We’ll find out tomorrow if the Prof. was right
The infamous Mayan Calender Cycle is coming to an end Friday, and there is a deluge of articles covering prophecies that the world is going to end with it.
In the University of Southern Florida student newspaper, The Oracle, Assistant News Editor Alex Rosenthal describes the lecture given by one of the school’s faculty members on the upcoming date.
The beginning of December brings the world one step closer to Dec. 21, 2012, and increasing global anxiety over an approaching “Mayan Doomsday.”
However, Christian Wells, an associate professor of anthropology, held a lecture on Nov. 30 to separate the fact from fiction of the legend. To his laughing audience in the Continuing Education building, Wells described what people believe will happen on Dec. 21, when the ancient Mayan calendar ends and when assorted “doomsday” scenarios are expected to take place. However, Wells denounced the apocalyptic claims.
“You still have to do your holiday shopping — the world is not going to end,” he said.
The ancient Mayans, Wells said, were skilled astronomers who were able to accurately predict the movements of the galaxy for centuries in advance of their time. According to their calendar, which Wells said is a detailed list of astronomical events that occurs over 13 cycles of 144,000 days, Dec. 21, 2012, marks the end of the 13th and final “B’ak’tun,” or cycle.
Wells said many of the ideas on blogs and forums from the Internet describe various ways this date will bring an end of civilization. These ideas include a polar planetary shift, a shift of the Earth’s magnetic poles where “north becomes south” — an increase of Earth’s gravity in the Kuiper Belt, which would attract more comets and asteroids to hit the planet; or a series of solar flares and other astronomical phenomenon.
Using quotes from a panel of NASA researchers and physicists, Wells said these apocalyptic possibilities are highly unlikely from a scientific and historic perspective. Rather than focus on what could happen on what many call the “Mayan Doomsday,” Wells based his lecture on where all these ideas came from.
He said the ideas are rooted in claims of new age groups that have been recording discoveries of the ancient Maya since the 1950s. Wells said the Mayan “doomsday prophecy” comes from two directly translated statements which are that “the 13th calendrical cycle will end on Dec. 21, 2012,” and “This is the destruction of the world. This then is its end.”
Wells’ lecture was titled “The Maya Doomsday Prophecy and the End of the World,” and he offers up the following conclusions based on current events.
“We have reason to be worried about climate change and the fiscal cliff that’s coming up,” Wells said.
But, he said, the biggest threat to the earth in 2012 was “the human race itself.”