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Thread: Stephen Hawking Says 'There Is No God'

  1. #1 Stephen Hawking Says 'There Is No God' 
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    Stephen Hawking says he's an atheist, arguing that science offers a "more convincing explanation" for the origins of the universe and that the miracles of religion "aren't compatible" with scientific fact.

    "Before we understood science, it was natural to believe that God created the universe, but now science offers a more convincing explanation," the celebrated physicist said in a video posted by Spanish newspaper El Mundo. "What I meant by 'we would know the mind of God' is we would know everything that God would know if there was a God, but there isn't. I'm an atheist."

    Hawking's remarks came in response to a question from El Mundo journalist Pablo Jauregui, who quizzed Hawking about his religious leanings in the lead-up to this week's Starmus Festival in the Canary Islands. The "mind of God" reference was Hawking's effort to clarify a passage in his 1988 book "A Brief History of Time," in which he wrote that scientists would "know the mind of God" if a unifying set of scientific principles known colloquially as the theory of everything were discovered.

    As NBC News reported, this isn't the first time Hawking has spoken about his religious beliefs.

    In 2011, he told The Guardian that he didn't believe in a heaven or an afterlife, calling it "a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." In 2007, he told the BBC that he was "not religious in the normal sense," adding, "I believe the universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws."


    Stephen Hawking Says 'There Is No God,' Confirms He's An Atheist


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    My interpretation is that he is saying religion is nonsense. However there may be a god who created what we observe.


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    science is what we know about the universe. It simply adds to our knowledge about the already created universe.

    The man didn't provide any proof for his absurd statement.
    Men are four: He who knows not and knows not he knows not, he is a fool--shun him; He who knows not and knows he knows not, he is simple--teach him; He who knows and knows not he knows, he is asleep--wake him; He who knows and knows he knows, hi is wise--follow him!
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    I see no reason to put one single religion over the myriad of other religions and deities. So I regard them all equally, because they're all as convincing as each other.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Some View Post
    The man didn't provide any proof for his absurd statement.
    Maybe you could try reading the entire post rather just the newspaper-speak headline.
    There's nothing absurd in his actual words.
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    to quote Hawkins apparently "Before we understood science, it was natural to believe that God created the universe, but now science offers a more convincing explanation,"

    That is interesting. Is it true? Did we have to have scientific observations that contradicted religious dogma and propaganda in order to be able to hold the view that there was not a "god" that created everything?

    In the same way as it is argued that religious belief is "hardwired" into our brains (did they mean softwired?) is it not also possible that the opposite belief is hardwired into other peoples brains?

    Does any one know of the first documented cases of atheism or agnosticism ?
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    I don't, but I do know atheism is very old. A number of Greek thinkers were at least agnostic and King David talks about atheists in the Bible. Also, some religions have no creation myth and even gods are naturally occurring. Regardless, Hawking's point was that without knowledge of natural processes it's natural to assume the universe was created. But as far as I understand him, Hawkings has little issue with deism or the concept of an abstract G-d.
    Last edited by SowZ37; September 25th, 2014 at 08:09 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SowZ37 View Post
    I don't, but I do know atheism is very old. A number of Greek thinkers were at least agnostic and King David talks about atheists in the Bible. Also, some religions have no creation myth and even gods are naturally occurring. Regardless, his point was that without knowledge of natural processes it's natural to assume the universe was created. But as far as I understand him, Hawkings has little issue with deism or the concept if an abstract G-d.
    Ah well I am glad that our ancestors were not hemmed in into religious beliefs just because scientific progress was more limited back then.

    I don't really have a lot of sympathy with the view that science per se has a fundamental view on the subject of religion.

    I prefer to think of science as an example of the boy who saw that the emperor had no clothes.

    Of course new religions will keep asking "Do I look good in this ? "
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SowZ37 View Post
    I don't, but I do know atheism is very old. A number of Greek thinkers were at least agnostic and King David talks about atheists in the Bible. Also, some religions have no creation myth and even gods are naturally occurring. Regardless, his point was that without knowledge of natural processes it's natural to assume the universe was created. But as far as I understand him, Hawkings has little issue with deism or the concept if an abstract G-d.
    Ah well I am glad that our ancestors were not hemmed in into religious beliefs just because scientific progress was more limited back then.

    I don't really have a lot of sympathy with the view that science per se has a fundamental view on the subject of religion.

    I prefer to think of science as an example of the boy who saw that the emperor had no clothes.

    Of course new religions will keep asking "Do I look good in this ? "
    I think they had similar roots. Just as philosophy and math have similar roots. It started as human beings wanting an explanation for the things that are.
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    Hawking also wants to know what breathes fire into the equations, which suggests that the universe did not start along mathematical lines. There could have been a 'God' of some sort even if time and space are constantly being recycled. I agree that the worst place to study this is religion.

    I also want to know what came first.
    In mathematics, was it numbers, geometry, algebra, or none of these?
    In physics, was it time, space, energy, matter or none of these?
    In biology, what breathes fire into replicating molecules, and why should they even bother to exist?
    Why should anything at all bother to exist? Yet it clearly does unless it's all an illusion.

    Becomes like a zen koan.
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    @ ox
    I assume we should all be prepared for no answers to that (ever) but I wonder whether "life" is a fundamental property of the universe rather than an emergent one (and vice versa).

    Should we feel lucky that we have questions that can never be answered?
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    @ ox
    I assume we should all be prepared for no answers to that (ever) but I wonder whether "life" is a fundamental property of the universe rather than an emergent one (and vice versa).

    Should we feel lucky that we have questions that can never be answered?
    You seem pessimistic. I think in time we will have the answers but only if Homo Sapiens evolves into something better. Some theorists might already have answered the question of life. Some universes are primed for life, others are not and are in effect dead. A living universe needs intelligent observers, and in any one universe there could be intelligent observers scattered throughout, or just one location where they exist. It so happens that the only location we know of that has life is this insignificant planet where life has evolved by a mechanism of replicating molecules.

    We now know that no 'god' was necessary for life (evolution by N/S) or even a universe (negative gravity).
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    You seem pessimistic.
    No ,surely not pessimistic (in fact I once filled in one of those Scientology questionnaires in the street and they told me my psychological profile was entirely the opposite in that I was imagining away my "problems") .

    I think in time we will have some amazingly interesting answers but I doubt we will ever feel that we understand life itself any better than we do now or ever have in the past.
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    Scientology questionnaire?*!
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    Yes it was a bit like the Hari Kishnas. They would wait for passer by's on the street and ask them if they wanted to fill in a psychological profile questionnaire .

    The aim ,seemingly was to find enough weaknesses in your makeup so that they could offer to fix it for you (and probably also give them a handle into manipulating you later on when you had enrolled)

    They just succeeded in pissing me off though -so no bums on seats for them.

    I am not sure if the practice continues -this was 30 years ago .
    Last edited by geordief; September 27th, 2014 at 09:33 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    @ ox
    I assume we should all be prepared for no answers to that (ever) but I wonder whether "life" is a fundamental property of the universe rather than an emergent one (and vice versa).

    Should we feel lucky that we have questions that can never be answered?

    Should we feel compelled to find answers no matter how long it takes? We have already found many answers to questions we thought we'd never understand and keep on trucking along to find more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post


    Should we feel compelled to find answers no matter how long it takes? We have already found many answers to questions we thought we'd never understand and keep on trucking along to find more.
    No not at all but I think we find it hard not to anyway. After all the question seems so simple and we are all experts surely.
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    If a scientist writes text that contains errors then it stands to reason that it gets trashed. Who knows, someday Hawking may be regarded as a fool and his books end up holding up the sofa with a broken leg. Incidentally a bible I once owned served that purpose. What I'm getting at is that in no way could it be said Hawking's words are the word of God, and I think the same could be said of those who pen scientific untruths within holy text. Religious scribes would have us believing the sun revolves around the Earth, would God say something like that? God's mind must be primitive to say the least.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post


    Should we feel compelled to find answers no matter how long it takes? We have already found many answers to questions we thought we'd never understand and keep on trucking along to find more.
    No not at all but I think we find it hard not to anyway. After all the question seems so simple and we are all experts surely.

    As an example for centuries humans were becoming ill from malaria but science did't stop looking for cures it went on and on until a cure was found. Many people think they would have never found the cure but they never stopped trying did they? Same thing with every problem there's an answer out there somewhere we just have to keep searching until we find it. That may take a very long time but to stop looking wouldn't be a prudent thing to do just because religions don't want science to find them.
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    I see intelect as a tool that was beneficial for homo sapiens to survive, so it was naturally selected...
    After thousands of years of human history and advancements, all our questionings (the ones you have written in this thread and in other threads)... I kind of see them as a "secondary effect" of having an intelect...
    I mean... the intelect was an adaptative charachteristic... that helped us to survive (you know... solve problems of different kinds), so it was selected. And within time, it became more evolved and complex. So secondary effects appeared (questioning the world). This is my very simple way to see it..

    Humans tend to put humans on a high pedestal... why is that? Is it because we are naturally egocentric? Because we are the only ones who can question ourselves about our own existance? Why do we think we are the center of creation? Sorry... I meant... why do we think life is the center of creation...(in this planet or in others)??

    Do you really think life is the center of the creation of the universe and not a consequence of its constant change? Actually, I donīt think there is an answer for this... Not even if we could communicate with an alternate universe and see what is going on there...

    The problem is we canīt live with the doubt of not knowing... so we necessarily need to give answers... and there are a lot of them... thatīs for sure...
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_Gabriela View Post
    I see intelect as a tool that was beneficial for homo sapiens to survive, so it was naturally selected...
    After thousands of years of human history and advancements, all our questionings (the ones you have written in this thread and in other threads)... I kind of see them as a "secondary effect" of having an intelect...
    I wonder is it possible to attribute too many things to the guiding hand of evolution?

    Just because evolution is undeniably ongoing does it follow that it is responsible for everything that happened?

    Other than that , to follow your logic I would form an analogy between {having basic street smarts and cultivating higher intellectual pursuits } and {young animals developing physical attributes and then playing so as to develop them for earning a living in the jungle of life} .

    Maybe that is the same thing as you were saying.
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_Gabriela View Post

    Humans tend to put humans on a high pedestal... why is that?
    So far as we can see ,out of all the animals ,we are the most successful. We are unique in lots of ways among them. So we extrapolate from that , perhaps drawing the wrong conclusions but we do seem to be starting from an unusual position (as compared to all the other animals).

    Of course we are also the most potentially unsuccessful.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by M_Gabriela View Post
    I see intelect as a tool that was beneficial for homo sapiens to survive, so it was naturally selected...
    After thousands of years of human history and advancements, all our questionings (the ones you have written in this thread and in other threads)... I kind of see them as a "secondary effect" of having an intelect...
    I wonder is it possible to attribute too many things to the guiding hand of evolution.

    Just because evolution is undeniably ongoing does it follow that it is responsible for everything that happened?
    No. There are also random events..

    Other than that , to follow your logic I would form an analogy between {having basic street smarts and cultivating higher intellectual pursuits } and {young animals developing physical attributes and then playing so as to develop them for earning a living in the jungle of life} .

    Maybe that is the same thing as you were saying.
    Ok... I donīt understand the analogy with my way of thinking... but itīs ok. Itīs only my personal idea...
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by M_Gabriela View Post

    Humans tend to put humans on a high pedestal... why is that?
    So far as we can see ,out of all the animals ,we are the most successful.
    successful in what way?

    but we do seem to be starting from an unusual position (as compared to all the other animals).
    What position is that?
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_Gabriela View Post

    successful in what way?

    in many ,many quantifiable ways -not qualitatively "better" necessarily but in countless ways humans have been able to do more things materially that other animals cannot.


    What position is that?
    In all sorts of ways our position is different from theirs. Our "territory" for example extends ,as a group as far as the planets of the solar system . The wealthy among us can avoid the seasons if they so wish by holidaying in the Caribbean in the winter.
    We can choose if we wish to give resources to the less well off which very few of the other animals are able or could afford to to do.
    We can have ample free time if we wish and get supported in our old age .

    I am just pointing out the differences and not claiming we are "better" or even necessarily "better off" but ,surely there is a huge distinction between members of the human race and their animal counterparts-enough of a distinction to be able to say that we are ,to all intents and purposes "unique" .
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by M_Gabriela View Post

    successful in what way?

    in many ,many quantifiable ways -not qualitatively "better" necessarily but in countless ways humans have been able to do more things materially that other animals cannot.
    Ok... So our intelect was very useful to overcome difficulties due to our physical limitations... Intelect was and still is a very necessary tool... So it makes sense that animals that acquire intelect will not lose it, but keep it..(selected). There are animals that have intelect, such as dolphins, octopus, not as developed as ours of course. Are they successful? I believe you would say not as much as we are... but dolphins do live in the Caribbean (some species at least)... they donīt need to travel there... and have a lot of free time...


    What position is that?
    In all sorts of ways our position is different from theirs. Our "territory" for example extends ,as a group as far as the planets of the solar system .

    We donīt inhabitate other planets.

    The wealthy among us can avoid the seasons if they so wish by holidaying in the Caribbean in the winter.
    Statistically speaking... it is a very low percentage of population who can do that. What is left for the rest? As to animals, they donīt live in areas they can not bear. Others migrate...without the need of spending money in doing so.

    We can choose if we wish to give resources to the less well off which very few of the other animals are able or could afford to to do.
    They donīt need to. But do you know about biological interactions such as symbiosis?

    We can have ample free time if we wish .
    Do you have a job? And animals... they actually have ample free time... like a lot...

    and get supported in our old age
    You clearly donīt live in a third world country. Anyway... old animals do get support... but itīs nature... the survival of the fittest...Old animals are useless and canīt sustain for themselves. Horrible... they are so insensitive.

    I am just pointing out the differences and not claiming we are "better" or even necessarily "better off" but ,surely there is a huge distinction between members of the human race and their animal counterparts-enough of a distinction to be able to say that we are ,to all intents and purposes "unique" .

    As elephants are unique... as bacteria are unique... They certainly have charachteristics we donīt. Are we more complex? in certain ways we are... So? That makes our intelect and our capacity to question about our own nature a supernatural charachteristic? Or something so distinctive that has to be the end result of universe creation?

    It is enough to put ourselves on a high pedestal. Donīt you think that is very egocentric? But thatīs what we are, we are ego... Can you imagine what the world would be like if the other animals were as egocentric as we are? We would have extinguished a long time ago...for sure

    bye
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    I don't know that the origen of the universe is the most important religious question. As to Hawking's assertion that science offers a more convincing explanation. I don't know that science has offered any convincing explanation of the "big Bang". Science has only asserted that it happened and offers some pretty good evidence that it did but falls back on speculation when asked what preceeded or triggered the event. What speculation one finds acceptable depends on your personal world view. I postulate that if one has decided that God is not possible, no speculation that involves a devinity is going to be acceptable. It is a sophisticated exercise in circular resoning.
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    What I'm getting at is that in no way could it be said Hawking's words are the word of God
    No, they are the findings and words of Stephen Hawking
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    zinjanthropos

    What I'm getting at is that in no way could it be said Hawking's words are the words of God
    No
    you disagree?

    they are the findings and words of Stephen Hawking
    you agree then?

    Sorry Coz, Not sure what you're trying to say. That line was intended to point out the similarity between Hawking's words & of those who penned holy text as the words of their god. Scientific observations by man, so certain were the scribes however, that their's became a god's words. If a religious text was to be written today then I think it very unlikely that there would be any mention of the Sun revolving around the Earth because a god would not say that. In history back, scribes took the prevailing thought and to make their god seem smarter than the average bear, it was incorporated into that god's holy text.
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    It was just that Hawking was only saying what he believes for himself and it had nothing to do with being a god.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    It was just that Hawking was only saying what he believes for himself and it had nothing to do with being a god.
    I think there's more than one person on this Earth that shares his views
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    It was just that Hawking was only saying what he believes for himself and it had nothing to do with being a god.
    I think there's more than one person on this Earth that shares his views
    Is everything going well Zinjan? You sound a bit down.
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    When it comes to scientific evidence. Jesus & santa are on par.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenRatio View Post
    When it comes to scientific evidence. Jesus & santa are on par.
    It is only 10 weeks till Christmas so Santa will be back soon. Don't panic it will happen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    It was just that Hawking was only saying what he believes for himself and it had nothing to do with being a god.
    I think there's more than one person on this Earth that shares his views
    Is everything going well Zinjan? You sound a bit down.
    I can't think of many posts where I haven't smiled after reading it, even this latest one. It's a game, we all play it, some better than others. Even Stephen is a player.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    It was just that Hawking was only saying what he believes for himself and it had nothing to do with being a god.
    I think there's more than one person on this Earth that shares his views
    Is everything going well Zinjan? You sound a bit down.
    I can't think of many posts where I haven't smiled after reading it, even this latest one. It's a game, we all play it, some better than others. Even Stephen is a player.
    Well I'm pleased to hear that, for you used to make me laugh as well, a while back.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    It was just that Hawking was only saying what he believes for himself and it had nothing to do with being a god.
    I think there's more than one person on this Earth that shares his views
    Is everything going well Zinjan? You sound a bit down.
    I can't think of many posts where I haven't smiled after reading it, even this latest one. It's a game, we all play it, some better than others. Even Stephen is a player.
    Well I'm pleased to hear that, for you used to make me laugh as well, a while back.
    Don't think I've ever heard Mr Hawking make a speech without injecting humor.

    Anyway, have you been up all night? I just woke up and on my way to the office in a minute. Have a good day.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
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    It was just that Hawking was only saying what he believes for himself and it had nothing to do with being a god.
    I think there's more than one person on this Earth that shares his views
    Is everything going well Zinjan? You sound a bit down.
    I can't think of many posts where I haven't smiled after reading it, even this latest one. It's a game, we all play it, some better than others. Even Stephen is a player.
    Well I'm pleased to hear that, for you used to make me laugh as well, a while back.
    Don't think I've ever heard Mr Hawking make a speech without injecting humor.

    Anyway, have you been up all night? I just woke up and on my way to the office in a minute. Have a good day.
    No I'm about to go to sleep. Have a good day.
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    Well, this might date back to 2014, but Einstein said too that God does not play dice, and he was proved wrong on all kinds of levels, so we'll have to wait and see what science and belief systems do for each other in the long run. My hopes are high that results will be well-marked in the end by both sides!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumologist View Post
    ...science and belief systems... do for each other in the long run. My hopes are high that results will be well-marked in the end by both sides!
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    = "The link you followed may have expired, or the Page may only be visible to an audience that you aren't in.".
    That was useful, what's your point?
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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