Don’t worry. Unlike the movie prediction, the world isn’t going to end Dec. 21, says Dr. Ronald Faulseit, a Southern Illinois University archaeological professor.
Faulseit spoke to about 75 people Wednesday about “Maya 2012: The Calendar and Astronomy of an Ancient Culture.” His lecture at the Illinois State Museum was part of the Paul Mickey Science Series.
Faulseit said he began speaking out against Mayan-calendar doomsday predictions when he heard that some 13-year-old children had been terrified by such predictions and their parents didn’t know what to do.
“We, as experts, should be out there spending more time educating the public,” Faulseit said.
The Mayan calendar is broken down into baktuns, a time measurement equal to about 400 years. The baktun in which people are currently living is the 13th baktun, believed by some to end on Dec. 21, 2012.
Numerous books have been published over the years theorizing that an Armageddon will take place on the final day of the baktun.
The doomsday scenario became mainstream with the release of the movie “2012” in 2009. It predicted catastrophic earthquakes, giant tsunamis and massive volcanic eruptions.
Faulseit said there are a variety of theories about what will happen Dec. 21, but all can be debunked quickly.
One version, he said, says an unknown planet will crash into Earth on Dec. 21, killing everyone.
If that were the case, however, Faulseit said, people would have been able to see the planet on a crash course with Earth months ago.
Another offshoot of the disaster theory, he said, is that all nine planets will align on Dec. 21, affecting the tides in the oceans.
There won’t be any planetary alignment on Dec. 21, NASA says, or anytime in the next few decades. Even when one does take place, Faulseit said, the effect of such an alignment on tides would be miniscule.
“There was nothing written (by the Mayans) about what would occur” Dec. 21, Faulseit said. “It always was used as a point of calculation.”