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Old 05-20-2017, 04:43 PM   #601
frommagio
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Re: Religion and logic

What is this "weak atheism" thread that keeps being mentioned?

Thx
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Old 05-20-2017, 08:44 PM   #602
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Re: Religion and logic

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It's not this simple. It is true that the content of the premises are irrelevant for formal fallacies. For example, affirming the consequent is a formal fallacy.

4. If A then B.
5. B
6. Therefore, A.

Here it doesn't matter what A or B mean, the error is one of deductive logic (hence the name "formal" fallacy, i.e. an error of reasoning applying only to the form of the argument). However, this is not true of informal fallacies. For example:

7. Dr Smith, who is a well-known doctor, says that abortion is not immoral.
8. Therefore, abortion is likely not immoral.



This is an argument from authority fallacy. Being a well-known doctor doesn't make you an expert on the morality of abortion. Thus, appealing to the authority of Dr Smith as a reason to accept the conclusion is an error. But this error depends on whether or not Dr Smith is actually an expert on the topic, which does depend on the meaning of the constituent terms in the argument - hence making the error not a formal, but informal error (for instance, some appeals to authority are not errors at all).

I'm not sure what point you are making by switching the order of the premises in the example in my previous post. You are using these terms in non-standard ways from my own experience in logic.
I really don't understand why you make a post not only affirming my opinions, but acting like you are somehow original in doing so.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:01 PM   #603
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Re: Religion and logic

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Originally Posted by Original Position View Post
It's not this simple. It is true that the content of the premises are irrelevant for formal fallacies. For example, affirming the consequent is a formal fallacy.

4. If A then B.
5. B
6. Therefore, A.

Jeez, thanks for explaining what I meant back to me.

Here it doesn't matter what A or B mean, the error is one of deductive logic (hence the name "formal" fallacy, i.e. an error of reasoning applying only to the form of the argument). However, this is not true of informal fallacies. For example:

7. Dr Smith, who is a well-known doctor, says that abortion is not immoral.
8. Therefore, abortion is likely not immoral.

This is an argument from authority fallacy. Being a well-known doctor doesn't make you an expert on the morality of abortion. Thus, appealing to the authority of Dr Smith as a reason to accept the conclusion is an error. But this error depends on whether or not Dr Smith is actually an expert on the topic, which does depend on the meaning of the constituent terms in the argument - hence making the error not a formal, but informal error (for instance, some appeals to authority are not errors at all).

I'm not sure what point you are making by switching the order of the premises in the example in my previous post.

A big one that you seem to be missing. Big clue: I didn't switch premises. I switched a premise for an argument.

You are using these terms in non-standard ways from my own experience in logic.
Please relate your own experience in logic.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:06 PM   #604
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Re: Religion and logic

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Originally Posted by frommagio View Post
What is this "weak atheism" thread that keeps being mentioned?

Thx
Here you go.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:48 PM   #605
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Re: Religion and logic

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Originally Posted by d2_e4 View Post
I really don't understand why you make a post not only affirming my opinions, but acting like you are somehow original in doing so.
You made this claim:

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Originally Posted by d2_e4 View Post
"Fallacious" is a specific term, meaning that your conclusion might be right, your precepts might be right, but the conclusion does not follow from the precepts.
I have been arguing that this definition is incorrect. The meaning you claim here for "fallacy" is only true of formal fallacies, but not of informal fallacies. I demonstrate this by providing a counterexample - providing an ad hominem argument that would generally be considered fallacious, but where the conclusion still follows from the "precepts." Thus, either the argument I presented isn't fallacious, it isn't valid, or your definition of "fallacy" is incorrect.

If I've misunderstood your position, and you actually agree with me, good.

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Please relate your own experience in logic.
I took a few graduate courses in logic and taught undergraduate Logic 101 classes.
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Old 05-21-2017, 02:35 AM   #606
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Re: Religion and logic

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You made this claim:



I have been arguing that this definition is incorrect. The meaning you claim here for "fallacy" is only true of formal fallacies, but not of informal fallacies. I demonstrate this by providing a counterexample - providing an ad hominem argument that would generally be considered fallacious, but where the conclusion still follows from the "precepts." Thus, either the argument I presented isn't fallacious, it isn't valid, or your definition of "fallacy" is incorrect.

If I've misunderstood your position, and you actually agree with me, good.



I took a few graduate courses in logic and taught undergraduate Logic 101 classes.
Ok - you are obviously more knowledgeable than I on this topic, so I am inclined to defer to your views rather than stubbornly stick with mine, but I don't understand how in one breath you can say "a fallacy is an error in reasoning" and in the next offer an example where the *reasoning* is entirely valid?
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Old 05-21-2017, 05:38 AM   #607
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Re: Religion and logic

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Here you go.
Thank you
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Old 05-22-2017, 04:27 PM   #608
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Re: Religion and logic

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This sidesteps the issue. Seeking an impossible to know god is not really objectionable to most atheists - in some sense that is also what I've been doing for the last twenty years as well. It is going beyond searching to belief with which atheists disagree.
I think your view is more charitable than the majority of atheist posters in this forum. Based on the types of antagonism expressed towards and about religion and religious adherents, it would seem that searching itself is perceived negatively by that population.

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For instance, I think none of the philosophical defenses of morality I'm aware of rise above plausibility. So I would hesitate to say that I believed that, say, consequentialism is true. But I do think of morality as forced - inaction is itself a morally significant act in most systems of morality. Thus, I might say that I am a consequentialist as a matter of moral commitment, without really thinking that I know enough to say I believe it to be true.
This is where I would start to lean in a bit to try to discuss something like "behaving as if X is true." This is different from some sort of mere abstract assent to consequentialism, in which you assert a belief but it has no practical application in how actually analyze your decisions. So if you take action X intending/expecting a positive outcome, but in reality the outcome is negative, your ability to intellectually/emotionally reckon that event as being a moral ill because your consequentialist commitment (instead of another analysis that takes into account all of the good things you had hoped would happen as a result of your action) would then stand as a way to measure your commitment to the belief.

This is a little bit of a stretch for a philosophical commitment of this type, as it's merely an analytic framework. But if you were to assent to something additional, such as a desire to make morally good decisions, then one might have a more robust way of measuring your philosophical commitment by also comparing your actual decisions with the abstract analysis.

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I can understand someone being a Christian in this commitment sense (e.g. Christian existentialism), but I don't see how the contingencies of human decision-making make a difference in whether a god actually exists. Thus, this seems to have little to do with the truth of the matter.
You might be correct under the view of human behaviors as merely being based on outcomes. The assessment becomes far less clear if you also view human behaviors in light of motivations and truth.

For example, you can take two identical situations of one person treating another person well. One might be doing it from a place of genuine care and concern for the other, and the other may be doing it with the future intention of doing something exploitative.

I agree that in the consequentialist perspective, these are the same as long as the point of future manipulation doesn't happen because the fact would be that the other person was only treated well.

But if one peels back that first layer and can see intent, it becomes less clear
that we should actually view these behaviors as being the same.

With regards to "truth" I would argue that motivations that are grounded in truth should fare generally better than those that are not. And if (for example) it is true that people are made in God's image and that a consequence of this is that people should be treated well, then it makes a moral difference between treating people well for that reason or treating them well because you intend to exploit the relationship in the future.

In this way, I would say that a purely consequentialist perspective is unnecessarily limiting in the same way that a goddidit explanation is unnecessarily limiting. It doesn't necessarily make the position right or wrong (or true or false) to adopt that position, but there are consequences to it.

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I view rationality as a tool. Thus, I would rather say that rationality is a function of a goal than a starting place. This means that if we talk about rational beliefs, we can do so only within the context of specific goals for having beliefs. I mostly keep to the goal of believing what is true and not believing what is false. For that goal, believing in the existence of the gods of religion seems irrational. However, I recognize that other people have different goals for belief, and that these other goals can rationally lead to a belief in god and religion. Nonetheless, I still reject these other goals as worthy of guiding belief.
In mathematical terms, it's possible to get entirely different universes of conclusions based on different assumptions, even if the general goals are the same. The classic example is Euclidean and Non-Euclidean geometry. You can have your goal as "understand the properties of triangles" in both situations and end up with two different sets of beliefs about triangles by just changing the assumptions and not changing the motivation.

So I don't reject that motivation matters (because the types of things you would end up believing would depend on the types of questions that motivate the pursuit), but it seems to me that assumptions matter more because these are the things that actually separate distinct belief systems from each other.
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Old 05-22-2017, 04:30 PM   #609
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Re: Religion and logic

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So - why do you pray?
Why wouldn't I pray?

Probably, your question is grounded in the assumption that the purpose of prayer is to get God to change something. This would be a far too narrow understanding of Christian prayer.
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Old 05-22-2017, 04:31 PM   #610
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Re: Religion and logic

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For all your bloviating, this is where you're fundamentally wrong.
You're welcome to try to argue differently, but as you do so you run the very significant risk of arguing something that's not connected to the reality of human experience.
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Old 05-22-2017, 04:33 PM   #611
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Re: Religion and logic

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What if he is deistic until after you die?
If that's reality, then that's reality. I don't see why the question matters.
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Old 05-22-2017, 05:42 PM   #612
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Re: Religion and logic

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Ok - you are obviously more knowledgeable than I on this topic, so I am inclined to defer to your views rather than stubbornly stick with mine, but I don't understand how in one breath you can say "a fallacy is an error in reasoning" and in the next offer an example where the *reasoning* is entirely valid?
Deductive validity refers to only one aspect of reasoning - that relating to the logical form of deductive arguments. When we make an error of reasoning in deductive logic, we are making an invalid argument. However, deductive logic is not the only kind of reasoning we do. We also make inductive arguments, scientific arguments, etc. The errors we make with these arguments are not typically that they are deductively invalid (eg it is typically not a useful criticism of a scientific theory that the conclusion doesn't follow necessary from its premises). The informal fallacies list some of the typical errors of reasoning human make that are not just a matter of the logical form of deductive arguments. So when you say that "fallacy" means that the conclusion doesn't necessarily follow from the premises, you are defining the broader term "fallacy" by the meaning of a subset of, "formal fallacy."
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Old 05-22-2017, 07:50 PM   #613
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Re: Religion and logic

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If that's reality, then that's reality. I don't see why the question matters.
Because it would mean that all religions that postulated things happened because God decided to do something are erroneous. Yet it would also make it erroneous to say that deism is essentially the same as atheism.
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Old 05-22-2017, 07:52 PM   #614
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Re: Religion and logic

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Because it would mean that all religions that postulated things happened because God decided to do something are erroneous. Yet it would also make it erroneous to say that deism is essentially the same as atheism.
Okay. And this matters because... ?
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Old 05-22-2017, 10:03 PM   #615
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Re: Religion and logic

Because if people believed deism plus afterlife they would spend more time making sure they do the right thing and less time taking comfort from the thought that they can do wrong and then confess their way out of it.
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Old 05-22-2017, 10:57 PM   #616
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Re: Religion and logic

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Because if people believed deism plus afterlife they would spend more time making sure they do the right thing and less time taking comfort from the thought that they can do wrong and then confess their way out of it.
Ummmmmm... sure. Whatever.
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Old 05-25-2017, 08:58 PM   #617
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Re: Religion and logic

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Deductive validity refers to only one aspect of reasoning - that relating to the logical form of deductive arguments. When we make an error of reasoning in deductive logic, we are making an invalid argument. However, deductive logic is not the only kind of reasoning we do. We also make inductive arguments, scientific arguments, etc. The errors we make with these arguments are not typically that they are deductively invalid (eg it is typically not a useful criticism of a scientific theory that the conclusion doesn't follow necessary from its premises). The informal fallacies list some of the typical errors of reasoning human make that are not just a matter of the logical form of deductive arguments. So when you say that "fallacy" means that the conclusion doesn't necessarily follow from the premises, you are defining the broader term "fallacy" by the meaning of a subset of, "formal fallacy."
I sort of get where you're coming from, but I'm getting a bit lost in the verbiage.

I am looking at this as follows:

1. We have premise (or premises)
2. We have some logical thought/argument
3. We have a conclusion

An example might look like this:

1. All fronds are green
2. Spink is a frond
3. Spink is green

This is formally valid.

Another example might look like this:

1. All fronds are green
2. Spink is green.
3. Spink is a frond.

This is formally invalid.

I'm hoping we agree up to this point. Now for some more interesting examples.

1. All fronds are green
2. Spink claims to be a frond
3. Spink is green

Your view?

1. Spink claims to be a frond
2. All fronds are green
3. Spink is green

Your view?
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Old 05-25-2017, 09:07 PM   #618
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Re: Religion and logic

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Ummmmmm... sure. Whatever.
While I don't particularly warm to most of Sklansky's posts (although there are definitely a few diamonds in the rough, even in this thread), your dismissive tone is eerily reminiscent of the tone you continuously criticise me for. Would you like some cinnamon sprinkles with your sanctimony bun, Aaron?

Last edited by d2_e4; 05-25-2017 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 05-25-2017, 11:10 PM   #619
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Re: Religion and logic

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Originally Posted by d2_e4 View Post
I sort of get where you're coming from, but I'm getting a bit lost in the verbiage.

I am looking at this as follows:

1. We have premise (or premises)
2. We have some logical thought/argument
3. We have a conclusion
I suspect this is where you are getting confused. The right way to put this is:

We have premises
We have a conclusion.

We also use rules of inference to see if the conclusion follows validly from the premises, but the rules of inference are not themselves part of the argument. You can expand on what you mean by "Logical thought/argument," but it looks confused to me. Validity (which is what is generally meant by "logical") is a property of arguments, not statements/thoughts/propositions. An argument, by definition, requires at least two statements (even if they are identical). So in none of the following examples is (2) a "logical thought/argument" - instead, in all these arguments (2) is a premise.

Quote:
An example might look like this:

1. All fronds are green
2. Spink is a frond
3. Spink is green

This is formally valid.

Another example might look like this:

1. All fronds are green
2. Spink is green.
3. Spink is a frond.

This is formally invalid.

I'm hoping we agree up to this point.
Agreed.

Quote:
Now for some more interesting examples.

1. All fronds are green
2. Spink claims to be a frond
3. Spink is green

Your view?

1. Spink claims to be a frond
2. All fronds are green
3. Spink is green

Your view?
These are both identical invalid arguments. The order of the premises (i.e. (1) and (2)) doesn't affect the logic of the argument. This argument is invalid because it can be true that Spink claims to be a frond while not actually being a frond.

My guess is that you were at some point taught Aristotle's syllogistic logic. Aristotle developed a theory of logical inference which applies to certain specific kinds of arguments involving categorical statements with what he called "major" and "minor" terms (and correspondingly a major and minor premise). There is a convention about how to order these premises, but this order has no bearing on the logic of the argument itself. However, Aristotle's syllogistic is mostly just a historical curiosity today (except in Catholic schools).
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Old 05-26-2017, 02:51 AM   #620
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Re: Religion and logic

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Originally Posted by d2_e4 View Post
While I don't particularly warm to most of Sklansky's posts (although there are definitely a few diamonds in the rough, even in this thread), your dismissive tone is eerily reminiscent of the tone you continuously criticise me for. Would you like some cinnamon sprinkles with your sanctimony bun, Aaron?
I've criticized you for making up facts, being bad at recalling the trajectory of the conversation, presenting bad arguments, being a hypocrite, willful misrepresentation of others, failing at identifying a true Scotsman fallacy, coming up with random objections, conflating language, being unwilling to admit error, being delusional, and several other things... but I'm pretty sure I haven't criticized your tone. I could be wrong. There's a lot to criticize.

Edit: Not knowing what words mean, being anti-science when it doesn't conform to your beliefs...

Last edited by Aaron W.; 05-26-2017 at 02:59 AM. Reason: Thinking like a fundamentalist religious person, arguing like a climate change denier, holding to emotion above reason...
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Old Today, 12:13 AM   #621
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Re: Religion and logic

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I've criticized you for making up facts, being bad at recalling the trajectory of the conversation, presenting bad arguments, being a hypocrite, willful misrepresentation of others, failing at identifying a true Scotsman fallacy, coming up with random objections, conflating language, being unwilling to admit error, being delusional, and several other things... but I'm pretty sure I haven't criticized your tone. I could be wrong. There's a lot to criticize.

Edit: Not knowing what words mean, being anti-science when it doesn't conform to your beliefs...
Quite the cacophony of criticisms, there.

Ironically, the only thing I regret in my interactions with you in this thread is tone.

Last edited by d2_e4; Today at 12:20 AM.
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Old Today, 12:17 AM   #622
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Re: Religion and logic

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I suspect this is where you are getting confused. The right way to put this is:

We have premises
We have a conclusion.

We also use rules of inference to see if the conclusion follows validly from the premises, but the rules of inference are not themselves part of the argument. You can expand on what you mean by "Logical thought/argument," but it looks confused to me. Validity (which is what is generally meant by "logical") is a property of arguments, not statements/thoughts/propositions. An argument, by definition, requires at least two statements (even if they are identical). So in none of the following examples is (2) a "logical thought/argument" - instead, in all these arguments (2) is a premise.



Agreed.



These are both identical invalid arguments. The order of the premises (i.e. (1) and (2)) doesn't affect the logic of the argument. This argument is invalid because it can be true that Spink claims to be a frond while not actually being a frond.

My guess is that you were at some point taught Aristotle's syllogistic logic. Aristotle developed a theory of logical inference which applies to certain specific kinds of arguments involving categorical statements with what he called "major" and "minor" terms (and correspondingly a major and minor premise). There is a convention about how to order these premises, but this order has no bearing on the logic of the argument itself. However, Aristotle's syllogistic is mostly just a historical curiosity today (except in Catholic schools).
Thank you - having read through this, I now understand where I was thinking about things incorrectly. You are quite right that (2) in my examples is not an argument, and, looking back at it, I have no idea why I ever thought it was. In fact, looking back in that light, my whole previous post is quite idiotic.
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Old Today, 12:28 AM   #623
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Re: Religion and logic

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Ironically, the only thing I regret in my interactions with you in this thread is tone.
There's no irony there. Since you are so nonchalant when do things like reject scientific literature, misrepresent others, and make literally false statements, it should really be no surprise to anyone to discover that the location of your head is adjacent to the sigmoid colon.
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