Thursday, March 11, 2010
B.C. or BCE, a plague on both their houses
If you're not going to correct a damned thing, then don't change it. There should be one number and it should be positive or negative. Something like "astronomical year" and replace 1B.C. with a fracking 0. The lack of a year zero is a pretty critical problem in the calendar system. We teach kids good basic math involving zeros and negative numbers and telling them that Julius Caesar was born in year -43 (AY) rather than 44 BC is a far better idea. Then if you talk about things that happened in 111 AD or rather 111AY then can properly know that there are 154 years between those two dates rather than tell them 44BC to 111 AD and have them say 155 and let some snooty bastards correct them, or just remain wrong. I know a few places that are wrong about such things. I've seen it said that there's a ten year gap between 4BC (before which Matthew (and a phrase in Luke) suggests Jesus was born, via Herod the Great) and 6AD (during which Luke suggests Jesus was born). When in reality there's a 9 year gap. I've also seen some people claim that based on Ussher's calculation the universe was created in 4004 BC and thus (this being 2010) is 6014 years old. When in reality the correct answer is that according to that the universe is only 6012 year and 5 months. Because it is not beyond October (when Ussher said it was created) and because there's no year 0.
I was going to link to an example of the problem as the site...
... used to say 10 years.
I sent them an email, and I guess they fixed it.
Now I just wish I could tell the people at Talk Origins that Galen was a Roman scientist.