End of the World ? Myths busted with scientific theory.
If you are reading this after December 21, 2012, then you can breathe a sigh of relief! Why? Because that’s the date that, for years, many people have thought was the “End of the World”, or the Apocalypse. Although our world is constantly changing in many ways – in our society, culture, and environment to mention a few – it looks like we made it through! Yay Humans!
So why were these people (sometimes called doomsdayers) worried? Well, it all started with the ancient Maya Civilization, which existed thousands of years ago. The ancient Mayans lived in what is now Mexico, in Central America, and they were a very smart lot. They were excellent at math, building, farming, and written language. They had a very sophisticated culture and were, for that time in history, great astronomers (star gazers) as well.
The Mayans, like us, had several different types of calendars. Much of the world today, for instance, uses a 12-month calendar. But we also regularly use calendars which show only one month, or less. Additionally, many people use “fiscal” calendars, which are based on the dates a particular company or government does business. And that’s not to mention the calendars of different religions. In Judiasm, for instance, the current year is 5773 right now, and Jewish months are completely different from more widely-used Christian calendar months. And the ancient Indian (Hindu) calendars are different too, based on cycles of the moon!
All of our calendars work on a cycle. This means that when we come to the end of our calendar, we start again on the first day of that calendar. Our New Year’s Day is the first day of the first month of the next year.
The same was true of the many different kinds of Maya calendars. One of their calendars, called the b’ak’tun, is the one everyone has been talking about because the b’ak’tun ends on December 21, 2012. The problem with end-of-the-world predictions, though, is that no Mayans ever wrote anything about the end of the world, and we can safely assume that when they reached the end of their calendars, they would start again at the beginning like we do.
There are other reasons that some people have been worried, and those reasons are mostly related to the movement and cycle of the stars and planets. Our sun is nearing one of its 11-year magnetic cycles, and that is very powerful stuff. But it won’t reach its peak for at least another year or two, and even then major sun flares can’t hurt us directly. The most they can do is perhaps cause some satellite trouble and possibly power outages.
There also is rumor about a planet called Nibiru coming in the direction of the Earth. Apparently, Nibiru’s gravity is so strong that when it gets near us, it will cause major earthquakes and floods. The problem with this theory is that Nibiru does not exist!
So all in all, the apocalyptic doomsday theories have been interesting, exciting, and maybe a little scary for some people. But we can all relax now and know that those clever Mayans have most likely been misunderstood.
In the end, here is an excellent video summarizing all of this. You cannot NOT watch this. Enjoy!