I'm new here and couldn't find anywhere to post an introduction so I haven't ... I do, however, have a question and that is why "skepticism"?
"Skepticism" is, I believe, how Americans spell "scepticism" and I am curious why what appears to be a UK board spells it in this way? I mean looking it up in the Reader's Digest, "Word Power" dictionary it clearly says that "skeptic" is the US version and I can't help but think of the way the science system has had to accept the US billion (1,000,000,000) over the older, and in my opinion correct, UK billion (1,000,000,000,000) although I can see the need for scientists to talk the same mathematical language. To be brutally honest I admit to being more than a little bit proud of the English language and the fact that it is called "English" and not "American" and a little bit offended (though that is arguably too strong a word, more like miffed though that’s not strong enough ... go figure) that what I assume is a bunch of Brits have decided to adopt a US spelling over the correct UK one.
Although this, especially as a first post, may come over a bit bolshy (bolshie if you prefer) I don’t think it’s wrong to defend the correct use of the English language.
Thank you for the link.
The idea that a site might be found by search engines by misspelling its name isn't specifically a bad one though as an IT professional, hobbyist and part time web-designer I’d say it was flawed because it can be solved easily enough using meta tags which were specifically developed for search engine optimisation.
Yes Americans have a stronger “brand” identity in such things but they have in many other things so why "scepticism" should be a particular exception to the normal rules of English I don't know and is hard, in my opinion, to justify.
It sounds to me like someone realised they'd dropped a clanger in the face of a number of complaints and came up with that reasoning to justify it with hindsight ... wasn’t it Shermer who said something about intelligent people defending stupid ideas intelligently?
I'm sorry but I fail to see why "scientific skepticism" should be something excepted from (implicitly superior to) "scientific scepticism".
I do thank you for the welcome but I am unsure as yet whether I can join a group apparently unable or unwilling to treat English with the respect it deserves. That isn’t just arrogance though I am sure there is a touch of that ... perhaps it is because creationists & fundamentalist seem so often to lack the ability to spell, perhaps because of my pride that I can, perhaps because I detest abuse/misuse of the English language (don’t even start me on texting) or perhaps because my wife is an adult literacy education specialist. I mean whatever next? I am forced to wonder if this is this going to effect my ability to have an affect here?
Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 4th October 2008 at 10:35 PM.
"Skeptic" is the preferred choice of skeptics worldwide, even amongst those countries who normally use British spellings.
We have American skeptics, Canadian Skeptics, Danish Skeptics, Italian Skeptics, Indian Skeptics, Australian Skeptics, Belgian Skeptics...
Why on earth would we want to be "Sceptics" in a world-wide community who call themselves Skeptics?
My personal opinion on this is that Brits who refer to themselves as Sceptics contrary to everyone else just make themselves look rather silly: a somewhat parochial mentality.
Remember also that being a Skeptic is different to being sceptical.
And finally, the skeptic/sceptic argument is about the least important one we could probably bother ourselves with; and at UK-Skeptics, we won't be doing so.
Have a nice life.
EDIT: I have checked my user profile and can find no way of deleting it, please would someone do the honours (or perhaps I should say honors)?
Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 5th October 2008 at 07:28 AM.
'Croydon' Bob Newman. The ladies call him "Thrush" - as he's an irritating cunt.
You have to love it when a self-appointed 'guardian of correct-English' uses a slang term like "gotta". And fails to notice that their final sentence should actually have been two sentences with a full-stop, rather than a comma, after the word "it". Or, alternatively, one sentence with a semi-colon.
Thank you for the entertainment, Kyuuketsuki.
Why are we here? Because we're here. Roll the bones...
Defendants might as well have said: Beneficent creatures from the 17th dimension use this bracelet as a beacon to locate people who need pain relief and whisk them off to their home world every night to provide help in ways unknown to our science.
Judge Frank Easterbrook commenting on the Q-Ray bracelet
"For Gods sake you're an American! Stop thinking of the consequences and blow something up" - Stan Smith, American Dad!
I hope you (the OP) have not left this forum, as your post yesterday suggests. This forum is - at least in part - about healthy debate and the challenging, exploring and understanding of one's (often) unthinking beliefs. A disagreement about the lingo shouldn't result in anyone gathering up their bat and ball and going home. So in the hope that you haven't...
It's a fantasy that the English language is somehow set in stone. The dictionary and widespread literacy have probably aided the fallacy, making it easier to teach (often historically with the cane/ruler as an enforcer), but all versions of English have always had a certain fluidity.
I hear many people here in the UK - and even in Australia where I grew up - complain about "American English" (it is, after all, de rigeur to criticise everything American while benefiting from them). The most common complaints being a dropped 'u' - as in colour to color - and the de-Latinising of diphthongs - as in encyclopædia/encyclopaedia to encyclopedia (I suppose both examples can be viewed simply as the removal redundant vowels). Such complaints are often followed with the statement that "British English" has made no such changes and therefore the existence of American English (and others) is just complicating things. I read somewhere (can't remember where, but this may help) that British English has made numerous changes to words in the last 200 years, and in a number of cases American English is actually using the original version (i.e. Britain moved the goal posts and the public blamed America for it). The word 'color' being a case in point. Anyway, that's enough tub-thumping. :)
My understanding is that the word skeptic/sceptic comes from the Greek skeptikos, and that skepticism/scepticism (-ism meaning theory, doctrine myth or belief) comes from that. Seeing that whatever Roman text we use is just a symbolic representation of the Greek word, and that Greek text is in itself a symbolic representation of the sound, the use of 'k' or 'c' in skeptic/sceptic is one purely of semantics and tradition: we could just as easily have ended up with skeptik, skeptick, scepptick, etc, etc.
While the OP raised a point that gave us all a chance to explore the topic, I think our time here is better spent on skepticism and learning how to think critically. Language forums are the better forum for linguistic exploration.
Last edited by Jumile; 6th October 2008 at 03:54 PM.
I use "skeptic" instead of "sceptic" in much the same way I "program" a computer but I watch a TV "programme" - it makes a useful distinction which didn't exist before the spellings diverged. To me, "skeptic" refers to the specific thinking process engaged in here and places like Skeptics in the Pub, whereas "sceptic" is how you might describe my attitude whenever I hear something a politician wants me to believe.
That, and the fact that when I see the word "sceptic" I am tempted to pronounce it as in "sceptre", i.e. sounding like a wound in need of disinfection, or a tank full of sewage underneath the garden.
Be skeptical of the things you believe are false, but be very skeptical of the things you believe are true.
I am deeply offended that in a post about defending English English the OP used this blatant and crass Americanism.go figure
OK, own up, which one of you is this? Who's tittering away like a schoolchild right now at their own trolling efforts?
Snaffling sheep from the flock of woo
this page illustrates.
Perhaps it's more correct to say that it was the need to better understand linguistics in general, required to grasp languages like Latin, that helped me better understand English. Being a sprachgefuhl (according to my grandmother, anyway) with English didn't help when it came to studying Latin - but with a better theoretical knowledge, other languages fall into place. And etymology becomes fascinating.