01 September 2011

On the stupidity of liberal academics

For years now some in academia have been trying to banish the use of the terms "B.C." and "A.D." from historical dating systems for something that is not "offensive" to certain people.  It seems such a foolish idea has now taken hold in Australia:
BCE (Before Common Era), BP (Before Present) and CE (Common Era) are the new neutral terms to replace the historical terms BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini).
[snip]
A spokesman for the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, responsible for developing the national curriculum from kindergarten to Year 12, said BCE and CE were to be introduced because this was an increasingly common standard for the representation of dates.

The little known term BP (Before Present) will be used when dealing with "very ancient history and archaeology, and allows for the teaching of more sophisticated understandings of representations of time".In anticipation of the curriculum change, textbooks for student teachers such as Teaching And Learning In Aboriginal Education, by Neil Harrison, were already using the term BP.

A spokesman for Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said yesterday the minister was not concerned about the changes, adding that BCE and CE were commonly used terms [more].
While it may be true that BCE and CE are commonly used terms in some circles, for those with any shred of intellectual or academic prowess they are a sheer absurdity.

These liberal academics think themselves so intelligent, so wise, so tolerant and accepting, but in this way of thinking logic and reason has flown the coop.

New terms may indeed have been designated, but the reference point remains the same!  What determines if something is Before the Common Era or within the Common Era?  The birth of Jesus Christ!  To create something new they simply throw a sheet over what ever knows remains at the center.  Oh, the irony!  Oh, the stupidity!

If they want to devise a new system of dating history that will not offend a small segment of society, then let them devise a truly new system of dating history. 

If such a non-intellectual system takes hold of the United States of America, I, for one, will never adopt it, simply based on its lack of logic.

13 comments:

  1. I adopted it in college, and have used it ever since. It really makes no difference to me, but it does fit the current academic standard. I don't find calling people "stupid" incredibly helpful, alas.

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  2. When considering the logic behind it, I can find no better word for it.

    The second definition of the word given by Merriam-Webster is particularly apt: "given to unintelligent decisions or acts: acting in an unintelligent or careless manner."

    I know the PC police tell us we cannot use this word, but some decisions are simply stupid.

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  3. I should have been more specific: most of my course work was in Religious Studies at a public university. Not only was BCE/CE required, but so was APA style, and not using gendered pronouns for God. I think it makes a difference from what direction one is approaching such things. Your background is Theology and Divinity, so of course it will be different.

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  4. Yuck! APA may be worse than BCE/CE! The Chicago style is far better.

    I'm actually more opposed to the use BCE/CE from my History background than I am from my Theology background.

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  5. I hate APA with a passion for those reasons, and thus dread writing my education papers (go CMS, says the Historian in me!)...

    But here at CU, I know a few professors, when they reach something with BCE/CE have reworked it to stand for:

    Before Christ Exists/Christ Exists
    Before Christian Era/Christian Era

    The rest of them just ignore it and use BC/AD...

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  6. The use of "Before Christ Exists/Christ Exists" is simple heresy; Christ existed from all eternity; even before he was born he was present in Mary's womb.

    The use of "Before Christian Era/Christian Era" I suppose works, but it seems to be conceeding too much. Better to ignore it, methinks.

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  7. APA was used exclusively in the Sociology Dept., and Religious Studies was split between Turabian and APA.

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  8. "Small segment of society?" Not in global terms, and it is for a global world that we prepare our students. I agree it's artificial, but CE and BCE (or their translations) are used in predominantly non-Christian societies that have adopted what to them is simply the "Western" calendar.

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  9. But the fact remains that the "Western" calendar is counted from the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, who is called the Christ. Such an artifical change of designations is both arbitrary and lame.

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  10. I agree that is is artificial. I'd also agree that perhaps some in my profession go overboard with the importance they place on such things. In the Arab world, I see it called "miladi," meaning "of the birth," which obviously recalls the original referent. On the other hand, one can understand why many non-Christians who use the calendar for practical reasons would want to make clear that they are not Christian in their use of it.

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  11. They could use two calendars, like the observant Jews.

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  12. They often do. The thing about the Christan calendar is that it's organized. Years progress in a linear fashion, and minimal adjustments are required to keep it with the seasons. It was actually European Jews who first used the phrase "Common Era."

    I guess the other thing, looking back on my thinking at the time I replied, was just to emphasize that while there is certainly occasional bias against American Christians in higher education, the overwhelming majority of us just want to do right by humanity and respond to a different set of environmental stimuli than you do.

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  13. Westerners who reckon dates by the Gregorian calendar ought to have little problem using the accepted terms, i.e. BC, AD, of the civilization that produced said calendar. I don’t think that anyone was ever offended by the use of pagan Roman gods or pagan Norse gods for months of the year or days of the week.

    There’s nothing ‘common’ about the ‘Common Era’. It was a millennium and one half from Jesus’ birth before the civilizations of the Americas had contact with the Old World continents. If CE designated ‘Christian Era’, (which essentially it does) that would make more sense. Otherwise it’s a poor term.

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