Response to Critics
My comments and critiques here will have a specific focus. I will highlight and respond to what scholars, scientists, and astronomers have said about me (personally) and my work (see below for a description of my work). A separate page "Overview and Conclusions" identifies some consistent patterns and behaviors in this extensive quagmire of hubris and under-informed opinion. For example, it's quite apparent that many of the critics of my work never actually read my work.
This page is an annotated index, linking to critiques, exchanges, and essays I've produced over many years. The annotations for each scholar, scientist, or astronomer will be as brief as possible, summarizing their attitudes and critiques before the accompanying links provide my more detailed and supported response. Sometimes transcripts of actual exchange will be provided to reveal the often contentious, arrogantly dismissive, or illogical processing of the facts by degree-holding "professionals".
My Work: A Concise Description for Reference
My "work" is the effort I've been engaged in since the 1980s to understand Maya cosmology, culture, and calendrics, and specifically my effort to reconstruct what the ancient Maya thought about 2012. My awareness of 2012 began at age 12 in 1976, as I recounted in my book The 2012 Story (Tarcher/Penguin, 2009). My writings on 2012 can be traced to comments in my 1989 book Journey to the Mayan Underworld and my 1992/94 book Tzolkin, but reached a breakthrough and the beginning of an intense period of focus in early 1994. My "2012 alignment reconstruction" (also sometimes referred to as the "2012 alignment theory" or "galactic alignment theory") has been presented, defined, elaborated, defended, and tested in many books, personal exchanges, websites, interviews, workshops, classes, presentations, and articles beginning in 1994.
In a nutshell, in my study of the pre-Classic site of Izapa (the culture and site that many Maya scholars believe was involved in the formulation of the Long Count calendar), my study of ballgame and Creation Myth symbolism, and king-making rites, I've argued that the creators of the Long Count intended the 2012 period-ending date to target a rare astronomical alignment within the cycle of the precession of the equinoxes, and saw this alignment as signaling (not definitively causing) the need for deity sacrifice in order to facilitate worldrenewal. There it is in one sentence, less than 50 words. So, my reconstruction work has two aspects: a precession-based astronomy, and an ideology (which I also sometimes refer to as a "spiritual teaching"). To reiterate: my work has never been about arguing for a world-ending doomsday, nor for an automatic and predetermined spiritual ascension, consciousness awakening, transformation, or "bliss out" slated to happen in 2012. My work argues and deduces from presented evidence and academic sources, and articulates what the pre-Classic creators of the Long Count (the "2012 calendar") thought about 2012. More recently, I've been interested in tracing how those traditional, core ideas were maintained, adapted, or violated through the Classic Period (200 AD to 900 AD).
Critics, Reviewers, and Commentators: A General Orientation
For a little history, we should take a snapshot of the 2012 discussion in 1987, when I began writing Journey to the Mayan Underworld, my first book. In academia, we had Michael Coe's popular trade book of 1966 (The Maya) that briefly mentioned the big upcoming period-ending in the terms of it being an "Armageddon." We also had a revised 1983 edition of Morley's 1950s book, The Ancient Maya, that finally extended the Long Count charts to include the 13-Baktun period-ending according to the GMT correlation. That's it. By 1988 we would also have Munro Edmonson's Book of the Year (University of Utah Press), where he noted that the period ending of 2012 fell on a solstice. He briefly speculated, citing a discussion with Victoria Bricker, that it seemed reasonable to suspect that the ancient creators of the Long Count calendar could accurately calculate the Tropical Year in order to target this far-future solstice date. If we acknowledge Jose Arguelles as a PhD-holding Art Historian (University of Chicago), and therefore having bona fide academic status, we also have his brief comment about 2012 in his 1975 book The Transformative Vision (Shambala Publications) and, of course, his mystical framework in The Mayan Factor (Bear & Company, 1987). Along similar lines, the degree-holding Terence McKenna can be mentioned, for his use of the year 2012 (not the specific date) in the 1975 book (The Invisible Landscape) he co-authored with his brother Dennis (these brief comments were expanded in the slightly revised edition of 1994).
We can identify McKenna's and Arguelles's comments as being part of a free-form philosophical model-making and not representative of reconstructing what the ancient Maya thought about 2012. Nevertheless, in a general sense their intuition that a change or "transformation" was involved was loosely in the right ballpark — not that surprising given the archetypal nature of a big time-period ending. Coe's comment was a tongue-in-cheek throw-away line that was clearly filtered through a Christian notion of the "end-times", and he also calculated the period-ending date incorrectly (December 24, 2011). The Morley book said nothing about what 2012 might have meant to the Maya; the appendix merely includes it in a chart of period-endings. Edmonson's 1988 book offered promise in addressing the framework of astronomy (a Tropical Year calculation only), but he never explored the idea further than the few sentences of his 1988 book.
An important precedent for this astronomical approach, thirteen years prior to Edmonson, is found in Frank Water's 1975 book Mexico Mystique. He identifies the cycle-ending date as part of a World Age doctrine of the ancient Mesoamericans, and associates it with the precesson of the equinoxes. Oddly, however, his chart for the period-ending is based in planetary astrology, not precession, and he used Coe's mistaken date calculation. Nevertheless, Waters' book was written with a Rockefeller Foundation grant administered by Colorado State University. His life experience among the Native Americans of the American Southwest gives him credentials of a different sort (not to mention his several honorary degrees), and — despite some unfortunate errors — we should hold Waters's 1975 book above everything else produced on 2012 before 1994. It was intuitively and generally on the right track, as supported by my own 2012 research and the subsequent work on Maya astronomy and 2012 by Michael Grofe and Barbara MacLeod. And Waters himself added an addendum to his Mexico Mystique research, in an essay he wrote after 1987. The McKenna brothers, likewise, intuitively (or by happenstance in the course of their research) reported an important piece of the 2012 puzzle, although they didn't pursue it. Citing the book Hamlet's Mill (1969), by science historians Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, this was the "heliacal rise" of the Galactic Center on solstices around year 2000, or perhaps within 200 or so years depending on what was taken to be "the center". It wasn't explicitly connected to 2012, but the implication was that it might be related to the concrescence date of the novelty time-wave that was the subject of their 1975 book. That was in 1975, and it's rather surprising that it took so many years for the pieces to come together, in my work beginning in 1994 and fully articulated, argued, and documented in my 1998 book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012.
Astrologers and visionaries were on to the galactic alignment by the mid-to-late 1980s, and in 1987 one (Ray Mardyks) associated it with the year 1999 and the Shearer / Arguelles Harmonic Convergence date. Channeler and publisher Barbara Clow would claim these ideas, and my ideas (I guess anything you publish becomes your property) and embed them into her own nine-dimensional Pleiadian catastrophobia framework of interpretation. She cited my work when she described it in her 2001 book Catastrophobia, but expunged reference to me in the 2011 revised edition, probably as payback because I refused to endorse her error-riddled book The Mayan Code (2008) and the equally flawed books of Arguelles and Calleman — who she took under her wing. These events occurred in the arena of mass-market publishers and their agenda of crafting and promoting non-Maya interpretations of 2012, with little concern for reconstructing the authentic Maya ideas about it, and are outside the scope of the focus of this page.
My responses to scientists, scholars, and astronomers critiquing my work
Most of the following scholars have directly critiqued or commented on my work. Schele only obliquely critiqued the premise that 2012 was an important date, following my communications with her in 1994 and 1995. I begin with the six scholars who have published books on 2012.
Anthony Aveni. Mayanist and astronomer (reviewed by Hammond, Shwaller, Hoopes, introduced by Rice). My first exchange with Aveni was in 1996. I sent him several of my essays (ones that eventually became chapters in my book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012). These include one on the Maya World Age doctrine and one on the Hawk constellation. He said he didn't agree with my World Age interpretation, but appreciated insights in my Hawk piece, particularly because it was rooted in ethnographic data. The premise of my World Age interpretation, however, was also rooted in the ethnographic relevance of the Dark Rift in the Milky Way. It was nice to get a response. His stance against a Maya concept of World Ages is a personal conviction that many other Maya scholars simply don't concur with (Brotherston, D. Carrasco, Schele/Freidel, Hunt, MacLeod). It probably became an entrenched fixation for Aveni due to his debates with the Tedlocks, Schele, and Freidel in 1993. He similarly asserts that there's no evidence the Maya thought of the Milky Way as a tree, which is simply a false assertion. I cited evidence for it in my 1998 book.
Aveni was among scholars who received my invitation and book in 1998, but a dialogue did not develop. In 2007, Aveni and I were both interviewed for a piece on 2012 that appeared in the New York Times: http://Alignment2012.com/NYTimes.html. He asserted that I was "a Gnostic" who sought to mystify Maya cosmology, but he and his scientific colleagues had solved most of the mysteries. He also mis-applied my scientific definition of the galactic alignment, which uses the term "galactic equator" and challenged anyone to demonstrate that the Maya were aware of this concept. I addressed this in responding to comments by Susan Milbrath in the pages of the IMS newsletter: http://Alignment2012.com/Aprilpg3.pdf and http://Alignment2012.com/Aprilpg6.pdf.
Thereafter followed, in mid-2008, an email exchange with Aveni: http://Alignment2012.com/Aveniexchanges2008.html. One can begin to sense his anger at my patiently presented arguments and the evidence.
Before the Tulane conference in February 2009, at which Aveni was going to be the keynote speaker, I emailed Aveni my suggestions for "six essential points" that should be addressed, one of which is the solstice placement of the cycle-ending in 2012 (see it here: http://alignment2012.com/Six-essential-points-Tulane.html). During the Tulane conference in February, Aveni acknowledged receiving this with a humorous waving aside, and ignored addressing the fact of the solstice placement of the 2012 cycle-ending date. I had to introduce it during the Q & A section following his talk, which is documented here: http://Alignment2012.com/Aveni-keynotewithQuestion.WMA and in my 2009 book The 2012 Story (Tarcher/Penguin). Quite revealing.
Aveni's book, dramatically titled 2012: The End of Time, appeared the same month as my book, October 2009. His critiques against my work were selected for a promo article, which I responded to here: http://update2012.com/ResponsetoAvenisarticle.html. I noticed errors in his assessment of Grofe's work on the precession of the equinoxes, and several factual errors in assessing my work, including stating the Izapa ballcourt's alignment incorrectly — some 48° in error. Aveni had stated some of these errors in his Tulane presentation of February 2009, which I was able to address and correct in my book The 2012 Story, released in October. See my later response and correction to his Izapa ballcourt critique: http://Update2012.com/Review-Aveni-Izapa-ballcourt.pdf. Grofe published a correction to Aveni's mistaken assessment of his work and his incorrect assumption regarding the direction of precessional shifting: https://www.academia.edu/3894959/Measuring_Deep_Time_The_Sidereal_Year_and_the_Tropical_Year_in_Maya_Inscriptions (p. 221, n. 12).
Unfortunately, in their book of 2011, scholars Matthew Restall and Amara Solari repeated Aveni's flawed critique of precession, even calling it "brilliant", and thereby concluded that my galactic alignment premise was "debunked." Aveni's was the only book by a scholarly 2012 critic published with a university press under (supposedly) a peer-review process that includes, one presumes, fact checking. Apparently not, in this case. It's riddled with unsupported anecdotal assertions and flat-out errors on key points that relate to precession, archaeoastronomical alignments, and my reconstruction work. Kevin Whitesides noted and critiqued the anecdotal assertions, but none of the other reviews (Hammond, Shwaller, Hoopes) noticed the blatant errors of fact; in fact they praised his book, as did Prudence Rice, who wrote the preface. This situation is diagnostic of how Maya scholars and Maya studies failed to treat the 2012 topic accurately and fairly, and indulged in undiscerning cronyism.
In 2013 I asked Aveni to comment on a peer-reviewed piece I had written on the astronomy of Tortuguero Monument 6. He responded that I hadn't adequately addressed the possible explanation of "coincidence." I responded by pointing out that I addressed the coincidence option five times, and it was sequentially ruled out. In other words, the piece was constructed around demonstrating that coincidence was a much less likely interpretation than intention. See: http://Update2012.com/Responseto-Aveni-on-my-TRT-essay.pdf. He didn't respond to my correction.
In early 2014 I then asked, in an email, if he would comment on Grofe's recent essays, and even excised and sent, for his convenience, two pages from Grofe's Archaeoastronomy XXIV essay. No response. Follow-up email six weeks later, no response.
These documents on my exchanges with, and responses to, Aveni are emblematic of the vast majority of how scholars critiqued my work. Basically, they never accurately summarize what it's about (and probably barely even read anything I wrote), assert denigrating falsehoods about my background or methods, disagree with my work but provide no argument as to why, stop responding after I win an argument with corrective facts, and repeat polemically useful errors even after being corrected. A complete failure of "professional" degree-holding scholars to behave responsibly.
David Stuart, Maya epigrapher. We shared some thread exchanges on Aztlan and UT Meso list, going back to the 1990s, but no direct communications. My first direct exchange with Stuart occurred online in July 2007, after John Hoopes announced the New York Times piece that favorably featured my work and mentioned me by name. Stuart responded:
"Personally, I have little patience for 2012 pseudo-science (a kind term), firmly believing that the true conception of the Mesoamerican and Maya calendars, when analyzed in their proper religious and historical settings, is as awe-inspiring as anything modern gurus can conjure from their imaginations."
This was a fairly contentious statement, referencing "2012 pseudo-science" and "modern gurus" who "conjure" stuff from their "imaginations" in response to a mention of my name in a high-profile piece that fairly assessed my work. This is the kind of elitist and snide contempt that I had to deal with, repeatedly, through many years. I kept my cool, however, and tried to introduce the evidence and facts from Izapa. Hoopes baffled every fact I presented, then Stuart himself chimed in with his assertion downplaying the relevance of astronomy at Izapa. I responded with a cogent fact-filled post, which was ignored while other posters just concurred with Stuart's position. David didn’t respond to my post, but started another thread on Copan kings, saying, “In the faint hope that this discussion board doesn’t turn into an exclusive 2012 forum, here’s a completely different topic...”. So I emailed Stuart directly, and thus began an interesting exchange: http://alignment2012.com/stuartexchange.html. In it, I pointed out to him that he himself mentioned astronomy at Izapa in his 2005 book. Oops. And thus ended the exchange. If it needs to be said, here we see a scholar asserting something contrary to what he himself previously wrote, revealing an in-the-moment reflex to simply counter whatever I suggest. An undiscerning reflex to disagree; an emotional need to mitigate.
This can also be seen in Stuart's blog post of October 2009, in which he addresses frequent questions he had received on 2012. Having actually been studying 2012 related matters and disciplines for two decades, I immediately spotted several errors and presumptuous false assertions. I thus wrote a response to his page and tried to post an announcement of it to Aztlan, where I was promptly censored. See this file: http://update2012.com/responsetostuartsblog.html. Take note: despite my corrections to something as elementary as "who came up with this crazy idea" [an apocalypse in 2012]?, Stuart has never corrected his blog — it still states "New Age hacks" rather than cites Michael Coe's "Armageddon" statement in his 1966. Science refusing to correct itself when proven wrong, and, in fact, censoring the messenger of the correction.
My review of Stuart's book of 2011, neutrally titled The Order of Days: http://update2012.com/review-stuartsbook.html. Apart from several basic errors (granted, they were just typos or conceptual slips), an insurmountable issue with his book is that he ignored MacLeod and Gronemeyer's brilliant decipherment of Tortuguero Monument 6 (published the previous year) in order to preserve his fallacious position that 2012 had no meaning. Most egregiously he never summarized what my work was about and yet opined that it was "nonsense" and almost all of my Izapa work was "wrong." Okay, what's your argument? What about my calculation and first publication of the Izapa ballcourt's alignment to the December solstice sunrise azimuth? "Nonsense"; no argument needed. Readers are just supposed to uncritically expect the assertions of an "expert." He didn't even mention 2012 until page 116 and devoted only about seven pages to treating anything of relevance to 2012 research, at the end of the book. In short, it was just a calculated marketplace offering chocked full of basic introductory material. A briefer version of my critique is on the Amazon page for his book.
My censored contribution to his blog, on the new La Corona inscription, in July 2012. This can be found in my piece on La Corona (p. 10): http://www.thecenterfor2012studies.com/LaCorona2012-StepbyStepguide.pdf. My other comments are on his blog: http://decipherment.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/notes-on-a-new-text-from-la-corona/. We are now over two years on from the announcement of the La Corona text, and no papers or treatments have been produced, apart from Stuart's announcement/treatment and my three essays of July 2012. Invisible elephant in the living room, anyone?
My slightly satirical piece of 12-3-2012 piece, responding to his comments in an interview on early December 2012: http://www.alignment2012.com/12-3-2012.html
In general, Stuart held the position, along with Stephen Houston, that nothing was expected by the ancient Maya "to happen" in 2012. The assertion was conflated with an urgent desire to nix the "doomsday prophecy," which prevented Stuart from seeing what the text actually said, thanks to the diligent work of his colleagues Barb MacLeod and Sven Gronemeyer. Their attempts to explicitly point out the evidence in the text were brushed aside, apparently indefinitely, as can be seen in the comments to Stuart's piece "More on the Prophecy that Wasn't" (October 2011): http://decipherment.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/more-on-tortugueros-monument-6-and-the-prophecy-that-wasnt/. Meanwhile, at this time and into early 2012 Stuart repeatedly reported (to National Geographic online magazine, the Explorer's Club Explorer magazine, to which I am a member, and NPR's Earth-Sky program) that "definitely not!" (his exclamation) — the Maya did not expect anything "to happen" in 2012. But MacLeod and Gronemeyer stuck their necks out just a little tiny bit to argue, convincingly, that the ancient Maya expected an investiture ceremony for the deity Bolon Yokte, and the construct of the text indicated that Lord Jaguar might even be supernaturally present to witness it. I argued further that this ceremony was in preparation for a deity sacrifice that would facilitate the world-renewal signified by the 13-Baktun date.
Generally, Stuart and Houston clung to and tried to maintain the old view, decided in the 1990s, that 2012 meant nothing and was just a silly New Age gimmick. This unmoving conviction was also clung to by John Hoopes and others, which motivated their illogical, baseless, and circularly persistent denunciations of my work and any aspect of it where-ever it may appear — such as the World Age doctrine and the precession of the equinoxes.
Mark Van Stone. Author of the self-published book 2012: Science and Creation. Van Stone's dubious strategy of critiquing my work, by constructing work-arounds, is transparently clear as documented in the detailed exchanges we had in 2008 and 2009. All of what I offered in response to his questions and comments was totally ignored in his 2010 book. He quoted popular New Age author Gregg Braden for a loose definition of the galactic alignment, and proceeded to critique the galactic alignment without citing my work or even mentioning my name as the originator of the "2012 alignment reconstruction" — the first person who showed that the galactic alignment involved astronomical features and concepts that were known to the Maya. Our email exchanges of 2008, which he instigated, are here: http://www.alignment2012.com/Jenkins-VanStone2008.html and http://www.alignment2012.com/Jenkins-VanStone2008-2.html. After my book The 2012 Story was released in October 2009, he sent me a fairly hostile email, which I responded to in November 2009: http://www.update2012.com/ResponsetoMarkVanStone.html. Around March of 2010 his book was released; it was an elaboration of a Power Point presentation he devised in 2008 and posted in an image-and-text form on the FAMSI website. Despite it's convoluted organization and errors of fact, it was lauded and endorsed by his friends John Hoopes and John Carlson. My first review of the published book (June of 2010) is here: http://www.update2012.com/Review_Mark_Van_Stone-book.html. A few months later I invited Mark (along with other scholars) to participate in the debate of my SAA presentation on the Tortuguero astronomy. This became the MEC-FACEBOOK Debate of November-December 2010. He declined, and a brief email exchange ensued: http://update2012.com/Jenkins-VanStone-emails-Dec2010.pdf.
My review of his chapter in the anthology 2012: Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse (ed. J. Gelfer, 2011), is here: http://update2012.com/Gelferanthology.pdf. A more pointed critique of some truly bizarre assertions in his 2010 book is here: http://www.update2012.com/Survey-Comments-Van-Stone.html. (Among these is the incredible statement that apparently gives credit to five scholars for already exploring the galactic alignment, when the sources cited don't even mention it). I also critiqued some of Mark's specific comments in the award-winning essay he co-wrote with epigrapher Barbara MacLeod: http://update2012.com/Comments-on-Great-Return-8-2014.pdf.
Mathew Restall & Amara Solari. This is one of the five books by scholars devoted to 2012 — mainly, as usual, a reactionary piece to the millennarian madness, with some thoughtful historical context and analogies. They appropriated, without credit, my term "2012ology." Published with a non-academic trade publisher in early 2011, it was well timed for marketplace optimization and could be found on the bookstore shelves through 2012. Reviews focused on their use of "2012ology" as if it was their own clever term to corrall everything together, much like Hoopes's "Mayanism." (See my intention in coining the term back in 2003, and my use of it in Geoff Stray's book: http://www.alignment2012.com/2012ology.html.) Restall & Solari basically parroted Aveni's flawed assessment of the precession of the equinoxes in Michael Grofe's work, calling it "brilliant", and thereby proclaiming my galactic alignment theory debunked. I emailed Restall with the news that Aveni got the facts wrong, on two critical fronts, and I believe I mentioned my correction in the upcoming Gelfer anthology (December 2011). Restall offered one brief response, that he'd like to see the correction. I sent him Grofe's published correction (IAU, July 2011) and asked for his comments, but no response. I later emailed both he and Solari, seeking some comment about the false information they propagated in their book, leading to their thumbs-down assessment of my theory, and whether it might be corrected in a second printing. No response. That's how mitigation works in academia. The authors may have intended to be fair, but it's not prudent to go to the trouble to admit and correct errors, even if it propagates flawed judgments about another person's work. It's the "fortunate consequence of unintended errors."
Robert Sitler. Scholars were not unanimous in their bad behavior and undiscerning treatments of my work, which was usually offered without any indication that they'd even read let alone understood my work. Robert Sitler has, with an open mind, read and assessed my work, and adjusted his perspectives when new evidence and publications occurred up to 2012. In his paper presentation of October 2004, his very first mention of the "2012 phenomenon" is in the context of introducing my work. This arose from a phone conversation and emails exchanged earlier in 2004. He later titled his 2006 essay for Nova Religio "The 2012 Phenomenon." His book The Living Maya: Ancient Wisdom in the Era of 2012 was published with a trade publisher in 2010, and a follow-up essay was also published in Nova Religio in 2012. He also contributed a chapter to The Mystery of 2012 (2007) anthology, the Gelfer anthology (2011), and was interviewed in the documentary 2012: The Beginning. Several times through the years he contacted me with specific questions he had about my work, for clarification. This courtesy was rarely offered by other critics of my work, and Sitler came to better understand the evidentiary basis of my interpretations — especially in the wake of the decipherment of the Tortuguero Monument 6 "2012" text (which Sitler instigated) and the subsequent work of Grofe, MacLeod, and my SAA presentation (April 2010). An example of Sitler's open-minded outreach is seen in our exchange here (http://update2012.com/3-17-06.html), which led to his conversation with Geoff Stray and his query to Stuart about 2012 dates. His final thoughts in his 2012 "sequel" to his much-cited 2006 essay in Nova Religio were that my reconstruction work was "likely" — with the caveat that it probably could never be conclusively proven. Well, sure, as I've pointed out many times, this kind of reconstruction work of an ancient paradigm can never be "conclusively proven". We accept the "most likely scenario" for Stonehenge, Newgrange and other archaeoastronomical sites that also do not involve explicit first-order proofs. So, yes, my work is "the most likely" interpretation, given a full integration of all the various sets of evidence and reasoned deductions. Robert as interviewed for this documentary: http://www.2012thebeginning.com/.
John Hoopes. A teacher at Kansas University, this anthropologist has taken a lead in crafting a container that loosely throws together many of the books, theories, models, and authors into an undiscerning category he calls "Mayanism." He never produced a book on the subject (though he contacted me in 2009 seeking help on the matter), but he has produced many articles and reviews, three of which have had the apparent status of "peer-review" because they were green-lighted and published by his friend, John Carlson, who is the Editor in Chief of the Archaeoastronomy Journal (published with the University of Texas Press). Hoopes is best characterized as a manipulative and unethical wolf-in-sheep's clothing, called by one well-known writer who tried to have civil exchanges with him as a "weasel on steroids." Nevertheless, being trusting in nature I didn't realize the duplicitous and sneaky tactics of Hoopes until July of 2011. (However, the signs were long on the wall, as can be seen in his Facebook comments of November 2009: http://Update2012.com/Facebook-Nov-2009.pdf.) The so-called "feud" between us began in July of 2011, when he refused to provide evidence for the denigrating framework he constructed about my work and background — which involves an insinuation that I plagiarized my discoveries — in a peer-review essay of his. This is introduced here, and is a good place to dip ones toes into the toxic soup of Hoopes's shenanigans: http://Update2012.com/How-it-started-Hoopes.pdf. My further attempt to rectify his baseless and unsupportable assertions, by contacting the journal editor and the university publisher, are documented here: http://www.update2012.com/Mayanism-John-Hoopes.pdf, see pp 15-20. This essay is also an expose of Hoopes's Mayanism, with quotes from my 2009 book The 2012 Story (Tarcher/Penguin, 2009). This travesty of professional academics was never resolved.
Hoopes continued his unethical bad behavior in his subsequent essays. One was co-authored with religions grad student Kevin Whitesides. My peer-review critique of this essay is all that readers need to digest in order to understand the fallacious and sub-standard "debunking" tactics of these two scholars: http://update2012.com/Scholars-Refuse-to-Correct-Errors.pdf. I have hundreds of additional pages documented Hoopes's juvenile efforts, which are briefly catalogued here:
My review of Hoopes's chapter in the Gelfer anthology, 2012: Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse (2011): http://update2012.com/Gelferanthology.pdf. Hoopes's attempts to mitigate through guilt-by-associate is transparently clear here.
His collaborations with and adoption of the assessment of astrologer Ray Mardyks. The buddy-buddy email trail on this is clear. I provide here one particular exchange that I was privy to, in which Hoopes thanks Mardyks for his "definition" that the galactic alignment is astrology. Hoopes gratefully lapped this up, since it fed his desire to mitigate the relevance of the galactic alignment by associating it with astrology, a nefarious "pseudoscience" in Hoopes's essays. http://Update2012.com/Hoopes-Mardyks-Collaboration.pdf.
Hoopes's "Mayanism" construct on Wikipedia is problematic, to say the least. I critiqued this invented concept in my book The 2012 Story (2009, Tarcher/Penguin), and wrote an additional critique when new information came to light: http://www.update2012.com/Mayanism-John-Hoopes.pdf.
When I wrote a peer-reviewed critique of an essay written by Hoopes and Whitesides, Hoopes went to great lengths to disturb the journal editors, probably in an attempt to derail the publication process, and repeatedly requested all of my multi-genre writings, as some kind of pretense for him making an informed response. I responded in detail, but he kept repeated his request and even launched several harassing email threads at the same time. This was, indeed, tantamount, to harassment. It's all documented here: Scholarly Dreams and Factual Realities: Exposing Academic Tactics of Mitigation in the Critique of the 2012 Phenomenon.
In a continuing attempt to get some clarity from Hoopes regarding his dubious "Mayanism" construct, I tried to share research and ask question on the 2012 Research Discussion Group (on Facebook), which was set up and moderating by Hoopes's buddy, Kevin Whitesides. My request to join the group was ignored at least twice over a two-year period, even though the members frequently made posts about me, some of them quite snarky and inaccurate. I was able to get added by another member, and posted for about ten days before Whitesides returned from vacation and promptly deleted me. Hoopes, and 2012Hoax.com creator Bill Hudson, went silent during this time, and both blocked me so they could claim to not be able to see my questions. Luckily, I preserved the entire exchange: "Truth Deniers: How Scholars Exploit the Internet and Avoid Dialogue." An important discovery occurred, courtesy of Geoff Stray, in which the timing of Hoopes's chicanery in crafting his "Mayanism" prison on Wikipedia got revealed.
Hoopes is a snollygoster, a guerrilla skeptic, a Wikipedia abuser, an unethical debunker. If my charges seem unfair, please read the files linked above — there are internal links within most of the essays that amount to a mutli-volume dossier exposing the unprofessional behavior of John Hoopes. Despite many years of communicating with Hoopes and responding to his apparent concern for understanding and accurately conveying my work, he never has done so and instead has made false and baseless assertions and crafted a mitigating narrative that does not at all accurately represent my motivations, my methods, my contributions, and the nature of my efforts to reconstruct what the ancient Maya thought about 2012. He is the appointed gatekeeper, on guard while his crony-buddies start to echo my ideas in "official" peer-reviewed publications. My own success at speaking at by-invitation-only academic venues and publishing peer-reviewed papers is so unacceptable to Hoopes that he will go to great lengths to mitigate me.
I think Hoopes's behavior is so elitist, prejudiced, and egregious that an evaluation of his online activities, the unprofessional errors in his peer-reviewed papers, and his unwillingness to be corrected, should occur, resulting in the revocation of his degree for violating basic principles of ethical and accurate scholarship. Nothing more need be said, except that his peer-review publications have been green-lighted and, in one explicit case, defended by his friend, John B. Carlson.
John B Carlson, editor of three peer-reviewed journals which contained papers on 2012 by scholars, including his own. Back in 1994 and 1995 I contacted John Carlson and pitched article ideas for his Archaeoastronomy Journal. I was inspired by his recent editorial on the contributions of avocational archaeoastronomers. No response; I sent him papers and my 1995 book The Center of Mayan Time. My early letters are documented here: http://www.update2012.com/Mayanism-John-Hoopes.pdf, pp 15-25. And the debacle that unfolded over his denigrating statements about my knowledge base, in his May of 2010 presentation at the Robbins Museum, is also documented at the same link.
The following year, Carlson green-lighted and published John Hoopes's review of the Aveni and Van Stone books on 2012, which contained unsubstantiated and denigrating assertions about my work and my background (in the Archaeoastronomy Journal, Vol, XXII, University of Texas Press, released around April 2011). Thus followed my attempts to rectify the situation by contacting Hoopes, then the journal manager at the UT press, who in turn contacted Carlson for an explanation. He refused to seek an explanation from his author, Hoopes, and instead defended Hoopes baseless and denigrating comments, saying he didn't see anything wrong with them. These exchanges are also documented in the link above.
Months later I tried to renew the effort, but the journal manager's assistant told me to go legal with it (like, send a cease and desist order through a lawyer). Well, I would have liked to resolve the simple problem in a more human way. Arrogant scholars who refuse to correct themselves and damage other people's careers and reputations by spreading baseless lies really need to look in the mirror. I've seen email exchanges between John Hoopes and John Carlson; it's all so buddy buddy and one can easily imagine a collaboration to write, approve, and publish mitigating things about me. But why? Well, Carlson's own 2012 papers, published in the IAU anthology (released July 2011) and his Archaeoastronomy Journal (released August 2012) echo my own 2012 interpretations, involving deity sacrifice and world-renewal.
While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, a simultaneously employed mitigation is the surest sign of envy. I'm also privy to other shenanigans going on behind the scenes in Carlson's office, regarding a request he made to his contributors (something like 'I advise you to not cite or mention Jenkins'). Sadly, Carlson could have acknowledged I was barking up the right tree back in 1995, if he was in any sense tuned into the evidence for how the ancient Maya thought about 2012 (he claims he was thinking about it at the time). Instead, a rather ugly hubris was maintained ... a lesson from another Seven Macaw.
Kevin Whitesides. My review of his paper "2,012 in 2012" can be found on pages 39-41 of this file: http://www.update2012.com/Scholarly-Dreams-and-Factual-Realities.pdf. Whitesides colluded with Hoopes on an article published in Zeitschrift fur Anomalistik (2012), which I wrote a critique of that appeared in that same journal (January 2014). My comments on Whitesides, and his evasive response, can be found here: http://update2012.com/Scholars-Refuse-to-Correct-Errors.pdf. In addition, my response to Whitesides' reason for deleting me from his 2012 Research Discussion Group on Facebook is found on pages 87-89 of this file: http://update2012.com/Truth-Deniers-July2014.pdf.
David Freidel, Maya archaeologist and co-author of books with Linda Schele. I briefly met Freidel at the 1995 Maya meetings, but never commuicated with through the years. suddenly during an interview for CNN online science magazine, for which I was also interviewed, he called me a "charlatan" and said he hoped to prevent me from doing more presentations. The CNN piece was announced on Aztlan, which prompted a comment from me that Freidel was clearly "mudslinging." The moderators selectively took offense at my comment, choosing to ignore Freidel's comment that I was a charlatan. I emailed Freidel and asked him why he thought was a charlatan. He responded by saying that I was a charlatan because I preach a doctrine of astrological causality to the unsuspecting public. He said he and Stanely Guenter had created a Power Point presentation they were using in their classrooms, on the topic of "Pseudoscience." I informed him that, in my 1992/1994 book called Tzolkin (Borderland Sciences Research Foundation), I exposed and disagreed with the fallacy of astrological causality.
I told him that I didn't see the galactic alignment in era-2012 as astrology, but, essentially, as an astronomical fact. I invited him to dialogue more, and asked if he could send me his Power Point presentation. He did so, and exclaimed "Game on!" When I received it, I noted that every single reference to me or portrayal of my work was either totally false or utterly misleading. I responded with lengthy corrections, a slide-by-slide critique. He didn't respond. Weeks later I resent my response, which was quite cordial despite the flawed basis of his belief that I was a charlatan and his totally flawed assessment of my work — seriously, it didn't seem like he'd even read any of it; it was a haphazard attack of some hallucinated doppelganger that was supposed to be me. Hi quick response was that he was heading to Paris and would try to respond later. Oh, sure. GAME OFF.
My critiques are here: http://www.update2012.com/May2009.html and here: http://www.update2012.com/response-to-freidelMay.html. I later suspected that the damaging Power Point presentation, which no doubt spread falsehoods about my work to hundreds of students, was largely constructed by Stanley Guenter, who we will meet again (below). Perhaps Freidel understood that had made valid corrections, but was too askamed to admit let alone apologize for his mudslinging comment to CNN. No, that doesn't seem to be the case, because several months later he co-wrote with Marcos Villasenor and posted a piece online that reiterated the charge.
Marcos Villasenor (w/ Freidel). The piece may have been largely written by Villasenor, with Freidel giving him his blessings and lending his name to it. The disturbing thing here is that this suggests a concerted effort was being made, agreements behind the scenes, to construct these critiques and misleading narratives about my work. Once again, I shed gallons of digital ink, this time responding to and correcting the Villasenor/Freidel piece: http://update2012.com/ResponsetoVillasenor.html. I responded on Freidel & Villasenor's odd accusation that I am a "New Age apologist" in my chapter in Gelfer's 2012 anthology, which was introduced by Maya scholar Michael Coe. They ignored all of my many critiques of New Age authors and theories, going back to the early 1990s.
A brief exchange with a Dr. Engelmann from Merrimack College, early June of 2012: http://www.update2012.com/June5-2012-letter.html.
Stanley Guenter, archaeologist and epigrapher. As previously described in the Freidel entry, he and Stan Guenter co-created a damning presentation for a Pseudoscience class that flailed my work: http://www.update2012.com/response-to-freidelMay.html. That was created in late 2008 or early 2009, possibly in the wake of my public encounter with Aveni at the Tulane "2012" conference (February 2009).
I vaguely was aware of Guenter by 2008, as I'd seen a few of his posts to Johan Normark's blog. By happenstance I met him in Antigua in the summer of 2008; we were both speaking at conferences in town. My encounter with him is recalled here (Part 3): http://www.update2012.com/Demonstration-for-Guenter.pdf. Also in this essay, we can read the exchange/debate between us that took place on Normark's blog in early 2012. It's really revealing of Guenter's irrational and circular persistence in trying to mitigate me, invoking a grab-bag of UFO references that had nothing to do with our conversation. The link above can be augmented by another exchange on Normark’s blog, from mid-June of 2012, regarding the Xultun inscriptions. It’s a unique exchange that briefly involved me responding simultaneously to Smith, Stuart, Normark, and Guenter: http://www.update2012.com/XultunJune17-2012.html.
This was some two years after the lengthy debate that occurred publicly online, wherein Guenter was similarly circular and aggressive. My exchanges with him in that debate are documented and summarized here: http://www.thecenterfor2012studies.com/MEC-Facebook-Discussion-2010-ON-Jenkins-SAA-TRT-Astronomy.pdf, pp 205-206.
Gerardo Aldana. His anti-GMT correlation paper was published in October of 2010. I wrote a critique (http://update2012.com/response-to-Aldana-on-the-correlation.pdf) and an email exchange ensued, followed by his assertion that I was too jaded by making lots of money (yeah, right) to want to engage in dialogue, that the GMT was "wrong," and his contributions to the MEC-FACEBOOK Discussion in December 2010. His approach was to construct a "test" to supposedly expose the arbitrary nature of finding astronomical patterns in a random selection of dates. I easily pointed out the flaw in his experiment: http://www.thecenterfor2012studies.com/MEC-Facebook-Discussion-2010-ON-Jenkins-SAA-TRT-Astronomy.pdf, pp. 137-139 and 204-205.
Ed Krupp. Mayan researcher, astronomer, director of the Griffith Observatory. Following the usual pattern, I had cordial letter and email exchanges with Dr. Ed Krupp in the late 1990s, which fizzled as I presented evidence that countered his critiques, and then years later he gives a presentation that distorts my work and asserts a denigrating picture of my ideas and associations. Basically, it was the ad hominem attack mode combined with a healthy dose of semantic sorcery with a dash of snide and slightly livid inquisitorial judgment.
In a presentation he gave at The Beckman Center of the National Academies of Science and Engineering in November of 2009, he using a truncated extract from a sentence in my 1998 book, took it out of context, and insinuated I was a doomsday guy who was responsible for all the current hooplah (doomsday frenzy associated with the 2012 catastrophe movie, which had just premiered). He said: “Jenkins is probably more responsible than anybody for the current flurry and character of the interest in 2012” (a.k.a., the doomsday mess). See the details here: http://Update2012.com/Ed-Krupp-snollygoster.pdf.
Furthermore, Ed totally misrepresented a statement in my book, saying, “In this book, Jenkins, in restating an unfounded belief, asserts ‘the Maya believed the world will end in 2012’ — you will find that passage in that book. The Maya didn’t believe that. And then he attempted to understand why Baktun 13 ends in 2012. He wasn’t satisfied with Jose Arguelles’s intergalactic beam.” Yes, Ed, I restated an unfounded belief, in a discursive rhetorical way, and then immediately questioned it. You see, you forgot to include the sentence that immediately follows, and neglected to inform your listeners that part of what I wrote was in quotes. It was an entré into my distinction made between the unfounded and false idea of “the end of the world” and the Maya concept of the “end of a World Age”, which I immediately proceeded to articulate. Ed Krupp has constructed an inversion of what I actually said in the full context of my discussion, to give a false and denigrating impression. Good job, Ed — you and Tony must be laughing it up.
Similarly, Krupp goes on to (falsely) assert that I believed the galactic alignment would happen with absolute precisely on the day December 21, 2012 (and this becomes a hook in his subsequent lambasting). No, Ed, you’re working way too hard. The calendrical cycle-ending date is (of course) itself a precise day, but my book explores the ranges and parameters of the features of the galactic alignment, even noting some 900 years if the full visual breadth of the Milky Way were included. Krupp even mentions that I note this, so he contradicts his own polemically constructed denunciation. The question is whether or not the Maya could make a good precessional calculation that would place the solstice sun at the southern terminus of the Dark Rift. If we identify this as a sidereal location reducible to, say, two degrees, then let’s please read Michael Grofe’s work that argues Sidereal Year calculations were being made by the Maya, well within this variable: “The Sidereal Year and the Celestial Caiman: Measuring Deep Time in Maya Inscriptions” (Archaeoastronomy Journal, Vol. XXIV, 2012), https://www.academia.edu/3895336/The_Sidereal_Year_and_the_Celestial_Caiman_Measuring_Deep_Time_in_Maya_Inscriptions. Krupp needs to update his understanding of the current literature. Of course, anything that goes toward supporting my work would have to be mitigated through the same tactics of semantic sorcery and selective out-of-content quoting that he employed in his talk at the Beckman Center, and quite possibility repeated at other talks he gave at his place of employ, the Griffith Jenkins Griffith Observatory. I also responded to and critiqued Krupp's piece that was published in Sky & Telescope, November 2009: http://update2012.com/responsetoKrupp.html. The editors of Sky & Telescope failed to respond to my offer to write a fact-based rebuttal to Krupp’s article.
David Morrison, a NASA scientist and Harvard graduate has accused me of being the person who began the claims about the Maya calendar predicting doomsday in 2012. On February 17, 2009, on his blog "Ask and Astrobiologist", David Morrison wrote: "The claims about the Mayan calendar predicting catastrophe in 2012 began with John Major Jenkins (a self-styled "independent researcher") in the early 1990s." As anyone who has actually read my work knows, this statement is a completely false slander, all the more distressing because Morrison, in the very same presentations, vehemently blames me and the 2012 doomsayers for at last one suicide, and for scaring children. In truth, I have worked harder and longer than anyone to counter the idiotic doomsday meme in the marketplace — there's been an expose of the 2012 catastrophe movie on the front page of my primary website since early 2009, and a document called "How Not to Make a 2012 Documentary" since July of 2006, also linked to the front page of my website, which exposed the History Channel's 2012 doomsday documentary. David Morrison apparently does zero research on people he slanders. David Morrison, for some four years, repeatedly portrayed my work in his slide show presentations — using images of me and my recent book, The 2012 Story — as "predicting the end of the world" in 2012, as being about the "Mayan apocalypse" and that I believe the Maya doomsday calendar was constructed with the help of "friendly aliens". For example, see the 19:27 mark of his presentation at the NASA Aims Research Center; also see the 43:40 mark. There are other examples online. His presentations were given at scientific institutions, SETI, and the Griffith Observatory. Utterly under-informed and despicable behavior from a professional degree-holding scholar/astronomer/scientist. He may have been totally misinformed about me by Bill Hudson's 2012Hoax website (see below), but that's no excuse; all Morrison had to do was send me an email, look at the front page of my website, or read the back cover of my books. I've been transparently available through my website since 1995.
Linda Schele. Her comments on my work are indirect; mainly in the merit of my premise that 2012 was important to the Maya. In May of 1994 I excitedly wrote Schele a letter, to share my discovery of the connection between the Dark Rift and the solstice-galaxy alignment of era-2012. See the last two pages in this file: http://www.alignment2012.com/HOWWHY1994-2014.pdf. I didn't receive a response, but I spoke with her at her annual after-party the following March in Austin (1995). I briefly recounted my theory, which now involved evidence at Izapa, and she redirected me to speak with her grad student, Julia Guernsey, who was studying Izapa. She was pretty tight lipped about openly discussing Izapa. Nothing came of these conversations, although, if I recall correctly, I sent Julia a booklet.
In 1995 or 1996 Schele responded to inquiries from a researcher named Milo Rae Gardner, who also apparently sent me the very same inquiries about 2012. Schele's response was posted online, either on Aztlan or a UT list-serve. See: http://alignment2012.com/scheletoGardner.html. Her position was that 2012 was not relevant, as the 20th Baktun ending was documented at Palenque. She didn't mention the Tortugero 2012 inscription, even though she mentioned it in her 1982 Maya Verbs book and in a footnote in Forest of Kings (1990). I wrote a response to her comments on 2012 in 1996 (http://alignment2012.com/app5.htm - see internal links and my footnotes), which became an Appendix in Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 (1998).
In February of 1997, Newsweek Magazine interviewed Schele and published a brief news clip that reiterated her position that 2012 means nothing — the cycle goes out longer, to the 20th Baktun ending in 4772 AD. By August of that year, I gave my presentation at the Institute of Maya Studies in Miami and was selling the self-published version of my book (Mayan Cosmogenesis 2012: Precession Astronomy in Ancient Mesoamerica) by May of 1997.
Sadly, Schele died of cancer in March 1998. If she had lived it's likely she would have become a central figure in the 2012 debate, and may have galvanized things along different lines in academia. Despite her early preference for the 20th Baktun ending, due probably to her love of Pakal and Palenque, she may have come around to seeing the elegance of the evidence for my proposal, involving as it did astronomical processes (the precession of the equinoxes) and features (the Dark Rift and the Crossroads) that she recognized the value of — ideas that the ancient Maya embraced.
Michael Coe. I met Michael Coe at the Austin Conference in 1995, and again at the SAA conference in St Louis in 2010. I emailed and tried to interview him in early 2009, in preparation for my 2009 book The 2012 Story. Even through the introduction of a mutual friend, I didn't get a response. I sent him a cordial email in 2011 with some updates on the research, but again no response. He commented briefly on the "galactic alignment" in his introduction to the Gelfer anthology (released December 2011), in which I had a chapter. My review of the Gelfer anthology briefly addresses Coe's comments: http://update2012.com/Gelferanthology.pdf. My book The 2012 Story discusses his work as it relates to 2012, as did my 1998 book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012. My 1992/1994 Tzolkin book pointed out that Frank Waters' cycle-ending date (which he got from Coe) was in error.
Susan Milbrath. Art Historian and author of Star Gods of the Ancient Maya (1999). I sent her a copy of my book, and we communicated in 1996, 1997, and 2000: http://www.alignment2012.com/milbrath9.html / http://alignment2012.com/Milbrath-Jenkins-emails.html. Later, in 2007 she sided with Aveni on his critiques of my work, and I responded to her comments in the pages of the Institute of Maya Studies newsletter: http://alignment2012.com/Aprilpg3.pdf / http://alignment2012.com/Aprilpg6.pdf. Around this time, I learned that she confessed to never actually looking at my book. So, in retrospect, our email exchanges were not based on her being well informed bout my work. Milbrath's work is important, and I've cited her for her amazing work on the Pleiades and precession. However, she doesn’t take her investigation far enough, and has oddly embraced different concepts of the celestial crosses. She is also an Aveni supporter and therefore uncritically reflexively sides with his jingoistic assertions and baseless characterizations of me (as a "Gnostic" or a "student of Arguelles," a "Y12er" and a "2012 prophet"). She is currently studying astronomically motivated E-Group architecture of the pre-Classic, and I await her assessment of the Izapa ballcourt alignment.
Ed Barnhart. Worked on the Palenque mapping project and is the Director of the Maya Exploration Center. We had a good email exchange about my work on Tortuguero astronomy: http://thecenterfor2012studies.com/Email-exchange-Barnhart-Jenkins.pdf. Ed was also interviewed for the 2012: The Beginning documentary: http://www.2012thebeginning.com/ and he proposed and sponsored the public “peer-review” of my SAA presentation paper, transcribed here: http://www.thecenterfor2012studies.com/MEC-Facebook-Discussion-2010-ON-Jenkins-SAA-TRT-Astronomy.pdf (also posted on the Maya Exploration Center, research publications page). This public peer-review contributed to my revised paper for the Benfer archaeoastronomy anthology.
Dennis Tedlock. Had conversations with Dennis in 1994, 1998, 2009. See my book The 2012 Story (2009). See my review of his 2010 book, for the 2012 idea proposed be him and Barbara Tedlock: http://www.thecenterfor2012studies.com/review-tedlock.pdf. I spoke with both Dennis and Barbara at Ethnopoetics conferences in the 1990s, on the phone in 1998, and at the Tulane conference in 2009. Various emails were not responded to.
Vincent Malmstrom. I've cited Malmstrom respectfully in my books. In 2003 he wrote a scathing and ridiculous critique of my "Open Letter to Mayanist and Astronomers" piece which was re-titled and published in the IMS newsletter (2002). It was a 900-word piece, upon which Malmstrom based my entire oeuvre and 2012 alignment theory. The purpose of this piece was to simply point out three or four items of evidence that indicated the ancient Maya thought of the Galactic Center region as a source and center. Namely: the Dark Rift (birth place / emergence place / door to the underworld) and the Crossroads of the Milky Way and the ecliptic (crosses denote the "cosmic center" concept in Maya thought). Malmstrom's critique was ridiculous because he never even addressed these items, which was the whole point of my piece. In 2006, after I accidentally discovered his critique, which is posted on the Dartmouth College website, I invited a dialogue, which ended, as usual, after I presented more facts and reasoned arguments: http://alignment2012.com/Malmstromexchangeon2012.html.
Various astronomers crafted misleading debunkings of the galactic alignment, usually concluding it wasn't real astronomy or that it doesn't happen in 2012. I had exchanges with the following astronomers:
Stephen Tonkin: http://alignment2012.com/tonkins-error.html.
Johns Hopkins astronomer: http://alignment2012.com/openletter.htm. (See also my critiques of astronomers Anthony Aveni and David Morrison, elsewhere on this page.)
I critiqued the September 2012 presentation of astronomer Isabelle Hawkins, who like may critics of my work didn't seem to have actually read my book, and accused me of ignoring things that I did discuss in my book — nay, items that I introduced into the 2012 conversation! http://www.thecenterfor2012studies.com/ResponsetoTechMuseum.pdf. Audio version of the critique: http://www.thecenterfor2012studies.com/Response-to-Hawkins.wma.
Barb MacLeod. I greatly appreciate MacLeod's work. We first met in1995 and we both spoke at the Great Return conference, in Copan in December 2012. I critiqued the piece she wrote with Mark Van Stone, which was an award-winning piece published in the Zeitschrift fur Anomalistik (2012): http://update2012.com/Comments-on-Great-Return-8-2014.pdf. She was interviewed for the documentary 2012: The Beginning: http://www.2012thebeginning.com/. In my 2012 book, Reconstructing Ancient Maya Astronomy, I disagreed with her view that there isn't any evidence to suggest that Ahkal K'uk (mentioned on Tortuguero Monument 6) was one and the same as the Palenque king Ahkal Mo' Naab. I also feel there is an argument to be made that Pakal identified with the 20th Baktun ending in response to Lord Jaguar's previous claim of the 13th Baktun ending. I responded to her invitation to provide a persuasive argument that the pre-Classic creators of the Long Count intended the 13-Baktun period-ending in 2012 to target the alignment of the December solstice sun with the Dak Rift/Crossroads (the galactic alignment). My argument is in the link above, and in a personalized condensed form here: http://alignment2012.com/two-possible-scenarios.html. I feel a considered response to this persuasive argument is a way to move forward on the core proposal of my work, now that MacLeod and several scholars accept it to be "likely" that Lord Jaguar was aware of, and used, the future galactic alignment.
Michael Grofe. Epigrapher and astronomer Michael Grofe wrote his dissertation on the Serpent Series of the Dresden Codex in 2007 (online: http://mayaexploration.org/research_pubs.php). He mentions my work in it, and cites my work in later papers. He was interviewed for the documentary 2012: The Beginning (http://www.2012thebeginning.com/) and spoke at The Great Return conference in Copan (December 18-23, 2012). In February of 2009, during our collaborative dialogue, he hit upon Lord Jaguar's birthday astronomy and its parallel with the astronomy of the sun aligning with the Dark Rift/Crossroads on 126.96.36.199.0 in 2012. He presented at the Oxford IX Archaeoastronomy conference in Peru (Janaury 2011), and that paper was published in the IAU Vol. 7 no. 278 anthology (July 2011). My feedback and comments on it are here. Grofe's papers are posted on his academia.edu page. A second very important paper was published in mid-2012: Grofe's chapter in Archaeoastronomy Journal Vol. XXIV (released August 2012) presents a major breakthrough in understanding how the ancient Maya tracked the Sidereal Year and the precession of the equinoxes, as well as a citation to my breakthrough discovery regarding the astronomy and iconography of Copan Stela C. In early 2012 I wrote a concise summary of my Izapa work, at Barb MacLeod's request, and sent it to her and Grofe. The piece I wrote is here, and it was distributed at the First Izapa Round Table Conference in Tapachula, Mexico (June 20-22, 2012). Copan Stela C remains a fascinating monument, and some day we may be able to understand and talk about what the monument contains, in terms of dates and astronomy. Grofe spoke at The Great Return conference in December 2012, and we all stood in front of Stela C on the morning of December 21, 2012. I've commented on Grofe's discoveries and work in my books The 2012 Story (2009, Lord Jaguar's 2012 Inscriptions (2011), Reconstructing Ancient Maya Astronomy (2012), and in my unpublished Guide to Grofe (2014). He contributed greatly to the MEC-FACEBOOK Discussion in late 2010.
Erik Boot: http://www.thecenterfor2012studies.com/Comalcalco-rerun.pdf. As with many under-informed commentators, he loosely associates me with writers like Carl Calleman and Daniel Pinchbeck. See my comments in "The Original 2012 Center Document": http://thecenterfor2012studies.com/original-2012center-document.pdf.
Sacha Defesche. Wrote a dissertation on 2012 and the "2012 phenomenon" (2007). He claims that my 1998 book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 doesn't contain much that is new. My chapter-by-chapter summary of my book, online since 2002 (http://alignment2012.com/mc2012summary.html), enumerates at least a half-dozen never before articulated reconstructions and ideas about ancient Maya cosmology. For examples: the Izapa ballcourt solstice alignment; the solar zenith-passage tracking with charts; the New Fire as a precession-tracking method; the ballgame and king-making rites as metaphors for the galactic alignment; the integration of two precession-based cosmologies at Chichen Itza in the 9th century AD. Again, this must be a case of a critic not actually reading my book.
Nicholas Campion. I submitted a proposal about my Izapa work to Nick Campion's Cosmology and Culure journal around 2000 or 2001. As with Carlson, no response. In his IAU piece (July 2011) he characterized me as belonging to the persuasion of "millennialists." In reference to how he elaborates this concept, I don't see how my beliefs and work fit into this category. Although his Great Year book was somewhat interesting, it lacks a great deal of information that Jaki's Science and Creation and Callatay's Annus Platonicus explored quite nicely. A discussion of the difference between precessional and conjunctional great years would have been helpful, and would have struck to the heart of a rift in the history of astronomy. My manuscript / outline called Spindle of the Ogdoad (intended as a sequel to Galactic Alignment, written 2002-2004) explores these things, which I partially presented at the first Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge (Whistler, Canada, October 2004).
Justin Kerr, Mayanist and photographer. In a late-2008 comment thread on Stuart and Houston's blog that I contributed to, he refered to 2012 writers as a "pit of vipers": http://decipherment.wordpress.com/2008/12/20/what-will-not-happen-in-2012/ and gave Houston kudos for rendering the 2012 inscription meaningles sin terms of sometihng that the Maya "expected to happen." We see here the reflexive desire to not give 2012 ANY credence as a viable topic — unless it is a punching bag for debunkers. Of course, Gronemeyer and MacLeod (August 2010) showed that the inscription does indicate a ceremony that was expected "to happen" when the "great return" came around in 2012, and that ceremony involved an investiture rite of the deity named Bolon Yokte. See the Stuart entry for how this brilliant decipherment was resisted.
Lance Storm. There were a few reviews of the Gelfer anthology (2011), including one written by Lance Storm of the Brain and Cognition Centre, School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, for the Australian Journal of Parapsychology. He characterized my chapter as "the best" of all the contributions, because:
"Jenkins achieves the most important objective of any researcher by informing us without bias or prejudice, which is far from the aims of those who wish “to carve out a market share of the burgeoning 2012 cottage industry” (p. 165). Most importantly, Jenkins debunks the idea that the 2012 end-date is only a New Age myth. He proposes, by considerable weight of good science, a (to use his words) “rare astronomical alignment that occurs within the cycle of the precession of the equinoxes, which culminates on December solstices in the years around 2012” (p. 169). These culminations involve our Milky Way galaxy. In short, December 21, 2012, is no myth, Maya or otherwise" (Lance Storm).
Yes, that's correct. 2012 is a true artifact of ancient Maya thought and my concern has been to reconstruct what they thought about it. It's pretty rare for commentators on my work to be accurate in their assessments, and draw from what my work actually states. I've always felt that this was not a lot to ask of reviewers and critics, but alas, it has been very rare (despite my efforts to dialogue, clarify, explain).
Thomas Frank. My response to Thomas Frank's "Easy Chair" editorial on 2012, titled "Appetite for Destruction" and published in Harper's Magazine in December 2012. http://Update2012.com/Frank-response.html. In his survey, his most extensive quotes were taken from my 2009 book The 2012 Story, yet he failed to mention the title of my book. He insinuated my participation in a milieu of anti-intellectual "know-nothingism" (apparently because I've critiqued scholars?) and inaccurately called my 2012 alignment reconstruction an "invention." My invited letter-to-the-editor was not published. Efforts to communicate with Thomas Frank have been ignored. Media pundits are worse than ignorant cloak-and-dagger scholars, because they misinform a much wider audience.
Renato Johnsson. This scholar accurately reported my role in putting Izapa on the 2012 map. http://Alignment2012.com/Cultural_Tourism_in_Izapa.pdf. His friend, Astrid Vogel, was hired in 2013 by the Maya Conservancy to translate my Izapa Guidebook into Spanish. A short while later, she wrote an essay that claimed I was the inspiration for the "New Age appropriation" of Izapa. Give me a break. My response to her paper, which is posted on Academia.edu: http://Update2012.com/Astrid-Izapa.html.
Tomas Barrientos, Gautemalan archaeologist and director of the La Corona project (where the second 2012 inscription was found, in early 2012). Possibly completely unaware of my work, his reading of 2012 as a cyclic renewal nevertheless echoes my own interpretations, and demonstrates how reasonable scholars can arrive at the same interpretations I've been articulating since the early 1990. He gave a presentation in Washington DC in mid-2012, which is online and which I comment on here: http://www.alignment2012.com/Scholars-2012-as-New-Era.pdf
Scholars on the Aztlan e-list,
1999. I debated a bevy of scholars on my work in 1999:
David Kelley and others, on the correlation. Anton Vollamaere: http://alignment2012.com/Vollamaere.html; Martin and Skidmore: http://www.thecenterfor2012studies.com/Review-Martin-Skidmore.pdf; http://www.thecenterfor2012studies.com/2012center-note18.pdf. See also the Gerardo Aldana entry.
V. Garth Norman. Premiere Izapa archaeologist, photographer, and theorist. Mixed feeling about his characterization of m work in his Izapa Sacred Temple book of 2012. (He didn't even mention my work in his chapter on 2012 and precession at Izapa — an idea that was unprecedented in the literature and that I pioneered.) We did events together at Izapa in 2010 ad 2012. The dating for the Izapa ballcourt that he and his BYU colleagues subscribe to is problematic: http://www.thecenterfor2012studies.com/dating-the-ballcourt.pdf
Johan Normark. Scholar of some kind in Europe; operated the JMJ-bashing and 2012 debunking website-blog called Archaeological Haecceities, which provided a space for debunkers like Guenter and Smith. He closed it down after 2012 (I guess no more fun was to be had). I critiqued a paper presentation he posted online in early 2014, which tells you everything you need to know about Normark's strategy of critiquing me and my work: http://www.update2012.com/Review-of-Normark-2014a.pdf.
Stephen Eberhart. Mathematician at University of California Riverside. Several pre-email letters of 1995-1997. Many encouraging and supportive exchanges. He also endorsed my 1998 book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012.
The 2012Hoax Webite (supposedly a consortium of scientists), directed and run by software engineer Bill Hudson http://update2012.com/Contradiction-Courtesy-of-Bill-Hudson.pdf. See also: http://update2012.com/Truth-Deniers-July2014.pdf. Kristine Larsen was active on the 2012Hoax site and propagated misreadings of my work in her chapter in the Gelfer anthology. My response to her is here: http://update2012.com/Gelferanthology.pdf. I tried to communicate with her in 2012, but like most other critics she evaded and then didn't respond.
Jim Smith, the premier poster boy for cyber stalking and alias using guerrilla skepticism. A math teacher for kids in Mexico. In June of 2012, in response to his continuing assaults and accusations, I organized and posted my dossier on Jim Smith, which exposed his unethical and stealthy behavior, threats, and attacks on me and my career:
June 17, 2012
To Jim Smith, Johan Normark, and William Hudson,
I wanted to resolve this through
conflict resolution dialogue, but some people are just incapable of reason. As
such, Jim Smith's accusations and evasions on the recent posts of Normark's
Arch. Haecc. website forced my hand, and I am therefore providing you all with
the dossier on Jim Smith's unethical and secretive tactics over the past 2.5
years. What Johan and Bill must contemplate is 1) how they and their
websites became a tool for such an unethical and deceptive person, and 2) how
in good conscience any posts by Jim Smith can be maintained.
I'm open to further discussions of a rational kind. Jim, I don't know why you selected me to be the screen upon which you thought you could immaturely vent your frustrations and anger, but please do some soul searching and grow up. We are all trying to get by in a troubled world, and each have our challenges and difficulties to bear. I responded to your questions two years ago, and then you went covert in your attack plan. It's now on record and documented, so just try to be an adult, and try to practice the principles of tolerance, intellectual honesty, and fair play that you seem to hold high. Best wishes,
John Major Jenkins
See also the exchanges with Smith, before he was aware that I knew he was an alias-using cyber-stalker, on Normark's blog, here: http://www.update2012.com/Demonstration-for-Guenter.pdf. Jim Smith also threatened Jeffrey Pritchett after an interview I did with him, for his blog, in August 2012: http://alignment2012.com/Interview-Pritchett-September2012.pdf. Jim Smith also threatened Greg Schwartz after I wrote a "2012 in Retrospect" piece for his blog, "21st Century Blues", in January 2013: http://thecenterfor2012studies.com/2012-in-Retrospect-JMJ.pdf. And afterwards, Smith posted another (of many) Youtube videos to his "Busted!" channel; it was filled with more lies and accusations. That's how unethical and cowardly bottom-feeding trolls operate. Jim Smith also attacked Kevin Whitesides, for critiquing Anthony Aveni's 2009 book. This unfolded in the Comments section to Aveni's book on Amazon. My comments on this can be read on pages 37-38 of: http://update2012.com/Truth-Deniers-July2014.pdf.
Jim Reed, ex-president of the Institute of Maya Studies and long time editor of the IMS Explorer newsletter, has produced several videos and articles that accurately and supportively evaluate my work.
The first sixteen "advance reader" reviews of my book The 2012 Story on Amazon were very favorable. (October 2009).
Finally, in late 2012 Jim Reed, editor of the Institute of Maya Studies Explorer, asked several scholars what their final thoughts on 2012 were. Their responses are here, published in the special December 2012 issue: http://update2012.com/scholarsIMS-Dec2012-Explorer.pdf. My own response, in the same issue, is here: http://alignment2012.com/JMJ-December2012-IMS-Explorer.pdf
I’ve focused, above, on responding to critics of my work. This isn’t to say all scholarly comments have been negative. My work has received positive feedback and supportive comments from many scholars, including Robert Benfer, Robert Sitler, Barbara MacLeod, Michael Grofe, Ed Barnhart, Anthony Aveni (in one context), Stanislav Grof, Joscelyn Godwin, Mary Lou and Jay Ridinger, Stephen Eberhardt, and others. In addition, my ideas about 2012, as proposed in my books of the 1990s, have come to be echoed by scholars.
Most scholars won’t touch, and don’t even understand, the astronomical part of my reconstruction work. They’ve tried to critique it through selecting bad paraphrases of it from the New Age marketplace (as in the case of Mark Van Stone’s critique of the galactic alignment). They’ve wanly asserted that it’s all “nonsense”, without providing one shred of accurate summary and critical argument. A few scholars have recognized the validity of acknowledging the ways the ancient Maya tracked the precession of the equinoxes (Robert Hall, Robert Benfer, Eva Hunt, Gordon Brotherston, Barbara MacLeod, Michael Grofe). And a few have even agreed with the likelihood that the Classic Period Maya (specifically, at Tortuguero) were aware of the future galactic alignment, which occurs within the cycle of the precession of the equinoxes (Robert Sitler, Barbara MacLeod, Michael Grofe). Some accept the scenario of the “hearthstones of Orion in the zenith at dawn” on the 3114 BC Era Base, and therefore indirectly (perhaps without knowing it) accept the necessity of a precessional calculation having been made (Looper, the Tedlocks, others). The irony here is that they don’t question their accepted definition of the Era Base astronomy, which requires a precessional calculation, but deny or ignore the future precessional calculation to 2012 (to the galactic alignment).
The most promising work that supports the alignment of the December solstice sun with the Dark Rift / Crossroads in era-2012 (the galactic alignment astronomy) comes from Michael Grofe. Beginning with a 2003 paper on the Tikal bone inscriptions, he has laid out convincing arguments that the Classic Period Maya had accurate estimates of both the Tropical Year and the Sidereal Year — which is what you need to make the galactic alignment calculation. His 2007 PhD dissertation identified precession in the Serpent Series of the Dresden Codex, and his subsequent peer-reviewed papers were published in the Wayeb Journal online, the IAU Vol. 7 Oxford IX conference anthology, in Mexicon, and Archaeoastronomy Journal. Anthony Aveni, in his 2009 book 2012: The End of Time (a University of Colorado Press “wink-and-a-nod” production which apparently endured zero fact-checking) critiqued Grofe’s work but made several errors which invalidate his critiques. (Aveni’s definition of the Izapa ballcourt alignment was also wildly in error, along with several statements about my work.) Grofe corrected these errors in his 2011 IAU paper. Nevertheless, Aveni’s errors were repeated by other scholars (e.g., Restall & Solari’s 2011 book) to the detriment of clarity and accuracy on the precession question, with my galactic alignment reconstruction work being a secondary casualty. In the irrational turf-protecting politics of 2012 debunkery, it was probably the intended casualty.
Barbara MacLeod’s work on the 3-11 Pik formula was presented at the Austin Meetings in 2008, and also supports the idea that precessional calculations were being made by the Classic Maya. Work done by Grofe (related to my own work on the same Copan monument) and confirmed at Copan in December 2012 results in yet another element of support for the argument that the Classic Period Maya were tracking precession — and were, in fact, referencing the sun’s position at the Dark Rift/Crossroads. This work awaits official publication.
As one can see, there is a growing body of evidence and work being done by several progressive scholars (one of them a respected veteran of Maya epigraphy and one of them an expert in integrating Maya epigraphy, astronomy, and calendrics) which verifies and extends my 2012 alignment theory — the astronomical part of my reconstruction work.
The ideological part of my reconstruction involves my interpretation that, for the ancient Maya, deity sacrifice is necessary in order to facilitate world-renewal. I’ve shown how this doctrine is attached to calendrical period-endings, specifically to 13-Baktun period endings that represent the completion of one World Age. Thus, 2012 represents the transition to a new era, a return to the start point of the Era cycle — but in my work I emphasize that this isn’t some predetermined event, as it requires a deity sacrifice. (Nevertheless, within the larger astrotheological doctrine it was connected to the galactic alignment, but not as some kind of astrologically defined causative agent.) I articulate how the Maya Creation Myth (the Hero Twin Myth) embeds these sacrifice/rebirth teachings through the well-known dialectic between the deities Seven Macaw and One Hunahpu. I’ve shown how these deities are present in Izapan iconography and reflect astronomical movements.
Critics of my ideological interpretations (e.g., John Hoopes, Kevin Whitesides, and others) have unconscionably conflated it with “New Age” rhetoric, even asserting that I drew my work from astrologers and Theosophy, from which the Nazi’s also drew their inspiration. A quite disingenuous, and false, guilt-by-association construct intended for mitigation — which has now been documented and exposed in my peer-reviewed essay published in the Zeitschrift für Anomalistik (January 2004). This is the ethically-compromised “mitigation department” of academia.
Meanwhile, some scholars have come to matter-of-factly repeat my “renewal” interpretation. For example, Tomás Barrientos, Guatemalan archaeologist and director of the La Corona Project (PRALC), offers a renewal interpretation (in presentations of 2012). Sven Gronemeyer and an INAH archaeologist concurred, during the Palenque Round Table conference of November 2011, that 2012 was about an “era-transition” (thus to a new era). Carl Callaway has embraced a position that 2012 repeats the Era Creation dynamic of the 3114 BC base date (an idea I articulated as long ago as my 1995 book The Center of Mayan Time). Barb MacLeod, Michael Grofe, and Robert Sitler, all support a concept of “return or renewal”. Even Anthony Aveni is reported as saying (late in the game) that the Maya could have thought of 2012 as a renewal.
Most strikingly, John B. Carlson reconstructs an ideology involving a deity sacrifice as the prelude to world-renewal in 2012. This position most clearly echoes my own ideological interpretation of what 2012 meant to the ancient Maya. Curiously, I had sent Carlson letters and then my books along with article proposals explaining my work, as long ago as 1994 (in 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, and 1999). And Carlson declined publishing or even responding to my proposed essay submissions for his Archaeoastronomy Journal. Instead, in 2010 he falsely lambasted my knowledge base of Maya astronomy and green-light for publication (and, when contested, defended) the denigrating and unsupported assertions of his friend John Hoopes (in Archeoastronomy Journal, Vol. XXII). This situation with Carlson and Hoopes clearly illustrates Thomas Kuhn’s three-stage process by which the breakthrough contributions of an outsider are sequentially ignored, attacked, and then embraced (as if they’d been known all along).
So, my ideas have indeed been slowly seeping into the official discourse and consensus, and ethical scholars have acknowledged my work. I’d emphasize that my work in the early 1990s legitimized 2012 as a valid topic of rational investigation by showing that the world-renewal doctrine and the galactic alignment astronomy were identifiable in the concepts of authentic Maya traditions (the Creation Myth, the ballgame, and king-making rites). This was a radical break from what came before, mainly from creative model makers playing with 2012. My work was pioneering, and ignored, in the mid-1990s, and yet was slowly validated as some scholars began to seriously look at 2012. A loud minority of Maya scholars resisted this validation as they’d already decided that 2012 was a hoax of the New Age marketplace, and that I posed a threat. Combined with the unacceptable circumstance that an outsider had produced a fully realized and well-documented breakthrough reconstruction of what 2012 meant to the ancient Maya (my 1998 book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012), certain turf-protecting scholars were mobilized to frame the narrative in a way that would protect their guild from such impropriety. This resistance to looking clearly at my work, and the commitment to mitigating it, was maintained and even accelerated in some sectors (e.g., NASA anti-2012 spokesman David Morrison) in the years leading up to 2012. Meanwhile, some scholars were doing real scientific investigative work on Maya astronomy (work that supported my main premise), while Carlson was crafting “his” interpretation of the 2012 ideology which, by hook or crook (or, of course, by total coincidence), closely echoed my own ideas which I’d shared with him in the mid-1990s.