Doomsday is upon us, fellow ZME Readers! December 2012, particularly 21 December 2012 marks the conclusion of a b’ak’tun—a time period in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar which was used in Central America, most notably associated with the Maya (even though it was the Olmec people that actually invented it).

In 1966, Michael D. Coe, a man of which few doomsday believers know of, wrote that “there is a suggestion … that Armageddon would overtake the degenerate peoples of the world and all creation on the final day of the 13th [b’ak’tun]“. Translation – only the chosen ones will be saved, and the other ones will be destroyed by Armageddon.

The 5,125-year “Long Count” Mayan calendar is ending. The precise nature of Armageddon isn’t described, but it will be big, bad, and pretty much annihilate civilization as we know it. Many believe several mountains will open up literally and giant space ships will come out from there, picking up only the chosen ones, thus saving them.

Reality check!!!

Most people have a calendar on their wall, somewhere. At 31 December, the year ends and another one begins. Imagine you have a calendar with, say, 100 years. At the end of the 100th year, 31 December, the calendar will end. Conclusion – the world will end. Makes perfect sense, right ? This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then — just as your calendar begins again on January 1 — another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.

As a matter of fact, even the initial interpretation was contested, most archaeologists believing that the end of the calendar is a matter of celebration and entering a new era.

Regardless, believing the world will end because an ancient civilization’s calendar ends is really childish. But who knows, maybe some alien species will find one of our calendar and think the world ends on 31 December.

Read about other popular Mayan doomsday “prophecies” from our debunking series: