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Weekly Briefings with Dr. Nick Pitts

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1. Infants show racial bias toward members of own ethnicity, against those of others (Science Daily)
“In the first study, “Older but not younger infants associate own-race faces with happy music and other-race faces with sad music,” published in Developmental Science, results showed that after six months of age, infants begin to associate own-race faces with happy music and other-race faces with sad music.

“In the second study, “Infants rely more on gaze cues from own-race than other-race adults for learning under uncertainty,” published in Child Development, researchers found that six- to eight-month-old infants were more inclined to learn information from an adult of his or her own race than from an adult of a different race.” READ THE FULL STORY

Nick Note: C.S. Lewis on original sin: “His hands had been reddened, like all men’s hands, in the slaying before the foundation of the world.” God through David on original sin: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me (Psalm 51:5).”

2. Our ability to make random, “creative” choices peaks at 25 (Axios)
“Random decision-making is a hallmark of human cognition. Scientists have known that our ability to make choices or behave without an apparent method diminishes with age but they don’t know when that capacity peaks, which may inform our understanding of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

“Using an algorithm that ranked randomness and controlling for characteristics like gender, language and education levels, the researchers found the ability to act randomly peaked at age 25, on average, and declined from there.” READ THE FULL STORY

Nick Note: You gotta know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run. Jacques Delille noted that chance makes our parents but our choices make our friends. And often those friends influence future choices we will make. But Alfred A. Motapert is right: “Every person has free choice. Your choice determines the consequences. Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

3. May to seek snap election for 8 June
“She said Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership following the EU referendum. “Explaining the decision, Mrs May said: “The country is coming together but Westminster is not.”

“There will be a Commons vote on the proposed election on Wednesday – Labour have said they will vote with the government.”
“She accused Britain’s other political parties of “game playing”, adding that this risks “our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country.” READ THE FULL STORY

Nick Note: If her party wins the snap election, May gains significant confidence and a mandate as she continues to negotiate the country’s departure from the European Union. If her party loses, the country will gain a new leader. Such a move is risky, but such confidence is needed as Britain navigates these unchartered waters. Today you may be in need of such confidence as you make your way into the day. You don’t have to call a snap election, but rather remember what Paul told the church at Corinth: “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).”

4. Millions of Americans Still Haven’t Filed Their Taxes
“Last year’s end-of-season rush was intense. The Internal Revenue Service collected 29 million individual returns between April 8 and April 22.  That’s one-fifth of all those filed in 2016, a 24 percent surge in late-season filings from the previous year. “And Americans were already behind schedule, according to the IRS. The season got off to an especially slow start partly due to a new law that delayed refunds for some filers. The gap has narrowed somewhat, but as of April 7 almost 4 million fewer people had filed than at the same point a year ago.” READ THE FULL STORY

Nick Note: In a 1789 letter, Ben Franklin wrote that “nothing can be said to be certain in life, except death and taxes.” Taxes may be certain but they can also be delayed. Here is how to file for an extension. However, outside of Hezekiah (2 Kings 20), there have not been many delays of death (Hebrews 9:27). But regarding taxes: “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s (Mark 12:17).”

5. Theater Faces Criticism for Gay Versions of Bible Stories
“What if it really was Adam and Steve? That’s what the Out Front Theater Company in Atlanta, which stages shows created only by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning, will set out to answer for audiences during a three-week run of “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told,” starting April 27.

“The work is an alternate version and comedic sendup of stories from the Old Testament, presented through the eyes of a gay couple named Adam and Steve and a lesbian couple named Jane and Mabel. It was written by Paul Rudnick and premiered Off Broadway in 1998. The New York Times called it, a “seriously silly theology treatise of a play.” READ THE FULL STORY

Nick Note: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap (Galatians 6:7).”


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