In defence of British Weights and Measures

The Dozenal Society of Great Britain readily endorses all endeavours to retain the traditional means of dealing with of dealing with our daily affairs. Weights and Measures have been evolved for their convenience in use, to allow utility with comprehension. They should not only comprise sizes that suit our perceptions and physical needs, but should be capable of being defined by single figures and the simple proportions so frequently required.

Such considerations are arrogantly dismissed as unimportant by proponents of the artificial decimal-metric system now being foisted upon us for no more than political and commercial purposes. In the latest version there are large, and absurdly small units that have to be dealt with in three figure quantities. This may be adequate enough for concepts outside ordinary understanding and dealt with by abstract calculations, but quite unsuited to social exchanges.

DSGB, in co-operation with The Dozenal Society of America, offers informed comment on attempts to force such an inept means of communicating with our material environment into areas where they become a positive handicap to any understanding. Even in its chosen field, the general aversion to science is not so much due to connections with destruction, and, lately, perversions of nature, but that the subjects are not dealt with in terms and means that accord to normal experience.

There are many who sincerely believe that metric is founded on scientific principles, because, by being A system integrated with A number base, it is used for scientific work and international communications thereof. The long-running dispute over measurement at all levels of use (starting with coinage and eventually going on to time) is essentially due to the inability of a primitive counting scale to cope with more than just that. Divisibility is a sine qua non for any higher mathematical operations. The fact is that many ratios become indeterminate rows of figures when worked out in the poorly divisible scale of ten; even the much used quarter disappears behind three figures.

Dozenal Societies affirm an opinion advanced by mathematicians and philosophers over the past 400 years that the full potential of modern place-value numeration, with its point shifting property, can only be realised by the introduction of two extra single symbols for the values now known as 'ten' and 'eleven', thus providing a multi-divisible scale of twelve numbers which has greatly enhanced capabilities. For the purposes of demonstrating principles, and publication, DSGB adopted Sir Isaac Pitman's inverted two and three, which appear to be cursive forms of 'T' and 'E'. DSA uses the extra non-numeric symbols on the telephone call-button array '*' and '#' on grounds of public familiarity. These can be regarded as a crossed Roman ten and a crossed eleven.

Such a reform will allow the full use of traditional, divisible, measures that would also be compatible with a scientific application in which size-order is as important as size. The real objective world, even the entire Universe, could also be described with greater facility, since everything, including mathematical and scientific concepts, proceeds by twos, threes and fours, not just twos and five only.

Advocation of dozenal principles and methods inevitably brings us into conflict with decimalised metrication and its sycophantic entourage. The above solution, however idealistic, (there are no illusions as to the difficulties) is useful as a foil against which the disadvantages and illogicalities of metric can be displayed. We aim to explain that our age-old measures have been determined by suitability for purpose, having antecedents going back to the dawn of history. With their binary and ternary divisions, they are potentially more scientific than the lifeless collection of un-ergonomic units now being imposed under instructions from outside.

Nobody has any right to destroy something we have not yet learnt to use properly. Our measures, which are also symbols of independence and sovreignty, should be defended with the same concern and vigour shown for other life-forms at risk of being driven into extinction by mindless greed.

more details from:
The Dozenal Society of Great Britain
Walnut Bank, Underhill
Moulsford, OX10 9JH
and you might also like to contact:
The British Weights and Measures Association
45 Montgomery Street
Edinburgh, Scotland