This comic sums up my thoughts on this subject perfectly.
And here is a nice essay on the subject… It wanders a bit, but has some good points.
For thousands of years, people have been predicting the end of the world. People in the Middle Ages were certain, 100%, that bad weather was a sign of the end times. Credit cards were the mark-of-the-beast. Rock and roll was the end of morality. Americans, a few at least, have called every President since Washington the Anti-Christ. Technocrats believed that Y2K would shut all the lights out for good.
The current apocalypse du jour involves the Mayan Calendar ending on December 21st, 2012. As Todd Armstrong puts it in his comedy routine, if the Mayans could predict the future, why couldn’t they see the Spanish coming?