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Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2012

Stop freaking out: World won’t end in 2012, expert says

April 26, 2012

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Will the world end in December 2012? Don’t bet on it, experts say. Or at least, if it does, don’t blame the Maya.

Quetzil E. Castañeda, an expert on Maya people and an ethnologist at the University of Indiana at Bloomington, attempted to quell fears surrounding the “Mayan phenomenon,” which has many people saying the ancient civilization predicted end days with its calendar that supposedly stops on Dec. 21 or Dec. 23 (even that’s in dispute, he said) of this year.

Castañeda spoke Thursday evening at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt., to a crowd of about 50 with interests ranging from Latin American history to New Age spirituality.

Dispelling the misinformation began with an explanation that “anyone who says they know something about the Mayan prophecies is wrong,” Castañeda said. “For one thing, ‘Mayan’ isn’t a word.”

The correct adjective and noun is ‘Maya’ and that refers to an ethnically and geographically diverse group of indigenous peoples in the Yucatán Peninsula and elsewhere in Mexico. And yes, their descendents still live there. And no, they’re not Aztecs, though many popular culture references relating to the “Maya 2012 gurus,” as Castañeda called those drumming up end-of-the-world concern, confuse elements of Maya and Aztec culture and symbolism — and even the all-important doomsday calendar.

About that calendar. Castañeda said reading into its end in 2012 is paramount to “freaking out” at seeing the end of a yardstick. Space doesn’t end just because its measuring tool does; instead, to measure something bigger than a yard, we just move the stick farther along. So while the ancient Maya calendar does have 520-year cycles, there’s no evidence even they thought this “end” was anything parallel to the Judeo-Christian notion of apocalypse. But still, spiritualists pander to tourists in the area, touting crystals and teaching that dates of equinox have significance, though few local Maya put any faith into the ideas (most are Catholic), Castañeda showed in a film he made at the ancient Maya ruins of Chichen Itza.

John Hoopes, an associate professor in Kansas University’s anthropology department, introduced Castañeda with the idea that the 2012 pop-culture phenomenon at least provided the opportunity for a “yearlong teaching moment” for people to learn more about Mesoamerican history and culture, including the complexities of how the “gurus” affect the real, everyday lives of the Maya people.

“Westerners have created the construct of the mystery of the Maya,” Castañeda said, because it’s surprising to the European-derived ways of thinking that the Maya would create a civilization in the jungle, “where civilization shouldn’t be,” and then “abandon” it.

But the abandonment, he said, is also a myth; the Maya peoples still exist. They were just colonized by the Spanish.

In the discussion, Hoopes brought up the point that Mexico is said to be expecting some 50 million tourists to the Yucatán this year, with all the Maya 2012 hype.

Comments

LadyJ 1 year, 11 months ago

Just in case, you should be prepared. I see that Cabela's has Zombie Max ammunition, guaranteed to work on Zombies. I don't think it can kill them cause aren"t they already dead? Here is the video from Hornady. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQWb-5...

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martyks 1 year, 11 months ago

It would be a shame if the world ended this year. We just paid off our Prius.

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Armen Kurdian 1 year, 11 months ago

God is waiting for the Cubs to win the Series. Then his work will be finished. BTW, i really don't care about baseball or the cubs, I just wanted to post something to feel I was a part of something bigger than myself. I once was a part of something bigger than myself, but I'm not into fat chicks anymore.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 11 months ago

Oh, btrother, this is so funny. Especially the one about the paying back of the student loans!

Y2K anyone?? What is the next "end-of-the-world"assessments from the seven day adventists and other religious fund raising crowd?

Seriously, this is suchy a tempest in a teapot. But I guess it is a slow news day, Romney has not said anything stupid again, and the President seems to have the weekend off.

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somedude20 1 year, 11 months ago

If the world is not ending until December than I guess we don't have to worry about the storm tonight. Just in case the world does end, any pretty young ladies reading this should know that I have a bunker with enough food for 2 for years. Message me. Oh and I just saved 15% on my car insurance

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brewmaster 1 year, 11 months ago

The last sentence of the article reveals the trueth about the Maya 2012 craze.

"In the discussion, Hoopes brought up the point that Mexico is said to be expecting some 50 million tourists to the Yucatán this year, with all the Maya 2012 hype."

Now we know that its a corporate conspiracy -- (probably created by and led by Koch Industries, since they secretly own Mexico) -- to make huge profits from tourism.

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justanotherface 1 year, 11 months ago

After the world financial collapse that will be taking place at the end of this year, people will be wishing the world really was going to end.

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RoeDapple 1 year, 11 months ago

Well . . . If Obama is president on Dec. 21 . . . Bush won't get blamed. . . Oh, wait . . .

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Paul R Getto 1 year, 11 months ago

I just wish we hadn't burned nearly all their libraries. They were brilliant mathematicians and astronomers. This 2012 hysteria has been amazing. As I understand it, they would just start another long count and get on with their business. Thanks for the props, Math. You are picking up on things.

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its_just_math 1 year, 11 months ago

If Obama is re-elected, that will suffice for seeming like the world has ended (by assertion, right Paul?).

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1029 1 year, 11 months ago

"Will the world end in December 2012? Don’t bet on it, experts say."

Well, duh. That's a lose-lose bet that only a sucker would make. You either lose the bet or the world is done for and you don't collect.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 11 months ago

I know someone who vehemently believes the world will end this year. Inbet him $1,000 that he's wrong. These people are just not very smart.

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Bob Harvey 1 year, 11 months ago

Whew there is a sense of relief coming over me. I thought the first step in the ending of time was when Dick Clark passed away since he had brought in the New Year celebration for decades. I was starting to think, well played Mayas, well played.

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Flap Doodle 1 year, 11 months ago

Well, I guess I'll just have to shoot up all this ammo on the range.

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RoeDapple 1 year, 11 months ago

Hang on to your tinfoil hats! Even if the world doesn't come to an end this December, there are hundreds of predictions (past, present and future) for apocalyptic ends for the human race! Here's one of the more humorous . . .

"According to The Church of !BLAIR!, the human race will probably be terminated at 3:28 AM (Soho, England time) 2047, SEP. 14!. The church teaches, with tongue firmly in cheek, that if the human race does not discard their plastic conformity, then the Gods will withdraw their protection. The Gods don't want us to worship them; they don't want sacrifices or even offerings. They just want us to rid itself of our excessive "Normalcy". At that point, Astro-Lemurs (extra-terrestrials similar in shape to lemurs, but with rainbow colored bodies) will attack the entire human race and beat them to death with gigantic burritos. You have been warned."

(From a source)

Of the ten most likely, only three are unsurvivable. Gamma ray burst, complete ozone depletion with resulting radiation poisoning, and Super-Nova. Now I woulda thrown in Asteroid/comet strike but what do I know . . . With the odds running one in ten million to one in one trillion of these events happening I refuse to let it run my life.

Still be glad to be your tinfoil hat provider.

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its_just_math 1 year, 11 months ago

Put this hoax in there with Al Gore's global warming hoax which has made him a mulit-millionaire ten times over.

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Bob_Keeshan 1 year, 11 months ago

Professor Hoopes is also a leading authority on the 2012 hoax. One positive about this hullabaloo is drawing attention to him and his research. He's a great professor.

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Biscayne 1 year, 11 months ago

The expert says????????????????

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grammaddy 1 year, 11 months ago

Still not doing any Christmas shopping until Dec.22. hee hee

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g_rock 1 year, 11 months ago

Great. I quit shaving my legs because the world was going to end so who cares? Now you tell me that I have to plan for a future beyond me turning 40 years old. Kind of not prepared for that.

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rtwngr 1 year, 11 months ago

Looks like a lot of people will be paying back those student loans after all.

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Jeff Supernaw 1 year, 11 months ago

Also, the Mayas did not recognize leap years. Thus if you subtract all the added leap days, December 21st,2012 has already happened. ; )

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RoeDapple 1 year, 11 months ago

Approximately 400,000 people die every year worldwide. For them the world will end in 2012.

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Soapbox 1 year, 11 months ago

יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא.

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Benjamin Roberts 1 year, 11 months ago

"...Castañeda showed in a film he made at the ancient Maya ruins of Chichen Itza."

Someone maya ruined my chicken pizza, but I didn't make a film about it.

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riverdrifter 1 year, 11 months ago

Damn, now I gotta reschedule all those hunting trips. I hate it when this happens.

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Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 11 months ago

Now I'm freaking out because I've been using the word Mayan for decades.

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