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Thread: 2012 Debunking?

  1. #1
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    2012 Debunking?

    I have a fellow that I have been talking to who is very concerned with the Mayan Calendar / 2012 doomsday stuff. He wants to know what evidence we have that nothing will happen on 2012. Galactic/Solar/Planetary alignments, gummint conspiracies, geological/magentic pole shift, etc...

    Anyone got the Straight Dope on this? I'd appreciate it, and I know the fellow would too.

  2. #2
    I'm no expert on this, and I can only sum up what I've read on the BABB here over the last few months.

    In a nut shell the Mayan calender does not end in 2012. It only rolls over to the next 'millenium' or whatever the Mayan version is.
    The Mayan had a unique way of measuring time (days) that was no better or worse than the way we do, it was just different.
    As it happens one of the big changes comes in December 2012. Many doomsayers and 'Woowoos' just love to take this rollover and make something of it for a bit of publicity, (and cash) from the gulible public.

    There are already lots of websites claiming 2012 as an 'end' to the world but just take a step back and look what happened when our calender had a big change in 1999-2000. Absolutely nothing!! Even the millenium bug fizzled out to a few minor incidents.
    In 1999 and 2000 there was on average one 'end of the world' prediction every week. But as you can see we're all still here carrying on as normal.


    No civilization uses that calender anymore. Don't pay attention to it. In fact most people on BABB have two ways of looking at it. Firstly we are dreading all the people who will be jumpming on the 2012 end of the world bandwagon, and there will be lots.
    Secondly we will also quite enjoy laughing at them, (In a bizarre way it will be entertaining) especially in January 2013.

    That's my take. Someone else may have the details on the how the Mayan calender actually works.


    Galactic/Solar/Planetary alignments, gummint conspiracies, geological/magentic pole shift, etc...
    Sorry it's all nonsense.

    PS. It's worth mentioning that the world seems to be fearful of an asteroid hit on earth. We often hear of 'near-misses' in space.
    It is possible of course that something like this could happen. It would be a massive coincidence if it did (in 2012) as this is a real event that's happened before. However, again it's so remote that it's just not worth worrying about.
    Keep well.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by The Watcher
    I'm no expert on this, and I can only sum up what I've read on the BABB here over the last few months.

    In a nut shell the Mayan calender does not end in 2012. It only rolls over to the next 'millenium' or whatever the Mayan version is.
    The Mayan had a unique way of measuring time (days) that was no better or worse than the way we do, it was just different.
    As it happens one of the big changes comes in December 2012. Many doomsayers and 'Woowoos' just love to take this rollover and make something of it for a bit of publicity, (and cash) from the gulible public.

    There are already lots of websites claiming 2012 as an 'end' to the world but just take a step back and look what happened when our calender had a big change in 1999-2000. Absolutely nothing!! Even the millenium bug fizzled out to a few minor incidents.
    In 1999 and 2000 there was on average one 'end of the world' prediction every week. But as you can see we're all still here carrying on as normal.


    No civilization uses that calender anymore. Don't pay attention to it. In fact most people on BABB have two ways of looking at it. Firstly we are dreading all the people who will be jumpming on the 2012 end of the world bandwagon, and there will be lots.
    Secondly we will also quite enjoy laughing at them, (In a bizarre way it will be entertaining) especially in January 2013.

    Yep - one of our grad students had a Maya grandmother who taught him lots of the lore (he's the only person I know who understand te Maya calendar and a practically intuitive level). There's been so much of this going around that he's given a couple of public talks on this issue (and the above could have been his abstract...)

  4. #4
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    If you were expecting the world to end and set a date system around it, would it make more sense to have a countdown rather than a count up? If the woo-woos are right, then the Mayans know the end date - surely 0 is more asthetically appealing than 2012... Iterations go and go and go, but when you get down to zero...

  5. #5
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    The Mayan calendar consists of many different cycles that work together. These include the long count, the calendar round, the short count, and the 819 day cycle among others. The dating system that doomsday entrepreneurs use is the long count. The long count is made of several cycles that work like an odometer. For Mayan era dates, as well as modern dates, five cycles need to be used. From the largest to the smallest they are -

    • B'aktun = 20 k'atun
      K'atun = 20 tun
      Tun = 18 winal
      Winal = 20 k'in
      K'in = 1 day

    An example of a long count would be 9.15.10.0.0. There a 9 b'aktuns, 15 k'atuns, 10 tuns, and no winals or k'ins.

    The long count that is supposed to be the end of the world is 13.0.0.0.0. The day before is 12.19.19.17.19. The main significance of 13.0.0.0.0 is of course the number of zeroes.

    However, the long count does not end at that point. There are many cycles beyond the b'aktun that can be used to describe any date. The are several instances of extremely large dates used. Coba Stela 1 has a long count that adds up to 41,943,040,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years. Also, Macanxoc Stela 1 has a long count in the initial series that is 13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13 .13.13.13.0.0.0.0. Their is no limit to the long count other than the size of the writing surface used and the patience of the scribe.

    The other problem with 13.0.0.0.0 is determining the equivalent Gregorian calendar date. To do this you need a correlation between the two systems. Most Mayanists use the astronomical (584285) or the GMT (584283) correlation. Using the astronomical correlation places 13.0.0.0.0 on December 21, 2012 and the GMT gives a date of December 23. However, there is some question as to how accurate these correlations are.

    The following paper describes some of the problems with the GMT correlation and points out that GMT may be off by 260 years!

    K'in in the Hieroglyphic Record: Implications of a Pattern of Dates at Copan, Honduras by Gerardo Aldana.

    Other correlations place 13.0.0.0.0 anywhere from December 11, 1614 (Willson 438906) to August 12, 2532 (Weitzel 774078).

    I should also point out that classical Mayan civilization collapsed around 900 AD (using GMT) and the last long count inscriptions were from around the same time. That would be somewhere around 10.3.15.X.X, which I don't think was predicted.

    Scott

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by scottmsg
    Their is no limit to the long count other than the size of the writing surface used and the patience of the scribe.
    =D> =D>

    I think this is a great way of summing it up for anyone wondering if the Mayan long count really ends on 2012!

    And thank you for sharing that long explanation! I learned a lot today.

  7. #7
    How do these woo-woos deal with the fact that Nostradamus predicted the end of the world in 3797 AD? The contradiction must drive them crazy.

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    Re: 2012 Debunking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vermonter
    Anyone got the Straight Dope on this? I'd appreciate it, and I know the fellow would too.
    I researched something about this a couple of years ago and posted it on a board on which some guy was talking about it. This info comes from a book I have that was published in the 1940s. I realize that other interpretations of the Mayan calendar might vary, based on the opinion of the various researchers. Here is what I wrote a couple of years ago:

    “I have a big chart in this book that shows the last time the Mayan calendar rolled over to 12-0-0-0-0, which was on September 20, 1618.

    The time before that was 11-0-0-0-0 which was on June 17, 1224 AD.

    The time before that was 10-0-0-0-0 which was March 15, 830 AD.

    The time before that was 9-0-0-0-0, which occurred on December 11, 435 AD.

    What will happen in the year 2012, when the Mayan calendar rolls over to 13-0-0-0-0 will merely be another roll-over in a Mayan 394 year cycle, and it will happen again in the year 2406, and this will keep on happening for millions of years. Nothing is going to be any more significant in the year 2012 – relative to the Mayan calendar – than was significant during the last roll-overs in the years 1618, 1224, 830, and 435 AD."

  9. #9
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    Scottmsg gave an excellent explanation of all of this. I studied this about 20 years ago in a course on archeoastronomy. Back then (and apparently still today) one of the big questions was the alignment of our calander to the Mayan's.

    One of the things I always found interesting was how the Mayans counted the days of the year by the interaction of the Tun and the Winal. We go Month and then count days in that month (January 1, 2, 3). If you represent Tuns as letters and Winals as numbers, their scheme was more like A1, B2, C3, D4..... R18, then A19, B20, C1, etc. (I hope I worked that out right). Think of it as a gear with 18 teeth meshing with a 20-teeth gear. That gives 360 days. They knew that this was not the correct length of the year and had an equivalent of leap days (including the notion that 365 was not right either).

    They also made wide use of base 20 counting schemes in their calendars and were pretty consistent at putting dates on their writings. There is also evidence that their calendars were advanced enough for such things as tracking the phases of Venus (important in their religous beliefs) and predicting lunar eclipses.

    But all that means is that there were careful observes of the world and kept good notes. I have no belief they knew anything more than we do abou the end of the world. While their decendants are alive today, their main civilization ended about 1000+ years ago, so I guess you could say their world already ended.
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  10. #10
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    Here is some more information on what Swift said. The calendar round, and its relationship to the long count and other Mesoamerican cultures, seems to be overlooked whenever the 2012 date is brought up. The calendar round was used by cultures throughout Mesoamerica, including the Aztecs, Zapotecs, and Mixtecs. It is still used today by some Mayans in Chiapas and parts of Guatamala. The unique part of the calendar round is that it repeats every 52 years.

    The calendar round is made up of the tzolk'in and the ja'ab'. The tzolk'in has a number and a day and the ja'ab' has a number and a month. The are 18 months of 20 days and one 5 day month (wayeb). The tzolk'in has 20 days and 13 numbers, so it repeats every 260 days. Here is an example how it works.
    • 4 Ahaw 8 K'umku

      5 Imix 9 K'umku
      6 Ik' 10 K'umku
      7 Akb'al 11 K'umku
      8 K'an 12 K'umku
      9 Chikchan 13 K'umku
      10 Kimi 14 K'umku
      11 Manik' 15 K'umku
      12 Lamat 16 K'umku
      13 Muluk 17 K'umku
      1 Ok 18 K'umku
      2 Chuwen 19 K'umku
      3 Eb' 0 Wayeb
      4 B'en 1 Wayeb
      5 Ix 2 Wayeb
      6 Men 3 Wayeb
      7 Kib' 4 Wayeb
      8 Kab'an 0 Pohp
      9 Etz'nab' 1 Pohp
      10 Kawak 2 Pohp
      11 Ahaw 3 Pohp

    I chose 4 Ahaw 8 K'umku because that is the calendar round day on which the Mayan long count begins at 0.0.0.0.0 and it is very important to them. However, as I said before, the calendar round repeats every 52 years (in this case 1 year is exactly 365 days) and the special date of 4 Ahaw 8 Kumk'u does not fall on a bak'tun rollover, like 13.0.0.0.0, until the long count date of 2.7.9.0.0.0.0. For those of you who are worried about that date, you can rest easy, since it won't come until January 12, 371039 (GMT Correlation).
    • The 4 Ahaw 8 Kumk'u dates around 13.0.0.0.0 are
      12.15.14.1.0 April 6, 1928
      12.18.6.14.0 March 24, 1980
      13.0.19.9.0 March 11, 2032
      13.3.12.4.0 February 27, 2084

    It seems strange that the 52 year calendar round, which was so important that it was used throughout Mesoamerica, doesn't even complete a full cycle at the supposed end of the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Swift wrote
    There is also evidence that their calendars were advanced enough for such things as tracking the phases of Venus (important in their religous beliefs) and predicting lunar eclipses.
    The Lunar Series was probably the most accurate calendar used by the Mayans, since it was adjusted to keep it in step with lunar phases. The Ja'ab' calendar had no leap year. I'm not quite sure how it worked, but it contained several glyphs. One told the age of the moon from the last new moon, another told the name of the lunar month (there were six total), and the last gave the expected length of the current lunar month (either 29 or 30 days). There were also other systems used in the calendar, including the "Lord of the Night" series, the 819 day cycle, and a 7 day cycle. The 819 day cycle also had an associated direction and color.

    Just for fun, using the GMT correlation, April 5, 2004, is

    • 12.19.11.2.18 7 Etz'nab 1 Pohp
      Lord of the Night - G4
      Short Count - 4 Ahaw
      819 Day Cycle - 1.16.2
      Direction - South
      Color - Yellow


    Scott

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob B.
    How do these woo-woos deal with the fact that Nostradamus predicted the end of the world in 3797 AD? The contradiction must drive them crazy.
    I tried explaining that over on GLP when they were screaming about the comets and Nostradamus, but I assume they ignored it. If it doesn't fit into their doomsday, I guess it isn't real. #-o

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    Well I think the worst that can happen is we get a "Y2K" bug effect on all the Mayan stone computers.

  13. #13
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    Thanks scottmsg, that was really a great explanation. 8) Too bad I can't get Outlook to give me dates in the form:
    12.19.11.2.18 7 Etz'nab 1 Pohp
    Lord of the Night - G4
    Short Count - 4 Ahaw
    819 Day Cycle - 1.16.2
    Direction - South
    Color - Yellow
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  14. #14

    Galactic Conjunction

    The notable thing about the Mayan 13.0.0.0.0 date cited in the
    eschatological 2012 propaganda is that there is a conjunction
    of the winter solstice sun and the galactic plane. My questions
    are these:
    1. Does this conjunction occur on or about dec. 21, 2012?
    2. How often does this conjunction occur, when's the last time it did?

    Now whether or not this conjunction is meaningful is another topic,
    but it is possible IMHO.

    cheers!

  15. #15
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    I'm going to spend the year 2012 in a cave, not to avoid the end of the world but to avoid all the woo-woos.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  16. #16
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    Maybe the engineers at Cadillac will redesign the headlights on their cars, as they stand now, they look terrible.

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    Re: 2012 Debunking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vermonter
    He wants to know what evidence we have that nothing will happen on 2012.
    Ask him what evidence he has that nothing will happen in 2011 or 2013. Or for that matter, what evidence does he have that a piano won't fall on him tomorrow? Mayan history lessons aside (fascinating stuff!), asking for evidence of a non-occurance is rather cart-before-the-horsish.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by scottmsg
    ... Using the astronomical correlation places 13.0.0.0.0 on December 21, 2012 and the GMT gives a date of December 23.
    Pardon to ask this, can you double check that you don't have that reversed?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottmsg
    ... Using the astronomical correlation places 13.0.0.0.0 on December 21, 2012 and the GMT gives a date of December 23.
    If you multiply Nostradamus' numbers 3797; 3x7x9x7=1323.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by xouper
    Quote Originally Posted by scottmsg
    ... Using the astronomical correlation places 13.0.0.0.0 on December 21, 2012 and the GMT gives a date of December 23.
    Pardon to ask this, can you double check that you don't have that reversed?
    Yeah, it was reversed, sorry about that. ops:

    The correct dates and correlations are:

    GMT Correlation of 584,283 is December 21, 2012.
    Astronomical Correlation of 584,285 is December 23, 2012.
    ------------
    Edited to fix the dates from 2013 to 2012. I think I need more sleep.

  21. #21
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    I'm almost a total ignoramus when it comes to this subject but the operative word is almost so I'll toss in my 1.5 cents worth. :wink:

    I was in Mexico two years ago and on a tour of Toulum. The locals pronounced it tooloom with a mexican accent. The guy conducting our tour claimed he was Myan not Mexican and to have a college degree in Myan history. I have no feel for whether this was true or not but he pitched a pretty good story and he had a satchel full of books which he produced regularly as reference for what he was saying. I have no clue about the veracity of the books because they were written in a language other than engilish or spanish as I can read both.

    The guy said that because the Spanish killed all of the intellectuals when they conductet their conquest, there was nobody left that could read the Myan written language. At the time of the tour they had not found the Myan equivelent of the Rossetta Stone. They had been able to figure out the Myan mathematical system so they had been able to read dates and other numeric writting. As a result of all this study they were able to figure out that the Myans thought something was going to happen December 23, 2012, but they could not figure out what it was supposed to be.

    I asked him how these Myan experts knew that there was to be an event as apposed to an annaversery or something (like Christmas or Halloween). He spewed a bunch of english words that I interpreted to mean 'I haven't got a clue'.

    I will grant that he had the astronomical events associated with the temples correct (equinoxes & solistis' etc.) and knew his astronomical terminology. He also knew that the Myans had to make minor modifications to some of the temples from time to time to account for precession of the Earth. There solution was to build a new temple on top of the old one. THis is how some of the older ones got so tall. This stopped when the Spanyards showed up.

    Does anybody have newer/better information? I seem to recall that somebody deciphered the Myan written language in the last year or so. Any body know anything about that?

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by tjingko
    The notable thing about the Mayan 13.0.0.0.0 date cited in the
    eschatological 2012 propaganda is that there is a conjunction
    of the winter solstice sun and the galactic plane. My questions
    are these:
    1. Does this conjunction occur on or about dec. 21, 2012?
    First off, sorry for bumping an old thread. Second, I've ran across the same claim, that there'll be a conjunction of Sun and galactic plane on noon, winter solstice, 2012. Unfortunately, I don't have any programs to verify that installed on this machine, and getting to one that has them would take a while. So I'd like to restate the question posed above. Is it possible that such a cunjunction will happen at that time, and if not, how close would it be (especially time-wise... nothing better then slapping 2012 woo-woos with a "nope, it'll happen in 2013" ).

    I thought about mailing Phil first, but I guess the guy's too busy, so I thought I'd give the forum a try. Thanks!

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    Welcome to the Board!

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    The conjunction of the galactic plane and the winter solstice is something I am quite interested in too, just from an astronomical point of view. As far as I can figure, the winter solstice occurs in Sagittarius in 2012, fairly near the galactic plane and the centre of the galaxy;
    but it also does that this year, and has done so all my life as far as I can figure.
    So is there any special significance to the location of the winter solstice in 2012?

  25. #25
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    The Myan Long Count from what i've read about in historial links, was either accidentaly or on purpurposly desgined around the sun's 26000 thousand year motion through the galactic plane.

    Thu sun moves up and down through the plane, as it orbits around the galaxy. This lateral movement takes 26000 years, so every 13000 years the sun crosses the plane.

    From my understanding the Myan calandar is timed to sync with (not roll over) when the sun crosses the plane, and is in conjuction with what they called the "Great Birth Canal" (it is uncertain what that is, but it's speculated to be the dark spot in the Sagataris complex, or from a nebula that will be between the sun and Sagataris A*

    So the galatic eliptic crossing occurs twice on the Myan Calandar.

    Once during 0.0.0.0.0 (the 0 day of thier calander) and again during 13.0.0.0.0. The calandar doesn't actually roll over until the day after 19.19.19.18.19 . . .

    The next crossing after that would be into the six digit long count of, 1.6.0.0.0.0 and then again on 1.19.0.0.0.0

  26. #26
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by scottmsg
    ...

    The following paper describes some of the problems with the GMT correlation and points out that GMT may be off by 260 years!

    ...
    You mean we have to wait another 266 years for the world to end, officially?

  27. #27
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    Naw, I think the Weekly World News reported that the world will end next year - Nostradamus was brought back by the aliens that kidnapped him to tell us so.

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    The Mayan Long Count from what i've read about in historial links, was either accidentaly or on purpose desgined around the sun's 26000 thousand year motion through the galactic plane.
    The sun moves up and down through the plane, as it orbits around the galaxy. This lateral movement takes 26000 years, so every 13000 years the sun crosses the plane.
    From my understanding the Mayan calandar is timed to sync with (not roll over) when the sun crosses the plane
    Actually, I don't think that is the case. The up and down movement of the Sun and the solar system during the trip around the galactic centre occurs on a much longer timescale, and has nothing much to do with the precession of the solstices and equinoxes.
    Last edited by eburacum45; 2006-Jul-12 at 01:11 PM.

  29. #29
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    Incidentally the location of the solstice changes by one degree in about 72 years,
    so that means that in 2012 it will only be about five arc minutes away from where it is this year..

  30. #30
    Have a look at that if you're interested:
    http://www.astro.uu.nl/~strous/AA/en/2012.html
    It's long but explains much. In a nutshell - nothing special happens on 21 Dec 2012. Only thing that bothers me is the predicted very active sunspot cycle. It is believed that Maya Quiche predicted the end of the fifth sun on this date (an extreme sun flare or something). But how could the Maya know about that? It's impossible to predict a solar flare from what I know. Well, I suppose it's a coincidence.

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