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Author Topic: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael  (Read 27358 times)
hjulenissen
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« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2012, 04:56:56 AM »
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Thank you for your reply.
It's all about how one conducts oneself online. Effective communication online is an art. The way one writes, ones choice of words, and the occasional use of a smiley, can be very effective in conveying irony, humor and good will.

People who spend a lot of time on forums need to learn how to comport themselves appropriately.
Agreed. Since I have not heard from Mark I trust that my apologies in the first post of this thread have been accepted.
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Also, endlessly dragging on a debate is pointless.
Perhaps. LuLa authors may say something similar in a future article (something that are scientifically unproven and disputed, to be polite).
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For example, one can find endless debate about topics like audio and photography (and wine) and a lot of it comes down to personal experience and opinion. There is no point (obviously) in debating opinion.
Some will no doubt claim that opinion is the only thing worth discussing. I do disagree with you, I think that many of the heated debates are due to:
1. Different levels of scientific training/accomplishment
2. Different levels of argumentation and logic skills
3. Different levels of trust in casual human observations

Some people clearly think that what they experience is the one and only indicator of how the world works. Others think that people are notoriously unreliable in self-reporting. One could (and many do) call these "subjectivists" and "objectivists". If you have tracked audiophilia for the last 20-30 years, you will see that there have been a clash of cultures, where basing the hobby, journalism and product development on measurements and blind listening tests have been abandoned by many in favour of sighted listening tests. I think this is sad for both the hobby and the availability and competition of audibly good products. It also means that "audiophilia" today is very isolated from the sciences that could have been used to advance the state of the art.

Me myself having designed audio technology starting with my master thesis, I know how difficult it is to objectively rate your "child", that you have spent a lot of time and energy into. In my view, the designer is as unreliable as the hifi-journalists and owners out there. The only way to get robust answers to the questions "do they sound different", "which sounds better", is imho careful blind-tests. And they are time-consuming and often boring. Oh, and the conclusion on my thesis was that my gadget was slightly lower rated than the reference implementation. Who would have thought....
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Mark is a very smart, well educated, and talented individual. He has a Phd in physics, is an accomplished musician, a highly successful venture capitalist (investing in high tech firms), and is a widely exhibited, collected and respected photographer. Do you really want to get in a pissing match with him? I think not, especially when there is no way for either of you to prove anything in an online debate.
I could list up my CV and we could measure which is longest, or we could just dismiss such irrelevant stuff and rely on our arguments,and references. The point is moot as long as Mark have chosen to not participate in this discussion. If he does, he is welcome. If those discussions are considered OT for this site, you (Mark) are welcome to PM me.

Even though I believe that audiophile cables most likely are cases of "the emperors new clothes", I would really love to be proven wrong. I would love even more to prove myself wrong, to publish in a reputable magazine and enjoy the possibilities and funding (not to mention the pure joy) that comes from having rocked science. Sharing the $1mill from the James Randi foundation with Mark would not hurt, either.

-h
« Last Edit: January 29, 2012, 05:45:09 AM by hjulenissen » Logged
Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2012, 08:48:08 AM »
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Interesting that in today's New York Times there is an article on the recent testing of old vs. new violins and whether the classic Stradivarius and Guarneri instruments are really that much better.  The original research was published in the peer reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences HERE(only the abstract is available for free).  Key take away lesson is, "future research might best focused on how violinists evaluate instruments, on which specific playing qualities are most important to them, and on how these qualities relate to measurable attributes of the instruments, whether old or new."  One could equally apply this to audio cables, wine and the evaluation of a particular photograph.

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HSakols
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« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2012, 08:49:48 AM »
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First of all let me make it clear that I have an elementary school teaching credential and I did take physics where I earned a c. As you can tell I'm probably more qualified than any of you regarding the problem at hand.  GO OUTSIDE AND TAKE SOME PHOTOGRAPHS!!  
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2012, 10:18:32 AM »
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Interesting that in today's New York Times there is an article on the recent testing of old vs. new violins and whether the classic Stradivarius and Guarneri instruments are really that much better.  The original research was published in the peer reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences HERE(only the abstract is available for free).  Key take away lesson is, "future research might best focused on how violinists evaluate instruments, on which specific playing qualities are most important to them, and on how these qualities relate to measurable attributes of the instruments, whether old or new."  One could equally apply this to audio cables, wine and the evaluation of a particular photograph.
I do believe that it is a lot harder to evaluate cameras than cd-players. Probably more comparable to evaluating violins.

-h
« Last Edit: January 29, 2012, 10:23:59 AM by hjulenissen » Logged
Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2012, 02:06:12 PM »
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First of all let me make it clear that I have an elementary school teaching credential and I did take physics where I earned a c. As you can tell I'm probably more qualified than any of you regarding the problem at hand.  GO OUTSIDE AND TAKE SOME PHOTOGRAPHS!!  
!!!  Wink
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2012, 02:44:09 PM »
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First of all let me make it clear that I have an elementary school teaching credential and I did take physics where I earned a c. As you can tell I'm probably more qualified than any of you regarding the problem at hand.  GO OUTSIDE AND TAKE SOME PHOTOGRAPHS!!  
I did just that the other day.  It's a document of global warming!!!  Our weather here in the Washington DC area has been so warm that my Dr. Tinsley camellia is blooming two months ahead of schedule, thinking it is really late March. 

Alan
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HSakols
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« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2012, 03:13:46 PM »
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A couple a weeks ago in Yosemite's High Country, I found some tiny Lewisia flowers looking like they were about to bloom.  Unfortunately, I didn't have my medium format digital camera so I didn't take a photograph.javascript:void(0);
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« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2012, 05:52:34 AM »
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Dave Millier
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« Reply #28 on: January 30, 2012, 05:57:53 AM »
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Even though these threads have gone a bit pear shaped and annoyed the House, I think in the midst of the acrimony there have been some fascinating topics raised. Topics I think are not "pissing in the pool" but are valuable discussions. It has all become a bit confused as the threads have been pulled in different directions. Some of those directions seem pointless, some are too personal but some seem perfectly reasonable debating points.

So here's my attempt at pulling out the things that seem worthy of further debate, possibly in their own threads:

1. The intellectual honesty question. How much value can we place on on personal credentials and past history of success (argument from authority) vs evidence? My opinion is an argument must be judged on its merit by the logic of the argument and the evidence that supports it, not by the person espousing it. History is replete with world famous scientists who got it wrong. That means no one, however, respected is immune from criticism and controversial ideas need proper scrutiny, not respectful acknowledgement.

2. Discussion about whether an author with a connection with a product or manufacturer may be subject to unconscious bias despite their very best and scrupulous attempts to avoid it.  This is a problem that is faced by reviewers and bloggers alike.  The long history of psychology tells us that we are all extremely subject to bias. Most of the scientific method is a tacit admission of this and a set of rigorous procedures and controls intended to reduce the impact. (Note: There is a difference between recognising this universal problem and insinuating shills or corruption. It is necessary to be clear about what you mean!).

3. Discussion about the appropriateness of writing techniques and analogies: I think it is worth debating whether certain authorial techniques are effective or simply serve to inflame or confuse. However, I think one needs to keep criticism in context: a loose analogy is not necessarily an attempt to deceive, it can just be a loose (or ill-judged or sub-optimal analogy, no more than that). It is important however, to look carefully at the techniques or evidence supplied in defence of a proposition. Is it good or reasonable (even when used in a loose sense as an analogy). No one wants yet more incorrect mis-information floating around the web, even if well intentioned.

4. Opinion pieces vs factual pieces. One of the issues you are bound to see on a general purpose site like Lula with commissioned and guest articles, is that not all articles will be in the same style. Personally I would prefer authors to make it very clear when a piece is stating a personal opinion that may not be factual or correct.  If someone publishing here says (for example) that they work with medium format because they have found it suits their needs better than 35mm and has always given them better image quality, that's fine. But if they say medium format always beats smaller formats, then they'd better well have the concrete factual evidence to back up the claim or they will be responsible for the subsequent flame wars!

5. Discussion about the detectability of subtle subjective differences (such as in wine and audio as brought up by Mark). This is a debate in its own right. Objectivists vs subjectivists in audio for example has as long history. I think it is reasonable to say that science has become very good at developing test methods to deal with what on the surface might seem like impossible things to decide. The subjectivists claims that some sensory experiences are not possible to test for just doesn't ring true to me, given the historical successes of science. Sounds either like the argument from personal incredulity or simple denial motivated by not liking the results of such tests...


6. And finally, the crux of this whole particular episode. Is Medium format is always better quality than smaller formats irrespective of print size? This is still a highly charged and controversial subject for some reason. It ought to extremely easy to settle with some sensible test procedure. Again, the fact that it continues suggests that there is either a degree of denial going on (on both sides?) or that some shoddy testing has been published that no one believes or leaves too many loose ends.

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hjulenissen
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« Reply #29 on: January 30, 2012, 06:12:45 AM »
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1. The intellectual honesty question. How much value can we place on on personal credentials and past history of success (argument from authority) vs evidence? My opinion is an argument must be judged on its merit by the logic of the argument and the evidence that supports it, not by the person espousing it. History is replete with world famous scientists who got it wrong. That means no one, however, respected is immune from criticism and controversial ideas need proper scrutiny, not respectful acknowledgement.
I feel strongly the same way. Note that referring to "science" as an authority could be critizised in a similar way. I.e. claiming that "science tells us that MF cameras have not utility over 35mm cameras" is very similar to claiming that "the Gods spoke to me last night, telling me that MF is better than 35mm".

Since most of us are unable to (or unwilling to) do a scientific review starting with greek philosophy and covering all of the steps up until a given question, most of us seem willing to accept some axioms that will speed up the process. E.g. "Maxwell seems to have known what he did, and I am unaware of anyone that have seriously challenged him in this question" is a kind of authority-based claim.
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4. Opinion pieces vs factual pieces. One of the issues you are bound to see on a general purpose site like Lula with commissioned and guest articles, is that not all articles will be in the same style. Personally I would prefer authors to make it very clear when a piece is stating a personal opinion that may not be factual or correct.  If someone publishing here says (for example) that they work with medium format because they have found it suits their needs better than 35mm and has always given them better image quality, that's fine. But if they say medium format always beats smaller formats, then they'd better well have the concrete factual evidence to back up the claim or they will be responsible for the subsequent flame wars!
Opinion is often underestimated. I would like to have others opinions on my photographies, and on the user-interface of some equipment that I may consider.
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6. And finally, the crux of this whole particular episode. Is Medium format is always better quality than smaller formats irrespective of print size? This is still a highly charged and controversial subject for some reason. It ought to extremely easy to settle with some sensible test procedure. Again, the fact that it continues suggests that there is either a degree of denial going on (on both sides?) or that some shoddy testing has been published that no one believes or leaves too many loose ends.
Who knows. For MF vs 35mm there can be some easily measured _differences_ (such as resolution) that (I believe) are known to be detectable by humans in certain scenarios. The question is (perhaps) how relevant those differences are, how annoying they are, and for how many percent of the images they will be detectable at all. Not simple questions, considering that an excellent artist might be able to make gallery-worthy material with an iPhone.

I know a lot more about audio than I know about photography. I joined this site to learn more. When any author take for granted analogies about audio that I think are based on a flawed understanding or poor testing, it makes it harder for me to believe what she writes about photography (where I am less confident). Perhaps this is a good thing, as it makes me more sceptical about everything that I read. But that was probably not the outcome that the author had planned for.

-h
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 06:24:48 AM by hjulenissen » Logged
jjj
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« Reply #30 on: January 30, 2012, 07:32:40 AM »
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A couple a weeks ago in Yosemite's High Country, I found some tiny Lewisia flowers looking like they were about to bloom.  Unfortunately, I didn't have my medium format digital camera so I didn't take a photograph
  Grin
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« Reply #31 on: January 30, 2012, 07:46:10 AM »
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Even though I believe that audiophile cables most likely are cases of "the emperors new clothes", I would really love to be proven wrong. I would love even more to prove myself wrong, to publish in a reputable magazine and enjoy the possibilities and funding (not to mention the pure joy) that comes from having rocked science. Sharing the $1mill from the James Randi foundation with Mark would not hurt, either.
An anecdote that may be germane - Some years back my flatmate asked me what I thought of some new music on his hifi. Straightaway I asked him what he's done as his system sounded noticeably better. The reason for the improvement, he went to Maplins [an electronics store] got some chunky cabling, added gold phono connectors and replaced the stock phono leads between the CD player and amp and voila a better sounding hifi for very little money. I should underline, that I was not told or even given a hint that he'd altered anything, yet I still noticed an improvement in sound quality.
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« Reply #32 on: January 30, 2012, 07:57:35 AM »
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God knows why I'm posting in this thread as this sort of debate or the one that led to this thread, is why I rarely frequent internet forums these days.
But here's another thing to consider in amongst all the eternal my camera is better than your camera nonsense and that is that the drawbacks and limitations of 'inferior' cameras affects the creative process and can do so in a good way. Limitations often inspire and can be a real spur to creativity. You can't pixel peep or measurebate over that concept of camera differences.
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bjanes
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« Reply #33 on: January 30, 2012, 08:30:14 AM »
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Interesting that in today's New York Times there is an article on the recent testing of old vs. new violins and whether the classic Stradivarius and Guarneri instruments are really that much better.  The original research was published in the peer reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences HERE(only the abstract is available for free).  Key take away lesson is, "future research might best focused on how violinists evaluate instruments, on which specific playing qualities are most important to them, and on how these qualities relate to measurable attributes of the instruments, whether old or new."  One could equally apply this to audio cables, wine and the evaluation of a particular photograph.

That article is indeed very interesting and does allow some analogies with photography.

“The thing about believers is they just believe,” he said. “For those who are privileged enough to be selling them or own them or buy them, there’s no incentive to disbelieve it.”

Yes, if you've paid US $50,000 for a camera, it had better been superior to an iPhone and it would be very painful to think that in a given situation, equal results could be obtained with a $1200 D7000. No need to conduct any objective tests or double blind comparisons. You might not like the results of the test.

"'A great violinist can make almost any violin sound really good,' said Christopher Reuning, the Boston-based dealer who brokered the Greenhouse sale. 'When they are playing a great Strad they have an ease.' It allows them to 'sculpt the sound' and produce different emotions with the slightest change of bow speed, he added."
 
Yes, having a $50,000 camera gives the photographer greater confidence and ease of mind that he can produce results superior to those lacking such a camera.

"The debunkers make another point. The Strad mystique can put enormous pressure on performers to play on a rare named instrument and devalues musicians who don’t. The equipment adds to the performer’s luster. Programs sometimes list the name and date of a violinist’s instrument."

Yes, if you don't have an IQ180, you must not be a very good photographer.

"'A great violinist can make almost any violin sound really good,' said Christopher Reuning, the Boston-based dealer who brokered the Greenhouse sale."

Yes, a great photographer can take good shots with a D7000.

Regards,

Bill


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BJL
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« Reply #34 on: January 30, 2012, 10:46:10 AM »
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Bill,
    I agree that there is a lot of evidence for self-deception in subjective evaluation of exclusive tools (whether due to rarity or mere cost); it goes in the same category as the unreliability of eye-witness testimony now being acknowledged: out minds adapt and interpret raw sensory input in elaborate, unconscious ways to make the results more useful or comfortable.

There is one big difference between violins and cameras though: those cheap, inferior, new-fangled, modern violins from makers like Sam Zygmuntowicz mentioned in the NYT article already cost about $55,000!

Photography is relatively cheap as either a hobby or profession, when you compare to the cost of things like the fishing boats of many hobbyists, or the custom trucks, workshops, and tools need by many people in skilled trades.
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #35 on: January 30, 2012, 11:08:33 AM »
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EDIT:

[ img ] Image: Beating a dead horse [ / img ]
Real image link taken down for preventing shock on sensible people.
I apologize.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 11:37:54 AM by Christoph C. Feldhaim » Logged

eleanorbrown
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« Reply #36 on: January 30, 2012, 11:30:47 AM »
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I wish you would think of some more appropriate  way to make your point.  Possibly i was just caught off guard this morning but is a disturbing shot for those of us who care about animals. Please think again and thanks, Eleanor

Edit...thanks...I just found out how to delete the photo from my post and have done so too!  I agree with your point tho :-)!  Enough is enough!
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 11:53:37 AM by eleanorbrown » Logged

Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #37 on: January 30, 2012, 11:36:22 AM »
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I wish you would think of some more appropriate  way to make your point.  Possibly i was just caught off guard this morning but is a disturbing shot for those of us who care about animals. Please think again and thanks, Eleanor


Yup.
Sorry.
Didn't mean to shock anyone in that way.
Maybe I start feeling incresingly inappropriate and should stop reading this thread.
P.S.:I like animals too. Took down the image link in previous post.
 
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 11:38:42 AM by Christoph C. Feldhaim » Logged

Martin Kristiansen
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« Reply #38 on: January 30, 2012, 12:25:10 PM »
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Those that can afford high end MFDB are frequently criticized for claiming that the high end stuff is superior. The argument is made that there is no evidence for this supposed superior quality and the argument is made that if you are gullible enough to have spent all that money then you have no choice but to claim that it is better or your ego will melt down.

On the other side it often looks like sour grapes when the people that don't have a MFDB back claim that their, and always specifically their particular DSLR is at least as good.

We are not debating photography here. We are displaying human insecurities.
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John Camp
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« Reply #39 on: January 30, 2012, 12:28:31 PM »
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2. Discussion about whether an author with a connection with a product or manufacturer may be subject to unconscious bias despite their very best and scrupulous attempts to avoid it.  This is a problem that is faced by reviewers and bloggers alike.  The long history of psychology tells us that we are all extremely subject to bias. Most of the scientific method is a tacit admission of this and a set of rigorous procedures and controls intended to reduce the impact. (Note: There is a difference between recognising this universal problem and insinuating shills or corruption. It is necessary to be clear about what you mean!).


I would seriously hesitate to suggest bias by a reviewer without some serious investigation, which simply isn't possible on the web. Because a suggestion of bias goes directly to a person's reputation and credibility, and makes claims against his honesty, I don't see any way that a guy sitting in his mom's basement with his Mac-Mini would be qualified to comment. I don't think it's ethical in any way to suggest bias, and I would suggest that if Mark wanted to sue some of you guys for libel, he would have a case. Too many people are willing to claim that if somebody has a connection with a product, then any discussion by them, of the product, must be corrupt. That's plainly and clearly not true. We all know that Schewe either is or has been involved with Lightroom, but he remains an invaluable, if opinionated, source of information about the system. Therefore, I would suggest that "Discussion about whether an author with a connection with a product or manufacturer may be subject to unconscious bias despite their very best and scrupulous attempts to avoid it," will be based on bullshit. How could you possibly have any reliable information on such a thing? I suppose you could "note" that a person has a connection, and go no further -- but even that contains an implication of dishonesty, and on the net, it *always* goes further. This, I suspect, is one reason that Michael reacted to a lot of the posts with anger. He is faced with a situation where ugly claims are being made against a friend, and there's really no way to refute them, because they are simply based on bullshit, and how do you refute bullshit?
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