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2012 Doomsayers and the facts.

Oh, the things I come across on the internet. :P This one via bablogfeed.
This is Re: Justin.

(@Justin
I couldn't force myself to register at that ridiculous site, since one of the registration questions was "What year does the Mayan calendar end?" which almost certainly presupposes my belief in their rubbish. However, I did read your topic and was less than mollified by that last entry by Rob. Feel free to cut and paste this into that forum if you like.)

    On page 178 of The Invisible Landscape [the McKenna Brothers] wrote:
    
        "Life's epoch began one or two billion years ago - 1.3 billion years on our scale.
        Eighteen million years ago brings one to the closure of the next smallest level.
        This occured at the height of the age of the mammals. One sixty-fourth of this 18-million
        year cycle is a cycle whose inception was 275,000 years ago, a time that corresponds well
        with the emergence of Homo sapiens. One sixty-fourth of this cycle brings us to the cycle
        that epitomizes what might properly be called historical time, that cycle which began 4,300
        plus years ago, around 2300 B.C. The duration of the cycle next encountered is 67-plus
        years, and we have assumed the most recent such epoch to have begun in 1945."

    So what they are saying is, if their fractal scale is true, life began 1.3 billion years
    ago. But it is the more recent history that arguably fits the timewave snugly, and that
    is what points to 2012.

    They also said that if you take the timewave back even further, then the universe is 36
    billion years old, twice the accepted number of astrophysicists...

This is in response to a question about the Fractal Time page. [http://survive2012.com/why_2012_fractal.php]

I'd like to just start my refutation of this idea by pointing out that I'm going to do so with something that pseudoscientists rarely use: references. I will use Wikipedia for my citations, and point to its general accuracy being verified by Nature magazine, as reported by the CBC. [http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2005/12/15/Wikipedia-review051215.html]

Let me begin with the last statement, the one about the age of the universe being 36 billion years old. This is not twice the accepted number, which is about 13.7 billion, but rather 263% of that accepted number. "Astronomical observations indicate that the universe is 13.7±0.2 billion years old." [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universe]

I will continue with the next oldest supposition, which is the one involving life on earth. The quote here gives a range of "one or two billion years ago – 1.3 billion years on our scale." Wikipedia says, "Although it cannot be pinpointed exactly, evidence suggests that life on Earth has existed for about 3.7 billion years." [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_on_earth#Origin_of_life] The actual, evidence-based answer is more than twice (206%) the one given in The Invisible Landscape.

Next we come to the enigmatic phrase "the height of the age of the mammals." What exactly that means is not explained. They say it happened about 18 million years ago. Wikipedia: "The first true mammals appeared in the early Jurassic, over 70 million years after the first therapsids," and "Therapsids descended from pelycosaurs in the middle Permian, about 260M years ago." [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammal#Evolutionary_history] So, that would mean that the first true mammals (this being after mammaliaformes, which if used, gives an even older date) appeared around 190 million years ago. Now, I would guess that the end of "the age of the mammals" would be in 2012, when the Mayan calendar ends, since that is the doomsday year by the McKennas' figuring. So, I took the 190Mya and divided it in two (guessing that "the age of the mammals" was some sort of bell curve) to get 95Mya. That figure is over five times (528%) of the book's calculation. Of course, as I said, there was no good explanation of what the phrase meant.

The emergence of Homo sapiens is the beginning of their next cycle. Wikipedia: H. sapiens ("sapiens" means wise or intelligent) has lived from about 250,000 years ago to the present. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_evolution#Homo_sapiens] This is one that the McKennas got pretty close on. Their 275,000 years ago is only 10% higher than the figure that I found.

The penultimate cycle was "what might properly be called historical time, that cycle which began 4,300 plus years ago, around 2300 B.C." I decided I'd look up where that dividing line between pre-history and history lies. "Historians frequently emphasize the importance of written records, which would limit history to times after the development of writing." [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History#Broad_discipline] So then when did writing develop? "The invention of the first writing systems is roughly contemporary with the beginning of the Bronze Age in the late 4th millennium BCE in Sumer, developing into the archaic cuneiform of the Ur III stage. / The development of Egyptian hieroglyphs is also parallel to that of the Mesopotamian scripts, and not necessarily independent. The Egyptian proto-hieroglyphic symbol system develops into archaic hieroglyphs by 3200 BCE." So at latest, it was around 3000 BCE, about 700 years before the time-frame they put forward. The difference between their 4300 years and my 5000 years is about 16%.

Now, their final cycle began in 1945. This is arguably a realistic time to mark an era beginning in human history, as the first nuclear weapons were tested, and then used in war in that year. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_test] [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki] In 2012, we will see the 67th anniversaries of those events. I can't fault their math on this one.

However, anyone taking the time to look up 2012 in reference to the Mayan calendar, there are inscriptions that denote future dates far beyond 2012. "For example, on Tablet of Inscriptions from Palenque were found the following Long Count date: 9.8.9.13.0 8 Ahau 13 Pop (24 March 603 Gregorian) with a distance date of 10.11.10.5.8. The resulting date is given as 1.0.0.0.0.8 5 Lamat 1 Mol, or 21 October 4772 – almost 3,000 years into the future. The king Pacal of Palenque predicted that on this date the eightieth Calendar Round anniversary of his accession will be celebrated, suggesting he did not believe the world would end in 2012." Further, "Despite the publicity generated by the 2012 date, Susan Milbrath, curator of Latin American Art and Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, stated that 'We [the archaeological community] have no record or knowledge that [the Maya] would think the world would come to an end' in 2012. 'For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle,' says Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies in Crystal River, Fla. To render Dec. 21, 2012, as a doomsday or moment of cosmic shifting, she says, is 'a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in.'" [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesoamerican_Long_Count_calendar#2012_and_the_Long_Count]

So there you have it. Even if the Mayans had some way of knowing that the world might come to an end in the future, which in itself is unbelievable to any skeptic, they didn't leave any records to that effect. The 2012 doom-sayers are wrong, simply put.

Comments

mandydax
Jan. 26th, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC)
I think it'd be kinda cool to have a big brouhaha celebration on 12/20-21/2012. The end of the Long Count only comes about every 394 years. It'd be like a Super New Year's Eve Party. Then, a week and a half later, we could have the boring old every-three-hundred-sixty-five-or-six-days New Year's Eve Party. :D
snakewich
Jan. 27th, 2008 12:05 am (UTC)
Super New Year's Eve Party, lol!
That would be awesome!
What a great idea :D

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