Where Science and Faith Converge

Average Joe's Corner

  • The (Creation) Show Must Go On

    October 18, 2012

    Spectacular lightning and deafening thunder rolled through Southern California last week and dazzled, drenched, and even delighted heat-weary locals. Rancho Cucamonga (where I live) enjoyed a couple of downpours reminiscent of a large crowd’s long-lasting applause. I like to take the dogs for a walk at a nearby natural park during a rainstorm, but in this case it was pouring too hard—and one dog is afraid of thunder.

  • Sea Otters as Global Warming Fighters

    September 13, 2012

    Prized for their fur and once hunted to near-extinction, sea otters’ comeback may herald not only a boon for conservationists but also a partial solution to global warming. Denizens of the northern and eastern Pacific coastal waters of the northern hemisphere, the densely furred marine mammals feast on sea urchins, thereby minimizing the urchins’ impact on their favorite food: kelp.

    • Life Design
    • Global Warming
  • Here's a Switch: 80 Percent of Junk DNA Has Function

    September 6, 2012

    A massive new DNA research project called ENCODE has dramatically increased understanding of the human genome and may revolutionize human biology. Scientists have discovered that 80 percent of DNA that had been dismissed as “junk” plays a crucial role in how the body works. Their voluminous research, amassed in 40 papers by 32 labs and hundreds of scientists, is considered a medical and scientific breakthrough because of its implications for human health.

    • Junk DNA
    • Biochemical Design
  • Skeptical Challenge

    June 11, 2012

    As a Christian ministry RTB’s larger (thus, different) goal is “to spread the Christian Gospel by demonstrating that sound reason and scientific research—including the very latest discoveries—consistently support, rather than erode confidence in the truth of the Bible and faith in the personal, transcendent God revealed in both Scripture and nature.”

    • Atheism
  • Nothing–Actually “Something”–to Ponder from Lawrence Krauss

    May 31, 2012

    Theoretical physicist, popular speaker, and best-selling author Lawrence Krauss has garnered recognition for his latest book, A Universe from Nothing. RTB astronomer Hugh Ross has responded to Krauss’s claims (“Universe from Nothing?: A Critique of Lawrence Krauss’ Book, Part 1,” and “Universe from Nothing?: A Critique of Lawrence Krauss’ Book, Part 2”), so that’s where you should go for a qualified assessment, but in reading a review of Krauss’s book by an author at Skeptic I kept thinking (as a layperson) that whenever Krauss refers to “nothing,” it is still an actual “something.”

    • Multiverse
    • Atheism
  • Do Religious People Test Their Ideas the Way Scientists Do?

    April 18, 2012
    • Christian Life
  • Reason Rally Reminiscent of RTB?

    March 28, 2012

    According to Dr. Michael Shermer, popular author, speaker, and founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the recent Reason Rally (March 24, 2012) in Washington DC “marked the largest gathering of skeptics, atheists, humanists, nonbelievers, and 'nones' (those who tick the 'no religion' box on surveys) of all stripes.” Shermer noted on his blog that an estimated crowd of 15,000 to 25,000 “voiced its support for reason, science, and skepticism louder than any I have ever heard. Anywhere. Any time. Any place.”

    • Atheism
  • Make Room for the Red Deer Cave People

    March 22, 2012

    Skull, rib, and leg fragments from two caves in southern China that date from 11,500–14,500 years add confusion and controversy to the hominid-to-human evolutionary connection. Popular news outlets claimed that this new species had developed a taste for venison—hence the name “Red Deer Cave people”—but according to RTB biochemist Fuz Rana, the scientific journal made no mention of dietary preferences (one reason to avail yourself of RTB’s podcasts, where you’ll get the straight scoop). Fuz reports on the fossil finds and what they mean on this podcast.

    • Neanderthals
    • Lucy and Other Hominids
  • Are Gorillas Closer Human Relatives than Chimps?

    March 15, 2012

    One might invoke the last line from King Kong after hearing about a recent discovery asserting a closer connection between gorillas and humans. Does evidence from the study imply shared evolutionary ancestry? In this podcast, biochemist Fuz Rana explains what the “closer connection” means from a genetic perspective.

    • Humans vs. Chimps
    • Evolutionary Trees
  • Is God Unnecessary to Explain the Universe?

    March 7, 2012

    Such was the focus of an episode of a History Channel program called God and the Universe: A Scientific Search for God, in which several prominent physicists and other experts explored big-picture ideas including the multiverse, string theory, and spontaneous creation. It’s a fascinating program, with plenty of visual help, and it left open the matter of whether the universe’s origin came about by divine creation or some other means.

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

    February 29, 2012

    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.

    • Atheism
  • You Might Soon Say “I Heart Snakes”

    November 4, 2011

    “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.

    • Life Design
    • Biochemical Design
  • Is TV Bad, Good, or Neither?

    October 4, 2011

    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. The satellite TV service provider agreement ended for the home in which my parents had been living (they moved to another board and care facility) and I needed to return certain items, including an LNBF (whatever that is) attached to the satellite receiver, or we would be charged.

    • Learning
  • Does Autism Preclude Belief in God?

    September 23, 2011

    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 .

    • Atheism
  • Just a Slow August Day

    August 27, 2011

    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.

    • Argument from Reason
  • Alaska's August Panoramas

    August 12, 2011

    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.

    • Atheism
  • Seeing What You Want to See

    June 22, 2011

    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.

    • Worldviews
  • T-shirt Atheism

    June 9, 2011

    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.” It’s gonna be a good half hour before you’ll be allowed in. As a Christian you figure that God put this person here for a reason, so you think it through. Surely there are problems with that inflammatory statement but you can’t quite put your finger on them, and you don’t want to make a scene. That’s not your style.

    • Atheism
  • Farewell to the Forties

    June 3, 2011

    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.

    • Salvation
  • Is God a Showstopper?

    May 19, 2011

    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.”


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