World not ending in 2010

I am quite willing to challenge the doomsayers and bravely predict the world will not end on December 21, 2010. I also predict that some people will become wealthy writing books and producing movies that convince the gullible their time on earth will end in a great global catastrophe in 2010.

The reality is that the doomsayers are perpetuating nothing more than a monstrous and elaborate Halloween trick. It would be amusing, if it weren’t so cruel. 

December 21, 2010, is no more significant than November 21, 2010, or January 21, 2010, other than being dates on a calendar. Some important event may occur on that day that will affect the temporal world — perhaps we’ll have peace in the Middle East or all nuclear weapons will be destroyed? I will not predict the occurrence of these events, as history has taught us the fallacy of delving into such wishful thinking. 

The doomsayers are relying upon the ancient Mayan calendar to make their prediction, but it’s extremely suspect to make such a prognostication based upon a timeframe developed by a long-dead civilization. Actually, those making their prediction of the “end of days” are selectively using only those portions of the calendar which neatly fit their supposition.

The Halloween trick is a repeat of the Y2K crisis which didn’t materialize, although it also scared the daylights out of quite a few people, with the doomsayers predicting ICBM missiles launching on their own and airplanes falling out of the sky.

Hollywood is set to release the movie  2012, which features earth-shattering earthquakes, world-smashing meteor showers and a gigantic tsunami that dumps an aircraft carrier on the White House.

It’s a shame that the History Channel has propagated the myth by running a TV special which uses the musings of Nostradamus and tidbits of Mayan lore to ask: “Is 2012 the year the cosmic clock finally winds down to zero days, zero hope?” The Internet is responsible for giving a forum to the doomsayers, who also spread the myth of the “end of days” in 2012. 

As reported by Yahoo!News, Ann  Martin, who runs the website Curious? Ask an Astronomer, is fielding e-mails from people quite scared by the alleged claim the world will end in 2010 due to the impending release of the disaster movie.

“It’s too bad we’re getting e-mails from fourth-graders who are saying they’re too young to die,” she told Yahoo!News. “We had a mother of two young children who was afraid she wouldn’t live to see them grow up.”

Apolinario Chile Pixtun, a Mayan elder, said he is tired of being bombarded with frantic questions about the Mayan calendar supposedly “running out” on December 21, 2012. It’s not the end of the world, he added. “I came back from England last year and, man, they had me fed up with this stuff.

“If I went to some Mayan-speaking communities and asked people what is going to happen in 2012, they wouldn’t have any idea,” Yucatan Mayan archaeologist Jose Huchim told the Internet news agency. “That the world is going to end? They wouldn’t believe you. We have real concerns these days, like rain.”

While the Mayan civilization that created the calendar disappeared around AD 900, the Mayan people have not. Once their ancient civilization collapsed — most scholars believe the collapse was due to drought and environmental devastation resulting from overuse of natural resources — the Mayan people abandoned their magnificent cities and scattered into the countryside to eke out an existence.

The ancient Mayans had a great talent for astronomy, and their studies of the sky allowed them to develop an intricate understanding of time. Their Long Count calendar begins in 3,114 BC, marking time in roughly 394-year periods known as Baktuns. The Mayan sacred number was 13 and the 13th Baktun ends around December 21, 2012, which is the end of a 5,125-year era. The Mayans believed the end of the cycle merely signalled the beginning of another — not a world-wide cataclysm.

Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies in Crystal River, Florida, told USA Today, using the Mayan calendar to propagate a doomsday scenario, resulting from some cosmic shift, is “a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in.”

On December 21, 2012, the sun will align with the centre of the Milky Way — as it does roughly every 26,000 years — but scholars doubt the ancient Mayans associated any great meaning to this cosmic alignment, according to the report by USA Today’s G. Jeffrey MacDonald.  

For that matter, the world didn’t end 26,000 years ago, although an Ice Age covered much of the northern portions of the continents of North America, Europe and Asia in massive three-kilometre-thick glaciers. Still, the Ice Age was not the end of the world, and animals and mankind thrived in the shadow of the ice sheets. Actually, some of the great Stone Age technological and artistic innovations arose during the last Ice Age. It was these innovations which allowed humans to spread into the North American continent approximately 13,000 years ago.

From time immemorial there have been predictions of doom, which have caused panic among the masses. On the last day of the year 999, the old St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome was thronged with trembling and weeping worshippers awaiting the end of the world. Many were convinced that Armageddon would come at the stroke of midnight, drawing this conclusion due to the millennium as well as so-called signs and omens in the sky. Those who were able flocked to Jerusalem so that they could die in the Holy City, while others gave away all their worldly possessions to ease their entry into the next world.

Of course, the end didn’t come. The only thing arising from the panic was deep-seated embarrassment, although some still predicted the end was near, as has been the case for centuries, but none of the predictions of doom has come to fruition. 

Don’t be embarrassed on December 21, 2012, as the Mayan calendar did not predict the world will end on that date. Don’t let your hard-earned money line the pockets of the doomsayers; the world will not suffer an earth-ending cataclysm — what the doomsayers are predicting is nothing more than a Halloween trick.