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  1. - Top - End - #601
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin_Priest View Post
    Are computers sentient?
    AI can make decisions, write songs, compute, converse etc. Does that make you non-sentient?

    Inanimate objects can be argued to have "stress memory". "Recording" prior stresses and heaving differently to said stress in the future is nothing special. I'm no glass expert so I might have some of the names wrong, but aside from that memory alloy I linked to above, we can think of tampered glass. It can resist strong shocks, but said shocks can then fragilize it and make it break easily. This is basically "stress memory", as used in the context of plants. Bend a wire of metal and it comes back into shape, do it again, enough times, and it won't. Same with springs, or the plug on the usb charger, or a light bulb. Expose it to the same "stress" enough and eventually it breaks down, or "reacts". It "learned". In the same manner as the plant, anyways, wich is a pretty ridiculous claim to my eyes.
    „Plants are adept at rapidly acclimating to stressful conditions and are able to further fortify their defenses by retaining memories of stress to enable stronger or more rapid responses should an environmental perturbation recur.” No, iron bars do not adapt and do not give autonomous responses. Stop pretending that plants are objects.

    As for the epigenetic component, that's not unique to plants. Epigenetics apply to everything that has genetics. If we don't consider the phenomenons described in the article to be part of human sentience, why should we use them to argue plant sentience?
    I did not emphasize epigenetics because that's very interesting but somewhat beside the point. Also, unlike yourself, I'm not arguing that all but a very specific subset of living organisms are capable of learning, so you're missing the mark here.


    We know fairly well the importance of the brain to animals, and humanity, even if there is still much to learn. We know some ways of tinkering with it to alter an individual, such as mechanically (lobotomy) or chemically (anti-depressants), for example. We know how the absence of brain activity will turn someone into a vegetable (pun intended). The brain is quintessential to our concept of sentience. Now, if you want to come and say "yea, but there's also this other thing, that works on totally different mechanics, but also qualifies as being the same thing despite being very different", then the burden of proof is on you.
    Science doesn't work like that. „X works like this, so while Y is vastly different from X, all functions they both have (or may have) must be based on the same thing” is not a sound argumentation.
    Since plants have a signalling system functionally analogous to an animal's nervous system, it is not an unreasonable to hypothesize that this system aided by other systems may fulfill a function that is comparable/analogous with/to a function that a comparable/analogous system has. People more qualified than myself have formulated such hypotheses and as far as I can tell, their arguments are strong enough to make the hypothesis valid. Proving it is another matter, and it must come later.

    Have you even considered the implications of your allegation? If plants are sentient, then would you grant them the same rights as are conferred to other sentient beings? Plant cruelty protection laws?
    Yes.

    Make it illegal to kill weeds in a field?
    Is it illegal to kill rats, cockroaches, bedbugs or ants?

    Start a new diet movement that forbids eating any living entity, proposing a purely mineral diet?
    I think ethical vegeterianism is a dumb thing. Heterotrophous organisms cannot survive without harming other living creatures.

    And heck, you are the only one using the word "superior".
    Technically true. You used the word higher:
    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin_Priest View Post
    I don't think the existence of some "memory" mechanisms suffices to put them on the same level of higher organisms.
    Emphasis mine.

    I don't like that word, as it suggests ranking on a common scale. Plants and animals are, as the saying goes, "apples and oranges". I would say that it is precisely this vision that you hold that would allow one to rank one as superior to the other, while I argue that they are simply dissimilar. Plants are essential to mankind. One can respect their value and their roles without conferring them the status of sentient beings.
    That's funny coming from you. You're basically generously chucking minerals, prokaryotes and plants in the same bin while reserving a shiny pedestal for animals.

  2. - Top - End - #602
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Metastachydium View Post
    AI can make decisions, write songs, compute, converse etc. Does that make you non-sentient?
    I don't follow the logic of this inversion.

    I use the concept of sentience as being defined by what is known in animals. I argue that overly loose application of the term would have it become applicable to objects that pretty much everybody would not consider to be sentient. The fact that we share some traits with objects has no impact on us being sentient or not.



    „Plants are adept at rapidly acclimating to stressful conditions and are able to further fortify their defenses by retaining memories of stress to enable stronger or more rapid responses should an environmental perturbation recur.” No, iron bars do not adapt and do not give autonomous responses. Stop pretending that plants are objects.
    Genetically-coded responses follow the same logic as chatbots. A bunch of "if/then" triggers, basically. A Mimosa sheltering its leaves when touched is not fundamentally different from Nitinol regaining its shape when heated. They are both a programmed response. The Nitinol cannot choose to not retake its shape, just as the Mimosa cannot choose to not shelter its leaves.

    Plants are very complex organic machines. I've yet to see a valid argument in favor of plant sentience.



    I did not emphasize epigenetics because that's very interesting but somewhat beside the point. Also, unlike yourself, I'm not arguing that all but a very specific subset of living organisms are capable of learning, so you're missing the mark here.
    Well, I'm just talking about the article you linked to, which talks about epigenetics as a form of memory.

    I see no problem with arguing that we have yet to find species capable of animal-like sentience. Yea, we are special that way. It's okay to be special. There are billions of planets out there, and we've yet to find life on another rock than our own. I'm gonna put our planet on a pedestal for that, too, and I'm quite comfortable with that.




    Science doesn't work like that. „X works like this, so while Y is vastly different from X, all functions they both have (or may have) must be based on the same thing” is not a sound argumentation.
    More like X requires Y. A has Y and X. B does not have Y, thus does not have X. A bit of an oversimplification, though. Your argument is more akin to A has X, and B has something that shares some points with X, so we'll call it X', and since X' is B's "X", then X=X'. That's not a logical argument.

    Plants have some behaviors analogous to animal behavior, but that doesn't put them on equal standing, or mean the same phenomenon is at work. They just share a few similarities, that's all.

    Since plants have a signalling system functionally analogous to an animal's nervous system, it is not an unreasonable to hypothesize that this system aided by other systems may fulfill a function that is comparable/analogous with/to a function that a comparable/analogous system has. People more qualified than myself have formulated such hypotheses and as far as I can tell, their arguments are strong enough to make the hypothesis valid. Proving it is another matter, and it must come later.
    Comparable/analogous =! same.


    Yes.
    Not enough, from the looks of it.


    Is it illegal to kill rats, cockroaches, bedbugs or ants?
    Are the laws made by people who vegans, or do they reflect was the majority of people believe in?

    Because there are certainly people who would argue that we shouldn't kill animals under all but the most extreme circumstances, if even then.


    I think ethical vegeterianism is a dumb thing. Heterotrophous organisms cannot survive without harming other living creatures.
    Plenty of people survive as vegetarians or as vegans. I don't think we should, but it would be possible to live on a fully mineral-based diet. I don't think it's possible to exist without harving other living creatures, but I was talking about diet. If you convey sentience to plants, then one would expect you to convey them empathy. For example, many people prefer non-lethal traps for vermin, like rodents or other undesireables, and when bothered by these at home, will relocate them elsewhere. Applied to plants, this would be akin to digging out the quackgrass from the garden and replanting it elsewhere. It's possible to do, at least on the very small scale.

    Technically true. You used the word higher

    Emphasis mine.
    A common term, even has a wikipedia page (though a redirect), to refer to higher complexity organisms. Used for convenience, not judgement.



    That's funny coming from you. You're basically generously chucking minerals, prokaryotes and plants in the same bin while reserving a shiny pedestal for animals.
    I mean, when it comes to sentience, yea. Forgive me for not shedding a tear when I destroy weeds.
    Last edited by Goblin_Priest; 2021-03-10 at 12:34 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #603
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin_Priest View Post
    I don't follow the logic of this inversion.
    You keep coming up with dubious examples of how inanimate objects can have the qualities that plants do making attempts at demonstrating that plants do not have that quality. I gave actual examples of things normally linked to sentience that a machine can do. An AI is more similar to a human than a rock is to a plant, so by your logic, you're probably not sentient.

    I use the concept of sentience as being defined by what is known in animals. I argue that overly loose application of the term would have it become applicable to objects that pretty much everybody would not consider to be sentient. The fact that we share some traits with objects has no impact on us being sentient or not.
    You are doing the same thing to the concepts of memory and learning, and SOMEHOW draw the opposite conclusion from the same thing. Paraphrasing you, the fact that by applying terms very loosely one can argue that plants share some traits with objects has no impact on plants being sentient or not.

    Genetically-coded responses follow the same logic as chatbots. A bunch of "if/then" triggers, basically. A Mimosa sheltering its leaves when touched is not fundamentally different from Nitinol regaining its shape when heated. They are both a programmed response. The Nitinol cannot choose to not retake its shape, just as the Mimosa cannot choose to not shelter its leaves.
    If something is a result of rapid acclimation and is transmitted epigenetically, then it cannot be genetically-coded. Your examples are irrelevant.

    Plants are very complex organic machines. I've yet to see a valid argument in favor of plant sentience.
    And I'm yet to see valid evidence disproving it. The former doesn't mean it's not a thing, the latter does not mean it's a thing. Sorry.

    I see no problem with arguing that we have yet to find species capable of animal-like sentience. Yea, we are special that way. It's okay to be special. There are billions of planets out there, and we've yet to find life on another rock than our own. I'm gonna put our planet on a pedestal for that, too, and I'm quite comfortable with that.
    Come, now. With this mindset („only animals can have a sentience of any sort, so nothing else does”) it is impossible to find a species capable of sentience.

    More like X requires Y. A has Y and X. B does not have Y, thus does not have X. A bit of an oversimplification, though. Your argument is more akin to A has X, and B has something that shares some points with X, so we'll call it X', and since X' is B's "X", then X=X'. That's not a logical argument.
    No, your argument is A has X which requires Y. B has Z, which is functionally analogous to what Y is a part of, but B cannot have X (or anything analogous), because it doe not have Y. And that makes no sense.
    My argument is that if A has Y and therefore X, then B can have Z and therefore X (or W).

    Plants have some behaviors analogous to animal behavior, but that doesn't put them on equal standing, or mean the same phenomenon is at work. They just share a few similarities, that's all.
    „Animals are not superior, it's just that nothing is on equal standing with them.”

    Comparable/analogous =! same.
    Animal sentience is comparable with human sapience, but not the same. Many people therefore argue that animals have no true sentience. Do you agree with them?

    Not enough, from the looks of it.
    ?

    Are the laws made by people who vegans, or do they reflect was the majority of people believe in?

    Because there are certainly people who would argue that we shouldn't kill animals under all but the most extreme circumstances, if even then.
    Vegans would prohibit harming any animal in any way if they could. Even beekeeping isn't ethical at least according to quite a number of them. I can't see what you're driving at.


    Plenty of people survive as vegetarians or as vegans. I don't think we should, but it would be possible to live on a fully mineral-based diet.
    How? (I'm genuinely curious.)

    I don't think it's possible to exist without harving other living creatures, but I was talking about diet. If you convey sentience to plants, then one would expect you to convey them empathy. For example, many people prefer non-lethal traps for vermin, like rodents or other undesireables, and when bothered by these at home, will relocate them elsewhere. Applied to plants, this would be akin to digging out the quackgrass from the garden and replanting it elsewhere. It's possible to do, at least on the very small scale.
    Relocating cockroaches and bedbugs is not really a viable option.

    A common term, even has a wikipedia page (though a redirect), to refer to higher complexity organisms. Used for convenience, not judgement.
    It reflects a conceptual bias.

    I mean, when it comes to sentience, yea. Forgive me for not shedding a tear when I destroy weeds.
    And I don't shed a tear when killing vermin, but that's not because I think of them as objects.
    Last edited by Metastachydium; 2021-03-10 at 01:03 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #604
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin_Priest View Post
    Are computers sentient?
    In the sense of having senses, obviously they do.

    If you mean sapient, then that's a whole different mess, and you have to consider the software, because the hardware does nothing without software.

    Has anyone written software for a computer that's sapient so far? I've not heard of any that convinces me. Is current hardware capable of running sapient software? I don't know, it might be, but it would probably depend on a lot of variables.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

  5. - Top - End - #605
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    In the sense of having senses, obviously they do.

    If you mean sapient, then that's a whole different mess, and you have to consider the software, because the hardware does nothing without software.

    Has anyone written software for a computer that's sapient so far? I've not heard of any that convinces me. Is current hardware capable of running sapient software? I don't know, it might be, but it would probably depend on a lot of variables.
    I mean, if this is going to become a semantics issue, then it's gonna get real boring real fast.

    According to Webster, sentient is:
    Definition of sentient

    1 : responsive to or conscious of sense impressions sentient beings

    Conscious
    :

    2 : perceiving, apprehending, or noticing with a degree of controlled thought or observation
    Sentience, to me, and per these definitions (other definitions will vary, of course, but if we are just going to argue about which definitions to use, it gets pretty pointless pretty fast)... requires both perception of one's surrounding and a free will to interact with it. To cut it off from the concept of consciousness into some sentient vs sapient conceptualization, to merely have it define "an entity with senors", is not very useful to my eyes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metastachydium View Post
    You keep coming up with dubious examples of how inanimate objects can have the qualities that plants do making attempts at demonstrating that plants do not have that quality. I gave actual examples of things normally linked to sentience that a machine can do. An AI is more similar to a human than a rock is to a plant, so by your logic, you're probably not sentient.
    Honestly, you have barely any examples at all. You linked to one article. And made vague conceptual references to concepts within. What else am I missing? What actual examples of a specific plant, with a specific stimuli, and a specific response, have you given? Apologies if I missed it, but I'm not seeing any. I gave actual specific examples.

    You are the one saying "plants are sentient because they have X", while I'm saying "by that logic, (insert random inorganic entity) is also sentient because it also has X". There are multiple boxes to tick to qualify as sentient. Plants have some, and various other inorganic entities also have some. But you can't be partially sentient. You are or you aren't. My "dubious" examples are rhetorical counter-examples to illustrate the absurdity your line of thought can be logically brought to.

    In my eyes, if your definition of "sentience" is so broad that it can apply to a rock, then your definition is bad and needs rethinking. Because if a rock can be considered sentient, then just about anything can be considered sentient. And when a word means everything, it loses all purpose and means nothing at all.


    Quote Originally Posted by Metastachydium View Post
    If something is a result of rapid acclimation and is transmitted epigenetically, then it cannot be genetically-coded. Your examples are irrelevant.
    Epigenetics are not independant of genetics. One doesn't talk about epigenetics in rocks.

    The genes being "the code" and epigenetics being "modifiers on the code", you can't upregulate a gene that doesn't exist. Epigenetics are still part of a plant's software, it's just a more complex/nuanced architecture.

    It's like... build the exact same house, but at different places, different times. Maybe one was built during prolonged adverse weather conditions. Maybe some materials were in short supply at crucial times and corners had to be cut, a few less nails being used, or different lumber, or different paint, or whatever. The blueprints are still the same, but after 75 years, they might not be in the same conditions. The repairs and renovations on them won't be the same, either. That's kinda like epigenetics. You could even push the analogy further saying that the wealth of the neighborhood might affect the houses that its gametes (inhabitants) will later spawn.

    None of this gives the house a will of its own, and thus no consciousness, and thus no sentience.

    A plant being able to close its stomata in times of hydric stress in order to preserve water and thus better survive is a marvel of engineering, not a sign of sentience. Humans also have various automated responses that aren't dependent on sentience, and don't define it. If one's balls sag or shrink based on the temperature, that's not proof of sentience. It's just a testimony of good engineering. Same when we sweat when we are hot, or how we get goosebumps when we are cold. These are all examples of automated responses, hardwired into our software. They are fundamental to our survival, but irrelevant to our sentience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metastachydium View Post
    Come, now. With this mindset („only animals can have a sentience of any sort, so nothing else does”) it is impossible to find a species capable of sentience.
    Improbable, not impossible. I've yet to see any reason to believe non-animal sentience exists on Earth, but it might one day, or it might elsewhere, whether that be in the past, present, or future. The universe is a pretty darn big place. As per the infinite monkey theorem, given our existence, then the odds of life appearing on a planet is non-zero. As you increase the opportunities for an event with a probably greater than 0 to happen, the odds of that event happening at least once approach 1. If you take the whole universe, both through time and space, odds are other sentient beings will exist. Then again, the universe is not technically infinite, and a non-zero odd could still be an infinitely small odd.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metastachydium View Post
    Animal sentience is comparable with human sapience, but not the same. Many people therefore argue that animals have no true sentience. Do you agree with them?
    I have no set idea on the differences of sentience between animals and humans. All the science says is that we still have much to learn. At the very least, there are unarguably high levels of similarity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metastachydium View Post
    Relocating cockroaches and bedbugs is not really a viable option.
    It is to some people. But as discussion religion is against the rules, I'll just have to invite you to google it up without giving any examples.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metastachydium View Post
    How? (I'm genuinely curious.)
    To be honest, I'll admit to assuming this to be true, than to have actually researched it. Mea culpa. If not wholly accurate yet, then one day no doubt, as our capacity to synthesize various compounds increases, as does our capacity to bioingineer ourselves. We can already create GMOs and have tailored some organisms to synthesize various compounds we want, so the know-how needed to make ourselves homotrophous does not appear all that far away, all legal/ethical/financial/etc. considerations aside.

    That said, which nutrient would you consider to be problematic?

    And would you have an issue with tweaking that statement a bit to include unicellular organisms? Because we've already tweaked yeasts to synthesize various things for us.

    And to clarify, I didn't mean to imply it'd be viable for the whole species, but that technically, on a small scale and regardless of costs, it could be possible. If not now, then in the future.
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  6. - Top - End - #606
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin_Priest View Post
    I mean, if this is going to become a semantics issue, then it's gonna get real boring real fast.

    According to Webster, sentient is:


    Conscious
    :



    Sentience, to me, and per these definitions (other definitions will vary, of course, but if we are just going to argue about which definitions to use, it gets pretty pointless pretty fast)... requires both perception of one's surrounding and a free will to interact with it. To cut it off from the concept of consciousness into some sentient vs sapient conceptualization, to merely have it define "an entity with senors", is not very useful to my eyes.
    That's why I answered sapient as well. Meanings change over time, and it's very tiresome, nobody who has been through it twice already has the patience to update the words they use every time fashion changes them. There are a lot of people who think "literally" means not literally, it's noise, but the arguement would go on forever if you always pulled them up on it.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Metastachydium View Post
    Yup. Humans are barely more complex than a virus. You're just deluding yourself by looking too closely.
    I'd argue with this. Admittedly without having looked up the data, I'm very sure that human DNA has a lot more information than the genetic information for any virus. It encodes a much larger number of interacting systems, and the complexity of the organism would have to increase much more than linearly with the number of interacting systems.

    The notion of "X is more evolved than Y" is nonsense, at least when one uses the technical definition of "changed/adapted to be suitable for its environment". But that's a different matter.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Sorry for growing unresponsive. I've been away from the internet for a couple of days.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin_Priest View Post
    Honestly, you have barely any examples at all. You linked to one article. And made vague conceptual references to concepts within. What else am I missing? What actual examples of a specific plant, with a specific stimuli, and a specific response, have you given? Apologies if I missed it, but I'm not seeing any. I gave actual specific examples.
    I gave relevant examples at the very least. You just keep repeating the same

    You are the one saying "plants are sentient because they have X", while I'm saying "by that logic, (insert random inorganic entity) is also sentient because it also has X". There are multiple boxes to tick to qualify as sentient. Plants have some, and various other inorganic entities also have some. But you can't be partially sentient. You are or you aren't. My "dubious" examples are rhetorical counter-examples to illustrate the absurdity your line of thought can be logically brought to.
    Not exactly. My arguments were based on such facts as plants having a system of signalling paths roughly analogous to the nervous system of animals and that they have certain capabilities based on this hardware. To that you kept coming up with purely rhetorical „counterexamples” which relied on deliberately overextending the meaning of certain terms, and which, therefore, were irrelevant to the discussion.

    In my eyes, if your definition of "sentience" is so broad that it can apply to a rock, then your definition is bad and needs rethinking. Because if a rock can be considered sentient, then just about anything can be considered sentient. And when a word means everything, it loses all purpose and means nothing at all.
    My definition of sentience is not so broad that it can apply to rocks. What I argue is that if plants have certain capabilities that resemble those of animals and they are based on a system analogous to what the basis of animal sentience is they might very well have something analogous to animal sentience. You are the one who keeps bringing up pseudoarguments as „memory foam”, so this is mainly strawmaning my position.
    Also, if you define sentience as „the quality of animals that etc.” your conclusion will necessarily be that it is unique to animals, but that's thinking in circles.


    Epigenetics are not independant of genetics. One doesn't talk about epigenetics in rocks.
    How come? Plants are like rocks, so if plants have it, rocks should have it too!

    The genes being "the code" and epigenetics being "modifiers on the code", you can't upregulate a gene that doesn't exist. Epigenetics are still part of a plant's software, it's just a more complex/nuanced architecture.

    It's like... build the exact same house, but at different places, different times. Maybe one was built during prolonged adverse weather conditions. Maybe some materials were in short supply at crucial times and corners had to be cut, a few less nails being used, or different lumber, or different paint, or whatever. The blueprints are still the same, but after 75 years, they might not be in the same conditions. The repairs and renovations on them won't be the same, either. That's kinda like epigenetics. You could even push the analogy further saying that the wealth of the neighborhood might affect the houses that its gametes (inhabitants) will later spawn.

    None of this gives the house a will of its own, and thus no consciousness, and thus no sentience.
    That's a hilariously bad example. The blueprint is not a quality inherent to the house and the house does not acquire information that it can transfer to a new generation of houses.

    A plant being able to close its stomata in times of hydric stress in order to preserve water and thus better survive is a marvel of engineering, not a sign of sentience. Humans also have various automated responses that aren't dependent on sentience, and don't define it. If one's balls sag or shrink based on the temperature, that's not proof of sentience. It's just a testimony of good engineering. Same when we sweat when we are hot, or how we get goosebumps when we are cold. These are all examples of automated responses, hardwired into our software. They are fundamental to our survival, but irrelevant to our sentience.
    You are comparing genetically coded behaviour with acquired behaviour based on rapid acclimation.


    I have no set idea on the differences of sentience between animals and humans. All the science says is that we still have much to learn. At the very least, there are unarguably high levels of similarity.
    Animal behaviour is mostly genetically coded and animal learning is basically using hardwired capabilities in new situations. Most animals demonstrably don't have a consciousness of their selves, don't have even a vague conception of time or causality and so on and so forth. By your logic, most animals are basically complex machines running a genetically preordained programme.

    It is to some people. But as discussion religion is against the rules, I'll just have to invite you to google it up without giving any examples.
    So what?

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    Lightbulb Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    The time shared with the Monster In The Darkness certainly helped Mr. Stiffly to come with his long-winded answer.
    Last edited by Blue Dragon; 2021-03-19 at 08:49 PM.

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