Intelligent Design

Baylor Lariat asks for vote on intelligent design

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If you go to the campus rag today, at the top you’ll find the following poll on which you can vote:

What do you think?

How should Baylor approach intelligent design research?
Encourage it
Discourage it
Prohibit it
Support it

Update 8:38 am est Saturday November 17: 

How should Baylor approach intelligent design research?

 How should Baylor approach intelligent design research?
 Encourage it 
 Discourage it 
 Support it 
 Prohibit it 

Original story follows:

At 11:16 am EST, these were the results:

Encourage it 42
Discourage it 22
Prohibit it 6
Support it 4

Total votes: 74

The article accompanies a rambling story – more about Dembski, Marks, and the Baylor admin than they probably know themselves.

Results at 6:20 pm EST:

How should Baylor approach intelligent design research?

How should Baylor approach intelligent design research?
Discourage it
Encourage it
Support it
Prohibit it
Total Votes Cast: 325

646 p.m. EST: Anika Smith of Discovery Institute calls academic freedom at Baylor a sham and urges alumni to reconsider donations: “Every dollar you donate to Baylor helps to enable the continued persecution of Prof. Marks.”

Well yes but – here I am momentarily taken aback – Anika, I thought that was the kind of thing donors wanted. I mean, they can give money to a respectable Baptist university (which just tickles Aunt Marge, right?). And they NEVER need to worry that Baylor is going to kick them in the face by creating a genuine problem for the 78% of eminent evolutionists who are pure naturalists (no God) by showing – using the methods of science – that their big idea cannot work. And if that ever happens, why, Baylor faculty might be distinguishable from Dan Dennett and Sam Harris.

Either that wouldn’t be cool or cool would change.

Here’s the latest at 6:49 EST:

How should Baylor approach intelligent design research?

How should Baylor approach intelligent design research?
Encourage it
Discourage it
Support it
Prohibit it
Total Votes Cast: 398

Better keep checking in yourself here .

7:19 EST:

should Baylor approach intelligent design research?
Encourage it
Discourage it
Support it
Prohibit it

52 Replies to “Baylor Lariat asks for vote on intelligent design

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    I read the story: What a friggin soap opera!

    Bottom line;
    Baylor had a chance to be cutting edge in a field that holds tremendous promise: ID! Yet because of the secondary “God” angle, that comes from the design inference, and the ridicule they might endure from unbelievers, they tucked tail and ran away from the fight!

    Note to Lilley and Kelley, please develop some Baptist backbone!

  2. 2
    GilDodgen says:

    I just checked and the numbers are:

    Encourage it 52
    Support it 26
    Discourage it 12
    Prohibit it 5

  3. 3
    Toolbox_Tim says:

    Is this a popularity poll or will they be taking action on the poll results?


  4. 4
    Glarson24 says:

    Encourage it 75
    Support it 37
    Discourage it 23
    Prohibit it 14
    Total 149

    Looking pretty good for ID!

    Toolbox Tim – If “Encourage It” comes in #1, Dr. Dembski gets to eat at the Baylor Cafateria again!

  5. 5
    Solon says:

    Encourage it
    Support it
    Discourage it
    Prohibit it

    Look for the Darwinists to suppress this information. They hate democracy.

  6. 6
    bFast says:

    bornagain77, “Note to Lilley and Kelley, please develop some Baptist backbone!”


  7. 7
    Joseph says:

    I am encouraged by the responses to the poll! 🙂

  8. 8
    bork says:

    To be fair- these results are going to be greatly skewed.

    First of all, most Baylor students don’t read the lariat online- second, any ip can vote- so as soon as an anti-ID site links to the poll, the results will swing.

    Oh well.

  9. 9
    prhean says:

    What’s the difference between “encouraging” ID and “supporting” ID?

  10. 10
    Collin says:

    Encourage means public endorsement, while support means money for research.

  11. 11
    Toolbox_Tim says:

    Actually some anti-ID people on the Darwin forum are suggestion other anti-ID people vote “encourage”. They seem to think if Baylor allows any ID research it will back fire. Or some kind of weird logic like that.


  12. 12
    Toolbox_Tim says:

    I just thought of something and I have a question. Does Southern not allow Dr Dembski to do ID research or do they require all of his energies go exclusively to teaching theology?

    You would think Southern would embrace an ID research component and Dr Dembski is already there. Imagine the noteriety (and prestige) they would gain if Dr Dembski did some ground breaking research/work at their campus.

    The only reason I can think of that Southern would not allow Dr Dembski to do ID research there would be money. If that’s the reason I for one would donate $$ to Southern to sponsor ID research lead by Dr Dembski. I think other people would do the same.


  13. 13
    Daniel King says:

    I am annoyed by polls like this that don’t have enough choices to cover a broader range of opinions.

    Not that I would have voted differently, but it might have been more interesting if choices like “Ignore it” had been included.

    That’s what happens when you have immature, inexperienced people designing polls.

  14. 14

    Toolbox_Tim: I’m at Southwestern ( And yes, there are discussions about funding ID in the way you suggest. By the way, a fuller version of the article with more bells and whistles is at

  15. 15
    Chemfarmer says:

    Guys: I checked maybe 45 minutes ago, and the numbers were very different, like 2:1 in favor of ID. I think someone is scamming the vote system.

  16. 16
    poachy says:

    Well, I jut looked at it was about 50:50. The Darwinists say there is no controversy, but the poll speaks otherwise.

  17. 17
    magnan says:

    Toolbox_Tim: “The only reason I can think of that Southern would not allow Dr Dembski to do ID research there would be money.”

    Another reason would be fear that any such public support would bring “disrepute” to Southern. In the present intolerant academic climate this would be a valid concern.

  18. 18
    Toolbox_Tim says:

    Dr. Dembski, thanks for that update. I am not a scientist and I don’t get 50% of what is talked about but it makes sense to me to leverage ID friendly colleges and universities (like Southern) for ID related research instead of trying to convince the Darwin only schools like Baylor to make room for ID.

    I’ve read most of the ID history concerning Baylor and I’m convinced I’d rather see a school like Southern get the credit when great ID related scientific accomplishments are achieved.

    When they start seeing scientific advancements at ID friendly schools I think the Darwin only colleges will begin to open their eyes and not want to be left behind (no pun intended).

    Who knows, when ID research can get off the ground and start producing fruit maybe one day Baylor will actually *ask* you or other ID scientists to establish an ID research center.


  19. 19
    Toolbox_Tim says:

    magnan, let’s not over do the “they’re out to get me/us”

    Southern is a Christian college. No one is going to complain if they had an ID research program there. No one. No one there complained when they employed Dr Dembski at Southern.

    If you’ll recall it was the Darwinists at Baylor who brought down the ID center there. There is no Darwin department at Southern. 🙂


  20. 20
    Acquiesce says:

    Encourage it 747
    Discourage it 227
    Support it 60
    Prohibit it 35

    I just got that result when I clicked view results. Is that correct?

  21. 21
    realpc says:

    We should be allowed to vote encourage AND support.

  22. 22
    Toolbox_Tim says:

    Oops, I feel like a total dunce. I meant Southwestern (not Southern). Not sure how those wires got crossed 🙂


  23. 23
    shaner74 says:

    A little off topic, but on the subject of “weighing in”…Did anyone here the O’Reilly Radio Factor today? Judge Jones was a guest, and he was praising the recent PBS special, and saying how ID was “not science”, “not testable”, and primarily a religious movement. I felt like screaming at the one-sided, factually incorrect statements I kept hearing. O’Reilly was not there, instead a guest host was filling in, but the guy was acting as though Jones was the Second Coming. I just can’t believe the following that darwinism has after 150 years of “just so’s” and the look of surprise every time a new discovery is made.

  24. 24
    josh_matz says:

    I’m currently the webmaster for the Lariat, and yes, it seems like the votes are skewed. I’m going to try and respond to as many comments as possible here.

    @Toolbox_Tim- The poll results probably have little to no influence on Baylor’s actions. The polls are obviously not scientific enough to for an organization to use them for leverage on a certain subject.

    @bork- I have enabled blocking multiple IP votes. Not that it matters now if it’s already skewed. The reason our polls don’t block them by default is because of the way the campus Internet is run. Blocking IP addresses would block students who were unlucky enough to receive an IP address that already voted. We’re working on a way to do polls more securely.

    @Daniel King- I don’t think ignoring the subject is a possibility. It’s just not a stance that can really be taken by a Baptist university, but I see where you’re getting at.

    @Acquiesce- You’re correct in what you’re seeing, but I doubt those are actual votes. We’ll be looking into it as to whether they are or not.

    I’m not sure as to what my supervisor will have me do with the poll right now, though. We may come back to it, we may not. If we do, it will definitely include multiple IP vote blocking from the beginning.

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    Off Topic:
    Dr. Dembski in regards to your old topic on Nov. 8th:

    I Liked the Old Atheists Better

    I don’t think you would like these “old atheists” better than the new ones:

    The Cannibals of Fiji Island
    Back in the 1830’s, when the Methodist missionaries went to the Fiji Islands to convert the natives to Christianity, they were shockingly appalled by what they saw. Cannibalism, and not just minor Cannibalism but rampant Cannibalism. Human flesh was the food of choice, considered to be the choicest delicacy surpassing even lobster or steak, by the Islanders. And yes, the stories of the natives fattening up their captives before feasting on them were true. Women were the preferred choice of victims, because their meat was said to be more tender. They would fatten the “livestock” for months before binding the poor souls feet and hands to their thighs and setting them in a Bar-B-Q pit to be roasted “ALIVE”. They said the meat tasted better if the victim was cook while still alive. After Bar-B-Qing the victim, in a gesture that has spiritual overtones, They would often paint the victims face to look like one of their warriors and then set the main course on the table, like a roasted pig at a Hawaiian Luau. Then with the whole tribe, wife and kids ,Grandmas and Grandpas, aunts ,uncles and cousins all in attendance, the much yearned for feast would begin. Letters sent home by the missionaries tell of up to 50 victims being consumed in a single feast. No my friends whiskey, gambling, or were not the vices to be confronted in these nonbelievers, it was wholesale gluttony of the human flesh that was the vice to be conquered. Why they looked to such feast with as much glee as we look to Thanksgiving is a mystery of human nature that may never be fully understood. Needless to say it was a surely a sin that the missionaries must of found absolutely appalling . You can imagine the vulnerable missionaries relief when the natives started to relinquish their Cannibalistic habits as they slowly embraced Christianity. The funny thing to me, that the book I read didn’t touch on, is how in the world did the missionaries explain, and how in the world did the natives react when they brought up the fact that believers in Jesus Christ are suppose to partake of Christ body and his with the sacraments of Bread and Wine. I laugh at some of the situations I can imagine must of occurred in this most unusual of settings. It must of surely made for many strange moments.
    Based on the book “Cannibalism: Shocking True Tales” by Joseph Cummins

    No Sir Dr. Dembski, as rude as they are, I would like to at least think the new atheists will not eat us. (But now that I think about it I’m not to sure) LOL

  26. 26
    Patrick says:

    Denyse, hope you don’t mind but I added a more tag to the article so it didn’t overrun the front page.

  27. 27
    O'Leary says:

    Thanks for doing it, Patrick. I should have thought of it myself. But the tale grew in the telling … cheers, d.

  28. 28
    Solon says:

    That is a great story BA. I’d like to see a collection of your writings, in the past couple of days I have been greatly blessed by something you say and from reading the old posts.

    I too believe that all these shamans and false religions are signs that people are rebelling against God. this makes them atheist even though they claim to be worshipping parakeets or six armed androgynous demons or the moon god, they know (as the bible tells us!) deep in their heart of hearts that they need Jesus. This is the Design Inferecne in its purest form: The stamp of the creator on every heart. To worship some other religion is to deny Jesus and that makes you an atheist in my book and in God’s book.

  29. 29
    Acquiesce says:

    Well even if some managed to vote multiple times, you’d think it would equal itself out – especially now that multiple voting has been disabled. I just checked the results and encourage ID has over 4 times the votes of discourage ID. Whether or not ID is ‘science’ as we define it, we cannot deny that there is a groundswell of support for it.

    It does strike me add rather odd that ID, even if it’s not scientific, can be excluded when the theory provides the only seemingly credible explanation for information rich structures. After all, it is an empirical fact that intelligence can produce high information content. I have yet to see random changes selected in the absence of intelligence to produce high information content.

  30. 30
    jpark320 says:

    Another odd thing about ID is that at worst it is a wrong SCIENTIFIC theory.

    We can base all our arguments on science, yet ppl cont. to say its “not science.” It very well could be “bad science” (though I think its right), but def. not “not science” (bad grammar – yes I know)

    Just like that guy who came out w/ the new theory of everything, he could be wrong and but it would still be science. It’s just unbelievable that ID doesn’t even get that much…

  31. 31
    BarryA says:

    bornagain [re 27]. The cannibals were almost certainly NOT atheists. There were probably animasts of some sort.

  32. 32
    bork says:

    There does seem to be a problem there… if it is not science than it is someone’s personal views- and hence you can’t discriminate based on those views. Discrimination in beliefs in ID would be comparable to being fired for believing in aliens or holding to a particular religion.

    I don’t think many opponents to ID view ID as just a silly claim – even if they disagree with it. The loudest critics make that arguemtnt but thats because the compare ID to biblical creationists. This is their lose, and based more on an anti-religion philosophy than a pro-science one.

    I think ID is asking important questions, that can be answered scientifically. Some people are taking ID seriously enough to answer these questions- whether they agree or disagree with the implications.

  33. 33
    Solon says:

    BarryA I think the Apostle Paul disagrees with you. I suppose I will cast my lot with him. I still think that anyone who worships false gods is at heart an athiest and knows better but is in rebellion against the One True God. Animist is just another way to say One Who Denies The Existence Of The One True God. Or an atheist.

  34. 34
    Carl Sachs says:

    I’ve been thinking about this situation a good bit the past few days, and I’ve decided that as a good Peircean, the most important thing is “do not block the way of inquiry!” So yes, why not do research in intelligent design? Go ahead! I’m skeptical, sure, but show me I’m wrong.

    But, if you’re going to support or perform research in design theory, please do it for the right reasons. Do it because it’s better science than neo-Darwinism. Don’t do it because of “worldviews” or culture wars.

    The debates over materialism, atheism, nihilism — whatever other “isms” one wants to consider — are all utterly irrelevant. (Despite all the fun I have in participating in those debates.) Either ID is good science, or it isn’t. Finding out which it is the only reason it’s worth encouragement. And actually doing some ID research, seeing what happens, what new avenues of inquiry are opened up, etc. is the only way to find out whether ID is good science or not. There’s no a priori method to determining whether something will advance inquiry.

  35. 35

    Hi Acquiesce,
    “I have yet to see random changes selected in the absence of intelligence to produce high information content.”

    I don’t believe you ever will. Random changes produce only a-contextual non-informational Kolmogorov complexity (NOISE) in digitized/quantized systems (such as DNA). “Randomness” as I see it, is a uniform probability distribution over a set of possible outcomes. Non-informational K-complexity is merely a digitized (pixilated) reflection of the uniform distribution (randomness).

    While information can indeed be stored in a compressed K-complex code, such code is always specific (error correction/protection needed) and such code always corresponds to an external global context or system in which the specific code has meaning or function. “Randomness” as in random mutation, random gene duplications, random genetic drift etc.– while perfect as sources of non-specific, a-contextual, genetic noise, are perfectly worthless as sources of information (SIGNAL). IMO

  36. 36
    Matteo says:

    William Brookfield,

    Thanks for the good information-theoretic points. I’ve been thinking over the past few days that if the Darwinists are claiming creation of complex specified information through what is essentially a stochastic algorithmic process, shouldn’t they be able to cite a mathematical theorem that allows for such a thing? Curiously, neo-Darwinism seems to be the one branch of 20th-century physical science in which high level mathematics didn’t “get there first”. I guess it’s because Darwinism is so special, in a class all its own. But still, given that evolution is the longstanding Queen of the Sciences, shouldn’t its handmaid known as mathematics have caught up by now? Where is the theorem of CSI creation via stochastic algorithm? I mean, there must be one, yes? I can’t believe that Darwinists would just go off half-cocked about all this! Would they?

  37. 37
    Joseph says:

    Ignore your teeth and they will go away. Ignore ID and one day you will wake up in an ID-friendly world not knowing what happened.

    But anyway- people who would only want to “discourage it” or “prohibit it” so that their lies & misrepresentations will not be exposed. Otherwise the tactic would be to get it out in the open, openly discuss it and beat it back with data, evidence and observations.

    To Carl Sachs- you miss the point. The point being is that scientists should be allowed to come to a design inference if that is what their research warrants.

    Once a design inference is reached then science can proceed down that investigative path.

    Guillermo Gonzalez is a prime example. Here is a scientist, who was a Sagonite, but via his scientific research came to a design inference. He followed the data, evidence and observations and now he gets snubbed for his efforts.

    That sort of nonsense has to be stopped. And anyone who wants to “break out the brass knucles and steel-toed boots” to kick & beat people like GG should be committed or imprisoned.

  38. 38

    “Thanks for the good information”

    You’re welcome Matteo. I personally think Darwinists are in a psychological state of denial regarding both the existence of CSI and the profound weakness of their theory (as a theory of origins). Both Natural Selective destruction (that filters out {destroys} the unfit) and Random Mutation (that scrambles/destroys genetic information) are destruction functions. Originating/creating requires (context sensitive) construction/instruction not (context insentitive) destruction.

  39. 39
    realpc says:

    “The cannibals were almost certainly NOT atheists. There were probably animists of some sort.”

    And they probably believed in god and gods, as have all known human societies (with the exception of modern secularists). And they also probably had moral codes as strict or stricter than our own. Just very different.

    I really am not sure, but thought I had read that the of cannibalism described here is and was very rare. Most cannibalism, I thought, was part of sacred rituals.

    But in any case, it’s wrong to imply that not being Christian means being amoral and cruel, or cannibalistic. Most non-Christian societies have been and are as moral and decent as ours. And the Catholic Church did plenty of cruel things in its long history.

    I am not complaining about Christianity. Just saying it’s very wrong to assume people can’t be decent and moral unless they are Christian.

    Atheism has been extremely rare, until recently. I don’t agree at all with the philosophy of modern atheism. But I do not think modern atheists are any more likely to be immoral than believers. Maybe someone has statistics on that.

    Whether people are moral or not is probably unrelated to whether or not they believe in god, or what god they believe in.

    My reason for not being an atheist is that I think atheism is incorrect. Not because I think it’s healthier to believe in god, or better for society. You can’t convince people to believe in something they think is false. Atheists are not going to convert to Christianity because they want to stop practicing cannibalism.

  40. 40
    Solon says:

    William I am in full agreement. i think in the the darwinists world that there would be no way to even claim that knowledge is possible. it makes much more sense, and i am in full agreement with BA, that theism (the ONE True God) predicts that knowledge is possible only through the grace and mercy of an ominpotent omniscient omnipresent trinity.

    I think we should continue hammering the liberals on this point: if the universe is just mutation and selection then how can we claim knowledge is possible, since knowledge is CSI and is irreducibly complex as Dennyse has pointed out (where is it stored? Nowhere! It is not matter!!!) and if knowledge is impossible, then why are they trying to teach our children that they are just glorified reified rarefied hairless apes, so that they will go act like one and pull a columbine or something.

    Darwinism is a culture of death and i would not be surprised if most women that have abortions are darwinists or at least liberal.

  41. 41
    Carl Sachs says:

    Joseph, I don’t see how I missed the point — perhaps I phrased it poorly. I was trying to make two points there.

    Firstly, I was saying that research into design as an explanation should be encouraged. Maybe it can be shown that it’s a superior inference to the best explanation over neo-Darwinism. In any event I think that ID researchers should be welcome to try, if for no other reason that on grounds on academic freedom. Besides which, many ideas that are now part of accepted science were thought of as crazy were they were first introduced.

    Secondly, I was saying that this is the only good reason for supporting research into intelligent design. All the rest — about “liberalism” or “materialism” or “atheism” or “nihilism” — is, and ought to be, irrelevant to the central questions of whether design theory is a viable research program.

  42. 42
    Solon says:

    Carl that is only true in a vaccuum. Since it is obvious to even both sides then we very likely cannot distill the debate into the terms you wish to pertinent.

    Darwinists and liberals in general wish to be free of responsibility to God. They deny all of the scientific evidence for a designed creation so that they can continue to pursue the path of the flesh. Humans are fallible after all!!! How can we pretend as if this were not a major issue and simply focus on evidence which is already being interpreted by the establishment and teh media as saying exactly the opposite of what it truly says (the heavens give testimony to the glory of god).

  43. 43

    Hi Salon

    “I think we should continue hammering the liberals”

    Thankyou for your comments, however I am questioning Darwins theory of science. I am not taking sides wrt politics (liberal vs republican). I am not sure where I stand politically and I certainly don’t want to start “hammering” myself — nor to be “hammered” by others. Why can’t we just respectfully share our science and our philosophical thoughts instead of “hammering?”

  44. 44
    Solon says:


    I just watched a few chapters of the NOVA propaganda piece and it should be clear to anyone who is paying attention that this debate is not about the science (if it was, ID would clearly win!!!) but it is about the materialist religion attempting to subvert the public square.

    If we could ‘share’ then ID would be published in scientific journals but the darwinists will do anything they can get away with to prevent that. They know how precarious their position is! I hope the next president will make this a priority and stamp out the evil satanic influences of liberal darwinism. I have children that will be in school soon and I am seriously considering home scholing them to keep them from being indoctrinated with athiest materialism.

  45. 45

    Hi Solon,

    Sorry for spelling your name wrong on the last post.
    I share your concerns wrt materialist nihlism and I agree that the NOVA program was severely biased against ID. I just believe in being respectful toward others at all times. I consider this the best and most effective approach if we are to develop a respect-based society.

    Hi Carl Sachs,

    Thankyou for your comments. When I question materialistic nihilism I do so on the basis my study of psychology and sociology both of which are sciences. Maybe what you would like to see is the DI (or some other institute) develop a sister program that studies the effects of nihilistic philosophies on culture. These would be studies in the fields of psychology and sociology not information theory or biology. What do you think?

  46. 46
    Joseph says:

    To Carl Sachs-

    My apologies for misunderstanding your comment.

    Thanks for the clarification.

  47. 47
    bork says:

    Well, the poll has now been linked by PZ. As I pointed out in post #8, the results would swing- and have.

    No belly aching here- science isn’t a popularity contest anyway.

  48. 48
    Carl Sachs says:

    In re: (44)

    These would be studies in the fields of psychology and sociology not information theory or biology. What do you think?

    Although I have worries similar to many other contributors here about nihilism as a cultural problem, “nihilistic philosophies” have nothing to do with it except as scapegoats. It used to be Nietzsche and existentialists who were scapegoats for nihilism; now Darwin’s been added. But they are scapegoats for a complicated social, economic, and political condition whose real causes lie elsewhere.

    This is not to say that ideas don’t matter, but they don’t matter as much as we may think do. A philosophy is, as I like to think of it, “its own time captured in thought.” That’s as true of Aristotle as it is of Nietzsche. In reading Nietzsche, one encounters the problems and challenges of late 19th century European culture as refracted through the prism of a singular consciousness. (And also sometimes through the prism of what is unconscious.)

    So while I agree that nihilism is a problem, I don’t think that evaluating “nihilistic philosophies” will reveal anything about its causes. If anything, “nihilistic philosophies” — if there are any — are an effect of nihilism, not a cause.

    Then again, I’m basically a critical theorist, a social democrat, a Darwinist of some description, and a Jewish atheist. So please take whatever I say with as many grains of salt as you’d like!

  49. 49

    Darwin is looking up from below- and is very very happy.

    Us pagans don’t go to church on Sunday and have a lot more free time to vote.

    As of Sunday afternoon…

    Prohibit it 1284
    Encourage it 1077
    Discourage it 1005
    Support it 87


  50. 50
    Solon says:

    Finch are you a pagan? i will be praying for you.

    How can darwinism be anything but nihilism? jesus christ offers us hope and this is the only non-nihilistic way to live. all else is dust in the wind.

  51. 51

    Sorry. I meant to say “Us vegans don’t eat perch on Sunday.”


  52. 52
    cdesignproponentsists says:

    Sorry to hear about your job, Bill. I think an institute should be set up that represents the interests of the Intelligent Design movement. The institute would be run on grants and donations from God-fearing patrons around the world, who are interested in expanding the horizons of scientific research and using intelligent design theories to find a cure to AIDS. Instead of channeling its money into propaganda, like the atheist mainstream science machine does, this Intelligent Design institute would use grants, donations, and income from book/DVD sales to fund much awaited scientific research into finding the designer. I personally believe it will not be aliens.

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