Debate postmortem IV: You know you’re a wacko when Pat Robertson is your voice of reason

Lord almighty! When Pat Robertson reproves you for attacking evolution, you know you’re on the Christian fringes. As the Raw Story reports, and the video shows below, last week Southern Baptist t.v. star Pat Robertson went after Ken Ham for his crazy views on evolution and the age of the Earth:

“Let’s face it,” Robertson said, “there was a Bishop [Ussher] who added up the dates listed in Genesis and he came up with the world had been around for 6,000 years.”

“There ain’t no way that’s possible,” he continued. “To say that it all came about in 6,000 years is just nonsense and I think it’s time we come off of that stuff and say this isn’t possible.”

“Let’s be real, let’s not make a joke of ourselves.” [JAC: too late!]

“We’ve got to be realistic,” he concluded, and admit “that the dating of Bishop Ussher just doesn’t comport with anything that is found in science and you can’t just totally deny the geological formations that are out there.”

Note that Robertson admits the reality of evolution, though he believes in a form of progressive theistic evolution directed by God. That’s a pretty strong statement for a Southern Baptist.

h/t: Miss May

~

79 Comments

  1. Diana MacPherson
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Pat Robertson believes in evolution but he doesn’t understand how women could have brains equal to male brains.

    • gbjames
      Posted February 8, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      That’s because women are often witches who collaborate with gay people to generate hurricanes and earthquakes.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted February 8, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        ….and feminists. You forgot the feminists!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 9, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      Does he have some reasoning to explain why women would lower themselves to being the equals of men?

    • kennyrb
      Posted February 9, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Does Pat explain how the demons that attach themselves to Goodwill clothing evolved? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDifatTTOqU

  2. marksolock
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

  3. Posted February 8, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Also on the Ham on Nye topic, I was surprised when I read MSNBC’s account of the debate:

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/bill-nye-creation-museum

    Adam Serwer, the reporter, took no prisoners in dismissing the truth claims of Ham and Creationism. And this isn’t an editorial; it’s presented as a straight-up reporting piece. It’s as if he covered a press conference in which a politician said that he voted for a bill and the reporter shows the roll call with the politician on record as voting against.

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted February 8, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      It’s funny, if anything this debate seems to have exposed creationism to a larger community and it’s happily being held to ridicule. We are all so used to these ridiculous arguments but it’s fun to watch others come to terms with them for the first time. Almost as good as watching how people react to goatse!

      • Posted February 8, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        You’re implying that there’s a significant difference between Creationism and Goatse….

        b&

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 8, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

          No, I’m implying they’re the same and both shocking.

          • dongiovanni
            Posted February 8, 2014 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

            I’m pretty sure goatse is much less painful to all involved.

    • gluonspring
      Posted February 8, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      From the article:

      “For Ham, evolution is merely another religious doctrine, part of “the religion of atheism,” as he refers to it in his talks.”

      This is always one of the oddest things the religious say to atheists. If I said, “the science of creationism” to refer to creationists I could hardly mean it in any way other than a complement. But Ham and others obviously intend “religion of atheism” to be an insult. How is that not scoring an own goal, or at least giving up a goal in order to get a minor hit on the opponent?

      • Posted February 8, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        Tu Quoque has always been one of the favorite fallacies of the immature, especially the religiously immature.

        b&

      • Steve Gerrard
        Posted February 8, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        LOL. They couldn’t really say “the science of atheism,” because that would give it too much credit. So they are stuck with the own goal. Science is perceived as a better standard than religion. The ID crowd want to be known as a science, not as a religion, for that reason. Therefore, we may conclude that science is winning. It’s just taking a while to sink in.

      • Posted February 8, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        Being obliviously inconsistent is right in many theists’s (that can’t be right, can it Diane G.?) wheelhouse.

        That writ, I’m not sure they mean it as an insult per se. I think the subtext is “you atheists claim to be against religion, but to me, what you’re doing looks like it’s based on a religious impulse. (This is where they’d mistakenly accuse atheists of relying on faith). You’re actually all frustrated theists. You just won’t admit it. You’re just doing religion rong; we’re doing it right. And btw, that universal impulse kinda proves religion is legit.”

        • Sastra
          Posted February 9, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

          Right. If you view reality through a religious mindset then when it comes to the discovery of Truth the focus is on the individual rather than the evidence and methods. Someone who is “open” concludes correctly. Someone who is incorrect has closed their heart. Who you are and what you believe reflect your faith commitment.

          Everything is religion. Everything is faith. Everything is a reflection of a relationship to God.

          It sounds like an own goal when theists sneer that bad things are “like religion.” But if religion is all there is, then you’re right. What they’re really saying is that bad things are like wrong religion. And if God is Truth then there is nothing wronger than Wrong God.

          But hey — what if, rather than trying to be ‘religious,’ we try to be secular, objective, reasonable, and fair?

          The spiritually inclined differ on how far we can do this. But they all agree that it can’t be done with religion itself. That would lead to atheism.

          So atheism must be another religion, a position of faith. Even the liberals and moderates must be committed to this or it starts to unravel.

      • Posted February 8, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        It’s the same issue with Geisler and Turek’s book title, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. Apparently faith is like porridge, it has to be just right. How one can discover what that “just right” amount is—of pretending to know what you don’t know—has presumably been directly revealed to the authors.

      • Posted February 9, 2014 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        I always wondered about that too. Calling something a religion to bring it down, and claiming your stuff is scientific to give it more validity.

        Of course calling whatever you want a religion makes the word meaningless. Ok, whatever, science and atheism are religions. You have evidence for your claims yet?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 9, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      Also on the Ham on Nye

      … I just realised what was niggling me about that : it sounds awfully like “Hay on Wye”, a town near the England-Wales border famous for having a silly number of second-hand bookshops on it’s main street, an associated book festival, and IIRC some extremely good hand-made sausages.
      (Just trying to raise the level of conversation to the purely gastronomic. Calamari chips and beans for lunch does that sort of thing to me.)

      • Sastra
        Posted February 9, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        “A silly number of second-hand bookshops on its main street?” You mean a ‘sacred’ number.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:09 am | Permalink

          🙂

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted February 10, 2014 at 12:38 am | Permalink

          The two are not inherently incompatible.

      • Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        Might be an American turn of phrase, but “Ham on Nye” is a pun on “Ham on Rye,” referring to a sandwich (as in “Earl of”) with sliced ham between pieces of rye bread. It was also immortalized in the movie, Airplane!

        Cheers,

        b&

        • Posted February 9, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

          But that’s not important now.

          /@

          • Posted February 9, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

            What is important is whether or not you’ve been to a Turkish bathhouse….

            b&

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted February 10, 2014 at 12:53 am | Permalink

          Oh, I’d got the “Ham on Rye” reference (if not the Airplane one – it probably went past as “American behaviour” rather than anything particularly funny). It was the other reading that was niggling at me.

      • Filippo
        Posted February 9, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        ” . . . famous for having a silly number of second-hand bookshops on it’s main street . . . .”

        Just congenially curious – what makes the bookshops “silly”? I’ve listened to a Hay-on-Wye Festival Hitch soiree. I assume Hitch was as allergic to silliness as he was to boredom.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted February 10, 2014 at 12:57 am | Permalink

          Dozen of second-hand bookshops in one fairly small town. For actual second-hand bookshops (as opposed to charity shops with a pile of second-hand books) you need something in the order of 80 to 100,000 people to provide sufficient turnover. Hay is a wild outlier to this general guideline. There’s something silly going on, from a statistical point of view.

  4. Posted February 8, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    “We’ve got to be realistic.”

    OMG.

    • Posted February 8, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      I know. Pat, Pat, Pat. That ship sailed looong ago.

    • Lurker111
      Posted February 9, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      Yeah, Pat Robertson dissing someone for being, well, nuts, is like the inmates at the asylum voting someone off as “The Weakest Link.”

  5. Posted February 8, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Southern Baptists, in the main, have greatly backslidden from their much more sensible (tho’ still mistaken) views of 50-60 years ago, when theistic evolution was their standard view and creationism was rarely taken seriously. –

    • Filippo
      Posted February 8, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      Well, I guess the particular specie of Southern Baptists imposed on me as a child in the early 60’s had already backslidden when I reached “the age of accountability” and felt pressed upon to make a public profession of faith at a church camp.

    • Dave Ricks
      Posted February 9, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Frank, I support your point. From the Wikipedia page about the history of creationism:

      The American shock and panic about the 1957 Sputnik launch lead to passage of the National Defense Education Act in 1958 to reform American science curricula. This resulted in the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, also begun in 1958 and with the goal of writing new up-to-date biology textbooks. These new biology textbooks included a discussion of the theory of evolution. Within a few years, half of American schools were using the new BSCS biology textbooks. In addition, the hundredth anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species was in 1959, and this sparked renewed public interest in evolutionary biology. The creationist fervor of the past seemed like ancient history. A historian at Oklahoma’s Northeastern State University, R. Halliburton, even made a prediction in 1964 that “a renaissance of the [creationist] movement is most unlikely.”

      Emphasis mine, to support your point that 1964 was 50 years ago, versus a recent NBC News survey on Alan Boyle’s blog that asked, “How much historical truth does the Bible contain?” and the choice “Every word is literally true” got 41% of the vote. So you’re correct, the past 50-60 years have seen an epic rise of Biblical literalism versus a epic failure of science education.

      I’m all for WEIT fighting the good fight; that’s why I’m here. And I’m fine with satire and snark, so I’m not tone tolling. I’m saying when the WEIT community taunts religion, it comes across to me like John Cleese as Monty Python’s Black Knight taunting his opponents who chopped off his arms and legs.

  6. Posted February 8, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    He’s ordained as a Southern Baptist. But little, if any, of his theology over the last forty years has anything in common wIth Southern Baptist doctrine. He’s been a Pentecostal for decades. Not that this fact really has any bearing on this remarkable smackdown of young earth creationists like Ken Ham. Very, very fun to watch this.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 9, 2014 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Very, very fun to watch this.

      Not knowing the participants except as comic words, am I right in having images of cock-fighting, or a bare-knuckle fight?

  7. francis
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    //

  8. Wild Juggler
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    This is scary. I just finished one of my home-brews, and now I find myself agreeing with Pat Robertson, who comes of as a man of reason. This can’t be right.

    I’ll have to reexamine my home-brewing process to make sure no hallucinogens are being produced.

    • steve oberski
      Posted February 8, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Why on earth would you want to do that (I’m referring to the hallucinogens by the way) ?

      Speaking of hallucinogenic beer, I find that Hoegaarden has that effect on me.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 9, 2014 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      This is scary. I just finished one of my home-brews, and now I find myself agreeing with Pat Robertson, who comes of as a man of reason. This can’t be right.

      It sounds to me like you’ve hit the button with this brew! Did you keep good notes? Do you have an aliquot of the yeast strain? Is the effect reproducible.
      My local brewery (well, when I’m in Aberdeen) would be very interested in brew like this, to produce alongside the infamous Tactical Nuclear Penguin.
      (My best, and I do not claim to be a zymurgist, was “Shotgun” : you put it in your mouth and it blew your brains out. Nice and simple. Well, simple. Effective. But not particularly nice.)

  9. Scientifik
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    He’s inconsistent in his acceptance of scientific facts. He readily admits it’s not possible that the Earth is 6000 years old because it runs counter to our scientific knowledge, yet he somehow still believes that, for instance, the virgin birth did happen?

    http://www.popsci.com/article/science/fyi-could-virgin-birth-ever-happen?dom=PSC&loc=recent&lnk=7&con=fyi-could-a-virgin-birth-ever-happen

    • Posted February 8, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      There is, as he notes, a great amount of scientific evidence against the proposition that the Earth is 6,000 years old. There is not, and cannot be, scientific evidence of the same sort against the proposition that Jesus was born of a virgin, by the direct intervention of God. Science tells us what happens in the absence of divine intervention.

      • Scientifik
        Posted February 8, 2014 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        There’s also a great amount of evidence against the proposition that Jesus was born of a virgin. Science tells us the proposition is as ridiculous as the ark story.

      • Tulse
        Posted February 8, 2014 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

        There is no evidence against the proposition that God created the world 6,000 years ago and made it look consistent with a universe much older. That’s just as scientifically reasonable a miracle as virgin conception.

        Once you accept the possibility of any divine intervention, all bets are off.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 9, 2014 at 12:36 am | Permalink

          I’d have to disagree there.

          Fixing it so a 6000-year-old universe looks billions of years old – would require tweaking literally millions of phenomena.

          Arranging to fertilise a virgin – one little supernatural act.

          Those two things are not the same.

          Question – could modern medical procedures accomplish a ‘virgin birth’? Seems to me they probably could.

          • Scientifik
            Posted February 9, 2014 at 2:13 am | Permalink

            It’s like one of those arguments where kids bicker about what would be more difficult to accomplish for Superman or Hulk. Only that here we are talking about the ultimate super hero, Yahweh. The fact remains that no matter if we are talking about the 8 folks building the ark, the virgin birth, or the cloning of food by Jesus – none of these propositions is supported by scientific evidence.

            • Juggler_Dave
              Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

              Now you’ve done it – you’ve made baby Jesus cry. There, there.

          • Posted February 9, 2014 at 2:17 am | Permalink

            Fertilising a virgin hardly needs a supernatural act… 

            Mary’s remaining a virgin on the other hand… well, it might depend on the translation (see /was/ still a “young woman”) or some fixing if the facts (“I swear Joseph didn’t get me drunk in the back of his workshop on evening. Thats the /plane/ truth!”)

            /@

            • Scientifik
              Posted February 9, 2014 at 2:49 am | Permalink

              How would Iron Age peasants accomplish this then?

            • Scientifik
              Posted February 9, 2014 at 3:45 am | Permalink

              Sorry, I get the joke.
              Need to wake up fully 😉

          • H.H.
            Posted February 9, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

            Those two things are not the same.

            They only differ by degree. Both are acts of magic. Both would leave no direct evidence of their occurrence. Why is it okay to believe in one but not the other? That’s not consistent.

      • Sastra
        Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        David Evans wrote:

        Science tells us what happens in the absence of divine intervention.

        It just occurred to me that this statement could be considered the accomodationist motto, an expression of the driving spirit behind theistic evolution. It’s also an assumption behind almost every form of pseudoscience and woo I can think of. The phrase (and the sentiment behind it) can be interpreted as narrowly or broadly as anyone pleases. That’s what makes it dangerously deceptive as a “pro-science” assertion.

        Accomodationism: Science tells us what happens in the absence of divine intervention.

        Thank you.

      • Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        But science also demonstrates that the phenomena it explains do not require divine intervention.

  10. Jim Thomerson
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I think everbody gotta be right sometime, even Pat Robertson.

    I don’t know where Southern Baptists are today, as I have not been around them for a long time. Although I was raised Southern Baptist, my first real encounter with creationism was reading the seralized versonion of Criswell’s “Did Man Just Happen” in the Baptist Standard. This was around 1956-57 when I was a senior geology major. I wrote a letter to the Baptist Standard pointing out 32 instances of error in Criswell’s writings. My letter (my first publication, but not listed on my vita) was edited in such a was as to make me sound like praising Criswell. At that point I began to understand the dishonesty of creationists.

    Criswell was Pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX. At the time the largest congreation, some 10,000 members, in the US. Criswell went on to serve as President of the Southern Baptist Convention. One could look up the present Southern Baptist articles of faith, I suppose. I think they no longer support slavery.

    • Filippo
      Posted February 8, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      If I correctly recall from what I’ve read, Criswell wrote a tome entitled, “God or Gorilla.”

      • Posted February 8, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Give me the choice, and I’ll go with the gorilla any day. They’re much better conversationalists, far more compassionate, and they’re cat people. Who wouldn’t choose your cool cousin over the mass-murderer evil alien tyrant?

        Cheers,

        b&

    • Sastra
      Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      I’ve always thought that Criswell was pretty much beat out by the amazing predictions of this one.

      Unless …. they are the same???????

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    The “Middle Ages” were in the 1800s? Bishop Ussher published his “Chronology” in the mid-1600s.

    Poor Reverend Robertson; even when he’s sort of right, he gets things way wrong.

  12. NewEnglandBob
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    So Bishop Ussher can’t be right about what he said because of all the evidence, but Pat Robertson believes in theistic evolution with no evidence. Now there is a brain that isn’t working properly.

  13. nurnord
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    “though he believes in a form of progressive theistic evolution directed by God”

    – so, he does not believe in evolution, then !
    – my point being that I cannot accept any interpretation of evolution involving any higher entity whatever. That is simply not biological evolution.
    – It is for that reason that I reject that the catholic church accepts evolution too, I also sense an eagerness on the part of ‘our’ side (some sections anyway) to welcome such acceptance as bolstering our numbers, at least in terms of that single component. But I will never accept that, it is NOT evolution as they interpret it !

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 9, 2014 at 1:01 am | Permalink

      Presumably a theistic evolutionist can understand, comprehend and accept every single fact in evolution. DNA, evolutionary mechanisms, the lot. He would have absolutely no problem with evolution being taught in detail in schools.
      The one thing he would balk at is saying “this disproves God” – which is not a necessary part of evolution theory anyway.
      So I don’t see the necessity to drag atheism vs religion into it – that’s just buying a fight.

      As an anology – consider an astrophysicist who believes God created the universe. Would that prevent him being a perfectly competent astrophysicist? It wouldn’t (unless he was a biblical fundamentalist).

      • Scientifik
        Posted February 9, 2014 at 2:28 am | Permalink

        “Presumably a theistic evolutionist can understand, comprehend and accept every single fact in evolution.”

        I don’t think they understand that it’s the environmental factors that drive adaptations, not God’s hand. There’s no such thing as “theistic evolution.”

        • Posted February 9, 2014 at 4:44 am | Permalink

          Perhaps they consider God’s hand to be just another environmental factor . . . 😉

          /@

          • Posted February 9, 2014 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

            Well, whose hand do you think put all those environmental factors there?

      • Scientifik
        Posted February 9, 2014 at 2:37 am | Permalink

        “As an anology – consider an astrophysicist who believes God created the universe. Would that prevent him being a perfectly competent astrophysicist?”

        Show me one astrophysicist who holds that it’s angels, not gravity, that guide the movement of planets.

    • Doug
      Posted February 9, 2014 at 6:09 am | Permalink

      If a theist accepts evolution, that’s progress. “Progress, not perfection.”

      • Sastra
        Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        Yes. “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

        A theistic evolutionist has an understanding of evolution which is good enough to be counted as scientific. It’s scientific enough for practical purposes if that’s all you’re looking at. Fine.

        But a large picture changes the standard. What’s “good enough” for practical purposes of the status quo becomes a too low a compromise if we’re striving for an ideal, to become better than we are and really understand and accept the necessary humility it takes to reach beyond our lowest capacities.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 9, 2014 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

          Agreed, but at least they’re not fighting tooth and nail to keep evolution out of classrooms… which is a pretty significant factor, IMO.

          • nurnord
            Posted February 10, 2014 at 12:03 am | Permalink

            infinite, you completely missed my point, but don’t fret, Scientifik took the response right out of my mouth…

            your comment to me…
            “Presumably a theistic evolutionist can understand, comprehend and accept every single fact in evolution.”

            Scientific responds nicely…
            – “I don’t think they understand that it’s the environmental factors that drive adaptations, not God’s hand. There’s no such thing as “theistic evolution.”

            Just read that response again, THAT is my point. Now that we have oriented you, can you see why this ‘analogy’ of yours is no such thing ?…

            “As an anology – consider an astrophysicist who believes God created the universe. Would that prevent him being a perfectly competent astrophysicist? It wouldn’t (unless he was a biblical fundamentalist).”

  14. Posted February 8, 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    That video is actually from last November, not a response to Ham v. Nye.

  15. Jimbo
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, nothing will change Ham’s mind–not Robertson, not even God himself!
    Ham: “Jesus Christ! It’s actually you! Is this the Second Coming? I am prepared for the Rapture if it’s time.”
    God/Jesus: “Ken Ham! This is not my Second Coming. I’ve returned to Earth to set you straight on one count: Pat is right, I created the Earth billions of years ago and left many clues. Stop saying the Earth is only 4,000 years old, it’s embarrassing.
    Ham: That’s not possible! It says so in the Bible which is the perfect word of um, you,”
    God/JC: “Do you not hear my perfect words now Ken Ham?!”
    Ham: “Yes.”
    God/JC: “Science, it works bitches!”
    *poof*

  16. Posted February 9, 2014 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    Is Biologos covering this? “Pat Robertson: An Accommodationist Success Story”

  17. Felix
    Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    huh, his insights are evolving,…

  18. Doug
    Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    If you want to read something idiotic, “The Week” has a column entitled “In Defense of Creationists:”
    http://theweek.com/article/index256163/in-defense-of-creationists
    I can understand defending them if you think they’re right, but defending them when you know they’re wrong is just patronizing. “I”M smart enough to know that this is nonsense but, bless their little hearts, they MEAN well.” If the creationists had any sense (I know, I know) they would be insulted by this post.

    • Doug
      Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      My link to “The Week” doesn’t work. You can just go theweek.com and find the essay.

  19. Doug
    Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    I’ll try again:
    http://theweek.com/article/index/256163/in-defense-of-creationists


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