Skeptics with a K: Episode #034


Colin is back… for Bad PR, Zombie Nuns, Unrepentant Women and the Third Dimension.  Plus bananas, babies, the Crystal Maze and a giant Rubik’s Cube.

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  1. #1 by Red Celt on November 5, 2010 - 05:36

    Another enjoyable outing from you guys. With one noteable exception. A sub-mission of my life was set back several places when you undermined something I go out of my way to correct. It is (to some extent) forgiveable for the mistake to be made by misinformed Americans. It most certainly is not forgiveable for Brits.

    The Union of the Crowns in 1603 saw England and Scotland share the same monarch. The first (official) British colonisation of the Americas takes place in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. The James in question was a Scot.

    In 1707, the Act of Union created the United Kingdom. During the height of the outbreak of conflict between the UK and the American colonies (1775-1776) the UK had been in existence for nearly 70 years.

    The American war(s) of independence took place between the American colonial states and the United Kingdom. Whether you regard the colonies as “British” from 1603 (Union of the Crowns) or 1707 (Act of Union), at no point whatsoever did the conflict take place between America and England. Unless you’re into the break up of the UK into its component parts… and (equally) claim that the conflict was between America and Devon. Or America and Scunthorpe.

  2. #2 by Mike Hall on November 5, 2010 - 12:44

    Appreciate the point, Red Celt! 🙂

    However, until relatively recently (<100 years ago) "England" was synonymous with what we would now term "Britain". It's only since the 1930s that "England" has come to be used to only mean "the area which made up the state which existed prior to the Act of Union".

    So it is reasonable, in historical context, to characterise the American War of Independence as a conflict between England and America. But to do so would be probably be reckless and lead to misunderstandings.

    Oh, and we didn’t think it through and just made a plain cock up.

  3. #3 by Rob McD on November 5, 2010 - 14:37

    “The blueprint of up!” 😀

    Sounds like merchandising material to me…

  4. #4 by Red Celt on November 5, 2010 - 14:46

    It isn’t that you guys make a cock up. You’re a segment of a well-established meme.

    Prior to 1930, if you’d asked someone in Scotland, Wales or Ireland if they lived in England… you wouldn’t have received an affirmative reply. If the UK was widely known as England prior to 1930, it was only known that way in England… or the misinformed.

    During the Scottish Enlightenment, many of Scotland’s better thinkers, wanting to be taken more seriously by people who struggled with their language, hired actors to train them to sound less Scottish. They also called themselves Northern Britains. They certainly didn’t call themselves English or claim to live in England.

    In part, you should just ignore me. I’m a grumpy old man with this as one of his bugbears. As an analogy, I’m in a world full of homeopaths and however often I say that homeopathy is factually flawed, the meme refuses to die. Do I give in and embrace homeopathy… or do I stand my ground and call for a more factually accurate world?

    Homeopathy is bullshit.
    England isn’t a synonym for Britain.

  5. #5 by Chris on November 18, 2010 - 06:13

    Just an FYI. Obviously the whole magic device to protect you from “harmful” radiation is nonsense. Also as you said, it causing AIDS is just plain silly. The correction that I wish to make is this. Cell phone use in Sub Saharan Africa is extremely high. A small sticking point I know but it is one that the woo pedallers might use in a debate against you. For example the cell phone penetration in South Africa is 100% in fact there are more cell phones in South Africa than there are people.

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