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Do atheists harbor any beliefs?

Dirty.Harry
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2/6/2016 7:14:30 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
Are there any atheists here who would claim they harbor no beliefs? That everything they hold to be true is irrefutably and demonstrably true?

One definition of belief is:

"confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof".

Is it possible for even construct a mental model of reality without adopting a belief at some point?

Harry.
DanneJeRusse
Posts: 12,652
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2/6/2016 7:25:53 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/6/2016 7:14:30 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
Are there any atheists here who would claim they harbor no beliefs? That everything they hold to be true is irrefutably and demonstrably true?

One definition of belief is:

"confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof".

Is it possible for even construct a mental model of reality without adopting a belief at some point?

Harry.

Sure, everyone has beliefs, it's how one handles their beliefs, whether or not they understand the belief is merely a notion or asserted as a fact of reality. If the latter, then it becomes evident that person doesn't have an understanding of that aspect of reality.

Reality constructs itself for us, despite our personal desires, beliefs and wishful thinking to the contrary. If we do adopt beliefs about reality before understanding how it works, then we must at the very least be honest with ourselves that those beliefs are notions and not hard facts.
Marrying a 6 year old and waiting until she reaches puberty and maturity before having consensual sex is better than walking up to
a stranger in a bar and proceeding to have relations with no valid proof of the intent of the person. Muhammad wins. ~ Fatihah
If they don't want to be killed then they have to subdue to the Islamic laws. - Uncung
Without God, you are lower than sh!t. ~ SpiritandTruth
Ramshutu
Posts: 4,063
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2/6/2016 7:30:22 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/6/2016 7:14:30 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
Are there any atheists here who would claim they harbor no beliefs? That everything they hold to be true is irrefutably and demonstrably true?

One definition of belief is:

"confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof".

Is it possible for even construct a mental model of reality without adopting a belief at some point?

Harry.

Your question is a false dichotomy, Harry. Between believing things and thinking that they are absolutely true. I don't know why you are fixated with absolute truth, but it's worth not applying the notion of that concept to everyone else.

I don't have any faith. I do think some things are true, but the confidence I have in those things is only to the level that can be demonstrated and I am not 100% sure about anything, although the level of confidence I have in those things is so close to 100% that I can act on the basis that they are without problem.

This possibly matches the non-religious definition of "believe" in every day usage, like you would say "I believe the train will be here in 10 minutes", but is absolutely different from the religious definition, such as "I believe in God".

Indeed, I refuse to have faith. It is not laudable, or a virtue. At a most fundamental level it is pretending to know and acting as if you know something you don't know. As such it is the most dishonest position it's possible to hold.
brontoraptor
Posts: 11,685
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2/6/2016 8:36:03 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
I talked to one Atheist who believed we were an illusion thought up by a tenseless quantum field that is metaphysical and in many ways like well, a squid.
"What Donald Trump is doing is representing the absolute heartbreak, and anger, and frustration at a government gone mad."

http://youtu.be...
janesix
Posts: 3,491
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2/6/2016 8:53:00 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/6/2016 8:36:03 PM, brontoraptor wrote:
I talked to one Atheist who believed we were an illusion thought up by a tenseless quantum field that is metaphysical and in many ways like well, a squid.

So? How do you know he's wrong?
brontoraptor
Posts: 11,685
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2/6/2016 8:58:10 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/6/2016 8:53:00 PM, janesix wrote:
At 2/6/2016 8:36:03 PM, brontoraptor wrote:
I talked to one Atheist who believed we were an illusion thought up by a tenseless quantum field that is metaphysical and in many ways like well, a squid.

So? How do you know he's wrong?

I don't. I'm squid agnostic.
"What Donald Trump is doing is representing the absolute heartbreak, and anger, and frustration at a government gone mad."

http://youtu.be...
TBR
Posts: 9,991
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2/6/2016 9:03:37 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/6/2016 7:14:30 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
Are there any atheists here who would claim they harbor no beliefs? That everything they hold to be true is irrefutably and demonstrably true?

One definition of belief is:

"confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof".

Is it possible for even construct a mental model of reality without adopting a belief at some point?

Harry.

I believe my dog loves me. I have not designed any experiment's, or carefully documented results, I just believe tjat she does.

Now. why should it matter?
Dirty.Harry
Posts: 1,589
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2/6/2016 10:15:08 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/6/2016 7:25:53 PM, DanneJeRusse wrote:
At 2/6/2016 7:14:30 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
Are there any atheists here who would claim they harbor no beliefs? That everything they hold to be true is irrefutably and demonstrably true?

One definition of belief is:

"confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof".

Is it possible for even construct a mental model of reality without adopting a belief at some point?

Harry.

Sure, everyone has beliefs, it's how one handles their beliefs, whether or not they understand the belief is merely a notion or asserted as a fact of reality. If the latter, then it becomes evident that person doesn't have an understanding of that aspect of reality.


I exist is a fact - so far as I'm concerned, that;s an example of something that isn't a belief but an incontrovertible fact - cogito ergo sum.

Do you consider your own existence a belief or a fact?


Reality constructs itself for us, despite our personal desires, beliefs and wishful thinking to the contrary. If we do adopt beliefs about reality before understanding how it works, then we must at the very least be honest with ourselves that those beliefs are notions and not hard facts.

"reality constructs itself" does it? I've never seen it do that, is there a video around you can show me?

You say "If we do adopt beliefs about reality before understanding how it works" but this assumes that its possible to understand how it works.

Can't you see? in order to understand how it works you must already believe that it's possible to understand how it works!

Give me an example of a belief you hold please?

Harry.
Dirty.Harry
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2/6/2016 10:27:37 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/6/2016 7:30:22 PM, Ramshutu wrote:
At 2/6/2016 7:14:30 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
Are there any atheists here who would claim they harbor no beliefs? That everything they hold to be true is irrefutably and demonstrably true?

One definition of belief is:

"confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof".

Is it possible for even construct a mental model of reality without adopting a belief at some point?

Harry.

Your question is a false dichotomy, Harry. Between believing things and thinking that they are absolutely true. I don't know why you are fixated with absolute truth, but it's worth not applying the notion of that concept to everyone else.


So asking the question I did in the OP leads you to believe I have a fixation?

I don't have any faith.

You must - because if (as you say below) your confidence is < 100% then to pretend that actually is 100% is a leap of faith.

I do think some things are true, but the confidence I have in those things is only to the level that can be demonstrated and I am not 100% sure about anything, although the level of confidence I have in those things is so close to 100% that I can act on the basis that they are without problem.


Can you show me the probability calculation or did you just make the number up? For example how do you calculate the probability that human life can emerge naturally from fundamental particles, can I see the calculation? You must have done that calculation and got a value "so close" to 100% that you choose to believe it.

What probability must something have before you then consider is true? 90%? or perhaps 99.9% or perhaps 99.5% will do it for you?

This possibly matches the non-religious definition of "believe" in every day usage, like you would say "I believe the train will be here in 10 minutes", but is absolutely different from the religious definition, such as "I believe in God".


Why is that different? in each case the person stating the belief may have every confidence in it being true.

Indeed, I refuse to have faith. It is not laudable, or a virtue. At a most fundamental level it is pretending to know and acting as if you know something you don't know. As such it is the most dishonest position it's possible to hold.

Of course you must have faith to take something as true when you can't demonstrate that truth.

You have faith that your senses are a trustworthy source of information about objective reality, you have faith that there even IS an objective reality, you have faith in your own analytical abilities etc etc.

Harry.
Dirty.Harry
Posts: 1,589
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2/6/2016 10:30:58 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/6/2016 9:03:37 PM, TBR wrote:
At 2/6/2016 7:14:30 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
Are there any atheists here who would claim they harbor no beliefs? That everything they hold to be true is irrefutably and demonstrably true?

One definition of belief is:

"confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof".

Is it possible for even construct a mental model of reality without adopting a belief at some point?

Harry.

I believe my dog loves me. I have not designed any experiment's, or carefully documented results, I just believe tjat she does.

Now. why should it matter?

It matters because even the most ardent atheist cannot avoid the fact that some things must be taken on faith, even Dawkins has to start somewhere and begin with some unprovable belief,

Yes these "hard" atheists like to claim that belief or faith is an indication of a delusion.

Harry.
Ramshutu
Posts: 4,063
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2/6/2016 11:42:39 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/6/2016 10:27:37 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
Your question is a false dichotomy, Harry. Between believing things and thinking that they are absolutely true. I don't know why you are fixated with absolute truth, but it's worth not applying the notion of that concept to everyone else.


So asking the question I did in the OP leads you to believe I have a fixation?

No, a number of threads in which you are arguing (in a round about way) that people are claiming absolute truth, on the other hand, does.

I don't have any faith.

You must - because if (as you say below) your confidence is < 100% then to pretend that actually is 100% is a leap of faith.

If I did that, yes. But I don't.

I do think some things are true, but the confidence I have in those things is only to the level that can be demonstrated and I am not 100% sure about anything, although the level of confidence I have in those things is so close to 100% that I can act on the basis that they are without problem.


Can you show me the probability calculation or did you just make the number up? For example how do you calculate the probability that human life can emerge naturally from fundamental particles, can I see the calculation? You must have done that calculation and got a value "so close" to 100% that you choose to believe it.

What probability must something have before you then consider is true? 90%? or perhaps 99.9% or perhaps 99.5% will do it for you?

Am I going to fly of the planet tomorrow because gravity disappears; probably not, and given that I didn't yesterday, and for that to happen, everything we have established as broadly accurate in every day life would need to be wrong to some degree. It could be, but experience tells you not.

Can human life emerge naturally from other particles? Well, in reality, I think the answer given the evidence for evolution and the tentative information we have regarding abiogenesis indicates that the answer is quite possibly. Did humans arise from naturalistic processes, given the nature of evidence and lack of support for the alternative, I think almost certainly.

Now I could be wrong, I could be overestimating or underestimating my confidence in various explanations or lack thereof, but right now, given a wide breadth of evidence, and an understanding of what practical facts could be presented to me to change my mind, I think that position is well supported.

Now, I can't calculate probabilities, and I think you know that; but is that sufficient to render my position the same as the same sort of religious belief?

I don't think so, I attempt to determine the relative probability between explanations and events based on facts; try not to oversell confidence in particular explanations based on my knowledge of the evidence.

If I oversell something, it isn't because I have "belief" in it, simply that in an honest attempt to weigh reality, I have got the answer wrong. I how my positions with a strength in proportion to how well I feel I can defend it. If that turns out to be wrong, no big deal, I will change that position.

Being wrong is okay, and this is why even if I don't have the right probability estimates, and even if I overestimate confidence in an explanation I still don't have a belief in it; only what I feel to be a justification to conclude that explanation is probably or almost certainly true; and as I said, I could be wrong about that to.

This possibly matches the non-religious definition of "believe" in every day usage, like you would say "I believe the train will be here in 10 minutes", but is absolutely different from the religious definition, such as "I believe in God".


Why is that different? in each case the person stating the belief may have every confidence in it being true.

If you define belief as "a confidence in something being true", then this is the most redundant, irrelevant thread to post in a religious forum.

Because whether you believe in God or not, pretty much everything you have confidence in being true, regardless of how fatuous, irrelevant, or reasoning for that confidence; everyone has it.

Given that this is a religion forum, and given how irrelevant your position would be if you were talking about non-religious colloquial usage of the word belief; and given that you singled out Atheists in this thread about beliefs, I think it is self evident you are not talking about belief as "Confidence in something be true", but as a synonym of faith.

Right?

Indeed, I refuse to have faith. It is not laudable, or a virtue. At a most fundamental level it is pretending to know and acting as if you know something you don't know. As such it is the most dishonest position it's possible to hold.

Of course you must have faith to take something as true when you can't demonstrate that truth.

You have faith that your senses are a trustworthy source of information about objective reality, you have faith that there even IS an objective reality, you have faith in your own analytical abilities etc etc.

No. I really, really don't.

I don't know whether there is an objective reality or not; this could be a computer simulation, or a real universe, or something else entirely. Whatever reality is, I still appear to have an apartment, a job and post on internet forums on a particular planet, orbiting around a star based that seem to all work based on a set of rules.

I don't have faith in my senses (mostly, although not always), and my analytical skills. I base my confidence in the relative accuracy on these things based on experience, and corroboration. EG: I have not been fired from my Job because of insanity, when I see things, most of the time other people see them too; if my eyes weren't seeing what they were seeing, my ability to function in the real world would be next to impossible if everyone else wasn't seeing exactly the same thing. So, whatever the world actually is, objectively, it doesn't matter to me, because whatever it is, it seems that everyone else sees it pretty much the same way.

Fundamentally though, this forum has it's fair share of nut-jobs, people verging on the insane, and the intensely irrational and illogical who seem to be convinced they are correct.

How do I know I'm not one of those people?

I don't know, do you? I suspect what separates me from these people, is how much I consider that question. Have you ever asked that of yourself, Harry? What is your conclusion?

I do have a few personal rules, however:

1.) A position or premise that you cannot or will not defend is not worth holding.
2.) Assume everyone who disagrees with you is right until you can show otherwise.
3.) Be prepared to justify everything you say from first principles at any level.
4.) Never say anything you know isn't true.
5.) ALWAYS understand the flaws in your argument, and freely admit them if necessary.
6.) If someone accuses you of committing a logical fallacy, or a poor argument, make damned sure you aren't before continuing.
7.) Always recognize what it would take to be proven wrong.
8.) Be prepared to change your mind if you're wrong.

I don't always live up to all of those in every way all the time, I am a human being after all; but I think that the vast majority of times I do just that; which is why most of my replies are so long; that and I can type pretty fast.

Channeling Ruv, for a moment; I feel these rules are the most honest, open, accountable, and rigorous to the point that I feel that if I was wrong about anything, adhering to those rules would allow me to determine it.

But, given (7), I could be wrong on those too and I think that's okay, because if I am, I should be able to determine it eventually.

Do you think these are robust rules, Harry? Given your previous posts, it seems you do not follow several of them.
Ramshutu
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2/7/2016 12:07:58 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/6/2016 10:30:58 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
At 2/6/2016 9:03:37 PM, TBR wrote:
At 2/6/2016 7:14:30 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
Are there any atheists here who would claim they harbor no beliefs? That everything they hold to be true is irrefutably and demonstrably true?

One definition of belief is:

"confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof".

Is it possible for even construct a mental model of reality without adopting a belief at some point?

Harry.

I believe my dog loves me. I have not designed any experiment's, or carefully documented results, I just believe tjat she does.

Now. why should it matter?

It matters because even the most ardent atheist cannot avoid the fact that some things must be taken on faith, even Dawkins has to start somewhere and begin with some unprovable belief,

Yes these "hard" atheists like to claim that belief or faith is an indication of a delusion.

Harry.

Out of interest, lets say you're correct (I don't think you are, see my former reply), and say that Atheists have to believe on faith that objective reality exists, that what they see is not some form of simulation or fevered dream.

Would you say the belief that reality actually does exist is more, or less reasonable and rational than believing in supreme personal deity who lives outside the realms of understandable reality, interferes with the world, is intricately involved and concerned in your affairs, personally gives you signs or other forms of communication, created the universe, defies the known operation of the universe by performing miracles, and judges your actions and behavior in order to determine whether you are worthy for an infinite amount of time at the cool kids table once the biochemical reactions in your body cease.

To me, even if your premise is true (which I don't think it is), the two are still not equivalent; and the belief in God could still be delusional while the other is not because of the nature of what it is that you have faith in.

For example, consider this:

Lets say two people have "faith" in something.

One, has "faith" that his girlfriend isn't cheating on him, but has no fully corroborating evidence.

The other has "faith" that his girlfriend is cheating on him with multiple people called Steve, she regularly flies across the country to conduct affairs (even though she never seems to be traveling), and that every time she is out of contact with him for more than 15 minutes, that she is off with one of her steves. If she messages him at home, he believes that a steve is with her, and they're both laughing at him while she messages, when she disappears to the toilet when they're together, she is messaging one of her many steves, etc, etc.

Are these two "faiths" equally rational?

If they are not, then it pretty much invalidates the premise of your reply here.

Just because Atheists have faith (Which, to be clear, I am not conceding, just including as an example), doesn't necessarily render it the same, equally false, equally delusional or equally dishonest as faith in God.
Axonly
Posts: 1,802
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2/7/2016 12:10:05 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/6/2016 7:14:30 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
Are there any atheists here who would claim they harbor no beliefs? That everything they hold to be true is irrefutably and demonstrably true?

One definition of belief is:

"confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof".

Is it possible for even construct a mental model of reality without adopting a belief at some point?

Harry.

Well, im agnostic, but I have the belief that there are Aliens in the universe somewhere, there is no direct proof of this (Yet).
Meh!
Dirty.Harry
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2/7/2016 12:24:59 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 12:10:05 AM, Axonly wrote:
At 2/6/2016 7:14:30 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
Are there any atheists here who would claim they harbor no beliefs? That everything they hold to be true is irrefutably and demonstrably true?

One definition of belief is:

"confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof".

Is it possible for even construct a mental model of reality without adopting a belief at some point?

Harry.

Well, im agnostic, but I have the belief that there are Aliens in the universe somewhere, there is no direct proof of this (Yet).

Many people share that view though there is no evidence that I'm aware of. It's an inference based on other beliefs about life arising from inert matter and subsequently evolving.

They believe that intelligence and conscious awareness are natural phenomena that eventually arise from the laws of nature.

Overall its rational though I personally don't consider it viable.
DanneJeRusse
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2/7/2016 4:29:17 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 12:24:59 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
At 2/7/2016 12:10:05 AM, Axonly wrote:
At 2/6/2016 7:14:30 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
Are there any atheists here who would claim they harbor no beliefs? That everything they hold to be true is irrefutably and demonstrably true?

One definition of belief is:

"confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof".

Is it possible for even construct a mental model of reality without adopting a belief at some point?

Harry.

Well, im agnostic, but I have the belief that there are Aliens in the universe somewhere, there is no direct proof of this (Yet).

Many people share that view though there is no evidence that I'm aware of. It's an inference based on other beliefs about life arising from inert matter and subsequently evolving.

They believe that intelligence and conscious awareness are natural phenomena that eventually arise from the laws of nature.

Overall its rational though I personally don't consider it viable.

That's interesting, Harry, but it does make sense that you don't find the rational viable as can be evidenced in many of your posts.
Marrying a 6 year old and waiting until she reaches puberty and maturity before having consensual sex is better than walking up to
a stranger in a bar and proceeding to have relations with no valid proof of the intent of the person. Muhammad wins. ~ Fatihah
If they don't want to be killed then they have to subdue to the Islamic laws. - Uncung
Without God, you are lower than sh!t. ~ SpiritandTruth
Dirty.Harry
Posts: 1,589
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2/7/2016 4:50:50 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 4:29:17 PM, DanneJeRusse wrote:
At 2/7/2016 12:24:59 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
At 2/7/2016 12:10:05 AM, Axonly wrote:
At 2/6/2016 7:14:30 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
Are there any atheists here who would claim they harbor no beliefs? That everything they hold to be true is irrefutably and demonstrably true?

One definition of belief is:

"confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof".

Is it possible for even construct a mental model of reality without adopting a belief at some point?

Harry.

Well, im agnostic, but I have the belief that there are Aliens in the universe somewhere, there is no direct proof of this (Yet).

Many people share that view though there is no evidence that I'm aware of. It's an inference based on other beliefs about life arising from inert matter and subsequently evolving.

They believe that intelligence and conscious awareness are natural phenomena that eventually arise from the laws of nature.

Overall its rational though I personally don't consider it viable.

That's interesting, Harry, but it does make sense that you don't find the rational viable as can be evidenced in many of your posts.

The two terms don't mean the same thing Dummel - just sayin.

Harry.
RuvDraba
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2/7/2016 5:18:24 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/6/2016 7:14:30 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
Are there any atheists here who would claim they harbor no beliefs? That everything they hold to be true is irrefutably and demonstrably true?
Harry, we already live in a world where even the known things -- that is, the things that have been carefully explored, tested, validated, verified and demonstrated repeatedly -- are too many for one life to learn. And then there are unknown things -- information we have yet to acquire, methods we have yet to develop, questions we have yet to ask. And finally there are also day to day decisions we must make with imperfect information simply because we haven't the time or the quality sources to get information of the quality we need.

So being wrong -- being ignorant, inaccurate, surprised, even shocked -- is part of the daily human condition. If we don't live with self-questioning and self-doubt we're doing ourselves an intellectual disservice, and if we don't acknowledge ignorance and error that with diligence we could identify, then we're failing our own development, and failing one another intellectually and ethically.

But if you're wondering why such doubt can apply to (say) the nutritional value of food in a tin, but not the apallingly poor quality of religious belief, it's because religion has demonstrably embarked upon a multi-millenia journey to adopt and make sacred poor information, and keep it poor.

If you see someone smearing dung on a plate, you don't have to question whether it's unsavoury and unhygeinic. In trying to improve knowledge, humanity has gotten very good at recognising which of its traditional methods are poor at producing it.

Sadly, religion adopts and makes sacred poor methods in the interests of self-placation, self-flattery, nationalist cohesion and political control. The faithful and their leaders alone are responsible for doing this, and when atheists and other freethinkers continue to point out the intellectual poverty and ethical bankruptcy of those methods, that is a service to humanity far more than it is an insult to sacred cows.

It was a good question Harry, and I realise that the answer may be more than what you wanted, but nevertheless thank you for asking it.