The Quantum Enigma of Consciousness and the Identity of the

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The Quantum Enigma of Consciousness and the Identity of the

Postby stcordova » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:48 am

THE QUANTUM ENIGMA OF CONSCIUOSNESS AND THE IDENTITY OF THE DESIGNER
Adapted from:
https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent ... -designer/



In this thread, I will suggest the identity of Intelligent Designer of life. The question of the identity of the Intelligent Designer is outside of ID proper, but if a design is detected, it inspires the question, “who is the Designer?”

If the identity of the Intelligent Designer is outside of ID proper, is it outside the speculations of science? I think not. As Dawkins himself once remarked:


You then realize that the presence of a creative deity in the universe is clearly a scientific hypothesis. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more momentous hypothesis in all of science.

Richard Dawkins



In that spirit, rather than offer a theological speculation, I will offer a speculation based on inference from scientific observation. And I will argue scientific observation suggests the Intelligent Designer is a Deity of some sort.

To begin, I point out this essay in the prestigious scientific journal Nature in 2005 by physicist Richard Conn Henry
Henry:


“The ultimate cause of atheism, Newton asserted, is ‘this notion of bodies having, as it were, a complete, absolute and independent reality in themselves.’”

The 1925 discovery of quantum mechanics solved the problem of the Universe’s nature. Bright physicists were again led to believe the unbelievable — this time, that the Universe is mental.

According to Sir James Jeans: “the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the Universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter…we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.”
….
The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual.

Richard Conn Henry
The Mental Universe: Nature Volume 436
http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf


To be fair, Henry is NOT an ID proponent, but some of his further comments in connection with his Nature essay are astonishing. Is Henry arguing that one of the main pillars of atheism has been taken away by quantum mechanics? Is he saying that quantum mechanics has shown that there are no mind-independent realities, therefore the cure for atheism (to paraphrase Newton) has been found?

Now we are beginning to see that quantum mechanics might actually exclude any possibility of mind-independent reality….

Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the illusion of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism.

Richard Conn Henry and Stephen R. Palmquist
Journal of Scientific Exploration Issue 21-3


So does Henry posit a Deity? In his review of the book Quantum Enigma:Physics Encounters Consciousness Henry offers the following:



It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe.

And yet, have you ever before read a sentence having meaning similar to that of my preceding sentence? Likely you have not, and the reason you have not is, in my opinion, that physicists are in a state of denial…
….
In his Gifford lectures, very shortly after the 1925 discovery of quantum mechanics, Arthur Stanley Eddington (who immediately quantum mechanics was discovered realized that this meant that the universe was purely mental, and that indeed there was no such thing as “physical”) said “it is difficult for the matter-of-fact physicist to accept the view that the substratum of everything is of mental character.” What an understatement! On this fundamental topic, physicists are mostly terrified wimps.

And what are these “terrors” that prevent the acceptance of the obvious? I think it is a combination of the fear of being ridiculed, plus the fear of the religious implications. Does that sound familiar?
….
When, not so long ago, I grew baffled that there was no concise and clear public statement concerning the most important philosophical discovery, ever, in the history of science; and, I decided, therefore, that I must make such a public statement myself and I did so, in an essay in Nature, “The mental Universe,” I knew that no such negative response could possibly occur in my case, because of the fine character of my great university;

….
“Quantum Enigma” only mentions the quantum Zeno effect in passing, which surprises me. Despite their timidity, it is quite clear that our shivering authors know darned well that mind is central and nothing shows the truth of that more clearly than does the quantum Zeno effect.
….

For an atheist such as myself, the result is simultaneously enormous, and minor. I have made the leap of faith that MY mind is not the universe: well, you will not be surprised to learn that I sure don’t accept that YOURS is! So, I am forced to meet the Great omniscient Spirit, GoS. How do you do! Pleased to meet you! I am here not at all joking; as I go for my hour of walking each day, I not infrequently hold hands with GoS.

You can see what I mean by “enormous.” Of fundamental importance to me. But minor at the same time, because that is the end of it. The first ten Presidents of the United States were all Deists, not Christians. As was Lincoln. I join them in that belief.

The authors make the critical point that religious belief flowing out of quantum mechanics does not in any way validate “intelligent design.” (Indeed, in my view ID is insulting to GoS, who is surely not, as the authors emphasize, a tinkerer.)

Richard Conn Henry
Review Quantum Enigma


Henry anticipated a backlash from his colleagues from his essay in Nature, but none came about possibly because of his prestigious affiliations. He disavows ID, but he apparently regards himself as a Deist now, and that would suggest he thinks there is a Supreme Being of sorts since:

Deism is a religious and philosophical belief that a supreme being created the universe, and that this (and religious truth in general) can be determined using reason and observation of the natural world alone, without a need for either faith or organized religion

Wikipedia


So Henry believes the Great Omnipresent Spirit (GoS) is the creator, but he thinks it would be insulting to suggest that GoS is also the Intelligent Designer.

Far be it for me to disagree with Dr. Henry, but it’s hard not to think that the Great Omnipresent Sprit is also the Intelligent Designer of the universe and life. But if the Great Omnipresent Sprit, dare I say God, is not the Intelligent Designer of life, He would at least have the proper skill sets to make life.

NOTES:
Henry’s idea has been mentioned indirectly earlier. Here is a photo of an Review in Nature 19 years earlier of a book by John Barrow and Frank Tipler.

Image

In the thread Peer Reviewed Stealth ID Classic I point out Tipler’s comment:

I discovered this the hard way when I published my book The Physics of Immortality. The entire book is devoted to describing what the known laws of physics predict the far future of the universe will be like. Not once in the entire book do I use anything but the known physical laws, the laws of physics that are in all the textbooks, and which agree with all experiments conducted to date. Unfortunately, in the book I gave reasons for believing that the final state of the universe, a state outside of space and time, and not material should be identified with the Judeo-Christian God. (It would take a book to explain why!) My scientific colleagues, atheists to a man, were outraged. Even though the theory of the final state of the universe involved only known physics, my fellow physicists refused even to discuss the theory. If the known laws of physics imply that God exists, then in their opinion, this can only mean that the laws of physics have to be wrong. This past September, at a conference held at Windsor Castle, I asked the well known cosmologist Paul Davies what he thought of my theory. He replied that he could find nothing wrong with it mathematically, but he asked what justified my assumption that the known laws of physics were correct.

Frank Tipler
Uncommon Dissent


The idea is actually simple. It is the physics version of a theological argument often used by William Lane Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument.

Barrow and Tipler’s variant of the Kalam Cosmological Argument uses quantum mechanics. The Orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics is that features of a system which did not previously exist are created through the process of observation. This is described in a college text for physics students:

The orthodox position raises even more disturbing problems, for if the act of measurement forces the system to “take a stand,” helping to create an attribute that was not there previously, then there is something very peculiar about the measurement process.

p. 420
Quantum Mechanics 2nd Edition
David Griffiths


Barrow and Tipler argue that not just features of small quantum systems but ALL the features of the universe come about because some Observer creates all the attributes of the universe. Barrow and Tipler argue that this inference (although speculative) proceeds directly from the laws of physics (independent of any theology). Barrow and Tipler call the Observer who creates the universe “The Ultimate Observer”. Tipler later identified “The Ultimate Observer” as God.

Oddly, Barrow and Tipler’s work has been criticized from ID quarters (partly because they advocate Many Worlds). But I think their work is more ID-friendly than most realize!

On top of that, there is the reasonable inference that consciousness must be somehow at the root of what make quantum observations real. That was the thesis of Quantum Enigma (which Henry references). Here is what the authors Kuttner and Rosenbulm had to say at http://www.QuantumEnigma.com:


Quantum mechanics is the most battle-tested theory in all of science. It is also practical. (One third of our economy depends on things designed with it.) But, with the advent of quantum mechanics, physicists, unexpectedly, felt the need to talk of reality, connectedness, and even “consciousness.”

Reality: Undisputed experimental results challenge any common-sense view of physical reality. By your free choice you can establish either of two contradictory prior physical realities. What existed before your observation? Experts in the foundations of quantum mechanics still puzzle about and argue about this.

While the creation of physical reality can be demonstrated only for small things, like molecules, or “simple” situations, only technology sets the limit. Quantum theory is seamless. It presumably applies to everything (including us?). Cosmologists apply quantum mechanics to black holes and the Big Bang.

Click here for a compact description of experiments demonstrating reality creation.

Connectedness: Quantum theory tells that all things that have ever interacted are forever connected. For example, your friend’s freely made decision of what to do in Moscow (or on Mars) can instantaneously influence what you find in Manhattan. And this happens without any physical force being involved. Einstein called such influences “spooky actions.” They have now been demonstrated to exist. So far just for small things, but they are no less spooky.


The facts described in our book are completely undisputed. But mentioning “consciousness” is controversial. The encounter of physics with “non-physical” stuff like consciousness has been called our “skeleton in the closet.” Look at the undisputed facts, and think for yourself about what they mean.

Quantum Enigma in a Nutshell

and


in our teaching of quantum mechanics, we tacitly deny the mystery physics has encountered. We hardly mention Bohr’s grappling with physics’ encounter with the observer and von Neumann’s demonstration that the encounter is, in principle, inevitable. We largely avoid the still-unresolved issues raised by Einstein, Schrödinger, Wigner, Bohm, and Bell. Outside the physics classroom, physicists increasingly address these issues and often go beyond the purely “physical.” Consciousness, for example, comes up explicitly in almost every one of today’s proliferating interpretations of quantum mechanics, if only to show why physics itself need not deal with it. The many worlds interpretation, for example, is also referred to as the “many minds” interpretation, and a major treatment of decoherence concludes that an ultimate understanding would involve a model of consciousness.

The Copenhagen interpretation is, of course, all we need to describe the world, for all practical purposes. And for a physics class, practical purposes are generally all that matter. But a physics student confronting someone inclined to take the implications of quantum mechanics to unjustified places will find Copenhagen’s for-all-practical-purposes treatment an ineffective argument.

Our physics discipline is unable to present a reasonable-seeming picture of what’s going on in the physical world, one that goes beyond merely practical purposes. But a lecture or two can succinctly expose the mystery physics has encountered, admit the limits of our understanding, and identify as speculation whatever goes beyond those limits. It would enable students to effectively confront the quantum nonsense. Such a presentation is possible even in a “physics for poets” class, where it may even be most crucial. Physics’ encounter with the observer and consciousness can be embarrassing, but that’s not a good reason for avoiding it. The analogy with sex education comes to mind.

Social Responsibility


HT: my good friend and mentor Mike Gene for the Dawkins quote
Last edited by stcordova on Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Quantum Enigma of Consciousness and the Identity of

Postby stcordova » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:51 am

My intro from reddit:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Creation/comme ... gests_the/



In 2005, a distinguished professor from my school, Richard Conn Henry, published a short opinion piece in the prestigious scientific journal nature that said, in essence, God exists based on inferences from Quantum Mechanics alone.

Quantum Mechanics (QM) was formulated to explain various phenomenon in chemistry. QM led to the development of lasers, transistors, computers, etc. Half of the Gross National Product could be said to be dependent on the application of Quantum Mechanics whether we realize it or not.

But Quantum Mechanics, if taken to its logical conclusion, could imply the existence of God.

The great physicists John Wheeler conceived of the Double Slit Delayed Choice experiment of quantum mechanics shows that the future affects the past. Wheeler's experiment, with some additional considerations suggests an ultimate non-material cause for all reality -- aka God. Richard Conn Henry, Frank Tipler, John Barrow and others have concluded a straightforward interpretation of quantum mechanics implies the existence of God.

If there is a God, then it is possible miracles can happen, and I suggest then that God is the Intelligent Designer as well. Thus, independent of any religious beliefs, one could hypothetically construct an ID and creationist model of reality. This is re-assuring as it avoids the problem of circular reasoning from purely faith beliefs without involvement of any scientific facts.

I collected various fragments of ideas by physicists regarding QM and ID and dumped it in the following essay (adapted and revised from an earlier version):
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Re: The Quantum Enigma of Consciousness and the Identity of

Postby stcordova » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:52 am

For the reader’s benefit, here is one of my favorite essays (in mostly plain english) describing Quantum Mechanics:

One Hundred Years of Quantum Physics.

The opening excerpt:

An informed list of the most profound scientific developments of the 20th century is likely to include general relativity, quantum mechanics, big bang cosmology, the unraveling of the genetic code….and perhaps a few other topics of the reader’s choice. Among these, quantum mechanics is unique because of its profoundly radical quality. Quantum mechanics forced physicists to reshape their ideas of reality, to rethink the nature of things at the deepest level, and to revise their concepts of position and speed, as well as their notions of cause and effect.
Although quantum mechanics was created to describe an abstract atomic world far removed from daily experience, its impact on our daily lives could hardly be greater. The spectacular advances in chemistry, biology, and medicine—and in essentially every other science—could not have occurred without the tools that quantum mechanics made possible. Without quantum mechanics there would be no global economy to speak of,….


The rest of the essay is superb. One would expect as much from professors at MIT!
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Re: The Quantum Enigma of Consciousness and the Identity of

Postby stcordova » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:55 am

Tipler:

As a physicist, I am aware that quantum mechanics, the central theory of modern physics, is even more deterministic that was the classical mechanics of which Darwin was aware. More than this, quantum mechanics is actually teleological, though physicists don’t use this loaded word (we call it “unitarity” instead of “teleology”). That is, quantum mechanics says that it is completely correct to say that the universe’s evolution is determined not by how it started in the Big Bang, but by the final state of the universe. Every stage of universal history, including every stage of biological and human history, is determined by the ultimate goal of the universe. And if I am correct that the universal final state is indeed God, then every stage of universal history, in particular every mutation that has ever occurred, or ever will occur in any living being, is determined by the action of God.
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Re: The Quantum Enigma of Consciousness and the Identity of

Postby stcordova » Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:28 pm

[From: https://www.reddit.com/r/DebateEvolutio ... y/dvew54y/]


> I'm not seeing where this is evidence of the existence of a god.

I don't think I can explain it well since I'm slugging through the math myself all over again to sort it out. But I'll try to explain as best I can.

So for now, I'm accepting the quotes from respected physicists including Richard Conn Henry from my graduate Alma mater.

So I'll fumble through my understanding as best as I can...

When we study a single system, like say an electron. Our observation can bring its position into existence. The quarrel between Einstein and Bohr was to the effect, "does the moon have to be observed in order to exist." Well the usual answer is "no", but in the quantum atomic world, it's "yes". Observation creates a collapse of the ordinary evolution of hypothetical probabilities and brings to existence the position of the electron. The mathemagicians and physicists said this is the most consistent way to model experimental results. Hence, we have paradoxes like Shrodinger's cat.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat

So the cat is not made dead or alive till it is observed. Of course that seems to not make any sense! But at the atomic level, that's par for the course.

>Schrödinger intended his thought experiment as a discussion of the EPR article—named after its authors Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen—in 1935.[9] The EPR article highlighted the bizarre nature of quantum superpositions, in which a quantum system such as an atom or photon can exist as a combination of multiple states corresponding to different possible outcomes. The prevailing theory, called the Copenhagen interpretation, said that a quantum system remained in this superposition until it interacted with, or was observed by, the external world, at which time the superposition collapses into one or another of the possible definite states. The EPR experiment showed that a system with multiple particles separated by large distances could be in such a superposition. Schrödinger and Einstein exchanged letters about Einstein's EPR article, in the course of which Einstein pointed out that the state of an unstable keg of gunpowder will, after a while, contain a superposition of both exploded and unexploded states.

Now in the world of quantum computing, we try to leverage this sort of strangeness. So it's more than a mere academic curiosity, but has now practical applications. The difficulty is preventing the quantum bits from "collapsing" in the wrong way by an inadvertent "observation" or "measurement". This creates a hardware nightmare of creating such an isolated environment....

Ok, so suffice to say, some mysterious act of observation brings to life a hypothetical position of an electron into a definite position of the electron.

By way of extension, at the beginning of the universe, some observation brought to life the laws of physics and matter. That observation is in the future, because in Quantum Mechanics the future is causal of the past. We see this especially in the Double Slit Delayed Choice experiment.
http://www.dhushara.com/book/quantcos/qphil/qphil.htm

>Psychic Photons

>The astronomer's choice of how to observe photons from the quasar here in the present apparently detemiines whether each photon took both paths or just one path around the gravitational lens-bdhons of years ago. As they approached the galactic beam splitter, the photons must have had something like a premonition telling them how to behave in order to satisfy a choice to be made by unbom beings on a still non-exstent planet. The fallacy giving rise to such speculations. Wheeler explains is the assumption that a photon had some physical form before the astronomer observed it. Either it was a wave or a particle; either it went both ways around the quasar or only one way. Actually, Wheeler says, quantum phenomena are neither waves nor particles but are intrinsically undefined until the moment they are measured. In a sense, the British philosopher Bishop Berkeley was right when he asserted two centuries ago that 'to be is to be perceived.


I actually worked in a nano-systems group and one of my co-workers was working on the problem of ensuring quantum computers would be sufficiently isolated from future events such that present time computation are not affected by future events. This may sound bizarre, but in the atomic world, this is par for the course.

So one unsolved mystery is why the macroscopic world behaves so classically but the atomic world so bizarrely.

But in any case, if one can accept the notion that observation brings something into existence that was in an indefinite amorphous spooky condition, then by way of extension some observation brought the universe into existence.

Some have hypothesized a Universal Wave function. That is the Schrodinger equation encompassing all of material reality. You can see it is mentioned here in the last column which interpretations accord with the existence of the Universal Wave function:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpret ... pretations

This is discussion of that Universal Wave function:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_wavefunction
>The universal wave function is the wavefunction or quantum state of the totality of existence, regarded as the "basic physical entity"[8] or "the fundamental entity, obeying at all times a deterministic wave equation."[9]

So if there is a universal wave function, there is the possibility of an Ultimate Observer who will observe this function and bring it to life much like we bring the existence of electron position to life through the act of observation.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003XF1EKO/re ... TF8&btkr=1

Is this proof airtight? No. But it puts an option on the table.

This was what I said over at r/creation:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Creation/comme ... e/dvegfrw/
>If I may point out one of my reasons for taking this line of inquiry.

>It would be easy for someone to imagine and believe in imaginary beings that could work all sorts of wonders. This would be akin to fairy tales.

>Now, if have something like life that couldn't naturally evolve, then we could invoke such an imaginary hypothetical being with all sorts of magical powers to explain life. At least that is a little more justifiable.

>But when atheistic physicists make a 180 degree turn toward ID because solutions to their physics equations imply God, I really take notice! At that point, when physics can be used to argue for the existence of God, then ID becomes far more legitimate in my mind than kids inventing fairy tales. It provides the missing element to ID, a Designer. But up until that point most design arguments are God of the Gaps with no other line of reasoning except the gap itself. I wanted something more to point to God than a mere Gap. Quantum Mechanics provided an alternate argument for God than just mere gaps.

So this is not a PROOF of God or ID, it is a feasibility argument from physics and math. The feasibility argument was how I could alleviate worries that I was just making up fairy tales in my own mind. Whether ID is ultimately true, I do not think a formal resolution of the question is possible, we can only examine the evidence and form our best guess or belief.
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Re: The Quantum Enigma of Consciousness and the Identity of

Postby stcordova » Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:49 pm

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Re: The Quantum Enigma of Consciousness and the Identity of

Postby stcordova » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:39 am

The Strong Anthropic Principle and the Final Anthropic Principle


The Strong and Final Anthropic Principles are probably the most controversial of the many versions of the Anthropic Principle. They have a ring of creationism, a philosophy that has been frowned on by science since Darwin’s day. Despite their borderline scientific status, they have been embraced by the religious among the scientific community, heralded as proof of God’s existence and of science’s final acknowledgment of the fact.

The SAP is based on the same “cosmic coincidences” as the far more mundane WAP. It cites the same inexplicable and unlikely chance occurrences that make it possible for life to exist in the Universe. Unlike the WAP, however, they attempt to explain why such improbable events occurred, rather than just state what improbable events must have occurred in the Universe to let us be here. They take a position not unlike Aristotle in his use of Final Causes to explain the why of things: the Universe’s end result was to produce us, so the various physical constants and other properties which are pivotal to our existence have to be such that they bring about our existence.

I don’t have to point out how egotistical that sounds. Looking only at that last sentence, the notion sounds ridiculous. However, those who subscribe to this theory have defended it valiantly. For one thing, the coincidences in the physical constants have yet to be truly explained, except by the SAP and theories like it. As I have said before, many of the conditions and properties in the Universe have precise values, and if these values were changed even very slightly, intelligent life would be completely impossible. And all of these far-fetched coincidences happened together. The Universe certainly seems to have been “made” with life in mind.




If you were to accept this argument, then the FAP would be the logical conclusion after the SAP, especially if you believe the Participatory Anthropic Principle as well. If the Universe is indeed made for the benefit of intelligence, and the Universe in fact needs intelligent observers to exist, then it would be in the Universe’s “interest” to keep intelligence going. Therefore, according to those who subscribe to this theory, intelligent life will never die out.

Of course if the Universe was made toward some end, something with enough consciousness and foresight to create so precise a Universe has to have existed, though the idea of a pre-existing creator-god that we cannot observe (and therefore we cannot prove exists) does seem somewhat unscientific. The alternatives, though, have a similar problem. The proposed “many worlds” theory and its variations, which are the long-standing arguments against the SAP and FAP are just as impossible to test as the existence of God, as the worlds they hold up as a rebuttal to the SAP are just as impossible to detect (more on this later). This is a good point, as we really do only have one Universe, our Universe, to consider, no matter how many theoretical ones we construct.





“As we look out into the Universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the Universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.”
-F. Dyson
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Re: The Quantum Enigma of Consciousness and the Identity of

Postby stcordova » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:49 am


Barrow and Tipler’s ideas were actually forseen 12 years before their book by Physicist FJ Belinfante in his book Measurements and time reversal in objective quantum theory


We thus see how quantum theory requires the existence of God. Of course, it does not ascribe to God defined in this way any of the specific additional qualities that the various existing religious doctrines ascribed to God. Acceptance of such doctrines is a matter of faith and belief.
If elementary systems do not “possess” quantitatively determinate properties, apparently God determines these properties as we measure them. We also observe the fact, unexplainable but experimentally well established, that God in His decisions about the outcomes of our experiments shows habits so regular that we can express them in the form of statistical laws of nature. This apparent determinism in macroscopic nature has hidden God and His personal influence on the universe from the eyes of many outstanding scientists.
F.J. Belinfante

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