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Friday, July 28, 2017

Conservatives for Universal Health Care?

Men and Women Are Two Different Minds
Any parent who has raised boys and girls suspects that gender differences are innate, despite the many voices in our culture that assume gender differences are learned. Enter neuroscience:
The neuroscience community had largely considered any observed sex-associated differences in cognition and behavior in humans to be due to the effects of cultural influences. … But over the past 15 years or so, there's been a sea change as new technologies have generated a growing pile of evidence that there are inherent differences in how men's and women's brains are wired and how they work.
According to this article in Stanford Science, there is just "too much data pointing to a biological basis of sex-based differences to ignore." A couple of examples:
In a study of 34 rhesus monkeys, for example, males strongly preferred toys with wheels over plush toys, whereas females found plush toys likable. It would be tough to argue that the monkeys' parents bought them sex-typed toys or that simian society encourages its male offspring to play more with trucks. A much more recent study established that boys and girls 9 to 17 months old—an age when children show few if any signs of recognizing either their own or other children's sex—nonetheless show marked differences in their preference for stereotypically male versus stereotypically female toys.
As I said, this is not news to parents. But it's nice to see science come around.
The Value of Saying it Again. And Again.
"Translating Genesis: Repetition" is a little geeky, but in a good way. The author is concerned that translators of the Hebrew are tempted to use synonyms to replace words that are identical in the Hebrew. That's good style in much writing, for example, using "sadness" in one phrase, and then "melancholy" in the next when you're describing the emotional state. But maybe "the original's repetitions deserve respect" especially "in the narratives of the Hebrew Bible."

You'll have to read the piece to see the examples—too involved to summarize briskly—but if one is familiar with the King James Version, especially in the early chapters of Genesis, you'll implicitly perceive how repetition can bring unexpected power to a biblical narrative.
Conservatives for Universal Health Care?
This would be a contradiction if it were not for two articles that I read this week. One comes from CT, reviewing a recent Pew study. The study revealed that white evangelicals—very much politically conservative—worry most not about terrorism or gun violence, but their health.

The other comes from The American Conservative and is about "The Conservative Case for Universal Health Care." The piece draws on many arguments, but the one that will certainly appeal to fiscal conservatives is this: It's much more effective at managing medical costs, which as we all know, are spiraling out of control.

Will politically conservative evangelicals, suspicious of big government, embrace that argument? We'll see if they are more worried about big government or whether they can afford good health care.
Stop Being so Wired
That's the advice coming from an unexpected source. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, but the iconic magazine of the digital revolution, Wired, just published an article entitled "Turn Off Your Push Notifications. All of Them." I'm guessing one of my digital-savvy readers will point out that Wired has said this sort of thing before. Maybe so. But it was refreshing to see that "the non-stop, cacophonous waterfall of nonsense" coming from our phones is not just a concern of the digitally impaired.
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor in Chief, Christianity Today

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