Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What I'm accepting as an answer for "countries"

Last week at Ray's I made the error of asking a fairly harmless (so I thought) Speed round question about what European countries lie west of Germany. This caused some hub-bub.

One team answered "(UK) England" [sic] which I marked correct for its "UK" portion. I'm actually something of an easy grader. A few spaces later they also answered "Scotland", which I marked wrong. Even if I bought Scotland as a country, "UK" as a previous answer at best made that redundant.

For the record, this is where any future quiz of mine stands and has always stood on the issue, should I be asking (typically a Speed round question) asking for countries:


United Kingdom or UK:
Obviously a country, this will be marked right if the UK meets the criteria for the question.

Britain:
Not a country. I will accept this as a gloss for "UK" as an answer, as per below.

England:
Not a country. England is in the driver's seat in the UK, and appears to allow limited parIiamentary powers in its British neighbors to assuage feelings of domination without granting independence. Note that England doesn't feel the need to have its own parliament. (Note also that when it comes to Scotland the people arguing with me argue that the Scottish parliament makes it a country... what would that then make England..?)

I have habitually accepted this answer as a gloss for "UK" even though this is technically incorrect. Americans are in the habit of using "UK", "England" and "Britain" interchangeably. Similarly we used to interchange "Russia" and "USSR", also incorrect but only a pedantic jackass would correct you in casual conversation. I accept one for the other purely not to appear to be difficult in running the game, the same way that I accept misspelled answers if I can read what you meant. If I ask a question (which I almost certainly wouldn't for these very reasons) looking for Scotland specifically when I want England or vice versa, this would be marked wrong. As above, don't expect me to let England slide and then on top of that get credit for another portion of the UK in the same question.

Scotland: Not a country. This is where my poli sci degree actually comes in handy. Note none of this has a thing to do with whether or not I think it'd be nice for Scotland to be a country. The Scottish National Party website lays a nice case out for that in fact. Note also that I know that the UK claims to be a "country comprised of four countries," which I accept about as much as the Trinity, another concept the true believer never has clear answers on when challenged. The fact that the UK has one UN seat and not 5 or more tells me all I need to know. The USSR used to claim to be 14 "republics" - who took that seriously?

Scotland has:

- a flag (so does Philadelphia... although Philadelphia doesn't fly a UK flag, which Scotland does)
- a parliamentary body with limited powers concerning internal matters (so does any US state)
- a soccer team (so did my high school)
- a rugby team (so did my college)
- limited budget and taxation powers (so does any US state)
- a history as a former independent state (so do Texas, Vermont, Tannu Tuva and Sikkim... look it up)
- a unique language and culture (see also Kurdistan, Tibet and Quebec)
- an independence movement, which is a curious thing for a "country" to have after becoming one
- a royal family... the English one (who are themselves largely not English either)
- seats in the UK parliament; generally a country doesn't get seats in another country's parliament... in fact this is definitional

Scotland doesn't have:

- international recognition as a country by other countries (this is the primary criterion)
- control over its own borders
- control over its own currency (Bank of Scotland prints a British pound; Scotland can't decide on its own to, for example, adopt the euro)
- control over its own military
- passports, embassies, consulates nor a diplomatic corps; all very damning
- a seat at the UN
- a seat at the EU
- Scottish stamps
- an Olympic team (the bar on this one being rather low, see Puerto Rico)
- the ability to pass laws not ultimately subject to review by UK judiciary

Scotland is pretty much on par with constituent parts of the United States, India, South Africa or Spain, dependent upon the issue.

Wales: Not a country, as per Scotland. One big hint on this one is that the Prince of Wales isn't Welsh and doesn't live there. Ouch.


Northern Ireland:
Not only not a country, but filled with people interested only in being part of one of two others. If only they could agree which one...

Republic of Ireland: Unfortunately this came up during the debate to muddy the waters, and oddly to support the idea of Scotland being a country. Ireland is a country. I assume you mean the Republic if you write just "Ireland." I would suggest that Scotland doesn't have nearly everything that the independence-minded Irish fought for and won, i.e. becoming a country. This is only useful as contrast.

I might suggest this article,
Scotland Is Not a Country as brief review on this subject. The author lists 8 criteria and Scotland by his estimation fails 6 of them. I don't even accept his #1, "Scotland has internationally recognized boundaries", as I don't think any international body cares where England and Scotland draw their boundary; it's an internal affair. His #2, the one we can all agree upon, is that "people live there permanently." Wow.

An Englishman drinking at Ray's was called into the debate, who in addition to repeatedly insulting me declared that Scotland is a country because of the "devolved parliament" thing. This, of course, is what almost all poli sci people would use to argue just the opposite, that body giving Scotland about as much international standing as Oregon has.

The primary argument I've heard in favor of Scotland being a country is that a lot of people who live there say that. That being the case, I should have accepted 3 or 4 answers for (instead of?) Spain. Kurdistan and Tibet would most certainly be countries if that's all it took. The fact remains that international recognition by other countries makes a country. Debate within political circles concerns when that is appropriate.

Delivered in the English accent, however, this was taken to mean by the assembled that I must be wrong. I blame the TV contest shows and their instance on always having an English judge. If our world balances out there was an American butting into a pub quiz in Manchester somewhere last week, declaring confidently that Marilyn Monroe laid out the Monroe Doctrine.

And the hate mail begins... now! I have a feeling that this will be one of those posts that'll get angry comments years later.

It's April 11, 2010, and that prediction turned out to be very much true.

Not sure why I didn't think of this a year ago, but let's read the text of the Act of Union 1707:

"I. THAT the two Kingdoms of Scotland and England shall upon the first day of May next ensuing the date hereof, and for ever after, be united into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN; And that the Ensigns Armorial of the said United Kingdom be such as Her Majesty shall appoint,, and the Crosses of St Andrew and St George be conjoined, in such manner as Her Majesty shall think fit, and used in all Flags, Banners, Standards and Ensigns, both at Sea and Land."

So that's a very clear statement that A) England and Scotland were referred to as Kingdoms, not countries, before the Act, and B) that both Kingdoms were henceforth considered dissolved in favor of one unit.

Reading on:

"VII. THAT all parts of the United Kingdom..."

Parts, not countries.

" IX. ...in that part of the United Kingdom now called England..."

Part, not country.

And seemingly important, in case we're looking for ambiguity:

"XXV. THAT all Laws and Statutes in either Kingdom, to far as they are contrary to, or inconsistent with the Terms of these Articles, or any of them, shall, from and after the Union cease and become void and shall be so declared to be, by the respective Parliaments of the said Kingdoms."

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204 comments:

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Michael Follon said...

Chris,

You make the common mistake of considering the 'United Kingdom' or UK as a country. You might wish to read a guest post titled 'Understanding Scottish Independence' in particular the section headed "Don't break-up the United Kingdom". It can be found at 'New England Tartan Day Initiative' at www.newenglandtartanday.com/ and clicking on 'Understanding Scottish Independence' in the HOT LINKS.

Cowbell said...

Merriam-Webster says:

2 a: the land of a person's birth, residence, or citizenship b: a political state or nation or its territoryThis is what people without poli-sci degrees mean when they use the word "country" in common parlance. It is obviously not wrong, since Scotland and the other countries of the UK nicely fit this definition.

Anonymous said...

It's clear that the logic you've employed is spurious and fatally flawed. I would suggest that your "poli sci degree" is of limited relevance given that the criteria which conventionally define what constitutes a country are laid out in the dictionary and aren't open to much subjective interpretation. In the Oxford English dictionary a country is defined as "a territory distinguished by its people, culture, geography etc." and also "an area of land distinguished by its political autonomy". Ergo Scotland with its devolved parliament is clearly a country. It was an independent nation which voluntarily joined in political union with England and that union didn't result in Scotland ceasing to be a country although it did cease to be a sovereign, independent state.

QuizMasterChris said...

First off, I have an actual degree so there's no need for the quotes. I'm also a little curious as to how having a degree in a subject is useless in... um... the same subject.

The quote "the logic you've employed is spurious and fatally flawed" is followed by no attempt whatever to address any of the logic I used. Weak.

You're seriously using a dictionary for this? I'm glad that you've not only picked which dictrionary is "correct" (seeing as different dictionaries naturally have differing definitions, but also decided which definition for the word is the "correct" one.

Obviously any usage in which I'm asking for a list of European states west of Germany, we are talking about sovereign political units.

This semantics game leads to us declaring Amish Country to be a country.

If we want to play 2-minute researcher, have you ever seen an almanac list Scotland as a country?

Anonymous said...

So we're not talking about countries we're actually talking about nation states? Sovereign political entities-that's a different thing altogether. So that Scotland with its own culture and national identity is a country by any conventional definition of the word isn't something you dispute? No valid comparison can be made between Scotland and "Amish country" or any other country come to that because uniquely Scotland was previously an independent state who voluntarily chose to cede political sovereignty to a UK government. It can also dissolve the union with England and re-establish its nationhood whenever its people express a democratic wish to do so.

John said...

Good for you Chris! How dumb are these people? These are the type of morons who think things MUST be true, because they've always thought so. Instead, they could be learning something. So Scotland FEELS like it's a country, awww... If a "country has no UN seat because it's not recognized by the Int'l committee as a "country", then it's nothing but land with a "countryside".

Michael Follon said...

You write -

'Britain. Not a country. I will accept this as a gloss for "UK" as an answer...'Check historical facts -

'Article I. That the Two Kingdoms of England and Scotland shall upon the First day of May which shall be in the year One thousand seven hundred and seven, and for ever after, be united into one Kingdom by the name of Great Britain...

Article III. That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament...'

SOURCE: Treaty of Union 1707, between Scotland and England

Czesco said...

Chris, what if you used the term "sovereign state" rather than "country". Scotland, whatever you may make of the devolved parliament angle, is in no way 'sovereign'.

I do, however, agree with your reasoning that the presence of a devolved parliament does not make such an area an independent state. If this were so it would make things very messy in terms of figuring out what was a 'country'. Italy alone has five regions that have been allowed home rule (including Sicily and Sardinia).

QuizMasterChris said...

Michael -

First, you quoted only part of my sentence on the Britain issue. Obviously as I stated in the article itself, UK, England and Britain are three different things. I only accept the two others for "UK" because of American slang convention and the effort not to alienate people playing the game.

The claim that the UK isn't a country is a new one on me, and strikes me as daft. Even the people who have been arguing for Scotland as a country currently have been claiming that the UK is a "country comprised of countries", which makes no sense whatever, beyond the sense in which the US is a "state (one meaning, internationally recognized) comprised of states (another meaning, recognized by no one but us and with no need for anyone else to care).

It might behoove Scotland to become a country again after 300+ years, but it ain't one now.

Using the dictionary to do a semantic trick of switching bewteen meanings is sophomoric. Like units to like, Scotland is the equivalent of Catalonia, Sicily, etc., not of France, Spain, Italy.

- Chris

Czesco said...

Michael -

Your historical fact is hopelessly outdated. The "Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927" officially changed the name from 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland' to 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'. Therefore, Great Britain is now a component of the UK, as is Norther Ireland, and not equal in meaning to the UK. The UK is a sovereign state; Great Britain, and its constituent parts, is not.

Anonymous-

You need to look up what words mean and you wouldn't be confused. 'Country' or mean sovereign state; 'nation' is a culturally homogenous group of people. 'Nation state' is a sovereign country consisting of a culturally homogenous group of people.
http://geography.about.com/cs/politicalgeog/a/statenation.htm

Michael Follon said...

Czesco,

In response to your recent comment about my historical fact being 'hopelessly outdated'I'm going to make the same suggestion to you as I gave to Chris. You might wish to read a guest post titled 'Understanding Scottish Independence' in particular the section headed "Don't break-up the United Kingdom". It can be found at 'New England Tartan Day Initiative' at www.newenglandtartanday.com/ and clicking on 'Understanding Scottish Independence' in the HOT LINKS.

By the way I've been an active member of the Scottish National Party for over 34 years now. I think that after that length of time I've gained quite a bit of insight into the nature of the United Kingdom.

Anonymous said...

"You're seriously using a dictionary for this?"

Dictionaries are where the common folk look for the meanings of words. The question at hand is the definition of a word. Works for me.

Anonymous said...

I think Chris lays out a very tight argument. "Country" can mean several things technically, but we know it to mean sovereign state even though we don't say that, this is not confusing. Even lawyers that try to obfuscate lose cases; getting technical doesn't mean everyone else is lazy. I for one need to look no further from Chris' argument.

-Tantum

Morsus Mihi said...

Why not just say "For the purposes of the quiz, when I say 'country' I mean 'sovereign state'."

What was the need for a long-winded, pedantic dissertation on why Scotland is not a country?

Chris makes a good argument for one definition, in a specific set of circumstances. (Albeit with a heap of straw men to wade through.)

The word doesn't mean several things "technically," Anonymous. It means several things actually.The political definition doesn't trump the others.

QuizMasterChris said...

Morsus -

When *anyone* says "country" they should mean sovereign state.

I discuss issues on the blog because it's my blog and I fucking feel like it. Don't like it? Stop reading and/or start your own.

This has been the subtitle of the blog for over two years: "An entermational Infoporium wherein we track the participants' fortunes in QuizMasterChris' Trivia Quizzes, Philadelphia's most challenging bar games. We discuss the games, the questions, and alerts as to upcoming events and themed rounds, with forays into cabbages and kings." I happen to find the subject interesting.

I don't get where you and others start to claim that "I" (as if I'm pulling this out of my ass, not as if these things are standardized) am defining country "politically." That's like complaining that someone insists on "defining pregnant biologically."

Additionally I am discussing this particular issue because people gave me shit about it.

Can you name ONE strawman argument I used? I don't think you can (in fact you did not), let alone a "heap."

If I start saying things like "sovereign state" instead of "country" in a bar trivia game anyone with two neurons to rub together should realize that that'd cause far more problems than it solves. Suddenly people would overthink the damn thing and it wouldn't be much fun.

Yes, there are various dictionary definitions of words. But you know what? What you can't do is apply multiple usages AT THE SAME TIME for a single use in a specific sentence, switching as convenient, which is the entire sophomoric argument of everyone with an ax to grind on this. People have piggybacked very (failed) political arguments on that as well, all of which fail as has been repeatedly demonstared.

I see that you didn't find the post too "pedantic" to bother responding... in fact I don't understand why you would complain that the post is a waste of time by amending it! Good work, Einstein.

Morsus Mihi said...

"When *anyone* says "country" they should mean sovereign state."LOL! Spoken like a true pedant.

I will accept "because it's my fucking blog and I'll say what I want" as a reason for the rant, as such things are subjective.

It's a valid response, albeit childish. I could say, "It's my fucking comment and if you don't like people disagreeing with you, turn your fucking comments off" but that would be just as childish. My own opinion is that it is possible to put forth a point of view without contempt for other, equally valid points of view.

I don't get where you and others start to claim that "I" (as if I'm pulling this out of my ass, not as if these things are standardized) am defining country "politically."

I and others "claim" this because "you" have provided no references to support your position, other than some guy on About.com who lists eight criteria, also without references.

Nothing gets agreed upon in the political world without meetings, symposia, pacts and treaties. For example, Australia defines the use of the word "country" to be itself, and others are "foreign countries" meaning "any country (whether or not an independent sovereign state) outside Australia and the external Territories." (Acts of Interpretation Act 1901, Sect 22).

The United States uses the word "country" to define Scotland for purposes of international trade. Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304). There are a number of United States International Trade Commision Rulings on goods from Scotland. An example:

"Section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), requires that foreign-made goods or their containers be marked in a conspicuous place legibly, indelibly, and permanently to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article. The country of origin for marking purposes is defined by section 134.1(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(b)), to mean the country of manufacture, production, or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the U.S. Here, the tumblers having been manufactured in Scotland must be marked to indicate the country of origin by the following choice of words "Scotland", "United Kingdom", or "Great Britain"."

The Montevideo Convention lists the criteria for statehood as four, not eight, and does not use the word "country." This Convention is what is referred to when various countries argue for statehood. It is also what is used by to deny claims of statehood. There is much wrangling over Articles 1 and 3. (3 states that independece is not required and international recognition can be tacit.)

It could be argued that your scholarly definition of "country" is incorrect, as all the conventions, treaties, and scholarly works use the term "state." The United Nations uses the term "Member States." The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) says this:

ENG England country
NIR Northern Ireland province
SCT Scotland country
WLS Wales [Cymru GB-CYM] principality

I don't agree that you're qualified to demand what "anyone should mean" when they use a particular word, because your definition of "anyone" seems to include Scotland itself, the UK, Encyclopaedia Britannica, OED, ISO, and all the other sources posted.


That's like complaining that someone insists on "defining pregnant biologically."Yes, exactly. From Merriam-Webster: "all this has been said…by great and pregnant artists — Times Literary Supplement" for the definition of pregnant meaning "abounding in fancy, wit, or resourcefulness." One who insisted that anyone should mean "pregnant" only in its biological sense would encounter the same difficulties.

Morsus Mihi said...

Since you asked:

"Yes, there are various dictionary definitions of words. But you know what? What you can't do is apply multiple usages AT THE SAME TIME for a single use in a specific sentence, switching as convenient, which is the entire sophomoric argument of everyone with an ax to grind on this. People have piggybacked very (failed) political arguments on that as well, all of which fail as has been repeatedly demonstared.[sic]"

This is a straw man argument.

This is also a straw man:
"
I see that you didn't find the post too "pedantic" to bother responding... in fact I don't understand why you would complain that the post is a waste of time by amending it!"

It's also Circular Reasoning. Your other logical fallacies are Appeal to Ridicule ("Good work, Einstein." Unless that was intended to be a compliment. It could also qualify as Ad Hominem.) Appeal to Authority, and Appeal to Common Practice.

QuizMasterChris said...

First off, Morsus, most of what you're complaining about aren't even arguments per se, just comments, and ones in response to attacks on me at that. All of which is a distraction from the issue itself.

I have abundantly and repeatedly demonstrated why Scotland isn't a country. If you don't buy that, go apply for Scottish citizenship. Good luck with that.

I find it incredible that you don't even see the need to explain in any fashion *why* you think any argument I make is a strawman. I think I have directly addressed every counterargument presented.

QuizMasterChris said...

I let this go already, but if you want to continue...

That's not "some guy" on About, he's a geography professional, which you are not in all likelihood. You seem to have some ax to grind against anyone with a formal education and professional experience in the subject at hand, which is regarded bizarrely as some form of handicap.
You accuse me of "appealing to authority" and then throw a dictionary at me.
This all reminds me of arguing with creationists; we can't provide a complete fossil skeleton of the entire history of animal life, therefore there are "gaps" in the fossil record and Darwin was a fraud... no matter how many fossils are provided, the creationist sticks fingers in the ears and trashes anyone with a biology degree... I can't possibly provide you a gilded document that says "Scotland is not a country" signed by every resident of Scotland, as well as Jesus and Superman, so you will continue to claim victory. Similarly I can't prove that there are no unicorns. It's actually your responsibility to provide documentation that says Scotland IS a country.
You are repeatedly asking me to provide a reference to prove a negative (what Scotland is NOT), and that's no way to construct an argument. I have repeatedly told you in person and via these comments that I have a professional and educational background with these specific issues which stretched over a period of years, and the 3 minute Googling you do to selectively attempt to play semantics games with reality is not the equal of that for these purposes.
Hey, I just worked for the US State Department in a new country as an election station manager and have a poli sci degree - what the fuck would I know? You have a dictionary and Wikipedia, how could I possibly compete?
No, your arguments aren't 'equally valid'... because they're objectively wrong. As John said above, you don't get to be right because of an inkling that Scotland "feels like" a country.
The semantics shell game with dictionary definitions of "country" fails when we decide to do the same with "state" (which makes Rhode Island a country) or "nation" (which makes the Sioux or for that matter Red Sox fans a country.)
No, Scotland is NOT claiming to be a country, which would entail presenting itself as such to the international community. There are places in the world (the nascent Palestinian state for example) that attempt this thus far unsuccessfully. But Scotland isn't doing that much. What they are doing is using the word "country" to mean something internally within the UK (according to their website "for lack of a better word"), as we use "state" to mean something within the US. Like units to like, Scotland is roughly (but of course not exactly) the equal of Texas or Sicily.

QuizMasterChris said...

Your 70 yr old tariff act language is in no way a claim that the US recognizes Scotland to be a country; it merely states that 'Scotland' would indicate which country the tumblers were from... which is to say the UK, because that's where Scotland is. Scotland has no international tariff and trade agreements, which are made for them via London.

In fact this document proves precisely the opposite, that this US government department considered Scotland to be PART OF THE UK for tariff purposes!

Using your argument, the American government was considering Great Britain, the UK and Scotland to simultaneously be three different countries. What kind of sense does that make?

Obviously if we are talking about a quiz question in which I ask what celebrity women are pregnant, I am clearly meaning biologically pregnant with a child and not figuratively pregnant with an idea for a screenplay, and the substitute of one for the other need not be accepted as valid answers.

I have repeatedly stated that there are various lists people use to determine when a country should be recognized. I have repeatedly told you that I read a lot of this/those 20 years ago when I earned a degree in this crap and can not and will not provide you with a "definitive" (not that there is one) list or bibliography of that.

The important point in that is that Scotland ALWAYS fails to check off enough of the points on ALL of those lists to be considered a country.

You could use the Montevideo thing I suppose. What you're avoiding in mentioning it is that Scotland FAILS to be considered a country by those criteria. 4, 8, 11 items it doesn't matter... Scotland can never check off more than 1 or 2 elements on the lists.

I'll point out that even your Merriam-Webster definition requires "citizenship," which the Scotland website specifically tells you they do not have. There are UK citizens who happen to live in Scotland.

This is the last time I'm posting on the issue. You can declare victory-through-denial if you like.

Morsus Mihi said...

"All of which is a distraction from the issue itself." Pure argument, no distractions:

Contention: Scotland is not a country.
Reason: All the reasons you have provided.
Evidence: expertise.

Scotland is not a country because it fails to meet the criteria you have provided by virtue of your education and expertise in this area.

Contention: Scotland is a country.
Reason: There is more than one correct definition of "country."
Evidence (again):
Encyclopedia Britannica: an independent nation, or formerly independent nation which maintains its national identity
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition: an independent nation, or formerly independent nation which maintains its national identity
Oxford English Dictionary: an independent nation, or formerly independent nation which maintains its national identity
Encarta : an independent nation, or formerly independent nation which maintains its national identity
American Heritage Dictionary: a nation or state

Scotland is a country because it satisfies at least one of the conditions in each of the above definitions.

My original point, and the only important point, is that we are both right. Your definition is not false because these other definitions are true. Neither are the other definitions false because yours is true.

QuizMasterChris said...

Victory through denial: Mission Accomplished!

Michael Follon said...

Chris,

Putting aside the differences I have with you concerning the status of the United Kingdom (UK) as a country compared to its constituent parts I'm curious as to how you would define the UK when Scotland regains its independence. An independent Scotland would mean that the Treaty of Union of 1707 had effectively been DISSOLVED and that Great Britain would CEASE to exist. The United Kingdom (or Kingdoms), however, would continue to exist as it did between 1603 and 1707. So how would you explain your definition of the UK as a country and Scotland was not prior to Scottish independence when on independence Scotland becomes a country yet the United Kingdom continues to exist?

By the way here's a fact for inclusion in your list of what Scotland has -

a separate and identifiable legal system.

It is possible to get confused when reference is made to either 'British law' or the 'British legal system'. The phrases 'British law' and 'British legal system' are generally understood to encompass both Scots law and English law and their respective legal systems. Although there is also Welsh and Northern Irish law and corresponding legal systems they are essentially variants of English law.

'74. ...By the time of the Union a well-defined and independent system of Scottish law had been established. This was recognised in the Union settlement, which provided for the preservation of the separate code of Scots law and the Scottish judiciary and legal system. Under Article XIX the two highest Scottish courts - the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary - were to continue, and were not to be subject to the jurisdiction of the English courts. These bodies have remained respectively the supreme civil and criminal courts in Scotland, while beneath them there is a completely separate Scottish system of jurisdiction and law courts, with a justiciary, advocates and solicitors, none of whom are interchangeable with their English counterparts...

76. ...Nevertheless the two systems remain separate, and - a unique constitutional phenomenon within a unitary state - stand to this day in the same juridical relationship to one another as they do individually to the system of any foreign country.'

SOURCE: 'Royal Commission on the Constitution, 1969-1973', Volume I, Cmnd. 5460.
In your post you also write that 'Bank of Scotland prints a British pound' - actually it doesn't as there is no such thing as a 'British pound'. There is an ongoing saga concerning bank notes printed in Scotland being accepted in England - that in itself is a long story.

QuizMasterChris said...

Michael -

You're asking me in essence what happens if Scotland becomes a country.

My answer: It would be a country. This is clearly what the Scottish independence movement (which by no means represents all Scots) is aiming at.

Similarly Tibet would be a country if independent. Similarly neither are countries now.

Every state has an identifiable legal system; in fact parts of Louisiana code are drawn from the Napoleonic code as opposed to English common law. This doesn't make Louisiana a country.

QuizMasterChris said...

Incidentally, Michael, the 'devolved' Scottish Parliament has very clear powers laid out in a manner almost identical to those given to a US state by the Tenth Amendment, meaning that the Scottish Parliament is basically the Nebraska State House with an accent...

From the History of Scots Law, pertaining to the post-1998 period:

"[T]he Scottish Parliament is not a "sovereign legislature" in the sense
that Constitutional lawyers have defined that term over the last 150 years. The provisions of sections 28 and 29 of the Act make this clear. The Parliament can only
legislate in the areas of its competence and the Westminster Parliament always retains legislative power in relation to Scotland.

Section 29 is of particular importance. Subsection (1) provides that "An Act of the
Scottish Parliament is not law so far as any provision of the Act is outside the legislative competence of the Parliament".
Subsection(2) helps to define that competence: therefore acts which would apply out with Scotland, or relate to matters reserved to the UK Parliament, or would be
incompatible with EU law or the ECHR or contravene certain other aspects of the Scotland Act are not law. This is an important change to the nature of legislation in
Scotland."

QuizMasterChris said...

Oh yeah, and the standard international abbreviation for the pound is "GBP", three guesses what that stands for...

Also I should point out that Cowbell, Morsus Mihi and at least one Anonymous comment are the same person. Thus I have been arguing with two or three people, not six or so.

And, um, yeah THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT says ON THEIR OWN WEBSITE that the UK is the country they live in, which includes Scotland, and some people call the parts of the UK "countries" with the quotes in the original, indicating a low opinion of the usage:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/vli/publicInfo/faq/category2.htm

Asking the specific question "Is Scotland a country?" even the Scottish Parliament won't answer yes.

Sheesh.

What the fuck do they know - they're only the Scottish Parliament, and they aren't citing an American dictionary.

Dave said...

Chris,

Over the past few days, this thread has degenerated from a lively and interesting debate to irritating, childish mudslinging. You're stubbornly claiming to have the only correct viewpoint on a topic with multiple interpretations, all of which are valid under their own sets of circumstances. Experts and scholars in geo/political science, respected reference works (both general and specific) as well as the "man in the street" (with and without credentials) can all put forth their respective, often divergent, definitions of "country", and they can all be correct. But as far as I can tell, Cowbell/Morsus isn't disputing your assertions (other than the claim that your definition is the only valid one) so I don't understand the escalating hostility. Your "I'm right and since you disagree with me, you're wrong" argument isn't always valid reasoning, and it's not valid here. But more importantly, the nasty, dismissive and sometimes irrational tone of your comments directed at Cowbell/Morsus is rude and uncalled for, and does nothing to advance your position.

QuizMasterChris said...

Dave -

OK, so now that I post the link to the Scottish Parliament telling the world that the UK is the country, we're going to change the subject to my tone. How convenient.

Go back through this thread and trace the order of comments.

What happens - in this order - is that I am attacked as using "spurious" and "fatally flawed" arguments (without naming any), I get quotes thrown around my degree in the subject as if that's a fiction, I am told that my educational background and professional experience "is of limited relevance", I am called "long-winded" and "pedantic"...

ALL of this before I make any snarky or negative statements. You read the posts again and tell me this isn't true. Up until that point I think it'd be hard to describe me as anything but firm but polite.

Now, that's just here on the comments of this post. The same person has called me worse and ridiculed my experience in this matter more in person & in a series of emails. The mere fact of approving these comments, despite the arguable sockpuppetry, is showing some restraint.

This is aside from being told repeatedly and loudly that I was flat out "wrong" (not that we "all are right", a position I still don't agree with, not arrived at til days later) at the quiz itself, & in the most insulting terms by the Englishman - & everyone in the room basing that opinion not at all in any semantic argument, which came later, but in his 'devolved parliament' bid, which has been abundantly debunked & which is undeniably based in a purely political definition.

At one point a completely dismissive, bitter comment was made by our thrice-named poster that "oh, that's just something you read in your poli sci textbook." (As if we had one! It doesn't even work that way, of course.)

That's not the first time in my life that someone looked down on me for having a formal education, but I'm confused by it every single time.

I'm really sick of the little game in which my specific education and a decade of solid professional experience in the international arena (a UN registered NGO as a country data researcher and a US State Dept representative in a new country) can be attacked as irrelevant, but I'm NOT allowed to point out the obvious, that the people arguing with me about this have NO background in the subject.

This must be what doctors feel like when someone at a party attacks them for not believing in quack remedies. If they eventually snap & say "Look, I went to freakin' MEDICAL SCHOOL!" then all of a sudden they're being snooty snobs w/ bad attitudes.

At the end of the day, though, they did go to freakin' medical school, so maybe what the dictionary says about homeopathy or qi ain't exactly right. I'm sure we can find a dictionary that says "mass" & "weight" are the same if we look long enough.

My take on this is that someone with a bitter take on formal education got pissed off that I used mine in this, & therefore had a personal quest to take me down a notch, always couched to make me look like the heavy. Your mileage may vary.

The passive aggressive poking poking poking eventually leads to the inevitable Henry Rollins response:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4uahL_tQWc

QuizMasterChris said...

Y'know what just occurred to me?

Any number of languages are used in the world, which is a solid reason all by itself why it makes zero sense to use an English (or any single) language dictionary to determine what is considered a "country."

I'm abundantly certain that Scotland is not a "country" in any sense of that word using any of the English language definitions for the word when describing the place in some/many other languages. As this is an inherently international matter, it's as airtight an argument as can be made.

Matt Rosenberg said...

Folks,

The word "country" is certainly fraught with problems, especially among those who live outside of England in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Nonetheless, Chris' definition of a country and that which he will accept as one is clear and well-grounded. There are currently 195 independent countries in the world, generally agreed upon by the countries of the world and the key international organizations. To say that the component entities of the UK are independent countries is like saying that French Guyana is an independent country. It's just not the case.

All my best,
Matt Rosenberg
Geographer

Michael Follon said...

Chris,

1. You have not answered the question I asked in my last post - if anything you evaded it. Perhaps that is because you realised that if you had done so it would have meant that you were logically contradicting your own previous view that the United Kingdom was a country.

2. I am very well aware of what the Scotland Act 1998, which established the Scottish Parliament, says with regard to devolved and reserved matters. The extract about Scots Law which you quote refers to Sections 28 and 29 (mostly Section 29) and also the fact that Westminster retains legislative power over Scotland. This is specified in Section 28(7) which reads -

This section does not affect the power of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to make laws for Scotland.'In other words it can pass legislation for Scotland EVEN on devolved matters. However, Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998, concerning 'RESERVED MATTERS', in Part I reads as follows -

7 - (1) International relations, including relations with territories outside the United Kingdom, the European Communities (and their institutions) and other international organizations, regulation of international trade, and international development assistance and co-operation are reserved matters.

(2) Sub-paragraph (1) does not reserve -

(a) observing and implementing international obligations, obligations under the Human Rights Convention and obligations under Community law,

(b) assisting Ministers of the Crown in relation to any matter to which that sub-paragraph applies.'
[my emphasis in bold].

The quote "[T]he Scottish Parliament is not a "sovereign legislature"in the sense that Constitutional lawyers have defined that term over the last 150 years." has to be viewed against the background of location and legal jurisdiction. The Scottish Parliament may have been established through an Act of the Westminster (UK) Parliament where English constitutional law applies but it is located in Scotland where Scottish constitutional law applies -

'...The principle of the unlimited sovereignty of Parliament is a distinctively English principle which has no counterpart in Scottish constitutional law...'

SOURCE: From a 1954 legal finding by Lord Cooper in the Scottish Court of Session - McCormick v Lord Advocate 1954 (1953 SC 396),

'...But the theories of English constitutional lawyers prevailed and the union has proved to have no more sanctity than any other statute...'

SOURCE: 'Scotland: The Shaping of a Nation' by Gordon Donaldson, p.58, ISBN 0 7153 6904 0.
I agree that the devolved Scottish Parliament is not a sovereign legislature, but neither would it be after Scotland regains its independence. I would accept such a Parliament being regarded as a sovereign legislature in an international sense, but under the sovereignty of the people the true and legal sovereign is the people - and only them. An elected and genuinely democratic legislature is not sovereign in its own right - it only acts on behalf of the sovereign people.

3. You write -

'What the fuck do they know - they're only the Scottish Parliament, and they aren't even citing an American dictionary.'Reference has been made in previous comments regarding your having a political science degree so I'll comment on that in the local idiom here in Fife -

"What has that got to do with the price of cheese."I've been told by a fellow activist in the Scottish National Party that he was glad that he had been an activist before getting his political science degree as having one was no preparation for the realities of an election campaign. Many years ago I was given the following advice -

"Just remember, especially in politics, that people who make statements as facts without knowing what they are talking about are just opening their mouth and letting their belly rumble."

If there is anything I have learnt in the 34 years that I have been a member of the SNP it is this - ASSUME NOTHING.

CowMorsAnon said...

Matt Rosenberg,

Speaking only for (all three) of myself, at no time did I say the constituent countries of the UK are "independent countries." Obviously they are not. Chris's definition is not in dispute.

What Chris is disputing is the validity of other correct definitions in respected reference works. Scotland most definitely is a "formerly independent nation which maintains its national identity" which makes the use of the word vaild in the common parlance perfectly correct. The definition you outline in your article supports Chris's definition, but it does not refute the OED.

That one definition is "right" to professional geographers and political scientists doesn't make the others "wrong," in the language of the people. That one is "right" in common speech does not make the jargon of political science and geography "wrong."

QuizMasterChris said...

Hi Michael -

I just went back and read your post again, apparently I misunderstood the question.

If independence happens, Scotland would be a country AND the UK would be a country, albeit maybe with an altered full name. The UK would then be composed of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. I'm not sure how Orkney and other islands wold fall, as it appears that "Scotland" is being defined differently for the purposes of UK and Scottish Parliament.

But that'd then be two countries. It's precisely the same as Ethiopia still being a country after Eritrea left.

QuizMasterChris said...

Michael -

Again, the Scottish Parliament website itself says in direct response to the question "Is Scotland a country?" that Scotland is a part of a country called the UK, see the link above. I have never in my life heard a claim that the UK is anything other than a country.

Morsus/Anon -

I'm glad that you know more about geography than the professional geographer with a master's in geography who has two best-selling books about geography and won a national award from the geographers' association for geography education in 2006.

In no way does the OED state specifically that Scotland retained a sense of national identity. The flag, royalty and all aspects of sovereignty were subsumed into the UK. You make a leap from one (a different one than was being referenced!) definition of the word to Scotland entirely of your own accord on your own say-so with no references at all; at least I reference international convention.

QuizMasterChris said...

The man in the street, incidentally, thinks that a whale is a fish and a spider is an insect.

That doesn't make those statements true, and finding some reference that refers to a whale being "a greete fishe" would not be a good argument to use against a biologist.

This takes us into the Humpty Dumpty/Jacques Derrida/pomo world in which not only do words mean what you feel like they should, but "everyone's narrative is valid", i.e. because people used to believe that the sun revolved around the Earth, not only was the "narrative valid" but use of the language changed reality and there was no objective truth that this was wrong.

I was I were exaggerating that attitude, but I'm not. People literally believe this crap. I happen to be an objective truth person, as are apparently the people who wrote the Scottish Parliament's website.

QuizMasterChris said...

Posting once again...

When this argument started, everyone was very much insisting that Scotland met a purely POLITICAL definition of being a country, and the man on the street/semantic ball and cups game came into play after, when it became evident that this was a dead end/dead wrong.

People keep throwing political arguments in the mix in order to try and bolster rather weak semantic ones, those needing some political back-up to withstand scrutiny.

Can we at least agree that the UK is the country as the Scottish Parliament says?

Working from there we can begin to try and explain how a country is part of another country.

QuizMasterChris said...

Michael -

Just read all the detail of your posting of the 1998 act... and as I stated earlier this is very much the same mechanism for granting US state legislatures the ability to pass laws on things that the federal government cedes through default.

That's not an argument for Pennsylvania being a country.

This and the Eritrea example (or Pakistan still very much being a country after Bangladesh left, etc etc) are under the rubric of "comparative politics," which was my degree's specialization.

Feel free to take a steaming crap on that; it won't make Scotland a country.

AnonMorCow said...

Morsus/Anon -

I'm glad that you know more about geography than the professional geographer with a master's in geography who has two best-selling books about geography and won a national award from the geographers' association for geography education in 2006.I did not disagree with Mr. Rosenberg. Nor did I claim greater expertise is the field of geography. His field of study is geography, not lexicography, therefore he would not be qualified to dispute experts in that discipline.


In no way does the OED state specifically that Scotland retained a sense of national identity. The flag, royalty and all aspects of sovereignty were subsumed into the UK. You make a leap from one (a different one than was being referenced!) definition of the word to Scotland entirely of your own accord on your own say-so with no references at all; at least I reference international convention.Yes it does.

Here is a direct quote from the OED:
* 3. The territory or land of a nation; usually an independent state, or a region once independent and still distinct in race, language, institutions, or historical memories, as England, Scotland, and Ireland, in the United Kingdom, *etc.

I did not "leap" from one definition to another, I accept all definitions presented by experts as correct, including yours, and I provided references to support my position.

Is the international convention you refer to the aforementioned Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States? My reference to this document was to illustrate that the internationally accepted term under customary law for a sovereign nation is "state." I used it to support a hypothetical political agrument against your definition, however, my argument remains semantic. The Montevideo Convention defines what a "state" is. This document is useless to a lexicographer to deifne "country," as the word is nowhere in it.

MorNonCow said...

Chris,

You have taken offense at a number of things, with your permission, I will address them. The terms "long-winded" and "pedantic" were not intended to be insults. It is a quirk of my mind to use the dictionary definitions for things. By "long-winded" I merely meant "verbose." By "pedantic" I meant "making a display of knowledge." These concepts are neutral until interpreted. If you recall, I approached you before the quiz, and warned you that my post could be interpreted as rude, and that was not my intent. For the offense given, I sincerely apologize. I have the greatest affection for you and respect your accomplishments.

I do not have contempt for your degree, or anyone else's. I do hold the opinion that the education alone is not enough to support a position, due to the existence of incompetence in every field. (I am not calling you incompetent!). To use one example, Tara Reid's plastic surgeon had at least 14 years of study, but she still ended up with crooked boobs. Disagreement in not disprespect.

Full disclosure for readers:
I am indeed Cowbell, Morsus Mihi, and one of the Anons. Any sock puppetry was due to how I was logged into Blogger at the time, not any attempt to represent myself as different people to make you appear outnumbered. Those tactics are for the morons at Wikipedia. I prefer to have my arguments attributed to me. You have my word as a gentlewoman.
To avoid the appearance of "meat puppetry," Dave is my POSSLQ.

I would enjoy the (unemotional, non-vitriolic, mutually respectful) logical debate of your points, if you so desire. (This not a challenge. It is a statement.) I believe such a discussion would be interesting and illuminating.

QuizMasterChris said...

Apology begrudgingly accepted.

I don't have OED access, but obviously anything claiming Ireland is part of the UK is either nearly a century old or plain old wrong, and in any event was written in the UK, where the word is sometimes a (very) rough cognate of US state IN ONE SENSE (and currently wrong for Ireland absolutely).

You are left with the problem of why the Scottish Parliament - our beloved devolved body - says that the UK is a country but makes no such claim about Scotland. If you’re right, why is that? Seems like they’d be saying “The dictionary says we are a country.” if that were in any way a decent argument. These are the people who want indepedence!

You have consistently played a semantics game in which you then transfer that sense of the word to the sense of the word in my original question. We see why this doesn’t work when translating into other languages, in which different definitions of English words split into various languages. It also wouldn’t work, for example, in claiming that the Red Sox Nation and the State of Delaware are countries, although state and nation have “country” definitions in the dictionary.

Why would the world be using an English dictionary for this? Why would I ask a trivia question about European states and expect an answer broken into portions of one and only one of those, but not any others, based upon one non-American casual usage of an English word?

This OED definition contradicts earlier definitions in which you did not describe some parts of the UK as "countries." It's not that I'm arguing against one definition of country from you, I'm arguing with a moving target that shifts whenever you think that makes me wrong, based in a refusal to admit that the acceptance of the devolved parliament argument a couple weeks back is objectively wrong.

I didn't say anything about "a convention", I'm talking about "convention", which is to say standards and practices. There's no manual nor magic bullet link for this, so I won't be providing one. This is where the education and experience thing comes in.

Most of the world's countries didn't exist when the Montevideo thing happened, so this is clearly not the main source, sole source or binding source of said convention.

There's a ton of literature on how and why nations, nation-states and countries should be and/or are defined. In none of that literature would Scotland currently be considered a country. An argument is made that the Scots would have a right to become a country via certain channels. Countries don't ask permission; Scotland does.

IF Scotland presented diplomats tomorrow, the international community would consider them to be illegitimate. Maybe not so down the line, following a future procedure set out by the UK. There are and have been a multitude of examples of this sort of thing, breakaway areas of recognized countries that have to work their way toward recognition as a country. Scotland hasn’t yet attempted this, and might never.

Yes, "country" means rather specifically independent political state in common political parlance. See the About link referenced above with nation and nation-state for the convention. That bit was in my poli sci 101 class. Any number of US government departments use "country" to mean independent state and not any smaller unit of one. There are 100 places in the world right now where if the US government started using your dictionary method, a civil war would break out.

The lexicographer thing falls flat; I imagine that a medical doctor/researcher has no business defining a disease, what with definition being the province of linguists..? I don't know if you're aware, but this is the French postmodernist attack on modern science.

QuizMasterChris said...

Oh yeah, and obviously there's no international standard that "state" or any other English word is a linguistic standard of recognition. Most people don't speak English.

The UN has 5 official and a couple other "publication" languages. These people aren't using an English dictionary for anything.

The UN has "member states" but some countries aren't UN members (two I know of in any event, Switzerland and Taiwan). But they have diplomatic recognition worldwide. China has a bug up their bum about Taiwan so everyone tiptoes around that, but a Taiwanese passport is accepted worldwide.

A country doesn't have to be a member of anything it doesn't ant to, but can join or leave treaties or international groups on its own. Scotland doesn't even claim to be able to do that at present.

Obviously you need to be a country before you apply to the UN.

QuizMasterChris said...

Things keep occuring to me:

For several years I dealt with data from all (yes, ALL) of the UN data collecting agencies, plus the UN-related older agencies like the UPU and ILO, plus a number of NGOs.

All of them used "Country" as the field name for the location, and all of them indicated that the UK and not its parts was the "Country."

You have the problem of Sikkim. That was a country in Asia (with royalty I believe) which was voluntarily subsumed into India in 1975. No one would every claim that Sikkim is "a country in India" as that makes zero sense, and in fact would be inflammatory. Since this happened just a few decades ago and not in 1707, and since Sikkim retained the ability to make local laws, we can hardly argue that Sikkim lost its "country" mojo while Scotland retains it.

What you have in both cases are places that stopped being countries. This seems to be a stumbling block for people who know who the Scots are, white people with descendants in the US and so forth, so they must simply "have to be" a country, whereas the folks in India are all wogs you can't tell apart to the average American, and can lose country status without anyone blinking.

OrNoMancow said...

Alrighty then.

Michael Follon said...

Chris,

This is in response to your recent comment. From the Wikipedia entry for Sikkim -

'In 1947, a popular vote rejected Sikkim's joining the Indian Union and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru agreed to a special protectorate status for Sikkim. Sikkim came under the suzerainty of India, which controlled its external affairs, defence, diplomacy and communications, but Sikkim otherwise retained autonomy. A state council was established in 1955 to allow for constitutional government under the Chogyal. Meanwhile trouble was brewing in the state after the Sikkim National Congress demanded fresh elections and greater representation for the Nepalese. In 1973, riots in front of the palace led to a formal request for protection from India. The Chogyal was proving to be extremely unpopular with the people. In 1975, the Kazi (Prime Minister) appealed to the Indian Parliament for a change in Sikkim's status so that it could become a state of India. In April, the Indian Army moved into Sikkim, seizing the city of Gangtok and disarming the Palace Guards. A referendum was held in which 97.5% of the voting people (59% of the people entitled to vote) voted to join the Indian Union. A few weeks later, on May 16, 1975, Sikkim officially became the 22nd state of the Indian Union and the monarchy was abolished.'http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikkim

(THOUGHT: What if, following the 1947 vote, Sikkim had been annexed by China?)

Your comparison of Sikkim with Scotland is like trying to compare an apple with an orange. There are certain inconvenient truths that are overlooked by British Unionists when the subject of debate is the Treaty of Union of 1707.

- that in the three months that the Articles of Union were being debated by the Scottish parliament there were riots throughout Scotland,

- that, during the same period, English troops had been moved to the Scotland/England border,

- that the majority of the Scottish commissioners appointed to negotiate the Articles of the proposed Treaty of Union were chosen because they were in favour of an incorporating union.

Democracy as we now know it did not exist in 1707. You also write -

'This seems to be a stumbling block for people who know who the Scots are, white people with descendants in the US and so forth,'.

I consider that sort of stereotyping to be deeply offensive and inaccurate, and so would many people here in Scotland. Such people may think that but they certainly DO NOT 'know' that.

You have opened up a 'can of worms' which I believe was not your intention. However, you only have yourself to blame because you have allowed your ego to take control of any debate. I wish to echo a statement made in a previous post by MorNonCow -

'I would enjoy the (unemotional, non-vitriolic, mutually respectful) logical debate of your points, if you so desire. (This is not a challenge. It is a statement.) I believe such a discussion would be interesting and illuminating.'You might find this extract interesting -

'In 1812 the United States of America had, frustrated by continued English interference in American affairs, restriction of American trade, interference in American freedom of movement and economic policies, declared war on England. The war ended on January 8, 1815, when the Americans won a decisive victory over the English forces. Scotsmen were still considered persona grata with Americans and not really regarded as nationals of the country with which they were at war. Jeffrey, in fact, was received and enterained by Munroe, the Secretary of State, and even lunched with President Madison, with whom he had a number of discussions on Scottish problems.'

SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seamus Mac A'Ghobainn, p.97, ISBN 0 85976 519 9
.

QuizMasterChris said...

Michael -

I'm sorry if I offended you. I don't really know what the stereotyping portion of the comment was that did it, especially as I was commenting more on Americans' disbelief that Scotland isn't an independent state, not really a comment about Scots themselves.

"Scot" is a word that Americans have actually heard of, and most people here assume that any ethnic group of people has their own country. Many Americans are equally surprised to hear about groups of people who don't come from a country they've heard of. "Africa" is commonly believed to be a country here!

You can make a perfectly good case (and I think you do) that the Treaty of Union wasn't exactly fair to most Scots. But it has been accepted by the world as binding for the last 300 years.

In fact it's been tacitly accepted by the Scottish Parliament, who are going about business recognizing UK authority. People who flat out reject that authority would be in general rebellion against the UK government, instead it appears that the SP is doing things this way for now and the SNP seeking a way out of the UK in a manner acceptable by the UK, i.e. not appealing to the international community that they've been invaded and asking for military protection or sanctioing of the rest of the UK. That's what I'd expect a "country" to do.

The SNP website makes some good arguments for independence as I stated in the original post. My disagreement isn't with that but with the contention that Scotland is already a country.

I know that there have to be a number of Scots (or UK citizens who live in Scotland and get a vote there) who wish to remain in the UK.

I have to ask again why the Scottish Parliament specifically would be telling the world on its website that the UK is the country name if this were not the case.

By the by, Mo/Anon/Cow has been arguing that the UK is a country comprised of countries and you've been arguing that the UK isn't a country at all. Yet neither of you have called out the other on that.

The world has recognized the UK and India as having dealt with appropriate representatives of the subsumed lands in both cases, whether that's morally OK or not being a different issue. Someone is always going to be unhappy in these situations. Often the struggle isn't even between one independence force and a larger country but between a larger country and two or more different resistance groups, as in Palestinian territory now.

This is why there aren't hard and fast rules on when a country should be recognized, trying to balance the rights of existing countries, other political groups, the old and new minorities that are created or shifted when borders change, and the individual.

The US government's conduct of foreign policy (and most other things) was considerably different in 1812 than now. I wouldn't lean on that.

FYI the Battle of New Orleans took place after a peace had already been signed with the UK weeks earlier, the combatants having no way of knowing.

Sorry if anyone thinks that my actual usage of 4 years' formal education in this subject and 10 years' experience in the same field makes me egotistical. As I said before this is the only type of issue I have actual bona fide credentials to bring to bear in arguing. I'd argue just the opposite; it seems one needs a pretty healthy ego (not a bad thing in and of itself I might add) to argue with professionals in their own field if you're not one.

Michael Follon said...

Chris,

This is just to say that I will be submitting a comment setting out why I do not consider the United Kingdom (UK) to be a country. Because of the elections to the European Parliament, which take place here on Thursday, there will be a delay in my submitting that comment as a lot of my time will be taken up with campaigning.

QuizMasterChris said...

Take your time, we'll be here.

Would also be interested in a brief take on your end on how you think the elections went; we get almost no coverage here.

Michael Follon said...

Chris,

Here is the comment I am submitting detailing why I do not consider the United Kingdom to be a country -

'THE MAKING OF THE UNION

...the final link in each case in the chain of events which brought them into union with England. The first of these was the enactment by the Parliament of England in 1536 of a statute providing for Wales to "stand and continue for ever from henceforth incorporated united and annexed to and with" the realm of England. This was a unilateral Act, but essentially it confirmed and gave more precise form to a situation which had existed since a statute of 1284 [the Statute of Rhuddlan]. Union with Scotland, when it came in 1707, took a very different form. The terms of union between the two nations, to which effect was given by Acts passed in both the English and Scottish Parliaments, provided for the establishment of a single Parliament of Great Britain. Then in 1800, the creation of the United Kingdom was completed by a similar union with Ireland - though on the Irish side the ratifying agent was a Parliament of Ireland in which no Roman Catholic could sit. Finally, in 1922, the United Kingdom was given its present shape when the greater part of Ireland ceased to be part of it. Northern Ireland, consisting of six of the original nine counties of Ulster, had in 1920 been given its own Parliament of Northern Ireland, subordinate to the United Kingdom Parliament at Westminster, and by a vote of its Parliament chose to remain within the United Kingdom.'

SOURCE: 'Royal Commission on the Constitution, 1969 - 1973', Volume I, para. 52, Cmnd. 5460.


1603 - Union of the Crowns ( James VI of Scotland also becomes James I of England).
1707 - United Kingdom of Great Britain (Treaty of Union between Scotland and England).
1801 - United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (Treaty of Union with Ireland comes into effect).
1920 - Parliament of Northern Ireland created which decides to remain within the United Kingdom.
1922 - United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland following the creation of the Irish Free State (this new name came into effect after an Act of Parliament in 1927).
1998 - Scotland Act 1998 creates a devolved Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom. First elections to it were held in 1999.

The common factor in this is that throughout its history the term 'United Kingdom' has remained constant, it is only the territory which forms it that has changed.(to be continued)...

Michael Follon said...

...What unites the United Kingdom is that the same person is the monarch of three realms. In 1603 there was what is known as the 'Union of the Crowns', as no such thing ever happened that term is a misnomer which I hope the following extract will explain -

'on 25 March 1603, James VI of Scotland became James I of England. It was purely a personal union. There were still two kingdoms, each with its own parliament, administration, church and legal system...He did assume the title King of Great Britain, but even this was distasteful to many, and after nearly four hundred years the people of England have not become accustomed to its use.'

SOURCE: 'Scotland: The Shaping of a Nation' by Gordon Donaldson, pp. 46-47, ISBN 0 7153 6904 0.


It is people that make a country and not its political status. Without people an area of land, which they might otherwise lay claim to, is no more than a vacant piece of real estate. Unions of countries may come and go but people remain -

'The fact was, of course, that dynastic accident, while it could join two states, could not unite two peoples or guarantee that a union of two kingdoms which had so long existed separately, even though in a single island, would be enduring. After all, continental history presents examples of the dissolution of unions which seemed equally inevitable - the Scandinavian kingdoms, Holland and Belgium, Spain and Portugal; in each of these instances union was achieved for a time, but the ultimate solution was separation.'

SOURCE: 'Scotland: The Shaping of a Nation' by Gordon Donaldson, p. 47.


In answer to your question about why the entry on the Scottish Parliament website states that the United Kingdom is the name of the country - PRAGMATISM. It's easier to say that than to get into an unnecessary semantic debate. There is a widespread misunderstanding about what the United Kingdom actually is. The United Kingdom is NOT and NEVER has been a country. The term 'United Kingdom' or 'UK' is an abbreviation of the formal name as well as being a description of its form and the territory of which it is comprised. In my own opinion the United Kingdom is currently the internationally recognized sovereign political authority for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

From Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -

'2. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.'

Michael Follon said...

Chris,

'i.e. not appealing to the international community that they've been invaded and asking for military protection or sanctioning of the rest of the UK. That's what I'd expect a "country" to do.'

That statement is invalid because it is predicated on the action of an internationally recognized sovereign country - which at the present moment Scotland definitely is not.

'However, it is also clear that statehood could not be achieved unilaterally by the devolved Scottish parliament. Without having secured agreement from the United Kingdom the purported Act of the Scottish Parliament declaring the country's independence would be ultra vires and void. A unilateral declaration of independence (UDI), although the convential way to initiate secession, is not a constitutional option for Scotland as it is a 'hostile' declaration of independence. The most obvious recent UDI was by Southern Rhodesia on 11 November 1965. After this declaration of political dissent by the white government, the United Kingdom immediately imposed economic sanctions, and the UN later imposed a total embargo on trade with the country. Rhodesia declared itself a republic in 1970 but was not recognized by the United Kingdom or any other State. In other words, the consequences of UDI are worlds apart from the smooth transition to independence that mainstream Scottish nationalists have in mind.' - p.20,

'The United Kingdom's stance on Scottish independence derives from three premises:

- Scotland is a territorially distinct nation;
- the people of Scotland have a right to national self-determination;
- to exercise that right, the people of Scotland must express their desire for independence democratically.' - p.22,

'What is more, a UDI would have serious repercussions for Scotland's standing in Europe and the world. No State would be willing to recognize Scotland as an independent State if it attained independence through unconstitutional means and without the consent of the UK Government...Lane says, Scotland cannot break away like Ireland as it was one of the basic building blocks of "the United Kingdom of Great Britain" (Lane 1991: 146). Without Scotland there is no 'Great Britain' and without Great Britain there is no 'United Kingdom'. - p.109,

SOURCE: 'SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE - A Practical Guide' by Jo Eric Murkens with Peter Jones and Michael Keating, ISBN 0 7486 1699 3.

Michael Follon said...

Chris,

You write -

'"Scot" is a word that Americans have actually heard of, and most people here assume that any ethnic group of people has their own country.'

Making an assumption can result in a serious misunderstanding rendering any decision or opinion based on it inaccurate and possibly creating a dilemma for the person so doing. It has been many centuries since Scots could be regarded as an ethnic group.

'Kings ceased to address the various races among their people: all of them were simply subjects of the king of Scots, and therefore themselves Scots. The time came when a baron of Norman extraction who spoke French, a bishop whose tongue took more readily to Latin than to English, the English-speaking traders and farmers of the burghs and the plains and the Gaelic-speaking pastoralists from the mountains, all began to look on themselves not as a collection of different races ruled by a single sovereign, but as one nation.

...One element was this: Picts and Britons, Scandinavians, Angles and Normans, all alike laid aside their particular memories of the past and adopted as their heritage the history and mythology of the original Scots, who had come as Irish invaders. What else, it may be asked, but the acceptance of a single history, or of what men imagined to be history, could have made one nation?'

SOURCE: 'Scotland: The Shaping of a Nation' by Gordon Donaldson, pp. 23-24, ISBN 0 7153 6904 0.


There is a saying here in Scotland -

"We're all Jock Tamson's bairns."

This saying is believed to have originated from a 19th century Church of Scotland minister who referred to his congregation as "Mah bairns."

Over the years many people have come from abroad to live and work in Scotland. One such person was Bashir Ahmad, his death occurred recently, who was an MSP for the Scottish National Party in the Scottish Parliament and the first Muslim elected to it. Several years ago he said this -

"It's not where we come from that's important but where we are going TOGETHER."

QuizMasterChris said...

Michael -

The size of countries changes all of the time, and their names often remain stable, and we still call them countries.

The US has expanded several times, India has both contracted (Pakistan, present-day Bangladesh) and expanded (Goa, Sikkim). Ethiopia lost Eritrea. And so forth; there are dozens upon dozens of examples (USSR, Yugoslavia, PR of China all come to mind).

Furthermore I point out for the third time at least that the Scottish Parliament's own website says in response to the FAQ "Is Scotland a country?" that the name of the country Scotland is in is the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland."

The full term beginning with the words "United Kingdom" has been modified with each change, it hasn't been constant. I know you know this.

Scotland.com claims that Scotland is called a country by some "for lack of a better word", and that Scotland is in a country called the UK. I'm abundantly sure that no countries accepted as such use that sort of language on their own websites. Imagine "You might as well call us Italy!" or "Bolivia - more or less a country!"

These are references coming out of Scotland itself on websites run by Scots to inform the rest of the world. It's not like I'm making this up.

I again point out that you're maintaining a completely different definition of what a country might be than the ones forwarded by Anon/Cowbell/MM, and both differ from the international standard.

QuizMasterChris said...

"... the United Kingdom is currently the internationally recognized sovereign political authority for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland" No argument from me there! I've been saying that all along.

We call an "internationally recognized sovereign political authority" a country. We don't call provinces and former independent areas subsumed into larger ones a country.

USA = country, not Texas

Italy = country, not Sicily

These are also places that were independent at one period, have their own identities and political traditions and so forth. What makes the UK/Scotland unique?

"The United Kingdom is NOT and NEVER has been a country."

Wow. Someone should inform the BBC immediately!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/1038758.stm

I suppose that since the US is a federation of former colonies, independent republics and other territories that we too are not and have never been a country? And the USSR was never a country? Yugoslavia, South Africa..? Or do these rules only apply to the UK?

QuizMasterChris said...

The bit about unilateral declarations of independence is nonsense.

Successful "UDIs" happen all of the time! Consider the break up (into several countries) of Yugoslavia, the split from Pakistan by Bangladesh, and the current attempt by the Palestinians for a state, which despite constant blockage by one or two permanent members of the UN Security Council is further along than Scotland's partial measure of the devolved parliament.

NATO has been very supportive of pushing an independent Kosovar state even beyond the other republics which quit the Serb-led federation.

Consider also that 100 or so former territories (colonies) - not even places which ever were independent since the age of exploration! - of other countries have declared independence and received total recognition for the past 240 years or so, and many of these have been the direct result of violent revolution. The US is an obvious example.

Additionally I don't see how a demand instead of a request for independence would necessarily be non-democratic; that's mixing apples and oranges.

There's really no merit at all to this argument from the comparative politics perspective (i.e. an examination of historic objective reality.)

QuizMasterChris said...

I was referencing "Scot" from an American perspective, which is what got this whole thing started to begin with.

In the US there are certainly many people who perceive themselves as "Scottish-American" (in fact Scotland's tourist industry would take a huge hit I would imagine if this weren't true!) regardless of genetics. Family lore (often true) holds that great-granddad came from Scotland, or someone's lat name begins with "Mac-", and suddenly they're getting bagpipe records for Christmas and saving up for a round at St. Andrews.

"Scotch-Irish" is also a recognized "stock" in the US, which is invariably included in biographies of Andrew Jackson.

People know Polish-Americans and they must come from a country called Poland, which happens to be true. People know people who identify as German-Americans (because great-granddad spoke German, although the country didn't exist at the time!) so there must be a country called Germany. In that case that's true now, but in all likelihood there was no "Germany" when the emigration occurred.

If Americans have heard of an ethnic group, the assumption is that they come from Ethnicgroupland, the facts of the matter be damned. In the US "Scottish" (or more usually rendered "Scotch", which I know is also problematic) is an 'ethnic group.'

Most people here are really and truly ignorant of geography and history. (This being a country of 300 million, you can have 100 million pretty darn well read people and still have a 200 million willfully ignorant and/or unfortunately undereducated majority.)

The people who answered my original question which started this debate answered "England (UK)" as one country and "Scotland" as another, because they thought like (I would guesstimate) MOST Americans that the UK and England are the same thing and Scotland is a different place completely, i.e. not part of the UK. I would be willing to bet that tens of millions of Americans don't know that England and Scotland are on the same island.

Your argument on who is currently Scottish seems on all counts to bolster my arguments:

There's UK citizenship but not Scottish, so just relocating to Scotland from within the UK makes you the equal in voting to someone whose family has been there 1,000 years. This argues both against political independence and national identity. Similarly I become a Californian if I move there tomorrow, which is one reason why neither CA nor my home state of PA are countries.

Michael Follon said...

Chris,

You write -

1. '...I point out for the third time at least that the Scottish Parliament's own website...says...that the name of the country Scotland is in is the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".'

I wrote in a prior comment answering your question about that -

'...- PRAGMATISM. It's easier to say that than to get into an unnecessary semantic debate.'

2. 'The full term beginning with the words "United Kingdom" has been modified with each change, it hasn't been constant. I know you this.'

You know no such thing. I wrote -

'...the term 'United Kingdom' has remained constant, it is only the territory which forms it that has changed.'

The formal name 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland' can be divided into two parts -

Part 1 - 'United Kingdom of',
Part 2 - 'Great Britain and Northern Ireland'.

Part 2 is the official name of the country while Part 1 is a description of the type of country it is as well as being an abbreviation of the full formal name. As I wrote previously -

The term 'United Kingdom' or 'UK' is an abbreviation of the formal name as well as being a description of its form and the territoryof which it is comprised.'

3. 'Wow. Someone should inform the BBC immediately!'

I went to the URL which you supplied. Did you notice that the "Chronology of key events" only starts in 1914 and that the "Country profile" starts in the 20th century? - Maybe it just formed out of nothing!

Complaints have been made to the BBC regarding its news coverage in the UK. In Scotland those complaints have pertained to its Anglo-centric bias while in some parts of England (mostly the North of England and Cornwall) they refer to a London and South-East England bias. Wales and Northern Ireland are also affected. There is an impression given that anything north of the 'Watford Gap' doesn't matter.

4. 'The bit about unilateral declarations of independence is nonsense.'

Oh really? What I wrote were extracts from a book which, while not entirely supportive of Scottish independence, I do consider to be objective. Your response was to dismiss that as nonsense without giving any reason. I would hardly call that 'professional'.

5. 'There's really no merit at all to this argument from the comparative politics perspective (i.e. an examination of historic objective reality).

Whose perspective? Whose historic objective reality? Remember what I wrote in a previous comment - ASSUME NOTHING. You are overlooking a very important factor - INTERPRETATION. You still have a lot to learn.

QuizMasterChris said...

1 - If you think you've answered my question on that issue, I think you've flipped things exactly on their head. The Scottish Parliament site and Scotland.com call the UK a country because this is objectively true, and stop just short of flat out stating "Scotland is not a country" in order to avoid a semantic argument with folks like you and Cow/Anon/MM!

2 - Again a very strained semantic argument to support a political reality delusion. I don't understand how you would use the name change of a country (or an odd argument that this hasn't happened!) to make a case that the country doesn't exist.

Taking things further, Scotland's identity is so subsumed that it doesn't even make into the current title of the country. Semantically Scotland is nested within Great Britain, which is in turn subsumed into the UK. Being nested three-deep semantically is a terrible argument in favor (?!) of countryhood.

3 - Who cares that the UK country profile timeline starts in the 20th century? It was written in the 21st century, which is now, and in this century, and the previous two as well as 93% of the preceding one, Scotland has not been a country. I agree that in 1706 you had an argument, but I hadn't yet started hosting pub quizzes then.

4 - I gave you abundant reasons why the book's argument is nonsense. The entire argument is that Scotland needs permission to leave the UK and be recognized internationally because the international community does not recognize breakaway states unless a "democratic" election takes place and the larger country allows the secession to take place. Your 'proof' of this is ONE example from 1965 in which London specifically did not recognize one breakaway attempt.

What I did was counter that with several more recent counterexamples (all except the USA post-1965 and all recognized by the London, which for some reason you think adds validity despite no longer wanting to be associated with London's opinion!) and cited non-specifically roughly 100 other easily listed other examples from the past 240 yrs in which popular revolt resulted in internationally accepted states.

I have about 100 examples of your one not proving a claimed rule, and many are more recent than yours.

I notice that you haven't addressed my question as to whether or not all of the dozens and dozens of other countries that have gained and lost territory (my own for example) are "countries" according to you, or if for some bizarre reason there are special laws which apply only to the UK.

This is simple comparative politics method.

5 - The only 'interpretation' which results in thinking that Scotland is now a country and the UK is not is a severe state of denial.

"Assume nothing" is a ridiculous way to live and no one really does. For example I tend assume that when I get out of bed that gravity still functions and I need to plan accordingly, even if someone with a dictionary claims that semantically it just means "seriousness."

As I've said a number of times, I have no problem whatever with the Scottish national movement wanting to make Scotland a country, I just disagree that it is one now. It's like calling a high school kid "doctor" because the kid intends to attend medical school someday, and because the kid's mother already calls him "doctor" at home.

6 - It's almost cute how everyone else can take a casually abusive tone toward me on my blog in my area of professional experience (I have, now, "a lot to learn") while making wildly erant and easily disproven claims.

But if I express exasperation with that, I and only I am the jackass. How does this work?

QuizMasterChris said...

Ironically that should read "errant."

Michael Follon said...

There is a very different political culture here in Scotland from that which you may be accustomed to.

The reason I referred to one particular instance of UDI, apart from the fact that it was in the book I used as a source, was because of its relevance to the current constitutional status of Scotland as part of the United Kingdom.

Applying common attitudes here in Scotland to some of your more 'colourful' comments the reaction would be -

'That's someone who likes to dish it out but can't take it.'

I've been re-reading all the comments and quite frankly I've come to the conclusion that if you think anyone submitting comments has been abusive to you then you must be really 'thin-skinned'.

If someone has to resort to any form of abuse, especially personal abuse, in an argument/debate then that argument/debate has already been lost - and in an election even if you win.

Here's a couple of Scottish sayings -

Facts are chiels that winna ding. - Facts cannot lie.

An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t-Saoghail! - The Truth against the World!

QuizMasterChris said...

I see, so now Scotland's a country because you don't like my tone.

QuizMasterChris said...

... and I see that Scotland's largest building society was just bailed out by... the Bank of ENGLAND!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/grahamstewart/2009/03/does_it_matter_if_scotlands_fi.shtml

That's quite a "country" you've got there.

Anonymous said...

"And, um, yeah THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT says ON THEIR OWN WEBSITE that the UK is the country they live in, which includes Scotland, and some people call the parts of the UK "countries" with the quotes in the original, indicating a low opinion of the usage:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/vli/publicInfo/faq/category2.htm

Asking the specific question "Is Scotland a country?" even the Scottish Parliament won't answer yes."



The full answer to the question is as follows:

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the full name of the country. Scotland is a kingdom within the United Kingdom (UK), and forms part of Britain (the largest island) and Great Britain (which includes the Scottish islands).

As the UK has no written constitution in the usual sense, constitutional terminology is fraught with difficulties of interpretation and it is common usage nowadays to describe the four constituent parts of the UK (Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland) as “countries”.

As a teacher of English, it is my professional judgment that the Scottish Parliament answered "yes" to the question, "Is Scotland a country?" What you are seeing here is a use-mention distinction. This is the difference between using a word and mentioning a word. In the first paragraph the word "country" is used. In the second paragraph the word "country" is mentioned. This usage of quotation marks is consistent with the style manual used for British English (Fowler's). This manual, as well as style manuals for American English, suggest the use of quotes for usages of the same word with different meanings in the same passage.


Compare with this sentence from the same web page:
"Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom, and immigration and nationality are reserved matters. You should therefore apply for British citizenship, as there is no separate category of Scottish citizenship."

The word "Scottish" is italicized because it is similar to "Scotland" in meaning, but not similar in concept enough to warrant the use of quotation marks.

You are confusing the use-mention distinction with informal "scare quotes", which can indicate "low opinion of the usage" or disapproval, or irony. Unfortunately, the usage is identical to usages meaning an author using words not his own, as I did in the previous sentence with your phrase, and use-mention distinctions, as I did throughout this piece. None of my usages of quotation marks indicates mockery or irony. Because the rest of the site uses the formal style for language, grammar, and punctuation, it is unlikely the Scottish Parliament reverted to informal style for this single usage.

My 30 years of studying and teaching English indicate that the paragraphs on the website of the Scottish Parliament are clearly stating the word country means one thing when referring to the United Kingdom, and another when referring to any of the constituent parts of the UK in the common usage.

QuizMasterChris said...

Anonymous (if indeed you are a different person than anyone above) -

My 37 or so years of speaking English tell me:

- You don't even post a FAQ called "Are we a country?" unless this is a problem. I'm pretty darn sure that Japan and Spain and Malawi on their respective websites aren't answering the question because no one is asking it. Because they are countries, and people don't doubt that, because of objective reality.

- If there were a clear cut condition of Scotland being a country, the answer would be "Yes, Scotland is a country." If the Scottsh Parliament itself won't say that clearly, I certainly shouldn't. Beyond that Michael Fallon won't even admit that the UK is a country, although this is clearly the case and accepted by his own parliament.

Because some people are obviously deluded into thinking this is currently the case, the site diplomatically tips the hat to reality (the UK is a country) and avoids saying "No, Scotland isn't a country." directly while saying so in effect, so that this type of endless battle doesn't take place with people who refuse to accept that.

Yeah, some Scots are pissed off that England's been flimflamming them for 300 years. I get it. We all get it. But independence objectively went bye-bye 300 years ago and not a damn person anywhere in the world is obligated to share the delusion that it didn't.

I'm not buying this pomo load of crap argument that no means yes because you feel like it should.

Incidentally some of the people who've been throwing these tortured arguments at me have been claiming previously that Scotland is a country but Wales (for example) isn't. You can see this quoted above; none of you are consistent with each other, and tellingly none of you argue with each other on any point, but argue with me on seemingly every point.

In other words, the important thing here for all of you is that I be proven wrong, on any point, even if this directly contradicts everyone else's arguments which also attempt to prove me wrong.

None of this makes Scotland a country.

Czesco said...

Michael,

You are the epitome of a "true-believer", and I use that term in the pejorative sense. Regardless of what facts or arguments are presented, you are sticking with your ideas. I'm sure you still think you're right, though, and that makes one of us.

QuizMasterChris said...

Oh yeah, in the OED reference above the claim is made that Ireland is a country that's part of the UK. This is obviously wrong.

The person who brought this up - an American who's never been to the UK - told me at a quiz that this was because British people use "Ireland" to mean "Northern Ireland."

I was more than a little suspicious of this line of reasoning, so I contacted a friend of mine who was a Provisional IRA member who lived in both England and N. Ireland.

He says that "Ireland" by itself means "Irish Republic" just as it does in the US in British English. He said that people talking about Northern Ireland say that or sometimes in context "Belfast," the same way that "Washington" can mean "the US government."

This seems to be bolstered by the use of "Northern Ireland" specifically in the name of the UK since 1927.

Not that I've been in the habit of asking quiz questions in British English slang in any event! Why this is a good argument escapes me. "Yes, for that one question and one question only I lapsed into a Cockney!"

He also said I should point out that answers such as "Spain" and "France" instead of "Catalonia" and "Corsica" meant that everyone damn well knew what I meant by country at the time, and that that is precisely the usage of the word hat was being applied to the question when asked by the people answering it. You can't switch it up later.

He also said that Scotland isn't a country, and that posting something to the contrary was sure to get me attacked by "the kilties," i.e. people who have cognitive dissonance problems with Scotland's loss of countryhood.

"Quizmasterchris.com: pissing off the kilties since 2009!"

Master of Puppets said...

There were a couple of details you omitted from the conversation we had face to face. I said British and Irish people sometimes use "Ireland" to mean Northern Ireland or the island itself. The latter distiction is important, because its use is not incorrect, and mostly used by people who wish to avoid saying "Northern Ireland."

I also said that this is something I noticed by watching thousands of hours of British television, hundreds of books by British authors, and watching and reading the BBC news every day. I'm sure your Irish friend has far more experience listening to natives talk, however, in my own experience I have heard and read this use of "Ireland" quite often.

One example I used was Irish John, who is from Belfast and has always said he is from "Ireland," never "Northern Ireland." Your friend is correct in what the official names are, and how they should be used, though oftentimes people don't, for a wide variety of reasons. It frequently leads to confusion when one says just "Ireland."

Here are some other examples:

I am currently living and working in England and hve on so many occasions had to assert my foreignness (!not a word, is it?!) which absolutely gals me! Time and time again, they use the BI thing. But matters are invariably complicated by the British press always using "Ireland" when they mean "Northern Ireland" - so many people I have met really and honestly do not realise that there is a distinction between Ireland and Northern Ireland, or between Ireland and Britian. Does my head in! Even just popping out to buy a stamp, the post office people tend to give me stamps for NI whenever I say Ireland - leading to me getting snappy!

http://tiny.cc/whpxZ

Whilst we're at it, I find it annoying when people say 'Ireland' when they mean Northern Ireland, or when they mean The ROI, or when they mean the island of Ireland. I wish they'd say what they mean.

http://tiny.cc/pRHVW

I use
Ireland to mean the whole island.
Northern Ireland to mean the part that is part of the UK.
Republic of Ireland or Éire to mean the rest of it.
(It seams different people living on the island have different opionions as to what it should be called)
http://tiny.cc/EbuIZ

When you say "Ireland" do you mean "Northern Ireland"?
http://tiny.cc/27X6b

When you say Ireland, do you mean Northern Ireland, The Republic of Ireland, or both?
http://tiny.cc/pTQU9

I presume you mean Northern Ireland when you say Ireland.
http://tiny.cc/KyF65

Also - When you say 'Ireland,' I assume you mean Northern Ireland, by which you mean Britain, and not the Republic of Ireland, which hasn't had a terrorism problem since 1916.
http://tiny.cc/WBjCg

I also hate it when they say England instead of Britain, as if it's the only country in Britain! And when they say Ireland instead of Northern Ireland. ARGHHH!!!
http://tiny.cc/wPWNW

Person A: Well, I actually live in Northern Ireland, so I use sterling just like you...
Person B: 1. My Bad
2. Why say Ireland instead of Northern Ireland as your location
Person A: T'is an inherently Catholic thing to do, despite me now being staunchly atheist and actually prefering living in the UK as apposed to the Republic.
http://tiny.cc/rp2pG

My Name is Legion said...

A couple of other things you may or may not remember from our conversation:

The argument you call "postmodernist" is linguistic theory going back to Francis Bacon and John Locke, added to by Ferdinand de Saussure, and expanded further by Noam Chomsky. Not one postmodernist in the bunch. In fact, I'm pretty sure Chomsky hated the "pomos", to use your word.

In a nutshell, the meaning of a statement is determined by the listener. Thoughts are translated into words (encoded) by the speaker and back into thoughts (decoded) by the recipient. The recipient must rely on his own "knowledge base" to decode the speech, which Chomsky called "pragmatics." Confusion results when the knowledge base of the speaker, in your case the specific science of advanced politics, differs from the knowledge base of the listener, which for most people who have not studied politics in higher education would be dictionaries, encyclopedias, and the internet.

When looking for information about what a "country" is, or what "Scotland" is, the resources available use these "signs" in ways that differ from a narrow scientific definition. This is why Bacon wanted an entirely separate language for the sciences, hence his "Four Idols," the third of which was the Idol of the Marketplace, which is the confusion arising from words with a range of meaning.

When a non-scholar seeks information he finds these:

How Many Countries are there in the World?
http://tiny.cc/nw5Gx

While it would appear to be a rather simple matter to determine how many countries there are in the world, it is in fact quite complex. This is due not only to the ever-shifting political landscape, but also because the term ‘countries’ is somewhat fluid and open to interpretation. [...] Going even broader, one can include countries that are part of a larger country, sometimes referred to as constituent countries. One obvious example of this would be the countries of England, "Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland – all making up the single country of the United Kingdom."

Nationmaster:
http://tiny.cc/Jhzye
Scotland (Gaelic: Alba) is a country that occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain. It is part of the United Kingdom, and shares a land border to the south with England.

Nationmaster:
http://tiny.cc/A2EcR
United Kingdom: The United Kingdom is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy comprising four constituent countries — England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales — with Elizabeth II as head of state.

Library of Congress Legal Research Guide:
http://tiny.cc/ZJNjy
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the collective name of four countries, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The four separate countries were united under a single Parliament through a series of Acts of Union.

Encyclopaedia Britannica:
http://tiny.cc/YfSqV
Scotland, constituent unit, United Kingdom. Overview: Northernmost country of the United Kingdom.

Encarta:
http://tiny.cc/Kguok
Scotland, one of the four national units that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
To the south of the Highlands lie the Central Lowlands, a low-lying belt of fertile valleys with an average elevation of 150 m (500 ft). Rich soils and most of the country’s coal deposits are found in the Lowlands. [...] . This region, which comprises just one-tenth of Scotland’s surface area, is home to Scotland’s leading industries and cities and the majority of the country’s population.

Continued said...

Dictionaries:

Encarta:
http://tiny.cc/pB7Nh
1. separate nation: a nation or state that is politically independent, or a land that was formerly independent and remains separate in some respects
2. homeland: the nation or state where somebody was born or is a citizen
3. geographically distinct area: a large area of land regarded as distinct from other areas, e.g. because of its natural boundaries or because it is inhabited by a specific group of people

Merriam-Webster:
1: an indefinite usually extended expanse of land : region (miles of open country)2 a: the land of a person's birth, residence, or citizenship b: a political state or nation or its territory

American Heritage:
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/country
1.
a. A nation or state.
b. The territory of a nation or state; land.
c. The people of a nation or state; populace: The whole country will profit from the new economic reforms.

Collins Essential English Dictionary:
(same link as above)
1. an area distinguished by its people, culture, language, or government
2. the territory of a nation or state
3. the people of a nation or state

The definition you use isn't wrong, and I never said it was. I can see it right there in the dictionary. I can also see all the others, and as a firm believer in empirical evidence (yanno, the exact opposite of a Creationist, which you know, so I assume you only said that to be hurtful) I disagree that there is one, and only one definition of the word "country." Since Scotland fits many of the definitions above, I disagree that Scotland is "not a country." If you have evidence to the contrary, I'd be happy to consider it.

QuizMasterChris said...

1) Of course anyone from either N Ireland or the Rep. is still from the island of Ireland. This doesn't mean that's what the OED meant. Worse, why are you assuming that I was suddenly speaking BRITISH ENGLISH while conducting a quiz in Philadelpha? I've never even BEEN to Britain.

If you need to strain to that level of bizarre assumption to try and make a point, you obviously have a VERY strained point.

You also have to be arguing when you paint yourself into this corner that words mean something different in British English than American... so why would you then use a British dictionary for an American English word, whether Scotland or country? There's no logic there at all.

QuizMasterChris said...

2) I find it amazing that you equate watching a little British TV with the several years' experience of an IRA provo in the UK and the Irish Republic, in which the man discussed Ireland all of the damn time.

Of course this is pretty much on par with equating some short bursts of Googling with my poli sci degree and 10 years' of work in a UN registered NGO and for the US State Dept/OSCE, so why should I be surprised..?

QuizMasterChris said...

3) You have multiple problems with your arguments surrounding the definition of "country."

(Paranthetically for the reader, the poster of all of these comments is the same person as cowbell/mo/anonymous above... it's not like I'm arguing this with 7 different people.)

First off your team was present when the question was asked and you and your teammate interpreted the question to mean independent European states judging by your answers. You answered for example France and not Corsica, Spain and not Catalonia. There was no ambiguity there whatever, not even from your perspective. Why would that suddenly change for the UK and the UK only?

A ssecond problem related to that is, as I've reviewed multiple times, in this context for some definitions you cite above, "country" has roughly the same meaning as "state" in the USA, and NOT the equivalent of "independent political entity." This is like claiming that gravity means its physics definition and "seriousness" at the same time in the same sentence, which would be true only in the case of a deliberate pun. This is the lynchpin of a very weak argument now that your political ones (devolved parliament = "country") have been thouroughly discredited.

A third problem is that in some of the multitude of definitions you throw at me from various dictionaries, Wales is a country, or not. This is a good example of how using the dictionary for this sort of thing is a misapplication of a tool. Another example: you switch between numbered definitions of the word as if they can be substituted interchangably simultaneously, which they can't.

QuizMasterChris said...

You are left with making a leap to your fanciful notions about Scotland from dictionary definitions of "country."

We have to wonder where your dictionary writers are getting the claim that the UK is "four countries" (it's ONE for fuck's sake!) since there's no UK constitution which lays out that as a formal title for the areas.

What we have is a formal definition of the UK as the "United Kingdom of Northern (funny that, British people SAID NORTHERN!) Ireland and Great Britain." That sounds like two parts to me, and Scotland is one of the three territories of Great Britain, maybe more depending on that Orkney Islands issue, what they do with Mann, etc.

The US Constitution lays out what a state is (only within the context of state measning a sub-country unit in a specific internal US context). Since you are making the positive assertive claim that the UK is four countries (which even THEN would mean a sub-country unit in a specific internal UK context), you need to provide a reference for this that is binding. You haven't even tried to do that.

Again, the official designation is two parts, "Great Britain" and "Northern Ireland."

QuizMasterChris said...

I would point out of course that no one is claiming that "Northern Ireland" is anything other than an area of political administration. Obviously there has been four centuries of bloodshed specifically because people have radical disagreement over religion/culture, political administration and language which flows from that, and calling that a "country" even by the most generous, "loose" definitions entailing a united sense of 'nationhood' falls pretty freakin' flat.

QuizMasterChris said...

According to Michael Fallon above, Scots are anyone who settles in that part of the UK regardless of whether or not they have any sense of being ethnically Scottish. That is as I reviewed an excellent argument AGAINST a sense of nationhood for Scotland.

Of course I say this somewhat tongue in cheek as this was an over the top denial of nationalism from a rabid nationalist.

But you and he must zip back and forth between extremes of cognitive dissonance in order to support these arguments.

QuizMasterChris said...

4) Your entire hissy fit on this issue has been an attempt to prove that I was most certainly WRONG for not accepting "Scotland" as an answer.

Your denial of this simple truth is growing evermore irritating.

You just want me to be WRONG WRONG WRONG on my blog in my area of professional experience for some twisted reason. Well, I'm not.

QuizMasterChris said...

5) Now you're going to Google linguistics for 20 minutes and be an expert on that too?

I used to work for a childhood friend of Chomsky's in college who coauthored a few books with him and have met him a few times. I also had enough credits for a linguistics minor in most schools but my college didn't offer that at the time.

But I'm abundantly sure that this is easily replaced by some Googling, me being an idiot 'n' all.

You are not making an argument that meaning is determined by the listener, you are making an argument that REALITY is determined by what the listener chooses a word to mean, and that is very much a pomo argument.

6) Finally, your tinyURL link contains another link to what this guy thinks is a good list of countries, and that has 195, not the several HUNDRED that would be expected if anyone used your variable definitions across the board. Thus your reference ultimately supports my argument... again.

You would expect at least 197 for your latest UK claim, but there's 1 listing for the UK and that's that, not 4 or more. (And why do you stop at 4? What about Mann and the Channel Islands..?)

If you had familiarity with the political composition of other countries (i.e. a COMPARATIVE POLITICS PERSPECTIVE) this would be immediately apparent to you. But it's much easier to misuse a dictionary...

"A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again."

QuizMasterChris said...

Just occurred: Northern Ireland has so little in the way of a sense of unified nationhood that even the name of the place defines it in relation to somewhere else!

It's not "Canada" or "Senegal", it's the northern bits of Ireland, broken off.

Well that seems to fall pretty short of your on again, off again notion of Northern Ireland being a "country."

NO unified history (this is in fact the problem), NO unified religion, NO uniting language that sets it apart from all other countries, NO sense of nationhood and unity, only attempts by two groups of people split 60/40 on which OTHER country they should be a part of!

But "the UK is four countries"?! Please...

QuizMasterChris said...

Id be very interested in knowing how you've come to the conclusion that that Scotland is a country but the Manx don't have one.

There's a separate language, culture, political administration and sense of regional identity.

But you're absolutely certain (this week anyway) that the UK is FOUR countries.

How about Jersey? Guernsey?

Are these countries too?

How have you determined that 4 is the correct number for the UK, and that you should stop there?

QuizMasterChris said...

Y'know I was just reading about Man and the Channel Islands, and they are FAR CLOSER to "countryhood" than Scotland... yet they are SPECIFICALLY NOT referred to as "countries" and have no standing within either the Commonwealth Nations or EU.

All are British citizens who get passports issued by the UK, and their laws are subject to review by the UK. So they are, push coming to shove, in a subservient position to the English crown.

HOWEVER they have been granted the right from London to opt out of the EU and to conduct limited external affairs independent of London.

These are some things a country can do, and they are NOT called countries.

These are all things Scotland CAN'T do, but you ARE calling that a country.

These are NOT places that are "part of the UK" (which seems splitting hairs as they are under the crown of said Kingdom), and we STILL DON'T call them countries.

Scotland IS part of Great Britain, which is part of the UK, ...and you DO call that a country?!

Why is that?

I assume that the Channel Islands in particular wanted no part of the EU's free movement of people and employment rights since they could be overwhelmed by that from continental Europe pretty quickly.

QuizMasterChris said...

Finally for today, the best you can do to "prove" that Brits use "Ireland" to mean "Northern Ireland" is to go to chat rooms (!!!) and find people who complain that this is WRONG.

In other words, your OED assertion hangs on the thread that the people who wrote the OED were using AN OBJECTIVELY WRONG word for "Northern Ireland," according to the people you quote, which then somehow "proves" that their usage of Scotland being a country is RIGHT!

And you say that *I'm* crap at constructing an argument..?

QuizMasterChris said...

One statement: "Ireland means Northern Ireland ONLY", which is your ONLY POSSIBLE reading of your OED assertion to make that correct (assuming we want to use a Brit dictionary for Yank usage for some unknown reason).

So what do you find to "back that up"?

A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SET OF STATEMENTS, that point out that "Northern Ireland is part of Ireland."

A does not equal B

FAIL.

QuizMasterChris said...

Annnd... are you asserting that the UK is four countries or five (or more) countries?

Is the UK a country AT THE SAME TIME Scotland is? Should they get FIVE UN seats?

Can a place be two different countries at once? Reality says no, but that hasn't stopped anyone before.

At least Fallon claims the UK isn't a country, which is bat-shit crazy but as least has some internal consistency.

Michael Follon said...

From CIA World Factbook -

'UNITED KINGDOM

Country Name:

convential long form: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; note - Great Britain includes England, Scotland and Wales,

convential short form: United Kingdom,

abbreviation: UK'


https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/UK.html

'ISLE OF MAN

Part of the Norwegian Kingdom of the Hebrides until the 13th century when it was ceded to Scotland, the isle came under the British crown in 1765. Current concerns include reviving the almost extinct Manx Gaelic language. Isle of Man is a British crown dependency but it is not part of the UK. However, the UK Government remains constitutionally responsible for its defense and international representation.

Country Name:

convential long form: none,

convential short form: Isle of Man,

abbreviation: I.O.M.


https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/IM.html

'...Norse (Viking) invasion began about 800, and the island was a dependency of Norway until 1266. During this period the Isle of Man came under a Scandinavian system of government that has remained practically unchanged ever since. The island entered the control of England in 1341. After allowing a succession of feudal lords to rule the island, the British parliament purchased sovereignty over the island in 1765...'

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0108115.html

'WESTERN ISLES AND MAN:

1266 TREATY OF PERTH - p.34,

ORKNEY AND SHETLAND:

1468-9 ACQUISITION OF ORKNEY AND SHETLAND - p.85,

SOURCE: 'Scottish Historical Documents' by Professor Gordon Donaldson, ISBN 1-897784-41-4.


'The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man

9. The remaining problems which give rise to our appointment were those of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. These islands are neither part of the United Kingdom nor colonies. They are dependencies of the Crown. They have their own legislative assemblies, and by long-established convention are responsible for the responsible for the regulation of their own domestic affairs, including taxation. The United Kingdom is responsible for their defence and foreign relations.'

SOURCE: 'ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE CONSTITUTION 1969-1973' VOLUME I, Cmnd. 5460, ISBN 0 10 154600 9


'...I'm not sure how Orkney and other islands would fall, as it appears that "Scotland" is being defined differently for the purposes of UK and Scottish Parliament.'

Other than RESERVED MATTERS and method of election of MSP's the only difference between the UK and Scottish Parliament is the number of elected representatives in each - in the UK Parliament it is 59, and in the Scotish Parliament it is 129. The geographic area covered by both sets of representatives is exactly the same.

QuizMasterChris said...

From what I've read the UK is NOT responsible for aspects of these islands foreign relations in certain areas, which can't be said of Scotland.

I don't see anything here that contradicts my points.

Incidentally the CIA World Factbook lists the UK and not any parts thereof as a country. There's no "Scotland" entry. Even Svalbard got its own entry, and no one's even claiming that's a country.

Big Sock Randy Mountain said...

"You are not making an argument that meaning is determined by the listener, you are making an argument that REALITY is determined by what the listener chooses a word to mean, and that is very much a pomo argument."

Actually, I am making the argument that meaning is determined by the listener. That's why I said it. I also provided a list of resources to support the idea that a listener could have a different knowledge base than a political scientist.

Denying it doesn't refute it.

QuizMasterChris said...

Your argument is that because some people believe Scotland is a country that makes the "narrative valid" and therefore I should accept Scotland as a correct answer for that question.

You are very much trying to change reality through belief.

I can't think of another instance in any quiz when a complaint was made that I should change a WRONG answer to a CORRECT answer because the person hearing the question BELIEVED they were right!

What's the point of having any quiz at all if we start doing that?!

I'm waiting for your answer as to how Scotland and the UK are countries at the same time, or how Man is less a country than Scotland (even though they specifically don't claim to be one), or how your "Ireland means Northern Ireland" claim is anything other than farcical.

QuizMasterChris said...

I would append that YOUR TEAM answered the "UK" and NOT its parts in that question, although it would have been FAR FAR EASIER to list Wales, N Ireland, England and Scotland for "four correct answers" than what you actually did (coming up with Portugal, Monaco and so forth) if this were the case.

YOU clearly did NOT interpret Scotland to be a country when playing the quiz, you just piled on me when the other team started arguing to be contrary. Then the English guy mentioned the devolved parliament and its been "prove Chris wrong" ever since.

Additionally the question asked for 14 countries, which further removed any supposed ambiguity. By your definition of 'country' (at least some of the time, it varies) I should've been asking for something like 60 "countries."

QuizMasterChris said...

Some of your dictionary definitions are listing Wales as a country and at least one isn't. Likewise you quoted a refernce that specifically didn't call N Ireland a country and later quoted one in which you are claiming "Ireland" means "Northern Island" and that "Northern Ireland" now IS a country!

I would suspect that some dictionaries could be found that use country in conjunction with Scotland and others don't.

Some of the time you suggest that the UK is four countries, sometimes five and I can guarantee that if we look it up in a dictionary it'll be refernced in the singular.

Despite all of this, you declare with absolute certainty that the UK is "a country comprised of four countries", which makes five by my count.

My question: by what method did you determine which dictionaries were "correct" and which aren't? We can state that the UK is 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 countries depending on which definitions you wish to use in what combination.

And how, given the fact that these are often directly contradictory, do you arrive at the conclusion that the dictionary is the best tool to use for this? And how have you determined that mixing definitions from American and British dictionaries is a sound idea?

Of course using the internationally accepted convention, the UK is ALWAYS ONE COUNTRY, just as you responded in the quiz yourself when answering the question...

Footwarmer Marionette said...

"Your argument is that because some people believe Scotland is a country that makes the "narrative valid" and therefore I should accept Scotland as a correct answer for that question.

You are very much trying to change reality through belief."

Looking through all these posts, I fail to find the one where I say what you have to accept as an answer.

My argument is what I said it is, not what you say it is. The word "country" has more than one meaning to people who get their information from sources available. I supported this with the above evidence. The dictionaries also support your definition.

I'm sorry it upsets you, but you can't make that information not exist.

QuizMasterChris said...

You have a problem with me not accepting Scotland as an answer and you have been riding me on this for five weeks. With no personal stake in the matter this seems to be an exercise in trying to make me look like an ass on my blog in my professional field using whatever half-assed arguments you could cobble together from the odd quick Googling session.

Well, it didn't work. All you've proven is how little you have to bring to the table on the issue.

If this isn't the case what's your problem? Why have you been signing in under several different names for more than a month to attempt to contradict almost every damn thing I say?

The title of the blog post is "What I'm accepting as an answer for 'countrries'" and you object to that, clearly and obviously.

I see that you're making no attempt whatever to address any of the flaws in your dictionary "method" of determining what a country is.

I see that you have no comment about why the CIA doesn't even have a listing for "Scotland" in the highly regarded World Factbook.

Basically you have no argument and no answers, and are now claiming that you're not even arguing. What a dramatic waste of everyone's time.

QuizMasterChris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Follon said...

From the 'Kilbrandon Report' -

'OUR TERMS OF REFERENCE

We were appointed in April 1969 with the following terms of reference:

"To examine the present functions of the central legislature and government in relation to the several countries, nations and regions of the regions of the United Kingdom;
to consider, having regard to developments in local government organisation and in the administrative and other relationships between the various parts of the United Kingdom, and to the interests of the prospersity and good government of Our people under the Crown, whether any changes are desirable in those functions or otherwise in present constitutional and economic relationships;
to consider, also, whether any changes are desirable in the constitutional and economic relationships between the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man."' [my emphasis in bold]

SOURCE: 'ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE CONSTITUTION 1969-1973' VOLUME I, para. 11, page 5, Cmnd. 5460.

QuizMasterChris said...

"SEVERAL" countries, nations and regions?! This seems a bit over the top for land area the size of the UK!

Here are the problems with that:

It's pretty weak if the best you can do by way of a gov't reference is a vague sidelong reference to "several countries" (which could also be parsed 1 or 2 countries plus several nations & regions, etc. - we don't know what the writer(s) meant exactly). Beyond this, there's no official designation of any particular place being considered a country.

The Congressional Record is filled with similar blustering announcements from American politicians which are frequently also untrue.

I assume that "nations" and "countries" here overlap as well, which is I think the only way we get to 'several.' I don't think anyone would claim more than four 'nations' in the UK, and I don't really even buy Northern Ireland's "nationhood," anymore than East Germany had a distinct sense of unifying "nationhood" beyond an otherwise artificial political border.

I was looking for something saying that in the UK the proper term for what Scotland is would be "country", and this doesn't do that. In fact Scotland isn't referenced specifically at all.

Broadly even should you locate that, it would STILL mean 'country' in the sense of 'chunk of the UK' and not 'independent state', which is a cognate of US "states", which are what we call subdivisions of the US which aren't countries either, and should probably more accurately be called something like "provinces." Likewise Scotland is more a "province" than a "country," no matter what we call it. And Pennsylvania is more a "province" than a "country" even if we have the conceit of calling it a "state" internally in American English.

As I keep saying, you don't get to switch out one meaning of a word for another.

Example:

"Your son may have a gun." could mean your son MIGHT have a gun.

"Your son may have a gun." could mean your son IS ALLOWED TO have a gun.

The dictionary says the word means both things, but the speaker only means it to mean one thing at one time in context. If a policeman says the former it'd be the weakest of legal arguments to say that the dictionary indicates that since the cop said the former, you assumed it meant the latter, so it's quite alright that Junior is packing heat.

QuizMasterChris said...

Oh yes... I would very much agree that Scotland is a "nation." Also I think I've been misspelling your name as "Fallon", sorry.

QuizMasterChris said...

OK, so a couple thoughts cropped up:

The UK doesn't have a compact constitution like the US that you can reference quickly and see what a "state" is with an internal definition.

So it's likely hard to find a source that says "Scotland shall henceforth be a country of the UK." (I would still argue that this means "country" only in an internal sense of the word like US "state", which would not mean that Scotland is a country in the Bolivia sense of the word.)

But let me ask this... do you have documents in your day to day life that say "Country of Scotland"?

By way of comparison, a tax bill or birth certificate or such in the US will read "State of New Jersey" at the top (or whichever state you're in... 4 of them including mine use "Commonwealth" internally only which is a different story, but are "states" at the federal level).

Is Scotland in the habit of sticking "Country of Scotland" on documents? This would at least get us to the first step of establishing that Scotland is OFFICIALLY considering ITSELF a "country" for internal UK purposes, and we have yet to establish that. That's before even beginning to argue what that means in context.

Michael Follon said...

The straight forward answer to both of your questions about "Country of Scotland" on documents is NO. However, I still consider that the United Kingdom is not a country, in fact I would go as far to say that the United Kingdom is as much a country as the United States - if I say United States am I referring to the United States of America or the United States of Mexico?

If a person in the United Kingdom, on a passport application, was to state his/her nationality as being either SCOTTISH/ENGLISH/WELSH or NORTHERN IRISH the passport would arrive with 'NATIONALITY' as being 'BRITISH'.

'Equally, the study of English history and the comparative neglect of Scottish history led to the acceptance of the false idea that the two countries share the same historic background. How far this can go was illustrated in 1965, when it was proposed that the seven hundredth anniversary of Simon de Montfort's parliament and the seven hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Magna Carta - both events which took place in what was at the time a foreign country - should be commemorated in Scotland...Scotland's past tends to be viewed through the eyes of English historians, who regard anything not English as quaint, backward or even downright barbarous.'

SOURCE: 'Scotland: The Shaping of a Nation' by Gordon Donaldson, p.117, ISBN 0 7153 6904 0.


From 'The Geography Site' -

'What is a country, and how is a country defined?

When people ask how many countries there are in the world they expect a simple answer. After all, we've explored the whole planet, we have international travel, satellite navigation and plenty of global organizations like the United Nations, so we should really know how many countries there are!

So why isn't there a straight forward answer?

The problem arises because there isn't a universally agreed definition of 'country' and because, for political reasons, some countries find it convenient to recognize or not recognize other countries.

For example, Taiwan claims to be a country, but China states that Taiwan is just another part of China. The consequence is that the USA, that doesn't want to upset China, doesn't recognize Taiwan as a country. Conversely, from the end of the Second World War, the Soviet Union annexed the countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithunia but the USA continued to regard them as independent countries that were 'occupied' because it didn't really get on with the USSR.
...
Today a common way to define a country is to avoid these two definitions and say that if it's a member of the United Nations, it's a country. However, the Holy See, or Vatican, isn't a member of the United Nations, but it certainly is a country. The United Kingdom is a member of the United Nations, but the countries of England, Scotland and Ireland aren't, so by the UN rule, they aren't countries.

That of course goes against what the UK government states on the Prime Minister's web site, where it declares that "The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland."

So, if you really want to know how many countries there are, first select the definition you want to use, then allow for where you are and what political views you have, then you have a chance of making an educated guess at the answer!'

http://www.geography-site.co.uk/pages/countries/country_definition.html


My own view is that the UK consists of 3 countries plus part of another - Scotland/ England/ Wales and the Province of Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland being 6 of the 9 counties of the Province of Ulster).

In genealogy there are number of web sites which claim to have access to full UK census figures, but these are only for England and Wales. There are separate censuses for both Scotland and Northern Ireland.

QuizMasterChris said...

First "United States" always means the USA, even in Latin American Spanish "Estados Unidos" by itself means the USA (which is sometimes abbreviated EEUU I believe) with no confusion. Mexican newspapers referring to the USA will print "Estados Unidos" and leave it at that.

I'm not at all certain what other "United Kingdom" I would be confused with in English. Are there other UKs I don't know about?

Even John Lydon in "Anarchy in the UK" said "I thought it was the UK/or just another country." Last I checked he grew in London, Irish parents. I would think in fact that the British usage of UK as a country is widespread and that is is officially and widely used in government documents.

So we DO have an official use of "country" by the UK and we DON'T have an official use of "country" by Scotland.

This is from the UK govt's website:

"'UK' or 'Britain'?

The full title of this country is 'the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland':

* Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland and Wales
* the United Kingdom (UK) is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

'Britain' is used informally, usually meaning the United Kingdom.

The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK. The geographical term 'British Isles' covers the UK, all of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man."

http://www.direct.gov.uk
/en/Governmentcitizensandrights
/LivingintheUK/DG_10012517

There is NOTHING ambiguous about that.

Kindly show me a Scottish official reference that says "The name of the country is Scotland." I strongly suspect there isn't one.

You seem to miss the point of the The Geography Site article as it would apply to Scotland. There are ZERO countries in the world which recognize Scotland as a country. It's not a controversy in the international community, because Scotland itself isn't even claiming country status.

I repeat: There are ZERO countries in the world which recognize Scotland as a country.

You would need at least ONE country which accepts diplomatic relations with Scottish ambassadors and accepts Scottish passports etc in order to have a political argument to make here. Scotland isn't even attempting to present these to the world at present.

If I declare Philadelphia to be a country tomorrow, that doesn't make it true, no matter how firmly I believe it.

The Chinese as I've said have a problem with Taiwan and Greece doesn't like Macedonia and some places won't recognize Israel officially whereas the Palestinians have a similar problem.

I think it outlier cases (Turkey is the only place to recognize Northern Cyprus, China is the stumbling block for Taiwan, etc) it's generally a good idea to ignore the one country with a issue if de facto and de jure the country is widely accepted.

Scotland isn't even presenting anything to the world to accept!

Michael Follon said...

There are a number of sovereign countries throughout the world which have the words 'Republic of' or 'Kingdom of' as part of the formal name of the country e.g. Republic of Austria, Republic of Croatia, Republic of Estonia, Republic of South Africa, Republic of Turkey, etc. Kingdom of Denmark, Kingdom of Norway, Kingdom of Sweden, Kingdom of Spain, etc. Does the word or phrase before the preposition 'of' in the formal name therefore signify the name of that country?

QuizMasterChris said...

Yes, actually in many cases it does. There's the two Congos for example, and I'm sure other instances of this. There's the Greek region of Macedonia vs. the Republic of Macedonia, there were the two Germanys and so forth.

But I didn't ask you that, did I? I asked what other "United Kingdoms" we would be confused by. I take you you don't know of any, and I assume there aren't any.

I'm also asking for ANY OFFICIAL documentation of Scotland calling ITSELF a country, or of the UK stating specifically that it is NOT a country, but Scotland IS.

And what I have presented is the OPPOSITE, the UK DOES refer to itself as a country and Scotland does NOT refer to itself as one. I was trying to make it easier for you lacking a written constitution to present even an informal or internal usage of "Country" OFFICIALLY by Scotland, even on a driver's license of what have you, and although you live there you don't know of any.

Therefore I think it becomes abundantly clear that some people have taken to saying this of their own accord, either because of political affiliation or basic ignorance. This does not make the usage correct in reality, anymore than a whale is a fish because some of the population doesn't know any better.

QuizMasterChris said...

Note also on the UK's official website it says "The full title of this country..."

THIS country, SINGULAR. UK = ONE country, which means its parts are not.

100 posts and counting, and Scotland still isn't a country.

Michael Follon said...

'Therefore I think it becomes abundantly clear that some people have taken to saying this of their own accord, either because of political affiliation or basic ignorance. This does not make the usage correct in reality, anymore than a whale is a fish because some of the population doesn't know any better.'

Regardless of what you think about the current status of Scotland as a country I can assure you that it is and has continued to be a country, albeit not by the definition you are using. It is not just some people who think that but a very great number of people, not only currently but stretching back to the Treaty of Union in 1707. It's very easy to express an opinion about a country, which by your own admission you've never been in. There is a particular problem with the OFFICIAL history of Scotland since 1707 because so much of it was either suppressed or written from an English perspective. It has only been since the 1970's that Scottish history from a Scottish perspective has been available - there are facts still coming to light:

'At that time [first publication of the book] people were astounded that such an event, resulting in 85 indictments of High Treason, in public executions, in transportations and imprisonments, could have been so effectively eliminated from historical consciousness.'

SOURCE: 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' by Peter Berresford Ellis and Seumas Mac A'Ghobhainn, from the Preface to the 1989 edition, ISBN 0 85976 519 9.


A country can cease to exist in a formal sense but as long as its population continue to retain its identity then that country will continue to exist - and that is a reality.

QuizMasterChris said...

The notion that I would have to visit a place to be able to determine if it's a country or not might be the oddest one yet.

I've never been to Argentina but I can advance a pretty good argument that it is a country, likewise I've never been to Nashville but I'm equally sure it isn't. I've never been to Jupiter but I'm pretty sure it's not a restaurant, and I've never laid a chicken egg but I can identify one. And so forth.

We're forgetting that I'm not the one making positive assertions to back up here (other than that the UK is a country, easily proven).

It's not my responsibility in this debate to prove a negative, which is the onus both of you have been putting on me for weeks.

It's your responsibility to locate sources originating from Scottish and/or UK government sources which indicate A) that Scotland officially considers itself to be a country, B) that the UK does not consider itself a country, C) that the international community recognizes Scotland as a country and D) that the international community does not recognize the UK to be a country.

You have presented evidence for 0 out of those 4 assertions, and I have presented evidence which contradicts B,C and D directly, and throws A in serious doubt, at best, even crediting your end with the most tortured of interpretations.

In what sense does Scotland "retain its identity"? You just made an argument a couple of dozen posts above that Scots aren't an ethnic group and aren't a nation. There's no citizenship; anyone who is a UK citizen can move there tomorrow and 'becomes Scottish' as best as I can tell by your definition.

One wonders where the Scottish royalty is, and the stamps with "Scotland" on them instead of the English queen, and so forth down the line, how many ships the Scottish Navy owns, etc.

You also seem to suggest that Texas, Hawaii, Vermont and California are countries, those having been former republics that are were not part of the US, but retain limited political rights and cultures. No one ever claims that these states are "countries."

I'm still waiting for whether you think the USA is a country or if that's just my delusion, equal to my delusion that the UK is a country.

I love this "definition I'm using" gambit! It's not my definition, it's THE definition, particularly when making a purely political argument and not the farcical semantic one advanced by Anon/Mo/Cow. I've been 100% consistent that I don't get to make these determinations, the people living in area forward the idea and the international community of nations formally accepts or rejects it.

The problems inherent in letting each individual decide what countries to recognize are immediately apparent.

Then there's this:
---

Alex Salmond's Scottish independence referendum bill 'dead in the water'

Opposition parties at Holyrood unite to reject SNP plans for a referendum

* Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent
* guardian.co.uk, Thursday 5 March 2009 18.15 GMT

Alex Salmond's flagship bill to stage an historic referendum on independence for Scotland is now "dead in the water", opposition leaders said this evening, after they won a key vote against the proposed bill.

The Scottish Tory leader, Annabel Goldie, said the Scottish National party had been "comprehensively mauled" after all three main opposition parties voted together to reject the proposal with a 25-vote majority.

Goldie said: "The issue is now dead. It is time for the SNP to admit the party is over, to drop its independence obsession and to get on with being a devolved government in Scotland."

---

QuizMasterChris said...

In 1979 the devolution referendum vote had only a 63% turnout and just over 51% of those people voted yes. In other words, some 68.5% of the adult Scottish population - MORE THAN 2/3 - either couldn't be bothered to vote or voted against even a devolved Scottish Parliament.

This is not a particularly good argument in favor of a longstanding belief among most Scots that they are a different country.

Incidentally it's not just some people but a great number of people - a much greater number of people than those who believe Scotland to be a country - who believe that there is but one god, Allah is his name and Mohammed is his prophet. Does this mean the Quran is literally true? When will you be converting?

Michael Follon said...

Your reference to the result and turnout of the 1979 referendum on a Scottish Assembly deserve a detailed explanation. Let me just say this - there is absolutely no reason why yourself or anyone outwith Scotland should be aware of the reasons for the low turnout in that referendum.

Turnouts at UK General Elections in Scotland went from 80.9% in 1950 to 71.3% in 1997 (I've deliberately chosen 1997 so as not to contaminate those figures with the much lower turnout figures for the 2001 and 2005 UK General Elections which were held after the establishment of the Scottish Parliament). In the 13 General Elections that occurred during that period the average difference in turnout was +/-2.74%.

The turnout at the referendum on the Scotland Act 1978 was only 63.8% with 51.6% of those who voted voting 'YES' and 48'4% voting 'NO'. On the face of it these figures suggest that there wasn't really a lot of interest but there were certain other factors which influenced them -

1. The infamous '40% rule' required that at least 40% of the total electorate had to vote 'YES' before the legislation would be submitted for royal assent and be enacted. Those that did not vote were effectively counted as part of the 'NO' vote. That even appalled some in the 'NO' campaign, there was no pretence at being 'even-handed' or ensuring a 'level playing-field'.

2. Widespread confusion was evident by the reactions of people on the doorstep to canvassers. Many people could not understand why a referendum was necessary when the legislation had already been passed.

3. Despite the fact that the establishment of a Scottish Assembly was Labour Party policy, had the support of its constituency organizations, the majority of its Members of Parliament and the then Labour government many branches of the Labour Party did not campaign for it in any way.

The turnout at the UK General Election 3 months later in June 1979 was 76.8% - 13% up on the turnout for the referendum.

QuizMasterChris said...

When people want to vote for something, they come out. Look at the 95%+ turnouts in South Africa & Namibia when the general populations of those countries could vote. I think we can state there are generally more barriers to the average Namibian (many of whome were illiterate) getting to a polling place (where they had to wait 8 hours in some cases) & vote for the first time in their lives.

Somehow Namibians worked through the 'confusion.'

I myself set up and observed a polling place in rural Bosnia which had 95% turnout in a very complicated election with 26 parties, an oddly split parliamentary body and a complex shared presidency.

None of this explains why nearly 49% of the Scots who could be bothered still didn't vote for a step in favor of independence, nor why most of the representatives in the Scottish Parliament now are people who want to go no further than the devolved parliament. These are terrible arguments in favor of large numbers of Scots considering Scotland to be a different country.

The nail in the coffin on that argument is your last point on the most recent post - Scots came out in larger numbers for the general UK election! That seems to be the one people thought would "really count."

I should think people who don't think the UK is a country wouldn't be voting in its elections. I might expect a general boycott, which happens many times around the world when people think an election is illegitimate for whatever reason. Instead, as you say, nearly 3/4 of Scots turned out.

QuizMasterChris said...

I should point out that this is now an argument over how many Scots think Scotland SHOULD BE a country; the number who think it ALREADY IS has to be much smaller than that.

Anonymous said...

Scotland is most definitely a country. The only reason you disagree is obvious. Evidence was presented and you didn't understand a word of it.

QuizMasterChris said...

Thanks, Anonymous Coward, that was very helpful! I especially like the way you tied together the complete lack of any argument on your part with unnecessary insult.

Anonymous said...

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia:
Scotland, Northernmost country of the United Kingdom. Constituent unit of the United Kingdom.

You lose.

QuizMasterChris said...

No, YOU lose, because you don't know the difference between some underpaid intern's shaky edit in a "concise" (read: oversimplified) encyclopedia on one hand and comparative politics method on the other.

Subliterate anonymous drive-by asswipe 0, QuizmasterChris 1.

Anonymous said...

Oh..so you're saying that you personally know that the article was written by an "intern" and you also personally know is not good at his job?

You have also used your supreme intelligence to determine that my perfect spelling and punctuation, along with my obvious ability to read, is "subliterate."

PROVE it wrong, PhD. What have you COMPARED it to, Mr. Degree?

Again, you lose.
Anonymous - 2
JizzmasterPiss - 0

QuizMasterChris said...

Why is it so important to you to prove how broadly ignorant you are in a public forum?

First off, an educated person knows that the one making a positive assertion has the burden of proof, seeing as one can't prove a negative.

It's up to you to prove that Scotland is a country, and if you had any reading comprehension skills, you could see above that people have repeatedly failed to do so.

Of course, if you had reading comprehension skills you wouldn't be posting one line from a "Concise" Encyclopedia in order to "prove" something.

The sharpest knives in the drawer are not employed to take a regular encyclopedia entry and make a condensed Reader's Digest-style grossly oversimplified mini-article out of them.

Even duller knives than that refer to "Concise" encyclopedias in order to get answers to (somewhat) complex questions.

Incidentally, Britannica, despite the name, has been published in the US for many decades. You're relying on a low-level, underpaid American editorial staff flunky to answer a British politics question. Again, if you had any understanding of politics, reference works or related issues you wouldn't Google the words "Scottland + country" and copy & paste whatever was crapped out.

Try thinking and reading deeply instead of abusing search engines, and maybe you'll learn something, there, still-anonymous coward.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Expert now thinks "concise" means "wrong." That's the first line of a 26,801-word article, moron. That's your evidence? No scholarly works? No references that haven't been "abused"?

You are also revealing how little you know of the scientific method.

Real slow, just for you: I have provided AFFIRMATIVE evidence for my position.

Only the weak-minded still believe the old saw "you can't prove a negative." Why is that? Because you can prove a negative, PhD.

Watch this:

2+2 is not 5.

Once you prove 2+2 IS 4, you have proved an infinite number of negatives.

"You can't prove a negative" is in itself a negative statement, and for it to be true it has to be false.

My understanding of reference works is that:
a) they are repositories for information
b) to find said information, one opens and reads the reference work

So far your refutation of the reference work is limited to your claim of personal knowledge of the person who wrote it, that the person is an intern, that the intern is underpaid, and therefore has a poor work ethic, and no one checks what said intern writes before it appears in the encylopaedia. The sheer depth of your personal knowledge is fucking amazing.

Exactly how much "deeper" do I have to read than "Northernmost country of the United Kingdom."?

How about the Library of Congress Legal Research Guide?

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the collective name of four countries, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Prove it false, PhD. So far you've proved nothing but a degree in Political Science Fiction.

Anonymous - 3
Expert on Britannica Interns - 0

QuizMasterChris said...

Anonymous Coward -

Sometimes people writing reference works get things flat-out wrong, particularly when employing non-experts in a field to write about that field, which I can tell you from 18 months' experience working for an encyclopedia publisher in the geography field, sometimes happens. So yes, in fact the "sheer depth of [my] personal knowledge is fucking amazing" on this issue. It is indeed.

What's your background in the world of geographic encyclopedia publishing, Anonymous Coward?

Reference for example the "word" dord:

http://www.snopes.com/language/mistakes/dord.asp

Or the iron content of spinach issue:

http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/infosphere/spinach-how-a-data-quality-mistake-created-a-myth-and-a-cartoon-character-10166

Here's hoping you don't try to self-diagnose illness with a dictionary too, seeing as the dictionary writers must know more than doctors in that field.

When you rely on the first few words of one sentence - this is all you claimed above you needed to read - in one reference that you found by Googling "Scotland + country", you display how ignorant you are of research tools, and how gullible you are by using the internet to reinforce your bias.

No, I can't provide an absolute proof of Scotland NOT being a country through one sentence or one link (you're also wrong about how logic works). What I can do - what I did do, repeatedly - is prove that the UK is a country, and that Scotland does not come close to meeting the same standard by comparing likes.

I didn't attempt to construct this argument by linking to the first sentence I could Google that says "Scotland is not a country", because only a simpleton lives life that way.

And a country can't be part of a different country. Scotland isn't even listed in the NAME of the UK, it's just part of Great Britain, which is one of the two named components of the UK ... which is a country.

Now you have to prove to me that a country can exist independently and as part of another country simultaneously. I never got that far w/ the rocket scientists posting above b/c they wouldn't even agree on the fact that the UK exists.

Even if 2+2=4 were a tautological formal proof of itself - it's not - this would not stand as a proof that 2+2 could not equal 5. How many subjects are you willing to make a public display of your ignorance in before letting this drop?

QuizMasterChris said...

Incidentally, when you wrote this sentence:

"Prove it false, PhD."

... you formally performed what's called an "argument from ignorance."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

Congratulations!

By the way, let's look at "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the collective name of four countries, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland."

This is a statement you're submitting as proof that Scotland is country, right?

Using YOUR method alone of "let's Google simple recitation of words I'd like to see in a statement" we get:

Wales is not a country:

http://www.talkwales.com/articlelovingtheenglish.htm

Northern Ireland is not a country:

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0108101.html

England is not a country:

http://geography.about.com/od/politicalgeography/a/englandnot.htm

But you're sure that Scotland is, based on that same sentence?

The simple answer is that the person writing that sentence is wrong because they used words carelessly, and I can assure you as someone who worked for numerous online and print publishers that often the work submitted by one writer is NOT fact-checked by any others. Caveat emptor.

QuizMasterChris said...

Oh, and Einstein, why do you think it is that if Scotland is a country there's not even an entry for it in the CIA World Factbook?

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/region/region_eur.html

You think the CIA doesn't know these things, but you do..?

QuizMasterChris said...

Finally, let's use your halfwit conjecture that

2+2 = 4

is a formal proof that

2+2 can not = 5

According to the website of the Scottish Parliament, who I assume would know the answer to the question "Is Scotland a country?"

"The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the full name of the country. Scotland is a kingdom within the United Kingdom (UK), and forms part of Britain (the largest island) and Great Britain (which includes the Scottish islands)."

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/vli/publicInfo/faq/category2.htm

Using YOUR standard of proof, having given a direct link from the horse's mouth that Scotland is in a country called the UK...

... which is your 2 + 2 = 4, only direct from the source, not from an American office worker writing for infoplease...

... therefore, using YOUR method of logic, Scotland is NOT a country...

...because therefore we've proven that Scotland is NOT ANYTHING OTHER than a Kingdom in a country called the UK...

which is your 2 + 2 does not equal 5 as per above.

Now of course you'll want to backtrack on one or more of your previous statements I'm sure. Which one(s)?

QuizMasterChris said...

Houston -

The claim was that 2+2 = 4 BY ITSELF was a formal proof of an infinite number of negatives. Scroll up a few comments, you can read that for yourself.

To begin with, 2+2 = 4 is not a formal mathematical proof of itself. Like "Scotland is a country", this is positive assertion in which the burden of proof is on the asserter, not on the rest of us to disprove.

In order to get there, we have to prove, for example, that 5 isn't 4, and so forth. Which is exactly what you were doing in your post.

And that's exactly what I what the Scotland is a country people to try and do - a CHAIN of logical statements connecting dots.

And this is what they DON'T do. What they do is Google for any occurance of "Scotland" and "country" and (which is akin to "UFOs" and "real") and then insist I prove them wrong, and THEN reject all of the evidence presented in that attempt.

Obviously I know darn well that 4 is not 5, but simply stating that is not proof of itself.

QuizMasterChris said...

Now You Have a Name -

Where to begin?

The CIA World Factbook lists non-independent territories as well. Follow the link I sent and for Europe you'll see Svalbard for example. Scotland as any form of is so irrelevant that it gets no listing at all.

If the CIA isn't good enough for you, how about a British source?


Look at the BBC Country Profiles:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/country_profiles/default.stm

Under "Europe - Choose a Country", the UK is a country and Scotland isn't. There is a section at the bottom middle called "Guide to the United Kingdom" which includes Scotland.

This is as straightforward evidence as can possibly be presented that the BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION, which is funded BY THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT calls the UK a "country" and does not consider Scotland to be a "country."

Again, running by YOUR 2+2 = 4 etc gambit, this is a slam dunk for my side.

I see that you have not at all addressed the fact that the SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT uses "country" for the UK AND NOT FOR SCOTLAND.

Why do the BBC and the Scottish Parliament rank lower for you as standards of prove than American dictionary entries?

QuizMasterChris said...

What the England link goes on to say is "A country need only fail on one of the eight criteria to not meet the definition of independent country status. England does not meet all eight criteria; it fails on six of the eight criteria..."

"Country", not "independent country" (redundant in any event). Try reading more than the first few words of something for once.

For Wales, from Yahoo Answers UK and Ireland:

"The Welsh are a nation: they have a separate language (though only 20% speak it) and different religious and political traditions than the neighbouring English, Scottish, and Irish.

The place where the Welsh live is called Wales.

Wales is not a country in any normal sense of the term: it has never been unified or politically independent. It is certainly not a state, since parts of it have historically been administered by the same authorities as adjacent parts of England. (And the economic determinants of North Wales are very different from South Wales).

We usually call Wales a Principality, since for most of its history it has been administered primarily as a distinct division of Britain."

For Northern Ireland:

"Northern Ireland is a province."

http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/northern_ireland.htm

A province is a country now?

Again, your encyclopedia sentence is wrong FOUR TIMES.

You seem to have no understanding of how to construct an argument.

"I am me" does not stand alone as a proof that you are not someone else. You also need the supporting evidence that people can't be more than one person at a time.

Beyond this, the BURDEN OF PROOF is on THE POSITIVE ASSERTER, not the negater. You are the positive asserter. "You haven't disproven it to me yet" is called 'argument from ignorance', and you're great at it.

Show me "Country of Scotland" on an official document - the man WHO HAS LIVED IN SCOTLAND HIS ENTIRE LIFE above plainly admitted that he can produce no such document.

Show me where either the Westminster or Scottish Parliament officially states that "Scotland is a country." I have shown you where they state that the UK is a country, and Scotland is a part of that country.

"Country" does not just mean "political division." Texas is not a country (like Scotland is WAS a country..). Nashville is not a country. "Country" means some specific things which Scotland isn't.

VERY SPECIFICALLY a country can't be more than one simultaneously.

Incidentally, California is in both the US and Mexico, so you muffed that one too...

QuizMasterChris said...

Here's a video on "England Is a Province, NOt a Country!" from a well educated Brit:

http://www.blip.tv/file/100339/

Get your geography lesson via video if you can't read for meaning.

QuizMasterChris said...

"Winchester Church" incidentally is a pseudonym.

QuizMasterChris said...

Something I'm still not sure is clear to people:

When the issue first arose, the team answering "Scotland" as a country also answered "England (UK)" as a country.

In other words, they thought - as I suspect MOST AMERICANS DO - that England is a country also called the UK. And Scotland is a different country than "England/UK."

People have been backpedaling from that positon ever since, with weaker and weaker semantic and political arguments to the contrary.

Now I Have A Name said...

The Scottish Parliament's website proves my fucking point, Jizzmaster.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the full name of the country. Scotland is a kingdom within the United Kingdom (UK), and forms part of Britain (the largest island) and Great Britain (which includes the Scottish islands).

As the UK has no written constitution in the usual sense, constitutional terminology is fraught with difficulties of interpretation and it is common usage nowadays to describe the four constituent parts of the UK (Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland) as “countries”.

There you have the word country with TWO MEANINGS. Country, sovereign state. Country, non-sovereign state.

The word country means MORE THAN ONE THING. I have no problem with the UK calling its constituent units any fucking thing they want. Countries, kingdoms, principalities, or provinces. Not a single one of them is wrong.

For someone who CLAIMS to be a college graduate, you are one of the thickest I have ever seen.

How do you explain these other items from the Scottish Parliament website which refer to the country as a country?
"Alcohol and violence are crippling our country."

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/hs/inquiries/AlcoholBill/documents/162ViolenceReductionUnitScotland.pdf (PDF)
"Scottish Ballet, one of our country's artistic and cultural resources, has been
successfully delivering excellent classical ballet productions to near capacity
audiences in Scotland and beyond for over thirty years."

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/committees/historic/education/inquiries-01/scottish-ballet/053.pdf
Brook is the country's leading sexual health organisation for young people, offering
young women and men under 25 free and confidential sexual health services ...

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/committees/education/inquiries/pvg/pvg-Brook.pdf
"We are very pleased that many of you come, but when we learn that over 4 million people, or 13% of the Canadian population, list themselves as being of Scots descent in the census, we can see that there is huge scope for many more Canadians to come to Scotland, learn more about the country of their origin as well as their family roots."
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/nmCentre/news/news-03/ds03-002.htm

Now I Have A Name! said...

Here's some more stuff from the BBC which you conveniently didn't post:

"Scotland is a country of great talent, of enterprise, compassion and tolerance."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/4000283.stm

"Some critics now point to a debilitating lack of commercial dynamism in Scotland, the country which arguably did more than any other to define entrepreneurial capitalism."
"Scotland is an expensive country to run."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3216059.stm

Scotland is 'worst small country'
"Scotland is the worst performing small country in Western Europe, according to a report by business leaders."
"He said Scotland had fallen one place from ninth after the previous bottom country, Austria, improved its employment rate."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/6739007.stm

"McGeady, 18, recently opted to play for the Republic of Ireland instead of Scotland, the country of his birth."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/c/celtic/4098031.stm

"A higher proportion of the population of England and Wales is behind bars than that of any other western European country, a prison reform group reports."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4623404.stm

Oh no! Are England and Wales countries, too?? Maybe those prisons are full of people who abuse dictionaries!

Not enough?
"The statue of the environmentalist John Muir which stands in Dundee, Scotland, the country of his birth. "
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/6739007.stm

But it would be a deserved reward for someone criminally undervalued in his native Scotland, a country screaming out for genuine "sporting heroes."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/boxing/4609055.stm

"Lee said Uefa was planning to look at how the Bosman ruling on free transfers had adversely affected smaller countries like Scotland."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/scotland/1665936.stm

"Scotland, as a whole, has higher mortality than other western European countries, with the exception of Portugal."
news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6365423.stm

Apparently, the BBC, which is funded by the British government, refers to Scotland as a country in every single news story about Scotland. Also the other countries of the UK. Perhaps you should find another irrelevant list of countries, because that was a slam dunk of your head straight up your ass.

Now I Have A Name said...

To Sum Up:

A country absolutely can be more than one simultaneously, moron, which is the entire point. "Principality" doesn't refute "country." "Country" has more than one meaning, buttmunch.
"Scotland as any form of is so irrelevant that it gets no listing at all."
Amazingly wrong, yet again. As Scotland is a country of the UK, the information about Scotland is listed under the UK. (Duh.)
On the BBC site, the information for Scotland is listed under the UK. (Double duh.)




About your video "evidence"...you cannot possibly be serious. A fucking COMEDIAN? That's a "well-educated Brit" now? You apparently haven't noticed that video is making fun of YOU. Better go back to telling me how a dictionary is the wrong resource for finding the definitions of words.

It is now official. YOU ARE THE WORST UNEMPLOYED POLITICAL SCIENTIST IN THE WORLD. This explains why an "expert" in NOT ONLY political science, but also encyclopedias, dictionaries, and C&P Wikipedia logic runs quizzes in shitty dive bars.

QuizMasterChris said...

I'm not "unemployed", asswipe, I run TWO of my own businesses and do consulting work.

What do you do for a living, anonymous coward? What publishers have you worked for? What encyclopedias paid YOU to write geographic articles? Tell us all about your background, do.

Once again the best you can do is Google any occurance of "Scotland" and "country." I want you to present EVIDENCE that Scotland is OFFICIALLY presenting itself to the rest of the world as a country. I want you to present EVIDENCE that "Country of Scotland" is a UK designation.

It's very easy to find the UK calling itself a country on a UK website. The best you can find for on the Scottish one is a notation - AFTER noting that the UK is a country - that SOME PEOPLE use "countries" (with a quote thrown around the word to designate a squirrely usage) not knowing what a better word would be to use, the UK not having a compact constitution.

Why doesn't the website simply say "Scotland is a country in the UK" or VERY SIMPLY "Yes, Scotland is a country." IF THAT WERE TRUE?

There's no real country in the world that dicks around like that on it's own website, or for that matter even NEEDS a FAQ such as "Is Poland a country?" or "Is Malawi a country?" They'd certainly answer "YES" if they posted such a thing.

YOU are making the claim this is so, therefore the burden is on YOU to prove it, and it shouldn't be difficult to find IF IT WERE TRUE.

You can see above that a Scottish nationalist who lives in Scotland dickered around for TWO MONTHS without ONCE pointing to such a reference.

Because you have some BBC stories in which some people are QUOTED as using the word "country", that doesn't mean they are correct.

Here are some BBC interviews in which people are quoted as saying that the Loch Ness Monster exists:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1288293.stm

You can take those out of context if you like.

Does that mean it's official BBC policy that there is a Loch Ness monster?

I'm sure if you Google "Iraq + WMDs", that the BBC would have old articles stating that the WMDs in Iraq will be found... any day now...

QuizMasterChris said...

Matt Rosenberg is a geography professional who has won a national geography teaching award.

After his post TITLED "Scotland Is Not a Country" (http://geography.about.com/b/2004/07/05/scotland-is-not-a-country.htm), we have this instructive comment from a UK resident:

"Dear Scottish people:

You are living in the past, quit living in the past. You handed your country rights to the United Kingdom.

Until you have a Scottish embassy, Foreign Minister and Sovereign Army, you are not a country. Deal with it.

Other countries have done better in dealing with this. For instance, Bavaria in Germany was once a country, but is not so delusional as to think they are still one, they are part of Germany, which is a country.

You are not a sovereign country. You need to accept that, it is just sad watching you claim that you are, it is embarrassing to watch."

QuizMasterChris said...

I want you to tell us WHY the BBC doesn't simply list Scotland as a country in its country profiles if this is true.

I want you to tell me this:

If you look in the "correct" dictionaries for the purpose, the word "state" is sometimes defined as "country."

Hawaii, Vermont, California and most famously Texas are all "states" that were countries at one point. All have independence movements (a minority, but the SNP appears to be a pluarality itself).

In fact it's EASY to find an official designation of all of them as "State of..." and it's EASY to find federal references to them as "states." (And EASY to Google "state" and have it defined as "country" in one sense of the word.)

Hawaii even has a Hawaiian langauge, and, like Scots, a Hawaiian dialect of English.

So... according to you, using Scotland logic...

Hawaii is a country.
Texas is a country.
Vermont is a country.
California is a country.

Right? No? If not, be prepared to connect the dots and explain to the world why you have one set of rules for the UK and totally different one for the US.

And I don't want to hear that "country" is what the UK calls its parts, BECAUSE THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF THAT YET PRESENTED.

QuizMasterChris said...

"Principality" is NOT another word for "country." That's just an area with a prince, and that usually means a titular head of state BELOW a king or queen, and THAT usually means a sub-country level area.

The only country in the world currently also a Principality to my knowledge is Monaco.

Wales is a Principality. Northern Ireland is a Province.

Yet you throw at me a sentence claiming those two are countries in a dictionary to prove Scotland is too.

You now therefore also have the responsibility to prove that Northern Ireland and Wales have designations as Countries that make up the UK.

You also have the responsibility to prove that "Province" is a word which also means "Country."

If you can't do this, that sentence is not particularly strong proof on the Scotland point, is it?

QuizMasterChris said...

This is particularly lame:

"We are very pleased that many of you come, but when we learn that over 4 million people, or 13% of the Canadian population, list themselves as being of Scots descent in the census, we can see that there is huge scope for many more Canadians to come to Scotland, learn more about the country of their origin as well as their family roots."

It's a reference TO THE PAST. Likewise Bavaria and the Danzig Free State were the "countries of origin" of a lot of dead immigrants as well, which doesn't make them countries now.

I should add that "the country of their origin" could just mean the UK. That the speaker meant "Scotland, which is currently a country" is wholly your construction, because that's what you want to read.

QuizMasterChris said...

While the word country means "more than one thing", the phrase "a country" generally does NOT in modern English.

The Wikipedia entry on "country" notes, referencing the OED (which I don't have access to) that with use of the indefinite article, it means "state."

And the hyperlink of "state" is to this:

"A sovereign state (commonly simply referred to as a state) is a political association with effective internal and external sovereignty over a geographic area and population which is not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state."

Which of course does NOT describe Scotland.

Thus in modern English, which I tend to speak, "Scotland is not A COUNTRY." is a true statement.

QuizMasterChris said...

I ask where you think the dictionary writers - particularly the condensed variety - are getting their definition of Scotland and the UK and so forth.

Because I've been looking for nearly a year, and have not found a single official reference to the UK calling itself "a country comprised of four countries." "A country", yes, that's easy enough.

You have this "appeal to authority" argument that anything a private company puts in a reference book must be true. Having worked for print and online reference publishers, I can assure that a LOT of the time, no ones fact-checks articles, projects get passed from one person to another in a hurried fashion, and mistakes are made. It's often, between the beginning of a project and the end of one, difficult to tell who wrote or edited or re-edited (which is different than fact-checking) which pieces.

Just because you can Google an occurance of a string of words together doesn't make them true.

Mistakes are sometimes made. About 15 years ago I read an encyclopedia article that claimed that "most Americans are of English descent", which was plainly wrong, and I wrote them a letter about that because it was quite the howler. Never heard back.

I'd encourage everyone to read even reference books with a critical eye.

QuizMasterChris said...

And why is "Jizzmaster" an insult? Wouldn't most guys take that as a compliment? Gonna call me "FecundBalls" next..?

QuizMasterChris said...

Again, as above:

"Your son may have a gun."

means "Your son might have a gun."

"Your son may have a gun."

means "Your son is allowed to have a gun."

Both definitions of "may" are in the dictionary. But the meaning of the sentence is through context. And the meaning of the word "may" in that sentence by the speaker can only be changed by the listener through a willful neglect of the context.

What makes NO SENSE AT ALL would be to claim that "may" means "is allowed to" AND "might" SIMULTANEOUSLY in that sentence.

This is also true in this case. You don't get to claim that I meant "country as in France" on the one hand and "country as in a region" SIMULTANEOUSLY on the other.

It's not just wrong, it's intellectually lazy and/or dishonest.

Thus when I asked about "European countries", the meaning was unambiguous. No one seriously thought I meant Catalonia and Sicily, but Spain and Italy.

In point of fact most Americans are ignorant of the existance of non-English-speaking minority regions of Europe. But people know what a Scotland is, people are generally familiar with the UK, and this, for some reason, derails the mind.

QuizMasterChris said...

I'm also curious as to why anyone thinks that Matt Rosenberg is 100% to post "Scotland is not a country."

He's considered one of the top geography educators in the US.
He has a graduate degree in geography. What exactly are you bringing to the table that makes him look like a punter?

It seems to be an extraordnary claim that he would get this flat wrong, and that would seem to require extraordinary evidence. Let's see it.

QuizMasterChris said...

Obviously that should read "100% wrong" in the post above.

QuizMasterChris said...

Note this comment:

"Very very sorry to inform you that Scotland in NOT a country and neither is England. I am a very proud Scot who believe we SHOULD be a country, but legally and officially we are not. Only we consider ourselves a country.

See below why we dont meet the criteria for a country…

http://geography.about.com/od/politicalgeography/a/scotlandnot.htm

ONLY WAS TO BE SCOTLAND THE GREATEST SMALL COUNTRY IN THE WORLD IS TO VOTE FOR AN INDEPENDANT SCOTLAND "

at:

http://bestuff.com/stuff/scotland

But you know better than this person, right?

QuizMasterChris said...

Also from Rosenberg:

"Territories of countries or individual parts of a country are not countries in their own right.
Examples of entities that are not countries include: Hong Kong, Bermuda, Greenland, Puerto Rico, and most notably the constituent parts of the United Kingdom. (Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England are not countries.)"

QuizMasterChris said...

Allow me to point out that I certainly made an error in arguing above about 10 months ago.

At the time I ran on the assumption that the word "country" was actually in use officially in the UK to mean roughly the same thing as "state" in the US or "province" in Canada. This was based in placing overly much faith in a literal interpretation of the Googled dictionary definitions thrown at me.

As the months and this argument have worn on, I no longer have any reason to believe that the UK is using the word "country" as a formal designation of ANY of the 4 constituent areas of the UK, nor is it using the word for the more independent associated islands such as Jersey.

This stuck me in a position of trying to explain that "country" had a separate internal British usage, as "state" in the US has an internal usage quite seperate from its use at, for example, the UN.

I wish I were more actively skeptical of dictionary fundamentalism at the time.

At this point anyone making the POSITIVE ASSERTION that "Scotland is a country in the UK" is going to have to show me the paperwork that states that from either the government of the UK or from Scotland.

Since I can't claim to know all of the government documentation there since 1707, it's not possible nor reasonable to put the burden of proof on me to show that is NOT the case.

QuizMasterChris said...

More nails for your coffin, anonymous coward:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/LivingintheUK/DG_10012517

"'UK' or 'Britain'?
The full title of this country is 'the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland':

•Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland and Wales
•the United Kingdom (UK) is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
'Britain' is used informally, usually meaning the United Kingdom."

THIS COUNTRY, SINGULAR.

Not "these countries", plural.

Explain your way out of that.

That's a UK government website.

QuizMasterChris said...

After doing some digging, it appears that the official UK name for Northern Ireland is "Northern Ireland."

Unionists like to call it "the Province" or "Ulster" (with the latter having an Old Norse -ster suffix which means "province of"). The traditional Irish province of Ulster was 9 counties, 6 of which make up N.I.


Irish Nationalists call it "the North" or "the 6 counties" or variations on that theme, and in some cases even reject "Northern Ireland" as a term.

Neither side regards it a "country" in even an informal sense of the word.

Thus ANY reference book or definition which claims that EITHER A) Northern Ireland is country or that B) the UK is four countries is wrong in absolute terms on that one point alone, which should cast a doubt among any thinking person on the same reference's description of Scotland.

The Northern Irish devolved parliament was suspended by the UK, because the UK can do that as a country, and Northern Ireland can't stop them as a non-country.

QuizMasterChris said...

As expected, the anonymous coward has not returned.

Another drive-by coward won't stick around to attempt to answer questions... perhaps vacationing in the Country of Hawaii?

Now I Have A Name said...

Why is "Anonymous Coward" an insult? Obviously you meant it as one. A fake name is less "anonymous"?

Your link does not go to the article you're referencing. It goes to a blog post about the article. The article itself is called "Scotland is not an Independent Country." Never said it was.

http://geography.about.com/od/politicalgeography/a/scotlandnot.htm

In his article called "Scotland is not an Independent Country" he says a country need fail only only ONE of his "eight criteria."

You'd think to fail to qualify as an "independent" country that said country would only have to fail on one count: independence. Duh.

However, he uses his very same criteria to claim that Taiwan IS a country! A bit inconsistent, nay?

If comments from civilians count as "evidence" against, can I copypasta the ones that agree with ME as evidence? Didn't think so. (Too bad. A couple insult you by name and call you out on a straw man. Most amusing.)

It's essentially the same conversation happening here.

Now I Have A Name said...

Obviously, Matt Rosenberg changed his article. Why did he do that? Perhaps because someone pointed out to him (in hundreds of comments) that the word "country" has more than one meaning. That article now disagrees with you because you said "independent country" is redundant.

A highly educated geography man says it isn't.

Now I Have A Name said...

You said earlier that Scotland doesn't get to decide what to call itself. You also said that the UK doesn't get to decide what to call its constituents.

Oh, right, you likened "a country made of countries" on the website of the Prime Minister to the Holy Trinity.

Why does Northern Ireland suddenly become different? If anything, it proves my point that a variety of terms correctly apply to the countries of the UK.

You're still stubbornly insisting that "country" means only "independent state." Just plain wrong, Jizzmaster.

Now I Have A Name said...

"This country, singular." I understand how that would confuse you. It's called "good grammar."

When referring to the UK as an entity, it's a country. When describing it as "a country made of countries." See? "Countries," plural.

Now I Have A Name said...

"Principality" is NOT another word for "country."

I never said any such thing. What I actually said was that Wales can be referred to as a principality as some authorities do, OR as a country as other authorities do.

Now try and refute things I say without distorting them.

Now I Have A Name said...

Since comment by the hoi polloi are now "evidence," directly below your "evidence" is this:

What dumbass said Scotland wasn’t a country! You need to be slapped with an encyclopedia and sent back to school!

One of my dreams is to visit this wonderful country…

BESTUFF.COM?? Seriously?? Did you run out of COMDEDIANS?

ONE of my cites could possible refer to the time when Scotland was sovereign. Great job ignoring all the others.

Now I Have A Name said...

What you mistake for "squirrely usage" is actually proper punctuation. The Scottish Parliament's website proves my point, you blithering idiot.

The word "country" (see the quotes? That's proper punctuation for "mention" rather than "use.") means more than one thing. Therefore, Scotland is referred to as a "country" in the common speech. That's exactly what that means, no matter how you torture it. Not having a constitution means the country was never legally redefined.

Who gives a shit what it doesn't say? Are you seriously using the "scare quotes" argument? Lame. You said earlier that Scotland is the powerless vassal of the UK which calls it a fucking country.

Is that the best you can do to refute the BBC references? None of them were quotes. They were in quotation marks because I quoted them, dumbass. The "context" is the British government-funded BBC refers to Scotland as a country! Now prove them wrong. Oh, wait...they're not wrong and you can't prove a negative.

The Scottish national you mention provided a ton of information, with legal citations. His main point was that the constituents of the UK were not legally redefined by the union. (A point you concede yourself.) Not independent, still a country. I get it, you don't. You didn't do much but mock him demand ever more ridiculous citations until he got tired of you. Poland? Really? Double lame. The UK website doesn't dick around at all. "A country made of countries." I get it, you don't.

Again with the Burden of Proof fallacy. You don't even know what is being argued here. You're arguing that the word "country" means "sovereign state," full stop. You have been proven incorrect about that over and over, and each time growing ever more hysterical.

Now I Have A Name said...

Wait a minute...DICTIONARIES ARE RELIABLE NOW? What happened?

If we're using Wikipedia now, how about this, the part you "forgot" to copy:
"In English the word has increasingly become associated with political divisions, so that one sense, associated with the indefinite article - "a country" - is now a synonym for state, or a former sovereign state, in the sense of sovereign territory."

Scotland is most certainly one of those. The OED proves you wrong.

You also left this out:
"In common usage, the term country is used in the sense of both nations and states, with definitions varying. In some cases it is used to refer both to states and to other political entities."
And this: "Some cohesive geographical entities, which were formerly sovereign states, are commonly regarded and referred to still as countries; such as England, Scotland and Wales – in the United Kingdom." Four cites on that puppy, one of which is the Library of Congress.

What does Wikipedia say about Scotland?
"Scotland (Gaelic: Alba) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom." Is that an indefinite article I see? Three cites for that one.
And the United Kingdom?
"The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and unitary state consisting of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales."

Now I Have A Name said...

"Your son may have a gun." More points for my side. This proves a sentence can be ambiguous to the listeners. One person hears one thing, someone else hears another.

If you were wearing a top hat with Political Scientist written on it at a lecture, one could think "country" meant "sovereign state." Unlikely, since a proper lecturer would use the right term, which is "state." (You apparently have no problem with the U.S., a "state made of states.")

Since the ambiguity of the word "country" is what created the problem in the first place, what you have here is a profound wrongness.

Now I Have A Name said...

I didn't call you unemployed, dimwit. I called you an "unemployed political scientist." You keep banging on about the years you "spent" in the field, which means not in the field now. "Consultant" on a resume is a huge red flag meaning "I'm such an ass no one will hire me."

You still haven't named the encyclopedia you got fired from. I'd be interested to see how it defines "country." Or were you not in charge of that?

You're seriously considering your quiz a "business"? I guess a crack whore counts as a "businesswoman," then. Is your other "business" in the field of your degree? I didn't think so.

You haven't proved your credentials, so I see no need to. What's the point? If they're good, you'll call me a liar, as you did to others on this thread. You wouldn't accept my argument even if I turned out to be a political science professor.

You don't seem to understand that your "degree" is irrelevant. Understanding the meaning of the word "country" requires the ability to read and not much more.

Posting every day, or thereabouts FOR 10 DAYS is a "drive-by"? You REALLY SUCK at definitions, Jizzmaster.

Now I Have A Name said...

Oh, and another major error on your part. The Country of Hawaii was legally redefined as a state by the U.S. Constitution. A political scientist should know that. Better stick with the "educated" comedian videos.

Apparently, you also fail on the definition of "anonymous." See, it means "without a name." I am now using a pseudonym. And so are you, dipshit, unless your mother named you "Quizmaster."

Now I Have A Name said...

"It is widely believed that you can’t prove a negative. [...} This widespread belief is flatly, 100% wrong. In this little essay, I show precisely how one can prove a negative, to the same extent that one can prove anything at all."
Source: a Professor of Philosophy. You're not one of those, right?
http://departments.bloomu.edu/philosophy/pages/content/hales/articles/proveanegative.html


It is commonly thought that one cannot prove a negative, but of course I can.
Source: a professor with a PhD in Philosophy, and degrees in History and Biology.
http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2008/06/you_can_prove_a_negative.php


"One of the laziest last resorts of internet dullards is the argument that 'you can't prove something does not exist' or even simply that 'you can't prove a negative'." Source: No idea. I just like his turn of phrase
http://thatgodquestion.blogspot.com/2008/01/lemma-2-you-can-prove-negative.html

I shall now prove yet another negative claim posed, by the Jizzmaster himself:
The British Government does not consider Scotland (or its parts) to be countries.
The evidence provided: Scotland is not on a list of independent countries on the BBC site, which is funded by the British government.

These sites are also under funded by the British government:
Office for National Statistics, which refers to the countries as countries throughout.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, which defines the UK as a country made of countries. (Same word, same sentence, two meanings.)
The BBC! The countries are called countries in hundreds of news stories. You used the source yourself, so it must be reliable. Now explain how this source supports your argument, yet is not valid for mine. This is going to be good, boys and girls.

Perhaps the word "country" means more than you think it does, Jizzmaster. The rest of the world certainly thinks so. Even people with better CV's than yours. Like this one:
http://www.geography-site.co.uk/pages/countries/country_definition.html

I believe you rejected the site of this better-educated man because Scotland isn't listed as independent. Note his list says "generally-accepted countries" not "universally-accepted countries."

"So, if you really want to know how many countries there are, first select the definition you want to use, then allow for where you are and what political views you have, then you have a chance of making an educated guess at the answer!"

QuizMasterChris said...

You flat out refuse to identify yourself and your background, which is what makes you a coward. I'm right here, people know who I am and what I do. You hide.

I was never "fired" from an encyclopedia project, asshole.

I'll lay out a resume for you, and then you do the same for me, and we'll see who's who, deal?

If you don't similarly identify yourself below, we'll see why I'm calling you a coward.

I have a degree in Comparative and Developmental Politics from one of the top 10 universities in the US. While there I interned with the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Comparative politics is precisely the branch of political science that uses the methodology I've been using to attempt to learn something from the similarities and differences of varying political systems. This is why I want to know if you think Hawaii and Texas are currently countries, an argument you avoid because it displays how your argument is hot air and invective.

(Your avoidance of that line of questioning, and the line of questioning as to why the Scottish Parliament wouldn't answer "Yes" and leave it at that if "Yes" were the simple answer, also make you a coward.)

For 7 years I was the head of the research department of a UN-related NGO called the World Game Institute. Our job was geography and political education.

I researched and wrote for dozens of projects related to that; one of those projects related to global military spending was turned into oversize visual form and was on display at the UN Building in NY for most of a year.

Along with a partner in most cases, we ran a few hundred day-long workshops in global geography on the world's largest map of Earth for corporate, community and government groups. Some of our repeat clients included Motorola, GM, European branches of AIESEC, the US Congress, the UN itself, Bell South, Coca-Cola, American universities too numerous to mention here, numerous museums, and the Society of Friends (Quaker) private schools in the Philadelphia region.

I did almost all of the research for the workshops and updated them annually. Many of these were funded by major foundations such as G.R. Dodge.

We maintained - in fact I created - the world's largest combined database of country-specific data on Earth. This was country-specific data (over 1.3 million numbers) from all of the major UN-related data collection agencies plus SIPRI, the CIA's publicatons division, Worldwatch Institute, the US Bureau of Mines and on and on, in fact the list of REFERENCES stretches into the hundreds.

QuizMasterChris said...

Because of our data set, Microsoft hired us to collaborate on their Encarta Atlas and related projects for a period of almost two years. For about 18 months of that, this was my primary job.

We/I weren't/wasn't fired; we finished the job and moved on to other projects.

MS hired people from the print encyclopedia world to head that project and we worked closely with them.

WGI also ended up putting out a commercially available CD-ROM product, which was purchased by political science departments and college libraries.

After several years I left WGI to work for Fabian-Baber Productions as the writer and researcher for their series of political and geographic videos purchased by schools.

Somewhere in here I was also consulting on small fact-checking projects for the Emeritus Professor of Finance at Wharton, who apparently thought my reading and thinking skills are just fine.

F-B went under and I worked for a time as a civics and global studies writer and coordinator for BeyondBooks, which sold curriculum support/ reference content to American school districts.

This too eventually went under during the dot-com bubble and I was hired almost immediately by a for-profit spin-off of ICOM (the international museum association) to coordinate the world's largest database of museum data, and to research some geographic pieces.

I worked as a contract worker for the US Department of State in an OSCE capacity as an election station officer in Bosnia, and was responsible solely for the election stations in a town of 20,000 people with a staff of about a dozen locals.

I was hired via Pacific Architects and Engineers, a private contractor with ties to US intelligence at minimum.

For several years I have been the primary project-specific researcher for demographic and related data projects when needed (sometimes this is not needed) for the private clients of the Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis. This isn't frequent enough to be a full-time job.

That's me.

Your turn. What's your background?

QuizMasterChris said...

Rosenberg CURRENTLY has this posted:

"
"Territories of countries or individual parts of a country are not countries in their own right.
Examples of entities that are not countries include: Hong Kong, Bermuda, Greenland, Puerto Rico, and most notably the constituent parts of the United Kingdom. (Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England are not countries.)"

Where's the ambiguity? What was "changed"?

He has a graduate degree in geography and national education awards in teaching the subject. Why do you think it's possible that someone with that kind of background could be that wrong on this?

QuizMasterChris said...

Fallon is delusional and most of his references and viewpoint come from Scottish nationalist sources that have a skewed point of view.

It's weird that you're backing him over me, because he claims that the UK and Northern Ireland are NOT countries. And you claim they are.

Further, he's claiming that the UK shouldn't be called a country, which is in opposition to BOTH your semantic argument and your political one.

Similar books as the ones he cites by Scotiish nationalists here in the claim the US has no right to collect federal income tax, because that amendment was approved by Ohio, and Ohio wasn't a proper state.

Is this true? No. Are there MANY books with this as a theme? Yes. Can I quote those? Yes. Does quoting those make it true? No.

So is he right about Scotland because he's wrong about the UK? What are claiming here?

QuizMasterChris said...

Once again I insist that you answer for us a few things, if you're not a drive-by coward (you haven't spent "ten days" typing at me, you spent 20 minutes spread over ten days-- pretty much a drive by, especially comaped to a 14-year academic and professional career):

1) Please run down your academic and professional background as relates to political science and/or geography, as I did

2) Please address why you think Hawaii, TX, VT and CA are properly called countries. Compare and contrast this with Scotland if you disagree with that opinion. Or even if you do, I'd like to see you attempt to construct an argument for once instead of Googling others' quotes

3) Please address why and how you think the entire world has agreed as to what a country is through using English language dictionary definitions, when most people do not speak English. Please address why the dictionary is a good tool for determining what a country is when one edition might say "Northern Ireland is a country..." while another does not. How do you know which dictionary to use, and when to stop comparing?

4) Finally, Matt's quote above is current and unambiguous. Tell us why you know more than him on the subject. Show your work.

QuizMasterChris said...

I should add the obvious reason that the Scottish Parliament's website - which has a URL that terminates .uk (!!! - Scotland's one hell of a "country" - no domain of its own!) is that they don't want to get thousands of emails from offended idiots every year.

They plainly state the UK is a country because that's objectively true (weirdly your intellectual hero Fallon won't cede this point even though HIS OWN PARLAIMENT does.)

And then they hem and haw for a bit and make and note some people call 'em "countries." Weak.

What you don't seem to understand is that there are real CONSEQUENCES in political terms to calling a place a country, because the word has a fixed political meaning, and its very important for nationalists (anywhere) to ALWAYS claim they are in what should be considered a country and unjustly isn't, and it's ALWAYS in the interests of the people opposed to nationalists to deny this.

It so happens that in the case of Scotland, de jure and de facto, the anti-nationalists are currently correct on usage of the term. Many people seem to think anyone who agrees with this simply truth must be a pro-English crown bigot, which simply isn't usually the case.

Taiwan is a country by the way, just not a UN member. Switzerland is another country that's not a UN member. It seems weird that you claim Taiwan isn't a country but Scotland is, even though Taiwan has international recognition and Scotland doesn't. As a permanent member of the Security Council and a nuke weapon power, PR China bullied Taiwan out of the UN.

Scotland has an independence movement BECAUSE it isn't a country. Hungary, Bolivia, Brazil don't have independence movements, because they are countries and therefore have no one to be independent FROM.

QuizMasterChris said...

I should point out that I haven't yet found any reference that any other country has formal recognition of the Scotland-England border, which I've written to Matt about. I've been trying to think of an issue that would even make this necessary.

Without international recognition of the border, Scotland doesn't even have internationally agreed-upon territory.

It's like saying the boundaries of Missouri have international recogntion - why would they? Maybe some country somewhere does, but I can't imagine why.

QuizMasterChris said...

I just approved two comments from "Now I Have a Name", and both disappeared. Fortunately I get emailed the text, so here's #1 from him/her/it:

""It is widely believed that you can’t prove a negative. [...} This widespread belief is flatly, 100% wrong. In this little essay, I show precisely how one can prove a negative, to the same extent that one can prove anything at all."
Source: a Professor of Philosophy. You're not one of those, right?
http://departments.bloomu.edu/philosophy/pages/content/hales/articles/proveanegative.html


It is commonly thought that one cannot prove a negative, but of course I can.
Source: a professor with a PhD in Philosophy, and degrees in History and Biology.
http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2008/06/you_can_prove_a_negative.php


"One of the laziest last resorts of internet dullards is the argument that 'you can't prove something does not exist' or even simply that 'you can't prove a negative'." Source: No idea. I just like his turn of phrase
http://thatgodquestion.blogspot.com/2008/01/lemma-2-you-can-prove-negative.html

I shall now prove yet another negative claim posed, by the Jizzmaster himself:
The British Government does not consider Scotland (or its parts) to be countries.
The evidence provided: Scotland is not on a list of independent countries on the BBC site, which is funded by the British government.

These sites are also under funded by the British government:
Office for National Statistics, which refers to the countries as countries throughout.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, which defines the UK as a country made of countries. (Same word, same sentence, two meanings.)
The BBC! The countries are called countries in hundreds of news stories. You used the source yourself, so it must be reliable. Now explain how this source supports your argument, yet is not valid for mine. This is going to be good, boys and girls.

Perhaps the word "country" means more than you think it does, Jizzmaster. The rest of the world certainly thinks so. Even people with better CV's than yours. Like this one:
http://www.geography-site.co.uk/pages/countries/country_definition.html

I believe you rejected the site of this better-educated man because Scotland isn't listed as independent. Note his list says "generally-accepted countries" not "universally-accepted countries."

"So, if you really want to know how many countries there are, first select the definition you want to use, then allow for where you are and what political views you have, then you have a chance of making an educated guess at the answer!"

QuizMasterChris said...

This is the second comment that seem to have just disappeared posted by NIHA-Name (see how I honest I'm being? Blogger had a glitch and I'm going out of my way to not censor your drivel):

-------

""It is widely believed that you can’t prove a negative. [...} This widespread belief is flatly, 100% wrong. In this little essay, I show precisely how one can prove a negative, to the same extent that one can prove anything at all."
Source: a Professor of Philosophy. You're not one of those, right?
http://departments.bloomu.edu/philosophy/pages/content/hales/articles/proveanegative.html


It is commonly thought that one cannot prove a negative, but of course I can.
Source: a professor with a PhD in Philosophy, and degrees in History and Biology.
http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2008/06/you_can_prove_a_negative.php


"One of the laziest last resorts of internet dullards is the argument that 'you can't prove something does not exist' or even simply that 'you can't prove a negative'." Source: No idea. I just like his turn of phrase
http://thatgodquestion.blogspot.com/2008/01/lemma-2-you-can-prove-negative.html

I shall now prove yet another negative claim posed, by the Jizzmaster himself:
The British Government does not consider Scotland (or its parts) to be countries.
The evidence provided: Scotland is not on a list of independent countries on the BBC site, which is funded by the British government.

These sites are also under funded by the British government:
Office for National Statistics, which refers to the countries as countries throughout.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, which defines the UK as a country made of countries. (Same word, same sentence, two meanings.)
The BBC! The countries are called countries in hundreds of news stories. You used the source yourself, so it must be reliable. Now explain how this source supports your argument, yet is not valid for mine. This is going to be good, boys and girls.

Perhaps the word "country" means more than you think it does, Jizzmaster. The rest of the world certainly thinks so. Even people with better CV's than yours. Like this one:
http://www.geography-site.co.uk/pages/countries/country_definition.html

I believe you rejected the site of this better-educated man because Scotland isn't listed as independent. Note his list says "generally-accepted countries" not "universally-accepted countries."

"So, if you really want to know how many countries there are, first select the definition you want to use, then allow for where you are and what political views you have, then you have a chance of making an educated guess at the answer!"

QuizMasterChris said...

No, you are totally anonymous and completely a coward and I am not.

This blog has my actual first name, my photo, my contact info and a schedule of where I'll be when. I also just gave you a work and educational history.

You're not even using a name.

QuizMasterChris said...

If you're now claiming that country can mean whatever anyone wants it to mean, how could you possibly then have a problem with how Matt or I do? That doesn't even have internal logic.

Beyond this, the international community of countries needs to know what a country is and what a country isn't. It's not an academic question, it has real world consequences. And the international community of countries does NOT consider Scotland a country.

There is no OFFICIAL designation in the UK of its constituent parts being called ANYTHING. There are casual usages that are NOT internationally recognized.

I'd love you to meet some Irish people I know and tell them "You are from a country called Northern Ireland." Those haven't just been "fightin' words", those have been "killin' words."

I have repeatedly attempted to prove that Scotland is not a country THROUGH COMPARATIVE POLITICS METHODOLOGY, NOT through simple statements of A is not B, or A is A until you show me otherwise.

Whenever, in fact, I use this method of argument you people ignore it completely.

I repeat:

1) Please run down your academic and professional background as relates to political science and/or geography, as I did

2) Please address why you think Hawaii, TX, VT and CA are properly called countries. Compare and contrast this with Scotland if you disagree with that opinion. Or even if you do, I'd like to see you attempt to construct an argument for once instead of Googling others' quotes

3) Please address why and how you think the entire world has agreed as to what a country is through using English language dictionary definitions, when most people do not speak English. Please address why the dictionary is a good tool for determining what a country is when one edition might say "Northern Ireland is a country..." while another does not. How do you know which dictionary to use, and when to stop comparing?

4) Finally, Matt's quote above is current and unambiguous. Tell us why you know more than him on the subject. Show your work.

QuizMasterChris said...

I should state at this point I suspect that Anonymous is the same sockpuppet poster above who signed in under 3 or 4 different names last year.

If so, she is a high school drop-out who has stopped playing my quizzes because of this issue who has never attended college, and also makes a hobby of signing into anti-smoking websites and telling professional medical researchers that they are full of shit based in what she remembers of 9th grade biology.

Said person has no passport and has never been overseas.

Just to review: no formal education in any area beyond 10th grade or so, no internatonal experience, no professional experience in these nor any other areas.

If I'm wrong that should be easy enough to prove, anonymous. Show yourself. What's your name? Have a website? Photo? Contact info? What's your educational background and work history, especially that would allow you to so casually dismiss mine?

What are you hiding? Why are you hiding? I've been nothing but fair and open.

QuizMasterChris said...

Just looked this up:

http://www.norid.no/domenenavnbaser/domreg.html

There's only a .uk "Country code top level domain (ccTLD)" available.

No Scotland. None of these other "countries."

If the fact that the Scottish Parliament itself is using a .uk domain name doesn't tell you that Scotland isn't a country, what would?

QuizMasterChris said...

Incidentally the contrast of Scotland and Northern Ireland - i.e. comparative politics methodology - shows how ignorant you are on this.

(What Matt and I both do are construct arguments based in defining countries based in comparison of their political status to like units.)

Scotland has some people who want Scotland to be a country and some who want Scotland to remain part of the UK.

Northern Ireland has people who want to remain united with the UK and people who want to unite with the Republic of Ireland. There's no "Northern Ireland nationalist" movement that's claiming nation status of 'Northern Irishness' and pushing for independence from both.

It's failing even your weakest semantic casual usage bar.

Fallon knows this, which is why he's not calling NI a "country."

I ask again if Texas is a country. Or Hawaii. Or Pennsylvania (why not, right?)

Why not say "Vermont is a country in the United States."?

Now I Have A Name said...

An internet domain code is the definition of what a "country" is now? Very well, according to you, there are now 248 countries.
http://blog.icann.org/2009/03/tld-census/

I don't know if you know this, but Scotland is part of the UK, hence the domain code.

Which Parliament are you referring to as Follon's? The UK or Scotland's? Intereting how you you demand that Michael Follon (whose name you've only recently learned to spell) acknowledge that the UK government is an authority on "country" only in the half of its description of itself that agrees with you. "A country..." Proved! Authoritative! "....made of countries." Wrong! False! Delusional!

Make up your mind.

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/61516/robert-s-ross/taiwans-fading-independence-movement

So, you're now reversing your argument that a country must be independent to be a country? About time!

Now I Have A Name said...

"We" aren't "claiming" anything here. Again, you are incorrect. Most of his sources are points of law. The books be cites are written by historians, professors, and political scientists. Follon said "in his opinion" he doesn't consider the United Kingdom to be a "country" he considers it to be a "state" made of countries and a province. This doesn't conflict at all with my argument. I claim nothing at all but what I have presented. He presented a cogent defense of his opinion, with citations as to why he holds the opinion.

Please back up your wild claims about his references with facts. A search for those authors' names shows that collectively they've authored over 300 history books, and have CV's better than yours. You've written how many? Just the one degree then? You teach at what university?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Donaldson

'Scotland: The Shaping of a Nation' by Gordon Donaldson, p.58, ISBN 0 7153 6904 0

The author is described in various places around the web as a well-respected Scottish historian. From the book description:

"Scotland is not a state, but it is more than a region in either a geographical or an administrative sense. Joined to England in a United Kingdom, not by conquest but by a freely negotiated treaty, it has its own Church, its own law and law courts, its own banks and banknotes, its own burghs (not boroughs) with their provosts (not mayors). Its distinctive institutions are a survival from the period when it had political independence and its own sovereign parliament.

Professor Donaldson explains how the Scotland of today has been shaped throughout many centuries. He does it not by a narrative history but by a series of chapters on Anglo-Scottish relations, the monarchy, parliament, courts and administration, politics, the Highlands, the Church, economy and society. The story, beginning in the dim early centuries, is brought up to date with assessments of current trends.

The appearance of this book is particularly apt, at a time when Scotland is in the news as perhaps never before. The present strength of the Scottish National Party is likely to lead to a continuing debate about Scotland’s future place within (or possibly outside) the United Kingdom. Besides, the exploitation of North Sea oil may revolutionise the way of life in many parts of Scotland and immeasurably increase the economic value of the country to Britain and to Europe."

"[L]ikely to lead to a continuing debate about Scotland's future" doesn't sound like the ranting of a nationalist crank.

Follon uses the book to illustrate bits of history and compares the history of other countries' histories to that of Scotland's current politcal position. Isn't that what you're demanding in the current debate?

Your "refutation" consists solely of a condemnation of another, unnamed book which said something factually innacurate. How exactly is a report from a government commission of the UK "skewed" toward Scottish nationalism? He presented a well-reasoned argument which all you did was mock. Mockery isn't evidence. And why are you a more qualified expert on Scottish politics than a man who has been active in Scottish politics for 30+ years? Have you ever even been to Scotland?

Now I Have A Name said...

As to your questions:

1) Irrelevant, but see the next post.

2) I never said any such thing. This has been asked and answered several times. If you need it again, I will repeat it. Hawai'i, Texas, Vermont, and California were legally redefined as "states" by the U.S. Constitution when they joined the union. Scotland was not legally redefined by the Treaty of Union, therefore the United Kingdom consists of countries.

3) I never said any such thing. I presented evidence for the exact opposite. It is you who is maintaining there is one single definition for "country" which has been agreed upon by the whole world "by convention". A definition so concrete and undisputed that there was never any need to write it down, therefore you conveniently can't cite a source. The sources I provided, with citations and links, explain that there is no one universally agreed upon definition of "country."

A dictionary is an excellent tool for determining the meaning of words. That the sole purpose of dictionaries, actually. I have to wonder where you turn when you need a definition. For differences in edition, I would use the most current. For differences between dictionaries, I consider all the information. There is a wide variety of reasons for such differences. Any unabridged general use dictionary is suitable for every-day words. When to stop comparing depends on your goal. To find the definition of "chair," any general dictionary will do. If I wanted information about a common medical condition, I'd use Webster's. If I wanted to know about fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, I'd use a specialized medical dictionary. When to stop comparing for the purposes of obtaining the best possible knowledge on any topic: never.

I can accept multiple definitions because they exist and are true. The official website of the UK calls Northern Ireland a "constituent country." The Wikipedia article on Northern Ireland has a section titled "Descriptions for Northern Ireland" which states, "There is no generally accepted term to describe what Northern Ireland is: province, region, country or something else." I have no reason to accept one and reject the others as they are not factually incorrect. The use of one does not negate the others.

4) AGAIN, your geographer uses the term "country" to mean "independent state" only. He argues not soveriegn, not a "country," full stop. He states very clearly that a country need only fail on ONE of his "eight criteria" to be a non-country. Yet, he declares Taiwan to be a "country," despite failing on THREE is his criteria, including the big one, not independent. This inconsistency is puzzling. His definition of "country" is not incorrect, and I never said it was. The word does mean "sovereign state," however his assertation that a "country" must be sovereign to be a country is factually incorrect, a fact which can be attested to by the storm of protest on his blog post. Perhaps this is why he changed the names of the articles which relate to the UK countries to "....is not an Independent Country." You still insist I am not allowed to disagree with "experts." I have already shown my work. Ignoring it doesn't make it cease to exist.

Now I Have A Name said...

As I said, I am pseudonymous.
Attend:
Pseudonym : a fictitious name; especially : pen name
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2010.

Anonymous: 1 : not named or identified
ibid.

See? Pseudonymous. I chose the moniker "Now I Have A Name," which is a posting ID, just like yours. I noticed you signed your posts over at the geography forum "QuizmasterChris," a pseudonym, unless "Quizmaster" is on your certificate of birth. I have no reason to disbelieve your name is "Chris," however it has not been proved. Therefore, I neither believe nor disbelieve your name is "Chris."

As I suspected, you have already called me a liar before I had a chance to reply.

My wife and children would be very surprised to find out I am female. I have never met you, or attended one of your dive bar quizzes. I was waiting for you to take a wild ill-informed guess at my identity. For some odd reason you consider who I am to be more important than the facts presented. If Idi Amin had told you the capital of of France is Paris, would you disbelieve him because he was immoral?

Suppose I gave you a name, with a website and a picture. How do I prove it true? How would a picture of myself make an encyclopaedia more correct?

Very well. I was born in the United States and raised in the UK since the age of four. My dad ran a business supplying hoteliers with a variety of products. My mum was a schoolteacher who instilled in me a love of knowledge. She detested inaccuracy, bless her, and illogic. I spent my gap year working, then received my Foundation degree in Technology. My parents badgered me until I agreed to complete my First degree. In my field of study the research requirements were extensive. I currently run a data management and research company with twelve employees. I learned very early in our interaction with the internet denizens what can happen when one is careless with one's identity in the adversarial environment of information. I fail to see how the protection of my privacy connotes a lack of bravery. That's the "if you have nothing to hide..." argument. What am I hiding? My identity, you idiot.

As a professional researcher, I specialize in facts.

Concrete, verifiable facts. There is no such thing as, "Trust us, we're experts" in my company. Nor do we pretend that our research is Gospel. We provide all the information available, even if one source conflicts with another, fully sourced. That is the difference between knowledge and belief. This is how I can remain comfortable with the statements "Scotland is a country" and "Scotland is not a country" existing as simultaneously true.

None of which matters one iota. What if I'm lying? What if you're lying about your education? If you're not, what if you were bottom of your class? What if you're incompetent? The CV you're bragging about indicates that you've lost every job you've ever had "in the field", and are not currently employed "in the field." Your only relevant experience has been 18 months at an encyclopedia you refuse to name. Perhaps to prevent anyone from checking its quality?

If I demanded proof of your education, I would be committing an ad hominem fallacy, as you are now. Expertise can only be used to support an argument, not prove one.

Now I Have A Name said...

You've seen all the references which name Scotland as a country, yet you're shocked that the average person would consider Scotland to be a country.
One does not need a degree in political science or geography to understand information. When an ordinary person wishes to know the definition of the word "country," they do not go to a university to study it for years. They look it up in a dictionary. When an ordinary person seeks to know about Scotland, they head for an encyclopedia. Nowadays, Wikipedia is the first stop for most people. For some, it's the last. If John Q.wants to know about the UK, he could go to the UK website where it says "a country made of countries." What cause would be have to think the UK is not a reliable source about itself?

Now I Have A Name said...

Way to ignore every bit if my evidence, by the way. Here's some more:

A constituent country of the United Kingdom comprising the northern part of the island of Great Britain as well as the Hebrides, Shetland Islands, and Orkney Islands.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000

(Placename) a country that is part of the United Kingdom, occupying the north of Great Britain: the English and Scottish thrones were united under one monarch in 1603 and the parliaments in 1707: a separate Scottish parliament was established in 1999.
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 6th Edition 2003

Scotland - one of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; located on the northern part of the island of Great Britain; famous for bagpipes and plaids and kilts
Based on WordNet 3.0, © 2003-2008 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

Scotland: political division of Great Britain
"Scotland." The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2008. Encyclopedia.com.

Scotland
Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World | 2004 | HOUSTON, R. A.
This article refers to Scotland as a country well after the union. Robert Allan Houston is Professor of Modern History, University of St. Andrews, specializing in British social history.

Scotland is one of four countries that make up the United Kingdom. (The other three are England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.)
Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures | 1999

An encyclopedia for children. Still wondering why people think Scotland is a country?

QuizMasterChris said...

The UK website does not say "This is a country comprised of units called countries." The Scottish Par. website (which has a .uk country level domain) doesn't say that either.

In contrast, the US government, for example, let's us all know very clearly that the US is largely comprised of units called "states," which even then is an internal usage which should not be confused with the seperate contextual usage of the word.

I'm not shocked that people might be confused. That's fine. I'm amazed that people resist actively the attepmt to explain the real world difficulties that arise when terminology in a field is used carelessly.

QuizMasterChris said...

That's another issue, isn't it? It's not a stretch that with the dictionary writers reading each others' work, once something gets in there and ain't coming out.

That's why I posted about the "word" dord above.

Incidentally I'm staggering these comments w/ response b/c I think it might be easier for anyone reading to follow.

Also: on the Scottish Par. site, the writer stated that the UK is a country (without quote marks) including Scotland, a kingdom (without quote marks). Then went on to say that sometimes, not having a better word on hand, call the areas of the UK "countries" (with quote marks). This is clearly a differentiation of that one term, and the only thing that could mean in the context of the whole is that "countries" is an unofficial term in usage in some quarters which is not technically accurate. How else could a person read that?

Now I Have A Name said...

Before the accusations of "drive-by" or "cowardice" begin, I will be out of town for five days beginning Saturday.

Of course true cowardice is moderating posts and not releasing them until you've composed your reply. Your excuse of preventing spam is pretty flimsy. Since you use Blogger, you're obviously not web-savvy, but even free sites have captcha.

I'll also need time to flog through your 400 replies. Of course, I could have time by looking for citations. Pretty sure there won't be any.

Now I Have A Name said...

I didn't say confused. That's YOUR word. People think Scotland is a country because a ton a reliable references say so.

Now I Have A Name said...

"That's why I posted about the "word" dord above."

Dord is gone from the dictionaries, according to your own source, although it did take some time.

There is ONE reference to "dord" on Dictionary.com.

dord
1934, a ghost word printed in "Webster's New International Dictionary" and defined as a noun used by physicists and chemists, meaning "density." In sorting out and separating abbreviations from words in preparing the dictionary's second edition, a card marked "D or d" meaning "density" somehow migrated from the "abbreviations" stack to the "words" stack. The "D or d" entry ended up being typeset as a word, dord, and defined as a synonym for density. The mistake was discovered in 1939.

Funny how it isn't in Webster, Cambridge, OED, American Heritage, etc. And why exactly does a corrected typo invalidate the entire dictionary?

Now I Have A Name said...

"That's why I posted about the "word" dord above."

Dord is gone from the dictionaries, according to your own source, although it did take some time.

There is ONE reference to "dord" on Dictionary.com.

dord
1934, a ghost word printed in "Webster's New International Dictionary" and defined as a noun used by physicists and chemists, meaning "density." In sorting out and separating abbreviations from words in preparing the dictionary's second edition, a card marked "D or d" meaning "density" somehow migrated from the "abbreviations" stack to the "words" stack. The "D or d" entry ended up being typeset as a word, dord, and defined as a synonym for density. The mistake was discovered in 1939.

Funny how it isn't in Webster, Cambridge, OED, American Heritage, etc. And why exactly does a corrected typo invalidate the entire dictionary?

Now I Hvave A Name said...

"How else could a person read that?"

Exactly the way I said, if you had bothered to read it. Way to ignore everything else I posted from the site that refer to itself a country.

Michael Follon said...

"a pro-English crown bigot"

That phrase is not only absolutely stupid but also reveals your own lack of understanding about the nature of the monarchy in the United Kingdom. It is also symptomatic of your own stubborn and adamant insistence that the United Kingdom is a country. Whether or not an independent Scotland remains a constitutional monarchy will be determined by a referendum of the people in an independent Scotland.

"Scotland has an independence movement BECAUSE it isn't a country...because they are countries and therefore have no one to be independent FROM."

Scotland has an independence movement BECAUSE it campaigns for the RESTORATION of Scottish national sovereignty because at present Scotland is not a SOVEREIGN country. Scotland would not be independent FROM anyone because Scottish independence would mean that the Treaty of Union in 1707 between the realms of Scotland and England had been DISSOLVED.

"Just remember, especially in politics, that people who make statements as fact without knowing what they are talking about are just opening their mouth and letting their belly rumble."

"Empty vessels make most sound."

"If you don't want to get burnt then stay out of the kitchen."

QuizMasterChris said...

Welcome back, Michael.

So this gets potentially interesting, we've got a person who insists that the UK is not a country, and a person who insists that it is a country (made of 4 others for a total of five).

And what's going to happen is what happened last year; even though both arguments are diametrically opposed, you'll both just attack me.

The history seems pretty clear that England absorbed (politically) Wales and then joined with Scotland into a political unit with the name of Great Britain, which was the UK with Ireland and modified to "... and Northern Ireland" when the Rep. of Ireland was formed.

What exactly is the name of the entity that some Scots want independence from, if not the UK? Isn't the issue control by the English majority (in the UK) over Scottish affairs?

QuizMasterChris said...

It wasn't a typo.

This is a typo: "This is a tpyo."

It was the creation of a new word through an error, which was not only printed in that dictionary but picked up by other reference works.

Eventually corrected, sure. This is hardly the point. The point is that I could quote at you a lot of references in encyclopedias and dictionaries that DON'T use the word "country" to describe Scotland or parts of the UK. But I'm not doing that, because it wouldn't PROVE anything.

We'd just be two morons playing dueling definitions and picking which dictionary or encyclopedia we liked based in which we thought backed or argument.

The point is that this is a flawed methodology, therefore the misuse of a tool, which I've been arguing without wavering for 11 months.

QuizMasterChris said...

Most Americans are very certainly confused about the UK; for one thing I can tell you from years of hosting pub quizzes that people think that "UK" and "England" are the same place. In other words, that England IS the UK, all of it.

QuizMasterChris said...

You're still a coward and still anonymous.

You piss on my credentials and experience, and even then I honor your request to lay them out for you.

Do me and the readers the same courtesy and explain to us the lofty heights of YOUR background and experience, academic and professional, which gives you the green light to shit all over mine, which I have shared and can prove.

I still assume you are the coward high school drop-out who sockpuppeted this post last year.

Anyone reading these bits will see how open I've been and how much of an anonymous coward you've been, and this only weakens your arguments greatly to the casual observer. You want that? Fine.

I pretty regularly get requests of various sorts that are effectively manually generated spam and I'd rather weed them out than have them clog by posts and then make it look like I was censoring the thread when they get removed.

If you don't understand that, I'm not the one who's ignorant.

QuizMasterChris said...

You were raised in the UK since the age of 4?!

So why do you use American spelling and phrasing?

Let's look at your posts BEFORE you were accused of being a specific American.

There's "a ton" (not a tonne) of something, and you used "to a university" and not "to university", and you made reference to "John Q [Public]" and not "Joe Public" or "Bloggs."

I'm sure there's much more of that, I'm just not going to wade through it all. This is an American typing. Or did you solidify your spelling and grammar at the age of two.

AFTER I accuse you of being the specific American I still think you are, you claim to be British and drop in "mum", which is a very specific British usage, the first I've seen from you.

What I'm thinking at this point is that you're not only a coward, but a very very poor liar.

QuizMasterChris said...

I also think this is the drop-out American because you insist I "lost every job I ever had", which sounds like her, who has never held a professional job, and knows I WAS unemployed for a bit.

Three of those employers were dot-coms, two of which went under and one of which I quite to work abroad one year.

The MS project ran 18 months AND I STAYED IN THE SAME JOB ANOTHER 6 YEARS working on other projects, until I quit to work another job.

How long after the Bosnian election did you expect me to keep a job working setting up election stations?

This is where you have such a poor idea of what I've done that your criticism of it becomes laughable.

QuizMasterChris said...

More interesting Americanisms from our "British male" Now I Have a Name:

""I'm such an ass no one will hire me."

Not "arse"?


"I have no problem with the UK calling its constituent units any fucking thing they want."

THEY want?! Not "WE" want? I have never in my life - NEVER IN MY LIFE - referred to Americans as "they." Because I am one.


Not "arse"?

You also used "dumbass."

"resume"

I thought "CV" was more common over there, no?

"shitty dive bars" seems a rather American usage

Every time I look at your writing, it screams "American."

Taiwan is very much an "independent country." and was formally recognized as the "only China" by the UN and many countries for a while.

The official position of the UN has switched to the PR of China being "the real China", which has in turn led to Taiwan dropping the Rep. of China" title.

But Taiwan is still very much sovereign and conducts its own diplomatic and other affairs on the international stage.

CIA World Factbook:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/tw.html

Note the embassies and consulates of Taiwan:

http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Taiwan

QuizMasterChris said...

Here's one for Michael more:

If the Kingdom of Scotland didn't stop being a country when it UNITED with England (thus becoming a UNITED KINGDOM), I'd be very curious to know how many countries you think England is.

England developed the same damn way, through a gradual addition of kingdoms.

Note:

------

Anglo-Saxon England heptarchy

The four main kingdoms in Anglo-Saxon England were:

Wessex
East Anglia
Mercia
Northumbria, including sub-kingdoms Bernicia and Deira

British kingdoms around about the year 800 ADW:

essex
East Anglia
Mercia
Northumbria, including sub-kingdoms Bernicia and Deira
Minor kingdoms:

Kent
Sussex
Essex

Other minor kingdoms and territories:

Isle of Wight, (Wihtwara)
The Meonwara The Meon Valley area of Hampshire
Surrey
Kingdom of the Iclingas, a precursor state to Mercia
Lindsey
The Hwicce
Magonsæte
Pecsæte
Wreocensæte
Tomsæte
Haestingas
Middle Angles

Sooooo... is England 20 countries?

If not, what's different about the former kingdoms becoming England than England and Scotland merging to become a new kingdom?

QuizMasterChris said...

Now I Have a Name (or should I say "Lisa"):

You suddenly argue that those four US states stopped being countries because they were "politically redefined" by the US constitution.

Your entire argument to this point, which is easy to reference above, is that a country doesn't stop being a country when it becomes part of another.

In fact you repeatedly claim that the UK is "a country comprised of countries."

You repeatedly claim that a country isn't just defined politcally.

So why isn't the US a country partially comprised of other countries? Why does this change 180 degrees for the US from the UK?

That's the load of crap you've been tossing.

Now I Have A Name said...

As I said you would do, instead of proving I am not who I say I am, you just declare that I am lying.



Of course I write like an American, you moron. The bio you demanded SAYS I AM AN AMERICAN!

It is clearly IMPOSSIBLE for a "British" person to type "ton" instead of "tonne."

To recap: I tell the Jizzmaster I am American, and he "proves" I am an American, therefore I am a liar!

QuizMasterChris said...

I've been to Scotland as many times as you've been to Taiwan.

What's the address for the Scottish Embassy in DC? Next time I'm down I'll pick up a travel brochure.

Soooo... NOW you're agreeing with Follon and this guy that (presumably) Northern Ireland is a province?

Because I don't see this guy stating plainly from what you posted that Scotland is a country, but I do see plainly that it looks like he thinks N.I. is a province.

Does that mean you think these guys are wrong, or that your dictionaries are wrong about the UK being "four countries"?

If the dictionaries are wrong about Northern Ireland, why are you trusting them to be right about Scotland?

QuizMasterChris said...

You understand, of course, that I'm saying "countries and a province" means that if this Scottish history fellow is appended "province" than he thinks exactly what I do, that a "province" is not the same as country.

Of course some Irish nationalists I've met bristle as the suggestion that 2/3 of the traditional province of Ulster is a whole province of anything, and even one guy I met didn't accept that "Northern Ireland" exists, but I think this is just sticking your fingers in your ears and closing your eyes because the reality is that Britain broke off and colonized 6 of the 32.

QuizMasterChris said...

You said you were raised in the UK from the time you were 4.

I quote you: "I was born in the United States and raised in the UK since the age of four."

That would mean you were educated in the UK and grew up speaking British English, and learned to spell in the UK.

I find it funny that you spend all this time emphasizing the parts of the UK, and then tell us you're "from the UK." Michael, for example, doesn't tell us that - he tells us that he's from Scotland.

In any event, I have friends who were born in the UK and raised here from the time they were very young, and they have American accents and American spelling and American phrasing. As you would expect as language is well known to be environment and not genetics.

I've met dozens of people who came to the US beyond the age of 4 years, and although the parents retain strong accents from whatever land, the kids grow up speaking and writing distinctly American English.

My friend Sharone came here from Israel, a native speaker of Hebrew, when he was THIRTEEN and he sounds as American as George W fucking Bush (although brighter).

So, Lisa, or whoever you are, don't feed me this BULLSHIT line that because you left the US at the age of FOUR that you say "John Q Public."

THIS is why you hide yourself. You LIE. Who ever heard of an IT professional disguising himself online because of a fear of cyber attacks?

How do you advertize your business, with tin cans and strings or a website?

Now I Have A Name is now NIHAN said...

Not a word about Michael Follon's sources. Haven't you proved the historians, political scientists, and professors are delusional lunatics?

No?

QuizMasterChris said...

This is what's going to happen, because I have a life and won't tolerate liars.

If Michael OR ANYONE ELSE would like to continue this discussion, please comment. I will approve non-spam comments and promise to respond in a reasonable timeframe.

Lisa (or NIHAN or whatever) -

It's 3:30am on a Saturday night-into-Sunday morning in Britain right now. It's after 10:30 in Philadelphia, (and 7:30pm in California). Sounds more likely an American would be having this argument right now than someone in Britain, who just sent another half dozen comments.


I'm not approving any of those at the moment, because:

A) I strongly suspect you're lying about having been raised in Britain, or being in Britain at this moment in order to add weight to your arguments, which is the level of violation that gets people banned from message boards

B) I strongly suspect you are a sockpuppet who did the same damn thing last year, which CERTAINLY gets people banned from message boards

and

C) You continue to refuse to address 90% of the direct questions I ask you, including to simply identify yourself, after I went to the trouble to type out much of my work and educational history at your request

Feedjit is down for maintenance (the ONE time I need it) and my other internet tools don't record IP visits in real time... although they are recorded. Thus I can't verify at this moment where you really are.

I have not deleted your comments.

You have access to my email and can still send comments as before.

If you prove to me that you're in Britain, and/or that you were "raised in Britain since the age of 4", your comments will be approved and responded to, ON THE CONDITION that you play fair like others who disagree with me whose comments I approve all the time.

You are not being "censored" and you are not kicking my ass logically (in fact recently I have you caught in a series of extreme contradictions that you refuse to address) and therefore causing me to fear your comments.

You're not being approved because I think you're being a sockpuppet and something of a troll.

An IT professional of your skill shouldn't have a problem figuring out how to prove you are what you claim. As a gesture of goodwill, I'm approving the last remaining earlier comment I hadn't worked my way to approving yet that preceded this decision... and I'll respond.

QuizMasterChris said...

The last NIHAN comment I approved was about Scotland's website suffix.

I should note that in NONE of the half dozen comments that are pending approval by the potential sockpuppet/troll, NOT ONE even bothered protesting that I was wrong about my assumption that this person was not raised in the UK. I certainly wouldn't let someone I was arguing with let it be understood to the world that I was lying about actually being American in an argument about the USA.

I didn't make and don't make a claim that a Country level domain makes a country "officially."

THINK, people. That level domain is handed out to pretty much anyone who asks, including a number of outright colonies and territories that make no claim of even "devolved" home rule.

Clearly Scotland (Wales Eng and NI as well) NEVER MADE SUCH A REQUEST. Not even for the purposes of being able to put the parliament's homepage on something that doesn't read ".uk"

Can anyone imagine an actual country that used to be under Westminster rule, say the Republic of Ireland, using .uk for its own website? What kind of even casual insistance of being a distinct region is this?

Jan Mayen island has an extension, Greenland has an extension, etc etc but the 4 UK parts SHARE an extension. Why is that..?

QuizMasterChris said...

Gave it another quick once-over, and the use of the phrase "college graduate" (what NIHAN claims I'm not for some reason) seems another American usage from someone supposedly educated in and/or currently residing in the UK.

"College" is different than "university" in British English than American, and what was being disparaged was actually my university education, which I think only a speaker of American (or Canadian!) English would call "college."

A "graduate" in British English is what we would call an active "grad school student" here. The reference to me was again in the American sense of the term, a person who left school already with a 4-year degree.

That's just such an American usage...

This on top of the oddity that this person didn't declare themselves to be from some still-unnamed portion of the UK until after I accused them of being a specific American who previously made the same arguments with the same methodology, although we were discussing the UK. Hmmmm.... that vehement about it, and never once a reference to personal experience as a UK resident, or student, maybe citizen even citizen at this point?

If someone thinks this is wrong, let me know, but I count a good 5-6distinct Americanisms from Anonymous followed by one very British usage that pops up only the comment in which being brought up "in the UK" was claimed.

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