ID falsifiable, not science, not positive, not directly testable

There was a time when people believed the moon craters were the product of intelligent design because they were so perfectly round “they must have been made by intelligent creatures living on the moon”. That idea was falsified. If hypothetically someone had said back then, “The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) made the moon craters”, the claim would have been falsifiable, but it really doesn’t make a positive case for the FSM, doesn’t make the FSM directly testable, doesn’t make the FSM science. Substitute the word “ID” instead for “FSM”, and one will see why I think even though ID is falsifiable, I don’t think ID has a positive case, and I don’t think ID is directly testable, and I don’t think ID is science at least for things like biology.

I accept stonehenge was intelligently designed because I’ve seen humans make similar artifacts. The case of design in life is a different matter because we have not seen a designer of such qualifications directly. If we saw God or some UFO sending flames down from the sky with a great voice and turning a rock into a living human, then I would consider ID a positive case at that point. For now there is no positive case, but a case based on some level of belief. One might redefine science to allow ID to be defined as science, but I prefer not to promote ID as science. I’m OK with calling ID science for man-made things, but not for God-made things, unless God shows up and gives us a visual demonstration.

NOTES:

Johannes Kepler

The invention of the telescope led scientists to ponder alien civilization. In the early 1600s, astronomer Johannes Kepler believed that because the moon’s craters were perfectly round, they must have been made by intelligent creatures.
Is Anybody Out There?

435 thoughts on “ID falsifiable, not science, not positive, not directly testable

  1. PaV:
    Adapa, I don’t know you from “Adam,” but you come across like an arrogant prig.

    Only to dumbass creationists.

    As to protofeathers, I’ve been debating that for eleven years.There really isn’t any true “protofeathers.”End of story.

    Sure you have PaV. That’s why you’re so ignorant of the scientific literature on them. Does go well with you trotting out the incredibly stupid “evolution violates the 2 LoT” though.

    To learn what?The Ptolomeic System of planetary motion?

    Basic sciences like biology, geology, physics. The things Creationists don’t understand.

    To be an evolutionary biologist, all you need is a dictionary; and then you coin new words as needed–that is, as the latest experimental findings runs counter to Darwinian expectations.

    To be a blowhard Internet Creationist all you need is a keyboard and a huge supply of made up bullshit.

  2. Patrick: This proposition makes a whole lot more sense

    This says all anyone needs to know about your critical thinking ability.

    Or else it says a whole lot about the vacuity of Darwinism.

    Until you can demonstrate how to calculate the amount of complex specified information what you wrote is literally nonsense.

    If you want to learn how to calculate CSI, then read NFL. It’s all laid out. Can it easily be applied to EVERY conceivable situation? No.

    But, again, calculate for me that trajectory of a gas molecule for one second. Use Newton’s equations; or use Hamiltonians and canonical coordinates, or Lagrangians. However you want to attack it.

    You can’t. Does this mean that all those sets of equations are meaningless or no value?

    Let’s now test your critical thinking abilities.

    Then you immediately say “there’s enough energy available for something like that to happen” is correct. You are contradicting yourself in the space of two sentences.

    This only appears that way to you since you can’t seem to handle the subtlety involved.

    There is no way to understand the claim that the second law prohibits evolution that makes it correct.

    A fine, dogmatic statement. We applaud your brilliance and insight.

    The remedy is to either provide a calculation or admit that CSI is a bogus metric.

    Another fine, dogmatic statement. Given the chemical and statistical properties of nucleotides, or amino acids, the calculation of CSI for any protein is straightforward and relevant. And, quite easy.

    Can it be applied to every possible computer program ever written? That’s a very different question.

    But what about evolutionary programs themselves? On what basis are they to be taken as proxies for actual evolution? Why are they given legitimacy, while CSI is questioned? Why don’t you question the programs.

    As I’ve mentioned many times, here and at UD, the ev programs is completely useless if you turn off the part of the program that compares generated sequences with the final sequences and restores half of the sequences to the most closely matched. Within three so-called generations the entire set of 100 sequences is almost the same. And in life, where in world do you see anything even remotely similar. Are we to just accept ev whole hog? Sorry, I’m not in that camp.

  3. PaV: Given the chemical and statistical properties of nucleotides, or amino acids, the calculation of CSI for any protein is straightforward and relevant

    Tornado in a junkyard crap over and over again. Relevant? Only to the ignorant creationist (that’s sort of redundant, but still)

  4. PaV,

    That’s a lot of bloviation but no calculation. CSI is a bogus metric.

    Given the chemical and statistical properties of nucleotides, or amino acids, the calculation of CSI for any protein is straightforward and relevant. And, quite easy.

    Prove it. Provide the detailed calculation.

    There is no way to understand the claim that the second law prohibits evolution that makes it correct.

    A fine, dogmatic statement. We applaud your brilliance and insight.

    Please provide a counterexample. You’d be the first.

    As I’ve mentioned many times, here and at UD, the ev programs is completely useless if you turn off the part of the program that compares generated sequences with the final sequences and restores half of the sequences to the most closely matched.

    If you’re referring to Tom Schneider’s ev, it’s pretty clear you don’t know how it actually works. If you’d like to discuss it further, please create an OP and I’ll join you there.

  5. dazz: Relevant? Only to the ignorant creationist (that’s sort of redundant, but still)

    Is that all you can do? Insult someone? Is that how arguments are won?

  6. Patrick: Prove it. Provide the detailed calculation

    This is just like three or four years ago. It can all be found in NFL.

    Please provide a counterexample. You’d be the first.

    When using the equations of thermodynamics, the very same quantity must be used consistently throughout. You cannot “mix” energy with amino acids. Simple as that. So, as I’ve already mentioned, this can be used to show that all the energy in world doesn’t tell you one wit about how, or in what way, an amino acid sequence can be constructed. But this is, IMO, a weaker argument than just cranking out the improbability of any one essential protein. This is what Hoyle, an atheist did for cytochrome c.

    To those who want to see, things come into focus; for those who don’t want to see, all is darkness.

    If you’re referring to Tom Schneider’s ev, it’s pretty clear you don’t know how it actually works. If you’d like to discuss it further, please create an OP and I’ll join you there.

    Now this is ‘bloviating.’

  7. PaV: .But this is, IMO, a weaker argument than just cranking out the improbability of any one essential protein.This is what Hoyle, an atheist did for cytochrome c.

    Hopefully, you understand that the “specific protein” argument is a Texas sharpshooter fallacy. I would imagine that, given the various paths life COULD have taken, the possible number of “essential proteins” is enormous. You are confusing the probability of getting THIS bridge hand (extremely small) with the probability of getting A bridge hand (happens with every deal).

    To those who want to see, things come into focus; for those who don’t want to see, all is darkness.

    This is as blindingly true as it is blindingly ironic.

  8. PaV: Is that all you can do? Insult someone? Is that how arguments are won?

    You are in “The Skeptical Zone.” Does that answer your question?

  9. dazz: Tornado in a junkyard crap over and over again. Relevant? Only to the ignorant creationist (that’s sort of redundant, but still)

    This is precisely the sort of discussion that ought to be encouraged here at TSZ! You are awarded one LizzieStar!

  10. Patrick: If you’re referring to Tom Schneider’s ev, it’s pretty clear you don’t know how it actually works. If you’d like to discuss it further, please create an OP and I’ll join you there.

    Oh good. So you finally actually studied the source code? Please start an OP and admit how wrong you were when you were arguing about it over at UD.

    I’ve been asking Richardthughes or one of his fans to start a thread on GA’s. Will you be the one?

  11. PaV,

    Patrick: Prove it. Provide the detailed calculation

    This is just like three or four years ago. It can all be found in NFL.

    You said “Given the chemical and statistical properties of nucleotides, or amino acids, the calculation of CSI for any protein is straightforward and relevant. And, quite easy.”

    Prove it.

    Please provide a counterexample. You’d be the first.

    When using the equations of thermodynamics, the very same quantity must be used consistently throughout. You cannot “mix” energy with amino acids. Simple as that. So, as I’ve already mentioned, this can be used to show that all the energy in world doesn’t tell you one wit about how, or in what way, an amino acid sequence can be constructed.

    No, but it does show that the second law does not prohibit such reactions. Some creationists, including the intelligent design variant, argue otherwise. They are wrong.

    But this is, IMO, a weaker argument than just cranking out the improbability of any one essential protein. This is what Hoyle, an atheist did for cytochrome c.

    Got a cite for that?

    If you’re referring to Tom Schneider’s ev, it’s pretty clear you don’t know how it actually works. If you’d like to discuss it further, please create an OP and I’ll join you there.

    Now this is ‘bloviating.’

    No, it’s a challenge. You up for it?

  12. Mung,

    Patrick: If you’re referring to Tom Schneider’s ev, it’s pretty clear you don’t know how it actually works. If you’d like to discuss it further, please create an OP and I’ll join you there.

    Oh good. So you finally actually studied the source code? Please start an OP and admit how wrong you were when you were arguing about it over at UD.

    I understand ev quite well and have not made any inaccurate statements about it at UD or elsewhere. If you disagree, support your claim with actual references.

  13. Patrick,

    You seem to love the word “prove.” So, please “prove” common descent. Don’t just posit it, or allege it, or suggest it. Prove it.

    Prove that “common descent with modification” leads to the “origin of species.” Prove it. Did Darwin prove it?

    As to the “ev” program, I analyzed it quite a bit, and came to the same conclusion that Dembski and Ewert (?) did. They wrote a paper about it. Wish I had found it before I spent so much time with ev. I ran the program many times on my computer, and I assure you that if you don’t have what Schneider says is equivalent to NS, nothing happens. There is in no way any correspondence between how “NS” works in “ev,” and how NS works in real life.

    As to the 2nd Law, strictly speaking it may not prohibit evolution. But common sense does. Order does not arise out of randomness except in chaotic systems, a very real, but inapplicable analogy.

    Nucleotides and amino acids are basically interchangeable statistically. Nature only shows slight preferences, but preferences that can be handled mathematically. Do the numbers—Sir Fred Hoyle, astrophysicist extraordinaire did—and, really, as in the case of the knighted Hoyle, it is the “end of the story,” as they say.

  14. Patrick: I understand ev quite well and have not made any inaccurate statements about it at UD or elsewhere. If you disagree, support your claim with actual references.

    If this is true, then tell us exactly how the NS function works. What is the effect of it on the population? How quickly does it tend to populate the next generation with the sequences having the highest score?

  15. Patrick:

    One more “proof”:

    Prove that Schneider’s “ev” program really emulates biological reality. Are you up to it?

  16. PaV: Prove that Schneider’s “ev” program really emulates biological reality. Are you up to it?

    Find someone who has claimed that ev “really emulates biological reality.”

    Prove that someone has made that claim.

  17. PaV:

    As to the 2nd Law, strictly speaking it may not prohibit evolution.But common sense does.Order does not arise out of randomness except in chaotic systems, a very real, but inapplicable analogy.

    Hey PaV, how to endothermic chemical reactions work? Do such reactions violate the 2LoT?

  18. PaV,

    You seem to love the word “prove.” So, please “prove” common descent. Don’t just posit it, or allege it, or suggest it. Prove it.

    If I make a claim about that topic, I will certainly support it.

    However, I’m not the one making the claim here, you are. You keep cutting it out of your responses, so here it is again:

    Given the chemical and statistical properties of nucleotides, or amino acids, the calculation of CSI for any protein is straightforward and relevant. And, quite easy.

    Let’s see your calculation.

    As to the “ev” program, I analyzed it quite a bit, and came to the same conclusion that Dembski and Ewert (?) did. They wrote a paper about it. Wish I had found it before I spent so much time with ev. I ran the program many times on my computer, and I assure you that if you don’t have what Schneider says is equivalent to NS, nothing happens. There is in no way any correspondence between how “NS” works in “ev,” and how NS works in real life.

    Ah, well then, we can just take your bald assertion at face value.

    You need to provide some details to support your claims.

    As to the 2nd Law, strictly speaking it may not prohibit evolution.

    Exactly. Yet some creationists, including ID creationists, claim that it does. I look forward to you disabusing them of that misconception the next time it arises at UD.

    But common sense does. Order does not arise out of randomness except in chaotic systems, a very real, but inapplicable analogy.

    Nice argument from incredulity you got there. Not convincing, but easy to parrot.

  19. Flint: Hopefully, you understand that the “specific protein” argument is a Texas sharpshooter fallacy. I would imagine that, given the various paths life COULD have taken, the possible number of “essential proteins” is enormous. You are confusing the probability of getting THIS bridge hand (extremely small) with the probability of getting A bridge hand (happens with every deal).

    I’m afraid you’re forgetting one simple fact: that if you want a “winning” bridge hand, that’s different than ANY bridge hand; and in biology, not ANY sequence will do. It must be “functional.”

    OTOH, maybe this is hard to see.

  20. Patrick:

    CSI is a bogus metric.

    Though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it bogus, I’m backing you on the demand to see IDists who swear by it, provide some calculations.

    I argue CSI is too cumbersome to be of much use to the ID community in its various forms. I wish IDists would de-emphasize CSI arguments if they can’t put forward some reasonable numbers.

    Your demand for some examples of calculations is quite reasonable.

    Though we disagree a lot, Patrick, I’m backing you up on your criticism of CSI. I’ve got your six.

  21. PaV: You only demand it of others.

    So you respond to requests for proof for your own claims by asking for proof of something of your choosing in return? Why? What then? If you get what you ask, will you provide what you’ve claimed you can provide? If not, what’s the point? If so, why not just provide it?

  22. PaV: So you’ve decided to “prove” nothing. You only demand it of others.

    I think when you oppose the establishment, you have a tougher row to hoe.

    That’s the way life is.

  23. According to you, PaV, “the calculation of CSI for any protein is straightforward and… quite easy.” Me, I’d been under the impression that the “CSI” thingie promoted by ID-pushers was incoherent and ill-defined, and if I’m right about that, calculating ID-style CSI would be anything but “straightforward and… quite easy”.

    But okay, I could be wrong; you could be absolutely right that calculating ID-style CSI “for any protein” is, indeed, “straightforward and… quite easy”. So… could you please calculate the ID-style CSI of hemoglobin? I would think that if such a calculation is “straightforward and… quite easy”, as you say, it shouldn’t be terribly difficult for you to actually, you know, do that calculation. Or, if someone else has already done that calculation, could you please give me a pointer to said calculation, preferably one which shows the working-out of that calculation as well as just its end result?

  24. PaV:

    Given the chemical and statistical properties of nucleotides, or amino acids, the calculation of CSI for any protein is straightforward and relevant. And, quite easy.

    Patrick:

    Let’s see your calculation.

    cubist:

    So… could you please calculate the ID-style CSI of hemoglobin? I would think that if such a calculation is “straightforward and… quite easy”, as you say, it shouldn’t be terribly difficult for you to actually, you know, do that calculation. Or, if someone else has already done that calculation, could you please give me a pointer to said calculation, preferably one which shows the working-out of that calculation as well as just its end result?

    Thirded.

  25. keiths:
    PaV:

    Patrick:

    cubist:

    Thirded.

    I would also like to see this calculation.

    I’m reminded of the response of a bureaucrat, when someone in the DoD plunked down a 2-foot stack of printouts and said “our calculations show we need 37 more jets to win WWIII over Europe.” He also said “let’s see your calculations, and especially the assumptions they are based on.”

  26. One would think, if CSI was so big, that an army of eminent ID researchers would be working shifts with the best supercomputers in the world to keep calculating the CSI in all sort of stuff to identify the work of the Designer… then maybe crosscheck with the Bible for independent lines of evidence:

    Logarithm base two of the inverse of the probability that a snake talks equals (drum roll)…. gazillions of information!!!!1!!!! Praise the lawd!

  27. PaV: If you want to learn how to calculate CSI, then read NFL. It’s all laid out. Can it easily be applied to EVERY conceivable situation? No.

    I agree with you (and disagree with most others here) that CSI is not a bogus concept. We can calculate quantities like “functional information” in simple models.

    But there is a quandary that No Free Lunch does not solve. I am delighted to hear that you know how to help us understand how to calculate CSI. Then you will be able to answer this question:

    Dembski in his writings of 2005 and later (particularly in Specification: The Pattern that Signified Intelligence makes clear that to calculate Specified Complexity (a numerical counterpart to CSI) you have to calculate the probability that a value of specified information that is larger than his threshold would arise owing to natural evolutionary forces such as natural selection, mutation, migration, and genetic drift. In No Free Lunch he does not say how to do this. Since you say that

    Given the chemical and statistical properties of nucleotides, or amino acids, the calculation of CSI for any protein is straightforward and relevant. And, quite easy.

    you must be able to calculate from those properties the probability that the relevant degree of functional information arises by natural forces such as natural selection. How is that to be done? I really would appreciate any pointers. It’s not in No Free Lunch as far as I can see. If it is, in which chapter and section is it?

  28. PaV: I’m afraid you’re forgetting one simple fact: that if you want a “winning” bridge hand, that’s different than ANY bridge hand; and in biology, not ANY sequence will do.It must be “functional.”

    Yep. So the question becomes, just how common are “functional” sequences? Creationists tend to presume that “functional” sequences are very rare indeed. And while they generally don’t say as much in so many words, their argumentation is often built around an unstated presumption that there is only one sequence that’s capable of coding for any given “function”.

    This unstated presumption is, not to mince words, utter bullshit.

    Nucleotide sequences are built out of adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine (A, C, G, and T for short). Put three nucleotides together, and that’s a “codon”; a codon can be anything from AAA, AAC, AAG, AAT… up to …TTA, TTC, TTG, TTT. With four choices for each of the three positions in a codon, it works out that there are 64 different codons.

    With me so far, PaV?

    So. 64 different codons. In principle, each codon could generate a unique amino acid; if that were so, there could be 64 different amino acids. But in reality, there’s only, like, 20 or so different amino acids, which means there’s about 3 codons for every amino acid. Which, in turn, means there’s plenty of room for different codons to yield the same amino acid. And, sure enough, if you look at the genetic code, you can see that there are a number of amino acids which are, indeed, coded for by more than one codon.

    Again: Are you with me so far, PaV?

    Given that there is, on average, about three codons per amino acid, it follows that one could make a naive estimate of the number of different nucleotide sequences which yield one particular amino acid sequence by counting the number of codons in the relevant nucleotide sequence, and raising 3 to that number.

    For a 100-codon nucleotide sequence, therefore, the naive estimate would be (3^100 =) about 5.15E47 different nucleotide sequences which all yield exactly the same amino acid sequence. To be sure, this is, indeed, a naive estimate, because some amino acids aren’t coded for by more than one codon. But by that same token, some amino acids are coded for by as many as six different codons! So I’m pretty comfortable with saying that (3 ^ [number of codons]) is a reasonable first approximation of the total number of distinct nucleotide sequences which code for a particular amino acid sequence.

    Do you see why it’s utter bullshit to presume that one and only one nucleotide sequence is capable of coding for a particular “function”, PaV?

  29. The issue is not so much how rare a high degree of functionality is among randomly produced amino acid sequences, as might be produced by mutation alone. That is what Hazen’s “functional information” measures. But to use that as a criterion for showing that Design is present, one needs also to show that natural selection cannot get you to that level of function.

    In No Free Lunch Dembski had a Law of Conservation of Complex Specified Information that was supposed to show that natural selection (and other natural evolutionary forces) could not do the job. Alas, that argument doesn’t work, as a number of people have pointed out.

    In 2005 the LCCSI disappeared and a clarified definition of Specified Complexity appeared which added to the functional information the condition that the it also has to be true that attainment of that level of function was highly improbable by natural evolutionary forces. Which solved the problem, but required us to prove something that we don’t know how to do. Nor did Dembski.

  30. The reason I back Patrick in the demand for calculating CSI is illustrated with a somewhat pointed disagreement between Winston Ewert and I on a trivial example.

    In my example, I said the CSI value (Version 1 CSI) was 2000 bits, Winston said 0 bits, and all the other ID proponents had some number in between! This a horrible situation. The scenario is this:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/computer-science/nuances-in-understanding-nfl-theorems-some-pathological-counterexamples/#comment-480551

    Consider a robot whose sole mission is to take existing materials and build Rube Gold machines.

    In principle, this robot can build something far more complex than itself. That is to say, the final CSI doesn’t have to be as intelligent as the robot, but it could have more interlocking parts than the robot. The only task of such Rube Goldberg machines might be to turn on a light. But if the robot builds enough of them with sufficient variety, then there will be more CSI in the end than what we started with. At the very least, the CSI of the Robot combined with the CSI of the Rube Goldberg machines it builds is greater CSI than the initial CSI the Robot by itself before it started on its task.

    We see small illustrations with this if we start out with a small population of beavers. Let them loose, let them multiply, and CSI will increase as they build more and more Dams. Or how about Bees with honeycombs? But what matters is not the quantity of CSI, it is the quality. Building more honeycombs (and hence more CSI) is not the sort of CSI that the ID/Evolution debate is really interested in. Unfortunately the NFL theorems do not distinguish quality of CSI from quantity.

    For that matter, take a robot in a room full of coins that have random heads-tail configurations. The robot orders them all heads. The final CSI inside the room (the Robot’s CSI plus the coin’s CSI) is now greater than what we began with!
    Be careful using NFL arguments to defend ID.

    I’ve now changed my mind. Don’t use NFL/CSI at all!

    in a related thread
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/computer-science/nuances-in-understanding-nfl-theorems-some-pathological-counterexamples/#comment-480551

    The point being that it is nonsense to talk about the CSI in an outcome. It depends on the target and the chance hypothesis you are assuming which underlies it. Demski’s own formula makes that clear. Your example makes the point rather nicely.

    Mark Frank

    One is free to define CSI, but I found it totally adding confusion factors that were unnecessary. If one has to do probability calculations or distance form expected results to calculate CSI, then the fundamental issue is conceiving of how to calculate probability in the first place, not CSI!

    If one can calculate the probabilities, why does one need CSI at all! It’s totally superfluous, and is actually harmful by adding more opportunity for error, confusion, misunderstanding and obfuscation.

    Additiononally:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/computer-science/rube-goldberg-complexity-increase-in-thermodynamically-closed-systems/

    A thermodynamically closed system that is far from equilibrium can increase the amount of physical design provided it is either front loaded or has an intelligent agent (like a human) within it.

    A simple example: A human on a large nuclear powered space ship can write software and compose music or many other designs. The space ship is closed but far from equilibrium. But complexity can still increase because of the human intelligent agent.

    Consider then a robot whose sole purpose is to make other robots like it or even unlike it in a similarly thermodynamically closed system. It can do this provided the software is front loaded into the robot.

    Can the robot make something more irreducibly complex than itself in such a thermodynamically closed environment? I’d say, “YES”, but in a qualified way, it can evolve it provided that it is front loaded with the goal of making robots with more IC than itself.

    Simple illustration, write a piece of software that can duplicate itself, it then essentially a software robot. Make the software such that each generation of software must go through a useless Rube Goldberg ritual like processing a set of randomly generated short passwords (say 3 characters). What do I mean? The first generation would look like:

    String password_1 = “ABC”;

    if ( password_1.equals( “ABC” ) ) {
    // proceed with replication….
    }

    With each generation, the robot lineage is pre-programmed to make each offspring increase the number of passwords it must make in order to procreate. Generation 2 would have software like:

    String password_1 = “ABC”;
    String password_2 = “123”;

    if ( password_1.equals( “ABC”)
    && password_2.equals (“123”)
    )

    {
    // proceed with replication….

    }

    Again this addition of useless complexity to each generation. By useless, I mean Rube Goldberg complexity.

    Thus by the millionth generation, the robot must process a million passwords in order to procreate the next generation, whereas the first generation only had to process 1 password.

    The irreducible complexity in the robot is substantially higher than the first generation. One can see this could be analogous to increase in IC in biology if the strategy of increasing Rube Goldberg complexity was a front loaded goal.

    Do I believe this is how complexity evolved on the Earth? Not most of it, maybe some of it at best. I believe genetic entropy dominates, but I just put this idea on the table for consideration.

    NOTES
    I use the definition of closed systems from
    http://www.bluffton.edu/~bergerd/nsc_111/thermo2.html

    Arrington sent me packing 12 days after I posted that.

    NOTES:

    I made a mistake in saying the space ship is thermodynamically closed since it can radiate heat, but we can imagine a situation where a system can’t radiate heat and the example will still hold!

  31. Behe seems to understand that evolution can produce most functional code.

    He only goes over the Edge when he sees a roadblock. A place in history where it seems as if a detrimental step stands in the way. He has trouble citing examples, and no one else sees his given examples as actual barriers.

  32. Behe seems to understand that evolution can produce most functional code.

    Common descent is not a barrier in principle to evolving new function, even IC.

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