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"Why an Orthodox Christian cannot be an evolutionist" essay by S.V Bufeev


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#41 Owen Jones

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 12:16 PM

Question? What would it take in the minds of those here who are Darwinists to shake the foundations of the theory for them? Seeing as how at least it is recognized that it remains a theory? I think that's a useful thought experiment. Much as if you could prove there was no empty tomb for example would certainly appear to refute Christianity. It seems to me that this is a crucial question for anyone who claims to be a scientist or adhere to modern scientific method. Much as Einstein proposed a series of astronomical observations and measurements that would either prove or disprove his theories of relativity. Any thoughts?

#42 Steve Orr

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 12:24 PM

Regarding the original post... here are two articles I've read recently that were written by Orthodox priests, and which are not opposed to the theory of evolution (if anyone is interested in a different view than the one presented in the original article posted here):

The first, by Fr. Gregory Hallam: http://antiochabouna...reationism.html
And this one by Fr. Deacon Andrey Kuraev:

http://www.sullivan-...rt_creation.htm

#43 Steve Orr

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 12:40 PM

Question? What would it take in the minds of those here who are Darwinists to shake the foundations of the theory for them? Seeing as how at least it is recognized that it remains a theory? I think that's a useful thought experiment. Much as if you could prove there was no empty tomb for example would certainly appear to refute Christianity. It seems to me that this is a crucial question for anyone who claims to be a scientist or adhere to modern scientific method. Much as Einstein proposed a series of astronomical observations and measurements that would either prove or disprove his theories of relativity. Any thoughts?


There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding evolution as a "theory". According to Richard Dawkins, "a scientific theorum such as evolution or heliocentrism is a theory that conforms to the Oxford dictionary's 'Sense 1': '[It] has been confirmed or established by observation or experiment, and is propounded or accepted as accounting for the known facts; [it is] a statement of what are held to be general laws, principles, or causes of something known or observed.' A scientific theorum has not been - cannot be - proved in the way a mathematical theorem is proved. But common sense treats it as a fact in the same sense as the 'theory' that the Earth is round and not flat is a fact, and the theory that green plants obtain energy from the sun is a fact." (P.13, "The Greatest Show on Earth"... note Dawkins uses the word "theorum", borrowing from math but changing the spelling to get his point across).

Based on how much sense Darwinian evolution makes, how unifying the theory is to the sciences in general, and how it is observable to some extent (see Belyaev's experiments with silver foxes: http://en.wikipedia....ated_silver_fox... Also all of our modern dog breeds are the result of artificial selection. If we can make this much change from wolves so quickly, what can nature achieve when left to its own adaptive devices?), it would take a great deal of opposing evidence to make the "theory" crumble, I suppose.

#44 Owen Jones

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 03:21 PM

Domestic breeding of animals has absolutely nothing to do with the premises behind Darwinian evolution. In no way does it substantiate it. Nor is Darwinism a unifying theory to the sciences in general. I know of no breakthrough in science, whether in biology or any other scientific area, that results from and is dependent on Darwinism. The fact that most scientists believe it to be true does not make a unifying theory, any more than believing in anthropogenic global warming makes it a unifying theory in all the sciences. All it proves is that most scientists today are semi-educated.

Dawkins, who is an absolute moron on the subject of evolution, uses a typically stupid argument that is quoted above. It would be like me saying that the empty tomb is a fact just like the earth being round is a fact.

Dawkins entire point is that a) there cannot be a God who created; b) therefore the origin of things lies in an evolutionary process; but when confronted with the problem of infinite regress, he says that aliens must have started everything here on earth! You can't make this stuff up, it is so ridiculous.

#45 Owen Jones

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 04:06 PM

It's important to understand that the insurmountable problem of infinite regress not only applies to causality in time but it applies equally to the problem of essence or substance of things, that is, what is it that makes it this thing and not something else. You cannot answer that question by simply breaking a thing down into its component parts in an infinite regression. It's meaningless. A thing is not something based on an immanent quality. Every existing thing has a transcendent quality that makes it what it is, and not just in terms of causality. But evolutionism is a doctrine based on immanence, both in terms of a theory of causation and in terms of substance. The transcendent pole of existence is lopped off. Which is why in the current intellectual environment no one knows what a human being is. In fact, the logic of evolutionism is that there is no such thing as a human person other than an organism that when it copulates with other like organisms produces like offspring. That's all you can say about it. Apart from that, there is no distinction between man and apes (OK, opposeable thumbs maybe). But of course chimps are more noble because they don't "sin." They have an invincible ignorance and exist in a kind of pure state of grace or something, as opposed to us evil humans. When you really probe an evolutionist's opinions, deep down inside they pretty much hate being human. But that's OK because humans will continue to evolve to the point where they will no longer be stupid, ignorant and superstitious and we will all be like Spock (except when he goes against his better nature and listens to Kirk who wants to blast aliens with a photon torpedo).

When you raise these kinds of objections to the evolutionists however, they say -- that's not science! That's philosophy! We're only interested in doing science!

#46 Steve Orr

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 05:32 PM

Domestic breeding of animals has absolutely nothing to do with the premises behind Darwinian evolution.



Oh, yes it does. And foxes going through physiological changes due to domestication (floppy ears, change of fur colour and pattern, etc.) in just a few generations is also supportive of evolution. Dog breeding is an example of evolution in action (guided by controlled breeding of dogs to develop and enhance particular desired characteristics and lose undesired ones). I'm not sure why you don't think so. And "theory" is understood in the way explained above by many more scientists than just Dawkins. http://www.biologyco.../evolution.html

I know of no breakthrough in science, whether in biology or any other scientific area, that results from and is dependent on Darwinism.



Just because you don't know of any such breakthrough doesn't make it not so. Okay, my claim of evolution being the most unifying theory across ALL sciences was perhaps a little over-stated. Biology of course does bleed into the realm of medicine, though, for instance. The adaptive capabilities of viruses and bacteria have doctors and scientists needing to change antibiotics and vaccines in order to keep up with these changes. Organisms change in order to adapt. It's natural selection in action.

When you really probe an evolutionist's opinions, deep down inside they pretty much hate being human. But that's OK because humans will continue to evolve to the point where they will no longer be stupid, ignorant and superstitious and we will all be like Spock


I'm sorry that you've bought into this stereo-type of "evolutionists". I believe in evolution, not because I necessarily want to, but because after examining just some of the evidence, I am pretty convinced that it is true. But I always found Spock to be rather dry and imbalanced. I see Christ the God-man and His saints as the pinnacle of what a human should strive towards becoming (through participation with God's energies and by following the praxis of the Church), not some purely left-brained Vulcan! That said, I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be a good idea to shake off some stupidity and ignorance while we're at it.

Dawkins, who is an absolute moron on the subject of evolution, uses a typically stupid argument that is quoted above.



Dawkin's is an absolute moron on the subject of evolution? I believe you are probably very much in the minority with that opinion. Who then, might I ask, is an expert if not he? His "alien origins" concept of creation is a pretty silly cop-out, I concur (which of course leads to an infinite regress... correct?)!

As for your latest post, Owen, I confess that much of it is a little over my head. As for evolution not living up to your expectations, science never really accommodates human fancy but rather attempts to show us what is. I'm sure Christians felt a little bulldozed when they first had to accept that the sun didn't rotate around the Earth, too. I suspect it took a couple of generations to accept that man isn't at the center of the heavens. I feel that the same is occurring right now in regards to evolution.

Edited by Steve Orr, 29 April 2012 - 06:14 PM.


#47 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 05:41 PM

Dear Steve Orr,
Christ is Risen.

Oh, yes it does. And foxes going through physiological changes due to domestication (floppy ears, change of fur colour and pattern, etc.) in just a few generations is also supportive of evolution. Dog breeding is an example of evolution in action (guided by controlled breeding of dogs to develop and enhance particular desired characteristics and lose undesired ones).

This only shows adaptation of species to their environment or the ability of man to selectively breed traits he desires in plants and animals. There is a large gap between this and the evolution of one species to another.

In the Risen Christ.
Daniel,

#48 Steve Orr

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 06:17 PM

Indeed, it does not demonstrate speciation. That would take far too long for us to observe. "Adaptation of species to their environment" is no small aspect of evolution, though. It is one of the principle driving factors (natural selection). Dog breeding is a kind of guided natural selection.

Earlier I wrote:

Organisms change in order to adapt. It's natural selection in action.

Of course I didn't mean individual organisms, but species of organisms. My bad.

Edited by Steve Orr, 29 April 2012 - 07:01 PM.
correcting former post


#49 Jonathan Gress

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 06:46 PM

One question though was the flower still a flower?

St. John of Damascus, On the Orthodox Faith 2:12

From the earth He formed his body and by His own inbreathing gave him a rational and understanding soul, which last we say is the divine image . . . . The body and the soul were formed at the same time—not one before and the other afterwards, as the ravings of Origen would have it.



I don't see the relevance of the quotation from St John. And the point is not whether or not the new species had flowering bodies, although it must have done if it was fertile. The point is that a new population of plants arose without human intervention, which was both fertile with itself but infertile with its parent stock. This example disproves the creationist argument that we have never observed the rise of a new population fertile with itself but infertile with its parent stock, which is the definition of speciation.

#50 Jonathan Gress

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 06:59 PM

Whenever you have ideological resistance to science, the real question to be asked is, "What are people afraid of?" The opponents should just spell this out, instead of projecting their insecurities onto the science itself. Once they do this, I find it's usually a straightforward matter to show how their fears are unjustified. For example, if evolution is true, does this mean the Resurrection didn't occur? Of course not. The evidence for the Resurrection is sufficient for me to prove that it occurred, and if the Resurrection occurred, then my faith is not in vain. The rest, including questions concerning the literalness of Genesis or the historicity of the OT, are secondary, since the outcomes of those questions do not shake my belief in the central dogma of our faith.

I think that Orthodox opponents of evolution are generally motivated by piety, but that they lack understanding of both science and logic. Even saints can show deficiencies in knowledge or reasoning, but that doesn't make their spiritual counsel any less edifying.

Christos anesti! Christos voskrese! Christ is risen!

#51 Owen Jones

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 07:05 PM

Notice, please Jonathan that I have never used a "Creationist" argument in this thread.

Darwinism requires several things and prohibits several things. It prohibits Divine and human agency in the process of evolution itself. It's a purely natural process. So that leaves out animal husbandry and stuff like that. There have to be gradual mutations and new combinations on a random basis over a vast period of time, but it also has to be progressive, that is to say, the accumulation of changes progresses from the simple to the complex. So this natural process has the appearance at least of being purposeful, and this was an essential aspect of Darwin's argument when he calls the theory of Natural Selection "ennobling." Can we agree on at least that much?

Now, gradualism is out because the geological record disputes it, so the evolutionists have replaced gradualism with something called "punctuated equilibrium." This means that there are dramatic upheavals and changes in much narrower time frames. New forms appear suddenly and others die out suddenly. OK so far?

#52 Jonathan Gress

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 12:33 AM

Notice, please Jonathan that I have never used a "Creationist" argument in this thread.

Darwinism requires several things and prohibits several things. It prohibits Divine and human agency in the process of evolution itself. It's a purely natural process. So that leaves out animal husbandry and stuff like that. There have to be gradual mutations and new combinations on a random basis over a vast period of time, but it also has to be progressive, that is to say, the accumulation of changes progresses from the simple to the complex. So this natural process has the appearance at least of being purposeful, and this was an essential aspect of Darwin's argument when he calls the theory of Natural Selection "ennobling." Can we agree on at least that much?

Now, gradualism is out because the geological record disputes it, so the evolutionists have replaced gradualism with something called "punctuated equilibrium." This means that there are dramatic upheavals and changes in much narrower time frames. New forms appear suddenly and others die out suddenly. OK so far?


Well by "suddenly" you should understand that we're still talking about processes taking millions of years. Some intelligent designers talk of the pre-Cambrian explosion as if it happened all at once, but it fact is evidence of processes that took at least 10 million years, on the lowest estimate. Punctuated equilibrium only means that, rather than a truly gradual change from one form to the other, we find one form predominating, and then suddenly a new form at a later stage. But the discreteness of the change is only apparent when comparing these two forms. If you look, say, at the fossil record in its entirety, there is certainly a gradual progression of simpler to more complex forms over time, so in aggregate I believe the evidence for evolution is still strong. Really, the only kind of evidence that would persuade me that evolution is flat out wrong is something like, as Haldane put it, fossil rabbits in the pre-Cambrian. Otherwise, you're only trying to persuade me that relatively minor gaps in the evidence somehow disprove a theory that overall has the most powerful explanatory value. It's the equivalent of saying that we cannot reconstruct Proto-Indo-European because we don't know precisely where Albanian fits in the family tree.

Anyway, there is in fact evidence of transitional fossils:

http://www.talkorigi...ansitional.html

So yes, in places there are gaps, but in other places there are transitional forms.

#53 Owen Jones

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 02:13 AM

It's an inference required to fit the theory.

#54 Steve Roche

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:06 PM

And how is it "pseudo-science" when it is considered one of the most widely accepted and unifying theories in the study of biology (and most other sciences)? I have a lot of troubles with this issue. I have examined much of the evidence for biological evolution, and one has to make pretty ridiculous claims in order to refute it these days. The gaps between species are gradually being filled. Does one have to begin to lie to oneself in order to remain Christian? Surely it can't be so!


Biological evolution is not independent to other areas of nature. DNA genome patterns may be interesting, or intriguing, but they are not evidence. Biological evolution can only be sustained if ALL other forms of science vindicate this observation; yet they do not.

The age of the earth itself is a crucial factor… Does the earth show evidence of 4.6 billion years or of a more recent origin? The dating methods given to determine rock ages are not in agreement. This longevity theory must be excluded because of counter-evidence which defies radiometric dating methods, such as helium dating; hydrogen dating; salt dating; sediment dating… the fact that dinosaurs bones have been discovered with soft tissue and DNA samples that can be dated by carbon 14...

If you need an example of mass extinction which occurred instantly, not over the course of years, you only need to observe the amount of dinosaur excrement that has been fossilised. All waste is biodegradable and breaks down swiftly… so how did this excrement fossilise without having time to dissolve? An event extremely fast had taken place which buried creatures and waste instantaneously, depriving these creatures of both moisture and oxygen. Volcanic ash can do this; yet this has been found all over the earth. The mass extinction event happened in recent history; otherwise there would be no carbon 14 or soft tissue left in the bones. Carbon 14 CANNOT last for 65 million years.

Our faith is being attacked by nature religionist in white jackets. Our best approach is simply to teach the truth and ignore them; but doubting ‘Christians’ have swallowed the poisonous meat and brought it back into the churches regurgitated. The worst carriers of this disease are no longer the scientists; they are now the “christians” who esteem themselves to have knowledge.

I personally do not believe in the 24 hour days of creation. I do not believe that the bible or observation requires this 24 hour hypothesis. I subscribe to the idea that each creative day lasted 1000 years each; as Peter mentioned in his epistle. The sediment build-up and the erratic formation of mountains and canyons could have easily taken place in successive cataclysmic events over 1000’s of years in the creative days; not millions, and certainly not billions of years. The sediment on the ocean floor is only 100’s of feet high for 1000’s of square kilometres. This sediment would need to be 10’s of thousands of feet high if the ocean bed was 200 million years old, or billions. The amount of salt in the ocean would be thousands of times greater if the earth had been here for billions of years. The amount of salt only supports thousands of years. The amount of hydrogen in the atmosphere only supports thousands of years, not billions.

Regardless of the anomalies of genomes found in biological science..., "filling the gap", the earth does not show evidence to support these theories of evolution. This theory should not even be spoken of in Christian circles… as though the statements of Jesus about creation are to be discarded in preference to the imagination of scientists. If God cannot create then God is not the creator. If this is your view then you are not a Christian, and you should not be entertained amongst devout Christians. What sharing does light have with darkness? The Creator and the Creation are fundamental aspects of the Christian faith. If you do not have a Creator; neither do you have any redemption or forgiveness of sins, for you do not have the Christian faith. Listen less to the Apostates and more to the Apostles. Ask for forgiveness for blasphemies. There are other reasons why people become rebellious, and it most often has to do with hidden sin, not to science. God turns us over to disbelief as a punishment for our sins.

Steve

#55 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:12 PM

People seem to insist that you either believe in a literal seven 24 hour days creation or evolution. I am not fond of Intelligent Design either. How about "none of the above"? I am happy to admit that I don't know and I am not convinced that any of you do either. I suspect the REAL Truth about how God brought it all about will amaze us all when it all is revealed. Or so it seems to this bear of admittedly little brain.

Science doesn't know as much as it thinks it does.

Herman the Pooh

#56 Owen Jones

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:51 PM

From the many posts on many threads here on the topic, it strikes me that the belief in Darwinism must serve some profound psychological need. Otherwise, you would think that people would be open to learning about all of the critical literature, both ancient and modern, rather than accusing every non-Darwinist as being anti-science or being something called a "creationist" (heaven forbid!)

Now, I know what the psychological need is to believe in man-made global warming because it is so obviously a classical apocalyptic symbolism that results from mass alienation. So the solution to global warming is a plan to take control and dominate both the social/political environment as well as the natural environment.

I suspect the need to control enters into the blind faith in Darwinism as well but it would be paradoxical, because there is no more deterministic philosophy. How does one acquire more control, when your fate is determined natural processes?

For most Darwinists, the need is obvious, and that is the need to be able to explain existence apart from God. But that really does not explain everything. So I think when Christians, whether nominal or not, are attracted to Darwinism, I think it is because they have a deep seated morbid fear of God, as well as a feeling that if they do not support Darwinism, then they would have to despise God for all of the innocent suffering in the world. Darwinism gets God off the hook for allowing human suffering. And, in fact, this is probably why Darwin himself was so attracted to the theory (which comes, just as a reminder, from Herbert Spencer), because of his own situation, having lost a young son. How do you reconcile your faith and trust in God when you lose a child? Much easier to say that God really does not have the power or influence, that this is just part of the natural process that occurs outside of God's influence.

#57 Steve Orr

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:22 AM

From the many posts on many threads here on the topic, it strikes me that the belief in Darwinism must serve some profound psychological need.


Methinks it's quite the other way around.

#58 Owen Jones

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:43 AM

What would it be? Help me out here since I obviously need it.

#59 Steve Orr

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:48 AM

There are other reasons why people become rebellious, and it most often has to do with hidden sin, not to science. God turns us over to disbelief as a punishment for our sins.


Please don't assume that it is some hidden sin that has directed me (or other Christians, for that matter) to a belief in evolution. It is rather a reasonable and objective examination of the theory and the evidence supporting that theory. At the same time that I accept evolution, if enough convincing evidence shows that it is likely wrong, I have no problem with that either. But I refuse to put my blinders on to the evidence in order to protect a literal interpretation of Genesis. Besides, there are many Orthodox Christians - clergy and even higher - that accept evolution, including Bishop Kallistos Ware: .
Can we limit the manner by which God chooses to create? Why not through evolution?

#60 Aaron R.

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 03:40 AM

Genesis 1 (KJV)


1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.




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