|The "Galactic Alignment" is Jenkins' own idea|
The "Galactic Alignment" is Jenkins' own idea: he didn't get it from the Maya. He's all over the map about what will be aligned, and when.
A Review of The 2012 Story, by John Major Jenkins
We present here a review that was posted on Amazon.com, plus the ensuing exchange between the reviewer and a Jenkins supporter. The review was entitled Misses his chance to correct misconceptions about the astronomy of 2012. It was posted on 2 February 2010, with subsequent edits.
Visitors here may wish to read our article on common misconceptions about the Galactic Equator (which we unfortunately helped spread) before reading this review.
Table of Contents
We have studied Jenkins' astronomy in detail. Besides this book, we've read Maya Cosmogenesis 2012: The True Meaning of the Maya Calendar End-Date and his website alignment2012.com. We've also checked his diagrams with the program Sky Charts.
Jenkins' diagrams are correct about the position of the Winter Solstice Sun in the important years 1980, 1998, 2012, 2016, and 2018. However, his diagrams do not correct persistent misconceptions about what makes 2012 astronomically unique.
Regarding The 2012 Story
One of Jenkins' themes is that his critics misunderstand his work and misrepresent it. However, we wonder whether he recognizes how much of the misunderstanding comes from his inconsistencies and reliance upon crudely drawn diagrams of the Milky Way? (e.g., on pp. 142 of 2012 Story, p. 350 of Maya Cosmogenesis, and on alignment2012.com.) He could clear up much of the misunderstanding by presenting two good photos of the Milky Way. (See below for recommendations.) Unfortunately, he does not present such photos in The 2012 Story, nor did he do so in Maya Cosmogenesis or on his website.
The Recommended Photos, and Why They're Needed
The First Photo that's Needed
A high-resolution shot of the center of the Milky Way (e.g. 1, 2), identifying the segment of the ecliptic that corresponds to the era of the Galactic alignment, and giving approximate endpoints. Each endpoint should be labeled with the approximate year when the Winter Solstice Sun will be there.
Jenkins needs to show this photo because his works have created much confusion by first defining the Galactic alignment with reference to the Galactic equator, then dismissing the Equator as an extraneous, irrelevant, and misleading reference. He does both in this book. Using the Equator, he obtains a "good scientific calculation of the alignment" as occurring in 1998 (pp. 142-143). He then expands this alignment to an "era of 2012" that lasts from 1980 to 2016. (pp. 145-146).
When he switches to dismissing alignment with the Equator as the definition, he uses alignment with the rather diffuse Dark Rift. On that basis he gets an era that he describes only as "the years around 2012" (pp. 140-141). Actually, Jenkins admits on his web site that he's been aware since 1995 that the Solstice Sun aligns with the Rift for over 100 years. (See the first comment below for references. Our own eyeballing of the Dark Rift suggests either 2060 to 2150, or 1850 to 2200, based upon two different degrees of "darkness" of the Rift.)
The Second Photo of the Milky Way that's Needed
A high-resolution shot showing the position of the 2012 Solstice Sun. For comparison, this photo should also show the Solstice Suns for the years 1950 to 2050, at 20-year intervals.
This photo is necessary because Jenkins alternates between (1) insisting that SOME once-in-26,000-years alignment occurs on the 2012 Winter Solstice, and (2) ruling out each alignment that he mentions as a possibility. Similarly, he insists that the Maya succeeded in "pinpointing" that rare alignment, then ridicules the idea that this was their intent.
Here are three of Jenkins' assertions that 2012 is unique:
[W]ith their uncorrupted intelligence intact, [the Maya] suspected that the world would go through a transformation when the solar and the galactic planes aligned. They devised their Long Count calendar to target when the cosmic alignment would maximize, and that time is AD 2012. (On the home page of Jenkins' website alignment2012.com, 1 May 2010.)
[ca. 1994] I studied star charts and proved to myself that, yes, despite it never making the morning newspaper headlines, a very rare alignment in the precessional cycle will occur on the December solstice of A.D. 2012—the end-date of the Maya calendar! Precession brings one of the seasonal quarters (either the March equinox, the June solstice, the September equinox, or the December solstice) into alignment with the Milky Way once every 6,450 years. However, the alignment of 2012 occurs only once every 25,800 years!" (From the introduction to Maya Cosmogenesis, p. XXXVIII, currently maintained online by Jenkins at alignment2012.com/mc-intro.html).
The Maya called [the Dark Rift] the Road to the Underworld. They seem to have imagined it as a portal to another world, and the December solstice sun can enter it only in A.D. 2012 (From the introduction to Maya Cosmogenesis, p. XXXIX, currently maintained online by Jenkins at alignment2012.com/mc-intro.html.)
In 2012 Story, Jenkins again asserts that the inventors of the Maya calendar "pinpointed" a once-in-26,000-years alignment with the 13-baktun cycle end-date (21 December 2012).
However, things become confusing on p. 143, where he attempts to explain why the Maya chose 2012 as the end-date rather than 1998, which was the year when the Winter Solstice Sun aligned most perfectly with the Galactic Equator. Jenkins downplays this 14-year discrepancy by saying,
To assume that the ancient Maya had to make an absolutely perfect forward calculation of precession, more than 2,000 years into the future, is completely unrealistic".
And even, on the same page,
If you embrace the fallacious assumption that the Maya end date is supposed to pinpoint an event that is hardwired into the structure of the Universe, or into the fractal math of time, misleading conclusions are likely to follow."
What Jenkins seems to be saying is that both he and the Maya claim there will be a unique alignment in 2012, but that he's right and they were off by 14 years.
Besides the apparent contradiction regarding whether the Maya should have targeted 1998 or 2012, it's perplexing to see Jenkins defend his "alignment" theory by casting doubt on the precision of which Maya astronomers were capable. In Maya Cosmogenesis, he told us that aided by hallucinogens, the Maya traveled interdimensionally to any time and place they chose, and could "conjure up quantum anomalies at will, and travel into them", so that "to them, the work of modern physics would seem like child's play" (Maya Cosmogenesis, p. 318. Similar comments are on line at alignment2012.com/mc-intro.html).
Jenkins shouldn't leave it up to us to figure out whether he's really contradicting himself, nor should he expect us to figure out what, if anything, he finds "unique" and "rare" about the position of the 2012 Winter Solstice Sun. Instead, he owes his readers and his critics the recommended photo, with the "rare" aspects of 2012 clearly identified. This should cause him no difficulty: recall that he says in Maya Cosmogenesis that ca. 1994 he had already identified, from conventional star charts, an alignment that occurs only on 21 December 2012.
In the meantime, Jenkins' own writings have ruled out the following alignments as unique to 2012:
- Alignment of Winter Solstice Sun with the Milky Way
This alignment lasts from approximately 1550 to 2450; that is, it happens 900 times in 26,000 years (Maya Cosmogenesis, pp. 113-114)
- Alignment of Winter Solstice Sun with the Dark Rift
This alignment occurs in the unspecified "years around 2012" (2012 Story, p. 140), which Jenkins concedes is a period of over 100 years, and is actually >140.
- Alignment with the Galactic equator
See the discussion of "The First Photo", above, and Jenkins' footnote #28 on p. 437 of 2012 Story.
- Alignment with Sgr A* (the true center of the Galaxy, and a probable black hole)
The closest alignment with it "occurs some 200 years after 2012" (2012 Story, p. 141).
To my knowledge, Jenkins has never identified any candidates for "once-in-26,000-years alignments" other than the ones he has himself ruled out.
Jenkins' dedication and energy are remarkable, and even mainline scholars acknowledge the contributions he's made to Mesoamerican archaeoastronomy (See Anthony Aveni's The End of Time: The Maya Mystery of 2012, and the last two links in the first comment.). However, I'm afraid he's in danger of going down in history as a crank who blamed his detractors for misunderstandings that resulted from his works' lack of clarity. He can avoid that fate by presenting the recommended photos.
Resources and references
Other links are given in the Comment #1 on this review.
ABOUT THE ALIGNMENT WITH THE "DARK RIFT"
Here are two possibilities I offer for the start and end of the "Dark Rift alignment"
Start: J2000 RA 17h 56min 18s, DE -23deg 25min 43s (2060 Solstice, 21 December, 03:02 UTC)
End: J2000 RA 17h 50min 49s, DE -23deg 24min 14s (2150 Solstice, 21 December, 23:21 UTC)
Start: J2000 RA 18h 08min 21s, DE -23deg 26min 44s (1850 Solstice, 21 December, 23:38 UTC)
End: J2000 RA 17h 47min 45s, DE -23deg 23min 00s (2200 Solstice, 22 December, 02:27 UTC)
Comment #1 (From the Reviewer)
Here are the references, etc. that I mentioned.
Links to suitable photos of Milky Way:
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap080104.html (from Chile's Atacama Desert)
A high-quality image of Milky Way from a Jenkins detractor:
For comparison, the diagram of Milky Way used by Jenkins:
PLEASE NOTE that the following article's discussion of the Galactic Equator is actually quite inaccurate. See discussion here.
An additional reference, for readers who can overlook its tone:
(Especially good for discussion of the Galactic Equator, and for showing the marvelous Milky Way images that even an inexpensive astronomy program can produce.)
Jenkins' own admission that Solstice Sun aligns with Dark Rift for >100 years
Reference showing Jenkins is aware that sun is aligned with Dark Rift for > 140 years
Other references about Jenkins' statements re: Dark Rift
Comment #2 (From "Aaron", a Jenkins supporter)
Perhaps you have read his books, but not with great comprehension it seems.
Jenkins is pretty careful about contextualizing his ideas. When critics engage in sophistry over out of context aspects of his research, he rightly has recourse to expose how they, as you put it, "misunderstand his work and misrepresent it."
One of the points he continually is forced to address is the difference between the precise astrophysical details of the alignment, and the ancient Izapan culture's conception of the alignment. They are two different things! The precise details you are demanding (which Jenkins does provide in the text, just not with the hi res images you demand) are not relevant to the conception of the ancient Izapans except as a framework from which the modern mind can correlate the cycle.
"Jenkins needs to show this photo because his works have created much confusion by first defining the Galactic alignment with reference to the Galactic equator, then dismissing the Equator as an extraneous, irrelevant, and misleading reference. He does both in this book. Using the Equator, he obtains a "good scientific calculation of the alignment" as occurring in 1998 (pp. 142-143). He then expands this alignment to an "era of 2012" that lasts from 1980 to 2016. (pp. 145-146)."
You have apparently misunderstood his argument. The 36-year alignment "era" is not a discarding of the Galactic Equator as a reference. The Galactic Equator is the very line of demarcation that defines this era. The mid-point of the era (1999ish) is the conjunction of the very center point of the sun with the line. The beginning and end of the era are defined by the conjunction of the edge of the solar disc with the line. The Sun is approx. one-half of a degree wide. Precession changes the backdrop of the stars (and the Galactic Equator reference) by one degree, relative to the tropical year, in a little over 70 years. Therefore the passage of the 1/2-degree-wide Solstice Sun through the Galactic Equator occurs over an approx. 72 / 2 = 36-year period. Jenkins is citing hard astrophysical references, that you even agree are valid. It's not hard to find an inflatable celestial globe for $12 that provides the galactic equator in reference to the fixed stars to visualize this yourself if you find his diagrams unsatisfactory.
What Jenkins also rightly points out, is that these definitions are derived from our own telescope-based modern astrophysical scientists, and are not to be confused with the cosmovision of the ancient skywatchers. In this case, the "Galactic Equator" can be forgotten, in favor of the authentic Maya conceptions of the Xibalba Be, and Ek Way, which point to a transformative star-black location at the center of the Milky Way's nuclear bulge. This is not a discarding of one thing for another by Jenkins, it is a careful consideration of the relation of each to the other, and the proper context in which they might be applied.
"In 2012 Story, Jenkins again asserts that the inventors of the Maya calendar "pinpointed" a once-in-26,00-years alignment with the 13-baktun cycle end-date (21 December 2012). However, on p. 143 of The 2012 Story he also tells us that
"To assume that the ancient Maya had to make an absolutely perfect forward calculation of precession, more than 2,000 years into the future, is completely unrealistic"."
The alignment takes place over a period of decades (in relation to the Galactic Equator) or more if you extend the parameters beyond the Galactic Equator. This is what is being "pinpointed" within the parameters of the ancient Izapan cosmovision, which it is unrealistic to believe was using the same definitions and standards of precision as modern astrophysics.
A careful and considered reading of an author's work before casting judgement can help diffuse the perpetuation of these misunderstandings.
Comment #3 (From the Reviewer)
Most of your comment is irrelevant, since the claims about the "unique, once-in-26,000-years astronomical features of 2012" come from Jenkins himself, not from the Izapans. And it is Jenkins, not the Izapans, who claims that in or around 2012, the "field effects" of the Sun's apparent position at the Winter Solstice (as viewed from Earth) will affect humanity in extraordinary ways that don't happen when the Sun appears to be at that same position in >100 other years.
In Maya Cosmogenesis 2012, at least, Jenkins in no way "contextualizes" those claims. For example, he said (p. XLI) "The bottom line of MY THEORY is that the ancient Maya chose the 2012 end-date because this is THE DATE on which occurs a rare alignment of the solstice sun with the galactic center". (Emphasis added, in both places. Jenkins still maintains this assertion on line at his website, http://alignment2012.com/mc-intro.html.)
Most especially, Jenkins did not qualify his claims by conditioning them upon limits of Izapan or Mayan astronomical precision. In fact, he repeatedly informed us that he suspects the Izapans' cosmological knowledge was beyond our own (e.g., Maya Cosmogenesis, p. 12). And according to Jenkins, the Maya were capable of interdimensional travel to any time and place of their choosing. (See my review.) Now, it seems that the end of 13 Baktun didn't interest them enough for them to travel to there/then, and make sure it fell on the "true" date of the Galactic alignment.
Regarding photographic evidence, there's something misleading in your statement that Jenkins provides "the precise details you are demanding … in the text, just not with the hi res images you demand". Jenkins' discussions in the text are based upon his badly flawed diagrams. Are you not surprised that of all the high-resolution photos taken of the Milky Way, he hasn't found a single one that backs up his claims, in 15 years of writing on the subject?
It's important to go into that a bit, to show how Jenkins responds to evidence that refutes him. Jenkins has said (Cosmogenesis, p. 110) that to discern the Milky Way's shape as the Maya could, one must have the best viewing conditions possible. He recommends the Tropics, or remote high mountains. As an example, he mentions his observations from the Holy Cross wilderness area near Leadville, Colorado. (39 deg N, 106 deg W, elevation 11,400'). But the photos of which he's so disdainful include those taken near the ALMA Observatory in Chile's Atacama Desert (23 deg S, 68 deg W, 16,500'). For example, see http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap080104.html, and links on the same page.
Unlike Jenkins' observation point, ALMA is within the Tropics (barely), and is almost a mile higher. It's certainly as remote, and is in the driest region on Earth. In other words, ALMA is superior in every way to Jenkins' site, with the possible exception of remoteness.
None of the photos taken from there (or anywhere else) show anything noteworthy about the position of the 2012 Solstice Sun. But Jenkins dismisses them out of hand. Funny how he changes his tune when someone actually documents what the center of the Milky Way looks like from high mountains in the Tropics.
In summary, what Jenkins tells us is that the Winter Solstice of 2012 pinpoints a rare, once-in-26,000-years alignment. Except that the alignment actually occurred in 1998. Except that THAT alignment was with an irrelevant, misleading galactic equator. Which happens to be the precise mid-line of the Milky Way, and therefore was the Maya's target. Which they missed by 14 years, even though it's "the most intriguing date in history", and they could have traveled through time to get their calendar right. Which doesn't matter, because they were going by naked-eye observations. And anyhow, what really counts is the ERA of the alignment, which is from 1980 to 2016. Or maybe it's 1550 to 2450, or the unspecified "years around 2012".
Perhaps this would all make perfect sense to me if I followed Jenkins' advice, selected the right species of mushroom, and "journ[ied] into the deep psyche, to access the fount of all creativity and genius, to commune with the ancestors and beings from other realms and times…" (Cosmogenesis, pp. 317 and 321). But I'm not ready to bet my brain cells on it.
Of course by saying that, I've allowed Jenkins et al. to conveniently label me as part of the "reactionary and regressive response to the alignment, which, properly understood, is the opening door to our multidimensional birthright as we approach the Galactic Zero Time of the Maya." (Cosmogenesis, p. 211). Consider the source.
Comment #4 (From "Aaron", a Jenkins supporter)
Jenkins' discussions in the text are based upon his badly flawed diagrams.
Not true. His discussion is based on information from professional astronomers that you have accepted as valid yourself. The diagrams, based on the same astronomical facts, are obviously merely a visual aid. By your logic, Dennis Tedlock's discussion (in his Popol Vuh translation) of the alignment of Venus with the same part of the galaxy (can you say "Xibalba Be"?) is invalid because he didn't provide a high resolution image of the event. That means it didn't happen?
If you'd read the books you would well know that the speculation regarding the psychic insight of the ancients is not central to the actual evidence that the Izapan civilization was targeting the alignment. But I suppose a bit of what could be construed as unconvincing speculation here and there is sufficient reason for those with a conflicting world-view to ignore the rest of the extensive body of evidence.
Comment #5 (From the Reviewer)
Can Aaron really be unaware of the information I present in the following response?
(1) Astronomers most certainly do not agree with Jenkins about the alignment. Instead, they say he's deliberately sloppy in his astronomy, and that there's nothing unique about the 2012 Winter Solstice. (See the links I provided above, such as http://mayan-calendar.blogspot.com/2010/03/diagnosis-of-john-major-jenkins-fuzzy.html and http://www.astunit.com/astrocrud/2012.htm#fuzzy.)
(2) If it were true that Jenkins is only trying to show that the Izapans were targeting the Dark Rift, there wouldn't be much controversy: they had a 140-year window, and they hit it.
What gets Jenkins in trouble is his bombastic unsubstantiated claim that the specific date December 21, 2012 has unique, once-in-26,000-years astronomical characteristics whose "field effects" will change the course of human evolution.
He goes on to say that the Izapans or Mayans (supposedly with some help from hallucinogens and beings from other realms and times) chose that date as the end of 13-Baktun because of those same "unique" astronomical characteristics. This is one of the "groundbreaking" discoveries on which he back-pedals while simultaneously attacking his detractors for "misrepresenting" him, after which he reasserts the uniqueness of 2012 as soon as he gets the chance.
For example, recall how Jenkins explained why 13-Baktun ends in 2012 rather than in 1998, which was the year when the Winter Solstice Sun most closely aligned with the Galactic Equator. You'll remember that Jenkins admitted that 1998 is indeed the year of closest alignment, but at the same time chided his critics for quibbling over this 14-year discrepancy. In particular, he emphasized how unrealistic his critics are to demand from the Maya a perfectly accurate prediction of the alignment, 2,000 years in advance.
Now, on the home page of his website, Jenkins reasserts that 2012 is indeed the year of closest alignment, and that the Maya calendar nailed it perfectly: "Naturally enough, with their uncorrupted intelligence intact, [the Maya] suspected that the world would go through a transformation when the solar and the galactic planes aligned. They devised their Long Count calendar to target when the cosmic alignment would maximize, and that time is AD 2012."
In short, Jenkins is all over the map regarding the Galactic Alignment, and it's hard to believe that he (and Aaron) are unaware of that.
(See also Jenkins' statements in the review of Maya Cosmogenesis at http://www.earthportals.com/Portal_Messenger/izapa.html.)
(3) Jenkins' diagrams of the Milky Way are too inaccurate to be of any use as a visual aid. For one thing, they falsely portray the Dark Rift as terminating well short of where the 2012 Solstice Sun will be. (Jenkins also tends to use contradictory definitions of the Dark Rift, but that's another matter.) Because of that inaccuracy, Jenkins' diagrams can provide no basis for his claims about the Dark Rift alignment.
I invite readers to see this for themselves. First, here's Jenkins' diagram, which he calls "realistic":
Now, compare that diagram to the following photos of the same region. (It's good to open Jenkins' diagram and the photos in separate windows, so you can switch back and forth to compare them.)
In the first photo (http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap080104.html) you'll see a bright, cream-colored "splotch" in the center.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT A TELESCOPIC IMAGE! When you look at the Milky Way with the naked eye, the "splotch" itself is half as wide as your hand appears to be, when held at arms' length.
The Dark Rift is the darkish, diffuse band that runs just above the splotch, from lower left to upper right. Just to the left of the splotch, and within the Rift, are two brightish stars (they're directly above the letter "y" in the word "Milky" in the caption).
The Winter Solstice Sun of 2012 will be about halfway between those two stars horizontally, and even with "left" star, vertically.
The next photo is oriented differently. It isn't a telescopic image, either: its height is about "four hands". The Dark Rift runs from upper left to lower right, and the "splotch" is to the left of center. The magenta "star" is the brighter of the two stars we discussed in connection with the previous photo. The 2012 Winter Solstice Sun, in this photo, would be just to the right of the "magenta star", and slightly higher.
Now, readers may form their own opinions as to why Jenkins refuses to present any photographic evidence for the astronomical uniqueness of the 2012 Winter Solstice. They're also welcome to try to identify the "precise mid-line" of the Milky Way visually, as Jenkins claims to be able to do.
Jenkins systematically misuses astronomical terms and withholds evidence (such as the photos we've been discussing), thereby leaving readers with the false impression that his "unique galactic alignment of 2012" is based upon conventional astronomy. The impression I get is that he peddles disinformation and double-talk to the uninformed, but changes the subject to the Izapans and plays the victim when confronted by knowledgeable people.
Comment #6 (From "Aaron", a Jenkins supporter)
Cool, I'm glad we've come to an agreement.
I wrote: "If you'd read the books you would well know that the speculation regarding the psychic insight of the ancients is not central to the actual evidence that the Izapan civilization was targeting the alignment. But I suppose a bit of what could be construed as unconvincing speculation here and there is sufficient reason for those with a conflicting world-view to ignore the rest of the extensive body of evidence."
Pd responded: "If it were true that Jenkins is only trying to show that the Izapans were targeting the Dark Rift, there wouldn't be much controversy"
Comment #7 (From the Reviewer)
It's revealing that you quoted only part of that sentence, and didn't use an ellipsis (that is, the three dots "…") to let readers know you'd left something out.
Here's what you quoted, but this time in context:
(Beginning of quote from my previous post)
"(2) If it were true that Jenkins is only trying to show that the Izapans were targeting the Dark Rift, there wouldn't be much controversy: they had a 140-year window, and they hit it.
What gets Jenkins in trouble is his bombastic unsubstantiated claim that the specific date December 21, 2012 has unique, once-in-26,000-years astronomical characteristics whose "field effects" will change the course of human evolution.
"He goes on to say that the Izapans or Mayans (supposedly with some help from hallucinogens and beings from other realms and times) chose that date as the end of 13-Baktun because of those same 'unique' astronomical characteristics. This is one of the "groundbreaking" discoveries on which he back-pedals while simultaneously attacking his detractors for 'misrepresenting' him, after which he reasserts the uniqueness of 2012 as soon as he gets the chance."
(End of quote from my previous post)
So, did you mean your post to say that you agree with what I REALLY said, or did you deliberately quote me out of context?
Also, do you now concede, or do you deny, that Jenkins' diagram (http://alignment2012.com/images/aligncover.jpg) shows the Dark Rift as terminating short of the position of the 2012 Winter Solstice Sun?
Comment #8 (From the Reviewer)
After reading Jenkins' writings, viewing websites he recommends, and having conversations with his supporters, I think I understand the role conventional astronomical evidence plays in Jenkins' world view.
Modern astronomers believe that the ancient Maya were no better at predicting the future than anyone else, so even a perfect knowledge of what the Maya said probably wouldn't tell us anything useful about 2012. To Jenkins, on the other hand, the Mayan had the straight skinny on 2012, thanks to their shamanic practices. I think that's why Jenkins answers critiques of his astronomy by presenting evidence for what the ancient Maya may have thought about the cosmos.
To Jenkins, the Maya were time-traveling super-shamans in contact with beings from other times and dimensions. Naturally, only a date with supreme cosmic importance would have been selected by them as the end of 13-Baktun. They would have identified that date infallibly, using knowledge and methods beyond Western science. In some sort of synergistic process working through fractal time, the Maya may even have contributed to that date's cosmic importance by selecting it.
Jenkins uses scientific terminology to tell us about the cosmic importance of 2012, but if he uses it sloppily, so what? It's a terminology invented by people who are determined, in some sense, to remain mentally deficient. Jenkins' thinking seems to be somewhat as follows. These are not Jenkins' own words—just my best understanding of his thinking:
"December 21, 2012 has extraordinary cosmic significance because it's the end of 13-Baktun. Western science chooses to render itself incapable of comprehending that significance by disdaining shamanic techniques. However, some of the truth known to the Maya manages to filter through Western science's myopic haze, in the form of the West's imperfect knowledge of astronomical alignments.
"Therefore Western astronomy's truths, however imperfect, can point receptive people toward the REAL truth. Debunkers, being unreceptive people, ridicule my use of Western astronomy as "sloppy and incoherent". That's because the debunkers don't know how sloppy and incoherent ALL of Western science is, compared to what the Maya knew. Modern astronomy's supposed precision is spurious: it's a mathematically precise expression of an inherently deficient concept of reality."
I repeat that the above is not what Jenkins himself has said, but what seems to be his perspective on the roles of modern astronomy and Maya astronomy in understanding what 2012 is all about.
If that is indeed Jenkins' thinking, then it's a little strange that he seems to believe he knows more than the Maya about how human beings should act toward one another. For example, he calls their practice of human sacrifice "barbaric" near the end of the video available on his web page http://the2012story.com/.
True, he implies that human sacrifice was an aspect of either an immature Mayan culture or a corrupted one, but he gives no evidence that there was ever a time when the Maya didn't practice human sacrifice.
More importantly, he gives no basis for his judgment other than his own moral revulsion. In other words, a "mature, uncorrupted" Maya culture means the version of it that he happens to like. But why should his his likes and dislikes trump those of the supernaturally informed Maya?
Comment #9 (From "Aaron", a Jenkins supporter)
I find it difficult to imagine a scenario in which someone who read my post had not already read the previous message(s). If you think I'm trying to avoid the full context of the dialogue you are mistaken. Anyone can easily refer back to the post I quoted, and you're here to respond to anything you find unfair anyhow. Yes I really agree with what you said. It seems to echo the exact point I was attempting to make throughout the dialog, just in a more dismissive tone.
As for Jenkins' diagram, I suppose I should reiterate that I'm not hung up on analyzing it to the extreme degree you seem to demand. To misquote myself from above "The diagram is obviously merely a visual aid."
Comment #10 (From the Reviewer)
You did quote me out of context; make whatever excuses you wish.
The diagram is not an "aid"; it's too crude to be of any help whatsoever. The fact remains that Jenkins claims to have identified (ca. 1994) some astronomically unique alignment for the date 21 December 2012, from star charts rather than Maya sources. (See quote at end of this comment.) Jenkins now appears to be unable to identify the alignment he claims to have found back then.
Rather than admit he was wrong, he has gone through the contortions described in my review, and has even attacked his critics as being "energy vampires", and/or "infested with mind parasites". (See http://www.2012hoax.org/energy-vampires.)
For more evidence that Jenkins makes baseless statements about astronomy, and does so negligently, see the YouTube video
I also recommend reading Anthony Aveni's Skywatchers: A Revised and Updated Version of Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico. I think that anyone who sees how much the ancient Maya knew about astronomy will realize that those shrewd observers of the sky would have laughed at Jenkins' claim that 21 December 2012 is unique.
JENKINS' QUOTE about where he identified (ca. 1994) the alignment for 2012:
[ca. 1994] I studied star charts and proved to myself that, yes, despite it never making the morning newspaper headlines, a very rare alignment in the precessional cycle will occur on the December solstice of A.D. 2012—the end-date of the Maya calendar! Precession brings one of the seasonal quarters (either the March equinox, the June solstice, the September equinox, or the December solstice) into alignment with the Milky Way once every 6,450 years. However, the alignment of 2012 occurs only once every 25,800 years!
(From the introduction to Maya Cosmogenesis, p. XXXVIII, currently maintained online by Jenkins at http://www.alignment2012.com/mc-intro.html.)
Comment #11 (From "Aaron", a Jenkins supporter)
I will admit to not being an expert on the protocol of journalistic quotations. In fact, I deliberately left out any punctuation (other than the terminating quotation mark) at the end of the quotation in question because I was unsure of the proper convention. Being that the Amazon comments section is in my estimation a rather informal forum, and the quote contained the entire independent clause, I didn't think it really mattered much. However, your accusation has inspired me to educate myself. I've given it a good search and this is the only example I can find for quoting a clause that ends with a semicolon:
Q. When quoting statutory material, is it appropriate to substitute ellipses points in for semicolons that end the "line" of a statutory clause? For instance, suppose a statutory clause reads "(i) Procedures involving animals will avoid or minimize discomfort, distress, and pain to the animals;", and this is the end of the line (that is, the next line starts with "(ii)"). In this situation, if one quotes the line itself, should one end it with a period, ellipses points, or maybe even a bracketed period?
A. CMOS would recommend that you quote your example as follows: "Procedures involving animals will avoid or minimize discomfort, distress, and pain to the animals." The function of the semicolon, out of context, becomes irrelevant, and there is no need to use ellipses or to bracket the period.
So yea, perhaps I should have used a period instead of no punctuation at all, but I see no reason for the ellipsis you demand. Inasmuch as any quotation taken from a larger body of text is "out of context", then yes, I suppose I'm guilty of such, as you would be in the case of virtually all the quotations you have attributed to Jenkins.
So anyone who thinks that my use of the quote misrepresented its meaning (which I would have a hard time understanding, especially considering it begins with the word "IF"), should definitely source Jenkins' works before assuming a lack of bias and sophistry on the part of this reviewer.
The Reviewer's Final Comment and Summary
As I said above, you did quote me out of context, thereby creating the false impression that I agreed with you. You may make all the excuses you wish, however long-winded.
I do find it interesting that when you're caught out on substantive points (such as the uselessness of Jenkins' crude diagrams, see below), you change the subject and play the victim. Much like Jenkins himself.
My final word on Jenkins and his "Galactic Alignment" is the following:
As shown in my previous comment, the "extremely rare, once-in-26,000-years Galactic Alignment of 2012" is Jenkins' own idea—he didn't get it from the Maya. And he's all over the map about what will be aligned, and when. He apparently cannot, now, identify the Alignment that he claimed to have identified from star charts ca. 1994.
Nevertheless, Jenkins continues to promote his "extremely rare, once-in-26,000-years Galactic Alignment of 2012" as "scientific". He does so through half-truths, misleading astronomical diagrams, and deliberate misuse of standard astronomical terms. (See below, and http://www.2012hoax.org/galactic-alignment.)
To me, Jenkins is an instructive, tragic example of a talented person who made the mistake of listening to his flatterers. His LSD trip in an isolation tank at age 19 (pp. 395-401) caused him to believe he had special insight into reality. His verbal skills thereafter enabled him to attract followers who considered him "awesome" when he was spouting purest bafflegab. He seems to have listened to them, and made excuses for dismissing the observations of his critics.
The diagram of the Milky Way used by Jenkins:
For comparison, a high-quality image of Milky Way from a Jenkins detractor:
Jenkins' insistence that astronomers change definitions of standard astronomical terms to match his own:
Jenkins' deliberate misuse of astronomical terms:
Comment #13 (From "Aaron", a Jenkins supporter)
Earlier you said it was the missing ellipsis that marked my quote out of context. Now, since you apparently can't find a source to support your grammatical demands, you say it was out of context because you don't want to agree with me. Or maybe I got you to admit something you now find inconvenient to your narrative.
At any rate, although I would rather have ended the dialog on a note of agreement, the continuation has provided readers unfamiliar with the context of Jenkins' books with a valuable insight into your penchant for argumentative sophistry, which I am now finished entertaining. Have at…
FROM THE REVIEWER: Note that Aaron doesn't respond to any substantive points about Jenkins' astronomy, and considers presentation of real evidence a form of "argumentative sophistry".