Mt. Vernon, OH, school levy results

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One of the threats made by the fundamentalists both recently and during the 2003 attempt by John Freshwater to inject ID creationist material into the science curriculum is that they will punish the district and the board of education in elections if the board opposes their efforts to corrupt science education. So far that doesn’t seem to be working out real well for them. Yesterday voters in the Mt. Vernon City School District passed a renewal of an operating levy by a 61%-39% margin. Like the Dover, PA, school board elections in 2005, it appears that the ballot box clout of the fundamentalists is a whole lot less powerful than they’d like us to believe. I’m cautious about interpreting that vote simply as a referendum on the board of education or Freshwater, but I know I heard rumblings around the district about it prior to the election. It certainly doesn’t support any claims of general dissatisfaction with the district.

The hearing on Freshwater’s termination resumes tomorrow, with members of the Dennis family being called by Freshwater’s attorney, R. Kelly Hamilton. Recall that Hamilton passed on cross examining Zachary and his mother last fall during the presentation of the Board’s case by David Millstone, the Board’s attorney, knowing he’d call them as hostile witnesses during Freshwater’s presentation.

46 Comments

I don’t get the point being made. The voters approved the renewal of the school tax. Why would it mean they approve/disapprove of what the school board is doing? Or what the general public thinks about this Freshwater guy? Were the fundies threatening to cut the funding off and dissolve the school district or something?

Ravilyn Sanders said:

I don’t get the point being made. The voters approved the renewal of the school tax. Why would it mean they approve/disapprove of what the school board is doing? Or what the general public thinks about this Freshwater guy? Were the fundies threatening to cut the funding off and dissolve the school district or something?

In both 2003 and recently they have threatened to punish the board and district by electing friendly board members (failed so far) and opposing levies (also failed so far). That’s the point: The threats have been empty. Further point: There is a whole lot less to fear electorally from the fundamentalists as their tactics and goals become better known. That should stiffen the spines of more politicians.

Is it not true that educated person are more likely to vote?

And I don’t think that very many people would vote to defund their own children’s school over a policy dispute. Yes I am sure there are some, but they are a small minority.

I would think it far more likely that any voter wrath would be aimed at school board elections. But if you say they can’t seem to do that then there is no chance at defunding barring some kind of tax revolt (and of course state budget cuts).

How well organized are the local creationists? Sometimes the good guys simply being better organized can result in wins where one would think it hopeless.

RBH said:

Ravilyn Sanders said: There is a whole lot less to fear electorally from the fundamentalists as their tactics and goals become better known. That should stiffen the spines of more politicians.

Thanks for the clarification. I think it is really dumb move on the part of the fundies to threaten to defund the school district. Property values will immediately sink. So almost all homeowners will be opposed to the dissolution of the school district. Of course, they will bitch and moan about the school tax and complain it is too much, but still they know it would be a dumb move to dissolve the school district.

But even after this I doubt if the politicians would oppose the fundies openly. Even when the politicians know that a larger majority does not support the fundies, they know more fundies turn up at the polling station. The majority is usually lethargic and apathetic. They come out to vote only when something seriously goes wrong and fundies overreach in their hubris.

it appears that the ballot box clout of the fundamentalists is a whole lot less powerful than they’d like us to believe.

Au contraire. They seem to have quite a but of clout, but not in the direction they want. It looks like they are very good at getting people to vote against them.

Good News :-)

When do you think this thing will be over?

Ravilyn Sanders said: Property values will immediately sink. So almost all homeowners will be opposed to the dissolution of the school district. Of course, they will bitch and moan about the school tax and complain it is too much, but still they know it would be a dumb move to dissolve the school district.

Unfortunately, there is rabid support for the anti-tax/Libertarian crowd in Mount Vernon. You know the type - very outspoken against “socialism and socialized healthcare” but when you point out that they utilize socialized highway transportation nearly daily, they clam up or make excuses why that’s OK. Further, the school district is currently funded through property tax, not income tax; I would expect those property owners angry about taxes to vote against the renewal levy regardless of how it would alter their property values (negligible, probably). It had nothing to do with dissolution of the district. It’s worth mentioning that the Mount Vernon vote was atypical for the area, too, considering it was only one of two out of five area school district funding issues that passed, with one too close to call.

Unfortunately in Texas, the fundies still have quite a bit of clout at the ballot box. If we are lucky,that will turn around sometime soon, like maybe the 22nd Century.

It is a good thing to go after religious belief systems being promoted in our schools. As the above shows as a point case, the creationist are not a real threat (nor actually, have they ever been all that big of a threat). There is however a very real threat in terms of a belief system is being promoted very actively in the public school system with public dollars. That belief system is atheism (I believe there is no God) and it is being promoted, for one, in elementary biology text books to name but one place. One of the results of this infestation is the elevation of “watch those nasty Christians”. Of course when we do watch those nasty Christians we find, rather fast, that they are not anything of the threat (like what the above shows) that the witch hunt against Christians, via the atheist, are (a fact demonstrated and well established by the modern sociology of religious moments – atheist comprising the only statistically significant anti-freedom of religion movement in the United States today – see Rodney Stark’s work on the subject). Anyone of us can go to our local library and pull general biology book and see for ourselves what is being promoted in those text books. In a day when we scientifically know that Darwin’s theory is wrong, as is the work of the neo-Darwinist, and that we have no working general theory for the origins and diversity of life on earth which actually matches the empirical data, it is inexcusable that elementary biology text books print up Darwin’s work as though it has scientific validity – yet that is exactly what we find in the elementary biology text books. What we do not find is the musings of those nasty Christian. There is a war against the Darwinst which is rising, and it is doing so via science and scientist who no longer give a damn if some second rate Darwinst with his belief system calls him names like “your a creationist” - they stand with their emotional appeal and a bag of illusion facts – and outside of that, they have little else.

I think he’s actually beginning to foam at the mouth.

Troy, you’re losing it. I’m starting to think that your delusions are serious enough to need professional attention.

Troy said:

It is a good thing to go after religious belief systems being promoted in our schools. As the above shows as a point case, the creationist are not a real threat (nor actually, have they ever been all that big of a threat).

That’s like saying Saddam Hussein was never any real threat to Kuwait because his occupying forces were repulsed quickly by an international coalition. In other words, it’s wrong and an incredibly stupid thing to say.

There is however a very real threat in terms of a belief system is being promoted very actively in the public school system with public dollars. That belief system is atheism (I believe there is no God) and it is being promoted, for one, in elementary biology text books to name but one place.

I’m sure you’ll be able to point out plenty of passages in these textbooks which “promote atheism,” then. If you can’t, however, perhaps you should wonder why anybody should take your rhetoric seriously (including yourself).

One of the results of this infestation is the elevation of “watch those nasty Christians”. Of course when we do watch those nasty Christians we find, rather fast, that they are not anything of the threat (like what the above shows) that the witch hunt against Christians, via the atheist, are (a fact demonstrated and well established by the modern sociology of religious moments – atheist comprising the only statistically significant anti-freedom of religion movement in the United States today – see Rodney Stark’s work on the subject).

Right. They’re also waging a War on Christmas!

Anyone of us can go to our local library and pull general biology book and see for ourselves what is being promoted in those text books.

I think I’ve already invited you to do so. I happen to have already purchased an out-of-date biology textbook from the county library, but I didn’t see any promotion of atheism therein. Hopefully you will meet with more success.

In a day when we scientifically know that Darwin’s theory is wrong, as is the work of the neo-Darwinist, and that we have no working general theory for the origins and diversity of life on earth which actually matches the empirical data, it is inexcusable that elementary biology text books print up Darwin’s work as though it has scientific validity – yet that is exactly what we find in the elementary biology text books.

Those are pretty tall claims. I think you’ll have to substantiate them. Start with the claim that “we scientifically know that Darwin’s theory was wrong, as is the work of the neo-Darwinist…” Once you’ve established this as a matter of fact, we can continue with a productive discussion. Until you do so, however, I don’t see us making any headway.

There is a war against the Darwinst which is rising, and it is doing so via science and scientist

Why do Fundies write like that??? They don’t use spell checker or use plurals. They reduce evil things to single entities. All of us have been reduced to the “Darwinist”.

Ryan said: Unfortunately, there is rabid support for the anti-tax/Libertarian crowd in Mount Vernon.

RBH’s point is that rabidity of support is irrelevant if it doesn’t translate into votes. You can give their movement any superlative description you want, the fact is they do not bring in the votes they threaten.

It’s worth mentioning that the Mount Vernon vote was atypical for the area, too, considering it was only one of two out of five area school district funding issues that passed, with one too close to call.

That’s interesting, but doesn’t it really support Bob O’H’s point? If Mt Vernon is unusual in its support for the school tax, then that would indicate that anti-tax lobbying by creationists had the effect of swinging votes against them.

Frank B said:

There is a war against the Darwinst which is rising, and it is doing so via science and scientist

Why do Fundies write like that???

Because they like to lose court cases?

Wow, Troy has to be a Poe.

In his fairly long 10:43 post, the only sentence that comes close to being grammatical is the incomprehensible << One of the results of this infestation is the elevation of “watch those nasty Christians”>>.

No-one could consistently maintain that level of incoherence without trying.

Bravo Troy, I say, Bravo!

I suspect Troy is not a poe so much as ESL, probably eastern european.

Oh, and a complete and utter ignoramus and fool.

Anyway, hurrah Mt. Vernon.

Richard Hoppe, I really appreciate these bulletins.

Frank B said:

They reduce evil things to single entities. All of us have been reduced to the “Darwinist”.

Don’t you know? They liken us to the Borg. We’re just one evil, collective mind. Listen up you Creationists… You will be assimilated!

All creationists - especially those posting here - have the unfortunate tendency of possessing both a “hive mind” (which is why we should regard them as either Borg or Dalek drones) and practicing some form of intellectual child abuse. It doesn’t matter if they’re YECs, OECs, IDiots, or some other peculiar flavor:

waynef said:

Frank B said:

They reduce evil things to single entities. All of us have been reduced to the “Darwinist”.

Don’t you know? They liken us to the Borg. We’re just one evil, collective mind. Listen up you Creationists… You will be assimilated!

That belief system is atheism (I believe there is no God) and it is being promoted, for one, in elementary biology text books to name but one place.

This does make sense, if one uses the Creationist interpretation of “atheism”, which is any explanation of anything which omits the creationist god. You can read elementary biology texts anywhere in any school, and never once will you find anything in biology attributed to the supernatural, the divine, or miracles. Leaving their god out, and STILL proposing a reasonable, testable explanation backed by mountains of solid evidence, is about as atheist as you can get.

By implication (that is, by omission), science texts conspire to tell us that the creationist god not only didn’t do anything, it was never needed to do anything. To the creationist, explaining biology without invoking their god is like explaining rain without mentioning water. And that simply cannot happen without an “infestation of anhydrism.”

(which is why we should regard them as either Borg or Dalek drones)

Frankly, Doctor Who went totally downhill after the curly-hair guy with the long scarf and the Jelly Babies decided to leave. And the Borgs look too ghetto, quite honestly.

So, as a matter of professional courtesy, I ask to be re-assigned on your Villain Index.

I would prefer that you characterize me either as “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” or else as Cesar Romero’s “Joker” character. (Professor Fate from “The Great Race” is a tolerable third choice.)

Menace Mixed with Mirth—that’s the ONLY way to practice creationist villainy!!!

FL :)

I checked with Romana. She said that you’re still an AiG Dalek clone:

FL said:

(which is why we should regard them as either Borg or Dalek drones)

Frankly, Doctor Who went totally downhill after the curly-hair guy with the long scarf and the Jelly Babies decided to leave. And the Borgs look too ghetto, quite honestly.

So, as a matter of professional courtesy, I ask to be re-assigned on your Villain Index.

I would prefer that you characterize me either as “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” or else as Cesar Romero’s “Joker” character. (Professor Fate from “The Great Race” is a tolerable third choice.)

Menace Mixed with Mirth—that’s the ONLY way to practice creationist villainy!!!

FL :)

FL said:

(which is why we should regard them as either Borg or Dalek drones)

…So, as a matter of professional courtesy, I ask to be re-assigned on your Villain Index.

Wow, you even miss the point of trivial posts.

Yet another crystal clear example of his intellectually-challenged mind, which merely acts in accordance to the desires of the Supreme Dalek (Ken Ham) and its treacherous, quite devious, minions:

eric said:

FL said:

(which is why we should regard them as either Borg or Dalek drones)

…So, as a matter of professional courtesy, I ask to be re-assigned on your Villain Index.

Wow, you even miss the point of trivial posts.

Good job on waging a personal attack on me – it does have a certain appeal to those who, how shall I say this, are scientifically challenged - LOL

I noticed the use of defining an atheist via some claimed creationist definition. Why do that when you can use a scientific definition of the atheistic belief system? (does it have better emotional for your case? Or is it that you forgot such matters are scientifically addressed and studied?). There is a science, sociology, which studies belief systems, atheist included. When we go to that field of science we find that an atheist is one who “believes” this: “I believe there is no God”. I will stick to that way of defining it – you may, however, use your creationist claim to define it if you like – just be aware that I am not doing so in any of what I say.

I had said the creationist are not a real threat, to which it was replied that it is a stupid thing to say, rather like saying Hussein was never a threat to Kuwait because forces pushed him out fast like.

One can get old film clips which show the oil fields on fire in Kuwait from Hussein (I am fond of the film clips that show that while Carl Sagan is claiming the smoke will cause a global winter while an actual scientist sits by him and claims it will rain out of the sky just like it always does). That would be an example of good evidence that Hussein was likely a real problem problem to Kuwait.

On the other hand, one can go to a large library and pull a whole stack of general biology text books and search long and hard to find even one that pushes the creationist ideology throughout the book. That is not good evidence that this “problem” is all the huge. Now look at the dates of the text books and form a stack which was printed in 1945 or before. With that pile seek how many claim that one can not be a Christian and be a scientist (promotion of atheism via the idea that science shows there is no God). Safe to say, you will have a much larger stack than what you produced of the creationist promoting text. That is good evidence that there has been a problem of a particular belief system infecting general biology text books. It certainly is far more sound than a bias sample of one text book isn’t it? Now I guess we could treat it like Spencer , Darwin and Dawkins, and simply reject the empirical data because it is not comfortable with that which one seeks to promote – but to do so is to be against science, not for it – I for one reject their sloppy anti-science methods.

Thinking of rejecting empirical evidence, I mentioned that atheist comprise the only statistically significant anti-freedom of religion movement in America today. That was treated like it is a bunch of crap – such treatment it amounts to a rejection of the empirical evidence. Why? Is someone steeped in the Spencer-Darwin-Dawkins tradition of rejecting evidence not comfortable with ones claims? Or is it that your so verse in these studies as to know their flaws? If the later, please point out the shortcomings.

There was resistance to the claim that Darwin is dead and so is neo-Darwinism. Lynn Margulis is a recognized figure in the field of biology (you can read about her at wikipedia ). She claims Neo-Darwinism is “complete funk”. She also claims Neo-Darwinism is dead because random changes in DNA alone do not lead to speciation. Turns out there is a professor of biology out at Cal-Tech who also claims Neo-Darwinsm is dead. In fact one can even read about the secret meeting of top biologist (they had to be quite about it to start least creationist infect their lofty work) were they shared their ideas and thinking. Turns out all sorts of them point to the same thing, Neo-Darwinism is dead – some of them even saying that outright (was covered in scientific american).

Of course that is only samples of what top scientist in the field of biology are saying. We could address the matter this way if you don’t care for that way: As is known Karl Popper was attacked after suggesting that the standard version of evolution (that which is in the high school level text books), but instead is an untestable tautology. This suggest that someone is thinking, perhaps, that the matter can be tested, thereby placing it solid in the world of science. Fine – lets do so. We can offer stacks of studies in selective breading wherein a boundary was hit which one can not go beyond (indicating that maybe selection has not the power that some claim it does) – lets take the so-called death gene in breading efforts to make angle fish black as a point example. Given that there are mounds of such studies one would like to see the mounds of studies wherein controlled “selection” clearly split the original species into two or more species – like what the theory claims it has the power to do. Claiming it takes to long to do so tosses us back to the “untestable” problem which we assume here can’t be as Karl Poppens was publicly and personal attacked by – well – you know who. So, lets have it – where are your mounds of studies which we can replicate that clearly demonstrate “selection” is the causal factor? Personal, I don’t think you will make any headway.

Wow, Troy.

Hundreds of words, and yet I still have no idea of what point you’re trying to make.

About the only cogent point I found is that you think speciation is pure speculation and has never been reported.

Given that there are mounds of such studies one would like to see the mounds of studies wherein controlled “selection” clearly split the original species into two or more species

This is simply wrong.

It has been documented something like 30 times in the scientific press, the earliest example I know of was in 1912, handily predating Scopes.

Go to this page http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq[…]ciation.html, and scroll down to section 5.0 for a quick synopsis of the known examples.

( Most of the original material is referenced if you want to doublecheck the reports are properly represented. References, a feature conspicuously absent on creationist material, seem to be legion in “Darwinist” publications. Hmmm, now I wonder why that would be…)

You’re talking nonsense, Troy. What you call “Darwinism” - that is, the modern synthesis of the Theory of Evolution - is not only alive, it has swept all before it, and it has no rivals. Your blather is foolish nonsense, a tissue of untruths, long-exploded myths, false rumours, half-understood factoids and downright lies peddled to you by brazen loons, some of whom know the truth, but who prefer you to be ignorant. Biology textbooks teach known fact, attested by evidence from observation of nature, which is why they do not contain creationism; there is no evidence for separate creation of the species. All the evidence, every last bit of it, points to evolution. Only a blind fool could think that this was some sort of intellectual conspiracy.

It doesn’t matter how often you repeat your nonsense. The evidence is in, the facts are established, the jury has delivered the verdict, the case is closed. Margulis did not deny evolution, though she did indulge in some pretty reckless hyperbole about natural selection. There was no “secret meeting” of scientists. When scientists argue - and they often do - they do it right out in the open where anyone can see. Karl Popper admitted that he’d got it wrong. It wasn’t his speciality, and he was mistaken.

The Earth is ancient; all life has common ancestors; natural selection is probably the most important engine of evolutionary change; separation of species has been repeatedly observed; and the fossil record unequivocably supports evolution. You’ll probably go to your grave denying it, but it doesn’t matter a hoot. It’s over, finished, down and dusted. You’re wrong. Flat, cold, motherless wrong, and you’re making a fool of yourself to boot.

All you have left to you is to stop making of yourself a laughing-stock. But please, go ahead and do it. It makes our job so much easier.

Troy said:

Good job on waging a personal attack on me – it does have a certain appeal to those who, how shall I say this, are scientifically challenged - LOL

Thinking of rejecting empirical evidence, I mentioned that atheist comprise the only statistically significant anti-freedom of religion movement in America today. That was treated like it is a bunch of crap – such treatment it amounts to a rejection of the empirical evidence.

To the first part, that’s what you get for insulting Dr. Who.

To the second, the issue that I have is that you sound like a conspiracy theorist. Your entire discourse is full of accusations of hidden agendas, suppression of evidence, cover-ups, innuendo, hearsay and unverifiable witness accounts of secret meetings which, as a whole, are what we see in a typical conspiracy theory.

Can you satisfy the following validity arguments?

The following is quoted from http://www.answers.com/topic/conspiracy-theory .

“Perhaps the most contentious aspect of a conspiracy theory is the problem of settling a particular theory’s truth to the satisfaction of both its proponents and its opponents. Particular accusations of conspiracy vary widely in their plausibility, but some common standards for assessing their likely truth value may be applied in each case[citation needed]:

Occam’s razor - does the alternative story explain more of the evidence than the mainstream story, or is it just a more complicated and therefore less useful explanation of the same evidence?

Logic - Do the proofs offered follow the rules of logic, or do they employ Fallacies of logic?

Methodology - are the proofs offered for the argument well constructed, i.e., using sound methodology? Is there any clear standard to determine what evidence would prove or disprove the theory?

Whistleblowers - how many people — and what kind — have to be loyal conspirators? Falsifiability - Is it possible to demonstrate that specific claims of the theory are false, or are they “unfalsifiable”?”

Troy said:

Good job on waging a personal attack on me – it does have a certain appeal to those who, how shall I say this, are scientifically challenged - LOL

Let’s find out how well you’ve addressed my earlier requests, since you’re so keen on appealing to (or at least appearing to do so) empirical evidence.

Wheels said:

I’m sure you’ll be able to point out plenty of passages in these textbooks which “promote atheism,” then. If you can’t, however, perhaps you should wonder why anybody should take your rhetoric seriously (including yourself).

Now, let me see if you’ve actually tried to do this. I’ll quote the part of your post which tells us what you’ve found:

Troy said: On the other hand, one can go to a large library and pull a whole stack of general biology text books and search long and hard to find even one that pushes the creationist ideology throughout the book. That is not good evidence that this “problem” is all the huge. Now look at the dates of the text books and form a stack which was printed in 1945 or before. With that pile seek how many claim that one can not be a Christian and be a scientist (promotion of atheism via the idea that science shows there is no God). Safe to say, you will have a much larger stack than what you produced of the creationist promoting text. That is good evidence that there has been a problem of a particular belief system infecting general biology text books.

Um… wait, did you actually do this? Got any titles, authors, editions to cite where this happens? No? I thought I asked you to actually carry the experiment, not just imagine it. You don’t imagine performing an experiment, imagine the results, and call it “empirical evidence.”

Thinking of rejecting empirical evidence, I mentioned that atheist comprise the only statistically significant anti-freedom of religion movement in America today. That was treated like it is a bunch of crap – such treatment it amounts to a rejection of the empirical evidence. Why?

Probably because you haven’t provided any actual evidence for this ridiculous claim? In fact, you haven’t given us any evidence for anything you’ve said.

There was resistance to the claim that Darwin is dead and so is neo-Darwinism. Lynn Margulis is a recognized figure in the field of biology (you can read about her at wikipedia ). She claims Neo-Darwinism is “complete funk”. She also claims Neo-Darwinism is dead because random changes in DNA alone do not lead to speciation. Turns out there is a professor of biology out at Cal-Tech who also claims Neo-Darwinsm is dead.

Getting one scientist’s opinion on the state of biology, whether in-context or not, is NOT the same thing as, “…we scientifically know that Darwin’s theory is wrong, as is the work of the neo-Darwinist, and that we have no working general theory for the origins and diversity of life on earth which actually matches the empirical data…” Your fingers keep typing checks that reality can’t cash, but that doesn’t make it fair to move the goalposts.

In fact one can even read about the secret meeting of top biologist (they had to be quite about it to start least creationist infect their lofty work) were they shared their ideas and thinking. Turns out all sorts of them point to the same thing, Neo-Darwinism is dead – some of them even saying that outright (was covered in scientific american).

You’re mistaken. The summit was called to discuss the possibility of EXTENDING (not displacing) the modern synthesis to formally include advancements of old, as well as certain new, approaches to describing evolution, the same way that modern synthesis took Darwin’s idea’s about selection and incorporated population genetics. Here’s what they wanted to accomplish and here’s what they wound up agreeing on, from an “insider.” Speaking of which, it wasn’t a “secret” meeting, it was a private one and restricted to a small number of participants for a variety of reasons discussed in the links.

Of course that is only samples of what top scientist in the field of biology are saying.

A highly biased, selective, and misappropriated sample, which is besides the point: nobody asked you to provide those, but to support your argument so we could establish it as fact before moving on. And now to address something you brought up outside the scope of my original criticism:

We could address the matter this way if you don’t care for that way: As is known Karl Popper was attacked after suggesting that the standard version of evolution (that which is in the high school level text books), but instead is an untestable tautology.

We also know (or at least, everybody here but you?) that he changed his mind on the subject. As for your specific objection to the idea that selection is testable, I think that’s been nicely covered already.

My dear delusional Troy -

Some day there may be a more “inclusive” evolutionary theory which will incorporate more data and principles than what is now considered to be the “Modern Synthesis”, but I strongly doubt that such an “expanded synthesis” would reject the Theory of Evolution via Natural Selection or the major accomplishments of the current Modern Synthesis in unifying virtually all of biology. But this work will be done by substantial ongoing - and future - research by biologists in all of the biological sciences, not via clandestine meetings between someone like that unnamed Caltech biologist and one of that professor’s other colleagues, who are dissenting from current “orthodox” evolutionary theory.

Alas your intellectually-challenged mind is utterly incapable of perceiving such a prospect.

So therefore, I trust you’ll continue enjoying your membership in the AiG Dalek Collective.

May you live long as an AiG Dalek Clone,

John

Wow, there is a bunch of you bashing here! No wonder so many people don’t waste their time with such places.

One person equated me with being into conspiracy theory and seeing all sorts of hidden agendas floating about. I don’t think so. The claim is easy and straight forward – the belief system “I believe there is no God” is being supported in text general biology text books via the elevation of Darwin.

The relation between neo-Darwinsm is anything but hidden. As is known one of the greatest advocates of neo-Darwinism in our time is Richard Dawkins. Go to his web site and what do you see straight away – promotion of his book “the God Delusion”.

I should address the matter of using the term “neo-Darwinsm and Darwinst. Biologist like Lynn Margulis use the terms, as does Dawkins, as did Gould (not to mention a host of others). However there have been some who have problems with its use – often on the grounds it is to general and wide to be used in any lofty discussion like “evolution” - but then, to be fair, we should never use the term “evolution” on exactly that same ground should we?

Darwin did not use the term “evolution” in his early publication on the preservation of favored races because it smacked to much of the work of Herbert Spencer. By the time the Descent of Man came out he did use the term, and also elevated Spencer like there was no tomorrow. If we follow the lead of Mayer, who does not want us using the term neo-Darwinism for synthetic theory because it wasd coined for another theory back in the 1800’s, then by the same reasoning we should not use the term “evolution” for people might confuse it with the Spencer/Darwin stuff. This is all the more true when we take our huge stack of general biology books and look up how many of them define “evolution” as Darwin’s theory of natural selection, and then consider just how many people are in our society who used those books to learn the subject. You would be the first to admit that things do not happen the way Darwin’s theory claimed, right???

The connection is like this: “Darwinism” is a bad word with a negative connection, thus it is not exactly liked by some people. The term “Evolution” is very often equated with Darwin’s outdated theory. Then it is claimed that “evolution” is a scientific fact – however they fail to point out they no longer mean Darwin’s theory, but instead mean something else. Its a very good way to make the association that Darwin’s work is correct.

It was mentioned to run over to talkorigins and check their speciation page (something they had to update because a some fundamentalist showed so clearly the flaws in it). I have been to that page. I also notice that their top and best examples are with polyploidy – hardly an act of natural selection!!! The question is not if mechanical things can change life forms – it is a question of showing that natural selection can do so to the extent of speciation – and in that department, like it or not, your seriously compromised. That’s why top scientist say it is a bunch of bullsh*t. Of course you would rather spend your time claiming I am stupid than admitting to the fact – why is that????????

I see I was accused of not going to the library and pulling out a huge stack of general biology text books and doing my work on them – that I simply dreamed it up. Where do you get that from, your mythical crystal ball, or do you just make it up because your a biggoted a**hole, or what? Actually no need to answer – its enough to say your full of sh*t and have no idea what your talking about. The first time I did so was in the 1990’s at the University of Washington – which has a pretty good collect of exactly the needed books. Second, you did not ask me to carry out the experiment, which is glarringly obvious given the first time I did so was over a decade ago – the closest to that I saw to that was the claim that someone bought ONE text book – which wouldn’t get you above an F in a basic stats class.

Next it is said that I don’t give any evidence for my claims. Right. Following that claim is the claim that I give evidence but it is highly biased. What exactly is highly biased about quoting people who study the nature of the question at hand who are making very exact statement with respect to that which they study?? Are we biased in pointing to the findings of scientist working in the area of their expertise? I think not. I think giving a sample of scientist who do not find neo-Darwinsm to be a viable theory is very much worth our attention and should not be dismissed as “biased”. Furthermore – when attacked as an idiot for putting down neo-Darwinsm, it is true that most often those against that notion do not “ask” for anyone to provide samples of top scientist who happen to agree – why would they – after all it lends validity to the claim.

Out of just plain interest, as an insider, what do you make of using one text book to rest your findings upon, as opposed to stacks of them? Is that solid F material or what??

With respect to Popper, there is a very real difference between what upper level science is doing, and what general biology text books make it look like they are doing – a point worthy of note.

Now, I would like to ask – how many of you attack Dawkins “the Memes delusion” that he spews out? You know, where he reduces scientific ideas to being viral infections and then claims they are not because people think about science whereas they don’t think about Gods (thereby ignoring thousands of years of very clear and hard thinking on nothing but Gods)? Do you warn kids to stay clear of his poorly thought out drivel, or do you just let that slide? How many of you take the time to teach that Darwin thought it was a good idea to toss away everything not supporting his claim and only elevate whatever could be found to support his claim? Don’t people have the right to know what the teaching of such a lofty mind like his was?? Do you teach that the fossil record is out of line with Darwin’s theory and out of line with the conception of neo-Darwinsm, right where it counts the most, at the level of species? Do you teach that Goulds theory is not really a theory because it fails to explain how Darwin’s natural selection is starting and stopping? Or is it that the Dawkins lashing of Gould is the name of the game around here .… that only the insider has the “right” to utter statements about the field, and then only insiders who agree to elevate the very thing being questioned?

Troy,

So your answer is no, you have absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support any of your claims. That’s what I thought. Why should anyone take anything you say seriously?

If you don’t like “Darwinism” don’t study it. If you think it promotes religion then sue somebody. I’m sure the ACLU will take your case for you, or maybe not.

P.S. Polyploidy is NOT natural selection. What is your point? Ice cream is not floor tile either. You seem to be a little confused.

DS said:

Troy,

So your answer is no, you have absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support any of your claims. That’s what I thought. Why should anyone take anything you say seriously?

We should take him seriously because he’s parroting the nonsense of his hero, Doctor Rodney Stark, that’s why.

Polyploidy is NOT natural selection. What is your point? Ice cream is not floor tile either. You seem to be a little confused.

Polyploidy is not natural selection any more than mutation is not natural selection, either. Polyploidy can be a factor in natural selection if it allows the polyploid organism to survive better, and or create more opportunities for mutations to occur in the polyploid organism’s offspring, or allow it to hybridize with other, otherwise genetically incompatible relatives, as is the situation of several plant hybrid species, including the Kew Gardens primrose or the origin of domestic wheat.

Troy the fundie christofascist:

That belief system is atheism (I believe there is no God) and it is being promoted, for one, in elementary biology text books to name but one place. One of the results of this infestation is the elevation of “watch those nasty Christians”.

Troy, you don’t speak for all xians, just your Death Cult. Evolution acceptance is common for the majority of the world’s xians, Catholics, mainline Protestants, Mormons, and some evangelical and pentecostals as well.

The belief system is elementary school biology books is carried all the way to Postgraduate education. It is called reality and science. Confusing atheism, a philosophy with reality and science is dumb and wrong.

Creationism is a cult religious belief. It is illegal to teach it in public schools.

Indeed watch those Death Cult nasty xians. They often openly hate the USA and seek to destroy it. They came close during the 8 Bushco disaster years. When fundie xian became synonymous with liar, hater, ignorant, and sometimes killer, you bet people watch out.

Troy accidently saying something intelligent:

One of the results of this infestation is the elevation of “watch those nasty Christians”.

I realize you accidently said something correct and profound. Anyone sane is definitey watching those “nasty xians”. Most of those watching the “nasty xians” are other xians.

The Voters are also blaming the Death Cult fundies for destroying the USA and its economy.

50% - More Conservatives Now Say Churches Should Stay Out of Politics Wed Sep 24, 12:00 AM ET Half of self-described conservatives now express the view that churches and other houses of worship should stay out of politics; four years ago, only 30% of conservatives expressed this view. Overall, a new national survey by the Pew Research Center finds a narrow majority of the public (52%) now says that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters and not express their views on day-to-day social and political matters. For a decade, majorities of Americans had voiced support for religious institutions speaking out on such issues. The survey also finds that most of the reconsideration of the desirability of religious involvement in politics has occurred among conservatives. As a result, conservatives’ views on this issue are much more in line with the views of moderates and liberals than was previously the case. Similarly, the sharp divisions between Republicans and Democrats that previously existed on this issue have disappeared. There are other signs in the new poll about a potential change in the climate of opinion about mixing religion and politics. First, the survey finds a small but significant increase since 2004 in the percentage of respondents saying that they are uncomfortable when they hear politicians talk about how religious they are – from 40% to 46%. Again, the increase in negative sentiment about religion and politics is much more apparent among Republicans than among Democrats.

Looks like there is a backlash against the Death Cults. These are nihilists who have only brought death and destruction during their time in power. Their latest victim is the US economy, the largest in the world at one time. Palin is one, a hardcore religious kook.

The above survey is something Troy will find puzzling. It is a “fact”. Troy probably has never even seen one up close. People are fed up with the fundies, most of those people are other xians.

Another fact. A more recent survey within this week found that 30-40% of the young people now describe themselves as nonreligious. The fundies are in the midst of destroying xianity in the USA and they are too stupid and fanatical to see it or care.

Troy read your magic book sometime. “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

30 to 40 percent of young Americans today have no religious affiliation.

“It’s a huge change,” says Harvard University professor Robert Putnam, who conducted the research.

Putnam says that in the past two decades, many young people began to view organized religion as a source of “intolerance and rigidity and doctrinaire political views,” and therefore stopped going to church.

This is relevant to this post. This is where the fundies pushing creationism, abstinence sex ed, and their usual wingnut causes has gotten them. The hate and lies didn’t help either.

30 to 40 percent of young Americans today have no religious affiliation.

I certainly can’t say one thing about Mt. Vernon Ohio and fundie influence except that my two friends there had a kid and promptly moved to SoCal. Here on the west coast, fundies don’t seem to have much influence or numbers at all. Usually you hear about them when they kill a kid with faith healing or a minister runs a ponzi scheme or something.

Oddly enough, they seem totally oblivious and not inclined to change their ways. I guess when your mind is strait jacketed with cult concrete against reality, you just continue on automatic pilot until you grow old and die.

Everybody said:

Hey Troy, you’re mistaken. Here’s the evidence of that. Please support your assertions? kthnx!

Troy said:

Wow, there is a bunch of you bashing here!

Heh.

Troy (you will notice that I have shifted from directly addressing him to using the third person) has no means of arguing, so he blusters. Like the old time lawyers used to say, “If you’ve got evidence, plead the evidence; if you’ve got an argument, use the argument; if you’ve got neither, pound on the table.”

The fact that he thinks that biology textbooks must be biased if they don’t teach creationism is only proof of his deep confusion. They don’t, and that’s obvious, but anybody within shouting distance of rationality knows why: there’s no evidence for creationism outside the Bible (or other religious teaching) and you can’t use the Bible as evidence in a science classroom. (Troy thinks this is prejudice against his religion, of course. He’s wrong, of course.)

So he shifts ground and starts arguing that the books teach atheism. Only they don’t, and he can provide no examples. Biology textbooks, written for classes in biology, only teach biology, which is what they’re supposed to do. Yes, they often include snippets of biography on noted scientists in the field, and Darwin is certainly one of those. I suppose a few words in some of these might make reference to Darwin’s or someone else’s religious views, without endorsing them. This does not amount to anything like Troy’s thesis. The textbooks don’t teach atheism. Troy is talking nonsense.

He is reduced to railing against “The God Delusion” - not a biology textbook - and the personal views of Dawkins and others. Anybody with an ounce of sense - not Troy, of course - can see this is merely irrelevant. The question is, “What does the observed evidence say about the origin of the species?”, not “What does Dawkins (or anybody else) say about God?”

He attempts to rebut a tiny fraction of that evidence with his remarks on polyploidy, and, as the biologists here have pointed out, gets that comprehensively wrong in a manner that demonstrates that he simply doesn’t understand the point. Troy says species separation doesn’t happen - that the species are immutable within the limits imposed by Almighty God. But polyploidy plus natural selection has been demonstrated to result in species separation. (The same can be said of other natural mechanisms of genetic change.) Therefore Troy is wrong.

The saddest thing about this argument is that a person with the basic ability to communicate in writing could actually be having it. Troy probably doesn’t even understand how thoroughly he’s been demolished. That’s because he is fact-blind, logic-deaf, and evidence-proof, and that’s the way he likes it. He thinks that his little collection of irrelevancies, falsehoods and misapprehensions is some sort of challenge. He is desperately deluded to the point where it addles his perception of reality.

In one way, it’s best that it should be so. If Troy’s logic-jam should ever clear, if the weight of the evidence should ever make its way past his Morton’s Demon and the facts become inescapable, one likely result would be rage against the liars and scam artists who have so imposed on him. A certain amount of rage is a good thing, against such people. But only a certain amount, and Troy strikes me as the sort of person who goes overboard. Better to leave him to his delusions. He and his like are impotent, and become more so with every passing year. As I remarked before, he’ll most likely go to his grave vociferously protesting his nonsense to anyone who’ll listen, but they will be fewer and fewer.

After all, there are flat-earthers and Ku Klux Klansmen still about - cockroaches under the floorboards of the Enlightenment. By all means shine the light to find them and clean them out where found. We can never get them all, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that they can do nothing but kvetch. Let them kvetch. The rest of us have moved on.

“So your answer is no, you have absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support any of your claims.”

That is not my answer, it is yours – you simply reject anything I say or point to. Take for example the top biologist and their claim the neo-Darwinist are but a religious cult – you toss it out as not of any worth. Take pointing to the work of Rodney Stark, a sociologist who has done a great deal in terms of overturning the atheistic myths in education which still infect our school systems – you act as though I never have mentioned him and clearly act as though he qualifies as no support.

“P.S. Polyploidy is NOT natural selection. What is your point? Ice cream is not floor tile either. You seem to be a little confused.”

When I ask to show experiments, which others can replicate, that clearly demonstrate full on speciation via “selection”, and you point to a place that elevates polyploidy as its star example – I say it falls radically short of what was asked for. Of course given the number of publications which are dressed in terms of – Darwin is right, neo-Darwinistic is right on and the most demonstrated thing in all of science, only to prove it by pointing to non-Darwinian things like polyploidy – I can perhaps see why it is you might not have been able to get the point the first time around.

“Polyploidy is not natural selection any more than mutation is not natural selection, either .…”

I am familiar with the subject, although certainly no expert on it. I do know enough that the causal agent of speciation in polyploidy is NOT selection, nor is it “random” mutation, which is why it is often termed “non-Darwinian. I also know enough to know the very top examples of speciation are caused by non-Darwinian factors, such as gene drift. I should make this clear – I do not think that natural selection is not a thing in nature which has great effects – it is and it does. The question is, does it itself have the power to actually cause real speciation? Pointing to gene drift and any of the polyploidial types of change do not answer that question. Bad mouthing me does not answer it either. Pointing to Lynn Margulis and disqualifying her as not worthy of our time, even though her contributions in biology probably greatly outshine your own, is not an answer either – although it is interesting to note that she claims that the slow accrual of mutations by gene-level natural selection is a bunch of bullsh*t. Perhaps you should have her visit polyploidal examples over at talkorigin hate site to clear that up for her!

“Troy the fundie christofascist .… volution acceptance is common for the majority of the world’s xians, Catholics, mainline Protestants, Mormons, and some evangelical and pentecostals as well.”

Can’t say as that I disagree, nor have I once questioned it. I for one, to say it again, have not the slightest problem with mechanical systems changing life forms and thereby, in the past, giving rise to the diversity of life on earth today. Such matter bother me in no way whatsoever. What does bother me is that if anyone but anyone points to Darwin and neo-Darwinsm calls bullsh*t, your religious ethic which knee jerks into screams of the person being a “ fundie christofascist”, is polluting the f*ck out of an otherwise respectable field of science – a fact which you refuse to see even though your advocate it!

“The above survey is something Troy will find puzzling. It is a “fact”. Troy probably has never even seen one up close. People are fed up with the fundies, most of those people are other xians.”

More lies and hate – can you amount to anything more? I have in fact looks at plenty of studies, including those tracking the fundamentalist. For what it’s worth my personal opinion is that we need to get Milton Friedman’s theory the hell out of economics. They implemented it under Paul Volker when he was head of the Fed and proved outright it does not work – which has not stopped it from being the economic hammer of the Republican party, and the Democrat’s are not doing to good at booting it out themselves. A good start for understanding the problem would be the book “Secrets of the Temple” by Greider. Of course if I am right, then getting religion out of politics (whatever that actually means) is not really the problem at all, is it. Second, if one studies the history of Christianity, one finds that the relation between politics and religion is not the same everywhere. For example, Luther was very firm about letting the political folks do whatever they wanted, a matter which finds elevation in many form of Protestant churches, including ones which “conservatives” go to. This makes one wonder, what churches do the conservatives go to as a group? Are they 95% Catholic??? Better yet, when we pile the churches into those which want their followers to be active in the world around them, those that reject the world, and all the shades in between – where do we find the bulk of conservatives? Is it relevant to the study you posted????????????? Was it accounted for in the study you posted – or did you forget to look into that?

“Here on the west coast, fundies don’t seem to have much influence or numbers at all.”

Yeah, if you study the matter turns out they never have made up much in the way of a percent of the population. They probably get their greatest fame from the news (which likes to elevate) and from the field of biology which loves fundy bashing (how disgraceful for that field after all it should be science, not religion bashing). Take the Bible belt for example. Most of us have learned of it, maybe even with images of Bible thumping southerners stamping out evolution and hating on blacks. The only problem is, when sociologist go to find the so-called Bible belt, they can’t (cause its a myth of the media).

“The fact that he thinks that biology textbooks must be biased if they don’t teach creationism”

I clearly have stated I want no such thing. Your simply make sh*t up about people because, god forbid, the questioned the almighty authority of Darwin. Now why does that happen so very often on “evolution/Christian bashing” web sites? The answer is easy – the site is more about promoting hate against religious beliefs than it is about science.

“So he shifts ground and starts arguing that the books teach atheism. Only they don’t, and he can provide no examples”

I told you where to find your examples – you simply ignore it for it does not define your folklore. But, given you persist on being a bigot filled with lies and hate, I will simply say it again and again and again so those without such hate will know right where to look. Go to a large library and pull out the general biology text books. Place those that where published prior to say 1945 in a pile. Look in them and find the references claiming that you can not believe in God and be a scientist. You will then have your first sample for your Q.E.D. Once you see that the question comes up “why are such things printed in those books”? Follow that question and find out why!

Troy,

I asked you for evidence that biology textbooks promote atheism. You provided none, period. All of your jabbering about sociology is worthless. Either support your claims with evidence or you will be ignored.

If you construe this as hateful, so be it.

… and you still don’t have the balls to answer a straight question, Troy:

What specific explanation do you want inserted in text books in place of evolution?

You can’t answer that, can you, you intellectual eunuch.

Troy -

I don’t know of a “top biologist” who thinks of “Darwinism” as a “religious cult”. Only ones who’ve referred to it as such are a variety of mendacious intellectual pornographers - to put it succinctly, creationists - ranging from Ken Ham to Bill Dembski, Casey Luskin, Paul Nelson and their fellow intellectually-challenged associates at the Dishonesty Institute.

What I do know is that, inspite of its ample flaws, modern evolutionary theory is the best, most comprehensive, set of statements on the origins, history and current composition of Earth’s biodiversity. What do you propose to replace it - a nonreligious scientific theory - that is endorsed as valid science by atheists, agnostics and those who are religiously devout - with in science textbooks and science classrooms. Why not the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Klingon Cosmology, which IMHO seem a lot more consistent with the “truth” than your peculiar Xian bastardization of Judeo-Christian religious beliefs.

Peace and Long Life (as an AiG Dalek Clone),

John

Troy,

Who cares what exact mechanisms are involved in speciation? Selection certainly isn’t the only one. However, if any natural mechanisms are important, will you object that they also lead to atheism, or is it just something special about “Darwinism” that does that?

In any event, how could selection possibly not be involved in speciation? There are many examples. Here is one concerning speciation in walking sticks:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info[…]pone.0001907

There are many other examples at the Talk Origins web site if you are interested.

Now, I have answered your question, are you going to answer mine?

“I don’t know of a “top biologist” who thinks of “Darwinism” as a “religious cult”. Only ones who’ve referred to it as such are a variety of mendacious intellectual pornographers - to put it succinctly, creationists - ranging from Ken Ham to Bill Dembski, Casey Luskin, Paul Nelson and their fellow intellectually-challenged associates at the Dishonesty Institute.”

Don’t forget to mention Lynn Margulis – you can view her wikipedia page here to see her qualifications when it comes to being a top biologist, and to see what some of her views are – that way you will come to be in the “know” about such matters: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Margulis

“What I do know is that, inspite of its ample flaws, modern evolutionary theory is the best, most comprehensive, set of statements on the origins, history and current composition of Earth’s biodiversity.”

I agree, so long as one is very careful about what they mean by the term “evolution”. For example, if the term “evolution” is taken to mean “Darwin’s theory”, or as bad, “Neo-Darwinism”, then I could not disagree more, but instead side with Lynn Margulis. If one does equate the term with Neo-Darwinsm, when you ask “what should it be replaced with”, I simply say “replace it with the stuff modern science actually does support until something better comes along.”

“Who cares what exact mechanisms are involved in speciation?”

Last I checked, that is rather at the heart theoretical work on diversification in biological science!(more on it below)

“Selection certainly isn’t the only one (mechanism of speciation). However, if any natural mechanisms are important, will you object that they also lead to atheism, or is it just something special about “Darwinism” that does that?”

It is highly debatable as to what role selection actually plays in actual speciation with no few claiming it can not lead to such a thing on its own at all (Lynn Margulis to name one).

I have no objection to mechanical causation driving speciation – in fact the idea that there are people who don’t think so is rather shocking to me (in fact I even question if there are many of such people).

The relation between atheism and biology does not hinge upon polylpoidy or gene drift – it hinges upon Darwin’s work. Far more important, justification for the promotion of hate is hinged to that theory (good to keep in mind that not all atheist are hate promoters). Placing light on the connection historically can help.

The Irish genocide as a result of a political party enforcing certain economic polices upon the Irish resulted in the death of between one and two million human beings. It also resulted in the political party who created it in losing power. Herbert Spencer had advocated the economic polices prior to and during the genocide. After the fact, when people where aware that economic polices and the elevation of Malthus via a political party had created the genocide, Spencer was invited to write his take on the matter in the Westminster Review. There Spencer claimed it was nothing more than a simple act of nature – that a law of nature did it – namely natural selection. He argued that the fittest race of man was the English (complete with brain size graphs) and that they, via natural selection, largely did away with the inferior race (supported by unfounded claims of Malthus), the Irish, via the the law of natural selection (Westminster Review 57 (1852): 468-50). He did this years prior to Darwin’s famous book “on the Preservation of Favored Races” wherein he elevates natural selection to very lofty heights indeed.

Darwin did not address how man is effected by his inflated law of natural selection in that book, but did promise to cover the matter in the future. He lived up to that after having a good ten years to think the matter over and published it in his book “the Descent of Man”. In that book he sides with Spencer and Galton, etc. He himself spokes of how colored folk are closer related to baboons than to the English, and how, via his lofty law, the day will likely come when white man does away with baboon like man leaving the gap between ape and man wider than it is today (today we would call it direct avocation of genocide to all non-white people).

The explosion of its elevation as though science was justifying hate was not long to follow. Nazi used it as did the early American Industrialist. To name but two.

Okay, Troy:

Tell us your definition of “Darwinism” and “Neo-Darwinism”. (cue Inigo Montoya)

What – specifically now – aspects of modern evolutionary theory do you disagree with, why, and what’s your alternative?

Vague comments about “other stuff” won’t cut it here.

Or you could show us some of those damning passages from the biology textbooks which promote atheism!

“The relation between atheism and biology does not hinge upon polylpoidy or gene drift – it hinges upon Darwin’s work. Far more important, justification for the promotion of hate is hinged to that theory (good to keep in mind that not all atheist are hate promoters). Placing light on the connection historically can help.”

As an atheist and an aspiring philosopher of religion I can tell you troy that you are completely wrong. Frankly I don’t give a fuck about the specific mechanisms; if the whole of modern biology comes apart at the seams and Lamarck turns out to be right, then I will still be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.

The only relevance that biology has vis-a-vis the debate between atheism and theism is in providing an adequate explanation for the diversity and interdependence of life that does not require an external creative force or intelligence. So long as an empirically well-supported theory is capable of doing that, it is useful in rebutting various possible versions of the teleological argument. It just so happens that Darwin’s theory is the best candidate to fill this role, so it is often pressed into service by atheists. That said, I believe that Hume offered a compelling refutation of the teleological argument about a century before Darwin. Thus, in order to be an atheist, one need not adopt Darwinism.

Incidentally, with regards to your argument-by-association; Hitler believed in gravity. In fact his Stuka dive-bombers utilized it to kill many people. Does this give us good grounds to reject the theory of gravity?

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on May 6, 2009 5:02 PM.

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