For the record…

We’re beginning the last year of a decade now, not starting a new one.

While we’re at it, I might as well revisit an oldie… the third millennium began on January 1st, 2001.

Sigh.  :-)

Blessed Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, the Octave of Christmas, and Happy New Year!

15 Responses to For the record…

  • Paul Zummo says:

    Chris:

    I have to take issue with you. I’m a stickler for this sort of thing, and I was one of those who refused to start the new millennium/century in 2000. Decades, unlike centuries, are not counted ordinally. We don’t say we’re beginning the 202nd decade. Decades refer to a random set of 10 years, unlike centuries, which refer to a specific set of 100 years. Thus the 2010s do indeed begin today.

  • Mike Petrik says:

    Paul,
    You raise a fair point, but it is not altogether persuasive. First, strictly speaking I don’t think that either millennia or centuries must be counted ordinally, though they certainly commonly are. Similarly, I don’t think decades are necessarily not counted ordinally, though I concede they mostly are not. Shoot, even a year can be any random or assigned set of 365 days (e.g., fiscal years), but that does not mean that we don’t also count years ordinally. It is difficult to ignore the fact that today’s common practice of counting decades starting with year zero, even if technically not incorrect, is almost certainly the result of the same erroneous thinking that caused most people to regard January 1, 2000 as the first day of a new century and new millenium. The bottom line is that while starting decades is not technically incorrect, the custom is probably the result of fuzzy thinking; and this same fuzzy thinking is commonly applied to centuries as well (for the exact same reason) and will quite possibly lead to an analogous custom there as well.

  • Rick Lugari says:

    Fuzzy thinking, maybe. Perhaps just a harmless and useful categorization. When people refer to a particular decade it’s usually a casual reference and the mind is probably just focusing on the numeral in the “ten” place. i.e. Reagan was elected twice in the 80′s. Super accurate, no. Useful and meaningful, yes. Similarly, in the tech field they use base 10 – the ten numerals start with 0 and go through 9. I think it’s just a similar mode of thinking. Besides, you may not want to make an issue of it because it will change nothing and might make you seem like the types who can’t distinguish between conservative and liberal in a given context – and you sure don’t want that. :)

    Happy New Year, all, and blessing in this new decade!

  • SJG says:

    Of course this is the last year of the decade. And 2000 was the last year of the 90′s, and 1990 was the last year of the 80′s, and 1980 was the last year of the 70′s…

    Actually I TRULY TRULY doubt that any of the pedants who insist on reminding everyone that there was no year “zero” and thus every decade starts at a 1 would say that a person born in 1980 was born in “the seventies” and the lack of consistency irks me a lot.

    This pointless bickering about how to divide the decades / centuries / millenia turned up ten years ago, too, and it’s primarily the fault of insufferable know-it-alls that we have these ridiculous arguments in the first place. There’s a difference between the LINGUISTIC way of referring to the decades, in which speakers of English divide them beginning at the zero year of a decade, and the MATHEMATICAL way of dividing them, which calculates them according to how many full ten-year periods have passed.

    It feels like writing the number seven as “7″ and then having a computer scientist come and say, “No, that’s wrong, it’s 111″. Believe it or not there are just different standards for calculating these things and I absolutely can’t stand the smugness of people who insist on bringing this up when it’s REALLY a non-issue. Just move on people.

    Sorry to take out all my frustration at this site but I’m getting sick of rehashing this conversation and this was the last straw. And it wouldn’t even be a problem if the “decades start at 1″ constituency didn’t insist on talking down to everyone. We’re all aware of your argument and don’t really give a (you know).

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    If you want to get REALLY picky on this question, the Year 1 A.D. (Roman year 754) WASN’T the actual “Year One” of Christ’s life on earth, which is supposed to be the basis of our year numbering system.

    Scholars have long believed Christ was born sometime during the period we now reckon as the years 8 to 4 B.C. He could NOT have been born any later than 4 B.C. (Roman year 750) since that is the year Herod the Great (who tried to kill the infant Jesus) died.

    So technically speaking, the “third millennium” Anno Domini really began sometime between 1992 and 1996, and all our year, decade, century, etc. numbers are probably off by about 6 years anyway.

    Happy Year of Our Lord 2016 everybody! :-)

  • Rick Lugari says:

    I hope my post didn’t come across like SJG’s. There was no frustration, or derision behind mine. Frankly, I don’t care how people view it and was only trying to express what I consider valid observations.

  • American Knight says:

    I see both arguments having some validity; however, the fact remains that we use a dating standard, which is far more recent an occurance than commonly beleived in order to regulate our interactions, especially in a global 24/7/365 world (I know a year is not exactly 365 days – leave it alone). We do need to agree on time and date in order to interact with each other in some manner of order.

    There is another less practical and more important aspect. Elaine discussed it very well above. We date from Anno Domini, the Year of Our Lord. Is it cosmically and methematically accurate? No. Then again we also know that The Nativity of Christ is not on December 25th. So what? That is the number the Church has fixed and our liturgical years are set by it. 25 Chislev is the day the Temple was rededicated – so it is an important date.

    I think that part of our obedience (and this is not obligatory because it is not a matter of fatih or morals, but it is important) is to follow the Church as accurately as possible. Especially in the liturgical cycle.

    If we count the year that occured 2,010 years ago as the first Year of Our Lord, then this year ends the first decade of the third millenium, which began on January 1, 2001.

    As the world tries to crowd out God and His Son, we need to take every opporunity to remind the world that she has a Savior. I notice this website is one of the few places where I see dating using A.D., mostly it is ignored and far too often it is C.E. – what the heck is so bloody common about this era anyway?

  • Don the Kiwi says:

    When we are born, we start from a few seconds old, and as we grow through the days, weeks, and months, we achieve our first year – we are ONE year old, after we have journeyed through our first year.
    When we have done this for ten years, at our 10th. Birthday, we have lived for one decade.

    Similarly, in 2010, we have lived through that number of years since the agreed Anno Domini.

    2010 is therefore the end of the old decade, and therefore the commencement of the new.

    BTW, we had a Blue Moon on New Years Eve.

    Does that portend anything cataclysmic for the future? ;-)

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