Mayan 2012 prediction
The Mayan 2012 prediction refers to a fanciful or fraudulent belief that the Long Count calendar of the ancient Maya civilization, foretells the end of the world on December 21 or 23, 2012, the date of the winter solstice, at the end of the Grand (or Great) Cycle.
The prediction is based on a dubious interpretation of an inscription on the Monument Six tablet, found at an obscure ruin in southern Mexico, which was uncovered during highway construction in the 1960s. However, the prediction that the world will end in December 2012 is seen to have begun by misconstruing Sumerian documents.
The Long Count calendar, which was discontinued under Spanish colonization, is also called the 13th baktun, and tracks more than 5,000 years, then resets at year zero. A “Grand Cycle” consists of 13 baktuns, each of which numbers 144,000 days, making for a grand total 1,872,000 days, equating to 5,139.44 solar years, and marking the number of days that have elapsed since the beginning of the present world, as determined an unknown priest in the year 236 B.C.
On the winter solstice in 2012, at 11:11 p.m. (UT), the sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way for the first time in about 26,000 years. However, scientists greatly doubt that the Mayas foresaw any event of astronomical significance taking place on that date, and astronomer Phil Plait states that the alignment do not fall precisely in 2012, and that distant stars do not exert any force which could harm Earth.
In addition, the use of the Long Count among Mayan city-states was not uniform, and some evidence suggests that some of the pagan priests understood that the cycle would end after 20 baktuns. Archaeologist, Guillermo Bernal of Mexico's National Autonomous University states there are other inscriptions at Mayan sites for dates far beyond 2012. The Mayan LongCount calendar is seen to allow a far greater age for the earth.
Erosion and a crack in the Monument Six stone also renders the end of the inscription to be almost illegible. Bernal understands the final and eroded symbolic art as perhaps stating, "He will descend from the sky", and states there are other inscriptions at Mayan sites for dates far beyond 2012.
The general scientific consensus is that there is no evidence that the Mayans thought that the world would come to an end at the end of the Great Cycle. David Stuart, a specialist in Mayan epigraphy at the University of Texas at Austin, states, "The Maya never said the world is going to end, they never said anything bad would happen necessarily, they're just recording this future anniversary on Monument Six." Rather than an apocalypse being expected, research reveals that this day would have been a grand celebration, due to having made it to the end of a whole cycle, and construing Dec. 21, 2012 to be a doomsday is “a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in.”
As of October 11, 2009, there were over 264 results for books listed on Amazon.com dealing with dealing with 2012 prophecy. Its popularity over Bible prophecy may be seen as being due to the lack of a moral message, which is seen in the prophecies of the Bible.
- David Morrison, Nibiru and Doomsday 2012: Questions and Answers, NASA, June 1, 2009, http://astrobiology.nasa.gov
- Vincent H. Malmström, Professor Emeritus (Geography) Dartmouth College, The Astronomical Insignificance of Maya Date 188.8.131.52.
- Bad Astronomy blog
- by Mark Van Stone, It's Not the End of the World: What the Ancient Maya Tell Us About 2012
- The Mayan Calendar
- Susan Milbrath, Florida Museum of Natural History
- Mark Stevenson, 2012 isn't the end of the world, Mayans insist, Associated Press, Sunday, October 11, 2009
- Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies in Crystal River, Florida.