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Unless you have been living in a distant galaxy, I suppose you know the 21st of December 2012 is the “end of the world”, according to the Mayan calendar.

This prediction is false, for the following reasons:

  1. There has been at least 183 ‘official’ so-called “end of the world” events in the last 2,000 years. And you know what? If you’re reading this, none of them have been true.
  2. In the mayan calendar, they had an “origin” date. Most specialists on this matter agree that it was (approximately) in August 3114 B.C., so we’re not even sure of that one. And every few thousand years, they had the end of a ‘cycle’. Taking the origin date and adding the number of years in a cycle, specialists found out that the date of the end of the cycle was…the 21st of December 2012. But like I said, it’s only the end of a cycle, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Just like we know that every 31st December, it’s the end of the year. Not the apocalypse.
  3. The Mayans never left any trace of what would happen at the end of the cycle, but they were great astronomers.

Here are a few common situations considered:

  • A planetary alignment: There is no special event with the solar system’s planets (see photo). Uranus and Neptune were unknown to the Mayas, so they are not represented (if it can make you sleep better at night, Uranus is long way up from the sun and Neptune also a long way up but a little more on the right).
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  • Solar Flares: Every 11 years, our Sun is more active than usual. When there are solar flares, a bunch of particles are ejected in space, but the magnetic field of our planet protects us. The worst that can happen is a disturbance of artificial satellites, radio transmissions or electric disturbances.( polar auroras are evidence of these particles, see photo)
  • Image
  • An Alignment with the center of the galaxy: There is an alignment with the center of the galaxy, BUT this happens every single year in the month of December. And it’s not even exact; there is a difference of 5° between the galactic center and the direction of the sun. ( see photo)
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  • A planet or meteroite crashing down on us: If there was ever an astral object to come crashing down on us to make the end of the world, we would’ve simply seen it a long time ago, with all our super-telescopes.

4. The dangers of these kind of alerts aren’t even direct consequences. Like you may have noticed, everyone is talking about it, so the most sensible people will probably be faced with suicide, the fear of something happening to them.

5. CONCLUSION The Mayan calendar is unreliable. Nothing extraordinary will happen that day, there is as much chances that the 21st December 2012 is the end of the world than the 7th of May 2025, the 28th of October 2074, and so on. Nothing extraordinary, really.

So you’re going to have to buy those Christmas presents because there will be a 25th December 2012.

:)

Dots and Lines of Evidence

This illustrates the process of gathering evidence from experimentation, to creating theories that explain the evidence, refining the evidence through more experimentation, and through the process of elimination, focus on a theory that best explains the evidence.

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What is Evolution?

There are three important concepts within Evolutionary Biology:

  1. The definition of evolution (common ancestry and descent with modification),
  2. The patterns of evolutionary relationships (depicted as phylogenetic trees or cladograms),
  3. The processes of evolutionary change (for example, natural selection and genetic drift).

A general definition of Evolution is “change over time”, and when used in biology (the study of living organisms), it usually refers to what can be called Biological Evolution – which is about the change over time of living organisms; scientists have been investigating the diversity of life for many years, and their explanation is called “The theory of Evolution”.

In science, a theory is not the same as a hypothesis (a proposed explanation that needs to be tested), a theory is the best explanation of the observations, given the evidence. Since Charles Darwin first proposed evolution more than 100 years ago, scientists have conducted hundreds of thousands of experiments in an effort to refine what we know about the process of evolution; each day we learn something new because evolution involves many different fields of study, including biology, chemistry, geology, and genetics..

Common ancestry forms the core of evolutionary biology. The processes and patterns represent the frontiers of evolutionary biology, where current research yields new discoveries and increases our understanding of the how descent with modification occurs, how species change over time, and how new species form. This information is presented in charts, and depending on which field of study, it is given a different name.

Scientists use the concept of common ancestry to can make and test predictions – for instance, by collecting evidence about the physical appearance of chromosomes as well as the sequence of DNA, biologists found excellent support for the hypothesis that during the course of evolution, human chromosome 2 formed through the fusion of two pre-existing chromosomes. Through careful examination they were able to identify these chromosomes the same that are in other great apes. This is part of the evidence that gives strong support of Common Descent, while at the same time providing strong evidence about the common ancestry shared by Modern Humans and other great apes.

Evolution accounts for the striking patterns of similarities and differences among living things over time and across habitats through the action of biological processes such as natural selection, mutation, symbiosis, gene transfer, and genetic drift – and we’ll get in these in later posts!

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