September 25, 2006

More Evolution Stories In The News

More news to make the Fundies cringe.

This news about male crickets evolving flat wings from curved wings over just a few generations makes perfect sense to me. But to those who don't buy into evolution, this is just the devil's work. I'm curious what will happen to these crickets over time though, if the original curved wing music makers go totally extinct. And what will happen to the parasitic fly. This is why most species that have ever graced the earth have gone extinct.

The early bird may get the worm, but the first birds had four wings and used to glide.
'Scientists don’t know when in their evolutionary history birds switched from a "four winged" design to a two-wing one, but it's thought that hindlimb wings were sacrificed in order to free up legs for other functions, such as running, swimming and catching prey.'

Oh no. "Scientists don't know when," and "it's thought" are in the above quote. The first means that scientists don't know therefore God exists.

Scientists don't know YET, but they eventually will.

And finally, miniature animal remains found in Mediterranean islands have changed the theory as to why miniaturization takes place. It used to be thought that animals got smaller on Islands solely because of limited resources. Now research has led scientists to understand that lack of predators is another main cause that herbivores evolve to be smaller on Islands. If they don't need their size to survive, they will get smaller. Smaller animals tend to have more babies. Carnivores will get smaller if there is either a lack of prey or if the abundance of prey is smaller.
"Carnivores and herbivores don't respond to the same evolutionary pressures as far as their body sizes are concerned," Dr Shai Meiri added in an interview.
"Carnivores are affected by food availability and prey size, whereas herbivores are affected by the presence of other herbivores and also of predators."

In my world the above 3 stories make perfect sense. Do they make sense in your world?

Here is a Youtube Video I found today about vestigial organs. Kind of funny, and the points are valid.


I found the above video when I saw the comments made on the following video by this then 18 year old girl. No, I'm not a dirty middle aged old man, I was doing a Youtube search on "evolution" and watched it. Her video is sort of cry for help, and she makes very relative points about Fundamentalist Christians and proof. She does make statements that are wrong when it comes to "who knows?" and "there is no proof either way." This is where I disagree with the author of the first video who states "I don't consider myself an Atheist because I, like you, have conviction that we'll never have hard-core proof one way or the other."
That is only true if biology and fossil records can never be considered hardcore proof. But there will never be proof that God doesn't exist, because you can't prove a negative. Watch the video.

"The debate won't be solved because there's always gonna be religion and there's always gonna be science." Interesting. Hopefully she won't fall into the hands of a cultist. She seems to be on the right track.

35 comments:

  1. Scientists don't know YET, but they eventually will.

    God willing...

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  2. Excellent video.

    A young employee of mine once stated that creationism was the only way and his church taught the earth was less than 10k years old.

    I asked him about, coal, fossils,
    evolutionary traits, neanderthals
    etc... Finally he said, "yeah I know about all that but my pastor says they were all placed on this earth by the devil as a test of faith..."

    He sighed and added: "I know it sounds really stupid but just leave me alone and let me believe what I was taught to believe."

    I haven't met many vocal creationists that could stand up to science for more than a few seconds without whipping out the bible and claiming it was the "only" truth and nananananana

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  3. however, he was smart enough to say, "I know it sounds really stupid but just leave me alone and let me believe what I was taught to believe."

    There may be hope yet for the ignorant, brainwashed masses.

    I think, from my own reading and delving into the subject, that there is a massive preponderance of evidence in favor of evolutionalry theory. It's why biologists differentiate between the fact of evolution, and the theories of how it occurs.

    It's amazing how so many otherwise smart people can't grasp that distinction.

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  4. The early bird may get the worm, but the first birds had four wings and used to glide.
    I'm confused: I thought they had 4 legs? Leviticus, 11:20.
    I've always maintained that dental pain is a valid argument for atheism.

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  5. KA, I won't look it up but my guess is that a zero legged water animal preceded a four limbed land animal which preceded birds. The birds evolved wings from limbs and their hind legs evolved glider wings which evolved into stick legs.
    The whales ancestors were water animals which evolved into four legged land animal back into zero legged water animals.
    No wonder Fundies don't understand it.


    Hammer, at least you spoke to an honest Fundy. Most won't admit that creationism has no legs.

    MZ, you mean Gods willing.

    Michael, "smart" people love playing with semantics.

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  6. BEAJ:
    KA, I won't look it up but my guess is that a zero legged water animal preceded a four limbed land animal which preceded birds. The birds evolved wings from limbs and their hind legs evolved glider wings which evolved into stick legs.
    The whales ancestors were water animals which evolved into four legged land animal back into zero legged water animals.
    No wonder Fundies don't understand it.

    Guess my little joke was very little.
    This 1 lackwit on the NGB (arrogant little college boy, no less) got Lamarckian mixed up w/Darwinian evolution, & made the comment that for a human being to get from 1 mountaintop to another to get food, that human would have to grow wings.
    No, I'm not kidding. I wish I were.
    Some of the folks that buy into creationism are seriously scary folk.

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  7. KA, I got the joke, but I realize Fundies are lurking here, so I don't need any smugness on their part.

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  8. I thought that the first birds evolved from therop dinosaurs, and went directly from bipedal curosr (running animal) to bipedal flyer through the simple route of evolving airfoils on the arms and tail.

    Take a look at the literature on archaeopteryx (still the oldest bird), and watch a few modern birds (i have a pet parrot), and then go look at a Tyrannosaur skeleton.

    Oddly enough, and I think that the irony is lost on the fundies, one of the other truly great sets of transitional forms in the fossil record is ... the earliest homonids! That's right, we (even the fundies) have a great fossil record.

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  9. Sorry, I meant theropod dinosaurs up there...

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  10. It's strange when people argue that they aren't atheists because there's no proof one way or the other. If there isn't enough proof to believe in a diety or dieties, and you recognize that, you *are* an atheist. The atheist argument doesn't say that god or gods definately don't exist, only that there is no proof, and it's arbitrary to believe in one god over another, or over Santa Clause, or over faeries, or over little green men from mars. At the end of the day, you can't proove definatively that anything doesn't exist, only that there is no evidence that it does exist.

    In short, there is no riding the fence between theism and atheism... atheism includes the fence.

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  11. CCP, I've often commented and posted about definitions of words like atheist, agnostic and morality.
    The definitions of these words seem to be very relative.
    In my dictionary, you pretty much stated that everyone is an agnostic. Nobody knows for sure 100% that God exists or doesn't exist.
    To me, an Atheist denies the possibility of Gods existence as there is no proof, while an Agnostic doesn't deny God's existence.

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  12. That's exactly right. Nobody knows for sure, 100% that Gods exist or not. And that shouldn't be surprising. None of us know whether or not the universe is contained in a giant teapot either, or whether psychics were involved in the building of the pyramids, or whether faeries exist. That doesn't make everyone agnostic. To be an agnostic, you have to believe that the existence or non-existence of a deity is irrelevant. If you think the question, or the reality is relevant, you're not an agnostic. Agnostics are really just a sub-branch of atheism that would rather not talk about it.

    You personally, may deny the possibility of god(s), but that's not what atheism is (although, of course, that doesn't mean you're not an atheist). It means without god, but more specifically, without belief in God. Usually this non-belief is the result of a lack of evidence, the striking unlikelness of a deity, and the pernicious illogic of those who do believe, but none of these things are essential. If you don't believe in a god or gods, you are an atheist. Taoists and Buddhists, for example, are atheists, but don't deny the possibility of anything really.

    The problem is that you can't prove that something doesn't exist. There can only be an absence of proof that it does exist. So, if atheism is the denial of the existence of something that can't be dis-proven, it becomes a faith. Thankfully, that's not was atheism means.

    Of course, there are specific gods who can be disproven. For example, we know the God depicted in the bible definitely did not exist. There was no flood; end of story. This isn't denying the possibility of any god, just not the one depicted in that story.

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  13. CCP, you are ignoring the fact that definitions are relative.
    To deny the existence of God simply means to me that I believe there is no such thing as God because there is absolutely no proof God has ever existed.
    I also deny the idea that the sun revolves around the earth.
    Neither of these mean I have faith that there is no God or faith that the sun doesn't revolve around the earth. It could, but it doesn't.

    Again, your definition of Atheist, Webster's defintion, my definition and Dictionary.com's definition are slightly different from each other.

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  14. There is prove that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which priovides definitive proof that the Sun does not revolve around the earth. The same can't be said of god(s).

    Dictionary.com
    Atheist
    1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
    2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

    You describe number 1, I describe atheism which encompasses both definitions.

    Webster
    Atheist
    1. one who believes that there is no deity

    This barely qualifies as a sentence, much less a definition. Though, you should note, that just because one doesn't believe there is a deity, doesn't mean there isn't one.

    I'm not sure why you want to define atheism as a faith based belief system, it isn't. Regardless, these simple definitions do nothing but support the description of atheism I've provided above.

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  15. I don't want to define atheism as faith based. It is completely a faithless system. With the exception of a faith in science and the scientific method that most atheists have.

    Again, I do not believe in God because there is no evidence that God or Gods exist or have ever existed. There is a scientific explanation for almost everything....eventually for everything.
    If you want to call my Atheism a faith, go ahead, if you want to call me an Agnostic, go ahead. I am what I am. And I believe I'm an Atheist.

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  16. The Free Dictionary:

    Noun 1. atheist - someone who denies the existence of god
    disbeliever, nonbeliever, unbeliever - someone who refuses to believe (as in a divinity)

    Adj. 1. atheist - related to or characterized by or given to atheism; "atheist leanings"
    atheistical, atheistic


    Again, the definition is relative.

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  17. I'm not saying what you believe isn't atheistic. Only that atheism doesn't require the denial of the possibility of gods, only the absence of belief in them.

    I'm not "calling" your version of atheism faith. It *is* faith - as oppossed to science. There is no evidence to disprove the exitence of some kind of diety, therefore it is unknown. This is the scientific position. If you "believe" that there is definately no possibility of dieties, you are doing so based on faith.

    You can't pretend to defer to science when you're contradicting scientific method.

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  18. You have to start reading, and stop reading what you want to read. Denying the existance of god is not the same as denying the possibility. The definition you provide above is in agreement with my description, and does not even address your description of the word. Beyond that, the definition was obviously written by someone who is religious - note the use of "refuses". Find better sources.

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  19. Find better sources
    **************
    My point is that the definition of atheist, atheism, and morality changes from one person to another even ever so slightly.

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  20. "There is no evidence to disprove the exitence of some kind of diety, therefore it is unknown."

    There is no evidence disproving that etereal bunny rabbits from the 15th dimension inhabit out ear canals.

    Your argument is a logical fallacy
    of untestability.

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  21. "I've always maintained that dental pain is a valid argument for atheism."

    Pimples and acne look like pretty dumb designs too. Just at the point in your life when you need to look good and be confident you get pimples. What sort of sick joke is that? And on your face, why not your bum where people can't see them? Or is it irony rearing it's ugly head again?

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  22. "My point is that the definition of atheist, atheism, and morality changes from one person to another even ever so slightly."

    That's why, as I said, atheism is not limited to people who deny the possibility of a god's existence. I'm really not trying to be an ass about this. There are alot of people who are questioning their faith, and atheism is a position that can help that along. I think, limiting atheism to yet another faith dependant position doesn't help anyone, and weakens the link between atheism and science, and even more importantly, contradicts the basic atheist premise that faith makes for weak.

    "Your argument is a logical fallacy" - hammer

    There's no fallacy in saying that anything untestable, is unknowable. The logical result of an untestable premise is that it can neither be true nor false. If I were arguing that there *is* a god because it can't be proven or disproven, then my argument would be a logical fallacy. I have not said that.

    ... and untestability is redundant. All logical fallacies are untestable.

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  23. CCP, define God, give God even some vague characteristics and lets see if we can make a test for whether the existence of God is unknowable.

    I am not a proponent of calling Atheism a faith. I don't know where you get that from. It is not a faith. Show me some real evidence that there might be a God, and I'll become an agnostic.

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  24. Maybe the true Atheists are the people who never give the metaphysical a moments thought. Monkeys could be atheists.

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  25. Look, a specific definition of a god is beside the point. What you've said is that you deny the possibility of god or gods. That includes anything concieved or yet concieved. I can provide several godly definitions that are neither provable nor disprovable. Just take any mystery and attach a diety to it. For example: god is a great big fat guy who is invisible, and accounts for the excess mass in the universe. Currently, there is a huge amount of mass in the universe that's unaccounted for. What will account for that mass is currently unknown, and possibly may never be known. The point is: for gods to be considered at all, they must be proven. I don't have to prove that the big fat diety doesn't exist to take an atheistic view of the notion. Only note that it has not been proven. Which is a good thing, because the existance of this mass diety cannot be disproven. Maybe one day it will be, maybe it wont, but surrently it can't be disproven.

    "I am not a proponent of calling Atheism a faith." - beaj

    I didn't say you called atheism a faith. You said that you don't believe in the possibility of a god or gods. This belief can only be held on faith, because, if you believe in the nonexistance of something that can't be disproven, you are doing so based on your faith that it doesn't exist. If you believe that atheism is this belief, then you believe that atheism is faith based. I disagree. Atheism doesn't neccesitate a disproof of God(s) (though many atheists believe this is the case), it only requires that god(s) have not been proven.

    Take the infamous teapot example. Imagine that a bunch of people believe that there is a teapot orbiting the sun at a distance that no telescope is capable of seeing it. Now, I can't prove that there isn't a teapot orbiting the sun, but thankfully, I don't have to. The ownus is on the teapot believers to prove that the teapot exists, not for me to prove that it doesn't. It may very well exist, but until they prove that it does, it's irrelevent, a fantasy, and a lark - even though it's still possible.

    "Show me some real evidence that there might be a God, and I'll become an agnostic." - beaj

    This makes no sense. Agnostics believe that it doesn't matter whether there are gods or not. If you care about evidence, you cannot be an agnostic. Agnosticism is not a position on a fence between atheism and theism, it is essentially a type of atheism based on a fallacy. The difference isn't that agnostics believe there *might* be a god, but rather that they believe it doesn't matter, so why not believe? Or why not disbelieve? To them, it is irrelevent.

    Non-Agnostic atheism, however, adopts a position where truth matters, and proof matters. Clearly this is the case. For anyone to argue that what people believe doesn't matter, as agnostics do, is to live in denial of one of the most basic human realities: people act based on what they believe is true.

    As for monkeys, I'm not completely sure if there can be atheist monkeys until we can prove there are theist monkeys.

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  26. So CCP, can you say "there is no God" ? By my understanding you can't, because the onus would be on you to prove your statement correct. Fine.

    My understanding of Agnosticism isn't that they believe it doesn't matter, but that they don't know for sure if there is a God or not. Again, we are back to word definitions.

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  27. CCP:
    ...lousy arguments on your behalf.
    Negative proof fallacies wrapped in an appeal to wonder.
    Look up the words ignostic & apatheist.
    Look, a specific definition of a god is beside the point.
    Keep the parameters deliberately amorphous.
    All logical fallacies are untestable.
    Which renders them unacceptable.
    So stop using them.
    & why isn't your profile public? Got something to hide, hmmmm?

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  28. RE: The whole what is an atheist thing.

    If you consider that a theist is someone who believes in a god or gods, obviously an atheist is someone who does not.

    QED

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  29. Beep, I keep forgetting it is that simple. Thanks for reminding me:)

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  30. "So CCP, can you say 'there is no God'? By my understanding you can't, because the onus would be on you to prove your statement correct. Fine"
    And the intellectually dishonest "Keep the parameters deliberately amorphous. " Ka

    Actually, I'm not keeping the parameters amorphous. beaj set amorphous perameters when he asserted that aetheism is a position that rejects the possibility of gods - which it isn't. At least not exclusively. He then wanted to change the scope by talking about a specfic god as a support for assertions about any possible god. I was just keeping the argument honest by shutting off that escape. But thank you for bringing up ignostic & apatheist. You'll note that these are also sub-forms of atheism, and further evidence that atheism neither demands a proof of non-existance, nor a proof of non-possibility, but only an observance that there is a lack of evidence.

    I have made no appeal to wonder, and I havn't used a single logical fallacy, I'm pointing one out. Pay attention.

    Anyway, no, I can't say 'there is no god'. As I can't say that the universe isn't a program running on some alien computer. I just don't know. Noone does... at least not in the non-specific sense. If you ask about specific notions of god, there are many that are disprovable, and none that are provable, however not all are disprovable. That's just the reality of it.

    And beepbeepitsme again makes the same point I've been making. Not believing an errant hypothesis isn't the same thing as disbelieving the possibility. Here are some examples of possibilities that have been disbelieved:

    The earth is round.
    The earth revolves around the sun.
    Cells.
    Atoms.

    Again. People rejected these possibilities based on faith. Of course, in all liklihood, there is no such thing as a supreme being, and perhaps one could have enough faith in that probability to say that any notion of any concievable god is impossible. You could say that... but the leap from extrordinarily improbable to absolutely impossible is based on faith, and is a leap not required to be an atheist. This has been my point all along.

    "My understanding of Agnosticism isn't that they believe it doesn't matter" - baef
    Start http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic
    (as a side, note the line that says atheists in the broader sense do not claim to know there is no God, only not to believe in one)

    I'm sorry if my profile isn't public. My name is on my blog, which I thought my name linked to.
    http://againststupidity.blogspot.com/

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  31. CCP:
    And the intellectually dishonest "Keep the parameters deliberately amorphous. " Ka
    Intellectually dishonest? Can you say 'ad hominem'?
    You can bite my ass.
    While we're at it, let's define intellectual dishonesty:
    "Intellectual dishonesty is the advocacy of a position known to be false. Rhetoric is misused to advance an agenda or to reinforce one's deeply held beliefs in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence.

    The terms intellectually dishonest and intellectual dishonesty are often used as rhetorical devices in a debate; the label invariably frames an opponent in a negative light. It is an obfuscatory way to say "you're lying".
    Actually, I'm not keeping the parameters amorphous
    Yes you are, as per: "Look, a specific definition of a god is beside the point."
    beaj set amorphous perameters when he asserted that aetheism is a position that rejects the possibility of gods - which it isn't.
    & yet you quote him as saying:
    "What you've said is that you deny the possibility of god or gods. That includes anything concieved or yet concieved."
    I have made no appeal to wonder, and I havn't used a single logical fallacy, I'm pointing one out. Pay attention.
    I am, that's why I keep catching them.
    As I can't say that the universe isn't a program running on some alien computer.
    That's an argument from ignorance. Go look it up. Pay attention. Or, is it this 1? Negative proof = "Non-fallacious ways to prove something include the use of logical syllogisms and/or the incorporation of empirical observations. But it is not logical to argue that something exists simply because there is no proof to the contrary; one cannot say, "No one has proven that aliens do not exist. Therefore, based on that alone, they must exist, notwithstanding that I have no evidence that they do exist". Given (as it is above) that it was not proven that aliens do not exist, they might exist, but this alone does not prove them to exist." - http://www.answers.com/topic/negative-proof
    Anyway, no, I can't say 'there is no god'.
    I can. & I have to say, I hope I'm right: evidence points to a fucktard creator.

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  32. i didn't mean that if you give one God characteristics that you can prove all God's don't exist. You can possibly believe that the one specific God described doesn't exist.

    For example, if someone says that God literally created the earth less than 10,000 years. Scientifically, that God can proved to not exist.

    I can't prove God doesn't exist just like I can't prove an invisible man under my bed doesn't exist. But there is no reason to believe in either as the world and universe and history makes complete sense to me without either.

    If you want a real crappy argument go here. But there is a good chance your comments won't show up.

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  33. ok ka, if you're so smart, find where I've argued the existance of anything. Since you think "But it is not logical to argue that something exists simply because there is no proof to the contrary", is important enough to be bolded, you're obviously under the impression that I've made that argument.

    What I've said is: It's not logical to argue that something doesn't exist simply because there is no proof to the contrary.

    Note how your bolded text, and the above line do not contradict each other.

    Buy Sam Harris' book, you'll find the same argument.

    "I can't prove God doesn't exist just like I can't prove an invisible man under my bed doesn't exist. But there is no reason to believe in either as the world and universe and history makes complete sense to me without either." - beaj

    I agree absolutely. There is no reason to believe, and no reason to rule out the possibility, much like the invisible man beneath your bed. And I agree too that many portrayals of God are easily disproven - the Christian one is one of the easiest. Some aren't as easily disproven, and to those people I like to say that I don't have to disprove it.

    It may seem like I'm being nitpicky about this, but I think one of the biggest problems with the faithful is that they believe their imaginary overlords must be disproven. When we, as atheists, commit to a conclusive false result on the question, without evidence to back it up... they shut down and stop listening. And more so, in any circumstance, I think it's wise to promote the idea that something isn't true until it's proven, or at least until there's a pretty impressive hill of evidence. Likewise, a possibility can't be ruled out completely until there is enough evidence to rule it out.

    Until people realize that a possibility isn't worthy of much consideration, there are going to be unnecessary problems.

    And the real crappy argument guy is a great example of it. I'll try to post something there.

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  34. CCP:
    What I've said is: It's not logical to argue that something doesn't exist simply because there is no proof to the contrary.
    I'll have to defer to Hammer's analogy - ethereal bunnies, et al.
    Let's take a different tack - if you're accused in court of a crime, it's up to the accuser to provide proof. Otherwise, it's considered false.
    If the positive can't be produced, the negative is given.
    It may seem like I'm being nitpicky about this, but I think one of the biggest problems with the faithful is that they believe their imaginary overlords must be disproven. When we, as atheists, commit to a conclusive false result on the question, without evidence to back it up... they shut down and stop listening. And more so, in any circumstance, I think it's wise to promote the idea that something isn't true until it's proven, or at least until there's a pretty impressive hill of evidence. Likewise, a possibility can't be ruled out completely until there is enough evidence to rule it out.
    Aye caramba.
    Nitpicky's an understatement, you ask me.
    I'm not from Missouri, but I like their saying:
    "Show me."
    How on earth does 1 provide ANY evidence either way?

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