The Third Way?

Over at the “IDM collapse” thread I rather churlishly rejected CharlieM’s invitation to read an extensive piece by Stephen L. Talbott. Discovering he is a fan of Velikovsky did little to encourage me (that is, I fully realise, an argument from authority, but life is short and authors many. One needs a filter). What did catch my eye, however, is the fact that he is a contributor to Third Way of Evolution. This, on their front page, is what one might term their ‘manifesto’.

The vast majority of people believe that there are only two alternative ways to explain the origins of biological diversity. One way is Creationism that depends upon intervention by a divine Creator. That is clearly unscientific because it brings an arbitrary supernatural force into the evolution process. The commonly accepted alternative is Neo-Darwinism, which is clearly naturalistic science but ignores much contemporary molecular evidence and invokes a set of unsupported assumptions about the accidental nature of hereditary variation. Neo-Darwinism ignores important rapid evolutionary processes such as symbiogenesis, horizontal DNA transfer, action of mobile DNA and epigenetic modifications. Moreover, some Neo-Darwinists have elevated Natural Selection into a unique creative force that solves all the difficult evolutionary problems without a real empirical basis. Many scientists today see the need for a deeper and more complete exploration of all aspects of the evolutionary process.

That puzzles me. We need a root-and-branch rethink because of the widely-accepted phenomena of endosymbiosis, HGT, transposons and epigenetics? I honestly don’t get it. These are refinements easily, and already, accommodated. Neo-Darwinists do not ‘ignore’ these phenomena, nor consider them unimportant. They may fall outside a strict framework of genetic gradualism by ‘micromutation’, but are hardly keeping anyone awake nights.

Perhaps, on reflection, I should punt them my musings on the Evolution of Sex. It is non-Darwinian in the sense they appear to mean, so it should be right up their street!

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500 thoughts on “The Third Way?

  1. Corneel: I am growing a bit weary of this discussion.

    It’s charitable of you to refer to what has taken place involving nonlin on threads here as a discussion. Utterly unproductive it has been, certainly.

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  2. Moved a comment to guano. Use the appropriate thread to raise queries to moderating decisions.

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  3. Nonlin.org: Do the same fore Stonehenge: take a sample of all rocks in the area, build one of many distributions (size, color, position, L/W, altitude, etc) and see Stonehenge doesn’t fit the random null on any of those. QED.

    I predict that, if ever an area is discovered where rock size, color, position, etc. follow a perfect uniform distribution, that area will turn out to be designed.

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  4. phoodoo:
    Corneel,
    A stone can be used as a device to attack someone, I might mention if allowed.

    I wonder if the Stone Age is so called because early humans modified stone to make implements and weapons.

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  5. phoodoo, You could start one. Or you could provide examples of “Design” detection here. Anywhere but the moderation issues thread would be fine. Amaze me by following through with an example of how ID can detect “Design”.

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  6. Corneel to Nonlin:
    You do realize that you have devised a test that will label anything and everything “designed” indiscriminately, right?

    Nonlin’s definition of “design”, sorry, “Design”, is anything that’s not “random.” So snowflakes, gravitation, evaporation, solar radiation, anything that has some direction some determinism, some “pattern,” is “designed”, I mean “Designed”, by Nonlin’s definition. It’s circular, it’s useless to determine if there’s some magical being in the sky, and it’s useless for anything else. Sure, by Nonlin’s definition everything is “Designed.” So what? In what way has our knowledge advanced?

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  7. I think it’s pretty obvious that water was designed. It’s one of the rare substances that expands when it freezes. This means ice floats. If water did NOT expand when it freezes, the oceans would be permanent blocks of ice, with only a bit of the surface melting. Probably life would not have been possible. That can’t be an accident; I see the Hand of the Creator at work.

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  8. Corneel: Now you mention it, I am growing a bit weary of this discussion. You can have the last word if you like.

    Nonlin wins!!!! Cue Rumpelstiltskin dance of victory.

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  9. phoodoo: A snowflake doesn’t have integrated parts that work towards an intelligent process, it doesn’t have functional parts that can be deduced. It simply looks cool.

    And who cares about functional? Does a painting have “functional parts”? Is it not designed despite not having “functional parts”? I’ve had a long discussion with gpuccio at UND about this. The guy is still lost. Worse, you guys are screwing up and are the best advertisement for “evolution” by making it look less cretinoid… which it obviously is to any sane person.

    Alan Fox: If I were wrong, you’d be able to give examples.

    I did prove, and with examples.

    Corneel: Could you name some example of an area on earth, any area at all, that would NOT be designed according to this test?

    No problem. The position of all grains of sand of dimension x-y to x plus y on a beach cannot be determined to be designed. IOW, that position could be random.

    Corneel: Very few people would agree with you that a two-phase system is designed, since it can actually be seen to automatically establish itself without intervention. The liquids will not mix because of chemical polarity, so it has a *gasp* physical explanation!

    Meh. They follow a rule. And all rules with an identifiable origin are due to design last I checked. QED. Polarity is not the ultimate explanation. Design is.

    Corneel: We know of plenty of “necessity” without designer.

    Such as?!?

    Corneel: Now you mention it, I am growing a bit weary of this discussion.

    No worries. Rest and return. I don’t mind answering your questions – I just wish you’d do the same.

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  10. Corneel: I predict that, if ever an area is discovered where rock size, color, position, etc. follow a perfect uniform distribution, that area will turn out to be designed.

    You asked, I answered. Your problem is that you are against inventing the wheel simply because I propose it. The problem is that I have not invented the wheel (I wish!) and that the wheel has long been invented by someone else. In that, you’re Don Quixote, sadly surrounded by your clones instead of a down to earth Sancho Panza.

    And the “wheel” I’m talking about is “rejection of the null random” which is standard practice in so many fields.

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  11. Nonlin.org: And who cares about functional?

    People who care about function, that’s who. So what?

    Don’t make the same mistake as Alan. It is not a challenge to make something designed appear not designed. Rocks on a beach can be put their by an intelligence to appear to have been put there randomly. It’s the inverse that is the challenge. Can rocks on a beach randomly be spread to look like they were put there with intelligence. And the best way to determine if they were in fact random, is to look at just how complex the placement is. The more complex, and the more meaning the shape of the rocks take, the more likely it is that an intelligent source did it.

    For instance, the rocks could be in a perfectly straight line. Ok, that looks planned, but it is still not that complex, so it still could be random. The rocks could be in five circles. Still looks planned, but not so complex as to not have some explanation like wind and such. But what if the rocks spell out, in five languages, “I hate Eric Clapton” then can we still say, well, it could be random. Of course not. Because the function is to write a sentence. So we see function.
    Or better yet, they could also play music from George Harrison while saying they hate Eric Clapton. At some point claiming it still could be random becomes silly.

    But as humans, we don’t even wait for the rocks to spell out “I hate Eric Clapton”, we are satisfied if they just look something like Stonehenge to believe they were put their with intelligence and purpose.

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  12. Nonlin.org: No worries. Rest and return. I don’t mind answering your questions – I just wish you’d do the same.

    That’s quite a change of heart. Just a while ago you complained about my “irrelevant silly questions”.

    Tempting though the offer may be, I think I will leave it at this. There is just this one tip I’d like to give to you: Get away from your keyboard, go to the beach and take a long walk in the brisk morning air. While doing this, you can ponder whether the size, color, position, and altitude of the sand grains along a transect perpendicular to the waterline is really random.

    Enjoy!

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  13. phoodoo: The more complex, and the more meaning the shape of the rocks take, the more likely it is that an intelligent source did it.

    Interesting! So that is a new ID development. Previously, I thought there was a test (an explanatory filter, maybe) that told us whether or not things were “Designed”. Now, courtesy of phoodoo, we can estimate the level of intelligence of the “Designer”. The more complex the arrangement of rocks, the greater the intelligence. I’m amazed no-one thought of this simple test before.

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  14. Alan Fox: Now, courtesy of phoodoo, we can estimate the level of intelligence of the “Designer”. The more complex the arrangement of rocks, the greater the intelligence. I’m amazed no-one thought of this simple test before.

    I just want to make sure and preserve this outrageously inept leap of logic on your part.

    Its curious if you actually meant to write this.

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  15. phoodoo: Its curious if you actually meant to write this.

    But can you use your method to assess the “Design”?

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  16. The leap from an arrangement of atoms in DNA to the arrangement of rocks is a bit of a crunching gear-shift. The correspondence is closer if one chose the arrangement of atoms within the rock. And there, one’s naïve (and useless) explanatory filter would have to conclude ‘Design’ within the rock, since those atoms definitely aren’t sitting there in a random 3D distribution.

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  17. Alan Fox: But can you use your method to assess the “Design”?

    I remember when the game of pong was a popular computer game. You moved a bar back and forth to contact a moving video pixel. I think the inventor was probably a chicken.

    Geez.

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  18. Allan Miller: since those atoms definitely aren’t sitting there in a random 3D distribution.

    Based on what assessment? Can one confer intelligence and purpose to the arrangements of the atoms? What’s the intelligence one can recognize?

    Do you have an opinion about how we know Stonehenge isn’t random?

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  19. phoodoo: Based on what assessment?

    Based on nonlin’s assessment above.

    Can one confer intelligence and purpose to the arrangements of the atoms?What’s the intelligence one can recognize?

    Fucked if I know. It’s not me that thinks it can be done.

    Do you have an opinion about how we know Stonehenge isn’t random?

    You’re doing the equivocation thing with ‘random’. I presume you’re using it as the antithesis of ‘purposeful’? And also, continuing that crunching gear-change. Atoms are subject to forces that rocks are not, which impacts what we might think of as a ‘random’ (however defined) arrangement.

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  20. phoodoo: Alan believes Stonehenge must be designed by strong five year olds.

    Alan is utterly convinced Stonehenge was built by humans, genetically almost indistinguishable from people living today. It was built (and rebuilt) over a long period and the site may have been significant as a religious or burial site as early as 8,000 BC and the site was still being modified around 1600 BC.

    What we know and infer is based largely on archeology as the people who built and used the monument left no written history. I find it fascinating and new facts are still emerging.

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  21. phoodoo,

    Alan Fox: But can you use your method to assess the “Design”?

    I remember when the game of pong was a popular computer game. You moved a bar back and forth to contact a moving video pixel. I think the inventor was probably a chicken.

    Geez.

    So you can’t. As I said earlier, if the ID community had the shred of an idea, they could demonstrate it’s effectiveness. What do we see? Nothing!

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  22. Alan Fox:
    phoodoo,

    I remember when the game of pong was a popular computer game. You moved a bar back and forth to contact a moving video pixel. I think the inventor was probably a chicken.

    Geez.

    So you can’t. As I said earlier, if the ID community had the shred of an idea, they could demonstrate it’s effectiveness. What do we see? Nothing!

    Not once, not once did I suggest that one can determine the level of intelligence of a designer of something that was designed, just because one could determine if something was designed or not. That was your preposterous interpretation of design detection. You seem to think if one says “based on the level of sophistication and purpose” one can determine that something must have been designed, as meaning the level of sophistication of the design tells you the intelligence of the designer.

    Pure non understanding nonsense and totally unrelated to my comments.

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  23. phoodoo: Not once, not once did I suggest that one can determine the level of intelligence of a designer of something that was designed, just because one could determine if something was designed or not. That was your preposterous interpretation of design detection.

    I’m talking about “Design”, not design. The ID movement/community seems reluctant to discuss the attributes of the “Designer” of objects and systems they claim could only have been “Designed”. Archeological methods for determining whether artefacts are natural or worked depends very much on the skills and capabilities of people or other candidates that fit with the chronology and geography of the putative artefacts under consideration..

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  24. phoodoo: just because one could determine if something was designed or not

    Except you can’t even do that.

    Name one thing you’ve “determined” design for and how you knew the designer of said item was your Intelligent Designer that also created the universe.

    You can’t.

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  25. phoodoo: Pure non understanding nonsense and totally unrelated to my comments.

    If you are not an “Intelligent Design” advocate, then I have no quarrel with you.

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  26. Alan Fox: If you are not an “Intelligent Design” advocate, then I have no quarrel with you.

    Designed things can often be detected as designed. Uncontroversial.

    Alan Fox: The ID movement/community seems reluctant to discuss the attributes of the “Designer” of objects and systems they claim could only have been “Designed”.

    phoodoo, when you said “just because one could determine if something was designed or not” are you talking about Design or design?

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  27. OMagain: Except you can’t even do that.

    Name one thing you’ve “determined” design for and how you knew the designer of said item was your Intelligent Designer that also created the universe.

    You can’t.

    Well, ok, let’s take a sharp metal object, with a handle on one end. If you saw that, what is your first thought? It was designed or not? For what purpose…?

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  28. phoodoo: Well, ok, let’s take a sharp metal object, with a handle on one end. If you saw that, what is your first thought?

    If it was lying on a seat in a stadium, I’d wonder who, among staff or visitors, had left it there. I wouldn’t consider for an instant that the object was not man-made. That is not the issue. “Design” not design.

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  29. phoodoo:
    Do you have an opinion about how we know Stonehenge isn’t random?

    That’s a very wrong question. It’s not that we ask if Stonehenge is or is not “random”, but whether it is the consequence of known phenomena, among those known phenomena, the work of some beings called humans. To this end, we put together what we know about phenomena, including human behaviours and tendencies as revealed by anthropology and history, including the possibilities of geological phenomena. We find the human thing very convincing.

    Mere randomness is not the issue. Gravitation is deterministic. Not random. Should we say “design” or “Design” just for that reason? Of course not. Deterministic, predictable, behaviours are necessary in order for designers themselves to be possible. Then in order for design to be possible. If things behaved randomly we would not even exist. So, deterministic phenomena are foundational, not derived, let alone by an intelligence, since intelligence itself requires them. When IDiots attempt to infer design, sorry, “Design,” from non-randomness they’re putting the cart-before-the-horse.

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  30. phoodoo,

    Word salad. I explained clearly. You continue to be wrong.
    Corneel,

    Haha. Corneel meet wheel. Wheel meet Corneel.

    Alan Fox: But can you use your method to assess the “Design”?

    Why quotations? So you think there’s no design? Ever? Because before Design one has to establish design. So that’s where you got stuck in the first place.

    Allan Miller: Based on nonlin’s assessment above.

    Better ask if you don’t understand anything of anything.

    OMagain: Name one thing you’ve “determined” design for and how you knew the designer of said item was your Intelligent Designer that also created the universe.

    You can’t.

    Ridiculous claim you can’t determine if something is designed. Also, we DO know all things designed with known origin have in fact been designed by a designer. Burden is on you to prove “design without designer”.

    Some moron thinks he “knows” Stonehenge was designed by humans. Said moron rejects non-human intelligence outright based on no evidence. Haha.

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  31. Nonlin.org: Better ask if you don’t understand anything of anything.

    I wondered before whether English is not your first language. I’m still wondering.

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  32. Nonlin.org: Why quotations? So you think there’s no design? Ever? Because before Design one has to establish design. So that’s where you got stuck in the first place.

    Oh dear. Pay attention to the grammar. The word “design” is a straightforward English verb. I can design, say, a new bathroom or a garden, produce a plan and execute that plan, or pay someone to do it. A design can also be a noun that refers to a plan or the executed result. The accepted usage has been usurped by the “Intelligent Design” movement/community to mean something else, basically miraculous interventions by a tinkerer god. So “Design” is not design. The issue is who designs, what do they design, how do they design, when do they design, why do they design.

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  33. Nonlin.org: Ridiculous claim you can’t determine if something is designed.

    Pay attention, please. The question is not whether humans design and build stuff. The question is whether “Design” is real or imagined and whether “Intelligent Designers” are more than figments of human imagination or a placeholder for “God”.

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  34. Nonlin.org to Omagain:
    Ridiculous claim you can’t determine if something is designed.

    That’s not what Omagain was claiming. Maybe you’re not paying attention, maybe you have problems reading for comprehension.

    Nonlin.org to Omagain:
    Also, we DO know all things designed with known origin have in fact been designed by a designer.

    Depends on the definition. By the most common definition, a designed object was designed by someone (aka the desogner(s)). By metaphorical license, the concept can be used for natural phenomena other than people to include something that has evolved, for example, or “sculpted” (also metaphorical) by winds or water flows, etc. In those cases, the “designers” are phenomena other than humans, and there’s no problem.

    Nonlin.org to Omagain:
    Burden is on you to prove “design without designer”.

    This is a very good example of misunderstanding the burden of proof. The burden of proof belongs to the positive claim, not the negative. If I say, I doubt this was done by humans, I have nothing to prove, those who think humans did it should come with the evidence. If they care about convincing the skeptic. Of course, when there’s plenty of evidence, it becomes silly to refuse to at least acknowledge the possibility that something was designed by humans, rather than by some other natural phenomena.

    Nonlin.org to Omagain:
    Some moron thinks he “knows” Stonehenge was designed by humans.

    What’s moronic is to call someone a moron for accepting the most likely explanation by far. This is one more example of those insults that backfire. Irony be thy name.

    Nonlin.org to Omagain:
    Said moron rejects non-human intelligence outright based on no evidence. Haha.

    Again a moronic misunderstanding of the burden of proof. Yet again. the burden is on the positive claim: “other intelligences did this.” The evidence is necessary to accept the proposition that other intelligences were involved. For example, if you think that dolphins or gorillas built Stonehenge, then you have to prove that they’d had the intelligence and the resources for such a feat. I very much doubt that dolphins can walk on dry land, so you’d have to show that the whole thing was built under water. After that, you would not be done, you’d have to show that dolphins would know how to gather resources for moving those stones, etc. So, considering other intelligences, even when they’re know to exist, is not enough. Considering intelligences that nobody has witnessed? Well, again, you need evidence that those intelligences exist and have the means for the task.

    I’d stop calling anybody a moron if I were you. You display amazing resistance to understand. That makes your attempts at insults self-describing. Modesty is a better attitude. At least you would come across as honest. Your arrogance while making elementary mistakes, doesn’t mix well.

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  35. Alan Fox: The accepted usage has been usurped by the “Intelligent Design” movement/community to mean something else, basically miraculous interventions by a tinkerer god.

    And I’m pointing out this is FALSE. The ONLY KIND of design we know, is Design as in Intelligent Design.

    Furthermore, Darwin and followers are the usurpers. When the only selection known is Intelligent Selection and that is twisted into an impossible and invisible “natural selection”, that IS what usurpers do.

    Alan Fox: The issue is who designs, what do they design, how do they design, when do they design, why do they design.

    That is only secondary(!) once we know we’re dealing with design. And we know that as soon as we reject the null “random”. And that’s where Corneel and math challenged retired not being able to counter it and unwilling to admit defeat.

    Alan Fox,

    For Design to be “imaginary” you have to somehow distinguish it from design. Which you can’t. You also have to produce an alternative LOGIC hypothesis. Which you can’t. Again!

    Face it Alan, if those two gave up as did truck driver and other “leaders” of your nonsensical movement, it’s time for you to do the same.

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  36. Nonlin.org:
    And that’s where Corneel and math challenged retired not being able to counter it and unwilling to admit defeat.

    No Nolin, they retired because you failed to understand their answers and explanations no matter how many ways they tried to make them clear to you. After too many attempts they understood that you’re unreachable and left.

    You always miss the points, you mistake the meaning and intention of sentences, you fail to understand metaphorical language (you call it “usurping” now, which is pathetic), and you seem very, profoundly, unable to work with abstractions and understand their power and limitations. This is not surprising given your literacy problems. Maybe if you got the patience to learn to read properly you’d be able to follow on learning about abstractions, concepts, etc. If you also learn a bit of modesty, then maybe we’d be able to have a proper conversation.

    In the meantime you are just a curious exemplar of a creationist.

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  37. Nonlin.org: Face it Alan, if those two gave up as did truck driver and other “leaders” of your nonsensical movement, it’s time for you to do the same.

    Entropy has it right, I think. Firstly, you don’t have a useful idea to throw at a mad dog. Secondly, you’ve convinced not a soul that you have any useful idea worthy of deterring a mad dog. Thirdly (Entropy’s point) you are utterly impervious to reason and impossible to engage with on any subject. There’s no upside to engaging with you and no downside to not engaging with you.

    Result is people ignore you.

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  38. Entropy: You always miss the points, you mistake the meaning and intention of sentences, you fail to understand metaphorical language (you call it “usurping” now, which is pathetic), and you seem very, profoundly, unable to work with abstractions and understand their power and limitations.

    EXACTLY backwards. That’s very interesting.

    Alan Fox: Entropy has it right, I think. Firstly, you don’t have a useful idea to throw at a mad dog. Secondly, you’ve convinced not a soul that you have any useful idea worthy of deterring a mad dog. Thirdly (Entropy’s point) you are utterly impervious to reason and impossible to engage with on any subject. There’s no upside to engaging with you and no downside to not engaging with you.

    Result is people ignore you.

    Could you be any more wrong on all accounts? Let’s just take “people ignore you”. That’s easy to check. And the result is… 100% false.

    Anyway, I’m still waiting for lots of answers… just on this thread:
    Whatever happened with the claim that snowflakes are not designed? I am still waiting for proof or a retraction.

    Whatever happened with the e coli that won’t “evolve”?

    Whatever happened with “beneficial mutation” that never is?

    Whatever happened with the false dichotomy design-Design?

    and more…
    and more…

    Whatever happened with “evolution” being 100% false whichever way you analyze it?

    Not holding my breath. It’s quite clear all these questions are too inconvenient. Hence the silence and misdirection.

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  39. Nonlin.org:
    EXACTLY backwards. That’s very interesting.

    The evidence of your manyfold problems is unequivocal. I’d make the effort of showing you just one tiny example in a way that even a childish mind like yours would be able to understand, but I doubt that your arrogance would allow you to follow, as it has so many times. I don’t have enough respect left for you to try either. You have reaped what you sowed. Have a nice life.

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  40. Nonlin.org: I noticed a lot of retirements and no logical answer to the questions posed… that and lots of meaningless bullshit.

    At least you have the courage to admit it.

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