+gt;+gt; The following was captured from Cleveland Free-Net, a BBS through which the South

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

>> The following was captured from Cleveland Free-Net, a BBS through which the South Shore Skeptics group operates. I think its important to know both sides of this "Harmonic Convergence" stuff.-----------------------------------------------------------------Date: Fri Aug 14 09:52:30 1987From: PAGE STEPHENS (aa325)Subj: RE: The End of the WorldAs Neil Gould said in his most recent upload to this bulletinboard there is an interesting notion among people who don't knowanything about the subject that this coming Sunday marks the end/beginning of the concurrent cycles of the Hopi, Incan, Mayan andAztec calendars and that something spectacular is going tohappen.I agree that something spectacular is going to happen: thousandsof people are going to demonstrate their absolute ignorance ofprecolumbian American calendar systsms.First to the Hopi.I have been unable to find any evidence that they had a calendarand this would be totally in keeping with the fact that as tribalagriculturalists with no writing system they would be unique ifthey did in fact have one. Calendar sticks were used in theAmerican southwest, but these were used to try to fix certaindates but these were entirely subjective in that they werenot attached to a greater conception of time, a concept which dependson a more sophisticated system of record keeping. In a cursoryglance at The Handbook of North American Indians I was unable toeven find evidence that the Hopi used calendar sticks, but Imay be wrong on this, and I invite anyone interested in pursuingthe subject at greater length to look at both the Handbook and thereferences it contains for more information. You might also writeto some of the authors referred to to ask them about the subject.The Mayans and Aztecs:The mesoamerican referred to were state societies and literateand in fact the Mayan's calculation of the year was more accuratethan until relatively recent times the European. The Mayans werevery sophisticated mathematically and also invented the zero. On the other hand there was no standardized Mayan calendar anddates differed from group to group, and I could find no evidencethat thet the Aztec calendar, while based on the same two cycleswas in tune with any particular one of them. In fact, and I am alittle curious if the metaphysicians can give me any reason otherthan ignorance of the fact that the group even existed, the meso-american calendar apparently originated with the Olmecs.One interesting thing about this particular calendar is that after52 years the 260 day and 360 day calendars come into conjunction,and there was supposed to be a renewal of the world, and I havecalculated the 52 year cycles from certain dates we are sure ofand have discovered that, if I am correct in my presuppositionthat the calendar was not continually shifting without relation tothe mathematical innacuracies, neither the Olmec nor the Azteccalendars will end a 52 year cycle anywhere near this comingSunday.This is probably fortunate because the Aztecs used to sacrificelarge numbers of human beings at that point in time in order tomake sure that the gods would renew the world, and I'm not suremy tender sensibilities would allow me to watch hundreds orhearts could be given to the gods even if it did mean that theworld would be good for another 52 years.The Incans:Until this nitwittery came up I did not know anything whatsoeverabout the Incan calendar. This, however, as I discovered in myresearch, put me only slightly behind the experts in the fieldwho, while they know somewhat more about the subject than I doreally don't know all that much more. And I say that in spite ofthe fact that one of the foremost authorities on the subjectDr. Tom Zuidema of The University of Illinois, is a friend of mine.But I don't have to worry about Tom being upset by my statementbecause unlike the so-called metaphysicians, he: a) knows the hissubject thoroughly; and b) admits that there is still much to learnabout the subject. Try to find a metaphysician with either thatmuch honesty or humility. But then Tom is a scientist who hascarefully studied the subject. So what should he know.In any case in spite of the claims of an ad in a recent metaphysicaljournal by a person who wanted to sell copies of his translations ofcertain Incan texts which would explain the nature of the universethe Incans did not have a written language and therefore couldnot have had any texts to decipher. And our knowledge of theircalendar(s)? is based on our fragmentary knowledge of theirrecord keeping systems which were based on knotted strings.It is also possible and indeed probable as Tom has suggestedthat the Incan calendar had no more relation to the mesoamericancalendars than they did to the European.So what are we left with?As far as I can tell with unsupported statements on the part ofpeople who are totally or almost totally ignorant of the subjectabout which they make many grand claims.But then what do I know. Unlike Shirley MacLaine and her


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank