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LRC should really not talk about evolution or Darwin

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John Ess Posted: Wed, Dec 5 2012 9:50 AM

sheesh two articles in one day over there?  Say good bye to a large chunk of possible new readers.

Are they trying to court christian fundamentalism, just because of the 'secular' competition over at reason.com?

This is horrible and sloppy thinking by Gary north.  A man who wants to setup a Christian theocracy, and who is not even close to being a Libertarian.  LRC is doing very dangerous work by promoting this type of ignorance just to spite the Kochtopus, and maybe pull in some Tea Party types through shameless populism.

The American public has a lot of idiots who believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old, ergo it is correct!  And any type of 'public education' that says otherwise is just government indoctrination.  Just like chemistry and geometry.  Americans don't know about those things, except people in those professions, ergo they are useless and lies.  Just like almost 100% of scientists in related fields believe in evolution.  Because the public doesn't, means their work is w-r-o-n-g.

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John Ess replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 10:19 AM

"Why have they failed? Because they have relied on the state to promote Darwinism and to defend it against rival views. Once any idea becomes dependent on federal money and federal law, its failure is guaranteed. Its promoters lose their ability to compete in the marketplace." (gary north)

This is also nonsense.  According to Gallup, where he got his information, 75 percent of Americans have 'a great deal' or 'quite a lot' of confidence in the military.  56% for the police.  However, there is 25 for newspapers, 22 for TV, 21 for banks, 21 for big business -- all of the 'private' things.

 

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Prime replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 10:29 AM

I don't have a problem with this article. Your comparisons to chemistry and geometry are innacurate becuase of the ability to prove certain things in the hard sciences. For example, we can mathematically prove the Pythagorean theorem. The debate between Darwinism and intelligent design can hardly be proven in a laboratory or through equations.

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swalsh81 replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 10:39 AM

yep thats the difference. 

"The American public has a lot of idiots who believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old, ergo it is correct!" This is right too, consensus does not necessarily equate truth among any group. Consensus among scientists that intelligent design is false does not equate truth. In fact, Modern science defines science as the study of only naturally occuring things, thus, they rule out any concept of intelligent design without inquirey and begin their search for truth after having ruled out an argument because it does not conform to their definition. Can you study a supernatural designer scientifically? No. does that necessarily make theories of intelligent design false? absolutely not. 

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Prime replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 10:52 AM

John Ess:

 Once any idea becomes dependent on federal money and federal law, its failure is guaranteed. Its promoters lose their ability to compete in the marketplace." (gary north)

Why do you call this "nonsense?" Seems spot on to me.

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DD5 replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 10:54 AM

swalsh81:
Can you study a supernatural designer scientifically? No. does that necessarily make theories of intelligent design false? absolutely not. 

The answer is NO to both,however, those are not the right questions

 The question should be:  Is intelligent design a "rival" theory to Evolution?  The answer, by your own account, is NO, however, Mr North seems to think that it is.  One is a scientific theory (wether it is a "good" or "bad" theory is another question), but one is no a theory at all.  So why are we making comparisons between apples and oranges? 

 

 

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John Ess replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 11:15 AM

"Consensus among scientists that intelligent design is false does not equate truth."

not their consensus, but the mountain of evidence which has made evolution a fact.  This is close to postmodernism.  Neocons, postmodernist leftists, and now fundamentalists love to tout the relativity of truth.  Or to equate truth with some type of power, to which they then accept or reject something.  If their 'power' can overcome, it becomes truth.  Always someone is the 'victim' class who is the correct one.  There is no care about what is true or false totally.  But always within some imagined regime of power.

If scientists reject intelligence design by their criteria, it is outside of science.  And thus not a competing science theory, but something else.  Some have said to put in the philosophy or compative religion courses.  On top of this,  Intelligent design is neither Christian nor science.  It is just some nonsense people made up to be an ad hoc 'answer'.   It has nothing to do with the teachings of the Jews or Christ, but a bunch of really bad pseudo-scientists in modern times.

The sad thing is that Americans are largely ignorant about science or religion.  According to a recent survey on Pew Forum, atheists, agnostics, and Jews score the highest on a religious knowledge quiz.  However, they averaged a D+.  While protestants got an F, and catholics an F-.

This is very bizarre when science and religion simply means a 'yes' or 'no', and not an actual understanding.  Notice how no one assesses people's actual understanding of something before listing their conclusions.

 

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a lot of idiots who believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old

How is it more idiotic than believing it's 4.5 billion years old? Just curious.

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Neodoxy replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 11:22 AM

^

Because we have scientific evidence that this is the case whereas the other view is based upon estimation from a book filled with unreliable sources which can't account for a huge amount of the data which we have.

I'm in line with the OP. I think that talking about things like this is outside the scope of what LRC should be trying to do and what it is good at doing.

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Bogart replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 11:27 AM

A lot of idiots who are extremely intelligent believe in Keynesian Economics.  Also, there are a lot of idiots who believe that they have an account with the US Government called Social Security that has their savings plus interest invested in valuable securities that they will get a some point and that the US Government can not change the terms of the Social Security deal.  There are a lot of idiots who are extremely intelligent (Some of my own siblings) who believe that a "Single Payer" system of healthcare financing can work.  Are these idiots any different from the Creationists or Intelligent Design folks?  Are they any less religious?

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Prime replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 11:30 AM

This thread is getting way of track. North's point was not that Darwinism is wrong because 85% of the people say it is wrong. His point was that the idea of Darwinism has failed to influence more than 15% of the people because it was monopolized and totally dependent on governement. It wasn't a free-market force that was pushing Darwinism; therefore, it lacked competetiveness and is not influential, despite 100 years of effort.

"but the mountain of evidence which has made evolution a fact." With all do respect John Ess, this is laughable.

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That may be well out of scope, I agree.

But the 4.5 billion years argument is ridiculous. Existence of any evidence is not incompatible with the hypothesis of the intelligent design. If the creator was able to create the universe, sure he was able to create it in any state, including a state that perfectly fakes arbitrarily long history. For what it's worth, the Earth might have been created yesterday, complete with human beings believing they have spent all of their lives on Earth.

The only argument against intelligent design may be the Occam's razor, I think. The intelligent design multiplies entities without explaining anything. E.g., it does not explain who created the creator.

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Neodoxy replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 11:39 AM

Yes but it defies the traditional Christian creationist story

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I am not so sure. E.g., the Deluge might have been a major re-creation event.

Just for the record, I am not a believer, I just don't like adherents of one religion bashing those of the other.

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Prime replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 11:47 AM

The idea that any scientist has any clue as to what the Earth was like 6 billion years ago is so unrealistic it makes evolution every bit as much as a "leap of faith" as religion. It amazes me that evolutionists can't make this distinction. They think that because they can do something in a lab that is must be "fact," when they have no clue what to even base their experiments on. It gets even more ludicrous when you try to explain things such as Big Bang Theory and such. And then to call these things "fact."

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Exactly, the 99.99% of the people just take for granted whatever the priests in white labcoats tell them. This is one of the modern religions (along with the statism).

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Bert replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 11:57 AM

One reason I don't bother to read LRC anymore, they have articles that bring up topics that they don't even have a consensus from libertarians on.  Guess what?  Even that nutjob Pat Robertson knows the planet is older than 6,000 years.

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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John Ess replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 11:59 AM

"But the 4.5 billion years argument is ridiculous."

Not really.  Astronomy, geology, genetics, biology, and many other sciences all converge on pretty much this 'argument'.  All of them working separately and coming to the same conclusion.

It seems absurd that God would create an earth to fake people out.  And if so, then nothing is correct. 

 

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Clayton replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 12:08 PM

I share your frustration with LRC to an extent but it seems to be a bit of misleading headlines. Fred Reed's piece which I read in detail simply does not say he doesn't believe in evolution... in fact, I took away the opposite... it's just that he doesn't believe in "onward-upward" evolution, something that has long been dead outside of the population-control/eugenics community.

Gary North's article is actually surprisingly insightful. I think it bears much more careful deliberation, however. There's a lot more to it than just "Darwinism is pushing an agenda." Darwinism is the religious faith of eugenicists, population-control fanatics and other misanthropes. Their interest in promoting Darwinism is wholly pseudo-scientific. Just take a gander at the Eugenics Review which is kept available in online form by the NIH - just open any volume from the pre-War era to see shockingly blunt statements of the eugenical agenda.

I followed the links to Appendix A of North's Sovereignty and Dominion. There, he mentions the Geneticists' Manifesto - a remarkably difficult document to find on Google, given the fact it was penned in the late 30's by a Nobel laureate. Read the Manifesto and ask yourself whether there is a single point in that document that has not been actively implemented in American society to an astonishing extent, in just the seven decades since it was written?

Creationism is not necessarily opposed to evolutionary biology, a point that is overlooked in the false dichotomy created by the accepted narrative. Evolutionary biology simply states that no planner is required to explain the abundant varieties of life and their astounding functional complexity. This says nothing about the wider evolution of the Universe itself - a topic on which modern cosmology is embarrassingly bad - and North's argument is essentially that the agenda of Darwinism in this regard is to obliterate any conception of a wider evolution of the Universe, as it might be understood through a creationist view, for example.

Of course, I'm not going to defend Christian fundamentalist creationism which is frankly opposed to scientific biology. My point is simply that there is nothing inherently incompatible with biological science and a view that attributes some kind of "wider purpose" to the Universe. And I think that North is on the mark in attributing the fascination of the eugenicists with Darwinism not to any actual interest in biology but, rather, to their egalitarianism, collectivism and elitism.

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Neodoxy replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 12:11 PM

"It seems absurd that God would create an earth to fake people out.  And if so, then nothing is correct."

God is something of a master troll in my book...

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swalsh81 replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 12:14 PM

"If scientists reject intelligence design by their criteria, it is outside of science.  And thus not a competing science theory, but something else." This is my point. This is saying that, if only verifiable science is true, and science can only be natural then something that is not natural must necessarily not be true. This is horrible reasoning. But it is exactly what is going on.

If we look at the earth through the lens that all things must have happened though solely natural processes as we see them today then statistically it would take billions of years to get to this point so of course everything would point to a multi billion year old earth. But you are starting with the unprovable assumption that everything has functioned the same over the last 4.5 billion years. Darwin estimated that the earth is around 100k years old. but as things arose that were more and more unlikely under present processes that number kept increasing due to the assumption that everything has been the same. 

The point is, if science says something is true or false that does not necessarily make it so. Not because truth is relative but exactly the opposite, because truth is truth whether anyone agrees with it or not just look at medicine a few hundred years ago and what happened to George Washington. 

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idol replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 12:27 PM

Andris Birkmanis:

The only argument against intelligent design may be the Occam's razor, I think. The intelligent design multiplies entities without explaining anything. E.g., it does not explain who created the creator.

I can take something very sophisticated, such as a book, and before reading a page of it realize that it came from something much more complex than the book itself. The universe is very sophisticated, but that does not rule out the possibility of a more complex being than the universe creating it. 

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Clayton replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 12:37 PM

The universe is very sophisticated, but that does not rule out the possibility of a more complex being than the universe creating it.

So then something even more complex than God created Him? After all, God is posited to act and, as Mises points out, a truly Absolute being cannot act because action entails uncertainty (a lack of complete and certain information about everything). Thus, God cannot be the Absolute.

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John Ess replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 12:42 PM

" But you are starting with the unprovable assumption that everything has functioned the same over the last 4.5 billion years. "

I don't know what it would mean to say 'everything'.

Many things have changed.  Regardless, 4.5 billion is still the figure.

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idol replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 12:50 PM

Clayton:

The universe is very sophisticated, but that does not rule out the possibility of a more complex being than the universe creating it.

So then something even more complex than God created Him? After all, God is posited to act and, as Mises points out, a truly Absolute being cannot act because action entails uncertainty (a lack of complete and certain information about everything). Thus, God cannot be the Absolute.

Clayton -

Must a God that has existed always and forever necessarily be defined as the Absolute? Couldn't a timeless God have, not absolute, but supreme power and knowledge? 

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Clayton replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 12:57 PM

A point of clarification: The best argument for evolutionary biology is not the evidence, it is inference.

Let's say you live in a small tribe with an albino. You travel away from the tribe for a few years and then return. As you are walking into the village, you see a small albino child. What do you instantly infer from the age of the child and its albino condition? Why, you would instantly infer that - while you were away - the trbe's albino had had a child. This is the principle of heredity. Recognizable traits are passed from parents to child. Of course, it gets a lot more intricate once you start looking into phenotypes, genotypes, etc.

But the principle of heredity is deceptively subtle. If two people - chosen at random - share a trait, then it is more likely that they have a common genetic heritage than two people who share no traits. This is an inductive argument. It is more likely that a trait should be shared by heredity than that it should arise de novo1. When this argument is applied not merely to a particular species of plant or animal but, instead, to all living things, the tree of life falls out immediately. This is the logical basis for the theory of common descent.

Gary North's position on this issue is, ultimately, incoherent. On the one side, he eschews central economic planning, but on the other hand he espouses a centrally-planned Universe. His conspiracy theoretic view of the Darwinist eugenicists/etc. is largely correct but it does not follow from this that evolutionary biology is not, in fact, true.

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1 The possibility of traits arising de novo over the course of many generations is the core part of the evolutionary argument and this is what really required Darwin's legwork. This remains the "weakest" part of evolutionary theory and is the reason for people saying things like "evolution has never been observed in the lab" - a false claim, by the way. In any case, the logic of common descent remains intact either way.

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idol:

 

Clayton:

The universe is very sophisticated, but that does not rule out the possibility of a more complex being than the universe creating it.

So then something even more complex than God created Him? After all, God is posited to act and, as Mises points out, a truly Absolute being cannot act because action entails uncertainty (a lack of complete and certain information about everything). Thus, God cannot be the Absolute.

Clayton -

Must a God that has existed always and forever necessarily be defined as the Absolute? Couldn't a timeless God have, not absolute, but supreme power and knowledge? 


Alternatively, he could, for whatever reason, allow what he created (man) to act on his own will even if it contradicted whatever God's ends might be  thus changing the situation.

but to answer Clayton, Mises also said that action takes place in the realm of time. If God is not bound by time then there is no uncertainty because the ultimate ends is already the "present" for him even though finite, time bound man is not there yet. 

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Clayton replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 1:10 PM

@idol: I do not believe that anyone has privileged knowledge about God; anything that someone else knows about God, I could also discover on my own. If a "supreme but not Absolute" God does not require explanation, then neither does the Universe, which is supreme but presumably not Absolute.

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Am I the only who hates the careless use of the word 'religion'.

1)  Even in religious studies, there is not a good solid definition of this word.  Many hindus, for instance, think it is a colonial invention.

2)  It seems that it has become to mean some type of worldview.  But this hardly captures what religions have in common.

3)  It feeds mutual exclusion.

For one, Christians may reject science foolishly to avoid apostacy.  And secularists will avoid religion, because Christians themselves have defamed 'religion' through their associating it with wrongly with apostacy.  Both of these will have been the doing of Christians.  This is the very thing St. Augustine had warned about:

"We must be on our guard against giving interpretations of Scripture which are far-fetched or opposed to science, and so exposing the word of God to the ridicule of unbelievers."

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Clayton replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 1:41 PM

@John Ess: It irritates the hell out of me, too. I think the most generalized approach to religion is to define it as that which concerns the sacred. This can be on an individual level (e.g. the memory of a beloved pet) or on a group level. It may have little, if anything, to do with "beliefs" or worldview. It may have no discernible purpose. It may or may not be connected to tradition. It may or may not have to do with the supernatural.

Many hindus, for instance, think it is a colonial invention.

Would love to hear more about this...

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Prime replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 2:10 PM

John Ess:

Many things have changed.  Regardless, 4.5 billion is still the figure.

Don't you see the flaw in this? You are admitting that things have changed but have no clue what may have changed or how that might have affected your scientific reasoning. Perhaps carbon dating is flawed in that carbon has not always degraded at the same rate at which we observe today. Your premises are based on faith of a different sort.

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Prime replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 2:13 PM

Clayton:

Gary North's position on this issue is, ultimately, incoherent. On the one side, he eschews central economic planning, but on the other hand he espouses a centrally-planned Universe.

It's not incoherent if one believes that the creator of the universe is all-knowing, but the central economic planners are but fallable men.

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"Would love to hear more about this..."

The indian subcontinent encompasses a number of different cosmologies and rituals.  There are like 3 million different gods and goddesses.  There is also many different philosophies, monistic and dualistic, material and spiritual.  Even 'atheism' is acceptable.  However, the British orientalists had to create a way to classify what they believe according to their own standards, and so called it 'Hinduism' (and also 'Buddhism') which is a ridiculous mirror of Christianity.  Christianity is a world religion that sees all other ways of thinking as the same thing; as a rival to be beaten.  Therefore it labels all heresies within this framework.

Even people in the west who like the Vedas and other things are different than Indians, because most people are ignorant of those books.  It's not like people read them like the Bible.

One of the strange things is that secularity is not much of a problem in countries like Japan, because Shinto was not framed in this manner.  Hindus started believing in the myth of a singular hinduism in recent times because of colonialism, and post-colonial conflict with Islam.  And Islam didn't have intelligent design courses, until Christians started sending those books over there.  Now they are most likely going to ban any mention of Darwin.  Right now Turkey and Egypt mention evolution in school, but you can bet they will be gone soon.

http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00litlinks/pankajmishra/articles/txt_mishra_hinduism_2004.html

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"Don't you see the flaw in this? You are admitting that things have changed but have no clue what may have changed or how that might have affected your scientific reasoning. Perhaps carbon dating is flawed in that carbon has not always degraded at the same rate at which we observe today. Your premises are based on faith of a different sort."

the long-term scale seems to cohere with the calculations in astronomy.  And these were made separately, and still show billions of years.

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Prime replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 3:01 PM

And what was the temperature of Earth 4.5 billion years ago? Was there an atmosphere? If so, what was its composition? How much carbon, oxygen, nitrogen was there? This could go on and on...at the end of the day, no scientist can answer these questions, and no experiment can ever prove this type of thing.

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Have you tried to research any of that before?

Scientists are pretty well aware there that there are dramatically different periods in the history of the earth.  However not every single change or factoid is relevant to our question of the age of the earth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_evolutionary_history_of_life

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"North's point was not that Darwinism is wrong because 85% of the people say it is wrong. His point was that the idea of Darwinism has failed to influence more than 15% of the people because it was monopolized and totally dependent on governement."

It's very influential and the majority opinion outside of the US and Islamic countries.  Those places teach it in public schools like we do.

Our country has a stronger resistance, because of a certain type of Christianity is more embedded.

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Prime replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 3:30 PM

You are confirming my belief that evolutionists  are just as reliant on faith as creationists. No scientist can confirm any of the questions I posed in my most recent post. The link you just provided was nothing more than a giant list of theories on a timeline. Yet you personally called this stuff fact. It's not. It is theory. You have to have faith to be a commited evolutionist.

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None of those things you posted have anything to do with the theory of evolution. Abiogenesis and evolution are separate.

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Clayton replied on Wed, Dec 5 2012 3:52 PM

@Prime: We can see the recent history of the Earth in tree rings, ice cores and varves, for example. These set a "local time scale" against which we can measure other geological processes. While there are issues with radiocarbon dating, what is clear on the face of it is that the Earth contains a "deep" geological record stretching back many, many orders of magnitude further back in time than the 6,000 years of Bishop Ussher.

Of course, the simplest proof that the Universe is much older than 6,000 years is starlight - the far edges of our own galaxy are more than 100,000 light-years distant. By definition, it requires at least 100,000 years for the light from those stars to reach our eyes. Yet you can look up to the sky and see the edges of the Milky Way.

I also reject Big Bang cosmology. But not because I believe God created the Universe 6,000 years ago. Rather, with Tesla, I hold that the Universe is eternal.

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