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Author Topic:   Quetzal, here's why I believe in God.
Tokyojim
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 9 (28836)
01-10-2003 9:13 PM


Dear Quetzal,
Way back in September, we had a discussion in the Free For All section under "We are the gods" topic. You challenged my worldview and said I needed to provide evidence for God's existence before you will take what I have to say seriously.
I want to get back with you on that, but I do so with hesitation. There are plenty of materials on the web and in the bookstores which deal with evidence for God's existence. You are already obviously familiar with them so I'm not sure how profitable this dialog will be. I will post your challenge first and then my reply to your challenge in the next post. It is only a partial reply, but it will get us started. I will interact with your reply as well and we can talk for a little bit, but I already know how it will end. We will have to agree to disagree.
I have learned some things through the dialogs on this forum and I think my participation has benefited me more than anyone else, but at the same time, it has taken too much of my time. So, I have not been participating as much lately as I did in the beginning and I don't expect that to change. If you can be patient with my slow replies, I would appreciate that. I'm trying to be careful how I use my time.
I don't know if we'll ever get through all of your post. Certainly not to your satisfaction, but I find it interesting that it is always the Christians who are challenged to validate their worldview. Actually, I could challenge you to do the same for your worldview. First you would have to produce evidence that there is no god. If there is no god, then anything goes so actually, I guess that is all you have to do. But in the end, neither of us can produce "proof" of our worldviews, just evidence which we believe supports it. In the end, we all choose what worldview to put our faith in. In the end, it is all a matter of faith.
OK Quetzal, here is your post. I'll post my reply after that.
Regards,
Tokyojim

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Tokyojim, posted 01-10-2003 9:32 PM Tokyojim has replied
 Message 3 by Mr. Davies, posted 01-10-2003 9:51 PM Tokyojim has replied
 Message 4 by Tokyojim, posted 01-10-2003 10:29 PM Tokyojim has not replied
 Message 8 by Quetzal, posted 03-04-2004 9:53 AM Tokyojim has not replied

  
Tokyojim
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 9 (28837)
01-10-2003 9:32 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tokyojim
01-10-2003 9:13 PM


Quetzal, here is just the first part of your challenge to me from post number 48 in the Free For All Forum under "We are the gods" topic. Let's start with this. I cut the rest. If anyone wants to read the whole thing, please go back and look it up.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Quetzal:
[B]Tokyojim: Hopefully, no one's already covered this. Anyway:
quote:
Let me start by asking you what your worldview is? Yes, I do stand by a Biblical worldview because I think it makes the best sense and is the best explanation of the way things are.
I would say my worldviewEshould be fairly obvious from my post. However, my particular philosophy has no bearing on the evidence or lack thereof for yours or dogmai's claims (or those of anyone else, for that matter). I'll be quite happy to evaluate whatever evidence you care to provide in support of whatever assertion you care to make.
quote:
In calling man supreme, it is true in the Christian worldview that the earth and the animal kingdom were created for God's glory first of all, but God also created it for man. So in Christianity, man is supreme Efundamentally different and of more value than the animals. Only humans were created in God's image and only humans have a spirit that lives on after death. This is what the Bible teaches. So yes, I do believe that we are special! Is. 45:18 says that God did not create the earth to be empty, but He formed it to be inhabited. He created it specifically for us humans to live on. It is interesting that of all the heavenly bodies we see, only the earth is so well prepared for support of life. Some believe that is just luck of course. Yes, we humans are special. No other creature that God created was created in God's image. Man was the last thing God created Ethe climax of his creation. Jesus became man to pay for the sins of mankind. He did not become an angel or an animal(animals cannot sin anyway). So yes, we have different points of view on the identity of mankind. You state 'This is patently untrue.' I'm sorry but you are exercising faith when you make a dogmatic statement like that. That is your particular belief and you are entitled to hold that belief, but you have no proof for that outside of the fact that it fits your worldview.
I have several problems with this outlook.
In the first place, it is inconsistent with the basic fact that all life on earth is interrelated. For example, every living thing on this planet shares a specific biochemistry. If initial conditions had been different, life would either not exist or would be recognizably different. Along the same lines, all the processes that have shaped the various forms of life also apply to humans. We process energy in similar ways, we replicate, we are effected by the same abiotic environmental factors. Ultimately, at the macro level, anything that upsets the balance too far will also directly effect our existence. This mitigates against the idea that humans are separately created.
Secondly, you have embarked on the extreme logical fallacy of using your conclusion as your initial premise. To make any argument about God or the bible valid or compelling, you must:
- Start by showing that God does indeed exist. If you can provide evidence for the existence of a supernatural deity, I will be more willing to listen to various explanations about that deity and its interest in humans to the exclusion of all other organisms.
- Once you have established the existence of the said deity, you can then provide your reasons for thinking that this deity is the Christian god. After all, the existence of a supernatural deity does not imply that the said deity is the Judeo-Christian one. Some evidence supporting your deity over others, such as Allah, Vishnu, and Zeus, would be beneficial to your argument at this point.
- Once you do this, you can then show that God wrote the Bible. You should include information that will explain how logical impossibilities like the Noachian Flood, are possible. You should include the evidence needed to show that God intended the Bible to be taken literally, rather than a loose code of conduct. (With many thanks to my friend Nick/IAPW for the above).
If you can do this, then I would be willing to consider any evidence you can offer that, indeed, humans are somehow special by divine fiat.
If not, then you must proceed through a different epistemology. You must provide empirical evidence that man is somehow separate from animals. The use of abstractions such as kindE consciousnessE or intelligenceEdo not constitute evidence, nor does your say-so. On the contrary, the burden is on you to show with evidence that these vague, ill-defined concepts provide a quantifiable taxic barrier separating us directly from, say, the other primates. That intelligenceEDOES NOT exist in other animals, for example, as the default hypothesis is that animals Eespecially primates EDO share the same intrinsic biology/physiology, and differ only in degree. I look forward to hearing your argument.
TJ REPLIES:
OK, in the next post, I'll begin to reply to this challenge of yours Quetzal.
Regards,
TJ

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tokyojim, posted 01-10-2003 9:13 PM Tokyojim has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Tokyojim, posted 01-10-2003 11:47 PM Tokyojim has not replied

  
Mr. Davies
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 9 (28838)
01-10-2003 9:51 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tokyojim
01-10-2003 9:13 PM


Why the god of the Bible and not say somebody like Vishnu or Ptah?
quote:
There are plenty of materials on the web and in the bookstores which deal with evidence for God's existence.
How do you know that evidence really exists? Still, what evidence that does exist, why does it point to the god of Abraham? Why a singular god at all?
quote:
You are already obviously familiar with them so I'm not sure how profitable this dialog will be.
I'm not so enlighten me if you'd be so kind.
quote:
Certainly not to your satisfaction, but I find it interesting that it is always the Christians who are challenged to validate their worldview. Actually, I could challenge you to do the same for your worldview.
Well in my country, the US, some Christians are going on about how the US is Christian country and their god is the reason why the US is #1. It is also the Christians who are the majority that want to have their version of Creation given equal time with real science.
quote:
First you would have to produce evidence that there is no god.
Well, there is no evidence that any god exists, let alone yours. The burden of delivering evidence is on you. I could ask you for evidence that Unicorns don't exist, despite the fact that the bible mentions them.
quote:
If there is no god, then anything goes so actually, I guess that is all you have to do. But in the end, neither of us can produce "proof" of our worldviews, just evidence which we believe supports it.
Anything goes with no god? How do you figure. If there is no god, then all of the laws of humanity, all of our feelings to our parents, siblings, spouses, children, and each other still exists and required no god at all.
My worldview holds that we are and we came into this existance, How you say? I don't know yet. But I do know if we leave it up to the religious types, we'd still be in caves.
------------------
When all else fails, check the manual

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tokyojim, posted 01-10-2003 9:13 PM Tokyojim has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Tokyojim, posted 01-10-2003 10:58 PM Mr. Davies has not replied

  
Tokyojim
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 9 (28840)
01-10-2003 10:29 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tokyojim
01-10-2003 9:13 PM


Quetzal, I will apologize in advance for this long post. It is long so I have actually broken it up in chunks. I probably wrote too much and just opened up a bunch of different cans of worms, but I felt some of these things needed to be said.
QUETZAL says:
I have several problems with this outlook. (Biblical worldview expressed by Tokyojim in post 38 and also copied in Q's post #48 of "We are all godsEdiscussion in the Free for all Forum.)
In the first place, it is inconsistent with the basic fact that all life on earth is interrelated. For example, every living thing on this planet shares a specific biochemistry. If initial conditions had been different, life would either not exist or would be recognizably different. Along the same lines, all the processes that have shaped the various forms of life also apply to humans. We process energy in similar ways, we replicate, we are effected by the same abiotic environmental factors. Ultimately, at the macro level, anything that upsets the balance too far will also directly effect our existence. This mitigates against the idea that humans are separately created.
TJ REPLIES:
Quetzal, I disagree with your presuppositions and interpretations of the facts based on your worldview. You are making an assumption here based on your worldview Ethat everything is interrelated. If you want to say everything has much in common, that is a statement of fact, but the other is a scientific guess or rather an interpretation of the facts based on your worldview which cannot be proven.
You have to realize here that we are both biased when it comes to interpreting scientific observations.
No doubt you will disagree with this, but evolution, because it cannot be repeatedly observed and tested in the laboratory, is different from other science. It involves more hypothesizing and interpretation of observations than does other science. Evolutionary science starts from a very biased position. The presupposition is that EThere is no Creator. - That is an assumption for which there is no proof. All kinds of evidences to support this will be brought up, like the one you stated above, but these so-called evidences have been derived at based on research that has been done and interpretations that have been made assuming that there is no Creator to begin with. In the next paragraph you accuse me of circular reasoning, but here it seems to me that you are guilty of the same. I'll confess if I'm guilty. I haven't gotten there yet. But do you see what I mean? You observe rightly so of course, that biologically speaking, living things have much in common and so the immediate conclusion is that they are all inter-related. (A case could also be made for the amazing differences among living creatures as well, but that's another subject.) If they have much in common, then they must be inter-related you say. A pretty solid guess if your worldview is true, but that is a big "IF". You can't then say that the "fact" that everything is inter-related(a deduction you made believing your presuppositions to be true), is proof for your presuppositions.
Since there is no room for the supernatural in a naturalistic worldview, evolutionary scientists don't even consider God as a possible explanation for the facts they observe. What is the scientific basis for eliminating this option from the beginning? Anyway, the only answers available to them are naturalistic ones. Now obviously, if there is a God and He did actually create the earth, scientists are never going to come up with the right answer because they have eliminated Him from the equation from the beginning.
Here is a quote that shows this bias that was given in the context of the debate about how evolution is to be taught in Kansas schools: Dr Scott Todd, an immunologist at Kansas State University:
"Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalisticE
Todd, S.C., correspondence to Nature 410(6752):423, 30 Sept. 1999. Although not a rational conclusion, at least he is being honest, isn't he? No matter what the data says, we are going to teach and believe the opposite. Granted he said -even if-, but that is the point. When the data and the facts don’t fit with a naturalistic worldview, they are ignored or simply covered up or discarded. Why? Because their own naturalistic unproven worldview is the standard by which everything else is judged. So, rather than consider that the worldview might be flawed, it is assumed that the data or the facts must be faulty or that we don't have all the facts yet. For that reason, the presuppositions of the naturalistic(atheistic) worldview at times take precedence over the facts..
Here is another one. Professor Richard Lewontin, is a geneticist and is one of the world's leaders in evolutionary biology. He recently wrote this very revealing comment. It illustrates the implicit philosophical bias against even entertaining the possibility of a Creator regardless of whether or not the facts support it. It goes without saying that he is an atheist. Now tell me if this is the proper attitude for a true scientist in search of true conclusions to hold to: (Italics added by me)
"We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.E
Richard Lewontin, "Billions and billions of demons" The New York Review, January 9, 1997, p. 31. Again at least you have to appreciate his honesty. He said it himself. We factored out God from the beginning. I wish others would be so forthcoming. Here we see an unsubstantiated absolute Ethe philosophy of materialism. Quetzal, you were complaining to me or to someone else about majoring on the philosophical side of things. It is precisely for this reason. The whole basis for evolutionary science comes down to this commitment to a materialistic philosophy! If the whole philosophy upon which evolutionary science is based on is flawed, how can we trust the scientific deductions that have been made based on it?
Has anyone been up in arms about this kind of a clearly biased statement by this world-renowned scientist? Not that I know of, but maybe some scientists feel uncomfortable with his honesty or would disagree with what he said. However, when a creationist admits his bias, everyone is up in arms and charging him as being an unscientific religious bigot. It goes both ways. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Now, you may not be as committed to the materialistic philosophy as this guy, I don't know. But you have been persuaded to believe the lies of those who are. Your philosophy, whether you realize it or not, has been by and large, derived by people with just such a bias, by people who have happily taken in all the unsubstantiated just-so stories of science. Not all admit it of course.
Now, granted, we creationists do the same. We start with the basic assumption that there is a Creator and interpret scientific observations and facts based on that assumption. So this idea of all living things having much in common biologically speaking is absolutely no problem for creationists. I mean after all, everything was created by the same Creator and therefore of course you would expect things to look alike in the basics of things. It is a good design. It works well. Why re-invent the wheel? But when you get into the externals of various living things you see wonderful, amazing, and even mind-boggling differences among even creatures of the same species. Here is where we see God's amazing creativity and appreciation for beauty.
Here's another quote:
"In seeking to understand why the Haeckelian view(idea that the human embryo goes through various stages (fish, reptile, animal, etc) in the womb before becoming human.) persisted so long, we have also to consider the alternatives. We often are highly conservative and will hold to a viewpoint longer than is justified when there is no alternative or, worse, when the logical alternative upsets the rest of our world view." Keith Stewart Thomson, "Marginalia Ontogeny and phylogeny recapitulated", American Scientist Vol. 76, May-June 1988, p. 274
By the way, this fraud foisted upon all society in the name of science by Haeckel was exposed in the early 1900's. Yet the idea that his forged drawings claimed to give evidence for, received wide scientific acceptance and had a very real impact on our society far after the fraud was exposed. For instance, Carl Sagan himself, unashamedly used this idea to push for the legitimizing of abortion up until the second trimester when it was thought that the embryo had passed from fish and frog to a human. Now obviously, Sagan knew at that point that Heckel's drawings were a forgery and his views were undocumented. Carl Sagan, The Dragons of Eden, Book Club Associates, London, pp. 57E8, 1977. This book shows his support for this theory.
And, on top of that, this scientific fiction is still taught in some schools and is still found in many textbooks today, although that number is lessening thankfully. Also, check out these articles in these encyclopedias. World Book Encylopedia, 6:409E10, 1994; Collier's Encyclopedia, 1994, 2:138, 1994;
Why is this error/lie perpetuated? I think Mr. Thomson answered it well. Simply a commitment to remain faithful to their philosophical presuppositions. (imho) Honesty? No way! Good science? You decide. Deceit? Probably unless they are bold enough to try and claim total ignorance.
Well, I'll stop there for now and continue in the next post.
Regards, TJ

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tokyojim, posted 01-10-2003 9:13 PM Tokyojim has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Quetzal, posted 03-05-2004 12:58 PM Tokyojim has not replied

  
Tokyojim
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 9 (28841)
01-10-2003 10:58 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Mr. Davies
01-10-2003 9:51 PM


Mr. Davies, Greetings!
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Davies:
Why the god of the Bible and not say somebody like Vishnu or Ptah?
TJ REPLIES: Simple. The Christian worldview is the only one that really makes sense to me and has good evidence to support it.
quote:
There are plenty of materials on the web and in the bookstores which deal with evidence for God's existence.
How do you know that evidence really exists? Still, what evidence that does exist, why does it point to the god of Abraham? Why a singular god at all?
TJ REPLIES: That's for a later debate. Let's start with the existence of God first, OK?
quote:
You are already obviously familiar with them so I'm not sure how profitable this dialog will be.
I'm not so enlighten me if you'd be so kind.
TJ REPLIES: Keep reading the posts.
quote:
Certainly not to your satisfaction, but I find it interesting that it is always the Christians who are challenged to validate their worldview. Actually, I could challenge you to do the same for your worldview.
Well in my country, the US, some Christians are going on about how the US is Christian country and their god is the reason why the US is #1. It is also the Christians who are the majority that want to have their version of Creation given equal time with real science.
TJ REPLIES: Well, in my country, the US, the naturalists/atheists/humanists/materialists etc. have almost complete control of the schools to teach their worldview through science and other subjects and yet they are not required to prove their worldview.
quote:
First you would have to produce evidence that there is no god.
Well, there is no evidence that any god exists, let alone yours. The burden of delivering evidence is on you. I could ask you for evidence that Unicorns don't exist, despite the fact that the bible mentions them.
TJ REPLIES: Thank you for your opinion. I see that your mind is already made up. You already know that there is no evidence for God's existence. Let me take the liberty to ask you a question here: "Would you prefer that God did or did not exist?"
You are right that I cannot prove that unicorns do not exist, but the evidence they don't exist is pretty good. No one has ever seen one. There is no fossil evidence of one. etc.
I'm sorry, but what version of the Bible are you reading? I'm not familiar with whatever it is that you are referring to. Would you please tell me where the Bible verifies the existence of unicorns?
quote:
If there is no god, then anything goes so actually, I guess that is all you have to do. But in the end, neither of us can produce "proof" of our worldviews, just evidence which we believe supports it.
Anything goes with no god? How do you figure. If there is no god, then all of the laws of humanity, all of our feelings to our parents, siblings, spouses, children, and each other still exists and required no god at all.
TJ REPLIES: I noticed you prefaced your statement with IF. I appreciated that. Yes, if there is no god and we exist, then these feelings, laws, etc. would exist. But my point is that they would not be binding. There is no GOd who would hold us accountable to them. We would only be held accountable to them by human laws. There would be no ultimate judgment for our actions, thoughts, selfish motives, pride, unkind words, etc.
My worldview holds that we are and we came into this existance, How you say? I don't know yet. But I do know if we leave it up to the religious types, we'd still be in caves.
TJ REPLIES: Well at least you admit that we exist. That is a good start. You also realize that if we exist, our existence requires a sufficient cause. You are coming dangerously close to admitting the existence of a Creator. At least you are honest and admit you don't know yet. But it seems you do know that it wasn't some God that is responsibile for your existence. I would like to ask you to explain your reasoning for this assumption. Why have you already eliminated God from the equation?
ALso, what in the world do you mean by "we'd still be in the caves."?
Regards,
TJ


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Mr. Davies, posted 01-10-2003 9:51 PM Mr. Davies has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by nator, posted 03-04-2004 9:22 AM Tokyojim has not replied

  
Tokyojim
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 9 (28842)
01-10-2003 11:47 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Tokyojim
01-10-2003 9:32 PM


Quetzal, here is the next part of my reply to your post (#2 in this topic) I mistakenly entered my first reply as a reply to post #1. It should be listed as a reply to post #2. Sorry for the confusion.) We Creationists are in the minority here on the forum, especially YEC's. I'm sure there will be many who want to respond to my post. I cannot promise to answer every post. I simply do not have the time and will state it up front. I am here just trying to give Quetzal the reasons why I believe in God. I do not expect you or others to agree with me.
TJ's original quote:
quote:
In calling man supreme, it is true in the Christian worldview that the earth and the animal kingdom were created for God's glory first of all, but God also created it for man. So in Christianity, man is supreme Efundamentally different and of more value than the animals. Only humans were created in God's image and only humans have a spirit that lives on after death. This is what the Bible teaches. So yes, I do believe that we are special! Is. 45:18 says that God did not create the earth to be empty, but He formed it to be inhabited. He created it specifically for us humans to live on. It is interesting that of all the heavenly bodies we see, only the earth is so well prepared for support of life. Some believe that is just luck of course. Yes, we humans are special. No other creature that God created was created in God's image. Man was the last thing God created Ethe climax of his creation. Jesus became man to pay for the sins of mankind. He did not become an angel or an animal(animals cannot sin anyway). So yes, we have different points of view on the identity of mankind. You state 'This is patently untrue.' I'm sorry but you are exercising faith when you make a dogmatic statement like that. That is your particular belief and you are entitled to hold that belief, but you have no proof for that outside of the fact that it fits your worldview.
QUETZAL REPLIES:
I have several problems with this outlook.
In the first place, it is inconsistent with the basic fact that all life on earth is interrelated. For example, every living thing on this planet shares a specific biochemistry. If initial conditions had been different, life would either not exist or would be recognizably different. Along the same lines, all the processes that have shaped the various forms of life also apply to humans. We process energy in similar ways, we replicate, we are effected by the same abiotic environmental factors. Ultimately, at the macro level, anything that upsets the balance too far will also directly effect our existence. This mitigates against the idea that humans are separately created.
Secondly, you have embarked on the extreme logical fallacy of using your conclusion as your initial premise. To make any argument about God or the bible valid or compelling, you must:
- Start by showing that God does indeed exist. If you can provide evidence for the existence of a supernatural deity, I will be more willing to listen to various explanations about that deity and its interest in humans to the exclusion of all other organisms.
- Once you have established the existence of the said deity, you can then provide your reasons for thinking that this deity is the Christian god. After all, the existence of a supernatural deity does not imply that the said deity is the Judeo-Christian one. Some evidence supporting your deity over others, such as Allah, Vishnu, and Zeus, would be beneficial to your argument at this point.
- Once you do this, you can then show that God wrote the Bible. You should include information that will explain how logical impossibilities like the Noachian Flood, are possible. You should include the evidence needed to show that God intended the Bible to be taken literally, rather than a loose code of conduct. (With many thanks to my friend Nick/IAPW for the above).
If you can do this, then I would be willing to consider any evidence you can offer that, indeed, humans are somehow special by divine fiat.
If not, then you must proceed through a different epistemology. You must provide empirical evidence that man is somehow separate from animals. The use of abstractions such as kindE consciousnessE or intelligenceEdo not constitute evidence, nor does your say-so. On the contrary, the burden is on you to show with evidence that these vague, ill-defined concepts provide a quantifiable taxic barrier separating us directly from, say, the other primates. That intelligenceEDOES NOT exist in other animals, for example, as the default hypothesis is that animals Eespecially primates EDO share the same intrinsic biology/physiology, and differ only in degree. I look forward to hearing your argument.
Q continues:
Secondly, you have embarked on the extreme logical fallacy of using your conclusion as your initial premise. To make any argument about God or the bible valid or compelling, you must:
- Start by showing that God does indeed exist. If you can provide evidence for the existence of a supernatural deity, I will be more willing to listen to various explanations about that deity and its interest in humans to the exclusion of all other organisms.
*********************************************
TJ replies:
Quetzal, I could make the same request of you as well. To validate your conclusions about scientific facts that you make, you must first prove that there is no supernatural Being who could be responsible for the results and observations you make. Actually here, I was more just stating what the Biblical worldview is. I donft expect you to believe it.
First of all, obviously no one can absolutely prove that God does exist or for that matter that He does not exist so we have to go to the evidence. We both must exercise faith for our own particular worldviews. Your question about the existence of God is a very good question.
Here are my arguments for why I believe in the existence of God:
Argument #1: Argument of the first cause
As you know, a fundamental and universally accepted law that is recognized in every field of science is the law of cause and effect. Any effect must have an equal or greater cause. No effect can ever be greater than itfs cause quantitatively or qualitatively, or in any other way. Now that is real rock solid science. And much scientific research, especially in physics, is based on this very fact.
So, when it comes to life and the universe, somewhere there has to be an uncaused Cause and I believe that the first cause is an eternal all-powerful, all wise Creator. Fits quite nicely with what the Bible says.
Let me put it another way. Anything that doesnft have to exist, requires a cause to explain it's existence. And it requires a cause which is sufficient to account for the effect. That is the key. For instance, think about a crack in the sidewalk and a picture. An earthquake or cold weather could have made the crack, and an artist could have made the picture, but not vice versa. An earthquake would not be sufficient to account for the effect.
The whole idea of fossils is the same thing. We know that the designs in rock that a fossil leaves could not occur naturally so we have to find a sufficient cause. An animal who died suddenly and was buried is recognized to be the cause. You donft find that kind of order, complex arrangement of lines, and design in rock without a cause. The design is the clue that there was a greater cause. In this case, it is not a human cause.
Dr. Henry Morris puts it this way: gIn the real world, every effect must have an adequate cause, but the usual laws of science do not seem to intimidate evolutionists. In the strange land of evolutionary credulity, wonderful things may happen Eplans draw themselves, mechanisms design themselves, order generates itself from chaos, and life creates itself. Yet evolutionists call creationists unscientific because they postulate an adequate Cause (divine intervention) to account for the marvelous Effect called life.h
I personally feel that it is much more reasonable to believe in an adequate Cause with personality, intelligence, and power than to maintain blind faith in random chance, purposeless natural selection, and harmful mutations that kill the organism far mor often than they ever benefit it.
Argument #2: Laws of Thermodynamics
Isaac Asimov defines the First Law as follows:
eEnergy can be transferred from one place to another, or transformed from one form to another, but it can be neither created nor destroyed.f Or we can put it another way: eThe total quantity of energy in the universe is constant.f When the total quantity of something does not change, we say that it is conserved. c This law is considered the most powerful and most fundamental generalization about the universe that scientists have ever been able to make."
Isaac Asimov: "In the Game of Energy and Thermodynamics You Canft Break Even," Smithsonian Institute Journal, June, 1970, p. 6.
This Law presents an obstacle for evolution because it says there is a basic condition of stability, not change, in the universe, conservation and not innovation. Dr. Henry Morris says gThis fact in itself is not impressive to the evolutionist, as he merely assumes that the process of evolution takes place within the framework of energy conservation, never stopping to wonder where all the energy came from in the first place nor how it came to pass that the total energy was constant from then on. But it is the Second law, however, that wipes out the theory of evolution. There is a universal process of change, and it is a directional change, but it is not an upward change.h
Quetzal, if you are a believer of the big bang, where did the original mass of whatever originate from and what caused the explosion? Are you of the unscientific position that matter is eternal? Or do you admit that it seems like matter had a beginning? The universe is an isolated system and therefore it is running down, a fact that I think most scientists would agree with. Energy is being used up. Eventually the universe and the earth too will reach a state of equilibrium or heat death when no energy is transferred from one form to another anymore. But if something is running down, unless you say there was an infinite amount of energy to start with, it would seem to imply that it had a beginning.
The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is one of the strongest scientific arguments agains evolution. As you know, it says that all systems in the real world tend to go downhill, from high information content to low information content, from high order to disorder, from complexity to decreased complexity. As entropy increases, order, complexity, and information is lost. And this is a very well established law applicable to all fields of science and recognized by almost all scientists whether they be biologists, geologists, chemists or physicists.
If you are a naturalist, you must maintain that ALL biological processes are explainable using the scientific laws of chemistry and physics. If so, ALL biological processes must certainly act in accordance to the laws of thermodynamics and this dooms the theory of evolution.
Let me try and anticipate some of your arguments against using the 2nd Law as evidence against evolution.
1) The first common argument used against it is that the earth is not a closed system so the 2nd Law does not apply. Actually there really is no such thing as a closed system in reality. The 2nd Law applies to both closed and open systems. Sure energy comes into the earth from the sun. But what happens? The sunfs energy destroys things. Ultraviolet rays are harmful. The energy must be harnessed to be helpful. That is the key point. A plant can productively use that energy only because it has pre-existing photosynthesis capabilities. If that were not there, the plants would not benefit from the sunfs rays. The ultra-violet rays constitute a big problem for scientists working on the origin of life issues.
Dr. Henry Morris of the Institution of Creation Research says this: gThe fact is that the best known and most fundamental equation of thermodynamics says that the influx of heat into an open system will increase the entropy of that system, not decrease it. All known cases of decreased entropy (or increased organization) in open systems involve a guiding program of some sort and one or more energy conversion mechanisms.h(This includes plant growth, crystal formation, growth of human body, etc.) Now perhaps you will argue that natural selection and mutation qualify as a guiding program or an energy conversion mechanism, but natural selection can only work on pre-existing information and select from what is already available. Mutations are almost 100% harmful. The rare neutral mutation is meaningless and the even rarer beneficial mutation is still not an example of molecules-to-man evolution because it comes about as the result of lost genetic information, not the addition of new, more ordered information.
So actually one of the most foundational and well-accepted laws of science itself stands in dire opposition to evolution.
Evolutionist Charles J. Smith said this in his book entitled Problems with Entropy in Biology:
"The thermodynamicist immediately clarifies the latter question by pointing out that the Second Law classically refers to isolated systems which exchange neither energy nor matter with the environment; biological systems are open and exchange both energy and matter. hHe goes on: "This explanation, however, is not completely satisfying, because it still leaves open the problem of how or why the ordering process has arisen (an apparent lowering of the entropy), and a number of scientists have wrestled with this issue. Bertalanffy (1968) called the relation between irreversible thermodynamics and information theory one of the most fundamental unsolved problems in biology. I would go further and include the problem of meaning and value.h Charles J. Smith, "Problems with Entropy in Biology," Biosystems (Vol. 1, 1975), p. 259.
2) Another common argument is to appeal to the existence of mineral crystals and snowflakes as an example of complex structures that form spontaneously from disordered parts.
However, this doesnft work either. It is an example of increased order (albeit repetitive and very low information content), but it is nothing at all like the complexity we see in real life which is basically non-repetitive and of very high information content. For a further more in-depth treatment of the crystal argument, please see the third article listed at the bottom of this post.
This 2nd Law is quite powerful evidence against evolution and points to a Creator at the beginning of it all as Dr. Morris shows here:
gThe evolution model cannot yet even explain the Second Law, but the creation model predicts it! The Second Law proves, as certainly as science can prove anything whatever, that the universe had a beginning. Similarly, the First Law shows that the universe could not have begun itself. The total quantity of energy in the universe is a constant, but the quantity of available energy is decreasing. Therefore, as we go backward in time, the available energy would have been progressively greater until, finally, we would reach the beginning point, where available energy equaled total energy. Time could go back no further than this. At this point both energy and time must have come into existence. Since energy could not create itself, the most scientific and logical conclusion to which we could possibly come is that: "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth."h
If you want to understand the Creationist arguments on this issue, I would suggest you check the following 3 web pages. I have borrowed some of my information from here:
Acts and Facts Magazine | The Institute for Creation Research Acts and Facts Magazine | The Institute for Creation Research
Missing Link | Answers in Genesis
I'll post some more another day. Bye for now,
Regards,
TJ

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nator
Member (Idle past 2246 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 7 of 9 (90245)
03-04-2004 9:22 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Tokyojim
01-10-2003 10:58 PM


quote:
Well, in my country, the US, the naturalists/atheists/humanists/materialists etc. have almost complete control of the schools to teach their worldview through science and other subjects and yet they are not required to prove their worldview.
Excuse me?
Can you give any example of atheism being taught in any science classroom? Can you do the same for humanism? Ontotogical Naturalism? Materialism?
Do you have evidence that any of these philosophies are being taught in public school science classrooms?
I contend that none of them are.
However, Methododological naturalsm, which is basically the scientific method, should be taught in science classrooms.
What problems do you have with that?
quote:

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Tokyojim, posted 01-10-2003 10:58 PM Tokyojim has not replied

  
Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5949 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 8 of 9 (90252)
03-04-2004 9:53 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tokyojim
01-10-2003 9:13 PM


TJ:
Wow! I want to apologize profusely for missing these posts when they were first published. They must have occurred during one of my not-infrequent absences from the board due to work, and then gotten buried under the usual avalanche of other posts. I'll need some time to read through them, so I can't promise an immediate reply. I literally had no idea you had continued this discussion until Schraf resurrected the thread.
Later.

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 Message 1 by Tokyojim, posted 01-10-2003 9:13 PM Tokyojim has not replied

  
Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5949 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 9 of 9 (90525)
03-05-2004 12:58 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Tokyojim
01-10-2003 10:29 PM


Quetzal, I disagree with your presuppositions and interpretations of the facts based on your worldview. You are making an assumption here based on your worldview Ethat everything is interrelated. If you want to say everything has much in common, that is a statement of fact, but the other is a scientific guess or rather an interpretation of the facts based on your worldview which cannot be proven.
You have to realize here that we are both biased when it comes to interpreting scientific observations.
The only presuppositions of evolutionary science are the same as those of any other scientific endeavor: the regularity of natural law and the assumption that the workings of the universe are ultimately ascertainable by human senses. Beyond that, it (and I) has no presuppositions. The accusation of bias is both insulting and shows a fundamental lack of understanding of science and the way science functions. Science is an attempt to derive and understand the fundamental principles that govern the way the world works. It offers principles that are supposedly universal and constantly advances claims about things and phenomena that can’t be directly observed. To do this, scientists look for things that CAN be seen, things they feel are evidence — clues — for those things they can’t see. This evidence, these observations and clues, are then used to answer questions about what can’t be directly observed. EVERY science does this. It’s called methodological naturalism, and the evidence is what is found in nature (or in the lab). Scientific theories — every single one of them — rest on the shaky foundation of indirect arguments from direct observations. Even the most respected scientific theory can be revised or even discarded when new observations or new discoveries contradict the old theory. In the 18th Century scientists, smart men all, with quite reasonable evidence on their side, concluded that heat was a fluid. In the 19th Century other scientists, again with what seemed excellent evidence at the time, were convinced that continents were fixed and unmoving. The difference between science and religion, for example, is that the history of science is littered with the discarded bodies of theories which didn’t or couldn’t stand the light of new discovery. Sometimes, the old theory is incorporated into the new — Newtonian mechanics wasn’t destroyed by Einsteinian relativity — it was subsumed by it when new observations showed that strict Newtonianism (great word, eh?) was shown to be unable to account for new observations — just as Einsteinian relativity is being subsumed by quantum theory. Darwin’s and Mendel’s original theories were subsumed by the new synthesis of genetics and natural history. Heck, Darwin was completely wrong about the mechanism of inheritance — a critical element in the modern theory of evolution! And every single time, the change was based on evidence — when the old theory was unable to explain a new observation. It has absolutely NOTHING whatsoever to do with worldview. Anybody, regardless of their philosophical underpinnings, who desires to overthrow or modify an existing scientific theory, merely has to produce observations that are inconsistent with the theory. That’s it. This is the true strength of science. And the true strength of evolutionary theory is that in spite of 150 years of continual research, the core of the theory — natural selection and descent with modification - remains very much as Darwin first published it. No one, in all that time, has come up with an observation that significantly calls it into question.
Wishing a theory away by proclaiming bias or declaring it contains untenable suppositions is the worst form of intellectual laziness. IF the theory is wrong — show me an observation that conflicts with it. Not some vague feeling or subjective experience, but a concrete observation that contradicts any key element of evolution. If you can do that, I’ll not only carry your bags, but pay to have all your friends and neighbors accompany you to Stockholm to watch you claim your prize.
No doubt you will disagree with this, but evolution, because it cannot be repeatedly observed and tested in the laboratory, is different from other science. It involves more hypothesizing and interpretation of observations than does other science.
In the first place, you seem to be showing a lack of familiarity with both evolution and science in general. Riddle me this: how many times have physicists actually observed electrons? And yet, you accept their existence (electrons, not physicists). Why? How many times have you personally observed gravity? And yet we both agree that if I drop my coffee cup on my lap I’m going to get burned (well, in this particular case, just wet, since my current cup has gone cold). Why again? In both cases, we are inferring the existence of something that has never been directly observed, electrons and gravity. We can get away with this because science has developed ways of providing inference to the best explanation. In the case of electrons, science has been able to state, IF X exists, and IF X has the following properties, then we should be able to manipulate it to produce phenomenon Y. Ta Da! Electric lights and computers. In the case of gravity, we can make an observation along the lines of, since phenomenon Y exists, there must be an X that has properties that allow X to create phenomenon Y given specific starting conditions. Ta Da! My cup falls and we send landers to explore other worlds. The inferences in both cases have been tested, and found to be reasonable explanations.
Evolutionary biology does the same thing. Let’s take a quick look at one of my all-time favorite examples: the tenrecs of Madagascar. The tenrecs (family Tenrecidae) are a group of some 25 distinct species divided into seven genera. They’re small insectivores with a number of features that make them appear fairly primitive in comparison to most other mammals (poor vision, a cloaca, male testes carried within the body, poor thermoregulation compared with other mammals, etc). Even in a YEC context, Noah would have had to have a pair of tenrecs on the Ark because they are so unrelated and different from any other living mammalian insectivores. Here’s the rub, direct observation in the field shows that these 25 species demonstrate a tremendous variety of lifestyles and phenotypes: from a semi-aquatic tenrec that feeds on crustaceans to ground dwelling burrower with forelegs like a mole to a ground dweller with quills like a hedgehog to a shrub-dwelling runner that’s a poor climber to a tree-dwelling climber that’s a poor runner and poor jumper to a tree-dwelling climber that can’t run but can whiz between trees like a furry superball. There are even a couple that have developed a trick using quills and vocalizations as a form of echolocation!
So, what’s the explanation? Why are these little fuzzballs, in all their wondrous variety, located only here, on this one flyspeck and nowhere else?
A creationist explanation would go something like this:
Hypothesis: God loves variety and beauty. For some ineffable reason of His own, He decided to create tenrecs on Madagascar. Man was not meant to know why.
Follow-up: None. We’re done. We no longer have any reason to ask any questions, since God’s mystery is the answer.
Evolutionary biology goes about it a bit differently, by proposing an evolutionary history, then going out and seeing if there is any evidence to support it in the form of If A, then B:
Hypothesis (hereafter, H): Tenrecs are a primitive animal of which a small population became isolated on Madagascar at some time in the past, and thereafter diversified into the forms we see today.
Follow-up: If H is true, since there is no way to replicate the entire natural history of this animal, what other clues would indicate that our hypothesis was reasonable (note: not confirmed or proven, but only a reasonable inference)?
1. If these animals are descended from a small, isolated population, then all tenrecs should be more closely related to each other, in spite of their obvious differences in lifestyle and gross morphology, than they are to any other living organism.
Test: DNA testing of tenrecs shows that indeed they are closely related. However, that’s only half the story. We still need to find some critter on the nearest continent (Africa), that we can use as a cross-check to see if they ARE different. Voila, enter the otter shrew (Potomogale and Micropotomogale spp.) of west-central Africa. These little critters, not much resembling tenrecs outwardly, turn out to be the closest living relatives of our Malagasy furballs. DNA comparison between a selection of tenrecs and the Potomogalinae show exactly what we predicted: they’re related, but only distantly, and the Malagasy groups are more closely related to each other in general than to their continental (distant) cousins. Their cousins are close enough, however, that the whole crowd is placed in the superfamily Tenrecomorpha (which is a silly name meaning, roughly, looks like a tenrec — showing even taxonomists have a sense of humor).
2. If we’re right, and the tenrecs were isolated from competition with other African organisms, there must have been something that allowed THEM to get to Madagascar, but nobody else.
Test: To this we have to turn to geology rather than biology for a completely independent set of theories. These are the ones dealing with the geology of Madagascar and plate tectonics, among others. Back in the late Mesozoic or early Cenozoic, the Mozambique channel between Africa and the mainland was much narrower than today. The breakup of Gondwanaland — especially the extension of the Somali Basin that actually formed the channel — started the process. Eventually, due to plate tectonics, the island now stands some 600 km from the African mainland.
3. If H is true, there will be fossil evidence of a primitive tenrec.
Test: Paleontologists have identified several small insectivore fossils from Miocene Africa which share characteristics of Geogale species of tenrecs (believed, for various skeletal and other reasons to be the most primitive living tenrec) AND some features of Micropotomogale from Africa. If correct, somewhere around the Miocene the tenrec ancestor dispersed to Madagascar. There are no fossil tenrecs on Madagascar before this period. There are fossils, and subfossil remains, in various strata deposited since that time on Madagascar that show continuous occupation of the island.
4. If H is true, there will be some way for tenrecs to have reached the island that would not be able to be utilized by larger, more derived mammals.
Test: From ecology, there are documented cases — direct observations - where over-water dispersal of smaller mammals was possible (via rafting) that would be impossible for larger animals due to distance. Although it isn’t possible to say that this IS what happened, since we have seen it occur elsewhere, there’s nothing to preclude the same happening with the ancestor of the tenrecs. It does not falsify the hypothesis, and is a plausible mechanism. In addition, the rafting hypothesis ALSO explains the lack of representatives from any of the African megafauna on the island.
5. If H is true, there must be some mechanism whereby a pair of proto-tenrecs could diversify into the multiple species alive today.
Test: From ecology and biogeography, we can adopt well-understood mechanisms such as the founder effect and ecological release to explain the diversity. In addition, novel selection pressures (such as endemic predators like Cryptoprocta) and more importantly the lack of competitors in the shrew, mole, etc niche, permits animals to take advantage of new niches — and diversify. Tenrecs show exactly the type of variety expected in this kind of case.
As you can see, evolutionary biology DOES make testable predictions. There IS empirical evidence that can be collected. And it does have repeatable observations that can be made regardless of worldview. Could it be falsified? Certainly. Any one of those five — and innumerable others - could have been wrong, which would have at least forced a modification of the hypothesis. As it is — even if no scientist will say that it is proven — the hypothesis offers a reasonable inference to the best explanation: tenrecs evolved on Madagascar — which is why they’re found there and nowhere else.
Evolutionary science starts from a very biased position. The presupposition is that EThere is no Creator. - That is an assumption for which there is no proof. All kinds of evidences to support this will be brought up, like the one you stated above, but these so-called evidences have been derived at based on research that has been done and interpretations that have been made assuming that there is no Creator to begin with. In the next paragraph you accuse me of circular reasoning, but here it seems to me that you are guilty of the same. I'll confess if I'm guilty. I haven't gotten there yet. But do you see what I mean? You observe rightly so of course, that biologically speaking, living things have much in common and so the immediate conclusion is that they are all inter-related. (A case could also be made for the amazing differences among living creatures as well, but that's another subject.) If they have much in common, then they must be inter-related you say. A pretty solid guess if your worldview is true, but that is a big "IF". You can't then say that the "fact" that everything is inter-related(a deduction you made believing your presuppositions to be true), is proof for your presuppositions.
I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood something. In the first place, methodological naturalism doesn’t make any statement equivalent to there is no Creator. The point you miss is that science makes no statement one way or the other. After all, it would be utterly futile to argue that God (or gods) doesn’t (don’t) exist, at least in a scientific context. The reason being there can be no conceivable evidence to prove this negative. To quote another common aphorism, Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence. If I make the claim that there’s an invisible floating red dragon in my garage, there is literally no way you can disprove this claim. It is, by definition, an invulnerable claim. The invulnerable claim has no place in science since it can neither be tested nor falsified — two of the key provisos of scientific enquiry. Hence science doesn’t address the issue at all — it can’t.
Science does not, as I’ve tried to point out with my lengthy (and yet at the same time superficial) Malagasy example above, start with any a priori assumptions about the supernatural. Does a plumber start with the assumption that a clogged drain is caused by demons? Does an agronomist tell a farmer that his crops are failing because it is God’s will? NO! Emphatically no. In both cases the starting assumption is that there is a natural cause for natural phenomena. This is precisely what evolutionary biologists, chemists, physicists, cosmologists and every other scientist on the planet does: seek natural explanations for natural phenomena. If you are to discard the methodology of one science — since all sciences use the exact same methodology — then you are forced to discard all science. I’m sure not even you are advocating this. That being the case, you are in the position of demonstrating that the claims of evolutionary biology are either erroneous or invulnerable — i.e., not scientific. Good luck.
I made the statement that all organisms alive today are interrelated because that is a demonstrable fact. It isn’t an inference. It’s an observation. From the molecular level to the ecosystem/community level, and quite possibly the biosphere as a whole, every single organism alive on this planet IS related. They all receive energy ultimately from the same source, share the same basic biochemistry, and compete with each other for resources. This is one of the foundational pillars of conservation ecology, for instance. Without that understanding, there could be no possible way of preserving vanishing biodiversity among other things.
Since there is no room for the supernatural in a naturalistic worldview, evolutionary scientists don't even consider God as a possible explanation for the facts they observe. What is the scientific basis for eliminating this option from the beginning? Anyway, the only answers available to them are naturalistic ones. Now obviously, if there is a God and He did actually create the earth, scientists are never going to come up with the right answer because they have eliminated Him from the equation from the beginning.
I agree, there is no room for the supernatural in natural science. The reason is that if the supernatural existed, we would be unable to expect consistent results from the scientific process, as these entities would theoretically be able to change the laws governing the universe — or even simply my lab experiment — at a whim. There would be no regularity — or at least no consistent regularity — upon which we can base any scientific idea. If I would presuppose supernatural entities to exist and impact the world, I would never be able to assume that my microscope would work the same way today as it did yesterday — some entity might have simply modified the laws of optics. No scientific progress would ever be possible, in any field. Hence the search for natural causes of natural phenomena DOES exclude the supernatural. Once the gate is open, then science becomes impossible and we can never understand anything about the world around us — because it might change the next moment.
quote:
Quotes snipped.
I don’t argue quotations, especially from unverifiable sources without historical and textual context. I will say that I am willing to discuss the Sagan reference if you want to open a new thread. I have that book on my shelves, and although my version is a different edition, I was able to locate both the place where he discusses Haeckel, and where he discusses abortion. Your source has seriously distorted both cases.
Now, you may not be as committed to the materialistic philosophy as this guy, I don't know. But you have been persuaded to believe the lies of those who are. Your philosophy, whether you realize it or not, has been by and large, derived by people with just such a bias, by people who have happily taken in all the unsubstantiated just-so stories of science. Not all admit it of course.
My philosophy has sod all to do with whether or not I can observe evidence that leads to the inference that tenrecs evolved on Madagascar. It has sod all to do with whether evolutionary theory can solve real-world problems. It has sod all to do with the demonstrated emergence of resistant microbial strains due to the overuse of antibiotics. Etc. Perhaps you could document some of these unsubstantiated just so stories that you claim have influenced my acceptance of methodological naturalism as the best method for understanding the living world. I’d be fascinated to know where my understanding — quite a bit of it based on personal observation — conflicts with reality.
Now, granted, we creationists do the same. We start with the basic assumption that there is a Creator and interpret scientific observations and facts based on that assumption. So this idea of all living things having much in common biologically speaking is absolutely no problem for creationists. I mean after all, everything was created by the same Creator and therefore of course you would expect things to look alike in the basics of things. It is a good design. It works well. Why re-invent the wheel? But when you get into the externals of various living things you see wonderful, amazing, and even mind-boggling differences among even creatures of the same species. Here is where we see God's amazing creativity and appreciation for beauty.
No, creationists don’t interpret scientific evidence. They cherry-pick out-of-context bits and pieces, factoids, and knowledge gaps then chop, crush, mangle, bend, fold, spindle and otherwise mutilate them to shoehorn into their worldview. Perhaps you’d like to document ANY advance made by a creationist using supernatural suppositions? Not scientists who are also believers making a scientific advance using methodological naturalism — like, say, Newton — but using the supernatural assumption as a starting point. Go ahead — you’ll be the first ever.
You may also wish to reconsider your good design argument. Darwin’s Terrier has an entire website dedicated to this good design found in nature. You might be surprised at how incompetent, sloppy and downright cruel your designer is.

This message is a reply to:
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