Creation and Fossils

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Administrator2, Apr 27, 2002.

  1. Administrator2

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    CHEKMATE

    I have a question for you, and this is not supposed to be a discussion of the relative merits of Creation and the theory of evolution.
    As a Christian, with faith in the idea that what the Bible has to say about Creation is accurate, how does one reconcile this faith with such things as fossils of dinosaurs and other ancient lifeforms? To me, it seems that the existence of proof of life that was extinct long before man was "created" is hard to reconcile with the Bible's version of Man's creation.
    Since I'm not practicing or believing Christian, and know none either, I would much like your take on this.


    BAPTIST VINE

    Well Chekmate, I believe the Bible and I believe Genesis, but I have different views that probably a lot of other Christians would take me to task for, but thats ok.

    Before I start, I would suggest to you that you check out the website for "Reasons to Believe", at www.reasons.org,
    an organization that teaches a 'testable' creation model and offers that Genesis in not at odds with science, including fossils.

    PLEASE, I am not referring you to a site that teaches what has become commonly known as 'creationism' or 'creation science', although the site has some elements definitely in common.

    I believe there are fossils of ancient animals, because we've found them in the earth, in the ground, and that is ultimately NOT at variance with Genesis or Christianity.

    I believe that you are assuming: -that most Christians will hold that the 7 days of creation were literal 24 hour days (and maybe a lot do, maybe a lot more than those who don't perhaps) -that the earth is of an order of magnitude of thousands or years old, and surely couldn't be longer.

    I don't necessarily hold those views, neither do all Christians, although there are a lot of others who do and would argue (in a good way) that this cannot, and must not be true. But thats ok.

    GETTING AROUND TO FOSSILS. I believe that God created these animals to give man who was to come the natural resources he would need, ie oil etc. After all, thats exactly what we use them for. Where does our oil come from? From petrification of dinosaurs and fossils of ancient animals.

    I believe the earth is very much older than several thousand years. I believe the 'days' in Genesis were long periods of time.

    God is called in scripture as the 'Ancient of Days' in the book of Daniel.

    "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day." This is a scripture from 2 Peter 3:8.

    Psalm 90:4 says that "For a thousand years in your site are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night."

    These are not meant to be literal equations by any means, but I think it demonstrates that God's time can be different from our own, and in the case of the length of creation days, I believe this to be the case.

    I've also read that the hebrew words used for creation days COULD represent long, very long, periods of time, but I am not familiar with this specific aspect.

    There are scriptures in the book of Isaiah that speak of the earth as being 'ancient' - I would hold and argue that this 'ancient' is of an order of magnitude greater than thousands.

    The website I referred you to is run by a guy who is a Christian and a physicist and speaks at many churches. Check it out and maybe we can talk again.


    THE GALATIAN

    Checkmate, you should know that most scientists, including evolutionists, are theists. I took my first course in evolution from a gentleman who was on the board of the local Episcopalian church. I learned what I know about the paleontology of North Texas from a theologically conservative Southern Baptist.

    How on Earth can God and Science be reconciled? I never had a problem doing it.
    What do you actually know about paleontology and fossils?

    STAR

    No problem here either, I see no conflicts with Science on my end.
    In Him Kim

    GODMETAL

    I am a microbiologist by training, so I would say I don't see any problems with science. I do hold to a literal interpretation of Genesis.

    It has also been my opinion that the math underlying the dating processes is rather flaky particularly when dealing with large numbers. Many because the equations were based on assumptions.

    Plus I have wondered just how much the great flood would throw off our dating processes. That was a lot of water and it most likely moved around a hefty amount of silt.
    As to the fossil evidence of the socalled predessors of homo sapien. I have often wondered do we really know what a human is going to look like after they have lived a few hundred years as some of the Biblical people were recorded to have lived.

    So really my beliefs can handle what science proposes and what I disagree with scientifically is only theory so I am free to disagree with it.

    THE BRIGUY

    I think when you look at fossils you must be careful not to assume anything. People assume that dating methods are correct and so they say that a rock is 2 million years old and then a fossil in that rock must be in that general age bracket. It ends up being assumption and guess work as much as science. My question in regards to fossils is Where are all the fossils of the transitional "creatures"? Half bird half something else. Half fish and half not fish. What is seen as ancient fossils are nothing more then some of the great creatures that did not survive the flood or did not breed afterward. I believe in a young earth.

    In Truth and Love,
    Brian

    DON

    Question for chekmate, and others: There's a report that stalactites (or stalagmites, I always get the two mixed up) have formed in the basement areas of the Empire State building in New York.

    Can someone confirm or deny this report?
    If denied, then I humbly plead ignorance, and bow out as gracefully as I can.

    But if confirmed, then chekmate, the question is: I've always been told that it takes thousands, if not millions of years for these rock formations to be created. If that's true, then how could they exist in the basement of the Empire State building?


    CHEKMATE

    I don't have time to respond to the others right now, but here's one for the stalagtites question. It's not for the Empire state building, but is for the lincoln memorial.
    from: http://www.bakkster.com/r_crea19.htm

    Hope that explains well enough for you. Gotta go...

    DON

    Not really.

    Of course, I could be wrong--it's been known to happen--but "through the marble" doesn't sound like the "mortar and concrete" answer that was provided....

    And I also found another article that blames the stalactites on the Lincoln Memorial on acid rain....
    Also:
    THE GALATIAN

    We can actually measure the reactions and rates of stalagtite formation in nature. They are exceedingly slow.

    PASTOR LARRY

    The reality is that, in spite of all the adjusting, if Gen 1-11 were literally true, we would expect to see exactly what we see today, fossils and all. There is not really much to reconcile. The only reconciliation that needs to be done is vertical -- between God and man as 2 Cor 5:18-21 tells us.

    Sure there are other explanations for the fossil record but they are unnecessary. There are no unreconciled conflicts between a literal reading of Genesis and science. However, there are conflicts between Genesis and some people's interpretations of science.

    I just saw an article that redated the age of the universe to 13 billion years (got younger since the last measurement of 14.5 billion I guess -- Do I smell the theory of relativity??? but I digress). What was interesting in this article was that the two independent methods came up with a date about 1/2 billion years apart if I recall correctly. What was even more interesting though was that the scientist admitted a "lot of assumptions." It is interesting that "assumptions" are a part of scientific method when they are needed to support certain hypotheses (like an old universe) but "assumptions" are a part of religion when they support certain other hypotheses (like a young universe). How inconsistent can we be? It only goes to show that science is devoted to a religion and they don't mind jumping through assumptive hoops to get there -- so long as it doesn't involve God.


    POST-IT

    I believe that both a young earth and an old earth could be correct and both will blend just fine with scripture depending on interpretation. After a basic geology course I can see how either could have occurred. I also saw how a fossil can be created in a very short period of time. I personally believe that the earth is very old and that the scientific methods of dating is an accurate measure of time.

    I don’t really know enough to support any argument in this area, this is just a personal opinion. It has never affected my belief either way so it and evolution has never interested me. My belief in Jesus is what is important not my belief in rocks.

    DANIMAL

    Originally posted by Pastor Larry:
    There are no unreconciled conflicts between a literal reading of Genesis and science.


    Read Genesis again. You've obviously skimmed over quite a bit.

    PASTOR LARRY

    I have read it several times along with most of the major supporters of the old earth theory of origins. I say again, there are no unreconciled conflicts between Genesis and science. I believe what you are referring is to unreconciled conflicts between Genesis and an interpretation of science.

    KACHANA

    Pastor Larry, when you say there are no unreconciled conflicts between a literal reading of Genesis and science, what do you mean by 'science.' Do you mean the accepted knowledge in academia at the moment, or do you mean your own personal interpretation.

    If the former, it's obvious that biological evolution, which the vast majority of the scientific community accept, does conflict with a literal reading of genesis. Add to that the age of the Earth, age of the universe and diversity of languages.

    [Administrator: insulting question deleted. The point of the question was why should anyone believe a layman’s opinion?]

    [ April 27, 2002, 02:27 PM: Message edited by: Administrator ]
     
  2. Administrator2

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    HELEN
    Some points, Chekmate and all,

    First, Chekmate, I think the problem you are referring to is not with
    fossilization as such but with the time ascribed the fossils. Most
    types of fossils can be made fairly quickly under the right conditions,
    and I think this is why fossilization per se does not bother the YEC
    camp.

    To Baptist Vine, the days being long ages does not work, Hugh Ross to
    the contrary. To try to say that the days were long ages is to say that
    the plants were not only around for an age (however long) BEFORE the sun
    and moon, but that they were hanging in there for TWO ages before
    insects and other pollinators. Furthermore, you have birds before the
    dinosaurs, from which they are said to come.

    You also made the point regarding what we call ‘fossil fuels.’ However,
    there is some pretty good evidence that ‘fossil fuels’ just might not be
    all, or even primarily, from fossils after all. One of the articles of
    a number I have read in the past five years is on the net here: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/planetearth/asteroid_oil_991213.html

    Yes, the Hebrew word ‘yom’ can mean indefinite lengths of time, but, as
    with English, unless otherwise indicated, the default position is a 24
    hour length of time. For instance, ‘yom’ would mean an indefinite
    length of time when followed by what in English translates into a
    prepositional phrase: in the day of David, in the day of the Lord,
    etc. However in Genesis there are two definite indications that the 24
    hour day is indicated: the use of ordinal numbers for the day and the
    evening/morning marker. If you think about it, there is no other way
    one could describe a normal rotational day without the use of hours,
    which were not defined until quite some time later. One can disagree
    with Genesis, but whether one agrees or disagrees, it should be taken on
    its own terms and not have terms forced upon it which were not intended
    by the author.

    To Godmetal,
    You are right about the presuppositions dating equations are based on.
    There are two major hurdles which must be taken into consideration
    here: have radiodecay rates remained the same through time (the
    evolutionist presupposition is yes), and has the speed of light changed
    through time (the evolutionists presupposition is no)? Both of these
    (and they can be related) could have major effects on the reconciling of
    atomic dates with orbital years.

    To the Galatian: stalactite and stalagmite formations are slow in areas
    where mineralized water drip is slow and rapid where it is rapid. It is
    quite within standard theory that after a flood over an area a rapid
    drip, or percolation, through the soil could form both in underground
    caves rather rapidly.
     
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    THE GALATIAN

    As John Paul noted, Genesis isn't even self-consistant with itself, if you
    take it literally. He brings up the point that it says that "all living
    creatures that moveth" were brought forth on the fifth day (Gen. 1:21) and
    then later says that cattle were created on the sixth day. Since cattle are
    certainly living things that move, Genesis cannot be literal.
    As to the fossil record, there is no way to explain the sorting of the
    fossils, other than a very long time, and common descent. There are a
    variety of (mutually contradictory) creationist ideas on how this might have
    happened, but none of them can explain the record without major
    contradictions.

    Even worse, there are many different assemblages of animals and plants in
    the fossil record, and there is no way to fit them into the world all at one
    time. The famed "White Cliffs of Dover" are made entirely of the fossils of
    tiny organisms, which could not possibly have fit into the sea without
    poisoning it in their great numbers.

    There are many other ways the fossil record makes YE creationism impossible
    to reconcile with the evidence. But I'm sure that this will be a lively
    discussion as YE advocates try to do so.
     
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    PASTOR LARRY

    By "science" I mean that which fits the criteria of science, essential it is
    what can be observed. The existence of a fossil is science. The dating of a
    fossil is most often an interpretation of science. Both OEC and YEC have the
    same piece of evidence. They come to different conclusions because of the
    assumptions that they bring to the table. As I demonstrated in my above
    post, even the scientists participating the fluctuating universe age studies
    admit the large number of assumptions necessary. The question is, What
    assumptions are the best assumptions? On this matter, there is no reason to
    doubt the Word of God who created the world. The evolutionist has no
    compelling scientific evidence. He simply has a very loud megaphone through
    which to preach his interpretations.
    As for why should we believe a layman's interpretation of it, I don't think
    we should. There is no reason to accept a layman's interpretation. There are
    plenty of accredited scientists who will tell you exactly what I have said
    here. I am no expert on these things but I can read.

    [From a second email:]

    To Galatian: Sorry to burst your bubble on the Gen 1:21 passage. The word
    there is haromesheth from rmsh meaning to creep or walk on all fours
    particularly with reference to small unclean animals. It is used here most
    likely with reference to reptiles, those creatures which crawl on the
    ground. It refers to their method of locomotion. For further information,
    look up this word in the Theological Wordbook of hte Old Testament. You will
    find it under word 5682/83. This is a good source because it doesn't require
    a knowledge of Hebrew to use it. If you can use Hebrew, then I recommend the
    New INternational Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis edited
    by Wenham.

    [ April 28, 2002, 09:57 PM: Message edited by: Administrator ]
     
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    HELEN

    Galatian:
    You have GOT to be kidding! When you start ripping the Bible out of context you just have a great old time, don't you? Genesis 1:20-23 describe the creation of ocean creatures and the birds. The context is quite specific.

    NIV: And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky. "So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." And there was evening, and there was morning; the fifth day.

    KJV: And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created the great whale, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after its kind and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let the fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

    RS: And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens." So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

    NAS: Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens." And God created the great sea monsters, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

    Since, no matter which translation I go into, the clear message is that these created kinds of the fifth day were either birds or meant to multiply in the seas and teem in the seas, the only way you can possibly say what you stated in your post is by totally destroying the context in order to simply argue for the sake of arguing. And the only reason to answer something like that is to make sure that any other readers don’t get confused by that sort of Biblical mangling.

    Secondly, the chalk cliffs pose far more of a problem to evolution than creation. Given the rate evolutionists say they lived, died, and contributed to the deposit depth, you are wanting us all to believe that millions of years went by without major storms, earth movements, or anything else which would contaminate or otherwise disrupt that vast quantity of unicellular deposits.

    Hardly.

    [ April 28, 2002, 10:21 PM: Message edited by: Administrator ]
     
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    EARL DETRA

    Helen said:

    "You also made the point regarding what we call ‘fossil fuels.’ However,
    there is some pretty good evidence that ‘fossil fuels’ just might not be
    all, or even primarily, from fossils after all. One of the articles of
    a number I have read in the past five years is on the net here: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/planetearth/asteroid_oil_991213.html "


    This is an interesting idea and than you for the link, but in the interest of critical analysis, a few points should be made. First, the article talks about hydrocarbons possibly originating on/in meteorites and comets, etc. However, there is absolutely no discussion of how those hydrocarbons got there in the first place. I don't think creationists really want to go here without a little more background information.

    Second, the article is confusing. It talks about cometary origins of hydrocarbons, but also about origin of hydrocarbons deep within the earth. Well, which is it? What is the connection?

    I am also curious as to how the hydrocarbons survived the heat of entry into the atmosphere. A discussion of this would have been an interesting addition to the article. Basically, the article should have been written with some consultation from an active, mainstream petroleum geologist. The only real quote was 200 years old, stating that all oil is "unimaginably" ancient in age. This is not really accepted by most petroleum geologists, though the article suggests that it is.
     
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    EARL DETRA

    Helen says:
    Secondly, the chalk cliffs pose far more of a problem to evolution than creation. Given the rate evolutionists say they lived, died, and contributed to the deposit depth, you are wanting us all to believe that millions of years went by without major storms, earth movements, or anything else which would contaminate or otherwise disrupt that vast quantity of unicellular deposits.

    Actually they pose no problem at all. It is much easier to think that the chalk was deposited over millions of years than have it formed in a few weeks or months in a flood scenario and still maintain its purity.

    The Chalk is thought, according to an older textbook of mine, to have been deposited throughout the entire late Cretaceous Period. "Cretaceous," in fact, comes from the Greek word for chalk. This period of chalk deposition, as measured by both fossil and radiometric evidence, was the time of the furthest incursion of the Cretaceous seas onto the continental platforms of the world. There is contamination of the chalk as you go further toward the continental mass of Europe with increased amounts of shale and sandstone. The problem is that the main body of chalk that we see in England was in the deepest part of the epicontinental sea where it was not disrupted by wave action, storm deposits, or by terrigenous sediments from distant sources in the area of the modern Alps. In fact, as the seas rose, there was less land to be eroded and consequently less terrigenous sediment everywhere. So, no, it is no surprise at all that the beds could be uniform over a great period of time and great thicknesses.
     
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    JOE MEERT

    Helen writes:
    [blockquote]You also made the point regarding what we call ‘fossil fuels.’
    However,
    there is some pretty good evidence that ‘fossil fuels’ just might not be
    all, or even primarily, from fossils after all. One of the articles of
    a number I have read in the past five years is on the net here: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/planetearth/asteroid_oil_991213.html
    [/blockquote]

    JM: I read this absolutely HORRIBLE article. The writer should have asked a
    few of his sources to critique his writing! He is seemingly mixing and
    matching ideas here. The main point about the impact structures in relation
    to oil is that they form good structural traps for petroleum. The fact that
    some cometary material contains organic molecules got helplessly and
    confusingly mixed up into this article, but it should NOT be taken to mean
    that most oil is extraterrestrial in nature. Basically, you need everything
    to work right to generate oil. You need a source that is rich in organic
    material, some heat applied to the source rock (not too much), a reservoir
    rock to store the oil, a caprock (to prevent further migration) and a good
    trap (structural traps are fantastic). What this article is alluding to is
    that structural traps produced by impacts tend to be favorable for oil. The
    aside about comets containing hydrocarbons (as a source of petroleum) can be
    easily dismissed by simple logic (no a priori assumptions needed!). One
    need only examine the size and the potential thermal capacity of the impact
    to realize that very little oil could be produced EVEN IF the entire meteor
    was purely organic! This article has no real bearing on the formation of
    hydrocarbons, but rather on the potential for a region to store hydrocarbons
    produced much nearer to home!
     
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    HELEN

    Joe, thank you for pointing out the confusion in that article.
    Personally, I was not thinking of the impactors is being the source of
    oil, but rather wondering if there were not another source they were
    tapping into by the fact of the impacts.

    I generally try to keep interesting bits and pieces in my email files
    and went back and looked for other material on this. This is an email I
    received a couple of years ago. Do you know anything about this?

     
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    EARL DETRA

    From Helen:

    "Bill Corliss, in his Science Frontiers #124, 7-8/1999, cites and
    comments on an article in the Wall Street Jl, 4/16/1999, re the mystery
    of petroleum. Corliss has produced many volumes of fascinating items on
    anomalies in various scientific fields. He is critical both of evolution
    AND creation.


    This isn't surprising. Despite what creationists think, there are many creative and thoughtful people in the scientific community. There are also those who revel in being mavericks. This belies the whole concept of a great conspiracy to cover up controversial data.

    "Eugene Island is a submerged mountain in the Gulf of Mexico about
    80 miles off the LA coast. The landscape of Eugene Island is riven with
    deep fissures and faults from which spew spontaneous belches of gas and
    oil. Up on the surface, an oil platform began producing about 15,000
    barrels of oil per day in the early 1970s. By 1989 the flow had dwindled
    to 4,000 barrels per day. Then, suddenly, production zoomed to 13,000
    barrels. In addition estimated reserves rocketed from 60 to 400 million
    barrels.


    These occurrences are not rare in the oil business. It is not uncommon for production to open new pathways for oil to pursue or for tectonism to occur and alter the plumbing system of a basin.

    Even more anomalous is the discovery that the geological age of
    today's oil is quite different from that recovered 10 years ago.


    Again, this is not a big surprise. Tapping different source rocks is easily understood in the context of an evolving sedimentary basin and active tectonism in an area of "deep faults and fissures."

    "It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the oil reservoir at
    Eugene Island is rapidly refilling itself from 'some continuous source
    miles below the earth's surface.'


    Actually, I would hesitate to call it continuous if the production rates fluctuate that much.

    In support of this surmise, analysis
    of seismic records revealed a deep fault which 'was gushing oil like a
    garden hose.'


    As I surmised above. My long-range interpretation is that the fault is active. This would be expected in a subsiding sedimentary basin, especially one that is producing oil.

    "The deep-seated oil source at Eugene Island strongly supports T.
    Gold's theory about THE DEEP HOT BIOSPHERE.


    Actually, I disagree, though who knows? It is also possible that the fault has tapped a younger system and motion along the fault has allowed the different oil source to penetrate the previously produced system. So, "strongly supports" is a bit hyperbolic. It is only a possible interpretation.

    Gold holds:'that oil is
    actually renewable, primordial syrup continually manufactured by the
    earth under ultrahot conditions and tremendous pressures. As this
    substance migrates toward the surface, it is attacked by bacteria,
    making it appear to have an organic origin dating back to the
    dinosaurs.'


    I am not sure how long an "ultrahot" region in the crust or upper mantle could produce such quantities of "primordial soup" and how long it would take bacteria to act upon it. The problem is that one would have to change the carbon isotopes making up the "primordial soup." Bacteria might be able to replace some of the carbon, but it seems to me that there should be a primitive signature that we could pick up in all oils if this were the case. As yet, oil companies have not picked up on this as a prospecting tool. It seems that prospecting potential sedimentary source rocks has worked and continues to be the more accepted way of looking at the source of oil.

    "The apparent deep-seated oil source at Eugene Island...

    "Apparent" being the operative word here. I wonder how deep this source is. Some of the gulf sediments are pretty thick.

    "... and Gold's
    ideas make petroleum engineers wonder about a similar situation at the
    seeming inexhaustible oil fields of the Middle East. 'The Middle East
    has more than doubled its reserves in the past 20 years, despite half a
    century of intense exploitation and relatively few new discoveries.


    It seems to me that this goes against Gold. If there were an unknown or misunderstood source, then there should be more discoveries cropping up all the time for uncertain reasons.

    It would take a pretty big pile of dead dinosaurs and prehistoric plants to
    account for the estimated 660 billion barrels of oil in the region,'
    notes Norman Hyne, a professor at the University of Tulsa: ...


    This is an overly simplistic statement. I don't think anyone attributes oil to the reduction of dinosaur remains. And yes, it is hard to imagine the absolute size of a sedimentary basin. I have not seen the calculations of how much oil could be produced from a cubic mile of sediments under the right conditions, but it is significant when applied to large basins. I think that the whole problem here is that your source does not understand the complex plumbing systems of active basins and cannot critically analyze Gold's hypothesis.

    "Off-the-wall theories often turn out to be right," he says.

    Um, yes. But did he add that they more often turn out to be wrong?
     

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