From Deism to Atheism
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29-04-2015, 04:29 PM
RE: From Deism to Atheism
(29-04-2015 11:01 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  thank you

Looking back over the thread, what you actually said was "That’s not the truth. When I say something is morally wrong, I’m making a factual statement, even if that statement is false,..."

And that is incorrect since "factual statement" is not the same as "statement of fact".

"Statement of fact" has a formal definition, and that definition is most definitely not "factual statement".

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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30-04-2015, 07:46 AM (This post was last modified: 30-04-2015 09:13 AM by Tomasia.)
RE: From Deism to Atheism
(29-04-2015 04:13 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Great that you think I am odd, I too think religious people think in an odd way. But it would better suit our purposes to focus on the topic of the discussion rather than the person making the argument.

I apologize if it came out the wrong way, and it seemed like a personal swipe. I just meant that you have a different way of thinking, or piecing together the world than I’m accustom to, and which doesn’t seem to have much to do with my theism or your atheism. Which I may not have to point out, but at least keep in mind when it comes to tailoring my responses, a part of knowing my audience. It should also be said that though I think you are a bit different, I also consider you one of the more considerate and thoughtful individuals here.

But my apologies regardless.

Quote:Since there is no way to prove if morality is objective, subjective or doesn't exist then your claim as to it being a statement of fact is merely an opinion. In your opinion objective moral truths exist.

Ah, I see, the conundrum applies to both the objectivist position, and the subjectivist position. So your view that morality is subjective, is a matter of likes and dislikes is also an unverifiable opinion? It seems you’re given to a bit of solipsism. I’m not sure why you don’t just go one step further and claim there are no objective truths at all, that all truth is relative, not just moral truths.

Quote:We can put tea inside it and see if it can be used to transfer tea to a tea cup, so in someway the claim can be verified and this verification would be objective and universal meaning

Except you forgot the fact that it’s other humans doing the verifying. This verification is dependent on our minds. In fact if we hire Ken Ham or Kent Hovind to verify the theory of evolution, their conclusion would be that it’s false. Then you’d have to say that this is because their minds are deluded, impaired by a series of biases, perhaps lacking the necessary capacities to draw the same conclusions. While those lucky souls able to draw these conclusions and verify their accuracy are free of these same impairments, so their judgements are more accurate. Of course Ken Ham, and folks like this would see it the other way around, that those professionals doing the verifying have academic pressures, and faux pas, ideological commitments that don’t allow them to see as clearly as AiG thinkers do.

It likely even applies to us, you perhaps imagine my mind impaired by religious organizations, and indoctrination, that prevent me from seeing things as you do, as I may believe that there are a variety of undisclosed things here that impair you from seeing what should be common sense. And I may even take some of your half-answers, your reluctances, as telltales of this.

We basically have to believe that there can be pure minds, free of certain restraints, and biases, or are able to put those biases on hold, allowing them to be capable of deciphering what is true.

I guess at this point, I’d have to ask if you consider yourself a factual relativist as well?

According to factual relativism, scientific knowledge, is like “mythology of other cultures, that its merely our society's set of myths based on our society's assumptions.” The philosopher of science Gérard Fourez claims that “what one generally calls a fact is an interpretation of a situation that no one, at least for the moment, wants to call into question.”

Your objections to morality, now that it has been confessed to apply to both subjectivism and objectivism, as being unverifiable/unprovable , seem to be similar to the objections made by factual relativist. So i’m not sure why you seem to draw a line between moral truth, and non-moral truths here?

I’ll even go one step further here. My argument for moral truths, is quite similar to truth in general, that the inability to recognize certain moral truths, is in many cases pathological, as we’d say of Ken Ham, inhibited by delusions, lies, biases, etc… Like believing handicap children are different than other children, cursed and lacking souls, or having the souls of monkeys rather than humans, or believing that innocent people are guilty, and the pathologies of scapegoating, and dehumanization.

Quote:We consider "normal" human behaviour those things that most people do. For cases which differ from the norm we often create labels for e.g. Aspergers etc.

Except of course when we’re speaking of the delusional, where we’re not particularly speaking of a deviation from normal human behavior, but involving a certain sort of denial, or impairment in recognizing reality. In fact even in regards to Aspergers, or those on the autistic spectrum, it’s recognized that those on this spectrum have an impaired sense of theory of mind, often crippling them from understanding basic metaphors, non-literal language expressions, novels, etc…. It’s not particularally about a deviation from normal behavior, but an impaired sense of navigating certain realities, being impaired in making sense of them.

Quote:Really? Are you able to prove they are not the same thing?

Sure, in two words “immoral laws”. There’s a variety of things people see as immoral, but don’t believe should be illegal, such as having an affair. Immoral and illegal are not synonymous. If the state decided to make everything one person finds immoral to be legal, it doesn’t follow that they need to recognize those things as moral.

Quote:I feel it is a shame that you so strongly believe that you are right and that they are wrong. It is a shame that a government can interfere with an isolated tribe like this. Forcing the beliefs of the government onto these people, I disagree with it.

That’s interesting.

Why do feel it is a shame? Because you feel it violates that tribes autonomy, and is disrespect to their traditions and heritage? Or something along those lines?

Do you feel it’s shame that people intervened in the holocaust? That we intervened in what the german people thought was right, forcing our moral beliefs on them?

If your grown son, was to travel to another country, and was witness to a tribe ready to stone to death a child for being handicaped, and he intervened to save that child’s life, would you find his actions shameful? Would you tell him that he shouldn’t disrespect their traditions and heritage, as result of his culturally induced sense of right and wrong?

Quote:If you and me are in conversation there is no point us talking about love but individually using our different meaning for the word. This way we will talk past each other or even argue about semantics.

Even if we did have different meanings here, it doesn’t particularly follow that this can’t be understood. Just because the term “theory” has different connotations to a scientist, it doesn’t particularly follow that as result they can’t understand when the term is used colloquially. Or that if a person tends to use a word with one explicit meaning in mind, that they can’t recognize when others are using the word with a different meaning in mind.

So when you said the term love is vague for you, did you really mean that? Or did you just say that because you know I’m a Christian, and just wanted to avoid me applying certain religious connotations to it? If I was an atheists asking the same question, would you likely not have said it was too vague a concept to reply to?
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30-04-2015, 09:46 AM
RE: From Deism to Atheism
(29-04-2015 11:11 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(29-04-2015 11:05 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Actually every teapot that we know of orbits the sun, just about every 24 hours. I think I have 3 maybe, that do so every day. No wait. 4. I forgot about 1.

Mine are slower; they take a full year.
Tongue

Shit shit shit. And here I thought mine were *fast*. Facepalm ... Weeping

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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30-04-2015, 01:24 PM
RE: From Deism to Atheism
(30-04-2015 07:46 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  So when you said the term love is vague for you, did you really mean that? Or did you just say that because you know I’m a Christian, and just wanted to avoid me applying certain religious connotations to it? If I was an atheists asking the same question, would you likely not have said it was too vague a concept to reply to?
Mostly because you are a Christian.
For me love is conceptual.
It can mean different things but it isn't a discrete, quite frankly it's whatever the owner claims it to be.

I cannot tell you if my wife loves me. If she says she loves me then I have to accept that she has associated the word "love" with her feelings, emotional attachments for me.

My love for my wife includes lust, it includes friendship, it includes feelings of wanting to experience life with her, of wanting to touch her etc.

My love for my children is quite different to that. It includes pride, it includes fascination, in someways it is akin to me molding a piece of clay although I try hard to let the clay form its own shape. and to a lesser degree friendship.

I would expect my kids love for me includes trust, safety, dependency, familiarity.

If I were talking to an atheist in a non philosophical manner I would simply agree or perhaps I would laugh and say "I hope they love me".
But with a Christian it is more difficult. I feel they ascribe something akin to magic when regarding love. They somehow think "God is love". I guess it says that somewhere in the bible. It makes no sense to me, I cannot associate with that type of love. In an open and frank philosophical discussion I feel the need to distance myself from that.
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30-04-2015, 01:46 PM
RE: From Deism to Atheism
(30-04-2015 07:46 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I apologize if it came out the wrong way, and it seemed like a personal swipe. I just meant that you have a different way of thinking, or piecing together the world than I’m accustom to,
I am very analytical, especially when contemplating philosophically. Perhaps you would gain value from visiting a philosophy forum. They too do this. They deconstruct ideas to their basic make up, they tend not to get emotional about what they are discussing, they deconstruct, and contemplate the ramifications. It is an approach to discovery.
I'm not saying I am a philosopher, I haven't taken any philosophy courses but just saying that I understand that words have many meanings and can mean different things to different people. To me, in order to explore certain ideas thoroughly it makes sense to deconstruct the ideas behind the words.

(30-04-2015 07:46 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
Quote:Since there is no way to prove if morality is objective, subjective or doesn't exist then your claim as to it being a statement of fact is merely an opinion. In your opinion objective moral truths exist.

Ah, I see, the conundrum applies to both the objectivist position, and the subjectivist position. So your view that morality is subjective, is a matter of likes and dislikes is also an unverifiable opinion?
It is my view that morals don't exist. Much in the same what that it is my view that gods don't exist. I can't prove that they don't exist, I merely lack belief in them.
I used to believe in morals up until about three years ago. Although I did have some clues as to their being illusionary. I had some discussions with some Catholics on a Catholic forum, they were challanging my atheist morals and I was listening. It made sense when they suggested my moral beliefs were merely my own opinions. I also read an article on "natural rights" explaining why government isn't the highest authority and why people will resolve to violence when certain "natural rights" are violated. I did my own thinking and pieced together my current stance, that morals are illusionary, unnecessary and often incite people towards violence in an attempt to force others to comply to their own morals.

For example some Christians who would bomb an abortion clinic or people who would look to use the police force and give them the obligation to use force against pregnant woman looking to have abortion.

Use of law is supporting violence against people in society. In some cases it is neccessary to do so. I am not for an anarchy. But I am wary of using force merely based on my opinions of what is right and wrong.

I don't see it as my place to forcibly control others merely because I don't like what they are doing.

So in order to justify my own stance on law I had to come up with a reasoning that wasn't based on my own opinions of right and wrong. I have come to the conclusion that right and wrong are nonsensical phrases.

But I hope you can see that I do have a reasonable an logical answer for most things and I do tend to build these upon selfish reasons.
My explainations are generally mundain, generally self evident, I don't need to invoke a mystic objective moral sense, I don't need to invoke a magical god authority. I don't need to rest on the shoulders of two thousand years of religious philosophical thought. My reasoning are natural and don't need convoluted stories behind them. Don't need convoluted concepts of sin, redemption, souls, good, bad etc.
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30-04-2015, 02:33 PM
RE: From Deism to Atheism
(30-04-2015 01:24 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
Quote:If I were talking to an atheist in a non philosophical manner I would simply agree or perhaps I would laugh and say "I hope they love me". But with a Christian it is more difficult. I feel they ascribe something akin to magic when regarding love.

I think this it’s an uneccerary trepidation on your part, for you to believe that because Christianity sees love as a virtue, as the highest of all virtues, as sacred, as God himself, that this means that christians are unable to understand what you mean when you say you love your wife, anymore so than your local atheists. In fact in regards to Christianity the greatest form of love is given a conceptual example, “laying down of one’s life for a friend.” And I’m sure that when it comes to your wife and children, that you would take a bullet for them, put your life on the line to save theirs.

You may not understand much of what christian might mean by love in relationship to their religion, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t understand what you mean when expressing it colloquially. Or that christians mean something all together different when they say they love their wives, or children, than a typical atheists would.

[quote]I cannot tell you if my wife loves me. If she says she loves me then I have to accept that she has associated the word "love" with her feelings, emotional attachments for me.

My love for my wife includes lust, it includes friendship, it includes feelings of wanting to experience life with her, of wanting to touch her etc.

My love for my children is quite different to that. It includes pride, it includes fascination, in someways it is akin to me molding a piece of clay although I try hard to let the clay form its own shape. and to a lesser degree friendship.

I would expect my kids love for me includes trust, safety, dependency, familiarity.

Are there commonalities in what you mean by love, applied in these three ways as well?

For me such a commonality, would be to borrow your word “friendship”, or to use a word I’m more accustomed to “communion”. It’s not particularly about material concerns, but a desire to share our lives with others, rather than in isolation. To be a part of them, as they are a part of me, a shared sort of intimacy. A desire to share in their joys and sorrows.
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30-04-2015, 03:17 PM
RE: From Deism to Atheism
(30-04-2015 02:33 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  I think this it’s an uneccerary trepidation on your part, for you to believe that because Christianity sees love as a virtue, as the highest of all virtues, as sacred, as God himself, that this means that christians are unable to understand what you mean when you say you love your wife, anymore so than your local atheists. In fact in regards to Christianity the greatest form of love is given a conceptual example, “laying down of one’s life for a friend.” And I’m sure that when it comes to your wife and children, that you would take a bullet for them, put your life on the line to save theirs.

You may not understand much of what christian might mean by love in relationship to their religion, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t understand what you mean when expressing it colloquially. Or that christians mean something all together different when they say they love their wives, or children, than a typical atheists would.
I've been to a Christian wedding, i think they had three ropes that they tied together. All symbollic of course. One representing him, one her and one god.
It seems the Christians inject "god" into things. Was it your or Q that stated that your marriage was build on the solid ground of god?
I can't understand what Christian love is. I don't know how you can understand what love is without god.
I don't see love as being a virtue. I think lust and pride are part of love, you think lust and pride are sins.
You value altruism and think it is an indicator of love. I don't.
You think you can love Jesus, an idea of person that you have never met, never communicated with, but all you know is a name, not the person. You have imagined talking to this "person" but have never received anything back, he has never spoken to you, never smiled at you. With regards to my understanding of love, you can no more love Jesus than I can love my pillow.
And yet, I' sure you love Jesus. What you consider love and what I consider love are not the same.

(30-04-2015 02:33 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  Are there commonalities in what you mean by love, applied in these three ways as well?

For me such a commonality, would be to borrow your word “friendship”, or to use a word I’m more accustomed to “communion”. It’s not particularly about material concerns, but a desire to share our lives with others, rather than in isolation. To be a part of them, as they are a part of me, a shared sort of intimacy. A desire to share in their joys and sorrows.
See, I would never use the word communion. That is an "odd" word.
My feelings for my wife and kids are material. My wife is a material object, so are my kids. Humans are social animals, we form families just like many other animals do. Our children take a long time to become independant, it makes evolutionary sense that we exhibit behaviours such as forming social bonds and families. it makes evolutionary sense that we desire sex and a mate.
I see my wife as an individual, i would never say that I am part of her and she is part of me. At the moment we see value in spending time together. i have empathy for my wife, I care about her. I want her to be happy, especially as a result of being with me. If she is happy when she is with me then it is likely she will choose to be with me. I want her to be with me because I like sex with her, I like that she helps cook and clean, I like that she helps bring up the kids, I like that she behaves as a supportive friend for me. I expect that we get some mutual benefit from each others company.
If the benefits weren't there I'd expect the perception of "love" would disappear.
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30-04-2015, 03:39 PM
RE: From Deism to Atheism
(30-04-2015 07:46 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Except you forgot the fact that it’s other humans doing the verifying. This verification is dependent on our minds. In fact if we hire Ken Ham or Kent Hovind to verify the theory of evolution, their conclusion would be that it’s false.
They don't employ the scientific method to evaluate evolution.
Evolution is a falsifiable scientific theory, but there is no evidence that falsifies it.
They base their rejection of evolution off their religious beliefs. They believe god created humans fully formed, since evolution claims that humans evolved over time these guys can't hold both propositions to be true hence they reject evolution.
There is no scientific evidence to support the creationist claims.
If we stick to the scientific method then we can come to some solid understandings about the natural causes and consequences of our known universe. The method has proven to be reliable and consistent regardless of the observer.
(30-04-2015 07:46 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  It likely even applies to us, you perhaps imagine my mind impaired by religious organizations, and indoctrination, that prevent me from seeing things as you do, as I may believe that there are a variety of undisclosed things here that impair you from seeing what should be common sense.
I don't consider your mind to be impaired.
I expect the following regarding you. (please forgive my ignorance if I have you pegged out incorrectly)
You have chosen a non skeptical path with regards to the things your religious advisor tells you. You do not look for proof, you just believe what he says. You believe what is written in the bible (well, your interpretation of what is written).
You believe in miracles and magical beings (made of nothing), you believe in magical places (heaven), you believe in magical concepts (soul, moral truths). You believe virgin births are possible, you believe water can be magically turned into wine, you believe a man can walk n water or even part the ocean due to the power of god. You believe a person can rise from the dead and you believe you will continue to exist in an after life. All of this without any evidence.
None of this means that your mind is impaired. It just means you have chosen to believe in some incredible stories. Your epistemology is not based on evidence, it is based on belief and faith.
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03-05-2015, 06:48 AM
RE: From Deism to Atheism
(30-04-2015 01:46 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I had some discussions with some Catholics on a Catholic forum, they were challanging my atheist morals and I was listening. It made sense when they suggested my moral beliefs were merely my own opinions.

That’s interesting, that it was religious people challenging your moral assumption, that led you down this path.

What happened to those atheists morals? You likely held a variety of things that you held as immoral or moral, do you still hold pretty much the same things as wrong, but just not morally wrong? Perhaps ascribing non-moral reasons to justify them, or oppose them?

Quote:But I am wary of using force merely based on my opinions of what is right and wrong.
I don't see it as my place to forcibly control others merely because I don't like what they are doing.

Why does “forcible control” of others bother you in such instances? You took particular offense to the idea of a law that was established to end infanticide among Amazonian tribes, who buried children alive just for having physical impairments. You seemed to advocate for the tribe’d autonomy, and freedom to hold their own moral opinions, even if outsiders found them offensive.

Do you feel that communities in the US, should also be able to decide on their own moral opinions, at least to the extant of the Amazonian tribes, that if they wanted to engage in similar infanticide practices, we should grant them the freedom to do so, without punitive repercussions?


Quote:So in order to justify my own stance on law I had to come up with a reasoning that wasn't based on my own opinions of right and wrong. I have come to the conclusion that right and wrong are nonsensical phrases.

So you ditched the phrases, and came up with other reasons to justify those same things you once held as morally right and wrong? Was that reasoning already present previously when you viewed these things as moral and immoral? Or did you acquire those reasons after you rejected morality?

I’m just trying to see where and if your views changed substantially, or was it just a matter of using a different vocabulary.

Quote:I did my own thinking and pieced together my current stance, that morals are illusionary, unnecessary and often incite people towards violence in an attempt to force others to comply to their own morals.

Was it something you pretty much worked out on your own? Were there any particularly philosophical works that advocated your views, that assisted you here?

From my understanding, most secular philosophers that argue that morality is illusory, tend to avoid exploring this, don’t particularly account for the various aspects of our moral beliefs, and perceptions, such as guilt, guilty knowledge, our perceptions of obligations and duties. As far as I know there’s hardly any secular philosopher exploring the shaping of human moral beliefs, counting for our sense of moral facts, and objectivity.

The only people I know that even dare take on this endeavor, are theist, like Alasdair Macintyre’s After Virtue, that explore the certain incoherencies of our moral beliefs, particularly in relationship to enlightenment, post religious thought.

Secular philosophers who do consider this aspect to some degree, such as Jurgen Habermas, Simon Critchety, often hold beliefs that would be unpalatable for our current crop of unbelievers, because it gives too much credit to Judeo-Christianity.

“"Universalistic egalitarianism, from which sprang the ideals of freedom and a collective life in solidarity, the autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of continual critical appropriation and reinterpretation. To this day, there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a postnational constellation, we continue to draw on the substance of this heritage. Everything else is just idle postmodern talk." (Jürgen Habermas - "Time of Transitions", Polity Press, 2006, pp. 150-151, translation of an interview from 1999).”

I think your view, that morality is illusory, is not particularly a good explanation of morality, and involves all sorts of missing parts regarding human moral perceptions as of now. While I may think that the view that morality is “illusory” is only position tenable for atheists, it’s also a bit premature in it’s current form. There’s not particularly anyone who thought this explanation through, but perhaps one day there will be. If you do have any recommendations, for philosophers I may not be familiar with on this subject, I would be interested in hearing this.
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03-05-2015, 07:37 AM
RE: From Deism to Atheism
(30-04-2015 03:39 PM)Stevil Wrote:  They don't employ the scientific method to evaluate evolution.

So there's a methodology that people can use to free them of their biases, and delusions? Or would delusional people just believe their thought process adhered to scientific methodology?

Quote:You have chosen a non skeptical path with regards to the things your religious advisor tells you.

I don't think I have any real religious advisors, lol. Nor do I have a particular church, or pastor to credit for me being a believer. I only became a believer in my late 20s, and I don't think my thought process is any different than when I was an unbeliever. I rely a great deal on my common sense, and often evaluate the world, and human things, from the starting point of the human that I know the best, myself, and work upwards from there.

Quote:You do not look for proof, you just believe what he says. You believe what is written in the bible (well, your interpretation of what is written).
You believe in miracles and magical beings (made of nothing), you believe in magical places (heaven), you believe in magical concepts (soul, moral truths). You believe virgin births are possible, you believe water can be magically turned into wine, you believe a man can walk n water or even part the ocean due to the power of god. You believe a person can rise from the dead and you believe you will continue to exist in an after life.

Maybe, though I haven't always believed these things. When I first became a believer of some sort, it was more deistic, very minimal, like Thomas Jefferson's views, Unitarian beliefs. For me currently believing in miracles, is just a matter of believing an author can suspend the realism of his work if he wanted to, with just a flick of a pen. They are not impossibilities for me, as they are for you, for no other fact that I believe in God.

But I look at the bible in a variety of ways, not just one way, some more naturalistic, and some ways less so, and no matter how I look it at, the life blood of my beliefs remain the same. It's what I tell my friends, I don't particularly believe that a man lived inside of a whale, but if I did, it wouldn't change anything for me, beyond believing that a man lived inside a whale. It wouldn't cause me to reevaluate my life or commitments, or change my relationship with my religion.

Quote:All of this without any evidence.
None of this means that your mind is impaired. It just means you have chosen to believe in some incredible stories. Your epistemology is not based on evidence, it is based on belief and faith.

In my view everyone has evidence. They point to a variety of things, as the basis for the explanations and claims they hold, and to me it's just a matter of one explanation serving as a better account of these things than another. To me if there's no evidence of God, then it would mean the evidence used for this, is better suited for explanations declaring his non-existense, i.e God's are imaginary, delusions, that morality is illusory, etc...

I don't particularly get this whole lack of belief craze. If I were to ever become an atheists, it would have to be an atheism that asserts that God does not exist. The reasons for why I believe in God, would have to become reasons better explained by his absence. I don't merely lack a belief in Santa, I believe he doesn't exist, that he is imaginary, a harmless story told by parents to their kids, feeding into the enchantments of childhood.

It's evident to me that the way in which many atheists here would think through things, is quite different that how I would, but this has nothing to do with my theism. My thought process has been fairly consistent, and has served me well in a variety of other areas, even when I didn't believe in God. God didn't change the way I think, the question of God, just gave me more to consider.
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