Actually, the wild claims reveal more about American culture than Mayan, says Elin Danien, a consulting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Museum.
The museum's exhibit, Maya 2012: Lords of Time, explores the controversy, and confidently expects to continue through Jan. 13.
"I'm planning to have a very good New Year's Eve party," said Danien.
The claims of predictions are, well, baloney.
"It has nothing to do with reality," she said. ". . . They weren't in the business of predicting things."
Basically, a couple of calendar artifacts just stop at the end of a cycle. No image of a fiery collision with a rogue planet. No invitation to Earth's going-away party.
If the Maya believed in a max-disaster date, it would appear on thousands of relics, not just two, said museum scholar-in-residence Ricardo Agurcia, who hails from Honduras.
"I don't know why but Americans are fascinated by destruction" and legends like Atlantis, Danien said.
Rolling crystal balls seem to gather momentum.
"Once a fantasy takes hold, there's no stopping it," she said.
At least until the world doesn't end.
By the way, British bookmaker William Hill accepts bets on dates we're all due for extinction.
"The end of the world is the one betting subject for which we permit customers to name their own odds," said spokesman Graham Sharpe.
"The odds we have offered range from very short to 1,000,000,000 to 1!"
Those wagering mostly want the betting slips for an artwork or a conversation piece with friends, Sharpe said.
After all, if the world truly ends, nobody's left to pay, nobody's left to collect.
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.