This Thursday August 3rd, 9 pm, the History Channel (US) is showing “Decoding the Past; Mayan Doomsday Prophecy”. According to this University of Central Florida (UCF) article, it’s going to be a rational article featuring UCF professor Arlen Chase who has been studying the Maya for several decades and has written more than 100 articles about the subject:
Some of the prophecies left behind by the Maya indicate that when a 4,000 year cycle in the Maya calendar closes, Armageddon will be upon us.
“But nothing is going to happen,” Chase said. “The show is very well done, showing different points of view. It’s very interesting and the graphics are fantastic, but that doesn’t change the fact nothing is going to happen Dec. 21, 2012. I think some people are misinterpreting the Maya.”
During the hour-long program, Chase talks about the complex calendar from Chichen Itza, the heart of the Maya civilization deep in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Clear graphics, stunning landscape from several ruins and dramatic re-enactments take the viewer through a lively look at the doomsday myth and potential warnings for avoiding it.
Well, I hope he’s right and that the “show is very well done”, as he says. More often than not these pieces play for the woo ratings; the fact that there is to be “a group of archaeologists, astrologers, and historians to speculate on the meaning of the 2012 prophecy” (astrologers?) is not encouraging. Nor is the program’s title, or the look at ways to avoid “doomsday”. Still, let’s hope this program lives up to its skeptical promise, and that they allow scientists like Chase more than the usual two sentences.
(Note: the Mayan calendar doesn’t “end” in 2012 any more than the western calendar “ended” on January 1st 2000 – the count just starts again. Boring but true.)