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Maya Expert: The 'End Of Times' Is Our Idea, Not The Ancients Mayan's
NPR ^ | 12/21/2012 | Bill Chappell

Posted on 12/21/2012 5:26:28 AM PST by SeekAndFind

t is Dec. 20, 2012 — and citizens of Earth are panicking, consumed by the idea that the world will end Friday, something they say was predicted by Mayan astronomers. Of course, most people are not panicking, and Maya expert David Stuart says no one should. The calendar, he says, has plenty of room to go.

In an interview airing on Thursday's Morning Edition, David Greene asks archaeologist Stuart, who helped translate influential ancient Mayan hieroglyphs in 1996, if he thinks the world will end on Dec. 21.

"Absolutely not," is Stuart's answer, dashing the hopes of students eyeing a three-day weekend, and any consumers who maxed out their credit cards in the belief that all history — not just their credit history — would come to an end.

"The Maya never, ever, said anything about the world ending at any time — much less this year," says Stuart, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. "So, it's sort of bizarre to be living through this time right now, when so many people seem to be worked up."

And worked up they are. Apocalyptic rumors and doomsday preparations have preoccupied people on seemingly every continent. In Russia, citizens are stocking up on vodka; in China, nearly 100 people were arrested for spreading the rumors, which officials said were partly to blame for an attack on elementary students Friday.

In an international poll of more than 16,000 people, Reuters found that 1 in 10 respondents worried that the Mayan calendar could signal the end of the world. The poll, which was taken in May, also found that 15 percent of those responding said they "believe the world will end during their lifetime," Reuters reported.

The current panic has been bolstered by theories that might charitably be deemed "sciencey."

Under one scenario, the Earth would not survive a rare galactic alignment that would subject it to the powers of not only the sun but also Sagittarius A — a massive black hole in the heart of the Milky Way. In a related scheme, the planet's magnetic poles will reverse — possibly as a result of the alignment.

Some doomsayers even claim to know the exact time the bell will toll for Earth: 11:11 UTC — a nicely evocative time, yet one that the U.S. Naval Observatory says is off by one minute. If you're in the Eastern U.S. time zone, the facility says, you should expect the solstice to occur at 6:12 a.m. Friday.

The fuss stems from the fact that "an important cycle of the Maya calendar which is turning over," Stuart says, "called a baktun."

Each baktun represents 144,000 days — or nearly 400 years. The 13th (and, some say, final) baktun of the Mayan calendar is slated to come to an end on the solstice marked on Dec. 21, 2012.

"It's a big deal — if you're an ancient Maya astronomer priest," Stuart says. "But apart from that, they didn't say anything about ... what will be happening."

Stuart and other researchers have compared what's about to happen to the Mayan calendar to an odometer on a well-driven car: The years will simply click over. If the car's odometer runs past its complement of numbers, you can still drive it.

The end of the calendar cycle is a cause for celebration in Guatemala, home of the famed Tikal Mayan temple. The country is already welcoming an influx of leaders from the region, as well as around 200,000 foreign tourists, reports the Prensa Latina news agency.

On his blog, Stuart has admitted that he inadvertently helped to fuel the 2012 doomsday movement when he labeled his analysis of a glyph found at Tortuguero as the "Tortuguero Prophecy," a title that fueled ideas of a revolutionary dawning of a new age. But in a recent post, he projects that the Mayan calendar has at least 2,400 more years to go.

"I think in our culture, too, or maybe globally — humans like to come up with excuses, sometimes, just to freak out," he tells David. "I think the Maya have become an excuse for something a bit larger. ... It's a reflection of a lot of tension, a lot of anxiety in our society. And Lord knows, there's a lot of real problems out there. But this isn't one of them. You know, the Mayan calendar is certainly not something we need to worry about."

So, David asked, how will Stuart spend Dec. 21?

"I'll be here in Austin that night," he said, "and probably raise a glass of wine to the end of the baktun, and the beginning of a new one."

But not everyone will be as relaxed as the professor. The website Off World Backup pokes fun at the trend of "doomsday preppers," offering what it calls "quantum bilateral encryption" and the assurance that "your data will be secure no matter what happens on Earth."

As the group's terms of service show, they're not taken in by the hype:

"I acknowledge that my files will not actually be backed up off world. "I also acknowledge that it is silly to believe that the Mayans correctly predicted the end of the world will occur on Friday (especially since they don't even believe that). "Furthermore, I acknowledge that no such thing as a multiphotonic phase inducer exists outside of this website and possibly Star Trek." Anyone who needs further convincing may want to consider the Mayan calendar's start date: Aug. 13, 3114 B.C. While few people can say what happened on that day, it's doubtful that any of them would say it's when the world suddenly sprang into being — along with a handy calendar.

And Stuart says not to expect any major changes on Dec. 21, either.

"Nothing is really fundamentally going to change, in terms of the world coming to a standstill," he says.

"That is very reassuring," David tells Stuart. "I'm going to hold you to that."

TOPICS: History; Society; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: calendar; endoftimes; mayans

1 posted on 12/21/2012 5:26:36 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

The predicted time has come and gone...

2 posted on 12/21/2012 5:30:08 AM PST by CPOSharky (zero slogan: Expect less, pay more. (apologies to Target))
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To: SeekAndFind

As I understand it, the Mayans would have looked upon today as the beginning of a birth of a new age.

3 posted on 12/21/2012 5:30:13 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: CPOSharky

RE: The predicted time has come and gone...


Predictions of the end of the world is probably as old as when man started recording history itself. Even Noah’s flood didn’t destroy the world.

See here for a list of past predictions that did not pan out:

4 posted on 12/21/2012 5:37:10 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: cripplecreek

I just heard Sandy Wood and she said the end was made up it is not in the stars. She does Star Date every morning.

5 posted on 12/21/2012 5:37:51 AM PST by angcat
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To: cripplecreek

Future predictions

Date (CE) Claimant Description Reference(s)
2018–2028 F. Kenton Beshore Beshore bases his prediction on Hal Lindsey's failed 1988 prediction that Jesus would return within one biblical generation of the founding of Israel in 1948. Lindsey stated a biblical generation was 40 years. Beshore argues that Lindsey's prediction was correct, but that his definition of a biblical generation was incorrect, which is actually 70–80 years, placing the Second Coming of Jesus between 2018 and 2028. [160]
2020–2037 Jeane Dixon This psychic claimed that the Armageddon would take place in 2020 and Jesus would return to defeat the unholy Trinity of the Antichrist, Satan and the False prophet between 2020 and 2037. Dixon previously predicted the world would end on February 4, 1962. [161]
2129 Said Nursî According to abjad interpretation of a hadith, this Sunni Muslim theologian who wrote the Risale-i Nur Collection, a body of Qur'anic commentary exceeding six thousand pages, which expected the end in 2129. [162]
2240 Talmud, Orthodox Judaism According to an opinion on the Talmud in mainstream Orthodox Judaism, the Messiah should come within 6000 years from the creation of Adam, and the world could possibly be destroyed 1000 years later. This would put the beginning of the period of desolation in the year 2240 A.D. and the end of the period of desolation in the year 3240 A.D. Year 6000
2280 Rashad Khalifa According to Rashad Khalifa's research on the Quran Code, the world will end in this year. [163]
c. 500,000,000 James Kasting The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will drop, making Earth uninhabitable. [164]
c. 5,000,000,000 Various scientists The end of our Sun's current phase of development, after which it will swell into a red giant, either swallowing the Earth or at least completely scorching it. It is widely accepted by the scientific community that the earth will be destroyed around this time. However, as the Sun grows gradually hotter (over millions of years), the Earth may become too hot for life in only a billion years' time. [164][165]
c. 22,000,000,000 Various scientists The Big Rip theory predicts that the entire universe will eventually be progressively torn apart by its continual expansion. One hypothetical example of the theory places the end in approximately 22 billion years time. Big Rip
10100 years. Various scientists The heat death of the universe is a suggested ultimate fate of the universe, in which the universe has diminished to a state of no thermodynamic free energy and therefore can no longer sustain motion or life. Heat death of the universe

6 posted on 12/21/2012 5:38:21 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
It's been oft-reported by knowledgeable sources that they didn't make a calendar beyond 2012 because they simply ran out of stones.

7 posted on 12/21/2012 6:02:06 AM PST by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: WilliamofCarmichael

That may just be right. I think a lot of the hype is to keep the grant money flowing as I just watched a documentary and it told of a man who had been measuring I will say it again measuring the same ancient ruins in mexico for over 50 years!!! I don’t think the Mayans with the dot and bar number system had one that represented zero nor could they count to high......

8 posted on 12/21/2012 6:30:37 AM PST by Lees Swrd ("Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe and preserve order in the world as well")
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To: cripplecreek

Exactly. This time on the Mayan calendar is the end of their fourth (of four) age. This doesn’t mean the world is going to end.

9 posted on 12/21/2012 6:34:16 AM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred.)
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To: CPOSharky

The predicted time has come and gone...

But, just in case we’re in the wrong time zone, it’s been nice knowin’ y’all!

10 posted on 12/21/2012 6:37:04 AM PST by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed &water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’ll survive, I don’t use a Mayan calendar.

11 posted on 12/21/2012 6:46:29 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: SeekAndFind
Under one scenario, the Earth would not survive a rare galactic alignment that would subject it to the powers of not only the sun but also Sagittarius A — a massive black hole in the heart of the Milky Way.

Rare? The sun passes through Sagittarius once each year. It has been passing the same spot in the sky every year since people started looking up at the constellations and noticing that the sun and planets follow the same path. The earth's axis may wobble changing which star is the north star, but the path of the ecliptic remains constant (the time of the sun passing the various constellations does gradually shift).

This is as silly as the "supermoon" freak-out and the "Mars as big as the moon" email which passes around every year.

12 posted on 12/21/2012 6:47:13 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Big Bird is a brood parasite: laid in our nest 43 years ago and we are still feeding him.)
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To: R. Scott

Or drop it on your foot.

13 posted on 12/21/2012 6:48:16 AM PST by Morris70
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To: SeekAndFind; CPOSharky; Quix

yes, it’s the end of the world. Quix is gone ;-P

14 posted on 12/21/2012 7:21:31 AM PST by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Cronos

RE: Quix is gone

No it isn’t, It’s still selling....

See here:

15 posted on 12/21/2012 7:27:22 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Yeah, right. Stupid Mayans. This dude’s just trying to cover up for them.

16 posted on 12/21/2012 7:43:46 AM PST by MCH
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To: SeekAndFind

the artisans tasked with chiseling the calendar in stone and their priests wanted a standardized size of the calendar, as an infinite one would be impossible, and why confuse everyone with different ones, and thus there was a limit to how far ahead in time the calendar went; no mystery really; there was no room to go farther

17 posted on 12/21/2012 10:33:40 AM PST by Wuli
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To: Morris70

That rock does look heavy.

18 posted on 12/22/2012 5:40:01 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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