Upcoming exhibition will debunk Mayan prophecy of the end of the world in 2012


An exhibition coming to Philadelphia will tackle this year´s hottest pseudo-archaeological topic: the Mayan prophecy that the world will end in 2012.

“Maya 2012: Lords of Time” at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology will explain the Mayan civilization’s complex interlocking calendar systems through interactive displays and a rich collection of art and artifacts. These calendars developed out of an advanced knowledge of astronomy and an obsession with the cyclical nature of astronomical events such as the solar and lunar years, eclipses, and the movements of the planets.

One of these calendar systems is the so-called Long Count, which starts a new cycle every 1,872,000 days, or approximately 5,125 solar years. The current cycle ends on December 21 or 23, depending on which scholar you believe. Most scholars say the Long Count doesn’t actually end on this date, it merely starts another cycle. The other Mayan calendars keep going too. No Mayan text says the world is supposed to end this year. In fact, some Mayan inscriptions actually mention dates later than 2012. They don’t mention anything about cosmic vibrations, visiting UFOs, or any of the other bullshit theories being bandied about either.

Dr. Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, said in an interview that the ancient Maya felt the end of a cycle was cause for celebration. Anthropologist and Maya specialist Dr. Judith Maxwell did what the New Agers didn’t bother to do and actually asked the Maya what they thought. While the ancient civilization is gone, the Mayan culture is alive and well in Mesoamerica and Mayan shamans, called daykeepers, told Maxwell that the end is not coming.

Apparently the exhibition organizers agree there’s nothing to fear. The exhibition runs from May 5, 2012 to January 13, 2013.

So the world isn’t going to end in 2012.

This ranks top on my list of “unsurprising news of the week.” I’m 42, and I have a hard time remembering a year that the world wasn’t supposed to end. Some hack writer or religious conman is always trying to scare us into thinking the world is going to end. The sad thing is, people embrace this nonsense. The world is not ending this year. You still have to deal with the consequences of your actions and you still have to shoulder your responsibilities. Chances are you will have to do that for many years to come. Chances are you will grow old and live through many more of life’s ups and downs.

That’s not a bad thing.

Judgement Day passes, world did not end, travel safe for most

Judgement DaySaturday May 21st was Judgement Day signaling the end of the planet Earth according Family Radio’s Harold Camping who said that the Bible guaranteed it. Here now on Sunday we see that the world is still spinning and there are few signs of it’s end. But while some weather-related events did occur, the end of the world does not appear to be imminent.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck near New Zealand’s Kermadec Islands. Camping had predicted that ‘Rapture’ would begin with an earthquake in New Zealand.

Also, a magnitude 3.6 quake hit the San Francisco Bay Area at 7:05 p.m. local time on Saturday but emergency officials said there were no reports of serious damage or injury.

The best possible evidence for believers in the “end of the world” scenario came from Iceland.As if on queue, Iceland’s most active volcano began erupting Saturday. Sending billows of ash 11 miles into the air the eruption forced closing of Iceland’s main international airport to commercial air traffic among other travel delays.

“The ash is covering up all of Iceland,” Hjordís Gudmundsdottir, a spokeswoman for Isavia, Iceland’s air navigation services provider told the New York Times. “We are trying to identify some holes in it and to use them to allow some flights, but it’s not looking very good right now.”

The strong eruption sent ash into the second layer of Earth’s atmosphere, the Stratosphere where it can be carried around the globe, blocking out light and creating flight risks for air travelers.

As for Harold Camping and his thoughts? Hard to say. The self-proclaimed prophet was silent on Judgment Day, staying at home with the shades drawn.

Flickr photo by btaylor

Where to take your final vacation

Most people focus on their next vacationsnot their final ones. And who could blame them? Nothing is quite so ghoulish as planning anything based on your demise. It’s a bit different, however, if you can work from a specific point in time. If you know the world is coming to an end, making arrangements for your last trip may not be a bad idea. With all the talk of 2012 and the Mayan calendar, maybe it’s time to go south of the border.

Check out Monument Six, which was found more than 40 years ago while a highway was being built in southern Mexico. It says something is going to happen in 2012, and the conspiracy set has run with this, calling for the end of the world in the next few years. Going to the Mayan homeland for 2012 is like hitting Times Square for Y2K (in hopes of witnessing the outbreak of Y2Chaos).

Why?

For one thing, the reality is that the Mayan calendar actually says the world isn’t going to end until 4772 – give or take a few years. So, bring a toothbrush and a sleeping bag. Or, go down for 2012 just to see who shows up … that’s what the real show will be.