Monday, November 9, 2009

Apocalypse soon: 2012 in the Sunday Star-Times

The Sunday Star-Times says:
If a growing body of speculation is to be believed, then December 20, 2012 (20/12/2012), is a date with destiny.
That’s a big “if” right there. Why should we believe speculation? This article is presented as normal newspaper material, i.e. stuff that is factual and has been checked by other journalists, but it is completely bonkers. It’s of interest that people believe this stuff, but that’s not the angle the story takes:
The genesis for much of the 2012 2012 material revolves around the ending of the Mayan calendar. Archaeological records indicate the Mayans were a highly advanced civilisation who seemingly appeared in the remote areas of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico more than 1500 years ago, built an advanced agricultural-based society and then abandoned their greatest cities around the ninth century.

Although much about the Mayans remains a mystery, we do know they were master stargazers, who devised one of the most sophisticated calendars for tracking galactic time based on a traditional 260-day count intertwined with a traditional 365-day calendar.
What is galactic time? How could the Mayans have “tracked” it? How does one “track” time? How could we know what the Mayans measured or even thought about anything? How can we know that they were “master stargazers”? They left no written record, apart from some hieroglyphs whose meaning we can only guess at. Could they have been any good at predicting the future if they couldn’t even predict their own demise?

Frankly, this is all bollocks. And actual Mayans, or at least descendants of them, say that this is all bollocks too:
“If I went to some Mayan-speaking communities and asked people what is going to happen in 2012, they wouldn't have any idea,” said Jose Huchim, a Yucatan Mayan archaeologist. “That the world is going to end? They wouldn't believe you. We have real concerns these days, like rain.”
The SST article goes on to quote “one of the most referenced 2012 2012 authors, Mayan expert and self-described visionary Jose Arguielles”, who says:
our science is fatally flawed and offers only a linear view of reality, which is multi-dimensional.
In a recent book by Stephanie South, 2012: Biography of a Time Traveller, he argues that modern science is based on matter and therefore falls short of accurately defining the nature of reality.
“It does not admit that there could be other realities, other dimensions co-existencing with this reality.”
Which is absolutely, unequivocally, wrong – other dimensions are one of the more interesting features of the new cosmology. But not as wrong as this:
Mayan science assumes that the key factors in universal operations are factors of resonance – vibratory cycles or vibratory waves.
How would he know what Mayan science assumed? Again, there is no written record. We simply do not know what these people thought, and because they did not have telescopes there is no chance that they had any knowledge whatsoever of the solar system or anywhere beyond it.

This article would have been fine as a New Age column. It would have been fine as an opinion piece. But presented as a piece of journalism, on the same page as a serious piece from the UK Sunday Times about the Obamas, it is not fine at all. Whoever approved it for publication should be ashamed of themselves.

There is is sensible comment on all this here.


Chad Taylor said...

The Caracol Tower at Chichen Itza: An Ancient Astronomical Observatory?
Anthony F. Aveni 1, Sharon L. Gibbs 1, and Horst Hartung 2
1 Colgate University, Hamilton, New York 13346
2 University of Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Mexico

(No mention of vibrations, however.)

(NB But you saw what happened to Cate in that Indiana Jones documentary, right?)

Phil said...

Or… was it an error in capitalisation?

Will it be in fact, a date with Destiny – where bishop Brian reveals himself as the Supreme Being and restores peace, happiness, 20% tithing and heterosexuality to the universe…

Stephen Stratford said...

"The Caracol Tower at Chichen Itza: An Ancient Astronomical Observatory?"

I see there is a question mark in the title. Looks like more speculation, then.

Chad Taylor said...