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Old 27th September 2019, 12:32 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
I was in a philosophy class and I said to a bunch of students. There must be 'a truth'. A load of blank faces looked at me and said, no there is no truth.
Did the whole bus then clap?
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Old 27th September 2019, 01:10 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Did the whole bus then clap?
And that bus's name was... Albert Einstein.
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Old 27th September 2019, 01:14 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by wasapi View Post
"The Truth" has always been a source of confusion for me. My mother was a Christian Scientist. She always spoke to me - and anyone who would listen - that the most important knowledge was to know The Truth. There was never really anything else in way of explanation.

Without other substantial information as to an explanation, preferably a more precise definition. Please?
Scorpion went on to say that what he's asking about is the meaning of, and a purpose for, the universe -- I assume extrinsic meaning and purpose.

The ambiguity you describe is what Douglas Adams took advantage of for the theme in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. People throw around lofty-sounding language without really intending a serious inquiry. They just want to be seen dealing in superlative ideas. It's the difference between coffeehouse philosophy and actual philosophy. Your mother probably intended something specific, probably the doctrines of her church. That is how most religions define uppercase-T Truth. That's a slightly different proposition than not having anything to be pinned down on. If you keep your argument foggy enough, you can perform a wonderfully equivocal exercise in shifting your goalposts while your critics are mucking about with actual ideas. It creates the illusion that you're the deep thinker whose noble ideas your critics can only clumsily approximate.
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Old 28th September 2019, 01:28 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by JesseCuster View Post
Did that actually happen? They ALL said no? Some of them? Most of them? In unison? One by one? In a cacophonous roar?
It reminds me a little of those stories where someone is at the Evolution Class at university and the Professor of Evolution says "if there is a God then let him knock this chalk from my shoulder" and the chalk falls off and the Professor runs away in confusion and the Christian gets up and testifies for an hour and please share this inspiring story with all your friends.
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Old 28th September 2019, 02:17 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
Surely there has to be a truth? for example if I make the statements: There is a God, or: There is no God. One of those statements must surely be absolutely true.

Do demigods count?! There appears to be an awful lot of those, but I guess that you just need two in order to establish that there is (at least) one god.
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Old 28th September 2019, 03:11 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
One absolute truth is that the universe evolves to become intelligent. It does this by forming habitable planets and then evolution ends up with intelligent life. It is possible that the ultimate absolute truth is that the universe possibly has an intelligence permeating it which is possibly the Prime Cause.

Carbon based life forms (cellular organisms) must cooperate to an incredible degree to get humans with self-repairing and self-regenerative capabilities. Check the signalling required by various cells to other cells which must act as a group to get a favorable outcome. Fight or flight for example.

Another example is vision. Just one photon of the correct wavelength causes a molecule to expand and press against a nerve cell to get a cascade resulting in the brain being able to "see".
Yeah...you're going to need to show your work on this one.
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Old 28th September 2019, 04:32 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by JesseCuster View Post
Did that actually happen? They ALL said no? Some of them? Most of them? In unison? One by one? In a cacophonous roar?
One said it, and several others nodded in agreement with him.
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Old 28th September 2019, 04:47 AM   #48
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Posted in error.

Last edited by Craig B; 28th September 2019 at 04:49 AM.
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Old 28th September 2019, 05:31 AM   #49
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Not to go all Douglas Adams here but truth to the answer of what question? Why would there be some absolute truth absent a specific question?
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Old 28th September 2019, 07:44 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
One absolute truth is that the universe evolves to become intelligent. It does this by forming habitable planets and then evolution ends up with intelligent life. It is possible that the ultimate absolute truth is that the universe possibly has an intelligence permeating it which is possibly the Prime Cause.

Carbon based life forms (cellular organisms) must cooperate to an incredible degree to get humans with self-repairing and self-regenerative capabilities. Check the signalling required by various cells to other cells which must act as a group to get a favorable outcome. Fight or flight for example.

Another example is vision. Just one photon of the correct wavelength causes a molecule to expand and press against a nerve cell to get a cascade resulting in the brain being able to "see".
Originally Posted by Craig4 View Post
Yeah...you're going to need to show your work on this one.
I'd bet that was his work on that one.
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Old 28th September 2019, 08:40 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
One said it, and several others nodded in agreement with him.
Well, we don't believe you. As I said, unless it was Intro to Philosophy 101 and it was the first day, that's now how philosophy students would have responded to such a question -- except perhaps to marvel at so poorly phrased a question. They'd certainly not have been stumped or intimidated by it. And they'd have begun their answer by asking you define the comically ambiguous terms you presented them with, and the axioms on which your question was based. That's how philosophy works. Your question, as phrased, is just amateur navel-gazing.

What we're really asking is whether we can proceed in this thread without the auspice claiming that you brilliantly stumped a bunch of serious philosophy students. Because that didn't happen. And in the larger sense, I think your arguments would fare better if not always prefaced by anecdotes and allegations illustrating how much a better thinker you are than skeptics. There's no need for the mise en scène that portrays you as having bested people who have only conventional understanding to work from. If you insist on sticking by your prologue, I guess we can muddle through. It's just childish, though.

You asked what the "brainy people" here had to say. What we've determined is that your argument sounds more in religion than it does in philosophy. You're giving us the standard, "God created the universe according to his divine pleasure," argument. That's ho-hum. It's not some great bit of thinking or some monumental revelation. It's just the regurgitation of similar guesswork that's been around for millennia. And since you invented the god, you get to pin on him whatever motives or purposes you imagine he has. Don't expect anyone to take you seriously, though.
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Old 28th September 2019, 08:41 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Craig4 View Post
Not to go all Douglas Adams here but truth to the answer of what question? Why would there be some absolute truth absent a specific question?
Which is why 42 is as good an answer as any.
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Old 28th September 2019, 10:28 AM   #53
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[Batman voice]Truth is a young boy's parents lying dead in a pool of their own blood in a filthy alley in the bowels of an uncaring decaying city. The truth that boy saw is the world doesn't make sense. But I'll fix it. With my brains and my fists I'll make it make sense. And that's the absolute truth. Because I'm Batman.[/Batman voice]
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Old 28th September 2019, 02:02 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
[Batman voice]Truth is a young boy's parents lying dead in a pool of their own blood in a filthy alley in the bowels of an uncaring decaying city. The truth that boy saw is the world doesn't make sense. But I'll fix it. With my brains and my fists I'll make it make sense. And that's the absolute truth. Because I'm Batman.[/Batman voice]
Batman may know the absolute truth, but does he know
Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
the ultimate absolute truth
which is
Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
that the universe possibly has an intelligence permeating it which is possibly the Prime Cause.
Or quite possibly not, as the case may be.
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Old 28th September 2019, 02:07 PM   #55
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Absolute Truth™, Ultimate Truth™. Are these any relation to the Awful Truth™?
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Old 28th September 2019, 02:10 PM   #56
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People who make the most distinction between the "The Truth" and "The Facts" are always the ones mad that the facts don't agree with them.
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Old 28th September 2019, 03:06 PM   #57
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reality is absolute truth but anything one can say about it can not be absolute true
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Old 28th September 2019, 03:12 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
[Batman voice]Truth is a young boy's parents lying dead in a pool of their own blood in a filthy alley in the bowels of an uncaring decaying city. The truth that boy saw is the world doesn't make sense. But I'll fix it. With my brains and my fists I'll make it make sense. And that's the absolute truth. Because I'm Batman.[/Batman voice]
some of above are facts, some are truths /BOOM
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Old 28th September 2019, 05:18 PM   #59
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Perhaps Col. Jessep was correct. Can we, in fact, handle the truth?

I'm sort of serious with that. Nothing in my life so far has indicated that there is an ultimate, great, or final truth, however you want to define it. As said by a number of posters above, truth is, there is none.
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Old 28th September 2019, 06:58 PM   #60
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So far, I'm pretty happy with model dependent realism. I have a dinning room table. It's actually a German beer fest table but I'm rather fond of it. I leave in the morning, it's in the dinning room. I come home at night and it's in the dinning room. Do I know that my table was at my house all day? No, not really. Do I know my table didn't go off to some social club for lonely tables. No, I just know that my table is in my dinning room when I leave for work and when I come home and that I assume it doesn't go anywhere when I'm gone.

The fact that I only assume that my table doesn't go anywhere when I leave, in no way detracts from my satisfaction at eating my dinner at it most nights. In what way would my dinner be improved if I knew as an absolute truth that my table didn't go anywhere when I was at the office?

Hat tip to Steven Hawking who described this concept in one of his books but I forget which and it's late so I don't want to go and look.
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Old 29th September 2019, 04:28 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
One absolute truth is that the universe evolves to become intelligent. It does this by forming habitable planets and then evolution ends up with intelligent life. It is possible that the ultimate absolute truth is that the universe possibly has an intelligence permeating it which is possibly the Prime Cause.
May I be permitted to point this out? That such an intelligence, whether it will ever exist or not, can't possibly be the Prime Cause, if it evolved out of lesser entities, like habitable planets, and then organisms ending up with intelligent life. In religion The Prime Cause exists prior to all this evolutionary process, and initiates it or even directs it. In partSkeptic's evolutionary schema, then, this intelligence is not a Cause, and so it can't be a Prime Cause; it is an Ultimate Result of natural forces operating on initially unthinking materials through mindless processes like natural selection.

PartSkeptic's proposed ultimate absolute truth is therefore not a truth at all, far less an ultimate absolute one. It is a contradiction in terms, and completely incoherent even in principle.

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Old 29th September 2019, 11:59 AM   #62
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Yay, PartSkeptic's back, despite posting this nearly a year ago:

Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
I see no need to continue. There is nothing more to learn on this site.

My last post here. You can say I will be back - I will not. I have made a firm commitment, and I will keep it.
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Old 29th September 2019, 12:48 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
I was in a philosophy class and I said to a bunch of students. There must be 'a truth'. A load of blank faces looked at me and said, no there is no truth.

Surely there has to be a truth? for example if I make the statements: There is a God, or: There is no God. One of those statements must surely be absolutely true.

I maintain there is absolute truth, even if we do not know what it is, or cannot agree what it is.
I really don't know what that means. Seems like philosophical babble to me.

Some statements are true and some are false. There absolutely HAS to be a god or there absolutely isn't a god. There is no in between. Whether we know what is true or false is entirely a different question.

Is that absolute truth?
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Old 29th September 2019, 01:10 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I really don't know what that means. Seems like philosophical babble to me.

Some statements are true and some are false. There absolutely HAS to be a god or there absolutely isn't a god. There is no in between. Whether we know what is true or false is entirely a different question.

Is that absolute truth?
There has to be (or not to be) a ten penny piece in my pocket whether we know it's there or not. That's true, because we have a complete and uncontroversial definition of "ten penny piece" and "pocket". But that is not true of God. There may (or may not) exist an entity that one person would define as "God" and another would not. If that is so, the question whether god exists is not in the nature of "true - false, with no in between".
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Old 29th September 2019, 01:45 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I really don't know what that means. Seems like philosophical babble to me.

Some statements are true and some are false. There absolutely HAS to be a god or there absolutely isn't a god. There is no in between. Whether we know what is true or false is entirely a different question.

Is that absolute truth?
I'd call it a false dichotomy, as it excludes the alternative of multiple gods, unless one interprets the phrase "a God" to mean something other than its normal usage.
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Old 29th September 2019, 02:10 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
There has to be (or not to be) a ten penny piece in my pocket whether we know it's there or not. That's true, because we have a complete and uncontroversial definition of "ten penny piece" and "pocket". But that is not true of God. There may (or may not) exist an entity that one person would define as "God" and another would not. If that is so, the question whether god exists is not in the nature of "true - false, with no in between".
No, either way there is a truth. If you define a god as that ten penny piece in your pocket and it's there than the statement there is a god is true. And if I define it as the being that created the universe and there isn't such a being, then the statement is false. One must agree on definitions first.

And if you're just playing word games then you're practicing nonsense.
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Old 29th September 2019, 02:55 PM   #67
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I'm pretty much at the point that I think the difference between the "Truth" and "The facts" is the same difference between "Qualia" and "nervous system sensory inputs" and between "A soul" and a normal functioning neurosystem... nothing that actually exists but a distinction without difference that people will always pretend is there
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Old 30th September 2019, 12:04 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
No, either way there is a truth. If you define a god as that ten penny piece in your pocket and it's there than the statement there is a god is true. And if I define it as the being that created the universe and there isn't such a being, then the statement is false. One must agree on definitions first.

And if you're just playing word games then you're practicing nonsense.
I think you're right about the definitions, which means that before the ultimate absolute truth can be enunciated, definitions must be agreed. Is, then,the truth that is subject to these definitions still absolute and ultimate, or is it conditional on the outcome of the process of formulating definitions?
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Old 30th September 2019, 11:24 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I'm pretty much at the point that I think the difference between the "Truth" and "The facts" is the same difference between "Qualia" and "nervous system sensory inputs" and between "A soul" and a normal functioning neurosystem... nothing that actually exists but a distinction without difference that people will always pretend is there
And they have rhetorical reasons for pretending it's there. They want to maintain the belief that science cannot see everything, and that therefore there must exist things that science cannot see. And they imagine that their particular beliefs can live happily there, unmolested by skeptical inquiry. Or similarly, they want to pretend that science can see only dimly and crudely, and that what science sees must necessarily actually exist in a purer, more platonic form. And they claim knowledge of this form, by means other than what science can employ. It seems all these claims are, to some degree, gnostic.

The aim here is usually to validate their particular claimed methods of insight, not to discuss the substance of what they claim to see. All the claimant wants is for the critic to agree that some knowledge exists that the critic's method of discernment cannot perceive. Then the claimant can comfortably state that his discernment can see it better. But if such an "absolute truth" cannot be agreed to exist, and to lie forever beyond science's ken, then the claimant can have no permanent claim to special insight.
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Old 1st October 2019, 07:20 PM   #70
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"Absolute" truth is something that remains true no matter who is contemplating it. As others have pointed out, mathematicians have long held that axiomatic propositions are absolutely true (such as if x and y are both natural numbers, and x = y, it is absolutely true that y = x). Such propositions do not change depending on who is asking.

The scientific method is the best tool humanity has for approaching absolute truth, and of course much science has to be underpinned by mathematics.
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Old 1st October 2019, 07:38 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
I was in a philosophy class and I said to a bunch of students. There must be 'a truth'. A load of blank faces looked at me and said, no there is no truth.

Surely there has to be a truth? for example if I make the statements: There is a God, or: There is no God. One of those statements must surely be absolutely true.

I maintain there is absolute truth, even if we do not know what it is, or cannot agree what it is.
Ah, but unless there is a very precise definition of the word "God" it's actually less clear that it would seem.

Does Spinoza's God count as "a God"? What if I say that the word "God" to me means the universe itself?

Then there's the word "is" (for which we could substitute the synonym "exists". If "God" "exists" in our imaginations, is that enough to say that "God" in some sense exists? (Even if only metaphorically?)
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Old 3rd October 2019, 06:12 AM   #72
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Ah, but unless there is a very precise definition of the word "God" it's actually less clear that it would seem.

Does Spinoza's God count as "a God"? What if I say that the word "God" to me means the universe itself?

Then there's the word "is" (for which we could substitute the synonym "exists". If "God" "exists" in our imaginations, is that enough to say that "God" in some sense exists? (Even if only metaphorically?)
If your God is an old man with a white beard sitting on a cloud saying Let there be light, the he's an absolute truth, but if he's Spinoza's god there are serious difficulties. The Amsterdam synagogue knew how to deal with these issues, however.
...all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven. And the Lord shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law.

Last edited by Craig B; 3rd October 2019 at 06:18 AM.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 07:16 AM   #73
Puppycow
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The fuzziness of the word God made me think of another difficulty due to the nature of human language itself. Not just "God" but any word in any language doesn't really have a meaning precise enough to call it "absolute". The same word can mean different things to different people and in different contexts.

Even a seemingly simple statement like "a dog is a mammal", while true, is hard to say that it's absolutely true. Because possibly in some situations it might not be true. What if it's a robot dog, for example. Then there's the fact that the meanings of words can change over time, or they can fall into disuse. The word "gay" now means something different than it did in the past, for example. So any statement composed of words can't be absolutely true because those words might have completely different meanings a thousand years in the future.
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Old 4th October 2019, 09:44 AM   #74
JesseCuster
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
There has to be (or not to be) a ten penny piece in my pocket whether we know it's there or not. That's true, because we have a complete and uncontroversial definition of "ten penny piece" and "pocket". But that is not true of God. There may (or may not) exist an entity that one person would define as "God" and another would not. If that is so, the question whether god exists is not in the nature of "true - false, with no in between".
But once you properly define God, you've got something that might actually exist or not.

The fact that people have different ideas of God, and you need to know what they mean by God before you can decide (if it's in fact decidable) whether said God exists, does not make the question "Does God exist?" neither true nor false, it just makes it poorly defined.

Scorpion's imaginary philosophy students weren't saying "There is no truth" because the question "Does God exist?" isn't well defined (Scorpion's scenario didn't even mention the existence of God). Rather, I think they said it (or Scorpion imagined them saying it), because that's the kind of thing Scorpion imagines goes on in philosophy classes, where students stroke their chins and say silly things like that. While wearing berets and smoking pipes.
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