The Zeitgeist movement video
#1
Let's discuss this idea here.



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#2
Sajith, I would like to share my thoughts on the Zeitgeist movement in detail, but first I'd like to hear from someone who is involved in it. Do you know anyone who might be interested?

In general, there are many things that can be said about the movement. The most poignant of these is that it is a movement inspired by imagination alone, with little consideration for reality. Obviously, this is neither proof that it cannot work, nor that it is something to dismiss out of hand. But it would be nice to know exactly what it is that the movement is about. The problem is, no one fucking agrees on what they want! It's a lot like the modern Teabagger movement in the US. Everyone agrees on the problems that the world faces (within the movement, at least). Everyone is either paranoid or angry as hell about something. But no one agrees about what exactly (specific steps) to do about all these problems.

The reason for this is simple. It is a flawed way of trying to solve problems. Even if everything in the world is causally connected, a simple formula is not the answer to everything.

But I should say that, unlike the teabagger movement, many of the concerns of the Zeitgeist movement are legitimate. In fact, I think that the movement might do some good in the long run by creating a socio-economic and political climate where some of the ecological devastation of the planet can be rolled back over the next century or so. But if this happens, the Zeitgeist movement would only function as some sort of inspiring cheer-leading squad, standing on the sidelines and rooting for those doing the real intellectual heavy-lifting when it comes to solving the problems of the world.

That's all I will say for now. Maybe I have misrepresented the movement. In that case, I'd like to hear someone defend it.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#3
(24-Jun-2010, 11:13 AM)Ajita Kamal Wrote: Sajith, I would like to share my thoughts on the Zeitgeist movement in detail, but first I'd like to hear from someone who is involved in it. Do you know anyone who might be interested?

In general, there are many things that can be said about the movement. The most poignant of these is that it is a movement inspired by imagination alone, with little consideration for reality. Obviously, this is neither proof that it cannot work, nor that it is something to dismiss out of hand. But it would be nice to know exactly what it is that the movement is about. The problem is, no one fucking agrees on what they want! It's a lot like the modern Teabagger movement in the US. Everyone agrees on the problems that the world faces (within the movement, at least). Everyone is either paranoid or angry as hell about something. But no one agrees about what exactly (specific steps) to do about all these problems.

The reason for this is simple. It is a flawed way of trying to solve problems. Even if everything in the world is causally connected, a simple formula is not the answer to everything.

But I should say that, unlike the teabagger movement, many of the concerns of the Zeitgeist movement are legitimate. In fact, I think that the movement might do some good in the long run by creating a socio-economic and political climate where some of the ecological devastation of the planet can be rolled back over the next century or so. But if this happens, the Zeitgeist movement would only function as some sort of inspiring cheer-leading squad, standing on the sidelines and rooting for those doing the real intellectual heavy-lifting when it comes to solving the problems of the world.

That's all I will say for now. Maybe I have misrepresented the movement. In that case, I'd like to hear someone defend it.

Have invited people from FB to respond.
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#4
I think the Zeitgeist "movement" will always remain in the fringes appealing to a select few. It is basically an internet inspired movement (to the best of my knowledge), and this can be a double edged sword, because enough material exists on the internet itself to refute their nonsensical normative claims. So anyone who runs into this online and wishes to find more about the movement, will eventually run into reasonable arguments to counter it. But yes, I agree with Ajita that unlike the Tea Bagger "movement", this one is inspired by problems that I do identify with, sort of.
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#5
(24-Jun-2010, 11:13 AM)Ajita Kamal Wrote: Sajith, I would like to share my thoughts on the Zeitgeist movement in detail, but first I'd like to hear from someone who is involved in it. Do you know anyone who might be interested?

I am a member of the Zeitgeist Movement (henceforth referred to as TZM) to the extent that:

1) I have watched both Zeitgeist documentaries
2) I have subscribed to their online newsletter
3) I have read the 'Movement Orientation Manual' on the global website
4) I have attended the seminar in Bangalore which was held on May 20th, 2010 - conducted by the India chapter of TZM where Jaque Fresco, the person who founded 'The Venus Project' (TVP), and his partner, Roxanne Meadows, spoke.

That's my level of involvement with the movement. Yes, you can't really say I'm a full-fledged activist, but I consider myself a member of TZM - simply because I think that TVP is the best solution we've managed to come up with as a species - for the problems we ourselves have created.

(24-Jun-2010, 11:13 AM)Ajita Kamal Wrote: In general, there are many things that can be said about the movement. The most poignant of these is that it is a movement inspired by imagination alone, with little consideration for reality.

Little consideration for reality? I find it hard to believe that you have actually _read_ anything about the movement - did you do ANYTHING to find out more about TZM/TVP, other than watching the video posted in this thread? No offence intended, and you don't need to respond to that; this is just the impression I got from reading your post.

(24-Jun-2010, 11:13 AM)Ajita Kamal Wrote: Obviously, this is neither proof that it cannot work, nor that it is something to dismiss out of hand. But it would be nice to know exactly what it is that the movement is about.

Glad to hear that.

I'll try to explain what I've understood from what I've read, watched and heard about the movement in my own words. If you find this inadequate I'm sure you'll find more eloquent and succinct treatises here:

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

http://thezeitgeistmovement.in

http://thezeitgeistmovement.com

If you're willing to spend the time necessary, which I highly doubt you would be, you can go through the 'Movement Orientation Guide' here:

http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/The%...vement.pdf

It has everything you need to know about TZM/TVP.

All right, here goes:
I first came to know of TZM and heard of TVP when I watched the two documentaries made by Peter Joseph. They were, and still are, wildly popular, freely distributed movies on the net.

I've read that there are many inaccuracies in the two documentaries, and I'm a fence-sitter when it comes to that issue. I really don't care about all that - the Venus Project, the subject of the third part of the second movie, is what caught my interest. It's a central part of TZM and that's why I'm a member.
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#6
The Venus Project
-----------------

Jaque Fresco, to me, is a very old man who has lived a long time, been all across the world, has seen and done many things, interacted with people from different cultures all over the globe. I believe that what he has to say comes from a wealth of experience (both quantitative and qualitative) that very few of us have. None of that is critical to this discussion, though; just thought it was worth a mention.

What matters is that he came up with the idea that if 'the scientific method and the judicious use of available resources' was used to find solutions to modern problems without any monetary constraints, each and every human being on the planet would have a higher standard of living than the rich, so-called upper class of today.

What that means in plain English is, on one hand, we have a huge number of social/economic/environmental problems like pollution, poverty, unemployment, disease, famine, floods, natural disasters, crime, war, etc. - and on the other, we have resources like solar, wind, and tidal energy, naturally occurring materials, like metals, and so on; and the _technology_ to use these resources to provide food, shelter, education, and a sustainable means of providing for everyone.

So why don't we use the resources that we have to provide for ourselves in a sustainable way? Because the people in power are not interested in doing anything of the sort - partly due to ignorance; but mostly for fear of changing the status quo, losing their power, and losing their 'profits'.

It's because we are all part of a system - the monetary system - and that system is based on all resources being scarce; value being assigned to those resources based on how many people want it and what value THEY ascribe to it; people who 'own' these resources controlling the supply of these resources and thereby the value (price), and 'consumers' exchanging tokens of value (money) that the system has decided can be used to 'purchase' these goods and services.

An easy way to explain this would be to take the example of something that's readily available everywhere, like air, and constrast it with something that's readily available in one place but not in another - water. Nobody can sell you air, you just won't buy it - because you can get as much as you want, when you want it. If you stay somewhere near a large body of fresh, drinkable water, perhaps a lake - you'll scoff at someone who tries to sell you water. But if you stay in a desert, and there's no water for a thousand miles in any direction, water suddenly becomes a precious commodity, and you tend to ascribe MUCH more value to it than if you were a freshwater fisherman.

The whole monetary system is based on resources being perpetually scarce - so people tend to ascribe more value to it than they would if they could get it easily.

To dip our toes into the vast ocean that is 'Economics' - let me ask you this - what gives money its value in our system? If I remember correctly, it is gold bullion kept by the government. What that means is, the gold that's kept in some vault somewhere, is what gives money its value. I have had to study economics and commerce for 5 years and I still don't understand the concept - gold is a metal, yes it is scarce, there isn't much of it; but why should it give value to money? Nobody has given me a satisfactory answer to that question to date. Nobody really understands the system for what (I, and a lot of others think) it is - completely arbitrary. If we say the gold has no value, what then?

Seems I've digressed; let's get back to TVP.
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#7
With modern advances in computing, science, medicine, methods of construction, and the proliferation of comparatively cheap internet, there are a myriad unprecedented possibilities that have opened up to us. I am a person who used to watch the Discovery channel and National Geographic when I was young; I stopped watching TV after I got into college; but the interest in popular science never died down in me. I keep up with current developments in the world of technology as best I can, and what I have seen gives me the impression that if _ALL_ these new technologies were applied _everywhere_, ALL over the world, without the constraints of the monetary system (giving to the 'haves' because of their purchasing power and leaving the 'have-nots' without anything because of their lack of it), the average standard of living would go up a thousand-fold. I don't really need to explain HOW exactly technology can solve our problems, do I?

The way it is now, there is no centralized repository of information which everyone has access to; it's all scattered, different sources give conflicting information, data is frequently unreliable due to unscientific methods of collection and peoples' prejudices, and if you want access to it, you have to have the necessary purchasing power, and the time to sort through the bullshit and falsehood that is inherent in the monetary system - everyone's trying to make a living, and you have to check and double-check if what you are being told is the truth, and ponder if there may be any ulterior motives for people giving you the information you've bought. (Edit: I hope you can understand what I'm trying to say in this paragraph, I just don't know how to explain this any more clearly, I'm really sorry....it's past 3 A.M. now and I am half asleep)

Again, to explain with an example, lets take the problem of the shortage of power. Our 'modern' lives are fuelled by electricity, which is currently generated by burning fossil fuels (for the most part). What if there were no restrictions, no unnecessary politics-based regulations, no prices to worry about? We have the technology, TODAY, to generate enough power to meet AND exceed our current (and even projected future) demand for electricity. All that's holding us back is profit/cost considerations. It's just 'too expensive' to use renewable energy. Really? I say BULLSHIT. Do away with the system, just use the resources we have, and start generating power! This scenario is similar to other problems like the shortage of food, clean drinking water, etc.)

I don't know if what you've understood what I'm trying to say; the shortest way to summarise TVP is: the application of the scientific method and modern technology in using available resources to provide a truly 'green', sustainable existence for all of humanity. If you're interested in knowing more, like I said before - please visit the links above. I am a selfish, lazy S.O.B. who can't do much more than posting on an online forum, does a half-assed job of it, and probably confused the hell out of the people kind enough to spend time reading my drivel. I wish I could do better, but I'm actually nodding off as I type this!
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#8
(24-Jun-2010, 11:13 AM)Ajita Kamal Wrote: The problem is, no one fucking agrees on what they want! It's a lot like the modern Teabagger movement in the US. Everyone agrees on the problems that the world faces (within the movement, at least). Everyone is either paranoid or angry as hell about something. But no one agrees about what exactly (specific steps) to do about all these problems.

The reason for this is simple. It is a flawed way of trying to solve problems. Even if everything in the world is causally connected, a simple formula is not the answer to everything.

But I should say that, unlike the teabagger movement, many of the concerns of the Zeitgeist movement are legitimate. In fact, I think that the movement might do some good in the long run by creating a socio-economic and political climate where some of the ecological devastation of the planet can be rolled back over the next century or so. But if this happens, the Zeitgeist movement would only function as some sort of inspiring cheer-leading squad, standing on the sidelines and rooting for those doing the real intellectual heavy-lifting when it comes to solving the problems of the world.

That's all I will say for now. Maybe I have misrepresented the movement. In that case, I'd like to hear someone defend it.

The scientific method, which has given us modern technology, is a flawed way of trying to solve problems? Sorry. I have to say you are dead wrong; and at this point in time I assume that's because you don't know about TZM/TVP. And really, nobody is talking about one simple formula as an answer to everything.

Yes you have utterly misrepresented and misunderstood the movement. I tried my best to give you an idea of what it is; please do the rest yourself, this is my limit, at least for a couple of days! I think I'm getting RSI's on my wrists and fingers... :)

(27-Jul-2010, 12:43 AM)siddharth Wrote: I think the Zeitgeist "movement" will always remain in the fringes appealing to a select few. It is basically an internet inspired movement (to the best of my knowledge), and this can be a double edged sword, because enough material exists on the internet itself to refute their nonsensical normative claims. So anyone who runs into this online and wishes to find more about the movement, will eventually run into reasonable arguments to counter it. But yes, I agree with Ajita that unlike the Tea Bagger "movement", this one is inspired by problems that I do identify with, sort of.

TVP has been around longer than the internet, I think - not sure about this. But there's no doubt in my mind that TZM became this popular because of the internet. That has nothing to do with whether the idea makes sense or not, though.

'Nonsensical normative claims'? Uhh....never mind. Hope my post has changed your outlook on TZM/TVP somewhat.

And what TZM is trying to do now is raise awareness among as many people as it can.

Can't type anymore - falling....off......chair!

Goodnight, everybody. Thanks for reading.
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#9
P.S:
Can you guys decrease the time interval between posts? There's nothing more irritating than typing out all this in notepad and then having to wait to just copy/paste it into the text box, and click on 'post'!

Right, goodnight again! Big Grin
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#10
Quote:Little consideration for reality? I find it hard to believe that you have actually _read_ anything about the movement - did you do ANYTHING to find out more about TZM/TVP, other than watching the video posted in this thread? No offence intended, and you don't need to respond to that; this is just the impression I got from reading your post.

Well, you posed the rhetorical question, and despite your statement that no response is necessary, I feel the need to point out that I clearly expressed that I don't know enough details about the Zeitgeist movement. No offence is taken, because you are being unnecessarily hyperbolic.

Quote:If you're willing to spend the time necessary, which I highly doubt you would be, you can go through the 'Movement Orientation Guide' here:

You seem to be projecting onto me your own tendency for confirmation bias, even before I have had a chance to respond to your comments. I like to talk about ideas, not about people, but only until someone makes suggestive baseless accusations against me. I have read the links you posted and I still have the a shitload of issues with it. But instead of wildly throwing around generalities like I did about ideas (and you did, about me) before, I'll respond to your statements alone.

Quote:I've read that there are many inaccuracies in the two documentaries, and I'm a fence-sitter when it comes to that issue. I really don't care about all that - the Venus Project, the subject of the third part of the second movie, is what caught my interest. It's a central part of TZM and that's why I'm a member.

So, you agree with part of the Zeitgeist movement. Congratulations, so do I. Now its left to us to see which parts we agree and disagree on, specifically.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#11
This is a response to JustAnotherRandomHuman's next two posts. The first post contains general ideas that very few people here would disagree with. These are the issues that, as I stated above, are legitimate concerns. However, as you will see below, the general understanding of these ideas is used to make some pretty redundant claims that inform the majority of my criticism of the Zeitgeist movement. First, the general stuff that everyone agrees about.

Quote:What matters is that he came up with the idea that if 'the scientific method and the judicious use of available resources' was used to find solutions to modern problems without any monetary constraints, each and every human being on the planet would have a higher standard of living than the rich, so-called upper class of today

This is a re-telling of a much older idea. Jaque Fresco did not come up with it, but thanks to him these ideas have been appropriated by the Zeitgeist movement.

Quote:What that means in plain English is, on one hand, we have a huge number of social/economic/environmental problems like pollution, poverty, unemployment, disease, famine, floods, natural disasters, crime, war, etc. - and on the other, we have resources like solar, wind, and tidal energy, naturally occurring materials, like metals, and so on; and the _technology_ to use these resources to provide food, shelter, education, and a sustainable means of providing for everyone.

I agree, but these are elementary observations.

Quote:So why don't we use the resources that we have to provide for ourselves in a sustainable way? Because the people in power are not interested in doing anything of the sort - partly due to ignorance; but mostly for fear of changing the status quo, losing their power, and losing their 'profits'.

Again, agreed but elementary.

Quote:It's because we are all part of a system - the monetary system - and that system is based on all resources being scarce; value being assigned to those resources based on how many people want it and what value THEY ascribe to it; people who 'own' these resources controlling the supply of these resources and thereby the value (price), and 'consumers' exchanging tokens of value (money) that the system has decided can be used to 'purchase' these goods and services.

Ditto, but when are we going to get to the Zeitgeist movement?

Quote:An easy way to explain this would be to take the example of something that's readily available everywhere, like air, and constrast it with something that's readily available in one place but not in another - water. Nobody can sell you air, you just won't buy it - because you can get as much as you want, when you want it. If you stay somewhere near a large body of fresh, drinkable water, perhaps a lake - you'll scoff at someone who tries to sell you water. But if you stay in a desert, and there's no water for a thousand miles in any direction, water suddenly becomes a precious commodity, and you tend to ascribe MUCH more value to it than if you were a freshwater fisherman.

Yes, I don't think anyone here is clueless about how supply and demand works. How does this matter to the Zeitgeist movement?

Quote:The whole monetary system is based on resources being perpetually scarce - so people tend to ascribe more value to it than they would if they could get it easily.

Of course.

Quote:To dip our toes into the vast ocean that is 'Economics' - let me ask you this - what gives money its value in our system? If I remember correctly, it is gold bullion kept by the government. What that means is, the gold that's kept in some vault somewhere, is what gives money its value. I have had to study economics and commerce for 5 years and I still don't understand the concept - gold is a metal, yes it is scarce, there isn't much of it; but why should it give value to money? Nobody has given me a satisfactory answer to that question to date. Nobody really understands the system for what (I, and a lot of others think) it is - completely arbitrary. If we say the gold has no value, what then?

The points you have raised thus far are all so elementary that I have to presume that some sort of major revelation is afoot. Of course money doesn't have any inherent value. Any economist, even a lassiez-faire capitalist, would agree. I think you are insulting the intelligence of most people when you say "Nobody really understands the system for what (I, and a lot of others think) it is - completely arbitrary.".

Quote:With modern advances in computing, science, medicine, methods of construction, and the proliferation of comparatively cheap internet, there are a myriad unprecedented possibilities that have opened up to us.

Many social thinkers and futurists write about the coming technological revolution. So have I.

Quote:I am a person who used to watch the Discovery channel and National Geographic when I was young; I stopped watching TV after I got into college; but the interest in popular science never died down in me.

Pretty much everyone here falls into this category.

Quote:I keep up with current developments in the world of technology as best I can, and what I have seen gives me the impression that if _ALL_ these new technologies were applied _everywhere_, ALL over the world, without the constraints of the monetary system (giving to the 'haves' because of their purchasing power and leaving the 'have-nots' without anything because of their lack of it), the average standard of living would go up a thousand-fold. I don't really need to explain HOW exactly technology can solve our problems, do I?

Actually, yes you do.

This is where the whole thing falls apart and becomes an ideological political movement.

Of course, many people would agree that if "_ALL_ these new technologies were applied _everywhere_, ALL over the world, without the constraints of the monetary system" things would be peachy. Most folks also agree that technology can solve our problems. If you notice, we are completely in support of science around here, and I have written elsewhere about my philosophy regarding the use of technology to solve the world's problems. On my facebook profile my "political views" are listed as "Social liberal, posthumanist, post resource-based society". The reason these are tough political questions is that in reality there are innumerable confounding factors that need to be taken into consideration in order to realize such political ideas. The devil is in the details.

Quote:The way it is now, there is no centralized repository of information which everyone has access to; it's all scattered, different sources give conflicting information, data is frequently unreliable due to unscientific methods of collection and peoples' prejudices, and if you want access to it, you have to have the necessary purchasing power, and the time to sort through the bullshit and falsehood that is inherent in the monetary system - everyone's trying to make a living, and you have to check and double-check if what you are being told is the truth, and ponder if there may be any ulterior motives for people giving you the information you've bought. (Edit: I hope you can understand what I'm trying to say in this paragraph, I just don't know how to explain this any more clearly, I'm really sorry....it's past 3 A.M. now and I am half asleep)

What you are talking about is a problem that is well recognized by many people around the world, including myself. There's nothing too complicated here to understand, so don't worry about me getting all confused. There is an entire area of study into the creation, flow and distribution of information. Again, this is not something that is new or revealing.

Quote:Again, to explain with an example, lets take the problem of the shortage of power. Our 'modern' lives are fuelled by electricity, which is currently generated by burning fossil fuels (for the most part). What if there were no restrictions, no unnecessary politics-based regulations, no prices to worry about?

Lets suppose that having a system where "no restrictions, no unnecessary politics-based regulations, no prices to worry about" would be possible. This is still just a general direction, one that is already understood by social scientists and theoreticians who devote their entire lives to the scientific study of such problems (under more realistic socio-political models that don't attempt to build their scientific ideas into popular movements that tend not to solve any real problems). It is the scientists who are really doing the heavy-lifting, while the Zeitgeist movement can be at best applauded for bringing about a receptive atmosphere for their scientific ideas to be realized.

Quote:We have the technology, TODAY, to generate enough power to meet AND exceed our current (and even projected future) demand for electricity. All that's holding us back is profit/cost considerations. It's just 'too expensive' to use renewable energy. Really? I say BULLSHIT.)

You can say the same thing about food production worldwide. I have touched on these issues many times (for example, see here, here and here. There are many who agree on this point that the current political model of globalization fails on many levels. In fact, it is indisputable that the desire for profit has skewed the production and distribution of essential goods, thereby increasing disparity worldwide. But this is a problem that has a flip side to it. Centralized models of resource distribution depend of cooperation alone. The system of organization that you're against is based on competition. In order for a political system to be effective, it must incorporate both these aspects of our inherent 'humanness' in order to provide the impetus for social, political and economic progress. The Zeitgeist movement simply ignores certain realities, which is understandable given the confirmation bias inherent in the ideological appeal of such pop-culture ideas.

Quote:the application of the scientific method and modern technology in using available resources to provide a truly 'green', sustainable existence for all of humanity.

The application of science and technology requires complex thinking on many specific issues, using models and ideas that can be tested, found wanting, and tested again, till the most successful ones are determined for each issue. It does not involve lumping together all our desires under one label and pretending that it is the answer to all our problems. I do identify with the need for a conversation on the subject, but the conversation is always going on in scientific circles. The Zeitgeist movement is a pop-culture phenomenon, no doubt with some pretty powerful ideas, all of which are understood in more detail and with more clarity by the scientists and sociologists working on them. This is why I said:

Quote:But I should say that, unlike the teabagger movement, many of the concerns of the Zeitgeist movement are legitimate. In fact, I think that the movement might do some good in the long run by creating a socio-economic and political climate where some of the ecological devastation of the planet can be rolled back over the next century or so. But if this happens, the Zeitgeist movement would only function as some sort of inspiring cheer-leading squad, standing on the sidelines and rooting for those doing the real intellectual heavy-lifting when it comes to solving the problems of the world.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#12
Quote:The scientific method, which has given us modern technology, is a flawed way of trying to solve problems? Sorry. I have to say you are dead wrong;

This is a logical fallacy know as the straw man argument. No, I don't think that the scientific method is "flawed".

Quote:And really, nobody is talking about one simple formula as an answer to everything.

Actually, yes they are. The Zeitgeist movement is a study in oversimplification. It offers simple-minded folk a simplistic sounding solution to all their problems, when in reality the folk doing the problem-solving in the universities and activism at the grass-roots have a more complete understanding of the problems of the world.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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