Posts Tagged “baktun”

Ancient Mayan BookIt’s the morning of December 20, 2012 as I type this. That means the end of the world is tomorrow. Just 24 hours away! … If, that is, you believe the assortment of con artists, cranks, liars, “New Agey” buffoons, suicidal lunatics and other ignorant clowns who’ve been propagating the so-called “Maya Apocalypse” garbage for the past few years. As you should know by now, I don’t buy into it; the modern Maya don’t buy into it; and neither should you.

That doesn’t mean people aren’t getting alarmed about it. As the Los Angeles Times reports, the panic is really starting to set in (locally-cached article):

If there’s one government agency really looking forward to Dec. 22, it’s NASA.

The space agency said it has been flooded with calls and emails from people asking about the purported end of the world — which, as the doomsday myth goes, is apparently set to take place on Dec. 21, 2012.

The myth might have originated with the Mayan calendar, but in the age of the Internet and social media, it proliferated online, raising questions and concerns among hundreds of people around the world who have turned to NASA for answers.

Dwayne Brown, an agency spokesman, said NASA typically receives about 90 calls or emails per week containing questions from people. In recent weeks, he said, that number has skyrocketed — from 200 to 300 people are contacting NASA per day to ask about the end of the world.

Sadly, it seems NASA’s efforts to educate the public about the fraud that is the “Maya Doomsday 2012” just aren’t working very well — even though they’ve been trying for quite some time now.

People are still under the impression that the Maya long-count calendar will “end” tomorrow, on December 21, 2012 … despite the fact that no calendar ever “ends.” All calendars are cyclical and perpetual. The Maya calendar cannot “end,” any more than our own can. Just as our own year 2012 will end this coming December 31 and 2013 will begin the next day on January 1, what will happen tomorrow is that the Maya 13th baktun will end, and the 14th will begin.

Moreover, the idea that the Maya “prophesied” the end of the world, is ludicrous on its face. They did no such thing. But even if they had, the accuracy and credibility of their predictions are in question, when one remembers that the classic Maya had not managed to foresee the decline of their own civilization and the upheavals that accompanied it.

Oh, and to add to the confusion, it’s entirely possible the presumed date of the turn of baktun may be wrong, and it might have already occurred! But that seems beside the point.

Photo credit: Jan Vrsinsky, via Flickr.

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Mexico - Museo de antropologia - LivreThe 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.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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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.

Photo credit: selkie30, via Flickr.

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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.

Photo credit: Robert Bejil Photography, via Flickr.

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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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