the first place?”). The backfire effect is a powerful psychological force and it will certainly infect many, as the next couple of weeks go by.

As I’ve done previously, I’ll point out a few simple, obvious facts that explain how this whole “Maya prophecy” is pure bullshit:

  • The Maya calendar can no more “run out” than our own can. Calendars are by nature cyclical and perpetual. You always go from the last month of one year, to the first month of the next, over and over again, without letup. The Maya calendar works no differently, in this regard. December 21, 2012 will be the transition between the 13th baktun and the 14th. That’s all.
  • The idea that the Maya had any special knowledge of the future is laughable on its face. This is especially true when one realizes they never foresaw the collapse of their own civilization, which happened back in the 10th century. The upheaval the Maya experienced in the 10th century — a time in which they did not all “disappear” or “die out” as sometimes has been alleged, although many of their city-states declined measurably and in many cases precipitously — ought to have concerned them immensely, had they seen it coming.
  • Modern Maya (yes, the Maya still exist as a people!) don’t buy any of this bilge, themselves. Since they’re in a better position than the rest of us to know what the classic Maya thought and said, it’d behoove us to pay attention to them.

The bottom line is that the so-called “Maya apocalypse 2012″ is a flat-out lie, cooked up by an assortment of New Agers and cranks who have precious little knowledge of the Maya; they’ve taken that little bit of knowledge and extrapolated it to ridiculous proportions. It’s time for them to just fucking stop their lies.

Previously, I issued a challenge to the Maya-apocalypse-promoting cranks, and I’ll repeat it here: Will you state in advance — right here, right now, without reservation — that, once December 22, 2012 arrives and there’s been no “Maya apocalypse,” you promise to issue an unqualified apology for having lied to people, and without delay or equivocation donate the proceeds of your doomsaying to charity?

My guess is, none of them are sincere enough in their (crazy) beliefs to accept this challenge and make this pledge. More’s the pity.

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Crying… you end up facing a situation that very well might cost millions of lives, and for no discernible, rational reason. The trifecta of Israel, Iran and the Right within the United States is rapidly reaching this point. It would have been hilariously funny, if not for the fact that it might lead to a latter-day holocaust.

First, we have Iran, which is led by a furiously religionistic cast-eyed freak known as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who can’t seem to get over the fact that a Jewish state exists, several hundred miles from his own borders. As the New York Times reports, he’s come to the Big Apple this week to spew yet more of his juvenile anti-Semitic rants (WebCite cached article):

Defying a warning by the United Nations secretary general against inflammatory remarks, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran said Monday that Israelis had no historical roots in the Middle East and that the existence of Israel was just a passing phase in the region’s long history. …

At the breakfast meeting, he said that the Israelis had been around the region for only 60 or 70 years, in contrast to the Iranians, whose civilization has existed for thousands of years.

“They have no roots there in history,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said of the Israelis, according to Reuters.

This is, of course, a lie. DNA studies have shown that modern Jews do, in fact, have Middle Eastern roots. I’m sure Iran’s cast-eyed freak — and pretty much every other anti-Semite on the planet — would dismiss these DNA studies as products of the pervasive and evil “Jewish cabal” that controls the planet … but paranoiac thinking like that is par for the course, for this childish crew, so one can hardly expect otherwise.

So this is hardly the first time he’s unleashed this kind of tantrum and it certainly won’t he the last. However, this little childish antic has been compounded by another episode of juvenile religionism, and that is, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s desire to nuke Iran because it appears they may have a slim chance of someday creating a workable nuclear weapon, as NPR reports (cached):

During a joint press conference in Jerusalem with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Netanyahu expressed his frustration with how world powers are handling Iran and its nuclear program.

“The world tells Israel ‘wait, there’s still time’. And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” Netanyahu said.

It doesn’t matter to Bibi, I guess, that Iran’s nuclear program is, in a word, delicate … so delicate that cyberattacks like Stuxnet and Flame have been able to derail it. Oh no. The fact that Iran’s cast-eyed freak has been rattling his saber for the last few years, is all Bibi needs to tell him that his country is only 10 seconds away from nuclear extinction at Iran’s hands. That Bibi is motivated to nuke Iran, by militant religionists within his own country, is something he’d never admit to … even though it’s true.

Now, added to all of this tension — which all by itself is sufficient to ignite a war that no rational person should wish be fought — we have a third party intruding on it, scrapping for a fight at all costs. That would be America’s Right, which is absolutely enraged that President Barack Obama insolently chose not to meet with Bibi, presumably in order to get his blessing for Israel’s nuking of Iran (cached). (Memo to the Religious Right: No, Obama does not have to meet with Bibi just ’cause Bibi asked to meet with him. The leader of the free world gets to choose who he meets with, and when. He is at no one’s beck and call … not even the Israeli Prime Minister’s.)

Because of the R.R.’s sanctimonious outrage over this, Mitt Romney, GOP presidential candidate and current commander-in-chief of the Religious Right’s political arm, is also aching to start a war in the Middle East, as CNN reports (cached):

“Tonight on 60 Minutes, President Obama called Israel’s legitimate concern about the impact of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons ‘noise’ and referred to Israel as merely ‘one of our closest allies in the region,’” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.

Saul continued in the statement: “This is just the latest evidence of his chronic disregard for the security of our closest ally in the Middle East. Governor Romney’s views stand in sharp contrast to the President’s. Governor Romney strongly believes that Israel is our most important ally in the Middle East and that support for Israel is essential to extending freedom, peace and democracy throughout the region. As president, Governor Romney will restore and protect the close alliance between our nation and the state of Israel.”

It’s not true that a war between Israel and Iran could ever be in the best interest of the U.S., and there’s no valid reason Americans should ever want one, so long as there are alternatives available (cached). But in order to appeal to the evangelical Christians here … who’ve been itching to ignite Armageddon and usher in the return of their precious Jesus … Romney is forced to agitate for a war he knows would be bad for the U.S.

What a fucking joke this all is. And it’s all useless and pointless. It’s only come about because of the militant religionism that comes from the Abrahamic faiths. There’s no rational reason for any of this tension.

Isn’t it time for the world’s leaders to just fucking grow the hell up already and get over their militant religionism? I’ve had enough of your goddamn infantile tantrums, fercryinoutloud.

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Repent The End Is NearIt doesn’t seem that very many folks have gotten the memo about the “Maya Apocalypse 2012″ being fraudulent. At least one doomsaying lunatic is spewing this steaming load of stupidity and lies. AOL ran this publicity piece for a would-be Internet prophet of destruction named Michael Luckman (WebCite cached article):

Going into a new profession six months before you think the world’s going to end may not be the smartest of career moves, but don’t tell that to Michael Luckman.

The New York-based writer of UFO books is committed to becoming what some might call “the D.J. of Doomsday” with a new radio show, “Radio Doomsday.”

The show, which could be promoted as “all doomsday, all the time,” airs every Thursday at midnight. It premiered a few weeks ago and Luckman predicts interest will pick up over the next six months. That’s because some believe that the world will end on Dec. 21, the last day of the Mayan calendar.

That “‘the’ Mayan calendar” doesn’t actually have a “last day” is something I’ve been blogging for a couple years now. That doesn’t appear to matter much to Luckman, who’s deluded himself into thinking he’s onto something:

Signs abound that the Apocalypse is upon us, according to Luckman. Events like the devastating Japanese tsunami, declines in the populations of certain honeybee species and last year’s Hurricane Irene dovetail nicely with increased doomsday fears.

Luckman’s trouble is, events like animal rainfalls, the Japanese earthquake/tsunami, the onset of colony collapse disorder, and hurricanes happen all the time — unfortunately — and there actually has been no statistically-meaningful increase in them. He just thinks there has been … and that’s all he cares about.

(Such insular, subjective thinking is the height of arrogance and self-centeredness, not to mention being a hallmark of a crank, but I digress.)

Luckman displays his lack of logic in this manner:

“I’m not coming from a biblical perspective,” Luckman told The Huffington Post. “But there are many parallels between what is happening now and what is in the Old Testament and New Testament. I think increased sightings of UFOs are also directly related to the end times.”

Hopefully you see the contradiction here: He says he’s not being “Biblical,” yet he appeals to the Bible nonetheless. Hmm.

Although NASA scientists and other educators have repeatedly said the end of the Mayan calendar just reflects the close of a cycle, Luckman insists they’re missing the big picture.

“I’ve seen the NASA statements,” said Luckman, who is also director of the New York Center for Extraterrestrial Research and founder of the Cosmic Majority, which aims to reach out to alien intelligence. “Whatever they come up with, I can counter. We have birds falling from the skies, depletion of the honeybee population and trees that are 4,000 years old dying.”

I’m sure that, within the staggeringly empty vault of Luckman’s mind, he genuinely thinks he can “counter” anything that real, live, working astronomers and Mesoamerican anthropologists might say (cached) … but that hardly means he’s correct or that he truly knows what he’s talking about. Luckman’s lies mount as the article goes on:

“The simple truth is that many of us are unlikely to survive the coming Earth changes due to solar super storms, Planet X and a possible pole shift in 2012 and beyond,” he told The Huffington Post. “Mayan elders have broken their silence and confided to me the truth about the Mayan calendar and the dangerous times we are living in. A large portion of Earth’s population may perish during the transition into an enlightened new age.”

Not one of these things is true … in fact, a real live Mayan elder has gone on record as saying there will be no apocalypse. My guess is, Luckman doesn’t know a word of Mayan, has never met a live Mayan, has no fucking clue what the Maya actually said or thought, and hasn’t the slightest knowledge of astronomy.

Unfortunately, Mr Luckman, expertise does not come from merely talking and acting as though one’s an “expert” in something. Rather, it comes from rolling up one’s sleeves, getting an education in a field, and actually working in it for a while.

Here’s my open challenge to Mr Luckman and other doomsayers of his ilk: Will you state in advance — right here, right now, without reservation — that, once December 22, 2012 arrives and there’s been no “Maya apocalypse,” you promise to issue an unqualified apology for having lied to people, and without delay or equivocation donate the proceeds of your doomsaying to charity? If you’re sincere about your beliefs and are correct about the world ending on December 21, 2012, you should have no qualms about making such a pledge. Do you have the courage to do it? If so, contact me and let me know. I’ll make arrangements to ensure your pledge is kept.

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The End is Not NearBible scholar religionist crank Harold Camping had run silent in the wake of the failure of his October 21 apocalypse. But the Christian Post reports that he recently broke his silence, and admitted he’d been wrong (WebCite cached article):

With his speech sounding somewhat slurred and labored, Family Radio Stations Inc. founder and chairman Harold Camping sought to address in a recent message why Christ failed to return on Oct. 21 as the Bible teacher had predicted. Camping confessed, after decades of falsely misleading his followers, that he was wrong and regrets his misdeeds. …

This is undoubtedly a radical shift for Camping, who has staunchly claimed since 1992 that he had discovered a special numerical system in the Bible that allowed him to calculate the exact dates of certain events, such as the Great Flood, the Crucifixion and the day of Jesus Christ’s return to Earth.

Camping first falsely predicted that the world would end on Sept. 6, 1994, then again on May 21, 2011, and finally on Oct. 21.

This is a remarkable departure for Camping … a man who, after his initial failed doomsday in 1994, chalked that failure up to a mathematical error (cached), and when Christ failed to return this past May 21, insisted that he had returned, but “invisibly.” So this is an improvement over his own personal history, and a welcome one, as far as it goes.

Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum on Delphi Forums.

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The End is Not NearI’ve blogged for well over a year about the cadaverous Bible scholar religionist crank Harold Camping and his two-pronged doomsday scenario, which failed spectacularly as of this past weekend, in spite of his insistence that it would, in fact, play out as he’d predicted. He and his organization, Family Radio, have been running silent for the last few days, in the face of that failure. But finally, the Christian Post reports, he or they have finally managed to tacitly admit that he’d been wrong (WebCite cached article):

For the past five months, Harold Camping‘s Family Radio website had posted on its main page an “explanation” of why the world did not end on May 21 and why it would truly end on Oct. 21. Four days after Camping’s failed doomsday date, however, that explanation has been removed, suggesting that Family Radio may be out of the rapture prediction business.

The move comes soon after Brandon Tauszik, a documentarian who has been attending Camping’s Oakland, Calif., church for eight months, confirmed with The Christian Post in an exclusive interview [cached] that the Bible preacher has informed those close to him that he will effectively retire.

It would have been more courageous of Camping to have overtly admitted having been wrong, rather than stealthily just deleting content from his Web site in the hope that no one will recall what he’d said. But that’s still better than what he did after the first part of his doomsday prediction (i.e. that Christ would return this past May 21) failed, when he insisted that Christ had, in fact, returned “spiritually” rather than violently in the wake of a vast, globe-spanning earthquake.

Oddly, though, the Christian Post proceeds to provide something of an apologia for the failed prophet:

Additionally, Tauszik told CP that Camping has changed his views about the possibility that one can know the exact date of the end of the world, a notion that Camping has maintained for at least 20 years; the doomsday prophet made his first public end of the world prediction in 1992, claiming the world would end in 1994.

There has been evidence of a “softer” apocalypse message from Family Radio, with more emphasis placed on perpetual readiness for judgment from God rather than a specific date on a calendar to prepare for.

Readers of this blog know that this is not true; far from “softening” his message, in the days leading up to his promised October 21, 2011 apocalypse, Camping insisted it woud still take place. I have no idea why the C.P. would choose to mischaracterize Harold Camping and his group, but they are.

Lastly, I’d like to say that I take no pleasure in the fact that Camping suffered a stroke this summer and has been forced to retire. I may find his apocalyptic religionism laughable, but don’t consider his ailment funny at all.

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Harold Camping is seen reading the Bible in his office at Family Stations Inc. offices in Oakland, California in this still image from video May 16, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Reuters TelevisionIt’s a bit after half past 9 pm where I am, which means that “the End of the World” — for me, according to the cadaverous Bible scholar religionist crank Harold S. Camping — is less than 2½ hours away. What’s more, as Reuters explains, it seems he’s trotted off somewhere in order to get himself ready for “the Big Event” (WebCite cached article):

An evangelical broadcaster whose end-of-the-world prophecy earlier this year stirred a global media frenzy has vanished from the public eye and airwaves ahead of his recalibrated doomsday date, set for Friday. …

Reached by telephone on Thursday, network spokesman Tom Evans declined to comment on Camping or his prophecies, except to say that he had “retired” as a radio host but remained chairman of the board of Family Stations Inc.

Although Camping himself and his organization has claimed to be confident that “the End” will soon be here, I’m even more confident that I will be around tomorrow just as always and that nothing will have changed all that much from tonight. I’m declaring — in advance! — that Camping will end up being proven a failed prophet. Of course, that should be news to no sane person. After all, all Biblical prophecy is 100% pure bullshit. It always was, and always will be.

Update: Hey Harold — it’s now just after midnight on the 22nd where I am. No Armageddon. You missed again!

Photo credit: Reuters / Reuters Television.

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