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Posted by: anybody ( )
Date: September 24, 2021 07:25PM

And being subjected to religious cult brainwashing by Mormons,
Evangelicals, etc. only makes you more vulnarable.

https://thenewdaily.com.au/life/science/2021/07/25/conspiracy-theorists-lack-critical-thinking/

The more people believe in conspiracy theories, the worse they perform on critical thinking tests, a new study has confirmed.

This doesn’t mean that conspiracy theorists are necessarily lacking intelligence, but rather that they lack the skills to objectively analyse and evaluate a situation.

The good news is that people can be taught these skills, and to an extent be brought in from the dark side – but of course it’s complicated.

‘They’re out to get us’ – or so the theory goes
Conspiracy theories are nothing new, but they have greater reach and intensity with the advent of social media.

As explained by Anthony Lantian, an associate professor of psychology at the Paris Nanterre University and a co-author of the new study: “Conspiracy theories refer to attempts to explain the ultimate cause of an important event (social, political, climatic, etc.) by accusing a hidden coalition of perceived malicious and powerful people or organisations of having secretly planned and implemented these events.”

For example, there’s a persistent conspiracy theory that shady figures in the US government were complicit in events of 9/11 – where airliners were flown into the World Trade Centre towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania – and the attacks weren’t simply the work of Islamic terrorists.

The QAnon conspiracy theory of a global Satanic network of pedophiles run by political elites is so widespread and powerful that it led to the election of a true believer, Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, to Congress.

Then, of course, there’s the idea that the COVID-19 pandemic was created on purpose by Chinese scientists (not to be confused with the theory that the coronavirus accidentally escaped a lab in Wuhan).

The answer to all this nuttiness?
The French researchers ran two studies, where they assessed the critical thinking skills of 338 undergraduate students using a French version of a teaching and testing tool known as the Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test.

They then scored the students’ tendencies towards conspiracy beliefs and their personal assessment of their critical thinking skills.

Critical thinking is the objective analysis and evaluation of a situation – and requires a number of cognitive skills.

These include the ability to think systematically, see other perspectives, change your mind when new evidence arises, identify relevant versus irrelevant information, identify and discard logical fallacies, be aware of biases and avoid them, and look beyond the obvious.

None of this is particularly easy.

What the researchers found was a strong association between lower critical thinking skills and an increased tendency toward believing conspiracy theories.

This isn’t a new idea – instead, it persuasively builds on previous research.

A series of studies, written up in one 2014 paper, concluded that teaching analytical thinking can reduce or protect against the adoption of conspiracy theories.

A 2017 study found that analytical thinking could be taught successfully to 10-year-old and 12-year-old children.

Ego and personality tend to resist a change in thinking
It’s wonderful having a cure for dangerous thinking, but how do you get the afflicted to take it up?

A series of experiments in 2016 established a “robust association” between a need for uniqueness (a person’s need to feel special), a conspiracy mentality, and the endorsement of specific conspiracy beliefs.

In other words, the desire to be seen as unique and special serves as a motivation for conspiracy theorising.

This calls into question the nature of crazy belief. It may be a case that, for some people, ego trumps everything else.

It’s worth considering this when puzzling the apparently self-destructive behaviour of conspiracy celebrities.

Last year, celebrity chef and conspiracy theorist Pete Evans was fired by Channel Ten on the day he was to start filming I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!

He lost his cookbook publisher, millions of dollars in endorsements and future TV appearances for posting a neo-Nazi symbol on Instagram.

His Facebook and Instagram accounts have since been shut down because of sharing misinformation about the coronavirus.

He’s been fined $80,000 by the TGA for allegedly spruiking dodgy wellness products.

As his reach has dwindled, along with his income, Evans has remained unrepentant.

You might wonder: “What was he thinking?”

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Posted by: Cold-Dodger ( )
Date: September 24, 2021 11:41PM

Don’t be so radical as to claim there are no conspiracies in the world.

It’s not unreasonable to think that spooks conspire in secret, or that politicians and special interests collude, or that the criminal justice system is racially biased, right?

But there is evidence for these things as opposed to what I heard Tucker Carlson say the other day: vaccine mandates are an attempt to out all the Christians, high testosterone men, and free thinkers and thus purge them from the military. The clip in this video: https://youtu.be/29G2sYcZFGk

There’s a whole lot wrong with that. Everyone at Fox News is vaccinated or checking themselves often at least, because management did a mandate not unlike Biden’s. So, Tucker’s bosses are making him get vaccinated while he coddles the very ignorant subcultural mindset that Rupert Murdoch’s money has unfortunately birthed into the Anglophonic world. This is a great example of a batshit conspiracy theory. Tucker is not this stupid: he just doesn’t have the ethical equivalent of a soul. He knows who is watching him and what he has to say to maintain his prime time ratings, because that’s how he keeps he job. Lying his ass off is just business to him, but his business model is praying on the people described in the original post: people without critical thinking skills.

The thing about coddling ignorance while favoring policy hostile to education is that eventually you’ve transformed the entire part of society that listened to you and made you rich and now you have to come up with slop to keep them happy or they turn on you next. Eventually the patients are running the asylum, so be kind to them and stop feeding them unrealistic expectations. Idk, just a thought. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to most conspiracy theories floating around right now: just whatever hot take gets eyeballs and clicks in a cutthroat digital media attention economy. At least the ones that come from the top-down. The ones that come from the bottom up are a mix of everything but the kitchen sink: Christian anxieties, Cold War delirium about communists behind every bush and corner, socially conservative resentment for so much change happening so quickly, and increasing populist resentment about stagnant wages and rising costs of living. Those are the causes. The theories themselves will take myriad unpredictable forms from moment to moment, but the human anxieties and cultural milieu fueling them are not fundamentally mysterious.

How did we allow things to get this bad is the big question. I think we’ve neglected teaching critical thinking because of fear of offending religionists while the religionists have been taking their inch and going an extra mile, filling their kids’ heads with all sorts of deranged resentful bullshit about the other side of the culture war just because they can’t have it all. The good news is that anyone can suddenly learn critical thinking at any moment, like I did. If you avoid hypothesizing about likely or even evident conspiracies, then you’re just another kind of dogmatist. Conspiracies do exist: but figuring them out accurately requires you to know about science, history, people, and effective means and realistic motivations. Did Jeffery Epstein kill himself? Probably not. I’ve watched both Prince Phillip and Bill Gates squirm when asked about their troubling documented associations with that man and their trips on his “Lolita Express” and their responses on film are riddled with, well, what looks like guilt to me. The guards admitted to falsifying records to receive the most lenient sentences I’ve ever heard of considering they botched the security of a supposed “maximum security” prison. I mean, there’s a there there. But are the global elite doing drugs and communing with inter-dimensional gremlins telling them to feast on child hearts in between raping young girls? (Something Alex Jones claimed recently). Probably not. It’s probably as simple as when you get rich enough to become part of the “big club” then normal rules don’t apply to you anymore and that’s when you get a call from other powerful people offering you things you didn’t think anyone could get away with, but they can and they do. Probably not all elites are pedophiles, but every other family or so has that uncle or that cousin that would usually go to jail, but when you’re that rich you can pay to have his itch scratched on a privately owned jet over international waters and no one needs to know… unless the dealer gets caught and burned and needs to die or else the game is up for a whole lot of powerful people cuz that guy knows where all the bodies are buried.

I don’t have conspiracy theories: I construct models of what meetings behind closed doors probably sounded like based on what the personalities have let slip in public and what we know based on evidence and a process of elimination called Occam’s razor. I think if people agree to conspiritorialize based on those rules, then have it. If you make the conspiracy hunt evidence-based and amendable to Occam’s razor, you might actually find something real and then you’ll have the power to do something about it too — instead of sitting around and stewing in your outrage until your working models bear no resemblance to any plausible version of reality anymore.

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Posted by: alsd ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 02:09AM

Of course there are conspiracies in the world. The problem is the larger and more complex the conspiracy, the faster it becomes discovered. There is actually a mathematical formula that can predict how long a conspiracy can last based upon the number of people involved. For example, the Apollo program involved over 400,000 NASA employees. If there were in fact a conspiracy to fake it, with 400,000 employees involved, it would be been able to be kept secret for 3.7 years. The program is now over 50 years old, which means at most, only 251 people could have been involved.

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Posted by: anybody ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 12:15AM

For example, if you see a moving light in the sky, is it just a light or is it an extraterrestrial spacecraft piloted by alien beings?

Is there a vast network of government scientists and agents protecting these supposed aliens and keeping the secret for decades?

Really?

But like the old saying goes, three people can only keep a secret if two of them are dead.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/2021 04:56PM by anybody.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 12:22AM

It is indeed important to distinguish between conspiracy and conspiracy theory, the difference being evidence. The principle is simple.

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Posted by: anybody ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 12:45AM

Which is why it's no different than religion.

You don't need proof.

Instead of proof, you concoct an elaborate tautological belief system.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 01:03AM

Yes.

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Posted by: spiritist ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 05:52PM

I could give you a number of utube videos where govt scientists have/are speaking out about aliens, deep state, 9/11,advanced US technology, etc..

What is the point when you obviously can't find these 'leakers' on your own!!

You and 'critical thinking' ---- LOL!!!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/2021 05:53PM by spiritist.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 09:59PM

Dear God. Please save us from the aliens.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 10:05PM

--and the alienists.

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Posted by: spiritist ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 10:31PM

If the technological superior Aliens wanted to cleanse this planet of humans they would have done it long ago with or without Gods permission.

I predict more 'alien' and US technology disclosure within a year.

Many UFOs are human technology and some aliens! Our pilots need to train on our latest technology just like do with our old technology planes.

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Posted by: Roy G Biv ( )
Date: September 28, 2021 01:33PM

>> If the technological superior Aliens wanted to cleanse this planet of humans they would have done it long ago with or without Gods permission. <<

First of all, how would you know that? Why would they want to cleanse the earth of it's inhabitants? I honestly don't get that. I think that is just projection of the human nature to go in and destroy another culture/ civilization because we disapprove of their ways, as has been done so many times on this planet.

We envision aliens wanting to destroy us or at least debating the option to do so, because that's what we have done already.

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Posted by: Susan I/S ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 12:50AM

I believe that critical thinking can be taught at an even younger age. Children's mystery books are a great first step. It may sound silly but if an adult walks them through the first few I think it does set them up for future success. Puzzles are good too. A company I love is Mindware. They make doing experiments easy and have things for a lot of age ranges. They are always my first stop when I need something for Birthday or Christmas.

Teaching adults is a lot harder...

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 01:05AM

Susan I/S

———————-
> Teaching adults is a lot harder...

That’s because adults have a much clearer sense of their own interests and hence a stronger motivation to lie to others and themselves.

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Posted by: Susan I/S ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 01:09AM

Coupled with a profound lack of curiosity. Some adults are annoyed by children who are always asking why/how. Those are the kids I like the best :). My mother was annoyed with me on a regular basis, one reason I became a voracious reader and haunted libraries.

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 02:16AM

Where's the boundary between complicity & conspiracy?

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 02:09PM

"As explained by Anthony Lantian, an associate professor of psychology at the Paris Nanterre University and a co-author of the new study: “Conspiracy theories refer to attempts to explain the ultimate cause of an important event (social, political, climatic, etc.) by accusing a hidden coalition of perceived malicious and powerful people or organisations of having secretly planned and implemented these events.”

COMMENT: Notice that there is nothing insidious or pejorative in this definition of a conspiracy theory; i.e. the accusations may be either true or false. After all, the conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln fits well into this definition. More recently, January 6th may yet involve a conspiracy explanation. Stay tuned.
_________________________________________________

"For example, there’s a persistent conspiracy theory that shady figures in the US government were complicit in events of 9/11 – where airliners were flown into the World Trade Centre towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania – and the attacks weren’t simply the work of Islamic terrorists."

COMMENT: Here again, the conspiracy theory itself is independent of its truth or falsehood. As unlikely as it may seem, being a conspiracy theory does not make it false.

Given the above, we might ask what makes a "conspiracy theory" logically or factually improbable, or ridiculous? That is the key question--and not the mere fact that a conspiracy is being alleged. AND, what is important is not a correlation between one's critical thinking skills and the mere raising of a conspiracy theory; it is a relation between critical thinking skills and raising or believing in a patently absurd conspiracy theory that has been shown by facts and evidence to be invalid.

___________________________________________________

"Critical thinking is the objective analysis and evaluation of a situation – and requires a number of cognitive skills."

"These include the ability to think systematically, see other perspectives, change your mind when new evidence arises, identify relevant versus irrelevant information, identify and discard logical fallacies, be aware of biases and avoid them, and look beyond the obvious."

COMMENT: I have no quarrel with this. However, what the authors don't seem to understand is that sorting out the details of even patently false conspiracy theories often requires a high level of critical thinking skills that tie a host of alleged (and often assumed) facts to conclusions. Putting a conspiracy theory together can be a very complex cognitive process that does not necessarily involve a failure of critical thinking--perhaps, in some cases, quite the opposite.

It is somewhat like in science where elaborate, mathematical theories take a great deal of rational thought--even when they are unconventional, or even ridiculous to a scientist's own colleagues because of their questionable assumptions. Eddington's numerological theories come to mind; Hugh Everett's so-called "many worlds" interpretation of the quantum collapse is another (in my opinion) These are not conspiracy theories, of course, but they show that cognitive skills can be applied to induce bizzare, counter-intuitive, results even in science.

Neither the 9-11 conspiracy theories, or the Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories--two prominent examples-- are outrageous or ridiculous on their face; and both involve factual evidence of one kind or another. Even though they are "conspiracy theories" there is still logical space for them to be true--even if improbable. A government determination as to cause of some social or political event does NOT --as a matter of logic--make the government the final arbiter as to whether an opposing conspiracy theory is valid or invalid. It is never that simple. After all, governments and politicians have agendas! Neither can political parties make that determination. (Or for that matter social psychologists offering conspiracy theory explanations!)

In short, this article shows that the authors themselves have a lot to learn about critical thinking. What they apparently want to do is label some theory that they do not happen to like, or that does not fit into their political bias, or that otherwise strikes them as ridiculous, as a "conspiracy theory" and then dismiss it as symptomatic of a lack of critical thinking.

None of the above is meant to suggest that there are not many so-called conspiracy theories that are indeed factually and logically ridiculous. But they each need to be judged on their merits, and not be dismissed by simply applying a politically correct label of "conspiracy theory."

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 06:29PM

Henry Bemis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "As explained by Anthony Lantian, an associate
> professor of psychology at the Paris Nanterre
> University and a co-author of the new study:
> “Conspiracy theories refer to attempts to
> explain the ultimate cause of an important event
> (social, political, climatic, etc.) by accusing a
> hidden coalition of perceived malicious and
> powerful people or organisations of having
> secretly planned and implemented these events.”
>
> COMMENT: Notice that there is nothing insidious or
> pejorative in this definition of a conspiracy
> theory. . .

You should read the definition again. It's clearly pejorative.

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 03:26PM

This is the tragedy of Mormonism. It pushes one into objectivism, which is just another ism. Boyd K Packer threw intellectual thought under the bus in an age when every cultural advance came from the intellect. Being stupid for Jesus doesn't play well.

Do we really have to choose between faith and critical thought? No, but Mormonism foists that choice upon us. The only way forward is to leave the cult.

The magnitude of the deception, or cultural delusion, causes most exmos to go Atheist. Does living by bread alone work in the modern world?

Here's the problem: It’s not a bread world. The evil of this world is beyond human comprehension. It's transcendent. It operates on faith and ritual and broken souls. The world is under attack by forces that can only be defeated by spiritual tactics.

I pin the failure of Mormonism on its leaders. If they can't get through to the members, they are career bureaucrats with no actual faith.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/2021 03:27PM by bradley.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 05:20PM

>The magnitude of the deception, or cultural delusion, causes most exmos to go Atheist. Does living by bread alone work in the modern world?

False dichotomy. Whatever a vague phrase like "living by bread alone" means, theism is not the only alternative. In fact, atheists have an alternative that they find quite satisfactory.

And the old saying is true - we are all atheists about all gods except possibly one (Hindus excepted), and there is no agreement on which one that is.

>The world is under attack by forces that can only be defeated by spiritual tactics.

Again, false dichotomy. Even if I agree with your premise, "spiritual tactics" don't have to involve theism at all. To name a couple of Americans who are widely seen as having had strong spiritual foundations, Kurt Vonnegut Jr, and Carl Sagan, both famously atheist.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: September 26, 2021 09:52AM

"And the old saying is true - we are all atheists about all gods except possibly one (Hindus excepted), and there is no agreement on which one that is."

COMMENT: This worn-out rhetorical argument of Richard Dawkins is ridiculous. There is a distinction between "God" as referring to a proposed singular entity that has transcendent existence apart from the physical world, and *names* that any particular religion might apply to such an identity. Moreover, disputes as to the specific nature or properties of such an entity do not "automatically" translate into a dispute about the existence of multiple gods. Thus, in everyday language, a person might be referred to by any number of names and as having any number of properties, all in any number of contexts, without a legitimate criticism that the speaker must be referring to multiple people.

Now, I understand how Richard Dawkins might not understand such a simple point, but I am surprised that you don't. But then, if an argument is anti-religion, why not use it, logic be damned. (Richard Dawkins' unstated motto.)
______________________________________________

>The world is under attack by forces that can only be defeated by spiritual tactics.

Again, false dichotomy. Even if I agree with your premise, "spiritual tactics" don't have to involve theism at all. To name a couple of Americans who are widely seen as having had strong spiritual foundations, Kurt Vonnegut Jr, and Carl Sagan, both famously atheist.

COMMENT: Well, presumably "spiritual tactics" whatever that is supposed to mean, does require some definition as to "spiritual." Otherwise, how are we to identify a spiritual tactic? Now, with religion, "spiritual" is defined as involving a transcendent commitment to a human connection to God, and a "spiritual tactic" presumably involves such a commitment. O.K. so then, what does "spiritual" refer to by an atheist, such that "spiritual tactic can be definable? (Carl Sagan has "strong spiritual foundations? If you look in the index of the Demon Haunted World under "spiritual" it says, "See religion.")

"Spirituality" for an atheist generally refers to some emotional response to nature. No transcendent metaphysic is involved. Such a view not only distorts the word "spiritual" in its common usage, it demonstrates that an atheist using the word in this way has no understanding of religion, and the spiritual experiences that are claimed to be entailed by religious transcendence. But to the point here, a vague emotion encompassing simply an "awe of nature" has little, if any, value as a "tactic" in establishing or changing social policy--except perhaps as it might relate to climate change. It certainly is of no help when considering the relationships between human beings in a social setting.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 05:41PM

There are plenty of conspiracies in the world. I suppose business plans are a form of conspiracy. The kicker is that everyone else has their plans too, and often various plans conflict with and derail other people's plans. Pulling off an actual conspiracy is difficult. The conspiracy and conspirators are usually kind of pathetic when you examine them closely, Think "Watergate".

My own quick and dirty rule of thumb for what constitutes a "conspiracy theory" is that it involves large groups of people successfully getting away with a coordinated lie. Several hundred thousand NASA employees successfully pulling off a faked moon landing in 1969 falls into this category. Or millions of health care workers have convinced the world that covid is a real disease, when it is a hoax. Thousands of climate scientists are all lying about climate change because they are in the pocket of the renewable energy lobby. So how come petrochemical companies, some of the richest corporations in the planet, don't buy their own set of climate scientists? (Ans - oil companies do have climate scientists on staff, who come to the same conclusions the vast majority of other climate scientists are coming to)

Conspiracy theorists use this gambit to discount any and all evidence that contradicts their conspiracy theory. The people coming up with the debunking evidence are in on the conspiracy. Just call everyone who disagrees with you a liar. Easy peasy.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/2021 05:43PM by Brother Of Jerry.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: September 25, 2021 09:13PM

If I pass you on the right you're an idiot.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: September 26, 2021 03:53PM

    

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Posted by: matt ( )
Date: September 26, 2021 05:56PM

But some conspiracy theories turned out to be true.
https://www.rd.com/list/conspiracy-theories-that-turned-out-to-be-true/

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Posted by: Susan I/S ( )
Date: September 26, 2021 10:32PM

I'm holding out for the Black Pyramid in Alaska.

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Posted by: squirrely ( )
Date: September 30, 2021 01:21PM

Is this post a conspiracy?

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Posted by: anybody ( )
Date: September 30, 2021 02:49PM

Years ago, you could stay up at night to listen to Art Bell's "Dreamland" radio show and find out about all kinds of crazy people, Greys, Zeta Reticulians, the secret Nazi base in Antarctica, "black helicopters," the Illuminati, the supposedly real life version of the cabal from the X-Files, and so on.

Now the inmates want to run the asylum.

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