John Major Jenkins

Just prior to the release of Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 in 1998, I was in contact with several respected Maya scholars, trying to discuss my work and gather comments, criticisms, or even endorsements. One scholar, John B Carlson, an astronomer by degree who has contributed progressive insights into Maya astronomy and ritual warfare, told me he did not want a free review copy of my book, and would rather not be exposed to or influenced by the ideas it contained. And thus the conversation dwindled. This struck me as exceedingly prejudiced yet not untypical of the general attitude of scholars to my work (out of sight, out of mind), and I was reminded of a humorous anecdote from the history of astronomy.

When Galileo discovered celestial bodies revolving around Jupiter, a world that knew everything revolved around the earth was shocked, not believing it could be true. He invited his critics—various intellectuals and Church officials—to peer through the new telescope and see for themselves, but they all refused. They were afraid they might be infected by demons.[1]

[1] Giorgio de Santillana, The Crime of Galileo and “Galileo and Oppenheimer” in Reflections on Men and Ideas.