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Dec 04 2012

Feathers on dinosaurs are UNBIBLICAL!

So Ken Ham visited Sea World in Australia — he didn’t like it, it was too expensive and full of evilution, so he thinks you should save money and go to his el cheapo animatronic Sunday School in a box, instead — but I did learn something new from his complaint. I knew that “millions of years” was a phrase to make a young earth creationist’s bowels palpitate, but it turns out there are three wicked phrases to assault Christians with.

As Christians, we need to have a mental security system where an alarm goes off when aspects of this anti-God religion are presented. Here’s what should happen when you hear or read the following:

  • Millions of years” should set off a mental buzzer that says, “warning—this is an attack on biblical authority—this is a buzz word to say there was no global Flood.”
  • Evolution” should set off a mental buzzer that says, “warning—this is an attack on biblical authority—this is a buzz word to say creation by God was wrong.”
  • Feathered dinosaurs” should set off another mental buzzer that says, “warning—an attack on biblical authority—this is a buzz word to say creation by God was wrong.”

According to the true history book of the universe—the Bible—birds were made on Day 5, and dinosaurs (which are land animals) were made on Day 6. So birds existed before dinosaurs. But evolutionists claim dinosaurs existed before birds!

Umm, yes — birds are derived descendants of dinosaurs. Here Hammy boy, just to make you apoplectic: Microraptor. We’ve got some very good fossils of dinosaurs with feathers — and reality once again makes a creationist’s head buzz.

Hey, if I go up to a bible-believing Christian and say, “Feathered dinosaurs evolved over millions of years”, will the klaxons going off in their head make their brains explode, or just give them a mild headache? Either seems worth doing.

80 comments

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  1. 1
    Kevin Smith

    I thought I saw Ken Ham trying to ride one of the dinosaurs at the Museum of Nature Eschaton Gala on Saturday. He was doing it bareback:)

  2. 2
    thisisaturingtest

    Hey, if I go up to a bible-believing Christian and say, “Feathered dinosaurs evolved over millions of years”, will the klaxons going off in their head make their brains explode, or just give them a mild headache?

    Like playing Slim Whitman for Martians, I suspect.

  3. 3
    holytape

    You need not worry about being around when a creationist’s brain explodes. Stale Rice Krispies produce larger explosions when poured into milk.

    The second rider of the apocalypse

  4. 4
    chrish

    I wish just once someone could secretly record Ham talking about his actual agenda. Which of course is deny, deny, deny, the facts to keep people paying to see his shitty attraction and keeping himself incredibly wealthy.

  5. 5
    wilsim

    I thought creationist head kerploding was more like pop rocks heard from across the room while they are being eaten by someone else (who happens to have their mouth closed).

    Isn’t it nice knowing Ham’s Morton’s Demon has an alarm klaxon sound when closing the door? I giggled.

  6. 6
    michaeld

    I’m sorry but why is this even a problem with Ham? Seems like he’s making a bigger problem out of this then he has to for himself because now he has to deny even more evidence.

    To play devil’s advocate why not say that like mammals and insects both have hairs birds and dinosaurs can still have feathers and be different things. Maybe all the feathered ones came on 5 and the non feathered on 6. Maybe because they didn’t have wings they all came about on 6. Maybe the fall caused a loss or gain of feathers. It aint that hard I could bullshit something more parsimonious then this and it’ll have the added advantage of not dismissing what you can go out and see with your eyes.

  7. 7
    maxchase

    I thought we already had feathered land animals. I suppose their reactions to ostriches, emus, and the like just aren’t worth looking into?

  8. 8
    ogremeister

    Hey, if I go up to a bible-believing Christian and say, “Feathered dinosaurs evolved over millions of years”, will the klaxons going off in their head make their brains explode, or just give them a mild headache? Either seems worth doing.

    Neither. So much contrary information flowing simultaneously will activate a safety shunt, which will only result in the wholesale dismissal of you and your facts.

  9. 9
    Glen Davidson

    Close your minds, all ye believers in truth!

    Because, well, you can’t discern the truth, you only know it because I told it to you.

    Glen Davidson

  10. 10
    Rey Fox

    but it turns out there are three wicked phrases to assault Christians with.

    NI, PENG, and NEEEEWOM!

  11. 11
    Becca Stareyes

    So, Ken Ham can already bullshit dinosaurs in the Bible because ‘dinosaur’ = ‘reptile thing’ = ‘scaly’ = ‘dragon!’ = ‘clearly Biblical’*, but he can’t wrap his head around dinosaurs with feathers since he’s already saying that God created all kinds of animals that were never mentioned by name (you know, like all of Australia and a lot of the Americas…).

    Then again, I generally think YEC only embraced extinct megafauna because no one would join a religion where dinosaurs were made up. (Maybe we should get an army of kids in the middle of their ‘I love dinosaurs’ phases to start complaining about how of course dinosaurs have feathers, in that tone that indicates that adults who don’t know the intricacies of dinosaurs are stupid.)

    (That and feathered dinosaurs indicates that scientific thinking can change when the evidence exists, so the reason YEC is not accepted isn’t ‘scientists are hidebound’. Except YEC also seems to make the point that one of its virtues is that its ‘truth’ never changes… and…

    I’m going back to looking at the barnacle photos in PZ’s other post now…

  12. 12
    jakc

    Why is it Ham can’t even read his own bible? chapter two has birds and beasts being created at the same time.

  13. 13
    Glen Davidson

    The great thing is that this really might be overreach, even for the stupid sheep that Ham and the like-minded cultivate and to whom they teach ignorance. Don’t get me wrong, many will just refuse to look at (usually, pictures of) feathered dinosaurs, and to consider the evidence, just as they’ve been told. Others, though, will probably assume that they can look, and while they’d never be convinced of evolution or of the old earth, they might realize that Ham’s a lying fool on the issue of feathered dinosaurs.

    Then they might wonder if he’s lying on other matters. And then find out that he is.

    For sure, no great exodus of ignoramuses is to be expected from this, but there could be a trickle of those no longer willing to truckle to the likes of Ham.

    Glen Davidson

  14. 14
    fernando

    PZ, everyone knows that the fossils of dinossaurs and other animals are the work of the Debil to put us away from the word of Gawd.

    Silly ebilitionists: to trust in Science (another of the Debil´s works) and in scientific proofs (Debil again!)instead of a bronze age book that has the Word of Gawd!

  15. 15
    Lofty

    Of course dinosaurs originally had feathers, they, like leaves, fell off in the Fall. Silly Hammy.

  16. 16
    cadrpear

    This is starting to turn out like the Spanish Inquisition sketch.

    Our two chief weapons are evolution, old-earth, and feathered dinosaurs. No, wait, our three weapons are evolution, old-earth, feathered dinosaurs, and actual honesty.

  17. 17
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    We have them on the run. Now if we can get them focusing all their energy on what color the feathers were we can get them arguing with their own navel off in the corner somewhere next to the crazy uncle who smells like superglue.

  18. 18
    nms

    I’m sure this has been covered before, but when did god create the emu?

  19. 19
    Fred Salvador, Onion Jumbler

    So Ken Ham visited Sea World in Australia — he didn’t like it, it was too expensive and full of evilution, so he thinks you should save money and go to his el cheapo animatronic Sunday School in a box, instead

    This is how I shall refer to the Creation Museum from now on.

  20. 20
    chigau (違う)

    Jazz Hands!

  21. 21
    stanton

    @19, Fred Salvator, because referring to it as a “museum” is bank-braking lawsuit-grade false advertising.

  22. 22
    stonyground

    A spherical Earth is UNBIBLICAL, a sky that isn’t a really big upsidedown wok is UNBIBLICAL. Talking of woks, remind me again how ancient Chinese civilisations managed to survive this global flood without being even aware that it had occured.

  23. 23
    sharkjack

    Sometimes I wonder how far down the conspiracy goes in their mind, but I doubt their ideas are as concrete as that. Still, the idea that there were feathered dinosaurs seems far less of a problem to me than flying mammels or whales, both of which are still alive. If those aren’t a problem for Genesis, then how on earh are dinosaurs that happen to have feathers. I guess I’m expecting too much internal consistency here.

  24. 24
    dpitman

    That’s more like it. Stick to the creationism/biology posts PZ. It really is where you can actually do some good. Of course the battle has pretty much been won but you can stand guard and keep a lookout for any stragglers. Now if we could just do something about your social skills and arguments from emotion you might make for a reasonable person someday. It’s gonna take some time though.

  25. 25
    rq

    I’m going to go to church and yell FEATHERED DINOSAURS just for fun. On Christmas.

    Maybe.

  26. 26
    nohellbelowus

    Them ain’t fossils! shouted Ken Ham. “Them is just a couple a chickens from KFC — the sponsor of our museum cafeteria!

  27. 27
    tomfrog

    As Christians, we need to have a mental security system

    Well, Ham got that right.

  28. 28
    Duth Olec

    Millions of years… IN THE FUTURE! …there still won’t be a global flood. At least I assume all that ice at the poles isn’t enough to flood all the land on the planet.
    So um, is the ostrich a bird or a land animal?

  29. 29
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Now if we could just do something about your social skills and arguments from emotion you might make for a reasonable person someday. It’s gonna take some time though.

    Now, if you could learn that you shouldn’t tell your betters like PZ what to do, you would become a far better person, and maybe somebody who should be listened to because they have a cogent OPINION. Criticizing PZ is not cogent. It is ideological on you part, the idiotology of MRA bullshit.

  30. 30
    busterggi

    Say turningtest @ 4

    “Like playing Slim Whitman for Martians, I suspect.”

    Are you sure that wasn’t Nelson Eddy?

    And besides there’re worse out there – ever hear “Sweet Lelani”? by the Royal Hawaians?

  31. 31
    sylwyn

    I’m out of my league on this one (as so many other things), but what is Mr. Ham’s take on pterosaurs? They were about as ‘land animal’ish as birds.

  32. 32
    raven

    We do have to thank Ken Ham for words to rattle xians fragile minds with.

    Millions of years
    evolution
    Feathered Dinosaurs

    There are many more though

    Heliocentrism
    Universal health care
    gender equality
    gay marriage
    Democrats!!!
    atheists

    And of course Happy Holidays!!!

    Too bad we can’t find a a fundie xian and see what actually happens when they come face to face with reality. They all seems to be hiding under their beds or in their closets these days.

  33. 33
    peterh

    Ken Ham, I fart in your general direction.

  34. 34
    chigau (違う)

    dpitman
    How many threads are you going to drop a single turd on?

  35. 35
    Menyambal

    This is easy:

    There were dinosaurs on the Ark, and they lived with people afterward as domestic animals—hey, I’ve seen sketches—but then all died off. Obviously they died off because people ate them all—they tasted like chicken. But, if dinosaurs had had feathers, they would have been like owls, and owls are forbidden as food. So dinosaurs couldn’t have had feathers, or they’d still be around, like birds are.

    See, it’s easy and obvious and Biblical.

    And it makes my brain hurt.

  36. 36
    grumpypathdoc

    thisisaturingtest@2

    Congratulations! You beat me to the same meme.

    Only wish it were so, though one of my own children’s head would go “boom”.

  37. 37
    jnorris

    One other word that makes Christians’ heads explode: “Ni”.

  38. 38
    ceph

    Uhm, PZ?
    The beautiful fossil you’ve pictured – NGMC 91 a.k.a. “Dave” – is a juvenile dromaeosaur and therefore difficult to assign to a specific species. Though some authors have referred it to Microraptor, most studies refer it tentatively to Sinornithosaurus milenii (Senter 2011, Turner, Makovicky and Norell 2012). Dromaeosaur; yes. Microraptorian; possibly. But it’s an awful fossil to choose as a prime example of Microraptor :/

  39. 39
    vaiyt

    @24: And yet, you’re here, trying to derail a completely unrelated post towards a subject you supposedly don’t like.

  40. 40
    John Kruger

    Let us not forget:

    ”Photosynthesis” should set off another mental buzzer that says, “warning—an attack on biblical authority—this is a buzz word to say creation by God was wrong.”

    According to the true history book of the universe—the Bible—plants were made on day 3 and the sun was made on day 4. So plants existed before the sun, but scientists claim the sun existed before the earth!

  41. 41
    John Kruger

    Bah, I reversed my bold html flags. Rats.

  42. 42
    fabianocaccin

    will the klaxons going off in their head make their brains explode, or just give them a mild headache?

    I cannot help imagining it like this.
    From “The True Human Design”, no less (originally from “Destroy Erase Improve”, which might feel appropriate also.)

  43. 43
    carlie

    John Kruger – TElL ME YOU MADE THAT ONE UP.

  44. 44
    Randomfactor

    remind me again how ancient Chinese civilisations managed to survive this global flood without being even aware that it had occured.

    Duh. Nobody survived to TELL them it happened.

  45. 45
    procyon

    Feathers on dinosaurs are UMBILICAL?….oh

  46. 46
    thisisaturingtest

    @#30, busterggi:
    Yeah, I have to admit I googled it first; I was reasonably sure it was Slim, but that’s what google is for- to turn “reasonably sure” into “almost 100%.”

  47. 47
    khorseman

    I’d like to say this encourages me, because I’d like to think that the more actual obvious physical evidence (i.e. visible feathers, as opposed to, say, the interpretation of radioactive decay data) creationists are forced to deny the existence of, the more they will make themselves look silly to other Christians and the more they will marginalize their own position. I would like to believe that this kind of behavior will help hasten the day when creationism is such a fringe idea that we no longer have to fight it in schools and courts.

    Unfortunately, I not only live in Kentucky, but I worked at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History during the planning and construction days of Ken Ham’s silly theme park. I have been accosted and called a “poisoner of children’s minds” by sneering, vicious crowds of laughably hate-filled followers of a supposedly loving god. I have seen those crowds grow and grow and I have seen their ideas spread to denominations and people I would never expect. So instead of those optimistic thoughts, I instead predict that this will just be one more bullet point on the endless list of idiocy we have to fight.

  48. 48
    robro

    You can’t explode a non-existent entity such as a YEC brain.

  49. 49
    Charlie Foxtrot

    Nah, they’ll just say it was a dinosaur that got buried by the flood while it was eating a modern seagull.

    Ever looked a Cassowary in the eye?
    Absolutely no doubt about the direct linage back to some kind of dino-raptor there!

  50. 50
    SallyStrange

    The whole freaking world, aside from the Bible I suppose, is unbiblical!

    FREAK OUT!

  51. 51
    robro

    I’m no security mavin (where’s Schneier when you need him) but isn’t publishing details about your firewall the worst thing you can do to your security system. Perhaps there’s a way to slip passed the defense, shut off the alarms, and get on with the business of knowing stuff.

    Besides, if “feathered dinosaurs” sets off alarms, what does “lung fish” do? Or Cynodontia?

  52. 52
    microraptor

    It would certainly make my day if I caused Ken Ham’s head to explode.

  53. 53
    Charlie Foxtrot

    Also, nice to hear a fundy christian freaking out about Australia being all secular and humanitarian. Its like a big warm hug :)

  54. 54
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Lolwut I don’t even.

  55. 55
    katansi

    Well shit, if millions is bad maybe we should start saying billions of years all over the place.

  56. 56
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Shorter Hamster:

    REALITY IS A RELIGION!!!

  57. 57
    anteprepro

    A creationist snarkily dismissing the phrase “millions of years” should set off a buzzer that says “warning – unable to count that high – this is a buzz word for ‘I can’t believe that the Earth is so old, because dogma has severely limited my ability to imagine things outside of the bounds of said dogma’.”

  58. 58
    thewatchman

    Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis; November 13, 354 – August 28, 430), also known as Augustine, St. Augustine

    AUGUSTINE’S COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLICAL BOOK OF GENESIS

    No Christian will dare say that the narrative must not be taken in a figurative sense.

    If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books.

    That was written before the fall of the Roman empire in the year 354. Please, I wish we could show that we are not all raving lunatics. Nobody listens to us anymore. I serve the poor the best I can… I have faith that still means something.

  59. 59
    Ichthyic

    I serve the poor the best I can… I have faith that still means something.

    it does. It just has nothing to do with religion.

  60. 60
    otranreg

    Hey, if I go up to a bible-believing Christian and say, “Feathered dinosaurs evolved over millions of years”, will the klaxons going off in their head make their brains explode, or just give them a mild headache? Either seems worth doing.

    I bet you could make a musical notation system based on these phrases: the Christian Buzzer Band would rock the world.

    Also, @58: ” Please, I wish we could show that we are not all raving lunatics.”

    I’d much rather be a mental patient receiving treatment than a Christian in denial.

  61. 61
    chrislawson

    @thewatchman,

    Actually Augustine wrote De Genesi Ad Literam in 415, five years after the Sack of Rome by Alaric but sixty-odd years before Odoacer deposed the last Western emperor. Take your pick as to which one counts as the end of the Roman Empire (unless, like me, you’re rather contrarian and consider the end of the Roman Empire to be the Fall of Constantinople in 1453).

    Even so, one has to be careful in recruiting Augustine to the cause of rationalism in Christianity. Here are some other quotes of his:

    “Let us, then, omit the conjectures of men who know not what they say, when they speak of the nature and origin of the human race… They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though, reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6000 years have yet passed.”

    So to Augustine (1) the people who “know not what they say” are those who disagree with the Bible, and (2) the evidence of how old the Earth is should be derived from Scripture and not observation or testing.

    “When they are able, from reliable evidence, to prove some fact of physical science, we shall show that it is not contrary to our Scripture. But when they produce from any of their books a theory contrary to Scripture, and therefore contrary to the Catholic faith, either we shall have some ability to demonstrate that it is absolutely false, or at least we ourselves will hold it so without any shadow of a doubt.”

    Now Augustine argues that (3) if evidence contradicts Scripture, it shall be assumed to be false evidence and Scripture should be adhered to “without any shadow of a doubt”.

    So, no, Augustine was not really a rationalist. The only reason he opposed a literal interpretation of Genesis was that he could see that the scriptural texts themselves were internally inconsistent and therefore could not be literally true. This is about a thousand levels more rational than the modern YEC position, but it is still based entirely on belief by revelation rather than by investigation of evidence.

  62. 62
    Akira MacKenzie

    Two can play at this game, Hammy:

    “Biblical Authority ” should set off a mental buzzer that says, “warning–this is an attack on demonstrable reality, science, and social progress–this is a buzz word to say that a book of ancient folk tales is somehow factual.

  63. 63
    A. R

    How about this one: “The evolution of feathered dinosaurs over millions of years is clearly demonstrable by evidence in the fossil record, best typified by Microraptor and Archeopteryx, and strongly contradicts the fictional account in the Bible of a seven day creation of reptiles independent of birds.”

    [Waits for the sweet, sweet sound of fundie heads assploding]

  64. 64
    Christophe Thill

    I wonder what reply he will chose. “It’s a fake” or “Planted by Satan to test our faith”? What do you think?

  65. 65
    ashleymoore

    Placental mammals are UMBILICAL!

  66. 66
    alkisvonidas

    As Christians, we need to have a mental security system where an alarm goes off when aspects of this anti-God religion are presented.

    Hey, Large Ham! Teh word yer looking fer is CrimeStop!

  67. 67
    Q.E.D

    thewatchman @ 58

    Please, I wish we could show that we are not all raving lunatics.

    Most of us here know, smart, educated, nice, catholics. The issues with smart, reasonable catholics isn’t that they are raving lunatics.

    Nobody listens to us anymore.

    Now why do you think that is? Have there been recent events that have caused a terminal decline in the “moral authority” of the church?

    I serve the poor the best I can…

    great stuff. keep it up.

    I have faith that still means something.

    It may mean something to you but in reality, no, actually, it doesn’t. If I tell you that I have faith that there are kindly faeries living at the bottom of my garden, do you find that meaningful?

  68. 68
    bradleybetts

    @ashleymoore #65

    “Placental mammals are UMBILICAL!”

    Lol! Thnx for the lolz :)

  69. 69
    kevinalexander

    @47

    I have seen those crowds grow and grow and I have seen their ideas spread to denominations and people I would never expect. So instead of those optimistic thoughts, I instead predict that this will just be one more bullet point on the endless list of idiocy we have to fight.

    That looks like an extinction burst. The losers in any fight know that they are losing so they lash out with ever greater ferocity but their defences are ghost shirts and those don’t stop reality.

  70. 70
    djkcornett

    …will the klaxons going off in their head make their brains explode…?

    Unfortunately, I suspect the explosion would be rather small.

  71. 71
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @thewatchman:

    As a Catholic, you belong to the most evil organization on the planet.

  72. 72
    John Kruger

    @carlie

    Yeah, I made that up. The biblical account of plants before the sun is accurate, though.

    Genesis 1:11-19

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/gen/1.html#11

  73. 73
    Marcus Ranum

    but isn’t publishing details about your firewall the worst thing you can do to your security system.

    Nope! Your system design should be sufficiently strong to resist attack based on the assumption that everything about it is known. Thus, keeping it secret should be unnecessary. What you want to keep secret is your layer of defenses behind the firewall.

    For a real-world analogy: assume a burglar can “case” your building and see all your windows have alarm sensors and locks. So you want the coverage in your outer ring to be complete and to keep the burglar from being able to learn that you have a large, surly, territorial male badger named “torquemada” who lives under your couch next to the gun-cabinet. Some parts of your defenses should be a surprise, and some not, in other words.

  74. 74
    Marcus Ranum

    Addendum: note that the badger, locks, and alarms also remain effective even if the attacker knows about them. You just lose some of the element of surprise (which is important).

  75. 75
    sundiver

    I see I’m not the only one who read that as “Feathers on Dinosaurs are Umbilical”. Had a brief WTF moment at work last night when I read that. Oh well, LYSDEXICS UNTIE!

  76. 76
    Marcus Ranum

    So, no, Augustine was not really a rationalist.

    He wasn’t. But he was as close to looking like one as the faithful can come up with. So he looks like one, to them, which impresses them but leaves them puzzled when rationalists brush him aside.

  77. 77
    SnowyBiscuit

    ..dinosaurs (which are land animals) were made on Day 6..

    Please someone, turn on a video camera and ask Ham to explain the day on which gawd-uh created pterodactyls.

  78. 78
    microraptor

    According to most creationists, pterodactyls are just oversize bats.

    Well, except for the ones that are oversize birds.

  79. 79
    mjmiller

    I recently took a trip with my family to the Natural History Museum in Austin,TX; my fundy mother in law tagged along. Although she was (and probably still is) a staunch evilution denier, I count her as one of those otherwise reasonable and intelligent people we all know. During our visit, I could see her unease at being unable to reconcile the evidence presented at the museum (the fossil record especially) with the dogma she had been taught all her life. One could almost hear the gears turn while watching her confused but thoughtful expression. I didn’t confront her that day with questions about her experiences at the museum, but I hold out hope for her conversion from the dark side.
    I remain optimistic that there is also hope for many others of those who deliberately compartmentalize facts that I think they know to be true, but find too uncomfortable to confront.

  80. 80
    MetzO'Magic

    So, I wonder what kind of thoughts course through the Hammer’s (as in: “dumber than a bag of…”) feeble mind when he looks at a picture of something like a microraptor fossil (if the cognitive dissonance required to do so isn’t too taxing for him, that is) and reads (another stretch of the imagination, I admit) that it’s 120 million years old. Probably something like:

    “Ah, everything’s OK. Carbon dating is a hoax.”

    I just love Potholer54′s video on that subject: “Oy, Hovind, we can’t carbon date this. It’s got no *fucking* carbon in it!”.

    But we *can* use radiometric dating, Hammer. And something stonyground said back at #22 is also relevant:

    Talking of woks, remind me again how ancient Chinese civilisations managed to survive this global flood without being even aware that it had occured.

    My fav take on this is from The Onion:

    Sumerians Look On In Confusion As God Creates World

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