The Secularists Playbook

A time to change Time


Dear secular friends, it’s time to change Time.

Reset the Gregorian calendar free of Christian references

Let’s be brutally honest: A.D 2013 is not only an entirely meaningless date to 6 out of 7 people on the planet, it is also a demonstrably erroneous one. The Common Era did not begin 2013 years ago. Nothing in fact took place in or around this period to mark even some minor shift in human civilisation, let alone a paradigmatic event worthy of partitioning epochs. 1B.C (Before Christ) and1A.D (Anno Domini: In the year of the Lord) are hollow markers and we are petitioning Sir Paul Nurse of the Royal Society to open a global debate on resetting the Gregorian calendar free of these religious waypoints. It is our express objective that science, not Christian imagination, be the rightful commencement date of the Common Era in a truly representative, international, secular calendar.

 Why Sir Paul Nurse?

 261 years ago members of the Royal Society made a frightful error which we believe the current president, Sir Paul, has a duty to now help set right. At the stroke of midnight on Wednesday the 2nd of September, 1752, the Governing Council of the academy adopted the Gregorian calendar for the British Empire, and through that the world at large. It was and remains a measure of time unquestionably superior to the Julian calendar, albeit with one catastrophic, obnoxious flaw: 1A.D does not, in any way, represent the dawn of the Common Era.

 What is the proposition?

Granted, efforts to replace the Christian references with B.C.E (Before Current Era), and C.E (Current Era) are moves in the right direction I see them as little more than simple window dressing; an inadequate band aid that does nothing to address the root of the problem: the Current Era did not begin 2,013 years ago. To better honour our species, to better express the finer elements of who we are and what we’re capable of, to better represent our innate curiosity and drive to improve the societies we build, science, not Christian imagination, should mark the commencement of the Common Era. Through this online petition we are urging Sir Paul to open a global debate calling upon experts from such diverse fields as palaeontology, anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, linguistics, art, mathematics and even philosophy to canvass human history in a way never before attempted and locate that point in time which will stand as the new date for the commencement of the Common Era.

 What is an alternative date?

 As a suggestion only, the inscribed 12,000 to 15,000 year old Thaïs bone might be considered a strong contender for this new date. Credited by UNESCO as “the most complex and elaborate time-factored sequence currently known within the corpus of Palaeolithic mobile art” the Thaïs bone is evidence someone (a nameless ancestor of yours and mine) was looking up and over a 3½ year period systematically wrestling some order from the celestial chaos passing overhead. Alone it is an astonishing moment in human history, a planted flag heralding the beginning of the end of 1.5 million years of natural anarchy and the first stirrings of scientific order. It is a moment manifestly more deserving of celebration than the essentially meaningless 1B.C/1A.D, and although just a suggestion it would mean this year not in fact 2013, rather 15013.

Click here to sign the petition.

26 thoughts on “A time to change Time

  1. Definitely think we can come up with a better place to start our calendar, though it would make history books a lot more confusing. A good question is when do we want to consider that time began. . . .


    • Bob, I think it’d make history better, and more alive. There’d be a more distinct line from some startling moment in human history (be it science or art) and then the progress built upon (proceeding from) that paradigm shift…. and this would be a true “paradigm shift”.

      Your question is a beauty. When indeed? Organic time is known to all complex animals, so that point can’t be identified. That’s why i settled on the first evidence of man ‘measuring’ time. But hey, it won’t be up to me to decide. I just want a better calendar that represents a secular species, not a superstitious one.


    • Hell yeah! Start at Leucippus and Democritus, tell them they’re really onto something and don’t give up. Then poke Aristotle in the eye and threaten him not to criticise atomism. With those two acts i believe this world we live in would be very, very, very different. 🙂


  2. Pingback: It’s the Thought That Counts – Cloak Unfurled

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