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Author Topic:   My Book On Evolution
dwise1
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Message 6 of 69 (875525)
04-27-2020 9:47 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Phat
04-27-2020 10:22 AM


Re: How Long Have You Been Working On This Book?
For the record, what defines an "evolutionist"? Is there something in common that non-creationists believe?

To the second question: no.

The creationist "evolutionist" is the bogeyman. Creationists took an archaic term from more than a century ago and overloaded it with all kinds of pejorative connotations including "atheist", "anti-God", "anti-Christianity", "wants to destroy religion", etc. Those connotations surface when creationists speak among themselves, but the smart ones make sure to not let non-creationists learn of those connotations. Thus on the debate circuit they would offer the label of "evolutionist" to their opponents which those opponents would accept that label not knowing that they thus had painted themselves with that broad pejorative brush.

Creationist's misuse of "evolutionist" is like their misuse of the word "evolution". As RAZD points out in Message 4, mike neglects to define what he means by "evolution". Nor, from what I've seen, has mike described how he thinks that evolution is supposed to work, without which his attempts to refute evolution based on how it doesn't work fall completely flat. We see the same thing with candle2 repeating nonsensical claims (eg, the fact that "No poster on this site has "observed" a dog producing a cat; a cow producing a raccoon;" is supposed to disprove evolution whereas evolution actually predicts that we would never see that -- Message 1328) while refusing to present his particular understanding of how evolution works that would lead him to think that such a claim would be valid.

It is a very sad fact that creationists refuse to define what they mean by "evolution" or "evolutionist" in their claims and arguments, or just how they think that evolution is supposed to work so that they can demonstrate their "refutations" to be valid. No, the clarity would be counterproductive for the creationist. Creationists depend on muddying the waters and sowing confusion. Their goal is to kill evolution and they will use anything they can to reach that goal, including any lie or deception they can lay their hands on.

I would like to see someone comment on whether or not they believe that humans are still evolving and what we predict we will ultimately become if in fact there is an endgame to it.

Of course humans are still evolving. All species are still evolving. That is a property of all extant species. Even (and especially) species that are in stasis are still evolving!

IOW, evolutionary processes are constantly in operation. When we observe rapid change, slow change, or stasis, in each of those cases it's the exact same processes that are producing those outcomes. The main factor that is different in those cases and that causes such different outcomes is how well adapted the species' members are to the environment. When a species needs to change in order to become better adapted, then there will be change. But when a species is already sufficiently well adapted, then there will be little or no change, thus keeping the species from randomly drifting away into becoming less well adapted.

An engineering analogy for what's happening in stasis would be the voltage regulator in a power supply. You want that output voltage to not change as you connect and disconnect various loads (a load is a device that draws power from the power supply; eg, phone chargers, computers, lamps, TVs, etc). It's the voltage regulator that constantly senses the output voltage and generates the control levels needed to change the output voltage in order to hold it constant. You would look at that power supply with an unchanging output voltage and you would think that nothing is happening, whereas that voltage regulator is constantly working. Stasis is mainly an illusion which takes a lot of work to accomplish.

BTW, as a technician on active duty (1976-1982), I specialized in power supplies.


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dwise1
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Posts: 4813
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Message 11 of 69 (875593)
04-29-2020 9:24 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by RAZD
04-29-2020 10:25 AM


Re: Evolution still not defined
Irrelevant then to a book on evolution — your book is about abiogenesis and not evolution.

As Tangle points out evolution only occurs after there is life to evolve. At this point it doesn’t matter how life started for us to study how it has evolved since that point.

We know for a fact that life exists, so we can take that as a starting point to study how life evolves.

Kind like writing a book on how computers work. They exist and here's how they work. You don't need to get into the history of computers to explain how they work (eg, vacuum tube logic, mercury delay-line memory, magneto-strictive wire delay-line memory (Cliff Stoll gets into that when he describes the Friden Electronic Calculator at An astonishing old calculator - Numberphile)). You don't need to get into how they are manufactured to explain how they work. All you need to present is ... how they work.

Same with a pre-brick-brain gasoline engine (ie, with a carburetor and points). You don't need to describe how they are manufactured, complete with the mining and smelting of the metal ores, in order to describe how they work.

Evolutionary theory is concerned with how evolution works. How life originated simply does not pertain to how life evolves. Indeed, even if life had been magically poofed into existence by some supernatural entity, evolution would still exist and would still work the same way. How life began has absolutely no effect on how evolution works. To quote an old Spockism: "A difference which makes no difference is no difference."


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dwise1
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Posts: 4813
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 6.9


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Message 20 of 69 (875618)
04-30-2020 8:00 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Phat
04-30-2020 5:35 AM


Re: How Long Have You Been Working On This Book?
First if I may, it seems odd that the only reply you chose to ignore was that one that evolution never stops, that all species, including humans, are still evolving.

Instead, you have chosen to fall into the creationist trap of entangling evolution with religion and to set up evolution as something in opposition to your religion. In reality, there is no conflict between science and religion -- basically they have nothing to do with each other. Similarly, there is no conflict between evolution and creation -- evolution is basically the natural consequences of populations of living things doing what they naturally do, and that happens regardless of how the earliest populations of life came into existence, whether by purely supernatural means, by purely natural means, or by natural means set up or guided by supernatural means. No questions of origins have anything to do with evolution and evolution has no effect on questions of origins.

The only conflict that appears comes exclusively from the religion side when religionists make false and contrary-to-fact claims about the real world (eg, young earthism) and then insist that a conflict between science and religion exists.

Why would you want to get suckered into that game?

Finally, what harm does belief in God do for your life? How does it cripple you?

Interestingly, that very question is raised by examination of the infamous Pascal's Wager, which I encountered fundamentalist proselytizers presenting as "after-life insurance", hence the title of my page on the subject: DWISE1'S CREATION / EVOLUTION PAGE: After-Life Insurance.

The Wager is presented in typical gaming theory fashion with a 2x2 array showing the four combinations of two binary factors:

quote:
Blaise Pascal postulated that there are two possible conditions, either God exists or He does not, and there are two possible actions you could take, either you believe in God or you do not. Graphing these two possible conditions and two possible actions yields four possible outcomes (green is good, red is bad):

Possible Conditions:
  1. God exists.
  2. God does not exist.

Possible Actions:
  1. You believe in God.
  2. You do not believe in God.

... my presentation of the resulting 2x2 table ...

Presenting that as a list:


You win in these cases --
  • If God exists and you believe in Him: then you are saved.
  • If God does not exist and you believe in Him: then no loss, but you gain peace of mind and are a better person.

However you lose in these cases --
  • If God exists and you do not believe in Him: then you are damned for eternity. This is the ultimate loss.
  • If God does not exist and you do not believe in Him: then no loss, but also no gain. You lose by having cheated yourself out of the opportunity to live a good life through faith.


Pascal's reasoning seems to assume that belief in God is needed for a good life. Therefore, with these outcomes if you do not believe in God, then there is a 50% chance of losing really big-time and 50% chance that you would have simply not led a good life. Therefore, you gain nothing by not believing in God and stand to lose everything. However, if you do believe in God, then there is 100% chance you will win, since if God exists then you are saved and if He doesn't exist then you will have at least led a good life. Therefore, choosing to believe in God is a sure bet.

There are many problems with Pascal's Wager, including several false assumptions. My page goes on to examine some of them. Of interest here is this one:

quote:
  • If God does not exist and you believe in Him: then no loss, but you gain peace of mind and are a better person.

    . . .

    However, if you do believe in God, then there is 100% chance you will win, since if God exists then you are saved and if He doesn't exist then you will have at least led a good life. Therefore, choosing to believe in God is a sure bet.


  • Setting aside the glaring problem that you are required to choose the right god (including which of the many versions of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic god, , because choosing the wrong one is the same as choosing to not believe) and the right theology (ie, which of the myriad theologies attached to each of those many versions of God, because choosing the wrong theology is the same as choosing none -- remember that Pascal expected you to become a Catholic), choosing to believe does not come without a heavy cost:

    quote:
    Pascal maintained that believing in his god and theology costs you nothing, but that is not true of his own theology, nor of most of the theologies that exist. What if you could not pursue your dream career because your chosen god forbade it? Or marry your one true love (your "media naranja", or "half orange", as my wife's grandmother had put it) because your god forbade you to marry that kind of person? Or learn the sciences because your god forbade you to study the truth? Or to think for yourself because your god forbade it? Or had to suffered from a horrible disease or injury or had to watch your child die horribly of a treatable disease because your god forbade the medical treatment for it? For many of us, that would be too great a cost to bear.

    So to answer your question, Phat, belief in your god could be horribly crippling.


    Additional discussion:

    My page was written in response to a fundamentalist playing through the "after-life insurance" script he had learned (I've seen the exact same script being played by others a couple other times), so I did my favorite thing and went off-script, which always leaves them befuddled:

    quote:
    So I told my after-life insurance salesman that his after-life insurance was a rotten deal (unfortunately, I didn't think of that name for it until the next day, but that poor guy was already hurting too much). We had to pay an exorbinant price for a policy that would only pay in the most restricted and oddest of circumstances. By the car insurance analogy, it would only pay if you were hit by a green Edsel -- on the northbound side of the Santa Ana Freeway -- while it was exceeding the speed limit -- backing up -- at night -- with its lights off -- being driven by a one-armed Lithuanian midget.

    He had been so self-assured that his argument was flawless and unassailable. He couldn't understand what had just happened. I think he still doesn't know what had hit him.

    Which goes to show that it does pay to read the classics.


    --------

    Trivia: The Ford Edsel was named after Henry Ford's son, Edsel Ford. Edsel comes from the German form, Etzel, of the Hungarian name, Attila (as in Attila the Hun). I worked with an Attila once.

    --------

    My related web page, Dov Wisebrod's "Pascal's Casinos Under Fire", is a reconstruction of that article from his Religion Detox site which appears to no longer exist. Fortunately, I had a hard copy that I had printed out, so I created that page to revive it.

    The article examines Pascal's Wager as the primary game in Pascal's Casino which has come under investigation by the Nevada Gaming Commission for actually running a "major con job." An excerpt:

    quote:
    "Safe Bet" Ruins Lives
    In the Seventeenth Century, Pascal invented a wager that intertwined philosophy, religion, and gambling, and he opened a casino in which his new game was exclusively played. In time, Pascal's wager proved so popular that franchises sprouted in virtually every neighborhood around the world.

    Basic gameplay follows the original recipe. The dealer asks, "God is, or He is not. What will you wager?" The players then bet on one of the two possibilities. If you bet that God exists and win, you win everything; if you lose, you lose nothing. If you bet that God doesn't exist and win, you win nothing; if you lose, you lose everything.

    For obvious reasons, most players choose to bet that God exists, but that's only the beginning. They are given a complex regimen of "do-s" and "don't-s" to follow throughout their lives -- if they don't, they can't win. Some players come to regret their bet.

    "If you lose, you lose a helluva lot more than nothing," said Jerrold Alwell, who is kicking a weekly gambling habit with the help of detox therapy. "They tell you it's a safe bet, but they make you sign your life away. I almost lost my mind to those liars at Pascal's."

    "And they don't tell you that only one casino will have winners," added Angela de la Reese, also a recovering addict. "Players at all others will go to the winning casino's hell." Because each casino's regimen prohibits play at any other, players can't hedge their bets by playing more than one. Detox therapists call this the "avoiding the wrong hell" problem.

    . . .

    In its defense, Pascal's CEO John Paul, Jr. said the organization is prepared to aggressively assert its First Amendment rights. They will argue that any government interference in its affairs would be an unconstitutional violation of the separation between church and state.

    "Besides," said a smirking Paul, "Even if we lose, we could always transform Pascal's into an offshore gambling operation that people can play on the Internet."

    Curran grudgingly admitted that domestic regulation is "an imperfect solution" and that educating the public is essential. "The only guaranteed way to protect yourself from these gangsters -- the only truly safe bet -- is to bet against God."


    --------

    Three years ago I stumbled a response to Pascal's Wager, the Atheist's Wager and I added a section to my "After-Life Insurance" page. The Atheist's Wager was developed and presented by philosopher Michael Martin.

    Basically the Atheist's Wager expands to three variables:

    1. A benevolent god exists, one who judges you on the kind of life you lead instead of on the details of your beliefs.
    2. Whether you believe in that god or not.
    3. Whether you lead a good life or an evil life.

    From my page:
    quote:
    The Atheist's Wager is used to prove that the results of leading a good life has nothing to do with whether any gods exist. Gods or no gods, leading a good life has a positive outcome. Furthermore, it can be used to show that atheism is a more rational position than theism is.

    According to the article, the assumptions of one version of the Atheist's Wager are:


    One version of the Atheist's Wager suggests that since a kind and loving god would reward good deeds – and that if no gods exist, good deeds would still leave a positive legacy – one should live a good life without religion. Another formulation suggests that a god may reward honest disbelief, a reward which would then be jeopardized by a dishonest belief in the divine.

    The article proceeds with the assumption that should a god exist, it would be a benevolent god. I feel that this leaves out the situation of an arbitrary and/or malevolent god, in which case all bets would be off. More on that below.

    After I present a quick tutorial on Boolean Algebra and truth tables (an integral part of my computer technician and computer science training) and then use that to more clearly present the logic of Martin's Atheist's Wager (ie, that the state of the factors of the existence of and belief in a benevolent god is "don't care" (an actual technical term indicated by an "X")), I then turn to the question of a malevolent god, which is the situation that we are faced with:

    quote:
    As I already mentioned, I feel that the argument presented on the Wikipedia page for the Atheist's Wager is incomplete because it only considers whether a benevolent god exists. But if a benevolent god does not exist, then that would mean either that no god(s) exist (which is what I assume is supposed to be implied) or that a malevolent god exists. Or if not actually malevolent, then at the very least very arbitrary. Like the god described by that subset of Christian sects that includes fundamentalists and evangelicals.

    Frankly, with a god like that all bets are off. As Dan Barker says in his song, You Can't Win with Original Sin: "Any god that would damn me will just as certainly damn you too." It's like being in a very bad marriage (been there!) with a spouse who is impossible to please: damned if you do, damned if you don't, damned no matter what! Even when she describes explicitly what would please her and you do exactly what she tells you, you're still damned.

    Similarly with the malevolent god of that set of Christian sects, even when you do everything you're told to in order to be saved, you still don't know whether you're saved -- I have read countless testimonials and anecdotes of former and current believers who have suffered those agonizing doubts. Remember that each of those sects believe that all the other sects have gotten it wrong, so you have to believe that your particular narrow sect is the one that had gotten everything right. Because if it had gotten wrong any part of the requirements for salvation, regardless of how minute, then your arbitrary god will damn you for it. Or, being absolutely arbitrary, He'll damn you anyway even if you met every single arbitrary requirement, because ... arbitrary.

    That is the Universe of Hurt that you let yourself in for by believing in a god who is not benevolent.


    I conclude with a section taken from a Philosophy of Religion page discussing Martin's Atheist's Wager. The conclusions are:

    quote:


    This revised version of the Wager would go something like this:

    1. It is possible that God exists and it is possible that God does not exist.
    2. If one believes in God then if he exists then one either receives an infinitely great reward or an infinitely great punishment and if he does not exist then one loses little or nothing.
    3. If one does not believe in God then if he exists then one either receives an infinitely great reward or an infinitely great punishment and if he does not exist then one gains little or nothing.
    4. It is better to either receive an infinitely great reward or an infinitely great punishment or gain little or nothing than it is to either receive an infinitely great reward or an infinitely great punishment or lose little or nothing.


    Therefore:

    5. It is better not to believe in God than it is to believe in God.

    6. If one course of action is better than another then it is rational to follow that course of action and irrational to follow the other.


    Therefore:

    7. It is rational not to believe in God and irrational to believe in God.

    . . . [my discussion of #4 to try to parse it into something easier to understand] . . .

    Michael Martin is quoted indirectly as saying that if any pragmatic argument of the form of Pascal’s Wager is sound, then it is an argument for atheism, rather than for religious belief. I think that that point has been well made.



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    dwise1
    Member
    Posts: 4813
    Joined: 05-02-2006
    Member Rating: 6.9


    (1)
    Message 24 of 69 (875663)
    05-02-2020 5:10 PM
    Reply to: Message 22 by Tangle
    05-02-2020 4:37 PM


    Re: How Long Have You Been Working On This Book?
    I don't think I'd ever heard the word 'atheist' when I became one.

    Same here. It was years after I had become an atheist that I first heard about it.

    I was a Christian kid, baptized around age 11, who a year later decided to learn more about what I was supposed to be believing. Naïvely assuming biblical literalism (not a part of our congregation's doctrine, so far as I can reconstruct), I started reading the Bible. I ended up realizing that I just couldn't believe what I was reading. Following my own logic, since I couldn't believe what I was required to, then there was no point in staying, so I left. Guess it's a toss-up whether it was the Bible or biblical literalism that made me an atheist (BTW, it was about half a decade later that I even heard about atheism).

    Then around 1970, my friend's family got sucked into the Jesus Freak Movement so we became "fellow travelers" learning about it. They were strongly into biblical literalism and I found their teachings even more unbelievable. That was also when I was first exposed to creationism, which proved itself to be bogus with its "NASA computer that found Joshua's Lost Day" claim (see Thoughts on "Joshua's Long Day" by Allan H. Harvey (AKA "steamdoc").

    A decade later, in 1981, I encountered creationism again after a decade. Thinking that maybe there might be something to it I started studying it and checking out its claims. I found it not only to be completely bogus, but also engaging in deliberate deception. Yet more verification that I had made the right decision nearly two decades before.

    And now, more than half a century after having become an atheist, every day in every way creationists and "true Christians" repeatedly confirm more and more that I had made the right decision.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 22 by Tangle, posted 05-02-2020 4:37 PM Tangle has not yet responded

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    dwise1
    Member
    Posts: 4813
    Joined: 05-02-2006
    Member Rating: 6.9


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    Message 30 of 69 (875808)
    05-06-2020 5:58 PM
    Reply to: Message 26 by Phat
    05-03-2020 11:50 AM


    Re: How Long Have You Been Working On This Book?
    So whats your first-hand observations about Jesus Freaks who actually had a personal relationship with Jesus?

    Of course most of them thought that they actually had a personal relationship with Jesus, no differently then others have thought they they had a personal relationship with their gods. Or those who have had such a relationship with Frodo Baggins, CDR Spock, or Illya Nickovitch Kuryakin.

    While they certainly believed that relationship existed, whether it actually did exist is an entirely different question altogether. They were taught that that was what was supposed to happen, so that's what they believed happened. How long they could maintain it was another matter.

    Did any of them have a peace about them?

    They were burned out hippies. Don't you remember the bumper stickers of the time depicting the ΙΧΘΥΣ fish with a fish hook through its nose with the caption, "Hooked on Jesus". They were exchanging one drug experience for another, so of course they were blissed out.

    Was it actual peace? Probably, no different for people finding peace in any of many other ways. And again there's the question of how long they could maintain it.

    We should not forget many ex-Christians for whom it stopped working. Mainly because you cannot keep it up for very long. For example, here's the testimony from "Ed" (a fundamentalist and ex-creationist with whom I've lost contact, but whose old web pages I've reposted; eg his My Story page):

    quote:
    I met Jesus in 1983 and have truly seen my life turn around! I have always loved science and would have classified myself as an agnostic and to say that I was not skeptical after I was saved would be a lie. I investigated the claims of the Bible (not realizing at the time we are commanded to do so), and the Bible, time and time again, would be justified. So to begin, let me say, I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and is fully vindicated in all it claims and it is not dependent solely on the issue of origins.

    "Creation science" had become a passion for me almost from day one. Yet all my information concerning the pros and cons of the young earth position, I received from young earth creationists. The weight and number of their arguments were amazing! I collected the books, audios and videos and was just blown away! I was a well equipped "young earther." I believed that God had created the universe, all life forms and Adam and Eve in six literal days less than 10,000 years ago, and I had the SCIENCE to PROVE it too! "Oh! How I would love to see the faces of those atheist scientists when they get a load of this stuff!" "Isn't it true that evolution and the Big Bang were invented just so the immoral can justify their lifestyle?".... How naive!

    I discovered, as life went on, my exhilaration would dwindle if creationist material was not fresh in my mind. Whenever I would "bath" myself in their details, I would be renewed and so excited, "God is real, heaven is real, the universe IS young!" There was one doubt however, that would pop into my mind frequently, "how can all those scientists be so wrong?" This single idea would gnaw at me like a toothache so it would be time for a fresh dose of YEC (Young-Earth Creationism), and life would be wonderful again!

    One day, being psyched-up for a new fix, I popped in a video I had received from a young man at Church. The tape was a series of debates (about eight), between a famous "young earther" and various evolutionists. After viewing them, I found my jaw on the floor. I truly expected these evolutionists to roll over and die after being presented with this battering of "facts" - they didn't! I was truely numbed and frankly, pretty upset with the manners of this "young earther." I had to come to some serious conclusions that day.

    • Scientists have answers for each point raised, e.g. shrinking sun, polystrate fossils etc., they were not surprised at all!
    • Creation Science is not science. I watched as this creationist fellow was repeatedly being cornered, relying on miracle after miracle to answer their questions. Yes, God can and does perform miracles, but these were miracles that were not even in the Bible - that's not science!
    • I have been a hypocrite! My favorite reasoning with skeptics is to challenge them to examine both sides of an issue before reaching their conclusions. "How can we dialogue fairly if we only have one point of view?" I would ask. But I have NEVER given an evolutionist nor an old earth creationist the opportunity to present their case!

    Even though "Ed" came along about a decade and a half after the Jesus Freak Movement, his experience and vocabulary still parallel drug experience. No matter how hopped up and blissed out he would get, that experience would dwindle over time, such that he had to go back for another "fix" (his word for it!).

    BTW, that "famous 'young earther'" on that video tape was none other than Kent Hovind. And we all know the rest of that story.

    Did they help encourage others?

    That kind of silly question typically warrants the answer: "Duh?"

    Do you mean among themselves? What self-respecting cult member (¿blatant oxymoron?) wouldn't work to keep other members in the fold?

    Do you mean proselytizing to outsiders? That's what they lived for. That was their primary mission, to convert others. After all, the End Times were right around the corner, so this was the last-minute surge to "save" everybody they possibly could.

    Did they respect you enough to never actively try and convert you?

    Are you kidding me? Oh hell no! They were out to convert everybody they possibly could by whatever means possible regardless of how dishonest. Many of the materials they read (ie, the ones that didn't dwell excessively on the End Times or demons, the two topics they were obsessed about) would contain "typical conversations with non-believers" which were actually training materials in how to proselytize and what arguments to use. Those training materials (very commonly in cartoon form, like in many Chick Pubs tracts) were read and memorized as scripts that they could use. So I adopted the practice of going off-script whenever one of them would try that on me, mainly by asking probing questions that they are not able to answer because they don't know what they are talking about (that works especially effectively with creationists who can recite their claims by rote but cannot discuss them because they have no understanding of their own claims). My page on Pascal's Wager, After-Life Insurance, came from such a proselytizing attempt on me in which Pascal's Wager was dressed up as a car-insurance analogy, so I went off-script and analyzed for him the serious problems with Pascal's Wager.

    Remember, those were the days when it was nearly impossible to walk down the street without being constantly accosted by fundies trying to convert you. As a result of those very unpleasant experiences, even now, a half century later, a very large number of normals want to have nothing at all to do with fundies.

    During the Jesus Freak Movement, proselytizing was highly virulent. As I said, they were all fired up to go out there and convert everybody. After all, it was the Eve of the End Times. But then, as with the early Church (where they were so sure the Second Coming was imminent that they wouldn't even plant any trees since they wouldn't be around to enjoy the fruits), life caught up with them. They fell in love and married. And had children and were now raising a family. They had to start a career and even buy a house. And then have grandchildren. And so their proselytizing efforts had to take a back seat to living their lives and the movement became less virulent that it had been at first. Though we are probably seeing an up-tick in proselytizing because those children they had raised in the faith are fleeing their churches in record numbers (about 80% leave as fast as they can), leaving them with gaining new converts as the only way to keep their churches from dying out.

    But, like the Serpent, some fundamentalists were more subtle. For example, there were two girls, Pat and Lisa, in my French class (my first year of college) who were close friends. Pat was referred to by other class members as "that Jesus Freaky chick" -- our French teacher hooked us up with French pen pals and her letter to hers went on and on about her personal relationship with Jesus; she couldn't understand why she never got a reply. About 14 years later she married my wife's brother (worse, she turned out to be a Campbell). A couple decades after that French class, Lisa showed up at the Atheists United monthly lunch and we caught up with each other. She and Pat were inseparable, but Pat kept trying to convert Lisa. When Lisa finally made it clear that she would never convert, Pat never had anything more to do with Lisa. Pat was only using the pretense of friendship in order to score one more conversion, to "get another scalp". Similarly, I've encountered creationists on-line who wanted so desperately to be my best friend and was willing to spend any amount of time discussing creationism with me, but the moment that it became clear that they could never possibly convert me, suddenly they had to rush off to take care of important business and they disappeared completely.


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    dwise1
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    Posts: 4813
    Joined: 05-02-2006
    Member Rating: 6.9


    (1)
    Message 31 of 69 (875864)
    05-08-2020 1:01 PM
    Reply to: Message 26 by Phat
    05-03-2020 11:50 AM


    Re: How Long Have You Been Working On This Book?
    Did they respect you enough to never actively try and convert you?

    The hard-sell proselytizing of the Jesus Freaks circa 1970 changed in a few ways. I already discussed one way in how it became less virulent over time as those fundies started having a life with family, career, homeowning, etc.

    Another way is to re-enforce their hypocritical persecution fantasies. Looking back, I can see the seeds being planted, but I wasn't around to observe as those seeds took root and grew into weeds that choke out and kill any good fruits there may have been.

    Here's a short essay on that subject:

    quote:

    Why do people get angry when I try to share the word of God with them? I only do it because I care about them deeply and don't want them to end up in hell. I feel like some people avoid me because of this. Is there any way to get through to them?

    by Doug Robertson, studied at University of Maine
    Updated Dec 11 2018

     
    The entire process is not what you think it is.

    It is specifically designed to be uncomfortable for the other person because it isn't about converting them to your religion. It is about manipulating you so you can't leave yours.

    If this tactic was about converting people it would be considered a horrible failure. It recruits almost no one who isn't already willing to join. Bake sales are more effective recruiting tools.

    On the other hand, it is extremely effective at creating a deep tribal feeling among its own members.

    The rejection they receive is actually more important than the few people they convert. It causes them to feel a level of discomfort around the people they attempt to talk to. These become the "others". These uncomfortable feelings go away when they come back to their congregation, the "Tribe".

    If you take a good look at the process it becomes fairly clear. In most cases, the religious person starts out from their own group, who is encouraging and supportive. They are then sent out into the harsh world where people repeatedly reject them. Mainly because they are trained to be so annoying.

    These brave witnesses then return from the cruel world to their congregation where they are treated like returning heroes. They are now safe. They bond as they share their experiences of reaching out to the godless people to bring them the truth. They share the otherness they experience.

    Once again they will learn that the only place they are accepted is with the people who think as they do. It isn't safe to leave the group. The world is your enemy, but we love you.

    This is a pain reward cycle that is a common brainwashing technique. The participants become more and more reliant on the "Tribe" because they know that "others" reject them.

    Mix in some ritualized chanting, possibly a bit of monotonous repetition of instructions, add a dash of fear of judgment by an unseen, but all-powerful entity who loves you if you do as you are told and you get a pretty powerful mix.

    Sorry, I have absolutely no wish to participate in someones brainwashing ritual.



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    dwise1
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    (2)
    Message 51 of 69 (887183)
    07-21-2021 8:07 PM
    Reply to: Message 46 by driewerf
    07-19-2021 2:21 PM


    Mike's Main Problem
    mike's main problem is that same as that of virtually every other creationist: he has no idea what he is talking about.

    More specifically, he has never learned what evolution is nor how it is supposed to work. Instead, everything he thinks he knows he has gotten from creationist sources, sources who themselves didn't know what they were talking about. His ideas about evolution are all based on misunderstanding and misconceptions, many of which are extreme in their bizarreness.

    So when we try to discuss evolution with a creationist, nothing we say makes any sense since it has nothing to do with, or even conflicts directly, with what he "knows". And of course anything he says makes no sense to us because we do not share his bizarrely false assumptions. Sure, we may both use some of the same words, like "evolution", but those words have entirely different meanings.

    So it turns out that mike isn't even talking about actual evolution, but rather some trump-up bogeyman for scaring Christians and for deceiving the public into opposing science education. As I understand it, this is an example of "not even right" in which his entire position isn't so much wrong as that it doesn't get anything right -- he's just talking on and on about something that doesn't have anything at all to do with the stated subject, evolution.

    I would also note that in the OP of that topic, Message 1, mike is completely turned about over the entire "issue", as if his magnetic poles had flipped:

    mike the whizz writes:

    Online, I have known many evolutionists, even some of them for years yet they still don't know some of the basic answers creationists have to the, "problems" they put forward. It indicates floccinaucinihilipilification. (Hope I spelled that right)

    I am not so much talking about complicated or difficult matters but rather SIMPLE matters, where there are actually very simple, straight forward solutions to the "problems" evolutionists pose.

    He got the roles completely reversed. He's trying to make it sound like "evolutionists" (whatever that's supposed to be; no such critter exists anymore outside of YEC-speak) are attacking creationism so creationists have to defend themselves. In reality, for over a century it has been the creationists attacking science education. After they lost the ability to just cite their religious beliefs as a legal reason (Epperson v. Arkansas (1966), followed by a long string of courtroom defeats extending into the first half of the 1970's), they were forced to hide their religious purpose and to rely on their many blatantly false "purely scientific" claims.

    So what mike wants to treat as attacks on Creation are instead responses to his attacks on science and science education. Now maybe I'm beinga wide-eyed optimist, but shouldn't the best response to being shown that your claims are pure shite be to stop using those bad claims?

     

     
    Over in the topic, There are easy creationist answers to problems evolutionists pose, I posted the video for a recent presentation by Dr. Eugenie Scott entitled: "What people get wrong – and sometimes right – about evolution". I embedded that YouTube video in Message 111 after having written and posted my review of it (Message 110) from my notes and memory (immediately after having posted that review, I Google'd the title which finally brought me to the video).

     
    What mike needs to do is to study actual evolution and other associated sciences. Or at the very least research into his own claims and the criticisms thereof. One fundamentalist Christian I met online, Carl, had learned to reject YEC from the very beginning. Someone in his Bible study group brought in the original "Big Daddy?" Chick Pub (not the later Kent Hovind remake that some state legislature bills would later be based on) and Carl spent the week looking up all the sources "cited" in that pamphlet. In every single case, the source didn't really say what the pamphlet claimed it did. At the next Bible study meeting he presented his results and nobody there had any desire at all to support the YEC position in that pamphlet.

    But of course mike will refuse to learn anything. A few decades ago when I requested that an online creationist please, please, please, please study evolution and learn something about it, he absolutely and vehemently refused because "that would require me to believe in evolution!" To a fundamentalist, "education" is the same thing as "indoctrination" which compels you to believe in what you are being taught. In cases of "equal time" "balanced treatment" inclusion of creationism would have the creationist lessons end inevitably instructing the students to make a life-long decision right then and there between "atheistic evolution" and their "Un-named Creator" ("nudge-nudge-wink-wink, know what I mean?"). However, among normals education means requiring that you understand the subject matter but without compelling belief. Hence, as recently described in testimony by CJCS Gen. Mark Milley, the USAF gave us instruction in Marxism, Communism, and the Soviet government (this was in 1982 during the Cold War) with absolutely no expectation of turning us into Commies, but rather to follow the best-known teaching of Sun Tzu ("The Art of War") that we must know our enemy -- actually the other side of that is also knowing yourself, though it appears that more will be lost by not knowing yourself.

    Creationists like mike the whizz know neither their enemy (ie, "evolution") nor themselves, therefore as per Sun Tzu, they "are certain in every battle to be in peril."


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    dwise1
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    (1)
    Message 52 of 69 (887188)
    07-22-2021 6:38 AM
    Reply to: Message 47 by Parasomnium
    07-20-2021 3:22 PM


    Personally, I don't have a problem with the notion of the process of evolution "inventing" things. I look upon it as a kind of shorthand for saying that through the process of evolution certain structures arise which seem like inventions that solve certain problems encountered by living things in their struggle for existence. It's a bit like Richard Dawkins' use of the word 'selfish' in conjunction with the concept of genes.

    Yes, the use of such metaphors and analogies can be very useful in describing what's happening. But the down-side is when idiots such as most creationists take them too seriously.

    I am a retired software engineer who started my career as a USAF Electronic Computer System Repairman (305x4). In my training as a technician we made much use of metaphors and analogies which should never be taken literally:

    1. Series capacitors block DC levels but pass AC signals. So our instructor would draw a series capacitor (a break in the circuit with two walls) and show that a DC level just runs into that wall and cannot go any further, whereas an AC signal can just jump over those walls. A handy way to remember that concept, but still not how it actually works.

    2. The "bit bucket". Registers contain bits. Shift registers serve many purposes, including multiplication and division (every time you shift left you multiply by two and every time you shift right right you divide by two, just like in decimal if you're missing all your fingers (reference to math teacher Tom Lehrer)). So when you shift bits out of a shift register, where do they go? Throughout my training, we would refer to those bits as falling out of the end of the register into the "bit bucket". We would even joke about needing to have a special mop to clean up a "bit bucket overflow."

      BTW, there's no such thing as a "bit bucket". But towards the end of tech school when we covered paper tape punch and reader, we saw that the chad from the paper tape punch would be collected in a plastic receptacle. Our instructor announced triumphantly that that was the "bit bucket" that they had been talking about throughout our seven-month tech school.

    3. Inverter bearings and the need to keep them properly lubricated. In digital logic, an inverter (AKA a "NOT gate") changes a "1" logic level to a "0" and a "0" to a "1". Our instructors would show electrons represented by the letter "e" entering into an inverter and getting flipped over into an upside-down "e'" (which any language major ... I was the only one in the class ... would immediately recognize as a schwa, an unaccented vowel which sounds differently in different languages). The joke was that an inverter contained a platform that would flip the incoming electron over upside down. Kind of like the Navy standard joke of sending an ensign (AKA "en-swine") out on an urgent mission to fetch a bucket of steam. Of course such a platform would have bearings which would need proper lubrication and you can see the rest of the story.

    4. Different colors of electrons. A CRT ("cathode ray tube", what TVs used to use). Color TVs used the additive colors of red, green, and blue (RGB) to create all the possible colors. The actual technology involved a matrix of phosphorus dots that would glow with those colors combining into all the various shades, much like the pixels of modern day do. The old TV tech involved three different electron guns firing off electron streams for that particular color.

      Tech school would initially talk about there being red, green, and blue electrons being fired off by those electron guns. Not how it actually worked.

    In addition to all that (most of which was lost on software types since it was all "just a matter of hardware"), software types had their own misleading metaphors/analogies. This particular OS knows that I'm talking to it, so it's deliberately being difficult. Add to that all kinds of anthropomorphizing of the computer. We would complain about the computer doing such things all the time while realizing that that was not what was actually happening. Just like all those things I had learned in tech school.

    Bringing it back down to earth, we speak freely about the sun rising and setting and going across the sky, all of which are rooted firmly in geocentricism, even though we are ourselves very firmly heliocentrist. Sunrise and sunset are just very convenient to talk about even though they are completely wrong.

    Such conversational conventions are normally no problem, but only when we actually know what we are talking about. Creationists do not know that!

    Therein lies much of the problem.


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    dwise1
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    Message 53 of 69 (887190)
    07-22-2021 7:24 AM
    Reply to: Message 49 by AnswersInGenitals
    07-21-2021 2:12 PM


    Re: Invention is Darwinian!
    I had similar experiences in my 35+ career as a software engineer.

    To begin with, there was that EE/ME conceit of "its simply a matter of software" in which any problems in the hardware could simply be tweaked within the software. Though I had heard that mentioned a couple times and never hard pressed in any situation.

    A major part of my problems for most of my career was that so much software had been developed evolutionarily. Time after time my job would be to take an existing piece of code and make it do something some very much the same yet slightly (and significantly) different, the classic evolutionary model of modifying something that already exists in order to have it do something different. That is very descriptive of what evolution routinely does.

    Part of that approach is ever-escalating complexity. Evolutionary approaches generate complexity -- whenever creationists point to complexity, that is actually proof of evolution.

    There is an example of designing an amplifier using evolutionary processes and a Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA -- we used them a lot in our own designs). You would program them to create large combinatorial logic circuits. In the experiment, an evolutionary algorithm was used to create that FPGA program. The end result was a highly complex (actually an IRREDUCIBLY COMPLEX) design. Which made full use of the electrical properties of all the components of the FPGA (which no human could have ever possibly known). And any change to that final design would have broken it completely.

    Conclusion: Whenever you see extreme complexity in nature, even "irreducible complexity", it must be the product of evolution. Because nothing else could possibly produce such extreme complexity.


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    dwise1
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    Message 55 of 69 (887192)
    07-22-2021 8:47 AM
    Reply to: Message 54 by PaulK
    07-22-2021 8:26 AM


    Re: Invention is Darwinian!
    For us professional engineers that was always our worst nightmare.

    For a while I had a conceit of "software archaeology". A way to wend your way back to the original code., especially through the comments.

    For actual intelligent designers (AKA engineers), all the claims of "intelligent design" advocates are pure nonsense.


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    dwise1
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    Message 57 of 69 (887194)
    07-22-2021 2:55 PM
    Reply to: Message 56 by PaulK
    07-22-2021 9:00 AM


    Re: Invention is Darwinian!
    It wasn't until my last job (for about 23 years) that I even encountered a version control system (Visual SourceSafe, I think it was -- in our code reviews, another relatively new concept for me, we would use it to show what had changed). Before then when I was the sole programmer and disk formatter (like being the sole cook and bottle washer) I would back up every software version on a set of floppies and use the DOS file compare utility (fcomp? I don't even remember its name). My next giant leap was learning about BeyondCompare which I still use -- I had to break my Win10S' secure-apps mode to continue to use it along with my favorite text editor, NoteTab Pro.

    In my practice of software archaeology, I would look at somebody's routine and notice how it was virtually identical to another routine and realize that it was yet another case of copy-and-modify. Which is how evolution largely works, right? Start with an already existing structure and modify it slightly to serve a new purpose. Something that we would do all the time in software development.


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    dwise1
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    Message 58 of 69 (887195)
    07-22-2021 3:48 PM
    Reply to: Message 54 by PaulK
    07-22-2021 8:26 AM


    Re: Invention is Darwinian!
    Very true. We have to make a conscious effort to avoid creating complexity. Good design keeps software simple and clean. We design software to allow additions - but we always hit added features that don’t work with that framework. Refactoring - rewriting parts of a software component to simplify it - is recognized as good practice.

    Yes! And the "intelligent design" that advocates point to in nature is actually evidence of very bad "stupid design". If we were to have engineered life, then we would have done things very differently.

    Instead of making everything so incredibly complex, we would have taken a more modular approach where any biological system could be instantaneously replaced with a drop-in pin-compatible module.

    For example, we had a Plymouth mini-van, an American car, with a Japanese engine (Mitsubishi). Nature could never ever do anything like that! Instead, nature would have had to have retained an American engine and modified it, not simply replace it completely.

    Interval wipers. Very simple to do electronically, but traditionally they were driven off of the engine's vacuum line (as were those fancy concealed headlights) and so resulted in very complex and expensive devices. Stuck with evolution, we'd still be using vacuum lines for those things, but, no, they've all been replaced by electronics. Just as any half-way competent intelligent designer (AKA engineer) would have done.

    Hire yourself an engineer for a project. If his first design is a Rube Goldberg monstrosity (an overly complex device for performing the most trivial task, often including a cat being frightened by something as to extend its claws thus popping the balloon it's on which was holding up something else ... ), then how long would you keep that engineer on the job?

    In an OLLI class lecture, we studied how growth factors worked and how mutations in them can lead to cancerous tumors that don't know how to stop growing. They form long chains in the cell with each link having its own turn-on and a turn-off codes. Extremely Rube Goldberg so it's no surprise that they break so often.

    Evolution creates a very wide assortment of Rube Goldberg monstrosities and extremely few parsimonious and clean designs.

    It doesn’t make God look like a good designer.

    When you write a program, the most difficult part is the front-end, the user interface. I have actually written a few programs for my own use quick-and-dirty in which to change a parameter I had to edit that part of the program and recompile. More properly, one should write a program that would accept a user's inputted parameters or, far better, come up with its own appropriate parameters itself so that it can run properly all on its own. Kind of like life and Nature.

    Basically, the choice I am proposing is between a program that runs all on its own versus a program that requires the programmer to constantly poke his pudgy fingers inside it (a power supply tech manual actually told us explicitly to not try to "fix" a slightly deviant reading, just so that we wouldn't break anything in that process). The first one is evidence of a Master Programmer while the second is evidence of a sub-standard Schlockmeister.

    Which program would be evidence of a truly great Supreme Creator? For some reason, creationists keep choosing the Schlockmeister with the pudgy fingers.


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    dwise1
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    Message 60 of 69 (887197)
    07-22-2021 4:29 PM
    Reply to: Message 54 by PaulK
    07-22-2021 8:26 AM


    Re: Invention is Darwinian!
    We have to make a conscious effort to avoid creating complexity.

    One of my tasks was to rewrite our product code that ran on one platform so that it would run on two separate communicating platforms (basically, two independent modules in the same box). That was a huge headache!

    Having "grown up" in structured programming, the ideas were already there. Modularize everything, segregate data structures to keep them from being intertwined. But they already were intertwined, though not as bad as classic "spaghetti code". It wasn't easy, but I did it and that formed the basis for our product lines from that point forward.

     
    The point here is that nothing in nature and in life is modular. It's all intertwined. It's all characterized by a total lack of parsimony. My go-to description for life is the same as my description for sex: it's very messy. Worst design methodology ever!

    So their idea of a creator god is a total incompetent? Certainly does nothing to support their side.


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    dwise1
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    Message 61 of 69 (887198)
    07-22-2021 4:58 PM
    Reply to: Message 59 by PaulK
    07-22-2021 3:55 PM


    Re: Invention is Darwinian!
    Of course, on the software side you can always go back and completely rewrite it, whereas life does not have that option.

    In my first software job, I was the only one in the Software Development Department with an actual degree in computer science. Everybody else was from different disciplines. Also (this was in 1982), we were working in Pascal (which only I had had in school) since it was seen as a stepping stone to Ada (for which there still was not a validated compiler). As a result, everybody had his/her own programming style based on his/her experience. I learned that when I took over maintaining their code.

    For example, Amy was a FORTRAN programmer, so her code was one single routine that she copied and pasted and edited with different arguments. Many times for page after page after page. I pulled that common code out as a separate procedure and replaced its instances with calls with different arguments. That basically cut her code in half.

    George was a different matter. His experience was in assembly programming, so his code was a continual loop in which he performed tests and set or cleared flags accordingly, then later do whatever if a particular flag was set. Very long and complex and difficult to modify. I basically rewrote it completely as a Pascal program, which was the easiest and quickest thing to do. When I suggested that to my supervisor he hesitated, but then I told him I had already done it and it worked fine so it was cool.

    So the intelligent design analogy breaks down right there. Life cannot completely rewrite and replace the design, but rather all it can possibly do is to tweak the design that's already there. Nor can life completely replace entire structures with a pin-compatible module, like our mini-van which could come with either a Chrysler or a Mitsubishi engine.


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    dwise1
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    Message 63 of 69 (887200)
    07-22-2021 5:58 PM
    Reply to: Message 50 by Parasomnium
    07-21-2021 3:01 PM


    Re: An arm, a fin, and something in-between
    mike whizzer writes:

    [...] there is nothing in between arm and leg. Nothing inbetween arm and wing, arm and fin, fin and leg. Every organism, if it has legs, has viable, "complete design" of viable legs, arms, wings etc...


    Let's compare an otter, a seal and a dolphin. They all have a similar bauplan, namely a mammalian skeleton with four limbs with five digits each.

    What creationists can never understand is that those limbs are indeed fully formed and functional in every generation. As a forelimb evolves into a wing, for example, it is still fully functional as a forelimb for climbing, etc (actually, bird ancestors were theropods who were almost all bipedal, so their forelimbs were never used for running).

    Seals, otters, and even humans have forelimbs that are useful for swimming, though some forelimbs are better suited for swimming than others. My Chihuahua could sit back to free up his forelimbs and use them to manipulate objects (mainly his tennis ball). Other dogs can open some doors (Oscar was too short to reach). So the same forelimbs can be used for a variety of different purposes. So just exactly what is mike's point? He has none!

     
    I'll use this for another point. Creationists excel at not understanding anything.

    A creationist at work cited to me the great improbability of the eye having evolved. Knowing Dawkins' treatment of the subject in The Blind Watchmaker and remembering an earlier creationist argument on that subject, I tried to press him for details of how his model proposed that the eye would have evolved and got nowhere. Basically, he would start somewhere else entirely (kind of like Sheldon teaching Penny physics by starting out on a sunny day in ancient Greece). Apparently, he knew so little about his claim that he had to recite it blindly from the beginning.

    I suspected that his claim was the same that I had heard decades before. In that claim, the creationist basically took a razor blade to the human eye and divided it into separate pieces; eg, the retina, the pupil, the lens, the optic nerve, etc. Then that claim proclaimed that each and every single element of the eye had to be fully formed and in place before the eye could work, plus it required that each separate piece had to have evolved entirely on its own and separately from all the other elements. So of course, it would have been impossible for the eye to have evolved in that manner. To creationists, that meant that the eye could not have evolved, when in reality it just meant that that cannot have been how it had evolved. IOW, their model for the evolution of the eye was not only dead wrong, but wasn't even right.

    The model presented in The Blind Watchmaker has all the component parts of the eye coevolving together, not separately and independently. In every generation along the way, some form of light perception (AKA vision) was possible and provided a benefit to the organism, grist for the mill of natural selection.

     
    So the problem for creationists like mike is that they not only don't understand anything about evolution, but all their ideas about it are completely wrong. They keep coming up with worse than useless "models" for how something would have evolved which immediately fall apart all on their own and base their conclusions of "evolution couldn't possibly have happened" on that.

    Even worse than that, their "models" are so divorced from reality that when we do try to explain evolution to them, then we don't address the fake "issues" raised by their "models".


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