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Old 10-26-2016, 12:38 PM   #126
Original Position
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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Originally Posted by Inzaghi View Post
I'd be willing to bet on the following:

You give a **** about others and are willing to lend a hand because you're a good person. Religion need not enter the fray of consideration. If religion disappeared tomorrow and its influence on you were erased, you'd still be a good person.

And don't be bashful. Its far better to say " I give a **** about you because I'm a good person" than "I give a **** about you due to my blind faith in the existence of some extraordinary being (despite the lack of evidence) and were it not for this blind faith, I really wouldn't care about you."
I think it is true that religion is not a requirement for moral action. I think it is an open question if all societies would be improved by a lessening of influence or power of religion in that society (I think this is probably false).

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Also its a terrible thing to assume that birth automatically qualifies you as a sinner.
Why?

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As to OPs question, yes Christianity is a scam. To any that might argue on this point, I invite you to first consider this:

What is the difference between a religion (Christianity) and a cult (Scientology)? I'm yet to receive a compelling answer to this aside from nothing.
"Cult" is one of those labels that people use when they stop thinking about a subject. For instance, isn't it true that for many people being in a cult has had a positive impact on their lives?
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Old 10-26-2016, 12:44 PM   #127
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Re: Christianity is a scam

The most important difference between "cult" and "religion" as the words are normally used is basically the socially shared perception of legitimacy. Religions are seen as having at least some tacit legitimacy. Cults are generally not. Which of course doesn't have any bearing on whether claims made by either are true or not. But the distinction is sociologically useful in other ways, and some of those ways are relevant at least to the discussion about whether or not religion is a net negative across all possible societies.
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Old 10-26-2016, 12:55 PM   #128
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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Is there a thread on this here? Can you recommend books? It's one of the big questions that fascinates me and I feel like there could be a strong answer to, but I don't know what it is.
I don't think we've had a thread directly on this topic, but others here would remember better than I. As for books, I think this kind of global evaluation of religion is pretty tough - mostly I think it just ends up being speculation with small bits of evidence pointing one way or the other.

But, if you're interested, here are a few books. I think Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict, by Ara Norenzayan, is excellent. He uses cultural evolution arguments to claim that modern religions is one of the factors that led to the rise of large societies. I've had Cruel Creeds, Virtuous Violence: Religious Violence Across Culture and History sitting on my to-read shelf for a while, and that is an attempt by an anthropologist at looking at a particularly large segment of it.
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Old 10-26-2016, 05:29 PM   #129
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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The most important difference between "cult" and "religion" as the words are normally used is basically the socially shared perception of legitimacy. Religions are seen as having at least some tacit legitimacy. Cults are generally not. Which of course doesn't have any bearing on whether claims made by either are true or not. But the distinction is sociologically useful in other ways, and some of those ways are relevant at least to the discussion about whether or not religion is a net negative across all possible societies.
It just seems like a category error to me. There are both religious and non-religious cults. Similarly, some Christians groups seem to me basically a cult (eg Bill Gothard's Basic Life Principles program), whereas others are clearly not (eg the Catholic Church).
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Old 10-26-2016, 05:30 PM   #130
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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Why?
Because it forces the vulnerable child into thinking he's done something wrong (when he hasn't) and ushers him into a life of serving the lord and, by extension the church, with tithing etc. A genius way of garnering followers don't you think- and on children too- so classy.

Responses to cult vs religion question above are better than I anticipated and give me food for thought.

Regarding genital mutilation though, I'll just say this. Assume religion did not exist and you witnessed the following event:

Some elderly gentleman in a strange garment snipping at the diddle of a screaming baby and beholding the detached foreskin to a small gathering.

You would understandably be appalled. Now insert religion into the fray- and suddenly this abhorrent act is acceptable?
This is a clear case of religion doing bad (rather than people). There is no way that the Jewish priest (who is probably a good person) would ever imagine performing this act without a religious compass.

Also consider the acceptance towards homosexuality in Africa before and after the introduction of Christianity.

These are examples where religion, not people, are the decisive factor.
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Old 10-26-2016, 05:44 PM   #131
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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It just seems like a category error to me. There are both religious and non-religious cults. Similarly, some Christians groups seem to me basically a cult (eg Bill Gothard's Basic Life Principles program), whereas others are clearly not (eg the Catholic Church).
Well, I think I was a bit imprecise. I didn't mean to suggest some of the conclusions you are drawing. I just meant that if there's a criteria that defines "cult" it's the lack of social legitimacy. I know sometimes "charismatic leadership" is also used, but I think social legitimacy is more important.

I agree that there are non-religious cults, but that's not a problem for the above definition. I agree there are religious cults, and the example of the Bill Gothard group and the Catholic church fits within the definition I was using also.

I would agree that the category probably is only of limited use, and the lines are blurry, but I think the definition I offered helps explain how and why people refer to some groups as cults but not others.
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Old 10-26-2016, 06:00 PM   #132
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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Because it forces the vulnerable child into thinking he's done something wrong (when he hasn't) and ushers him into a life of serving the lord and, by extension the church, with tithing etc. A genius way of garnering followers don't you think- and on children too- so classy.
I think tithing (ie giving ten percent of your income to help people worse off than you) is a great idea and wish more people did it. If believing that you are a sinner helps motivate that action, just seems like a good thing.

If it is just a matter of them giving money to the church, I don't have a problem with that. It is their money, if they choose to voluntarily spend it on a communal activity like going to church, then why should I or you be bothered? Probably a better use of it than spending it in a casino.

I suspect you think it is bad because it makes people feel bad?

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Regarding genital mutilation though, I'll just say this. Assume religion did not exist and you witnessed the following event:

Some elderly gentleman in a strange garment snipping at the diddle of a screaming baby and beholding the detached foreskin to a small gathering.

You would understandably be appalled. Now insert religion into the fray- and suddenly this abhorrent act is acceptable?
This is a clear case of religion doing bad (rather than people). There is no way that the Jewish priest (who is probably a good person) would ever imagine performing this act without a religious compass.
I wouldn't be appalled. I would guess it is some strange social ritual used to bring a new member into a community and thus encourage pro-social behaviors between them. For instance, a popular academic theory says that the purpose of these costly rituals is create a way for people to signal that they are serious about their commitments as group members, thus cutting down on free-riding.

Now of course, we should be outraged by some of these rituals. If it actually harms someone and they did not choose it (as is the case with female genital mutiliation), then we should outlaw it and try to stop it from happening. There is a real argument to be held over whether male circumcision, such as that practiced in Judaism, also should be considered a serious harm that should be outlawed unless performed willingly.

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Also consider the acceptance towards homosexuality in Africa before and after the introduction of Christianity.

These are examples where religion, not people, are the decisive factor.
Don't know much about this topic. Can you link something?
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:31 PM   #133
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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I think tithing (ie giving ten percent of your income to help people worse off than you) is a great idea and wish more people did it.
As do I. But there's no reason whatsoever to pass your donations through an intermediary (the church)- why not simply donate directly to an honest and efficient source?
The likelihood of your donation being mishandled is substantially less this way and you have more say on where your money goes to by choosing among a variety of sources.

Also, you overlook the case of people pressured into tithing when they can't actually afford it. See the influence of the Catholic church on Filipinos. The Philippines is a third world country, but that doesn't prevent Catholics squeezing all they can out of the place to help fund their totally productive (lolz) structures in the Vatican and across the world not to mention their wealth of investments- can't provide a link because the Catholic Church isn't required to disclose it.

I'm not sure there's a point continuing on genital mutilation because it takes the thread out of topic and if we cannot both agree that it is bad (as I say) or good (as you say), we don't really have a foundation for discussion. I acknowledge the value of costly religious signals having now read your link but i have doubts that:

the value to be obtained through such costly signals outweighs the blatant disregard to the human rights (and not to mention the suffering) of a child who has no say on the matter and, even if given a choice, isn't of age to consent.
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Old 10-27-2016, 11:35 PM   #134
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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As do I. But there's no reason whatsoever to pass your donations through an intermediary (the church)- why not simply donate directly to an honest and efficient source?
The likelihood of your donation being mishandled is substantially less this way and you have more say on where your money goes to by choosing among a variety of sources.
I think this is a misunderstanding of church donations. When people give money to a church, they are not primarily giving money to the poor. Instead, they are giving money to a religious organization that trains and hires people to put on regular religious shows and to act as counselors and perform rituals for them. It's true that most people think it is part of the mission of the church to help care for the poor, but only one part of many. So yes, it is an inefficient way to help the poor. But it seems an efficient enough way of funding a religious social club/organization.

In other words, stop thinking of this money as being spent on charity and instead think of it being spent on services. In that sense, as long as it is not forced or subsidized by the government, then I don't see any grounds for objecting to people spending their money as they wish.

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Also, you overlook the case of people pressured into tithing when they can't actually afford it. See the influence of the Catholic church on Filipinos. The Philippines is a third world country, but that doesn't prevent Catholics squeezing all they can out of the place to help fund their totally productive (lolz) structures in the Vatican and across the world not to mention their wealth of investments- can't provide a link because the Catholic Church isn't required to disclose it.
This is kind of vague.

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I'm not sure there's a point continuing on genital mutilation because it takes the thread out of topic and if we cannot both agree that it is bad (as I say) or good (as you say), we don't really have a foundation for discussion. I acknowledge the value of costly religious signals having now read your link but i have doubts that:
Please show where I said that genital mutilation is good.

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the value to be obtained through such costly signals outweighs the blatant disregard to the human rights (and not to mention the suffering) of a child who has no say on the matter and, even if given a choice, isn't of age to consent.
This is too simplistic. Here are a couple issues.

First of all, parents act as legal guardians for their children. That means that they can legally make decisions that affect their children, including especially health decisions, without their children's consent. Presumably circumcision would fall in this category. Thus, when the parent makes the decision to circumcise the 8 day infant, she is not disregarding the infant's rights, but rather acting on its behalf, in the same way as when she makes any medical decision.

Now, some things, such as female genital mutilation, we have outlawed parents from doing. This is because the legislature has decided that this cannot be in the best interests of the child and so any parent trying to do this is acting inconsistently with their duties as a legal guardian. The real question here is whether or not male circumcision falls into that category. As I said, the evidence is mixed as to its effect on later life.

However, there is another issue here as well. You say it is a blatant disregard of human rights to allow male circumcision. Freedom of religion seems as basic a right as any. But yet some religions require male circumcision. So doesn't that mean banning circumcision is a blatant disregard for human rights? And here especially - this isn't the first time that Jews have been persecuted for their religious beliefs.

Last edited by Original Position; 10-28-2016 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 10-30-2016, 05:58 PM   #135
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Re: Christianity is a scam

The main difference between a religion and a cult is that in a religion, the scam artist who started it and/or is worshiped, is dead.
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Old 10-30-2016, 07:45 PM   #136
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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I think this is a misunderstanding of church donations. When people give money to a church, they are not primarily giving money to the poor. Instead, they are giving money to a religious organization that trains and hires people to put on regular religious shows and to act as counselors and perform rituals for them. It's true that most people think it is part of the mission of the church to help care for the poor, but only one part of many. So yes, it is an inefficient way to help the poor. But it seems an efficient enough way of funding a religious social club/organization.

In other words, stop thinking of this money as being spent on charity and instead think of it being spent on services. In that sense, as long as it is not forced or subsidized by the government, then I don't see any grounds for objecting to people spending their money as they wish.
OK so I think I misunderstood the composition of church spending. I'll concede that.

I reaffirm my original point though that:
The church use shrewd tactics to suck (especially young) people into paying tithes. There exists a probability that the person paying the tithe is not of financial means but will pay it anyway out of a sense of obligation. This leads to a bad result for the person in question.

You might claim that the above statement holds equally to charity groups. Instead of the word "church", could stand the term "charity" and in place of "tithe", the word "donations". My counter to that is this:

The church use shrewd tactics far and above those employed by standard charity groups. The church of Scientology, for instance, may threaten to split families where a particular family member doesn't commit to their programme. Mormonism is fairly strict in their enforcement of the 10% rule. Others, like J Witness, are admittedly relaxed about money and focus more on social interaction.

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Please show where I said that genital mutilation is good.
Well at no point did you say that it was good.
But you did say that you didn't consider the act abhorrent and were willing to dismiss it as simply a case of costly signalism. This normalizes the act and would surely be viewed by forum members as a stance of acceptance.


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This is too simplistic. Here are a couple issues.

First of all, parents act as legal guardians for their children. That means that they can legally make decisions that affect their children, including especially health decisions, without their children's consent. Presumably circumcision would fall in this category.
That last sentence is where we part ways. I cannot conceive how cutting the diddle of a homosapien without a doctor's recommendation or any medical explanation is a decision based on medical grounds.

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Thus, when the parent makes the decision to circumcise the 8 day infant, she is not disregarding the infant's rights, but rather acting on its behalf, in the same way as when she makes any medical decision.
The parent is acting on the child's behalf on a religious decision rather than a medical decision. And, to paraphrase Richard Dawkins, "the child is much to young to know what it wants" [this is a fact] and "forcing the child into a religion without choice is abuse" [this is a point of debate].


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Now, some things, such as female genital mutilation, we have outlawed parents from doing. This is because the legislature has decided that this cannot be in the best interests of the child and so any parent trying to do this is acting inconsistently with their duties as a legal guardian. The real question here is whether or not male circumcision falls into that category. As I said, the evidence is mixed as to its effect on later life.
So we agree that there is a continuum and a point on this continuum where the harm of the act is so bad that it must exceed the benefits. Our only point of difference, I suppose, is on what side of the ledger male circumcision lies.

It's a really difficult topic to research. I can input the following into google: "study showing that circumcision is bad for you" and i'll get a whole bunch of hits. The problem is, I can also google search: "study showing that spinach is bad for you" and I'll also get a bunch of hits. Any number of the resonating headlines could be misleading or based on narrowly focused journals.

The problem is sorting out the truth among all the noise which i don't really have time to do during the exam period. But i might come back to this thread in a month's time and give what I hope to be an objective weigh in on the matter based purely on medical journals.

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However, there is another issue here as well. You say it is a blatant disregard of human rights to allow male circumcision. Freedom of religion seems as basic a right as any.
Right, and in allowing child circumcision, children are being denied that basic right because
1. the child is too young to make that decision for himself and
2. where parents force him into it, the child is actually refused the decision.

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But yet some religions require male circumcision. So doesn't that mean banning circumcision is a blatant disregard for human rights? And here especially - this isn't the first time that Jews have been persecuted for their religious beliefs.
What I'm suggesting is this:

Jewish beliefs around genital mutilation are stupid

If I were a conservative or a Marxist, you might criticize my views and go so far as to call them stupid- and that would be fine. Why should religious ideals be free of criticism? What distinguishes them from political or any other views?

I'm not having a go at Jewish people- I'm having a go at their religion.

Last edited by Inzaghi; 10-30-2016 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 10-30-2016, 08:34 PM   #137
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Re: Christianity is a scam

After triple reading your last post, I will now concede that:

Genital mutilation should be allowed but not on children.

Is this a point on which you're willing to settle?
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Old 10-30-2016, 08:46 PM   #138
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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OK so I think I misunderstood the composition of church spending. I'll concede that.

I reaffirm my original point though that:
The church use shrewd tactics to suck (especially young) people into paying tithes. There exists a probability that the person paying the tithe is not of financial means but will pay it anyway out of a sense of obligation. This leads to a bad result for the person in question.

You might claim that the above statement holds equally to charity groups. Instead of the word "church", could stand the term "charity" and in place of "tithe", the word "donations". My counter to that is this:

The church use shrewd tactics far and above those employed by standard charity groups. The church of Scientology, for instance, may threaten to split families where a particular family member doesn't commit to their programme. Mormonism is fairly strict in their enforcement of the 10% rule. Others, like J Witness, are admittedly relaxed about money and focus more on social interaction.
I do think many religions, Scientology being a good example, use scuzzy recruitment and retention tactics. When they do that they should be condemned.

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Well at no point did you say that it was good.
But you did say that you didn't consider the act abhorrent and were willing to dismiss it as simply a case of costly signalism. This normalizes the act and would surely be viewed by forum members as a stance of acceptance.
I said that about circumcision, not about genital mutiliation. And no, I don't think forum members here would take my comments to be a stance of acceptance of genital mutiliation.

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That last sentence is where we part ways. I cannot conceive how cutting the diddle of a homosapien without a doctor's recommendation or any medical explanation is a decision based on medical grounds.
The American Academy of Pediatrics said that the benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks.

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The parent is acting on the child's behalf on a religious decision rather than a medical decision. And, to paraphrase Richard Dawkins, "the child is much to young to know what it wants" [this is a fact] and "forcing the child into a religion without choice is abuse" [this is a point of debate].
Indeed, many parents are acting on the child's behalf on a religious decision when they have them circumcised. They also act on their behalf when they vote, when they pay taxes, feed and clothe them, and so on. I'm not sure what model of parent-child relations you are working from where this would be shocking to you.

As for the Richard Dawkins quotations: I see no problem with parents teaching their children to follow their religion, and no, it isn't child abuse.

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So we agree that there is a continuum and a point on this continuum where the harm of the act is so bad that it must exceed the benefits. Our only point of difference, I suppose, is on what side of the ledger male circumcision lies.

It's a really difficult topic to research. I can input the following into google: "study showing that circumcision is bad for you" and i'll get a whole bunch of hits. The problem is, I can also google search: "study showing that spinach is bad for you" and I'll also get a bunch of hits. Any number of the resonating headlines could be misleading or based on narrowly focused journals.

The problem is sorting out the truth among all the noise which i don't really have time to do during the exam period. But i might come back to this thread in a month's time and give what I hope to be an objective weigh in on the matter based purely on medical journals.
Fair enough.

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Right, and in allowing child circumcision, children are being denied that basic right.
How so? Let me ask: do you think christening ceremonies also deny infants their right of freedom of religion? Should they also be banned?

In my opinion this is an understanding of freedom of religion that would end up outlawing most religions. Seems self-defeating.

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What I'm suggesting is this:

Jewish beliefs around genital mutilation are stupid
I mostly agree with this, although I'm also sympathetic to the argument that wtf do I know to criticize a religion that's managed to hang around for so long about its ritual practices.

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If I were a conservative or a Marxist, you might criticize my views and go so far as to call them stupid- and that would be fine. Why should religious ideals be free of criticism? What distinguishes them from political or any other views?
Nothing. They shouldn't be free from criticism. My disagreement with you was initially just a skepticism that believing they are sinners is bad for children. You also think that I should be outraged about male circumcision (religious or otherwise), but I'm not. When parents do things that actually harm their children, then I'm outraged. But if they perform some silly ritual that doesn't actually harm their children, then I'm kind of just meh about it.

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I'm not having a go at Jewish people- I'm having a go at their religion.
Do you think male circumcision should be illegal?

Last edited by Original Position; 10-30-2016 at 09:03 PM. Reason: clarified question
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Old 10-30-2016, 08:50 PM   #139
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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After triple reading your last post, I will now concede that:

Genital mutilation should be allowed but not on children.

Is this a point on which you're willing to settle?
I've resisted referring to circumcision as genital mutilation, but if that is what you mean here, then no.

I don't think male circumcision should be outlawed for children, although I could be persuaded if presented with sufficient evidence that it is harmful. I do think female genital mutilation should be outlawed for children, because the medical consequences are quite negative. Not sure what my view is about FGM for adults.
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Old 10-30-2016, 09:06 PM   #140
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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The parent is acting on the child's behalf on a religious decision rather than a medical decision. And, to paraphrase Richard Dawkins, "the child is much to young to know what it wants" [this is a fact] and "forcing the child into a religion without choice is abuse" [this is a point of debate].
Here are some old threads on this topic:

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/13...-real-1592175/

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/13...-abuse-937697/

It would be worth your time to figure out the precise context in which Dawkins made the claims in question and then to analyze whether his actual argument is reasonable (and for you to present that argument for analysis by others). Saying that "Dawkins says..." isn't a good way to advance an argument.
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Old 10-31-2016, 12:22 AM   #141
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Re: Christianity is a scam

^Duly noted, thanks.

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I said that about circumcision, not about genital mutiliation. And no, I don't think forum members here would take my comments to be a stance of acceptance of genital mutiliation.
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I've resisted referring to circumcision as genital mutilation, but if that is what you mean here, then no.

I don't think male circumcision should be outlawed for children, although I could be persuaded if presented with sufficient evidence that it is harmful. I do think female genital mutilation should be outlawed for children, because the medical consequences are quite negative. Not sure what my view is about FGM for adults.
My thinking on this was originally as follows:

Circumcision is a form of genital mutilation and i'm fairly relaxed about the terms, using them interchangeably/synonymously.

Given how our discussion has transpired, I need to question whether my position above is actually true. I now realise, after some internalisation, that the (bolded) thought was implanted in me by the works of Christopher Hitchens and I didn't at any point question it.

Far from suggesting that Hitchens is an authority on the matter, I'll assume he's wrong and that you are correct in the distinction you make.

Still, the question of whether male circumcision is good or bad for children remains valid since all that has changed is a matter of terminology.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics said that the benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks.
Well, you see, I wanted to avoid this. I could easily have googled "journal articles showing that circumcision is bad" and produced them here. The questions are these:
-Which of the studies (and there are truckloads) are most applicable/use a representative sample?
-What sort of p-values are we talking and are the observed differences actually meaningful? If, for example, the probability of incurring penile cancer among males is very small (say 1%) and circumcision reduces this risk to 0.95%, the difference might be statistically significant (if the sample is large enough) but it's not meaningful.
-Do we need to explore cases where findings contradict?

I would hazard a guess that most Jewish parents are making an uninformed decision about circumcision and aren't weighing the pros and cons in a comprehensive way as I shall do one month from now. They simply do it because their religion dictates them to.

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Indeed, many parents are acting on the child's behalf on a religious decision when they have them circumcised.
And I argue that they shouldn't. By all means, the parent can make any religious decision they like but they shouldn't impose these religious preferences on the child. It's only because we're so used to parents doing this that we view it as acceptable- when it really isn't.

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They also act on their behalf when they vote, when they pay taxes, feed and clothe them, and so on. I'm not sure what model of parent-child relations you are working from where this would be shocking to you.
The child has no right to vote. The parent therefore makes no voting decision on the child's behalf. Naturally, the parent is free to vote for whichever party might serve their child's best interest in the future but they act on nobody's behalf in doing so.
At least in NZ, this logic holds equally to the question of taxes. I cannot speak for the US.

Parents are required to take care of their child.
Children and, in fact, all Homo sapiens, require clothing and food.
So parents must supply their (Homo sapien) children with clothing and food until they're of sufficient age. Again, they're not acting on anybody's behalf, they're just performing a duty of parenthood.

The parent does make medical decisions on their child's behalf but with a doctor's assessment/recommendation.

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As for the Richard Dawkins quotations: I see no problem with parents teaching their children to follow their religion, and no, it isn't child abuse.
It is if that child has been brainwashed to the point where he/she will never be able to make an informed choice on the religious question.

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I mostly agree with this, although I'm also sympathetic to the argument that wtf do I know to criticize a religion that's managed to hang around for so long about its ritual practices.
Well alcohol has been around for a while. The fact that it's hung around so long shouldn't be factored into the consideration of whether or not it's good for us.

Also countless religions have died out over the ages. It could simply be a matter of luck that the Jewish one caught traction.

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Originally Posted by Original Position View Post
You also think that I should be outraged about male circumcision (religious or otherwise), but I'm not. When parents do things that actually harm their children, then I'm outraged. But if they perform some silly ritual that doesn't actually harm their children, then I'm kind of just meh about it.
Well, that statement in bold is what I shall endeavour to verify (in a months time). If i find that it actually is harmful, you'll look silly in not being outraged. And if i find that it isn't harmful, you'll look okay.

Last edited by Inzaghi; 10-31-2016 at 12:39 AM.
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Old 10-31-2016, 01:59 AM   #142
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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Originally Posted by Inzaghi View Post
My thinking on this was originally as follows:

Circumcision is a form of genital mutilation and i'm fairly relaxed about the terms, using them interchangeably/synonymously.

Given how our discussion has transpired, I need to question whether my position above is actually true. I now realise, after some internalisation, that the (bolded) thought was implanted in me by the works of Christopher Hitchens and I didn't at any point question it.

Far from suggesting that Hitchens is an authority on the matter, I'll assume he's wrong and that you are correct in the distinction you make.

Still, the question of whether male circumcision is good or bad for children remains valid since all that has changed is a matter of terminology.
Noted, and let me just say that I've appreciated your thoughtful approach to dialogue ITT.

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Well, you see, I wanted to avoid this. I could easily have googled "journal articles showing that circumcision is bad" and produced them here. The questions are these:
-Which of the studies (and there are truckloads) are most applicable/use a representative sample?
-What sort of p-values are we talking and are the observed differences actually meaningful? If, for example, the probability of incurring penile cancer among males is very small (say 1%) and circumcision reduces this risk to 0.95%, the difference might be statistically significant (if the sample is large enough) but it's not meaningful.
-Do we need to explore cases where findings contradict?
These are all excellent questions - I don't know enough about AAP to know how evidence-based their approach to medicine is. I'm not citing it to close the issue, but more as a starting point for where the conventional wisdom is on the topic. I have enough confidence in the US health system that I'm willing to let its conventional wisdom guide my priors.

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I would hazard a guess that most Jewish parents are making an uninformed decision about circumcision and aren't weighing the pros and cons in a comprehensive way as I shall do one month from now. They simply do it because their religion dictates them to.
Right, and as long as it isn't harmful, then that's fine. The fact that some individual Jews haven't researched it personally is maybe a personal failing, but not an issue for public policy to be concerned with.

Furthermore, since the majority of people who get circumcised in the US are Christians, I'm guessing they probably did talk about it with their doctor, who told them it was safe. That seems reasonable enough to me, I don't expect everyone to independently verify what their doctor tells them.

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And I argue that they shouldn't. By all means, the parent can make any religious decision they like but they shouldn't impose these religious preferences on the child. It's only because we're so used to parents doing this that we view it as acceptable- when it really isn't.
You still haven't actually provided an argument for your view. You instead seem to think that there is some inconsistency in my view that I'm not seeing because I'm used to the status quo. So let me be more explicit in my assumptions. I don't think children have the same rights as adults in a number of areas. For instance, you can force children to go to school, but not adults. Children don't have political rights. They don't have certain economic rights (eg signing contracts). These are commonplaces as well that people generally don't find shocking. In a similar way, I don't think children should have rights to practice their own religion (as distinct from their parents). That is, I have no problem with parents requiring their children to attend church and other religious rituals in a way that I think it would be wrong to do once they are adults.

One of the responsibilities of being a parent is to train your children to be good adults. Many people think that religion is an important part of being a good adult and so train their children to be religious. I don't agree with them, but I think that society should grant them the right as parents to make that decision for their children. I think society should grant them this right because I think parents are the most likely to make beneficial decisions for their children and am very doubtful about giving any government the kind of power that would be required to regulate parenting to prevent this. Thus, insofar as parents think religious instruction or training is an important part of training children to be adults, they should be allowed to require their children to engage in those religious practices.

Quote:
<snip>
It is if that child has been brainwashed to the point where he/she will never be able to make an informed choice on the religious question.
I agree, but this doesn't have anything to do with religion. Don't brainwash your child such that she can't make informed choices on any question. That is, I don't have a problem with teaching your kids your sports team preferences, but I would disapprove of you brainwashing your child to the point where he/she will never be able to make an informed choice on the sports fan question.

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Well alcohol has been around for a while. The fact that it's hung around so long shouldn't be factored into the consideration of whether or not it's good for us.
But it should factor into our consideration of whether and how we regulate it. We tried Prohibition in the States and it was a failure. In the same way, a long history of violent conflict sparked in part by religious repression has taught us to be very cautious about the government interference with religious practices and beliefs.

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Also countless religions have died out over the ages. It could simply be a matter of luck that the Jewish one caught traction.
Indeed.

Quote:
Well, that statement in bold is what I shall endeavour to verify (in a months time). If i find that it actually is harmful, you'll look silly in not being outraged. And if i find that it isn't harmful, you'll look okay.
Looking forward to it.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:32 PM   #143
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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"In their case the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."
- 2nd Corinthians 4:4
Are you saying that God almighty is not as powerful as Satan? Surely if God wanted you to see the light, then even his son Satan could not blind you. Seems to me you are "believing the fables" in order to create that image that you want. They tell you one thing so you do not question where God or Jesus is? Why odes he not show himself?

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At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes Father, for this was well pleasing in your sight."
- Matthew 11:25

God opposes the proud but manifests himself to those humble enough to become like children and who keep his commandments.
Liar, liar pants on fire!!. He does not show himself to children at all. I asked many times as a child but always got let down! Praying solved nothing!

This is again just more "fairytales" they feed you so, you they don't have to answer the question, were is God? Why does he not show himself? By creating these false fiddles, you are hushed into silence and reminded that you need to be humble like a child and not logical like an adult!
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Old 10-31-2016, 10:11 PM   #144
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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I have not yet made claims about Jebus or God. The fact that you've been so wrong so repeatedly throughout this thread in your accusations suggests a rather severe mental incapacity of dealing logically with information. I suppose it's of no harm to me to continue watching in amusement.

But I will now make a claim about Jesus. According to the overwhelming majority of historians, Jesus is a historical person that existed.
If you have not made any claims, why do you believe they exist then? Isn't that Schizo?
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Old 10-31-2016, 10:32 PM   #145
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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If you have not made any claims, why do you believe they exist then?
Are you unaware of verb tenses? Or maybe you randomly skip words in sentences? Both would possibly explain why your question is nonsensical relative to the words I used.

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Isn't that Schizo?
I'm unaware of any major symptoms of that particular disease that would correspond to anything remotely resembling my behaviors.
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Old 11-01-2016, 03:29 PM   #146
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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Are you unaware of verb tenses? Or maybe you randomly skip words in sentences? Both would possibly explain why your question is nonsensical relative to the words I used.



I'm unaware of any major symptoms of that particular disease that would correspond to anything remotely resembling my behaviors.
It's funny how you try and be all logical to simple questions asked. Why don't you stay all logical and tell us why you believe in something without a shred of evidence!

Tell us why you believe in 1 fairy tale over another? Why is God real but Peter Pan not?

This is were you ignore this part, and be all logical with other stupid ****, that's irrelevant.
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Old 11-01-2016, 03:53 PM   #147
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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Originally Posted by SuperMario7 View Post
It's funny how you try and be all logical to simple questions asked. Why don't you stay all logical and tell us why you believe in something without a shred of evidence!



Tell us why you believe in 1 fairy tale over another? Why is God real but Peter Pan not?



This is were you ignore this part, and be all logical with other stupid ****, that's irrelevant.


Do you live in a house? Do you have a phone? Do you own a TV? Do all those things have to be created by someone? So why not the world? Wouldn't be illogical to say something creates it's self. Nothing else creates it's self but some how planets and time it's self does makes no sense. Also who discovered the Big Bang theory interesting that it was a priest who had no problem teaching the bible and being a scientist yet people try to use his discover to say God doesn't exist yet he remained in faith knowing more on the subject then anyone else. Science has no proof that God doesn't exist having that notion in mind is equal to religion because your except that it's truth with no fact.


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Old 11-01-2016, 05:37 PM   #148
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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It's funny how you try and be all logical to simple questions asked. Why don't you stay all logical and tell us why you believe in something without a shred of evidence!
I like how so many people like to bury their heads in the sand while simultaneously shouting NO EVIDENCE to the world.

Also,

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Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
Your turn. You've claimed "there's not a shred of evidence." Go.
You made a claim. Now support it.

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Tell us why you believe in 1 fairy tale over another? Why is God real but Peter Pan not?
If you knew how not to assume your conclusion, you wouldn't be saying such nonsense like this. There's a very obvious origin for Peter Pan. A specific author that was writing an explicitly fantasy novel. If you think that this is equivalent to some grander claim like "Jesus existed" or even "God exists" then there's essentially no intellectual content your claims, and you're precisely as stupid as everyone who reads your writing thinks you are.

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This is were you ignore this part, and be all logical with other stupid ****, that's irrelevant.
LOL at being logical as being irrelevant. How deep of an intellectual hole are you trying to dig for yourself?
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Old 11-01-2016, 06:29 PM   #149
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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Originally Posted by Pokerisfu View Post
Dude you seem a bit crazy on this genital mutilation issue. And yea with or without religion people will do crazy things to eacth other like shoving millions of women men and children in gas chambers. Problems not religion bro it's people
The guy who did that was a Christian. (At least, I assume you're talking about Hitler.) And not that it means anything one way or another, but you mentioned it so it should be clarified.
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Old 11-01-2016, 06:52 PM   #150
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Re: Christianity is a scam

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Right, and as long as it isn't harmful, then that's fine. The fact that some individual Jews haven't researched it personally is maybe a personal failing, but not an issue for public policy to be concerned with.
If circumcision isn't harmful, then yes. But if it is, the Government should concern itself with the matter as it does with meth, female genital mutilation and other things that are bad for us.

Because the practice (of circumcision) has existed for so long it might, by default, seem fair to assume that it's safe. Yet sugary products and alcohol have been around for a long time and both are addictive, harmful to the body and, in the case of alcohol, potentially harmful to others - family members, partners, the fetus of an alcohol consuming mother etc. How many children are born with fetal alcohol syndrome each year? I don't know but it's ****n heaps. It's only because we're so used to alcohol that the thought of an outright ban doesn't occur to us. I fear that circumcision might fall in the same category.

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Furthermore, since the majority of people who get circumcised in the US are Christians, I'm guessing they probably did talk about it with their doctor, who told them it was safe. That seems reasonable enough to me, I don't expect everyone to independently verify what their doctor tells them.
Good point.

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Originally Posted by Original Position View Post
You still haven't actually provided an argument for your view. You instead seem to think that there is some inconsistency in my view that I'm not seeing because I'm used to the status quo. So let me be more explicit in my assumptions. I don't think children have the same rights as adults in a number of areas. For instance, you can force children to go to school, but not adults. Children don't have political rights. They don't have certain economic rights (eg signing contracts). These are commonplaces as well that people generally don't find shocking. In a similar way, I don't think children should have rights to practice their own religion (as distinct from their parents). That is, I have no problem with parents requiring their children to attend church and other religious rituals in a way that I think it would be wrong to do once they are adults.
Well, as Richard Dawkin's said in one of his youtube videos:

" You would never think to call a child a "Marxist child" or a "centre-right" child. Why then is it so commonplace to refer to a child as "Christian" or "Muslim"? "

And what he means by this is: Let the child think for itself- don't force him/her into thinking a certain way.

Now you have mentioned examples (voting, schooling etc) where the child, for good reason, doesn't have a right to decide. I'm suggesting that religion doesn't fall into this category.

I think that if you (or the school) sit a 5 year old down and present a range of religions to him he'll be in a stronger position to determine, for himself, what he wants.

Vs

Force-feeding him one religion.

The dangers of the second option are multiple.
-People are at their most vulnerable as children.

You so incautiously dismiss the right of the child on the religious question and yet i think you underestimate just how vulnerable they are at that age and how momentous an impact religion could have on the rest of that child's life.
The child surely deserve more of a say on such a decisive question?

-It fosters a disregard towards people of other religions

-It can, in the worst scenario, lead to extreme forms of segregation.

The Gloriavale Christian Community in NZ is a prime example - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloria...tian_Community.

A population of about 300, the people of this town formed their own community to safeguard themselves against what they viewed as the devils influence. They have virtually no interaction with the outside world.

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Originally Posted by Original Position View Post
One of the responsibilities of being a parent is to train your children to be good adults. Many people think that religion is an important part of being a good adult and so train their children to be religious. I don't agree with them, but I think that society should grant them the right as parents to make that decision for their children. I think society should grant them this right because I think parents are the most likely to make beneficial decisions for their children and am very doubtful about giving any government the kind of power that would be required to regulate parenting to prevent this. Thus, insofar as parents think religious instruction or training is an important part of training children to be adults, they should be allowed to require their children to engage in those religious practices.
If the force-feeding of religion proves to be harmful as it is in the case of Gloriavale, I'd me more than happy for the government to exercise that power.

It's a continuum thing. I'm sure we'd both agree that the Government should exercise control over (downright ban) the consumption of meth because it's so dangerous. The force-feeding of religion could lie somewhere on this continuum and we might both agree on cases where the government should intervene.

Also, the reason the sports question doesn't compare to the religious question is this:

Religion could have such a momentous impact on that child's life that the child deserves the right not to be force-fed.

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Originally Posted by Dominic View Post
The main difference between a religion and a cult is that in a religion, the scam artist who started it and/or is worshiped, is dead.
Yeah possibly. I mean the forum member "well-named" says that the distinction is marked by:

Social legitimacy

But, like you, I'd say the distinction is really just:

The passage of time

Beliefs that have existed for a while are socially legitimate purely because they've benefitted from the passage of time. At the very point that the Christian Story was concocted (say 2,000 years ago) it would have seemed, at the time, a cult and certainly not socially legitimate. It's only because it's had time to garner traction that it's seen as socially legitimate today.

I dread to think that Scientology might be viewed as a religion a few thousand years from now. But i hope, as we enter the age of reason, it won't be given the same opportunity to flourish.

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Originally Posted by Pokerisfu View Post
Do you live in a house? Do you have a phone? Do you own a TV? Do all those things have to be created by someone? So why not the world? Wouldn't be illogical to say something creates it's self. Nothing else creates it's self but some how planets and time it's self does makes no sense.
This argument is defeated by the sweeping counter:

"And who/what created God?"
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