published Thursday, December 20th, 2012

The sky will not fall Friday

Tourists get their picture taken Saturday next to a slab of stone counting down the days until Dec. 21, 2012 at the Xcaret theme park in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Tourists get their picture taken Saturday next to a slab of stone counting down the days until Dec. 21, 2012 at the Xcaret theme park in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Have you said your prayers and kissed your family good-bye?

Are your closets stocked with bottled water, flashlights, Twinkies, Spam and enough guns and ammo to fight off zombies and survive for months in a lifeless, dystopian landscape?

If not, you’d better hurry! Today is Dec. 20, 2012. That means the apocalypse is less than 24 hours away according to the doomsday theorists who claim that Mayans predicted the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012.

Thankfully, reports of the Earth’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. No reputable archeologist, geologist, Mayan scholar, astronomer or proctologist, for that matter, actually believes doomsday is tomorrow.

The notion that the world will end tomorrow came about when it was calculated that the Mayan “long count” calendar comes to an end on Dec. 21, 2012. The long count calendar calculates a huge cycle of time, which comes out to be about 5,125 years. When scholars converted the long count calendar into our modern Gregorian calendar, they discovered that the last cycle began Aug. 13, 3114 B.C., and ends on Dec. 21st, 2012.

Just because tomorrow is the last day of the long count calendar doesn’t mean that the world will end, thankfully. It simply means that a new cycle begins — just like we’ll throw out our old wall calendars on Jan. 1 and begin a new cycle ourselves.

To make the matter more embarrassing for dimwitted doomsday prophets, it turns out that Dec. 21, 2012, isn’t actually even the correct final day of this cycle of Mayan time measurement. Scholars calculating the day that the Mayan long count cycle would end were off a few weeks. The actual cycle concluded on Nov. 27 of this year. According to Mayan calendar alarmists, the world should’ve actually ended the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. But we’re still here.

So if the world won’t actually end tomorrow (and it won’t), who would want to spread such a bunch of preposterous baloney and work people into a terrorized tizzy?

The answer is José Argüelles, a New Age artist and environmentalist with a Ph.D. in art history. Argüelles, who also co-founded Earth Day, saw an opportunity to make a quick buck off of New Age devotees by writing a book — Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology — that linked outlandish doomsday prophesies to the Mayan calendar.

Argüelles died on March 23, 2011, sparing himself the embarrassment of being alive when Dec. 21, 2012, came and went without incident.

While Argüelles is dead, other revolting hucksters like Argüelles are alive and well today, attempting to capitalize on bogus end of the world claims by selling survival kits, emergency supplies and religious paraphernalia to the gullible. A quick Google search reveals Mayan calendar survival kits and doomsday “shields” on last-minute sales.

Sadly, as long as there are people willing to shell out money to snake oil salesmen and doomsday prophets, these absurd end-of-the-world prophesies will continue to pop up. The only way to defeat them is to rely on science and reason and to explain that, yes, the world will eventually end.

It will end when the sun burns through all of its hydrogen fuel in about 5 billion years.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
daytonsdarwin said...

The similarities between the Mayan end-of-the-world scam and the Christian end-of-the-world scam is remarkable. Both make money off of ignorance.

Of course the Christian scam has been going on for 2000 years now making it the longest running scam in history.

December 20, 2012 at 9:13 a.m.
KayBrooks said...

BIG difference: it's very easy to tell if it's a "Christian scam"...if they have a date. Jesus made it clear-- no man knows the day or the hour only The Father. Might want to make sure you always have plenty of oil in your lamp.

December 20, 2012 at 10:05 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

KayBrooks said...

"BIG difference: it's very easy to tell if it's a "Christian scam"...if they have a date. Jesus made it clear-- no man knows the day or the hour only The Father. Might want to make sure you always have plenty of oil in your lamp."

**Ah, the even bigger Christian scam -- the eternal scam. Keep oil in your lamp and dollars going to the preachers 'cause you never know when Sky Daddy might decide it's over. Don't want to be left behind, so purchase you tickets early and often. Send your tithes, love offerings, and social security checks to the preacher on his island retreat in the tropics as he receives another revelation from Gawd (which always involves you sending more money to him to spread the word about sending more money into Gawd's ponzi scheme).

The only true thing about the End Times — the scam never ends.**

December 20, 2012 at 10:39 a.m.
MasterChefLen said...

If the Mayan's could not predict they would be eliminated by the Spanish Conquistadors, why should anyone predict their calendar ending would mean the end of the world?

December 20, 2012 at 1:47 p.m.
jesse said...

I think,cheflen, it was the Aztecs the Spaniards wiped out!

the Mayan civilization was pretty much gone way before the Spaniards got here,like about 900 to 1000 ad!

BTW: the Mayan people are still around in the general population of the area!

December 20, 2012 at 6 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Maybe it is the end of the world. From

"A 911 call came in from a pay phone at the Fabric Care on Cherokee Boulevard.

The caller said he was Jesus and he loved the police.

Police went to the laundromat, but could not locate the caller.

Customers said a black male had come in, said he was Jesus, and he loved them.

He then ambled off toward Market Street."

No sign of the Archangel Michael, the Heavenly Host, and His Choirs of Angels. If you see Jesus, give Him a couple of quarters so He can call me with His location. I've got a party this weekend and I'm short of funds but I have lots of water and could use some Merlot and Chardonnay. Some loaves and fishes and Chex Party Mix would be nice to bring, but no lepers. And leave Momma at the trailer park — She's a downer, always acts holier-than-thou, and that gold halo is always bumping into the lamps. And it's always, "My Son is the Savior, My Son performs miracles, My Son raises the dead, My Son never visits unless He wants His robe washed" she never shuts up. Jesus yes, Mary no!

December 20, 2012 at 9:42 p.m.


March 31, 2007, Rock Place, Stewart’s Creek, by Carl A. Patton

There was once a Book written from left to right. It saw the future the present and the past.

There was an ending and a beginning.

There were days that could only be seen from the pages of a great Book. Today I looked back and beyond.

Much had been passed down but the daily hogs and goats only sneered at the record keepers.

Meanwhile the dead spoke loudly. Many sacrifices had been made. So had great miracles come upon the earth.

Some though read from left to right. However some came to see from right to left.

John saw the future the present as he favored the foundation from the past.

Those seeing right saw past, present and future.

The left has seen misery and pain. They also see many things not normal.

The right readers sometimes see God. However God reads neither left nor right. Jesus sits at the head table many flanked Him as He is the center of Truth.

Peace and Paradise, Brother Carl A. Patton writing for the FreedomJournal Press 21 December 2012 in the year of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesu

December 21, 2012 at 5:58 a.m.
librul said...

Bummer! No zombies standing at my front door or brimstone pelting my roof, looks like just another normal day in the neighborhood.

As Winter Solstice (the REAL reason for the season) slides by, and Earth whispers on to begin yet another trip around the Sun at 29.783 kilometers per second rotating with an axial tilt 23 degrees off the vertical, the annual trek toward warm Spring days has begun. And that's a good thing since we are all the thinness of a green leaf from starvation. Thoughts of a juicy slice of home-grown tomato resting on a Saltine make the cold more bearable.

Sadly, the ongoing efforts of Republican scrooges to enrich oligarchs on the backs of the poor and indigent have the opposite effect. For, despite all their religious puffery, if the devil exists, he lives in the void between their ears and their hearts are as cold as the dark side of the Moon.

December 21, 2012 at 8:52 a.m.
dao1980 said...

I think FreedomJournalPress got lost on the interwebs and accidentally fell on it's keyboard whilst logged in on this site...

Probably a midst all the moaning and flopping about during that apocalypse moment.

December 21, 2012 at 9:23 a.m.
librul said...

It's really funny, you know. We revel in the realization that the Mayans fell short (or our interpretation of their calendar fell short) after many humans across the globe bought into the "end of the world" mania. In reality, the Mayan calendar reflects quite an advanced civilization. They built pyramids and used hieroglyphics just as the Eqyptians did at the origination of the Jesus myth. He and all the other messianic figures sprang from sun worship and the discovery and interpretation of annual astronomical cycles.

So while people steeped in Abrahamic religions scoff at the apparent failure of the Mayan world view inherent in our happy survival of the "big event", one wonders why there is not an equivalent questioning of the validity of their own mythology. Outside of the fact that they avoid the possibility of a definitive date rendering their myth as ephemeral as that of the Mayans' it seems to just illustrate that when a myth takes hold among a population and is perpetuated through the inculcation of unquestioning children, it takes much longer to render it moot. Fortunately, we have modern science on our side to accelerate the process. That's why there is a hatred of science among many Christians.

In her piece on Alternet, Adele Stan talks about the peace she has found in abandoning the christmas craziness saying, in part:

"Christmas existed before there were Christians. Nearly every culture celebrates the winter solstice, and the Western traditions of Christmas trees, mistletoe, Yule logs -- all that -- are the vestiges of European paganism. I've never made a pilgrimage to Stonehenge, nor do I belong to a coven, but I feel those ancient forms in my bones. The practice of lighting fires and bringing nature indoors at the darkest time of the year just makes a lot of sense. It's how we get through, reminding ourselves that all is not dead and lost to us, that the sun will reappear...But solstice was not a time of travel; it was a time to hibernate, to mediate, to contemplate the mysteries of nature with those in our immediate circle. And so, I stay put."

December 22, 2012 at 10:38 a.m.
librul said...

Page Two - an excerpt from the Zeitgeist video.

December 22, 2012 at 11:19 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

...And so, I stay put.

Finally! An explanation for why I hate to travel at this holiday season! Thanks-it makes so much more sense now.

December 22, 2012 at 11:23 a.m.
LaurynGraf said...

Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I've truly loved surfing around your weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing in your rss feed and I hope you write once more very soon!

November 15, 2013 at 2:17 a.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.