FAIL, I see...

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Jul 17 2012 11:06 PM

[In the post below, quoted text paragraphs begin with ***.]

Just bought and finished Carson's Exegetical Fallacies. Been wanting this for a long time since I was certain that it would contain many fallacies...not the ones Carson identifies, but the ones he perpetrates. Let me caution readers about "bad medicine". I'm not imputing bad motives to Carson, but one of the fallacies he neglected to mention is the "Fallacy fallacy". This occurs when people identify something as a fallacy when in fact it is nothing of the sort. The Fallacy fallacy is often a permutation of several of the fallacies Carson identifies, not the least being "The Cavalier Dismissal".

I have many issues with his various "examples" of certain fallacies, but I will note just a few. All are listed under "Root fallacies". This fallacy is the main fallacy which I expected him to err in elucidating. Let's pick up Carson in mid-rant:

*** All of this is linguistic nonsense. We might have guessed as much if we were more acquainted with the etymology of English words. Anthony C. Thiselton offers by way of example our word nice, which comes from the Latin nescius, meaning "ignorant." Our "good–bye" is a contraction for Anglo–Saxon "God be with you." Now it may be possible to trace out diachronically just how nescius generated "nice"; it is certainly easy to imagine how "God be with you" came to be contracted to "good–bye." But I know of no one today who in saying such and such a person is "nice" believes that he or she has in some measure labeled that person ignorant because the "root meaning" or "hidden meaning" or "literal meaning" of "nice" is "ignorant."

Wow, this is practically a twofer...two-for-one. So, for starters, I seriously doubt "good-bye" came from "God be with you". Sounds like an eggcorn to me. Ironically, I commented on a form of "good-bye" on a website dedicated to eggcorns just a couple of months ago, located here. Mine are the last two comments. In addition to what I say on the forum thread, I will add that "bye" essentially means "pass" or "permission to move along". We are familiar with the word as used in sports brackets--when a team gets to move to the next level without actually having to play another team they are said to get a "bye", i.e. they get to move along.

Regarding the word "nice", it is also rather ironic that I have used the word in the original root sense for years, even though I didn't realize it actually meant "ignorant" until I read Carson's comment above! In fact, I have even used the word in that sense on this very forum in the past, when I stated that the point of Christianity was not to be "nice", but rather to do what God says. For me, taking the syrupy nice approach at every opportunity may be perceived as "Christian", but nice-behaving people are often terribly wrong when it comes to fundamental Biblical issues. I promise you that God does not say, "Oh, that's okay! He's just so NICE!!"

0/2...not a good start. Maybe Carson can get out of trouble if he smacks a homerun!

Carson, in full stride, below tosses out these "unassailable" examples of root fallacies (it may seem that I have mixed my metaphors by putting Carson at bat and on the mound, but he is essentially swinging at his own pitches):

*** As Louw remarks, to derive the meaning of ὑπηρέτης (hypēretēs) from ὑπό (hypo) and ἐρέτης (eretēs) is no more intrinsically realistic than deriving the meaning of "butterfly" from "butter" and "fly," or the meaning of "pineapple" from "pine" and "apple." Even those of us who have never been to Hawaii recognize that pineapples are not a special kind of apple that grows on pines.

Well, of course not, D. A., but that isn't the intention in the name "pineapple". As such, your cavalier "straw man" dismissal, generated by erroneously stating and applying an obvious untruth, ignores the fact that there is an obvious reason for calling a pineapple a pineapple. A pineapple bears a remarkable resemblance to a pine cone. This conceptual connection is elucidated in the choice of the two root words that are purposefully compounded to form the word in view, pineapple--a fruit that looks like a pine cone. These two joined roots logically point to the designed intention of the word.

It is rather sad when your example of a fallacy is fallacious. Carson is 0/3...we could end here--but we would miss the fireworks!

Carson immediately rolls into this gem of "Fallacy fallacy" generation:

*** The search for hidden meanings bound up with etymologies becomes even more ludicrous when two words with entirely different meanings share the same etymology. James Barr draws attention to the pair [sic] לֶחֶס (leḥem) and מִלְחָמָה (milḥammâ), which mean "bread" and "war" respectively:

*** It must be regarded as doubtful whether the influence of their common root is of any importance semantically in classical Hebrew in the normal usage of the words. And it would be utterly fanciful to connect the two as mutually suggestive or evocative, as if battles were normally for the sake of bread or bread a necessary provision for battles. Words containing similar sound sequences may of course be deliberately juxtaposed for assonance, but this is a special case and separately recognizable.

[Attention: Let us ignore or annul Jdg. 8:4-6, since we wouldn't want to consider annulling Barr's sage words.]

We should first draw attention to the fact that Carson himself condemns as a fallacy the use of loaded language such as I have bolded above. He also eschews "simplistic appeals to authority". Barr is looked upon as almost a demi-god to many because of his book The Semantics of Bible Language. So Carson and Barr together get pinned with a Razzie for this error. Error??? Yes, believe it or not...error.

In the Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew, Matityahu Clark identifies the  ל  ח  ם   root as meaning "struggle for existence". No doubt he has Gen. 3:17-19 in mind, particularly "by the sweat of your face you will eat bread', in addition to the idea of fighting enemies for survival. Very interesting. What is even more interesting is that the connection between the two root-sharing words Barr mentions is even more explicit than just that. But "explicit" apparently isn't sufficient for those (such as Vine, et. al. below) who, in the 'battle" against fallacies, feed (pun intended) on bursting "folk etymologies".

*** In folk etymology, lacham is often connected with lechem, the Hebrew term for “bread,” on the contention that wars are fought for bread. There is, however, no good basis for such etymology.      Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W. (1996). Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (1:81). Nashville: T. Nelson.

Interestingly, Matityahu Clark references Gen. 14:2 as an example of the root referring to "fighting". But what was the purpose of the attack of the kings of the east against the kings of the valley? Sorry, W. E., but Gen. 14:11 makes it rather clear: "they took all their food supply". Oooops! Awwwwkward!! Surprise

Mere coincidence? 2 Sam. 22:38-40 attests otherwise, where war entails consuming the enemy as food/bread. And what about Strong's entry?

3898 לָחַם, לָחַם [lacham /law·kham/] v. A primitive root; TWOT 1104, 1105; GK 4309 and 4310; 177 occurrences; AV translates as “fight” 149 times, “to war” 10 times, “make war” eight times, “eat” five times, “overcome” twice, “devoured” once, “ever” once, and “prevail” once. 1 to fight, do battle, make war. 1a (Qal) to fight, do battle. 1b (Niphal) to engage in battle, wage war. 2 (Qal) to eat, use as food.

Sure, some will assert (George, you out there?) that Strong is predictably submitting to the folk etymology and not drawing the necessary distinction that other better lexicons make plain with two separate entries. But are the other lexicons perhaps themselves submitting to the more recent but mistaken "wise one" assertions (such as Barr's and Vines's) that there is no semantic connection when indeed there is? After all, there is more to consider than just what I have presented so far...

In Prov. 4:17, bread is associated with wickedness and violence, with the intention of developing a "your are what you eat" understanding. With these traits imbibed, we can make greater sense out of James 4:1-2, were Jacob associates the source of wars and conflicts within the appetites of mankind. Taken with Gal. 5:15, we see the cummulative result of these two verses: violence imbibed as bread, leads to war comming from the heart of man, which is manifested in attempting to consume one another as though bread.

There is also Jer. 42:14, where war and bread are seen as interlinked.

Not enough? Then how about Exo. 15:3, 7. YHWH is a WARrior (Man of war) and as a result He consumes the enemy. When He isn't personally doing the heavy lifting Himself, He directs Israel to follow his example (Deut. 7:16), where "consuming" the peoples clearly entails warfare. In Jer. 10:25 the enemies of Israel devour and consume him, and in Psa. 53:4-5 the ones who "eat His people as bread" are "encamped" against them, where encamped can mean "to lay siege against". When do people lay siege against others? Ding, ding, ding!!! WHEN THEY ARE AT WAR WITH THEM!

Proof? Ezek. 21:21-22 introduces the King of Babylon as laying seige to Jerusalem; just a few verses later, in Ezek. 21:28-29, we see "a sword" that is  "consuming". Hmmmm. And since v. 29 mentions "false visions", let's give the prophets their due...

In view of Am. 7:11-12, where Amos (after giving a war related prophecy) is told to go eat bread and prophesy, we have Mic. 3:5, which is rather summative--if you don't put bread in my mouth, then I declare war. As good as that one is, though, I think this one is the coup de grace, or should I say the coup de lehhem? In Jdg. 7:13-14, a loaf of bread actually fights and wins the war!!

War consumes. Eating consumes. What is consumed is most often referred to as bread. These are all the same Hebrew root.

NO LOGICAL CONNECTION BETWEEN THE ROOTS of "bread" and "war"?? Quite the opposite...and the overwhelmingly ironic thing about Carson's and Barr's blunder is that if they had just bothered to perform one of the anathema and higly ridiculed "root studies" that has been mocked and derided so unmercifully (and I have heard root studies mocked on this forum, as well), then they wouldn't now have the egg of "Fallacy fallacy" all over their faces.

So beware. Carson's Exegetical Fallacies is not "without question" the medicine for what ails you. On the other hand, it is a very NICE book! Angel

 

 

Posts 4763
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 17 2012 11:19 PM

Post above now fixed.

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Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 6:30 AM

David,

I'm not quite sure why you posted that kind of post in a Logos forum. I don't know that it violates forum guidelines, but it's certainly not any kind of standard forum post.

Now that the Logos web site supports reviews of its books, perhaps you could post your review as an actual review.

BTW, I love Carson's "Exegetical Fallacies" and consider it required reading.

Donnie

 

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William Gabriel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 7:16 AM

It's pretty clear from the first paragraph that you don't like Carson or his theology ("I was certain that it would contain many fallacies...the ones he perpetrates"). As a fan of his, I wish I had time to plow through a book like Exegetical Fallacies the way you did as his opponent.

Nevertheless, I stopped reading when you said the following:

David Paul:

Wow, this is practically a twofer...two-for-one. So, for starters, I seriously doubt "good-bye" came from "God be with you". Sounds like an eggcorn to me. 

You see, if you did even a little bit of research, you would have found the following: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/goodbyehttp://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=good-byehttp://english.stackexchange.com/questions/1505/what-is-the-origin-of-the-word-goodbye

I'm sure you're a nice person with nice opinions, but you can't let those get in the way of the truth. What you think might be more interesting when you can reduce your own fallacy error rate.

Perhaps you're just a troll, but that post was an awful lot of effort to get a rise out of Logos readership.

Posts 451
Dave Moser | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 7:44 AM

Donnie Hale:
I'm not quite sure why you posted that kind of post in a Logos forum. I don't know that it violates forum guidelines, but it's certainly not any kind of standard forum post.

I don't think it violates the forum rules since it's a review of a Logos product. However, like William already pointed out on the first criticism, the review is demonstrably erroneous at almost every turn.

Posts 10178
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 8:30 AM

Well, anyone that does much flying knows 'goodbye' came from the flight attendant's training manual.  And the proof is from the Satuday Night Live skit.

But I agree with the comments on Carson, even if the logical path is a little bouncy.

One of the challenges on the forum are folks that 'like' an author, or don't. Trying to use their recommendations (including my own) is chancy at best, since rarely is 'the logic' the basis for the opinion.

I'm moving through the ACCS I just l purchased based on a recommendation on the forum (our Mississippi friend who's comments I value). One almost has to paper-over the intros for each book, they're so driven to re-write the ancient father's points.

 


Posts 249
Giovanni Baggio | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 8:42 AM

As the old lady in the commercial with the red  converse shoes said, "Dang son!" That's the most random post I've ever read in a long time...I'm sure u must have a lot of time in your hands.  Anyway you're a nice dude I hope u know what dude means you elephant but hair!

LOL

Giovanni

Posts 451
Dave Moser | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 9:12 AM

DMB:
But I agree with the comments on Carson, even if the logical path is a little bouncy.

The logic isn't bouncy - it's flat out wrong. In fact, the OP's comments on the word "nice" actually prove Carson's point.

DMB:
One of the challenges on the forum are folks that 'like' an author, or don't.

This is a very good observation. However, the book in question has very little theology in it. It's really just a plea for responsible reading. I'm pretty sure almost everyone is on board with that.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 9:49 AM

Dave, I'd agree with you as long as we don't look at Carson beyond the book cited. But few exegetes on the forum limit their logic to the specific NT writings they're looking at. And so the 'fallacies' proceed.


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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 11:26 AM

Yeah!

 

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 11:31 AM

MJ. Smith:

Yeah!

 

I nominate MJ to be our Logician in Residence.  Wink

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 4:04 PM

William Gabriel:

It's pretty clear from the first paragraph that you don't like Carson or his theology

Not super aware of his particular theology. Don't know the man. So no...that isn't clear at all. My beef is with his assumptions regarding so-called "root fallacies". I point out, primarily, the mistake he makes regarding the Hebrew root for "bread" and "war". There is a demonstrated connection--Carson and Barr insist there isn't. Rabbi Clark identifies one in his dictionary, and I identified another that is even more to the point.

War consumes. Eating consumes. What is consumed is most often referred to as bread. These are all the same Hebrew root.

Regarding the side point you decided to hang on, maybe there is a connection between "good bye" and "God be with you". Even so, that doesn't explain the meaning that the phrase/word has all on its own. Perhaps there were two phrase that were blended together--that happens sometimes. Or perhaps the phrase evolved up to a point, then side-stepped or backed-up, picked up a new meaning, and then proceeded forward. That the word "bye" has a long estabished meaning that informs the phrase "good bye" and that this meaning is not directly semantically connected to "God be with you" is rather plain. So, I concede a connection...but it isn't simply a "washing down the stream" kind of thing. Somewhere along the line, the debris of the original phrase was panned from the river and constructed into something all its own, and "good bye" is the result of that process. The similarity of the phrases masks the interjection that occurred. Because the post was already very long (I wrote the war/bread part first), I deliberately didn't belabor what I just said above. I recognized the possiblity that someone (you!) might latch onto that singular, admittedly debatable point and conflate it into a refutation of the entire post. Not surprising.

 

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 4:09 PM

Dave:

However, like William already pointed out on the first criticism, the review is demonstrably erroneous at almost every turn.

Then demonstrate it...

I have conceded the point about "good bye" with an explanation, so pick something else.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 4:24 PM

My main point, in case any didn't get it in the OP, is that it is rather easy to call something a fallacy, wipe the imaginary dirt from ones hands, and then walk away feeling like you've done all that's need to be done. But sometimes, calling something a fallacy...IS a fallacy. The problem is that since the issue was identified as a fallacy previously, it is assumed that sufficient diligence was already afforded and a proper verdict achieved.

Sometimes, as in the war/bread issue in the OP, that is a wrong impression based on erroneous weighing of the evidence. In this case, though, based on the choice of wording the two men employ, one gets the idea they simply dismissed the idea rather than examined it (i.e. the Cavalier Dismissal). That really isn't what you would or should expect from someone who is publically engaged as an authority on the subject of fallacy identification.

As far as Carson's book is concerned, I have no problem with critical thought. I'm a champion of it. The book should be read if one hasn't already read similar books. Just don't assume that Exegetical Fallacies is fallacy free because of the name, though. That's my point.

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Dave Moser | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 5:13 PM

David Paul:
Then demonstrate it...

I have conceded the point about "good bye" with an explanation, so pick something else.

Sure, how about the very next thing?

David Paul:
Regarding the word "nice", it is also rather ironic that I have used the word in the original root sense for years, even though I didn't realize it actually meant "ignorant" until I read Carson's comment above!

Carson's point is that the word "nice" - which primarily means "pleasing; agreeable; delightful; amiably pleasant; kind" in contemporary English - originally meant nearly the opposite. You say that you use it in the original sense - meaning you use it sarcastically. Your sarcasm is knowingly using the word incorrectly to make a point.

Your sarcastic use of the word demonstrates that the contemporary definition of the word is, just as Carson says, completely different from its older meaning. You've proven his point - not refuted it.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 5:41 PM

Okay since I've been officially appointed the logician (thanks, George) I'll be more explicit than:

You need to separate two issues:

1) truth or falsity of the premises

2) legitimacy of the logical process

The latter is what "fallacy" applies to - one can apply perfect logic to bad premises and get bad results. That is not a fallacy - it's false premises. To claim that something is fallacious when in fact it is false premises is itself a fallacy.

An appeal to a reasonable but imperfect authority:

good-bye Look up good-bye at Dictionary.com
also goodbye, good bye, good-by, 1590s, from godbwye (1570s), itself a contraction of God be with ye (late 14c.), influenced by good day, good evening, etc."

If you want to confirm or deny this piece of data, I would suggest that sampling every quarter century or so from the 14th century on should be sufficient for an inductive logical proof.

Also note:

fal·la·cy

[fal-uh-see] noun, plural fal·la·cies. 1. a deceptive, misleading, or false notion, belief, etc.: That the world is flat was at one time a popular fallacy. 2.a misleading or unsound argument. 3.deceptive, misleading, or false nature; erroneousness. 4.Logic . any of various types of erroneous reasoning that render arguments logically unsound. 5.Obsolete . deception.
fallacy Look up fallacy at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "deception, false statement," from L. fallacia "deception," noun of quality from fallax (gen. fallacis) "deceptive," from fallere "deceive" (see fail). Specific sense in logic dates from 1550s. An earlier form was fallace (c.1300), from O.Fr. fallace.


Therefore you may reasonable reason that I am holding you to a too technical definition of "fallacy" as you were using casual reasoning rather than formal logic and in such a context your use of "fallacy" to refer to false premises was justified.

Of course, you could also complain that I assumed you were applying the rules of propositional or, perhaps, relational logic when in fact you intended to be understood as using the logic of belief. Should I have assumed, then, that I should consider the ramifications with regards to belief revision? (If you are lost at the point, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy should fill you in with a mere 80 pages of technical reading).

HmmAm I hearing a cry for a removal of me from the forum logician chair?Big SmileWink

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 7:24 PM

Dave:

 

Your sarcastic use of the word demonstrates that the contemporary definition of the word is, just as Carson says, completely different from its older meaning. You've proven his point - not refuted it.

Actually, the reality is I detected a sense of the word that is present in numerous situations. You can call that sarcastic if you like, but it isn't. The word practically screams out as a duality...one which exists because of a devolution and reformulation of meaning into the one you call contemporary.

Pleasant, (for-the-most-part) harmless, somewhat air-headed...when being put on the spot to describe such a person, the word for that is "nice". I've heard the word used in that way by others as well. If you have never detected an element of the negative in the word "nice", I would say you were quite tone deaf. In fact, most of the words you list, excepting perhaps "delightful" and "kind"--"pleasing; agreeable; amiably pleasant"--all of these have all been used to describe things or people that are perceived to have an element of being boring, unexciting, unoriginal, tepid, lacking in depth, etc.

Your pronouncement about me proving Carson's point is gaseous. No, just as I said, while I didn't consciously use the word in accordance to what the Latin meaning is, that doesn't mean I was using it sarcastically. I very much used the word to describe what I perceived the word to mean, just as I described above.

Btw, Carson's point explicitly was NOT that the word originally meant the opposite of what it means now. The idea of "opposite" is something that you injected into the conversation all on your own. He was merely pointing out that it significantly different. Pretty much everything you said is inaccurate.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 7:46 PM

No issues here with the new chair, MJ. But I'm curious how you would analyze your light hearted if/then statement at the end of one of your posts on the eastern Catholic church. Don't view this as some sort of criticism; as I read it I surmised what demands are made between an if and a then.

I'm guessing humorous or ironic if/then's don't demand the cute dog with the magnifying glass.


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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 7:51 PM

David (Paul) ... you're showing your age (and Carson's). 'Nice' now is the opposite of boring. At least for the generation now growing their families.


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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 8:24 PM

MJ. Smith:
good-bye Look up good-bye at Dictionary.com
also goodbye, good bye, good-by, 1590s, from godbwye (1570s), itself a contraction of God be with ye (late 14c.), influenced by good day, good evening, etc."

The bolded text above pretty much seals my point. This is NOT NOT NOT an issue of sole and direct influence of the phrase "God be with you". The "influenced by good day, good evening, etc." phrase is (to quote myself from above) the "debris of the original phrase...panned from the river and constructed into something all its own". "Bye" means to give permission to procede. That concept in NOT found in "God be with you". It IS, however, a historical component of the meaning behind "good bye". Where did the word "bye" and its meaning come from? Good question.

I've read extensively in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Took tons of logic and philosophy in college. I take it all with a grain of salt. A great deal of what passes for the kinds of logic you are talking about is "snow globe theorizing". It bears little if any connection to the real world. Much of it is proposed as little more than theoretical math with its attendant concept of set theory.

MJ. Smith:

The latter is what "fallacy" applies to - one can apply perfect logic to bad premises and get bad results. That is not a fallacy - it's false premises. To claim that something is fallacious when in fact it is false premises is itself a fallacy.

You may want to let Carson know about that, since he includes a whole section (called "Improperly handled syllogisms") about false premises in his book on the subject of Exegetical Fallacies. Actually, though, I think your exclusion of false premises is an inaccurate portrayal of what constitutes fallacy. A false premise, when undetected as they often are, has just as much probability to deceive as an invalid argument. Both are breakdowns of logic. Choosing and stating true premises is part of the logical process. "Applying logic", as you put it, must include the choosing of premises as part of its domain.

MJ. Smith:

Am I hearing a cry for a removal of me from the forum logician chair?

Perhaps...I don't know what Carson's voice sounds like.

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