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Ntech
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@Hahiha @Doombreed
Of our Knowledge of the Existence of a God
(John Locke, Concerning Human Understanding: Chapter X, pages 349 – 351)
(Articles I – VI, VIII)

I. We are capable of knowing certainly that there is a God. Though God has given us no innate ideas of Himself,; though He has stamped no original characters on our minds, wherein we may read His being; yet having furnished us with those faculties our minds are endowed with, He hath not left Himself without witness: since we have sense, perception, and reason, and cannot want a clear proof of Him, as long as we carry ourselves about us...

II. For man knows that he himself exists. I think it is beyond question, that man has a clear idea of his own being; he knows certainly that he exists, and that he is something. He that can doubt whether he be anything or no, I speak not to; no more than I would argue with pure nothing, or endeavor to convince a nonentity that it were something. If any one pretends to be so skeptical as to deny his own existence, (for really to doubt of it is manifestly impossible,) let him for me enjoy his beloved happiness of being nothing, until hunger or some other pain convince him of the contrary. This, then, I think I may take for a truth, which every one’s certain knowledge assures him of, beyond the liberty of doubting, viz. That he is something that actually exists. [Note well the meaning of “actually,” that is, something that is actual vs. that which does not exist.]

III. He knows also that nothing cannot produce a being; therefore something must have existed from eternity. In the next place, man knows, by an intuitive certainty, that bare nothing can no more produce any real being, than it can be equal to two right angles. If a man knows not that nonentity, or the absence of all being, cannot be equal to two right angles, it is impossible he should know any demonstration in Euclid. If, therefore, we know there is some real being, and that nonentity cannot produce any real being, it is an evident demonstration, that from eternity there has been something; since what was not from eternity had a beginning; and what had a beginning must be produced by something else.

IV. And that eternal Being must be most powerful. Next, it is evident, that what had its being and beginning from another, must also have all that which is in and belongs to its being from another too. All the powers it has must be owing to and received from the same source. This eternal source, then, of all being must also be the source and origin of all power; and so this eternal Being must also be the most powerful.

V. And most knowing. Again, a man finds in himself perception and knowledge. We have then got one step further; and we are certain now that there is not only some being, but some knowing, intelligent being in the world. There was a time, then, where was no knowing being and when knowledge began to be; or else there has been also a knowing being from eternity.

If it be said, there was a time when no being had any knowledge, when that eternal being was void of understanding; I reply, that then it was impossible there should ever have been any knowledge: it being as impossible that things wholly void of knowledge, and operating blindly, and without any perception, should produce a knowing being, as it is impossible that a triangle should make itself three angles bigger than two right ones. For it is as repugnant to the idea of senseless matter, that it should put into itself sense, perception, and knowledge, as it is repugnant to the idea of a triangle, that it should put into itself greater angles than two right ones.

VI. And therefore God. Thus, from the consideration of ourselves, and what we infallibly find in our own constitutions, our reason leads us to the knowledge of this certain and evident truth, – That there is an eternal, most powerful, and most knowing Being; which whether any one will please to call God, it matters not. The thing is evident; and from this idea duly considered, will easily be deduced all those other attributes, which we ought to ascribe to this eternal Being.

If, nevertheless, any one should be found so senselessly arrogant, as to suppose man alone knowing and wise, but yet the product of mere ignorance and chance; and that all the rest of the universe acted only by that blind haphazard; I shall leave him that very rational and emphatical rebuke of Tully (1. ii. De Leg.), to be considered at his leisure: “What can be more sillily arrogant and mis-becoming, than for a man to think that he has a mind and understanding in him, but yet in all the universe beside there is no such thing? Or that those things, which with the utmost stretch of his reason he can scarce comprehend, should be moved and managed without any reason at all?” Quid est enim verius, quam neminem esse oportere tam stulte arrogantem, ut in se mentem et rationem putet inesse, in caelo mundoque non putet? Aut ea quae vic summa ingenii [ingenī] ratione comprehendat, nulla ratione moveri puter?

From what has been said, it is plain to me we have a more certain knowledge of the existence of a God, than of anything our senses have not immediately discovered to us. Nay, I presume I may say, that we more certainly know that there is a God, than that there is anything else without us. When I say we know, I mean there is such a knowledge within our reach which we cannot miss, if we will but apply our minds to that…

VIII. Recapitulation – something from eternity. There is no truth more evident than that something must be from eternity. I never yet heard of any one so unreasonable, or that could suppose so manifest a contradiction, as a time wherein there was perfectly nothing. This being of all absurdities the greatest, to imagine that pure nothing, the perfect negation and absence of all beings [Id est, the complete absence of actualities], should ever produce any real existence. [Id est, actualities have potential, where there is no actualities there is no potential, nor can there ever be.]

Of God – His Existence
(Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics, Part I)

DEFINITIONS

1. BY CAUSE of itself, I understand that, [a Being] whose essence involves existence; or that, [a Being] whose nature cannot be conceived unless existing.

2. That thing is called FINITE in its own kind (in suo genere) which can be limited by another thing of the same nature. For example, a body is called finite, because we [may] always conceive another which is greater. So a thought is limited by another thought; but a body is not limited by a thought, not a thought by a body.

3. BY SUBSTANCE, I understand that which is in itself and is conceived through itself; in other words, that, the conception of which does not need the conception of another thing from which it must be formed.

4. BY ATTRIBUTE, I understand that which the intellect perceives of substance, as if constituting its essence [constituting the essence of a substance, not the intellect].

5. BY MODE, I understand the affections of substance, or that which is in another thing through which also it is conceived.

6. BY GOD, I understand Being absolutely infinite, that is to say, [a] substance consisting of infinite attributes, each one of which expresses eternal and infinite essence.

Explanation. I say absolutely infinite but not infinite in its own kind (in suo genere); for of whatever is infinite only in its own kind (in suo genere), we can deny infinite attributes; but to the essence of that which is absolutely infinite pertains whatever expresses essence and involves no negation.

7. That thing is called FREE which exists from the necessity of its own nature alone, and is determined to action by itself alone. That thing, on the other hand, is called necessary, or rather compelled, which by another is determined to existence and action in a fixed and prescribed manner.

8. BY ETERNITY, I understand existence itself, so far as it is conceived necessarily to follow from the definition alone of the eternal thing.

Explanation. For such existence, like the essence of the thing, is conceived as an eternal truth. It cannot therefore be explained by duration or time, even if the duration be conceived without beginning or end.

AXIOMS

1. Everything which is, is either in itself or in another.

2. That which cannot be conceived through another must be conceived through itself.

3. From a given determinate cause an effect necessarily follows; and, on the other hand, if no determinate cause be given, it is impossible that an effect can follow.

4. The knowledge (cognitio) of an effect depends upon and involves the knowledge of the cause.

5. Those things which have nothing mutually in common with one another cannot through one another be mutually understood, that is to say, the conception of the other. [A blind man cannot understand the sense of sight merely through the sense of hearing; nor can a deaf man understand the sense of hearing merely through the sense of sight.]

6. A true idea must agree with that of which it is the idea (*** suo ideato).

7. The essence of that thing which can be conceived as not existing does not involve existence.

PROPOSITIONS

PROPOSITION 1. Substance is by its nature prior to its affections.
DEMONSTRATION. This is evident from Definitions 3 and 5. [That is to say, nothing can have no affections.]

PROPOSITION 2. Two substances having different attributes have nothing in common with one another.
DEMONSTRATION. This is also evident from Definition 3. For each substance must be in itself and must be conceived through itself, that is to say, the conception of one does not involve the conception of the other. [That is to say, if two substances – which are wholly independent of each other – have different attributes, it is self evident that they share nothing in common – the opposite of proper – with each other.] Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 3. If two things have nothing in common with one another, one cannot be the cause of the other.
DEMONSTRATION. If they have nothing mutually common with one another, they cannot (Axiom 5) through one another be mutually understood, and therefore (Axiom 4) one cannot be the cause of the other. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 4.Two or more distinct things are distinguished from one another, either by the difference of the attributes of the substances, or by the difference of their affections.
DEMONSTRATION. Everything which is, is either in itself or in another (Axiom 1), that is to say (Definitions 3 & 5), outside the intellect there is nothing but substances and their affections. There is nothing therefore outside the intellect by which a number of things can be distinguished one from another, but substances or (which is the same thing by Definition 4) their attributes and their affections. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 5. In nature there cannot be two or more substances of the same nature or attribute.
DEMONSTRATION. If there were two or more distinct substances, they must be distinguished one from the other by difference of attributes or difference of affections (Proposition 4). If they are distinguished only by difference of attributes, it will be granted that there is but one substance of the same attribute. But if they are distinguished by difference of affections, since substance is prior by nature to its affections (Proposition 1), the affections therefore being placed on one side, and the substance being considered in itself, or, in other words, (Definition 3 and Axiom 6), truly considered, it cannot be conceived as distinguished from another substance, that is to say (Proposition 4), there cannot be two or more substances, but only one possessing the same nature or attribute. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 6.One substance cannot be produced by another substance.
DEMONSTRATION. There cannot in nature be two substances of the same attribute (Proposition 5), that is to say (Proposition 2), two which have anything in common with one another. And therefore (Proposition 3) one [substance] cannot be the cause of the other, that is to say, one [substance] cannot be produced by the other [substance]. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 7. It pertains to the nature of substance to exist.
DEMONSTRATION. There is nothing by which substance can be produced (Proposition 6). It will therefore be the cause of itself, that is to say (Definition 1), its essence necessarily involves existence, or in other words it pertains to its nature to exist. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 8. Every substance is necessarily infinite.
DEMONSTRATION. Substance which has only one attribute cannot exist except as one substance (Proposition 6), and to the nature of this one substance it pertains to exist (Proposition 7). It must therefore from its nature exist as finite or infinite. But it cannot exist as finite substance, for (Definition 2) it must (if finite) be limited by another substance of the same nature, which also must necessarily exist (Proposition 7), and therefore would be two substances of the same attribute, which is absurd (Proposition 5). It exists therefore as infinite substance. Q.E.D.

Scholium 1. Since finiteness is in truth partly negation, and infinitude absolute affirmation of existence of some kind, it follows from Proposition 7 alone that all substance must be infinite.

Scholium 2. I fully expect that those who judge things confusedly, and who have not been accustomed to cognise things through their first causes, will find it difficult to comprehend the demonstration of the 7th Proposition, since they do not distinguish between the modifications of substances and substances themselves, and are ignorant of the manner in which things are produced.
Hence it comes to pass that they erroneously ascribe to substances a beginning like that which they see belongs to natural things; for those who are ignorant of the true causes of things confound every thing, and without any mental repugnance represent trees speaking like men, or imagine that men are made out of stones as well as begotten from seed, and that all forms can be changed one into the other. So also those who confound human nature with the divine, readily attribute to God human affects, especially so long as they are ignorant of the manner in which affects are produced in the mind. But if men would attend to the nature of substance, they could not entertain a single doubt of the truth of Proposition 7; indeed this proposition would be considered by all to be axiomatic, and reckoned among common notions.
For by “substance” would be understood that which is in itself and is conceived through itself, or, in other words, that, the knowledge of which does not need the knowledge of another thing.
But by “modifications” would be understood those things which are in another thing – those things, the conception of which is formed from the conception of the thing in which they are. Hence we can have true ideas of non-existent modifications, since although they may not actually exist outside the intellect, their essence nevertheless is so comprehended in something else, that they may be conceived through it.
But the truth of substances is not outside the intellect unless in the substances themselves, because they are conceived through themselves.
If any one, therefore, were to say that he possessed a clear and distinct, that is to say, a true idea of substance, and that he nevertheless doubted whether such a substance exists, he would forsooth be in the same position as if he were to say that he had a true idea and nevertheless doubted whether or not it was false (as is evident to any one who pays a little attention).
Similarly, if any one were to affirm that substance is created, he would affirm at the same time that a false idea had become true, and this is a greater absurdity than can be conceived.
It is therefore necessary to admit that, the existence of substance, like its essence, is an eternal truth.
Hence a demonstration (which I have thought worth while to append) by a different method is possible, showing that there are not to substances possessing the same nature.
But in order to prove this methodically it is to be noted: 1. That the true definition of any one thing neither involves nor expresses anything except the nature of the thing defined. From which it follows, 2. That a definition does not involve or express any certain number of individuals, since it expresses nothing but the nature of the thing defined. For example, the definition of a triangle expresses nothing but the simple nature of a triangle, and not any certain number of triangles. 3. It is to be observed that of every existing thing there is some certain cause by reason of which it exists. 4. Finally, it is to be observed that this cause, by reason of which a thing exists, must either be contained in the nature itself and definition of the existing thing (simply because it pertains to the nature of the thing to exist), or it must exist outside the thing.
This being granted, it follows that if a certain number of individuals exist in nature, there must necessarily be a cause why those individuals, and neither more nor fewer, exist.
If, for example, there are twenty men in existence (whom, for the sake of greater clearness, I suppose existing at the same time, and that no others existed before them), it will not be sufficient, in order that we may give a reason why twenty men exist, to give a cause for human nature generally; but it will be necessary, in addition, to give a reason why neither more nor fewer than twenty exist, since, as we have already observed, under the third head, there must necessarily be a cause why each exists.
But this cause (as we have shown under the second and third heads) cannot be contained in human nature itself, since the true definition of a man does not involve the number twenty, and therefore (by the fourth head) the cause why these twenty men exist, and consequently the cause of why each exists, must necessarily lie outside each one; and therefore we must conclude generally that whenever it is possible for several individuals of the same nature to exist, there must necessarily be an external cause for their existence.
Since now it pertains to the nature of substance to exist (as we have shown in this Scholium), its definition must involve necessary existence, and consequently from its definition alone its existence must be concluded.
But from its definition (as we have already shown under the second and third heads) the existence of more substances than one cannot be deduced.
It follows, therefore, from this definition necessarily that there cannot be two substances possessing the same nature.

PROPOSITION 9. The more reality or being a thing possesses, the more attributes belong to it.
DEMONSTRATION. This is evident from Definition 4. [For as attributes constitute a thing’s essence to the intellect, the more “essence” a thing has, a corresponding number of attributes is perceived by the intellect.]

PROPOSITION 10. Each attribute of a substance must be conceived through itself.
DEMONSTRATION. For an attribute is that which the intellect perceives of substance, as if constituting its essence (Definition 4), and therefore (Definition 3) it must be conceived through itself. Q.E.D.

PROPOSITION 11. God, or substance consisting of infinite attributes, each one of which expresses eternal and infinite essence, necessarily exists.
DEMONSTRATION. If this be denied, conceive, if it is possible that God does not exist. Then it follows (Axiom 7) that His essence does not involve existence. But this (Proposition 7) is absurd. Therefore God necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Another proof. For the existence or non-existence of everything there must be a reason or cause. For example, if a triangle exists, there must be a reason or cause why it exists; and if it does not exist, there must be a reason or cause which hinders its existence or which negates it.
But this reason or cause must either be contained in the nature of the thing or lie outside it. For example, the nature of the thing itself shows the reason why a square circle does not exist, the reason being that a square circle involves a contradiction. And the reason, on the other hand, why substance involves existence (see Proposition 7).
But the reason why a circle or triangle exists or does not exist is not drawn from their nature, but from the order of corporeal nature generally; for from that it must follow, either that a triangle necessarily exists, or that is impossible for it to exist. But this is self evident.
Therefore it follows that if there be no cause nor reason which hinders a thing from existing, it exists necessarily. If, therefore, there be no reason nor cause which hinders God from existence, or which negates His existence, we must conclude absolutely that He exists.
But if there be such a reason or cause, it must be either be in the nature itself of God or must lie outside it, that is to say, in another substance of another nature. For if the reason lay in a substance of the same nature, the existence of God would by this very fact admitted.
But substance possessing another nature could have nothing in common with God (Proposition 2), and therefore could not give Him existence nor negate it.
Since, therefore, the reason or cause which could negate the divine existence cannot be outside the divine nature, it will necessarily, supposing that the divine nature does not exist, be in His Nature itself, which would therefore involve a contradiction.
But to affirm this of the Being absolutely infinite and consummately perfect is absurd. Therefore neither in God nor outside God is there any cause or reason which can negate His existence, and therefore God necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Another proof. Inability to exist is impotence, and, on the other hand, ability to exist is power, as is self-evident. If, therefore, there is nothing which necessarily exists excepting things finite, it follows that things finite are more powerful than the absolutely infinite Being, and this (as is self evident) is absurd; therefore either nothing exists or Being absolutely infinite also necessarily exists.
But we ourselves exist, either in ourselves or in something else which necessarily exists (Axiom 1 & Proposition 7). Therefore the Being absolutely infinite, that is to say (Definition 6), God, necessarily exists. Q.E.D.

Scholium. In this last demonstration I wished to prove the existence of God a posteriori, in order that the demonstration be the more easily understood, and not because the existence of God does not follow a priori from the same grounds.
For since ability to exist is power, it follows that the more reality belongs to the nature of anything, the greater is the power for existence it derives from itself; and it also follows, therefore, that the Being absolutely infinite, or God, has from Himself an absolutely infinite power of existence, and that He therefore necessarily exists.
Many persons, nevertheless, will perhaps not be able easily to see the force of this demonstration, because they have been accustomed to contemplate those things alone which flow from external causes, and they see also that those things which are quickly produced from these causes, that is to say, which easily exist, easily perish, whilst, on the other hand, they adjudge those things to be more difficult to produce, that is to say, not so easy to bring into existence, to which they conceive more properties pertain.
In order that these prejudices may be removed, I do not need here to show in what respect this saying, “What is quickly made perishes,” is true, nor to inquire whether, looking at the whole of nature, all things are or are not equally easy.
But this only it will be sufficient for me to observe, that I do not speak of things which are produced by external causes, but that I speak of substances alone which (Proposition 6) can be produced by no external cause.
For whatever perfection or reality those things may have which are produced by external causes, whether they consist of many parts or of few, they owe it all to the virtue of an external cause alone and not from their own.
On the other hand, whatever perfection substance has is due to no external cause.
Therefore its existence must follow from its nature alone, and is therefore nothing else than its essence.
Perfection consequently does not prevent the existence of a thing, but establishes it; imperfection, on the other hand, prevents existence, and so of no existence can we be more sure than of the existence of the Being absolutely infinite or perfect, that is to say, God.
For since His essence shuts out all imperfection and involves absolute perfection, for this very reason all cause of doubt concerning His existence is taken away, and the highest certainty concerning it is given, – a truth which I trust will be evident to any one who bestows only moderate attention.

  • 65 Replies
HahiHa
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HahiHa
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@Ntech

Yet that plasma and hydrogen could have caused what exists today.

That's precisely my point, though! You say that everything inherits its "characteristics" from the thing that causes it, therefore the universe as it exists today, with all its elements, could not have been caused by hydrogen and helium alone, according to your logic. After all, helium has properties that iron does not have, and vice versa. Therefore Lockes logic of, let's call it "characteristic permanence" cannot be true.

What I said is relevant -- cognition is a characteristic. Natural Selection applies to characteristics.

a) You cannot compare cognition to a mere mutation. Cognition is a process that is much more complex than simple errors in the DNA.
b) Mutations are random errors in the DNA code, they are not bound by any traits. They very well can introduce new variants of a gene. Just like other processes such as migration, allele drift and recombination, mutations result in a more diverse gene pool for a particular population, which in turn is what selection applies to.
c) Have you ever heard of exaptations?

I am just pointing out that it is called quantum mechanics, not quantum causation. Besides that, the nature of causality is not altered nor can things be observed about it from apparent causes --> effects apparent, because we cannot definitely say that this cause -- and this alone -- cause that reaction -- and that alone. To do so would require a zero percent margin of error, quite impossible with the scientific means of observation today.

I'm disappointed that your argument boils down to a play of words. Quantum mechanics - or quantum physics, if you will - is how the field of research is called; quantum causality is merely causality at the level of quantum physics. Besides, the article I linked to (here it is again) specifically mentions "experiments in quantum causality" and "Causation has been a key issue in quantum mechanics since the mid-1930s, [...]".
Moegreche
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Moegreche
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That's precisely my point, though! You say that everything inherits its "characteristics" from the thing that causes it, therefore the universe as it exists today, with all its elements, could not have been caused by hydrogen and helium alone, according to your logic. After all, helium has properties that iron does not have, and vice versa. Therefore Lockes logic of, let's call it "characteristic permanence" cannot be true.

I think this might be too quick. Granted, Locke wouldn't have known about atoms or their structure, but I think we can make some important points here in his defense.

First, we need to be clear about what characteristics are relevant. If we take this argument at face value, then helium is a gas and therefore could never create something that isn't a gas, like iron. But that's conflating the collection of helium atoms with the atom itself. A single atom (as I understand it) can't meaningfully be classified as either a solid, liquid or gas. They're only classified as such by how these atoms bond with one another and other elements.

So, at a basic level, we're talking about protons, neutrons, and electrons. But since we're talking about QED, then we can be even more precise and just talk about things in terms of quarks, leptons, and bosons. And I think we can all agree that matter--whether it's helium, uranium, or your big toe--it comprised of these basic particles. So, it's the arrangement of these particles that can produce certain characteristics. But the basic characteristics of these particles, as well as their capacity to create new and interesting matter, is already present in them.

But consciousness is a different critter altogether. It's not made up of quarks--it seems to be something that's immaterial. And now we have to trace a cause that can create material and immaterial things. The only thing that would fit the bill is something in which all of these characteristics exist. Of course, for something to be both material and immaterial seems to be a contradiction. And for ordinary matter, this would be true. But God is existence itself, with everything else simply subsisting as part of God's nature. The immaterial and material are both predicated of God, rather than some subordinate substance.

HahiHa
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@Moegreche

The basic matter and energy is present from the start, and their fundamental properties might not have changed, but Ntech goes much further in his argument; see his comment on mutations and cognition. I'm not 100% sure what is meant by characteristics, and Locke is even worse in his use of the word 'power', but Ntech made it clear he sees it as evidence that an intelligent consciousness has been present from the start, and I see no reason why that would follow.

FishPreferred
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Yet that plasma and hydrogen could have caused what exists today.
. . . Well, yeah. Exactly. That's kind of what we were saying.

If we measure time by a recurrent phenomenon, then it must be time that produces that phenomenon's motion, or at least influences it.
Right; motion wouldn't likely work without time. That doesn't mean the same has to apply to the inverse.

For if God were in motion -- and one cannot be the efficient cause of oneself -- then God would not be the first mover, thus, a thing that is in motion is not God. God is not in motion, He Is Act itself. That is, He does not move from inaction to action, but Is Action itself.Quod Erat Demonstrandum.
Therefore, God is not even a thing, but an inert concept that does not do, think, or feel. God cannot be the creator of anything, because creation is an event.

God does not act, for He Is Action -- God does not move from inaction to action, He just Is. He does not move from not-thinking to thinking, but Knows.
1 As above.
2 He can't know. Knowledge is a product of cognition, and cognition is an attribute of conscious life. It isn't really correct to even refer to this God as an actual being, because It clearly is not capable of sentience or understanding. To put it bluntly, this God isn't even an Azathoth.

In response to (2), we subsist, only God exists. For we do not exist, but subsist, in that our "existence," (which is not fit to be called that) depends on motion, but His does not.
1 Quaint but meaningless.
2 If God exists, God is not "Existence itself". Make up your mind.

Thus, since a thing that is intelligent owes intelligent to its respective cause(s), one of them must be intelligent too.
No, it isn't. That's a complete non sequiter. There is no way for these premises to fit that conclusion.

And those chemical interactions characterize one mutation from another. Either a characteristic is present or it's not.
If you're telling me that the full range of possible combinations and interactions, and their subsequent results, are an aggregate property of the chemical elements themselves, then yes; that's entirely correct. It's also an overwhelming exception unless you accept that ordinary matter has all of the properties required for everything in existence to exist exactly the way it is. If you're trying to tell me something else, I'm not sure what it is.

Quoting you, characteristics are limited -- and produced -- by "chemical interaction." I do not believe that "fiction" is a chemical interaction known to man. Your reasoning is flawed.
1 Nice contextomy. "Characteristics" and " produced" are your own insertions, thus the flaw is also yours.
2 The property of a thing is not the same as the cause of that property. You should know this by now, since it's exactly what I've just been explaining to you. Of course fiction isn't a chemical interaction. It's the property of not being about real events; yours is the only argument that would require its presence at the beginning of the universe.

2. That quantum mechanics does not apply to causuality.
Then it's a bare assertion, because quantum mechanics is about the interaction of particles and waves, and interaction is a causal event.

@Moegreche
But consciousness is a different critter altogether. It's not made up of quarks--it seems to be something that's immaterial.
It's a state that the matter is in, and therefore another aggregate property.

But God is existence itself, with everything else simply subsisting as part of God's nature. The immaterial and material are both predicated of God, rather than some subordinate substance.
As I said before, if God = Existence, God is not existant. Alternatively, if God is 'all of existence' (in that the sum of all things that exist is God), that's pantheistic again.
Ntech
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@Hahiha


That's precisely my point, though! You say that everything inherits its "characteristics" from the thing that causes it, therefore the universe as it exists today, with all its elements, could not have been caused by hydrogen and helium alone, according to your logic. After all, helium has properties that iron does not have, and vice versa. Therefore Lockes logic of, let's call it "characteristic permanence" cannot be true.

Yet chemical reactions from helium and hydrogen in union with exterior forces, compounds, or substances could produce what we have today -- the physical. Yet I hold that God created nature, then He created humans -- that humans were not created by nature but by God.


a) You cannot compare cognition to a mere mutation. Cognition is a process that is much more complex than simple errors in the DNA.

Yet cognition is a characteristic derived from matter produced/modified by mutations. Yet if cognition is a &quotrocess that is much more complex than simple erros in the DNA," then you are admitting that cognition is partly immaterial.


b) Mutations are random errors in the DNA code, they are not bound by any traits. They very well can introduce new variants of a gene. Just like other processes such as migration, allele drift and recombination, mutations result in a more diverse gene pool for a particular population, which in turn is what selection applies to.

Yet for a mutation to produce a chemical it did not begin with nor had the atoms to produce (either through reactions, conduction, etc.) requires spontaneous generation.


c) Have you ever heard of exaptations?

No, but even exaptations require predetermined characteristics.


I'm disappointed that your argument boils down to a play of words. Quantum mechanics - or quantum physics, if you will - is how the field of research is called; quantum causality is merely causality at the level of quantum physics. Besides, the article I linked to (here it is again) specifically mentions "experiments in quantum causality" and "Causation has been a key issue in quantum mechanics since the mid-1930s, [...]".

That article points out that it is impossible to observe the order of "causation" in that experiment. Just because something cannot be observed does not mean it does not exist, just because something cannot be observed does not mean we can infallibly infer certain characteristics about causuality.

It is an experiment, in which the scientific controls were minimal, or non-existent. Moreover, the "causal chain" appears to be "chance driven." Yet nothing happens by chance, if the train turned left it was because factors influenced it to do so, similarly, if it turned right, it was because factors influenced it to do so.

@FishPreferred


Right; motion wouldn't likely work without time. That doesn't mean the same has to apply to the inverse.

Yet without motion, what would time be measured by? If a thing's measure depends on another, and that other does not exist, neither will a measure derived from that thing. Thus, if time is measured by recurrent phenomenon, then without recurrent phenomenon time can't be measured. And something which we acknowledge only by its measurement and its force on objects in motion cannot be said to exist if no objects in motion appear to be affected by it (since there would be no objects in motion). Thus, without objects in motion, time would not exist, and if one believes in its existence without proof, one is both unscientific and illogical.


Therefore, God is not even a thing, but an inert concept that does not do, think, or feel. God cannot be the creator of anything, because creation is an event.

God does not do, think, nor feel, in the sense that this implies change, and God Is all. Yet God can act, in the sense that He does not Himself move, but He -- unmoved -- moves objects in motion.


2 He can't know. Knowledge is a product of cognition, and cognition is an attribute of conscious life. It isn't really correct to even refer to this God as an actual being, because It clearly is not capable of sentience or understanding. To put it bluntly, this God isn't even an Azathoth.

You take it for granted that God does not live.


2 If God exists, God is not "Existence itself". Make up your mind.

God is both. Both are one, what is the difference?


No, it isn't. That's a complete non sequiter. There is no way for these premises to fit that conclusion.

Where do I err?


If you're telling me that the full range of possible combinations and interactions, and their subsequent results, are an aggregate property of the chemical elements themselves, then yes; that's entirely correct. It's also an overwhelming exception unless you accept that ordinary matter has all of the properties required for everything in existence to exist exactly the way it is. If you're trying to tell me something else, I'm not sure what it is.

Why does ordinary matter have to have all the properties required for everything in existence to exist exactly the way they do? I stated that "characteristics are properties of mutations," not that "mutations have all characteristics."

What I was getting at is that characteristics define mutations, and if a mutation has a characteristic, then it must owe that to its respective cause(s). I take it that you agree with me that a mutation with the characteristic of cognition can have the subsequent result of another cognitive mutation, and one without the characteristic of cognition cannot have the potential to produce a mutation which is cognitant.


1 Nice contextomy. "Characteristics" and " produced" are your own insertions, thus the flaw is also yours.

Then
1) You are flawed or
2) "Fiction" is a "chemical reaction." -- This time I add no words.


2 The property of a thing is not the same as the cause of that property. You should know this by now, since it's exactly what I've just been explaining to you. Of course fiction isn't a chemical interaction. It's the property of not being about real events; yours is the only argument that would require its presence at the beginning of the universe.

Of course a property of a thing isn't the same as the cause of that property. Yet a property is inherant from its respective cause(s).


Then it's a bare assertion, because quantum mechanics is about the interaction of particles and waves, and interaction is a causal event.

Yes, interaction is a causal event, but we are discussing the cause of objects in motion, not how motion can cause objects already in motion to do this or that.

HahiHa
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Yet cognition is a characteristic derived from matter produced/modified by mutations. Yet if cognition is a [p]rocess that is much more complex than simple erro[r]s in the DNA," then you are admitting that cognition is partly immaterial.

Oh come on. Yes; I have already said so previously and also said that so is energy and information. "Immaterial" does not equate to "supernatural", so I don't see how that helps your point.

Your reasoning is weird, btw. How do you go from "more complex than mutations" to "must be immaterial"? That link makes no sense, even if the end result is not wrong.

Yet for a mutation to produce a chemical it did not begin with nor had the atoms to produce (either through reactions, conduction, etc.) requires spontaneous generation.

Umm, no.

A mutation itself does not produce any molecules, a mutation is a change in the coding sequence (DNA) which is the blueprint for molecules. It's basically the cellular molecular apparatus goofing up. In single nucleotide mutations (SNPs) any base may be exchanged for any of the other 3 bases. Larger types of mutation may exchange an entire amino acid sequence. All the materials are there, present in the cell, it just puts in the wrong bit. Thereby, new functions may arise from different combinations of the same building blocks, no 'spontaneous generation' needed.

No, but even exaptations require predetermined characteristics.

I just thought it's an interesting example because it's a feature that ends up performing a function for which it wasn't selected at first. Nothing 'predetermined', whatever that word means to you.

That article points out that it is impossible to observe the order of "causation" in that experiment.

They experimentally demonstrated causal indeterminacy, it's not just an artifact of the method.
HahiHa
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PS. I decided I will not continue the quantum physics line of argument. I know enough about it to be convinced that reality on a quantum level is not restricted to our intuitive reasoning, that causality and time are more complex than Locke assumed. You wanted to know where I disagree with him? That's one point. However, I'm too much of a dilettante in the field of quantum physics to be able to discuss it on a meaningful level (and I believe so are you), so please simply acknowledge my aforementioned conviction as such.

Also, while I'm at it, I just wanted to say that I didn't like your comment on the scientific control of the various experiments related in the article on quantum causality (I frankly thought it was a bit cynical of you). I believe you are not qualified to pass such judgment. Neither am I, to be fair, since that's not my field. But I trust the scientific community, process and peer reviewing to design experiments in a meaningful way, even if that might not have been fully apparent in that news article. It's their job after all ^^

FishPreferred
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Grand Duke

Yet chemical reactions from helium and hydrogen in union with exterior forces, compounds, or substances could produce what we have today -- the physical. Yet I hold that God created nature, then He created humans -- that humans were not created by nature but by God.
You're free to hold that all you like. You just have no way of supporting it.

Yet for a mutation to produce a chemical it did not begin with nor had the atoms to produce (either through reactions, conduction, etc.) requires spontaneous generation.
You're saying two very different things here, though. HahiHa already covered the first one. As for the second; mutations don't make new kinds of atoms. That's a job for nuclear fusion and fission.

That article points out that it is impossible to observe the order of "causation" in that experiment. Just because something cannot be observed does not mean it does not exist, just because something cannot be observed does not mean we can infallibly infer certain characteristics about causuality.
So, to summarize, your point is that the nature of causality can be hard to examine on the quantum level. Isn't that kind of what Hahiha was telling you?

Yet without motion, what would time be measured by?
What would distance be measured by without objects separated by distance? What would intelligence be measured by without varying levels of intellect?

And something which we acknowledge only by its measurement and its force on objects in motion cannot be said to exist if no objects in motion appear to be affected by it (since there would be no objects in motion). Thus, without objects in motion, time would not exist, and if one believes in its existence without proof, one is both unscientific and illogical.
1 We acknowledge time by the fact that constant universal stasis is not true. Arguing that it also was true at some point does not affect that.
2 Time does not exert a force on objects. That would be like the y-axis of space throwing a brick through your window; it just isn't something that can happen.
3 You don't become unscientific or illogical by believing in unprovable things. You do that by pretending to have proven them.

Yet God can act, in the sense that He does not Himself move, but He -- unmoved -- moves objects in motion.
No, He doesn't.

You take it for granted that God does not live.
No, you defined It that way.

God is both. Both are one, what is the difference?
No, they aren't. Seriously. If I type on my keyboard, I am not the act of Typing. If a top spins, it doesn't become Angular Velocity. If a car engine is heavy, it isn't identical with the concept of Weight.

Where do I err?
You used the premise that the existence of a product requires some cause. Your conclusion was that a product's characteristics must also be the cause's characteristics. There's nothing connecting these two things.

Why does ordinary matter have to have all the properties required for everything in existence to exist exactly the way they do?
I'm not saying it has to. I'm saying that unless you're saying it has to, you're making an overwhelming exception.

I take it that you agree with me that a mutation with the characteristic of cognition can have the subsequent result of another cognitive mutation, and one without the characteristic of cognition cannot have the potential to produce a mutation which is cognitant.
No, because
1 That makes no sense.
2 That's the same assumption you're trying to justify in the first place.

Of course a property of a thing isn't the same as the cause of that property. Yet a property is inherant from its respective cause(s).
So, since we're agreed that a property of a thing isn't the same as the cause of that property, and you were the one who equated mutations with characteristics, I'm going to now laugh at your ridiculous assertion that fiction is a chemical reaction. Also, you need to support your claim, not just repeat it with slightly different wording.

@Hahiha
They experimentally demonstrated causal indeterminacy, it's not just an artifact of the method.
Well, no. They didn't. The relevant experiment that was actually performed supports the conclusion that the ordering of causality is not always reducible to a single chain of events. I don't claim to understand their setup, but that's what they're using it for.

But I trust the scientific community, process and peer reviewing to design experiments in a meaningful way, even if that might not have been fully apparent in that news article.
Whereas I don't, of course, because I'm an extreme skeptic. In any case, it doesn't matter unless he can actually deduce God from conventional cause and effect.
Ntech
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@HahiHa


Oh come on. Yes; I have already said so previously and also said that so is energy and information. "Immaterial" does not equate to "supernatural", so I don't see how that helps your point.

Your reasoning is weird, btw. How do you go from "more complex than mutations" to "must be immaterial"? That link makes no sense, even if the end result is not wrong.


You said that "mutations" were responsible for characteristics. And a mutation requires matter. Thus, if a thing has a characteristic not caused by a material mutation, its cause must be immaterial.


A mutation itself does not produce any molecules, a mutation is a change in the coding sequence (DNA) which is the blueprint for molecules. It's basically the cellular molecular apparatus goofing up. In single nucleotide mutations (SNPs) any base may be exchanged for any of the other 3 bases. Larger types of mutation may exchange an entire amino acid sequence. All the materials are there, present in the cell, it just puts in the wrong bit. Thereby, new functions may arise from different combinations of the same building blocks, no 'spontaneous generation' needed.

I was just pointing out that a mutation cannot alter or work with non-existent matter.


I just thought it's an interesting example because it's a feature that ends up performing a function for which it wasn't selected at first. Nothing 'predetermined', whatever that word means to you.

By predetermined is meant the need for pre-existant matter determined by the respective mutation performed.


They experimentally demonstrated causal indeterminacy, it's not just an artifact of the method.

If the train goes left, it's because the wind blew it thatway, because the switch was one degree to the left, perhaps a bolt in the tracks was loose which made the switch offer less resistance in turning left, maybe the ground was un-even, perhaps the train was leaning to one side, etc.

@FishPreferred


You're free to hold that all you like. You just have no way of supporting it.

I do.


You're saying two very different things here, though. HahiHa already covered the first one. As for the second; mutations don't make new kinds of atoms. That's a job for nuclear fusion and fission.

And nuclear fusion and fission distributes great amounts of energy, which have to pre-date the fusion/fission. Newton stated that the amount of energy in the universe is consistent -- it's absolute.


So, to summarize, your point is that the nature of causality can be hard to examine on the quantum level. Isn't that kind of what Hahiha was telling you?

Hard to examine, correct. Yet this lack of examination does not mean that there is such a thing as causal indetermination.


What would distance be measured by without objects separated by distance? What would intelligence be measured by without varying levels of intellect?

Exactly, thus, without objects in motion, time does not exist. Thus, time began to exist.


3 You don't become unscientific or illogical by believing in unprovable things. You do that by pretending to have proven them.

Imagine if I told you there was a "Hypo-consistent force" which is only observed when I eat pie. If you never observed me eating pie, you cannot know that it is true, or false. To know is different from believing.

You hold that even if we had no objects in motion, time still would exist. Yet what good is knowing of a thing which cannot be observed, and which does not mean anything? Such a thing's existence is certainly doubtful, if not illogical.


No, they aren't. Seriously. If I type on my keyboard, I am not the act of Typing. If a top spins, it doesn't become Angular Velocity. If a car engine is heavy, it isn't identical with the concept of Weight.

True. Yet existence is not a concept, nor is it an act, nor is it an idea.


You used the premise that the existence of a product requires some cause. Your conclusion was that a product's characteristics must also be the cause's characteristics. There's nothing connecting these two things.

Ok.

a) A thing that is caused by another is put in motion by its cause.
b) That cause must be the motion or in the motion of that which it causes.

For example, something actual can cause actualities, since it is in the motion of being actual. Similarly, a hand can throw an object into physical motion only when it is in physical motion.


I'm not saying it has to. I'm saying that unless you're saying it has to, you're making an overwhelming exception.

But why do I have to say it has to? That's what I am asking.


No, because
1 That makes no sense.

You said that "If you're telling me that the full range of possible combinations and interactions, and their subsequent results, are an aggregate property of the chemical elements themselves, then yes; that's entirely correct."

And as a cognitant object is a mass of material "chemical elements," and as "the full range of possible combinations and interactions, and their subsequent results, are an aggregate property" of that mass of material "chemical elements themselves," then cognition is necessarily caused only by cognitant objects, for un-cognitant objects don't have the "subsequent [result]" of cognition.


So, since we're agreed that a property of a thing isn't the same as the cause of that property, and you were the one who equated mutations with characteristics, I'm going to now laugh at your ridiculous assertion that fiction is a chemical reaction. Also, you need to support your claim, not just repeat it with slightly different wording.

I did not assert that fiction is a chemical reaction, but pointed out that it is not, in response to your argument that cited fiction.

HahiHa
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You said that "mutations" were responsible for characteristics. And a mutation requires matter. Thus, if a thing has a characteristic not caused by a material mutation, its cause must be immaterial.

You misunderstand me.

I don't think I said mutations are directly responsible for characters, on the contrary. Sometimes a single mutation may have a direct effect, but for more complex structures or processes, mutations alone are not enough to explain them. Other biological processes come in play then. Which is why I previously said that you cannot compare cognition with mutations.

I never said that cognition isn't based on anything material. It very much is, namely on our central nervous system. The interaction between our neurons is what eventually builds our consciousness, so while consciousness itself may not be solely material, it has a material origin without which it couldn't exist.

I was just pointing out that a mutation cannot alter or work with non-existent matter.

No one ever claimed that it could...?
FishPreferred
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You said that "mutations" were responsible for characteristics.
No, that was you. Look, right here:
"Yet cognition is a characteristic derived from matter produced/modified by mutations."
"I stated that "characteristics are properties of mutations," not that "mutations have all characteristics.""
He doesn't have to defend your claims; that's on you.

If the train goes left, it's because the wind blew it thatway, because the switch was one degree to the left, perhaps a bolt in the tracks was loose which made the switch offer less resistance in turning left, maybe the ground was un-even, perhaps the train was leaning to one side, etc.
That isn't the one he's talking about, though. The train thing is just a thought experiment about events that supposedly affect previous events.

I do.
I look forward to seeing you demonstrate that.

And nuclear fusion and fission distributes great amounts of energy, which have to pre-date the fusion/fission. Newton stated that the amount of energy in the universe is consistent -- it's absolute.
Yes. Did you want to include a point with this, or is it just something you felt like putting out there?

Yet this lack of examination does not mean that there is such a thing as causal indetermination.
So?

Exactly, thus, without objects in motion, time does not exist. Thus, time began to exist.
Therefore, by extention, intelligence began to exist.

Yet what good is knowing of a thing which cannot be observed, and which does not mean anything? Such a thing's existence is certainly doubtful, if not illogical.
I don't care, because that thing is not relevant to the discussion. You keep trying to justify your ideas about time by bringing up things that aren't at all similar to time.

True. Yet existence is not a concept, nor is it an act, nor is it an idea.
Nor is it a being, substance, or other concrete thing. To treat it as such would be reification.

Ok.
a) A thing that is caused by another is put in motion by its cause.
b) That cause must be the motion or in the motion of that which it causes.
Unless the quantum causality thing is to be believed, the cause can't be the motion of the thing that the cause caused to move.

For example, something actual can cause actualities, since it is in the motion of being actual.
Being actual is not a motion. It's the property that defines actual things.

But why do I have to say it has to? That's what I am asking.
You don't have to say that it has to, nor am I telling you to say that it has to.

[...] then cognition is necessarily caused only by cognitant objects, for un-cognitant objects don't have the "subsequent [result]" of cognition.
No. It's a property of the aggregate; it doesn't need to be possessed by every atom of matter at all times for those atoms to become something that has that property. You're committing a fallacy of division.

Consider a grain of ordinary table salt. It's a crystal formed out of several pairs of sodium and chlorine atoms. Independently, these atoms do not have a crystal structure, because it's an aggregate property of multiple atoms bonded together. In fact, several of the properties associated with NaCl are not present in pure sodium (a highly reactive metal) or pure chlorine (a toxic halogen gas). It's the combined interaction of the two that produces the edible electrolyte that we season our food with.

I did not assert that fiction is a chemical reaction, but pointed out that it is not, [...]
As did I, but you were the one who brought up the idea, so you could hardly fault me for it.
Ntech
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@HahiHa, I fear that our discussion is getting a bit off topic. So, to clarify things, I presume that you acknowledge the need for a First Mover which was not moved since we are talking about the properties of this First Mover, whether it is cogniscent or not.

So to redirect the course of this discussion, I will now state in clearer terms:

a) God is the first principle as the First Mover, the first principle not in potency, but in the order of efficient cause.
b) God then must be most perfect: for just as matter is in potency, an agent, as such, is in act.
c) Hence, the first active principle (God) must be most actual, and therefore most perfect, for a thing is said to be perfect according as it is in act, because we call that perfect which lacks nothing of the mode of its perfection.

@FishPreferred


Yes. Did you want to include a point with this, or is it just something you felt like putting out there?

My point is that nuclear fission cannot account for creation, for it requires prerequisite material existence.


Unless the quantum causality thing is to be believed, the cause can't be the motion of the thing that the cause caused to move.

First of all, "motion" in Locke's context has nothing to do with physics or quantum mechanics. It has everything to do with causuality, and not the causuality evident in things which "move" in the physical for the movement Locke means is the shift from potentiality to actuality.

Thus, an actuality can be the ground for actualities in existence, the reason why it continues to move.


Being actual is not a motion. It's the property that defines actual things.

Being actual is the constant actualization of the potential of actuality. For if a thing possibly doesn't exist, as well as possibly exists, both are potentials actualized constantly.


You don't have to say that it has to, nor am I telling you to say that it has to.

Yet you're saying unless I say it has to, it is an exception of some sort. I am asking where the exception occurs.

HahiHa
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@Ntech
We were very much on topic. In his articles IV and V, Locke insists on the assumption that all the "characteristics" present today must have been present at the very beginning of the universe. Based on that, you argued that intelligence can only be created by intelligence, but have so far failed to provide evidence for that claim. That is what we were debating.

I will not engage with the other claims as they have nothing to do with what we were talking about.

FishPreferred
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Grand Duke

a) God is the first principle as the First Mover, the first principle not in potency, but in the order of efficient cause.
No, He isn't.

b) God then must be most perfect: for just as matter is in potency, an agent, as such, is in act.
No, nor is matter perfect in potency, nor do either of those things follow logically.

c) Hence, the first active principle (God) must be most actual, and therefore most perfect, for a thing is said to be perfect according as it is in act, because we call that perfect which lacks nothing of the mode of its perfection.
1 That the first principle is God is just your assumption.
2 There is no varying degree of actualness. Something is actual or it isn't.
3 Being actual doesn't relate to being perfect, nor is perfection an attribute of any real thing.
4 What does it matter what someone says is perfect according as in something? It is said that a watched pot never boils; should we accept this as undeniable truth for no reason other than it being said?

My point is that nuclear fission cannot account for creation, for it requires prerequisite material existence.
Then your point is irrelevant. I don't have to account for things that only other people believe in.

First of all, "motion" in Locke's context has nothing to do with physics or quantum mechanics. It has everything to do with causuality, and not the causuality evident in things which "move" in the physical for the movement Locke means is the shift from potentiality to actuality.
Which is exactly the problem. Locke's wording might have meant something to him and his colleagues, but it has no purpose here. The "shift from potentiality to actuality" is meaningless because there is no such thing in this context.
I don't know what you are trying to say, but it seems to be something like "things go from not existing to existing without involving any motion, and this has to do with causation, but not the physical mechanisms of causation". Some clarification would be greatly appreciated.

Being actual is the constant actualization of the potential of actuality. For if a thing possibly doesn't exist, as well as possibly exists, both are potentials actualized constantly.
No, they aren't. Things don't have possible simultaneous existence and inexistence.

Yet you're saying unless I say it has to, it is an exception of some sort. I am asking where the exception occurs.
There are two ways for your statement that "[...] chemical interactions characterize one mutation from another" to work:
1 If you meant that the full range of possible combinations and interactions, and their subsequent results, are an aggregate property of the chemical elements themselves, that would be an overwhelming exception. You clearly aren't going with that, though, so it doesn't matter.
2 If you meant that ordinary matter has all of the properties required for everything in existence to exist exactly the way it is, your reasoning means either that ordinary matter is intelligent, or that nothing is intelligent.
If you did not mean either of those things, I can't make any sense out of what you were saying.
Ntech
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@FishPreferred


No, He isn't.

We are still discussing the first mover, I believe? If you have accepted the first mover, great!

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