"If people think the world is going to end on December 21, 2012, all we gotta do is make them commit. And then when December 22nd, 2012 rolls around, they'll realize how silly it all was."
I'm pessimistic about the effectiveness of this argument.
How do we know that there will be a 2013, anyways? You can't talk about future evidence. Either you've got present evidence, or you've got none at all. So what is the present evidence, and why aren't we talking about that instead?
I just don't buy the idea that belief in the endtimes will suffer a major blow after 2012. People will simply forget about it, and move on to the next date. What makes me think this? Well, remember Y2K? Neither do I. No one will remember for very long.
By patiently waiting for 2012, we are being complicit in this forgetfulness. We are acting as if December 12, 2012 is the first and only prediction of endtimes. In reality, the idea that the world as we know it will very soon come to an end is one of the most historically persistent delusions in existence. The point is, we do not have to wait for the prediction date to pass, because it has already passed. It has already passed thousands of times throughout the ages.
Here is a pretty good list of predictions of the end of the world as we know it.
So there is our present evidence. Our present evidence is that previous predictions have all been wrong. So if you believe in the endtimes, it is your turn to present the evidence. Show us why your scenario is far more likely than all other endtimes scenarios which have been predicted in the past.