Some Think 2012 Will Bring End Of World
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March 13 2009
CHICAGO (CBS) Ancient prophecies that
the world will end in the year 2012 are creating
quite a stir.
But is the hype about prophecy -- or profit?
CBS station WBBM-TV in Chicago's Susan Carlson
asks the question, "2012: real or not?Nanci
Flynn was intrigued when she first heard about
predictions the world will end in 2012 and started
her own research.
I see so many things across the board pointing
to exactly the same time frame, it's something
that we need to take seriously," she said.
She believes the financial crisis could be the
"There's talk that in the end of days, there
will be economic chaos," Flynn said. "I
think we're seeing that."
Books predicting disaster in 2012 are flying
off store shelves, and the hype is only expected
to grow. But when the dust settles, will 2012
go the way of Y2K?
"You cannot just pick and choose and interweave
pieces of un-contextualized history together to
sell a story that might help you sell books,"
says Gary Feinman, the Field Museum's curator
of Mesoamerican anthropology.
Dec. 21, 2012 marks the end of the 5,000-year
Mayan calendar. Feinman says while many are attaching
catastrophic significance to that date, for the
Mayans, the date simply marked the end of a cycle,
not the end of the world.
"Kind of like an odometer flipping over,"
But you wouldn't know that from surfing the Net.
Googling "2012 disaster" results in
more than 2 million websites. People are buying
it, literally: everything from emergency supply
kits to 2012 T-shirts. And right on cue, a blockbuster
movie is coming out this fall.
Fueling the hype, Dec. 21, 2012 falls on the
winter solstice. And it's supposed to be when
the sun aligns with the center of the Milky Way
galaxy. While that sounds impressive …
"That happens every year," said Mark
Hammergren, astronomer at Adler Planetarium. "It
was closer aligned in the past; there's no consequence
Despite predictions of cosmic chaos, Hammergren
says there's no scientific data pointing to anything
unusual happening in the year 2012.
"A woman asked me if I thought Jesus was
coming back soon," said Scot McKnight, professor
of religious studies at North Park University.
"And she was definitely impacted by the 2012."
Religious furor is also driving speculation the
world is coming to an end. But according McKnight,
some of that may be politically motivated.
"It doesn't surprise me one bit that with
a new Democratic president, some evangelical Christians
think the end of the world is near," he said.
The bible does reference the end of days, but
there's no indication when.
"Date-setting was denounced by Jesus,"
But Flynn, like many others, still won't shrug
off the 2012 prophecies.
"Suppose it were real -- would you still
ignore it?" she asked.
We questioned the main areas where the hype is
coming from. Several ancient civilizations and
many prophets, including Nostradamus, have been
interpreted -- or misinterpreted -- with Armageddon
predictions linked to 2012. On the other end of
the spectrum, some spiritualists predict that
that year will not bring disaster but instead
usher in an age of enlightenment.