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A Question For The Creationists


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#1 Richw9090

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 08:13 PM

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that evolution could be proven to your satisfaction. What would be the danger in that?

Suppose it were a fact that evolution via natural selection is the correct explanation for the diversity of life we see on earth today. What would that mean to you, and for your religious convictions and beliefs?

I'm seriously asking here - how would evolution being true endanger you or change what you believe in any way?

Rich

#2 JayShel

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 08:25 PM

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that evolution could be proven to your satisfaction. What would be the danger in that?

Suppose it were a fact that evolution via natural selection is the correct explanation for the diversity of life we see on earth today. What would that mean to you, and for your religious convictions and beliefs?

I'm seriously asking here - how would evolution being true endanger you or change what you believe in any way?

Rich


I'm not one for hypotheticals. If it were true, I would still believe in God since it would not rule out God, and there's still that sticking point of abiogenesis...could it have happened? Could a river carve out my name in cursive? To me it would be much more likely.

#3 Bonedigger

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 09:36 PM

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that evolution could be proven to your satisfaction. What would be the danger in that?

Suppose it were a fact that evolution via natural selection is the correct explanation for the diversity of life we see on earth today. What would that mean to you, and for your religious convictions and beliefs?

I'm seriously asking here - how would evolution being true endanger you or change what you believe in any way?

Rich


I'm not much for hypotheticals either. All I can give is my own experience. A brief autobio can be found here. While I was in school, I did find myself being pushed ever and ever closer over the cliff into believing evolution. The funny thing is, it wasn't the evidence that was pushing me. For arguments that I had initially found to be such strong arguments for evolution, like the argument from homology, the deeper I studied and the more I learned, the more superficial and spurious they became as evidence for evolution. Rather, it was the culture, the peer pressure, the "group think" that was pushing me. In a field like vertebrate paleontology, where evolution is intertwined throughout everything, you eat, sleep, think, and breathe evolution every day. Where would I be if I had gone over the edge, so to speak? Would it have destroyed my faith? I like to think not. I like to think that I would have found some way to rationalize evolution into it, but, and this is no slight against those who have, I seriously doubt it. If I had gone over the edge, I would definitely have finished my Ph.D. and be working as a paleontologist now. In the end, though, I don't think the Bible and evolution can be truly harmonized, so any faith I might have had at that point would probably just be lip service.

#4 Calypsis4

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 01:00 PM

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that evolution could be proven to your satisfaction. What would be the danger in that?

Suppose it were a fact that evolution via natural selection is the correct explanation for the diversity of life we see on earth today. What would that mean to you, and for your religious convictions and beliefs?

I'm seriously asking here - how would evolution being true endanger you or change what you believe in any way?

Rich


I'll repeat what I suggested elsewhere; show us an example of non-living material that developed from scratch (separate but combining chemicals) into a fully mature organism that continues to generate life successfully. Easier still...show us any living organism that has evolved into a classifiably/identifiably different organism and the debate is over as far as the existence of Darwinian evolution.

But know this: I've been making this challenge for a long time and no evolutionist has done it. That's because evolution is truly a fairytale.

As far as God's existence. That's another story.

#5 gilbo12345

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 03:30 PM

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that evolution could be proven to your satisfaction. What would be the danger in that?

Suppose it were a fact that evolution via natural selection is the correct explanation for the diversity of life we see on earth today. What would that mean to you, and for your religious convictions and beliefs?

I'm seriously asking here - how would evolution being true endanger you or change what you believe in any way?

Rich


Lol in the same fashion I also don't like to entertain hypotheticals since science should be focused on the facts of what is, not what we think can be, (despite what evolutionists may think).

However my personal beliefs wouldn't be infringed at all, the main reason why I dislike evolution is because it is purported as science when it is actually philosophy, and it claimed to be a fact when it is actually fiction. Its these false claims that spur me to debate this issue.

IF evolution was admitted to not be scientific as well as not a fact then I would have no problems :)

#6 Portillo

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 11:39 PM

Are you talking about natural evolution, as in we are an accident and just evolved bacteria? If that evolution is true then I guess what William Provine says is true:

1) There’s no evidence for God
2) There’s no life after death
3) There’s no absolute foundation for right and wrong
4) There’s no ultimate meaning for life
5) People don’t really have free will
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#7 JayShel

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 06:49 AM

Are you talking about natural evolution, as in we are an accident and just evolved bacteria? If that evolution is true then I guess what William Provine says is true:

1) There’s no evidence for God
2) There’s no life after death
3) There’s no absolute foundation for right and wrong
4) There’s no ultimate meaning for life
5) People don’t really have free will


Well if there is a God, and evolution is true, then I don't imagine the God of the Bible. There's just some major points, such as creation of man through millions of years of death. This is not in the Bible. If God created man through evolution over millions of years, then death is a blessing, and God is not all that creative. It makes more sense that His infinitely complex creation would adapt to an ever changing environment. Ironically, this is what we see in the fossil record. The cambrian explosion shows fully formed complex organisms, with complex eyes (trilobites etc). We also observe adaptation (micro evolution if you prefer, I don't) of species to their environment through natural selection of the traits that they express.

#8 NewPath

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 08:11 AM

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that evolution could be proven to your satisfaction. What would be the danger in that?

Suppose it were a fact that evolution via natural selection is the correct explanation for the diversity of life we see on earth today. What would that mean to you, and for your religious convictions and beliefs?

I'm seriously asking here - how would evolution being true endanger you or change what you believe in any way?

Rich


I used to believe in evolution as a Christian kid. My views changed because of the scientific facts, not because of my faith. Obviously I was confronted with the alternative set of facts due to the circles I mixed in, bible-believing Christians. I believe your hypothetical question can never come about because the facts are increasingly leading towards sudden appearance of complex life forms early on.

Nevertheless, to answer your question bluntly and honestly, if I was faced with no alternative I would revert to a symbolic 6 day period of Genesis 1. But I will never have to face that situation because God has already confirmed his literal word. I have come to trust in the bible as a very literal book over time and God would never contradict his word, and therefore your hypothetical question is impossible.

#9 jason777

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 04:08 PM

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that evolution could be proven to your satisfaction. What would be the danger in that?

Suppose it were a fact that evolution via natural selection is the correct explanation for the diversity of life we see on earth today. What would that mean to you, and for your religious convictions and beliefs?

I'm seriously asking here - how would evolution being true endanger you or change what you believe in any way?

Rich


Hi,Rich.

Well, from fossils you have two things.

1) Fossils that appear slightly different.
2) Different types of fossils.

What you insert beyond that isn't derived from the evidence; It's a product of what you already believe. No geologist ever went out and found a bunch of fossils that were stacked up and appeared to be changing into different species; Evolution was already accepted, and then they went out looking for them as Darwin stated: "... The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, (must) be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory."

In fact, evolution was around well before the birth of Christ.

"The Hindus were Spinozas 2,000 years before the birth of Spinoza, Darwinians centuries before the birth of Darwin, and evolutionists many centuries before the doctrine of evolution had been accepted by the Huxleys of our time, and before any word like 'evolution' existed in any language of the world." Sir M. Monier-Williams, Professor of Sanskrit, Oxford University, 1894 (source: M.L. Burke, Swami Vivekenanda in the West, Vol II, 3rd edition, p128, 1984).

So, how could I accept an ancient myth that has changed every time a dead end is found? Shouldn't I stick to history instead?

"No archeological discovery has ever controverted [overturned] a Biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries.” [Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert, p. 31.]

Enjoy.

#10 Richw9090

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 10:41 AM

Thank you all - or almost all, only Calypsis was too afraid to actually answer my question - for taking the time to answer . There is quite a range in your answers, with several of you essentially saying "It really wouldn't change my belief in God" to the other extreme, misguided to my way of thinking, which sees acceptance of evolution as requiring that God does not exist, and that moral decay would surely be the result.

When I've been asked what my beliefs are, I usually label myself as a theistic, agnostic, evolutionist. I believe there is some greater Power in the Universe, I do not believe that we can know anything about the nature of that power, and I accept evolution as the best explanation for the divesity of life we see on Earth today. Probably the greatest distinction between me and other Theists is that I do not believe in a "personal", or more correctly, "personnified" God. The strength of science is that it does not require any particular religious belief, or any religious belief at all, to do good science. Religion and science are two completely separate realms - Non Over-lapping Magisteria, as Stephen Gould called them. Atheists can do good science; theists can do good science. There are two evolutionary biologists who I admire as role models. One is George Gaylord Simpson (1902 - 1984), and avowed atheist. The other is Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881 - 1955), a Jesuit Priest, Theologian, and top-notch vertebrate paleontologist. I was privileged to know Simpson, but never had the fortune to have met de Chardin. Amongst living scientists, Father Emiliano Aguirre (born 1925), again a Jesuit Priest and a noted vertebrate paleontiologist who I have met and travelled with, is also influential on my thinking, as are others who are atheists.

As for William Provine, I find his claims preposterous to the point of being silly. Believing them stems partly, I think from the artifical way of characterizing the debate adopted by the Biblical Literalists. Specifically:

1.There’s no evidence for God

Yes, it is true that there is no scientific evidence for God, nor can there be. That is not to say that there is no evidence. For most people of faith, their life experence provides that evidence - emotional, philosophical, circumstantial - but not scientifc. On the other hand, for those like me, the complexity and wonder of the universe, and specifically of the nature of life on Earth, is strong evidence of the existence of that higher power. But it is still emotional and philosophical and circumstantial - not scientific. Part of the reason that this argument is so stronly advanced by certain theists, I believe, is that they use it to set up a false dilemma - if Natural Selection can be "disproven" or rejected, then God wins, by default. That isn't the case.

2) There’s no life after death

There is no scientifc evidence for life after death - nor for any other supernatural phenomenon. But refer back to 1# for why that is irrelevant.

3) There’s no absolute foundation for right and wrong

Religion always seeks absolutes. But the fact of the matter is that our system of right and wrong is based mostly on the Bible - and the system works, whether or not there is, scientifically speaking, a God. The Golden Rule, the Code of Hammurabi, our own Constitution all provide the basis for the system, God or not.

4) There’s no ultimate meaning for life

You are responsible for bringing meaning to your life. I certainly think I have found meaning in my life, even if I do not believe in God quite the same way you do. And I know some atheists who are very moral and ethical. They are good people who I am pleased to call friends. I also know some theists who are miserable sons of bitches, and I wouldn't have them for friends i you paid me.

5) People don’t really have free will

This is sort of funny, coming from Theists. One could philosophically argue that belief in an omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient God, with a personal interest in your life, removes all possibility of any free will. Basically, this misundersanding of evolution's meaning stems from the common claim by Creationists that evolution is a completely random process. Evolution is not random. Natural selection is not random. Even the variation upon which natural selection acts is not completely random, although it is "random enough" in terms of the environmental pressures on a particular population of animals in a particular environment.

Thanks again for answering seriously. Perhaps Calypsis would like to climb down from his high horse and also answer the question, instead of trying to change the subject.

Rich
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#11 gilbo12345

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 05:37 PM

The no freewill comes from Dawkins who states in his book that we are merely dancing to our genes... IF we are controlled by our genetics, which were determined before we are born then all we do was already determined before we were born also, therefore there is no freewill if you wish to believe in Dawkin's (unsubstantiated) claim.

The meaning of life part... you forgot the word "ultimate". Yes we all can make-up an arbitrary "purpose" for our life... However this purpose is literally meaningless since over time it will fade and disappear. Even if I was the richest man in the universe and built statues of myself at each street intersection this would be meaningless since in time the universe will end, (heat death if not some other event), which would render my statues useless. Therefore yes people can make-up a "purpose" for their life, but know that this purpose is entirely arbitrary and without meaning.
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#12 Calypsis4

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 08:10 PM

Thank you all - or almost all, only Calypsis was too afraid to actually answer my question - for taking the time to answer . There is quite a range in your answers, with several of you essentially saying "It really wouldn't change my belief in God" to the other extreme, misguided to my way of thinking, which sees acceptance of evolution as requiring that God does not exist, and that moral decay would surely be the result.


You just lied to the readers here. I wasn't/am not afraid of anything as far as your OP is concerned. Evolution doesn't endanger anything as far as my beliefs are concerned because it does not even exist in the first place. If it did exist it would have to function in direct violation of natural law...the first one being the 1st law of thermodynamics (matter/mass cannot be created nor destroyed...at least not by any natural process that we know of). Nature cannot create anything. It can only process or reproduce what it is programmed to do by the Creator who made it. Secondly the Law of Biogenesis; life only generates from life and never from non-living matter. Such a thing has never been observed in the history of mankind.

So, Mr.rich, what, pray tell, is there for someone like me to be afraid of?

But you certainly know how to miss the point, don't you? My answer to you involved the things I said just posted above but it all went right over your head.

#13 Richw9090

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 08:08 AM

What you are afraid of, Calypsis, is for you to figure out and explain to us. All I see is you running and hiding from the question, by attempting to switch the topic to a question not asked. I wouldn't presume, in this theard at least, to hazard a guess as to your motivation.

#14 Richw9090

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 08:19 AM

Gilbo: Dawkins is no favorite of mine. Although I'm an evolutionary biologist, I don't agree with much that Dawkins has to say. He consistently goes beyond what science is capable of determining and enters the realm of his own personal philosophy - which is fine, if he'd identify it as such. But he allows his followers to believe that he is still speaking/writing in his capacity as a scientist, which simply isn't the case.

Science has nothing to say on the question of the existence or non-existence of God. Dawkins is one of those holding to what philosophers euphemistically call "strong atheism", or what I call fundamentalist atheism. Dawkins asserts positive knowledge that there is no God. Science in no way supports him in this. Most of Dawkins writings and lectures are nothing more than his attempts to poke a sharp stick in the eye of anyone professing religious faith.

Characterizing all of science by what Dawkins says is rather like characterizing all theists by what convicted tax fraud artist and con-man Kent H*vind has done and written. The former is unfair to scientists, and the later unfair to theists.

Rich

I've edited this post 4 times, and it will not accept H-o-v-i-n-d, it keeps replacing the o with an asterisk. Don't know why that is.

#15 Richw9090

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 08:36 AM

Gilbo: As far as "purpose" in life goes, I responded to the comment without the qualifier "ultimate" because I do no know what that means. It can't mean "God-given", for this argument really reduces to whether God exists or not. Two difficulties arise out of that reduction. First, assuming you want to pursue the basic argument, it then assumes what you are trying to prove. Second, as I've noted, science is not a proper venue for that argument at all.

But note also your choice of examples for the sorts of "arbitrary" purposes for our lives: the accumulation of wealth or the accumulation of fame. While those are in fact purposes, they are, to my mind, meaningless. Let's talk instead of the fireman who dedicates his career, and sometimes gives his or her life to protect the lives and property of others. Let's talk of the teachers who dedicate their lives to the education of our children, often for very low pay, little recognition, and at some personal expense, as many teachers are forced to buy supplies out of their own pockets. Let's talk about Bill and Melinda Gates, who quietly give away huge sums of money to help the poor, the sick, the uneducated, and who do not seek fame for their acts. From the most lowly among us to the richest and most famous, there are many who have what I think is a very meaningful purpose in life. Some of them are Christians. Some are atheists or agnostics. Some are Moslems. Their religion really has very little bearing on whether or not they have a meaningful purpose in life. For the Christian, that purpose is an important part of their life, and a way for them to glorify God. For the atheist, that purpose is still an important part of their life. I really don't see where the qualifier "ultimate" makes any real distinction, unless it simply distinguishes selfish from selfless purposes.

#16 gilbo12345

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 09:18 AM

Gilbo: Dawkins is no favorite of mine. Although I'm an evolutionary biologist, I don't agree with much that Dawkins has to say. He consistently goes beyond what science is capable of determining and enters the realm of his own personal philosophy - which is fine, if he'd identify it as such. But he allows his followers to believe that he is still speaking/writing in his capacity as a scientist, which simply isn't the case.

Science has nothing to say on the question of the existence or non-existence of God. Dawkins is one of those holding to what philosophers euphemistically call "strong atheism", or what I call fundamentalist atheism. Dawkins asserts positive knowledge that there is no God. Science in no way supports him in this. Most of Dawkins writings and lectures are nothing more than his attempts to poke a sharp stick in the eye of anyone professing religious faith.

Characterizing all of science by what Dawkins says is rather like characterizing all theists by what convicted tax fraud artist and con-man Kent H*vind has done and written. The former is unfair to scientists, and the later unfair to theists.

Rich

I've edited this post 4 times, and it will not accept H-o-v-i-n-d, it keeps replacing the o with an asterisk. Don't know why that is.


Totally agree, Dawkins demonstrates as much faith in his own words as a Christian has faith in God. However it still doesn't stop the characterisation of his ideals within the media, perhaps look up the "crime gene" where in Italy it was used as a defence and the defendant won with it.

#17 gilbo12345

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 09:25 AM

Bilbo: As far as "purpose" in life goes, I responded to the comment without the qualifier "ultimate" because I do no know what that means. It can't mean "God-given", for this argument really reduces to whether God exists or not. Two difficulties arise out of that reduction. First, assuming you want to pursue the basic argument, it then assumes what you are trying to prove. Second, as I've noted, science is not a proper venue for that argument at all.

But note also your choice of examples for the sorts of "arbitrary" purposes for our lives: the accumulation of wealth or the accumulation of fame. While those are in fact purposes, they are, to my mind, meaningless. Let's talk instead of the fireman who dedicates his career, and sometimes gives his or her life to protect the lives and property of others. Let's talk of the teachers who dedicate their lives to the education of our children, often for very low pay, little recognition, and at some personal expense, as many teachers are forced to buy supplies out of their own pockets. Let's talk about Bill and Melinda Gates, who quietly give away huge sums of money to help the poor, the sick, the uneducated, and who do not seek fame for their acts. From the most lowly among us to the richest and most famous, there are many who have what I think is a very meaningful purpose in life. Some of them are Christians. Some are atheists or agnostics. Some are Moslems. Their religion really has very little bearing on whether or not they have a meaningful purpose in life. For the Christian, that purpose is an important part of their life, and a way for them to glorify God. For the atheist, that purpose is still an important part of their life. I really don't see where the qualifier "ultimate" makes any real distinction, unless it simply distinguishes selfish from selfless purposes.


My nickname is Gilbo, I have no idea where you are pulling this "Bilbo" character from, unless its from the LotR.

Yes I never said people cannot create a purpose for their lives... I only stated that such a purpose, in sight of the big picture, is absolutely meaningless. Therefore your entire post hinges on a mischaracterisation of what I was saying, and you redefining terms. Ultimate purpose as I was refering to in my analogy is Ultimately meaningful purpose... As stated this world will end in some fashion or another therefore ANY purpose connected to this material world will become irrelevant.. Yes it feels good to do good, and I advocate doing such however when it comes to a person's ultimate purpose in life "doing good" just doesn't cut it.

#18 Richw9090

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 09:48 AM

Gilbo: My apologies for mistyping your name. I try to be very careful, and never misuse a screen name intentionally. That is a childish tactic.

You still havent defined what an "ultimate" purpose is - you've simply added another word to the term: ultimately meaningful purpose. The word "ultimate" doesn't seem to add anything to the term.

Perhaps looking to the Bible can provide some idea of wbhat purpose ought to mean, at least to a Christian. In Mark 12 (30-31) we read:

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

It would seem to me that the purposes I listed above in my post as meaningful purposes more than qualify under the second of the two primary commandments. I see no reason why the first has to be a part of meeting the second. They are two separate commandments, I think. Most Christians would see good works done following the second one as helping to fulfill their obligations under the first. But just in terms of meaningful purpose, the second defines it rather nicely, I think.

So I'm back to this: ultimate purpose, if it is anything at all, is meaningful purpose. The two are synonymous. Certainly you can't mean that those things done as "ultimate purpose" will be unchanging and permanent, since the Bible tells us that:

"The day of the Lord will come like a thief--it will be a day on which the heavens will pass away with a rushing noise, the elements be destroyed in the fierce heat, and the earth and all the works of man be utterly burnt up."

So apparently, there is no purpose here on earth which will survive - there is no "ultimate purpose" possible for humans. I simply don't accept that. I think that the sorts of purposes I outlined in my post above are meaningful - the most meaningful which can be achieved by human beings.

#19 Calypsis4

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 03:48 PM

What you are afraid of, Calypsis, is for you to figure out and explain to us. All I see is you running and hiding from the question, by attempting to switch the topic to a question not asked. I wouldn't presume, in this theard at least, to hazard a guess as to your motivation.


I see. You just stubbornly and deliberately turn things around mentally when you are confronted with facts that make you uncomfortable.

It is not my motivation that is in question here. I made a challenge to your OP and above and you keep dancing around the matter. You're doing the same dance with the other posters here. For instance:

quote: "So apparently, there is no purpose here on earth which will survive - there is no "ultimate purpose" possible for humans."

Since when were you invested with divine authority (or any kind of authority) to determine such things? Why should we believe you? The point is that if there is no God then there is no authority...at least none that animals (like us....right?) have to respect. Hey, it's dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest. I can kill you or you could kill me without impunity; no responsiblity; no ulitimate right vs wrong. No good, no evil. And who has the authority to determine otherwise?

But this is what you & those like you preach.....so live with it.

#20 Richw9090

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 08:52 PM

You have still failed to provide an answer to my question, Calypsis, and it is become patently obvious to all here that you are stalling. Please feel free to re-enter the discussion when you are ready to provide an answer. Not a response, but an answer. That is what all the others have done, and that is what you have not done. You can play word games all you want, but that doesn't change the basic fact - you have not answered the question.

Why might that be, I wonder?

By the way, your intentional misunderstanding of what I last posted, and your puerile attempts to deflect attention from your own cowardice were momentarily entertaining.

Rich




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