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Against the Reductive Materialism Dogmatically Espoused by the Scientific Establishment

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posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 10:32 AM
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I find it extraordinarily weird the way some people talk about science or scientists as I grew up around physicists, doctors, and mathematicians. First of all, as others have stated in different words, science is not a religion or a philosophy. It is the sum of empirical data and theories on often the most mundane (yet important,) of details on a subject. Scientists don't get together and talk about materialism or ESP, (the first is philosophy,) they talk about boring details about their own subjects. Most of the scientists I have met are humble toward religion and philosophy (as long as it doesn't tell people to kill people or that the earth is flat or 5,000 years,) and don't even know the materialist reductionist debate. They don't care. It has nothing to do with a math paper or studying the metabolism of newly found insect.

A super select few scientists like Richard Dawkins have decided that they want to be piss poor philosophers and are giving science a bad name, or more specifically, the illusion that they speak for scientists. Yet not one of my physicists or mathematician family friends know who he is. At least they didn't 5 years ago. Also, for good and bad, the majority of spokespeople who write books about science do not have time to do active research. Usually the guy busy doing active research changing the field is too busy to be a public PR guy writing books and doing interviews on Larry King. Scientists who do research know they can not even always speak about the particular views of others in the same field, let alone a different discipline like biology to physics. Scientists know there is no unified theory of science yet, the views of how the world works is vastly different to a biologist, physicist, and mathematician. Science research is so specific that they would never think to argue about metaphysical world views. This is how Richard Dawkins had given the general public the wrong view on science. It is not really a world view past the scientific method. It is just a collection of findings from that method and NO ONE has been able to make a unified world view from it yet.

Philosophers try and what you speak of is philosophy. Yet they couldn't read and understand specialized high level math papers and physics papers and then go peer review a chemistry paper. So how can someone truly speak for it or assume its philosophy in its name, honestly, if they can't understand everything produced by it? That's why science should never be considered a world view philosophy.
edit on 6-8-2014 by AudioOne because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 10:40 AM
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originally posted by: stirling
Science is only science when you don't make a RELIGION out of it....
Religion however ,wont ever be a science....
How about a little honesty for once....


No one makes a religion out of science...that's a creationist talking point attempting to make a false equivalency between their religion and the actual facts of science. It's their attempt to bring science down to the level of there religion.


Science nor atheism is a religion. No one will die or kill for atheism. If Jesus or Mohammad show up on the White House lawn tomorrow, every scientist, atheist and agnostic will convert. Why??? Because those aren't religion!



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 10:42 AM
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Wow , thank you for that vid . I had written my previous post and mentioned secrets before seeing the vid you posted . Me being a INFJ type ,could never understand what or how I would have moments of intuitiveness but now can understand it better . thanks a reply to: BlueMule




posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 10:47 AM
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originally posted by: the2ofusr1
I think it has become a political tool .It probably always was to a certain degree but more so lately .We seem to have two ways of looking at things but the hard truth is somewhere in between Science and Religion . a reply to: stirling



Agreed. Science today is funded by those in charge and their primary aims are to increase power for themselves. Most research is spent finding new methods of control and destruction. These seem to be the only end results worthy to them.
Ever wonder why they still can't cure cancer or aids after all this time? Why world hunger is getting worse rather than better? Science serves whoever can dish out the dollars. At present this means science is truly the enemy of mankind. I hardly think the crumbs the public receives outweigh the negatives of such inventions as drones, LRADS and the array of spying technologies created in the last 50 years.

One of my favorite all time videos:

edit on 6-8-2014 by Asktheanimals because: added video



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 10:59 AM
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a reply to: Rosinitiate

Thanks Rosinitiate, I will do. If you fancy a free copy for Kindle or pdf in exchange for an Amazon review (an honest review -- I have no interest in soliciting falsely positive reviews, and don't mind public criticisms of my work) then I'd be happy to supply one.

It's a while off yet, though.



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 11:03 AM
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a reply to: ManFromEurope

Thanks for the reply ManFromEurope,

I'll avoid citing any hard facts in this reply because I need to look through my library at home and find them (I'm at work ATM). I don't plan to go into great depth in the book about this, as it's a quick introduction, but I will at least cite a source for my opinion.



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 11:15 AM
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a reply to: Antigod

Thanks for the reply Antigod.

Although it most certainly is a rant, it's not particularly faith based. I am agnostic, and imagine I will remain so.

It's true, though, that the book proper will go into more mystical territories, and re-examine aliens, spirits, dimensions and consciousness etc. I doubt this is of particular interest to you, but I will post other parts as they're written, and if you'd like to offer commentary, you're welcome to.

However, that eventual study of the book is not secondary to this discussion, which isn't about mysticism but philosophy. One needn't have any faith, mystical inclinations, or anything else to agree (or disagree) with my argument.

It most definitely is a rant, but not because scientists don't believe in the same things as me; rather because I feel that the scientific establishment (which I'll loosely define in this reply as being the people who hold the purse strings as well as the people who operate within the academy -- those same people who often impose bias in peer-review and force people like Sheldrake and Lovelock to work outside of 'the system' in which professional scientists usually operate) is being intellectually dishonest.

The scientific establishment claims that physical science demonstrates the correctness of reductive materialism because there is no proof of mind existing as a fundamental property.
And my response is that we shouldn't expect physical scientists to find mind -- by definition, it is non-physical and therefore beyond their remit -- and that if we're expected to believe mind is (in the words of another great philosopher) the 'ghost in the machine' -- that is, a fantom without real substance -- the onus is on reductive materialists to prove that. Because it is counter-intuitive, and when something is counter intuitive, it has to be proved. Not the other way around

This, of course, is a philosophical argument, not a scientific one. But then, I am of the physical opinion that it has to be philosophical, and that science as it exists today cannot by definition tackle the problems of mind and consciousness.

Of course, there are numerous scientists that I have great respect for, and despite the tone of my rhetoric, I have a great deal of interest in science and am quite capable of seperating the method from the establishment that claims to own it. But I don't think the layman generally is, and that's why I feel people like Dawkins, for example, are being intellectually dishonest.



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 11:28 AM
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a reply to: Aphorism

Hi Aphorism, thanks for the reply.

You are right that something being counter-intuitive does not prove that it is wrong. But, if something is counter-intuitive, it has to be proved. We don't believe ridiculous things without proof for good reason (extraordinary claims etc.) and my contention is that there is no proof that matter is more fundamental than mind. Further, that science as we understand it today lacks any kind of tool that would allow it to search for or provide a proof for reductive materialism.

A further concept (which i didn't introduce above) is Occams Razor, which (in brief) states that, when confronted by many possibilities with no clear indication which one is true, we should accept the simplest one that fits with what we already know. This, of course, is up for debate, but I contend that dualism -- mind and matter as equally fundamental properties -- best fulfills the requirements of Occam's Razor in light of our empirical evidence of the world.

You are right that in it's conception the mechanistic view of the world was tailored towards theistic thought, but it more than anything else gave birth to the idea of existence being a senseless machine built of matter, because it quickly became apparent that the tools those men were using to make great discoveries about matter weren't turning up anything that wasn't matter. It is not a huge leap to claim that maybe there just isn't anything else, and this machine just sort of built itself. Which is essentially what popularist reductive materialsts today claim -- if you read the God Delusion, it is quite clear that Dawkins is describing a mechanistic world bereft of intelligence. Not the world of cutting edge physics and unanswered questions.

I have no problem with the lack of a creator. I have no opinion or interest in whether or not this world had a designer, intelligent or otherwise (though that may well change over the course of writing the book).



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 11:35 AM
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a reply to: AudioOne

I agree with you completely AudioOne.

And yes, this is a philosophical argument, not a scientific one. And it's thrust is, exactly as you have said, that we science cannot speak to the reality or lack thereof of a materialist worldview.

My critique is not against science per say, but rather against those people in senior positions at research institutions and budgeting meetings, and those people who write 'piss poor philosophy' masquerading as scientific thought.

And my problem with them is two-fold: first, they push out other, legitimate, researchers whose feilds of interest are deemed 'unsuitable'. And second, that they mislead the general public into believing that an as-yet unanswerable question (what is the fundamental property of existence) has been answered with the word: matter.



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 11:42 AM
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a reply to: ArtemisE

ArtemisE you raise some interesting points.

No one makes a religion out of science. Perhaps. It would be better to say that no one is making a religion out of science YET. It could, of course, be done by attempting to universalise scientific principles so that they become the foundation of unrelated areas of inquiry such as ethics, philosophy, justice etc. Of course, there is a push to do this whether or not you're aware of it. And, of course, science has no real insight into those areas of life other than tangentially.

"Science nor atheism is a religion. No one will die or kill for atheism." True, but no one kills for religion either. They kill because they are manipulated by people who have become empowered by religion. The overriding cause of war and murder is inequality. If you think that removing religion and replacing it with atheism would somehow stop blood being shed by fanatics and extremists, I would urge you to examine the history of communism, which (in Russia at least) murdered the innocent at an unprecedented rate. One of the reasons they killed people was the denial of atheism -- that is, they held different metaphysical beliefs (in the case of communism, that is simply the absence of a god). And that, of course, is the same reason any fundamentalist kills. So, I think we disagree here.



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 11:42 AM
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a reply to: Asktheanimals

Asktheanimals, I was lucky enough to see Sheldrake speak recently and have a quick chat with him.

Lovely bloke, very smart, and made a lot of sense.



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 11:44 AM
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The end of this peice, which was too long for one post, and which may elucidate my thinking further:

"We have ample reason to believe that mind exists and is as fundamental to existence as matter – why on earth wouldn’t it be? Empirically, we are aware of this fact from day one. Yet reductive materialism attempts to prove that mind either does not exist in any meaningful way, or does so only as a secondary phenomena. On what basis does it make this claim? On the basis that the physical sciences have been unable to locate it.

The astute reader may already have noticed the flaw in this approach, but I will re-iterate it for the lack-witted amongst us: the physical sciences, that is the sciences whose remit is to investigate matter, have been unable to locate mind, and therefore have proclaimed that it either doesn’t exist or is just, somehow, less important than the one thing in which they are a justified authority: matter!

This is obviously circular reasoning. How could one expect the tools designed to investigate matter to suddenly discover mind? They’re simply not cut out for it, in the same way that a bed sheet is not well designed for playing a symphony on, and a tune is poorly constructed to hammer nails into wood. Do the particular tools scientists use possess some special universality that allows them to perform every function, and therefore become the de-facto authority on all things under the sun? For a fuller examination of this train of thought, I would encourage the reader to pursue it in Thomas Nagel’s excellent (if a little convoluted) book Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False.

For my part, however, I will leave you with this: should you remain convinced that matter alone constitutes the fundamental building blocks of nature, please drop me a line at your earliest convenience; I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d love to sell you."



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 12:51 PM
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a reply to: EmperorFaustus


You are right that something being counter-intuitive does not prove that it is wrong. But, if something is counter-intuitive, it has to be proved. We don't believe ridiculous things without proof for good reason (extraordinary claims etc.) and my contention is that there is no proof that matter is more fundamental than mind. Further, that science as we understand it today lacks any kind of tool that would allow it to search for or provide a proof for reductive materialism.


But there is no proof that the opposite is the case either. I would be a little weary of the opposite. There is also no proof that minds even exist, whereas we can open our eyes and see what we call matter, touch it and bump into it. As such, the only real argument against eliminative materialism is that it is counter-intuitive. It seems like there is a mind, just like it seems the universe revolves around the earth.


A further concept (which i didn't introduce above) is Occams Razor, which (in brief) states that, when confronted by many possibilities with no clear indication which one is true, we should accept the simplest one that fits with what we already know. This, of course, is up for debate, but I contend that dualism -- mind and matter as equally fundamental properties -- best fulfills the requirements of Occam's Razor in light of our empirical evidence of the world.


Except mind has no visible or tangible properties. It can not be known if mind is a fundamental property if it lacks all notion of properties. In this case, mind is simply added into the equation, perhaps unnecessarily, due to the assumption that there is a such thing as mind, which, according to eliminative materialists, is folk psychology. It is really no different than believing angels and demons and ghosts control our bodily functions. I don’t think the Occam’s razor is taken far enough in mind/body dualism, in my opinion.


You are right that in it's conception the mechanistic view of the world was tailored towards theistic thought, but it more than anything else gave birth to the idea of existence being a senseless machine built of matter, because it quickly became apparent that the tools those men were using to make great discoveries about matter weren't turning up anything that wasn't matter. It is not a huge leap to claim that maybe there just isn't anything else, and this machine just sort of built itself. Which is essentially what popularist reductive materialsts today claim -- if you read the God Delusion, it is quite clear that Dawkins is describing a mechanistic world bereft of intelligence. Not the world of cutting edge physics and unanswered questions.


Yes Dawkins should stick to biology. In his “Blind Watchmaker”, he still presupposes the mechanistic worldview, which died with the advent of quantum physics.

There are some great reads in the philosophy of science that challenge science as it stands that you may be interested in, and might add more fuel to your fire:

Structures of Scientific Revolution - Kuhn

Against Method - Feyerbend







edit on 6-8-2014 by Aphorism because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 01:14 PM
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Thanks for the vid . I had not heard of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake censorship of his TEDx talk .I am just checking out some of his other stuff . a reply to: Asktheanimals




posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 01:17 PM
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originally posted by: Aphorism

There is also no proof that minds even exist, whereas we can open our eyes and see what we call matter, touch it and bump into it.


But we aren't seeing it for what it really is. Nor do we see our body as it really is. All that we are bumping into is an appearance. There is more going on than we can see with our eyes. There is a reason why founders of QM were mystics.

www.amazon.com...



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 02:28 PM
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a reply to: BlueMule




But we aren't seeing it for what it really is. Nor do we see our body as it really is. All that we are bumping into is an appearance. There is more going on than we can see with our eyes. There is a reason why founders of QM were mystics.


They weren't mystics.

There is more going on than we can see with mind.



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 03:19 PM
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originally posted by: Aphorism
a reply to: BlueMule




But we aren't seeing it for what it really is. Nor do we see our body as it really is. All that we are bumping into is an appearance. There is more going on than we can see with our eyes. There is a reason why founders of QM were mystics.


They weren't mystics.


Read that book and you'll change your tune.


There is more going on than we can see with mind.


So? The fact remains, you can't just kick a rock in order to see it as it really is.


edit on 889Wednesday000000America/ChicagoAug000000WednesdayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 03:29 PM
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originally posted by: EmperorFaustus
a reply to: ArtemisE

ArtemisE you raise some interesting points.

No one makes a religion out of science. Perhaps. It would be better to say that no one is making a religion out of science YET. It could, of course, be done by attempting to universalise scientific principles so that they become the foundation of unrelated areas of inquiry such as ethics, philosophy, justice etc. Of course, there is a push to do this whether or not you're aware of it. And, of course, science has no real insight into those areas of life other than tangentially.

"Science nor atheism is a religion. No one will die or kill for atheism." True, but no one kills for religion either. They kill because they are manipulated by people who have become empowered by religion. The overriding cause of war and murder is inequality. If you think that removing religion and replacing it with atheism would somehow stop blood being shed by fanatics and extremists, I would urge you to examine the history of communism, which (in Russia at least) murdered the innocent at an unprecedented rate. One of the reasons they killed people was the denial of atheism -- that is, they held different metaphysical beliefs (in the case of communism, that is simply the absence of a god). And that, of course, is the same reason any fundamentalist kills. So, I think we disagree here.




If Russia did kill people for refusing to renounce their religion, if religion didn't exist, then they wouldn't have killed them for that then.


Now, of course I'm not saying that if religion disappeared we would have a paradise. Religion doesn't cause the negative parts of human nature, but it gives evil people a vehicle to corrupt the masses. It'll make good people rationalize horrible things.

But if your religion teaches horrible things about unbelievers. Then unbelievers hear what your preaching and take offence. Then you have some fault in whatever happens.



Teaching that your Gods gonna take everyone's soul and torture them for all eternity unless we do and think as you tell us is bound to piss people off.



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 03:36 PM
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a reply to: BlueMule




So? The fact remains, you can't just kick a rock in order to see it as it really is.


If by "see it as it is" you mean don't see it at all, there can be no understanding.

Kicking a rock tells us more about the rock than just imagining it.



posted on Aug, 6 2014 @ 05:04 PM
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a reply to: Aphorism

Thanks for the vid Aphorism -- I'm about to hit the sack but I'll watch it tomorrow night. I always love a bit of Chomsky.

And thanks for the reading suggestions. I'm always looking for new authors to explore, and I'll look into them tomorrow too.

Now, to your reply:

"But there is no proof that the opposite is the case either. I would be a little weary of the opposite. There is also no proof that minds even exist, whereas we can open our eyes and see what we call matter, touch it and bump into it. As such, the only real argument against eliminative materialism is that it is counter-intuitive. It seems like there is a mind, just like it seems the universe revolves around the earth. "

That's not true. You admit yourself that the non-existence of mind as a fundamental property is counter-intuitive. If it's non-existance is counter-intuitive then its existence MUST be intuitive. Ergo, we do have proof -- empirical proof. Could we be wrong? Of course, as you know, new information can always emerge in the distant future that makes the men of today look silly. But, as it stands right now, we have the simplest proof available in philosophy: intuitive proof. Whenever something seems intuitively true, the onus MUST be to disprove it -- not the other way around. Further more, philosophy has a long history of regarding the existence of mind as self-evident. So self-evident in fact that it was simply taken for granted (more or less) until Descartes famously proclaimed "Cogito, Ergo, Sum" (I think, therefore I am). To Descartes, and to the overwhelming majority of trained philosophers, the existence of mind is a self-evident fact. I would be interested to see you quote some philosophers who regard mind as an illusion in order to examine their logic -- I have never heard of one (incidentally, I have a PhD in philosophy).

Furthermore, if you honestly believe their is no proof for the existence of mind, how are you composing your replies to me? Of course, I can choose to believe you're a philosophical zombie (Chalmers defines this as someone who appears in every way to be conscious, but in fact lacks conciousness) and you can choose to believe it of me. But you can't believe it of yourself. So the very act of living is a proof of the existence of mind. Solipsits can claim (as Blue Mule does above) that this world of matter is 'all in our minds' that is -- if you were in a coma, all this could be a hallucination. Maybe that rock doesn't exist at all, it just seems to you, in your coma, as though it does (this, of course, is the premise of the Matrix) but the converse isn't true, is it? That mind is an illusion? What would it mean for a mind to not exist? Presumably (and I follow Descartes in this) it would be the total absence of thought. So, if you really ARE in a coma and you become brain dead beyond any hope of recovery (we'll pretend for this thought experiment that it's possible to ABSOLUTELY KNOW whether or not your brain could ever function again and that we know it can't) the majority of people would say it's morally justifiable to turn off your life support. After all, the spark is gone. All that's left is a lump of immobile meat having blood artificially pumped through its veins. Even the most hardcore of reductive materialists don't deny the existence of mind. They can dispense with souls easilly enough (after all, what's a soul? How would I know if I've got one?) And they can dispense with plenty of our mental qualities such as love and freewill. But they can't deny the very organ with which they're composing their thoughts. Saying the mind 'is just' the brain is very different to saying there's no proof that mind exists. But again, if you can direct me to some philosophers who claim this, I would love to see how they've come to that conclusion.

Then you say:

"Except mind has no visible or tangible properties. It can not be known if mind is a fundamental property if it lacks all notion of properties."

This is contradictory. Mind does have visible and tangible properties according to eliminative materialists and reductive materialists (the parent category) in general: they are the properties of the brain. I think Churchland's classic example was "what we call pain is really C-Fibre stimulation" (I forget if that's the correct fibre or feeling, but the idea is clear). So clearly, according to reductive materialism, these things DO have tangible and visible properties -- they're tangible to those brains they belong to, and they're visible (at least in theory, that is the only thing stopping them would be current technology, but if teh tech existed we could do it) to neuroscientists under the right conditions, with the right tools.

The real question is: is brain activity all there is to mind? But either way, no one ever that I'm aware of has claimed that mind 'lacks all notion of properties'. For reference, here's the wiki article on mental properties: en.wikipedia.org...

Then you say:

"In this case, mind is simply added into the equation, perhaps unnecessarily, due to the assumption that there is a such thing as mind, which, according to eliminative materialists, is folk psychology. It is really no different than believing angels and demons and ghosts control our bodily functions."

Eliminative materialists don't say that. The term 'folk psychology' refers to our 'primitive' understanding of certain neurological phenomena as emotions. i.e: we mistake dopamine for this crazy notion called love. But eliminative materialism doesn't (and would never) claim that the existence of mind itself is folk psychology. They may say calling it mind is folk psychology. They would probably prefer brain activity. But that is very different from claiming that it doesn't exist. We run the risk of falling into Wittgensteinian language games here. I will use your example: let's be clear: if I refer to my flatulence as the rumbling of a furious demon -- and even in the extreme case that I actually believe each fart is the rumbling of a furious demon -- it in no way changes the actual reality of flatulence. We are misguided about thousands of things all the time, but we don't change their inherent nature. Thus, even if the mind was reducible to brain activity, that wouldn't mean mind didn't exist. Incidentally, it would also not necessitate that brain activity was all that mind was -- just that there was a correlation between the two.

You claim:

"I don’t think the Occam’s razor is taken far enough in mind/body dualism, in my opinion."

Occam's Razor is a great tool, and in essence I agree. It has its limitations, but I have no doubt you're aware of them. But ask yourself -- does the mind with which you're reading this really not exist? How could you have a fake mind? To me, removing the very instrument with which you're understanding the words I'm typing here doesn't simplify anything. It makes it a hell of a lot more complicated. I mean, if minds don't exist, can you explain all this thought, information, etc. etc.

And here you say:

"Yes Dawkins should stick to biology. In his “Blind Watchmaker”, he still presupposes the mechanistic worldview, which died with the advent of quantum physics."

I agree with you wholeheartedly on this one


Thanks again for the videos / reading suggestion, and ( of course) the lively debate.

Ted.



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