Atheism and intelligence

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Citing data from the General Social Survey (GSS), Vox Day writes: "..the two most common types of atheists are the High Church atheists with +2SD IQs (128+) and Low Church atheists with -2SD IQs (65-72). Note that the Low Church atheists actually outnumber the High Church atheists, 22.9 to 17.2 percent."[1] (click on the graph above to enlarge)

The General Social Survey (GSS) is the "largest project funded by the Sociology Program of the National Science Foundation. Except for the U.S. Census, the GSS is the most frequently analyzed source of information in the social sciences."[2]

Citing data from the General Social Survey, Vox Day writes about atheist intelligence quotient (IQ) scores:

"..the two most common types of atheists are the High Church atheists with +2SD IQs (128+) and Low Church atheists with -2SD IQs (65-72). Note that the Low Church atheists actually outnumber the High Church atheists, 22.9 to 17.2 percent...

Now, the statistically naive might look at this chart, note that the +2SD theists only account for 3.5 percent of the theistic population, and assume that this means there are more highly intelligent atheists than highly intelligent theists. This is not the case. As it happens, there are 11.4x more +2SD theists who either know God exists or believe God exists despite having the occasional doubt than there are +2SD atheists who don't believe God exists.[3]

In a 2010 article, Vox Day writes:

Never forget that the smarter and more knowledgeable act put on by many atheists is inevitably nothing more than that, an act, and one that has absolutely no basis in empirical reality except for a three-point average advantage in IQ which is almost surely a statistical artifact of their insignificant numbers and self-selected identification.[4]


Religious individuals and thicker cerebral cortices

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association - Psychiatry people who place a high importance of religion in their lives have thicker cerebral cortices and may be better able to fight depression.[5][6] See: Atheism and depression

Thicker cerebral cortices in individuals is positively associated with higher intelligence.[7]

Atheism and the theory of multiple intelligences

Atheists are often accused of lacking moral intelligence and social intelligence. The atheist PZ Myers declared, "...I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions..."[8][9] See: Atheism and bestiality

(photo obtained from Flickr, see license agreement)

See also: Atheism and the theory of multiple intelligences

There are forms of intelligence that contribute to human performance that are more difficult to precisely measure than the types of intelligence commonly measured by standard IQ tests such as interpersonal/intrapersonal/emotional intelligence, moral intelligence, musical intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, etc.[10][11]

Howard Gardner at Harvard University has identified various distinct intelligences: interpersonal, intrapersonal, visual–spatial, verbal–linguistic, logical–mathematical, musical–rhythmic, bodily–kinesthetic and naturalistic.[12] See: Theory of multiple intelligences.

Moral intelligence

See also: Atheism and moral intelligence

Howard Gardner suggested that moral intelligence may merit being included in his multiple intelligences model.[13] As far as moral intelligence, not possessing a religious basis for morality, atheists are fundamentally incapable of having a coherent system of morality. For example, atheists have been the biggest mass murderers in history (see: Atheism and mass murder). For more information please see: Atheism and morality and Atheism and hedonism

Also, atheists within the United States have developed a reputation of uncharitableness as they gave far less to charities, even if church donations are not counted (see: Atheism and uncharitableness).

King Solomon repeatedly indicates that fools are wicked in the book of Proverbs (Proverbs:13:9; 14:8,16-18). The psalmist King David wrote: "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." — Psalms 14:1 (KJV) See also: Atheism and moral depravity and Militant atheism and Atheist bullying

Interpersonal intelligence

The atheist Rebecca Watson was a central figure in the Elevatorgate scandal.

(photo obtained from Wikimedia commons, see: license agreement)

See also: Atheism and interpersonal intelligence and Atheism and anger

Jacques Rousseau wrote in the Daily Maverick: "Elevatorgate..has resulted in three weeks of infighting in the secular community. Some might observe that we indulge in these squabbles fairly frequently."[14] See: Atheist factions

Blair Scott served on the American Atheists board of directors. Mr. Scott formerly served as a State Director for the American Atheists organization in the state of Alabama. On December 1, 2012 he quit his post as a director of outreach for the American Atheist due to infighting within the American atheist movement.[15]

Mr. Blair wrote:

I have spent the last week mulling over what I want to do at this point in the movement. I’m tired of the in-fighting: at every level. I am especially tired of allowing myself to get sucked into it and engaging in the very behavior that is[16]

In terms of interpersonal intelligence, atheists (especially militant atheists and New Atheists) have developed a negative reputation in much of the world. For example, on August 14, 2013, the atheist Brendan O'Neill in The Telegraph published an article entitled How atheists became the most colossally smug and annoying people on the planet in which he declared, "These days, barely a week passes without the emergence of yet more evidence that atheists are the most irritating people on Earth."[17] The atheist Dr. Sam Harris has said concerning the label of atheist, "It's right next to child molester as a designation."[18] For more information please see: Views on atheists

In 2013, the prominent atheist PZ Myers declared: "If we're going to expand our base...we need to appeal to more than just that geek and nerd subset of the population. We need to have a wider base. ...I seriously believe that we're on the cusp of a crisis. We're not there yet but it's looming in front of us. Will we adapt and thrive and change the world? Or will we remain an avocation for a prosperous and largely irrelevant subset of the population? Will we become something more than a scattered society of internet nerds? That's what we have to do.[19] In response, the intelligent design advocate Casey Luskin wrote: "A crisis looms, in Myers]'s view, because he looks around himself and sees a not very promising basis for a mass movement. He's right. There is indeed a quality of geeky isolation from reality, common sense, and the fullness of life that I see as a motif in atheist and Darwin activism alike."[20] Generally speaking, nerds/geeks are seen as having below average social skills. See also: Atheist nerds

In addition, atheists have lower rates of marriage than theists (see: Atheism and marriage).

Atheists often have poor relationships with their parents (see: Atheism and poor relationships with parents).

Controversial studies on the correlation between atheism and high-functioning autism

In 2011, the University of Boston published a controversial study on the correlation between atheism and high-functioning/mild autism.[21][22]

On September 19, 2011, the Discover Magazine website had an article indicating that there were empirical results showing a positive correlation between atheism and high functioning autism and the article declared:

This is why the empirical results on the correlation between atheism and high functioning autism are important...

...some people were angry that I seemed to suggest that atheists were antisocial weirdos. Well, there is some data to back that up.[23]

On May 30, 2012, Matthew Hutson wrote at Psychology Today website that the findings of the study at Boston University entitled Religious Belief Systems of Persons with High Functioning Autism have been replicated by other studies.[24]

The notion that autism causes atheism has certainly not been proved and criticisms of press insensitivity towards the issue have been leveled.[25]

Vox Day has written about atheists being "socially autistic".[26][27][28]

Emotional/intrapersonal intelligence

Atheists have higher suicide rates than theists. See: Atheism and suicide

See also: Atheism and emotional/intrapersonal intelligence and Atheism and anger

In terms of emotional/intrapersonal intelligence, atheists have higher suicide/depression rates than theists (see: Atheism and suicide and Atheism and depression and Atheism and alcoholism).

In the journal article Religion, self-regulation, and self-control: Associations, explanations, and implications, psychologists McCullough and Willoughby theorize that many of the positive links of religiousness with health and social behavior may be caused by religion's beneficial influences on self-control/self-regulation.[29][30] Furthermore, a 2012 Queen's University study published in Psychological Science found that religion replenishes self-control.[31][32] Also, numerous studies indicate that those who engage in regular spiritual practices have lower mortality rates.[33] [34] See also: Atheism and hedonism and Atheism and health

There are preliminary studies indicating that individuals who reject Christianity in Western cultures have lower self-esteem than the Christian population.[35][36] There are studies indicating that lower self-esteem is associated with suicidality.[37][38]

Numerous studies report that athletes tend to be more religious than non-athletes.[39]

Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence

See also: Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism and Atheism and health and Atheism and bodily-kinesthetic intelligence

Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence involves intelligence related to body movement, performing actions and physical control. It involves strength in physical movement and fine motor control.[40] Social science data indicates that atheists are less involved in sports than theists and that religious beliefs tend to increase sports performance (see: Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism).

Furthermore, there is scientific data indicating that fitness increases IQ.[41]

Musical–rhythmic intelligence and artistic intelligence

See also: Atheism and musical–rhythmic intelligence and artistic intelligence

Christians and other religious faiths historically are prolific in terms of producing musical/art works related to their faith and many great works have been produced over the centuries.

Despite atheism being around since at least ancient Greece, there has not been a strong tradition of creating musical and artistic works related to atheism. Musical/artistic talent can be enhanced through practice and the atheist creed of "there is no God" is not an inspiring creed that produces a significant amount of music/art. For example, despite Wikipedia being founded by an atheist and an agnostic, there are no articles specifically devoted to the topics of atheist music or atheist art at Wikipedia, but Wikipedia does have articles devoted specifically to Christian art and Christian music.

See also: Argument from beauty

Naturalistic intelligence

evolutionary theory opponent
The creation scientist Jonathan Sarfati, who was a New Zealand chess master, is able to play chess against multiple players blindfolded and he remains undefeated in these types of chess matches.[42]

See also: Christianity and science and Arguments against evolution and Creation science aand Intelligent design and Atheism and naturalistic intelligence

Scientific revolution birthed in Christianized Europe and atheist suppression of science

Atheists rarely point out that the scientific revolution was birthed in a Christianized Europe (see: Christianity and science).

Atheism and the suppression of science

Given that atheists/evolutionists actively discriminate against creationist and religious conservatives in academia and other places, atheists pointing out a higher prevalence of atheists relative to their numbers belonging to high profile scientific organizations or being awarded various distinctions is disingenuous (see: Suppression of alternatives to evolution and Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed).[43]

For more information, please see: Atheism and the suppression of science

Atheism and pseodoscientific ideologies and pagan ideologies

In addition, there is a significant segment of atheists who engage in the erroneous ideologies/worldviews of scientism, nature worship and neo-paganism so a certain degree of preoccupation/obsession with pseudoscience, naturalistic philosophy and scientific endeavors is not surprising within some members of the atheist community.[44] See also: Irreligion and superstition and Evolution as a secular origins myth and Evolution and Cases of Fraud, Hoaxes and Speculation

Scientific community and grasp of logic, statistics and history/philosophy of science

As far as atheists in the scientific community, Vox Day correctly points out that many atheist scientists (and scientists in general) have a poor grasp of logic, statistics, the history/philosophy of science and other matters which often causes them to reach erroneous conclusions and engage in pseudoscience.[45] Moreover, due to the poor ethics of many atheist/secular scientists, scientific fraud has become a significant problem within the scientific community.[46][47]

Reluctance of evolutionists to debate and past debate record

At the present time, there is a reluctance of many prominent evolutionists/atheists/agnostics to debate key points of their errant ideologies (see: Creation scientists tend to win the creation vs. evolution debates and Atheism and cowardice). For example, the agnostic Richard Dawkins has repeatedly refused to debate strong Christian debaters concerning the existence of God and he has repeatedly refused to debate creation scientists and intelligent design theorists (see: Instances of Richard Dawkins ducking debates). In addition, when atheists/agnostics do debate the issue of the existence of God, they typically do poorly (see: Atheism and debate).

For more information, please see: Atheism and the suppression of science

Collective verbal–linguistic intelligence

The Bible has been translated into 518 languages and 2,798 languages have at least some portion of the Bible.[48]

Charles Darwin's book The Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life has merely been translated into 35 languages. [49]

See also: Atheist community and verbal–linguistic intelligence

Since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the evolutionary position which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists and agnostics (see also: Causes of evolutionary belief).[50] Charles Darwin's evolutionary book The Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life has been translated into 35 languages. [51]

In terms of its geographic distribution, Christianity is a more global religion than most, if not all, religions (See also: Global Christianity).[52][53] The Bible has been translated into 518 languages and 2,798 languages have at least some portion of the Bible.[54] In addition, the Christian community is far more evangelistic than the atheist community and Christian missionaries are throughout the world.

Collectively speaking, the Christian community has a much greater degree of linguistic and cultural intelligence than the atheist community. See also: Atheist population and Western atheism and race and Social Darwinism and Evolutionary racism

Militant atheism and intelligence

Research indicates that anger takes resources away from the executive decision making of the prefrontal cortex part of the brain.[55] The foolish nature of atheists and their irrational anger and bouts of rage towards God and/or Christians often causes militant atheists to behave irrationally (See: Atheism and hatred of God).[56]

The militant Soviet atheists who aggressively attempted their atheistic communist ideology around the world had their empire collapse due to their corrupt atheist leaders implementing many foolish policies. Furthermore, the historical data indicates that large sectors of the Soviet Union's populace failed to adopt atheism in significant numbers despite great efforts to try to make this occur.[57]

New Atheism, a recent form of militant atheism, has a reputation for shallow arguments. For example, atheist philosopher Dr. Michael Ruse declared concerning Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion: "The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist."[58]

Dr. William Lane Craig is one of Christianity's leading defenders and many individuals over the years have attempted to arrange a debate between Dr. Craig and Richard Dawkins. Richard Dawkins has offered various ruses on why he will not debate William Lane Craig, which Dr. Craig supporters have shown were inconsistent and merely a dodge to avoid debating one of Christianity's strongest advocates.[59][60] On May 14, 2011, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph published a news story entitled Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate existence of God.[61] In The Daily Telegraph article Dr. Daniel Came, a member of the Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford University was quoted as writing to fellow atheist Richard Dawkins concerning his refusal to debate Dr. William Lane Craig, "The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part."[62] In October of 2011, Dr. Craig went to England and the Daily Telegraph declared that Dawkins is either a fool or a coward for his refusal to debate William Lane Craig plus declared that Dawkins is a "proud man" and a "coward" who puts on an "illiterate, angry schtick" for the public.[63]

Low Church atheists, intelligence and obesity

Kim Il Sung was a communist dictator and an obese atheist who died of a heart attack.[64] See also: Atheism and obesity

(Source of photo of portrait can be found here, see: license agreement)

See also: Atheism, intelligence and obesity and Atheism and obesity and Atheism and hedonism

"Low Church atheists" (low intelligence atheists), of which there are more of than "High Church atheists" (atheists with high intelligence) according to the General Social Survey data, may be more vulnerable to being obese/overweight.[65][66] CBS News reports that research suggests that "men who score low on IQ tests in adolescence are more likely to be overweight in middle age".[67] Compounding this matter is the fact that medical studies indicate that excess weight impairs brain function (see also: Health effects of obesity)[68]

For more information please see: Atheism and obesity and Atheism, intelligence and obesity

Religion/irreligion and obesity

See also: Atheism and obesity and Atheism, intelligence and obesity and Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism

As noted above, social science data indicates that religion replenishes self-control (See: Religion and self-control).

According to the Gallup Inc., "Very religious Americans are more likely to practice healthy behaviors than those who are moderately religious or nonreligious."[69]

For more information please see:

Atheism, intelligence, logical fallacies and other matters

There is a wealth of information that dispels the notion that atheism is the result of higher intelligence. [70]

One the notions that is prevalent among the atheist community is that atheism is the result of higher intelligence (see: Causes of atheism). This notion is especially prevalent in the New Atheist community.[71] However, there is a wealth of information that dispels this notion.[72]

Furthermore, proud atheists who mistakenly assert that atheism is the result of intelligence often commit two logical fallacies. First, they commit the genetic fallacy (The genetic fallacy is a logical fallacy wherein an argument is based on the circumstances of something's origin or history when that origin or history has nothing to do with the present value of that something).[73] Second, they commit the fallacy of exclusion given the existence of "low church atheists" (Low church atheists, which are atheists who possess low intelligence, significantly outnumber "high church atheists" according to the General Survey Service data cited above) and the greater number of high intelligence theists compared to the number of high intelligent atheists (given the much larger population of theists, there is over eleven times the number of high intelligence theists as high intelligence atheists).[74][75]

A far as the depth of knowledge that the religious community possesses, a study found a positive correlation between a persons level of education and belief in God (see: Religion and education). Additionally, as alluded to above, in 2011, Vox Day pointed out that there are over eleven times the number of high intelligent theists as atheists given the larger size of the theist community.[76] In addition, atheists and secularists rarely point out that universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, and many others were founded by Christians (see also: Atheism and academia).[77][78]

Miron Zuckerman meta-study

A meta-study conducted by Miron Zuckerman, a psychologist at the University of Rochester, examined 63 studies that measured intelligence and religiosity which found that atheists scored higher on intelligence tests.[79]

Vox Day's criticisms of Zuckerman's study

Vox Day pointed out that:

1. Metastudies are often unreliable (researchers can arbitrarily pick which studies they include or exclude)

2. The atheist population is skewed as far as a predominance of caucasions (IQ tests are biased against racial minorities [80][81], see also: Western atheism and race)

3. Given the relative size of the atheist population compared to the much larger theist population, there are still many more intelligent theists than atheists (as noted above there are over eleven times the number of high intelligent theists relative to the number of high intelligent atheists)[82]

Dr. William M. Briggs criticisms of Zuckerman's study

In an article entitled Do Atheists Really Have Higher IQs than Believers?, Dr. William M. Briggs offered a number of criticisms in Miron Zuckerman's study including:[83]

1. The authors of Zuckerman's study call "atheism 'non-religiosity', a category which is fuzzy and which probably includes some theists, of a sort."

2. He questioned whether it was reasonable to compare modern Europe to the developing countries of Africa.

3. "Religions were also hugely different (is it the same to believe in animism as Protestant Christianity?)."

4. The measures of religiosity differed at different locations.

5. The mechanism to measure IQ was different in different locations.

6. "The samples, particularly in developed countries, were college kids, but elsewhere more non-college and precollege people were used."

7. "Data of every flavor was observed, data that should not be mixed without an idea of how to combine the uncertainty inherent in each study and in how, say, kinds of IQ measurements map to other kinds of IQ measurements. In other words, they mixed data which should not be mixed, because nobody has any idea how to make these corrections."

8. In the scope of history, atheism is largely a recent development and there is an endless list of highly intelligent theists throughout history.

Other criticisms

Socioeconomic factors:

Furthermore, poorer individuals are more religious and they often have lower access to quality education (attend low quality, inner city, public schools) and health care plus face other factors which would negatively affect their intelligence score tests (nutrition, poor children are more likely to ingest lead paint which causes intellectual impairment, etc.)[84] [85][86]

Failed to take into account multiple intelligences theory:

In addition, the study only looked at analytic intelligence and did not look at other forms of intelligence such as creative intelligence, emotional intelligence, social intelligence, etc.[87] See: Atheism and the theory of multiple intelligences.

Atheism, intelligence and the state of global atheism

An irony of the assertion that intelligence is a causal factor for atheism is in terms of global market share, there has been a longstanding trend of global decline in terms of the percentage of people who are atheists in the world and militant atheists in the Western World have no plan in place to reverse or slow this trend (see: Global atheism).[88] A global trend that is expected to affect Western atheism due to an influx of religious immigrants and the higher rate birth rate of religious conservatives.[89]

See also

Other articles:


External links


  1. Mailvox: The distribution of atheist intelligence
  2. About the General Social Survey
  3. Mailvox: The distribution of atheist intelligence
  4. Always call their bluff
  5. [1]
  6. [2]
  7. [3]
  8. Atheist Achilles Heels: Objective Morality and Sacred Life
  9. The “objective morality” gotcha
  10. Why Standardized Tests Don't Measure Educational Quality by W. James Popham, ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) website
  11. Multiple Intelligences: The Learning Process in Our Students by Yolanda U. Trapp, Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute at Yale University
  12. Multiple Ingelligence
  13. Howard Gardner, multiple intelligences and education
  14. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can rip my soul
  15. An Open Letter from Blair Scott
  16. An Open Letter from Blair Scott
  17. Brendan O'Neill, The Telegraph, How atheists became the most colossally smug and annoying people on the planet, August 14th, 2013
  18. Interview with Sam Harris
  19. in Seattle, PZ Myers Reflects Candidly on His Constituency
  20. in Seattle, PZ Myers Reflects Candidly on His Constituency
  21. Religious Belief Systems of Persons with High Functioning Autism, Catherine Caldwell-Harris, Caitlin Fox Murphy and Tessa Velazquez at the Department of Psychology - Boston University); Patrick McNamara (Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine)
  22. Is atheism linked to autism? Controversial study points to relationship between the two, Daily Mail, 20 September 2011
  23. What atheism and autism may have in common By Razib Khan, September 19, 2011]
  24. [Does Autism Lead to Atheism?], Psychology Today, May 30, 2012 by Matthew Hutson]
  25. Likening of autistic kids to atheists causes fury, ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News, April/22/2013
  26. The socially autistic atheist by Vox Day, August 02, 2007
  27. A lesson in atheist social autism by Vox Day, August 13, 2014
  28. Atheists and Daddy issues by Vox Day, August 23, 2012
  29. Religion, Self-Regulation, and Self-Control: Associations, Explanations, and Implications
  30. Religion, Self-Regulation, and Self-Control: Associations, Explanations, and Implications
  31. Religion Replenishes Self-Control, Psychological Science, June 2012 vol. 23 no. 6 635-642, Kevin Rounding, Albert Lee, Jill A. Jacobson and Li-Jun Ji at Queen’s University
  32. Study finds religion helps us gain self-control
  33. Religious involvement and mortality: a meta-analytic review. McCullough ME, Hoyt WT, Larson DB, Koenig HG, Thoresen C., Health Psychol. 2000 May;19(3):211-22.
  34. The role of spirituality in health care, roc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2001 October; 14(4): 352–357.
  39. Strength of Religious Faith of Athletes and Nonathletes at Two NCAA Division III Institutions
  40. Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences
  41. Link Between Physical Fitness and IQ
  42. Jonathon Sarfati interview
  43. Atheism as nature worship or neo-paganism
  44. Scientific fraud epidemic
  45. If you hand us a hammer
  46. Bible translations
  47. Darwin in translation
  48. Darwin in translation
  49. Many religions heavily concentrated in one or two countries
  50. Christianity in its global context
  51. Bible translations
  52. Where did my IQ points go?
  53. Irrational Atheists
  54. Forced Secularization in Soviet Russia: Why an Atheistic Monopoly Failed
  57. William Lane Craig is avoided by Richard Dawkins
  59. Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate existence of God, The Daily Telegraph, May 14, 2011
  60. Richard Dawkins is either a fool or a coward for refusing to debate William Lane Craig - October 21, 2011 - The Daily Telegraph
  62. Low intelligence causes obesity? What research shows
  63. Mailvox: The distribution of atheist intelligence
  64. Low intelligence causes obesity? What research shows
  66. The myth of atheism and higher education
  67. Fallacy Files: Genetic Fallacy
  68. Mailvox: The distribution of atheist intelligence
  69. MailVoX: Superior atheist intelligence
  70. MailVox: Superior atheist intelligence
  73. Are atheists smarter than believers? Not exactly
  74. Race and testing
  75. The Black-White Test Score Gap
  76. MailVox: Superior atheist intelligence
  77. Do Atheists Really Have Higher IQs than Believers?, Dr. William M. Briggs
  78. Does atheism thrive on economic prosperity? Does religion prosper when people are desperate and ignorant?
  79. Lead paint poisoning
  80. Lead poisoning and intellectual development
  81. [Atheists smarter than religious believers - study], RT News, August 14, 2013
  82. Evolutionists, atheists and agnostics: Where is your master plan to reverse your decline?
  83. Early paper - Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann, Belfer Center, Harvard University/Birkbeck College, University of London
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