MODESTO -- As the room quickly filled 15 minutes before the Modesto Area Partners in Science presentation was to begin, a crowd of people settled in to receive some enlightenment concerning doomsday.
The speaker at last month's presentation at Modesto Junior College, Bryan Mendez, presented his case on the fallacy of the doomsday theory. He opened eyes by revealing some appalling nuggets about the controversy.
For instance, the calendar commonly used by doomsday enthusiasts to support their theory actually fell out of use as a result of the fall of the Mayan political structure, contradicting the supposition that the Mayans were predicting the world's end.
Mendez brought to attention the fact that natural disasters occur all the time and that there is no logical reason making 2012 more likely to feature a significant one.
He showed that there will not be a unique planetary alignment, or sun-moon alignment, this year. He explained that there is no reason to expect striking effects from global warming, extreme weather, meteor impacts, magnetic pole shifts, solar storms or a gamma ray burst in 2012.
Regarding the so-called Planet X, Mendez stated that if there were one, it would be visible to the naked eye.
The statistics Mendez cited to support his case that the world will not end on Dec. 21 seemed countless, and while making occasional humorous comments, he provided strong facts and demonstrated that, as he said, "People have short-term weather memory."
He noted that natural disasters are always occurring, and when one occurs, the public tends to consider it the worst, regardless of the previous ones.
For instance, during the aftermath of a hurricane, the public is commonly in despair and considers the hurricane unprecedented in magnitude, seemingly forgetting about greater incidents.
The most eye-opening of all were the facts concerning the Mayan calendar, which is referred to when doomsday enthusiasts claim that the Mayans were suggesting the world's end.
Mendez provided an image of the actual calendar instead of the Piedra del Sol, which media usually present as the Mayan calendar.
He pointed out that the actual calendar's use decreased to the point of nonexistence as a result of the failed Mayan political structure. This misinterpreted calendar is known as the Long Count, which starts from creation, as the Maya understood it, and corresponds in some ways with the Christian calendar.
"There is no evidence that the Maya thought of this date as anything more than a significant anniversary of creation," Mendez said.
This fact was enough to raise questions regarding the doomsday theory; it was something many in the audience were unaware of.
It is unbelievable that the Long Count was never intended to predict the world's end, but was simply a calendar the Mayans no longer used as their political structure collapsed and they were no longer at the height of their civilization.
Furthermore, Mendez showed trends in the above-mentioned various weather conditions, alignments, meteor impacts, etc. These trends proved that there is no logical reason to expect a noteworthy cause that would cause Earth's end.
As all of this information was presented, the origin of such a ridiculous theory suddenly became increasingly debatable.
It now seems highly unreasonable how such a theory escalated to the extent it has currently reached.