As has been noted elsewhere, the procession of irritating news stories about the alleged “Mayan apocalypse” that should have polluting the media this week has been unexpectedly interrupted by real tragedy. That’s not to say that they aren’t around, however: the latest post over at Your Origins Matter is on the subject, but at least they’re against the idea.
While it can never be considered a certainty, the old adage of a stopped clock being right twice a day generally holds. For example, the Institute for Creation Research suddenly becomes a lot more reliable on the subject of the end of the world. Apparently not wishing to be drawn into inter-denominational squabbling over the the order and timing of the events of Revelation, the ICR holds firmly to the verse in Matthew (24:36) that claims “of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” This means that they occasionally even attack apocalyptic predictions, both religious and otherwise. Previous examples of this stopped-clock effect in action include an article by Steve Austin and Mark Strauss from 1999 on why there wasn’t an increase in earthquakes in the run-up to the new millennium, and a second article on earthquakes in 2010, this time a DpSU by Brian Thomas. YOM adds to this, opening:
Time runs out on December 21, 2012, according to the Mayan calendar. One humorist, in an effort to allay people’s fear of impending doom, said that the reason for the date was because the Mayans ran out of rock.
The “ran out of rock” jokes are, unfortunately, based on the common misidentification of the Aztec sun stone (above) as the ‘Mayan calendar.’ My personal favourite answer to 2012 doomsdayers is to point out that many proponents also seem to have the same blatant misconception, in which case why trust any of their other claims? YOM fails to point this out, but we can’t expect the world from them in one of their rare moments of sanity.
They go on to talks about a Telegraph article:
Fear of the end seems to be rampant around the world. In Russia and China, sales of emergency supplies have exploded. “In France believers were preparing to converge on a mountain where they believe aliens will rescue them,” according to The Telegraph. In the U.S., a manufacturer of survival shelters reports that his sales have increased from one a month to one a day. He claimed that he has no opinion on the Mayan calendar but added, “When astrophysicists come to me, buy my shelters and tell me to be prepared for solar flares, radiation, EMPs (electromagnetic pulses) . . . I’m going underground on the 19th and coming out on the 23rd. It’s just in case anybody’s right.”
His mention of December 23rd is unfortunate. To quote from a post at Archaeological Haecceities (one of a number of excellent resources on this subject, another of which is of course Exposing PseudoAstronomy):
Most prophets of nonsense have settled for the December 21, 2012 as their “end date” of the Long Count cycle. […] However, there is no evidence that suggests that the cycle was believed to end on 188.8.131.52.0. (13 Baktun). In the Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque we have a date in the next Piktun, in AD 4772. Another problem is that there are, in fact, other correlations between the Julian/Gregorian calendars and the Calendar round and Long Count calendars, that sets [sic] the 13 Baktun date on December 23, 2012.
While there is, of course, no more of a reason to suppose that the world will end on Sunday as there is for the Friday date, it would be funny if it took place just as Mr Ron Hubbard (the name of the manufacturer quoted) decided that the coast was clear. But anyway, about these “astrophysicists”:
There was a time when I would have similarly claimed that no astrophysicist believed in young Earth creationism; I have since learnt of the existence of Dr Lisle, and once again never to speak in absolutes. Lisle should probably not be so certain, even though it’s likely true that Hubbard’s claims are exaggerated here.
After mentioning NASA’s attempts to spread calm, YOM concludes:
With all the angst over the end of the Mayan calendar, what are we to conclude? No one but God can accurately predict the future, and His Word assures us that the end is coming (2 Peter 3:10). But when will that be? Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36, NKJV).
Could that day be December 21, 2012? Perhaps. It could be the day before, the day after, or the year after. It could be tomorrow or today. One thing is sure—it is closer now than it ever has been.
How will you prepare for the end?
The ICR believes in an apocalypse, don’t you forget, just not this one.