Going out on a limb: The world will not end in 2012

As my first real post to this blog, I thought I would make a wild prediction. The world will not end in 2012. Oh sure, everybody thinks it is ending then, but I’ve just got to be different.

Why do people think this way? It begins with the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, or Mayan Long Count calendar, which begins with August 11, 3114 BCE (in the Gregorian calendar) and ends with December 21 or 23, 2012.

Then, there is a widely circulated correlation to a supposed Sumerian story. Author Zecharia Sitchin writes fiction about the ancient Mesopotamian civilization of Sumer and has claimed in several books (e.g., The Twelfth Planet, published in 1976) that he has found and translated Sumerian documents that identify a planet called Nibiru that is orbiting the Sun every 3600 years. Sadly, Nibiru is said to be on a collision course with Earth! This information is reinforced by the predictions of self-described psychic Nancy Lieder.

In addition to these items, it is also believed that NASA has identified a planet headed towards Earth, which is said to support the Nibiru theory.

So with this in mind, why doubt the coming end of the world? First, the end of a calendar does not signal the end of time or my wall calendar would be predicting December 31, 2009 as the end of days. The Mayans believed in a cycle of time that described an age. There were ages before the current one, and there is no reason to think that there wouldn’t be ages afterwards. Many cosmologies describe a cycle of time and it is related to the cycles seen in nature including the apparent movements of the Sun and the Moon and the death and growth associated with agricultural seasons. While one Mayan artifact has a reference to something happening at that time the inscription is too damaged to read completely. Other Mayan sources show predictions further in the future; negating the idea of the end of time and supporting the idea of the end of the calendar.

There is no astronomical support for the Nibiru theory, and the author Sitchin does not propose that his interpretations should be used in the doomsday scenario as described by psychic Nancy Lieder. Lieder is a Wisconsin woman who says that as a girl she was contacted by gray extraterrestrials called Zetas, who implanted a communication device in her brain. Lieder has adjusted her end-date before, after her May 2003 prediction for the end passed without incident.

NASA has not identified a planet headed towards a collision with Earth, and has quite a few articles debunking the theories related to magnetic pole shifts, crust-core rotation shifts, planetary alignment, and solar storms. I invite the reader to pursue sources like this instead of pseudo-science books and Websites or television programs designed to create controversy.

The fears we may feel, having just gone through a major economic shock and a change in direction for US policy, may provide fertile ground for doomsday theories, especially in the light of Christian fundamentalists assigning poor President Obama with the role of antichrist. We should know that fear is not a good way to live our lives. The world will not end in 2012.

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