Posts Tagged “december 21 2012”

'Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.' / Friedrich Schiller / PsiCop original graphicUpdate: It’s now the morning of December 22 where I live, the day after I wrote this post, and clearly the Maya Apocalypse never occurred. I’m waiting to hear the apologies of those who were proclaiming a devastating doom for our planet … but my guess is, there won’t be any. Cranks and frauds never admit error … ever. I’ve changed the title of this post accordingly.

As I type this, it’s December 21, 2012, around noon where I am (Eastern Standard Time). I don’t see any sign of an apocalypse. Granted, the day isn’t over yet, but it’s about 6:00 am on December 22, 2012 in New Zealand, meaning that part of the planet has already moved on to the day after doomsday with nothing to show for it.

NBC News’ Cosmic Log has an entry about the apocalypse that isn’t materializing (WebCite cached article):

After years of claptrap about the Maya apocalypse on 12/21/12, the Big Day has dawned in many parts of the world. It’s daytime in China, one of the world’s hot spots for doomsday angst. So far, no solar flares have fried the earth, and no mountains have fallen into the sea. The sun will soon rise on Mexico’s ancient Maya monuments, where thousands are gathering to greet a new era.

Then what?

“I don’t think there’s going to be a herd of jaguars descending from the heavens,” said John Henderson, an anthropologist at Cornell University who specializes in the Maya world.

Archaeologists and astronomers have thoroughly debunked everything about the doomsday myth: The Maya never expected that the world would end when their Long Count calendar rolled over to the next 144,000-day cycle in 2012. Earth’s magnetic field is not going haywire. There’s no threat from the Large Hadron Collider, or the sun, or unseen planets, or the galactic plane.

That doesn’t mean promoters of, or believers in, the Maya Doomsday 2012 aren’t creatively reinterpreting their previous predictions of destruction and annihilation in the wake of the giant fizzle:

Not everything about the Big Day is doom and gloom: Tourists and New Age types have flocked to the Maya ruins of Chichen Itza to greet Friday’s dawn and the start of a new age with rituals old and new. “There is an explosion of consciousness through this,” a gray-haired Californian musician named Shambala Songstar told Reuters. “We are becoming billionaires of energy. Opening to receive more light and more joy.”

So, it seems a putative “prophecy” that a rogue planet would smash the earth to pieces … or a magnetic pole-shift would wipe out all life on the planet … or that a “galactic alignment” would cause the world to go magically insane … never came true, however, it’s still valid, because humanity has now become “billionaires of energy.”

Uh, right … whatever you say … I guess … somehow, some way, somewhere.

I suppose it would be asking too much of this assortment of nutballs, lunatics, cranks, frauds, wingnuts, ignoramuses, and con artists to apologize for having lied to people about this so-called “Armageddon.” My guess is, they will all do what so many other failed prophets have done in the past, which is to creatively re-engineer their failed predictions so as to make it appear they hadn’t failed, after all.

But in the end, their irrational games, twisted reasoning, and mangled semantics can’t change the fact that the whole “Maya prophecy” is 100% pure grade-A bullshit. A colossal steaming load heaved straight out of the back of the barn.

Photo credit: PsiCop original, quoting Friedrich Schiller.

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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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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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Veracicat has checked your facts and is not impressed with your lies.As a rule, people love to think they live in unusual times, and more often than not, they think the unusual things going on, are bad. Really bad. Historically-unprecedented bad. If you could ask anyone — at any point in history — if there are more catastrophes going on in his/her lifetime than ever before, s/he would most likely say, “Yes, of course!” It’s a kind of selective thinking, often backed up by confirmation bias, because the things we’re aware of and know about as they occur outweigh — in our minds — those we only find out about after-the-fact or hear about having happened historically. A natural ramification of this is that we tend to think that any kind of disaster is now more frequent than it ever was before.

This tendency — which is basic human nature and applies to almost everyone — is one that apocalypticists love to prey on, and they intentionally feed it. Thus we have something of a cottage industry of so-called “experts” on the putative “Maya apocalypse” who happily propagate the lie that the ancient Maya predicted the end of the universe on December 21, 2012. That we’re experiencing more catastrophes and wars, you see — according to them — is a “sign” that the End Of The Universe, which the Maya predicted, is coming.

As I’ve blogged before, this is all bullshit. Pure, unadulterated, unfiltered, stinking-to-high-heaven bull-fucking-shit. The Maya never predicted any such thing! Their ability to have predicted the future accurately is debunked absolutely, by their failure to predict the collapse of their own civilization, which happened around the turn of the 10th century CE. So no, the universe is not going to roll to a sudden, screeching halt in 2012.

But batshit crazy New Agers who claim to know what the Maya said without even knowing the Mayan language — thus, having zero knowledge of what the Maya truly thought — are certainly not the only folks who use this tendency. Christian “End Timers” play it up, too. To claim there are more earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, droughts, famines, wildfires, etc. and then claim these are harbingers of the Second Coming is a classic “End Time” proselytizing trick. “The Bible predicted this would happen!” they claim, and they can quickly spit out chapter and verse to show it.

The problem is, all of this is predicated on a lie. And it’s a lie that’s remarkably easy to debunk. Unfortunately, it’s not often debunked. Which is why I’m so glad to notice that FactCheck decided to look into the claims of one “End Time” apocalypticist, evangelical nutcase Franklin Graham, and their takedown isn’t pretty (WebCite cached article):

On ABC’s “This Week,” the Rev. Franklin Graham was wrong when he said that earthquakes, wars and famines are occurring “with more frequency and more intensity.”

The preacher, who is the son of the Rev. Billy Graham and president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, discussed [cached] the prophecy of Armageddon with host Christiane Amanpour during a special Easter edition of the Sunday talk show.

Graham, April 24: I believe we are in the latter days of this age. When I say “latter days,” could it be the last hundred years or the last thousand years or the last six months? I don’t know.

But the Bible, the things that the Bible predicts, earthquakes and famines, nation rising against nation, we see this happening with more frequency and more intensity.

On all three counts, the preacher is wrong. Today’s famines and armed conflicts are fewer and relatively smaller than those in the last century, and the frequency of major earthquakes has remained about the same.

The rest of the article shows how Graham is flat-out wrong on those three counts.

Given that FactCheck is dedicated mostly to checking politicians’ claims about their opponents, that makes this particular article out of character for them, and that will, no doubt, be used by Graham-like “End Timers” as a rationale to dismiss what it says. “FactCheck should stick with politics, and leave religion alone!” they will say. (Notwithstanding that they never listen to FactCheck’s political fact-corrections … fucking hypocrites!) That dismissal, of course, would be a kind of argumentum ad hominem, but fallacy is the favorite game of the vehement religionist, so it’s expected.

FactCheck’s demonstration that Franklin Graham is a liar, places him — again! — in my “lying liars for Jesus” club. Congratulations, Frankie, on your achievement. By all means, keep lying to everyone.

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

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3759: mayan calendarAbout a year ago I blogged that the supposed Maya-predicted end-of-the-world on December 21, 2012, was not going to happen … mostly because the Maya themselves never made any such prediction. Belief in the putative Mayan Doomsday is pretty much a fantasy, an anachronism woven out of whole cloth by wild-eyed New Agers who cannot, themselves, even read Mayan or understand anything they left behind, and pretty much everything they have to say about it, is untrue. Well, it turns out that, even if the Maya had predicted a universal cataclysm at the end of the Maya Long Calendar, we can’t be sure that will be on December 12, 2012, as Live Science reports (WebCite cached article):

It’s a good news/bad news situation for believers in the 2012 Mayan apocalypse. The good news is that the Mayan “Long Count” calendar may not end on Dec. 21, 2012 (and, by extension, the world may not end along with it). The bad news for prophecy believers? If the calendar doesn’t end in December 2012, no one knows when it actually will — or if it has already.

A new critique, published as a chapter in the new textbook “Calendars and Years II: Astronomy and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World” (Oxbow Books, 2010), argues that the accepted conversions of dates from Mayan to the modern calendar may be off by as much as 50 or 100 years. That would throw the supposed and overhyped 2012 apocalypse off by decades and cast into doubt the dates of historical Mayan events.

The problem lies in how scholars have pegged our calendar to those of the Maya, something called “the GMT constant.” I’m not sure I buy how flawed the GMT constant supposedly is. But it sure would be amusing if someone could eventually show that the “Mayan doomsday” has already gone by and the New Agers and assorted kooks who’ve heralded it, never even knew it!

Of course — as I pointed out already — the idea that the ancient Maya could have known when the world would end in 2012 (or some other time) is contradicted by the fact that they were, themselves, blissfully unaware that their own civilization would collapse, c. 900 CE or so. Moreover, as I pointed out when addressing so-called Bible scholar Harold Camping’s competing prediction that the world will end in 2011, end-of-the-world predictions don’t happen to have what one might call a stellar track record of accuracy. (James “the Amazing” Randi has thoughtfully provided a catalog of them as an appendix to his An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural, which he’s made freely available online).

Hat tip: The Skeptic’s Dictionary.

Photo credit: unnamed Flickr contributor.

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