Atheism as religion

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Atheism as religion

Okay, here's my thinking.  First, I don't care one way or another.   I would propose that atheism, however, is nonscientific, and cannot be scientific by it's very nature, for the same reason that theism is nonscientific.  Neither theism nor atheism are testable by the scientific method and therefore lie outside of the realm of science.  The only true scientific approach to God is agnosticism.  Both atheism and theism require faith.I suspect those here who are atheists have a visceral axe to grind, probably have been hurt by religion.SteveHHMD


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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Evidence can be used to support many different theories..

But the theory must be naturalistic by definition, as any inductive process assumes naturalism.

 

So how can you use evidence to point to something beyond nature, in other words, how can you make a causal connection back to something that must be acausal?

You can only argue from ignorance by definition. 

 

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"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Quote:
Your analogy is fundamentally flawed. Let me translate it into a logical analogy.
People use "fundamentally flawed" liberally these days......

People use the term "liberally" liberally these days. And this is not a refutation.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Quote:
Person A: I did not murder Person X. Trust me.
That's not what I said..

I know it isn't. Which is why I had to correct you. The analogy you gave was inapplicable. I switched it for one that is applicable.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
unless you are considering "trust me" as replaceable with the word "evidence"--

No. Trust is exactly what religion asks you to do. There is no evidence given, it's all faith. Therefore you cannot say evidence in an analogy when the position is based on faith. It's self contradictory and sets up a fundamentally flawed position.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
in which case you would help my argument greatly as to the objectively liberal definition of evidence.

Evidence can not be liberal or conservative, evidence is evidence.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
  But I don't think you meant so.. I digress. In my analogy I said person A stated "Here is my evidence" I did not state what type of evidence.. for it doesn't really matter. The evidence was not "trust me".. the "evidence" was whatever he considered to be "evidence". In the case of theist.. most would say "bible" or "universe" = evidence-- which is where the second part of the analogy comes into play..

Since I just tore apart the foundations of your argument, this does nothing to help you. The bible and the universe are not evidence of a god. Evidence is evidence.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Quote:
Person B: The evidence, while not 100% empirical(Persons D, E, F, G, and K say you killed Person X, but there isn't a recording of the event), suggests you did kill Person X.

To state that persons A's evidence is not evidence is a "positive assertion" (by your definition) as well as the statement as a whole is a representation of a "standpoint" (by objective definition).

Incorrect. Person A has no evidence. Person A is basing his entire argument on faith. Person B has evidence. It's not empirical, but it's evidence. So your analogy is irreversably inapplicable. My upgrade to your analogy is the only one that fits with the argument.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
And.. so.. I restate my contention with your previous posts with this:
myself wrote:
Yes, person B is making a counter-claim which would not exist without the original claim.. however, how does the fact that it is a counter-claim make it any less of a standpoint?And where does the definition of "standpoint" state that it must be "in and of itself a mental position"? I still think your using the word objectively incorrect in this case..... (I could however, be wrong).

And you are. Wrong that is.

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RhadTheGizmo wrote:

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Now this definition I can get on board with if everyone decided to get on board with it (but they don't). At least it is consistent.. no argument on the matter of "what and atheist is" merely "what it is not".

I know. I would prefer if we could all agree on the simple, content-free "atheism."

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
However.. the binary doesn't work.. since "atheists" are also "adeist" and "apantheist".. (according to the objective definition). They do not believe in God nor gods.

Your finishing sentence would define them as atheists though. For myself, lacking a frame of reference for what "God" is, I can only go on what a deist or pantheist says in answer to the question, "Do you believe in God?" How they define that is not my initial concern, but how they answer the question.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Still.. I guess the question still stands. What distinguishes one with an "knows" that God and/or gods do not exist from one who "knows" that God and/or gods do exist?

Right. And I'm saying that that's not the right question. What distinguishes one with a "knows" that [what] exists from one who "knows" that [what] does not exist?

Whether they believe or not is a different issue; that part is the binary.

You're asking about epistemology. How do you know that--or what--you know? If God doesn't exist, it would be impossible to know. If he does, but is "unknowable," what is the difference in the two situations?

 


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If a prosecutor went into

If a prosecutor went into court with the person being dead as their main (or only!) evidence to accuse person A, the judge is going to be majorly pissed off - especially if it turns out the dead guy had a heart attack!

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.Now, can strong atheists be

.Now, can strong atheists be wrong about their deductive claims? Even strong atheists concede that they could be wrong..... Sigh... I'm sorry to bore you smart people.  It never ceases to amaze me when I learn something I did not know even existed to be learned.  My only admonishment is to keep the ability to learn things you do not know.  However brilliant you guys are, I promise there is much you do not know.   As I see death every day, I get glimpses that there is something on the other side. Glimpses that can't be explained scientifically.  While this does not imply anything one way or another regarding the existence of God, it does imply that there is a world beyond that which we live in.  One untouchable by scientific  method.  To doggedly disregard these possibilities seems an odd exercise to me.  You MUST have some sort of axe to grind.  

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SteveHHMD wrote: .I'm sorry

SteveHHMD wrote:
.I'm sorry to bore you smart people. It never ceases to amaze me when I learn something I did not know even existed to be learned.

Sorry, but believe it or not, none of that whining is directed at you... some of us here feel as if we are sweeping back waves, and at some point, it becomes frustrating...... but you can't possibly know whether you're wave number 1, or wave number 427.

So really, it's not about you at all. Welcome aboard.

 

Quote:

My only admonishment is to keep the ability to learn things you do not know. However brilliant you guys are, I promise there is much you do not know. As I see death every day, I get glimpses that there is something on the other side. Glimpses that can't be explained scientifically. While this does not imply anything one way or another regarding the existence of God, it does imply that there is a world beyond that which we live in.

That's an agument from ignorance. The fact that there are limits to what we know does not speak to there being anything beyond the limits.

Quote:

One untouchable by scientific method. To doggedly disregard these possibilities seems an odd exercise to me.

Conceding that our ignorance tells us what we simply can't know such things is not disregarding possibilities... no one rules things out, a priori, by simply conceding that we don't know.

Quote:

You MUST have some sort of axe to grind.

Is that what you said to mom and dad when they told you that Santa wasn't real?

The fact that there are limits to what we know doesn't mean that you're entitled to write "there be dragons here' in the blank spaces.... our limits only tell us that we have limits.... 

 

 

 

 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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SteveHHMD wrote: .Now, can

SteveHHMD wrote:
.Now, can strong atheists be wrong about their deductive claims? Even strong atheists concede that they could be wrong..... Sigh... I'm sorry to bore you smart people. It never ceases to amaze me when I learn something I did not know even existed to be learned. My only admonishment is to keep the ability to learn things you do not know. However brilliant you guys are, I promise there is much you do not know. As I see death every day, I get glimpses that there is something on the other side. Glimpses that can't be explained scientifically. While this does not imply anything one way or another regarding the existence of God, it does imply that there is a world beyond that which we live in. One untouchable by scientific method. To doggedly disregard these possibilities seems an odd exercise to me. You MUST have some sort of axe to grind.

I agree that there is much we do not know, but what possibilities are you suggesting are being doggedly disregarded?  Possibility of what? 


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Three quick points that I

Three quick points that I feel are the most important here.

Tod:

Tod wrote:
So how can you use evidence to point to something beyond nature

Beyond does not necessarily mean "apart".

be·yond      /biˈɒnd, bɪˈyɒnd/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[bee-ond, bi-yond] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–preposition
1.    on, at, or to the farther side of: Beyond those trees you'll find his house.
2.    farther on than; more distant than: beyond the horizon; beyond the sea.
3.    outside the understanding, limits, or reach of; past: beyond comprehension; beyond endurance; beyond help.
4.    superior to; surpassing; above: wise beyond all others.
5.    more than; in excess of; over and above: to stay beyond one's welcome.
–adverb
6.    farther on or away: as far as the house and beyond.
—Idiom
7.    the beyond,
a.    that which is at a great distance.
b.    Also, the great beyond. the afterlife; life after death.

So what definition are you using? I use 5, and I believe 5 is all that is necessitated by the "omnipotence" concept.

But 5 is not an exclusive term.  God does act within the natural realm.. and therefore natural evidence can be used to support his natural actions.

Vast:

Vast wrote:
Evidence can not be liberal or conservative, evidence is evidence.

Definitely.. I was just trying to give you the benefit of the doubt in that you were limiting the applicability of "evidence", but if you say that evidence is evidence.  Then here you go.

So.. if someone tells me that his/her grounds for believing me is that I have asked him/her to "trust me"-- how is "trust me" not considered evidence in this case?  That "trust me" makes it plain to him/her (for whatever reasoning he/she may have) that him/her should "trust me", makes it evidence.

Like I said.. liberal, actual, definition of evidence lets me use it in this way-- and I would be correct in my labeling in this place.

So.. if you wish to restrict the definition again, let me know.. to say, I don't know, 3.  We are using the noun form right? I think so.

ev·i·dence      /ˈɛvɪdəns/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ev-i-duhns] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, -denced, -denc·ing.
–noun
1.    that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
2.    something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign: His flushed look was visible evidence of his fever.
3.    Law. data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue and which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects.
–verb (used with object)
4.    to make evident or clear; show clearly; manifest: He evidenced his approval by promising his full support.
5.    to support by evidence: He evidenced his accusation with incriminating letters.
—Idiom
6.    in evidence, plainly visible; conspicuous: The first signs of spring are in evidence.

Matt:

Quote:
If a prosecutor went into court with the person being dead as their main (or only!) evidence to accuse person A, the judge is going to be majorly pissed off - especially if it turns out the dead guy had a heart attack!

Wait.. when did we step into the court of law? Am I suppose to be abiding by the rules of law? or the rules of logic? Law is based off logic (well.. heh, some might disagree) yet that does not mean all logic is acceptable in the courtroom.

So tell me what my restrictions are: Because I thought it was just logic and corresponding rationality.

Before you start mincing the differences between logic and rationality.. and how there not completely interchangeable.. this is true-- but if I create a completely logical construct from which I act on, I am rational.  So.. lets not argue this.  Just tell me what I'm limited too.


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To put it simply,

To put it simply, considering the Universe as proof of any God is just as irrational as using the fact that someone died as proof that such and such a person killed them.

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Laker-taker

Laker-taker wrote:
SteveHHMD wrote:
.Now, can strong atheists be wrong about their deductive claims? Even strong atheists concede that they could be wrong..... Sigh... I'm sorry to bore you smart people. It never ceases to amaze me when I learn something I did not know even existed to be learned. My only admonishment is to keep the ability to learn things you do not know. However brilliant you guys are, I promise there is much you do not know. As I see death every day, I get glimpses that there is something on the other side. Glimpses that can't be explained scientifically. While this does not imply anything one way or another regarding the existence of God, it does imply that there is a world beyond that which we live in. One untouchable by scientific method. To doggedly disregard these possibilities seems an odd exercise to me. You MUST have some sort of axe to grind.
I agree that there is much we do not know, but what possibilities are you suggesting are being doggedly disregarded?  Possibility of what?
Well, for one, the possibility of life after death.  What anyone believes is a matter unto themself.  I just believe closed-mindedness serves no one well.  

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SteveHHMD

SteveHHMD wrote:
Laker-taker wrote:
SteveHHMD wrote:
.Now, can strong atheists be wrong about their deductive claims? Even strong atheists concede that they could be wrong..... Sigh... I'm sorry to bore you smart people. It never ceases to amaze me when I learn something I did not know even existed to be learned. My only admonishment is to keep the ability to learn things you do not know. However brilliant you guys are, I promise there is much you do not know. As I see death every day, I get glimpses that there is something on the other side. Glimpses that can't be explained scientifically. While this does not imply anything one way or another regarding the existence of God, it does imply that there is a world beyond that which we live in. One untouchable by scientific method. To doggedly disregard these possibilities seems an odd exercise to me. You MUST have some sort of axe to grind.
I agree that there is much we do not know, but what possibilities are you suggesting are being doggedly disregarded? Possibility of what?
Well, for one, the possibility of life after death. What anyone believes is a matter unto themself. I just believe closed-mindedness serves no one well.

 

Ok, but an atheist doesn't necessarily disbelieve in life after death.  That's not part of the package of atheism, a package that includes only a lack of belief in "God," whatever that might be.

 It's quite common for an atheist to disbelieve in afterlife as well, but it's not required, so lumping atheists together under the banner of "deniers of the possibility of afterlife" is incorrect.


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  MattShizzle wrote: To

 

MattShizzle wrote:
To put it simply, considering the Universe as proof of any God is just as irrational as using the fact that someone died as proof that such and such a person killed them.

 Now we're changing the word to proof? I thought we were using the word evidence?


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SteveHHMD wrote: .Now, can

SteveHHMD wrote:
.Now, can strong atheists be wrong about their deductive claims? Even strong atheists concede that they could be wrong..... Sigh... I'm sorry to bore you smart people.  It never ceases to amaze me when I learn something I did not know even existed to be learned.  My only admonishment is to keep the ability to learn things you do not know.  However brilliant you guys are, I promise there is much you do not know.   As I see death every day, I get glimpses that there is something on the other side. Glimpses that can't be explained scientifically.  While this does not imply anything one way or another regarding the existence of God, it does imply that there is a world beyond that which we live in.  One untouchable by scientific  method.  To doggedly disregard these possibilities seems an odd exercise to me.  You MUST have some sort of axe to grind.  

While I may not today, there was a time that I worked in an environment which had me observing death on a daily basis. And I saw no such "glimpses" as you claim to have seen. I therefore categorize your position in this scenario as delusional.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
So.. if someone tells me that his/her grounds for believing me is that I have asked him/her to "trust me"-- how is "trust me" not considered evidence in this case? That "trust me" makes it plain to him/her (for whatever reasoning he/she may have) that him/her should "trust me", makes it evidence.

How can trust be evidence? Trust is belief, by definition. It is not evidence. Your own supplied definition below supports this.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Like I said.. liberal, actual, definition of evidence lets me use it in this way-- and I would be correct in my labeling in this place. So.. if you wish to restrict the definition again, let me know.. to say, I don't know, 3. We are using the noun form right? I think so.

ev·i·dence /ˈɛvɪdəns/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ev-i-duhns] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, -denced, -denc·ing.
–noun
1. that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
2. something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign: His flushed look was visible evidence of his fever.
3. Law. data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue and which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects.
–verb (used with object)
4. to make evident or clear; show clearly; manifest: He evidenced his approval by promising his full support.
5. to support by evidence: He evidenced his accusation with incriminating letters.
—Idiom
6. in evidence, plainly visible; conspicuous: The first signs of spring are in evidence.

Were you trying to do something other than prove me right with this?

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RhadTheGizmo wrote:Three

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Three quick points that I feel are the most important here.

Tod:

Tod wrote:
So how can you use evidence to point to something beyond nature


Beyond does not necessarily mean "apart".

It has to mean apart, - not nature, otherwise, 'supernatural' is just another word for nature and your just stealing from naturalism.

 

Quote:

  God does act within the natural realm.. and therefore natural evidence can be used to support his natural actions.

 This makes no sense. If we find a natural cause, then we cannot use this to point to the supernatural, by definition.

 

 Here's what you're missing: supernatural is a broken concept. It can't actually refer to anything, as anything that can be referred to is natural by definition.

 

 

 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

 

MattShizzle wrote:
To put it simply, considering the Universe as proof of any God is just as irrational as using the fact that someone died as proof that such and such a person killed them.

 Now we're changing the word to proof? I thought we were using the word evidence?

Well, to be honest, I've seen plenty of times theists using the universe as "proof" of a god. And anyway, either one as "evidence" would be just as valid as saying my balls itch are "evidence" that I have AIDS (which I don't by the way.)

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SteveHHMD wrote: I suspect

SteveHHMD wrote:
I suspect those here who are atheists have a visceral axe to grind, probably have been hurt by religion.SteveHHMD

Hi Steve. Welcome. I shall weigh in as well.

I have not been hurt by religion. (By the way, I'd be curious to hear your definition of "hurt" by religion.) I was raised in a real Leave It To Beaver household by xian parents. Good people with good intentions.

However, we are tired of religion being shoved into our faces at almost every turn. I, personally, feel that most of it defies common sense.

I guess you could say we're annoyed by religion.

By the way, what is "HHMD"?  I Googled it and all it came up with was "Hand Held Metal Detector." 

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By the way, notice he

By the way, notice he started out he "didn't care one way or another?" If this was true he wouldn't have posted here.

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Quote: It has to mean

Quote:
It has to mean apart, - not nature, otherwise, 'supernatural' is just another word for nature and your just stealing from naturalism.

Quote:
Here's what you're missing: supernatural is a broken concept. It can't actually refer to anything, as anything that can be referred to is natural by definition.


And here is what I BELIEVE you are missing.

1.) Assuming I said God was "supernatural".

Yet.. let us for a moment.. say that I did.

So I move on.

2.) Assuming that "supernatural" is anything more than a perception.

If anything "supernatural" was ever observed with regularity then Science would consider it "natural".

People on both sides of the debate seem to try and close conversation because of this word "supernatural".

I merely say that God is "supernatural" because that is how I perceive him to be ("above or beyond what is natural&quotEye-wink, is that to say that he is necessarily so? That he could not have acted, or placed himself, in such a way as to be considered natural? Of course not..


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Quote: Were you trying to

Quote:
Were you trying to do something other than prove me right with this?

Read the definition again.. then read my little thereotical.

My point is that, in and of itself, nothing is evidence. Yet, in and of itself, anything CAN BE evidence; for evidence need only BE USED to prove to one person to be considered evidence (definitively) by that one person.

That is not to say that the evidence would universally be accepted.. yet, that is not part of the definition of evidence: "tends to universally prove or disprove something."

So.. yah. :P 


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Quote: Well, to be honest,

Quote:
Well, to be honest, I've seen plenty of times theists using the universe as "proof" of a god.

Thats nice.. but that wasn't what the conversation was about.

Quote:
And anyway, either one as "evidence" would be just as valid as saying my balls itch are "evidence" that I have AIDS (which I don't by the way.)

I think your failing to grasp my point here as to the definition of evidence and how it need not be acceped universally evidence to be objectively defined as such merely evidence.


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I'm not saying you should

I'm not saying you should accept it.  I'm just saying.. as a scientist.. you should take as antagonistic stance towards a "hypothesis" or make such claims as its impossible, or, any other such absolute statements since, as a scientist, you must always be open to progressive revelation of evidence.

Even within 200 years "solar understanding" progressed to accept EVIDENCE it did not ACCEPT as evidence before.  Did the fact that it wasn't accepted at one point make it any less valid as evidence in the first place? Hmm....

There is a big difference within this comparison. In the scientific method, a hypothesis is presumed false before experimenting with something new(at least, that is how I do it), because before the hypothesis is experimented on, there is not evidence, thus it is a scientific assertion. Thus, because the God hypothesis has been stuck in hypothesis mode it is presumed false until proven true. 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Quote:
Here's what you're missing: supernatural is a broken concept. It can't actually refer to anything, as anything that can be referred to is natural by definition.


And here is what I BELIEVE you are missing.

1.) Assuming I said God was "supernatural".

 

The 'god' of christianity is supernatural by definition. If your 'god' is natural, then you've left theism altogether, and entered Spinozian pantheism.

 

Quote:

Yet.. let us for a moment.. say that I did.

It's moot as to whether you said it or not.... See above.

 

Quote:


2.) Assuming that "supernatural" is anything more than a perception.

Supernatural as a theological notion is defined contra nature.

Nature is physical, the supernatural is non physical.

Nature is causal, the supernatural is acausal

And so on.

Quote:

If anything "supernatural" was ever observed with regularity then Science would consider it "natural".

Two problems.

If you can observe it, or infer it, then it is empirical. Then it is natural.

If it exhibits 'regularity' then again, it is empirical and causal.

Do you see the problem?

Quote:


I merely say that God is "supernatural" because that is how I perceive him to be

This is an oxymoron, unless by 'perceive' you really mean to say "define' or 'believe'

 

Quote:

"above or beyond what is natural&quotEye-wink, is that to say that he is necessarily so? That he could not have acted, or placed himself, in such a way as to be considered natural? Of course not..

A 'god' would not 'act' as acting implies a limitation. To act is to move to bring about a desired situation. This implies that a situation is not already precisely as it 'ought to be'.

Anything that a 'god' would 'want' would simply automatically 'be' by fiat.

A common mistake is to say that I am 'ruling out a possible behavior' i.e. 'limiting god' by saying he 'can't' act. In fact, what I am doing is saying that 'acting' itself would be the limit, and that it would be unnecessary in the first place.

Here's a weak analogy to explain what I mean here. Imagine that you had a magic TV remote in your brain, that allowed you to not only turn to any channel you wanted, but to actually simply create whatever show you wanted to see, without you even having to consciously make the decision. In fact, it would even create the TV for you, whatever screen size you wanted, wherever you were.

Now imagine that you told me that this was 'limiting you', because you 'had the power to get up, turn the channel and flip through the stations on an old black and white zenith TV with an attenae hookup to basic VHF stations'.

 Even if this were your desire, your abilities, as mentioned above, would obviate the process, and already 'make this so'

 In short, you're trying to buy a ticket to a show, but you're aleady the headline player with a free pass, and the owner of the concert hall.

Does that help?

 

 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Quote:
Were you trying to do something other than prove me right with this?

Read the definition again.. then read my little thereotical.

You read the definition again. You obviously haven't understood it yet.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
My point is that, in and of itself, nothing is evidence.

Your point is irrelevant.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Yet, in and of itself, anything CAN BE evidence;

Wrong. Evidence is, as your own definition lays out, that which tends to prove or disprove something. Every single followup definition leads from the same source. Evidence is evidence. Trust is not evidence. Get this through your head.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

for evidence need only BE USED to prove to one person to be considered evidence (definitively) by that one person.

No. Whether or not someone accepts your claim, your claim is NOT evidence. EVIDENCE IS EVIDENCE. Your claim is not proof, it's insubstantial. You theists constantly annoy me with your attempts to redefine words. Learn how to read the dictionary already.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
That is not to say that the evidence would universally be accepted.. yet, that is not part of the definition of evidence: "tends to universally prove or disprove something.

You don't know what you're talking about.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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SteveHHMD wrote: .Now, can

SteveHHMD wrote:
.Now, can strong atheists be wrong about their deductive claims? Even strong atheists concede that they could be wrong..... Sigh... I'm sorry to bore you smart people. It never ceases to amaze me when I learn something I did not know even existed to be learned. My only admonishment is to keep the ability to learn things you do not know. However brilliant you guys are, I promise there is much you do not know. As I see death every day, I get glimpses that there is something on the other side.

 

on the other side of what? and answering that, what do you mean by "glimpses"? the more specific, the better. i also see death often. but the death i see involves non human species, so i am not familiar with what you mean by "glimpses."

 

Quote:
Glimpses that can't be explained scientifically.

 

how do you know they cannot?

 

Quote:
While this does not imply anything one way or another regarding the existence of God, it does imply that there is a world beyond that which we live in.

 

how does it imply there is a world beyond that which we live? first, you need to be much more specific. vague referrences to "glimpses" of "other sides" of things doesn't give me much to go on. and why automatically jump to the conclusion that these glimpses are an indication of some "beyond," and somehow not scientifically explainable, instead of simply saying that you don't know what their explanation is?

Quote:
One untouchable by scientific method.

 

on what do you base this assumption? you did just finish saying that no matter how brilliant the people here are that there is much they do not know. the same applies to you. i don't see why, when you see something you cannot explain, that instead of saying, "i cannot explain this," you say, "it implies that there is a world beyond that which we live in." why must it imply there is a world beyond this one? why can it not simply imply that your knowledge (or our knowledge as a species) is currently limited?

 

Quote:
To doggedly disregard these possibilities seems an odd exercise to me. You MUST have some sort of axe to grind.

 

you doggedly disregard possibilities all the time. everyone does. so the act itself shouldn't seem an odd exercise to you (and i am sure it is not if you thought about it). nor should you assume it is because we have an axe to grind. just because this possibility is not doggedly disregarded by the majority in the US does not make it any more valid than the possibilities you doggedly disregard everyday.

 

do you find boogeymen and magic worlds hiding in every area that our knowledge does not reach? or is it just death? could it be (as i suspect it most likely is) that you believe in this "beyond" world as a way of coping with being exposed to human mortality on a daily basis? could it be that you want it to be true, so you believe it?

Rill


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todangst wrote:

todangst wrote:
The 'god' of christianity is supernatural by definition. If your 'god' is natural, then you've left theism altogether, and entered Spinozian pantheism.

Could you elaborate on this for me.
I bring this up because next week I'll be debating with my Uni's philosophy society and the topic might be the existence of God. I can argue the atheistic position from the premise that God is supernatural but proving that premise is something I don't know how to go about.

Could you outline the "It's either supernaturalism or pantheism" argument for me? (I'm guessing it will involve causation but I would like to see the real thing.) I'll play devils advocate and try to find as many holes/flaws as I can. I read Wiki and Spinoza's God is almost purely metaphoric. (If I understand it right)
Is there another pantheistic God that my opponents might suggest?
(one with Godly powers?)

The second question I have involves another possible definition of 'supernatural' which is closer to the intuitive concept. (I wrote a post a few days ago in the "Pastor Teaches Philosophy" thread in the Philosophy forum but I don't think you've seen it yet.)
When laypeople say supernatural they mean ontologically natural but epistemologically supernatural.
i.e. God can be described in natural terms but his ways are not limited by the known laws of physics.
(remember that 'God of the Sims' I used to bring up?)
I remember someone (probably Kishmo) saying that it would place intolerable limits on God but I can't remember a detailed argument/proof.

Lastly, the guys I'm arguing against might accept the possibility of a 'limited' or pantheistic God. Are there any arguments that such a God is epistemologically bankrupt to the point of irrelevence?



I'm unlikely to convert many people as most of them are atheists anyway and the event is a social one - more about drunken fun than an absolutely serious debate. I'll admit straight from the start that I'll be trying to look impressive infront of my philosophical peers and maybe impress this anti-religious girl I've got my eye on. Wink
But I think these questions are quite important to tackle and find/devellop clear arguments for as most amature (and even some professional!) apologists rely on a fuzzy definition of supernatural. They'll definately come in handy in the future!


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Strafio wrote: todangst

Strafio wrote:
todangst wrote:
The 'god' of christianity is supernatural by definition. If your 'god' is natural, then you've left theism altogether, and entered Spinozian pantheism.

Could you elaborate on this for me.


I bring this up because next week I'll be debating with my Uni's philosophy society and the topic might be the existence of God. I can argue the atheistic position from the premise that God is supernatural but proving that premise is something I don't know how to go about.

It follows from how theists define god - as 'unlimited' and 'outside of nature'.

  In addition, if 'god' creates ex nihilo, then how can he be a natural entity, working causally, etc.? How can you create from nothing, if there is already something? "god" would need to be beyond nature, and beyond the limits of nature.

Don't take this part lightly... remember that the theist himself puts forth his 'god' as the solution to the problem of 'creation'...  

 

Quote:
 

Could you outline the "It's either supernaturalism or pantheism" argument for me? (I'm guessing it will involve causation but I would like to see the real thing.)

Yes. It all flows from how theists define 'god' - outside of nature, without any positive traits.

 

Quote:
 

I'll play devils advocate and try to find as many holes/flaws as I can. I read Wiki and Spinoza's God is almost purely metaphoric. (If I understand it right)

It pretty much is.... I've read Spinoza and he actually is all over the place in how he uses the term 'god' - he calls the unchanging 'foundation' of existence 'god' but he is just as likely to refer to 'god' like any theist....

 

Quote:

Is there another pantheistic God that my opponents might suggest? one with Godly powers?)

I wouldn't be able to guess.

Quote:
 


The second question I have involves another possible definition of 'supernatural' which is closer to the intuitive concept. (I wrote a post a few days ago in the "Pastor Teaches Philosophy" thread in the Philosophy forum but I don't think you've seen it yet.)


When laypeople say supernatural they mean ontologically natural but epistemologically supernatural.


i.e. God can be described in natural terms but his ways are not limited by the known laws of physics.

This is oxymoronic - how can something be described in natural terms, yet transcend natural limits at the same time?

I know christians can assert such things, but they're never ever to actually say what this means....  

Any atttempt to define god in natural terms creates an oxymoron, one identified by Augustine:


What then, brethren, shall we say of God? For if thou hast been able to understand what thou wouldest say, it is not God. If thou hast been able to comprehend it, thou hast comprehended something else instead of God. If thou hast been able to comprehend him as thou thinkest, by so thinking thou hast deceived thyself. This then is not God, if thou hast comprehended it; but if this be God, thou has not comprehended it.

 

Even Aquinas concedes the following:


[quoteSumma Theologiae I, Q.3, Prologue]
"The existence of a thing having been ascertained, the way in which it exists remains to be examined if we would know its nature. Because we cannot know what God is, but rather what God is not, our method has to be mainly negative…What kind of being God is not can be known by eliminating characteristics which cannot apply to him, like composition, change, and so forth."

 

Quote:
 


(remember that 'God of the Sims' I used to bring up?)
I remember someone (probably Kishmo) saying that it would place intolerable limits on God but I can't remember a detailed argument/proof.

The idea of video games speaks to how people conceive of god....

 

Quote:
 



Lastly, the guys I'm arguing against might accept the possibility of a 'limited' or pantheistic God. Are there any arguments that such a God is epistemologically bankrupt to the point of irrelevence?

Why bother with a limited pantheistic god? What's the value of the idea? 

 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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todangst wrote: It follows

todangst wrote:
It follows from how theists define god - as 'unlimited' and 'outside of nature'.

If this is the technical definition of theism then it seems that not all 'God believers' are properly theists. Most God believers work on very fuzzy definitions. I think that many have a conception that is ontologically natural but epistemologically supernatural. This might be an incoherent combination but I'm not convinced yet...

Strafio wrote:
When laypeople say supernatural they mean ontologically natural but epistemologically supernatural.


i.e. God can be described in natural terms but his ways are not limited by the known laws of physics.

Todangst wrote:
This is oxymoronic - how can something be described in natural terms, yet transcend natural limits at the same time?

I know christians can assert such things, but they're never ever to actually say what this means....


Maybe I should've said "Superphysical" rather than "epistemologically supernatural".
So God is describable by language but isn't 'limited' by the laws of physics. This would put God make like Road Runner who can break all the laws of physics while still being describable in natural terms.

I read those quotes from Aquinas and Augustine. They seemed to assume certain characteristic of 'God' that other people might not accept. Not all God believers are Christians, not all Christians accept the doctrines of a particular church and those that accept the doctrines might not fully accept the theology. A good example is the [url=]Open Theists[/url] who believe that Catholic theology is corrupted by Platonic metaphysics and that the God of the Bible isn't necessarily portrayed as absolutely limitless or unchanging.
I read that post you made in IG on Bible passages that support the 'absolutely unlimted' interpretation of the Biblical God but I didn't see a reason why this should be the only interpretation. E.g. individual quotes along the lines of "God is more powerful than anyone can imagine" could be considered hyperbole that don't have to be taken as absolute truth. And not all God believers are Christian anyway! Smiling

To argue against a "Superphysical" God I can think of two approaches:
1) One would be to argue that this places intolerable limits on God and I think that this is the approach you've taken below. This is a good approach to take against people who are deeply religious and want they God to have powers that we can deny. However, there are many people who are open to having a God who's outside normal experience but doesn't have to reach the extreme of limitless.

2) Accept that a definition of a 'superphysical' God is coherent but is almost as epistemologically bankrupt as the supernatural one.
I think the best attack we can make is similar to Hume's approach to miracles.
1) A miracles involves a law of physics being broken.
2) The laws of physics are what we are most certain of.
c) To believe in a miracle is to go against our most epistemologicaly certain beliefs; i.e. is to argue against the validity of our epistemology. So a belief in miracles requires us to give up our rational approach to belief.

Thoughts?


Quote:
In addition, if 'god' creates ex nihilo, then how can he be a natural entity, working causally, etc.? How can you create from nothing, if there is already something? "god" would need to be beyond nature, and beyond the limits of nature.

What does ex-nihilo mean?
In my experience, many 'God believers' mean no matter or energy but they don't deny time and space. So they mean empty space. The laws God is breaking is the conservation laws of physics.

Quote:
Don't take this part lightly... remember that the theist himself puts forth his 'god' as the solution to the problem of 'creation'...

Again, this depends on the particular 'God believer'.
If they want to credit him with all 'order' altogether than they are committed to supernaturalism. However, some just want to credit him with creation of the physical universe, like he started the big band with some kind of divine chemistry set! Smiling
Or he's the ultimate programmer of how the universe functions ('God of the Sims' again) with ability to determine everything within his program but might have limits outside of it.

Quote:
The idea of video games speaks to how people conceive of god....

I think that books and television/films do as well.
They all promote a 'third person view' on the world, where someone gets the best camera angle on any possible scene. We seem characters on their own, doing things that no one else can see. In books we can even be treated to their line of thought. It's like the author has an omniscience over his created world in that he can share absolutely anything about it with us.
Another thing is that they all have teological storylines, stories that relate to our tastes/passions. E.g. many storylines have a karma/justice where bad people get what's coming to them. Some of the most controversial films are the ones that try to be more realistic in this respect. Because our values are projected into our culture we become immersed in this sense of teleology


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Strafio wrote:todangst

Strafio wrote:
todangst wrote:
It follows from how theists define god - as 'unlimited' and 'outside of nature'.


If this is the technical definition of theism then it seems that not all 'God believers' are properly theists.

I'd bet that most theists disagree on what god is! I bet most theists, in their heart of hearts, could improve on god.


Quote:

Most God believers work on very fuzzy definitions.

Yes, but for the sake of philosophiocal discussion, theists like Plantinga give us a definition like this:

By definition a maximally great being is one that exists necessarily and necessarily is omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good. (Premise)

Most every theologian you can cite argue that 'god' is 'omnipotent'.

So the problems I identify come from how theologians define god.

Quote:

I think that many have a conception that is ontologically natural but epistemologically supernatural. This might be an incoherent combination but I'm not convinced yet...

Yes. I think I cited Augustine above to get to this problem..... in other words, they define 'god's supernaturally, but talk of him as a natural object.



Strafio wrote:
When laypeople say supernatural they mean ontologically natural but epistemologically supernatural.


i.e. God can be described in natural terms but his ways are not limited by the known laws of physics.

Todangst wrote:
This is oxymoronic - how can something be described in natural terms, yet transcend natural limits at the same time?

I know christians can assert such things, but they're never ever to actually say what this means....

 

Quote:

Maybe I should've said "Superphysical" rather than "epistemologically supernatural".

No, you said it right. The problem is that the process is contradictory.

Superphysical either means 'very strong physical' or 'not physical'. If it means the former, than it is physical. If it means the latter, then it is incoherent.

Quote:


So God is describable by language but isn't 'limited' by the laws of physics. This would put God make like Road Runner who can break all the laws of physics while still being describable in natural terms.

The 'road runner' can't actually be described in natural terms, if 'he' in fact violates naturalism.

 

Quote:

I read those quotes from Aquinas and Augustine. They seemed to assume certain characteristic of 'God' that other people might not accept.

They assume a god defined negatively, devoid of any universe of discourse.

Quote:
[url=]Open Theists[/url] who believe that Catholic theology is corrupted by Platonic metaphysics and that the God of the Bible isn't necessarily portrayed as absolutely limitless or unchanging.

The problem is this: what limits are there other than those within the control of an omnipotent creator?

Quote:


I read that post you made in IG on Bible passages that support the 'absolutely unlimted' interpretation of the Biblical God but I didn't see a reason why this should be the only interpretation.

E.g. individual quotes along the lines of "God is more powerful than anyone can imagine" could be considered hyperbole that don't have to be taken as absolute truth. And not all God believers are Christian anyway! Smiling

The problem is that theologians have, for centuries, not only cited the bible, but argued that 'god' must be omnipotent, omniscient and the creator of the universe.

As for other theists.. I can only react to the claims before me... the fact that other claims, of which I have no knowledge of, exist, is therefore something I can't address.

Quote:

To argue against a "Superphysical" God I can think of two approaches:


1) One would be to argue that this places intolerable limits on God and I think that this is the approach you've taken below. This is a good approach to take against people who are deeply religious and want they God to have powers that we can deny. However, there are many people who are open to having a God who's outside normal experience but doesn't have to reach the extreme of limitless.

Again, what would be responsible for the limits? Where would they come from? And could this 'god' change them?

 

Quote:


2) Accept that a definition of a 'superphysical' God is coherent but is almost as epistemologically bankrupt as the supernatural one.

To me, it is precisely as bankrupt, because it is identical.

 

Quote:

I think the best attack we can make is similar to Hume's approach to miracles.
1) A miracles involves a law of physics being broken.
2) The laws of physics are what we are most certain of.
c) To believe in a miracle is to go against our most epistemologicaly certain beliefs; i.e. is to argue against the validity of our epistemology. So a belief in miracles requires us to give up our rational approach to belief.

Thoughts?

Hume's approach is a good one, but the root problem to me is that any 'god' term must be incoherent, because it cannot have any positive ontology. Attempts to do so must steal from naturalism, or concede that 'god' is natural, and therefore, no longer the god of theism... as far as I can see.

Also a natural god seems to be superflous... if a natural entity can 'create the universe' then why bring 'god' into this? You've already conceded that naturalism is the only viable option, so why not just take the next step and stop calling cosmological events 'god'?


Quote:

 In addition, if 'god' creates ex nihilo, then how can he be a natural entity, working causally, etc.? How can you create from nothing, if there is already something? "god" would need to be beyond nature, and beyond the limits of nature.

 

Quote:

What does ex-nihilo mean?

I'm flabbergasted that someone on the internet is asking for clarification.

If you don't understand what I say, you're supposed to throw insults at me, and dodge the point!

Ex nihilo is a Latin term meaning "out of nothing". It is often used in conjunction with the term creation, as in creatio ex nihilo, meaning "creation out of nothing".

It can be debated that this is the intent of Genesis 1:1

 

Genesis 1:1-2 - 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

It is clearly implied in the book of John:

John 1:3 - 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

 

Quote:


In my experience, many 'God believers' mean no matter or energy but they don't deny time and space.

I'm confused. How can there be time and space without matter or energy? "Time" and 'space' are relational terms, and their meaning is interconnected with the existence of matter/energy.

You see, if there already is time and space, then there's no need for a creator.

Quote:

So they mean empty space.

No such thing. Empty space is never empty. That would be a violation of the laws of physics... you'd be able to give a precise measure of the velocity of a particle: zero. That contradicts quantum physics. (Einstein was the one who harped on this as a refutation of quantum theory, and Niels Bohr owned his ass on his error... again)

In fact, this line of thought is the very reason we know about virtual particles and vacuum energy.

So if they mean 'empty space' they are contradicting physics.

They can only mean 'dimensionless'. No space, no dimensionality.

But even here, there's a problem. Alex Vilenkin proposed, in contrast to the Hartle-Hawkings boundless model, an initial state of no dimensional nothingness can be overcome by vacuum tunneling to a dimensional state. As per his model, 'eternal nothingness' is an absolute impossibility.

See my audio file on this: http://www.candleinthedark.com/exnihilo.mp3

 

So what can they mean then? NothingNothingness?

And how can 'god' fit in?

Quote:

The laws God is breaking is the conservation laws of physics.

So god is quantum tunneling? Smiling

 

Quote:
Don't take this part lightly... remember that the theist himself puts forth his 'god' as the solution to the problem of 'creation'...

 

Quote:

Again, this depends on the particular 'God believer'.

Yes, but I can only address arguments that I'm aware of...

Quote:


If they want to credit him with all 'order' altogether than they are committed to supernaturalism.

Yes.

Quote:

However, some just want to credit him with creation of the physical universe, like he started the big band with some kind of divine chemistry set! Smiling

Then 'god' is a virtual particle, or a quantum tunneling.....

Both of these processes are more basic than a 'superphsyical' being floating about in the nethersphere, contemplating and then creating a singularity....

Quote:

Or he's the ultimate programmer of how the universe functions ('God of the Sims' again) with ability to determine everything within his program but might have limits outside of it.

Quote:
The idea of video games speaks to how people conceive of god....

 

Quote:

I think that books and television/films do as well.


They all promote a 'third person view' on the world, where someone gets the best camera angle on any possible scene. We seem characters on their own, doing things that no one else can see. In books we can even be treated to their line of thought. It's like the author has an omniscience over his created world in that he can share absolutely anything about it with us.

Yes. And implicit in all of this is that the world exists for the pleasure of the reader/viewer.

So I can see why theists are prone to this view.... the universe as a special creation doesn't make sense from our point of view ... becuase we suffer, and some of us will be tortured in hell.

But it makes sense from the idea of a Watcher, he's doing it all for himself.

Quote:

Another thing is that they all have teological storylines, stories that relate to our tastes/passions. E.g. many storylines have a karma/justice where bad people get what's coming to them. Some of the most controversial films are the ones that try to be more realistic in this respect. Because our values are projected into our culture we become immersed in this sense of teleology

That's another of my old theories on religion: god is the ultimate scorecard... what point is there in life if at the end you don't find out what your score was?

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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To clarify what I'm doing

To clarify what I'm doing here, I'm exploring the possibilities of a different God definition that could still fit the Bible. The Open Theists (who I forgot to actually link to last time!) have suggested a God who is 'the most' rather than 'omni' potent/scient/benevolent. The general 'god' concept allows for some limitations. The Bible quotes of being unlimited could be seen as metaphoric or hyperbolic.

When I said 'superphysical' I kind of meant an entity that isn't bound by the laws of physics but can still be described in natural terms. After typing this much I started some Wiki based research...

Right...
I was depending on the laws of physics being contingent and based on empirical observation. It turns out that some laws are mathematical and are tied to notions like motion (and therefore space and time) that I was trying to divorce from them. It turns out that the laws of conservation are actually a priori! That's really counter intuitive as we can imagine the laws of conservation being broken like in computer games that are depicting spacio-temporal worlds...

I think the last possibility I could bring up is 'God of the Sims'.
This God is ontologically natural, that the universe is within a larger nature (like a computer simulation - the Matrix) so he has all power over this universe, created it ex-nihilo etc.
This 'outside' nature also has a temporal structure that our universe is based upon so we can apply temporal concepts to this God without contradiction. I think that this conception of God is atleast coherent and has the potential to fit all the characteristics of the Biblical God...

Here was one of your objections towards open theism:

Quote:
The problem is this: what limits are there other than those within the control of an omnipotent creator?

They don't consider him omnipotent, just the 'most powerful' being.
He would still be limited in some respects.

Quote:
Again, what would be responsible for the limits? Where would they come from? And could this 'god' change them?

These limits would just have to 'be'.
Theists of this sort would definately have to drop the "intelligence must've been responsible for order" although come think of it, intelligence is necessarily ordered anyway! Laughing out loud


Quote:
The problem is that theologians have, for centuries, not only cited the bible, but argued that 'god' must be omnipotent, omniscient and the creator of the universe.

Yeah. I think we can allow theology to evolve.
Besides, the Evangelicals will only do what they always do and blame all the confusion as inherited corruptions from the Catholic Church!

Quote:
As for other theists.. I can only react to the claims before me... the fact that other claims, of which I have no knowledge of, exist, is therefore something I can't address.

Yeah. I should probably show how the incoherence of classical theism and then point out that nearly all theologians use this kind of theism. Once I'd discredited contemporary theology the onus would be on them to discover a new one.

Quote:
Also a natural god seems to be superflous... if a natural entity can 'create the universe' then why bring 'god' into this? You've already conceded that naturalism is the only viable option, so why not just take the next step and stop calling cosmological events 'god'?

A naturalistic God still allows for divine intuition, a teleology for the events of the world etc. However, you're right in that it would make all the a priori theistic arguments invalid and this concept is a huge violation of Occams Razor. The closest we could hope for is empirical evidence...
Perhaps some matrix style glitches like deja vu?
Perhaps some matrix style glitches like deja vu?

Wink


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Has SteveHHMD, the creator

Has SteveHHMD, the creator of this thread, disappeared?