Apocalypse predictions unfounded

alli.fox

Gas prices are rising, the war in Iraq is still raging, and economy is crashing, yet the world is not coming to an end. So, why is it that many people think we’re living in the “end of times”?

Lately, much of it has to do with the Mayan calendar. Dec. 21, 2012 is the end of the Maya Long Count. The Long Count is a system of counting days created thousands of years ago by a now extinct people. According to Mayan belief, we are living in the fourth world. The gods had destroyed the previous three due to the failure of the worlds to sustain life. These worlds ended on the 13th cycle of the Long Count, a calendar lasting 5,126 years, as opposed to the shorter calendars they used based on spiritual cycles. The Mayan prophecy is wholly based on the assumption that something bad is going to happen when the Mayan Long Count calendar runs out.

The predicted outcome highly depends on who interprets the calendar and how the Mayan writings are deciphered. It’s not like the Mayans wrote somewhere, “On this date the earth will blow up.” In fact, it isn’t stated anywhere that the Mayans thought the world would be coming to an end in 2012. The calendar simply comes to a deliberate end — the Mayans never left a reason why. So? Maybe they ran out of events to plan. Or maybe they ran out of tablets.

In essence, all the prophecy really says is that the world is going to change. That’s inevitable, isn’t it? The world changes every day. There is no actual scientific theory or evidence that anything unusual is going to happen in 2012. The idea of the end of the world is a collection of myths and disproved theories being spewed by doomsday predictors, who expect the horribly fiery demise of the earth every few years.

And if it isn’t the Mayans’ calendar that successfully predicts the apocalypse, then people will find another calendar to predict the end of the world. When that passes and the world hasn’t ended, another one will pop up.

Think back to Dec. 30, 1999 and the Y2K scare. Thousands of people all across the world were in mass panic because they believed the world, as we knew it, was going to end. People stockpiled food and water and, in more extreme cases, built shelters. And what happened? The same thing that happens with all the other asinine theories — nothing. Eight years later, we’re still here.

The end of the Mayan Long Count is just going to be another Y2K. Just Googling the year “2012” generates thousands upon thousands of results which range from obsessive and cult-like to panic and hysteria. People are already stockpiling food and supplies for a date four years in the future. And it’s all for nothing. Dec. 21, 2012 is going to roll around and we’re still going to be here.

The world isn’t going to end just because an ancient civilization vaguely inferred it would. The Mayan doomsday prophecy is just the rollover of a different type of calendar — another new year. If the world were really going to end every time a calendar stopped, humanity would have been wiped out long ago.