SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: ‘Adulthood of Spirit’ – How To Leave Behind Childish Things And Become Spiritually Mature

Today we discuss the key practices and processes by which individuals come to know themselves, others, and the divine, according to Timothy Ashworth's interpretation of the Apostle Paul's thought in his book Paul's Necessary Sin. Since 'The Fall', humanity has suffered from a 'darkening of the mind' or an identification with the things created - our own physical existence - and a blindness to higher realities. But this devolution, or 'sin', has a constructive component built in, when the knowledge of sin, as sin, becomes recognized and pointed out for what it is. When an individual sees this in oneself, he or she can then make the choice to think and act differently. The state of sin was necessary in order to gain knowledge about the nature of good and evil. Paul saw this potential transformation as a way for...

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FLASHBACK: Is self-control just empathy with your future self?

The same part of the brain that allows us to step into the shoes of others also helps us restrain ourselves. You've likely seen the video before: a stream of kids, confronted with a single, alluring marshmallow. If they can resist eating it for 15 minutes, they'll get two. Some do. Others cave almost immediately. This "Marshmallow Test," first conducted in the 1960s, perfectly illustrates the ongoing war between impulsivity and self-control. The kids have to tamp down their immediate desires and focus on long-term goals—an ability that correlates with their later health, wealth, and academic success, and that is supposedly controlled by the front part of the brain. But a new study by Alexander Soutschek at the University of Zurich suggests that self-control is also influenced by another brain region—and one that casts this ability in a different light....

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Most parents do not successfully transmit their political values to their children, study finds

Less than half of all people in the United States adopt their parents' political party affiliation, according to new research published in the British Journal of Political Science. The study also discovered some factors that appear to influence whether parents successfully transmit their partisan identities to their children. "Most parents want to raise their children with the 'right' values. What is right, of course, depends upon the parent but understanding what factors might aid or harm a parent's ability to successful transmit their values to their children is important to many, particularly in this era of hyper polarization," said study author Pete Hatemi, a distinguished professor at Penn State University. "Generally speaking, if there has been one constant in the study of political behavior it was the belief that political orientations are reliably transmitted from parents to children. The problem...

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SOTT FOCUS: Natural Selection – The Jesus of Evolution

Listening to promoters of evolution, like Richard Dawkins, you get the feeling that natural selection is something utterly amazing, on par with Jesus. It's this magical thing that sorts through random mutations, separates the good ones from the bad ones, lets the bad ones disappear, and 'selects for' the good ones, and we get cool new life forms. Whatever living things exist, and many are amazing, to be sure, we're told that natural selection 'made' them. It gave us giraffes and birds and chameleons. But of course, this only makes sense if you don't actually think about it for a few minutes. Can natural selection (NS) really make things? How would it do that? What power does it really possess? Let's reduce it to the simplest question - what really is natural selection? "If something manages to reproduce, it passes...

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