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Creation Ministries International and the Three-Headed Monster: Why the Monster Wins Pt. 2

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

Part 2

What Is at Stake

The theory of evolution has from its very beginning been a dangerous foe of Christianity and has done great harm to the faith of so many. CMI has done, and continues to do, great work in opposing this head of the three-headed monster.

However, there are three heads of the monster; Darwinism is not the only enemy or even the most dangerous one. The impression one gets, though, reading through CMI’s material is that the theory of evolution is, in fact, at the root of the entire attack on Christianity. It almost seems as if everything was hunky-dory until Hutton and Lyell in the late 18th/early 19th century began to promote the idea of “deep time,” and it was then that things began to fall apart.

Kulikovsky, for example, discussing the rejection and redefinition of inerrancy by evangelicals mentions the influence of “Semler and his contemporaries” and of “German higher critical thinking,” but nevertheless suggests, following John D. Woodbridge, that evangelicals who are giving up inerrancy are doing so because

they believe that if the Bible is only infallible for faith and practice, then it cannot be negatively affected by evolutionary hypothesesThis is essentially another way of saying that Scripture is always wrong when it contradicts modern scientific conclusions.

So the erosion of inerrancy is motivated first and last by the reaction to Darwinism.

But who was this Semler? Johann Salomo Semler (1725-1791) was a German rationalist and liberal scholar; in fact, he was known as “the Father of German Rationalism.” According to the Encyclopædia Britannica,

He was the first to deny, and to offer substantial evidence supporting his denial, that the entirety of the text of Old and New Testaments was divinely inspired and fully correct. He challenged the divine authority of the biblical canon, which he reexamined in order to determine the sequence of composition of biblical books, their nature, and their manner of transmission. From this work he drew a crucial distinction between an earlier, Jewish form of Christianity and a later, broader form.

Semler was also a pioneer of the liberal school of textual criticism, the heirs to which were, inter alia, Griesbach and Westcott and Hort. It was Semler who invented the lie that the Byzantine text type was created as a recension by Lucian of Antioch in the early 4th century, thus setting the stage for the discarding of the vast majority of the NT manuscripts, which are, in fact, the best manuscripts.

The salient point here is that Semler died in 1791, sixty-eight years before the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species. Clearly, the assault on the credibility of the Bible was under way long before Darwinism became a factor. It began with the depredations of “higher critical thinking” expressed in historical criticism and textual criticism, and it was these that set the stage for Darwinism. Indeed, without the damage caused by the historical and textual critics, Darwinism may never have been accepted.

And yet, to CMI, it all comes down to evolution. The influence of “Semler and his contemporaries” is mentioned but its effects ignored; the redefinition of inerrancy is motivated not by the attacks on the historical reliability of the Gospel books or by the insertion of errors into the “original” text, but only by the desire not to be “negatively affected by evolutionary hypotheses.” The effect of “German higher critical thinking” on Bernard Ramm, we are told, was to convince him that “Scripture is always wrong when it contradicts modern scientific conclusions” – though “German higher critical thinking” had nothing to do with modern science.

This sort of idea permeates CMI’s thinking. Scott Gillis, COO of the American branch of CMI, for example, draws attention to “the alarming departure rate” of children raised in Christian families, who are leaving the church and the faith in droves. The root of the problem?

One of the major reasons is that all we ever hear is the evolutionary story of billions of years of deep time being presented as an accepted and irrefutable “fact” of science.

Calvin Smith, a speaker with the Canadian branch of CMI, also decries,

Smith avers that,

the Bible’s history was at one time the ‘meta-narrative’ that the west rallied around … Within the last one hundred years, a radical shift has taken place in all of these areas. What could have accomplished such a profound change?

Smith then answers his own question:

Years ago a new grand explanation was introduced under the guise of “science” that changed everything … As unobserved events like “millions of years” and Darwinian evolution were taught as the true history of our planet, people began to see the Bible in a new light. It was no longer seen as real history and therefore authoritative and grew less influential.

Here, too, we see the rote CMI answer: the problem began with the theory of evolution. The hundreds of years previous to the coming of Darwinism during which the credibility of Jesus and the Bible was eroded by historical criticism and textual criticism, thus setting the stage for the acceptance of Darwinism? It is as if it did not happen. People only “began to see the Bible in a new light” when deep time and “Darwinian evolution were taught as the true history of our planet.

Perhaps the best example comes from another article by Scott Gillis, in which he talks “about the culture we are trying to reach with the Gospel.” He tells us that,

There are hordes of people out there with questions, such as, “Is God real?”, “Does He love me?” and “Is the Bible really true?” But … they are drowning in a massive sea of secularism, as the mainstream culture promotes evolution … it seems like an endless evolutionary tsunami taking them in the wrong direction. If they are taught that evolution is true, and that science” has disproved the Bible, then they are being swept out farther and farther into a sea of hopelessness.

It certainly seems that to Gillis all questions about the reality of God and the truth of the Bible come down to evolution and nothing else.

And then Gillis tells us that,

the tide is changing. Many people have been rescued by the Savior. This is because today we have more information available to answer people’s questions about evolution than at any previous point in the church’s history.

At any previous point in the church’s history? Is he serious? Has Gillis overlooked the fact that the Bible has been under attack throughout most of the church’s history, while evolution has been a foe for only the last 8% of the time of church history? It is as if all other challenges pale into insignificance; only evolution matters.

This is not to say, of course, that CMI does not recognize that there are other problems, but somehow it is always evolution that is the root of the problem, the one factor that seems to dwarf all others.

But is that true? Is evolution the factor that overwhelmingly leads young people to abandon Christianity? It is important to find the right answer to this question. Fortunately, Ken Ham and Britt Beemer have done the work that allows us to find that answer. Ham is also a leading apologist in the field of creationism as “the president, CEO, and founder of Answers in Genesis-US and the highly acclaimed Creation Museum” and the author of numerous books.

Wanting to know why young people were leaving the church in such large numbers, Answers in Genesis (AiG) arranged to have a statistically valid professional study done by Britt Beemer, “the chairman of America’s Research Group and as a leading marketing research and business analyst expert, Britt Beemer specializes in studying human behavior.” The results and a discussion of this major study were published in book form in 2009.

As a creation apologist, Ham naturally emphasizes the devastating role of Darwinism, but it is what this study shows that is truly interesting.

Beemer’s study surveyed one thousand young people who had left the church. Of these, 44% said they did not believe that,

They were asked what made them begin to doubt the Bible. Two options related to evolution were given: “Science shows the world is old” and “Evolution proves that the Bible is wrong.” The first was chosen by 14% of respondents and the second by 4%. So the total of those who began to doubt the Bible because of evolution is 18%.

This is less than the 24% who selected “It was written by men – the sort of thing that is being emphasized by CMI’s favourite librarian, who is promoted by CMI and aped by CMI in such things the problem of Mark 1:2.

Another 15% chose “The Bible contradicts itself and 11% chose “The Bible has errors – and the Bible does contradict itself and does have errors, if the Griesbachian/ Westcott-Hort text is accepted as the original text of the NT, for that methodology was created to insert errors and contradictions into the text, and this it has been done very successfully. This is the methodology and the NT text that is championed by CMI.

In sum, 50% of the departed Christians who began to doubt the Bible did so because of issues related to historical and textual criticism, and only 18% because of issues related to Darwinism.

Those who said that the Bible contains errors were asked what those errors are. Here three options broadly related to Darwinism were offered: “The Bible is wrong about the young age of the earth,” “Genesis has been disproved by science,” and “There never was a global flood. The first was chosen by 10% of respondents, the second by 5%, and the third by 2%. So a total of 17% thought that Darwinism proved that the Bible was wrong.

That is fewer than the 22% who cited “Alleged contradictions” – you know, like in Mark 1:2 in their NIV or ESV Bibles. It is fewer than the 18% who cited “The writers made mistakes– ooh, like in Mark 1:2! Another 2% said that “Miracles do not occur,” as historical critics have maintained.

So 17% of the departed Christians think that the Bible is wrong because of the claims of evolution, and 42% think it is wrong because of the claims of historical and textual criticism.

The upshot of this data is clear: CMI is wrong to think that it is evolution that is the overwhelming Number One enemy facing Christianity; historical criticism and textual criticism, which are more subtle, are clearly more dangerous. And it is in these two latter areas, as we have seen, that CMI is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

So Satan gets double value with Darwinism. Not only does it mislead people, but it also entices Christians to focus upon it as the most important head of the monster, even to the exclusion of the other two.

Next, is CMI winning? Is “the tide” changing, as Scott Gillis claims? In a word, no. Their material on creationism is very good, but it is not winning the battle. Gallup has been surveying Americans on the issue of origins since 1982, and this is what they have found:

The first noteworthy thing is that, despite the efforts of CMI, AiG, and other creation apologetics ministries, belief in six-day, young-earth creationism has essentially held steady for the last thirty-two years. On the other hand, belief in atheistic evolution has more than doubled in that time. In 1982, belief in all forms of creationism led belief in atheistic evolution 82% to 9% (with YEC at 44%); by 2014 it was down to 73% to 19% (with YEC at 42%). It is difficult to imagine, then, that CMI and the other YEC apologetics ministries are winning.

Of course, we cannot know what would have happened had it not been for the work of these creation apologetics ministries; the situation may well now be much worse; the good work of these ministries should not be devalued. At the same time, it is worth noting that CMI expends quite a bit of effort opposing theistic evolution. Belief in theistic evolution, which had held steady at around 38% from 1982 to 2011, has since dropped noticeably to 31% – but those abandoning it are not moving to YEC, as CMI advocates, but to atheistic evolution.

It is also interesting that, despite the efforts of CMI and others, even familiarity with creationism has dropped among the general public. According to Gallup,

significantly fewer Americans claim familiarity with “creationism” than did so seven years ago. In 2007, 86% were familiar, including 50% who were very familiar. Now, 76% are familiar, with just 38% very familiar.

Even more significant is what is happening among Christian leaders. As John Bloom reports,

On the release in 2006 of Francis Collins’s Language of God, a bestseller by a respected evangelical scientist who advocates theistic evolution (or “evolutionary creation”), a campaign was launched to establish theistic evolution as the default conservative evangelical position, in place of more traditional creationist views. With Collins as the initial vanguard through the BioLogos Foundation, and thanks to generous funding by the Templeton Foundation, many scientists and theologians (generally from those Christian colleges and universities where theistic evolution quietly had become the accepted teaching position) have felt empowered to take this view from the campus classrooms to church pulpits and Christian bookstores.

Unfortunately, it seems clear that the arguments of CMI and other YEC ministries are not so much rejected by the magisterium of evangelical scholars as they are simply ignored. Something so obscurantist as YEC is simply a non-starter. And this is the same magisterium of evangelical scholars that CMI enthusiastically appeals to as the arbiter of matters of historical and textual criticism. It does not seem to occur to CMI to wonder whether scholars who are so wrong about creationism should be trusted on other matters.

So much for the general public and evangelical scholars. If there is one group that should be a natural constituency for groups such as CMI, it is evangelical homeschoolers. Surely they would be rock-solid on YEC, especially with all of the helps provided by CMI. Yet according to The Atlantic’s David Wheeler there is a “rising number of homeschool families striving to reconcile belief in God with today’s scientific consensus.” Meanwhile, “homeschool pioneer” Susan Wise Bauer tells us that,

there are a lot of younger evangelicals who have come to a different way of understanding Genesis, while still holding [on to their] evangelical roots.

It is hard not to conclude, then, that CMI is losing its battle. That is not surprising, however. On the contrary, it is inevitable. CMI, as we have seen, takes a presuppositional approach. As Lita Cosner says,

If one holds, as we do at CMI, that the Bible is completely true no matter whether it is making statements relevant to history, theology, or science, then it is perfectly appropriate to treat a clear pronouncement of Scripture as conclusively proving the point.

It is because of this presupposition that CMI believes in six-day young-earth creationism inasmuch as that is what the Bible teaches. As Ken Ham wrote,

why should Christians believe in the six literal days of Creation? Because of the words of Scripture (“In six days the Lord made …”). The real issue is one of authority—is God’s Word the authority, or is man’s word the authority?

That is the substance of CMI’s insistence upon YEC.

But if one takes this approach, then it is incumbent upon him to be thoroughgoing in his insistence that “the Bible is completely true” and therefore inerrant, and, lamentably, we have seen that CMI falls short of that standard. Miss Cosner, commenting upon the growing demand by evangelical homeschoolers for evolutionary teaching materials, warns that,

When parents endorse statements that allow Genesis to be taken “nonliterally, too often children simply hear, “You don’t need to believe the Bible.” And is it surprising that many children heed that message and leave the church altogether?

But by the same token, when apologists insist that Mark 1:2 contains a factually untrue assertion but that’s okay because that’s the way Jews cited in those days, too often children simply hear, “Some of the assertions in the Bible are factually untrue.” It makes no difference to the child whether the apologist can convince himself that a factually untrue assertion is not factually untrue if other people in those days were also making the same sort of factually untrue assertions. All he hears is that not all of the assertions made by the Bible are factually true and therefore do not have to be believed. Then when the apologist insists that we have to believe the assertions in the Bible because they are all factually true, he cannot be taken seriously.

But what if CMI did win? What would happen if CMI and the other creationism apologetics ministries did win? What would happen if CMI could finally offer irrefutable proof that the theory of evolution is impossible and that the earth cannot possibly be more than 7,680 years old, proof so strong that even the evolutionists had to accept it? What if the atheists and secularists, try as they might, could not come up with another naturalistic explanation of the world and the life in it? What would happen?

Answer: The scholars and intellectuals and other opinion makers would simply revert to the Deism which they had held prior to the coming of Darwinism. They would concede that there must be a god who had created the world and started life, but he had “left town,” no longer involved with or caring about what he had created. They would blithely continue to destroy the credibility of the Bible through historical and textual criticism, as they had long been doing before Darwinism. People might concede that there’s a god out there somewhere, but He is obviously not the God of the Bible, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Darwinism would simply have been an intellectual blip in history, ultimately unimportant, as unbelief continued to spread like wildfire.

But what if those who are battling the liberal lies of historical and textual criticism won? What if they could prove that the Gospel books are inerrant, early testimony to the fact that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God and Saviour and proved it by fulfilling ancient prophecies, doing miracles, and actually rising from the dead? What would happen then? The answer should be obvious.

So it seems Satan actually gets triple value with Darwinism, not double. Not only does it mislead people; not only does it also induce Christians to focus upon it as the most important head of the monster, even to the exclusion of the other two; but it is such that even if it were defeated, the campaign against Christ would not be materially altered.


There has long been a three-headed monster at work undermining the credibility of the Bible, these heads being historical criticism, textual criticism, and Darwinism. They must all be fought if the reliability of the Bible is to be maintained.

CMI is an apologetics ministry that battles the third head, Darwinism. In this area they do excellent work. They do not simply follow scholarly consensus but think critically about the claims made by Darwinists and those influenced by them and do careful research, so that they are able to skewer faulty paradigm assumptions and factoids.

If there is a shortcoming in this area, it may be that they have overestimated the importance of Darwinism relative to the other two heads of the monster, though this is perhaps not surprising; there is much truth to the old saying, “When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” This does not, however, detract from the value of their work against Darwinism. Had CMI restricted itself to battling this head, all would have been well with them. But they did not. Increasingly they have chosen to pontificate in areas of historical criticism and textual criticism.

Tragically, while CMI’s battle against Darwinism is so well done, it is a different story when it comes to the other two heads of the monster, historical criticism and textual criticism. In these areas, careful thinking and research is far too often replaced by a ready acceptance of evangelical scholarly consensus. Strangely, they understand that the overwhelming majority of evangelical scholars reject or redefine inerrancy to accommodate Darwinism and they oppose that, but it does not seem to occur to CMI that scholars who are so wrong on Darwinism may be equally wrong on matters of historical and textual criticism. No, on these matters there is an unseemly deference to the magisterium of evangelical scholars.

The result is that CMI accepts and passes along liberal paradigm assumptions in historical criticism and especially textual criticism which are used by the enemies of the cause of Christ to undermine the credibility of the Bible, which cause more young people to leave the church than does Darwinism, and which effectively end the doctrine of inerrancy. That this should be done by a ministry that sincerely believes in inerrancy simply compounds the tragedy.

The final score then, when CMI meets the three-headed monster: Monster 2 CMI 1.


In 2013, Calvin Smith, a CMI worker from the Canadian office, posted an article on the CMI website in which he likened the struggle for Biblical inerrancy to a famous battle from Canadian military history, the Battle of Vimy Ridge, fought April 6-9, 1917, during World War I. Vimy Ridge was a critical point along the German lines, a high ground that had resisted all British and French efforts to capture it for years. When the task was given to the Canadians, General Sir Arthur Currie mounted what Churchill later called “the most perfectly planned and perfectly executed operation in the whole war” and captured the ridge within three days.

Smith uses Vimy Ridge as an analogy in the creation/evolution debate. He avows that

In the battle over biblical authority, there is a key position that is critical to hold against the enemy’s attack, and that position is (surprisingly to some) the age of the earth.

He elaborates:

Biblical authority is about the trustworthiness of Scripture and ultimately rests on whether the Bible actually means what it plainly says. Because the Bible actively teaches against millions of years and rather plainly teaches a young earth timeframe, any Christian that holds to a long age timeframe does so by saying that the Bible doesn’t have to mean what it plainly says (and therefore concedes biblical authority).

If this is true, then Smith is in trouble, for CMI has already told us, inter alia, that the Bible doesn’t actually mean what it plainly says in Mark 1:2 and that it may not mean what it plainly says in 2 Peter 1:1 (though they graciously concede that you can believe what it says here “without sacrificing one’s intellect”), and they have given a platform to a librarian who teaches that the Bible does not mean what it says in Matthew 27:5, may not (and probably does not) mean what it says in Acts 22:9, and may not or does not mean what it says in Matthew 27:52-53, and who viciously attacks Norman Geisler for insisting that inerrancy requires that Matthew 27:52-53 does mean what it says. So if the authority of the Bible “ultimately rests on whether the Bible actually means what it plainly says,” then CMI may as well give up; they have already given away the store on that.

Now, let us turn our attention to another great battle in the annals of Canadian military history, one that makes for a more apropos analogy: the Battle of D-Day. On June 6, 1944, the Allies launched the greatest amphibious assault in history on the coasts of Normandy, France, in an attempt to establish a beachhead on the western part of the European continent, from where they could begin the drive eastward to conquer the Nazi forces.

In a carefully coordinated assault, the armed forces of three nations invaded Normandy at five different beaches. The Americans attacked at beaches codenamed Omaha and Utah, the British attacked the Gold and Sword beaches, and the Canadians attacked at Juno Beach. Although the three nations were working closely together, each had its own mission, targets, and tasks to perform. The success of the joint effort required each to accomplish his own mission.

Now, suppose that at some point during the operations, the Canadians had contacted the British commander, saying that they were having problems and had a request to make. The British commander replied that his men had their own mission, which required all of the effort and resources, and they could not spare any to aid the Canadians. The Canadian commander responded that they were not in need of any help; however, they had found the that British, as they were carrying out their operation, were inadvertently leaving weapons lying about that the Nazi defenders of Juno and of Omaha and Utah had acquired and were using against the allies of the British. “You don’t have to help us,” the Canadian commander said. “You have your mission and we have ours. Carry out your mission. All we are asking is that you not make our mission more difficult by giving weapons to our enemies. After all, they are your enemies, too, and if we fail so, ultimately, will the entire cause.” What would have happened had the British commander ignored that request?

The analogy should be clear. Omaha/Utah represents the battle against historical criticism, Juno the battle against textual criticism, and Gold/Sword the battle against Darwinism. CMI is carrying out the battle against Darwinism well, but they are providing weapons to be used by historical critics and textual critics against the credibility of the Bible. We are not asking them to abandon their own mission or even to help us. All we are asking is that they stop making our task more difficult by giving weapons to the enemy. Is that too much to ask?



1. ibid.

2. “Johann Salomo Semler: German theologian.” Written by: The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. At

3. Metzger, Bruce M. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. Third, Enlarged Edition. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 115

4. Kulikovsky, “The Bible and hermeneutics” op.cit.

5. If anything, perhaps CMI can see in this the fact that it is historical criticism that paved the way for the acceptance of Darwinism.

6. Gillis, Scott. “What percentage is acceptable to you?” Posted on January 16, 2014. At

7. ibid.

8. ibid. There is much excellent material on creationism produced by CMI, but regrettably it is infused, as we have seen, with toxic material on historical criticism and textual criticism, along with promotion of apologists who redefine inerrancy to allow errors into the Bible.

9. Smith, Calvin. “A tale of two fish: What happens when society teaches its young people that atheism is ‘science’?” Posted on September 26, 2013. At

10. ibid. (Bolding and underlining added.)

11. ibid. (Bolding and underlining added.)

12. ibid. (Bolding and underlining added.)

13. Gillis, Scott. “The tide is changing …” Posted on January 14, 2014. At

14. ibid.

15. ibid.

16. Lita Cosner mentions, in passing, “The Da Vinci Code,” “non-Christian cults,” and “supposedly historical television show[s] that asserts that the Gospels are pieces of propaganda, that the early Church suppressed literature that did not conform with their narrow views, or that Christianity was copied from various pagan religions.” (Cosner, Lita. “Who has an answer? Providing real answers may arrest the hemorrhage of young people from the church once they leave home.” Posted on August 27, 2009. At She does not mention such attacks as the claims of late dating of the Gospel books, extreme late dating of the Gospel According to John, and the denial of the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 – all claims that CMI endorses.

18. Ham, Ken & Britt Beemer with Todd Hillard. already gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2009, p. 26

19. ibid., p. 107

20. ibid.

21. ibid.

22. ibid.

23. ibid., p. 108

24. ibid.

25. ibid.

26. ibid.

27. Gillis, op.cit.

28. Table from Newport, Frank. “In U.S., 42% Believe Creationist View of Human Origins” Posted on June 2, 2014. At

29. The full wording of option 3 was “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.” Of course, this could include gap theorists and others who posit an ancient earth combined with a recent creation of man.

30. Newport, op.cit.

31. Bloom, John. “The Lost World of John Walton,” Christian Research Journal 38:3 (2015), p. 58. (Bolding and underlining added.) Interestingly, while Bloom thinks Walton’s approach in the book Bloom is reviewing “is far too radical,” Bloom himself professes to “have a great deal of empathy for Walton’s intentions: to present Christianity in a manner that does not create a conflict between science and the claims of the Bible, and especially not to lay any particular creation model as a stumbling block in front of the cross.” (ibid. Bolding and underlining added.)

32. This applies to the group as a whole; obviously there are some individual scholars who hold to young earth creationism.

33. Wheeler, David R. “Old Earth, Young Minds: Evangelical Homeschoolers Embrace Evolution.” The Atlantic. Posted on March 8, 2013. At (Bolding and underlining added.)

34. Zylstra, Sarah Eekhoff. “A New Creation Story: Why do more homeschoolers want evolution in their textbooks?” Christianity Today 57:4 (May 2013), p. 16 (Bolding and underlining added.)

35. ibid.

36. Wheeler, op.cit.

37. “The CSI science curriculum clearly presents science from a Christian perspective, but does not attempt to discredit the theory of evolution. The content presents God as the author of all of creation, no matter how he did it or when he did it.” (ibid. Bolding and underlining added.)

38. Cosner, Lita. “Can we ‘conclusively’ say that dinosaurs were created on Day 6?” op.cit. (Bolding and underlining added.)

39. Ham, Ken. “The big picture” Creation 23:2 (March 2001), pp. 16-18. At (Bolding and underlining added.)

40. Cosner, Lita. “Homeschooling parents demand evolutionary textbooks: What’s in your child’s science textbook?” Posted on June 13, 2013. At

41. As indicated by the data compiled by Ken Ham & Britt Beemer (op.cit.)

42. Smith, Calvin. “Charge the hill: Taking back the high ground of biblical authority.” Posted on January 29, 2013. At

43. ibid.

44. ibid.

45. Cosner, “An unconvincing case for pseudepigraphy,” op.cit., p. 44. Miss Cosner does not even state clearly that she believes in Petrine authorship of 2 Peter. Even if she does, she certainly concedes that it may not be Petrine, so she is making it clear that the Bible could be wrong in 2 Peter 1:1.

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