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  #161  
Old 08-27-2013, 01:01 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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Originally Posted by Reggae_Mangle View Post
That's an interesting thought right there! Suppose in our midst is born a different child. The hope of the species of survival.

Would we allow him to date our girls? No! Would we allow him to be our friend? No! Would we allow him to live in our neighbourhood? No!

Because humans have come to the conclusion that *this* is the chosen form, the pinnacle of our existence, the epitome of creation.
Ha - I wouldn't want to be a saviour born in today's world! Everyone would think you were a nutter unless you pulled out a bag of miracles.

I suspect the next breakthrough in human evolution will stem from our relationship with technology. We are definitely a work in progress. We're already taller and more robust than people even back in the middle ages. We live longer and our knowledge is far greater. And we don't usually ritually sacrifice virgins or keep slaves any more.
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  #162  
Old 08-28-2013, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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And we don't usually ritually sacrifice virgins or keep slaves any more.
Don't go there! The amount of girls that wind up on the internet is sickening. Four words: Giant underground video vault. All cataloged by name and blood relations.
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  #163  
Old 09-07-2013, 09:11 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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So my wife and I were discussing this and I thought I would pose it here to get a wider set of responses.

Imagine a world where everything was pre-destined (I happen to subscribe to this. Things have happened to me that led me to believe this.)

Every day, I have choices and make them. I believe that no matter what choice I end up making, it was pre-destined to be that way. So to me, I still retain free will.

My wife disagrees and says that they are mutually exclusive. Either you have free will, or things are pre-destined.

Does anyone have any opinions on this?
There is no predestination, most things that happen that we cannot understand are disconnected and very little of what happens makes sense or reason.

Once you accept this, everything becomes very clear. No need for silly conspiracy theories, UFOs, Satan vs angles or anything else to explain what happens. As a side benefit, you can become self-determining instead of fatalistic.
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  #164  
Old 09-10-2013, 07:15 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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There is no predestination, most things that happen that we cannot understand are disconnected and very little of what happens makes sense or reason.

Once you accept this, everything becomes very clear. No need for silly conspiracy theories, UFOs, Satan vs angles or anything else to explain what happens. As a side benefit, you can become self-determining instead of fatalistic.
You are absolutely certain of this? I don't accept what you say but I don't wear a tin foil hat and only wear devil horns on special occasions (along with cape).

Our knowledge of the greater scheme of things is minuscule. It's possible that humans are in very early stages. If millions of people, along with tech, survive the inevitable major population cull and migrations over the next 100 years imagine what our descendents in a million years time will think of us. Interesting? Quaint? Cute? Childish and irresponsible?

What would they make of our confident statements about the nature of existence made without evidence? Maybe something like our response to early societies worshipping animal spirits.
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  #165  
Old 09-10-2013, 10:24 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

I'm not convinced that we are evolving. I am convinced that evolution happens, and and happened to get us here, but modern medicine and lifestyles have largely severed the link between genetic "fit" and reproductive success.

Evolution is not some pre-ordained (that word again) progress towards an ideal, it is the result of many generations in which the recipients of advantageous attributes out-breed individuals with less useful attributes.
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  #166  
Old 09-10-2013, 02:52 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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I'm not convinced that we are evolving. I am convinced that evolution happens, and and happened to get us here, but modern medicine and lifestyles have largely severed the link between genetic "fit" and reproductive success.

Evolution is not some pre-ordained (that word again) progress towards an ideal, it is the result of many generations in which the recipients of advantageous attributes out-breed individuals with less useful attributes.
It could actually be quite sweeping. Think of the Neanderthal-Homo Sapien conflicts. Extinction of an entire race at the hands of the superior race. Might not be generations at all.

In that sense, our own extinction could be brutally sudden and unexpected. Nuclear war could do this, easy.
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  #167  
Old 09-11-2013, 12:40 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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I'm not convinced that we are evolving. I am convinced that evolution happens, and and happened to get us here, but modern medicine and lifestyles have largely severed the link between genetic "fit" and reproductive success.
It's true that gene survival seems more a matter now of proclivity than opportunity. Still, evolution happens in time scales that don't allow us to assess our own changes. We know we are taller and more robust than ancestors hundreds of years ago. Apparently that's mostly diet. We are certainly different to cave people - forehead, chin, teeth etc.

However, human culture is evolving rapidly and appears to be driving our increasing integration with technology.

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It could actually be quite sweeping. Think of the Neanderthal-Homo Sapien conflicts. Extinction of an entire race at the hands of the superior race. Might not be generations at all.

In that sense, our own extinction could be brutally sudden and unexpected. Nuclear war could do this, easy.
Anything could happen. A rogue planet could hurtle into our solar system and knock the Each off its orbit into deep space too.

An event that wipes out humanity would need to be extraordinary, given that people live in so many little pockets around the globe. I think the real tragedy would be the loss of culture and progress - for there to be nothing to pass on to the next generation and for the survivors to revert to stone age behaviour and lifestyles (and 20 year life spans).

Some people would suggest that that's how humans should live - in touch with nature blah blah. If someone enjoys not being protected from the elements, having no mod cons and having an everage lifespan of 20 fearful, parasite infested years, they can have it. I am no Mad Max (or Tina Turner), heroically scrabbling over the last scraps ... when the good stuff is gone, so am I.
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  #168  
Old 09-12-2013, 11:42 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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It's true that gene survival seems more a matter now of proclivity than opportunity. Still, evolution happens in time scales that don't allow us to assess our own changes. We know we are taller and more robust than ancestors hundreds of years ago. Apparently that's mostly diet. We are certainly different to cave people - forehead, chin, teeth etc.
I've actually seen people with a few prehensile features. You know, able to move their scalp, double-jointed fingers, caveman-like facial bone structure.

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However, human culture is evolving rapidly and appears to be driving our increasing integration with technology.
Like Miley Cyrus twerking? I think culture is going through a regression of sorts. Sure, there's some avante garde work and some of it may be good. But for the majority of people, culture is shows like Jersey Shore or a nipple slip. There was a recent study that said if I'm sitting in a room with three other Asian guys, one of us is the rapist. In Europe, people are increasingly voting for the right wing after being outbred by people that migrate to their countries to escape poverty caused by rampant theft, murder and pillage in the guise of colonialism and the "white man's burden".

Sure, there's good stuff. But it's buried under a pile of Gagnam crap, which sadly, is more representative of world culture nowadays than rock n'roll.

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Anything could happen. A rogue planet could hurtle into our solar system and knock the Each off its orbit into deep space too.

An event that wipes out humanity would need to be extraordinary, given that people live in so many little pockets around the globe. I think the real tragedy would be the loss of culture and progress - for there to be nothing to pass on to the next generation and for the survivors to revert to stone age behaviour and lifestyles (and 20 year life spans).

Some people would suggest that that's how humans should live - in touch with nature blah blah. If someone enjoys not being protected from the elements, having no mod cons and having an everage lifespan of 20 fearful, parasite infested years, they can have it. I am no Mad Max (or Tina Turner), heroically scrabbling over the last scraps ... when the good stuff is gone, so am I.
Amen to that. But I'd like to go peacefully, right now if possible.

You wouldn't believe how bad some people have it, Anon La Ply, till about 2000, they were still showing us those pictures of starving African children covered in flies. Now we only hear about Africa when Madonna or Angelina Jolie are adopting. There is still mass starvation and now they are increasingly killing each other in violent conflict rooted in ethnic differences as a result of being clubbed together as "similar people" through a paper division of territory into countries. There's a story from India a few years ago about children who were eating mud because they were so hungry. Politicians and their goons descended on the area and threatened them against speaking to the papers again. In the US, government officials are destroying the livelihood of farmers that are rearing pigs or cows or whatever because they don't have licences, shooting and burning all the livestock. They come in unmarked black vehicles. These people are ruined and are probably living on welfare. That's in America, "the greatest country in the world". Plenty of countries where there isn't welfare.

On the original topic of "free will and destiny", perhaps there is no free will for some people and destiny is whatever is handed to them by their peers. It's easy to say families can work hard and break out of a vicious cycle of poverty. So many do, after decades of hard struggle. Then we have something like the 2008 financial crisis and they are back in poverty through no fault of their own.
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  #169  
Old 09-12-2013, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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You wouldn't believe how bad some people have it, Anon La Ply, till about 2000, they were still showing us those pictures of starving African children covered in flies. Now we only hear about Africa when Madonna or Angelina Jolie are adopting.

In the US, government officials are destroying the livelihood of farmers that are rearing pigs or cows or whatever because they don't have licences, shooting and burning all the livestock. They come in unmarked black vehicles. These people are ruined and are probably living on welfare. That's in America, "the greatest country in the world". Plenty of countries where there isn't welfare.
We still have the African children starving covered in flies ads here in the U.S. You can now give $0.10 a day so they can eat paste.

I think your perception of U.S. farming is a bit off. Anyone can be a farmer here, no license required, unless you have "exotic" animals. There have been documented cases of government payoffs to farmers to destroy their crops in the past, but it was done in times of economic down turn. The idea behind it was if no one has money to buy food, violent crime will go up as people get desperate. While I don't agree with it one bit, I can see the logic behind it.
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  #170  
Old 09-12-2013, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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I've actually seen people with a few prehensile features. You know, able to move their scalp, double-jointed fingers, caveman-like facial bone structure.
lol - I guess genetics doesn't operate very neatly.


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Like Miley Cyrus twerking? I think culture is going through a regression of sorts. Sure, there's some avante garde work and some of it may be good. But for the majority of people, culture is shows like Jersey Shore or a nipple slip. There was a recent study that said if I'm sitting in a room with three other Asian guys, one of us is the rapist. In Europe, people are increasingly voting for the right wing after being outbred by people that migrate to their countries to escape poverty caused by rampant theft, murder and pillage in the guise of colonialism and the "white man's burden".

Sure, there's good stuff. But it's buried under a pile of Gagnam crap, which sadly, is more representative of world culture nowadays than rock n'roll.

... You wouldn't believe how bad some people have it, Anon La Ply
The scale of human suffering boggles my mind. I have no idea how some people survive the things they do. Every day I am grateful to have the life I have. Really, if you're born in middle or upper class society last century you are amongst the luckiest creatures to have ever lived in the history of the Earth. As you suggest, that gave us a whole lot more capacity for at least indulging in the illusion of free will.

There are bad places and situations and it's easy to list disasters - but think of all those creatures having their gizzards sucked out of them while they're alive, constantly on the lookout because they could be eaten at any moment. And until relatively recently people lived nowhere near as long and there was high infant mortality.

We are not just lucky, we are insanely lucky, even if high population, environmental degradation and resource scarcity (crowding, inflation, warfare) is causing some discomfort. We are luckier than the next generation too.

Things will get much worse before they get better - everyone can see it happening and no one has a clue what to do about it. Some welcome it as the coming "end of days" (yikes!). It looks to me like we're in a growth, decline and renewal cycle.
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  #171  
Old 09-13-2013, 07:07 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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You are absolutely certain of this? I don't accept what you say but I don't wear a tin foil hat and only wear devil horns on special occasions (along with cape).

Our knowledge of the greater scheme of things is minuscule. It's possible that humans are in very early stages. If millions of people, along with tech, survive the inevitable major population cull and migrations over the next 100 years imagine what our descendents in a million years time will think of us. Interesting? Quaint? Cute? Childish and irresponsible?

What would they make of our confident statements about the nature of existence made without evidence? Maybe something like our response to early societies worshipping animal spirits.
Ahem, I'm the one restricting my confident statements to the evidence at hand!

There's plenty of evidence that things happen randomly and without our advance knowledge. That is the rebuttable presumption. So, unless you can rebut that with specific evidence to show that something else is in fact true, you must conclude that the rebuttable presumption is the explanation. In this case, the rebuttable presumption is: there is no supernatural explanation. Not coincidentally, the rebuttable presumption is also usually the simplest alternative. Do things happen randomly, disconnected across time and space in the material world, or are there Gods and supernatural beings we don't understand controlling our destiny in unimaginable ways? One path leads to science and understanding and the other leads to superstition and ignorance.

I agree that our knowledge of the greater scheme of things is miniscule. A thousand years ago, it was even moreso. But it is all discoverable in the natural world - with enough knowledge and understanding, the answers are out there and they don't involve evil spirits.
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  #172  
Old 09-13-2013, 08:05 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

Martin, you said straight up "there is no predestination". The strongest advocate against free will is arch atheist, Sam Harris. Look up his YouTube where he talks about the impossibility of free will.

No spooky spirits to be found.
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  #173  
Old 09-13-2013, 11:27 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

If there is no free will, then why did Rush write a song about it? Gotcha!
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  #174  
Old 09-13-2013, 02:12 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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We still have the African children starving covered in flies ads here in the U.S. You can now give $0.10 a day so they can eat paste.

I think your perception of U.S. farming is a bit off. Anyone can be a farmer here, no license required, unless you have "exotic" animals. There have been documented cases of government payoffs to farmers to destroy their crops in the past, but it was done in times of economic down turn. The idea behind it was if no one has money to buy food, violent crime will go up as people get desperate. While I don't agree with it one bit, I can see the logic behind it.
This is the stuff that's not widely reported in the papers or the media. You'd be amazed about the stuff that doesn't filter into the newspaper in your city or your town due to space constraints or other compulsions. The whole thing could be filled with just news about rape and murder every day of the year.

I've read at least two cases where farmers have seen their livestock destroyed with no warning.

Unmarked, black vehicles and "agents" in suits.

I imagine I can still hear them screaming, "My pigs! They killed my pigs! How am I going to feed my family?"

I think it's grotesque they still carry those ads of children covered in flies in the US. In my country, there aren't any pictures of those African kids, but there are pictures of kids right here that are starving and dying of malnutrition.

If you saw a result from your generosity, such as a kid eating a meal with your 10 cents, you would be happy enough to donate again. Perhaps you'd donate 70 cents a week to ensure that one mouth would be fed every day.

But the papers and the agents and the government will lie to you. Probably 2 cents in every 10 makes it out of the US banking system and the remaining 2 are gobbled up by African militiamen and government officials.
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  #175  
Old 09-13-2013, 03:14 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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We are not just lucky, we are insanely lucky, even if high population, environmental degradation and resource scarcity (crowding, inflation, warfare) is causing some discomfort. We are luckier than the next generation too.

You and me and a few other lucky people. I own a drumkit. I play guitars and bass. I have a recording studio at home. I have a comfortable apartment and I make enough to buy things I need.

The inherent problem with democracy is that it assumes if the majority of a population is happy, this is good enough.

In such a situation, a government could actively repress 49% of its population knowing that it could always count on the 51% of the people that take part in its campaign of oppression for a vote.

Felicific calculus. The sum happiness minus the sum sadness. Have a positive figure and your books are balanced, apparently.

I'd go so far as to say nothing has improved in the last 50 years in my country or yours. Sure, a bunch of people got rich and some people got richer. But there is still a large chunk of people that have been standing still all these years as life passes them by. They live, they die, their children do the same, struggling to make ends meet.

Where does it end for those that suffer endlessly like this? Staring through the shop window from the outside, I'm screaming myself hoarse that people are being left out for generations together, but the glass is plexi and no one can hear and they don't look outside the window because they're in a shop and they're buying stuff.

Nothing has improved and nothing will improve if you're on the outside of that glass wall. And I foresee a future where discrimination against the have-nots is expanded to push more people outside the glass wall. It's already happening, the creation of a worker class and their masters, who prey on them in ways you would not normally attribute to the word "human" and "civilisation".

These words ceased to have any meaning any more and they've become a choke leash to tell people to conform to societal norms passed down to us by someone else's forefathers. Definitely not my forefathers, just a certain group of people that have a hand in everything from how many dollar bills to print to how to manipulate commodity prices to create artificial scarcities. We could call this group "Illuminati" for want of a better word.

I guess the point I'm driving at is, "Who are we?" I'm no longer satisfied with seeing those Africa ads and donating money and feeling satisfied. I just can't reconcile myself to an existence where I turn a blind eye to large scale repression of people.

I suppose I should clarify that my family lost everything when Communists came to power in my state of Kerala through democratic elections. The idea was to be a redistribution of wealth among the people, but it was all a ruse for those in power to steal and murder and accumulate wealth. I guess a similar things happen in the US to hard working people, except it's more sophisticated -- complex financial instruments designed to make you part with your money and lose your house. And million dollar payouts to keep the powers that be happy as they announce billions of dollars in aid to assist the big fish while driving the poor to desperation.

I apologise if this all seems so disjointed. It's a vast subject and I just get so agitated all the time.
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  #176  
Old 09-13-2013, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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If there is no free will, then why did Rush write a song about it? Gotcha!
They also named an Orca after the same existential question that perplexes our peoples.

"Free Will-Y?"
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  #177  
Old 09-14-2013, 11:15 PM
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They also named an Orca after the same existential question that perplexes our peoples.

"Free Will-Y?"
That was actually a great movie. Sure, the movie was about getting the Orca Willy to the freedom of the ocean and a his real destiny, but it could be a metaphor too. We are all like caged animals in this world and we don't even know that there is an ocean out there where we actually belong. We don't belong in a fish bowl or a cage, yet most of us don't realize that it could be any different. Our destiny is manufactured for us in a social engineering think tank somewhere close to Washington DC. Waking up is realizing that they've been lying to you this whole time about everything.

How can you truly have free will if you are confined to a life where we are bounded by societal pressures, culture, religion, politics and status quo? Only when these limitations are finally cast aside can you find true free will and expression of oneself. I don't think most people are wired for it and they can't live that way to be honest. They say ignorance is bliss, well, maybe it is. There's a lot to consider when finding one's way. Some people prefer waiting for the trailblazers to come back and say it's OK or it's not OK.
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:34 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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There is no predestination, most things that happen that we cannot understand are disconnected and very little of what happens makes sense or reason.

Once you accept this, everything becomes very clear. No need for silly conspiracy theories, UFOs, Satan vs angles or anything else to explain what happens. As a side benefit, you can become self-determining instead of fatalistic.
And once again, your take is polar opposite of my take. I just cannot accept the notion that everything here is disconnected from everything else. So your sentence, "very little of what happens makes sense or reason" implies that there is at least some part which does make sense and does have reason. You can't have it both ways Martin. Either it makes sense or it doesn't. I'm assuming that if you had to pick a side, you'd pick "makes no sense, has no reason". Which is fine, that's your take, and I am not trying to change that.

I just can't get on board with that personally. Life seems too organized to be random. The laws of physics are a good example. Certain things just don't happen. For example, magnetic lines of force will never cross one another, ever, no matter what. How can that be in a random state? Nature has rules. Laws it follows. Random stuff doesn't follow anything, except randomness.
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  #179  
Old 09-14-2013, 11:51 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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And once again, your take is polar opposite of my take. I just cannot accept the notion that everything here is disconnected from everything else. So your sentence, "very little of what happens makes sense or reason" implies that there is at least some part which does make sense and does have reason. You can't have it both ways Martin. Either it makes sense or it doesn't. I'm assuming that if you had to pick a side, you'd pick "makes no sense, has no reason". Which is fine, that's your take, and I am not trying to change that.

I just can't get on board with that personally. Life seems too organized to be random. The laws of physics are a good example. Certain things just don't happen. For example, magnetic lines of force will never cross one another, ever, no matter what. How can that be in a random state? Nature has rules. Laws it follows. Random stuff doesn't follow anything, except randomness.
Well, lots and lots of things do make sense and happen for reasons. The movement of tides, the flow of rivers, people organizing themselves into groups, developing technology, chatting on message boards - all of these things make sense and we can demonstrate it.

But lots of stuff does not make sense. Some of that is because we don't understand the physical laws behind a phenomenon, even though we make use of it. Gravity is a good example - we still can't really understand it, but we've been aware of it and using it for a long time. Other things are simply random, like why lightning strikes one person and not another or why any particular person wins the lottery. Other things fall in a between area; we know hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes will happen (due to well-understood physical laws) but we can't predict with much certainty when, where and how much. Physical laws ordain larger process, but the particular results are random. The best we can do is develop mathematical models to predict general outcomes.

There's a tendency, though, for some people to say, "This doesn't seem to make sense, but it should. So there must be some supernatural force behind it/God wanted it/there is some giant hand of predestiny." No, there's not. Either we don't understand the physical laws yet, or it is truly random.
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  #180  
Old 09-15-2013, 03:08 AM
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  #181  
Old 09-15-2013, 03:59 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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There's a tendency, though, for some people to say, "This doesn't seem to make sense, but it should. So there must be some supernatural force behind it/God wanted it/there is some giant hand of predestiny." No, there's not. Either we don't understand the physical laws yet, or it is truly random.
Martin, I understand and relate to your frustration with "god of the gaps" thinking and superstition. I like rationalism the certainty with which some "rationalists" declare their beliefsabout reality strike me as irrational, given how much we don't know.

I have problems with a "rational" model that dismisses and ignores a massive chunk of reality that has profound effects on physical reality - subjective reality. The reality as experienced by trillions of organisms on Earth.

Bottom line is we don't know. It's fair to discount the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Zeus, Odin, etc, but how can we be certain about the nature of reality? We don't understand the conditions before the big bang, nor the nature of consciousness or its relationship to the brain (or the kind of consciousness experienced by animals which don't have brains). We have not yet unravelled the quantum mysteries, string theory is looking good but if proved opens up more riddles. What is 96% of the universe is comprised of other than placeholder labels of "dark matter" and "dark energy"? What is the shape of the universe? What happens at the singularity within black holes?

There is much cause and effect that goes on every moment - and it's happening to you, in you right now but we are not at all aware. The thing you're eating right now might be the trigger that starts or prevents a cancer. Or we might make a decision now that results in us meeting a future life partner. These events are knowable but since we don't know we ride our logic and instincts and hope for the best.

My favourite wild speculation of the week is that our next major breakthrough will be a deeper incorporation of information into our dimensional models. Apparently information is the one thing that isn't destroyed when stuff goes into a black hole - instead it remains at the event horizon. I suspect there will be interesting things found in relation to information and quantum entanglement.

We are all actually made of information, not matter. We are each temporary self-organising patterns. Proof of this is that we replace every cell in our bodies every 7 years - yet "we" persist. We are not made of matter, we ingest and organise matter to maintain ourselves but what makes us "us" is not matter.

I heard one philosopher liken consciousness to digestion - just another process of the body. At first I thought that off beam, given the prosaic nature of digestion and the much larger transformative power of consciousness. But there are similarities - both are processes in the body that largely act without our knowledge. One processes matter, the other processes information.

One thing we can all agree on is that over a lifetime both digestion and consciousness produce lots and lots of sh1t :) Fertiliser maybe? But of what?

// end excretion :)
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Old 09-15-2013, 05:36 AM
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put......down....the bong
HAHAHAHA! Touche. Yeah, I haven't had many of these since late-night dorm room discussions.
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  #183  
Old 09-15-2013, 06:00 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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Martin, I understand and relate to your frustration with "god of the gaps" thinking and superstition. I like rationalism the certainty with which some "rationalists" declare their beliefsabout reality strike me as irrational, given how much we don't know.

I have problems with a "rational" model that dismisses and ignores a massive chunk of reality that has profound effects on physical reality - subjective reality. The reality as experienced by trillions of organisms on Earth.

Bottom line is we don't know. It's fair to discount the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Zeus, Odin, etc, but how can we be certain about the nature of reality? We don't understand the conditions before the big bang, nor the nature of consciousness or its relationship to the brain (or the kind of consciousness experienced by animals which don't have brains). We have not yet unravelled the quantum mysteries, string theory is looking good but if proved opens up more riddles. What is 96% of the universe is comprised of other than placeholder labels of "dark matter" and "dark energy"? What is the shape of the universe? What happens at the singularity within black holes?

There is much cause and effect that goes on every moment - and it's happening to you, in you right now but we are not at all aware. The thing you're eating right now might be the trigger that starts or prevents a cancer. Or we might make a decision now that results in us meeting a future life partner. These events are knowable but since we don't know we ride our logic and instincts and hope for the best.

My favourite wild speculation of the week is that our next major breakthrough will be a deeper incorporation of information into our dimensional models. Apparently information is the one thing that isn't destroyed when stuff goes into a black hole - instead it remains at the event horizon. I suspect there will be interesting things found in relation to information and quantum entanglement.

We are all actually made of information, not matter. We are each temporary self-organising patterns. Proof of this is that we replace every cell in our bodies every 7 years - yet "we" persist. We are not made of matter, we ingest and organise matter to maintain ourselves but what makes us "us" is not matter.

I heard one philosopher liken consciousness to digestion - just another process of the body. At first I thought that off beam, given the prosaic nature of digestion and the much larger transformative power of consciousness. But there are similarities - both are processes in the body that largely act without our knowledge. One processes matter, the other processes information.

One thing we can all agree on is that over a lifetime both digestion and consciousness produce lots and lots of sh1t :) Fertiliser maybe? But of what?

// end excretion :)
Deep and provocative thinking. I especially like the concept that consciousness may be just another bodily process, like digestion. Freaky! Virtually all creatures have some kind of consciousness so this is interesting to consider. One thing that occurred to me: consider that bacteria are just cells adapted to living outside a body and multicelled organisms evolved as collections of highly specialized bacteria that rely on each other for safety, mobility, protection, nutrition, water, etc. So our real purpose in life could be nothing more than providing a place for single-celled organisms to thrive for a little while.

I agree the bottom line is we don't know. Like you, I don't fill the knowledge gap with jellyheaded speculation about UFOs, supernatural beings, conspiracies and other stuff. All the items you mentioned are knowable and understandable and it is possible that someday, we will have the answers.
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  #184  
Old 09-15-2013, 08:02 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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put......down....the bong
haha ... the world would be a better place if more people picked it up once in a while :)

I was keen on space, the mind and strange phenomena from toddlerhood. I suppose most people grow out of it and don't allow themselves to feel the same wonder at the inherent strangeness of existence. For a long time I pretended to be grown up and be too sensible for such distractions, but it was a lie. I always dug it and now I'm retired ...

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Deep and provocative thinking. I especially like the concept that consciousness may be just another bodily process, like digestion. Freaky! Virtually all creatures have some kind of consciousness so this is interesting to consider. One thing that occurred to me: consider that bacteria are just cells adapted to living outside a body and multicelled organisms evolved as collections of highly specialized bacteria that rely on each other for safety, mobility, protection, nutrition, water, etc. So our real purpose in life could be nothing more than providing a place for single-celled organisms to thrive for a little while.

I agree the bottom line is we don't know. Like you, I don't fill the knowledge gap with jellyheaded speculation about UFOs, supernatural beings, conspiracies and other stuff. All the items you mentioned are knowable and understandable and it is possible that someday, we will have the answers.
I think current understanding is that our multicellular bodies are the state of the art "survival machines" evolved by our genes over millions of years. The constant cat and mouse adaptations of predator and prey - starting with one bacteria having a slightly harder outer covering that survived better than its less protected peers. Dawkins's Selfish Gene is a great read and explains a lot of things.

My own guess is there's some kind of spooky woo woo behind the intentionality and drive of life - nothing that will contradict scientific observation, though. Having said that, here's a video that suggests that chemistry can create something that behaves like life www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpMR9jWzP8U
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  #185  
Old 09-15-2013, 08:58 AM
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How can you truly have free will if you are confined to a life where we are bounded by societal pressures, culture, religion, politics and status quo? Only when these limitations are finally cast aside can you find true free will and expression of oneself. I don't think most people are wired for it and they can't live that way to be honest. They say ignorance is bliss, well, maybe it is. There's a lot to consider when finding one's way. Some people prefer waiting for the trailblazers to come back and say it's OK or it's not OK.
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:21 AM
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My own guess is there's some kind of spooky woo woo behind the intentionality and drive of life - nothing that will contradict scientific observation, though.
That is a very intriguing thought. Reality is freaky enough as-is, right out of the box. There may well be something just beyond our perception, at once obvious and hidden, measurable and formless, unified and random. It might show up in things like the Fibronacci sequence, the universality of the speed of light, the omnipresence of hydrogen. Interesting to ponder - but avoid letting it seduce you into thinking something is really there, just because you want it to be.
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:54 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

Anon, you always manage to amaze me at the deepness and profoundnesss of your thoughts. The stuff you write here is oft times brilliant. You should collect it all and organize it into a book. I mean you already wrote it with what? 90,000 posts?
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  #188  
Old 09-15-2013, 11:00 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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That is a very intriguing thought. Reality is freaky enough as-is, right out of the box. There may well be something just beyond our perception, at once obvious and hidden, measurable and formless, unified and random. It might show up in things like the Fibronacci sequence, the universality of the speed of light, the omnipresence of hydrogen. Interesting to ponder - but avoid letting it seduce you into thinking something is really there, just because you want it to be.
I get what you're saying, Martin. My gut feeling has long been that proto-consciousness is everywhere. I can't rationally defend the notion and I'm not sure I can tell the difference between my gut feelings and wishful thinking. Probably not Robinson Crusoe there. The experiments with proto-life in that Martin Hanczyc Ted Talk I posted are a massive eye-opener and I might rethink yet - the way those little chemical blobs behaved was amazing!

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Anon, you always manage to amaze me at the deepness and profoundnesss of your thoughts. The stuff you write here is oft times brilliant. You should collect it all and organize it into a book. I mean you already wrote it with what? 90,000 posts?
If you enjoy the posts, Larry, then I've done my job! It's like playing - you throw something out there and hope some people relate to it.

I don't feel a great need to write a book (this week :). I'm satisfied that some hopefully cogent or useful thoughts have gone out into the meme pool.
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  #189  
Old 09-15-2013, 04:47 PM
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I think you're ready for a nudist beach.




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Ya, that's never gonna happen. Very good observation though; I get where you're going with that.
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Old 09-15-2013, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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If there is no free will, then why did Rush write a song about it? Gotcha!
For the same reason someone wrote a song about Peter Cotton tail.

Who's to say that this existence isn't some other world being's 8th grade science project.
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  #191  
Old 09-16-2013, 04:57 AM
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For the same reason someone wrote a song about Peter Cotton tail.

Who's to say that this existence isn't some other world being's 8th grade science project.
Yes, Peter Cotton tail has been down the rabbit hole, He knows what's going on.

Maybe we are an alien science project. It's certainly not out of the realm of possibilities. If we knew about the extraterrestrials, then we would see that we are living in a fish bowl and there is a whole ocean out there with endless possibilities. If we are, then it's probably been done before. It is probably still too soon to know. Obviously, considering our reach in the galaxy, we are still a fledgling planet. We've barely reached the edge of the solar system.

Maybe a few things are pre-destined on a global scale, but we have, to an extent, the power and free will to steer the wheel in our own personal lives. I do believe in the randomness of things, and life isn't fair. Just like you can't tell a plant how to grow or how its branches should spread out. I don't know if that's a good metaphor, but there you go. I don't think a deity is involved in every good and bad thing that happens in a persons life.

But I do believe that there is an energy and a flow to this universe. Like when you put good energy into the universe, good energy will come back to you. The opposite is true too.
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Old 09-16-2013, 08:12 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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...But I do believe that there is an energy and a flow to this universe. Like when you put good energy into the universe, good energy will come back to you. The opposite is true too.
(Partially quoted, but not intended as selective quoting to change your meaning...will happily amend if I've stuffed your meaning.)

I have a far simpler take on this: optimistic people - those who have "positive energy" - seem to receive "positive energy" simply because their optimism allows them to focus on the positive aspects of whatever comes their way. The converse is true for miserable (rhymes with) bucks who treat every setback as some sort of personal catastrophe created by a malevolent universe out to get them back.
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Old 09-16-2013, 02:39 PM
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(Partially quoted, but not intended as selective quoting to change your meaning...will happily amend if I've stuffed your meaning.)

I have a far simpler take on this: optimistic people - those who have "positive energy" - seem to receive "positive energy" simply because their optimism allows them to focus on the positive aspects of whatever comes their way. The converse is true for miserable (rhymes with) bucks who treat every setback as some sort of personal catastrophe created by a malevolent universe out to get them back.
That's quite alright, and I agree with you wholeheartedly.

(that may be the first time I've used that word in written form)

I think humans are optimistic by nature, but we are also selfish, greedy and arrogant. We are also easily influenced by the energy around us. That is why one bad apple employee or coworker can make a whole team or band kinda miserable.

As far as the science project idea goes, I can imagine that, just like we plant vegetables in a garden, extraterrestrials (ET's) have planted a race on several different planets; each one being unique to its own atmospheric and cosmic circumstances. Some will grow up and flourish into their old age, some will perish due to catastrophic events, some will get eaten by bugs, some will destroy and poison themselves. Sometimes a race needs to be planted a couple or few times on a certain planet for it to take once and for all. Maybe the ET's are very interested in this planet because we are on the cusp of being harvested. Mwahahahaha!
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  #194  
Old 09-16-2013, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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As far as the science project idea goes, I can imagine that, just like we plant vegetables in a garden, extraterrestrials (ET's) have planted a race on several different planets; each one being unique to its own atmospheric and cosmic circumstances. Some will grow up and flourish into their old age, some will perish due to catastrophic events, some will get eaten by bugs, some will destroy and poison themselves. Sometimes a race needs to be planted a couple or few times on a certain planet for it to take once and for all. Maybe the ET's are very interested in this planet because we are on the cusp of being harvested. Mwahahahaha!
Since this idea came up a few comments ago, I've been wondering what grade I'd give this ET 8th grader. Universe comes back with a C+, "Show your work!" all scrawled in red ink on the astral plane
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  #195  
Old 09-17-2013, 01:56 AM
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I've been wondering what grade I'd give this ET 8th grader. Universe comes back with a C+, "Show your work!" all scrawled in red ink on the astral plane
I give that comment an A :)

I'm also unimpressed with the fact that everything in the universe is flying apart at an ever increasing speed. FFS we want a happy ending, not a gradual fade out into oblivion! Sorry, but that sucks.

So everything that's ever lived or existed dissipates completely and might as well have never existed? Not even quantum entanglement can save us when everything freezes to absolute zero. Game over. Please insert $1 to play again.

So ... Deity (aka alien student) this is your ending? Nothing? And you want praise for it?? Don't get me started on pain and suffering ...

Let's hope you learn from your mistakes. Here's the brief for your next project ... an everlasting multiverse underpinned and driven by an ocean of consciousness that exists outside of spacetime yet shapes it towards ever greater peace, harmony and integration.

And if I see any sign of back pain again I will deduct marks.
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  #196  
Old 09-17-2013, 02:35 AM
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Entropy is cool!

(A minimum number of chars is not!)
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:00 AM
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Default Re: Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

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I give that comment an A :)

I'm also unimpressed with the fact that everything in the universe is flying apart at an ever increasing speed. FFS we want a happy ending, not a gradual fade out into oblivion! Sorry, but that sucks.

So everything that's ever lived or existed dissipates completely and might as well have never existed? Not even quantum entanglement can save us when everything freezes to absolute zero. Game over. Please insert $1 to play again.

So ... Deity (aka alien student) this is your ending? Nothing? And you want praise for it?? Don't get me started on pain and suffering ...

Let's hope you learn from your mistakes. Here's the brief for your next project ... an everlasting multiverse underpinned and driven by an ocean of consciousness that exists outside of spacetime yet shapes it towards ever greater peace, harmony and integration.

And if I see any sign of back pain again I will deduct marks.
I suppose the constant restlessness about wanting to understand everything - even to the point of making up fantastic theories involving multiverses or God - is what keeps people exploring, searching and testing. And also killing each other for refusing to believe someone's particular theory.

I do like science fiction. I think a great story would be about an alien race in the very last days of the universe (about 19 billion years from now), where energy and matter are fading quickly and everything is approaching absolute zero. They have the technology to travel anywhere in the universe fairly quickly and scavenge raw materials, energy and technology from dead or near-dead civilizations. Then they discover something that will reconstitute the Cosmic Egg, but of course result in their destruction.

What next after that?
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:42 AM
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I suppose the constant restlessness about wanting to understand everything - even to the point of making up fantastic theories involving multiverses or God - is what keeps people exploring, searching and testing. And also killing each other for refusing to believe someone's particular theory.

I do like science fiction. I think a great story would be about an alien race in the very last days of the universe (about 19 billion years from now), where energy and matter are fading quickly and everything is approaching absolute zero. They have the technology to travel anywhere in the universe fairly quickly and scavenge raw materials, energy and technology from dead or near-dead civilizations. Then they discover something that will reconstitute the Cosmic Egg, but of course result in their destruction.

What next after that?
There is an Isaac Asimov story that has a similar premise.

The last words in that story are "Let there be light!"
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:19 PM
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Entropy is cool!
James, you are a very naughty boy. Entropy is NOT cool - it is very, very nasty.

Entropy? Just say no.

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There is an Isaac Asimov story that has a similar premise.

The last words in that story are "Let there be light!"
Which begs the question as to why no one else thought of just turning on the damn light ;-)

Seriously, what a mind Asimov had to create that story! (and well done, too, DMC, you have a talent for this) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Las...n#Plot_summary
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:38 PM
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Certain things just don't happen. For example, magnetic lines of force will never cross one another, ever, no matter what.
"Don't cross the streams" - Dr Igon
"What happens if we cross the streams?" - Dr Venkman
"That could potentially be very bad." - Dr Igon
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