Larsen C ice shelf crack splits

A crack separating the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica has been growing over the last decade, increasingly quickly since 2015.

Scientists have now detected a split in the crack, and think that it won’t be long before the ice shelf splits off altogether.

Previous splits:

https://nsidc.org/news/newsroom/larsen_B/index.html

Gizmodo: A Second Giant Crack Has Appeared On Antarctica’s Larsen C Ice Shelf

A 130km-long crack along Antarctica’s Larsen C Ice Shelf has remained stable since February, but scientists have now detected a new branch, one that’s extending about 10km from the main rift. It seems like only a matter of time before the 5000 square kilometre ice shelf plunges into the sea.

Geologists with Project MIDAS, a UK-based research project studying the effects of melting on the Larsen C ice shelf, have been monitoring the crack for several years now, but the rift experienced a sudden growth spurt this past December when it grew by 20km.

In January, the crack advanced another 10km over the course of two weeks. The Larsen C Ice Shelf is fully expected to collapse, or calve, at which time it will lose more than 10 per cent of its ice surface area (a region roughly the size of Delaware). The latest observations suggest this monumental event may happen sooner rather than later.

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The current location of the rift on Larsen C, as of 1 May 2017.

A report from Project MIDAS shows that, as of 1 May 2017, a new branch has appeared along the rift. The fissure emerged about 10km behind the tip of the main channel and is heading towards the ice-front. “This is the first significant change to the rift since February of this year,” write the geologists.

See also What Happens When That Enormous Antarctic Ice Shelf Finally Breaks?

Maybe some of the remnants will float up the coast of new Zealand again, as happened in 2006.

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49 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  May 5, 2017

    Oh, dear. Climate change gurus will be going into melt down. If debris comes our way, and it’s large enough, I say we harvest it and sell it to the world at $10 a bottle. It would be an internet sensation……harvesting a natural resource, protecting marine traffic, water as fresh as humanly possible. We would be ecological superstars, much to the chagrin of Green Peace.
    ..
    You can just see it now…..some liberal Hollywood drip telling the world…I only drink ethically harvested New Zealand Antarctic water.

    Reply
  2. One of a kind

     /  May 5, 2017

    Should be proactive. Once it comes free send a flotilla down and tow it back to NZ.

    Park it off the West Coast of Auckland and charge tourists for tours for 6 months until it melts.

    Reply
  3. George

     /  May 5, 2017

    ‘Cracks’ have been appearing in various ice shelves since they first formed.
    Just a bunch of greenies pushing panic buttons

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  May 5, 2017

      It’s part of the natural cycle. Snow falling on Antarctica creates ice that slowly slides down glaciers to become an ice shelf and eventually breaks off, floats away and melts. Forever.

      Reply
  4. Gezza

     /  May 5, 2017

    I was having a chat to a 65 year old lady in the hospital waiting area yesterday. She’s an amateur photographer & travels a lot. Said she was up in the arctic last year for the second time & that is absolutely true the ice is disappearing & polar bears are declining because of it.

    We ended up trying to work out how many agw-climate change skeptic types there are:
    1. Those who say it’s not actually getting warmer. The data is false or misleading.
    2. Those who say it is gettin warmer, but it’s not down to carbon dioxide emissions – its due to solar output fluctuations & / or solar orbit mechanics
    3. Those who say it is getting warmer, and carbon dioxide level increases may well be the reason, but that this should actually be considered beneficial rather than a cause for concern.

    Have I missed any?

    Reply
    • MaureenW

       /  May 5, 2017

      Yes, your point 2, and that a Carbon Tax won’t fix the problem

      Reply
    • Brown

       /  May 5, 2017

      65 year old amateur sums her up. I bet she didn’t walk to those northern climes to see it all vanishing because she didn’t walk there. The North Pole, Greenland etc… have been ice free before. Those were the good old days of course and virtue signalling hadn’t been invented.

      There’s no shortage of Polar Bears and their numbers have increased over recent years.

      I like the idea of an ice berg in Auckland harbour with tours. I suggest herding the Auckland Council and hangers on onto it to upset its center of gravity – there are enough of them to do this I gather.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  May 5, 2017

        I told her about the poar bear numbers increasing but she wasn’t having any of it.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  May 5, 2017

          *polar* (or *poor*, whatever.)

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  May 5, 2017

            Mind you, to be fair to you Brown, she had crutches & she was at a public hospital. She might have been a liberal. She was dressed like one.

            Reply
            • Brown

               /  May 5, 2017

              You initially left out the bits that potentially damaged her credibility while relating the story. You should go into politics – I see potential but you’d have to stop coming clean whenever your conscience pricks you.

            • Gezza

               /  May 5, 2017

              Righto. Might be a good time for me to ask some another question on the religion thing? Were you raised as a Christian? Or were you a non-believer who became convinced by Christianity?

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  May 5, 2017

    Yep, you’ve missed plenty, G. As this explains: https://t.co/ZAHG98LDjy

    Climate change is complex. Sensitivity is uncertain. Most reporting is unbalanced and uninformed. Economics of adaptation and/or prevention is equally complex and uncertain.

    A huge amount of Arctic ice disappears and reappears every year. That makes no difference to sea levels since it is anyway floating. The downward trend in Arctic sea ice has been matched up an upward trend in Antarctic sea ice. Wind and water current patterns have a big affect in the Arctic. Evidence for polar bear population decline is poor to non-existent. Here’s what an actual polar bear zoologist thinks:
    https://polarbearscience.com/2017/02/06/listen-to-the-evidence-polar-bears-are-thriving-in-current-sea-ice-habitat/

    Reply
    • Brown

       /  May 5, 2017

      No, no, no Alan. Something already floating on the sea is going to plunge into the sea.

      Reply
  6. Brown

     /  May 6, 2017

    Just for Gezza who will know the locations.

    I got sent to Sunday school at a church on Carrington St (church is long gone) but wouldn’t say I was raised as a Christian. I was never atheist though, perhaps agnostic because that’s a sound position to take when the two options are not provable in the conventional sense. Dad was a very moral and nice man and I know had a searching moment or two shortly before he died but, hot or cold, mum wanted to spend eternity where her friends were. On occasion I used to climb the trees at the end of Balance St and wait out Sunday school before spending my thrippence at the dairy on the Carrington St / Mill Rd corner.

    First seeds were probably sown by listening to Garner Ted Armstrong on my old radio as a kid. He’s dodgy theologically but clearly of use to make some think about stuff.

    First wife’s parents were committed Christians and I started going to church while chasing her. Church life developed and I’d say I began to take it seriously after we returned from a long OE. The more I studied it the more I could not ignore the possibility of there being something compelling about it – the historical Jesus I eventually found impossible to deflect so had to decide what I was going to do with Him. That wife eventually gave away her faith, flicked me and is no longer a Christian (so arguably was never more than a cultural Christian).

    My new partner (she’s gorgeous) and I felt a call to get properly re-engaged with Christianity (she had some history of self starting Sunday School as a child but her family life was not that flash and they were not Christian). We eventually got married (10 years ago) because I had a moment where I was convicted (and it was darned direct) that it was wrong to be in serving within the fellowship without that commitment if we were going to take it seriously. That moral evolution has continued and the more I study with properly trained pastors using respected commentaries etc.. the more convinced I am that this is important. The Bible is magnificent when you study it – layer upon layer, something new every time I study it. Today, while my knees would knock, I’d take a bullet for it just as Tim Keller says. Its been gradually life changing in a good way, without flashing lights, angels and harps at any point, and as you have seen, the grumpy and sinful old man still pops up frequently.

    The main point is that there’s nothing of me in it beyond the resistance and I didn’t discover it by meditation, drugs, joining a cult, chanting mantras or self denial. I’m eternally grateful its been revealed. If you feel you are tempted to look never let a chance go by but be careful about wandering about in the Old Testament early on without guidance because you won’t have the knowledge to make sense of some of it.

    Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  May 6, 2017

      I don’t want turn this into a menage a trois but I can relate to this journey of yours brown. And Garner Ted Armstrong, there’s a name from the past. Cheers,c

      Reply
      • Brown

         /  May 6, 2017

        A young earther I gather so that alone makes him one to be careful around.

        Reply
    • Gezza

       /  May 6, 2017

      Thanks Brown. I was listening to a radio debate (if you could call it that) between Matt Dillahunty & Ray Comfort – a Californian Messaianic Christian evangelist – last night.

      Don’t know if you know him, but Matt was raised a Southern Baptist, and was so committed a believer that he decided to study to become a pastor. However, the more he studied the Bible and listened to lectures and debates about it & its message the more convinced he became that in fact The God it speaks of does not actually exist. That there is no convincing evidence for it or for any of the claims made about his divine purpose & communication with the Israelites or anyone else.

      He says he is an atheist in the sense that he does not claim there is no God, but that there is no credible evidence for the existence any the Gods he know of. That’s pretty much my position, so he’s really an agnostic I expect.

      He is one of the leading atheist vs Christian debaters in the US & also one of the founders of The Atheist Experience, a Multi-media platform show which listeners can phone in to discuss atheism. Several callers & people who have contacted them privately have been pastors, come to the same awful realisation as him, but feeling trapped in their situation because of family, friends, ccommunity & no other skills to make a living. They basically end up having to counsel them on how to resolve their dilemma if they can find the courage to do it.

      The debate with Ray Cousins was odd. Cousins told him that everybody in fact knows in their heart that God (the Christian one) exists, & that when they read the Bible about God & Jesus the Redeemer & the Holy Ghost, is the evidence of God’s reality, is then manifested by the Holy Ghost in the act bringing the faithful to know & experience a personal relationship with Jesus after which they are saved.

      He repeated all sorts of nonsense about what atheists believe, as though it were a religious creed itself, and contended that atheists are people who wilfully rejected God because they want to live sinful lives. Matt’s vowed never to debate him again. There’s just no point.

      Have you ever heard Matt, & and does any of Cousins’ thinking match any of yours in relation to an atheist / agnostic like me?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  May 6, 2017

        Sorry, I didn’t notice while compiling that that c had also interceded or your’s & God’s behalf. 😉

        There’s one other thing I’ve been meaning to ask you Brown. Do you also believe in Satan as an entity who causes evil, and / or for men to be evil & to turn away from God.

        I don’t wander about too much in the OT. To me, the OT is only in the Bible because it’s necessary to cherry pick a few phrases here & there from it – out of overall context – to argue that they prove Jesus is the promised Messiah.

        Reply
        • Brown

           /  May 6, 2017

          Ray Comfort is nice but no scholar so ignore him. Perhaps try William Lane Craig for a proper philosophical approach – supposedly flash atheists like Dawkins find him hard work and some won’t debate him. John Lennox is also interesting. I don’t know about Matt but there’s no need to explain for him – his story is probably common enough but not the norm. Christianity argues that its a revealed message so I guess there’s plenty of people who like the idea but wander away because they never get it or it starts to make emotional demands they are not ready to resolve. I’ve met a few but have also met some supposedly long established Christians who found later in life, when they actually got it, that they hadn’t before. One young lady at Church got it half way through a lecture at theological college and disclosing that made a lot of us laugh with her. A mate ran a Bible study in Rimutaka prison for some time as an extension of his parish work and he saw very violent men transformed. You wouldn’t let them out early on that basis but guards who were there will endorse these transformations. All quite interesting and it opens up a challenging subject – the sovereignty of God.

          If I accept Jesus exists (and I’m wasting my time if I deny that) I tend to accept that Satan also exists because that seems rational. The Bible does talk about Satan (or whatever else you want to call him) as an entity and there’s no reason to deny that that I can see. These things are generally outside what we would see as our dimensions but there’s plenty of theory about other dimensions so that’s not implausible.

          I’m not sure you can always blame Satan for doing bad stuff – we are happy to oblige with little prompting in my view. Usually there will be reasons for bad things that are not supernatural and most of those stem from our crappy disposition as humans. This is in the context that only God is good so while people may say you are “good” that’s only relative to other people and, in the terms of Christianity, no measure at all.

          I’ve come to love the OT. Its interesting history for a start but there is much Christianity within it. I’m leading a study on Isiah for a couple of weeks while the usual bloke is having a hip done and have had to study to get ahead of the pack. The records elsewhere (Kings) of the Jews and Assyrians insulting each other at the walls of Jerusalem are amusing – like a Monty Python scene. I find it interesting that the Jewish history contained in the OT is their history yet bags them for being ratbags and is a record of decline and eventual collapse. Surely, as God’s supposed favorites, you wouldn’t write your own history in this vein?

          Reply
    • Gezza

       /  May 6, 2017

      I like the historical aspects of the Old Testament too. I accept them as a lengthy historical record, although the numbers & generations of lineages are obviously suspect, and the pre-Mosaic early parts of Genesis to do with creation, Noah & the flood, and the mythology of Moses & the God Magic – the plagues & the Exodus & the wandering in the desert, fed by the manna & the quail for forty years, the Stone Tablets etc, until eventually they reached and were instructed by Yaweh to enter & take over the promised land (except the land of the Phillistines, which although supposedly theirs they never managed to take).

      The desert was presumably the Sinai. Even now with adequate water & provisions it can be crossed on foot in several days. Why they needed to be led around this wasteland by a column of smoke by day & another of fire by night for that length of time is another puzzle best explained by mythology I think. Although I expect it can be argued by those of a mind to believe it that this length of time was needed to build up their numbers to the point they could be an effective invasion force.

      But along with the history in the early parts of the OT is an incredible amount of purely housekeeping rules, food prep regulations, sacrifice instructions & dress codes for both the plebs & the priestly classes. This stuff was all written down simply because they had scribes with sufficient education & a written script who were able at some point to do so. Adam, Abraham & Noah obviously didn’t keep a diary of events & bequeath it to their descendents.

      The thing about these writings are that they are collections, those that survived various culls, & were accepted into the archives – rather than an ongoing series of pages in a single history book. Jewish scriptural analyses & writings were still being being made at the time of Jesus, if I recall correctly. 200 years from now, if they are still around, some Jewish sects might have even added further revelatory texts from today, for all we know. Judaism’s evolution apparently didn’t stop dead with the advent of Jesus, I understand.

      I have had many lengthy discussions in recent years with a close friend, a lady who is extremely interested & well-versed in Christian & Jewish theological research & the writings of various theologians. She was a committed, well-informed Christian most of her life. She would bring me books to read & we once watched an excellent documentary series dvd which covered much Christian historical & theological territory.

      I found our conversations incredibly interesting & she had me diving back into the Bible & getting reacquainted with it in some detail on numerous occasions. I even engaged with her then-local Anglican church congregation for several months, found them lovely people, refreshingly lacking in the dogmatic constraints that characterise most Catholic theology, had a few group discussions with interesting Bible groups, listened to many of them relate transformational experiences such as those you refer to. One was a science teacher, & the pastor herself was no slouch, a well-educated married, level-headed woman with a bachelors degree in physics too, a lovely lady I still enjoy meeting & chatting to. The husband not so much.

      The rest of the flock I spoke too had very strong Christian beliefs, but a very limited knowledge of the Bible & its history. I say this only as a comparison to those I preferred to talk with, not as an insult to them. They were unprepared for deep discussions & could only simply retreat into the “Jesus loves you anyway & will come into your life & transform it anytime you sincerely ask him to” theme. Naturally, of course, there have been times in my life when I have sincerely wanted & needed Jesus to do precisely this, but he didn’t, & the Holy Ghost copped out of doing the business for me as well. (This isn’t why I am an agnostic – it’s not a reaction to being disappointed to being judged unworthy of receiving divine inspiration or transformation. It’s just through observation that despite the best of intentions & the sincerest wish for it to happen, more than once it didn’t. And I noticed.)

      None of these folk could satisfactorily answer some obviously basic questions or explain how any of their supposedly transformational experiences could possibly be considered incontrovertible evidence for the existence of the Christian God, or the Trinity’s predecessor Jaweh. (They *wouldn’t go there* for his successor Allah.) Or miracles. Or the omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience, of their God.

      William Lane Craig was one of my lady friend’s favourite theologians too although I think she has ceased to be interested in him now. However, at this stage of her journey through life, the scriptures, & an adult lifetime of 30 years of study of the Bible & theology, & a couple of years of really enjoyable if disconcerting discussions with me, she now longer believes in the Christian God as depicted in the OT & the NT, or that there is a Trinity & that Jesus was divine. It’s not all down to me, she’s just logical. She does believe there is a God, but she admits that this is because she wants to. We are agreed that the evidence of the very incredibleness of creation all around us creates that need in huge numbers of people, and that “I don’t know how it all happened” is not a concept they can live with. They have to find an anchor.

      But my life has been more transformed for the better at times by following some non-Christian inspirational writings & life-improvement techniques like positive thinking & just going out alone into the bush, and meditating or “communicating with the universe”. It is very easy to become, or experience something people I think often loosely define as, spiritual or supernatural, or transformational, and to have someone convince you that that is their God at work. I don’t think it is.

      And there isn’t any objective empirical evidence that it is. There should be. It’s outrageously incomprehensible that such a God should communicate his existence and requirements in such a way to one group of ancient individuals amongst a tribe a habitual backsliders & then rely on uncontrolled events over the next couple of millennia to get the message out to everybody.

      Theologians have the problem that, whatever their protestations to the contrary, of necessity they have to be driven by an already held belief, there being without any reliable empirical evidence to prove it is true. They have had 3,000 years to navel-gaze & microscopically examine thousands of verses of ancient written records of a people’s history, rules for tribal survival, behaviour, food preparation, punishment, visions, complaints from the offended, and justifications for their conquests & failures. So there is nothing surprising in hearing believers who have read theology go on about how complex and layered it is. It both is, and it isn’t, in reality, depending on what you want it to be.

      That some people living bad or hellish lives, when given an opportunity and a reason to turn their life around and adopt a completely different & kinder, more caring & sharing outlook & philosophy of life to then find their lives are transformed is not surprising. It’s a better, more emotionally rewarding way to live life for most people, I beieve, and that long-established knowledge is the reason several different religions advocate those precepts.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  May 6, 2017

        It’s a pity in a way that we don’t have a Top Post on the topic of whether the Christian God exists. I enjoy these discussions with you Brown.

        I’d be interested in having debates with any other Christians who are up to having their beliefs challenged without rancour too. We tend to end up getting in to these debates at the tail end of often quite unrelated threads & by the time we pack it in for now, many are probably scratching their heads and going “WTF ?”.

        If I wrote a guest post sometime that Pete might agree to post to kick off a Top Post thread we could return to, to engage further from time to time, would you be interested in our occasional debates resuming there from time to time?

        Reply
        • High Flying Duck

           /  May 6, 2017

          I read everything you wrote G, and I have a question:
          Was this Larson C crack caused by AGW, a vengeful deity or snow fall and sliding ice?

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  May 6, 2017

            The most likely explanation imo is the last, based on known science & observations. What’s your feeling?

            Reply
            • High Flying Duck

               /  May 6, 2017

              I agree entirely. I also really enjoyed the theological discussion.
              It was interesting as I find religious discussion often puts you on thin ice so it fitted well in this topic.
              For the record, I fall in your camp on the existence of an almighty.
              I told a friend once that I believed in God and he asked what the actual evidence was for the existence of Jesus as a genuine historical figure. I had assumed it must be well proven, but the more I looked into it the more it seems that Jesus as an actual person is more speculative than many would have you believe.
              I couldn’t hold my own in a discussion like yours and Brown, but I am an interested observer…

  7. Brown

     /  May 7, 2017

    Thanks Gezza. You’ve had a good look and kept some interesting company but I wonder if your issue is that you want something on an intellectual basis rather than perceive a need for something so have not approached the issue from the right angle. The great revivals in history had a common theme among those engaged – they were convicted of their sin. The idea of sin is a taboo subject today of course because people want to have their own brand of sinfulness condoned. Everyone wants forgiveness but no-one wants to repent. I intend no offense here and freely admit most devout Christians I know have times when they ponder it all but they hang on to Christ because He is tangible. They know God is not at their beck and call for favours but they see plenty of signs around them of God at work.

    I’m not sure if it will help to continue this here in this format – I can go through the Bible like a correspondence course but I don’t think it will really move you on so to speak as you have already spent time with smarter people than I. If its really bugging you (which implies something is going on outside your direct control) I suggest going to a church where the Gospel is preached (they are not as common as they should be) to re-open the dialogue face to face with people. As you have seen Christians are generally nice people with some well versed and trained to talk about these things at your level. I gather you are in Wellington, which has a reputation for being hard work for Christian ministry, so do what you want with the following. Wifey and I go to City on a Hill at St Marks School on the Basin roundabout and there are other churches of good repute although I haven’t attended them.

    I’d like to thank you atheists out there for showing some respect during this dialogue. Its about time.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  May 7, 2017
      Reply
      • Brown

         /  May 7, 2017

        No they are not and Churches with Christians are usually just fine. Its politics that has divided.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  May 7, 2017

          A country that still enforces blasphemy laws does not have religious tolerance.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  May 8, 2017

            Interesting. Will be fascinating to see what further, if anything, comes of this. It’s a fairly skeletal article. I’d be interested to know how any charge of defamation of God would be framed in their legal system. I rather suspect, if true, the complaint will actually be ultimately treated in the nature of a crank phone call. Even in Ireland one would have to prove that God is real I imagine. And that’s not evidentially demonstrable. It’s only opinion. Wonder if any other papers will pick the case up. Could certainly spark some interesting debates until the next time another celebrity nude shot or sex tape or political scandal goes viral.

            Reply
  8. Gezza

     /  May 7, 2017

    Cheers Brown. You seem to understand that when I have a bit of a tease about Jesus or God, it’s meant in light-hearted vein & because God seems to have blessed me with a rather broad sense of humour, as an agnostic, & an atheist in respect of the Biblical God, I don’t think it can be considered blasphemy.

    Yesterday, because your arguments & your justifications of your belief faith are of interest, I watched debate between WLC & an atheist scholar, Kevin Scharp. I found WLC frankly disappointing because in linking the Bible to science – mathematics, aspects of standard physics & theoretical quantum physics, evolutionary theory, & probability, he either misunderstood and/or misrepresented them all to make them fit his existing belief & selected parts of the Bible. His links to Christian philosphy were not convincing arguments as evidence to justify his belief, and he makes the classic error, as all Christian apologists seem to do, that atheism is a entire belief system which carries with it a rejection of the concept of sin & therefore of any notion of right and wrong. This is simply not so. Not all atheist have the same beliefs or values, atheism in respect of Yaweh & the Christian Trinity is simply a belief that are not real, and are therefore not true, because there no convincing evidence – at all – that they probably are, and much evidence that they probably are not.

    Morality, notions of right & wrong are common in virtually all societies, and in the great bulk of them those civilisations have satisfactorily survived & even sometimes thrived for hundreds and even thousands of years without the Christian God having had to communicate with & provide them with the 10 Commandments. There several non-Christian philosophers who have discussed theories of the origins & meaning of morality based on the 10 commandments, and even a few additional moral improvements, being common understandings. Simole human capacity for empathy & survival of societies can be enough, but some go deeper than that.

    I am interested in the questions of why the universe is here, & what is the meaning of life, and does there have to be a creator, and if so does it have to have done anything other than create this or any other universes, so religious debates always intrigue me because they purport to answer those questions, but they don’t.

    Anyway, as we seem able to explore these issues civilly and intelligently, & I respect the genuineness of your beliefs, I hope we can continue to examine each other’s viewpoints from time to time. I am open to being convinced the Christian God is real, good, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, and communicates with us, but so far I have not been.

    Now that you have alerted me to him, I am about 10 minutes in to a Youtibe debate between ProfessorJohn Lennox and Peter singer on this very topic. Lennox seems an entirely different kettle of fish to Craig & to have a better grasp of the science he is trying to link his belief in the Bible to. I shall be interested to hear the rest of what he has to say, and Singer’s counter argument.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  May 7, 2017

      One and a half hours. The best debate on the existence of the Christian God I’ve seen yet, & I’ve watched many. John Lennox is a very erudite chap indeed, & a gentleman of the first order. I found him an extraordinarily engaging, intelligent & rational arguer for the proposition that the Christian God is real, But he wasn’t asked some key questions I don’t think he would be able to provide satisfactory answers to & reasoning for. He freely admits he comes at the subject from a viewpoint of being raised in a household of belief anyway.

      He brought up the failure of evolution to satisfactorily explain abiogenesis, which is one of the stronger arguments for divine intervention to give matter the spark of life – but is itself just a competing theory. Knows about the evolution of genetics as pretty well finally proving the theory of evolution by natural selection, but tried to compare the genetic code to an alphabet, and therefore argue it proves that “in the beginning there was the word, and the word was with God.”

      But he cannot explain the reason for the existence of human & animal suffering in any rational way when faced with the proposition that surely a loving God creator would have no justification for creating it, or the conditions for it to arise, The best he could offer was that he couldn’t explain that, but that he believed those who underwent it have the promise of an indescribably & infinitely wonderful reward in the hereafter. He doesn’t know whether suffering animals would. It was interesting to hear him mention in the context of this particular aspect of the discussion “the two evils” by talking of the two cathedrals – one destroyed by the ‘evil of men’ in Coventry, and other destroyed by ‘natural evil’ in Christchurch, which he visited 2 days after the 2nd earthquake.

      His concluding statement was interesting, but unpersuasive. In summing up why he ultimately believed in God, it was because if God does not exist, then there could be no final righteous judgement, & no punishment for those who have done evil. I was genuinely surprised hat he concluded his contribution with the weakest argument.

      Nevertheless, a very interesting man & scholar. I’ll find out more about him, & Singer.

      Reply
  9. Brown

     /  May 7, 2017

    I personally like Lennox very much because he seems so warm and engaging – you could have a beer with him. I was not aware he grew up in a Christian home (a forgotten fact I think) but recall him saying his parents encouraged him to read everything he could lay his hands on – no philosophy or political view was forbidden. He was not pointed to anything by a parental decree and was encouraged to form his own views. I have some of his debates on DVD’s but there is lots of content on Youtube. He’s also written a few books including one on the Genesis seven days which wifey bought and I promptly left out in the rain overnight while at a mates beach house. Added value though as I doubled the thickness by swelling the pages.

    One thing is certain and that is that I will not convince you as that is not my job. Rejection of Christ is the only sin that completely stuffs you up so while you may be flippant about some things I take seriously I have my own repertoire of sins that are probably worse in that I profess to know from whence my salvation comes.

    I hope you are encouraged in what you find either way but continue to suspect you are looking for the wrong thing in the exploration of Christianity. You need to find Jesus Christ as he is the revelation of God the Father and the Holy Spirit reveals Him etc… All Christianity flows from that, always has, always will. Less head, more heart perhaps but never leave the head behind because you are not meant to have blind faith. Don’t look for signs, wonders, emotion or feelings – they abound in the secular world and Christianity is not like that despite what raving Pentecostals will say. I get a nice feeling when I listen to Greg Lake play ‘From the Beginning’ over and over (I liked this band) but its not God doing it.

    Cheers.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  May 8, 2017

      Thanks Brown. I’m not so much looking for answers to, if you like, life’s mysteries. I’m more interested in why people think the Bible answers them. It’s more of an intellectual than a religious search. I see no valid reason to believe in an afterlife, nor any plausible revelation of what it would be like, or what we would be doing for the rest of eternity if there was one. I can certainly see the attraction of promising one, & of using it as a carrot & stick argument to persuade adherents of a religion to observe the rules.

      The arguments for the truth of the Bible, and the claims of Jesus’s divinity & the morphing of Jaweh into the Trinity have necessarily evolved over time as science snd philosophy have developed, because both have presented serious challenges & alternatives to the claimed truth of the Bible. Lennox argued that modern science was developed by Christians & that this is another reason to believe in it. But of course it can be equally argued that scientific knowledge has developed in spite of – and beyond – Christianity & the Bible – the treatment of Galileo by the Church being probably the most often-cited illustration of that point.

      Appels by the faithful to non-believers or searchers to not look for the truth of Jesus and the Bible by rational, evidential means & proofs, but by internal transformational revelations & changes are somewhat undercut I think by the many examples cited of Jaweh & Jesus providing very notable evidential proofs, by performing miracles. Healing the lepers, raising the dead, changing water into wine, conjuring up vast quantities of food from nowhere. The casting out of devils I think are best probably not included in these.

      The apostles & those who followed them were promised the power to do the same in Jesus’s name, and their performance of miracles is reported in, I think, Acts & possibly the epistles. Unless I’m mistaken Stephen is reported to have raised someone from the dead. Other miracles by the apostles are not described in any detail.

      There is some mention of their casting out of devils, but again I think best not to go there with those claims because there’s no detail, no follow up, & the whole idea of possession by devils is likely to be a misunderstanding of people with developmental, psychological, or mental health problems.

      Why do you think miracles, feats which defy the natural laws of the universe – & are the overwhelming, evidentially demonstrated, proof of Jaweh’s & Jesus’s divinity, supernaturality & omnipotence, & the delegated power to perform them in his name by genuine believers, just … stopped? By now there should have been 2100 years of millions, certainly thousands, of examples of them. And we are now in the age where they can be rationally & scientifically examined & declared proven. But there aren’t any happening. Or certainly nothing anything like those Jesus & his apostles reportedly performed, and those rare incidents claimed as miracles, like weeping statues, or the pitifully few supposed miraculous cures at Lourdes, or the dancing of the sun at Fatima, are decidely scientifically unconvincing.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  May 8, 2017

        (Just by-the-by, researching something else, I came by happenstance across Mark 9:19, which clearly describes a boy having a a classic epileptic fit, from whom Jesus cast out the evil spirit which he said to be the cause of the boy’s history of this affliction. These fits of course are notably characteristed by being episodic & I have observed an epileptic having & recovering from two separate (quite initially scary to watch) severe fits in the office, so Jesus’s devil-casting-out cure for this would almost certainly have been temporary & coincided with the typical natural recovery from one. There is no follow up.)

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  May 8, 2017

          Brown, may I suggest you don’t respond to my two posts above?

          I think the questions of whether the Judeo-Christian God actually exists, whether Jesus was divine, & whether there is an afterlife, far from being dead issues in an increasingly non-believing, more scientifically-educated Western world, are actually still important. I have agreed with Pete to write a short post on this, & to basically just paste our discussion here into it. Hopefully to enable him to create a Top Post in which you & I or others can discuss issues around the question of whether God exists from time to time as issues arise – which is what we have done over the past 12 months or so.

          You & I (& others if they ever wish to) can then perhaps pick up this discussion from there, & revisit that page rather than divert on unrelated threads as we sometimes do.

          Could I just say, meantime, that I have appreciated the honesty, objectivity, and clarity of all of your contributions on the subject in this thread.

          Reply
          • Brown

             /  May 8, 2017

            I’m not sure that keeping this general topic going in a top post on occasion will attract further comment from me – I think the concepts are too large to address in this way and we will just revisit the same fringe stuff to no useful end. I’m done.

            Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  May 8, 2017

          IMO religious belief has everything to do with an individual’s emotional need for it and nothing to do with any rational evidence any historical or scientific details are true. That being the case I long ago lost interest in debating it.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  May 8, 2017

            Have any of your children ever developed an interest in or adopted a religious faith Alan?

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  May 8, 2017

              No. Why? My mother was and I humoured her.

            • Gezza

               /  May 8, 2017

              Simple curiosity Al. It’s not unknown for offspring to investigate & acquire a religious faith not held by their parents, but in my experience children of non-believers tend to mostly be non-believers themselves.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  May 8, 2017

              I think I’ve said before when I was 12 I had two or three sleepless nights wondering how on earth adults could be so dumb as to believe this stuff and how I was going to have to live my life amongst them.

              Since then a lot more have decided not to believe this stuff but more because peer pressure has reduced than that they’ve figured it out for themselves, I fear.

  10. Gezza

     /  May 8, 2017

    Fair enough. I won’t then. Just as well I waited, & no worries. It’s not really fringe stuff. It’s actually quite important stuff as long there are people who really believe we should all really be accepting Christ if we don’t want to be unredeemed sinners who reject him & must face the terrible consequences after death of not believing. And there are a lot of people who still believe that & teach children that, so imo it’s actually important whether it’s true or not.

    I did run across another of those verses this morning (reviewing what the Hebrew Bible & New Testament actually have to say about Heaven, Hell & the afterlife – the Jews are very divided on this) that made me curious how you reconcile it with your situation & overall beliefs about Jesus, and how much of Jesus’s instruction to the faithful in the Bible that you either just discount or have an interpretation of that differs from an ordinary plain reading of the meaning of the verse?

    It’s not a trick question, it’s a genuine enquiry, because it’s one of several that no longer seem to be considered by many to apply, while there are others they will never reject – but I’ll understand if it’s too awkward to answer.

    Luke 16:18

    Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  May 8, 2017

      G, I don’t want to appear overly flippant here but one possible explanation I would proffer, given the size of the universe, is that we are more likely to be simulations created by an advanced species than we are likely to be the original species itself. The reasoning here is that every sufficiently-advanced species will create multiple simulations in which the simulated creatures believe they are real. So the odds are high that we are one of the many simulations, not the original species that created them

      You can read about this on my good friend Scott’s blog. He has one of the world’s pre-eminent philosophers adding credibility to the hypothesis. Cheers,c

      http://blog.dilbert.com/post/160048736756/how-to-know-whether-you-are-a-real-person-or-a

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  May 8, 2017

        I’ll have a read. It’s miserable grey day outside & the usual norwesterly, somewhat damp-feeling, breeze is having a dampening effect on my desire to go outside & mount another assault on the Green Forces in Frontyard & Backyard Provinces. You’ve posted about this hypothesis before as I recall. While I doubt if I would subscibe to it, it might be interesting, if it’s just not a piss-take, to consider why.

        I never consider that you being overly flippant c. Just run-of-the-mill flippant at times (no offence intended) 😀

        You occasionally post supportive comments regarding Brown’s dissertations on Christianity. Mind me asking if you are a believer or former-believer yourself?

        Reply
        • Conspiratoor

           /  May 8, 2017

          I’m not an atheist G. And I do agree with Brown. Trying to rationalise Christianity in the way you are doing is akin to educating a duck to behave itself

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  May 8, 2017

            Scott’s concept is interesting. If he seriously entertain the notion we might just actually be simulations I’d very interested to see what happens, & how he describes the perception of sensation, if you bite off his fingers, c.

            I winder if he’s considered registering himself as a priest & developing & marketing this concept as a religion. I realise that it’s essentially someone else’s idea, but he could probably come to some arrangement with the author under which the original writings are included as early scriptures?

            It’s probably saleable as an idea to a couple of generations of tech savvy philosophers, gamers, & assorted searchers for truth. It’s time Scientology & the PAO faced some serious competition for adherents.

            Reply
        • Gezza

           /  May 8, 2017

          Interesting. Why?

          Btw, I don’t try & rationalise it, I ask believers to. Because I don’t think it’s actually correct in its basic claim that it is the communications of the universe’s creator, & I don’t think that those who embrace & claim to follow it truly do have some kind of monopoly on it as something so deeply profound & true that only the elect students among believers & those who have been touched by Jesus upon request can grasp its true meaning. But I’m always open to persuasion.

          As you probably realise I was raised in the religion & although I therefore originally had a child’s understanding of it, I have needed to and returned to re-examine it a lot more closely on several occasions over the years & have got a far better grounding & understanding of where it came from & how the Bible came to be what it is.

          The last 7 of the 10 commandments, & majority of the reported teachings of Jesus Christ, are ethical, practical, & morally sound in my opinion. They are good fundamental rules & prescriptions for a healthy, co-operative, compassionate, caring & peaceful society. Were it within my power to do so I would imprint them in everyone’s brain & be happy to be largely satisfied with a startup job well done. It’s impossible for me to deny them or Christianity as having been the most influential factors in the development of my own sense of morality, and right and wrong, and for them being so for the whole of Western society – whether some people who have never been religious accept that or not.

          But the Bible is the recorded Wisdom of Ages – most likely including inspirations from the wisdom & laws of other civilisations the Israelites were familiar with as well. And some of it is decidedly not wise. And some of is pretty obviously just myth, or obscure adaptable predictions, such as in Revelations, which are often best ‘revealed, (and debated) looking backwards. So it is not true. As you see me contend. And I think it’s important that people learn to challenge & not just accept things that are not true. So this is why although there is much indeed that I like about the New Testament & admire reported the life & many teachings of Jesus, although I follow & engage in debates & read much on this religion, I still don’t believe in Yaweh or The Trinity as God the creator & communicator with mankind, or in Jesus’s divinity.

          It’s certainly not for lack of deeply wanting to at different times in my life, or of commitment to trying. Nor for lack of understanding of what it feels like to commune with ‘something’ else ‘out there’, something that feels universal & beyond the rational mind. I have had those experiences, & not via drugs.

          I know many lovely people whose lives are enriched by their faith in Christianity & their living their lives in accordance with its fundamental precepts of kindness, honesty, fairness & the Golden Rule, whilst still being practical in how they go about their daily lives. Bu, paradoxically, in the case of my lady friend whom I refer to above, after a lifetime of genuine belief, dedication, study, & service to The Lord it has ended up steadily & completely destroying her marriage – to a pastor, her wealh – she has nothing, her health, and her overall life. As she sees things & so do I. This is because what it promises is actually not true – although it can work for some.

          Reply
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