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Dante

When debating philosophy/politics/economics.

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This discussion lost me a few steps ago, for the main reason that there is no reference of argumentation here. One side dismounts logic by dwelling in paradox, and so I don't understand how the other side one can make a logical counter-argument if logic itself is in error.

 

In this case, it's up to them to prove the point, which they can't without first using "proof", which of course, relies on identity, that resting upon the absolute.

 

That is the counter-argument.

 

1a) What is an acceptable system of thought and reasoning?

1b) Is it logic? If not, why not, what is an alternative. If yes, are there any exceptions and what are they?p

 

Logic is the only means, and if there are any "exceptions", its due to a failure of the person, not of the system. You identify the properties, and amend, as need be.

 

2a) What is an acceptable lexicon for verbal and written discourse within the English language?

2b) Are there any exceptions, and if so what are they?

2c) If nothing is acceptable, how are we communicating?

 

1a/b ) Our language is acceptable, assuming us to use proper concepts. You'll encounter conceptual disintegration if you try to use "210 pound man, 6'1'', blond-hair, blue-eyed German" as a concept. You have broad concepts, such as man, which serves as a reference point for individual circumstances (each concept separating itself from others via essential distinctions).

 

For example, "power" isn't a proper concept, as by that for some to merge "economic power" and "political power" as one, as though "power" itself is a distinction, as though anyone who has "power" is all the same.

 

We couldn't argue just stating "power", as it's an invalid concept, when used in realm of human action.

 

2c) It's convenient, although I'm not so certain what that word means smile.gif

 

3a) What is a paradox?

3b) How does a paradox affect the contextualization of the terms listed below?

 

Either a statement inherently absurd, or one which appears to be so, which is otherwise.

 

If the former or latter, this is owing due to a failure of the person. Everything that is, is, within finite, definable bounds. If ever anyone asserts the "failure", it's due to our attempt, not the means, nor the reality of it all.

 

Logic and knowledge isn't automatic.

 

 

What are we arguing? Again, from my first post, you can't argue anything without attempting proof, implicitly acknowleding absolutes ('and I'll show why this is not so', then how can you show me, as *show* is essentially proof).

 

In this forum, as may we do in the supplement forum, the argument is equally valid, and important. Read through, of this, the pages, and you'll see how many times *everyone* is attempting proof, which is absurd, if, along such lines of their thought, we were to be consistent.

 

"Proof" is non-contradiction (I'm going to repeat, here, as was it so succinctly stated: A is A). You have to prove that your argument is valid, and can't be logically contradicted, or else proof it wouldn't be.

 

Want to "show" me a paradox, then you'll have to *prove* that it's a contradiction, which otherwise it couldn't be, which would be to state: A is A.

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Point? To wallow in ambiguities, expose gray areas that seem to defy strict rational explanation, create disagreement based on rhetorical puns, denying surface and embracing depth, incongruous shit-logic, problems with no solution, and imprecise referentials?

 

I'm waiting for someone to expound on the praxis. I appreciate the philo-cock lampoon smile.gif but I would like someone to take a moment and spare me a few sentences of explanation about what on earth is happening.

 

EDIT: nm; didn't see the 4th page.

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EDIT: nm; didn't see the 4th page.

 

See, even I joke (seriously need to vent), but, I'll get back on topic smile.gif

 

Do you agree with what I said? Trying to examine your present thoughts on the matter.

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I agree. Merely had a brain spasm when the discussion steered off course -- too many new confusing concepts, all seemingly defined in terms of each other. Feeling better, now that some logic has been restored smile.gif

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The most abstract definition of number I can come up with is:

 

The class of objects whose set is one.

 

With respect to Nietzsche's alleged nihilism:

 

I can't make heads or tails of your interpretation of Nietzsche. Ressentiment and sklaven-moral are affects of nihilism...amor fati and the Will-to-Power stands over-against these. Nihilism is the ultimate REACTIVE category. The transvaluation of values is an ACTIVE, POSITIVE affirmation of joy and the will. The Joyful Science was a 'deconstruction' of God? What do you mean by deconstruction? That's a pretty loaded word to be tossing around casually. You were most accurate when you suggested that he was a materialist and a determinist, but the tradition he comes from is that of Democritus, Lucretius, Bruno, Spinoza and others. Just a side note, but self-overcoming isn't an entirely accurate translation of selbstaufhebung as aufhebung implies a synthetic, dialectical preservation of otherness. Sublation gives a fuller sense of this.

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This discussion lost me a few steps ago, for the main reason that there is no reference of argumentation here. One side dismounts logic by dwelling in paradox, and so I don't understand how the other side one can make a logical counter-argument if logic itself is in error.

 

This is troubling, because if logic is a fallacy, I can't assert anything without it being reduced to an absurd, abstract concept that holds no meaning. The law of non-contradiction would self-destruct. My assertions would both exist and not exist, and be both true and false.

 

Gene, the crux of the issue is this: Logical principles can be shown to be false using logic. This does not mean logic is a fallacy; it means logic is a logical fallacy. The word "fallacy" does not even exist independent of logic. The problem is that once you accept that logical principles disprove logic, you are continuing to use logic by thinking something can be a "fallacy." In a real sense it isn't, but according to it's own standards it is. Do you see what I'm saying?

 

Now, the next step is what you're getting at, that every statement is absurd, in fact everything is absurd (as in, not logical). Logic no longer becomes the principle that defines reality. At this point you accept that our views are just subjective and ultimately may bear no meaning to the state of things as a whole. You accept that we are "meaningless," in the sense that there is no longer a logical explanation for our existence. But this is nothing knew. Hasn't your mind ever gone in circles when contemplating the nature of consciousness? The endless refrain of humanity seems to be, "I don't understand." As if understanding was something that was within our grasp in the first place. And then the masses of neurotics are led by the few who appear that they actually do know what is actually going on: the politicians, the priests, the psychiatrists, the scientists. People are so easy to control because of their natural tendency to want to cling to the belief that they are serving some higher purpose, whether it be logic, god, or political ideology. Which is why a dogmatic belief in anything should be avoided: one must learn to tolerate uncertainty.

 

Now, you'll notice I use the word "should" in the last sentence despite my self-proclaimed disbelief in an objective state of rationality. First of all it doesn't contradict my own belief because as I've said, objectively contradictions don't exist in the first place. So what basis do I have for making a "should" statement?

 

This is where the concept of pragmatism comes into play. Once it is accepted that all statements are opinions, it no longer becomes necessary to say "In my opinion" because that is a given for any statement in the first place. We are always just expounding on the way we view things. If we want to emphasize our acceptance that diverging opinions exist, we then will begin using the phrase "in my opinion." But what I'm getting at is we are no longer making objective truth statements, but subjective truth statements. A subjective truth by definition does not exist independent of the observer(s) but many subjective truths are shared by many humans, thus they are useful in the context of human interaction or evaluating our lives. You know that every time you turn a knob you can open a door, this does not have to be an objective truth for you to treat it as a subjective truth. You can never be 100% sure that the rules will always be the same, but at the same time you can guage from past experience the likelihood of the event occuring, and you can communicate these principles to others.

 

Take the example of determinism. We now know from quantum physics and chaos theory that the universe does not function in a deterministic fashion. Chaos theory shows that it is impossible to predict the outcomes of events with 100% certainty because of infinite complexity; we can only predict the relative certainty within the context of a specific margin of error (and there will always be a margin of error even in the prediction, nothing has an exact probability ratio). The uncertainty principle states that when a quantum particle moves from one place to another, it is impossible to predict what path it takes. One theory is that it takes every possible path, the other (and the one I tend to go with) is that every time this happens the universe splits into parallel universes. Either way it is mathematically impossible to predict the outcome of many quantum events.

 

Accepting this does not mean dismissing the idea of determinism on a macroscale. Obviously, the universe is not deterministic. But the reason we thought it was deterministic in the first place is because in our subjective experience, it has shown to be deterministic. Which shows that treating it as such can be useful. To put it as simply as possible: Rationality, determinism, and other concepts are all tools. Their incompleteness does not deny their usefulness. They are models. Surely you don't believe that a map will ever contain every possible point, but it is still useful as a model.

 

That is all for now. I hope this makes sense, it is often difficult to put my views into words as they are the product of thousands of influences coming together, and they are more conceptual than linguistic.

 

David

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How does one make sense of dividing infinite squared by infinite, in a real sense???

 

Did this in business calculus I -- for a bit on my background, I was quite good at math (made a 36 on ACT and 790 on SAT) but this was the most advanced mathematics course I took, and I certainly have not studied it on my own, like I have with philosophy and science.

 

Thus, that may be keeping me from being able to conceptualize these properly -- I have no reference from which to visualize it is my mind's eye -- just seems an absurd/meaningless concept.

 

Had the same problem when reading A Brief History of Time. When he starts talking about the universe being saddle shaped, "Fruity Pebbles are good." is what my brain says.

I think this goes with the point I was trying to illustrate above, which is that the deeper our understanding of things becomes, the more abstract (and absurd) it becomes. Even the idea of the world being round is abstract: It contradicts with the common experience of the individual, until you leave the ionosphere at least. Go further, to relativity, and it's even more difficult to grasp. In our common experience one thing moves and the other doesn't, but relativity states that that is just two things moving in relation to each other. Still, that is graspable - but becomes less useful in everyday life, when you're concerned about the baseball coming at you at 60 mph and not the idea that you are equally travelling towards the ball at extreme speed.

 

And the deeper we go, the more difficult concepts are to grasp and the less they correspond to our daily lives. String theory was up to 11 spacial dimensions at my last count. Personally, I find the concept of 11 spacial dimensions - or 4 for that matter - difficult, actually outright impossible, to grasp because I have no reference point. But these concepts are mathematically valid, as is the concept of different infinities. Which all goes to show that our personal experience does not describe the nature of the universe as a whole.

 

David

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What is the uncertainty principle based on??

 

Is it mathematical or empirical??

The idea that I was talking about (more an implication of quantum uncertainty), that it is impossible to predict which path a subatomic particle is taking from one point to the other, has been experimentally verified. The double-slit experiment also showed that although you can plot a probability distribution for the possible paths a subatomic particle will take, it is impossible to predict which path it will take in a single trial. In other words, if you do the exact same thing to 10 different photons, 9 of them will go in one direction and 1 in the other, and that's assuming exactly the same conditions. Thus it is impossible to predict the outcome of certain quantum events, you can only predict the probability.

 

David

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What do we observe with??

 

At such a small level, how do you keep the instrument of measurement from altering the behavior??

I would say, that's why we're spending billions of dollars on huge particle accelerators and such.

 

Heisenberg's principle was that the observer always alters the observed. Our studies, even on the macroscale, are always just estimations of what behavior a system might show if it wasn't upset by an observer. For example, a zoologist observing a group of giraffes. Even if the giraffes cannot sense his presence, other animals are observing him that could affect the behavior of the giraffes. He is even changing the air currents. The effect is very miniscule, but it still shows that we contaminate anything we observe and can not be 100% certain. The Uncertainty Principle itself shows that there is no such thing as "objective" science. Of course, at the quantum realm this effect is much greater, but we can still make estimations of how a system behaves. And the phenomenon of quanta being unpredictable is both mathematically and experimentally verifiable, at least as much so as any other theory.

 

David

 

Oh yeah, and for the first question, we don't observe the particle directly but through inference.

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And the deeper we go, the more difficult concepts are to grasp and the less they correspond to our daily lives. String theory was up to 11 spacial dimensions at my last count.

Wait a min., dimensions as in the x, y, and z planes?

 

There's eleven of them?

 

Have you heard of trachyon (sp) particles, or something along those lines, that travel backward in time? Time travel to the future is theoretically possible, but up until recently, with the discovery of these particles, time travel to the past was thought to be impossible.

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The idea that I was talking about (more an implication of quantum uncertainty), that it is impossible to predict which path a subatomic particle is taking from one point to the other, has been experimentally verified. The double-slit experiment also showed that although you can plot a probability distribution for the possible paths a subatomic particle will take, it is impossible to predict which path it will take in a single trial. In other words, if you do the exact same thing to 10 different photons, 9 of them will go in one direction and 1 in the other, and that's assuming exactly the same conditions. Thus it is impossible to predict the outcome of certain quantum events, you can only predict the probability.

 

Are you certain of this.

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For the record, there are a "quite" few scientists out there who disagree where physics is heading. See: Harry Binswanger. David Harriman is has written on the topic of how physics is disintigrating into mysticism, including some of what Einstein believed, as well as some of modern physics.

 

See also "The Theory of Elementary Waves" by Lewis E. Little

http://www.yankee.us.com/TEW/

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String theory has been superceded by M-theory, which is indeed 11-dimensional.

Yeah. I basically consider them one and the same, since I don't know of anybody who supports the former but not the latter, although I guess "M-theory" has a cooler name.

 

David

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I am still having trouble how the uncertainty principle supports your overall point.

It now supports my overall point as an example, mostly. I was explaining how what we percieve and what we "know" in our everyday life, including our rules of logic, break down at the quantum level.

 

Also, one of the fundamental logical principles is causality, and uncertainty shows that "causality" doesn't even exist at the microscale. When we view the universe as a whole it doesn't follow the "rules" we have laid out for it. Dante says that we must refine our views of rationality, but if we were to do this based on what we know, common logic would cease to exist, and if we were to do this based on what we know we don't know, there would be no such thing as logic in the first place, since it assumes there is a finite absolute.

 

David

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The idea that I was talking about (more an implication of quantum uncertainty), that it is impossible to predict which path a subatomic particle is taking from one point to the other, has been experimentally verified. The double-slit experiment also showed that although you can plot a probability distribution for the possible paths a subatomic particle will take, it is impossible to predict which path it will take in a single trial. In other words, if you do the exact same thing to 10 different photons, 9 of them will go in one direction and 1 in the other, and that's assuming exactly the same conditions. Thus it is impossible to predict the outcome of certain quantum events, you can only predict the probability.

 

Are you certain of this.

Yes.

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For the record, there are a \"quite\" few scientists out there who disagree where physics is heading.  See: Harry Binswanger.   David Harriman is has written on the topic of how physics is disintigrating into mysticism, including some of what Einstein believed, as well as some of modern physics.

 

See also  \"The Theory of Elementary Waves\" by Lewis E. Little

http://www.yankee.us.com/TEW/

The phrase "how physics is disintegrating into mysticism" implies a strong bias in my eyes. "Mysticism" is not a religion. It is not something you can attack, it's basically just a spiritual idea. It does not make truth claims and for that reason many are uncomfortable with it. Most physicists actually tend to ignore mysticism, they just study the way things behave without attaching philosophical implications to it. The reason there is an ever-growing movement of physicists writing about mysticism is that what they are discovering is incongruous with any Western philosophy. Such as: All things are interconnected, the universe is infinitely complex, the existence of other dimensions. This is in opposition to our common reductionist viewpoint.

 

Obviously, unless one of us is a physicist, we're not going to be able to debate the scientific merits of the two sides. If I may make an appeal to authority, the view that the quantum realm is deterministic is so rare among physicists that I have not heard about it until now, and every major physicist that I know of supports the Uncertainty Principle. You will even find it in your Chem 141 textbook; electrons do not follow fixed orbitals and can only be described by probability distributions.

 

There will always be those who fear challenges to their worldview.

 

David

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Also, one of the fundamental logical principles is causality, and uncertainty shows that \"causality\" doesn't even exist at the microscale. When we view the universe as a whole it doesn't follow the \"rules\" we have laid out for it. Dante says that we must refine our views of rationality, but if we were to do this based on what we know, common logic would cease to exist, and if we were to do this based on what we know we don't know, there would be no such thing as logic in the first place, since it assumes there is a finite absolute.

 

 

 

"Causality" (essentialy) dictates that ever entity can't act apart from what it is. It's of a given nature, and acts according to that nature, thus cause and effect (put a pile of rocks in a balloon, and then in another, helium, and yes, a difference). It doesn't mean that for every cause, you'll full well understand the effect, nor does it mean for every effect will you then now understand the cause.

 

"We can't truly understand anything", but yet you're looking at this all, with your example, as though about that we're truly understand everything.

 

Or as Gene put it "there aren't any absolutes, here's one".

 

There will always be those who fear challenges to their worldview.

 

Behold mighty Ahab! spearing the great whale of deceit with his lampoon.

 

Kidding aside,

 

You are seriously mistaken if you think this a matter of "worldview" being challenged, then the defensive. Again, as has been stated, when there's a contradiction, you amend, not discount logic itself, as again, as has also been stated, if no entity has a definite property, there would be no use for science, as one day an apple, next day, an ape.

 

You mistake the process of logically reasoning with an assumption of omniscience. There are fundamental truths (identity/cause-effect), and those that rest above. The former everyone uses, whether we consciously acknowledge this or not, even in the attempt to "invalidate" logic, the latter, as are we not omniscient, are higher truths which rest upon the former.

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David, you are making fundamental ellisions in your exposition of the 'new physics', most important among which is the fact that chaos is deterministic. You seem to have a pretty good general grasp of quantum mech., but your explanation of uncertainty as something aleatory or stochastic misses the mark as well. M-theory, by the way, is more than just a 'cool name'...it reflects important and fundamental changes in the structure of superstrings, and the increasing importance of symmetries.

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Yes?

 

By what means can I know this true.

 

This is where the concept of pragmatism comes into play. Once it is accepted that all statements are opinions, it no longer becomes necessary to say \"In my opinion\" because that is a given for any statement in the first place. We are always just expounding on the way we view things. If we want to emphasize our acceptance that diverging opinions exist, we then will begin using the phrase \"in my opinion.\" But what I'm getting at is we are no longer making objective truth statements, but subjective truth statements. A subjective truth by definition does not exist independent of the observer(s) but many subjective truths are shared by many humans, thus they are useful in the context of human interaction or evaluating our lives. You know that every time you turn a knob you can open a door, this does not have to be an objective truth for you to treat it as a subjective truth. You can never be 100% sure that the rules will always be the same, but at the same time you can guage from past experience the likelihood of the event occuring, and you can communicate these principles to others.

 

If you want to deny the validity of physics, go for it. I was under the impression you supported science though.

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"Causality" (essentialy) dictates that ever entity can't act apart from what it is. It's of a given nature, and acts according to that nature, thus cause and effect (put a pile of rocks in a balloon, and then in another, helium, and yes, a difference). It doesn't mean that for every cause, you'll full well understand the effect, nor does it mean for every effect will you then now understand the cause.

 

Ok, what I'm saying is - and I'm operating under the assumption of a rational debate here - not everything can be explained by causality. You're misinterpreting it as me saying that we'll never "know" the cause, I'm saying there is no cause. This, once again, radically defies common sense, which says that for every effect there is a cause.

 

This is not provable in the sense that you can't prove that anything is not causal. However, there are many events that don't appear to be causal. Take the existence of the universe itself, the fundamental "first cause" debate. Going by cause and effect analysis, if every effect has a cause, then any first cause would also have to be an effect of a different cause. If there was a "first cause," then, causality would not exist, and if there wasn't, the universe would be infinite on the time scale. Once again the paradox: If causality was a fundamental principle of the universe, there would have to be a way for non-causality to exist, otherwise the phrase "causality" would cease to have meaning in the context of infinity.

 

"We can't truly understand anything", but yet you're looking at this all, with your example, as though about that we're truly understand everything.

 

Or as Gene put it "there aren't any absolutes, here's one".

 

Once again, you are using the examples I use to illustrate my point with my point itself.

 

You are seriously mistaken if you think this a matter of "worldview" being challenged, then the defensive. Again, as has been stated, when there's a contradiction, you amend, not discount logic itself, as again, as has also been stated, if no entity has a definite property, there would be no use for science, as one day an apple, next day, an ape.

 

I've already covered this. Reread my subjective truths paragraph.

 

You mistake the process of logically reasoning with an assumption of omniscience. There are fundamental truths (identity/cause-effect), and those that rest above. The former everyone uses, whether we consciously acknowledge this or not, even in the attempt to "invalidate" logic, the latter, as are we not omniscient, are higher truths which rest upon the former.

 

Our use of a concept does not imply that it is directly descriptive of the universe. As it is, idendity ceases to exist when you take interconnectness into account, it is once again just a tool we use. Tell me, how do you define "human." Are the bacteria inside our bodies, which are living entities, part of us? Would you define human as the biological mechanism in exclusion of the bacteria? Because it is impossible for a human to exist without the bacteria, just as it is impossible for us to exist without air or water.

 

David

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Also, one of the fundamental logical principles is causality, and uncertainty shows that "causality" doesn't even exist at the microscale. When we view the universe as a whole it doesn't follow the "rules" we have laid out for it. Dante says that we must refine our views of rationality, but if we were to do this based on what we know, common logic would cease to exist, and if we were to do this based on what we know we don't know, there would be no such thing as logic in the first place, since it assumes there is a finite absolute.

 

David

2 things:

 

1) How do you know you have the exact same conditions for something on such a small scale?? How do you keep the instruments of observation from messing things up -- i.e. causing the "random" actions.

 

2) If you can't answer 1, obviously, just because we cannot observe something does not mean it does not exist.

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Also, just curious how so many people came to agree so closley on these "subjective truths" -- i.e. why do these appearances trick us all in the exact same way, basically, consistently, since the beginning of consciousness.

 

IOW, I find it rather convenient, and count myself really lucky, that I can even open the door to get out of my home each day -- that everyone just happened to believe that is mind-boggling to me, thus making it happen, as if by cause and effect.

 

I am assuming you are familiar with the philosophical concept of "grue", BTW.

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You really need to look into definitions -- the whole genus/species breakdown -- you are being silly with your bacteria example.

 

Yes, human's bacteria is included in the definition for human, if it is necessary for survival, because it is defined under the "animal" part of the definition of human ("rational animal", and the animal part can be broken down further, and you are brought another step closer to the basics/concretes -- so, yes, everything truly essential is defined.

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David, you are making fundamental ellisions in your exposition of the 'new physics', most important among which is the fact that chaos is deterministic.

 

Both chaos and quantum theory are based on deterministic principles, but this does not mean that they support the existence of determinism (once again, you can always use certain assumptions to break down the very same assumptions - this is analogous to the rationality discussion). I would say that chaos theory becomes anti-deterministic when you take the idea that the universe is infinite in complexity into account; I discussed this in my response to Dante's post.

 

You seem to have a pretty good general grasp of quantum mech., but your explanation of uncertainty as something aleatory or stochastic misses the mark as well.

 

Although my representation of quantum physics is far from complete, I do not think it is inaccurate. The Uncertainty Principle is wide in scope, but it mathematically states that we can never know the outcome of certain events. Perhaps not random, but not predeterminted either.

 

David

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