Richard Dawkins

OneWingedBird

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i seem to recall from one of dawkins books that he totally has it in for popular music... in fact goes as far as to float a theory that pop cds only sell because people want them 'cos their friends have them, and therefore, the more people have them, the more will buy... not that i care much for a lot of pop music, but he misses the point that some people actually get something out of it or see something in it... but then he's a fan of classical!
 
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BlackRiverFalls said:
i seem to recall from one of dawkins books that he totally has it in for popular music... in fact goes as far as to float a theory that pop cds only sell because people want them 'cos their friends have them, and therefore, the more people have them, the more will buy... not that i care much for a lot of pop music, but he misses the point that some people actually get something out of it or see something in it... but then he's a fan of classical!
Yeah, Dawkins is certainly a Classical buff. I dont remember his anti pop line though, anyone know which book it was ? Maybe he was writing in terms of memes but then the same would surely apply to classical music.
 

Rrose_Selavy

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ramonmercado said:
BlackRiverFalls said:
i seem to recall from one of dawkins books that he totally has it in for popular music... in fact goes as far as to float a theory that pop cds only sell because people want them 'cos their friends have them, and therefore, the more people have them, the more will buy... not that i care much for a lot of pop music, but he misses the point that some people actually get something out of it or see something in it... but then he's a fan of classical!
Yeah, Dawkins is certainly a Classical buff. I dont remember his anti pop line though, anyone know which book it was ? Maybe he was writing in terms of memes but then the same would surely apply to classical music.
If so, Maybe memes apply more to something that is relatively "new" that is spreading while classical music has has hundreds of years to establish itself already. Hence the possible "pop" analogy, but I haven't read the source if it exists.;

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if i get time for a rumage in the attic over the weekend, i'll see if i can dig it out... lol dawkins has an opinion on ~everything~
 

rynner2

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Here he is again, banging on about the same old stuff.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 779771.ece

I suspect that the reason he gets up people's noses is not so much what he says as the fact that he goes on and on and on about it all the time! He doesn't have to leap to his own defense all the time - let the loonies do all the raving instead, Professor, remain cool and aloof! 8)

This lastest piece could be boiled down to this:
Passion for passion, an evangelical Christian and I may be evenly matched. But we are not equally fundamentalist. The true scientist, however passionately he may “believe”, in evolution for example, knows exactly what would change his mind: evidence! The fundamentalist knows that nothing will.
 
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rynner said:
Here he is again, banging on about the same old stuff.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 779771.ece

...
Hmm... yes....
...

"I’m an atheist, but I wish to dissociate myself from your shrill, strident, intemperate, intolerant, ranting language."

...
I'm not a Fundamentalist Atheist, But...




Good Grief! :roll:
... I am pleased that the opening lines of my own Unweaving the Rainbow have been used to give solace at funerals. ...
Glory Be, to Dawkins!
 

ghostdog19

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Dawkins said:
Passion for passion, an evangelical Christian and I may be evenly matched. But we are not equally fundamentalist.
"Not equally"? Isn't that acknowledging that he is to some degree fundamentalist?
 
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ghostdog19 said:
Dawkins said:
Passion for passion, an evangelical Christian and I may be evenly matched. But we are not equally fundamentalist.
"Not equally"? Isn't that acknowledging that he is to some degree fundamentalist?
But he's that good kind of Fundamentalist, the sort that he agrees with.

From his Public pronouncements, it's obvious, that he is most definitely a hard line atheist, no shades of grey agnosticism seep into colour his World view. Which I would take to be not only a Fundamentalist position, but also bad science. He might say that it is highly unlikely and improbable that there is a God, or a Creator, but not that there is absolutely no possibility of such a thing. which seems to be his position. He can't prove that, it is simply what he believes to be true.
 
A

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it is simply what he believes to be true.
While there is a certain amount of truth to what you are saying, you must expand and add, "supported by the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence".

In this case, based on previous scientific operation, a theory, if supported by the majority of evidence is accepted, then it remains a theory but might not be so comprehensive as to become a law. So, working principles and perhaps even technology based on the theory can work perfectly but because there may still be certain aspects of the theory that are not fully explained or supported by experimental evidence, it cannot become a law.

So, Dawkins is coming from a point of reason supported by the majority of evidence and as such, it is reasonable, scientifically, to state the point as if it were fact, until something else proves otherwise.

As he so often points out, this is quite the contrary for religous people, and especially so for religous fundamentalists.

A
 

lupinwick

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I suspect that the reason he gets up people's noses is not so much what he says as the fact that he goes on and on and on about it all the time! He doesn't have to leap to his own defense all the time - let the loonies do all the raving instead, Professor, remain cool and aloof!
Quite nicely put. His ideas are fine, but when he opens his mouth he comes across as more strident than the religious nutcases he dislikes.
 

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New age therapies cause 'retreat from reason'
By David Harrison, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:32am BST 05/08/2007

Known as "Darwin's rottweiler", Prof Richard Dawkins caused a furore with a stinging attack on religion. Now the evolutionary biologist has turned his wrath on "new age" alternative therapies, describing them as based on "irrational superstition".

Prof Dawkins says that alternative remedies constitute little more than a "money-spinning, multi-million pound industry that impoverishes our culture and throws up new age gurus who exhort us to run away from reality".

The 66-year-old scientist has investigated a range of gurus and therapists, including faith healers, psychic mediums, angel therapists, "aura photographers", astrologers, Tarot card readers and water diviners, and concluded that Britain is gripped by "an epidemic of superstitious thinking".

Britons spend more than £1.6 billion a year on alternative remedies which Prof Dawkins describes as "therapeutic stabs in the dark". Health has become a battleground between reason and superstition, he says.

"There are two ways of looking at the world - through faith and superstition, or through the rigours of logic, observation and evidence, through reason. Yet today reason has a battle on its hands.

Reason and a respect for evidence are the source of our progress, our safeguard against fundamentalists and those who profit from obscuring the truth. We live in dangerous times when superstition is gaining ground and rational science is under attack."

He laments the fact that half the population claims to believe in paranormal phenomena and more than eight million have consulted psychic mediums, while the number of students sitting physics A-level has fallen 50 per cent and chemistry by more than a third in the past 25 years.

Prof Dawkins launches his attack in The Enemies of Reason, to be shown on Channel 4 this month. The professor, the author of many books from The Selfish Gene (1976) to the international best-seller The God Delusion (2006), holds the Charles Simonyi Chair for the public understanding of science at Oxford.

In the two-part television series he challenges practitioners. He asks an "angel therapist" how many angels he (Dawkins) has. The therapist asks him: "Have you asked any angels to come close to you?" Prof Dawkins says he hasn't. "Well you haven't got any then," says the therapist. :D

He also meets a therapist who says she can teach him how to use his "psychic energy", a kinesiologist who "clears energy blockages in the meridian system" and a "psychic sister" who talks about Mr Dawkins senior as though he were dead, until Prof Dawkins points out that his father is very much alive. 8)

Satish Kumar, a spiritualist and the editor of the ecological magazine Resurgence, whose fans include the Prince of Wales and the Dalai Lama, tells Prof Dawkins: "I represent the entire history of evolution, I was present in the beginning, the first big bang, and I'll be here for billions of years to come."

Prof Dawkins visits Elisis Livingstone, a £140-a-day faith healer who treats patients - including some with terminal cancer - with meditation, spiritual healing and recorded chants at her Shambala Retreat in Glastonbury, Somerset.

He appears bemused as she intones: "Smile your very best smile, swallow the smile with some saliva into the heart and let the heart smile back at you… and the golden glow that comes from the heart, comes from a golden flower and use the gold light from the centre of the flower like a sunbeam and beam it on to those petals and wake them up…"

But yesterday, Miss Livingstone hit back. "I have a 100 per cent success record with people at some level," she told The Sunday Telegraph. "Richard seemed to enjoy it while he was here. He was smiling and he didn't want it to stop.

"I deal with people including the bereaved and the abused, and I deal with their hearts. A rational mind cannot understand the heart."

Another guru whose work was challenged was Deepak Chopra, described by Prof Dawkins as a "one-man alternative health industry", who is paid up to $75,000 (£37,000) per lecture and claims Michael Jackson and Madonna as followers.

The professor reserves some of his most scathing criticism for homeopathy, used by 500 million people worldwide, and which, in the UK, benefits from taxpayers' money even though it requires no qualifications. The refurbishment of the Royal London Homeopathic hospital was part-funded with £10 million of NHS money.

Peter Fisher, the hospital's clinical director and a rheumatologist, tells him: "I don't claim that it's much more than a hypothesis. What I do say is that I have considerable evidence that homeopathy does work."

However, the medical establishment remains deeply sceptical about its success. A House of Lords committee found little evidence in 2001 that alternative health remedies work and raised doubts about a range of treatments, saying much of the evidence on homeopathy was anecdotal.

http://tinyurl.com/2lxml4

Sounds like required viewing! 8)
 

lupinwick

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He laments the fact that half the population claims to believe in paranormal phenomena and more than eight million have consulted psychic mediums, while the number of students sitting physics A-level has fallen 50 per cent and chemistry by more than a third in the past 25 years.
Well why not address these issues then?

Have a good look at science and work out why its attraction is plumetting. Why is chemistry take up so poor? Poor teaching? No jobs? Perhaps people need to be thought of as a complex whole (holistically?) rather than just a biological machine.

Still it could be interesting AS LONG as its better than the similar BBC program shown this year on 3 or 4 where the scientific method was discarded (bullshit or something).
 

gordonrutter

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rynner said:
The 66-year-old scientist has investigated a range of gurus and therapists, including faith healers, psychic mediums, angel therapists, "aura photographers", astrologers, Tarot card readers and water diviners, and concluded that Britain is gripped by "an epidemic of superstitious thinking".
For anyone familiar with the work of Dawkins this is the most unbelievable part of the programme - Dawkins investigating this sort of thing. He will have gone to one session with each practitioner of each belief and he will have gone in with preconceived notions, in other words he will have approached it in a totally non-scientific manner. Hmm, 66 shoudldn't he be retired now?

Gordon
 

Min Bannister

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lupinwick said:
Have a good look at science and work out why its attraction is plumetting. Why is chemistry take up so poor? Poor teaching? No jobs? Perhaps people need to be thought of as a complex whole (holistically?) rather than just a biological machine.
Perhaps because the man in charge of Public Understanding of Science in the UK is crap at his job? :devil:
 

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It is a constant annoyance to me that this man is married to Lala Ward. And it's all Douglas Adams' fault.

Anyway, it sounds typical of him. There is a problem with science and the way it is represented. Some of the retreat is caused by the promotion of fake or anti science. Some of it is driven by people like Dawkins behaving like raving lunatics.
 
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Anome_ said:
It is a constant annoyance to me that this man is married to Lala Ward. And it's all Douglas Adams' fault.

Anyway, it sounds typical of him. There is a problem with science and the way it is represented. Some of the retreat is caused by the promotion of fake or anti science. Some of it is driven by people like Dawkins behaving like raving lunatics.
I think its more due to poorly resourced teachers who have only partial access to poorly equipped labs. Maybe its the method as well. I got into science as a 12 yr old cos I was able to grow big crystals in the lab (I didnt think they had magical powers). FRom 12 - 15 Biology, Chemistry and Physics were taken together as Science. The Lab also had normal school desks, so both the theoretical and practical stuff were done in the one room.
 

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ramonmercado said:
Anome_ said:
It is a constant annoyance to me that this man is married to Lala Ward. And it's all Douglas Adams' fault.

Anyway, it sounds typical of him. There is a problem with science and the way it is represented. Some of the retreat is caused by the promotion of fake or anti science. Some of it is driven by people like Dawkins behaving like raving lunatics.
I think its more due to poorly resourced teachers who have only partial access to poorly equipped labs. Maybe its the method as well. I got into science as a 12 yr old cos I was able to grow big crystals in the lab (I didnt think they had magical powers). FRom 12 - 15 Biology, Chemistry and Physics were taken together as Science. The Lab also had normal school desks, so both the theoretical and practical stuff were done in the one room.
I went to a grammar school where each field was a separate class rather than combined science. However, it was woefully taught. A lot of the masters at school were past long retirement age and method of teaching was akin to a fly being trapped in amber.

Chemistry was confusing as there was very little hands on work and you were expected to be able to see experiments from the very back of the class room due to a rigid alphabetical seating arrangement with fixed benches.

Physics was taught by a young master with little in the way of experience, liked to be on first name terms with students (always a bad mistake) and was a poor disciplinarian which left physics a virtual free for all.

Biology was better and a fair balance between the two, but the fact I was a serial vomiter when it came to dissection didn't help forge a good relationship between myself and the tutor.

What I know about science is self-taught after leaving school.
 

ted_bloody_maul

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Interesting article about Screamin' Dick Dawkins echoing some of the views expressed on this (and other threads).

Dogmatic atheism is a faith worth questioning

It's not often one has a ringside seat for the second coming of the messiah. It was a thrilling event, well worth the entry price. Oh, yes, and I'm worried about the mental health of a Scottish columnist and broadcaster who seems to have become unhinged in these apocalyptic times.

Let me explain. The Edinburgh International Book Festival has been exhibiting its usual vibrancy, spilling controversy about matters such as Princess Diana's foibles and Ian Rankin's views on women crime writers. My favourite turns have been Richard Ford, Marista Leishman, growling McIlvanney back at his best, Nicola Barry, Terry Eagleton, Marina Warner and John Gray.

And, of course, the return of the big guy. The joint was jumping as he walked in, once again turning the RBS main theatre into a revivalist tent. When Richard Dawkins made his entrance, we were privileged to witness a miracle: Muriel Gray's normally sharp and lively brain mysteriously turned to mush. Yes, in the presence of the sun god, the spiky columnist's critical faculties went into instantaneous meltdown. She became cheerleader rather than chairperson, groupie rather than griller, in a toe-curling display of sycophancy. Oh dear. Not a single searching question was asked from the chair as its apparently besotted occupant pronounced religious believers 'thick', before going on to assert solemnly that Dawkins's book, The God Delusion, had closed the debate about God. She genuinely seemed to believe that since the scientific Bhagwan had spoken, awed silence was the only appropriate response. Nurse! Such was the cultish mood it would have been no surprise if Sister Gray had invited the congregation to rise and sing 'How Great Thou Art' to the smiling demigod seated on the platform.

Dawkins is starting to irritate some of his fellow unbelievers

Now, I happen to think that The God Delusion is a vigorous and helpful contribution to the debate about God, and said so in a review in this newspaper. I've been reading quite a few tomes by the so-called 'new atheists', and enjoying them. Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell raises intriguing questions, and Christopher Hitchens's God is Not Great is a wonderfully polemical read. I've always been a fan of Hitchens, and his outrageously extreme book is the most entertaining and best written of the bunch.

The God Delusion has been riding high in the best-seller lists in America and Britain, and deservedly so. Everyone interested in religion should read it. It is much better than the author's tawdry television documentary entitled The Root of All Evil, in which the great man spoke to a ghastly collection of the most deranged religious bampots in the world but managed to avoid conversing with more than a single Christian or Muslim with at least one brain cell. Mind you, if people like Rowan Williams are all 'thick', why bother? Here we get to the core of the Dawkins delusion. I would have thought that if an academic were going to make a critique of any position, he or she would be obliged to take on that position's most able exponents. You don't need to get far into The God Delusion to realise that Richard is actually theologically illiterate. If he has read any modern theology, he wears his learning so lightly no traces can be detected by the naked eye. In his own field of evolutionary biology he would rightly object if an academic opponent made a vulgar caricature of his discipline, yet where religion is concerned, he is almost proud of his contemptuous ignorance. This is perverse.

When I encounter some of Dawkins's more extreme writings, I catch a whiff of other literature I have read. Yes, extreme evangelical Christianity. Have a look at his website (www.richarddawkins.net) and you'll see that it's a mirror image of some rather zealous and dogmatic religious sites. Richard Dawkins is an obsessed evangelistic atheist autodidact, a dogmatist whose extremism is even starting to irritate some of his fellow unbelievers - such as philosopher Thomas Nagel, who described The God Delusion as 'a very uneven collection of scriptural ridicule, amateur philosophy, historical and contemporary horror stories, anthropological speculations and cosmological scientific argument'. Dawkins and Dennett and Hitchens raise good, sharp questions which will hopefully produce a religious winnowing, a needed chastening. But when the new atheists puff out their hubristic chests - calling themselves 'brights' - and claim to have got things sorted, they become as unattractive as any triumphalist Christian cult leader. Everything in the Gray universe may be black-and-white, but in the real world, religious people are falling down manholes and atheists are falling down godholes. This is much more fun, as well as more truthful. It was good to have Dawkins back in the big tent, but it's time his own blessed assumptions were seriously challenged in a debate which is a million miles away from closure. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

http://www.theherald.co.uk/features/fea ... 57.0.0.php
 

rjmrjmrjm

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I was walking through the town centre today and came accross one of these evangelical groups with the microphone and amplifier and people handing out flyers - usual stuff.

People were walking past, some stopped to listen before moving on, some hesitantly took the flyers but one chap, tallish in his early-thirties stormed accross the square, rummaged around in his sachel and pulled out a paperback copy of Dawkins 'The God Delusion' and proceeded to storm right in front of the evangelical preacher holding the book at arms-length as if trying to drive back the 'Evil Believer'.

I just thought that this scene summed up the Athiest Fundamentalist/Militant Athiest argument perfectly.
 

rynner2

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rjmrjmrjm said:
...but one chap, tallish in his early-thirties stormed accross the square, rummaged around in his sachel and pulled out a paperback copy of Dawkins 'The God Delusion' and proceeded to storm right in front of the evangelical preacher holding the book at arms-length as if trying to drive back the 'Evil Believer'.

I just thought that this scene summed up the Athiest Fundamentalist/Militant Athiest argument perfectly.
Wish I'd been there - what a photo-opportunity!
 

colpepper1

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jefflovestone said:
I went to a grammar school where each field was a separate class rather than combined science. However, it was woefully taught. A lot of the masters at school were past long retirement age and method of teaching was akin to a fly being trapped in amber.

Chemistry was confusing as there was very little hands on work and you were expected to be able to see experiments from the very back of the class room due to a rigid alphabetical seating arrangement with fixed benches.

Physics was taught by a young master with little in the way of experience, liked to be on first name terms with students (always a bad mistake) and was a poor disciplinarian which left physics a virtual free for all.

Biology was better and a fair balance between the two, but the fact I was a serial vomiter when it came to dissection didn't help forge a good relationship between myself and the tutor.

What I know about science is self-taught after leaving school.
That brought back memories. Science was a borderline riot at our grammar school that made The Bash Street Kids look like models of decorum. The release of locusts, gerbils, infammable gas against a backdrop of a pointlessly casual slaughter of mice and exploding violence. Asbestos that would today warrant a complete enclosure suit was casually brandished as a weapon of choice.
Happy days but a far cry from Dawkins' ethical precision. Only the antique bottles and the arcane chemical charts linger. Oil of Spyke anyone?
 
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rynner said:
rjmrjmrjm said:
...but one chap, tallish in his early-thirties stormed accross the square, rummaged around in his sachel and pulled out a paperback copy of Dawkins 'The God Delusion' and proceeded to storm right in front of the evangelical preacher holding the book at arms-length as if trying to drive back the 'Evil Believer'.

I just thought that this scene summed up the Athiest Fundamentalist/Militant Athiest argument perfectly.
Wish I'd been there - what a photo-opportunity!
It must have been performance art. Still, it would have made a great pic or even vid clip.
 

ghostdog19

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ramonmercado said:
rjmrjmrjm said:
...but one chap, tallish in his early-thirties stormed accross the square, rummaged around in his sachel and pulled out a paperback copy of Dawkins 'The God Delusion' and proceeded to storm right in front of the evangelical preacher holding the book at arms-length as if trying to drive back the 'Evil Believer'.
It must have been performance art. Still, it would have made a great pic or even vid clip.
Oh, I don't know. Even followers of the great rationalist are perfectly capable of behaving irrationally. Fundamentalism as art, however, now there's an idea. Religious extremists leaving dead sharks encased in formaldehyde in public spaces ...
 
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ghostdog19 said:
ramonmercado said:
rjmrjmrjm said:
...but one chap, tallish in his early-thirties stormed accross the square, rummaged around in his sachel and pulled out a paperback copy of Dawkins 'The God Delusion' and proceeded to storm right in front of the evangelical preacher holding the book at arms-length as if trying to drive back the 'Evil Believer'.
It must have been performance art. Still, it would have made a great pic or even vid clip.
Oh, I don't know. Even followers of the great rationalist are perfectly capable of behaving irrationally. Fundamentalism as art, however, now there's an idea. Religious extremists leaving dead sharks encased in formaldehyde in public spaces ...
Oh, i dont pretend that I always act rationally, but honestly, it wasnt me waving the book.

maybe the fundy artists would lwave models of cavemen & dinosaurs together in formaldehyde.
 

ghostdog19

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ramonmercado said:
Oh, i dont pretend that I always act rationally, but honestly, it wasnt me waving the book.
"The book". Don't go calling it "the book". That's one step closer to declaring it "holy writ" ;)

You know I'm surprised he didn't call it "The Third Testament".

ramonmercado said:
maybe the fundy artists would wave models of cavemen & dinosaurs together in formaldehyde.
Turner prize winner if ever I saw one. :lol:
 
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ghostdog19 said:
ramonmercado said:
Oh, i dont pretend that I always act rationally, but honestly, it wasnt me waving the book.
"The book". Don't go calling it "the book". That's one step closer to declaring it "holy writ" ;)

Well, it could unite atheists and agnostics: We Are All People Of The Book!

You know I'm surprised he didn't call it "The Third Testament".

That was The Extended Phenotype.

ramonmercado said:
maybe the fundy artists would wave models of cavemen & dinosaurs together in formaldehyde.
Turner prize winner if ever I saw one. :lol:

I have already copyrighted it so dont even think of trying.
 

Rrose_Selavy

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rjmrjmrjm said:
II just thought that this scene summed up the Athiest Fundamentalist/Militant Athiest argument perfectly.
..and says nothing about Evangelical Christians? Anyway, I suspect it was done partly for fun, partly for drama.

-

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