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<b><u>The Horse Race</b></u>

An engineer, a mathematician, and a physicist went to the races one Saturday and laid their money down. Commiserating in the bar after the race, the engineer says, "I don't understand why I lost all my money. I measured all the horses and calculated their strength and mechanical advantage and figured out how fast they could run..."

The physicist interrupted him: "...but you didn't take individual variations into account. I did a statistical analysis of their previous performances and bet on the horses with the highest probability of winning..."

"...So if you're so hot why are you broke?" asked the engineer. But before the argument can grow, the mathematician takes out his pipe and they get a glimpse of his well-fattened wallet. Obviously here was a man who knows something about horses. They both demanded to know his secret. "Well," he says, between puffs on the pipe, "first I assumed all the horses were identical and spherical..."

<b>Without varied opinions there would be no need for this board.

Without varied opinions we would not be exchanging point and counter point. Without substantive, REAL issues being discussed none here would care about the outcome of the discussion.

Were these issues not extremely polarized and involving opposing points of belief expressed in an emphatic manner and not one begging their acceptance, there would be no real exchange of ideas and expression of finer points of evidence.</b>

It has been said by more than one here that many (most?) of us have felt a *twinge* of guilt, wondering if our own vehement and inflamed words somehow contributed to this board's closing. Perhaps we all have outstepped the bounds of appropriate exchange at some time or another.. even when doing so thinking ourself witty and even believing the words were warranted giving our opponents ugly manner.

Having strongly held beliefs is not the problem here. Attacking the messenger and not addressing the message is indeed the problem and how things have become inflamed beyond positive exchange. Having a deeply seated view which one will defend or fight for is not the problem. but attacking the opposing view's holder is what has drawn this board and many other varied modes of exchange of information from a a productive discussion to very personal and inappropriate conflict wholly uninvolved in the valid discussion.

Perhaps each of us realize moments where we lost our perspective and said things in a more than inappropriate fashion, delivering the message laden with unnecessarily sharp stickling barbs. Beyond doubt some among us are more guilty than others in this regard.

The real question here is not that things have been said that were hightly inappropriate, for they have been.

The real question here in measuring this board's merit is the balance between what has been discussed and new ideas broached compared to the negative exchanges.

MANY of us have witnessed or been party to an exchange that left us believing that we no longer wished to remain here. However calmer moments left us realizing that what we have gained from the board in a positive manner far exceeds the negative exchanges.

Your books and ideas open minds and express organized theories and ideas. Yet your site here has done far more than your own books ever could do. The site has given birth to new ideas and led exchange of ideas that have been verbalized for the first time. This site has opened minds in arenas that may not otherwise have considered "reasonable" and it has allowed ideas to be honed and refined in the heat of valid point and counter point.

Graham, only if you honestly believe the negativity outweighs the overwhelming positive exchanges is closing this board a positive resolution.

Before these hallowed digital halls are closed, be sure you reflect on the positive contributions that would be lost and perhaps would not ever have known such a fertile ground among so many thoughtful persons to be expressed.

No matter your resolve, Graham, I want to thank you for providing this forum. I have deeply appreciated not only the positive ideas that have been expressed here but also the "training ground" in human nature this site has provided amidst even a heated conflict .. not only with regard to others views but also, ironically, in knowing my own nature all the better.

Again thank you Graham.. And thanks to all of you have brought forth new thoughts ..

Kudos to you all,

Thomas James McCann
a.k.a. Tripp

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The Horse Race -- Thank You Graham &amp; All. 156 Tripp 19-Apr-02 05:02

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