Posted by: Average Joe | February 28, 2012

Do “Very Religious” People Score Higher in Well-Being?

What do you think of this survey? Given that Gallup took two years to make the phone calls and that the number of people surveyed is substantial (676,000), one would think it’s robust. Here’s what the poll revealed. Read More…

Posted by: Average Joe | November 4, 2011

You Might Soon Say “I Heart Snakes”

Caramel Burmese Python. A nearly 16-foot Burmese Python was recently captured and killed in Everglades National Park (FL) after the snake had consumed a 76-pound adult female deer. Credit: And0283/Wikimedia/Creative Commons

“Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?” Indiana Jones’ lament in Raiders of the Lost Ark resonates with all fearers of the slithery, scaly, downright scary creatures. Many people view these reptiles as stealthy, cold-blooded killers but perhaps the dirt scrapers suffer from bad press. Read More…

Posted by: Average Joe | October 4, 2011

Is TV Bad, Good, or Neither?

A ninety-plus degree day, an inadequate ladder, shorts instead of jeans, and a non-English or even Spanish-speaking person to spot me on the ladder marked at least several ways in which I was ill-equipped for a recent, routine task. Read More…

Posted by: Average Joe | September 23, 2011

Does Autism Preclude Belief in God?

Hugh Ross addressed that question on a recent Science News Flash podcast. Researchers surveyed the discussions of 192 people who posted on an autism website and determined that people with “mild” forms of autism are more likely to be atheists. A “preference for logical beliefs”––a common autistic spectrum behavior––seems to be one reason why some autistic individuals prefer atheism, according to the University of Boston study .

As a high-functioning autistic himself, Hugh couldn’t wait to do this podcast. Read More…

Posted by: Average Joe | August 26, 2011

Just a Slow August Day

It’s finally hot in Southern California this summer––but temperatures aren’t the only numbers jumping around here. Ever since we stepped off the boat from the Alaskan Cruise a few weeks ago––and it took a few days to stop rockin’ for good––the RTB scholar team has been churning out faith-building material. Read More…

Posted by: Average Joe | August 12, 2011

Alaska’s August Panoramas

Placid waters peppered with chunks of ice from calving glaciers make for stunning vistas.

They say everything’s bigger in Texas. Rather than accuse the fine people of the Lone Star state of lying, perhaps they suffer from never-made-the-trip-to-Alaska-syndrome. It’s a common malady that gets straightened out in a hurry. Where do you want to start? Mountains? Glaciers? Forests? Whales? Grizzlies? Everything’s bigger in Alaska, including the cruise ships that glide elegantly through Alaska’s acclaimed Inside Passage. As a caution, the cruise guest might even emerge bigger if not careful, due to the constant, delectable, sometimes ambrosial food offerings available on the ship. Read More…

Posted by: Average Joe | June 22, 2011

Seeing What You Want to See

Half-full or half-empty? Do you “see what you want to see”?

You know the scenario. At first you enthusiastically engaged someone online in a creation/evolution debate. Surely the evidence would convince your antagonist, right?

It didn’t take long to realize that a Simpsons rerun or a Facebook update seemed like far better prospects for a fruitful evening. You reached an impasse due to stubbornness to adhere to preconceived ideas.

People (that’s everybody, from any side of a debate) hear about the brutal objectivity of science––though not of scientists––and when years of testing turn into decades, and decades into centuries, some wonder why others cling to their beliefs. Suspicion, aspersion, and derision prove too tempting and it’s easy to pull a Zeppelin (Communication Breakdown). After the purgative name-calling ceases––if ever––people are left with evidence, but what does it mean? And does anybody really care? Read More…

Posted by: Average Joe | June 9, 2011

T-shirt Atheism

Ah, summer. That two-and-a-half-month challenge to keep kids from nonstop fighting, boredom, and household damage. It’s also time to take a break and check out the blockbuster movies, right?

You’re in a long line at the opening of a super-hyped movie and you’re fidgety, but not for obvious reasons. The person behind you is sporting a T-shirt with three crucified figures, the front-and-center one with a bubble above him that reads, “I wish I’d been an atheist.” Read More…

Posted by: Average Joe | June 3, 2011

Farewell to the Forties

At this age a candle per decade will suffice, thank you.


I turned fifty this week.

The decade that just slipped away without asking was the one where people––guys especially––thought they could still do stuff they did in their twenties. Symbolically, if not otherwise, those days appear to be gone for this average Joe. That realization has come in the form of a couple of well-placed recent assaults on the ego. Read More…

Posted by: Average Joe | May 19, 2011

Is God a Showstopper?

One of the many criticisms evolutionary-minded people level at Christians who point to God as Creator can be summed up as “God is the ultimate showstopper.”

By “showstopper” they don’t mean the typical showbiz definition of a performer winning prolonged applause for an exceptional performance but rather the third definition from Websters: “one that stops or could stop the progress, operation, or functioning of something.”

Part of the complaint can be stated this way: “Why bother investigating the nature of anything if God can be invoked at will? Read More…

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