Difference between revisions of "Debate:Creationist"

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::Fact is that the opposition has to call them ''something''. "Creationism" and "Creationist" seem to be the most widely recognized terms, officially used (for example) by the Northwest Creation Network.
 
::Fact is that the opposition has to call them ''something''. "Creationism" and "Creationist" seem to be the most widely recognized terms, officially used (for example) by the Northwest Creation Network.
 
::Speaking from personal experience, nobody in these parts of the world thinks that a "Creationist" believes in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_belief some other] story. However, if you want to be precise, then those articles could be edited to specify "Young Earth Creationist" (or "Old Earth Creationist") where applicable. It would be more precise, but on this site, it would strike me as somewhat redundant. --[[User:JakeC|JakeC]] 14:47, 26 December 2007 (EST)
 
::Speaking from personal experience, nobody in these parts of the world thinks that a "Creationist" believes in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_belief some other] story. However, if you want to be precise, then those articles could be edited to specify "Young Earth Creationist" (or "Old Earth Creationist") where applicable. It would be more precise, but on this site, it would strike me as somewhat redundant. --[[User:JakeC|JakeC]] 14:47, 26 December 2007 (EST)
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Anyone who has been on Conservapedia for very long, will rapidly learn that I, at least as much as any other member of CP's administration, am the sort of thinker to whom the term ''creationist'' might apply. That makes me one of the best-qualified people to start this discussion. (In addition to which, I happened to see it first when [[User:Aschlafly|Andy]] published this topic to the debate page.)
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== Introduction ==
 +
What is a creationist? Very simple: it is one believing, and willing to defend the belief, that [[God]] created the world, life on it, and mankind. This position is called ''creationism''.<ref>[http://creationwiki.org/Creationism Creationism] by [[CreationWiki]]</ref>
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A creationist is almost always an ''apologist''. An apologist does not say that he's ''sorry'' for saying something (though he might be sorry that he sometimes ''has to'' say some things that are going to push people out of their comfort zones). An apologist ''defends'' something, and is prepared to show that that something is true and correct. So perhaps we can define another term: ''creation apologist'', for one who defends the notion that the universe and mankind had (and still have) a Creator.
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 +
You might also be familiar with the term ''creation scientist.'' That can be one who presupposes that the world was in fact created, and sets out to show:
 +
 +
#How, in detail, the world and mankind were created, and
 +
#Why the world today looks the way it does.
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 +
Or it can be one simply willing to challenge the opposite presupposition: that the world and mankind ''had no'' Creator, and that the world and life on it "just happened" to "come together" after a series of accidents, without thought or purpose.
 +
 +
== What a creationist is not ==
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A creationist is not necessarily a holder to the scientific paradigm of [[intelligent design]]. All that an ID scientist sees is that the world looks very much like a thing planned and built, not a thing that "got here" by accident. An ID thinker never troubles himself to discover or even to think about ''who did the planning and the building.'' A creationist would think about things like that, but not an ID man. And while an intelligent design for the world and life might be ''part'' of any workable model of creation, identifying the Creator is not part of intelligent-design theory.
 +
 +
Nor is a creationist a shaman or other practitioner of "magic" or any "secret art" or "black art." We make no secret of what we presuppose--nor do we pretend to have any secret knowledge.
 +
 +
== Presuppositions of creationism ==
 +
Every school of thought begins with certain presuppositions--things having no explanation beyond themselves. In middle-school science classes, one might hear the term "fundamental property of nature." The formal term is ''axiom'', from the [[Greek]] ''axios'' meaning a worthy thing.
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So what do we consider worthy to start with and regard as settled?
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# One [[God]] exists, and He created the universe and ordained its laws.
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# He also left a Record with us--that thing we call the [[Bible]]--which is only the All-time Best-selling Work of literature in the history of printing!
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# That Record is ''historic'' and deserves to be treated as such.
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 +
The historicity of the Bible perhaps deserves its own essay. But we can regard the Bible as reliably historic on these grounds:
 +
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# It contains the direct testimony of and about One Who stated directly and repeatedly that He ''was'' God.
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# That Person is the Best-attested Figure in all of human history.
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# The Bible makes certain definite predictions about this Person--predictions made centuries before the fact, predictions that all came true without exception.
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# The chances of those predictions "just happening" to be accurate, even five hundred years or more in advance, happen to be slimmer than one in 10<sup>157</sup>. That's one in ten thousand quinquagintillion. That's one in ten times the thirty-sixth power of a myriad. That is almost the ''square'' of the total number of [[electrons]] in the [[universe]].
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Now if the Bible is right about Someone like That, then It's right about everything else It says. ''Including'' anything It has to say about the origins of the world and of life.
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== But, but, but...! ==
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"But the Bible says that the world is not but six thousand years old, give or take a hundred, and we all know that the world is much older than that!" Do we? Who said it was? The hard part of trying to construct a model of origins without a historical record (or at least without one you're willing to accept) is trying to predict what conditions ''were'' in the beginning. Of course, people tend to do the simplest thing--they assume that the ''same'' conditions that obtain today have ''always'' obtained throughout the history of the world. And that assumption simply is not safe.
 +
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And even if it were, it leads to some tremendous contradictions. For example:
 +
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#The [[moon]] is receding from the earth so fast that if the earth were half as old as I have heard some people claim it to be, the moon would be touching the earth.
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#The magnetic field of the earth is weakening so fast, that a scant ten thousand years ago, it would have been strong enough to rip the earth apart.
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#The oceans are accumulating so much salt that--well, let's just say that six or seven thousand years ago, the oceans wouldn't have had any salt at all in them.
 +
 +
"But what about radioactive meterial? Half-lives? Daughter nuclides? Huh? Huh?"
 +
 +
What about [[radiometric dating]], indeed? Well, did any of you hear about a little episode in 1996, in which a geologist named Steven A. Austin took samples from the cooled lava dome at Mount Saint Helens and sent them in to a radiometric dating laboratory? Of course he didn't tell them where he got the rocks. Now how old do you think those rocks were? Ten years old, right? After all, Mount Saint Helens blew its top in 1986. Well, guess how old that lab thought the rocks were? Half a million years old, or even two point eight million!
 +
 +
If any hospital lab had made a comparable mistake, it would have been shut down for its pains. So how did that lab make that mistake? Simple--they presupposed that no daughter nuclide would be present in the formation of igneous rock. And yet they found a clear excess of radiogenic [[argon]], the decay product of the radioactive [[potassium]] in the rock. And it wasn't a matter of "tolerances," either--they reported five different ages for the rock, and those ages were further apart than the sums of their rated tolerances. ''They couldn't even figure out that the rocks all came from the same source, and that source was a recent volcanic eruption!''
 +
 +
Nor was this the first such mistake. Back in 1993, miners in the Crinum Coal Mine in [[Australia]] unearthed a fossil tree buried in [[basalt]]. Andrew Snelling and his team sent a sample of the wood to one lab, and samples of the surrounding rock to two different labs. And what do you suppose the labs told them? They got back one apparent age for the tree (about 10,000 years) and apparent ages for the rocks that were orders-of-magnitude higher--as in, in the millions of years.
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 +
Now don't you think that somebody's got some explaining to do? What kind of stupid mistake was this? Not stupid--merely ignorant and prejudiced by their worldview--and making a bunch of wrong assumptions about radioactive decay.
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 +
To find out the definitive source of those wrong assumptions--and to try to build a new model of radiometric dating--Snelling, Austin, and other scientists (including Larry Vardiman and Russell Humphreys) formed the RATE Group--for '''R'''adioisotopes and the '''A'''ge of '''T'''he '''E'''arth. They have issued their first papers by now, and the results have shocked the establishment. They found an excessive rate of helium diffusion from zircon crystals--so fast that you wonder why any helium remains after "all this time." They found pleochroic haloes--the kind of finding you get with a short half-life--in minerals containing elements with ''long'' half lives. They found that the [[Grand Canyon]] is a lot "younger" than ever supposed. And what it all adds up to--is that the rate of radioactive decay ''has not'' remained constant since the birth of the earth, but was ''greatly accelerated'' at least once in earth history--maybe during Creation Week, or maybe--just maybe--in the Year of the Flood, and in such a way to have ''triggered'' the Flood.
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"But all life is basically alike!" No, it isn't. Prokaryotic and eukaryotic life are orders-of-magnitude different from one another.
 +
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"But speciation happens all the time!" Sure, it does--but only within definitely prescribed kinds. You don't get a new species that is a cross between a wolf and a big cat--nor could you produce a viable pup/kitten hybrid by crossing any species of wolf (the domestic dog is a subspecies of the gray wolf ''Canis lupus'') with any species of big cat.
 +
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"But didn't Miller and Urey show how amino acids probably formed in the early atmospheric conditions?" No, they didn't. First, they set up a gas mixture that might work, with no good reason to suppose that those were the gases that were ever the way earth's atmosphere was put together. Second, they got a racemic mix of amino acids--not the uniformly left-handed mix that we observe in all of life today.
 +
 +
== Accusations against creationism and creationists ==
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"You never publish in peer-reviewed journals." And ''our'' journals aren't peer-reviewed? And would you be willing to accept one of "our" papers in one of "your" journals? Not if the way a certain former curator of the Smithsonian was treated is any indication. And anyway, a RATE group leader ''was'' invited to present his abstract at a recent geology meeting, and the selection process for those abstracts ''was'' peer reviewed. So you see, we ''can'' publish in peer-reviewed journals--so long as the peers doing the reviewing are willing to be reasonable, rather than act on prejudice.
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"You guys simply look for ways to make the data fit your beliefs!" And evolutionists don't?
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"You're praying for ignorance!" No, we're not. If anything, we're blowing the lid off a major scientific scandal. Here's a hint: it didn't start with Piltdown Man.
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"Religion and science don't mix!" And anti-religion and science ''do'' mix?
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:"Buzz-word alert! What is 'anti-religion'?" It is anything that takes the place of religion, and certainly acts like religion, while arguing, often scathingly, against it. Secular humanism is the prime example today.
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"You guys give up too easily. We'll find out how [[abiogenesis]] happened, and won't you look silly!" Heh, heh. Oh, we'll wait, all right--but we're more likely to see the Second Coming of Christ than any proof that life could ever arise from non-life. If abiogenesis ever happened in the past, then it ought to happen today, and in the wild, not under controlled and completely artificial conditions.
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:"But it's different today!" Ah, ha! I thought you held to [[uniformitarianism]], that says that how it is today has always been that way! I guess conditions change, and radically so, when it suits you, no?
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As you can see, we've heard it all before, and we continue to hear it--and a lot worse than this, but I see no reason to bore everybody with all the ugly [[ad hominem]] details.--[[User:TerryH|TerryH]]<sup>[[User talk:TerryH|Talk]]</sup> 14:59, 26 December 2007 (EST)
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== References ==
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{{reflist|2}}
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[[Category:Debate]]

Revision as of 20:00, December 26, 2007

Conservapedia uses the term "creationist" in 129 (now 128) entries, but the term seems to be imprecise and often used by adversaries in a pejorative manner. It is sometimes by bigots or vandals.

Are there any precise and valid uses of this term? I'm curious about its etymology, as the dictionary says the term did not even exist until 1880.--Aschlafly 13:51, 26 December 2007 (EST)

While the etymology would I'm sure be interesting, there is a simpler road to take. Namely, an "-ist" is a person who subscribes to an "-ism" (philosophy) or engages in some kind of practice. Thus a creationist is simply one who holds that creation is an element of reality. It doesn't have to be any more specific than that, and the identification needn't carry any connotative baggage. Qwestor 14:01, 26 December 2007 (EST)

First of all, thanks for your correction to my mistake in dot product.
To your point above, however, the term "creationist" would ostensibly apply to anyone who accepts a creation. But that is not how the term is used, which makes it confusing. Also, it is often used in a pejorative manner as an expression of bigotry, making it unsuitable for enlightened discourse.--Aschlafly 14:15, 26 December 2007 (EST)
I believe that the term is correct, but others simply use it while voicing criticism (no matter how immature).
(As an aside: While I'm not an expert, it appears to me as if a partial shift to a more precise term has already happened: I saw the term "Creation Scientist" more often lately, but that (obviously) only applies to, you know, scientists and not the average John Doe. It also doesn't solve the potential confusion about "a creation".)
Fact is that the opposition has to call them something. "Creationism" and "Creationist" seem to be the most widely recognized terms, officially used (for example) by the Northwest Creation Network.
Speaking from personal experience, nobody in these parts of the world thinks that a "Creationist" believes in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or some other story. However, if you want to be precise, then those articles could be edited to specify "Young Earth Creationist" (or "Old Earth Creationist") where applicable. It would be more precise, but on this site, it would strike me as somewhat redundant. --JakeC 14:47, 26 December 2007 (EST)

Anyone who has been on Conservapedia for very long, will rapidly learn that I, at least as much as any other member of CP's administration, am the sort of thinker to whom the term creationist might apply. That makes me one of the best-qualified people to start this discussion. (In addition to which, I happened to see it first when Andy published this topic to the debate page.)

Introduction

What is a creationist? Very simple: it is one believing, and willing to defend the belief, that God created the world, life on it, and mankind. This position is called creationism.[1]

A creationist is almost always an apologist. An apologist does not say that he's sorry for saying something (though he might be sorry that he sometimes has to say some things that are going to push people out of their comfort zones). An apologist defends something, and is prepared to show that that something is true and correct. So perhaps we can define another term: creation apologist, for one who defends the notion that the universe and mankind had (and still have) a Creator.

You might also be familiar with the term creation scientist. That can be one who presupposes that the world was in fact created, and sets out to show:

  1. How, in detail, the world and mankind were created, and
  2. Why the world today looks the way it does.

Or it can be one simply willing to challenge the opposite presupposition: that the world and mankind had no Creator, and that the world and life on it "just happened" to "come together" after a series of accidents, without thought or purpose.

What a creationist is not

A creationist is not necessarily a holder to the scientific paradigm of intelligent design. All that an ID scientist sees is that the world looks very much like a thing planned and built, not a thing that "got here" by accident. An ID thinker never troubles himself to discover or even to think about who did the planning and the building. A creationist would think about things like that, but not an ID man. And while an intelligent design for the world and life might be part of any workable model of creation, identifying the Creator is not part of intelligent-design theory.

Nor is a creationist a shaman or other practitioner of "magic" or any "secret art" or "black art." We make no secret of what we presuppose--nor do we pretend to have any secret knowledge.

Presuppositions of creationism

Every school of thought begins with certain presuppositions--things having no explanation beyond themselves. In middle-school science classes, one might hear the term "fundamental property of nature." The formal term is axiom, from the Greek axios meaning a worthy thing.

So what do we consider worthy to start with and regard as settled?

  1. One God exists, and He created the universe and ordained its laws.
  2. He also left a Record with us--that thing we call the Bible--which is only the All-time Best-selling Work of literature in the history of printing!
  3. That Record is historic and deserves to be treated as such.

The historicity of the Bible perhaps deserves its own essay. But we can regard the Bible as reliably historic on these grounds:

  1. It contains the direct testimony of and about One Who stated directly and repeatedly that He was God.
  2. That Person is the Best-attested Figure in all of human history.
  3. The Bible makes certain definite predictions about this Person--predictions made centuries before the fact, predictions that all came true without exception.
  4. The chances of those predictions "just happening" to be accurate, even five hundred years or more in advance, happen to be slimmer than one in 10157. That's one in ten thousand quinquagintillion. That's one in ten times the thirty-sixth power of a myriad. That is almost the square of the total number of electrons in the universe.

Now if the Bible is right about Someone like That, then It's right about everything else It says. Including anything It has to say about the origins of the world and of life.

But, but, but...!

"But the Bible says that the world is not but six thousand years old, give or take a hundred, and we all know that the world is much older than that!" Do we? Who said it was? The hard part of trying to construct a model of origins without a historical record (or at least without one you're willing to accept) is trying to predict what conditions were in the beginning. Of course, people tend to do the simplest thing--they assume that the same conditions that obtain today have always obtained throughout the history of the world. And that assumption simply is not safe.

And even if it were, it leads to some tremendous contradictions. For example:

  1. The moon is receding from the earth so fast that if the earth were half as old as I have heard some people claim it to be, the moon would be touching the earth.
  2. The magnetic field of the earth is weakening so fast, that a scant ten thousand years ago, it would have been strong enough to rip the earth apart.
  3. The oceans are accumulating so much salt that--well, let's just say that six or seven thousand years ago, the oceans wouldn't have had any salt at all in them.

"But what about radioactive meterial? Half-lives? Daughter nuclides? Huh? Huh?"

What about radiometric dating, indeed? Well, did any of you hear about a little episode in 1996, in which a geologist named Steven A. Austin took samples from the cooled lava dome at Mount Saint Helens and sent them in to a radiometric dating laboratory? Of course he didn't tell them where he got the rocks. Now how old do you think those rocks were? Ten years old, right? After all, Mount Saint Helens blew its top in 1986. Well, guess how old that lab thought the rocks were? Half a million years old, or even two point eight million!

If any hospital lab had made a comparable mistake, it would have been shut down for its pains. So how did that lab make that mistake? Simple--they presupposed that no daughter nuclide would be present in the formation of igneous rock. And yet they found a clear excess of radiogenic argon, the decay product of the radioactive potassium in the rock. And it wasn't a matter of "tolerances," either--they reported five different ages for the rock, and those ages were further apart than the sums of their rated tolerances. They couldn't even figure out that the rocks all came from the same source, and that source was a recent volcanic eruption!

Nor was this the first such mistake. Back in 1993, miners in the Crinum Coal Mine in Australia unearthed a fossil tree buried in basalt. Andrew Snelling and his team sent a sample of the wood to one lab, and samples of the surrounding rock to two different labs. And what do you suppose the labs told them? They got back one apparent age for the tree (about 10,000 years) and apparent ages for the rocks that were orders-of-magnitude higher--as in, in the millions of years.

Now don't you think that somebody's got some explaining to do? What kind of stupid mistake was this? Not stupid--merely ignorant and prejudiced by their worldview--and making a bunch of wrong assumptions about radioactive decay.

To find out the definitive source of those wrong assumptions--and to try to build a new model of radiometric dating--Snelling, Austin, and other scientists (including Larry Vardiman and Russell Humphreys) formed the RATE Group--for Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth. They have issued their first papers by now, and the results have shocked the establishment. They found an excessive rate of helium diffusion from zircon crystals--so fast that you wonder why any helium remains after "all this time." They found pleochroic haloes--the kind of finding you get with a short half-life--in minerals containing elements with long half lives. They found that the Grand Canyon is a lot "younger" than ever supposed. And what it all adds up to--is that the rate of radioactive decay has not remained constant since the birth of the earth, but was greatly accelerated at least once in earth history--maybe during Creation Week, or maybe--just maybe--in the Year of the Flood, and in such a way to have triggered the Flood.

"But all life is basically alike!" No, it isn't. Prokaryotic and eukaryotic life are orders-of-magnitude different from one another.

"But speciation happens all the time!" Sure, it does--but only within definitely prescribed kinds. You don't get a new species that is a cross between a wolf and a big cat--nor could you produce a viable pup/kitten hybrid by crossing any species of wolf (the domestic dog is a subspecies of the gray wolf Canis lupus) with any species of big cat.

"But didn't Miller and Urey show how amino acids probably formed in the early atmospheric conditions?" No, they didn't. First, they set up a gas mixture that might work, with no good reason to suppose that those were the gases that were ever the way earth's atmosphere was put together. Second, they got a racemic mix of amino acids--not the uniformly left-handed mix that we observe in all of life today.

Accusations against creationism and creationists

"You never publish in peer-reviewed journals." And our journals aren't peer-reviewed? And would you be willing to accept one of "our" papers in one of "your" journals? Not if the way a certain former curator of the Smithsonian was treated is any indication. And anyway, a RATE group leader was invited to present his abstract at a recent geology meeting, and the selection process for those abstracts was peer reviewed. So you see, we can publish in peer-reviewed journals--so long as the peers doing the reviewing are willing to be reasonable, rather than act on prejudice.

"You guys simply look for ways to make the data fit your beliefs!" And evolutionists don't?

"You're praying for ignorance!" No, we're not. If anything, we're blowing the lid off a major scientific scandal. Here's a hint: it didn't start with Piltdown Man.

"Religion and science don't mix!" And anti-religion and science do mix?

"Buzz-word alert! What is 'anti-religion'?" It is anything that takes the place of religion, and certainly acts like religion, while arguing, often scathingly, against it. Secular humanism is the prime example today.

"You guys give up too easily. We'll find out how abiogenesis happened, and won't you look silly!" Heh, heh. Oh, we'll wait, all right--but we're more likely to see the Second Coming of Christ than any proof that life could ever arise from non-life. If abiogenesis ever happened in the past, then it ought to happen today, and in the wild, not under controlled and completely artificial conditions.

"But it's different today!" Ah, ha! I thought you held to uniformitarianism, that says that how it is today has always been that way! I guess conditions change, and radically so, when it suits you, no?

As you can see, we've heard it all before, and we continue to hear it--and a lot worse than this, but I see no reason to bore everybody with all the ugly ad hominem details.--TerryHTalk 14:59, 26 December 2007 (EST)

References