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By Theodore A. Tan

According to NASA’S official web blog, Astrobiologist, there are over 300 books at Amazon.com that deal on the issue of the 2012 Doomsday prediction. Many internet websites say the world will end on Tuesday, December 21, 2012.  Remember the Millennium scare?  It came and went without much of a whimper because of sufficient planning and analysis of the situation, without which, could have caused the eventual meltdown of man’s modern information infrastructure.

In fact, the 2012 phenomenon, which covers a wide spectrum of eschetological beliefs, has originated mostly from two celebrated hypothesis: the culmination of the Mayan Calendar and the discovery of a planet named Nibiru. The Mayan Calendar controversy, in particular, is said to be widely attributable to a claim made popular by Michael G. Coe, a prominent American archaeologist and author of several books. In one of his books, The Maya, he wrote that “there is a suggestion … Armageddon would overtake the degenerate peoples of the world and all creation on the final day of the 13th [b’ak’tun].” Unlike the 52-year Calendar Round still used today among the Maya, his basis was the Long Count Calendar that kept time roughly in units of “20: 20 days made a uinal, 18 uinals (360 days) made a tun, 20 tuns made a k’atun, and 20 k’atuns (144,000 days or roughly 394 years) made up a b’ak’tun.”  “Thus,” he concluded, “… that our present universe [would] be annihilated [in December 2012] when the Great Cycle of the Long Count reaches completion” on the  Using the most common conversion to our modern calendar (the Gregorian Calendar) the end of the “Great Cycle” corresponds to 11:11 Universal Time (UTC), hence the doomsday prophecy is to strike on December 21, 2012.

“Far from being a date on a calendar when something will automatically happen, the elders are telling us that it is up to us how we traverse these challenging times…” declares Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj, leader of the National Council of Mayan Elders in Guatemala.

Although several scholars followed Coe’s interpretation as the basis for their controversial hypothesis, one illustrious American historian who taught in Princeton and with a PhD to his credit, also claimed the date, 21 December 2012, in his book, The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology. Joseph Arguelles argued that sometime in “13th August 3113 BC the Earth began a passage through a ‘galactic synchronization beam’ that emanated from the center of our galaxy, [and] that it would pass through this [same] beam during a period of 5200 tuns (Maya cycles of 360 days each), and by (21 Dec. 2012), [he believed that] the Maya would have aligned their calendar to respond to this phenomenon.”

In contrast, contemporary researchers disputed that,”while the end of the 13th b’ak’tun would perhaps be a cause for celebration for the Mayans,” it did not intend to mark the end of their calendar. “There is nothing in the Maya or Aztec or ancient Mesoamerican writings to suggest that they prophesied a sudden or major change of any sort in 2012”, said Mayanist scholar Mark Van Stone. “The notion of a ‘Great Cycle’ coming to an end is completely a modern invention.” Mayanist scholars Linda Schele and David Freidel argued that the Maya “did not conceive this to be the end of creation, as many would have suggested.”

The other sought-after controversy which rose over the horizon in 1976 was the discovery by the ancient Sumerians of the planet named Nibiru.  In his book, The Twelfth Planet, writer Zecharia Sitchen claimed that based on the Mayan writings he documented from ancient Mesopotamian civilization of Sumer, it identified a planet Nibiru orbiting the sun every 3500 years.  Although Sitchin denied making claims about the doomsday prophecy, the idea of Nibiru as a wayward planet in a collision course with Earth was made popular in 1996 by Nancy Lider, a Wisconsin woman who founded the website Zeta-Talk. Lider claimed she was an extra-terrestrial contactee chosen to warn mankind of an object of this magnitude that would enter the local system and create gravitational disorder in the system which would ultimately annihilate humanity. The prediction subsequently spread beyond Lider’s website and adopted by other doomsday groups on the internet, mostly of which identified with the 2012 phenomenon.

When the blockbuster film, 2012, was released in November 11, 2009, the prophetic association of internet harbingers, conspiracy theorists, the cultists, the Preppers, the UFOlogists, etc. had apparently a field day. Generating $770 million at the box office worldwide, filmmaker Roland Emmerich of the Hollywood fame credited the works of Coe for inspiring his disaster movie.  To lend credence to their apocalyptic claims, even major cable channels, History, Discovery and the National Geographic have joined the bandwagon by airing special documentaries such as the End of Days, Last Days on Earth, 2012 Apocalypse, Doomsday Preppers, etc. which suggest that the doomsday phenomenon might really occur on 2012.  Now whether these claims are credible or not is not the issue here but whether the nagging human need to uncover the truth can be adequately satisfied.

From the beginning of recorded time, mankind has been fascinated about the end of the world and making predictions about how and when it might happen.  Most major religions have their own theories on the topic and, throughout their history, as much as 1,000 prophecies have been attributed to the end of times. However, biblical inferences about great earthquakes, famine and pestilence, sea turning into blood, hailstorms, rumbling sounds and birds falling from the sky, hurricanes and flooding, etc. which portend about the world coming to an end are lately showing eerie similarities with current global events.

NATURE FREAKISH SHOW: A rare meteorological phenomenon called a Skypunch is when ice crystals form above the high-altitude cirro-cumulo-stratus clouds, then fall downward, punching a hole in the cloud cover.

Since this year has begun, identical phenomenon and calamities have transpired across the globe almost every day and progressively without letup. Recently, this blog received a 35-minute video being circulated in the email (it may be viewed at the end of this blog).  It contains a collage of news feeds and live accounts from major networks like CNN, Fox News, BBC, etc. which easily give shivers to the most cynical.  But whether these global cataclysms are true presages from the bible, science apparently has veritable claims over these natural phenomena — that they were simply ordered by themselves. Or it is the beginning of the end of the last bastion of life, as we know it?  Or perhaps life on earth was meant to be sui generis, in itself, despite the Xenologists’ claim that the universe would be an awfully waste of space if life did not reside in it.

When a life-changing cataclysm is prophesied to happen, and it does not, can it be said that it is to the credit of prayerful and powerful intervention of the Buddhists monks, convent nuns, the Muslims, Hindu and Jewish Rabbi, all praying in a single supplication to some cosmic force, to lift all of humanity from the extinction? Or can humanity simply rise to the occasion and be grateful that life has existed on this planet for almost 3.5 billion years. And every time a disaster threatens its very existence, it’s strength and resiliency to survive it are once again renewed.  But as always, human nature is replete with interesting choices and recourse.

As the zero hour is fast approaching, literally hundreds of thousands of websites have posted on the subject. “Ask an Astrobiologist”, a NASA public outreach website, receives over 5000 questions from the public on the subject since 2007, some asking whether they should kill themselves, their children or their pets.  To satisfy those nagging questions, this post is adding a link Ask An Astrobiologist, which posts the most popular questions about Doomsday 2012, and answered by a group of scientists at the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI).

What’s about you?  What are your thoughts about the 2012 Doomsday theory? Are you stockpiling food, water and ammo or are you one of those who will just wait and let it pass?  But at the end of the day, what can you really do if the world is coming to an end?  Is there a point to all these brouhaha except to take it with a grain of salt?

Related Article:  Apocalypse Then? Six False Prophecies of the End of Times