March 05, 2008

Review of Doomsday 2012

I recently watched Doomsday 2012: The End of Days on the History Channel. It's based on the Maya calendar, of course, and includes references to Hopi prophecies. Here's a summary of the show:Will the world really end in 2012?

There are prophecies and oracles from around the world that all seem to point to December 21, 2012 as doomsday. The ancient Mayan Calendar, the medieval predictions of Merlin, the Book of Revelation and the Chinese oracle of the I Ching all point to this specific date as the end of civilization. A new technology called "The Web-Bot Project" makes massive scans of the internet as a means of forecasting the future... and has turned up the same dreaded date: 2012. Skeptics point to a long history of "failed doomsdays," but many oracles of doom throughout history have a disturbingly accurate track record. As the year 2012 ticks ever closer we'll speculate if there are any reasons to believe these doomsayers.

Watch and decide for yourself if it is true.
You can watch the show here:

DOOMSDAY 2012: End of Days--Part 1 of 2

DOOMSDAY 2012: End of Days--Part 2 of 2

Or read about its predictions here:

December 21, 2012…The End…or just another beginning

As you might have guessed, it's a mishmash of vague and unconvincing predictions, like something out of an Erich von Daniken book. In an era of world wars, atomic bombs, terrorist attacks, AIDS, and global warming, any apocalyptic claims sound plausible. They sound especially plausible if you string them together in a concerned voice without critical scrutiny.

Naturally, the documentary offers only a few skeptical voices near the end. For the most part, authors who are touting doomsday books get to speak without contradiction. Viewers have to read the small type and think about it before they'll realize the speakers are biased self-promoters, not impartial academics.

Analyzing the predictions

A couple of examples will demonstrate how Doomsday 2012: The End of Days makes its case.

1) The show claims that the Maya calendar predicted the exact date of Hernan Cortés's arrival in Mexico: March 5, 1519. Unfortunately, you won't find this alleged prediction anywhere on the Web--except in summaries of this show. Therefore, there's no way to verify if the calendar predicted what the show said it predicted.

Moreover, several websites claim Cortés arrived on March 4, not March 5. So even if the calendar did make a specific prediction, which we can't verify, the prediction was wrong. Oops.

2) The show claims that English prophet Mother Shipton predicted the colonization of America by name in the early 1500s. Let's ignore the fact that Shipton probably didn't exist--that her prophecies were published only in the mid-1600s, after the European colonization of America was underway. Let's look at what the show actually offered as evidence of her authority.

Shipton allegedly predicted that "virgins" would colonize a "virgin land." The show claims this is a reference to the colonization of Virginia. Several problems with that:

a) A "virgin land" isn't the same as "Virginia," so Shipton didn't predict the colonization "by name," as the show states. For all we know, her "psychic abilities" were tuned to the virgin land of Africa, Australia, or Antarctica, not Virginia.

b) The first permanent settlement in what would become the US mainland occurred in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565--not in Virginia. It was preceded by the settlement of San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1521 and some failed settlements in Florida. The doomed Roanoke in North Carolina was settled in 1585. There were Spanish settlements throughout the American Southwest that culminated in the establishment of Santa Fe in 1607 or 1608.

Jamestown also was founded in 1607. The next significant colony was Plymouth in Massachusetts in 1620. I believe New England was settled more rapidly than Virginia and became the center of the American colonies.

Therefore, equating the colonization of America with the colonization of Virginia is grossly misleading. They aren't close to being synonymous. If Shipton had predicted San Juan, St. Augustine, Roanoke, Jamestown, Santa Fe, and Plymouth in order, then I'd be impressed...but she didn't.

c) Except for maybe a few young men and women, the settlers at Jamestown weren't virgins. Oops.

d) Virginia wasn't virgin territory since it was inhabited by Indians. Oops.

How the show operates

This prediction gives you a good idea of how Doomsday 2012 operates. Shipton supposedly made an accurate prediction about the colonization of America. Therefore, we can believe her vague predictions about doom in the modern era--when men could fly through the air or travel beneath the sea. Her "accurate" predictions about doomsday thus bolster other equally "accurate" predictions about doomsday. Since the predictions "confirm" each other, we should worry about doomsday arriving on December 21, 2012.

Unfortunately, the two predictions I analyzed were wrong. They prove that you can't trust the Maya calendar and Mother Shipton, not that you can trust them. Since there's no proof that any of these prognosticators are accurate, you can safely ignore them.

In short, Doomsday 2012 didn't come close to making its case. I give it about a 6.0 of 10 for its failure to provide specifics and analyze them critically.


Anonymous said...

Interesting post:
For the 2012 movie direct from the source,
Filmed 5 years exclusively in Guatemala

kaoruchoco said...

you really think the world will end ?

so wat science said it that doesnt mean it will actually happen if it does so wat ? let it end. and even if it doesnt then guess wat go figure or more liek in ur face science ...

but lemme tell u its just a prediction maybe its real but who cares no body will care until it actually comes.

Rob said...

I don't know about Anonymous, but no, I don't think the world will end in 2012.