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Fri Nov 9, 2012, 12:57 PM

Happy Birthday, Carl Sagan!




Carl has done more to promote Science and Reason, and to dispel religious mythology, than just about anyone else.

You sir, are sorely missed. Happy Birthday.

96 replies, 6327 views

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Arrow 96 replies Author Time Post
Reply Happy Birthday, Carl Sagan! (Original post)
cleanhippie Nov 2012 OP
pokerfan Nov 2012 #1
meeshrox Nov 2012 #2
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #3
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #4
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #5
edhopper Nov 2012 #6
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #11
edhopper Nov 2012 #14
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #16
Dorian Gray Nov 2012 #42
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #51
trotsky Nov 2012 #54
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #60
trotsky Nov 2012 #65
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #67
trotsky Nov 2012 #71
rug Nov 2012 #73
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #79
trotsky Nov 2012 #84
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #86
trotsky Nov 2012 #88
Fortinbras Armstrong Nov 2012 #45
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #62
Fortinbras Armstrong Nov 2012 #70
trotsky Nov 2012 #72
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #78
trotsky Nov 2012 #83
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #85
trotsky Nov 2012 #87
skepticscott Nov 2012 #96
cleanhippie Nov 2012 #15
trotsky Nov 2012 #7
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #12
trotsky Nov 2012 #18
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #19
trotsky Nov 2012 #21
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #22
skepticscott Nov 2012 #24
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #36
trotsky Nov 2012 #31
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #32
trotsky Nov 2012 #33
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #34
trotsky Nov 2012 #35
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #37
trotsky Nov 2012 #38
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #39
trotsky Nov 2012 #41
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #48
trotsky Nov 2012 #50
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #52
trotsky Nov 2012 #53
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #57
trotsky Nov 2012 #63
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #64
trotsky Nov 2012 #66
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #68
trotsky Nov 2012 #69
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #77
trotsky Nov 2012 #80
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #81
trotsky Nov 2012 #82
skepticscott Nov 2012 #44
humblebum Nov 2012 #47
skepticscott Nov 2012 #55
humblebum Nov 2012 #75
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #49
skepticscott Nov 2012 #58
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #61
skepticscott Nov 2012 #91
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #92
skepticscott Nov 2012 #93
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #94
skepticscott Nov 2012 #95
humblebum Nov 2012 #40
skepticscott Nov 2012 #43
humblebum Nov 2012 #46
Laochtine Nov 2012 #59
meeshrox Nov 2012 #8
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #9
meeshrox Nov 2012 #17
Odin2005 Nov 2012 #25
digonswine Nov 2012 #10
Odin2005 Nov 2012 #26
humblebum Nov 2012 #13
skepticscott Nov 2012 #23
humblebum Nov 2012 #28
skepticscott Nov 2012 #29
humblebum Nov 2012 #30
skepticscott Nov 2012 #56
humblebum Nov 2012 #74
humblebum Nov 2012 #76
2ndAmForComputers Nov 2012 #89
humblebum Nov 2012 #90
Starboard Tack Nov 2012 #20
AlGoreRhythms Nov 2012 #27

Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 01:19 PM

1. Carl would have been 78 years old today

"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion."
-1987 CSICOP keynote

"If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?....For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
-Demon-Haunted World

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 01:34 PM

2. Thanks cleanhippie!

You beat me to it!

I'll be celebrating tomorrow at Kennedy Space Center, with a behind-the-scenes tour of the new Atlantis display. That's fitting, right?

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 03:13 PM

3. Do you think dead people can hear you?

Or do they reincarnate and sign up to DU?

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #3)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 03:49 PM

4. Do you think passive-aggressiveness is a positive quality?

Or are you just unable to help yourself?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #4)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 04:01 PM

5. Just curious as to why you are posting to dead people.

You really should look things up before using terms to diagnose psychological disorders. Then you might learn to whom it really applies.

Back to the subject. Why would you, a devout atheist, post birthday wishes to a dead guy in a group about religion? And what's with the avatar?

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #5)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 04:15 PM

6. So that those of us

who revere him can celebrate this life.

Better than celebrating a possible fictional Messiah, on a day he could not have been born, in a year he could not of been born to woman who was not a virgin.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #6)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 06:00 PM

11. So why post it in Religion?

Oh right, to poke the believers in the eye. The post in Science was totally appropriate http://www.democraticunderground.com/122812278
He cross posted it here to stir up shit, because that's his style.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #11)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 06:45 PM

14. You'll have to take that up with

Clean

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Response to edhopper (Reply #14)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 07:04 PM

16. He can take it up with himself.

I could give two-shits about what he thinks of me or my posts. He can feel free to alert if he feels they are against the CS or SOP, but his passive-aggressive bullshit gets him nowhere with me.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #11)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:36 PM

42. Honestly

it didn't stir up shit for me. I am a person of faith. I'm happy to see birthday wishes to Carl Sagan, a person who inspires people in science and non belief.

Do you really find this provocative in any way? Really? Why?

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Response to Dorian Gray (Reply #42)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 04:29 PM

51. Because that is his MO

Birthday wishes for Carl Sagan are totally appropriate. CH's gratuitous insult toward believers was unnecessary. He tries to misrepresent Sagan as being an intolerant atheist by saying "Carl has done more to promote Science and Reason, and to dispel religious mythology, than just about anyone else."
Ironically, I agree with him, but I question why he feels the need to add that comment in this group. Celebrating one person's life is one thing. Using that opportunity to poke others in the eye is disingenuous at best.
I don't know how much time you spend here, but whenever I visit, it seems that I encounter these oblique provocations from the same poster. Rarely does he engage in any kind of productive conversation. His avatar exemplifies this.
As a fellow non-theist, I find his behavior particularly objectionable. Consequently, I feel obliged to let it be known that not all non-believers share his disdain for people of faith. I'm sure many Christians can relate, when the more strident intolerants purport to speak for them all.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #51)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:01 PM

54. What is so gosh darn offensive about "dispel(ling) religious mythology"?

Sagan did do that. He dispelled the religious mythology that the universe was created in 6 days. He dispelled countless other religious myths through his promotion of science, reason, and education. Clearly you don't think what he did was wrong, so why do you think acknowledging what he did to be so horrible?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #54)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:46 PM

60. Nothing is wrong with "dispel(ling) religious mythology".

Who here supports "religious mythology"?
My problem with him is not so much what he says, but how. I never said what he did was horrible, but I have the right to point out how offensive I find his methods. Mockery is not the way begin an adult conversation. He has many good points which I agree with, but when each comment is prefaced with it diminishes his credibility in this group.
This group is about religion, hence there are many here who are devout Christians. Do you honestly think he will earn their respect by displaying such disrespect for that which they hold most sacred? We should be here to discuss, not to offend. There is plenty of opportunity for him to do that elsewhere.
I doubt anyone would find your avatar offensive, unless you were to display it in a forum for recovering alcoholics. Discussions on religion and philosophy tend to get heated enough without gratuitous insults. It is uncouth and demonstrates a lack of desire to have a civilized conversation.
He could have posted his tribute to Sagan without singling out that one comment. I wonder if it ever occurs to you or CH and a few others why so few believers participate in so many threads here? Personally, I only have one DU member on ignore and he doesn't come here. However, I can understand why others ignore a whole bunch. So, in effect, as can be seen in most of his threads, there is little input from people of faith.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #60)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:40 PM

65. Do you think parodies of religious symbols should be banned?

Do you believe people have a right not to be offended?

Perhaps someone who was an avid bicyclist but had an accident and was paralyzed will take offense at your avatar. You're mocking them, aren't you?

"Buddy Christ" is from a mainstream movie (Dogma). Lots of Christians thought it was funny. Do you think they shouldn't have used that symbol in the movie? Was it an insult to those who hold that image sacred? Should we have banned that movie, or prevented it from being made, to keep some people from being offended?

I see quite a few believers participate in threads here - far more than participate in threads in the liberal Christian group, where they are protected from atheists. I wonder why that is? Do you know? Does it ever occur to you to find out why?

I also see several believers making horribly bigoted comments about atheists and atheism in this group (including stating that atheists can only be moral in a society that has a religious ethical framework), and others who stir the pot against non-believers far more than what cleanhippie has done. Why are you not jumping on those individuals for poisoning the group? Do you think it's only mean atheists who are ruining it?

Nonetheless, cleanhippie said only that Sagan dispelled religious mythology, which he did. It's a factual statement, and one you agree with. It's also one that countless religious believers also agree with. So I'm having trouble understanding why you're so upset.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #65)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:59 PM

67. I'm not into banning things.

Commenting on another's childish behavior is hardly a call for banning it. The use of a symbol in a movie is one thing, while bringing it here is another. I have seen nobody here promoting religious dogma.
Do I think it is only mean atheists who are ruining this group? Yes, at least they try. I have seen no meanness by others. Maybe I missed it
I think you have made it quite clear where you stand. You support his ugly, offensive behavior. I think you are insincere and I think we're done. You want to join his hate fest? Enjoy!

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #67)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 09:31 PM

71. Why is this place special or sacred? It's not a church.

It's a discussion group. As indicated in the group rules, all viewpoints are welcome. If someone is not prepared to have their views challenged, they probably shouldn't be in a discussion group on the Internet.

You have definitely missed the despicable behavior of theists in this group. If you'd like, I could PM you names that you can look for. I have put the two worst offenders on ignore, and improved this group for myself immensely in doing so.

I am still unclear what makes cleanhippie's post a "hate fest" - about all you have is that his choice of avatar might be offensive to some, which I have clearly addressed. You have no coherent response to that, so I would unfortunately have to agree that we are done. You have decided you only want to attack, not discuss.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #71)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 09:44 PM

73. Lol!

If someone is not prepared to have their views challenged, they probably shouldn't be in a discussion group on the Internet.


I have put the two worst offenders on ignore, and improved this group for myself immensely in doing so.


Priceless.

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Response to rug (Reply #73)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:14 AM

79. Unbelievable! I gotta get some air.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #67)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:52 PM

84. I should add something here.

I was informed that one of the individuals I have on ignore engaged in the same behavior that caused me to put him on ignore, attempting to have a good laugh at my expense. Bless his heart.

I am not afraid of my ideas being challenged, and in fact I welcome it. That's how I rejected the religion I was raised in. What I will not stand for is continued abuse and baiting - i.e., "making DU suck." I have employed the tools DU provides to address that. Perhaps you should do the same with individuals you accuse of that behavior?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #84)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 01:05 PM

86. You may have a good point there.

Several members, who have you, CH and some of your other special buddies on ignore, have told me exactly the same. Personally, I prefer not to wear blinders when traversing a quagmire.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #86)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 01:51 PM

88. That's so precious!

I have "special buddies!" Awww... people DO care.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #11)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 09:58 AM

45. And I got slapped down for objecting to his stirring up shit

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Response to Fortinbras Armstrong (Reply #45)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 07:25 PM

62. Slapped down how?

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #62)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 09:28 PM

70. Two posts were judged to be

"disruptive, hurtful, rude, insensitive, over-the-top, or otherwise inappropriate" because I said that some bigoted atheistic statements were bigoted.

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Response to Fortinbras Armstrong (Reply #70)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 09:34 PM

72. Your posts were hidden by a jury of your peers because they were deemed as such.

That's DU. And it should be noted, your summary is a little biased. Perhaps you could link to the threads where your posts were deleted, so readers can unhide your posts and judge for themselves? Surely if you are convinced of your innocence, others will see your POV and agree with your perspective.

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Response to Fortinbras Armstrong (Reply #70)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:09 AM

78. We have to be somewhat thick skinned around here.

Unfortunately, there are a handful of intolerant atheists who venture into this group for the sole purpose of mocking people of faith. They don't come here to discuss religion, but to disrupt, by provoking and bullying people like yourself.
Beware. Their intention is to chase you out of here and/or get you banned. DU is a great place, but there are cliques and gangs like anywhere else.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #78)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:25 PM

83. You should read up on some of FA's posts.

I assure you, he was the bully. A jury of DUers agreed. Be careful who you're cozying up with.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #83)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:58 PM

85. I read one of his hidden threads. Total bullshit hide.

Classic CH at his most obnoxious. Not all of us are cozyuppers, but feel free to keep apologizing for his bigotry, if that's the way you wanna roll. You almost had me there for a while.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #85)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 01:48 PM

87. Wow.

So insulting someone's intelligence, calling them an idiot or "not very bright," is OK in your book? Better than a mean old atheist posting about Carl Sagan?

Interesting. At least you're clear about the double standards you hold. Personally insulting atheists and attacking their intelligence: OK. Criticizing religious mythology (not believers themselves, just mythology): bigoted and wrong.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #87)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 12:13 PM

96. Double standards seem to

run in the family. Must be a nice little world they live in, where uncomfortable facts aren't allowed to intrude.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #5)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 06:46 PM

15. Maybe you just shouldn't be so curious.

You really should stop to think about whether I, or anyone, gives a crap what you think about my posts.

Back to the subject. Do you think your passive-aggressiveness is a positive quality or are you just unable to help yourself?

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #3)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 04:19 PM

7. How nice of you to shit on a memorial thread.

Way to change the tone.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #7)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 06:06 PM

12. What tone was that Trottles? Mockery?

Carl Sagan was someone we all admired. Using Sagan's good name and memory to justify Hippie's usual venom against believers is disgusting. But you already knew that.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #12)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 08:28 AM

18. Sagan called religious beliefs a delusion.

Was that venom?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #18)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 10:44 AM

19. No, it was an opinion.

I never saw him as a mean spirited intolerant. He also said “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” As an atheist, I agree with him 100%. How about you?

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #19)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 05:17 PM

21. I see. It's an opinion for Sagan,

but an attack on religion if someone *you* don't like is saying beliefs are a delusion.

At least your double standard is clear. ST, do yourself a favor and get rid of the anger and hatred. Reach deep into your spirituality and stop attacking people. Be the change you want. You could have posted this thread not with an attack, but with that 2nd Sagan quote and attempted to start a dialog or discussion. But instead you attacked.

Study your own behavior, ST. And improve the tone.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #21)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 08:37 PM

22. OK, let's have that discussion.

So what's your take on Sagan's acceptance of spirituality?
And let me assure you, I have no anger or hatred toward anyone here, no matter what you think.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #22)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 09:53 PM

24. What's wrong with Sagan accepting spirituality?

It certainly doesn't mean he was accepting religion, the supernatural, or magical woo-woo thinking.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #24)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 05:52 PM

36. Absolutely nothing wrong with it.

I don't think there is anything wrong with accepting any concept that is not inherently destructive or evil. As I have pointed out in the past, I think the natural world has a spiritual side, often referred to as the soul, that has nothing to do with religion, the supernatural, or what you term "woo-woo thinking".
There is much out there that we do not understand from a scientific point of view. Some might consider some of what we don't understand to be supernatural. I think everything is natural, regardless of our ability to quantify and explain. Same with the so-called "paranormal". Anything presently falling into that category, would become normal, if and when it became scientifically demonstrable. If I encounter a unicorn and am convinced it is such, and not a horse wearing a prosthetic horn, or a one horned antelope, then I will accept it as normal. Meanwhile, I shall remain as skeptical as you.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #22)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:44 AM

31. "Spirituality" can mean simply being in awe of natural processes, like sunsets or glaciers.

Do you think there is necessary additional meaning when using the word?

I should hope you harbor no hatred or anger, but your behavior in this group would strongly suggest otherwise. Nonetheless, let's see where this discussion goes. I'd love to change my opinion of you.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #31)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:27 AM

32. Awe is an excellent word.

Last edited Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:14 PM - Edit history (1)

Amazing how much a three letter, monosyllabic word can infer. Awe is an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime.
I see spirituality as part of the natural world. I do not believe in the supernatural. Everything is natural, even though it may appear otherwise. All depends on our perception and out openness to things we cannot perceive. Our inability to perceive certain things does not mean they don't exist.

As Sagan said On Science and Spirituality
“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light‐years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”
― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #32)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 01:03 PM

33. "Our inability to perceive certain things does not mean they don't exist."

Has someone made that claim?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #33)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 04:49 PM

34. Lots of people make that claim.

Those who demand scientific proof for the existence or non-existence of something fall into that category. Let me ask you a question - Do you think the universe is finite?

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #34)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 05:30 PM

35. Lots? Really?

I'd like to see a cite for that. Links to a few posts on DU will do just fine. Then we can move on to your question!

Please note: requesting "scientific proof" of something is not the same as saying that if something cannot be perceived, it doesn't exist. Electrons cannot be perceived, but they exist, and there is scientific proof they do.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #35)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:08 PM

37. I used perceive in the sense of understanding, learning, grasping.

I did not mean that it must be visible or detectable to the human eye or other senses. Nor was I referring to any DU members by saying "lots". So let's move along. I am not a scientist and will try to be more careful in my choice of words in future, so as not to create confusion and to avoid any ambiguity.

So, do you think the universe is finite?

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #37)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:28 PM

38. I don't think I'm comfortable yet moving along. There is some confusion to clear up.

You said "lots" of people say that if something can't be perceived, it doesn't exist. You've moved the goalposts now by redefining "perceive" on the fly, which is a bit dishonest, but I'll let it slide. You have now also admitted no DUers say this. So who does? Do you have any other sources or evidence?

I would really like to establish who it is you are arguing against. It isn't any DUer, so who is it?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #38)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:13 PM

39. Let's forget the word "perceive" and use the word "prove".

That should clear up any ambiguity and any perception of dishonesty that you may entertain on my behalf. Do you still want me to cite someone on that basis? Which brings us back to post #34.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #39)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:36 PM

41. Just to clarify, do you now wish to have your text from post #32 read like this:

...Everything is natural, even though it may appear otherwise. All depends on our perception and our openness to things we cannot prove. Our inability to prove certain things does not mean they don't exist.

Is that a fair, accurate portrayal of what you are trying to communicate? I just want to make sure we've agreed, and that you won't go back and change the terminology again.

Also, are you now agreeing that your original statement - "Our inability to perceive certain things does not mean they don't exist" - has not been stated by anyone and was a straw man?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #41)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 03:46 PM

48. Your first paragraph is accurate

Regarding the last paragraph, I made no claims that any member of DU had stated such. So there was no straw man. I apologize for any confusion that may have caused. Now can we move along?

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #48)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 04:10 PM

50. I didn't say anything about DUers.

You originally said: "Our inability to perceive certain things does not mean they don't exist"

You've substituted new language, but your statement still implies that someone made that claim. I'm asking who, and if you can't cite anyone (regardless of their DU membership), then the statement is a straw man position - no matter whether you use "perceive" or "prove" in it.

Do you agree, and do you retract your straw man? I'll quite happily move along to answer your question, but I think that point needs to be clarified. I'm not interested in defending straw men.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #50)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 04:32 PM

52. Let me know when you want a conversation

There is a question on the table which you are avoiding.
Do you believe the universe is finite?

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #52)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 04:40 PM

53. I'd love a conversation.

But first, we need to dispel some misconceptions, and the one contained in your statement is a big one. Answer yes or no, please: has anyone made the claim that if something can't be perceived (or proven) that it doesn't exist?

And then we can move on to your question. Promise.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #53)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:12 PM

57. No, not to my knowledge on DU

I have no idea if others have. Can we now move along?
If so, I can only ask that you answer my question with a Yes or No.
Do you believe the universe is finite?

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #57)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:20 PM

63. OK, I'm glad you admit no one you know of holds that straw man position.

I trust you will never use that line again!

Now, to answer your question: Yes, I believe it's finite, but I am no astrophysicist, and not even they have a definite answer yet. There are good arguments either way and I could be persuaded to change my mind.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #63)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:33 PM

64. Phew! Finally an answer. Thank you.

I shall endeavor not to confuse you in future. Now, to the subject of the universe. If, as you believe, it is finite, then what lies beyond it?

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #64)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:47 PM

66. It's not about me being confused, it's about you repeating ridiculous straw men positions.

I am glad you won't repeat that one again! Making progress against common distortions and lies about atheistic positions is a great thing, don't you agree?

Now, on to your second question. By the most common definition, the universe is everything that exists. Therefore by that definition, nothing can be outside or beyond it.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #66)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 09:03 PM

68. If encompasses everything that exists, then how can it be finite?

Is there a wall around it? Is infinity an illusion?
If, as you claim, it is finite, then it must have a beginning and an end. Is time also finite?

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #68)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 09:26 PM

69. The questions you are asking indicate you have not done much reading on the subject.

I would recommend Stephen Hawking's classic A Brief History of Time for starters. You will definitely find it to be informative, despite its age. He presents a great analogy for your quandary about how the universe (or time itself) could have a "beginning."

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Response to trotsky (Reply #69)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 10:37 AM

77. I read it 30 years ago and I disagree with Hawking on this.

True, I have not done "much" reading on the subject, but I have done a lot of thinking. Nobody, including Hawking, can answer the question definitively, as we will never know. He postulates that the universe cannot be infinite because it is expanding. I do not find the two concepts mutually exclusive.
Cosmologists appear to be divided on the subject. Some think that the universe is spherical, like the earth, and some think it is flat. Current consensus is leaning toward the latter, which would indicate an infinite universe.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #77)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:18 AM

80. Pardon me for saying this,

but "a lot of thinking" isn't exactly something that qualifies you to speak authoritatively on the subject as you seem to be doing. Nobody knows for sure does not mean anything is possible. Nor is this necessarily something "we will never know." I don't feel comfortable walling off any area of potential knowledge and saying that humans could never possibly learn about it. I think it's foolish to artificially limit the intellectual growth of our species. Entire new mathematical constructs could be invented and new detection mechanisms discovered to give us the data necessary to draw a conclusion.

Of course I make no pretense of being an expert here either, don't get me wrong. I just don't take the pessimistic view of human growth and achievement that you apparently do.

So were you going somewhere with this? Is there a followup question?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #80)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:42 AM

81. Nah, I don't think so. You can go back to playing with Clean Hippie now. Enjoy!

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #81)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:59 AM

82. Okey doke, if that's all you wanted.

Glad we did make some progress here! I got you to agree nobody made that silly claim.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #39)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:03 AM

44. I suspect you're also going to misuse the word "prove"

If you're going to use it to mean "demonstrate to an absolute, 100% certainty", that's another straw man. No one does that in science, or claims to.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #44)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:02 PM

47. You are a fine one to be lecturing on the term "prove" when your own

 

Last edited Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:32 PM - Edit history (1)

method and epistemology are designed to be narrow and exclusive in focus and you claim that all else is bunk.

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Response to humblebum (Reply #47)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:51 PM

55. Lie, Lie, Lie, Lie..again

Show me where I have ever claimed to have ONE "method and epistemology". Show me where I claimed that "all else is bunk". Show me how any of THAT has anything to do with the fact that I have a better understanding of what the word "prove" signifies in this context than you do. Hell, show everyone....

And when you're done with that, why don't you make some shit up, just for a change?

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #55)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 10:35 PM

75. So then, are you claiming that there is more than one way of knowing? Interesting.

 

There must be more than one of you then. And the other one is lying.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #44)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 04:05 PM

49. I said "scientific proof"

But to allay your "suspicions", let us all agree on the term "scientific evidence", rather than proof.

So, the question now is.
Do you demand empirical, scientific evidence for the existence or non-existence of everything?

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #49)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:19 PM

58. Fine, then let's restate your assertion

from a lot of people claiming that "Our inability to perceive certain things means they don't exist." (which was a blatant lie) to a lot of people claiming that "Our inability to prove certain things means they don't exist." or "Our inability to scientifically prove certain things means they don't exist." or "Our inability to provide scientific evidence for certain things means they don't exist"

In fact, all of those claims are blatant lies, which you have no evidence for whatsoever. Slice up shit any way you want, and it still smells like shit. I defy you to show us anyone making any of those claims.

And to reiterate what trotsky said above (but which you either ignored or couldn't grasp): requesting "scientific proof" of something is not the same as saying that if something cannot be perceived, it doesn't exist. For things which are amenable to scientific evidence, I require it before I accept (provisionally) something as true or existent. For you to argue that failing at a particular point in time to find sufficient evidence that something exists is the same as claiming that it DOESN'T exist, can't possibly exist or that the evidence will NEVER be found is simply idiotic.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #58)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:53 PM

61. Do you believe the universe is finite? Yes or No

If you want a conversation, it might behoove you to not insult others by calling them liars. I might choose the wrong word here and there, but I am sincere and I am honest. Truth is something we all seek, in one way or another. Sometimes, we can uncover certain truths by having a dialog. If your purpose is merely to impugn my integrity, then we cannot have that dialog.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #61)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 07:22 PM

91. Here' a hint

If you don't like being called a liar, don't lie. If you want to have a conversation, don't start it off by making shit up out of thin air and then getting hinky when someone asks you to back up your claims. I don't give a rat's fuck about your "integrity", but if you pollute the stream with things that aren't true, expect to be called on it.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #91)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 07:33 PM

92. And I don't give a "rat's fuck" about your lack thereof.

It must be very lonely in your sandbox.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #92)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:14 AM

93. It's been shown where you've lied

I defy you to show me where I have. And if all I have for company in my piece of the world is the truth, I'd rather have that than to be wallowing in a comforting manure pile of lies.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #93)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:23 AM

94. It has not been shown where I lied. That in itself is a lie.

What a nasty piece of work you are. It is easy to see why so many ignore you. Something I will be doing from now on. You may now crawl away and fester.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #94)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 12:10 PM

95. Your claim in post 34 was a lie

Evidence to back up that claim was requested multiple times, and you, unsurprisingly, failed miserably at providing it. Apparently that someone would demand that you actually substantiate your claims with facts is abhorrent to you, as is the fact that anyone would have the temerity to call you a liar when you lie.

And feel free to put your fingers in your ears and enjoy your fact-resistant little bubble of reality. Your choice not to respond won't spare your future lies and bullshit from a smackdown.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #38)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:49 PM

40. So then when an atheist makes the claim that something has indeed been created from nothing,

 

is that nothingness only defined as such because nothing is perceived, or because it is positively known that nothing exists in the void (they forget to mention gravity)?

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Response to humblebum (Reply #40)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:00 AM

43. Neither

You're still in serious need of education on this topic (among many others). No one who IS educated on the topic would claim that literal "nothing" exists in a void.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #43)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:57 AM

46. Yes, the claim has definitely been made more than once here that something has come from nothing.

 

Even the definition of nothing (ness) has been debated here time and again.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #31)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:22 PM

59. Sunsets are still there

But the the lack of Science belief in some believers has left the the glaciers sorely lacking.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #3)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 05:45 PM

8. Remind me to come back about the fourth week of December, then.

Really, though, so classy of you.

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Response to meeshrox (Reply #8)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 05:55 PM

9. And which dead guy will you be saying "Happy Birthday" to then?

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #9)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 09:22 PM

17. Don't think I need to spell that one out for ya N/T

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 10:49 PM

25. What an offensive post.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 05:58 PM

10. He singlehandedly-

stoked my awe for the natural world that I still feel and that I(hopefully) am passing on to my students.

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Response to digonswine (Reply #10)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 10:51 PM

26. He turned me into a science nut.

I got the 10th anniversary edition of "Cosmos" for my 8th birthday.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 06:14 PM

13. I have great regard for the work and ideas of Carl Sagan.

 

However, concerning his quote, "It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" - the term "delusion" implies a mental illness. Very poor and inappropriate choice of words.

And about grasping "the Universe as it really is" is nothing more than opinion or personal point of view.

Some might consider the very idea that anyone knows exactly how the Universe "really is" to be somewhat delusional.

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Response to humblebum (Reply #13)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 09:35 PM

23. When people persist in believing

that their god created the whole world and everything in it less than 10,000 years ago, in spite of libraries of well-publicized, endlessly repeated evidence to the contrary, how is that anything but a delusion and a form of mental illnes, and how is it "inappropriate" to label it as such? Yes, it may ruffle the feathers of some fundies and their apologists here, but who gives a flying fuck?

How is it not a delusion to think that your god will help the political candidate you want to win, or the field goal kicker on the other team to miss?

And if you can point to ANYONE who claims to know exactly how the universe really is, please do so. Sagan certainly never claimed to. Since we both know you can't, the delusional thinking you refer to doesn't even exist.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #23)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 10:54 PM

28. Um? "It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is..." -

 

That fairly well implies that one KNOWS how it really is. You and I both know how limited you method of thinking is, don't we? Or need I repeat the same old tired line you get so tired of hearing?

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Response to humblebum (Reply #28)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 11:31 PM

29. If you seriously think

that Sagan was ever claiming that he knew exactly how the Universe "really is" (your words), then you know nothing about him, and are straying into delusion yourself. Do I really need to explain what he meant by that, or will the subtlety still escape you?

And the day you get tired of repeating the same unsupported horseshit about your imaginary "other ways of knowing"...? Not holding my breath.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #29)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 11:46 PM

30. Actually "really is" are not my words. Not much room for interpretation there.

 

"other ways of knowing" is hardly imaginary when so many utilize the concept constantly. Your "I cannot grasp it therefore it does not exist" mentality is comical to say the least.

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Response to humblebum (Reply #30)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:59 PM

56. I never said that "really is" by itself are your words

Obviously they're not. You false inserted the word "exactly" (hence the italics) to dishonestly attribute something to Sagan that he never said or claimed.

And you just can't stop lying about my mentality, can you? Show me where I ever said "I cannot grasp it therefore it does not exist" (well, no...don;t waste our time, since we both know you can't). In fact there are a lot of things I don't grasp, but know perfectly well that they exist.

Feel free to keep lying like a rug...oops...carpet. It seems to be the only thing you're good at.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #56)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 10:32 PM

74. Well silly me. When you stated " 'really is' (your words)" - I assumed that

 

"really is" (your words) meant "really is" (your words). Must have been the "your words" part that made me think you were referring to my words.

So when Sagan stated that "it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is..." he did not mean that "it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is." Got it.

Pssst Don't look now but those really are his words. Now I ask you who is lying here?

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #56)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 09:54 AM

76. BTW. Where did I ever claim that you said "I cannot grasp it therefore it does not exist?"

 

Answer: Never did. Purely a description of the mentality I have come to know so well.

The spin-master just keeps on spinning. That is also well known about you.

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Response to humblebum (Reply #13)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 04:06 PM

89. "the term 'delusion' implies a mental illness"

No. It does not. And you know that.

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Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Reply #89)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 04:30 PM

90. Um.No I do not know that.

 

"Unlike hallucinations, delusions are always pathological (the result of an illness or illness process). As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, confabulation, dogma, illusion, or other effects of perception ... Delusions typically occur in the context of neurological or mental illness..."

-WIKI

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 03:13 PM

20. In further tribute to the memory of this amazing man.

A brilliant mind. A scholar, scientist, philosopher and spiritual agnostic.

On Science and Spirituality
“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light‐years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”
― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark


On Religion
“How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?” Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.”
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space


On Atheism
"An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no such God exists. To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain of the nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little confidence indeed".

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 10:54 PM

27. I watched Cosmos

when I was 12 years old and have been a science nerd ever since.

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