Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

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Sam26
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Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Sam26 » November 3rd, 2018, 6:21 pm

My claim is that there is sufficient testimonial evidence to reasonably conclude that consciousness survives the death of the body. In other words, I'm making the claim that I know the conclusion is true. And although I believe that I could make other claims based on the evidence, i.e., claims of knowledge, I'm limiting the scope of the conclusion. By limited, I mean I'm not trying to give evidence of a god, heaven, that we are eternal beings, or any other spiritual or religious idea; nor am I trying to give evidence of many of the other claims people are making while having such an experience. Although I do believe there is strong evidence to support other conclusions, and these conclusions have varying degrees of certainty, just as many of our everyday rational conclusions have varying degrees of certainty.

The first question is, what makes a strong inductive argument? As many of you know, the criteria for a good inductive argument is much different than the criteria of a good deductive argument. The criteria of a good inductive argument are as follows:

(1) number
(2) variety
(3) scope of the conclusion
(4) truth of the premises
(5) cogency

First, number. It seems rather obvious that if you have a greater number of testimonials that say X happened, then the stronger the argument. This does not mean that the conclusion relies solely on numbers, because numbers in themselves are not sufficient.

Second, variety. The greater the variety of cases cited the stronger the conclusion. Remember that when examining the conclusion of an inductive argument, the conclusion is either strong or weak, which is much different from a good deductive argument, where the conclusion follows with absolute necessity. The difference being what is probably or likely the case (inductive arguments), verses what necessarily follows (deductive arguments).

Third, scope of the conclusion. This has already been covered briefly in the opening paragraph. It means that the less the conclusion claims the stronger the argument. In other words, conclusions that are broad in scope are much are generally harder to defend. A conclusion that is limited in scope is easier to defend.

Fourth, truth of the premises. Clearly this means that the premises must be true, which by the way, is the same criteria that makes a good deductive argument, i.e., a good deductive argument must be sound (soundness has to do with whether the deductive argument is valid, plus the premises must be true).

(4a) Also, since we are dealing with testimonial evidence, in order to know if the testimonial evidence is true we need corroboration, i.e., we need an objective way to verify some of the testimonial evidence. This helps to establish the truth of the testimonial evidence, and since the evidence is testimonial evidence, it helps to establish the fourth criteria of a good inductive argument, viz., the truth of the premises.

(4b) Another important factor in determining the truth of testimonial evidence is firsthand testimony, as opposed to hearsay or secondhand testimony. Firsthand testimony is stronger than hearsay or second-hand testimony, all things being equal.

(4c) Consistency of the reports is another important criterion in terms of getting to the truth. However, testimonial evidence does not have to be perfectly consistent to be credible. When dealing with a large number of reports you will inevitably find some inconsistency. So, inconsistency itself is not enough to rule out the reports unless the inconsistency is widespread, and of such a number that it affects the quality and number of consistent reports. So although consistency is important, it must be looked at in terms of the overall picture.

Fifth is cogency. You rarely here this criteria, but it's very important in terms of effectiveness. Any argument's (deductive or inductive) effectiveness is going to be based on whether the person to whom the argument is given, knows the premises are true. For example, if I give the following argument:

The base of a souffle is a roux.
This salmon dish is a souffle.
Hence, the base of this salmon dish is a roux.

If you do not know what a souffle or a roux is, then you do not know if the premises are true, so how would you know if the conclusion is true. You may know that the argument is valid based on its form, but you would not know if the premises are true. Thus, you would not know if it is sound. For any argument to be effective, you have to know if the premises are true; and since knowledge varies from person to person, an arguments effectiveness is going to vary from person to person.

I will give the actual argument in my next post based on these criteria.

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Sam26
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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Sam26 » November 3rd, 2018, 6:28 pm

The Inductive Argument:

The following argument is based on the testimonial evidence of those who have experienced an NDE, and the conclusion follows with a high degree of probability. As such, one can claim to know the conclusion is true. This argument makes such a claim.

Each of the aforementioned criteria in the previous post serve to strengthen the testimonial evidence. All of the criteria in the previous paragraphs work hand-in-hand to strengthen the conclusion, and these criteria serve to strengthen any claim to knowledge. If we have a large enough pool of evidence based on these five criteria, we can say with confidence that we know that consciousness survives the death of the body. In other words, we can say what is probably the case, but not what is necessarily the case.

Again, if there is a high degree of probability that these testimonials reflect an objective reality, then we can also say with confidence, that we know consciousness survives the death of the body. Thus, our knowledge is based on objective criteria, not on purely subjective claims.

We will now look at the testimonial evidence in terms of the five stated criteria, and how these testimonials support the conclusion.

First, what is the number of people who claim to have had an NDE? According to a 1992 Gallop poll about 5% of the population has experienced an NDE; and even if this poll is off by a little we are still talking about hundreds of millions of people. Thus, the number of accounts of NDEs is very high, much higher than what we would normally need to decide the veracity or accuracy of the testimonials, and much higher that what is normally needed to draw a proper conclusion.

Also, as was mentioned in the previous post, numbers in themselves are not enough, which is why the other criteria must be coupled with numbers.

The second criteria of good testimonial evidence is variety, i.e., do we have evidence from a variety of sources? The answer to this question is in the affirmative. NDEs have been reported in every culture from around the world, which by definition means that we are getting reports from different religious views, and different world views. NDEs also span every age group, from young children, to the middle-aged, and finally to the aged. The testimonial reports come from doctors, nurses, scientists, atheists, agnostics, literally from every imaginable educational level and background. NDEs occur in a variety of settings, including drowning, electrocution, while awake, while on the operating table, after a heart attack, etc. People have also reported having shared an NDE with someone else, although rarely. They have happened when there is no heartbeat, with the blood drained from the brain, and with no measurable brain activity. They have been reported to happen with a minimal amount of stress, i.e., without being near death. Finally, there have been many thousands more reporting these and similar events happening to those who have taken DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine), which is an illegal schedule 1 drug. These DMT reports are also reports that are happening without being near death.

The third criteria is scope of the conclusion, and the scope of this conclusion is limited to consciousness surviving the body. The conclusion claims that we can know that consciousness survives bodily death.

The fourth criteria is truth of the premises. To know if the premises are true we need corroboration of the testimonial evidence, a high degree of consistency, and firsthand testimony. In all or most of these cases, it seems clear that we have all three. We have millions of accounts that can be corroborated by family members, friends, doctors, nurses, and hospice workers. Corroboration is important in establishing some objectivity to what is a very subjective experience. It lends credence to the accounts. One example of corroboration is given in Pam's NDE out of Atlanta, GA, which can be seen on Youtube.

Consistency is also important to the establishment of the truth of the premises. We have a high degree of consistency across a wide variety of reports. What are these consistent reports?

1) Seeing one's body from a third person perspective, i.e., from outside one's body, and hearing and seeing what's happening around their bodies.
2) Having intense feelings of being loved, and also intense feeling of peace.
3) Seeing a light or tunnel in the distance and feeling that one is being drawn to the light, or moving through the tunnel towards the light.
4) Seeing deceased loved ones.
5) Seeing beings of light that one may interpret as Jesus, Mary, Muhammad, an angel, or just a loving being that one may feel connected to.
6) Heightened sensory experiences, viz., feeling that one is having an ultra real experience, as opposed to a dream or a hallucination.
7) Communication that happens mind-to-mind, not verbally.
8) Seeing beautiful landscapes.
9) Seeing people who are getting ready or waiting to be born.
10) Having a life-review by a loving being who is not judgmental in any way, but simply showing you how important it is to love, and the importance of your actions on those you come in contact with.
11) Feeling as though one has returned home. This is also confirmed by people who were told they chose to come to Earth.
12) A feeling of oneness with everything, as though consciousness is at the bottom of everything.
13) Memories of who they really are return, as though they temporarily forgot who they were, and where they came from.
14) There are also reports of knowledge returning, and many questions being answered.
15) Understanding that ultimately we cannot be harmed.
16) That we are eternal beings simply entering into one of many realities.

These are just some of the reports from those who experienced an NDE, and some of these reports are confirmed by those who have taken DMT.

Another aid in establishing the truth of the testimonial evidence are firsthand accounts, as opposed to hearsay. There are literally thousands of firsthand accounts being reported by the International Association of Near Death Studies. And according to polling, there are hundreds of millions of firsthand accounts of NDEs.

The fifth criteria is cogency of the premises. Whether the argument is cogent for you depends on many factors, but many people have heard of near death experiences, so the concept is not an unfamiliar one. It is not going to be cogent for everyone, but with a little study and reading it can be cogent. It is not difficult to understand the concept. Although it is probably going to be difficult to understand how it is metaphysically possible. This argument is claiming that it is highly probable that consciousness survives the death of the body, and that the conclusion is very strong based on what makes for strong inductive arguments.

The further claim of this argument is that I know that I know the conclusion is true. Is it possible the conclusion is wrong? Of course it is possible, but we do not want to base a belief on what is possible, but on what is likely the case. All kinds of things are possible, but that does not mean we should believe them.

The following is a deductive proof.
So how would I construct a proof? It is very simple. The following is a deductive argument based on the evidence of the inductive argument.

Modus Ponens:

(1) If it is true that NDE reports are accurate, just as any veridical experience is, then consciousness survives the death of the body.
(2) It is true that NDE reports are accurate, just as any veridical experience is.
(3) Conclusion: Consciousness survives the death of the body.

As with any deductive argument all you have to do is dispute any premise, i.e., show that any premise is not true.

I believe the inductive argument is more apt to be believed, so it is a stronger argument in some ways.

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by JamesOfSeattle » November 3rd, 2018, 7:09 pm

Okay, I’m confused. I see evidence that consciousness survives NDE’s. I don’t see evidence that consciousness survives death. None of the people that reported NDE’s were, um, dead.

*

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Sam26
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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Sam26 » November 3rd, 2018, 8:12 pm

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
November 3rd, 2018, 7:09 pm
Okay, I’m confused. I see evidence that consciousness survives NDE’s. I don’t see evidence that consciousness survives death. None of the people that reported NDE’s were, um, dead.
Two two things here: First, one of the consistencies of the testimonial evidence is that people meet deceased relatives, friends, acquaintances, etc., that have been deceased for years. The implication is that you do survive death as who you are. Second, if someone's heart stops beating and there is no measurable brain activity, then I agree with many of the doctors, they're dead. Dead doesn't necessarily mean that you can't come back to life, it happens all the time. Now I know people want their own definition, if your dead, your dead, there is no coming back. And even if you want to stick with that definition, there is plenty of evidence in the testimonials that demonstrates that we survive as who we are after we're dead.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Present awareness » November 3rd, 2018, 9:46 pm

:o Although it is a comforting thought to think that you will somehow survive your own death, it is highly unlikely. That which you consider to be “you” is a hologram, a collection of memories, emotions, and impressions which you have attached yourself to and say “that is me”. All of it is based on what has already passed and what has already passed, is already dead! Consciousness may survive after death, but it won’t be “your” consciousness! The whole idea of ownership is an illusion. Things come and go, and nothing is permanent, so how can one claim to own something which will disappear in due time? Simply enjoy life as you live, for we will all find out personally what happens to us when we die and when we truly die, there will be no coming back to talk about it!
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Sam26 » November 3rd, 2018, 10:28 pm

Present awareness wrote:
November 3rd, 2018, 9:46 pm
:o Although it is a comforting thought to think that you will somehow survive your own death, it is highly unlikely. That which you consider to be “you” is a hologram, a collection of memories, emotions, and impressions which you have attached yourself to and say “that is me”. All of it is based on what has already passed and what has already passed, is already dead! Consciousness may survive after death, but it won’t be “your” consciousness! The whole idea of ownership is an illusion. Things come and go, and nothing is permanent, so how can one claim to own something which will disappear in due time? Simply enjoy life as you live, for we will all find out personally what happens to us when we die and when we truly die, there will be no coming back to talk about it!
First, I would say you haven't addressed the argument. Second, it may be comforting for some people to believe that there is an afterlife, but the conclusion in this thread is based on the evidence, not on what comforts. If you're going to challenge the conclusion, you have to challenge the testimonial evidence.

Anyone can make pronouncements, but what a philosophical forum should be about, are good arguments. I don't see much of an argument in what you say, at least not a very good argument. In fact, what you've said is a very immature argument. Now maybe you're able to give a good argument, I don't know, but what you've said here is certainly lacking in good logic.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Present awareness » November 3rd, 2018, 11:09 pm

All evidence is based on personal experience and all personal experience is based on subjective sensations. What you fail to recognize is that in order to feel something, you need to be alive. The body is not dead until all experiences cease and the blood stops circulating completely. All NDE are reports on what an individual experiences as the body is dying, but If they are revived, then they clearly were not dead, hence the expression “near death experiences”. If I have a dream about something, I could hardly claim that it is “evidence” that the dream is true. If ten people have the same dream, it still is not evidence.
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Burning ghost » November 4th, 2018, 3:13 am

This is the weirdest thing I’ve seen in a while.
Modus Ponens:

(1) If it is true that NDE reports are accurate, just as any veridical experience is, then consciousness survives the death of the body.
(2) It is true that NDE reports are accurate, just as any veridical experience is.
(3) Conclusion: Consciousness survives the death of the body.
To reiterate:

(1) If it is true that people have experiences, then they have experiences.
(2) reiteration of (1)
(3) All experiences are true.

The conclusion doesn’t even follow the premise (which is a singular premise dressed up to look like two different premises.) All you’ve done is make an assertion.

How about this for a comparison:

(1) I dreamt of flying (experienced flying)
(2) Many people dream of flying.
(3) conlcusion: myself and others can fly.

Clearly it is nonsense to assume I can fly.

Now back to the statements in the quote:

(1) If p then q
(2) p
(3) reiteration of (1)

And just to be VERY clear I can just as easily say”

(1) If it is true a cat is a banana, because I said so, then it will rain on Tuesday.
(2) A cat is a banana
(3) conclusion: It will rain on Tuesday.

The above is just as valid logically as the quote.
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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Greta » November 4th, 2018, 4:27 am

NDE reports give the impression that consciousness could continue after death but that's not proof. It might just be an impression caused by the dynamics of dying brains.

We will all have to just wait and see when the time comes. May we all spend many more years in the dark about the issue.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Sam26 » November 4th, 2018, 6:53 am

Burning ghost wrote:
November 4th, 2018, 3:13 am
This is the weirdest thing I’ve seen in a while.
Modus Ponens:

(1) If it is true that NDE reports are accurate, just as any veridical experience is, then consciousness survives the death of the body.
(2) It is true that NDE reports are accurate, just as any veridical experience is.
(3) Conclusion: Consciousness survives the death of the body.
To reiterate:

(1) If it is true that people have experiences, then they have experiences.
(2) reiteration of (1)
(3) All experiences are true.

The conclusion doesn’t even follow the premise (which is a singular premise dressed up to look like two different premises.) All you’ve done is make an assertion.

How about this for a comparison:

(1) I dreamt of flying (experienced flying)
(2) Many people dream of flying.
(3) conlcusion: myself and others can fly.

Clearly it is nonsense to assume I can fly.

Now back to the statements in the quote:

(1) If p then q
(2) p
(3) reiteration of (1)

And just to be VERY clear I can just as easily say”

(1) If it is true a cat is a banana, because I said so, then it will rain on Tuesday.
(2) A cat is a banana
(3) conclusion: It will rain on Tuesday.

The above is just as valid logically as the quote.
Where in the world did you study logic? And if you did study logic, you must not understand Modus Ponens, which is a proof by the way. You may disagree with the premises, but the conclusion follows.

Modus Ponens:
If P, then Q.
P.
Therefore, Q.
This is a valid form of the proof. The only question left is if it is sound, which means that it's not only valid, i.e., it has the correct form, but the premises are also true.

The main premise is not saying, if people have experiences, then they have experiences. While it's true that NDEs are a particular kind of experience, that's true, it's not saying "If X, then X." It saying based on a particular kind of experience, viz., an NDE experience, that consciousness survives death. It's says, "If X, then Y." For example,

If I see a tree in my backyard, then there is a tree in my backyard.
I see a tree in my backyard.
Conclusion: There is a tree in my backyard.

Your last example, by the way, which states...
(1) If it is true a cat is a banana, because I said so, then it will rain on Tuesday.
(2) A cat is a banana
(3) conclusion: It will rain on Tuesday.

This is the correct form, but is clearly unsound. Your criticisms are ridiculous, you've not only shown that you don't know basic logic, but you have interpreted the premises in a way that is clearly false.

In another place you say,
(1) If p then q
(2) p
(3) reiteration of (1)

This is an invalid form of the argument. The conclusion of modus ponens is not a reiteration of premise 1. It affirms Q in premise 1. Again, you clearly don't know basic symbolic logic. You would think that if you were going to make such a criticism you would at least know what you're talking about.

The main reason I responded to this is for those of you who don't know logic, you might think he has a valid criticism, but just a brief look at a logic book and you would know he doesn't understand logic.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Sam26 » November 4th, 2018, 7:17 am

Greta wrote:
November 4th, 2018, 4:27 am
NDE reports give the impression that consciousness could continue after death but that's not proof. It might just be an impression caused by the dynamics of dying brains.

We will all have to just wait and see when the time comes. May we all spend many more years in the dark about the issue.
I have literally read thousands of these reports. I've been studying NDEs for about 13 years, and I first read about them back in the late 70's. There are not many people who know as much as I do when it comes to these reports. There are some, but the percentage of people who have studied NDEs is very low, although more and more scientists are involved now. I'm not trying to toot my horn here, it's just that I'm not giving you a cursory understanding of the subject.

First, the main thrust of the argument is inductive, although I do throw in a proof at the end, just as a point of logic. Inductive arguments are not proofs, the conclusions are either strong or weak, i.e., the conclusion follows with a certain degree of probability. In this case, a high degree of probability.

Second, the experiences cannot be that of a dying brain, a dying brain doesn't produce the kind of experiences that are produced by NDEs. NDEs are clear experiences, in fact they are described as hyper-real. They clearly describe things that are going on in objective reality. For example, clear descriptions of things happening in an operating room, which later can be verified objectively. This is not the experience of a dying brain, it's the experience of a normal brain. A dying brain would have scattered thoughts, random thoughts, disjointed thoughts, not clear descriptions of reality. Moreover, this is consistent with NDEs, just as in any veridical experience.

What I just said in reply to the claim that NDEs are just experiences of a dying brain, can also be said in reply to those who say that they are hallucinations, illusions, dreams, or even drug reactions. These have all been studied quite thoroughly.

This was all said in the argument above, did you read it thoroughly, or did you just skim it and make some remarks?

Another interesting thing about one NDE in particular (Pam's NDE out of Atlanta, as seen on Youtube), is that even after having her heart was stopped, and the blood drained from her brain (no measurable brain activity) during an operation, she was able to have clear veridical experiences about what was happening in the operating room. Moreover, it was verified with the doctors and nurses who were in the operating room, so there is corroboration.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Burning ghost » November 4th, 2018, 9:04 am

My conclusion about it raining raining on Tuesday is a valid proof too. What’s your point?

Don’t blame me if you’ve been free and easy with our claims. I think my proof has more clarity of terms than yours - I’d be interested if anyone disagreed.

My proof is not sound. Neither is yours. So what? If think your argument is sound you’re wrong. What is ridiculous? It is ridiculous to call my proof ridiculous if it’s valid. I never claimed it was sound. Should I infer that you think your proof is sound? If you do you’re deeply mistaken.
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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Present awareness » November 4th, 2018, 9:19 am

Greta wrote:
November 4th, 2018, 4:27 am
NDE reports give the impression that consciousness could continue after death but that's not proof. It might just be an impression caused by the dynamics of dying brains.

We will all have to just wait and see when the time comes. May we all spend many more years in the dark about the issue.
Well said Greta!

In the words of Woody Allen “I don’t mind dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens”
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Burning ghost » November 4th, 2018, 9:35 am

To add ...
Modus Ponens:

(1) If it is true that NDE reports are accurate, just as any veridical experience is, then consciousness survives the death of the body.
(2) It is true that NDE reports are accurate, just as any veridical experience is.
(3) Conclusion: Consciousness survives the death of the body.

As with any deductive argument all you have to do is dispute any premise, i.e., show that any premise is not true.
Premise (2) is a facade because it is an obtuse use of the term “veridical.”

Is it “true” that NDE reports are “accurate”? In as much as they are experiences they are accurate, just like the accuracy of my dream last night and the accuracy with which I perceived a rainbow the other week. I may also experience thoughts about unicorns or demons, as may other people. Are these thoughts in the same category of “experience” as the human visual experience of the Moon in a night sky or not?

And as has already been mentioned a mental apparation of something doesn’t make it “veridical” - which is taken to mean truthful in terms of reality (unless, as I suspect, you’re being free and easy with your use of terminology?)

So, I repeat.

(1) If I experience what I believe to be death, then consciousness survives the death of the body (doesn’t hold up in the slightest)

(2) I do experience what I believe to be death.

(3) consciousness survives death.

This is both invalid and therefore, obviously if you understand the basics of logic, utterly unsound. Also, note the meaning of “Near Death Experience” not “Death experience.” Using language in a very normal way “Near the water” does not mean “In the water”

So yes, anyone reading this can see very clearly you’ve tried, and failed, to pull the wool over their eyes. Peppering the premises with “accurate” and “veridical” is nothing more than window dressing to make the claim look nice (I’m not buying.)
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Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Sam26 » November 4th, 2018, 3:04 pm

There hasn't been one argument against the inductive argument that has come close to countering the conclusion. Most of these responses, especially the ones against the logic of the arguments are from people (Burning ghost for e.g.) who don't seem to have a basic understanding of logic. The responses are more akin to opinions than good arguments.

The inductive argument is strong based on the criteria of good inductive arguments. Based on the strength of the inductive argument, I will make the claim that, "I know the conclusion is true." Not only do I know it, but I know that I know it. I'll wait for some better replies before I respond again, unless there is a good reason to respond sooner.

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