Sunday, 30 January 2011

Sceptic or Skeptic? / My problem with skepticism

To start with I need to declare an interest; I was born in England and I read the Guardian. I might be a socialist, but rest assured I am not trying to destroy America.

Recently, I have seen the word sceptic written as skeptic. Sceptic being the preferred British spelling, skeptic being American. (Why not read this aloud to a friend, and study their confused face?)

Does it matter though? Yes, because I think American English actually does make more sense. As an Englishman, and casual racist, that pains me. Sceptic looks a bit like septic, and that might cause some confusion. If I tell people via a written medium that I am a sceptic, and they thing I am a secptic, they might wonder how I could be a seventh degree equation, and could I be solved by factorizing into radicals, or not. (This won't be funny to most people, but I write for the love, not your amusement)

So from now on, I might use the odd American word or spelling, and gleefully neologize like those crazy Yanks do. However, I will use English pronunciations still, and change my spelling accordingly. My friend Leftenant Dixon from the Royal Core of Signals agrees this is a superb idea.

Now, my problem with skeptics is this: Why so much hostility to homeopaths? I believe that if a man loves a man or a woman loves a woman then they should be free to express it any way they choose, and shame on you all those who say otherwise!

Edit: Another linguistic misunderstanding: Doctor X told me one of his patients claimed his genital warts had gone sceptic, when what he actually meant was 'disgusting'.