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Take Care, All
06-19-2017, 09:27 PM
Post: #1
Take Care, All
The Curse of the Angel of Death

Hello, all.

I've just recently returned to the internet after an absence of more than three years. When I went back to the forum I used to frequent, I was saddened to find that it was no longer there.

This has happened quite a bit to me over the years. When I first went online, around the turn of the century, one of the first forums I joined was at Paranormal News. There, I took the name Traveller because, at the time, I was suffering under the delusion that I was having out-of-body experiences. I was very "New Age" back then.

Although the site is still in existence, the webmaster there decided to delete the old forum and start afresh. I had already left that forum a few months before, though. I was tired of trolls, sock puppets and never-ending flame wars. Therefore, nothing of mine remains there.

I moved on to a site called World of the Strange, a forum whose members were friendly and the discussions were interesting. I was there, again under the name Traveller, along with a few refugees from Paranormal News. After just a few months - and just as I was getting comfortable with my new surroundings - the site folded. I'm still not sure why. The last time I visited the site, there were a few snippets from some articles which used to be there, but no forum. Once again, my "pearls of wisdom", along with everyone else's there, vanished into the ether.

After that, I tried to start a forum of my own, which went nowhere. Then I tried starting an independent blog, which was even worse. I can say, though, that those failed attempts gave me quite a bit of insight as to why webmasters simply say "the hell with it" and close up shop.

I then found a little forum called Soul's Journey. Again, nice folks. Again, interesting conversations. And, once again, gone before I knew it.

I went to a couple of other forums and joined up but, for one reason or another, I just didn't feel comfortable. It's not that the folks there were unfriendly or anything like that. In fact, it was more because I was nearing the end of my "New Age" phase, and just didn't want to read - much less write - about it anymore.

One night - I suppose this was around 2005 or 2006 - I was just Googling and hopping around the net, when I came across a forum called "Project X - The Search for the Chosen Ones". Now, I'm just egotistical enough to think I'm "chosen" (for what, I don't know), so I looked around. I liked it. I joined up. And, almost immediately thereafter, I left.

Why? Because, at the time, I had the mistaken notion that the webmaster of the site was trying to form some kind of cult. He wasn't, of course. Again, my feelings were most likely due to the change of belief systems I was experiencing at the time. I was in a transition between New Age spirituality and a kind of agnosticism. That change manifested itself in me as a deep cynicism and a distrust of almost everything and everyone. Eventually, though, I worked my way through it and, a few months later, I returned to the forum.

Of course, you know where this is going. After a couple of years or so, just as I was hitting my stride, the webmaster decided to close the site.

At least this time, there was a few weeks warning given that the forum was coming to an end. Some of the folks from the old site started a forum called "The New Chosen Ones".

(As an aside: Up until this time, I had always used the name Traveller as my online persona. At the New Chosen Ones site, I decided to drop that name. It just didn't fit me anymore and, besides that, it was also used by other folks at other websites. I even avoided joining some forums simply because they already had a Traveller in residence. For the new forum, I took the name Taykair. This was because I would often end my posts with the words "take care". It's sappy, I know. But I like it.)

Unfortunately, although a few of us made a valiant effort to keep things going, the forum sort of petered out after awhile. I blamed Facebook at the time, but the truth was that the feel of the original site was lacking. I would occasionally show up and post a thing or two, but I was just talking to myself. Everybody was gone.

Then, as I said at the top of this post, I went offline - more or less - for about three years. When I returned, all that was left of the site was a message:

Coming soon... stay tuned.

I had a glimmer of hope from that, until I realized (from my own failed attempts at starting a website) that the phrase is used by some web designers as a kind of placeholder - a way to keep the web address open until a new site is launched. I figure that somebody else has gotten the rights to the address now, and has not yet built his site. (Still, I keep the address in my "favorites" folder, just in case.)

I've been back online for about two weeks now. Almost immediately after I got back online, I joined three forums, including this one. I'm not really sure why I did that. In the past, I would examine a forum carefully before joining up and mouthing off. I guess it was insecurity on my part. I joked at one of the forums (it may have been this one) that I was starting to get the feeling that I was the Angel of Death, bringing doom to unsuspecting websites just by being there.

This post is getting much too long, even for me. (I've been chided at other forums for going on too long. Also for using too much punctuation. But, as I once posted at one of those now-forgotten forums: I, can't, help, it, if, I, like, commas.)

The upshot of all this is that I'm going to be here for awhile (at least for as long as this forum is here or as long as I can stand it, whichever comes first). Most of my posts are going to be at this forum from now on, instead of the other two I joined. The reason is not because this forum is managed better, or has better people in it, or any other reason I may offer which would swell your heads. It's more mundane than that...

Of the three, this is the only one which has a blog thread. I was planning to re-post some of the stuff I've written over the years, and doing so in this blog will be a lot easier for me than posting individual threads in three different forums. This is not to say that I won't also occasionally post in the other two, but I'll probably be doing most of my posting here.

I can almost hear some of you saying, "Big deal. Does this dude think he's gracing us with his almighty presence or something? Is he God's Gift to the Internet? What a jerk. I couldn't care less what he does."

In response, let me say first that you are just the kind of person I like to be around. I'd rather be alone in a room with one person who criticizes me and thinks I'm a total jackass than be in an auditorium full of people who are praising me.

Second, I couldn't care less what you think either, Mr. Smarty Pants. This is my blog, and I'll say whatever I damn well please. So there!

Take care, all.
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06-21-2017, 03:51 PM (This post was last modified: 06-21-2017 04:00 PM by taykair.)
Post: #2
RE: Take Care, All
The New Arrival

I'm going to tell you about the little about the story I wrote when I first went online back in 2001. Rather than post the story twice at the same forum, you can just go here to read it.

At just about every forum I've been a part of, I have managed to post that story. I'm not sure why I keep going back to it. Sentimentality, I suppose.

I like the story (and, believe me, I don't always like some of the things I've written). I not only like it; it's probably my favorite of everything I've ever written. Not that it's a particularly well-written story. In fact, it's rather simple - sparse would be a better word. If I were writing the same kind of story today, it would probably take twenty times as many words for me to arrive at the same point. But I don't think I would like it as much.

What fascinates me about the response there has been to it (what little there has been of it) is that there as many who liked the story as there are those who couldn't stand it. What puzzled me most, though, is that lots of folks have seen things in it which were certainly unintended when I wrote it and, as a result, many of them missed the point of the story entirely.

For example, I remember one person who asked me for more details of "the out-of-body experience I had described". What out-of-body experience? It's just a story, for God's sake.

Some have seen it as a pro-Christian rant, though I can't see why. Others have seen it as virulently anti-Christian or anti-Muslim, or anti-Jewish. While it is true that I have been, at times, an equal-opportunity offender in my writing, this wasn't one of those times. (It's funny, though. Nobody so far has spoken up to defend Zeus and his gang. Of course, the day's not over yet.)

Thankfully, most people get the point, which is that God (if there is a God) must be greater than our notions about God. God cannot be put into the tiny box of our preconceptions. He's (she's, it's) too big to fit in there.

I'd like to point out a couple of other things about the story that a lot of folks miss. (Not that I was being subtle or anything like that.):

First, the man in the story starts out in darkness. So do we all. Some of us, unfortunately, choose to remain there.

Next, each apparition is preceded by a flash of light. This light does not come from the man, and the light itself is not the apparition - it illuminates the apparitions. The light is received knowledge - whether its source is God, or science, or our shared history and experiences.

Next, each "God" disappears when the man makes the conscious decision not to believe in them. Enough said.

Next, God is revealed only after the man asks a question. Blind faith creates apparitions. Only questioning reveals the truth of the matter.

Next, it is God which steps out of the fog of mystery to meet the man, it is not the man who searches blindly (and in vain) in the darkness to find God.

Finally, with the last sentence, we get to the point, which I've already mentioned.

In closing, if my little story has caused just one person to question his or her preconceived notions about God - or anything else - then I am content. We should never be so comfortable that we become lazy.

Take care.
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06-21-2017, 05:32 PM
Post: #3
RE: Take Care, All
"Some have seen it as a pro-Christian rant"

I certainly fell into that category. though even upon re-reading it i detect it very strongly, i see now how is not actually the case... but effectively your story dispelled the falseness of the Olympian Gods, then the Islamic god, then you bring up trinitarianism specifically, and dispel that by showing but one god..
So the story entirely fails to 'dispel' the christian god, it seems in fact to settle upon it. I can see now that the god that steps out of the darkness is never stated to be the Christian god, but from the perspective of a non trinitarianist Christian.. this seems to do nothing but support their beliefs.

You really cant see how it could come off as a pro (non-trinitarianist) Christian rant?

I very much prefer it now with your explication. Tongue

Im not so sure about this move though..

"Thankfully, most people get the point, which is that God (if there is a God) must be greater than our notions about God. God cannot be put into the tiny box of our preconceptions. He's (she's, it's) too big to fit in there."

This is simply not necessarily true, it presumes a level of obtuseness in all religions that i dont think quite exists. why MUST god be greater then our notions about him(her)?
A notion is not an all encompassing description, im quite sure NO religious believers think that their views on god are all encompassing.. the religions of the world are based around what its adherents believe to be a limited view of god, a view that has been shared with us, usually by god.


when we enter a discussion on matters of discordance, we should search for truth not victory, In this manner we always win, there are no losers.
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06-21-2017, 06:46 PM
Post: #4
RE: Take Care, All
Hi, Peter. Thanks for the response. Let me see if I can explain myself a little better.

You really cant see how it could come off as a pro (non-trinitarianist) Christian rant?

No, I can't, but I suppose it's because the story was written in a kind of shorthand. I said that, if I were writing it now, it would probably contain a lot more words. Most of those words would have been used to introduce the Hindu Gods, Native American spirit beings, and on and on and on. A non-triune God would have probably made an appearance as well. (Actually, He did. Jehovah was there, and we all know that He doesn't play well with others.) Chalk it up to me being too lazy to write all of that, and not that I'm pro-Mormon or pro-Jehovah's Witness.

it presumes a level of obtuseness in all religions that i dont think quite exists

I do. And not just in religions, but in all belief systems and philosophies, including my own. Most of us see only what we wish to see.

why MUST god be greater then our notions about him(her)?

Perhaps "greater" wasn't exactly the right word. "Different" would probably be better.

On one of the other forums I'm visiting now, there was someone who took issue with me on the subject of Hell, when I wrote that if God were petty and vindictive enough to sentence people to eternal torment, then He wouldn't seem, to me, to be any better than we are - especially since Jesus (who was, presumably, His Son) taught that we should "turn the other cheek" and forgive. [As a former fundamentalist Christian, I'm aware that God's sense of justice supposedly "trumps" His mercy, so please, everyone, don't use that line of argument with me. It won't fly.]

Many folks, when they talk of God, are really just talking about "human-plus". They view God as merely somebody like us, only better. This is quite understandable, since we have no other frame of reference by which to judge. But to me, God (again, if there is one) would seem to be beyond the comprehension of little creatures like us. Giving Him human, or even super-human, characteristics just doesn't do Him justice. He's a whole 'nother animal entirely.

im quite sure NO religious believers think that their views on god are all encompassing

Then you haven't been around as many fundamentalists as I have. I knew all about God when I was a Christian. There wasn't any question you could ask me about Him that I couldn't answer. In fact, there wasn't any question about anything that I couldn't answer. I was really a self-righteous little prig at one time, let me tell you.
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06-21-2017, 06:52 PM (This post was last modified: 06-21-2017 06:59 PM by PeterPants.)
Post: #5
RE: Take Care, All
Hmm. I would say most of us see that which we can see considering the contextualization skills we have been granted through experience. I dont think 'wanting' necassarially skews our views so strongly.

But your right. I think i may have understated how far some people think there understanding of god goes . still, i think most people think of their understanding of their god as merely a glimpse of his nature.


when we enter a discussion on matters of discordance, we should search for truth not victory, In this manner we always win, there are no losers.
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06-22-2017, 01:49 AM (This post was last modified: 06-22-2017 01:51 AM by taykair.)
Post: #6
RE: Take Care, All
Everybody Makes 'Em

I hate it when this happens. Here is the first sentence of post #2:

I'm going to tell you about the little about the story I wrote when I first went online back in 2001.

Of course, what I meant to write was either:

I'm going to tell you a little about the story I wrote when I first went online back in 2001.


I'm going to tell you about the little story I wrote when I first went online back in 2001.

At the time, I couldn't decide which I wanted to say and, not paying attention, I ended up mashing the two versions together into an unreadable sentence. I didn't catch it in time to edit. Sorry.

You might be asking "What's the big deal?" The big deal is that I try not to do things like that. But, of course, everybody does. The internet just wouldn't be the internet without typos, misspelled words, grammatical errors, and so on.

The thing is, I don't really mind it in others. As long as I can get the gist of what the other guy is trying to communicate to me, then I'm satisfied. I'm sure most folks feel the same. Still, I just can't stand it when I do it. I admit that I do tend to like everything "just so". (And to think: All this time, people were calling me anal, and I just assumed they were calling me an [censored].)

Anyway, as it is very likely that I will make similar mistakes in the future, I am apologizing for all of them now.

While I'm at it, I also want to say that whenever you read a post of mine, you need to mentally preface it with the phrase "in my opinion" and end it with "but I could be wrong". There are times when I express myself in absolutes, and these little mental additions tend to take the rough edges off.

Take care.
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06-22-2017, 04:57 PM
Post: #7
RE: Take Care, All
The following originally appeared in early 2012, at the height of the "Mayan Doomsday Prophecy" hysteria. I had seen so many History Channel programs about this foolishness that I was moved to rattle off a rant about it. (By the way, don't get me started about the History Channel - or, as I like to call it, The Pawn Shop, Bigfoot, Drivers on Icy Roads, UFO, Folks Who Live Near Swamps, Loch Ness Monster, Folks Who Pick Through Other Folks' Garbage Channel. Hmm. Perhaps I should just shorten it to the Garbage Channel.)

The End Is Near (Again)

I once heard someone say that anyone who gives a date for the end of the world is correct in a sense. This is because, after the date passes, the prophet is revealed to be either a charlatan or a jackass. Therefore, the end of the world has indeed come - for the prophet.

This isn't always the case, however. Many doomsday prophets have actually been able to attract more followers after a failed prediction than they had before.

The foremost example of this is Jesus. When some of his disciples asked about his return and when the Kingdom of God which Jesus predicted would occur, Jesus said:

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. (The Gospel of Mark. Chapter 13, Verse 8. KJV)

Let's see... wars, earthquakes, famines, and troubles (which could mean almost anything). Are these really predictions, or merely a statement of the obvious?

There has hardly been a day gone by since Jesus spoke these words that there has not been some kind of conflict happening somewhere in the world, and the same was true even before he "predicted" that nations would be at war. Earthquakes - major and minor - occur on a daily basis somewhere in the world, and have been for longer than we have been recording them. Famines have been taking place regularly ever since man learned to farm rather than forage for his food. Troubles? Name a day when nobody, anywhere in the world, has had troubles. (Okay. The original text says "pestilences", not troubles, but pestilence has always been around as well.)

"But these things are more frequent now," the end-timers claim. "They're more destructive now, and we hear more about such things now than in the past."

First of all, these events are not more frequent now. In the case of earthquakes, they are actually less frequent and less violent than in earlier periods of Earth's history. Second, if these events are more destructive to the works which man has built, then that's only because the human race has spread itself out to cover almost the entire planet. And, finally, the reason we hear more about these events today is not because they are happening with a greater intensity, but rather because we are living in an age of rapid, worldwide communications and a 24/7 news cycle.

Perhaps Jesus learned his precognitive technique from the prophet Daniel:

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. (The Book of Daniel, Chapter 12. Verse 4. KJV)

In my youth, I have actually heard preachers use this "prophecy" as proof of the Bible's veracity. "You see," they would say, "Daniel predicted the population boom, the travel boom, and the knowledge boom. It's only a matter of time before the world goes boom!"

Yes, it's quite a prediction alright. In the future - at the time of the end - there will be more people, more traveling, and knowledge will increase.

But what's the alternative? Of course there are more people, who travel more, and know more, than there used to be. Does this mean that we are living in the last days? No, because this isn't really a prediction. It's merely progress. If Daniel had predicted that there would be fewer people, who stayed home and were ignorant, and if that would have happened, then it would have been quite a prediction indeed. (Then again, with the advent of television, perhaps more people are staying home and becoming more ignorant.) As it is, Daniel's prediction is about as earth-shaking as predicting that the sun will rise in the East tomorrow morning.

Daniel made his prophecy during one of the low points in the history of Israel - the Babylonian captivity. (There have, unfortunately, been many low points in the history of this beleaguered people. This wasn't the first, nor would it be the last.) After Daniel and his prophecies, Israel once again recovered and grew. Again, we see that a flawed - indeed, almost worthless - prediction was followed by growth, not decimation; just as Jesus' failed predictions were also followed by the expansion of the Christian church.

These are not the only examples, however. For instance, in spite of the fact that Nostradamus' prophecies concerning the end of days have failed miserably, his followers still claim that he was something more than just some medieval quack who wrote bad poetry.

I have an old paperback copy of Nostradamus Predicts the End of the World written by Rene Noobergen in 1981. On the cover of the book, it says:

Before the year 2000 ---
--- The Arabs will wipe out Israel.
--- New York City will be destroyed by an earthquake.
--- The US will ally with Russia against China in WWIII.

Inside the book, all the details are given - along with the appropriate quotes from Nostradamus - for each of these disasters, as well as many others. All of them were to take place before the year 2000.

Gee. I must have slept through all that.

Proven wrong? Yes. Meaningless claptrap? Absolutely. And yet, more books, magazine articles and television programs have been dedicated to Nostradamus since 2000 than there were prior to his having been proven wrong. His followers (of which there are more now than there were in 2000) simply reinterpret Nostradamus' predictions to mean something else, just as they have done with all his prior prophecies. (An example: The Hister, a river where little of consequence ever took place in spite of Nostradamus' prediction to the contrary, was reinterpreted to mean Hitler - a person who was, unfortunately, very consequential in recent history. This is the kind of charlatanism which abounds amongst the Nosties.)

Other examples of growth in spite of evidence can be found in America's religious history.

There's the tale of the Reverend William Miller, who predicted the end of the world (not once, but twice) in the 1800s. Many of Miller's followers sold all their possessions, bought "ascension robes" (sold by Miller, of course) and waited on a hilltop for Jesus to come and snatch them away. Twice.

Now, you'd think there would be a lot of very pissed-off people after they realized that their Lord wasn't going to make an appearance - especially after the second time. But no. The Millerite movement grew. Today it is known as Seventh Day Adventism, and it is one of the largest Christian denominations in America. Go figure.

Or try to figure how the Jehovah's Witnesses have announced a date for our destruction at least four times since the early 1900s, and - once each Date of Doom had come and gone - saw increases in their membership rolls each time.

Try to figure out why The Late Great Planet Earth, written by fundamentalist Christian Hal Lindsey, still sells copies even after he implied in the book that Jesus would return sometime during the 1980s. (He wrote the book in 1970.)

You might be thinking, "It's not that hard to figure out. People are stupid sheep who will fall for anything."

You may be right. Which leads me to my prediction:

Some folks are now making a mint (a la William Miller's ascension robes) by selling books which claim that an ancient Mayan prophecy has set the day of our doom to be December 21, 2012. This is rather difficult for me to understand, since I was under the impression that there isn't anyone alive today who can read the ancient Mayan language. There is no "Rosetta stone" which would help us translate this dead language. The Mayan Calendar might be a recipe for llama stew for all we know. That aside, the question remains: What will happen starting December 22, 2012?

I predict the movement will grow. Those who predicted destruction will say something like, "Oh, we didn't mean a literal destruction. We meant a destruction of our old way of life, and an embracing of a New Age of mankind" - or some other similar claptrap - and people will eat it up. (Some of the 2012ers are saying this kind of thing even before the Mayan "doomsday", just to hedge their bets.)

Mark my words: Neo-Mayanism will become the New Christianity. You heard it here first.

Of course, my prophecy includes a proviso which no other prophet has ever had the humility to utter. It is this:

I could be wrong.

And, of course, I was wrong. Neo-Mayanism just hasn't taken off the way I thought it would. What a pity.

Take care.
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06-24-2017, 08:18 PM
Post: #8
RE: Take Care, All
Hi, folks.

I'm going to be gone for a little while. I've really enjoyed reading the posts here, many of which were quite thought-provoking.

Take care.
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01-12-2018, 11:08 AM
Post: #9
RE: Take Care, All
Change my user name to Douglas MacArthur because:

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01-18-2018, 04:14 PM (This post was last modified: 01-18-2018 05:03 PM by taykair.)
Post: #10
Pos(t)ers I Have Known
I think I started going online around 2000-2001. Of course, I have no way of proving it, since most of the forums I contributed to back then have since gone belly-up for one reason or another. Still, except for a short "vacation" from the internet (which ended up lasting about three years), I have been a (more or less) active part of scores of online forums.

In that time, I have observed a few different species of posters who have, for one reason or another, made me want to take a permanent vacation. Here's my list. Please do not hesitate to make your own additions to it.

THE TROLL - I have to start with this one, because no list of forum pos(t)ers would be complete without him. Indeed, I've never seen a forum that didn't have at least one of these creatures. Fortunately, they aren't allowed to run free for very long, and concientious webmasters eject them after giving them a chance to change their ways. They seldom do, though. The troll thrives on the attention he gets by instigating heated arguments (instead of friendly discussion), engaging in personal attacks, and generally making trouble. This is why folks should NEVER FEED THE TROLL. A subspecies of the troll is...

THE MISSIONARY - This is someone who purposely joins a website that promotes an idea which is contrary to his own for the purpose of insulting the people there. Examples of this would be an atheist who disrupts a "Christians-only" forum, or a "scientist" (note the quotes) who horns in on a forum devoted to paranomal activity. Now, there's nothing wrong with observing, or even joining, a website whose values are at odds with your own. In fact, it's a great way to learn about other folks and what they believe, as long as you are respectful and don't ask questions which are designed more to disrupt rather than to gain a better understanding. However, if you join a website solely in order to impose your point-of-view where it's not wanted, then you are a missionary. You are a troll. Live with it.

MR. NON-SEQUITOR - This fellow is rather harmless compared with the two above, but he still gets under my skin. Imagine you're taking part in a thread about karma as it relates to the problem of good and evil. You read post after interesting post, until you get to Mr. Non-sequitor's posting of a YouTube video about how to stuff a turkey for Thanksgiving. "What the hell?" you say to yourself, until you see the poster's name and realize he's done this kind of thing before. Lots of times. Then you just sigh and move on.

THE GRAMMARIAN - Folks, if the only thing you can contribute to a discussion is that a word has been misspelled, or that a comma should have been inserted after the third word in the second sentence of the first paragraph, then - despite what you may think - you're part of the problem, not the solution. You should understand that this is the WORLD WIDE web. There are folks who, because of age, or education, or simply because English is not their first language, cannot express themselves as masterfully as you can. (Or, as masterfully as can you. Whatever.)

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME - Yes, I have read Plato. Yes, I'm aware that before any meaningful discussion can take place, we should define our terms. There comes a point, though, when it seems that an entire thread seems devoted to arguing definitions instead of discussing ideas. Frankly, arguing semantics bores the hell out of me. Example: "Atheism is not a belief that there is no God, it is a disbelief in God." Yawn. Okay. Fine. Can we get to the point now please?

THE FALLACY PHALLUS: "You are guilty of circular reasoning." "Your argument is also known as inductive fallacy." "I totally reject such appeals to authority." And on. And on. And on. It's true that some arguments are better than others, and we should all try (I said TRY) to avoid fallacious arguments to support our views. However, some folks would rather critique the argument itself rather than the point of the argument. Many times, this is because they have nothing of any real value to add to the discussion. They're kind of like the Grammarians - mostly harmless, but real pricks nonetheless.

That's my list. I'm sure there are more, but I'll let you folks add to it. Take care.
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