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We Are All Religious

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posted on Dec, 13 2013 @ 12:26 AM
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reply to post by Aphorism
 



Astyanax
Not an answer, I'm afraid. 'It's biological' applies to everything human beings do, because we are biological.


Aphorism
That is an answer actually. But to be fair it is conjecture; just like any "answer" to that question would be. What would be a sufficient enough answer for you? One that evokes gods?

Since you think it's biological, a sufficient answer would be one that speaks to the necessity or utility of religion from a biological point of view. In what way does religion support the differential survival and reproduction of competing genes?


Astyanax
To state that everyone is religious is to state a truism.


Aphorism
Not a truism I'm afraid. I'm stating an opinion. Because you agree with me does not make it true. Stating that the question "why people are religious" is more interesting is also an opinion. Imagining one's opinion as absolute truth is also quite religious, but more unforgivable in my eyes.

In the final analysis, everything is a matter of opinion. But truth prevails all the same.

Evidently you think I'm religious. That is of no import here. But if I don't get a more thoughtful and serious response to this post than anyone has received from you on this thread so far, I shall follow AfterInfinity out the exit. I am interested in intelligent discussion, not in mutual preening behaviour as practised by hominids and corvids.




posted on Dec, 13 2013 @ 12:23 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 




Since you think it's biological, a sufficient answer would be one that speaks to the necessity or utility of religion from a biological point of view. In what way does religion support the differential survival and reproduction of competing genes?


What I meant by "biological" was that something occurred physiologically within the species at the time of the creative boom, maybe the neurological requirements for language and creativity came into being, allowing for the creation of cave art, carvings, and the deification of idols such as animals, heavenly bodies and the sort. Some might call it evolution. But, because it is intelligent conversation you seek, and intelligent conversation involves two parties, I will formulate another guess for you in perhaps the off-chance that that was not the answer you were looking for.

It is interesting that you see biology as simply "the differential survival and reproduction of competing genes". I would wager most people see their own physiology (themselves) in such a superficial light. Such a description of oneself doesn't sound too interesting, does it? That is why we have such concepts as "mind", "soul" and other ideas that express some unseen, unfelt, eternal factor at play within our biology—we tend to need those ideas so that we can stand the sight of ourselves when we choose to look.

It is common among religions to treat the body in such a manner, and this stems from the Orphic, Platonic, Stoic and Judeo-Christian lineage steeped into our culture, where ideas obtain more reverence than those that create them and write them down. I have expressed this kind of platonic idealism as the root of religion in my OP. To answer your question, we are religious because our culture is idealistic. We need ideas that put humanity in a satisfying, ideal light, for the sake of intellectual and emotional comfort.

Why do you think we're religious?



Evidently you think I'm religious. That is of no import here. But if I don't get a more thoughtful and serious response to this post than anyone has received from you on this thread so far, I shall follow AfterInfinity out the exit. I am interested in intelligent discussion, not in mutual preening behaviour as practised by hominids and corvids.


The title of the OP was "We are all religious". So yes I think you're religious.

Your idle threat means really nothing. You haven't offered anything "thoughtful" and "serious" whatsoever in the light of my OP, save for explaining how serious you are about seeking intelligent conversation. So yes, follow AfterInfinity out the exit unless you wish to offer something of your own opinion in regards to the topic.



posted on Dec, 13 2013 @ 12:48 PM
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reply to post by Aphorism
 


I am of the belief that with the expansion and subsequently boosted flexibility of our neurological systems, we're capable of exploring sensations and ideas that give us a greater sense of meaning and direction than merely surviving. Like switching from black and white to color television. And that's what we call spirituality.



posted on Dec, 13 2013 @ 12:56 PM
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reply to post by Aphorism
 



What I meant by "biological" was that something occurred physiologically within the species at the time of the creative boom, maybe the neurological requirements for language and creativity came into being, allowing for the creation of cave art, carvings, and the deification of idols such as animals, heavenly bodies and the sort. Some might call it evolution.

The 'creative boom'? When was that? The Upper Paleolithic? The Younger Dryas? The foundation of the first Nilotic civilisations? The Swinging Sixties? Human beings have been creative for as long as we have been human, and probably a little longer.

Your response answers nothing. You are simply speculating on when we achieved the capacity to be religious. That does not explain why we are religious: why we developed such a faculty in the first place.

Evolution is driven by the pressure of competition to survive and reproduce. Would you like to speculate on what might be the advantage conferred — to genes, genomes, individuals, kin groups or social groups — in that struggle by religion? We can discuss the legitimacy of group selection, etc., afterwards — if necessary.


It is interesting that you see biology as simply "the differential survival and reproduction of competing genes".

That's not biology, that's evolution by natural selection. See here.


I would wager most people see their own physiology (themselves) in such a superficial light. Such a description of oneself doesn't sound too interesting, does it?

To someone who cannot unpack the full meaning contained in that definition, it may well seem superficial and dull. I do you the honour of considering you a worthier conversationalist than that. Live up to it.


That is why we have such concepts as "mind", "soul" and other ideas that express some unseen, unfelt, eternal factor at play within our biology—we tend to need those ideas so that we can stand the sight of ourselves when we choose to look.

You do yourself and the rest of humanity a disservice by so belittling concepts such as mind and soul. They are our prescientific attempts to understand ourselves. They may be wrong or factitious but they were the best we could do before 1960 or so, and they have served their turn very usefully indeed. However, that seems to be your point; but seriously, do you prefer to embrace these revenants and think in terms of them rather than ask the essential question?


To answer your question, we are religious because our culture is idealistic.

Yet every culture in the world has religion. My culture is not the same as yours; I live in Asia, and my country plays host to a variety of different ethnic and religious cultures. I would not say all cultures are idealistic; to say so would be equivalent to saying all humanity is idealistic, and althought many people have ideals, not everyone is an idealist.


Why do you think we're religious?

My answer is already implicit in the questions I have asked you. But I asked first, and I shall answer when you have.


Your idle threat means really nothing. You haven't offered anything "thoughtful" and "serious" whatsoever in the light of my OP...

The threat is not idle, though execution has been temporarily stayed because your last post was at least an effort to show willing, if nothing else. As for my contribution to the thread, it has consisted so far of repeating a question you are either afraid to answer, or afraid to admit that you cannot answer.

At least people like BO XIAN have an answer and are not ashamed to articulate it. People have a religious instinct, they say, to enable them to offer due homage to their Creator. Risible as it may be, it's an answer and they're sticking to it. Where's your answer, O Intellectual Weapon?


edit on 13/12/13 by Astyanax because: the Devil's darling sin is the pride that mocks humility.



posted on Dec, 13 2013 @ 05:41 PM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 





I am of the belief that with the expansion and subsequently boosted flexibility of our neurological systems, we're capable of exploring sensations and ideas that give us a greater sense of meaning and direction than merely surviving. Like switching from black and white to color television. And that's what we call spirituality.


That seems entirely plausible. It is definitely a simple shift in ideas and perspective. When one switches from Christianity to Buddhism, Materialism to Idealism, Sox to Yankees, Republican to Democrat, Spiritual to Non-spiritual, it is simply a change in one's rhetoric, what literature he subscribes to and what he spends his time thinking about. That's no reason to hate, belittle or even kill someone for.

I think we are spiritual because we like to be. It satiates a desire, makes us appear a certain way; and if we never see it as desire, we'll even let it control our conduct and actions.



posted on Dec, 13 2013 @ 05:54 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 



The 'creative boom'? When was that? The Upper Paleolithic? The Younger Dryas? The foundation of the first Nilotic civilisations(sic)? The Swinging Sixties? Human beings have been creative for as long as we have been human, and probably a little longer.

Your response answers nothing. You are simply speculating on when we achieved the capacity to be religious. That does not explain why we are religious: why we developed such a faculty in the first place.


No, you are right. I am speculating on the when. To be precise, I was referring to the upper paleolithic when speaking about the creative explosion.

The why? I don't believe in teleological principles. The history of human-kind is the reason we are religious today. Looking at any period within that history will show you reasons why we are religious. Would "God willed it" be a better answer? Sadly, the universe doesn't dispense the reasons why it does things. It's best if we stick with what we do have.


Evolution is driven by the pressure of competition to survive and reproduce. Would you like to speculate on what might be the advantage conferred — to genes, genomes, individuals, kin groups or social groups — in that struggle by religion? We can discuss the legitimacy of group selection, etc., afterwards — if necessary.


You speak of evolution as if it is this powerful being or supernatural force. It isn't. The same goes with "religion" in its grand sense. There is no such force or being. This sort of idealistic tendency is what I'm talking about. We deify these ideas and argue over them and hold them higher than the actual people we are arguing with. This sort of religious mentality, which, if not ubiquitous, is highly widespread.


It is interesting that you see biology as simply "the differential survival and reproduction of competing genes".

That's not biology, that's evolution by natural selection. See here.

Evolutionary biology is a branch of biology. When we study "evolution" we study biology.


You do yourself and the rest of humanity a disservice by so belittling concepts such as mind and soul. They are our prescientific attempts to understand ourselves. They may be wrong or factitious but they were the best we could do before 1960 or so, and they have served their turn very usefully indeed. However, that seems to be your point; but seriously, do you prefer to embrace these revenants and think in terms of them rather than ask the essential question?


They are ideas; they won't mind what I say about them. Let's not get too superstitious here. But this is a prime example of what I was talking about. Some people feel the need to defend something that requires no defending. The idea "soul" cares not what I say about it. It is your opinion and vanity that hurts. You cherish these ideas perhaps more than you should. You would speak ill of me before you speak ill of these concepts, and I'm a real human with actual value. Why do you? Because you're idealistic; you're religious. I mean...we all are. Am I wrong?


At least people like BO XIAN have an answer and are not ashamed to articulate it. People have a religious instinct, they say, to enable them to offer due homage to their Creator. Risible as it may be, it's an answer and they're sticking to it. Where's your answer, O Intellectual Weapon?


You're the second person who has called me an intellectual weapon in this thread. I'm beginning to think it is not a compliment.



posted on Dec, 14 2013 @ 12:23 AM
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reply to post by Aphorism
 



I don't believe in teleological principles. The history of human-kind is the reason we are religious today.

  1. You claim that the origins of religion are prehistoric (in the Upper Paleolithic) yet you simultaneously assert that history is the reason we are religious today. For what reason, then, were we religious (as you say we were) in the Upper Paleolithic?

  2. Recognising an adaptation as due to natural selection is not teleology; it is perfectly legitimate to say that the purpose of an anteater's long snout is to enable the animal to pillage anthills for its dinner. Likewise it is perfectly legitimate to say that the purpose of religion is such-and-such.


You speak of evolution as if it is this powerful being or supernatural force.

Evolution is certainly a very powerful natural principle, since it has resulted in the diversity of species we see around us today. I do not think of it as any kind of independent being, incorporeal force or deity.


Evolutionary biology is a branch of biology. When we study "evolution" we study biology.

Yes, but the definition I gave was of evolution by natural selection, not of evolutionary biology or of biology. Do not mistake the elephant's ear for the whole elephant, or worse still a whole herd of elephants.


They are ideas; they won't mind what I say about them. Let's not get too superstitious here. But this is a prime example of what I was talking about. Some people feel the need to defend something that requires no defending. The idea "soul" cares not what I say about it. It is your opinion and vanity that hurts. You cherish these ideas perhaps more than you should. You would speak ill of me before you speak ill of these concepts, and I'm a real human with actual value. Why do you? Because you're idealistic; you're religious. I mean...we all are. Am I wrong?

It is those who conceived such ideas whom you belittle, not the ideas themselves. They were greater men than you, to a man, and your denigration damages only your own repute. I agree with you that the ideas appear empirically wrong; I disagree when you imply they were not useful, or valid in their context. As for speaking ill of you, I do not believe I have done that; however, I despise intellectual cant and pretension, as I despise all things counterfeit. Make of that what you will, but take comfort; I doubt that our paths will cross again in this forum.


You're the second person who has called me an intellectual weapon in this thread. I'm beginning to think it is not a compliment.

You are beginning to think correctly, then. Well done.



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 11:56 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 





Yes, but the definition I gave was of evolution by natural selection, not of evolutionary biology or of biology. Do not mistake the elephant's ear for the whole elephant, or worse still a whole herd of elephants.


But I said man was religious for biological reasons, not because of natural selection. So, about this elephant...



It is those who conceived such ideas whom you belittle, not the ideas themselves. They were greater men than you, to a man, and your denigration damages only your own repute. I agree with you that the ideas appear empirically wrong; I disagree when you imply they were not useful, or valid in their context. As for speaking ill of you, I do not believe I have done that; however, I despise intellectual cant and pretension, as I despise all things counterfeit. Make of that what you will, but take comfort; I doubt that our paths will cross again in this forum.


Then you despise nothing but some words on a screen. Please, I thought we were having a good conversation, but your aim seems to be to clear the air of any intellectual pretentiousness, and then to cloud it with your own. But don't worry, hypocrisy is a standard human trait. The peacocks display of intellect is not needed; I understand you're smart—much smarter than I. Is that what you wanted to hear?

Do you know these men personally? You obviously hold them in high regard to not want to discuss their ideas for fear their feelings will be hurt. But this is more of the same religiosity and superstition I'm talking about, definitely not a subject for this thread. So what do you want to talk about?

But, intellectual conversation, what you initially said you were searching for, involves more than one party. So let's do away with the power-struggle over who's more intellectually savvy and let's discuss your theories since I have no clue what I'm talking about.

What is the purpose of religion according to you?
edit on 15-12-2013 by Aphorism because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 12:33 PM
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reply to post by Aphorism
 



I said man was religious for biological reasons, not because of natural selection.

All biological phenomena are shaped by natural selection. Every aspect or element of a phenotype exists because it either conduces, or once conduced, to selective fitness. To say that the reason for something is biological is to say that its purpose is to promote the survival and reproduction of the organism — more properly, the genes of the organism — it belongs to.

Hence, if the reason why everyone is religious is a biological reason, then either religion conduces to selective fitness, or once did, or else it is a by-product of some other trait that does. So: in what way does religion promote fitness, or manifest itself as the by-product of a trait that does?


Your aim seems to be to clear the air of any intellectual pretentiousness, and then to cloud it with your own. But don't worry, hypocrisy is a standard human trait. The peacocks display of intellect is not needed; I understand you're smart—much smarter than I. Is that what you wanted to hear?

Not really. What I wanted to hear — or read, since we're talking screens here — is a direct, honest answer to the question I asked. I see I am not going to get one. Let us leave it at that.

By the way, I did not say I was looking for 'intellectual conversation'. I said I was looking for an intelligent conversation, something very different.


edit on 15/12/13 by Astyanax because: of chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail.



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 01:00 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 



I would like to hear your theory. I will explain best I can my views. I'm being sincere.



Not really. What I wanted to hear — or read, since we're talking screens here — is a direct, honest answer to the question I asked. I see I am not going to get one. Let us leave it at that.


I'll be honest. I don't believe in teleological principles. I cannot speak in reasons. I don't see a "purpose" or "reason" to anything within biology or natural processes. This might make it difficult for me to adequately discuss these principles. But I do understand that organisms survive as long as they can. Whether they do it because of some fundamental urge or will within all of nature would be too difficult for me to agree with, and this is due to my inadequacies in regards to scientific theories, which I vehemently see as theories. But I'll try my best.



All biological phenomena are shaped by natural selection. Every aspect or element of a phenotype exists because it either conduces, or once conduced, to selective fitness. To say that the reason for something is biological is to say that its purpose is to promote the survival and reproduction of the organism — more properly, the genes of the organism — it belongs to.


I must admit I'm a layman in these regards. Let's limit it to layman's terms if we can. One second I'm told biology isn't natural selection and now they are one and the same. I'm just a little confused. Is biology natural selection, or are they two different natural processes? Or is one the cause of the other? These are sincere questions and not my usual rhetorical ones.

If I was to assume that religion is an effect of natural selection, I then must assume that there is a purpose for religion. I see it slightly different—and this might be due to my metaphysical stance—I see religion as the result of chaotic events. I don't want to use the term "emergent property" or "epiphenomenon" (it makes me look like an epiphenomenalist) but it seems I may have to in order to adequately discuss it. I also see human biology and nature herself as these epiphenomenon, or by-products of these chaotic events.

Does this answer suffice?

I would like to hear your theory if you'll allow me the time. I wouldn't mind learning a thing or two while I spend my time here.


edit on 15-12-2013 by Aphorism because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 01:04 PM
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Seeing as there is no concrete proof on the start of the universe I would say Both Religious people and Atheists are religious as both rely on a belief system of something that can not be proved.



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 01:05 PM
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reply to post by Aphorism
 

I could agree with the statement that human beings are usually SPIRITUAL. Archeology and sociology and history shows that we humans have naturally gravitated that way for tens of thousands of years. We have an inner need for there to be a purpose for all this .. and an inner need to have an 'afterlife', for life to continue. But as for 'we are all religious' ... I dunno .... I'd have to think about that a while ....



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 01:18 PM
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reply to post by FlyersFan
 





I could agree with the statement that human beings are usually SPIRITUAL. Archeology and sociology and history shows that we humans have naturally gravitated that way for tens of thousands of years. We have an inner need for there to be a purpose for all this .. and an inner need to have an 'afterlife', for life to continue. But as for 'we are all religious' ... I dunno .... I'd have to think about that a while ....


What I tried to pose in the background behind my thread is that religion is art, and we are all creative beings in the art of religion. Could the two be reconciled, and therefor vindicated in your eyes? Should we allow people this art? My opinion is yes. I think being creative in this medium is essential to what we consider being human.



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 02:02 PM
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reply to post by Aphorism
 


All right. It seems we can talk after all.


I don't believe in teleological principles.

Neither do I. To say that a biological trait has a purpose is not a teleological statement. Noses are for smelling. Tongues are for tasting. Feet are for walking. Nothing teleological about any of that.

It would be teleological to say that a biological trait was purposively shaped or created. I am not saying that.

If you don't see the distinction, it means you haven't understood how evolution by natural selection works. I don't propose to explain it here (it would be off-topic), but see below.


I do understand that organisms survive as long as they can. Whether they do it because of some fundamental urge or will within all of nature would be too difficult for me to agree with.

It would be impossible for me to agree with. I am not a believer in Teilhardinist or Sheldrakian mumbo-jumbo, so let's put it behind us.


One second I'm told biology isn't natural selection and now they are one and the same. I'm just a little confused. Is biology natural selection, or are they two different natural processes? Or is one the cause of the other? These are sincere questions and not my usual rhetorical ones.

Biology is a human activity. It is the study of living organisms. Natural selection is the differential action of environmental influences on heritable organic traits. It is shortly, simply and beautifully explained here.


If I was to assume that religion is an effect of natural selection, I then must assume that there is a purpose for religion.

Are you saying religion has no purpose?


I see religion as the result of chaotic events.

Are you saying religion is meaningless, or are you saying everything is meaningless?


I don't want to use the term "emergent property" or "epiphenomenon" (it makes me look like an epiphenomenalist) but it seems I may have to in order to adequately discuss it. I also see human biology and nature herself as these epiphenomenon, or by-products of these chaotic events.

Does this answer suffice?

It sounds to me as if you are saying that nothing has meaning or purpose. Well, I call that self-evidently absurd. You may disagree, but if this is your position you must at least agree that there is no point in carrying our conversation any further, or indeed in speaking at all; so please clarify before I continue.


edit on 15/12/13 by Astyanax because: of a man from Porlock.



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 04:59 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 





It sounds to me as if you are saying that nothing has meaning or purpose. Well, I call that self-evidently absurd. You may disagree, but if this is your position you must at least agree that there is no point in carrying our conversation any further, or indeed in speaking at all; so please clarify before I continue.


I didn't want to get in a heavy metaphysical discussion. I sort of wanted to hear what your ideas on the subject were, if you would ever mention them, not what your opinions on my metaphysical foundations are. So there is still a point in carrying on the discussion: I would genuinely like to hear your views.

I never said anything about nothing having purpose or meaning. What I mean is we give meaning and purpose to things. Meaning and purpose is a human activity. To suppose otherwise is an absurd leap of faith and an erroneous assumption that man is the measure of all things. Yes we say a nose is for smelling, but only because a nose smells. But this is beyond the point.

So please, I would genuinely like to hear your views. Why are we religious?



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 10:07 AM
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reply to post by Aphorism
 


It seems to me that what you are saying is...a mechanism is not necessarily a purpose. Purpose implies conscious intent, whereas mechanism implies a physiologically channeled function. Meaning, that's what it does and that's all. It's not right or wrong, cool or not cool, liked or disliked. That's what the function is. A wheel rolls, not because that's what it wants to do, but that's one option in its limited range of physical capabilities and circumstances realized that particular option. End of story. Am I understanding correctly?



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 10:55 AM
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Considering we've been worshiping and warring for the favor of astral bodies in the sky, to pagan(then mono) religious systems since the dawn of civilization which was thousands upon thousand of years ago.

I'd say yea, it in our species gene's.



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 12:20 PM
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Specimen
Considering we've been worshiping and warring for the favor of astral bodies in the sky, to pagan(then mono) religious systems since the dawn of civilization which was thousands upon thousand of years ago.

I'd say yea, it in our species gene's.


I don't know about that. I'd say it's in our genetics to explore our increased capacity for ascribing meaning to patterns we observe in nature, but that's about it.



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 01:19 PM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


Yea, ancient humans have been trying to understand such things for most of it existence, and once they got cultural, they copied the structure of such legends or myths as their own. Thus, in turn made religion.

Like the studying Yin and Yang for the easterners, which is somewhat like physics in a creative pseudo way, or for their martial arts.

I do believe though that structures such as religion, if left long enough, can have effects on genes.

The common one is "God going to destroy the Earth".

In religions case, well, just look at history, and tell me which cultures got tired. Whether it be something as simple, creative, and cute, to a whole lot of brainwashing for less adaptable culture.
edit on 16-12-2013 by Specimen because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 04:01 PM
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reply to post by Specimen
 


We like to think we're special.



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