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A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
#26

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(02-20-2023, 12:34 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:
(02-20-2023, 11:26 AM)Cavebear Wrote: Feeling slightly curious, I looked up "god is incomprehensible".  I got this:


   "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. (Ps. 145:3)

   Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand? (Job 26:14)

   For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa. 55:8–9)

   Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" (Rom. 11:33–34; cf. Job 42:1–6; Ps. 139:6, 17–18; 147:5; Isa. 57:15; 1 Cor. 2:10–11; 1 Tim. 6:13–16).

I have to laugh at this nonsense, but there are people who actually live and breathe this nonsense.  

Just yesterday, I read in The Washington Post about some religious school where the children have spent 2 weeks singing and praying to their god (which specific version was not specified) in order to (as I understand it) solve all mankind's problems.  Good for them.  But I wonder if they will ever understand fractions, history, or that the universe wasn't created in 4004 BC.

On a more practical level, how will they ever get a real job?  Well, they can probably flip burgers at McDonalds...  Sadly, they will most likely just learn how to make more of themselves.

Their gods are omniscient.
Before anyone prays, they already know if there will be sufficient whining and subservience to grant the request.
Even the very most religious call 911. They don't just pray.

Actually (and so very sadly) there are some people who really do just pray.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/sick-...12461.html
Never argue with people who type fast and have too much time on their hands...
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#27

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
The notion that "prayer changes things" combined with "cast all your cares upon [god]" produce a number of interesting effects.

For example my still-evangelical brother, age 79, told me his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a radical mastectomy on one side in December. After that, the genetic tissue analysis revealed it was a type of cancer where there was a 20% chance it has already metastasized, so the doctors recommend 3 months of chemo to reduce that down to about 2%.

They are proceeding with this later this week. Aside from the question of whether I'd want to be puking my guts out for 3 months at that age, lose my hair, etc., just to improve some already pretty good odds when I probably only have a few years to live anyway, it is obvious that they believe this medical intervention is necessary, despite their access to ample prayers, aside even from their own, and that they fear the fact of their own mortality enough to go to great lengths in their final years to gain a few months or years on this mortal coil (although paradoxically the stress to her system may actually shorten the time for all we know).

And YET when I suggested that he should be very careful about masking and distancing and hand washing and so forth, as his wife's immune system will be basically out to lunch, and Covid or even a good cold could be very dangerous, his response was, "we tend not to worry about tomorrow until it gets here, but thanks for the advice". I can guarantee they will take no particular precautions, the [grand]kids will be in and out to help, runny noses and all, but ya know, god is in control so nothing to worry about.

This kind of "thinking" is so incoherent it's hard for me to really get my mind around it anymore.

Even apart from religious ideation I have been very disappointed in humanity these past few months for their herd mentality and selfishness and willful ignorance and delusional thinking around such matters; but to conflate taking reasonable precautions in your rational self-interest as the sin of "worry" is a special kind of stupid. I told him that having taken those steps, knowing you had done what you can, would render worry superfluous, and that on the contrary it should worry him that he wasn't doing everything he could to protect his wife. But I'm sure that sounded to him like "blah blah blah". Because gawd is in control, and all that jazz.
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#28

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(02-21-2023, 12:18 AM)mordant Wrote: The notion that "prayer changes things" combined with "cast all your cares upon [god]" produce a number of interesting effects.

For example my still-evangelical brother, age 79, told me his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a radical mastectomy on one side in December. After that, the genetic tissue analysis revealed it was a type of cancer where there was a 20% chance it has already metastasized, so the doctors recommend 3 months of chemo to reduce that down to about 2%.

They are proceeding with this later this week. Aside from the question of whether I'd want to be puking my guts out for 3 months at that age, lose my hair, etc., just to improve some already pretty good odds when I probably only have a few years to live anyway, it is obvious that they believe this medical intervention is necessary, despite their access to ample prayers, aside even from their own, and that they fear the fact of their own mortality enough to go to great lengths in their final years to gain a few months or years on this mortal coil (although paradoxically the stress to her system may actually shorten the time for all we know).

And YET when I suggested that he should be very careful about masking and distancing and hand washing and so forth, as his wife's immune system will be basically out to lunch, and Covid or even a good cold could be very dangerous, his response was, "we tend not to worry about tomorrow until it gets here, but thanks for the advice". I can guarantee they will take no particular precautions, the [grand]kids will be in and out to help, runny noses and all, but ya know, god is in control so nothing to worry about.

This kind of "thinking" is so incoherent it's hard for me to really get my mind around it anymore.

Even apart from religious ideation I have been very disappointed in humanity these past few months for their herd mentality and selfishness and willful ignorance and delusional thinking around such matters; but to conflate taking reasonable precautions in your rational self-interest as the sin of "worry" is a special kind of stupid. I told him that having taken those steps, knowing you had done what you can, would render worry superfluous, and that on the contrary it should worry him that he wasn't doing everything he could to protect his wife. But I'm sure that sounded to him like "blah blah blah". Because gawd is in control, and all that jazz.

Prayers or no prayers, if I get cancer or something like that, I am most certainly not going to seek treatment. I have better things to do with my life than spend two years feeling miserable in sterile places. I'd rather spend one year living the way I like than two being tortured.

But to seek treatment and then not take precautions about catching viri is just plain nuts!
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#29

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(02-21-2023, 01:31 AM)Dom Wrote:
(02-21-2023, 12:18 AM)mordant Wrote: The notion that "prayer changes things" combined with "cast all your cares upon [god]" produce a number of interesting effects.

For example my still-evangelical brother, age 79, told me his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a radical mastectomy on one side in December. After that, the genetic tissue analysis revealed it was a type of cancer where there was a 20% chance it has already metastasized, so the doctors recommend 3 months of chemo to reduce that down to about 2%.

They are proceeding with this later this week. Aside from the question of whether I'd want to be puking my guts out for 3 months at that age, lose my hair, etc., just to improve some already pretty good odds when I probably only have a few years to live anyway, it is obvious that they believe this medical intervention is necessary, despite their access to ample prayers, aside even from their own, and that they fear the fact of their own mortality enough to go to great lengths in their final years to gain a few months or years on this mortal coil (although paradoxically the stress to her system may actually shorten the time for all we know).

And YET when I suggested that he should be very careful about masking and distancing and hand washing and so forth, as his wife's immune system will be basically out to lunch, and Covid or even a good cold could be very dangerous, his response was, "we tend not to worry about tomorrow until it gets here, but thanks for the advice". I can guarantee they will take no particular precautions, the [grand]kids will be in and out to help, runny noses and all, but ya know, god is in control so nothing to worry about.

This kind of "thinking" is so incoherent it's hard for me to really get my mind around it anymore.

Even apart from religious ideation I have been very disappointed in humanity these past few months for their herd mentality and selfishness and willful ignorance and delusional thinking around such matters; but to conflate taking reasonable precautions in your rational self-interest as the sin of "worry" is a special kind of stupid. I told him that having taken those steps, knowing you had done what you can, would render worry superfluous, and that on the contrary it should worry him that he wasn't doing everything he could to protect his wife. But I'm sure that sounded to him like "blah blah blah". Because gawd is in control, and all that jazz.

Prayers or no prayers, if I get cancer or something like that, I am most certainly not going to seek treatment. I have better things to do with my life than spend two years feeling miserable in sterile places. I'd rather spend one year living the way I like than two being tortured.

But to seek treatment and then not take precautions about catching viri is just plain nuts!

Or don't seek medical treatment.*

inshallah.

*I would suggest seeking a medical professionals advice
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#30

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(02-21-2023, 01:31 AM)Dom Wrote:
(02-21-2023, 12:18 AM)mordant Wrote: The notion that "prayer changes things" combined with "cast all your cares upon [god]" produce a number of interesting effects.

For example my still-evangelical brother, age 79, told me his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a radical mastectomy on one side in December. After that, the genetic tissue analysis revealed it was a type of cancer where there was a 20% chance it has already metastasized, so the doctors recommend 3 months of chemo to reduce that down to about 2%.

They are proceeding with this later this week. Aside from the question of whether I'd want to be puking my guts out for 3 months at that age, lose my hair, etc., just to improve some already pretty good odds when I probably only have a few years to live anyway, it is obvious that they believe this medical intervention is necessary, despite their access to ample prayers, aside even from their own, and that they fear the fact of their own mortality enough to go to great lengths in their final years to gain a few months or years on this mortal coil (although paradoxically the stress to her system may actually shorten the time for all we know).

And YET when I suggested that he should be very careful about masking and distancing and hand washing and so forth, as his wife's immune system will be basically out to lunch, and Covid or even a good cold could be very dangerous, his response was, "we tend not to worry about tomorrow until it gets here, but thanks for the advice". I can guarantee they will take no particular precautions, the [grand]kids will be in and out to help, runny noses and all, but ya know, god is in control so nothing to worry about.

This kind of "thinking" is so incoherent it's hard for me to really get my mind around it anymore.

Even apart from religious ideation I have been very disappointed in humanity these past few months for their herd mentality and selfishness and willful ignorance and delusional thinking around such matters; but to conflate taking reasonable precautions in your rational self-interest as the sin of "worry" is a special kind of stupid. I told him that having taken those steps, knowing you had done what you can, would render worry superfluous, and that on the contrary it should worry him that he wasn't doing everything he could to protect his wife. But I'm sure that sounded to him like "blah blah blah". Because gawd is in control, and all that jazz.

Prayers or no prayers, if I get cancer or something like that, I am most certainly not going to seek treatment. I have better things to do with my life than spend two years feeling miserable in sterile places. I'd rather spend one year living the way I like than two being tortured.

But to seek treatment and then not take precautions about catching viri is just plain nuts!

There are some cancer treatments that are very successful.
Never argue with people who type fast and have too much time on their hands...
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#31

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(02-26-2023, 07:10 AM)Cavebear Wrote:
(02-21-2023, 01:31 AM)Dom Wrote: Prayers or no prayers, if I get cancer or something like that, I am most certainly not going to seek treatment. I have better things to do with my life than spend two years feeling miserable in sterile places. I'd rather spend one year living the way I like than two being tortured.

But to seek treatment and then not take precautions about catching viri is just plain nuts!

There are some cancer treatments that are very successful.

It has to do with age and life expectancy. 10 years ago I might have decided differently. How many years do I have left? How long would I have to spend in medical facilities? (I hate those sterile places) How much time would that buy? What is my quality of life in either case?

It's simple math and also preference as to how to spend one's time. After going through half a dozen operations and a year off and on in hospitals with my husband, which bought him half a year, I don't want to do it. He lost and suffered greatly for a year and gained 6 months. Makes no sense. There are many successful and some reasonably fast treatments for various cancers for people with a reasonable life expectancy. There comes a time when you just wonder if it's worth it.

I have outlived all my friends and family except for one. It is reasonable to expect that my time left with a decent life quality is limited. I am going to spend that time any way I want. And I want to keep on the way I am, it is reasonable to expect that I can and I like my life. My brain works perfectly fine, and that is most important to me. Due to physical limitations one's world shrinks considerably when one gets old. The internet opens up another venue to stay connected to the world. I am enjoying it.

I would choose either in-home hospice or death with dignity when the time comes.

That said, if I did choose treatment, I'd damn well expect people around me to wear masks and be careful about my exposure to infections.
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#32

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(02-20-2023, 04:53 AM)Cavebear Wrote:
(02-18-2023, 04:12 PM)TinyDave Wrote: The question to be asked is, is there a reason why medical intervention supplants prayer on its own.
If prayer was sufficient to cure all ills why would you go to a doctor?

Doctors often consider themselves dieties.  And, since they do do save lives, perhaps they consider it a fair competition for the title.  Wink

After all, surgeons replace organs routinely these days.  I don't recall "GOD" during that recently.  LOL!

In nursing we have a particular joke.

What's the difference between God and a surgeon?
God doesn't think he's a surgeon.
The whole point of having cake is to eat it Cake_Feast
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#33

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
Not all treatment is geared toward prolonging life. Even if you choose not to have invasive treatment, there are things that a doctor can do to make your remaining time and passing less difficult.
Mountain-high though the difficulties appear, terrible and gloomy though all things seem, they are but Mâyâ.
Fear not — it is banished. Crush it, and it vanishes. Stamp upon it, and it dies.


Vivekananda
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#34

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(02-26-2023, 04:10 PM)adey67 Wrote:
(02-20-2023, 04:53 AM)Cavebear Wrote: Doctors often consider themselves dieties.  And, since they do do save lives, perhaps they consider it a fair competition for the title.  Wink

After all, surgeons replace organs routinely these days.  I don't recall "GOD" during that recently.  LOL!

In nursing we have a particular joke.

What's the difference between God and a surgeon?
God doesn't think he's a surgeon.

Why not? He made a whole man from dirt and whole women from a rib. Right? I'll even grant you that might have been an improvement.
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#35

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(02-26-2023, 04:14 PM)Dānu Wrote: Not all treatment is geared toward prolonging life.  Even if you choose not to have invasive treatment, there are things that a doctor can do to make your remaining time and passing less difficult.

That would be the in-home hospice option, which is on the table.
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#36

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
While man has free will, he will continue to muck up. Only if free will was limited would we stand a chance.
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#37

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(03-06-2023, 06:10 PM)carusmm Wrote: While man has free will, he will continue to muck up. Only if free will was limited would we stand a chance.

I think you may be the nuttiest one we have had here yet.
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#38

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(03-06-2023, 06:10 PM)carusmm Wrote: While man has free will, he will continue to muck up. Only if free will was limited would we stand a chance.

There is no new truth under the sun.
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#39

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(02-18-2023, 09:42 AM)airportkid Wrote: Poiint 1.

In every case, any prayer if actually granted by some god would turn molecules out of their natural course.  That's the point of prayer:  to get an outcome that wouldn't otherwise take place, and at the molecular level would displace molecules out of the paths and bonds they'd naturally follow.  If something like that actually happened, there'd be an enormous repercussion.  Science would be impossible.

Science depends on nature functioning without random interventions.  Put random interventions into play and ir'd be impossible to derive the laws that nature follows.  You'd set up a controlled study with all the variables accounted for and no matter what you did you'd get statistically meaningless results.  I've always been amused at the studies that claimed to have controlled for prayer.  Nobody prayed for the subject, they report.  But that's impossible to ascertain.  Over on another continent someone just prayed for an end to all suffering.  Nobody told that person to hold off on making such a prayer.  Millions around the world make prayers like that every minute.

Prayer doesn't work (fortunately), so science can proceed to map the course of nature with high confidence that some well-meaning believer on the other side of the planet can't muck up the experiments by causing random interventions.

Sheer statistics DO guarantee that some prayers will appear to have been granted.  A cancer goes into spontaneous remission.  A lost human appendage fully regenerates.  A malevolent moron winds up in a position of political leadership.  5 out of 5000 people in a village in the USA make it to age 40 without having gotten shot.  But that's only because the range of possible things prayed for is infinite and coincidences are a statistical certainty.
Not being a chemist myself, but don't we all change the course of molecules when we mix them together, heat them, cook them, blow them up? When Jesus turned water into wine, the wine was quantifiable and drinkable. Nothing random there. Some people at the place where He turned water into wine did a controlled study of it and concluded "but you have kept the good wine until now" (John 2:10). And there was an enormous repercussion, "and His disciples believed in Him" (John 2:11).

But that doesn't regard prayer. You say prayer doesn't work and use material things as an example. But what about prayer that might affect the heart or mind of someone? I think that is more what Jesus was talking about in John 14:13, "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. I don't think He would grant two requests that conflict with one another or cause confusion. He is not the God of confusion.

I see the humor in what you are saying though, if something like that were possible.
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#40

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(04-06-2023, 03:10 PM)bluewater Wrote: ... don't we all change the course of molecules when we mix them together, heat them, cook them, blow them up?

We alter the trajectory and acceleration of molecules everywhere all the time constantly, but at no time do we deflect matter outside its natural course.  Any shifted molecule was shifted in accordance with natural law.

When we're able to alter matter to our favor, we do it, or try to do it.  Our understanding of natural law guides us in making the alterations, since any alteration will follow natural law.

It's when we don't know how to achieve an alteration to our favor that we implore a god to do the altering for us, often recognizing that the alteration we want would, if it took place, most likely be outside of natural law (supernatural).  If making those requests actually produced the effects asked for, using science to identify natural laws would be impossible.  It would mean alterations take place whose cause is arbitrary to the point that no natural laws of any kind could be derived.
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#41

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(04-06-2023, 05:42 PM)airportkid Wrote: If making those requests actually produced the effects asked for, using science to identify natural laws would be impossible. 

That does not follow.

God could alter the trajectory of molecules by natural law. The one praying to God does not specify to Him how He should (or even if He should) accomplish the request, whether naturally or supernaturally.


(04-06-2023, 05:42 PM)airportkid Wrote: It would mean alterations take place whose cause is arbitrary to the point that no natural laws of any kind could be derived.

That doesn't make sense either.

Your thinking also assumes God's action, involvement or causation with His creation is arbitrary. I have not witnessed God doing anything arbitrarily.
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#42

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(04-06-2023, 07:36 PM)bluewater Wrote: ... God could alter the trajectory of molecules by natural law ...

Nope.  A god can't.  That's impossible.  God (so called) exists outside nature (according to all the most common claims about what constitutes a god).  If a god deflects a single electron where such deflection could only have been caused by a god doing the intervention, that makes god a component of nature.  Whether the god did the deflection by blowing on it, or swatting it with a bat, or just shoving it by sheer will, it makes a god just another force of nature, and therefore subject to natural laws.

As to god never being arbitrary, humanity has been trammeled and trounced constantly by nature in ways that, were they overseen by a conscious agency, could only be arbitrary.  A tornado shreds a house killing all its inhabitants (who prayed desperately they be spared) while the house next door occupied by child molesters survives without a scratch.  Nature is not conscious, but it acts in accordance with natural laws; the reason one house was destroyed while the other was not can be explained.  It cannot be explained if a god was involved, meddling with molecules, and because of the meddling, made the outcome absolutely arbitrary.
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#43

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(04-06-2023, 08:48 PM)airportkid Wrote: If a god deflects a single electron where such deflection could only have been caused by a god doing the intervention, that makes god a component of nature.

You steer a car to change its trajectory. You are not a component of the car at any time; neither before, during, or after steering it. What you are saying does not make sense.
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#44

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(04-06-2023, 08:58 PM)bluewater Wrote: You steer a car to change its trajectory. You are not a component of the car at any time; neither before, during, or after steering it. What you are saying does not make sense.

The driver of a vehicle is absolutely a component of the vehicle - the vehicle can't function without one.  Just because the driver isn't permanently welded into the machinery doesn't mean he's not a component.  The gasoline and oil are also transient components, consumed and replaced, but just as vital as components as the steering mechanism.
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#45

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(04-06-2023, 03:10 PM)bluewater Wrote: ...But what about prayer that might affect the heart or mind of someone?

Could we maybe dial this back a bit and look at some of the real world consequences of this... knees bent, praying, advancing behaviour.

The folk who control the world's insurance industries are some hard hearted sharp minded motherfuckers, and not the sort of people to miss a business opening. Now can you explain why they don't offer Christians a discount on medical insurance?
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#46

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(04-06-2023, 07:36 PM)bluewater Wrote: ...God could alter the trajectory of molecules by natural law.

And we would see him doing it.

We don't see him doing shit, why is that?
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#47

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(04-06-2023, 08:48 PM)airportkid Wrote: As to god never being arbitrary, humanity has been trammeled and trounced constantly by nature in ways that, were they overseen by a conscious agency, could only be arbitrary.  A tornado shreds a house killing all its inhabitants (who prayed desperately they be spared) while the house next door occupied by child molesters survives without a scratch.  Nature is not conscious, but it acts in accordance with natural laws; the reason one house was destroyed while the other was not can be explained.  It cannot be explained if a god was involved, meddling with molecules, and because of the meddling, made the outcome absolutely arbitrary.

If someone, God or you, controls the outcome it wouldn't be an arbitrary outcome.
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#48

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(04-06-2023, 09:30 PM)bluewater Wrote: If someone, God or you, controls the outcome it wouldn't be an arbitrary outcome.

Begging the question?
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#49

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(04-06-2023, 07:36 PM)bluewater Wrote: I have not witnessed God doing anything arbitrarily.

Serious question. What have you witnessed 'God' actually doing?
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#50

A Cold Hard Look at Prayer
(04-06-2023, 09:11 PM)Inkubus Wrote:
(04-06-2023, 03:10 PM)bluewater Wrote: ...But what about prayer that might affect the heart or mind of someone?

Could we maybe dial this back a bit and look at some of the real world consequences of this... knees bent, praying, advancing behaviour.

The folk who control the world's insurance industries are some hard hearted sharp minded motherfuckers, and not the sort of people to miss a business opening. Now can you explain why they don't offer Christians a discount on medical insurance?
If insurance companies based their rates for Christians on me, they would probably double the rates.
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