suggestions?

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Helen, Jul 23, 2003.

  1. Helen

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    OK, folks... :D

    I have been asked to give some lectures at two colleges in August. Two lectures each (same ones). One on ID and the other on the creation-evolution debates.

    I am curious which areas of each the folks here -- evolutionists, theists, creationists, just-curious -- whomever -- think is important to cover.

    I have some of my own ideas, and I have given the ID material a number of times before, but I thought I'd throw this out here kind of for fun to see what sort of responses were forthcoming and to look at them for ideas.
     
  2. Elena

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    EF I notice you tend to belittle the views of people who disagree with you. I would hope you would be more diplomatic in your lectures.
    To be honest, I know nothing of your qualifications to give University lectures on these topics. Do you have a Ph.D. in some biological or scientific field? I'm not asserting that a PhD is a requirement. I am just curious as to your scientific background and/or your major published research findings in these areas. After all, most guest lecturers I know of are invited for their particular area of expertise. What sort of colleges lecture on the topics you mentioned?
     
  3. Meatros

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    What angle are you going to focus on (I realize the YEC angle), I mean are you going to be going over science? Over important people? Important events in the news (discoveries, etc)? Are you going to be mentioning Christianity, or strictly stick to the issues?
     
  4. ah_mini

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    Really you need to provide more information on what audience you're actually lecturing to. However, I can give you a general idea of what I would expect to constitute a good discussion of creationism, ID and evolution (my apologies if this sounds patronising).
    </font>
    • Establish why you believe in creationism as literally described in the Bible. You will need to provide evidence for Biblical inerrancy here.</font>
    • Use positive evidences for ID/creationism wherever possible. Poking holes in current evolutionary theory may be fun, but it doesn't prove any alternate model. Many scientists will just say that your shortcomings (assuming they're valid points) are just areas that need more research. Stuff that I would like to see positive evidence for is:
      </font>
      • </font>
      • Scientific evidence (geological, genetic, etc) for a global flood in recent history</font>
      • Archaelogical evidence for a gathering of the post-flood peoples in one place until the Tower of Babel incident.</font>
      • Evidence for a young age for the universe.</font>
      • Explanations for evidence that contradicts creationism. Try to stick to science and avoid arguments like, "The Bible says so," or calls to special miracles ("Goddidit").</font>
    • Do make sure to open the floor for questions. I find that a person who can answer even difficult questions convincingly will go a long way towards winning an audience.</font>
    Make sure you provide handouts for people so they can look at your references. It's very hard to get across stuff like Setterfield's speed of light hypothesis (if you're going to use your husband's work) in a presentation. People will want to read further afterwards.

    Things not to do (in as much as these arguments would lose my respect for the lecturer) include:
    </font>
    • Using arguments from personal incredulity.</font>
    • Creating strawmen of evolution.</font>
    • Mixing theology and/or philosophy with evolutionary science (which discinctly excludes these fields). Evolution does not encourage immorality, genocide, etc. This argument is a non-sequitur. Also, it will leave you open to attacks on Christianity using the same tactics (assuming there are atheists or people of other religions in your audience).</font>
    • Effectively bearing false witness against scientists by generalising specific incidents of malpractice. Sure some scientists fall into sin, but the same accusation could equally be applied to creationists.</font>
    Good luck with your lecturing! [​IMG]

    Andrew
     
  5. Peter101

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    Helen,

    I would suggest avoiding any discussion of dating methods, especially the C-14 method. That way you will not repeat some of the mistaken information on your web site.
     
  6. Helen

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    LOL, I am giving informational lectures on two areas I am very well acquainted with, being active participant in both!

    In the ID lecture I generally concentrate on what ID is and what it is not. I go over the logic behind it and where it seems to be headed.

    In the cr/ev lecture I discuss the major areas of argument and the points made by each side. I am not there to convince others of my own point of view, simply to review what is being dealt with on the net, in books, in conversations, in conferences.

    In the latter, I will be mentioning things like mutations, fossils, time/chance, natural selection, punctuated equilibrium, continuing creation (Hugh Ross stuff), my husband's ideas, what the Bible seems to indicate and how it is interpreted in various ways.

    I am not a preacher. I inform. This I can do.

    Elena, I'm not in your exalted class. I have lectured in colleges, not universities. I have been asked because I am a reasonably good communicator, pretty calm when challenged, fairly well-referenced with my material, and experienced in the areas I talk about. I also, when speaking publicly, avoid the argumentative side of my nature! The purpose is to inform, not to convince, when I am doing this.

    In other words, there will be extremely little on why Helen believes anything, as I don't think that is what anyone wants to know about! I think they want to know about the subjects generally and what has been going on in them. That is what I will be there for.
     
  7. Paul of Eugene

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    Well, when you're talking about the notions of evolutionists, be sure to mention how they think evolution works, including these points:

    a) A population exists with stable numbers

    b) mutations occur randomly from time to time

    c) In the generations that follow, some of the mutations wind up hindering the individual members of the population and they are therefore reduce in number, eventually eliminated

    d) Other mutations wind up helping the individual members of the population and they are therefore increased in number, eventually becoming the standard for the population.

    The process repeats, and the accumulation of the beneficial mutations is evolution.
     
  8. Helen

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    OK, Paul, --
    What do you mean, exactly, by 'a population exists with stable numbers'? Are you saying a population cannot exist without stable numbers?

    Isn't that part of what natural selection is about -- a deletion in the numbers which then have to be made up for again -- hopefully...?

    Yes, I understand and agree about mutations randomness.

    And yes, sexual reproduction reduces a great number of expressed mutations, although when they are simply recessive they can still pop up from time to time.

    As far as your point d is concerned, could you please give me some examples of what you are talking about?

    Thanks.
     
  9. Paul of Eugene

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    I'm thinking of a population that has reached the limit in terms of numbers. It can't support any more due to food limitations, space limitations, whatever . . .

    Well, all the organisms get "deleted" - they die - and the next generation replaces them of course. But the next generation is going to have more numbers than the environment can support, in my "stable" scenario, so the extras die without reproducing. This process is going on, as a steady state. This is sets the stage for the next steps.

    I didn't mention sexual reproduction, its an add on to the outline I presented, but it needs to be nentioned somewhere of course, and sexual reproduction of course helps mix genes up, potentially concentrating good genes together and bad genes together. This speeds up getting rid of bad mutations and helps the good ones get established.

    Accumulating beneficial mutations?

    How about that nylon digesting bacteria example you posted? The reference said there were a number of spot mutations required to get the bacteria to where they were. That's accumulating beneficial mutations!

    Not all of them were necessarly beneficial in terms of digestion. Maybe some of them merely facilitated getting rid of the nylon chemical precusors and then one of them made the chemical fragments available to the energy developing pathway . . . .

    Another example would be bacteria gaining immunity. Typically a culture does not come completely immune to the antibiotic all at once, there is a period of time when it tolerates higher and higher doses. This would appear to be evidence of a series of mutations that make the colonoy fitter and fitter against the antibiotic.

    Of course, we evolutionists say every currently living creature is an example of a massive amount of accumulation of beneficial mutations over deep time.
     
  10. Helen

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    Paul,

    Your 'scenario' is just that -- yours. Populations are not stable. Granted they can max out, but that is not the same as stability.

    I would need some data and referencing on your idea that the very next generation offers full replacement + and that the 'extras' die without reproducing. What criteria determines 'extras'?

    Sexual reproduction can eliminate beneficial mutations, too, actually. A mutation would normally happen to one individual at a time, and even if it is dominant, everything, but everything depends not only on the successful reproduction of that individual, but on the effect of the various combinations of genes in the progeny and whether they allow the expression of that mutation. Mutations do not exist without interaction with the genome, so if the interaction is OK in one individual, that does not mean it might be OK in the progeny, who have the other parent's gene contributions to add to the mix. Sexual reproduction definitely eliminates a good many harmful and recessive materials, but it is quite capable of eliminating others, too! This is something not often recognized or spoken about in the creation/evolution arguments.

    In the meantime, your examples of accumulating beneficial mutations are not what I need. The nylon-consuming bacteria are still bacteria. Antibiotic resistance is something that is the product of natural variation in bacteria and has nothing to do with them evolving into anything else. So if I am going to present a decent argument for evolution in terms of accumulating beneficial mutations, I would need something else to give as an example.
     
  11. Paul of Eugene

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    Hmmm. What we have here is a confusion of word meanings. If the population maxes out then one generation after another, the maximum number stays stable, doesn't it? That's the stability I was trying to suggest.

    And then the kids take over and the population still has about the same number. That's the replacement of which I was speaking. It needn't be all at once, in the case of humans, there's a lot of overlap due to the adults lasting over several generations sometimes, but the the general idea holds. In our case, we are temporarily in a situation where we have not maxed out the ability of the world to hold our numbers, because of our new technology. That can't last very many more generations. Crunch time will be coming.


    Oh yeah, you have a point there. I observed the phenomenon in my little evolution simulator program. You can put in a beneficial mutation and then run a few generations and its gone! You can see it start to take off and then die out!

    What works is a long term series with beneficial mutations coming time and again over many many generations then they finally start to take hold.


    Well, why don't you say something like, "evolutionists conjecture that given enough time, these little changes we have see will add up enough to explain the changes they see in the fossil record."
     
  12. Paul of Eugene

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    OK Lessee. Other things you should mention include

    VESTIGES - lots and lots of vestiges in species after species

    ONE TRUE TREE OF LIFE
    - Originally developed by means of morphology alone
    - Confirmed by chemical analysis of proteins and
    - Now reconfirmed by genetic analysis

    LENGTH OF TIME NEEDED FOR EVOLUTION TO TAKE PLACE
    - therefore we can't expect to see macro evolution in just a century

    Remnants of past development remaining in embryos
    (Not as a law but as tendancy)

    Predictive value for finding out what intermediate fossils might be out there to look for by estimating between presently known fossils
    using "between" in the evolutionary sense

    Consistent fossil history showing more complex and larger creatures coming later in time except for mass extinction events

    Evidence for deep time history of life - see thread on age of the earth

    Hey, I don't claim YOU agree with them, I claim EVOLUTIONISTS agree with them! Perhaps others can suggest some really outa have em topics?
     
  13. Paul of Eugene

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    OK Its question and answer time, and the audience wants to know why the crazy evolutionists even think of keeping on with their notions, so they ask questions about what evolutionists think. Ready to share what we think? How about these sample questions:

    - What do evolutionists think when they are reminded that the second law of thermodynamics specifies entropy must always increase?

    - What do evolutionists think when shown a gap in the fossil record between evolutionary steps?

    - What do evolutionists say about a complex function in a cell that requires more than 3 or 4 proteins to all work together in concert, and thus would seem to be unable to be evolved a step at a time?

    Naturally, you have to give a short answer, others have their hands up. You say . . . ?
     
  14. NeilUnreal

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    Something that's personally important to me is that most of the early evidence concerning an old earth, evolution, etc. was discovered by theists and Christians. They begain changing our view of earth's history before Darwin ever pickled his first specimen. Modern science is where it's at today because those people were strong enough in their science and faith to follow the evidence. Even my scientist friends who are athiests appreciate the courage and honesty of those early theistic scientists.

    -Neil
     
  15. Helen

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    OK, a few responses here, and thank you for your patience.

    Paul – populations do not stay stable. They are in a constant state of flux in nature. An easy example is right here in our area. On years such as this one when we get late heavy rains, we get lots and LOTS of frogs. That means next year we will have lots and LOTS of gopher and king snakes! And that means that later next year the hawks will be here in abundance as well.

    However, with the encroaching ‘creeping fungus’ (our term) of zero lot line housing developments coming up the hills from Sacramento, even that cycle will be severely disrupted. It was also disrupted in the past by droughts, too many rainy years in a row, etc. So although the cycle is general, it is not dependable, and the populations of the involved animals vary widely. There are many other examples in each ecosystem, but that should help you see what I mean.

    As far as the human population on this planet goes, our biggest enemy is not numbers but the selfishness of those in power – not necessarily political power. Economic power is the deciding factor regarding starvation, not population numbers. The congestion in urban areas does not help either. Just as a side note here, I was given a book to read (I’ve already loaned it out!) called something like “A Dangerous Place” talking about California. One thing I was only sort of aware of before but which was brought out in sharp detail in the book is that the two most congested areas – the LA area and the SF area – both need to pipe in their water from great distances. An earthquake in the right place and of the right magnitude would cut off water supplies from either one of the areas, causing far more damage in the long run than the earthquake itself.

    We are our own worst enemy, and it is not because of numbers themselves!


    I was really interested in this from you:
    Oh yeah, you have a point there. I observed the phenomenon in my little evolution simulator program. You can put in a beneficial mutation and then run a few generations and its gone! You can see it start to take off and then die out!

    What works is a long term series with beneficial mutations coming time and again over many many generations then they finally start to take hold.


    In other words, the same mutation has to reappear a number of times. Considering that approximate thousand to one of negative to positive expressed mutations, that really does hand evolution another roadblock, I would think. Yes, positive mutations can and do get overruled by the mixing in sexual reproduction. That’s an interesting program you have been running.

    Question: why should the same positive mutation appear again and again in a population?

    And yes, in all honesty I can say exactly what you asked me to:
    Well, why don't you say something like, "evolutionists conjecture that given enough time, these little changes we have see will add up enough to explain the changes they see in the fossil record."

    However, in all honesty I would also have to say two other things:
    1. We have never seen it happen
    2. We are unaware of the process by which these little changes can add up on each other.

    On vestiges – I can’t use that except in an historical sense. Well over a hundred vestiges were presumed in humans a hundred years ago and since then we have found that everything considered useless has a use! This has caused the definition of vestiges to change to ‘not its original use’, which is pure evolutionary presumption.

    The one tree of life I will present as one of the evolution ideas, but you see there are other evolutionists who think that life started several times and that this is the only way we could get the diversity we have now. Evolution is just not a unified field of thought – which is not a negative thing. It has also been shown that morphology does not always agree with genetics, and this is one of the reasons a multiple start has been proposed and discussed in some of the writings.


    The time argument is also sticky, because of both generation time for the larger animals and mutation rates. I will do the best I honestly can here to present the evolution ideas as well as possible.

    Recapitulation: I’m afraid it is denied even in theory by too many geneticists and embryologists to even consider it except, again, in an historical sense. I had not planned to talk about it unless it was brought up in the question and answer sessions.

    Yes, I can present predictive value for evolution.

    Fossil history works against both evolution and the one-flood-did-everything scenario of those creationists who hold to that. You see, there are some VERY complex structures, such as the eye of the trilobite, very far down in the fossil record. On the other hand, the lack of mixing is a definite piece of evidence against the one-flood folk. Barry will be dealing a lot with the strata in his geology presentation, so I will only be touching on it.

    I will try to present the evidence for deep time fairly. There is good evidence for it in several ways and I do want the students to know that just brushing it off is not in their interests – but then neither is insisting on it. There is too much that merits discussion in this area – discussion without insults and mocking….

    About the questions you offered:

    1. - What do evolutionists think when they are reminded that the second law of thermodynamics specifies entropy must always increase?

    My response would be to remind them that the Second Law of Thermodynamic is about thermodynamics and that they should not be arguing about that. However if they want to discuss the more generalized idea of net increasing entropy, then they need to read up on when, where, and how localized decreases in entropy can take place, because they do. The creationist argument, as I have presented, involves the two points of the design of certain things to decrease entropy under proper conditions (snowflakes, crystals, embryo development, etc.) and the fact that a simple increase of energy input has the general effect of increasing the rate of entropy, not decreasing it unless the energy input is not only modified but able to be used by the receiver. In other words, this is another area which deserves respectful discussion and learning. Please understand, also, that I am assuming most of my audience will have been taught and believe in evolution and long ages!

    2. - What do evolutionists think when shown a gap in the fossil record between evolutionary steps?

    We all know the fossil record is very sparse, especially for non-marine organisms, and that any argument here depends on lack of evidence and is not a good argument to make. What I have seen evolutionists respond to when confronted with this is that of course there are gaps for that very reason! And whether evolution is right or wrong, they are right. That very argument, however, can be turned around for creationists, when they are asked by such and such specimen is not found with other specimen. Rabbits in the Cambrian, men with dinosaurs, etc. Although I have seen the first said in all seriousness, that one has to make me laugh. Rabbits don’t normally live on the ocean bottom!

    3. - What do evolutionists say about a complex function in a cell that requires more than 3 or 4 proteins to all work together in concert, and thus would seem to be unable to be evolved a step at a time?

    They point out that there are known organisms where there is partial functioning or where the proteins involved are performing other duties.


    Neil: yes, I think the history of some of it is important, too, and you have a good point there. Thank you for bringing it up.
     
  16. Paul of Eugene

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    When did you say you had to be ready? August, right? OK . . .


    I certainly admit populations fluctuate. The ratio between predator and prey populations is a classic example of populations fluctuating around a number instead of being steady state right on the average all the time.

    But I was trying to suggest the key points of evolution theory for you . . . and that involves limits, death of some, with others left to live and breed. Whether steady state or oscillating erratically about some mean, all populations have to live with that.

    When the frogs come back next year - it will be the ones most adept at escaping those gophers and king snakes that will bring on the generation after. That's the point from evolution theory. Suppose that frog jumping muscles were less efficient right now due a poorly implemented energy using protein, and a mutation could improve that protein . . . . . who do you think would live to tell the next generation about the snake that almost got him? And if that mutation only happened once in a million frogs, well, it would happen every year somewhere, wouldn't it?

    Oh yes, in the wrong hands, running it and checking what happens could be a source of arguments against evolution, even. (there - if that doesn't intrigue you, what will? hee hee - ) But as to the specific point about a single hopeful mutation not taking, bear in mind that the arrival of a beneficial mutation is a random event anyway, and the one that eventually succeeds is also a random event. You could just as easily pretend all those beneficial mutations that didn't succeed didn't even happen and it would make no difference in the outcome. The only question is - out of those that (a) are random and (b) are beneficial and (c) happen to get established as well - do they come often enough and fast enough?

    This is where we need to consider populations and how many there are. Where I run a few hundred individuals God routinely whips up millions and millions of them. Also, there is the matter of the "trials" I run, especially at first. Should they be easier, just more of them to reduce the population? I'm beginning to suspect (based on observation of the difference between going from all 8's to 9's and 5's to 6's) that with lots more of slightly easier trials makes the results come out more favorable to beginning those hopeful, good mutations.

    I also can't help but think of the single, positive mutation that fails as a metaphor for the good scientific idea that gets out there and fails to gain acceptance, initially - then someone else propounds it and succeeds, gets all the glory - this has happened time and again in history.

    Answer: Because the potential is there. When whales left land and went to the sea one of the things that happened was their shapes became more and more fish like. There are probably many alternative mutations that could have achieved that, and only a few of the near-infinite possibilities were actualized in real whales. Look at dolphins, with that little beak, and compare that with whales and no beak. Different solutions to the streamlining problem.

    If you ever play poker, when you win, its not with the same cards, but there are common themes that come out of the winning patterns. That's what happens in evolution. PS I only play for dimes and nickles with relatives, in case anybody is interested, and that about once every 3 or 5 years.

    Well, we see all of it we have the right to expect to see, in the short time we've been seriously looking! And I'm unaware of the process alledged to STOP the little changes from adding up on each other! (this is the debate over "kind" barrier, what is it, etc.)


    Sure we still speak of vestiges. Take your little toe, for instance. And the one next to it, for that matter. Mention that I can wiggle my ears. Mention the little muscle attached to the immoveable tailbone. Mention those whale hip vestiges. Mention the "dew claw" on cats - and I think on dogs to, isn't it?

    I don't think you'll find any serious student of life that will argue that the DNA based life didn't all share a common origin. I guess that leaves the question open for a few viruses out there, and I don't know what else. I'm not a scientist, you know.

    Strictily speaking, morphology has not been exactly 100% confirmed by genetics, its more like 98 or 99 per cent, and really, this is about what one would expect, isn't it? Considering how some of the cases were marginal and hard to tell - - - kind of like trying to decide if a particular verse in the Bible is best represented by the Hebrew or the Septuagint . . . probably nobody gets that answer perfectly right every time, see what I mean?

    Recapitulation was once proclaimed as if it were a law. It's not a law, but there are recapitulative "vestiges". Like the little fuzzy hair on the human infant that is shed before birth. Like the extra tusks grown by elephant babies that are then absorbed back . . .

    Trilobites have shells, that's why we have fossils of them. Something happened in the cambrian era that made shells very popular, that's why fossils really take off then. Perhaps an effective predator against larger life forms evolved? Anyway, the eyes evolved before the shells, thats all.

    OK - do you understand my argument from expected slowing of astronomical orbits? "yes" or "no" is all I need for the purposes of this particular thread . . .

    OK. Not bad! This particular evolutionists always wants to mention that entropy can in fact be allowed to decrease in one area, as long as entropy is allowed to increase even more somewhere else, and that somewhere else can be shoved away out of the area. Like hauling out the garbage and dumping the mop water after cleaning up the house.

     
  17. mioque

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    Helen
    When you are giving your ID lectures, don't talk about evolution at all, leave that for your other lecture.
    Simply teach your audience the theory of Intelligent Design, just like you would teach a class the theory of relativity, or how to make cheese.
     
  18. mdkluge

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    Mioque wrote:
    Well, that's what one should do if one wanted to teach the theory of ID as that theory should be rather than as it is actually understood by its adherents. As practiced today ID theory IS mainly anti-evolution. (Dembski's Explanatory Filter may be an exception if it could actually work as advertised.) Behe's irreducible complexity argument, for example, isn't ABOUT ID at all. When he writes about it he's writing about evolution and its supposed problems with IC. Little or nothing is directly said about ID. So I don't see how one could lecture on contemporary ID theory without discussing its antievolutionism.
     
  19. Helen

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    Thanks Paul and Hi Mioque,

    The ID lecture necessarily has to include that part of evolution which says all happened via time and chance. That is because that is what ID is questioning. One of the things I lead with is the quote from Dawkins' "Blind Watchmaker" -- in the preface (not the famous 'looks as if it were designed' quote"), in which he talks about the enormous complexity of the brain compared with his computer.

    But the main focus of the lecture is 'how do we recognize design?' in man-made artifacts, and what can be extrapolated from that to say that something in nature bears the earmarks of being designed. I'll review the Dembski filter, specified complexity and irreducible complexity. That amount, plus some examples, generally takes the 45-50 minutes allotted and questions and answers, scheduled for fifteen minutes, often take almost as long as the original lecture for those who are wanting to stay into the break and beyond...

    Thank you all for your input. I'll keep an eye on this thread for anything more.
     
  20. Peter101

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    Helen,

    You have been involved in discussions of Evolution and creationism for a long time. For many of us, there are a vast multitude of creationist arguments that don't stand up to scrutiny. Have you ever changed your position on any of these issues, when new information has become available to you? By this I mean, have you ever recognized that some creationist arguments are not valid? If so, which creationist claims have you realized are not valid?
     

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