Lawyer Rebuts Richard Dawkins, Scientist, re the paranormal
(By Victor Zammit, retired attorney, legal consultant, psi researcher and writer

(In his article ‘What’s Wrong With The Paranormal’ Richard Dawkins, went out of his way to intentionally and unconscionably attack psi scientists, empiricists, researchers and others in the paranormal and the gifted mediums we have in this world. He imputed dishonesty and fraud).


A Professor colleague of mine drew my attention to Richard Dawkins’ anti-paranormal, anti-afterlife beliefs. Hereinafter, is my response. Whilst Richard Dawkins may be a good theoretical scientist (My criticism is only about his anti-paranormal activities), close content analysis of his criticisms of the paranormal and the afterlife shows he does not understand what is ‘admissible evidence.’ I found his writing against the paranormal to be uninformed, descriptively denigrating, unnecessarily sarcastic, full of fundamental deletions and full of rationalizations and certainly his argument is not empirically based.

Like a couple of other scientists I came across in the past, he erroneously thinks just because he is a theoretical scientist – a zoologist, he is omniscient and infallible in disciplines he has not qualified in.

He ends his argument citing self-serving highly negatively prejudicial sources – one of them being one of the lowest, most academically unaccepted, descending to the lowest realm in desperation to find some support for his particularly weak argument.


He is a self-confessed materialist. He says in his own words ‘paranormal is bunk’ i.e. it does not exist. He publicly stated that he does not believe in the afterlife.

Now this R. Dawkins is expressing a personal view, not a scientific view, because he can never use science to show that the paranormal and the afterlife do not exist. He is into conjecture and speculation. He’s into subjectivity. He’s into debunking. He’s into demeaning, denigrating and sarcasm. He’s into personal beliefs in his argument because he never comes to empirically based conclusions.

Further, because he is a self confessed materialist and has been actively anti-paranormal, he does not and cannot perceive empirical evidence for the paranormal with empirical equanimity. He’s deeply negatively prejudiced. His objectivity is negatively encumbered. And that is a huge problem for someone who keeps on saying he is a scientist.

In fact this Dawkins believes the paranormal and the afterlife do not exist. Technically, that makes him a ‘believer.’ That makes his argument subjective- and anything subjective is itself subject to fundamental error and to complete invalidation.

What he says in academic science is his business. But when he tries to use his position as a theoretical scientist to debunk the paranormal and the empirical evidence for the afterlife, he is out of his league because his argument is subjective. He is uninformed about admissible evidence and he just regurgitates clichés consistent with his own negative propaganda against the paranormal. This may amuse a few hard cored debunkers who delude themselves all the time, but all of his writing is unqualifiedly inadmissible as an empirically accepted argument against the paranormal and the evidence for the afterlife.

Richard Dawkins is a zoologist – his university studies had nothing to do with physics. The paranormal is about non-physical energy – vibrations at higher speed than the physical. So that relative to and compared with those physicists who have accepted the link between quantum physics and post-physical consciousness Dawkins is inevitably underqualified.

Three scientists- physicists- show continuity of the acceptance of the paranormal: Sir William Crookes in the ninetheenth century, Sir Oliver Lodge in the twentieth and Professor Fred Alan Wolf in the twentyfirst century. For R Dawkins to impute that these physicists – and the hundreds of other leading scientists, empiricists and researchers who have been investigating psi for over a hundred years are fools and/or were into fraud, is something totally unproven. Neither R Dawkins nor any other scientist or debunker or closed minded skeptic on earth has proved this– and inevitably can never prove it.

Further, we have never ever seen any reports anywhere and anytime that R Dawkins ever systematically investigated the paranormal or the afterlife. There have never ever been any reports that he empirically experimented in paranormal phenomena or empirically tested gifted mediums or psychics. So his rejection of the paranormal is based strictly on intrinsic, negative prejudice - personal belief.

Accordingly, by any objective test, R Dawkins does not have credibility, does not have any authority, does not having standing whenever he intrudes into the realm of the paranormal and the afterlife. Underneath the façade of his theoretical science, Dawkins in the context of the paranormal is really a believer.

R Dawkins’ quotes in italics, my response to his article ‘What’s Wrong with the Paranormal’ follows

1. # "Science tells us what we have reason to believe. Not what we have a duty to believe. Not what experts, in their pontificating wisdom, instruct us to believe … science tells us what there is good reason to believe …"

First, who is making the statement ‘science tells us what we have reason to believe’? There are at least two views: there is inevitably the view of the orthodox scientists and the view of the ‘new scientists’ – (those who canvass any phenomenon where non-physical energy gives more likely than not reasons for its existence and occurrence). The ‘new science’ empiricists and those into psychic phenomena state that all psychic activities have to do with non physical energy. Non physical energy has to do with quantum physics. A number of scientists including physicists, e.g. Prof Alan Wolf include quantum physics in their explanation of paranormal activities.

The orthodox scientist, as R Dawkins is (hereinafter intermittently called RD) will interpret phenomena consistently with his own bias- and will ignore any possibility there could be a psi (all psychic and afterlife phenomena) explanation. The ‘new scientist’ will state that whereas in some instances orthodox science cannot explain some psi phenomena – (but the evidence for its occurrence is absolute) it does not mean the phenomena did not take place. Just because a phenomenon cannot be reproduced in a scientific laboratory it doesn’t mean it wasn’t experienced. For example, most of us experienced the phenomenon of love. Just because reductionist science cannot reduce the phenomenon of love in the laboratory, does it mean love does not exist?

Further, I have met people who did not experience love, were not loved, do not love and cannot express love. At least one of them stated ‘there is no such thing as love – it’s all the mind.’

I totally agree, we should not allow irrelevant ‘experts’ to pontificate about what wisdom we should and should not accept.

2.# "History shows lots of examples where the best science of the day was wrong, superseded by later centuries. There’s much that science still doesn’t know."

Absolutely! Totally agree with the first statement. This in fact is what is going on to-day. Notwithstanding the objective, empirical psi evidence by the new science to-day, orthodox science just cannot or does not want to explain empirical paranormal activities. Why not? First, if the empirically elicited psi evidence is accepted, then the whole spectrum of reductionist orthodox science would inevitably have to be reviewed – in fact, it would become redundant overnight. The war between orthodoxy and the empirical-paranormal accordingly, is a fierce one. The existence of non-physical energy will explain all psi activities. That is being resisted by orthodox scientists – such as R Dawkins. As to the second statement, that too I agree with, because with absolute certainty, there is much to-day orthodox science still doesn’t know about.

Dawkins’s mind deletes the times when orthodox scientists and materialists made fools of themselves initially rejecting unorthodox discoveries – just a couple of examples courtesy of Richard Milton:

Sir William Preece former chief engineer of Britain's Post Office will be remembered for making one of the most 'idiotic' comments in history about Edison's inventions. Sir William stated that Edison's lamp (parallel circuit) was a 'completely idiotic idea'!

• Professors, including Professor Henry Morton who knew Edison stated, immediately before Edison demonstrated the electric light globe: 'On behalf of science ... Edison's experiments are a ... fraud upon the public.'

• The Scientific American, The New York Times, The New York Herald, the U.S. Army, academics — including Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy Simon Newcomb from John Hopkins University— and many other American scientists all heaped derision, ridicule and denigration onto the Wright brothers claiming that it was: 'scientifically impossible for machines to fly'!

• One of the leading scientists from the French Academy of Sciences stated that hypnosis is a fraud and stated after seeing a hypnotized subject with a four inch needle in the top of his arm: 'This subject has been paid for not showing he's in pain'.

• Another scientist from the French Academy of Sciences, after listening to a record made by Edison, stated: '... clearly that is a case of ventriloquism'!

• John Logie Baird, the inventor of television, was attacked by closed-minded skeptics who stated it was: 'absolute rubbish that television waves could produce a picture!

The (U.K.), Astronomer Royal announced that talk of space flight was 'utter bilge'. This was just 18 months before Russia's Sputnik I roared into orbit." Adrian Berry, Science Correspondent, Daily Telegraph.

3# "Now, how about the paranormal? What does it mean? It’s been defined as ‘things that science cannot explain.’ That means ‘Cannot explain and never will’, which is much stronger than ‘Hasn’t yet solved’…. And there’s nothing necessarily paranormal about faith-healing. Or visitors from outer space. I’ll bet there are creatures on other worlds. One day they may come here, though that is hugely less likely. And if they do come, it’s even less likely that they’ll look like us or want to abduct our women."

When I first read that, I thought this guy is not just trying to be cynical – he’s trying to be funny! Maybe he should try being a stand up comic. Certainly, the sarcasm and the implied derision are naïve and irrelevant, unnecessary and show that RD found it necessary to descend to descriptive non sequitors to score a cheap point. Not impressive at all.

It is absolute nonsense that the paranormal has been defined to mean and impute "things that science cannot explain and will never explain." To-day’s general definition of paranormal is: ‘seemingly outside normal sensory channels; not in accordance with known scientific laws.’ But psi empiricists state that notwithstanding orthodoxy, all paranormal activities are within the ambit of science. The paranormal and the afterlife’s non-physical energy have to do with physics.

A materialist such as RD will immediately come to the erroneous conclusion that the definition implies ‘things that science cannot explain and never will’. But that is a self-serving, subjective imputation consistent with RD’s deeply entrenched negatively prejudicial anti-paranormal beliefs. Again, Dawkins’ mind is making things up for him consistent with his perception that only materialism exists and is excluding anything contrary to his cherished beliefs.

I can tell you now myself that given the empirical evidence for psi, orthodox science one day in the near future will have no choice but to accept it. It is only a matter of time – and there will be nothing more powerful than an empirically based idea whose time has come.

4# To call something paranormal means that it is for ever impossible for science to explain. It’s a miracle.

Psi and other empirical writers on the paranormal do not have the luxury of beliefs and/or miracles. Any reading of some of our highly credible psi empiricists will show that there are NO miracles, no beliefs, no subjectivity, no wishful thinking, no religion, no superstition. Only that non physical energy explains all psi.

5# TELEPATHY: A recent poll showed nearly 50% believing in thought-reading. Actually, if telepathy ever were convincingly demonstrated, I’d treat as a fascinating problem that science doesn’t yet understand, like radio once would have been. But let’s talk about it anyway because, like astrology, if there were any evidence for it (there isn’t) it would be difficult for present day science to explain. I can understand why so many people believe in telepathy. We’ve seen it ‘demonstrated’ on television. First the television ‘demonstrations’. These are just conjuring tricks. Not even very clever tricks. In one television show compered by David Frost … Then we’re told he’s only a conjuror, so we don’t ‘think paranormal.’ It’s only because David Frost is there, gasping and goggling, that we take it seriously.

Professors, academics, lecturers, scientists, psi empiricists, psi researchers, informed writers on the paranormal and other interested parties from the U.K., the U.S., and other English speaking countries - would have been rather stunned by Dawkins relating to a television entertainment show compered by David Frost to try to demean and denigrate telepathy!

How unprofessional! How un-empirical. How unscientific. How silly!

Informed academics, scientists, empiricists and others would have at least expected Dawkins to research telepathy at the Society for Psychical Research in the UK and then in the SPR in the U.S. But he didn’t! Because if he approached the subject more professionally he would have read the empirical experiments on telepathy cited by Dean Radin in Chapter 5 of The Conscious Universe.

I submit that Dawkins in this aspect tried to mislead, deceive and misinform. He tried to fool the readers and to lead them astray; his refusal to do proper professional empirical research continues to show that he is either incompetent to do objective empirical psi research or he fears that there are unshakeable confirmed empirical experiments which have empirically confirmed the validity of telepathy – and that would have been bad for his health, disaster for his ego and devastating for his self-esteem . I can hear voices from both sides of the Atlantic crying out, shame, Dawkins, shame!

6.# If telepathy (or levitation, or lifting tables by the power of thought etc) were ever scientifically proved, its discoverer would deserve the Nobel Prize and probably get it. So why fool around doing party turns on television, instead? The reason is obvious. These performers are only doing tricks, and they know very well that they couldn’t get away with it under scientifically controlled conditions.

The Society for Psychical Research has volumes of empirical studies where there were strictly controlled conditions. In the laboratory, comparisons (meta-analysis) of 309 studies of precognition (telling the future) in the laboratory have demonstrated that the subjects showed their ability to see the future against odds of TEN MILLION BILLION BILLION to ONE that they could have done it by chance. This INEVITABLY means that the information did NOT come by chance and that psychic phenomenon of recognition is real, repeatable and testable! (See Dean Radin’s CONSCIOUS UNIVERSE 114.) Yet, RD did not cite even one empirically elicited psi result – and some of these results have been most positive and most successful for the paranormal and the afterlife. Is RD implying all the successful experiments during 100 years of testing by the SPR are fraudulent? Or is RD too lazy to find out the truth? Or is RD running away from results which are fundamentally inconsistent with his own cherished beliefs – and would have absolutely made nugatory his personal beliefs against the paranormal.

7# Having said that, some ‘paranormalists’ are skilled enough to fool most scientists, and the people best qualified to see through them are other conjurors. This is why the most famous psychics and mediums regularly make excuses and refuse to go on stage if they hear that the front row of the audience is filled with professional conjurors.

Again, do your homework Dawkins. Professional conjurors have in fact confirmed that that the positive results from some of the empirical experiments conducted recently could never be duplicated by conjurers. One instance that comes to mind was master magician James Webster who repeatedly witnessed the non-physical energy in the Scole Experiments.

Do not delude yourself R Dawkins that paranormalists can outsmart, out-trick and outwit scientists or empiricists in the laboratory or under strict empirical testing.

Recent history has shown negative debunking empiricists who cheated gifted psychics and lied to try to concoct results to make them consistent with their own negativity. Do your research and you will get the correct information – start from my website – it’s all there! Start with the article about why psychically gifted Russian teenager can sue the negatively entrenched debunking psychologists who ambushed her. This is one of the most disgusting episodes ever witnessed in the history of empirically testing gifted psychics.

8.#Various good conjurors, including The Amazing Randi in America and Ian Rowland here, put on shows in which they publicly duplicate the ‘miracles’ of famous paranormalists – then explain to the audience that they are only tricks.

I nearly fell off my chair laughing at this one! This is where Dawkins swallowed hook line and sinker the anti-propaganda dished out to him by lower level of debunkers. He really believes and want to believe the anti-paranormal propaganda because not only does he not want to question the propaganda, he needs nourishment to support his anti-psychic beliefs. There have been attempts to duplicate John Edward, the gifted psychic, for example. But this alleged conjuror Randi made a fool of himself at the ULTIMATE CHALLENGE in London - he miserably failed to duplicate John Edward’s successful psychic skills.

Further, citing Randi as a source is like slipping on dogs’ poo. Why? Because investigators, such as myself find Randi has no credibility at all. For example, the alleged ‘Amazing’ Randi to me is the amazing con artist who is on record for stating that he will always have a way out (of paying in his challenge)- which in the opinion of many is the biggest hoax in psychic history. When I confronted him with that information – he not only did not deny it, he just stated words to the effect that well, since there is no paranormal, no one is going to win anything! That meant he’s lying to the public in the U.S., in the U.K. and elsewhere. That meant he’s cheating the public, he’s conning the public – and you indirectly support this self confessed trickster? And he is YOUR reference against the paranormal?

9.#Why, when he could earn a living as an honest conjuror, would someone pass himself off as a ‘paranormal’ miracle-worker. I’m sorry to say the answer’s very simple. There’s more money in it, and it’s more glamorous. What jobbing conjuror could hope to break into television, with David Frost as fawning master of ceremonies? Or earn fat ‘consultation fees’ from oil companies for ‘psychic divination’ of where to drill? Or have Princess Diana drop onto your lawn by helicopter?

Again, Dawkins shows he knows nothing about the documented lives of many gifted psychics. Try learning about Chico Xavier for a start to learn the sacrifices genuine psychics and healers make to help the thousands who need their help and who in many instances do not charge a cent for their services. And this uninformed Dawkins call these people ‘charlatans’?

Not empirical or scientific or objective – just sheer unsubstantiated negative descriptive low level speculation, most unbecoming of a theoretical scientist.

As to earning fat consulting fees, Dawkins fails to realize the commercial nature of companies. RD shows he has no experience in commercial ventures. No commercial company will ever pay a cent unless it gets results. It is sheer sloppiness and even ignorance about commercial dealings to even suggest that companies will part with their profits without getting any returns. Commercial deals are usually based on contingent fees.

10# " … But, given the population of the United States, he worked out that approximately 300 people would be experiencing coincidences at least as weird as his, every day. Only those who have those experiences bother to remember them, or write to the newspapers. That’s why we hear about them. Nobody writes to the paper and says: "I dreamed that my uncle had died. And when I woke next morning, would you believe it, there was nothing wrong with him."

Why not look at the meta-analysis of 309 studies of precognition in the laboratory cited above? The authors concluded that the possibility of the results having occurred by chance were TEN MILLION BILLION BILLION to ONE. Scientists to-day are empirically testing mediums using properly controlled double blind studies and obtaining dramatic, positive results. Would Dawkins bow to the truth and accept defeat? Or is he likely to continue to denounce, ridicule, heap derision on those gifted psychics who hold the key to understanding the non-physical energy which one day will revolutionize science as we know it. Some might say that history will certainly remember Dawkins!

11.# COLD READING: How about performers who seem to ‘sense’ that somebody in the audience had a loved one whose name began with M, owned a Pekinese, and died of something to do with the chest – ‘clairvoyants’ and ‘mediums’ with ‘inside knowledge’ that they ‘couldn’t have got by any normal means’? I haven’t space to go into details, but the trick is well known to conjurors under the name ‘cold reading’. It’s a subtle combination of knowing what’s common (many people die of heart failure or lung cancer), and fishing for clues (people give the game away when you are getting warm), aided by the audience’s willingness to remember hits and overlook misses. Cold readers also often use narks, who eavesdrop conversations as the audience walks into the theatre. When done well, cold reading can be impressive, but it’s perfectly well understood and there’s nothing miraculous about it.

Here again Dawkins repeats without doing his investigating what the low level closed minded skeptics have been saying for years. We tell Dawkins to do his low level narration somewhere else - and let’s be empirical: what happened when one, highly flamboyant, anti-paranormal, anti-afterlife debunker Dawkins keeps referring to him - tried to emulate the gifted medium John Edward, by showing it is all ‘cold reading’ – one named Zwinge Randi in England in the television show THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE? Randi was so bad, so embarrassing, so awkward and so silly, he was virtually booed off stage.

He was humiliated. He was shamed and he looked utterly ridiculous. The producer went rushing to stop the filming of the COLD READING segment of the show. It is interesting that R Dawkins will not demonstrate cold reading himself on stage. Because he would be, like his referee Zwinge Randi, a laughing stock for the next decade. There is a great danger now of his being the laughing stock of the decade for attacking the paranormal without substance, without citing empirically elicited information, without science.

Further, who, where, when and how were these eavesdroppers caught? With a stroke of unsubstantiated pen, Dawkins, without being specific, makes this claim without mentioning names, without identifying locations and without mentioning even one verified incident or stating any other relevant information to show what he is saying ought to be taken seriously. As evidence Dawkins gives us zilch – nothing – wanting us just to trust him, ‘it happens, you know". Dawkins being empirical? Scientific? Objective? Absolutely not!

12.# The paranormal is bunk. Those who try to sell it to us are fakes and charlatans, and some of them have grown rich and fat by taking us for a ride. You wouldn’t fall for a smooth salesman who offered you a car without an engine. So why be fooled by paranormal con-artists? What they are selling you doesn’t work. Send them packing and drive them out of business

Objectively, that kind of speculative talk is the low level negative description we hear from the uninformed fifth rate skeptics. Clearly, Dawkins shows he is not discriminating, has not studied, analyzed and come across the empirical studies. No, RD, get your facts right. Start by reading Dean Radin’s The Conscious Universe.

Dawkins, scoffers and debunkers have to learn how to discriminate between the quacks and the charlatans who are not psychic but claim to be from the rarer genuine and legitimate ones.

I for one spent some $250,000 in time, energy and my own funding to do critical research into this the most important discovery in human history: the revolutionary non-physical energy which explains all paranormal activities and the existence of the afterlife. This will inevitably change completely traditional orthodox science – it is only a matter of time for its acceptance. And when that time comes, orthodox science will have to inevitably encompass the new science of the non-physical energy.

13#, On his website R Dawkins writes inter alia, (letter to S Ford, 22nd January 1992), " … much of the alleged evidence that people think is convincing is not really convincing at all."

Just to deny all of the evidence without explaining, without using of scientific method is not scientific, not empirical and not consistent with the rules of technical rebuttal. Denial, ie stating words to the effect, ‘I’m not convinced’ is not rebutting anything and is amateurism pushed to its extreme. What is professionally required is for R Dawkins to legitimately, technically and properly rebut all the expressly stated objective evidence for the paranormal and the afterlife- more than twenty three areas of objectively elicited empirical evidence. Hitherto, no zoologist, no scientist, no debunker, no closed minded skeptic or anybody else has been able to rebut the expressly stated objective evidence for the paranormal as I presented it on my abovementioned website. Perhaps, Richard would like to try?

14.# Elsewhere, he writes, "Faith, being belief that isn't based on evidence, is the principal vice of any religion."

Dawkins falls into his own trap when his own unsubstantiated faith in materialism is not based on evidence.

15.# Elsewhere Dawkins writes, "Science is actually one of the most moral, one of the most honest disciplines around -- because science would completely collapse if it weren't for a scrupulous adherence to honesty in the reporting of evidence." 

The objective observer will immediately see the two faced hypocrisy of Dawkins in this statement. The immediate reaction is, "Gee, this Dawkins says one thing but he himself does the opposite. I wonder why?"

Yes, we wonder why! In his anti-paranormal article he specifically aimed at denigrating psi and its adherents and by imputation those who are researching it.

Dawkins did not at any stage scrupulously adhere to honesty in reporting the plethora of objective evidence for the paranormal. He can’t say he couldn’t find any books on the matter –in my bibliography I have cited some 200 books published over the last 100 years on the subject.

16.# "There are excellent books which explain cold reading and lots of other ‘paranormal’ tricks, including Bizarre Beliefs by Hutchinson & Hogart (Prometheus Books) and Why People Believe Weird Things by M Shermer … Flim-Flam by J Randi (Prometheus Books) … everyone should read Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World."

Except for Carl Sagan – see below, here is R Dawkins recommending his ‘buddies’ who think the same way as he does, belonging to the same anti-paranormal club as he does – they are all on record for being negatively minded, anti-paranormal and anti afterlife. The old adage is most relevant here, "For every source Richard Dawkins cite to support his argument, Victor Zammit can cite a hundred sources to support his argument." The books by Shermer, Hutchinson, J Randi have no value for balanced reporting, have no credibility at all because the writers made up their mind long before they came to their conclusions. They are not objective investigators or neutral empiricists or non-committed scientists seeking for the truth. All are deeply negatively prejudicial against the paranormal – hence NO CREDIBILITY at all.

Now regarding Dawkins’ attempt to cash in and exploit Carl Sagan’s name and reputation. I received information that Carl Sagan- although he canvasses the merits and demerits – in his own subjective way the afterlife and the paranormal, the objective reader is not informed by Sagan in absolutes – ie, that there is or there is not an afterlife. Carl Sagan leaves it to the reader to make his/her own conclusions. Further, Carl Sagan has never ever investigated the objective, empirical evidence for the afterlife. We have absolutely no record of him doing that. Again, like any other intelligent human being, but NOT as a scientist, or astronomer or as an empiricist, Carl Sagan was expressing a subjective personal view about the paranormal and the afterlife.

There is a consistent attempt by the hard core, closed minded debunkers including those from from csicop (also known as the Debunkers’ Association) to try to put Carl Sagan in their camp. That is dishonest. That is unfair. That is exploiting his name and reputation to promote closed minded skepticism.

This is the kind of two faced insincerity that digs deep holes in his credibility as a psi critic. Just a couple of observations:

Why was Dawkins not honest enough to report the huge amount of critical objective psi evidence by some of the most intelligent scientists which could change the world to-day?

A brilliant Ph.D physicist (Dr Fred Alan Wolf known as Dr Quantum) traveling the world lecturing on his book How Quantum Physics Proves the Existence of the Soul knows that post-physical consciousness is the greatest discovery in human history. If Dawkins disagrees with that, why has not Dawkins tried to properly and legitimately rebut his work in context of quantum physics? That would be honest. That would be show high integrity and full professional responsibility.

Other Ph.Ds are using strict scientific method to control, measure, quantify non-physical energy in the mediumship context. This is all revolutionary stuff in science. Why is Dawkins as quiet as a mouse in these matters?

For more on scientists succeeding in empirically investigating non-physical energy – the paranormal/afterlife go to my book on the net

October 2005

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