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19 August 2010


Granted, I'm beating a dead horse.

I'm not going to get deep into the 2012 mythos, but I did want to make one point that I don't believe I've heard anyone mention, yet.

This is the general structure of the 2012 argument that I tend to encounter:

  1. The Mayans were excellent astronomers and mathematicians.
  2. The Mayans predicted that the world would end on 21 December 2012.
  3. ∴ The world will end on 21 December 2012.

One of the many problems with this argument is that its conclusion is a non sequitur: it does not follow.

I'll grant that, for their time, the Mayans were excellent astronomers and mathematicians, and for the sake of the argument I'll be generous and I'll even grant that they predicted the end of the world (which they quite clearly didn't). But even assuming both premises are true does nothing to demonstrate that the conclusion of the argument is true! That's because this argument is not only unsound, it's logically invalid.

The Mayans are excellent mathematicians and astronomers. The Mayans (for the sake of the argument) predicted the apocalypse. Does that mean that the apocalypse will occur in 2012? Do people really believe the Mayans, being quite good at math, without the benefit of modern scientific instrumentation, were somehow magically able to see into the future? Because that's honestly what this argument seems to boil down to.

Proponents of the 2012 myth try to swaddle their arguments in science, but when push comes to shove it's really an argument from prophecy.

And I don't believe in magic.

1 comment:

  1. It seems like every few years, superstitious people get worked up over some supposed calamity to come -- Y2K, some great convergence, and now 2012. Despite the fact that the prophesized upheavals never come to pass, gullible people still believe this stuff anyway! You just can't figure some people out.