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Does anyone believe the world is coming to an end on Dec 21, 2012? Answered

Now that it's 2012, you can't help but here all those dooms day discussions about the Mayan Calendar and the end of the world on December 21, 2012. For the record I don't believe the world is going to end just because the Mayan's said so. 

I mean really? There isn't too many Mayan's left nowadays... why couldn't they figure out their own demise? Ironic, isn't it?

What do all of you think?

BTW: The best argument "For or Against" will get best answer credit. :D



Best Answer 6 years ago

No. The Mayans didn't say so. Their calendar was cyclical, and the date corresponding to "Dec 21, 2012" is merely the end of one cycle and the start of a new one.

Those who believe otherwise aren't very good at research, and just believe what they're told by others.

I'm not sure anyone knows what the Mayan's were trying to say. As I understand it, the Mayan Tablet is where they are getting their information from. Its a stone carving thats 1,300 years old and probably open to some interpretation...

I never bought into "the world is coming to an end" garbage, but now that its 2012, it seems everyone (including the news) is talking about it.

I think you'll find that Mayan research is pretty extensive; we can read the language, and they did a lot of writing. I would put more stock into authentic peer-reviewed research results than I would in some New Age mumbo-jumbo.

There is a very nice summary of the long-count calendar (the one everyone is so het up about) on Wikipedia. You'll find plenty of useful scholarly references there, and also a discussion of the fact that it's not just "the Mayan Tablet," but a wide range of dated enscriptions which can be cross-correlated to both one another and to known external (astronomical) events.

Interesting read, although I won't pretend to understand how they calculate the long count dates with our modern calendars... The bottom line seems (as with most things), the motivation to perpetuate an "end of days" scenario is to cash-in one way or another on all the hype. It seems the Maya had a calendar cycle that ends, however they believed their was a cycle before this one, and therefore expected one to follow.

Thanks for sharing the info!

Hear, hear! Cashing in on the hype is definitely what's going on. As for how the dates were correlated, Section 4 talks about it.

There are historical dates recorded by indigenous observers using the Long Count which can be directly correlated with Western (Spanish) recordings. There are dates recorded about astronomical occurrences which can be correlated the same way we correlate dates with Greek, Egyptian, Indian, and Chinese records. Finally, for dates recorded on certain items (such as wooden lintels), radiocarbon dating can be used to bracket the Long Count values.

Given the extremely large number of Mesoamerican writings with dates, it is straightforward to reconcile of all those individual matches to work out a global scheme (referred to as "GMT" in the text, after the three authors who did the major work).

So does that mean they calculated that = November 2, 1539 (calendar start date) and for GMT the correlation is = 584,283? In other words, if we count 584,283 days from 11-02-1539 we'll get December 21, 2012?

No, it's completely different. Follow the link in the article to "Julian day number." Julian days are counted using day 0 = Monday, 1 Jan 4713 BC (Julian calendar).

The GMT correlation constant says that the Mayan's "date of creation" (" 4 Ajaw, 8 Kumk'u") occurred on Julian date 584283, or 6 Sep 3114 BC (Julian).

Once you know that, then you can work out any other specified date, since the Long Count calendar is directly indexed from that "date of creation".

In other words, the Long Count is nothing more than a Julian-day-number calendar, but starting at a different epoch.

I'll take your word for it... I'm not about to tackle the math. However it would be funny to learn if someone forgot to say "carry a one" and the date isn't even right.

:-D Well, to be honest, I'm taking the author's word for it myself. I understand the concept, and I probably could work through the math if I had a week or two with no real work to do :-)

I will say, though, that because Julian dates are used universally in astronomy, the chance that someone made a "simple mistake" like that is almost nil: after all, if one author had done so, then other researchers in the field would have jumped all over it!

The general consensus seems to be that we at Instructables are smart enough to know the world will continue on after December 21, 2012.

For those who still buy into the idea, you'll pay for it (most likely, financially).

Feel free to still comment, but I'm awarding the best argument.

I still believe it!!!

NASA: world will not end! http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012.html


5 years ago

I do not beleive all that new age mayan mumbo jumbo. Only the Lord knows when the world will end.

One of the main "science bloggers" (Chad Orzel of Uncertain Principles) is teaching a course on timekeeping and calendrics, and put up his slides from his class on the Mayan calendar.

As with any good set of slides, they're more or less useless without the Professor's narrative, but I thought I'd put up the links for general interest.

Thanks. That was a good idea. The information is actually pretty good. I looked at the pdf of the slides, and even without a narrative, they are easy to understand. :D

I'm sure this topic will gain interest as the year rolls along.

Yep. Been preparing for it for 2000 years. Now being especially good and helpful to my fellow man, giving to charity, feeding the poor and generally being nice to animals.

Well doesn't hurt even if I am wrong does it?

So am I on your list for needing helping ? And if not why not? I will send you my current "needs" list if it will help. I buy cat food in 40 lbs bags. I need more mice to keep the crew entertained and to maintain a balanced diet.

I just checked and yes your on the list but I am sorry I can't ship beyond Antares & Rho Ophiuchi unless on a COD basis.

Please contact when you get closer.

how did you do those face guies?

...oh and i don't think 2012 is the end

Just copy the .gif onto your computer, then when you post a comment, click on the "add images" button and select your animated .gif. Then add your text and post.

If you're not sure you did it right, just preview your comment before posting.

It's that easy. :D

No. I don't believe it. I was just answering your question "does anyone believe..." :D

I'm cashing in my pro membership on Dec 20 to buy beer. Just in case. I can rejoin on the 22nd if all goes well.

Did the Mayans believe it, or was it just a consequence of their maths - build a date into the system, wildly bigger than they could ever conceive of being a problem.

...like who would EVER need from than 640K of memory in their computer.


Well, they actually built their system using an indefinite place-value system. The "2012" date is just the end of one cycle, before incrementing the next outward place holder.

Think about your car's odometer rolling over from 99,999 to 100,000. It's a big deal (to some people), but the fact that those lowest five digits all turn back to zero doesn't mean your car self destructs (unless it's a GM :-).

Based on the reference you provided, the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar (also known as the Mayan Calendar) has a definitive end date, hence the cycle. The base-18 calendar (or the vigesimal base-20) count is none repeating, therefore it reaches an end. If you compared it to our modern day calendars, we "end" our calendar after every 365 days and begin anew. Time is presumed indefinite, just not the calendars.

Um, that's not how I read it. In particular, see section 5. Dates are quoted using both a five-place date (for which 21 Dec 2012 will be along with an absolute offset (referred to as a "Distance Number" in the reference). That offset allows the date to reference any time at all, from the past through the future.

In addition, the same reference points out the use of "13" in the uppermost place for the date of creation does not imply that the date is an "end point." The next day is simply, followed centuries later by, and so on.

Ya I read that too. It's actually - But who's counting anyways??? LOL...


6 years ago

And finally, I am a bit confused about the start date for this event. Does it start at the international date line and then work its way around following the clock as each time zone changes to the 21st? If its an earth wide event then which time zone is designated as the zero time zone that it is suppose to start at? And just because its not the 21st in all places on the earth at the same time does that make it an inaccurate prediction? (One size fits all has just never been true) So how can one date fits all, work since everybody is on different times. Maybe they need to run a disclaimer at the bottom, in fine print , (Starting time for the end of the world may not be the same in all areas of the world due to local fluctuations in clocks and the political declarations of certain governments pertaining to the timing of the end of the world along with the proliferation of the "lets skip the 21st and go right to the 22nd" movement. )


6 years ago

So, if I start up a company to sell end of the world insurance policies, will I get sued if after the end of the world happens I am unable to pay off the policies because all the policy holders are gone and all my assets have burnt up?

LOL... *shakes head*... probably not. That's like saying the believers will point a finger and say they told us so (after we're all dead)...


6 years ago

The apes are going to rise and take over and humans are going to loose the ability to think (In some cases that has already happened) and speak. Don't you people ever watch movies? My question is how come it is only the ones with no tails, I mean what happened to baboons? Do monkeys and lemurs still stay less intelligent and become the victims of discrimination?

Didn't know that... I wasn't even a member here when people were discussing it last, but thanks for sharing the link.

Hilarious discussion... I liked the "raptor" in place of "rapture".

I remember reading somewhere that the mayans didn't actually intend for that date to be significant, I guess they just couldn't be bothered to make any more calender. I also think I read that modern day mayans also say that the date is not significant.

Maybe they were just trolling...

LOL... could be. From what I read, the Mayan's 1,300 year old stone tablet shows an "end date", but the interpretation about this date is questionable. Some theorize the date is a nod to creation, some say its just an end of a cycle (like our calendar on December 31st), and some just took it too far and figured a bunch of Mayan's knew the world was coming to an end...

I had to ask what people here thought about it.

Yeah, I figure that its the end of a cycle like other people have said on here.

Yeah, it can be interesting to get other people's opinions on these sorts of things. But to be honest, they said the world would end last year with all of that rapture stuff, and people have been predicting the end of the world since the world began, so... I never really believe people on things like these unless they have scientific proof.

Agreed. And really, whats the worst that could happen? We'd be wrong, the world would come to an end, and in a final twist of irony, the doomsdayers are dead and can't point the finger to say "I told you so"... :D

Another thing is that the calender has to end sometime, it just happens to end on the 21st.

And people think it will and by some other planet colliding with earth, NASA says that's ridicules.

Maybe it will and on the 22nd, THAT would be ironic.