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Old Apr 21, 2012, 05:00 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
I've said it before and I've said it again, I have no intention of defending my own religion, just the idea of religion.
By advocating for the "idea of religion", rather than your own, you are surely implicitly accepting the invalidity of the basic claims of your religion and all monotheistic religions. All those gods surely can't be real simultaneously. Or maybe you are a closet pantheist.
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Old Apr 21, 2012, 05:03 PM   #77
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Or maybe you are a closet pantheist.
Macaddicttt is in the closet??

Wow, never saw that one coming.

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Old Apr 21, 2012, 06:13 PM   #78
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Macaddicttt is in the closet??

Wow, never saw that one coming.
It makes you wonder, what do all those deities do in their private get-togethers? The thought of it kind of creeps me out.
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Old Apr 21, 2012, 06:17 PM   #79
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It makes you wonder, what do all those deities do in their private get-togethers? The thought of it kind of creeps me out.
Have you not seen the YouTube parodies "From Mount Olympus".

Far funnier than from Hitler's bunker.

But Skunk is to be applauded for his reference to pantheists.

I have always respected the Native American for their belief in this area.
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Old Apr 21, 2012, 10:25 PM   #80
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I don't think you really understand how genes work. There are few genes that are "disease" genes. Usually genetic diseases are an unfortunate combination of genes. Yes, there are some deleterious alleles (variations of genes) that can directly be tied to disease but those are usually part of a environmental adaptation to resist other diseases (i.e. malaria).
Agreed. The "risk factor" is how diseases are predicted and monitored. And lifestyle has far more of an affect on health outcomes than do genes.

Defined crudely, the basis for determining a risk factor begins with: number of people who actually develop Y / number of people who are exposed or predisposed to X. Then, the question is raised why Y is such a smaller number than X. For example, why do only __% of people who carry a gene for a disease actually develop it. Then, the question of how Z may be the deciding factor is considered. It may be concluded that a combination of risk factors, both genetic and life-style related, are what results in those actually developing the outcome being considered.
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Old Apr 21, 2012, 11:48 PM   #81
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Agreed. The "risk factor" is how diseases are predicted and monitored. And lifestyle has far more of an affect on health outcomes than do genes.

Defined crudely, the basis for determining a risk factor begins with: number of people who actually develop Y / number of people who are exposed or predisposed to X. Then, the question is raised why Y is such a smaller number than X. For example, why do only __% of people who carry a gene for a disease actually develop it. Then, the question of how Z may be the deciding factor is considered. It may be concluded that a combination of risk factors, both genetic and life-style related, are what results in those actually developing the outcome being considered.
He's a witch!
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 10:47 AM   #82
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He's a witch!
But how do you know that for sure?...

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Old Apr 23, 2012, 01:12 PM   #83
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Not to the universe or this planet, but we do have value to ourselves. This isn't a tough concept, especially since we're talking about morality, which usually asks humans to balance choices that affect other humans.
But if I value myself, that doesn't necessitate valuing all other humans. And what arbitrary standard do you use to set whether someone else has value? Same race? Same species? Same genus? Same phylum? Same SAT score? Same color eyes?

Again, there is no empirical reason to value anything. And you're right, morality asks humans to balance choices that affect other humans. I'm still waiting for the empirical evidence that adds any value to that balance.

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Oh boy, someone needs to revisit their biology textbook.

No geneticist worth his shirt would say that reducing genetic diversity is a good idea for the survival of a species.
So I'll admit, I don't know a lot about genetics, but making humanity thrive is the thing that you're going to base your morality on, wouldn't it be prudent to have morality discussions about selective breeding?

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Even supposing that it was in some alternative reality, remember that I wouldn't impose something on another person that I wasn't willing to have happen to me. That arises as a matter of logical consistency.
No, it's a matter of logical inconsistency. By all empirical measures you are not someone else. By all empirical measures, the only thing that gives you value is yourself. So by all empirical measures, there is no need to not impose something on another person that you weren't willing to have happen to you.

You claim to base your morality on certain things, but then don't carry them out to their logical conclusions, but instead act as if you believed in intangibles, such as the value of every human being, while simultaneously saying that you don't believe in anything.

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You'd be amazed at how well you can treat people if your central principles are to help people and treat them as you'd treat yourself. No god, belief, or pews needed.
That's a huge if. An if that requires a ton of belief. You don't necessarily need a God or pews, but you certainly require belief in those central principles. Otherwise, there's no reason to follow them.

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I think you vastly overestimate how much empiricism claims. By design it's a quiet, careful process that assumes it's wrong until there is no logical basis to believe otherwise.

That's why, despite the fact that modern medicine uses evolution to create antiretrovirals, vaccines, and cancer treatments, evolution itself is considered a theory. At any time, evidence that knocks down the theory could come along and force us to start over. In fact, to this day that still happens. Advances in genetics have made scientists admit they had some elements wrong in the past, and after vetting the new evidence, the theory is changed to reflect the new totality of evidence.

Now, consider that the same thing happens in every science from subatomic physics to microbiology to the observable universe.

I don't have any faith in the data that is produced. What I have is a vast volume of data that's been combed by thousands upon thousands of brilliant minds, beaten up by peer review, and under constant attack from new evidence.
No, I understand empiricism quite well, and it works wonderfully for the medical examples you provide above. I'm just waiting on the data, the paper that has been beaten up by peer review, etc., that proves that humanity has value and that it's thriving is of moral concern.

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If you think trusting this type of data over other data of lesser quality is comparable to faith, then you need to reevaluate what it means to make rational choices.
In your medical example, you're quite right, it is not like faith at all. But when it becomes the end all be all of philosophy for creating your worldview as to what has value and what doesn't, it is very much like a faith.

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Actually, that's exactly what it means. The universe is the totality of all that is. If something exists that can affect the universe, it must be in the universe. There's no way around this, because that's the definition of the word.
The universe is not necessarily the totality of all that is. God exists outside space and time. Hell, there's even plenty of empirical evidence that there are more dimensions than the four we experience.

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Let's not get too preoccupied with this tangent. The point is you capitalized when you shouldn't have.
No, the point is that you don't even understand the concepts that you're arguing against, and that you're keen to score cheap points by claiming things are wrong with my capitalization.

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Problem is, an organ isn't analogous to the universe. You exist beyond your organs, yes, but not your body. The same is true of the universe. Nothing can exist outside our universe and yet be a part of it.
Why not?


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Instead of telling me what you might want to posit or what the best argument for this thread might be, why not just do so?
I already have, but you seem to have ignored it. Morality requires belief, and religion can play a part in determining those beliefs.

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Hard, yes, but not impossible. I'm a tough person to convince of just about anything, but I am convinced all the time. Other people do it with good logic, good evidence, and sometimes with a little panache and humor. Of course the latter two aren't necessary, but the former two most definitely are.

It's not going to kill you to try, but don't expect me to give you any breaks.
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Originally Posted by skunk View Post
By advocating for the "idea of religion", rather than your own, you are surely implicitly accepting the invalidity of the basic claims of your religion and all monotheistic religions. All those gods surely can't be real simultaneously. Or maybe you are a closet pantheist.
In response to both of these, it only make sense to defend or advocate for a particular religion if it is agreed that belief and religion can be beneficial or necessary. Otherwise it'd be like trying to convince you that the best type of cherry for making a cherry pie is Cherry X, when you not only don't like cherry pie, but find all pies to be horrible. It doesn't matter how delicious I describe the resulting pie, you're not going to accept my arguments since you hate pie. (Not the best analogy, I know... )
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 04:33 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
But if I value myself, that doesn't necessitate valuing all other humans. And what arbitrary standard do you use to set whether someone else has value? Same race? Same species? Same genus? Same phylum? Same SAT score? Same color eyes?

Again, there is no empirical reason to value anything. And you're right, morality asks humans to balance choices that affect other humans. I'm still waiting for the empirical evidence that adds any value to that balance.
Why are you hung up on such a basic concept like self-preservation?

I think your desperation to win some rhetorical victory somewhere is forcing you down a rabbit hole that has no end.

However, to answer your question, we have an empirical need to extend value to our fellow humans because we live in societies, not alone. This is such an apparent part of self-preservation that it's been encoded into our genetic makeup. We have genes that promote empathy and cooperation, even though that is at first a counterintuitive notion to the idea of natural selection.

And we are talking about humans here, so we extend this equality value to every member within the species. I thought that was pretty clear when I used the word "human" but mea culpa.
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So I'll admit, I don't know a lot about genetics, but making humanity thrive is the thing that you're going to base your morality on, wouldn't it be prudent to have morality discussions about selective breeding?
To take this thread even further off topic?

Selective breeding boils down to this: 1) it's not scientifically sound for the success of the species, and 2) even if it was, we would still be treating each other disparately, which I don't condone because it is precisely the type of inconsistency that lets butchers, cons, and crooks dominate others.

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No, it's a matter of logical inconsistency. By all empirical measures you are not someone else. By all empirical measures, the only thing that gives you value is yourself. So by all empirical measures, there is no need to not impose something on another person that you weren't willing to have happen to you.

You claim to base your morality on certain things, but then don't carry them out to their logical conclusions, but instead act as if you believed in intangibles, such as the value of every human being, while simultaneously saying that you don't believe in anything.
There's no inconsistency. Treating others like I want to be treated acknowledges the boundaries of collective action. If I do something to someone I wouldn't want to happen to me, I am implicitly endorsing the idea that such a thing is an acceptable option for someone else to exercise against me. It's actually logically inconsistent to expect that one individual is somehow special enough to not have every force in society act upon them.
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That's a huge if. An if that requires a ton of belief. You don't necessarily need a God or pews, but you certainly require belief in those central principles. Otherwise, there's no reason to follow them.
Ah yes, the classic "belief" versus "belief."

It's a belief of mine, too, that the sun will rise tomorrow.

That belief is substantiated. Belief in something like the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not.
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No, I understand empiricism quite well, and it works wonderfully for the medical examples you provide above. I'm just waiting on the data, the paper that has been beaten up by peer review, etc., that proves that humanity has value and that it's thriving is of moral concern.
The empiricism for that is a very simple syllogism.

If humanity doesn't thrive, it will perish.
If humanity perishes, it will be worse off than if it didn't perish.
Humanity has value to itself.
Therefore, humanity's interest in not perishing has value.

Quote:
In your medical example, you're quite right, it is not like faith at all. But when it becomes the end all be all of philosophy for creating your worldview as to what has value and what doesn't, it is very much like a faith.
Furthest thing from it. My view requires hard work and constant reevaluation, and can be changed with new information and evidence. Your faith is static and doesn't require much beyond obedience.
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The universe is not necessarily the totality of all that is. God exists outside space and time. Hell, there's even plenty of empirical evidence that there are more dimensions than the four we experience.
Yes, it is necessarily that. That's the definition of the word.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/universe?s=t

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Originally Posted by THE DICTIONARY
u∑ni∑verse   [yoo-nuh-vurs]
noun
1.
the totality of known or supposed objects and phenomena throughout space; the cosmos; macrocosm.
Your use of "God" is actually not in the dictionary:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/God?s=t
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Same Dictionary
God   [god]
noun
1.
the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.
2.
the Supreme Being considered with reference to a particular attribute: the God of Islam.
3.
( lowercase ) one of several deities, especially a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs.
4.
( often lowercase ) a supreme being according to some particular conception: the god of mercy.
5.
Christian Science . the Supreme Being, understood as Life, Truth, love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle.
6.
( lowercase ) an image of a deity; an idol.
7.
( lowercase ) any deified person or object.
8.
( often lowercase ) Gods, Theater .
a.
the upper balcony in a theater.
b.
the spectators in this part of the balcony.
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No, the point is that you don't even understand the concepts that you're arguing against, and that you're keen to score cheap points by claiming things are wrong with my capitalization.
Until you can convince the rest of the English speaking world to agree with you, your use of the capital "God" is incorrect. You can go on believing you're right with all the veracity you can muster (and I have a great deal of faith in your ability to muster quite a bit of it), but that isn't going to actually make you right.
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Why not?
Because that's the nature of the word; it describes everything that can be. Yes there are more than 4 dimensions, but they don't exist outside the universe (or else we wouldn't know about them...).

If your god exists, it exists in the universe.
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I already have, but you seem to have ignored it. Morality requires belief, and religion can play a part in determining those beliefs.
Excellent, so let's work with this distilled form. You haven't convinced me that morality requires belief, at least not belief in the conventional form used for things like religion, magic, etc.

Prove to me that morality requires belief of the religious stripe, which is unsubstantiated and requires faith.
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In response to both of these, it only make sense to defend or advocate for a particular religion if it is agreed that belief and religion can be beneficial or necessary. Otherwise it'd be like trying to convince you that the best type of cherry for making a cherry pie is Cherry X, when you not only don't like cherry pie, but find all pies to be horrible. It doesn't matter how delicious I describe the resulting pie, you're not going to accept my arguments since you hate pie. (Not the best analogy, I know... )
So then start from scratch.

Convince me that religion is beneficial or useful, just like you would if you wanted to get me to acknowledge the virtue of pie as a dessert.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 05:36 PM   #85
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So then start from scratch.

Convince me that religion is beneficial or useful, just like you would if you wanted to get me to acknowledge the virtue of pie as a dessert.
Instead of replying to each of your statements individually, I'll take your advice here and start from scratch. Here's the statement of yours that I'll start from:

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Why are you hung up on such a basic concept like self-preservation?
If we start here, I have to say I agree with you. Empiricism is good at determining how best to preserve humanity. But the crux of what I'm getting at is that empiricism offers no evidence that self-preservation is a worthy goal.

Empiricism can tell you that genetic diversity is good for preservation of humanity, but it cannot tell you that preservation of humanity is good in and of itself. What is the intrinsic value of existence? Who is to say that existence is better than non-existence? Again, empiricism would be very good at finding a way to get to non-existence, but it cannot prove that it is better or worse than existence.

To which you respond:

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Originally Posted by CalBoy View Post
The empiricism for that is a very simple syllogism.

If humanity doesn't thrive, it will perish.
If humanity perishes, it will be worse off than if it didn't perish.
Humanity has value to itself.
Therefore, humanity's interest in not perishing has value.
And also:

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Originally Posted by CalBoy View Post
And we are talking about humans here, so we extend this equality value to every member within the species. I thought that was pretty clear when I used the word "human" but mea culpa.
First off, I know we are talking about humanity here, but your designation of humanity is arbitrary. Why do you decide that morality starts and ends with humanity? Why is your empathy not extended out to all mammals, for example? That's just as arbitrary a cut off as preservation of humanity. Why not take up the cause of self-preservation of all mammalia?

And in the other direction, if I decide that my self-preservation goal is limited to my family, it'd be just as arbitrary. And since according to you, human beings are the things giving value to one another, the decision of a family to only place value on other members would be just as correct as your placing of value on all of humanity.

And I would actually think that empiricism would shrink that value to put utmost focus on one's self. If all that is real is that which I can perceive, then maintaining my existence is of utmost importance and value. Whether or not humanity continues after me is irrelevant. Why should I bother trying to preserve something that will not affect me?

So yes, humanity would be best served by a morality that serves all of humanity. But I am not all of humanity. I am an individual, and "humanity" is a nebulous idea. My empirical existence is made no different by preserving humanity beyond me.

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Originally Posted by CalBoy View Post
Furthest thing from it. My view requires hard work and constant reevaluation, and can be changed with new information and evidence.
And so does mine.

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Originally Posted by CalBoy View Post
Your faith is static and doesn't require much beyond obedience.
False. Perhaps you should learn about that which you criticize.

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Originally Posted by CalBoy View Post
Your use of "God" is actually not in the dictionary:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/God?s=t
I would start by understanding what exactly this means: "the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe."

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Because that's the nature of the word; it describes everything that can be. Yes there are more than 4 dimensions, but they don't exist outside the universe (or else we wouldn't know about them...).
True, other dimensions would exist within the universe (poor example, my bad), but it is completely possible that something exist outside of the physical universe. I'm not sure how you can say what you're saying here with such certainty. If we're going to just start making statements and insisting they are true just because, then we're not really going to get anywhere. Even your dictionary definitions of the universe did not define it as, "All that exists."

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If your god exists, it exists in the universe.
First off, if you keep calling it "my god," then we'll never get anywhere. Because the concept of God that I'm talking about here, as understood by Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Plato, etc., etc., is not "mine" and it is not bound by the universe. I think monotheistic and pantheistic Hinduism would perhaps best explain the difference between a God and a god.

And I ended up responding to a bunch of your statements individually...

EDIT: And it's a bit odd to call a concept such as God "mine" as if calling a concept by its name without a possessive would somehow will it to be true. Argue against the concept, not me as a person. Should I be calling it "your empiricism" and work to disproving "CalBoy"? I feel like you're just trying to score cheap rhetorical points in something that sways towards an ad hominem argument, and furthers my suspicion that you don't want an honest discussion at all.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 06:12 PM   #86
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If your god exists, it exists in the universe.
God transcends:
  • It is omnipotent, yet it is still able to do stuff (if I ever resolve that one, I will let you know)
  • It is omniscient and omnipresent (extratemporal), yet it still takes an interest in events, actions and outcomes (it "loves" us, god help us all)
  • It is perfect, yet it still has motivations and desires
In short, god exists outside the rules of logic, and yet, it somehow still applies to logical constructs.

Of course, we cannot overlook beer, which is strong evidence that god loves us and wants us to be happy.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 06:21 PM   #87
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Of course, we cannot overlook beer, which is strong evidence that god loves us and wants us to be happy.
Fermentation may indeed be the only proof that a god actually does exist.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 06:46 PM   #88
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I hate to jump into a conversation late, but I thought Plato put this one to bed 2,000 years ago...

It's in the Euthyphro dialog (my summary):
The divine command theory (DCT) states that goodness is that which is commanded by God. In accordance with this theory, either God commands the pious because it is good, or the pious is good because God commands it. If the former, God’s command is irrelevant to moral judgments because it does not address the question, “what makes an action immoral or moral?” This contradicts the DCT’s claim that morality relies on God’s command. If the latter, then morality is arbitrary; again, this is a problem for the DCT because morality would not be dependent upon God’s command. But what if God is necessarily good, would this save the DCT? No; either God’s commandments automatically become good because he commanded it (again, arbitrary), or God would have no choice but to command something because it is already good, contrary to God’s alleged omnipotence (and again, does not address why it is good).

So, if morality doesn't rely on God's command (and it doesn't, as Plato demonstrated), then religion has an extremely limited role (if any) in determining that which is moral from that which is not.

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Old Apr 23, 2012, 07:04 PM   #89
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I hate to jump into a conversation late, but I thought Pato put this one to bed 2,000 years ago...

It's in the Euthyphro dialog (my summary):
The divine command theory (DCT) states that goodness is that which is commanded by God. In accordance with this theory, either God commands the pious because it is good, or the pious is good because God commands it. If the former, Godís command is irrelevant to moral judgments because it does not address the question, ďwhat makes an action immoral or moral?Ē This contradicts the DCTís claim that morality relies on Godís command. If the latter, then morality is arbitrary; again, this is a problem for the DCT because morality would not be dependent upon Godís command. But what if God is necessarily good, would this save the DCT? No; either Godís commandments automatically become good because he commanded it (again, arbitrary), or God would have no choice but to command something because it is already good, contrary to Godís alleged omnipotence (and again, does not address why it is good).

So, if morality doesn't rely on God's command (and it doesn't, as Plato demonstrated), then religion has an extremely limited role (if any) in determining that which is moral from that which is not.
Settled is a little strong. The Wiki page has a bit about the debate.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 07:05 PM   #90
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Fermentation may indeed be the only proof that a god actually does exist.
How many proof would god be?
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 07:15 PM   #91
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How many proof would god be?
As you well know, god has already defined: "It's a proof. A proof is a proof, and when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." - Jean Chretien ...
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 07:25 PM   #92
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First off, I know we are talking about humanity here, but your designation of humanity is arbitrary. Why do you decide that morality starts and ends with humanity? Why is your empathy not extended out to all mammals, for example? That's just as arbitrary a cut off as preservation of humanity. Why not take up the cause of self-preservation of all mammalia?
I'm not saying that morality ends with humanity. I'm saying that in the context of human-human morals, it ends with humanity.

If we need to discuss the morality of human-world, human-animal, etc situations, then we start somewhere else. However, religion doesn't discuss environmental morality or any other morality besides human-human morality, so I didn't see the need to expound on it.

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And in the other direction, if I decide that my self-preservation goal is limited to my family, it'd be just as arbitrary. And since according to you, human beings are the things giving value to one another, the decision of a family to only place value on other members would be just as correct as your placing of value on all of humanity.

And I would actually think that empiricism would shrink that value to put utmost focus on one's self. If all that is real is that which I can perceive, then maintaining my existence is of utmost importance and value. Whether or not humanity continues after me is irrelevant. Why should I bother trying to preserve something that will not affect me?
Placing value only on your family or any other random social subgroup would be inconsistent, since it's dependent on personal emotions. We can only extend the self preservation rule to our own species, which is why we can't be consistent beyond that point (well we can, but not with these limited parameters).

As for the preservation of self, sure, that's an extension of the idea, but it only functions when equal values are pitted against each other. Eg a life for a life. Short of that, consistency would demand that you would treat others like you would want to be treated, so if your moral need was lesser than another's, theirs would take precedence.

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And so does mine.

False. Perhaps you should learn about that which you criticize.
Really? Do tell how much change can happen to a 1,500 year-old text.

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I would start by understanding what exactly this means: "the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe."

True, other dimensions would exist within the universe (poor example, my bad), but it is completely possible that something exist outside of the physical universe. I'm not sure how you can say what you're saying here with such certainty. If we're going to just start making statements and insisting they are true just because, then we're not really going to get anywhere. Even your dictionary definitions of the universe did not define it as, "All that exists."
That doesn't make it outside the universe. Even your conception of god must exist within the universe if it's to impact it.

I really can't make it any simpler than that. If your god>the universe, then it would in fact just be the universe. You can't escape that.
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EDIT: And it's a bit odd to call a concept such as God "mine" as if calling a concept by its name without a possessive would somehow will it to be true. Argue against the concept, not me as a person. Should I be calling it "your empiricism" and work to disproving "CalBoy"? I feel like you're just trying to score cheap rhetorical points in something that sways towards an ad hominem argument, and furthers my suspicion that you don't want an honest discussion at all.
I'm using "your god" specifically because people of other faiths don't have the same conception. Granted 3+ billion share your conception, but not everyone does.

On the other hand, the empirical methods of peer review and the scientific method are uniform.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 07:41 PM   #93
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I'm not saying that morality ends with humanity. I'm saying that in the context of human-human morals, it ends with humanity. If we need to discuss the morality of human-world, human-animal, etc situations, then we start somewhere else.
Fair enough.

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However, religion doesn't discuss environmental morality or any other morality besides human-human morality, so I didn't see the need to expound on it.
Again, wrong. I wonder how much you actually know about this thing called religion that you reject.

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Placing value only on your family or any other random social subgroup would be inconsistent, since it's dependent on personal emotions. We can only extend the self preservation rule to our own species, which is why we can't be consistent beyond that point (well we can, but not with these limited parameters).
Sorry, but this is entirely arbitrary. I don't see any empirical evidence for circumscribing self-preservation to species.

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As for the preservation of self, sure, that's an extension of the idea, but it only functions when equal values are pitted against each other. Eg a life for a life. Short of that, consistency would demand that you would treat others like you would want to be treated, so if your moral need was lesser than another's, theirs would take precedence.
Again, entirely arbitrary. If another's needs have no positive impact on me, why would I defer to them? Why do I need to treat others as they would want to be treated. If I could be in a position of power in which I could demand that others treat me well, while I treat them poorly, there's no empirical evidence saying that's "wrong." It just is. And heck, empiricism might lead me to find the best ways to ensure I stay on top and other stay on bottom making my life "best." Because once I'm gone, I'm gone. I might as well have the most enjoyable life I can, regardless of the consequences, right?

Consistency demands nothing in your empiricism. Why does consistency not demand me to treat dogs the same way as humans? What is it about species that demands anything? What elevates preservation of species above preservation of self, of family, of race, of genus, of phylum, of kingdom, etc., etc.?

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Really? Do tell how much change can happen to a 1,500 year-old text.
Again, you seem to not know anything about this religion you don't like. Rather you like to disagree with a caricature of religion that yes, some people do follow, but is not nearly wholly representative of religion.

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I really can't make it any simpler than that. If your god>the universe, then it would in fact just be the universe. You can't escape that.
And I can't make it any simpler than my Venn diagram. Again, just stating something doesn't make it true. It is quite possible there is more to reality than the physical universe.

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I'm using "your god" specifically because people of other faiths don't have the same conception. Granted 3+ billion share your conception, but not everyone does.
And a minority of people who believe in "my God" believe in blind faith in a book written over a thousand years ago, yet you have no problem characterizing all religion as such.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 08:30 PM   #94
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The real question should be, what would constitute proof of god? How does one distinguish proof of god vs that of a higher power. Remember a higher power doesn't have to equate to a god. An alien race so far advanced might be indistinguishable from a god and yet still not be one. How do we know what we're being shown isn't some sort of hallucination, hologram or other form of trickery or just an advancement so far ahead of us we just aren't capable of understanding it? I personally don't even know if there ever could be proof that counts as "beyond a shadow of a doubt".


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Old Apr 23, 2012, 09:14 PM   #95
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Again, wrong. I wonder how much you actually know about this thing called religion that you reject.
Oh please, do tell. Please tell me the verse of the Bible that addresses environmental morality, or animal rights, or anything that isn't based on human needs.
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Sorry, but this is entirely arbitrary. I don't see any empirical evidence for circumscribing self-preservation to species.
It's called natural selection.
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Again, entirely arbitrary. If another's needs have no positive impact on me, why would I defer to them? Why do I need to treat others as they would want to be treated. If I could be in a position of power in which I could demand that others treat me well, while I treat them poorly, there's no empirical evidence saying that's "wrong." It just is. And heck, empiricism might lead me to find the best ways to ensure I stay on top and other stay on bottom making my life "best." Because once I'm gone, I'm gone. I might as well have the most enjoyable life I can, regardless of the consequences, right?

Consistency demands nothing in your empiricism. Why does consistency not demand me to treat dogs the same way as humans? What is it about species that demands anything? What elevates preservation of species above preservation of self, of family, of race, of genus, of phylum, of kingdom, etc., etc.?
Consistency is a central part of logic. I'm not going to indulge this fishing expedition over a very trivial point that we should treat each other the same way. If we don't, we're not using the rules of logic.
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Again, you seem to not know anything about this religion you don't like. Rather you like to disagree with a caricature of religion that yes, some people do follow, but is not nearly wholly representative of religion.
Well, I'm glad you took the time to answer my question.
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And I can't make it any simpler than my Venn diagram. Again, just stating something doesn't make it true. It is quite possible there is more to reality than the physical universe.
At least I cited a dictionary for the word.

Your homemade Venn diagram means nothing to me.
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And a minority of people who believe in "my God" believe in blind faith in a book written over a thousand years ago, yet you have no problem characterizing all religion as such.
That's because all unsubstantiated beliefs require blind faith. I ascribe the same problem to those who believe in psychics, ghosts, witches, and homeopathy. I don't care what they call themselves, they're all taking an unsubstantiated leap of faith.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 11:41 AM   #96
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Oh please, do tell. Please tell me the verse of the Bible that addresses environmental morality, or animal rights, or anything that isn't based on human needs.
Really? The very post after I say that religion isn't solely based on the Bible, you come back with this? And somehow if I can't cite a part of the Bible that directly addresses environmental morality or animal rights, that means that all religion everywhere never addresses either?

You're showing more and more that you really don't know anything about religion, but have no problem railing against it.

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It's called natural selection.
Sorry, but I don't know what else to say that shows that your distinction of species is entirely arbitrary. Heck, the whole idea of "species" is a man-made classification system to help describe nature. I'm still waiting for this empirical evidence that what happens to someone on the other side of the globe matters at all to me.

It might matter to humanity as a whole, but I <> humanity.

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Consistency is a central part of logic.
And yet your logic isn't consistent at all.

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Originally Posted by CalBoy View Post
I'm not going to indulge this fishing expedition over a very trivial point that we should treat each other the same way. If we don't, we're not using the rules of logic.
If it's so integral to logic, or at least logic how you understand it, I'd like to see one of your simple syllogisms to prove that I, as an individual, should care about what happens to someone on the other side of the globe. You can't talk of "humanity" as if it's some monolithic, self-serving entity. It isn't; there's no hive-mind of humanity interested in its own preservation. It is a bunch of individuals.

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At least I cited a dictionary for the word.
So nothing's worth describing unless it can be simplified into a one-line dictionary definition? It's a complex idea. You could at least put some effort into understanding an opposing viewpoint.

I could cite whole volumes that define and explain my definition (i.e. the definition that most of the religious world ascribe to); your woefully simplistic dictionary definition leaves much to be desired.

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That's because all unsubstantiated beliefs require blind faith.
I would argue that the existence of God is not unsubstantiated. Sure, it's not possible to empirically prove the existence of God, but there are quite substantiated reasons for believing in his existence.

And if you want to talk about logic, how about this definition of God (since the Venn diagram for some reason didn't make any sense to you)?:

Logic dictates that if A, then B. B doesn't just pop into existence. I exist because my parents exist. They exist because their parents exist. Etc., etc.. It keeps going back and back; logic dictates that something must come from something else. Eventually you get to a point where you can't go back any further. The Big Bang happened because...? And perhaps the Big Bang isn't the terminal event. Maybe there was something that caused the Big Bang, and something caused that, etc. But something had to just be. Something had to be A because of A. That thing is God.

EDIT: And really? "Homemade" Venn diagram. I guess I should have gone to the Venn Diagram Shop and bought a professionally made one. Stop arguing against me the person, and argue against ideas. Your rhetoric betrays your ad hominem bent.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 12:04 PM   #97
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Macaddicttt,

I was a born and raised Catholic (been Confirmed [unusually young] and everything) and I read your posts and think you're talking out your arse most of the time. You cannot accuse me of not knowing your religion because I really, really do. It wasn't my ignorance that drove me away, it was critical thinking.

And the reason you can't cite a bible verse that discusses environmental morality, or animal rights, or anything else that isn't based on human needs is because it does't exist without manipulating what you're reading to MAKE it fit. That's the problem with trying to make something so old and vague into something specifically relevant today.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 12:25 PM   #98
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I realize this is a discussion regarding God and Morality, but the basis for these belief are ancient documents.

If you want a good example of why relying on ancient texts and believing in theist organizations who tell you what God is, is a questionable method of nailing down spiritual truth, read Gospel of Judas. No, Judas was not the betrayer of Jesus, he was his bud acting under his orders or so this Gnostic document states. So just who is right, this or the manipulative organizations collectively known as Christianity*?

When you look at your Bible, think twice about truth vs a corporate message.

*Not to imply that Christianity is any worse than any other mainstream religion except maybe the Buddhists.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 12:27 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
Really? The very post after I say that religion isn't solely based on the Bible, you come back with this? And somehow if I can't cite a part of the Bible that directly addresses environmental morality or animal rights, that means that all religion everywhere never addresses either?
Actually, the bible does discuss how animals should be treated and to a lesser degree environmental considerations. You would have been better off offering a reference to those verses.

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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
Sorry, but I don't know what else to say that shows that your distinction of species is entirely arbitrary. Heck, the whole idea of "species" is a man-made classification system to help describe nature. I'm still waiting for this empirical evidence that what happens to someone on the other side of the globe matters at all to me.
No, the idea of species is not arbitrary or simply used to describe nature. A species is exactly organisms that are capable of interbreeding to produce fertile offspring.

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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
If it's so integral to logic, or at least logic how you understand it, I'd like to see one of your simple syllogisms to prove that I, as an individual, should care about what happens to someone on the other side of the globe. You can't talk of "humanity" as if it's some monolithic, self-serving entity. It isn't; there's no hive-mind of humanity interested in its own preservation. It is a bunch of individuals.
Humans are social organisms. As someone said earlier, we tend to have an instinctual desire to form groups. This is not in and of itself unique to humans but it is the source of the behavioral norms that humans have elaborated into "morals". The first of which is often stated as some variation of "do to others as you would have yourself". Without this common ground, it is much more difficult to form even a loosely connected society.

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So nothing's worth describing unless it can be simplified into a one-line dictionary definition? It's a complex idea. You could at least put some effort into understanding an opposing viewpoint.
Your concept of "god" may be complex but arguing over the definition is silly. It is clear Calboy won that point because his usage of god is correct by definition.

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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
I would argue that the existence of God is not unsubstantiated. Sure, it's not possible to empirically prove the existence of God, but there are quite substantiated reasons for believing in his existence.
There are no substantiated reasons to believe in a personal god. There are lots of unsubstantiated reasons but let's be honest, there is not one scrap of empirical evidence to support a belief in a personal god. That is why so much religion revolves around "blind faith".

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Originally Posted by Macaddicttt View Post
Logic dictates that if A, then B. B doesn't just pop into existence. I exist because my parents exist. They exist because their parents exist. Etc., etc.. It keeps going back and back; logic dictates that something must come from something else. Eventually you get to a point where you can't go back any further. The Big Bang happened because...? And perhaps the Big Bang isn't the terminal event. Maybe there was something that caused the Big Bang, and something caused that, etc. But something had to just be. Something had to be A because of A. That thing is God.
You are among some great company in this thinking. Isaac Newton was able to discover gravity and calculus but when faced with describing the complex motions of planets, said that such motions are too complex and are the work of god. Then along came Laplace, who was then able to devise calculations to describe complex orbits of the "heavens". Although people much smarter than you and I have done so, it is futile to assign supernatural explanations for things simply because we don't yet know the answer. As for the origin of the big bang, there are theories how a universe can rise from nothing. Look up stuff by Lawrence Krauss if you are interested.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 12:34 PM   #100
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Macaddicttt,

I was a born and raised Catholic (been Confirmed [unusually young] and everything) and I read your posts and think you're talking out your arse most of the time. You cannot accuse me of not knowing your religion because I really, really do. It wasn't my ignorance that drove me away, it was critical thinking.
I would actually argue that most Catholic's don't know the Catholic faith very well, but I'll take your word for it.

But critical thinking is essential to Catholicism.

And I'm sorry, but thinking I'm talking out of me ass most of the time isn't a very good argument. I think a lot of people on this board talk out of their ass all the time, but I don't feel the need to point it out. I'd much prefer a discussion to name calling.

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And the reason you can't cite a bible verse that discusses environmental morality, or animal rights, or anything else that isn't based on human needs is because it does't exist without manipulating what you're reading to MAKE it fit. That's the problem with trying to make something so old and vague into something specifically relevant today.
But the whole point is that religion isn't solely Bible-based, and it isn't static. So if someone claims that religion says nothing about environmentalism because it's based on something static, and then you point out that no, religion isn't static, now it's manipulating religion to make it fit? So it's damned if you do, damned if you don't.

What religion does, though, is provide a framework for moral choices. So no, the Bible isn't going to say anything about environmentalism, since that word didn't exist back then. But it's pretty easy to take religious ideas such as, "God created the world and it was good," and extrapolate out from that the need to protect the environment.

Logic is essential to religion, and personal choices are essential to religion.

----------

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Actually, the bible does discuss how animals should be treated and to a lesser degree environmental considerations. You would have been better off offering a reference to those verses.
I'm not going to do all the legwork for CalBoy. If he wants to argue from ignorance, it's not my job to educate him.

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No, the idea of species is not arbitrary or simply used to describe nature. A species is exactly organisms that are capable of interbreeding to produce fertile offspring.
I didn't say that the idea of species was arbitrary. I said the idea is man-made. To claim that interbreeding is intrinsically sacrosanct makes no sense. The reason I should care about the person on the other side of the world is because I could breed with them? What if they're of the same sex as me or sterile?

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Originally Posted by Sedulous View Post
Humans are social organisms. As someone said earlier, we tend to have an instinctual desire to form groups. This is not in and of itself unique to humans but it is the source of the behavioral norms that humans have elaborated into "morals". The first of which is often stated as some variation of "do to others as you would have yourself". Without this common ground, it is much more difficult to form even a loosely connected society.
But being a social animal does not dictate that I need to care about all of humanity. I could have a society that sustains me quite well locally, and to hell with anyone else. There's no need to keep them happy or alive or, if push came to shove, to kill them.

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Originally Posted by Sedulous View Post
Your concept of "god" may be complex but arguing over the definition is silly. It is clear Calboy won that point because his usage of god is correct by definition.
Um, mine was also correct by definition. I earlier suggested that CalBoy look up what "the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe" means.

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Originally Posted by Sedulous View Post
There are no substantiated reasons to believe in a personal god. There are lots of unsubstantiated reasons but let's be honest, there is not one scrap of empirical evidence to support a belief in a personal god. That is why so much religion revolves around "blind faith".
Empirical <> substantiated. There are plenty of reasons to believe in a personal God. And you're jumping ahead a bit. I'm not arguing in favor of a personal God, just of a God.

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Originally Posted by Sedulous View Post
You are among some great company in this thinking. Isaac Newton was able to discover gravity and calculus but when faced with describing the complex motions of planets, said that such motions are too complex and are the work of god. Then along came Laplace, who was then able to devise calculations to describe complex orbits of the "heavens". Although people much smarter than you and I have done so, it is futile to assign supernatural explanations for things simply because we don't yet know the answer. As for the origin of the big bang, there are theories how a universe can rise from nothing. Look up stuff by Lawrence Krauss if you are interested.
There's a difference between not knowing what caused something and accepting the fact that something had to be not caused. The Big Bang may or may not be that thing. There could be a million other things before it. But it is a simple matter of logic that something had to exist merely because of itself. And as for a universe coming from nothing, if it did happen, that is impossible to prove empirically. So yes, you can choose to believe that it came from nothing, but there's nothing that dictates that it is the only possible answer.
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