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Sat Mar 30, 2019, 06:44 AM

A small commentary upon belief systems...

You can't shock me at the age of 66 but you can surprise me on occasion...

I have an employee in her mid-50's: she used to work for a very fine law firm for thirty years until her managing partner retired and she did the same for a couple years and came out of retirement and works for me as a receptionist/scheduler. She is fantastic at her job, very thorough, attentive to detail, friendly to patients of all stripes, engaging, a little profane but in a funny way, not in that hold-your-head manner. She comes to work early and leaves late, files everything before she walks out the door, answers the phones on the first ring and has perfect telephone mastery which is very hard to find these days.

But she is not just a Trump supporter: she believes that there is a planet identical to Earth on the other side of the Sun, (yes I know this is nothing new) and the alien visitors are the ones making things happen here and are in control of everything from economics, politics, and the climate alterations using their advanced machines. She also believes that there is another Sun, though much smaller behind the planet Jupiter in direct alignment and we can never see it and it was placed there for some unimaginable reason having to do with our tides and other vagaries of the Earth. This is not a joke to her and her discovering more about all of this is a serious enterprise. She has other beliefs which I've forgotten but I do recall thinking to myself that they were extremely creative and I myself could never have invented them in a million years.

And she speaks of these things with the utmost authority, the way you'd explain how the sun rises and sets to a four year old or how a doorbell works when you push a button. It's staggering. If you met her in a checkout line you'd think, now THERE'S a normal, terrific lady who really has her head together. But just below the surface there is this certainty of bizarre concepts and strange thought style. You just never know. That's how Qanon and Nazification and Fascism and Totalitarianism can flourish rather easily. There are many willing subjects and they're disguised as normal people.

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Arrow 43 replies Author Time Post
Reply A small commentary upon belief systems... (Original post)
PCIntern Mar 30 OP
iwillalwayswonderwhy Mar 30 #1
Lonestarblue Mar 30 #2
canetoad Mar 30 #7
PoindexterOglethorpe Mar 30 #29
2naSalit Mar 30 #3
anarch Mar 30 #4
Ferrets are Cool Mar 30 #13
llmart Mar 30 #16
TexasBushwhacker Mar 30 #18
llmart Mar 30 #22
TexasBushwhacker Mar 30 #23
llmart Mar 30 #25
lindysalsagal Mar 30 #34
canetoad Mar 30 #5
CrispyQ Mar 30 #37
diva77 Mar 30 #38
canetoad Mar 30 #39
mart48 Mar 30 #6
malaise Mar 30 #8
certainot Mar 30 #9
Maggiemayhem Mar 30 #10
Farmer-Rick Mar 30 #11
KY_EnviroGuy Mar 30 #12
Alwaysna Mar 30 #14
DallasNE Mar 30 #21
MicaelS Mar 30 #15
Botany Mar 30 #17
PCIntern Mar 30 #19
Botany Mar 30 #20
JHB Mar 30 #24
Wounded Bear Mar 30 #26
Botany Mar 30 #27
Wounded Bear Mar 30 #28
Igel Mar 30 #32
PCIntern Mar 30 #40
PoindexterOglethorpe Mar 30 #30
H2O Man Mar 30 #31
PCIntern Mar 30 #33
FakeNoose Mar 30 #35
hunter Mar 30 #43
customerserviceguy Mar 30 #36
Beringia Mar 30 #41
PCIntern Mar 30 #42

Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 06:59 AM

1. My mom was like that

Had a very bizarre belief system that combined numerology, space aliens, and believed she could focus protection on travelers. She was also an Episcopalian and somehow thought there was no conflict in her beliefs.

I just let her talk.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 07:11 AM

2. Sounds like the flat earthers.

They really believe their “science” and refuse to allow reality to interfere. Same with Trumpers.

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Response to Lonestarblue (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 07:42 AM

7. I'm not so sure about the current crop of flat-earthers

I get the impression they are uber-hipster, unqualified sci-geeks, trying to look 'different' man.

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Response to canetoad (Reply #7)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 11:51 AM

29. Some of them might be,

but apparently a whole lot of them truly believe the earth is flat.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 07:11 AM

3. That's why I think THEY'RE the ALIENS!!

But seriously, I met a woman like that last summer. Holy cow, she was a walking, talking conspiracy theory distribution center! Like you said, she came up with things that I could never in a million years think up, and she's absolutely certain of every detail.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 07:21 AM

4. these things don't seem all that much more kooky than "mainstream" religion, imo

Everybody has to deal with the daunting and, at least for some, terrifying prospect of a seemingly infinite and random/meaningless universe--and for whatever reason, a lot of people seem to have a strong impulse to have to believe in something that helps make sense of it all for them--whether it's an all-powerful sky-daddy who watches over everything and has it all under control, or space aliens, or whatever else that obviates the prospect that there isn't any higher purpose to anything and we're all just bags of semi-self-aware chemicals largely subject to random chance more than anything else, and we're basically on our own.

Anyway, you'll be sorry for doubting when the doppelganger people from Planet X finally reveal themselves as the ones controlling everything here on Earth

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Response to anarch (Reply #4)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 09:00 AM

13. I'm with him.

hehehehe

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Response to anarch (Reply #4)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 09:15 AM

16. Good post.

We really have no control over most everything that happens in life and everything is random. There are so many random occurrences in one's life that one seemingly small occurrence can change the trajectory of your life. For example: the person you meet and marry and procreate with would never have happened if your parents hadn't moved to a different state where you would have never crossed paths with that person. If your parents had stayed in the state where you were born you probably would have met someone else and married them and your children would be different people.

And yes, how kooky are some of those beliefs of certain religions? Catholics believe in some place called purgatory and that if you don't confess your "sin" of talking back to your mother when you're ten years old and you are not absolved of that "sin" you will spend your life in purgatory. Or the Mormon special underwear. Or speaking in tongues. As a disclaimer, I'm an atheist and was raised in a family that had no religion, but I do believe that humans need something to make them feel like their lives weren't just a blip in evolutionary history, which is basically the truth. Face it. One day we're here and the next we're gone and after a few decades there will be no one left who even interacted with us or remembers us.

I do know one thing for certain and that is that I'm never going to know anything for certain. As they say, "whatever gets you through the night".

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Response to llmart (Reply #16)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 09:34 AM

18. It is that randomness that people have a hard time with

"Everything happens for a reason." Nope

"It's all part of God's plan." Disease, war, children starving? Then God's an ASSHOLE!

"God doesn't give you anything you can't handle." Seriously? Tell that to the Sandy Hook parents.


The fact of the matter is that while there are a lot of things we can control, there is plenty that we can't and SHIT HAPPENS.

Furthermore, while I'd love to think that karma will catch up with Trump and other evildoers, I know they might just die fat, happy and free. SHIT HAPPENS!

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Response to TexasBushwhacker (Reply #18)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 09:52 AM

22. Well, you put it much more succinctly than I did and your examples are good ones.

Outside of the religious stuff, there are the memes we grow up with like "The American Dream". We're told that if we just work hard enough and dream big enough we too can become rich and successful and have a big, beautiful life. Then when it doesn't happen people can blame themselves and think maybe they just didn't do enough to insure they attain the American Dream (whatever that is). In reality, you can work and do all those things they tell you to do and at the end of a few decades of adulthood you look at your life and you're still struggling to keep a roof over your head or pay medical bills, etc. due to outside forces - forces beyond your control.

I like the sociology professor I had in college who said, "Statistics show that the majority of people end up their lives in the same socioeconomic class as they started out in." The media likes to show us the heartwarming story of the poor person who became a millionaire by doing XYZ and it's a nice story but is a rarity which is why it's considered newsworthy.

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Response to llmart (Reply #22)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 10:03 AM

23. John Fugelsang made a doc called "Dream On"

About how the American Dream has become unattainable for many.

https://tubitv.com/movies/458535/dream_on

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Response to TexasBushwhacker (Reply #23)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 10:14 AM

25. I've seen it.

It was a great documentary.

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Response to anarch (Reply #4)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 12:28 PM

34. Yup It's all psychology. All of it.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 07:32 AM

5. Have you ever asked where these beliefs come from?

I have a neighbour who insists on the existence of chem-trails. I tell her it's only the vapour from the fighter jets from the RAAF base to the east of us. Or maybe the bizarre cloud effects we experience on Bass Strait, being one of the windiest stretches of water on the planet.

She obtains all her information from Facebook. I don't see any point in arguing with her because I'm not going to change her mind.

The problem is; not what she believes, but from where that information comes. I don't have a clue as to how we combat this wilful ignorance. I was on the internet very early on and marvelled at the expansiveness of 'cyberspace' but was always acutely aware of the dangers of a virtually unlimited public opinion forum. How would truth fare, at the hands of the masses?

It's the era of mind-manipulation, mass hypnosis. Louise Samways, an Australian psychologist writes about the ways that cults, marketers, gurus, break down critical thinking by exploiting psychological techniques; unregulated and unchecked.

Whole book is available here to download: http://www.louisesamways.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/DangerousPersuaders.pf

The book was written before the phemonena of the internet and social media. This kind of crazy shit was always around, but the internet allowed them to find each other and belong to an echo chamber.

We are a failed species.

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Response to canetoad (Reply #5)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 01:39 PM

37. I got a 404 error on that link, but found the download here:

http://www.louisesamways.com.au/dangerous-persuaders-penguin-1994-updated-e-book-2007/

Great post.

There was a fairly recent article on how left wing conspiracy theories get bounced back into the MSM & then discounted by the MSM, but on the right that doesn't happen. The conspiracy theory just bounces around the right wing echo chamber. Probably cuz they're so fucking kooky even the MSM won't touch them.

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Response to canetoad (Reply #5)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 02:20 PM

38. you left out the "d" in .pdf -- link works if you add that back in!



book sounds fascinating; will definitely have a look!

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Response to diva77 (Reply #38)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 07:03 PM

39. Thank you!

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 07:39 AM

6. People who find reality boring need "fun" beliefs

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 07:52 AM

8. Yep

People believe lots of unimaginable things

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 08:24 AM

9. sounds like more sex on the wrong brain

sowb is a widespread mental disorder that has shaped human societies and values for centuries, since we began to delay the age of reproduction. our brains weren't wired for it.

greed is what happens when parts of the brain used for quantifying and calculating are fueled with sexual urges for more, bigger, faster....

and when sex fuels logic it wants the conclusion and certainty of quick easy answers. yes and no, black and white, good and evil. that irrational need for non-existent certainty can turn harmless uncertainties into stress and fear

to avoid the fear - (psychs sometimes use the UAI or uncertainty avoidance index to measure authoritarianism) - we create belief systems to help us deny reality and create and apply nonexistent certainty.

humans have to deny reality to rationalize the binary value structures used to create certainty and ease the fear. so we create belief systems to wire the brain so lying and denying reality to rationalize certainty is rewarded - it actually produces pleasure.

sex on the wrong brain may have have survival/competitive advantage before nuclear weapons and global warming but without sex education we're fucked

humans have to stop learning sex with the hand connected to the left side of the brain.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 08:33 AM

10. I have a neighbor who has bizarre beliefs

And she and her late husband were Infowars fanatics. Now that exposure to that has been limited, she is slowly becoming normal again. There was some conspiracy a couple years about a nonexistent planet and I wonder if your employee has gone down the rabbit hole on some internet group that was born because of that. I mean really, Jesse Ventura was worshipped by certain people.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 08:46 AM

11. The problem comes in when they want to pass laws and restrict others based on their delusions

The fine normal lady probably wont vote for addressing climate change unless that planet on the other side of the sun also has global warming.

I still can't believe whole countries want to stop abortions because some idiot religious fool believes fetuses are babies too.

Angry people want to kill others who don't have sex their way because some imaginary creature in the sky says so.

So are flat earthers going to start encouraging children to jump out of tall buildings because there is no such thing as gravity?

These delusions are not conducive to a peaceful society and should be discouraged not reinforced. But people believing delusions is very useful to power hungry oligarchs and mobsters.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 08:56 AM

12. PCIntern, I'll bet a common thread to all these conspiracy theories is....

that someone somewhere is making a bunch of money off it. Most of these goofy ideas are invented and promoted on the internet where people can make pretty good change on page views and ad clicks. And, it cost damn little to initiate. Those web sites, YouTube videos and Facebook pages will contain lots of that "authoritative" language for them to parrot.

Hey, it's on the internet on a fancy web page, so it must be true!......

No matter how insane the theory, it only needs to requite some effort to disprove and so tens of thousands of people around the glove will then fall for it. Next, it goes viral and soon due to mass repetition, it's taken to be truth and millions join in.

Classic flim-flam at work.......

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 09:03 AM

14. Who is in charge of the agreed upon reality?

Bizarre beliefs have always been part of human history. There was a time that if someone
believed in the existence of something that couldn't be seen ,like germs, bacteria, gases and etc, they were ridiculed or worse. People didn't believe gorillas existed and were just made up like Easter bunnies. Many believed if a baby was stillborn or died before water was sprinkled on them and an incantation spoken on their behalf, (baptism,) that the baby would be condemned to hell for eternity. Another weird belief concerns a small membrane inside the body of a female who hasn't yet had sex. If that membrane happens to be torn before her wedding day all hell breaks loose. Humans can be very creative in their expressions of off the wall odd beliefs.

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Response to Alwaysna (Reply #14)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 09:51 AM

21. in Charge Are

The scientist that unravel the mysteries on a daily basis, like climate change.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 09:03 AM

15. The Paranoid Style in American Politics..

Discusess these type of people. It is not unique to America, but we seem to have a stronger strain of it here.

It isn't unique to the Right. Left of center, there are plenty of Conspiracy Buffs. JFK comes to mind. What would the CBs accept as absolute proof that Oswald acted alone?

Even rational people are suspect when some sort of event occurs that proves the PTB do not have as secure a handle on things as they lead us to believe.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 09:25 AM

17. Any point trying to show that we had a satellite around Jupiter for years and it found no extra sun?

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Response to Botany (Reply #17)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 09:36 AM

19. Didn't you know...?

All of the photos were doctored...

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Response to PCIntern (Reply #19)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 09:49 AM

20. So NASA is in on it too?

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Response to Botany (Reply #20)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 10:08 AM

24. They faked the moon landings, didn't they?




And then bombed it!


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Response to Botany (Reply #20)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 11:06 AM

26. All part of the Deep State...

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #26)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 11:10 AM

27. i wonder how I can break that news to my S.I.L.?

She works for NASA and I don't know if she is part of "the deep state" too.

So getting her PhD in physics, her pilots license, studying astrophysics &
solar winds, and putting together science packages to go into space is all
just a big cover for her deep state actions.

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Response to Botany (Reply #27)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 11:16 AM

28. Amazing the lengths people will go to support their evil beliefs, right?



BTW, my brother worked for NASA back in the day, I think Mercury Program.

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Response to Botany (Reply #17)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 12:00 PM

32. To what end?

Besides showing that the poster is obviously smarter and superior?

Knew a grad student in molecular biology years ago. Young Earth creationist. Used evolution and natural selection as the unifying hypothesis for his quite good PhD research. The disconnect was of no consequence.

The recent Pew survey on scientific knowledge had Americans not so bad at a lot of science. Showed a slight edge in knowledge for liberal (D) over conservative (R), and a real ethnicity gap (some mediated by age differences in subpops).

They also found no good correlation between some "knowledge" and policy. They're often connected in causal ways; they're often not connected. In fact, one pundit pointed out that trying to argue will just reinforce policy proposals. Distrust is more important over the ability to answer questions, it turns out; beliefs about what should done are often more important than some of the facts. Many scientists also have beliefs; they're often hypotheses at odds with the prevailing beliefs, except that the scientists have some basis in fact (and those with other divergent beliefs often have some reason for their claims) and work to overturn other's beliefs.

However, for the most part the deviant ideas about reality has very little to do with daily life. Take the accountant who disbelieves evolution or is a flat earther. Who cares?

Except to be able to say, "Hey, you're wrong and I'm going to prove that I'm smarter." Which, of course, makes just for more crap at work. It's when you get deviant ideas that people want to implement, not unrelated ones, that's the problem. And then arguing pretty much gets you nowhere; there are other ways to change minds than frontal attack.

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Response to Igel (Reply #32)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 07:58 PM

40. Argumentative a bit?

Did I say that I confronted her? Or ridiculed her at work?

I was making a statement about what an average or above-average person can believe against reality.

But ok...

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 11:54 AM

30. A while back I asked My Son the Astronomer

about the possibility of a planet on the exact other side of the sun, and the short answer is that the orbits wouldn't maintain that perfect separation, but over time one would catch up to the other and then, WHAM!!! One giant planet.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 12:00 PM

31. Recommended.

It's taken me several minutes to stop laughing so hard that I can type!

One encounters such people frequently in public, including the work place. They appear "normal" -- whatever that is -- and in many, even most, areas to be intelligent and rational. But then you find out otherwise!

Sometimes, I ask myself if it is fair that their vote counts just as much as my own? But then I remember that lfe ain't fair.

(Note: A few years before I retired, the county made a new sherfii's department/ jail. While cleaning out the records in the basement of the old one, records of Joseph Smith's many arrests and legal cases were found in a box of their own. My cousin says that I should publish them. But I think people either already get it, or they wonder where the heck he set those gold tablets?)

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #31)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 12:17 PM

33. They need to be published but surreptitiously and anonymously

or someone's family could be in danger...

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 12:40 PM

35. The internet (especially Facebook) has enabled these nuts

The woman you describe is probably not so different from the average Christian fundamentalist. It's just that your employee didn't get her beliefs from a black book (Bible) since she was 5 years old. People who believe in goofy space-alien theories generally read things like science fiction rather than science-fact. There's so much garbage on the internet, I just call it sci-fi porn, even though it's not pornography. To nutty, easily suggestible people, it has the same effect.

You won't be able to ever change her mind, but thank goodness she's the harmless type of nut. The orange asshat in the White House, HE's the dangerous one!

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Response to FakeNoose (Reply #35)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 11:22 PM

43. Science Fiction has always had its share.

A couple of years ago some acquaintence gave me a science fiction book because they knew I enjoy science fiction.

The author was James P. Hogan, who was a creationist of sorts, and a Holocaust denier.

I got quite a ways into this book thinking its premise was a society that believed crazy things -- that it was an exploration of an alternate universe or society not our own -- but no, it turned out to be a story illuminating the author's own crazy beliefs, much like Ayn Rand's drivel.

There are people who don't like the Christian fundamentalists because they think they know better, but they also take the same approach to actual science and history.

Many of them are not harmless, just as Christian fundamentalists are not harmless.

At best they are only harming themselves, denying themselves any appreciation of a universe that is far more wondrous than any they might imagine themselves.



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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 01:29 PM

36. Some highly competent people

seem to want to be "different" just for its own sake. You probably know many such people who are just as adamant about the religious beliefs they have that are no more or less provable that what this lady believes. Only difference is some irrational beliefs have a veneer of respectability solely based on the number of people who are like minded.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 08:07 PM

41. That's almost as bad

as thinking there are little translucent blue men on your ceiling and remote viewing someone on a computer screen controlled by aliens.

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Response to Beringia (Reply #41)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 08:11 PM

42. You mean there aren't?

I’m crushed....

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