Monday, February 16, 2015

I don't get....

I dunno. I guess some people just need to be outraged about something. (And yeah, I can't tell if it's trolling or genuine outrage/anger. I tend to assume the second but it could be the first)

I was reading one of those 'science news' articles and happened to stray into the comments (I know, I know: DON'T READ THE COMMENTS). Well, instead of any one talking about the methodology used, or the results found, or other applications, or, you know, the sort of things I'd consider part of the discussion after a scientific presentation, what was there?

People throwing hissies over the author's choice of using BCE/CE to designate years. Rather than BC/AD. And then I think someone chimed in saying  that BC/AD was oppressive because it assumed everyone was Christian, and really, for that matter, BCE/CE was too. And someone else claiming BCE/CE was "oppressing" Christians.

Dear people: when did we lose our collective minds?

Okay. Most of you know I'm a practicing Christian. I make no claims as to my level of devotion because I don't think it's my place to decide that. But I do structure my life according to the Two Great Commandments (Matthew 22: 37-39 is one reference). I don't always succeed, and I particularly fail at the second of those two (loving your neighbor as yourself) on a regular basis. But I try. And I try to be a faithful person.And other stuff. I find Matthew 25 slightly terrifying because I feel on a regular basis that I'm failing to be one of the "sheep" strongly enough. So that's where I'm coming from.

And anyway: I don't give a rat's right ear what some writer chooses to use to designate their particular timescale. Yeah, Brian Fagan uses BC/AD but I don't read anything in to that; it may just be where he was educated. Other writers use BCE/CE which is the same scale. Lots of people use "years before present," which works well if you're dealing with long geologic time. Heck, I wouldn't take issue with someone using the Jewish manner of accounting, or the Chinese, or whoever's, provided they gave a scale in the back of the book so those of us not of that culture could translate. In fact, in a book about ancient Chinese culture, it might make more sense to use their method of counting years "from the beginning."

This is really, really small potatoes for people to get upset about. Considering the level of violence and real hate that's out there in the world - people genuinely, straight-up, being killed because they are the 'wrong' religion for the country they are in (according to the self-styled new rulers). That's worth getting upset about.

People regularly tell me I need to calm the heck down about certain stuff (being on time, deadlines, etc) but trust me, there's a whole world of people who are ratcheted up WAY WAY tighter than I am about stuff.


Jess said...

Well, I guess we could turn all dates back to the beginning. The only problem I see is where that starts.

The arguments would be phenomenal.

Charlotte said...

You could try to turn the discussion by leaving a question asking about the methodology or test results or whatever you feel is the appropriate follow-up.

fillyjonk said...

In my experience, trying to 'change the tone' of a comment section that's already "gone there" is not that useful....and anyway, I was looking to see what others were saying about the methodologies and such, as it was a thing somewhat outside of my field.

I just wasn't prepared for the level of outrage over BCE/CE vs. BC/AD.