BC and AD

There are a few issues with our date system. First of all, everything’s based around a specific religious belief, BC representing time before the birth of Jesus, and AD representing time thereafter. (The fact that the exact year of his birth is in question adds to this issue.)

And why is time before his birth described in English (a language that wasn’t in existence at the time), while the subsequent years are described in Latin—Before Christ versus Anno Domini. Would BC and AC not make more sense, or would that create confusion for electricians? It also seems a little unfair now to refer to a chunk in time as the length of time before a future event, as it would have been difficult for people at the time to hazard a guess as to what year it was.

Maybe all time should be described as ABB, After Big Bang, although a team of physicists has recently discovered that there may indeed have been a BBB period. Or maybe the BB should represent Big Brother, and all time should be referenced as before or after the arrival of Big Brother, when the terrible danger of the human gene pool was exposed.


2 Responses to “BC and AD”

  1. Eddie on June 7th, 2008 06:32

    Bad news for the biblical fundamentalists who need a prime move, and a single instance universe with a single beginning to kick of Genesis.

    Guess it’s finally time to burn my bible in disgust.

  2. UKOK on June 12th, 2008 01:45

    Interesting questions. The Christian Calendar is based upon the Jewish lunar calendar and the Roman solar based calendar. This is why some Christian festivals move from year to year because they are lunar based and some stay still because the are Roman (solar) based.

    The Gregorian calendar was a 16th century invention to correct the issue of the Julian Calendar.

    The interesting thing is how did the ancients know to count down to Jesus’ arrival. The main Greek philosophers were all around 400 BC to 300BC. How did they know to count down? Very clever.

    The web (all knowing) says that the term AD was used in around the 6th century hence the Latin (mostly used by the religious in those days.
    BC seems to be the English for the Latin Ante Christum.

    I can find no reference as to why we use English BC and Latin AD though.

    Surely the reason we do not use the big bang as the starting point is because Excel could not cope with milliseconds since the big bang.

    The science bit you refer to is interesting. Not sure I buy it though. Its a smart largely unprovable theory and just leaves the question of infinite regress. Either the universe appeared out of nothing or it appeared out of something. As it the concept of something out of nothing seems unlikely then one would expect a continuum with no first cause (no start). The only way I can make sense of this is if time itself is internal to the universe and not external to the universe (i.e. it is a consequence). I.e time itself does not exist. This may seem far fetched but they thought that in early big bang moments there were more dimensions than we see today. So if space dimensions can be created and (lets say) hidden/destroyed then why not the time (or spacetime to be specific).

    As to the bible ref in the other comment. I do not remember reading that god ONLY made this universe. Other similar mythologies refer to the construction of the sun, earth etc but not the creation. If you read it in those terms then it implies the matter was already there. So who is to say God did not make the universe out of the matter post big bang. Maybe god’s chemistry experiment went wrong and bang, so, like when you try and make a vase in pottery on a wheel and cock it up you end up making an ash tray instead, he did genesis.

    Mad of course, but no less so than the physics.

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