Chicano studies professor Gerardo Aldana will host a lecture on the common errors and misinterpretations surrounding Mayan proposals of apocalypse tonight at the University Club.
“The Mayan Apocalypse of 2012: A Perfect Storm of Misinformation” will begin at 5 p.m. and explore numerous misperceptions regarding Mayan prophecies that predict an end to the world on Dec. 21, 2012. Aldana will focus on errors made in creating the Mayan prophecy, explaining these inaccuracies through his knowledge of ancient Mayan calendars that allegedly predict the apocalypse. The lecture will also highlight the fact that the Mayan apocalypse theory relies heavily on improbable coincidences and random historical patterns.
Aldana received his Ph.D. in History of Science at Harvard University, with the bulk of his research concerning Mesoamerican art, the history of Mayan hieroglyphics and experimental archaeology.
Jesse Waddell, a first-year film & media studies major, said he does not believe Mayan predictions of apocalypse on Dec. 21 since Mayan prophecies have proven inaccurate before.
“[People] believe that the world is going to end in 2012, the date the Mayans predicted already happened … The Mayans didn’t have a leap-year calendar,” Waddell said.
Waddell added that the predicted Mayan apocalypse will likely just provide individuals with a reason to party.
“I think that people just want an excuse to pretend the world is going to end so they can do a lot of crazy stuff,” Waddell said. “I don’t think it will change that much, but I think there will be a lot of end-of-the-world parties … The world’s not going to end any time soon, except maybe because of global warming.”
Devin Reed, a first-year electrical engineering major, said he is excited to attend the upcoming lecture to learn more about facts contradicting Mayan theories.
“Throughout history, people have predicted the end of the world and we have survived those predictions,” Reed said. “It seems like an interesting lecture because the professor is going to talk about why this has generated such huge hype in comparison to other predictions about the end of the world. Hopefully he’ll also talk about the actual facts behind why did this date come up — did the Mayans actually hold any significance to it? And if they did, why would they be right?”
Undeclared first-year Fitz Ryan said hearing the lecture will help him formulate a valid opinion on the subject.
“Forming opinions based on facts is the only way you can decide for yourself,” Ryan said. “Research it and see the facts to draw your conclusions from there.”
A version of this article appeared on page 3 of November 13th, 2012’s print edition of the Nexus.