Darwinism Evolution Intelligent Design science education

Evolution education as a conversion experience

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From Evolution News:

Moreover, the article by Rachel Gross spills the beans about something we knew already: that the real goal of most evolution educators isn’t simply to start a conversation about evolution. Rather, the aim is conversion, that is, convincing the public to “accept” evolution. Note these unusually candid admissions about the true goals of Darwin educators:

“Acceptance is my goal,” says Jamie Jensen, an associate professor who teaches undergraduate biology at Brigham Young University. Nearly all Jensen’s students identify as Mormon. “By the end of Biology 101, they can answer all the questions really well, but they don’t believe a word I say,” she says. “If they don’t accept it as being real, then they’re not willing to make important decisions based on evolution — like whether or not to vaccinate their child or give them antibiotics.”

[…]

These groups recognize that cultural barriers, not a lack of education, are what’s preventing more Americans from accepting evolution. “I never want to downplay the importance of teaching our students evolution, I think it’s the most important thing we do,” says Elizabeth Barnes, one of the co-authors of the biology education paper. “But it’s not enough if we want students to actually accept evolution.” More.

Chances are, your taxes pay for this. And we all know perfectly well that social elites would rush to defend Darwin’s religion at the taxpayer’s expense. As long as they are allowed to.

But then, as Michael Ruse makes clear, Darwinism is a rival religion to Christianity (or perhaps elsewhere, other religions?). And it is part of the fundamental creed of most science writers. Science writing is not the better for that.

See also: Michael Ruse: Christianity and Darwinism as rival religions Ruse has always been honest about the fact that, for is serious adherents, Darwinism is a religion.

and

Is the term Darwinism a “scientific slur”?

32 Replies to “Evolution education as a conversion experience

  1. 1
    LocalMinimum says:

    “If they don’t accept it as being real, then they’re not willing to make important decisions based on evolution — like whether or not to vaccinate their child or give them antibiotics.”

    Interesting. Wouldn’t a non-belief in evolution, i.e. static “bugs” with static immunities, make vaccines seem more viable? I mean, if I didn’t know that the flu shot was such a hit-and-miss, I’d be far more likely to get it every year.

    More than that: wouldn’t a belief that “bugs” have no limit to genetic plasticity be an important component to rationalizing the futility of vaccination?

  2. 2
    Allan Keith says:

    “By the end of Biology 101, they can answer all the questions really well, but they don’t believe a word I say,” she says.

    I guess the bigger question is why the students are answering questions in ways they think are wrong. If it’s a mandatory course in some other major, I can understand it.

    When I went through university, I had a couple friends who were fundamentalist Christians (don’t laugh, it can happen). I asked them why they were taking evolutionary biology when they don’t believe it. Both of them, independently, said that they were doing it to get ammunition against evolution. Not to learn about it with an open mind, but to learn enough so that they can use it in an argument.

  3. 3
    ET says:

    That class didn’t seem to help you, Allan. 😛

    Well heck, evolutionism was still a budding enterprise back in the 1950s. 😉

  4. 4
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Well heck, evolutionism was still a budding enterprise back in the 1950s.

    Ouch.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Allan Keith in another post, in answer to the question, “So Allan, why are you yourself an atheist?”, you stated:

    “In short, I have seen no compelling evidence to suggest the existence of an all loving, all knowing god. And with regard to the bible, even if god exists, I refuse to worship any being who would do, instruct to be done, and allow to be done, some of the things that are written in the bible. Those things would make Hitler look like an altar boy (which he was).”
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/asks-wintery-knight-can-a-person-believe-in-both-god-and-darwinian-evolution/#comment-657273

    Allan, the main bulk of your response is commonly referred to as the ‘argument from evil’. And as should be obvious, the ‘argument from evil’ is a philosophical, even theological, argument, not a scientific argument.

    More specifically, the ‘argument from evil’ is a moral argument.

    And herein lies the problem of morality for you as an atheist.

    As an atheist you have no moral basis for determining whether anything is good or evil.

    Objective morality simply does not exist within the reductive materialism of Darwinian evolution.

    In fact, Hitler used the ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking behind Darwinian evolution to ‘scientifically’ justify all sorts of moral atrocities against people he deemed to be racially inferior.

    Yet we all agree, or should all agree, that Hitler’s actions were objectively evil.

    Thus obviously morality must be something that is immaterial, that is binding towards all people, and that cannot possibly be reduced to any of the materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution.

    So Allan, as an Atheistic Materialist, how do you possibly account for the objective existence of immaterial moralilty?

    In short, you need God in order to ground the objective morality that you seek to condemn God with.

    It is obviously a self defeating proposition Allan.

    You may say that it is only the God of the Bible that you are seeking to condemn as evil, and that you can easily find moral perfection in some other religion, but I would eagerly challenge you to try to find any other religion for moral perfection and point out exactly how that religion comes anywhere close to matching, much less exceeding, the moral perfection that is found in Jesus Christ and his resurrection from the dead.

    Might I also suggest that your objection to God is not so much that you really think that God is evil, but is because you yourself inwardly know that you have fallen short of the moral perfection demanded by God?,,, And obviously the easiest way to avoid dealing with your own moral imperfection is to pretend that the holder of all moral perfection, i.e. God, is morally imperfect Himself?

    Yet that supposed ‘easy’ route that atheists commonly try to take is not so ‘easy’ after all. As was previously shown, this supposed ‘easy’ route is a self-defeating proposition.

    Video and Verse

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words “The Lamb” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tmka1l8GAQ

    Romans 3:23-24
    for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

    Here are a few more notes on the self-defeating ‘argument from evil’ of atheists:

    The Universe Reflects a Mind – Michael Egnor – February 28, 2018
    Excerpt: Goff argues that a Mind is manifest in the natural world, but he discounts the existence of God because of the problem of evil. Goff seriously misunderstands the problem of evil. Evil is an insoluble problem for atheists, because if there is no God, there is no objective standard by which evil and good can exist or can even be defined. If God does not exist, “good” and “evil” are merely human opinions. Yet we all know, as Kant observed, that some things are evil in themselves, and not merely as a matter of opinion. Even to raise the problem of evil is to tacitly acknowledge transcendent standards, and thus to acknowledge God’s existence. From that starting point, theodicy begins. Theists have explored it profoundly. Atheists lack the standing even to ask the question.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/02/the-universe-reflects-a-mind/

    The Problem of Evil by Benjamin D. Wiker – April 2009
    Excerpt: We still want to cry, Job-like, to those inscrutable depths, “Who are you to orchestrate everything around us puny and pitiable creatures, leaving us shuddering in the darkness, ignorant, blasted, and buffeted? It‘s all well and good to say, ‘Trust me! It‘ll all be made right in the end,‘ while you float unscathed above it all. Grinding poverty, hunger, thirst, frustration, rejection, toil, death of our loved ones, blood-sweating anxiety, excruciating pain, humiliation, torture, and finally a twisted and miserable annihilation — that‘s the meal we‘re served! You‘d sing a different tune if you were one of us and got a taste of your own medicine.”
    What could we say against these depths if the answer we received was not an argument but an incarnation, a full and free submission by God to the very evils about which we complain? This submission would be a kind of token, a sign that evil is very real indeed, bringing the incarnate God blood-sweating anxiety, excruciating pain, humiliation, torture, and finally a twisted and miserable annihilation on the cross. As real as such evil is, however, the resurrection reveals that it is somehow mysteriously comprehended within the divine plan.
    With the Incarnation, the reality of evil is absorbed into the deity, not dissolved into thin air, because God freely tastes the bitterness of the medicine as wounded healer, not distant doctor. Further, given the drastic nature of this solution, we begin to recognize that God takes the problem of evil more seriously than we could ever have taken it ourselves. ,,,
    http://www.crisismagazine.com/.....em-of-evil

    This Theologian Has An Answer To Atheists’ Claims That Evil Disproves God – Jan, 2018
    Excerpt: In “The Last Superstition: A Refutation Of The New Atheism,” Feser, echoing Thomas Aquinas, notes that the first premise of the problem of evil is “simply false, or at least unjustifiable.” According to Feser, there is no reason to believe that the Christian God, being all-good and all-powerful, would prevent suffering on this earth if out of suffering he could bring about a good that is far greater than any that would have existed otherwise. If God is infinite in power, knowledge, goodness, etc., then of course he could bring about such a good.
    Feser demonstrates his reasoning with an analogy. A parent may allow his child a small amount of suffering in frustration, sacrifice of time, and minor pain when learning to play the violin, in order to bring about the good of establishing proficiency. This is not to say that such minimal suffering is in any way comparable to the horrors that have gone on in this world. But the joy of establishing proficiency with a violin is not in any way comparable to the good that God promises to bring to the world.
    In Christian theology, this good is referred to as the Beatific Vision: the ultimate, direct self-communication of God to the individual. In other words, perfect salvation or Heaven. Feser describes the Beatific Vision as a joy so great that even the most terrible horror imaginable “pales in insignificance before the beatific vision.” As Saint Paul once said, “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
    Your Argument Assumes Its Conclusion
    I can already see the disciples of the Four Horsemen readying their keyboards, opening a copy of Dawkins’ “The God Delusion,” and preparing their response. An atheist may claim that he cannot possibly imagine anything in the next life that could possibly outweigh the Holocaust, children’s suffering, or any other instance of significant suffering in this world. According to Feser, this response is precisely the reason he states that the problem of evil is “worthless” as an objection to arguments in favor of the existence of the Christian God.
    The problem is that the only way the atheist can claim that nothing could outweigh the most significant suffering on earth is if he supposes that God does not exist and therefore there is no Beatific Vision. But he cannot presume that God does not exist in the premise of an argument that aims to prove the conclusion that God does not exist. By doing so, he is begging the question, or arguing in a circle, and therefore does not prove anything at all.
    As Feser goes on to demonstrate, the atheist is essentially stating: “There is no God, because look at all this suffering that no good could possibly outweigh. How do I know there’s no good that could outweigh it? Oh, because there is no God.”
    http://thefederalist.com/2018/.....oves-gods/

  6. 6
    Allan Keith says:

    BA77,

    Allan, the main bulk of your response is commonly referred to as the ‘argument from evil’.

    My response was in two parts.

    I am an atheist because there is no compelling evidience of god’s existence or his actions (i.e. the first part of my comment) and has nothing to do with the second part of my comment. The second part of my comment explains why I would not worship the sadistic, vengeful judo-christian god if he did exist.

    If there was compelling evidence that he existed, I would be a theist, as would everyone. The fact that I would refuse to worship him does not make me an atheist. As such, the rest of your comment is irrelevant.

  7. 7
    LocalMinimum says:

    If there was compelling evidence that he existed, I would be a theist, as would everyone.

    Need I reference the recent popularity of Flat Earthing?

  8. 8
    ET says:

    There isn’t any evidence for materialism. There isn’t even a methodology to test its claims. The same goes for evolutionism.

    Allan is clearly a hypocrite

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Well Allan, as I already noted, I already addressed that point by pointing to the human brain, Moreover, I have studies that say you are lying to yourself in you denial of design:

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/asks-wintery-knight-can-a-person-believe-in-both-god-and-darwinian-evolution/#comment-657300

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/asks-wintery-knight-can-a-person-believe-in-both-god-and-darwinian-evolution/#comment-657347

    And in post 6, you just ignored the fact that I pointed out to you that you have no objective moral basis to judge God and just nonchalantly pretended you had the moral authority to declare God is evil.

    As I stressed in my post at 5, You must provide a warrant for your supposed ‘moral’ authority and not just presuppose I will grant you that warrant.

    As also pointed out Atheistic materialism certainly provides you no moral basis for declaring anything good or evil, Much less God Himself.

  10. 10
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Allan is clearly a hypocrite.

    More pleasant words from ET.

    LM,

    Need I reference the recent popularity of Flat Earthing?

    If you want to equate atheism with flat earthers, that is certainly your prerogative. And, yes, you are correct in that even if there were overwhelmingly compelling evidence for god, some people would still refuse to believe that he exists. I would not be one of them. Which would make me a theist if I saw compelling evidence. But being a theist and worshipping him are not the same thing.

  11. 11
    ET says:

    It’s an observation, Allan. You are clearly a hypocrite. You accept evolutionism and materialism even though there isn’t any evidence to support them- not even a way to test their claims. And you reject anything else just because.

  12. 12
    Allan Keith says:

    BA77,

    Well Allan, as I already noted, I already addressed that point by pointing to the human brain, Moreover, I have studies that say you are lying to yourself in you denial of design:

    You may see this as compelling evidence, but I don’t and neither do most people who study biology. That does not mean that we are lying to ourselves. It just means that we disagree. Or are you suggesting that everyone who disagrees with you is lying to themselves?

    And in post 6, you just ignored the fact that I pointed out to you that you have no objective moral basis to judge God and just nonchalantly pretended you had the moral authority to declare God is evil.

    Since I don’t think that god exists, he is neither good nor evil. What I am saying is that the god portrayed in the judo-christian mythology is sadistic and vengeful. This is not a moral judgment, this is an observation based on scripture.

    As I stressed in my post at 5, You must provide a warrant for your supposed ‘moral’ authority and not just presuppose I will grant you that warrant.

    What makes you think that I need you to grant me a warrant for my moral authority? Your morality is different than mine. We already know this. Whether or not I have the authority to impose my morality on others will depend on how many people I can convince that I am correct. You think that homosexuality is a sin and that same sex marriage is morally wrong. I disagree with you. But it seems that my moral authority has won out over yours. At least for now.

    As also pointed out Atheistic materialism certainly provides you no moral basis for declaring anything good or evil, Much less God Himself.

    Since morality is subjective, your point is irrelevant.

  13. 13
    ET says:

    Allan:

    You may see this as compelling evidence, but I don’t and neither do most people who study biology.

    And yet they have nothing else to account for it. Most scientists would see that as a huge problem but somehow you don’t.

    Or are you suggesting that everyone who disagrees with you is lying to themselves?

    If they don’t have anything else to account for what we observe, yes.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    No Allen, it is not me saying you are lying to yourself, it is your own ‘knee jerk’ reaction that tells me you are lying to yourself. You know, that whole providing empirical evidence for your claim thing! Oh wait, I forgot, you are a Darwinist so empirical evidence does not matter to you in the least.

    ,,, So then you deny morality exists, but if it did, you would hold God to be evil? ,,, Yet More Insanity!

    Not only do you not have a moral basis to render such a judgement under atheistic materialism, you even lack a basis for claiming you have the free will necessary to make such a judgement! Not to mention that the entire concept of Allen Keith as a real person becomes merely a neuronal illusion. etc.. etc..

    Bottom line, your worldview is completely insane.

    Moreover, I am the only one between the two of us with the worldview with suffiient warrant that allows me to confidently proclaim your worldview is insane. For instance Your worldview does not even allow for reliable cognitive faculties,, or even for us to know which beliefs ar true and which are false,, (Plantinga)

    ,,,, In debates, a warrant is the glue that holds an argument together. It links the evidence to the claim.

    If you want to have your completely ludicrous claims for Atheistic materialism to be taken seriously in a debate you must provide sufficient warrant. This is all basic stuff.

    It is not me ‘granting’ you a warrant per se as much as it is you yourself providing the warrant for others to take your outlandish claims seriously.

    as to: “Since morality is subjective, your point is irrelevant.”

    For crying out loud, subjective morality is exactly what undermines YOUR claim that your opinions on morality should hold any weight for anybody but yourself!

    Allan, you can play these insane games all you want, but there will come a day that your material body will fail and die, and your eternal soul will be separated from your material body. Let me sternly warn you, that day will be no game for you if you continue to want to be completely separated from God:

    “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.”
    – C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

  15. 15

    ET @ 13: You are spot on. Allan’s argument is based on his chosen a/mat philosophy, not science. There is no empirical science to support his position. He takes comfort in what “most people” believe, but that doesn’t help his argument at all.

  16. 16
    Allan Keith says:

    BA77,

    No Allen, it is not me saying you are lying to yourself, it is your own ‘knee jerk’ reaction that tells me you are lying to yourself.

    Bottom line, your worldview is completely insane.

    If my worldview is completely insane, what does that say about someone who continues to respond to my comments?

  17. 17
    ET says:

    If my worldview is completely insane, what does that say about someone who continues to respond to my comments?

    It says they are out to fight the ignorance and insanity of our opponents

  18. 18
    ET says:

    Truth Will Set You Free-

    Allan isn’t interested in facts nor science. It is just interested in keeping its little mind set on materialism.

  19. 19
    Charles Birch says:

    Hi Allan

    You wrote:

    “I am an atheist because there is no compelling evidience of god’s existence or his actions”

    This seems to be the most common reason given by atheists concerning the adoption of their worldview, so I have always been interested in the atheist’s response to the following question:

    What evidence WOULD convince you of the existence of God?

  20. 20
    Allan Keith says:

    CB,

    What evidence WOULD convince you of the existence of God?

    The obvious would be if he presented himself to the world. But I am sure that there would be several more subtle things that would lean me towards a theist belief. Eliminating all cancer. Or giving everyone cancer. Stopping the moon in its orbit. Stopping the tides. Clear evidence of design.

  21. 21
    Origenes says:

    Allan Keith: Without having a reasonable idea of the mechanisms available to the designer, his capabilities and limitations, inferring design in biology is a weak inference at best.

    Allan offers a very weak criticism of ID, since it is based on an erroneous understanding of what ID is.

    ID is simply the science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose.

    Contrary to what Allan believes ID is not about the identity of the designer.

    The evidence of intelligent design in biology does not prove that God exists (or that a being with all of the attributes of a transcendent God exists), since it is at least logically possible that an immanent (within the universe) intelligence rather than a transcendent intelligence might have designed life. [Stephen Meyer]

    Eric Anderson puts it like this:

    ID is not an attempt to answer all questions. It is a limited inquiry into whether something was designed. Questions about who, why, how, when are all interesting second-order questions that can be asked only after an inference to design is drawn. You may want, deeply in your heart of hearts, for ID to answer all of those questions. But that is a failure of your expectations, not ID itself.

  22. 22
    Charles Birch says:

    Hi Allan,

    Thanks for the reply. Your response covers much of what I would have expected, but there’s a problem with many of the types of evidence you suggest.

    I started thinking about all this a few years ago when I wondered what would convert Richard Dawkins to theism. Dawkins, like the philosopher Thomas Nagel, not only disbelieves in God but doesn’t want there to be a God, for personal psychological reasons.

    I imagined myself standing outdoors with Dawkins one starry night, and asking God to reveal Him/Her/It self in a way that would convince Richard.

    Now God was in an unusually obliging mood that night, and graciously rearranged all the star constellations to spell out “Hi Richard, this is God. NOW do you believe I exist?”

    “Well”, I say to Dawkins, “How about that?”

    “I’m not convinced” says Richard.

    “What?” I reply, “Surely this is irrefutable evidence?”

    “Not at all” retorts Dawkins. “I believe aliens just did that. After all, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

    “You’re kidding, surely, Richard?”

    “Oh no, I’m quite serious. And anyway, there are many other explanations.”

    “Such as?”

    “Well, you might have hypnotised me. Or got a professional hypnotist to implant a trigger phrase months or years ago, just waiting for this moment. Or you could have slipped a hallucinogen into my tea this evening. Or I could be in the early stages of a brain tumour. Or maybe the stars rearrange themselves like this every few billion years, due to some cosmological glitch we’ve yet to discover.”

    The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that there is ALWAYS an “out” for a committed atheist. (Benevolent aliens could be the cause of everyone’s cancer disappearing, for example.)

    Of course I don’t know how this would relate to you personally, but the evidence is always dismissable by anyone who desires strongly enough to dismiss it.

    Charles

  23. 23
    Allan Keith says:

    CB, you are correct that there will always be some people who will continue to disbelieve regardless of the evidence. But I am not one of them.

  24. 24
    Charles Birch says:

    Hi Allan,

    I believe you are sincere in what you say. (It would be difficult call though, surely? God vs. benevolent cancer-curing aliens or fast-spreading undetectable anticancer virus?)

    Also, I’m not entirely certain that if God presented Him/Her/It self to the world, that such a revelation wouldn’t obviate the whole purpose of the world existing in the first place.

    Rather like watching a gripping movie, only to have a message appear on the screen at regular intervals: “Hi, this is the Director. Don’t forget you’re just watching make-believe and these people are just acting. None of this really matters.”

    Or getting involved in a superb first-person computer game, and having a similar message flash onto the screen: “Hi, this is the Programmer. None of this is real and it doesn’t matter whether you find the treasure / defeat the bad guys. You have no reason to take this seriously.”

    IOW there may be a reason that the All That Is doesn’t want to make the evidence of its existence utterly irrefutable. It would ruin the whole point of the game.

    Charles

  25. 25
    Allan Keith says:

    CB,

    IOW there may be a reason that the All That Is doesn’t want to make the evidence of its existence utterly irrefutable. It would ruin the whole point of the game.

    I don’t see why it would. I assume that you firmly believe in the existance of god. As is obviously also the case for KairosFocus and Bornagain77. Has this certainty ruined the whole point of the game for you? If anything, I think the added certainty would only provide more comfort.

  26. 26
    ET says:

    you are correct that there will always be some people who will continue to disbelieve regardless of the evidence. But I am not one of them.

    You have proven that you don’t know how to assess the evidence.

  27. 27
    Charles Birch says:

    Hi Allan,

    Well, I don’t know about ‘firmly believe’. That’s too strong. I would prefer to say that I think there is more evidence pointing towards a God – or maybe Philip K Dick’s VALIS (Vast Active Living Intelligent System) would be a better description – than there is in the opposite direction. None – or at least very little – of the evidence that I find persuasive, has much to do with orthodox religion, BTW.

    A ‘courtroom’ level of evidence, in other words. No absolute certainty, though.

    Actually it’s the uncertainty that makes the whole game more interesting – I’m constantly evaluating the arguments pro and con which keeps the old grey matter working – a useful exercise at my age. (That’s why I’ve joined this Forum, after all)

    (And maybe it’s another of the ultimate goals anyway – Near Death Experiencers usually claim that their NDE pointed towards the garnering of wisdom, and the deepening of unconditional love and compassion, as the prime objectives of our lives.)

    I think having absolute certainty would actually make things a bit boring for me.

    Charles

  28. 28
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    You have proven that you don’t know how to assess the evidence.

    Do you ever contribute to a discussion? If not, please let the adults talk.

  29. 29
    Allan Keith says:

    CB,

    I think having absolute certainty would actually make things a bit boring for me.

    For me as well. Sadly, there are some here (BA77, KF, ET) who are absolutely certain of their views. And just as many on the other side (Dawkins and Coyne, for example). The bigger question is why they even bother to participate in a discussion. They are not interested in discussing. They are only interested in proclaiming.

  30. 30
    ET says:

    Allan:

    Do you ever contribute to a discussion?

    I have. You never do

    If not, please let the adults talk.

    Then shut up and let them

    I am interested in a discussion. You don’t have anything but lies and denial

  31. 31

    Charles Birch @ 27: Good comment. I am a committed theist, a true believer, but I appreciate the idea of a Vast Active Living Intelligent System. That certainly makes more sense than the hard-line a/mat position… at least to me.

  32. 32
    Charles Birch says:

    TWSYF

    ‘VALIS’ seems to be the best approximation I can find for the sort of ‘God’ I think probably exists.

    If I had a ‘revelation’, or smoked enough 5-MeO-DMT, I might be totally convinced through direct experience.

    Interestingly, the atheist Zen Buddhist Dr. Martin Ball DID smoke enough 5-MeO-DMT to become convinced; his experience describes an entity very much like Philip Dick’s VALIS (although it has similarities to the ‘God’ experienced by the Christian mystics –

    Try this video from 14.00 onwards:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PQctOMSmBuk

    Charles

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