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Re: The Millennium Hoax

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29 December 1999

Bill Polhemus, I have to disagree with you on this one.

On 27 December 1999, You said:

        <....There was no "year 0" in "Dennis the Short's"
        calendar.  We began counting at 1 A.D. Years 1-1000
        were the first millenium A.D....>

        <....It makes me mad that we have so little education, 
        generally, anymore that we pay more respect to
        numerology (a superstition) than we do to arithmetic
        (a science).>

I don't agree with your conclusions.  I agree with the second
statement above, but this does not support your main argument. 
Arithmetic supports the concept of the year zero, and it is
superstition that supports the concept that there was NOT a year
zero.

When you were born, you were zero years old.  A year later, when you
were one year old, you were starting your SECOND year.  Ten years
after you were born, you were ten years old, but you were starting
your ELEVENTH year.  When my grandfather started his second century
on this earth, he was 100 years old.  He did not have to wait until
he was 101 to celebrate the start of his second century.  These are
the 1900's, but it is the TWENTIETH century.

You also said:
        <What year, exactly, a babe was born in Bethlehem is
        of little consequence when you consider that all the
        recorded events of history for the last 1,500 years
        have been so recorded with this system of numeration
        in mind.>

The period A.D. is supposed to signify the number of years since
Jesus was born.  Since we don't know exactly when that was according
to ANY calendar, it was arbitrarily chosen.  So, when Jesus was one
year old, it follows logically that it was the year 1 A.D.  If there
was no year zero, then it would have been the year 2 A.D. when he
turned 1, which makes no sense.  Similarly, it is said that he lived
to the age of 33.  If there IS a year zero, then that was in the year
33 A.D.  If there was NOT a year zero, then it would have been the
year 34 A.D. when he turned 33, which makes no sense.

Now, let's go back to second grade math.  That's when I learned the
number line.  The number line I learned always had a number zero at
the center.  The reason for this is basic mathematics.  When one
subtracts -3 from +3, the result should be 6.  If you skip the number
zero on the number line, the result is 5.

Let me put it another way.  Plot the number line from -3 to +3.  The
tick marks should be, in order from left to right, -3, -2, -1, 0, +1,
+2, and +3.  Now let's say a modern, 20th-century mathematician were
creating the calendar.  I believe s/he would model it after the
number line.  Then -3 would become 3 B.C, -2 would be 2 B.C., ....,
+2 would be 2 A.D. etc.  Whether zero is 0 A.D. or 0 B.C is
immaterial.  We need the year zero so that the number of years from 3
B.C to 3 A.D. is 6, not 5.  Check it out for yourself; if there is no
year zero, then the number of years from 3 B.C to 3 A.D. would be 5
(try explaining THAT to a 7-year old).

On 27 December 1999, J. O. <joprada(--nospam--at)col1.telecom.com.co> said:

        <Owen Gingerich, astrophical of the Harvard University,
        commented last january about his investigations, that
        Dionysius considered the year 0 in his computations.
        This means, that year 0 was the year 1 B.C., since the
        romans numbers have not the number zero.

This may be true.  If a mistake was made, and the year zero was not
included, then we can correct that now, but not by calling 2001 the 
start of the millennium, but simply by adjusting all the B.C dates by
one year.  If Owen Gingerich is correct, than it supports my argument
that Jesus was one year old in the year 1 A.D., not zero years old as
you claim.

So IF the calendar that was created in the sixth century A.D.
happened  to forget the year zero, then we could say that Antigone
was first performed in the year 440 B.C. instead of 441 B.C.  Big
deal.  Many dates B.C. are not known with that much precision.

You said:

        <The New York Times edition of January 1, 1901,
        heralded "Twentieth Century Dawns!">

Since when do YOU listen to the New York Times!  :-)   1 January 1901
was a time more associated with superstition than with common sense
and arithmetic.

You said:

        <How much more advantageous for the hucksters that
        make up modern society if they can "dupe" the rest
        of us into this "New Millenium" craze? Sell a lot
        of Coke, Pepsi, and spark plugs that way!>

Did you ever consider that the media has figured all of this out
already, and that they realize that the millennium really does end in
two days?

In closing, I would rather adjust a few history books than throw
basic arithmetic out the window in deference to "superstition" and
some short guy from the sixth century A.D.

As Charles Greenlaw might say, "I have my story figured out, what
about the rest of you?"

Talk to you next millennium....

Mark Swingle, S.E.
Oakland, CA

PS by the way, millennium has 2 N's......     :-)