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    1. #26
      Member bradybaker's Avatar
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      Whoa, Peregrinus is one smart dude. While this whole debate is pretty interesting, I don't have anything original to add at this point. I agree with Peregrinus, but accept the possibility that the universe was "planted" here as an elaborate sham. Ridiculus? Yes. Impossible? No.

      I will say this though, the universe is 13.7 billion years old, give or take 1%.
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    2. #27
      Member Belisarius's Avatar
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      All occam's razor does is suggest the most reasonable, but it has nothing to say of it's possibility(which was what I was trying to proove anyway).

      I agree that it is beyond ridiculous to believe such a thing, as in order to believe that you would have to make unstubstantiated conclusions based on nothing.

      Of course how is that any different from science where you make conclusions based on your perceptions and you trust their accuracy for no reason?

      I understand that this position makes it impossible for me to be justified in believing anything about the outside world, but it is the only one that I can find a way to justify. The question I really want answered is how one goes about justifing belief in the accuracy of one's senses. So far the only answers I have gotten to that question have been something along the lines of: "I want to believe they are accurate because I feel that that belief is so valuable that it doesn't need to be justified."

      I know this philisophical position isn't really desirable, but then again neither is the position of an atheist.

    3. #28
      Rotaredom Howie's Avatar
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      [quote]Of course how is that any different from science where you make conclusions based on your perceptions and you trust their accuracy for no reason?

      Some things in science are philisophical. But other things can be proven through fundemental laws. Based opon things like your senses or matter that you can touch, feel, taste, etc. So I don't believe that science is based entirely opon perceptions. And the reason you would trust those laws are because they are not theorey but rather data that has been tested and can come to a result.

      The question I really want answered is how one goes about justifing belief in the accuracy of one's senses.
      This is where I think you can only conclude a philisophical answer. Because you are dealing with a persons conscious perceptions which cannot be proven by any scientific means as fact, just theory at this point.
      I would think that everyones perceptions can differ based opon his/her own way they interperet how and what they see and how they see it. Which would lead to so many variables that science can't come to a result.

    4. #29
      Member Peregrinus's Avatar
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      Originally posted by Belisarius
      All occam's razor does is suggest the most reasonable, but it has nothing to say of it's possibility(which was what I was trying to proove anyway).
      If you read my post, you'll see that I said that. Nothing can prove or disprove that “hypothesis”. That’s what makes it worthless. It is untestable and has absolutely no affect on perceived reality. That’s like saying, “There’s a giant invisible, incorporeal dragon in my closet.” You can’t test for it and it affects absolutely nothing except your own misguided imagination, so what difference does it make?

      I agree that it is beyond ridiculous to believe such a thing, as in order to believe that you would have to make unstubstantiated conclusions based on nothing.

      Of course how is that any different from science where you make conclusions based on your perceptions and you trust their accuracy for no reason?[/b]
      No reason? Dude, they're consistent . If to all of our senses and all of our instrumentation, to the limits of our technology and beyond to the limits of any conceivable future technology, all collected data indicate that the universe is 13 -14 billion years old, that's what it is. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, acts like a duck, has the DNA of a duck, and autopsies like a duck, you might as well accept that to the limits of our perception (which are all that matter for the sake of any sort of discussion or contemplation), it’s not a grand illusion or a projection from some sort of Star Trek holodeck, but just a freakin' duck.

      I'm not talking about anything \"outside of the universe\". If you want to think of this whole thing as an elaborate illusion, fine. But if we exist inside the illusion and the illusion is all we can know, there is no point in talking about perfect hoaxes. You can't know. I can't know. Nobody can know if it's perfect and no evidence is left of anything being amiss. According to our best observations of the \"illusion,\" it is 13 - 14 billion years old. Fact. Don't dispute it, because you can't. As I've said before, science deals only with what is observable and measurable. According to scientific observation, the universe has existed for many billions of years before the arrival of the human species. If you want to speculate about something \"outside the universe\" for which no evidence exists, and think that \"well, no evidence indicates that it doesn't exist either!\" is a strong and valid argument, you have... problems.

      I understand that this position makes it impossible for me to be justified in believing anything about the outside world, but it is the only one that I can find a way to justify. The question I really want answered is how one goes about justifing belief in the accuracy of one's senses. So far the only answers I have gotten to that question have been something along the lines of: \"I want to believe they are accurate because I feel that that belief is so valuable that it doesn't need to be justified.\"[/b]
      The justification? The justification is that our senses, or rather our technology and instrumentation, are all that we have. If you don’t trust that, you trust nothing. You are left adrift in a sea of constant doubt. Call it a “provisional belief,” but it’s still all you’ve got. Even religion can be argued on the basis of sensory perceptions. People can claim miracles, that some aspect of the universe could not exist without the intervention of as supreme being or force, even that they have feelings of oneness, of connection to God, etc. Psychic phenomena can be argued in much the same way. There are measurable effects to the functioning of these phenomena (anomalous acquisition and transfer of data between two people, movement of an object in accordance with the human will that occurs through no known physical forces, etc.). One can test whether or not they exist. It hasn't been done yet, but the point is that it can be done. Even if modern science does not have an explanation of a phenomena, that phenomena can be argued and debated so long as some evidence of it exists. No evidence exists for “the universe is an elaborate hoax, fraudulently made to look old and sold to a gullible humanity much as a modern painting is sold to an ignorant mark as a priceless piece of antiquity at an underground auction\". There is no point in talking about such things because nothing productive can be known and therefore nothing productive or meaningful can be said. What is the point? It’s like that child claiming that an invisible, incorporeal dragon lives inside her closet, but no one, not even she, can see it, smell it, hear it, feel it, taste it, or in any other way sense it. It’s just there.

      This “no universe before humanity” belief is just about as worthy of contemplation as a child’s imaginary dragon.

      I know this philisophical position isn't really desirable, but then again neither is the position of an atheist.[/b]
      Man, believing scientific evidence does not mean that one believes in nothing else. There are many religious scientists in the world-- they’re just usually not as pathetically gullible and eager to swallow without chewing or digesting whatever gets spewed from the pulpit. Does that make them less religious? Less spiritual? One’s faith is confirmed and strengthened when it withstands the test of scrutiny. If disregarding all evidence that contradicts one’s beliefs is the only way those beliefs can be sustained, they are not worthy of one’s attention, mental or emotional energy. They are simply a comfort blanket that you pull over your head when the disembodied sights and sounds of the night start to press in, a flimsy shield against a world you believe will disappear if only you don’t look at it, if you stick your head in the sand, cry out for confirmation and receive back only the echoes of the impersonal, apathetic cadence of a world that has better things to do than make you feel important.
      “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
      - Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

      The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.
      - Mohandas Gandhi

    5. #30
      Member tyrantt23's Avatar
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      Wow, I'm really starting to like your posts Peregrinus. You're able to argue your point really well, not to mention that you show some pretty big knowledge of what you're talking about.

      I'm just glad I have the same basic beliefs that you do, so therefore I'm not getting swamped by an ocean of facts that contradict my previous belief. One question though. Do all those ideas just come to you naturaly as you're writing your posts, or do you actually take a long time designing your arguments and researching some facts? Either way... keep up the good work. :bravo:

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    6. #31
      Member Kaniaz's Avatar
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      Yeah, me and CT were talking about you over PM. You get the "clever person" award

    7. #32
      Member Peregrinus's Avatar
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      Lol. Thank you for the compliments I'm not quite sure I deserve them (I usually just get eye rolls and groans when get as wordy as I have been), but thanks all the same.

      I've had quite a bit of experience with these sorts of discussions, so the bases for my arguments usually just come to me when I come across the hole(s) in the other person's position. I do have a problem with brevity, though-- namely that I seem incapable of it . If a discussion requires exact facts and detailed explanations of specific theories, experiments, etc, I do my research first. My first resources are my old textbooks, but I try to find credible online resources to link to so other people don't think I'm just pulling this stuff out of my... yeah, you know. In fact, I usually learn something new myself, so the effort is well worth it. The worst thing you can do in an argument or discussion (well, besides losing )is disseminate false information, so if I'm unsure about a source, I cross-check its information before posting it. I guess that's about it. I'm glad at least some people make it through my outrageously long posts.
      “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
      - Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

      The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.
      - Mohandas Gandhi

    8. #33
      Member tyrantt23's Avatar
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      Originally posted by Peregrinus
      I'm glad at least some people make it through my outrageously long posts.
      Well, to tell the truth I usually think twice about reading it, but once I start reading it gets interesting. Probably because even though they're long, your arguments hold up very well.

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    9. #34
      Member Belisarius's Avatar
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      The justification? The justification is that our senses, or rather our technology and instrumentation, are all that we have. If you don’t trust that, you trust nothing. You are left adrift in a sea of constant doubt. Call it a “provisional belief,” but it’s still all you’ve got.[/b]
      So why do you accept this "provisional belief"? This is an epistemological discussion, the utility of a belief has no influence on its truth or its justification, and even believing that such a belief is useful is as baseless as the belief in the first place. What then causes you to hold such a belief? Is it tradition, is it culture, is it instinct? Yes I am left adrift in a sea of constant doubt, but if in order to find dry land I must assert truth where I am not justified in doing so then the land is really just an irrational mirage and the only benefit I get from claiming knowledge is to forget that I am in fact stranded on a tiny boat in the middle of the ocean with no hope of escape.

    10. #35
      Member Peregrinus's Avatar
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      Originally posted by Belisarius
      So why do you accept this \"provisional belief\"? This is an epistemological discussion, the utility of a belief has no influence on its truth or its justification, and even believing that such a belief is useful is as baseless as the belief in the first place.
      I'm not talking about the utility of a belief. I really can't think of what use you can get out of believing that the universe is 13 - 14 billion years old, except to note that the rejection of such a belief leads one to reject all objective observations and winds right back to the previous posts about nihilism and existential angst. You speak of truth, but if you hold untestable beliefs, you are adhering to a philosophy of untestable truth-- truth which is forever hidden from the pursuit of knowledge. Epistemological discussion? This discussion has nothing to do with "the theory or science of the method or grounds of knowledge" (definition quoted from the OED). One can only know through sensing . What you are proposing with this belief is the death of knowledge, for to state that truth is unavailable through the senses-- through knowledge-- is to completely devalue knowledge and transform it into the careful study of a false illusion. Epistemology deals with how one comes to know things. If you want to redeem the silly proposition that the unknowable, untestable, unsensable belief that the universe is 150,000 years old has anything to do with epistemology, tell me how you know that to be the case.

      And while you're at it, please tell me: what is the point of believing something that you have absolutely no way of testing, of verifying, even of sensing if not to coddle your own ego and fragile beliefs?
      “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
      - Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

      The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.
      - Mohandas Gandhi

    11. #36
      Member Belisarius's Avatar
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      My contention wasn't that the belief that the universe is so young is reasonable, it was that it is just as reasonable as the belief that the universe is 14 billion years old. Neither position is justified.

      This discussion has nothing to do with \"the theory or science of the method or grounds of knowledge\"[/b]
      This discussion has everything to do with epistemology as I am questioning the grounds on which you claim to have knowledge. It is ridiculous to contend that it is not an epistemological discussion.

      One can only know through sensing .[/b]
      Knowledge is not defined as \"what I sense\" it is defined as justified true belief, sensing is how most people claim to justify their beliefs, but there is no reason to believe that the senses accurately portray an objective world and so that justification is faulty. Seeing this monitor does not imply that it exists objectively, only that you see it.


      And while you're at it, please tell me what is the point of believing something that you have absolutely no way of testing, of verifying, even of sensing if not to coddle your own ego and fragile beliefs?[/b]
      I see no point. Do you see a point in believing in something that you have no way of testing or verifying? If not then why do you believe that the universe is 14 billion years old, you can't verify it and any test you try won't draw any meaningful conclusions.

      Indeed it appears to me that the only reason anyone would hold such a belief would be to coddle their own ego and fragile beliefs.

    12. #37
      Member Peregrinus's Avatar
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      Originally posted by Belisarius
      My contention wasn't that the belief that the universe is so young is reasonable, it was that it is just as reasonable as the belief that the universe is 14 billion years old. Neither position is justified.
      Are you shitting me? You cannot honestly think that no evidence exists for that figure that the age of the universe is 13.7 billion years. You think that all astronomy and astrophysics is some sort of fraud? Let me repeat this to you in large capital letters and you can just imagine me speaking really slowly and distinctly while I say this, okay?
      ACORDING TO THE MOST RECENT, MOST ADVANCED OBSERVATIONS OF THE UNIVERSE --- THE UNIVERSE BEING THAT BY WHICH WE ARE COMPLETELY ENCOMPASSED AND THEREFORE ALL THAT WE CAN KNOW --- THE UNIVERSE ITSELF IS 13.7 BILLION YEARS OLD.

      Here's a nice little story about how that data and that figure came to be, in case you're interested.

      I'm really having a hard time believing that you lack such a basic ability to follow logic that you continue to bring up objections that I have already answered, and quite frankly I think that you could be doing this just to see how much I'm willing to write. However, in case you're not: Try this little thought experiment. A tiny universe is a black box sitting on your kitchen table, and the box is capable of being completely isolated from any external stimuli. Now, suppose that you decide that you'd like to play God with this little black box universe. Before you people it, you want to set up some scenery. You see a nice bowl of fruit sitting on the table, and you think that the little box people might like to have fruit in their universe once you call them into existence, so you head over to your local craft store and buy some fruit-shaped Styrofoam and some paint. You paint the Styrofoam to look roughly like the fruit on your table and then place the fake fruit inside the box.

      Then you create little people inside the box and seal it up. The box being completely isolated prevents the people from leaving or in any way ascertaining anything about what may or may not exist outside of the box. They can study the inside of box. This is their science-- the study of their physical universe. The people inside the box see the styrofoam fruit you made and call them “apples” and “oranges”.

      What you seem to be consistently missing is the fact that to the people inside the box, those are not fake-fruit, not props, not illusions. They are real. They are reality. They are all that they can know. They can know nothing of what is outside of the box, just as we can know nothing of what is outside of our universe, outside of our sensory perception. What is inside the universe is REAL. It is real to us. It is all that we can know, all that we can study. Those people inside the little black box universe can speculate all they want about what is outside of the box, but it is meaningless because, the box being sealed, none of their hypotheses can be tested. Each person could believe something different. One could believe that outside of the box is a giant sea of jellybeans, one could believe that a benevolent cat rules over the box, one could believe that the box exists within the belly of a giant, incorporeal dragon sitting in a closet. That is what I mean by impotent relativism. Each of those contradictory hypotheses are equally untestable and therefore equally valid for each person. No one can prove or disprove anything and no one can argue about it because there is no evidence or logic to argue about. All that they can know for sure, all that they can study and argue about and philosophize about are those things which are perceptible within the box, within their universe.


      This discussion has everything to do with epistemology as I am questioning the grounds on which you claim to have knowledge. It is ridiculous to contend that it is not an epistemological discussion.[/b]
      Go check out “Science for Dummies” at your local library and read what methodologies are used to produce scientific knowledge. Those are the grounds on which my claims of knowledge are based.

      <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE
      One can only know through sensing .[/b]
      Knowledge is not defined as \"what I sense\" it is defined as justified true belief, sensing is how most people claim to justify their beliefs, but there is no reason to believe that the senses accurately portray an objective world and so that justification is faulty. Seeing this monitor does not imply that it exists objectively, only that you see it.[/b][/quote]

      Then why don’t you stop dodging my questions and answer with a method of knowing that does not involve sensing. Name it. Name one way. Tell me how you know that the universe is 150,000 years old.
      “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
      - Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

      The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.
      - Mohandas Gandhi

    13. #38
      Member tyrantt23's Avatar
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      Originally posted by Belisarius
      My contention wasn't that the belief that the universe is so young is reasonable, it was that it is just as reasonable as the belief that the universe is 14 billion years old. Neither position is justified.
      Sure you can say that the universe is but a few thousand years old, but that statement would go against the constantly persistent laws of physics, chemistry, etc etc that have been accurate ever since the beginning of science. Stating that the universe is over 13 billion years old is much more coherent with all the scientific laws than saying it is but a few hundred thousand years old. That is the main reason we can rely on scientific laws and principles is because of its consistency. Thats why its a lot more reasonable to accept all the inputs from the universe than to disregard them and make up reasons to why they're not correct.

      Like Peregrinus said, reality can be a lot different than what we especulate however to us, to our reality, our senses is all we can count on. Just because you see your monitor that doesn't mean that its actually there. However, because all your senses are consistent in acknowledging that it is there, and because your monitor doesn't simply vanish on random days of the month, a more rational aproach would be to say that yes, your monitor does exist in our reality.

      If Peregrinus wasn't able to convince you about being rational already, then I really have little hopes of doing so myself.

      However I will end this with a statement of my own, and that is, I think you've been watching The Matrix waaaaaay too much. Its all good and dandy to ask yourself if something along the lines of that movie is actually happening, but try to stick to what you know for sure. If you believe you live in a dream world, then well, in that dream world your senses are real, your monitor exists, and Earth is 13.7 billion years old.

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    14. #39
      Member Belisarius's Avatar
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      Originally posted by tyrantt23+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(tyrantt23)</div>
      <!--QuoteBegin-Belisarius
      My contention wasn't that the belief that the universe is so young is reasonable, it was that it is just as reasonable as the belief that the universe is 14 billion years old. Neither position is justified.
      Sure you can say that the universe is but a few thousand years old, but that statement would go against the constantly persistent laws of physics, chemistry, etc etc that have been accurate ever since the beginning of science. Stating that the universe is over 13 billion years old is much more coherent with all the scientific laws than saying it is but a few hundred thousand years old. That is the main reason we can rely on scientific laws and principles is because of its consistency. Thats why its a lot more reasonable to accept all the inputs from the universe than to disregard them and make up reasons to why they're not correct.

      Like Peregrinus said, reality can be a lot different than what we especulate however to us, to our reality, our senses is all we can count on. Just because you see your monitor that doesn't mean that its actually there. However, because all your senses are consistent in acknowledging that it is there, and because your monitor doesn't simply vanish on random days of the month, a more rational aproach would be to say that yes, your monitor does exist in our reality.

      If Peregrinus wasn't able to convince you about being rational already, then I really have little hopes of doing so myself.

      However I will end this with a statement of my own, and that is, I think you've been watching The Matrix waaaaaay too much. Its all good and dandy to ask yourself if something along the lines of that movie is actually happening, but try to stick to what you know for sure. If you believe you live in a dream world, then well, in that dream world your senses are real, your monitor exists, and Earth is 13.7 billion years old.[/b]
      The problem with scientific laws is that the only reason you believe in them is because they appear to be consistant. They appear to be consistant because of our memory of them, but there is no reason to believe that our memory is an accurate representation of actual events, and neither is there any reason to believe that our senses are an accurate representation of actual events.

      In other words it is not rationality that leads you to say that the monitor is there, it is faith that leads you to say it is there. Your statement is like saying, because I see a car there is a Honda there. There is no logical basis for me to say that there is a honda there, no matter how many senses I use to percieve a car, it doesn't mean it's a honda. Likewise, no matter how many senses I use to pervieve this monitor, it doesn't mean that a monitor exists objectively. The analogy is a bad one, but it demonstrates that the perception of an object does not necessitate the object's existance, nor does it even suggest it's existance.

      Suppose we are living in a matrix situation(haven't watched that movie for a while ), then would you not be wrong to claim that you know a monitor exists objectively in front of you? Now since there is a possibility that we are in such a situation, or any other situation in which the cause of our perception of an object is not that object's existance, then would you not still be wrong to claim that you know with certainty that a monitor exists objectively in front of you?

      My last point is that we are not necessarily living in a consistant dream world. Maybe before today I have never seen in color, but now I do and I remember everything in color. Maybe gravity did not exist until last week. It is impossible to know, so then it is also impossible to know anything that is predicated upon gravity existing two weeks ago. Indeed the walls of this dream world aren't 13 billion years old, but only a moment old, they are not found in the depths of space, but at the limits of our perception.

    15. #40
      Member Peregrinus's Avatar
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      Originally posted by Belisarius
      Suppose we are living in a matrix situation(haven't watched that movie for a while Very Happy ), then would you not be wrong to claim that you know a monitor exists objectively in front of you? Now since there is a possibility that we are in such a situation, or any other situation in which the cause of our perception of an object is not that object's existance, then would you not still be wrong to claim that you know with certainty that a monitor exists objectively in front of you?
      For crying out loud. Read what I’ve written. Within the Matrix, the monitor exists. That's why you see it there-- because it exists. Matrix people interact with matrix computers and matrix music in matrix clubs with matrix girls with matrix rabbits tattooed on their shoulders. They are able to do this because, within the system that is the matrix, those things are real. And you're also missing another point (again). In the Matrix, there was evidence of inconsistencies, ways of manipulating the program that violated the internal laws of the system. Such evidence does not exist for any of your claims about this universe. No inconsistencies have been discovered. None. Go back up and reread my little thought experiment about the box universe, absorb the implications, and discover in yourself the strength to admit that you have been wrong instead of continuing along this immature and tiresome path of ignoring the facts, logic, and arguments that prove your position to be incorrect while replaying your same weak arguments that have been repeatedly deconstructed into the nothingness that they are. Just drop it. Save some dignity and quit making yourself look like a dense and desperate fool.
      “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
      - Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

      The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.
      - Mohandas Gandhi

    16. #41
      Rotaredom Howie's Avatar
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      You two, Belisarius are worth the price of admission alone

      If talking to a child he/she could inevitably say why to every answer. That in effect is what you are doing Belisarius. Of coarse you can question everything.
      As far as the Matrix this was a program that was computated from what DID exist before. It may not have existed at tha time but it did exist.

      Originally posted by Belisarius
      In other words it is not rationality that leads you to say that the monitor is there, it is faith that leads you to say it is there. Your statement is like saying, because I see a car there is a Honda there.
      Faith and rationality are two differant thing all together.
      Faith is somthing you have to believe without the a source other than here say or words.
      Faith - somone told me there is a car there. faith leads you to believe it is a Honda for whatever reason.
      Science - Leads to a rational decision based on fact that can be ruled out through a process of elimination, reviewing, testing and others. Thus leading you to a conclusion rather than a faith based decision which leaves you hanging.

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