Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Another Apocalypse Averted

I've written before about all the horrible events that have been predicted, but never come true, in just my lifetime (e.g., the population bomb, global cooling, peak oil, SARS, bird flu, etc). Well, add another one to the list:
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 doomsday worries are based on the fact that the Mayan calendar ends in 2012, much as our year ends on Dec. 31.)
Oh good. I was worried there. Not.


KauaiMark said...

...and don't forget Y2K.

Darren said...

I leave Y2K out because it was fundamentally different than the others:
-it had a definite arrival date, not some nebulous date in the distant future, and
-unlike the others, it didn't require massive government intervention and control that limited individual freedom and put a clamp on capitalism. On the contrary, if it were a real crisis, it was averted by capitalism, as all that reprogramming wasn't done for free.