The go a little easy on theists thread
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05-02-2014, 09:49 PM (This post was last modified: 06-02-2014 06:58 AM by WindyCityJazz.)
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(05-02-2014 06:46 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  First of all, you should look up William Lane Craig before responding. He argues for intelligent design, but is not a young earth creationist. He is a well-known philosophy professor with over 30 books and hundreds of scholarly articles written as one of the foremost Christian Apologists active right now. He has also debated with a large number of very well known atheist scientists, and you will never hear him say in any of those debates "it's true because the Bible says so."

And, just for the record, I am not bagging on atheist just because I bag on Dawkins. There are some very intelligent and respectful atheist thinkers...Dawkins just happens not to be one of them.

As for me, Windy, you are just making bald assumptions. You should know that I didn't even know what a deist was before coming on this page. I constantly examine and often change my beliefs on different issues. I used to be a Christian, and changed my view on that.

Frankly, I came on this site at first because I am engaged to an atheist woman, who I love very much. I came on here looking for the atheist perspective to understand where she is coming from and to see if there is anything to it.

I've been accused a couple of times on here of not "looking for answers" because I don't accept every argument given to me on here. The fact of the matter is that the arguments I didn't accept just weren't good arguments, in my opinion. And, anytime I didn't accept one I have given detailed reasons why.

Your "where did the creator argument" is one that I have addressed a seemingly countless number of times. In fact, I countered it just a page or two ago on this exact thread. If you think that is the be-all and end-all counter to that argument then you should maybe think about how open-minded you are being.

The problem with your counter is that it leads to an infinite regress. You have trouble believing in a creator, but can you conceive of a universe with no beginning wherein an infinite chain of cause and effects has occurred in the past? Because, that seems to be the alternative, unless reality simply burst into being spontaneously.

On your last point, you can look back at my posts, but I have certainly never called atheists hateful. Yeah, I criticized Dawkins, but I certainly don't criticize him because he is an atheist, I criticize him because he is an ass. None of my comments about him should be in any way construed as an attack against any atheist not named Richard Dawkins. If you took them as such, I apologize and I understand your criticism, but please know that it is not meant that way. Like I mentioned, I am in love with an atheist, and I certainly would not be if I considered her or her atheist family to be hateful.

I'm just on here to learn more about the atheist perspective (maybe find some answers in there), have some intellectually stimulating discussions and maybe provide a bit of a different perspective. After all, how boring would this forum be if you just had a bunch of atheists agreeing about everything, lol?

In post number 75 of this thread, you said "Since I got here, all I see is a bunch of closed-mindedness and people who are blinded by their personal prejudices (whether it be arrogance, anger at organized religion, etc)." That sounds like every other creationist that comes onto this forum and complains about the arguments that atheists make against a god.

You do not have to accept every argument given on here. However, when you call Dawkins a coward, a hack, and a sorry excuse for a scientist, while praising William Lane Craig, it comes off as reeking of an angry Christian claiming that the creationist side is the one that wins debates, while scientists are hacks. I'm not saying that is your intention, but it certainly came across that way to me.

I think the problem with the "where did the universe come from?" and "where did the creator come from?" is misunderstood. "Where did the creator come from?" is merely a response to the creationist claim. Atheists, on the other hand, aren't claiming anything. We freely admit that we don't yet know the answer to the question of "Where did the universe come from?". The thing is, we don't bullshit ourselves into thinking that we do. It is far more mature to admit that you don't know an answer to a question than to bullshit yourself into thinking that you do. THAT is the point! Saying "The universe was created, but God has always existed" is a completely hypocritical statement by creationists, and that's why we point it out. We don't claim that the universe has always existed. We simply admit the fact that we don't know the answer to that question yet. You claim that people are nor listening to your point, but you are the one not listening to our point in the matter. Several atheists have already pointed this out, but you keep ignoring that and claim the atheists are using the "where did your God come from?" as their proof. You simply skip over this and accuse atheists of using that question as their stance. We have not found any proof for the existence of a god, or anything supernatural. Religious people want to say that their claim is automatically true even though there is no evidence for it. They simply turn around and say, "Well, you don't know the answer to the question of the origins of the universe, therefore we are automatically right!"

As I said in an example in an earlier thread, this is like police coming to a murder scene and not knowing who had killed the man that was murdered. A random man walks up to them and says:"That man was killed by the evil god Loki!"
Police: "Do you have any proof that this evil god named Loki exists, let alone that he killed this man?"
Man: "No, but you don't know who killed him, so my claim is just as good as yours or anybody else's until you prove otherwise!"

Does that man's claim have credibility, even though he has no proof? If the murderer is never found, does that make the man who made the claim automatically right?

See, that's exactly the situation here. Creationists are saying "We have no proof of this, but you have no proof otherwise, so we are right and you are wrong and that's all there is to it!"

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05-02-2014, 10:53 PM (This post was last modified: 05-02-2014 10:59 PM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(05-02-2014 04:11 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  
(05-02-2014 03:05 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  I'm sorry, does Craig make excuses to legitimize a literal interpretation of the genocides in the Old Testament? Yes? Then it's not an ad hominem. Dawkins isn't claiming that Craig's position vis-a-vis the existence of god is incorrect because of his genocide apologetics, he is simply saying that he refuses to share the stage with a person who supports such a morally abhorrent position. Dawkins finds Craig repulsive because of the things Craig has actually said, simple as that.
Oh, so he's not saying his argument is wrong because of his opinion on an unrelated matter, he just refuses to debate any subject with him because he disagrees with him on a completely unrelated matter. Oh, well that makes it all better Rolleyes


Once again, those in glass houses...

Motherfucking John W. Loftus, so kindly shut the fuck up.



(05-02-2014 04:11 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  If Floyd Mayweather had refused to fight Manny Pacquiao because of Manny's opinion on abortion, do you think people would have considered that to be a legitimate reason? No, people would have said it was a smokescreen and he was actually scared to fight Manny, and the situation is no different with Dawkins.


These two gentlemen are both professional fighters, yes? Fighting is what they do, yes? Once again, just like your Parliament analogy, you fail miserably. Fighting is their profession, debate is not the profession of either Dawkins or Craig (although Craig comes close). Neither of them has a professional obligation to go to debates or accept challenges to debates.



(05-02-2014 04:11 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  And, don't give me that disingenuous crap about Dawkins' job is not to debate, he is an evolutionary biologist. Dawkins certainly gets paid to debate, therefore, it is one of his jobs.


He's under no contractual or professional obligation to participate in debates, unlike the obligation imposed on teachers by their universities and students, or on a author by book publishers, or the operations of his own non-profit organization.



(05-02-2014 04:11 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  And, aside from worrying about whether he gets paid to debate, he certainly wrote the God Delusion as part of his 'job' (whether he did it as an evolutionary biologist or anything else). He was challenged to defend the position that he put forth in his book. Is it not part of a scientist's job to defend his published findings?


He was not contractually obligated to write The God Delusion, nor is he contractually obligated to defend it or accept debates from pissant whiny philosophical hacks. He also is not obligated to defend his reasons to you.



(05-02-2014 04:11 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  I'm not sure why you are trying to convince me about Divine Command Theory, because I already told you I agree with you on it. I don't think Craig is right on that, I just don't think it is a legit reason for Dawkins to refuse to debate him.


Is Dawkins now obligated to debate every fucktard, or only the popular ones? Would you be giving him as much shit if he refused to debate a popular flat-Earther?



(05-02-2014 04:11 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  As for why I didn't reply to your other stuff, the position that I am putting forward is (and always has been) this:

Dawkins is a coward who ran from a debate with WLC because he was afraid

I state this because you seem to think that my position is: Dawkins should debate WLC.


Once again, mothfucking John W. Loftus.



(05-02-2014 04:11 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  That's not my position at all, and the other points you made were all irrelevant to my actual point (which was Dawkins-focused, not WLC focussed). In fact, I think Dawkins is smart for not debating WLC. Mostly, I feel that way because Dawkins is a useless hack who is pretty good at self promotion, but a pretty sorry excuse for a scientist. As such, I think he is perfectly justified in being afraid to debate...but that doesn't mean that he isn't afraid.



Right, the guy who authored The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker is a useless hack... Hobo


Well fuck, looks like we have another preeminent internet forum psycho-analyzer. You and Drich need to go get a room... Dodgy

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06-02-2014, 10:11 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(05-02-2014 09:49 PM)WindyCityJazz Wrote:  In post number 75 of this thread, you said "Since I got here, all I see is a bunch of closed-mindedness and people who are blinded by their personal prejudices (whether it be arrogance, anger at organized religion, etc)." That sounds like every other creationist that comes onto this forum and complains about the arguments that atheists make against a god.

You do not have to accept every argument given on here. However, when you call Dawkins a coward, a hack, and a sorry excuse for a scientist, while praising William Lane Craig, it comes off as reeking of an angry Christian claiming that the creationist side is the one that wins debates, while scientists are hacks. I'm not saying that is your intention, but it certainly came across that way to me.

I think the problem with the "where did the universe come from?" and "where did the creator come from?" is misunderstood. "Where did the creator come from?" is merely a response to the creationist claim. Atheists, on the other hand, aren't claiming anything. We freely admit that we don't yet know the answer to the question of "Where did the universe come from?". The thing is, we don't bullshit ourselves into thinking that we do. It is far more mature to admit that you don't know an answer to a question than to bullshit yourself into thinking that you do. THAT is the point! Saying "The universe was created, but God has always existed" is a completely hypocritical statement by creationists, and that's why we point it out. We don't claim that the universe has always existed. We simply admit the fact that we don't know the answer to that question yet. You claim that people are nor listening to your point, but you are the one not listening to our point in the matter. Several atheists have already pointed this out, but you keep ignoring that and claim the atheists are using the "where did your God come from?" as their proof. You simply skip over this and accuse atheists of using that question as their stance. We have not found any proof for the existence of a god, or anything supernatural. Religious people want to say that their claim is automatically true even though there is no evidence for it. They simply turn around and say, "Well, you don't know the answer to the question of the origins of the universe, therefore we are automatically right!"

As I said in an example in an earlier thread, this is like police coming to a murder scene and not knowing who had killed the man that was murdered. A random man walks up to them and says:"That man was killed by the evil god Loki!"
Police: "Do you have any proof that this evil god named Loki exists, let alone that he killed this man?"
Man: "No, but you don't know who killed him, so my claim is just as good as yours or anybody else's until you prove otherwise!"

Does that man's claim have credibility, even though he has no proof? If the murderer is never found, does that make the man who made the claim automatically right?

See, that's exactly the situation here. Creationists are saying "We have no proof of this, but you have no proof otherwise, so we are right and you are wrong and that's all there is to it!"

I apologize for my comment in post #75, I let my emotions get the best of me for a second. I was a little pissed off by Vosur at the time, but you will notice that Vosur and I made nice shortly thereafter. If you look at my other statements on multiple threads I have in fact given a lot of credit to the atheists on this forum (both specific atheists and more general comments) for making good points, arguing cleverly, and generally being quite civil. You still have your trolls like Taqqiya Mockingbird (who I have been basically ignoring) and now EvolutionKills (who I'm planning to start ignoring), but I don't hold their stupidity and lack of civility against the rest of you, just as I hope that no one on here holds the ignorance and closed-mindedness of some who believe in a greater power against me.

As for your other points, while it may be 'mature' to admit that you don't know an answer, I don't agree that it is a good thing to stop trying to find an answer. I'll admit full well that I don't know that a creator exists 100%, I have only ever claimed that I find it more probable than not based on the evidence and arguments with which I have been provided to date.

To be fair, on your other point, you can't lump all the atheists on here together. Some of them are agnostic atheists and take the position that we don't know the answer. Some of them present themselves as stronger gnostic atheists who have the answer.

I have heard the point made about "what caused God" and have answered it multiple times. I certainly have never made the argument "we don't know, therefore God". In my arguments I have used the facts that are known, along with reasonable premises to get to the conclusion that a "first cause" must exist. I understand that my answer has generally not been accepted, but I understood that would likely be the case since I am on an atheist forum. If you went and presented your points on a theist forum you know they wouldn't be accepted, but that wouldn't make you wrong, and it wouldn't mean that you weren't listening to what they had to say. Intelligent people can reasonably disagree on things.

I'm not really trying to convince anyone on this forum that I'm right, I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen. I enjoy the intellectual stimulation of having the discussion and I pick up some interesting knowledge from hearing different perspectives than my own on these issues. If I hope to accomplish anything in arguing about the existence of a God (other than to potentially find some atheist argument I haven't heard before) my only hope would be to show that there is a rational basis for the belief (even if you don't agree I'm right) and that not all those who believe in the existence of a higher power are closed-minded nutbars.

Your burden of proof example works both ways. I understand your point...if I want to convince someone that a creator exists then I have the burden of proof. That having been said, the opposite is also true...if anyone on this page wants to convince me that a creator does not exist, or that it is foolish to believe that a creator exists, then they have the burden of proof.

I'm a lawyer, so allow me a courtroom example (I saw someone use a contract law example on another page, so I'll use that one): Two people enter into a contract. A buyer agrees to pay a supplier $1000 for a shipment of widgets. If the deal doesn't close as planned, who has the burden of proving their damages? The answer is: the plaintiff (ie. whoever makes the claim that they have suffered damages). The plaintiff may be the supplier who claims that the buyer stiffed him on payment, or it could be the buyer who claims that the goods were never delivered. The same analysis holds when it comes to who has to prove the existence and legitimacy of the contract in the first place. The person who has the burden of proof is the person who is relying on the contract. If the buyer wants to rely on that contract they can't simply say, "the seller has failed to prove that we didn't have a contract." But, similarly if the seller wants to rely on that contract he can't simply say, "the buyer has failed to prove that we didn't have a contract."

To translate this to your proposed scenario, the man who claims that Loki was the killer does have the burden to prove his claim. However, if the police officer said, "I don't believe you, I'm charging you with the murder." The police officer (or the Crown attorney) would then have the burden of proof that the man is the actual murderer.

I have heard some atheists say that those who believe in a creator always have the burden of proof because they are making the claim. I disagree. I think that whoever is trying to change the beliefs of the other has the burden of proof, whether it be atheist, deist or theist. If everyone is content to let everyone else believe what they believe, then no one has any burden. But, if you (or I) want to convince someone else to change their views, then you (or I) then bears the burden of proof.
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06-02-2014, 10:23 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(05-02-2014 07:50 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  Thanks for your honesty on that (about not knowing and admitting that it's unknowable).

Now, do you see how all you're doing is "regressing" one step further back than me? Someone asks me how the universe starts, and I say "I don't know.". Someone asks you how the universe starts and you say "God.". They ask you how God starts, and you say "I don't know".

It's effectively the exact same thing, except I'm making one fewer assumption (I'm not claiming that makes it right, I'm just stating why I don't feel the first cause argument proves God; it assumes God).

As for explaining how we got here, I think the above covers that. We're both saying "I don't know" at some point. I just say so one step earlier and make one fewer assumption.

No problem, I do agree that I am just "regressing" one step further than you. We are both saying "I don't know" at some point. I guess I would only rephrase the word "assumption" to "educated guess"...it still doesn't make it right, but I don't consider it pulled out of thin air either.
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06-02-2014, 10:35 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(04-02-2014 02:14 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  
(04-02-2014 12:05 PM)Chas Wrote:  He simply described in clear terms the God described in the Bible. If you think that is inflammatory, then it's because it is the unvarnished truth. Christopher Hitchens said almost precisely the same thing.
...
Dawkins is an author; all authors are self-promoters. Your criticism loses its sting.

Whether it is the truth or not, you don't say it that way in a published book unless you are actively looking to inflame people and generate hate mail. I haven't read any of Christopher Hitchens' books, but from the limited amount I have heard him speak, he seems to be pretty similar to Dawkins in his desire to get notoriety by inflaming religious people, so I don't know if he helps you much there.

All authors may be self-promoters, but they are not all shameless. Some thinkers are respectable, some are Richard Dawkins. Some singers are respectable, some singers are Miley Cyrus. I just hope Dawkins never decides to do a video of him naked riding a wrecking ball.

(04-02-2014 12:08 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Nobody should ever debate WLC, he's a worthless hack. Drinking Beverage

If so, then Dawkins should have welcomed the opportunity. Seriously, the opportunity to debate with a worthless hack who also happens to be one of those more famous Christian apologists? Seems like an easy target and a golden opportunity.

Religions should be mocked and denigrated. So there's that.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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06-02-2014, 10:37 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(04-02-2014 04:31 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  
(04-02-2014 03:14 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Not even. As Dawkins has said, debating WLC would look great on Craig's CV, but not Dawkin's. While Dawkins has taken the time to debate theists, including high ranking members of the Anglican Church; WLC is a disingenuous hack who openly admits (it's recorded and on YouTube) that nothing will ever change his mind because he knows he is right through the self-authenticating power of the holy spirit. He debates as a means of witnessing as a Christian. He's a control freak and will only debate if and when he has complete control over the proceedings, so that he can gish-gallop all over the place instead of having any real intellectual exchange. WLC has also himself refused to debate people who he knows can kick his ass, like his former student John W. Loftus (with the weak excuse that he only debates PhD's, ignore the fact that he has debated other non-PhD's before).


The man cheapens the word 'philosopher' by mere association. Dodgy

As I recall, Dawkins didn't say, "you are a control freak and I will only debate you under certain condition."

The fact that you can refer to William Lane Craig as WLC and know that people know who you are talking about is proof enough that he is famous enough that you can't fluff the challenge off by just saying, "He's not worthy of my attention". I'm sure his CV is long enough with his hundreds of scholarly publications and debates against smarter atheists than Dawkins that he doesn't need the boost.

Dawkins chooses his opponents very wisely. He challenges high ranking members of the Anglican church because he knows that he can talk over their head when it comes to scientific principles. My bet is that he avoids Craig because Craig actually has enough of a knowledge of science to argue back.

Funny how you give Craig a hard time for refusing to debate some guy I've never heard of. Maybe you are right, he might have kicked Craig's ass (no idea, seriously, never heard of the guy), but how can you give Craig a hard time for that, but accept it as a reason from Dawkins?

As for admitting he is wrong, I think Craig's attitude in that regard is stupid, but if you think Dawkins is open-minded enough to admit that he is wrong, then you are fooling yourself. Besides, that's not the point of a public debate. It's not like Dawkins was going to change the mind of any of the high ranking Catholics he debated either. The point of a public debate is for the audience to hear both sides of the story and make up their mind for themselves. I definitely think Craig should be more open-minded (which is why I disagree with a lot of his stuff), but that certainly isn't a reason to refuse to debate someone, or else Dawkins would never find any takers to debate him.

Dawkins has said precisely why he will not debate any creationist. You are being willfully ignorant.

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06-02-2014, 11:06 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(06-02-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  No problem, I do agree that I am just "regressing" one step further than you. We are both saying "I don't know" at some point.

Perfect! I think we understand each other, then.


(06-02-2014 10:23 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  I guess I would only rephrase the word "assumption" to "educated guess"...it still doesn't make it right, but I don't consider it pulled out of thin air either.

Allow me to put "assume" in context. I mean that in terms of assuming that there is an eternal cause one step ahead ahead of the universe, and also that the cause is "god". I mean, assuming the universe is eternal is also an assumption. I'm curious why do you consider the concept of God to be not "out of thin air" in the same way that assuming the universe being eternal wouldn't also be "out of thin air"?


What I'm getting at is, you need to assume God exists in the first place to be able to use him as a seed for the first cause. Otherwise, you're leaving the cause itself so nebulous as to be meaningless other than "it started everything". Does that make more sense, or am I missing something?
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06-02-2014, 11:19 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(06-02-2014 10:35 AM)Chas Wrote:  Religions should be mocked and denigrated. So there's that.

If you truly believe that then you have no right to complain when religious people mock your beliefs.

Just because a belief is untrue does not make it worthy of mockery. All you do is get the backs up of the people who believe in it and make it less likely that they ever come to accept your viewpoint.

(06-02-2014 10:37 AM)Chas Wrote:  Dawkins has said precisely why he will not debate any creationist. You are being willfully ignorant.

Yeah, I read his excuses. Just because I consider them to be poor excuses doesn't make me willfully ignorant.
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06-02-2014, 11:23 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(06-02-2014 11:19 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Just because a belief is untrue does not make it worthy of mockery.

Really?


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06-02-2014, 11:40 AM
RE: The go a little easy on theists thread
(06-02-2014 11:06 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  Allow me to put "assume" in context. I mean that in terms of assuming that there is an eternal cause one step ahead ahead of the universe, and also that the cause is "god". I mean, assuming the universe is eternal is also an assumption. I'm curious why do you consider the concept of God to be not "out of thin air" in the same way that assuming the universe being eternal wouldn't also be "out of thin air"?


What I'm getting at is, you need to assume God exists in the first place to be able to use him as a seed for the first cause. Otherwise, you're leaving the cause itself so nebulous as to be meaningless other than "it started everything". Does that make more sense, or am I missing something?

I agree, I think we are understanding each other much better.

The 'educated guess' aspect of it comes from my formulation of the aspects that a universal "first cause" would have to have.

I think I've posted it a couple of times before, but I attribute 'free will' to the 'first cause' based on my perceived necessity of it to terminate the infinite regress.

Just briefly, if the first cause had no cause of it's own, it would have to be around for infinity before the start of the universe. It couldn't be a transient cause, because then it would require it's own cause (and, therefore, not be a first cause).

This is where my first assumption comes in. I admit a weakness here because this analysis does require me to think in terms of time (ie. something happening before something else), and it certainly is possible (if not likely) that the first cause would exist outside of time. That having been said, I use the assumption simply because I have no way to conceive of anything outside of time. Anyways, returning to the analysis...

If it holds that the first cause was around for infinity before the existence of the universe, then what caused it to jump into action and create the universe. It had presumably been sitting there forever, what caused it to jump into action? If it is an external cause, then you fall into another regress (what caused that external cause, or if that cause has no cause then what caused it to act?). The only way I have found to get out of this regress is "free will", the ability to make a spontaneous decision without an external cause.

This is where I make another assumption. I admit another weakness here, because the other possibility is an uncaused "first cause" that has been randomly spitting out randomly generated universes forever, in which case nothing would have had to make it jump into action to create our universe, as it's perpetual state is one of creating universes. I reject this possibility mostly because I can't get my head around why it would generate random universes, because the ability change anything in the initial conditions of any of those random universes would seem to also require an external stimulus or "free will". And, the idea of a "first cause" that just spits out an infinite supply of universes exactly like ours just seems to violate Occam's Razor too hard.

Anyways, like I say, I'm not 100% certain, and I have pointed out a couple of the issues that I have identified that are, in my opinion, potential question marks. I'm not trying to convince you I'm right, but that is the general outline of the analysis that I use to consider it to be an "educated guess" as opposed to a simple "assumption".
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