The End of the World…Again? I Must Have Missed it Last Time.

All right, I can’t resist anymore. I didn’t want to jump on the whole “the world will end on December 21 this year” thing, but it looks like so much fun I’m going to add my bit so when the whole thing blows over at least I will have contributed in some way.

The world will not end on 21 Decmber 2012. At least, not by the predicted method of the expiration of the current Long Count in the Mayan calendar. It may end by some other means, such as asteroid impact or coronal mass ejection, or any number of other possibilities espoused by Dr Phil Plait in his brilliant book Death From the Skies! But the chances of that happening on that day are no more than on any other day.

Now, as far as I can figure out, if you ask someone who thinks the world will end this year why it will end, they can’t actually tell you. There are some vague mumblings about the Earth aligning with the plane of the galaxy, which it has done many times before, and of Jupiter completing one of its orbits around the sun, which it has done billions of times before. But just why exactly the finishing of one cycle of the Mayan calendar should bring about such a catastrophe, they can’t actually tell you. It just will, so there.

Now, I have a few problems with the whole Mayan calendar thing:

1) Why does the ending of one cycle bring about the end of the world? The present Long Count was not the only one. The world existed before this cycle began. Why didn’t it end at the conclusion of the last Long Count?

2) The experts disagree as to when the present Long Count started. It is generally (please note, “generally” does not mean universally) believed to have started on August 11, 3114 BCE. But there’s no guaratee of that. So saying the present Long Count ends on December 21 this year is by no means a sure thing.

3) The Mayans, credited with so much insight into the fate of the world, could not even predict their own fate. They were conquered finally by the Spanish in 1697. They didn’t see that coming.

Like religion, the belief that the world will end on December 21 this year is an insult to the intelligence. It is merely an example of gullibility among those who wish to be beguiled. Some people are not happy unless they think we are going to die. And when the world does not end this year, they will pick another date. It will be then that they agree that perhaps they got the date for the end of the Long Count wrong and will rework their calculations. It will be then that they latch onto some other sign of the end. Because if they didn’t, they would not feel superior to everyone else.

I confess I feel superior to them because I know they are wrong. But I don’t keep kicking a dead horse. When I am proven wrong, I accept it.

December 21 will prove them wrong. Only they won’t accept it.