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Monthly ArchiveOctober 2008



Christianity &Islam &Rationals &Science Johnson on 31 Oct 2008

Science vs. Faith

Science vs. Faith

Christianity &Islam Johnson on 31 Oct 2008

Is the Quran any better than the Bible?

It is easy to look through the Bible and find hundreds of errors, atrocities, problems and contradictions. What about the Quran? Not surprisingly, it suffers from exactly the same problems:

Erroneous Science and Contradictions in the Quran

It is a long and detailed article containing dozens of examples, and it concludes with this thought:

Finally, I maintain my assertion that Qur’an possesses many contradictions/scientific flaws, ethical, historical and logical blunders and of course ample inconsistencies and redundancies. Yet, wishful apologists will never see what we can see, because of this great saying mentioned below:

“The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes.

In other words, the quran , like the Bible, is repulsive:

Christianity &Science Johnson on 30 Oct 2008

How the anti-science mindset of Christianity hurts us all, according to 76 Nobel Prize winning scientists

76 Nobel Prize-winning scientists have gathered together to write An open letter to the American people. The short letter’s purpose is to endorse Barack Obama for president, but it is more important because of what it says about science.

Why are science and technology important to Americans? Because science and technology can help us solve “many of our greatest problems: energy, disease, climate change, security and economic competitiveness.”

Why is the anti-scientific stance of Christianity bad for America? The letter puts it this way:

During the administration of George W. Bush, vital parts of our country’s scientific enterprise have been damaged by stagnant and declining federal support. The government’s scientific advisory process has been distorted by political considerations. As a result, our once dominant position in the scientific world has been shaken and our prosperity has been placed at risk. We have lost time critical for the development of new ways to provide energy, treat disease, reverse climate change, strengthen our security, and improve our economy.

Think about that. Because the followers of fundamentalist Christianity are willfully ignorant of science and actively fight against science and technology, the rest of us have lost America’s key strength: “our once dominant position in the scientific world has been shaken and our prosperity has been placed at risk. We have lost time critical for the development of new ways to provide energy, treat disease, reverse climate change, strengthen our security, and improve our economy.”

Ignoring all the other problems with Christianity, the anti-scientific teachings of this religion are reason enough to work toward ending the delusion of Christianity. Millions of children born to Christian parents are being trained to be stupid, and ingrained with a mindset of ignorance and superstition rather than rational thinking. This mindset is hurting us all by dismantling the key driver of American economic strength.

If you are a Christian who is finally beginning to understand the overt dangers of Christianity to our nation and the world, please consider reading the book that you find here:

- Whywontgodhealamputees.com

It will help you to understand the principles of rational thinking.

Christianity Johnson on 29 Oct 2008

The origins of ghosts

Many people believe in ghosts and “haunted houses”. Yet, like God, ghosts are completely imaginary. So where do the persistent stories come from?

Ghost Lusters: If You Want to See a Specter Badly Enough, Will You?

An explanation for visits by the “Holy Spirit”:

Most scientists dismiss the vast majority of ghost sightings as hoaxes. But researchers in Canada, England and elsewhere are exploring what happens in the brain to create the illusion that something is “haunted.” So far, they have found evidence that some apparitions may be brain benders caused by spiking EMFs (electromagnetic fields), and possibly even extremely low-–frequency sound waves (known as infrasound) so subtle that the ear does not register them as noise.

EMFs emitted by power lines and towers, clock radios and other electrical sources may help debunk myths that people or things are haunted, says Michael Persinger, a neuroscientist at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, who has conducted research on the topic. One such study, published in 2001 in Perceptual And Motor Skills chronicles the experiences of a teenager who in 1996 claimed to be receiving nocturnal visits—one sexual—from the Holy Spirit. The 17-year-old girl, who had sustained mild brain damage at birth, said she also felt the presence of an invisible baby perched on her left shoulder.

When Persinger and his colleagues investigated (at the behest of the girl’s mother), they found an electric clock next to the bed that was about 10 inches (25.4 centimeters) from where she placed her head when she slept. Tests showed that the clock generated electromagnetic pulses with waveforms similar to those found to trigger epileptic seizures in rats and humans. When the clock was removed, the visions stopped. Persinger determined that the clock, in combination with the girl’s brain injury, were highly likely to have been contributing factors to the perceived nocturnal visits.

Many people believe in God because they claim to have “experienced” God in the real world. In every single case, these “experiences” have a non-supernatural explanation, because God is imaginary.

Christianity Johnson on 29 Oct 2008

“The main source of hatred in the world is religion”

This video featuring Christopher Hitchens opens with this thought: “I am absolutely convinced that the main source of hatred in the world is religion and organized religion. I am glad that you applaud, because it is a very great problem for those who oppose this notion, isn’t it? How are they going to ban religion? How are they going to stop the expression of religious loathing, hatred and bigotry?”

Christianity Johnson on 28 Oct 2008

How Christianity encourages stupidity, and in the process hurts us all

From the beginning, Christianity encourages its believers to be anti-scientific:

- Christianity encourages a belief in the superstition of prayer.

- Christianity encourages belief in an imaginary god for whom there is zero evidence.

- Christianity encourages people to believe in a book that is patently absurd to any unbiased observer.

In the process, Christianity discourages rational and scientific thinking. To the point where Christians have a palpable disdain for science and a complete ignorance of its principles.

The perfect example of this ignorance could be seen in Sarah Palin’s anti-scientific and misinformed rant last week about fruit fly research. Dozens of people have taken her to task for the utter stupidity of her position, as demonstrated by these four examples:

- Sarah Palin’s War on Science

- Fruit Fly Research in France?! I Kid You Not!

- Sarah Palin’s latest swat at science

- Losing the sense of the argument

We also see willful Christian stupidity in their position on evolution. It has become such a problem that it now demands special training for teachers:

Emory workshop teaches teachers how to teach evolution

The article puts it this way:

Some students burst into tears when a high school biology told them they’d be studying evolution. Another teacher said some students repeatedly screamed “no” when he began talking about it.

Other teachers said students demanded to know whether they pray and questioned why the had to learn about evolution if it was just a theory.

About 60 public high school teachers from the Atlanta area were at Emory University last week, swapping stories about the challenges they face when teaching evolution.

This kind of willful stupidity is strictly a Christian phenomenon, and it is a learned behavior. Christianity teaches its followers to be stupid. And we all suffer. Christianity’s disdain for science cuts back on scientific funding and blocks scientific research (e.g. stem cell research). In the case of Sarah Palin, we find a willfully stupid politician who may one day have a direct effect on national science policy. That is dangerous.

The question is, are Sarah Palin and her friends acting so stupidly that she is starting to wake people up to the dangers of Christianity? Are people paying more attention now to the inability of Christians to think clearly? If so, it can only help the cause of rational thinking.

Imagine belonging to a religion that is being publicly ridiculed for fostering stupidity in its members. That would be a win for rationality.

Christianity Johnson on 27 Oct 2008

More Christian hypocrisy

If a government or a corporation were to waste money like this on a birthday party, it would be seen as profligate waste. But when the Catholic church does it in Jesus’ name, it is business as usual. Despite the fact that it is the opposite of what the Bible teaches.

100,000-euro birthday bash for pope’s brother

Christianity Johnson on 26 Oct 2008

How Christians use extortion to spread their bigotry

An amazing article:

Calif. gay marriage ban backers target businesses

In case you do not live in California: On the November ballot in California there is an initiative called Proposition 8. The purpose of Prop 8 is to eliminate the right of two people to enter into a same-sex marriage, which is currently legal in California. The Proposition reads:

PROPOSITION 8

This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the provisions of Article II, Section 8, of the California Constitution.

This initiative measure expressly amends the California Constitution by adding a section thereto; therefore, new provisions proposed to be added are printed in italic type to indicate that they are new.

SECTION 1. Title
This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “California Marriage Protection Act.”

SECTION 2. Section 7.5 is added to Article I of the California Constitution, to read:
SEC. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

The organization that created the proposition and is collecting money to promote it is called ProtectMarriage.com. This organization is basically a front for Christian/Mormon fundamentalist groups.

The organization opposing the proposition is Equality California (see also NoOnProp8.com).

Many people and large organizations have made donations to NoOnProp8.com, as described in this article:

Opponents of gay marriage ban ride wave of donations

Flush with nearly $11 million raised through 17,000 donations during the first 21/2 weeks of October, Equality California (noonprop8.com) has pulled even and possibly surpassed the lead committee supporting Proposition 8, ProtectMarriage.com. And that doesn’t include more than $3 million in big donations this week from the likes of Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and filmmaker George Lucas.

Friday, the No on 8 campaign also picked up the support of Apple Corp., which said it would make a $100,000 donation. The two sides in the tight, emotional race are on a pace to collectively spend well over $60 million by Election Day.

So how does protectmarriage.com respond to this development? By “loving your enemy?” Of course not. Protectmarriage.com turns to extortion. According to the article:

ProtectMarriage.com, the umbrella group behind a ballot initiative that would overturn the California Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage, sent a certified letter this week asking companies to withdraw their support of Equality California, a nonprofit organization that is helping lead the campaign against Proposition 8.

“Make a donation of a like amount to ProtectMarriage.com which will help us correct this error,” reads the letter. “Were you to elect not to donate comparably, it would be a clear indication that you are in opposition to traditional marriage. … The names of any companies and organizations that choose not to donate in like manner to ProtectMarriage.com but have given to Equality California will be published.”

The letter was signed by four members of the group’s executive committee: campaign chairman Ron Prentice; Edward Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference; Mark Jansson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and Andrew Pugno, the lawyer for ProtectMarriage.com.

This form of extortion is ridiculous. And the notion expressed in the letter is so absurd that only the bigotry inherent in Christianity could conceive of it. The fact that one donates to NoOnProp8.com does not mean that he or she opposes traditional marriage. It means that he or she opposes the bigotry inherent in Christianity.

It also makes you wonder how often Christians use this form of extortion. For example, “If you do not donate money to this church, we will publicize that your business is anti-Christian.” In a heavily Christian community, you would have no recourse to this kind of shakedown. It probably happens thousands of times every day.

If you are a Christian who is beginning to recognize the bigotry inherent in Christianity and who finds yourself repulsed by it, you may wish to consider rationality instead. This web site can help:

- Whywontgodhealamputees.com

Christianity &Islam Johnson on 24 Oct 2008

Why religion is evil

A fascinating article on the treatment of Christians in Muslim countries:

How Christians Are Treated In Muslim Lands

Excerpt:

Saudi Arabia – Conversion by a Muslim to another religion is punishable by death. Bibles are illegal. Churches are illegal. Easter celebrations are illegal. It is punishable by death for a non-mulsim to enter the “holy” muslim cities of Medina and Mecca.

In a modern, twenty-first century world that sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Yet it is easy to find corroboration. For example, this article opens with:

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocratic monarchy in which Islam is the official religion; the law requires that all Saudi citizens be Muslims. Religious freedom is virtually non-existent. The Government does not provide legal recognition or protection for freedom of religion, and it is severely restricted in practice. As a matter of policy, the Government guarantees and protects the right to private worship for all, including non-Muslims who gather in homes for religious practice; however, this right is not always respected in practice and is not defined in law. Moreover, the public practice of non-Muslim religions is prohibited.

Also:

Under Saudi law conversion by a Muslim to another religion is considered apostasy, a crime punishable by death if the accused does not recant.

This article says:

Islamic Saudi Arabia and communist North Korea are expected to be the world’s worst persecutors of Christians in 2008, a church persecution advocacy group predicted.

In both countries, Christianity is illegal and practice of the religion is strictly forbidden and results in severe punishments.

The CIA Factbook notes that Saudi Arabia is 100% Muslim.

What about the United States? The U.S. clearly does not officially track down and kill people because of their religion on American soil. But does the United States discriminate against Muslims in other ways? Keep in mind that the U.S. is a country that calls itself “the melting pot”, whose national motto is, “From many, one”, whose discrimination laws claim that religious discrimination is entirely illegal, and which publicly proclaims itself to be a completely neutral and accommodating to every religion. There should be zero discrimination here. Are Muslims treated in the same way as Christians?

Clearly not. In endorsing Barack Obama, Colin Powell felt it necessary to make this statement:

“I’m also troubled by, not what Sen. McCain says, but what members of the party say, and it is permitted to be said such things as: “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is: he is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is: What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is: No, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she can be president?”

Discrimination against Muslims is not some fringe activity. It is happening at the very highest levels of American presidential politics.

Does the United States discriminate against rational people who practice no religion? Certainly, in a hundred different ways, and at the highest levels. This article summarizes the efforts of Elizabeth Dole to publicly discriminate:

Elizabeth Dole: Equality for Atheists Not a North Carolina Value

Anywhere there is religion we find division and discrimination. In Saudi Arabia the division is extreme. But even in the United States, where the public attempt is made to tamp down the division inherent in religion, the Christian majority tries to divide people at every turn. Putting “In God We Trust” on the money makes the division as explicit as it can possibly be. That is the nature of religion.

Christianity Johnson on 23 Oct 2008

The Christian desire to kill

Here is a blog posting from a Christian mom of four living in Farmington, NM:

Perilous Times: Sodomites in School

The post opens with this paragraph:

When I was in the process of moving and did not have internet access, I often visited a local library to check my e-mail and look at real estate listings. This particular library was in a small town and seemed to be a popular after school hangout for teenagers. One day as I was surfing the net, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation that was going on across the table from me. An openly gay teenage boy who was surrounded by female “friends” was talking about how he had recently had a relationship with a girl. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the girl’s parents. Not only was their daughter sexually active, but she had engaged in some very high risk behavior by sleeping with a gay male.

She also points out that, “The term bisexual is an unnecessary distinction, because a faggot wants to defile anyone or anything he can get his hands on.”

And then she flatly states her desire to murder everyone who participates in same-sex relationships:

A friend recently sent me this article about a “gay-friendly” high school. If we were living in a biblical society, homosexuality would be punishable by death so such a school would be unnecessary. Although I’m against the special accommodations, perhaps this new trend of segregation will protect straight kids from these predators. With any luck, some radical will blow up the gay school. No, I’m not condoning vigilantism–I’m merely saying that it would be poetic justice.

Her reference to a “biblical society” comes from Leviticus 20:13:

If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Lest you think that this is an isolated incident, Jimmy Swaggart expresses similar sentiments:

Homophobia is a strongly held belief amongst millions of Christians. How strong? Strong enough that it has been written into the 2008 Republican platform. The platform demands a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Unable to murder in cold blood as the Bible demands without being arrested, Christians move to deny civil rights.

If you were to ask a Christian where this homophobia comes from, they would state that it is the word of God in the Bible.

If that is the case, then why don’t Christians work on God’s other death sentences? For example, in the Exodus 31:14 we find this:

Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people.

Why don’t we see a plank in the platform demanding a constitutional amendment about working on the Sabbath?

What about Leviticus 20:10:

If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

Jesus covers this topic as well in Matthew 5:31:

And it was said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of dismissal’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Combining Leviticus 20:10 with Matthew 5:31, the tens of millions of Americans who are divorced should be murdered. Why isn’t there a proposed amendment to cover adulterers and divorcees?

This perverse desire to kill others and to deny them their rights is a hallmark of religion. As is the complete inconsistency. If Christians are hell-bent to kill one group of people because “the Bible says so”, they should be just as hell-bent to kill everyone that the Bible discusses.

Any rational person looks at all the death sentences and bigotry in the Bible and sees the obvious. The Bible is insane and should be discarded. It might be studied as a relic and an object of historical interest, but it otherwise has absolutely no place in civil society. The people who follow the Bible are completely deluded. They should be offered treatment like any other deluded person.

Christianity Johnson on 22 Oct 2008

The religious voter

Offered without commentary for your consideration:

Christianity Johnson on 21 Oct 2008

Election 2008

As a rational person participating in the 2008 election, one thing you should ask yourself is this: “Will rational people fare better under an Obama/Biden administration, or a McCain/Palin administration?” The choice seems obvious. But if you are unsure, this video may help sway you:

WhyWontGodHealAmputees.com endorses Barack Obama for president.

Christianity Johnson on 20 Oct 2008

Treating rational people as toxic waste

According to its YouTube page, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is “the official political committee established by Republican Members of the United States Senate to help Republican candidates develop the campaign resources they need for 2008 so we can capture the majority in the United States Senate.”

This is a video they published on October 18, 2008:

This is the video’s description:

Liberal Kay Hagan flew to Boston to pocket campaign cash from leaders of the Godless Americans PAC. What is Godless Americans PAC? Godless Americans Political Action Committee is a left-wing organization based in Washington, DC — dedicated to ‘Mobilizing America’s nonbelievers for political activism.’

Kay Hagan’s friends actively support political candidates who who support their liberal agenda to remove ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance, remove any reference to God in the public arena and eliminating the Christmas Holiday.

The good news is that this kind of ad raises awareness of things like The Godless Americans PAC. This is excellent. The more publicity rationality gets, the better.

The bad news is that it brings to the forefront an ugly fact of American life: anyone who professes to be a rational human being is treated like toxic waste. For example, the video contains this sentence:

Kay Hagan attended a Massachusetts fundraiser hosted by a leader of GODLESS AMERICANS PAC.”

The implication being that anyone associating with such a person should be exterminated.

The goal will be to change that impression.

Christianity Johnson on 20 Oct 2008

Compare the endorsements for Obama and McCain – there is no comparison

Today’s endorsement of Barack Obama by Colin Powell is just one in a very long string of prestigious and resounding endorsements. If you would like to compare endorsements, look at these two pages:

- List of Barack Obama presidential campaign endorsements, 2008

- List of John McCain presidential campaign endorsements

There is no comparison.

In endorsing Obama, Powell made this statement:

“I’m also troubled by, not what Sen. McCain says, but what members of the party say, and it is permitted to be said such things as: “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is: he is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is: What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is: No, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she can be president?”

“Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?” Yes. The problem is that Christians see all non-Christians (including Muslims, and most especially rationals) as evil people who should be exterminated. The Republican party has made this position explicit in 2008.

PS – The Republican party has also made racism explicit in 2008:

Powell endorsement incites right-wing rage

Christianity &Rationals Johnson on 17 Oct 2008

The curse of blessings, or, how Christians can learn to think rationally

If you are a Christian, the goal here is to help you to see the world through rational eyes for just a moment.

For this exercise we will use an example that comes from the newspaper column called “God Squad”. Keep in mind that this is a religious column that is carried in hundreds of newspapers around the world:

Can’t quite embrace faith? Start with gratitude

A reader writes to the God Squad with the following question:

I’m having a hard time keeping my faith. I was raised a Christian, yet we didn’t attend church regularly. I consider myself blessed, yet I’m having trouble accepting that God had anything to do with it.

I can seemingly explain my good fortune by a combination of science and hard work. I very much want to believe and have God be a daily part of my life, but my heart doesn’t feel the same way. Can you help?

Almost Godless in Florida

Here is how the God Squad begins the answer to this question:

Let’s begin with what you doubt. You doubt that God has had anything to do with your success; that it all can be explained by science and hard work. Fine. You’re responsible for giving yourself the intelligence you possess. You’re responsible for keeping you free of fatal diseases, fatal injuries and debilitating accidents. You’re responsible for being born into a family that could love you and help you on your path to success. You make the sun rise and the rain fall so you have food to eat. You are responsible for all the goodness and bounty that’s sustained you and enabled you to prosper.

And you haven’t been able to give thanks to God for any of the blessings you did not create but from which you’ve prospered.

The problem you have seems mislabeled. You’re not suffering from a loss of faith but a loss of gratitude. Somehow, you have to open your eyes to all the factors in your life that you did not create. Whether you decide to call these factors blessings, and whether you attribute them to God or not is not important in the early steps of your journey.

This is a classic Christian theme: Give thanks to God for all blessings. To put it another way, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” Specifically the God Squad lists these items as blessings from God:

- intelligence
- freedom from fatal diseases
- freedom from fatal injuries
- freedom from debilitating accidents
- birth into a family that could love you and help you on your path to success
- sun rises
- rainfall
- food to eat
- all the goodness and bounty that’s sustained you and enabled you to prosper

Here is the God Squad’s proposition: everything good in your life is a blessing caused by God. You should give thanks to God for all of the blessings that he has bestowed upon you. The God Squad states this directly a bit later in the piece: “God is the object of our thankfulness for all our blessings.”

Here is where rationality comes in. According to the God Squad, God is the cause of all blessings. There is no reason to thank God if he is not the cause. Therefore, all the people who live in an unblessed state – the thirty thousand children who will die of starvation today, for example, or the thousands who will die of cancer, or the billions who live in stark, abject poverty – must of necessity be in those situations because God has cursed them. If you happen to live in Ethiopia and starve to death today, it has to be because God has failed to bless you.

In other words, God curses everyone who is suffering on earth. The suffering must come from God’s withholding of his blessings of health, food, rain, etc. Meanwhile, over in the United States, God blessed Bill Gates with another billion dollars today, and Bill should be grateful to God for that since God made it happen.

When you think about it rationally, you cannot escape this obvious problem. If we are supposed to thank God because he is the cause of all blessings, then it means that the lack of blessings (starvation, cancer, poverty, etc.) is caused by God as well. And this means that God is the most twisted, capricious, biased, despicable creature in the universe. 30,000 innocent children will starve to death today specifically because God withheld blessings from them.

Rational thinking forces reality upon you. God cannot get credit for all blessings unless we also blame him for lack of said blessings. The God squad gives this specific example: “You make the sun rise and the rain fall so you have food to eat.” If God gets the credit for making the sun rise and the rain fall, then that automatically means that God gets the blame for the opposite. Everywhere the rain is not falling, the starvation and death caused by drought is specifically caused by God. And that makes God a murderous, satanic demon of the highest order.

The God Squad states this problem explicitly:

How can you do that? I suggest you start by serving a meal to a homeless person, preferably a child. Look at that kid and think about the life lottery that put you on the serving side and that child on the receiving side of the soup kitchen line.

Perhaps that will be the moment when you fall to your knees and say, ”There but for the grace of God go I.” Science and hard work don’t explain why that child is hungry and you are full.

If it is the Grace of God that causes one to have plenty, then it is the curse of God that causes the other to be homeless. And having an invisible being in the sky that capriciously blesses some while cursing others is the plot of a horror movie, not something to worship.

If you are a Christian, chances are that you will now use your delusion to come up with some explanation for why God blesses some and curses others. Or you will try to recharacterize the curse that God must obviously be causing if he were to exist. Or you will simply not think about it to avoid reality. Unfortunately, that does not change reality. If God gets credit for blessings, then he also gets the blame for all the death, disease and torture caused by lack of blessings.

To any person who does does take the time to think about it rationally, reality becomes obvious in just a few minutes. God is imaginary. There is no being in the sky causing blessings, nor curses.

If you are a Christian and you would like to begin thinking rationally rather than delusionally, this web site can help:

Whywontgodhealamputees.com

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