2012 - Will it be the end of our world?

Is this year really our last here on Earth? According to an article on the National Geographic web site—Weird Science, philosophers and scientists around the world are trying to find facts and evidence that will debunk the fateful ancient Maya calendar. Even NASA is getting in on the act.

Some scientists think that the Maya people made this grievous prediction based on the limited information they had at that time. Of course people may say that they [Mayans] have been right numerous times, but, they have also been very wrong. After all, did they predict their own demise?

William Saturno, an expert on Maya archaeology at Boston University, explains that the Maya culture had definite cycles on which the people based their calendar. December 21, 2012 is the day that closes the 13th Bak'tun—an almost 400-year period in the Maya long-count calendar.

He goes on to explain that rather than moving to the next Bak'tun (cycle), the calendar resets at the end of the 13th cycle, much like an old 60's automobile would click over at mile 99,999.9 and reset to zero. "We of course, know that really means a hundred thousand (miles) and not zero," Saturno states. "So, is [the end of Bak'tun 13] a large period ending? Yes. Did the Maya like period endings? Yes. Would this have been a period ending they thought was wicked cool? You bet. The biggest period ending they experience are Bak'tun endings."

When asked if it was predicted to be the end of the world, Saturno answers, "No, that's just us." Our culture, just as the Maya, likes to know what's going to happen in the future.

In modern day, we have geologists, astronomers and scientists studying our glaciers and thermal disruption, our ocean floors, asteroids and black holes in space, and all so we can make an educated guess as to what is happening to our planet, our future. It will scare us, give us some sort of comfort, or "amp" us up for doing something to help make our "home" safer, cleaner and benefit our future and the generations to come. Yes, we tend to believe whomever or whatever makes us comfortable with our future.

In any case, even if ancient inscriptions explicitly predict the end of the world, William Saturno wouldn't be worried, given the Maya track record with long-range prophecy. "They didn't see the Spanish conquest coming." I am comfortable with that.

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