I have never met Cardinal George Pell, nor heard him speak save in television grabs, but I have read a number of his essays, and each of them seemed to be lucid, clearly expressed and sensible — the latter not in every respect, because I do not always agree with him, but logical and forceful in the way his argument is put forward. If you don’t agree with him, you have to be able to argue against him. That is not easy.

In the most recent issue of Quadrant Cardinal Pell reviews a book about the situation of the Christian Church in a highly secular world, and in it he makes a number of most interesting points. The one that stood out for me was the notion of the Church’s returning to its ancient roots, as a small set of communities held together by faith, and meeting together to practise that faith, in a society that largely ignores the faith, perhaps even despises it. That made me wonder what it was that had held Christian communities together when the ‘faith’ was actually the orthodoxy. And that made me turn, as so often at my present age, to what had happened to me, in matters of faith.

From 18 to about 20, as an undergraduate, I did wrestle with issues of existence. Maybe most undergraduates do. Existential problems  were, and probably still are, awkward questions for young Australians to deal with. My mother sang in a church choir, while my father said, resolutely when I asked him, that he didn’t believe in God. Mum avoided answering the question, as she did when she didn’t want to. But Dad drove Mum to her church service anyway, and my brothers and I were pressed into Sunday School, in our case Methodist because the church was around the corner, where I gained first prize for Catechism. When we moved towns in 1950, and I was 12 turning into 13, I asked to be able to play tennis instead of going to Sunday School, and that was agreed. My Mum stopped singing in a church choir, too. We had two years of renovating an old house before there was a family holiday of any kind, and her other skills were needed on Sunday mornings.

I didn’t give religion much thought at school, but it returned to my mind at university, where it was religion if anything rather than politics that divided students. The early 1950s saw quite a bit of evangelising, the Rev. Canon Bryan Green (C of E), being one whom I remember speaking to students. And like so many others, I was interested in girls, and wanting to lead a good life at the same time. I remember someone on the evangelist side saying that you could not lead a truly good life unless you believed in Jesus Christ and his way. That seemed to me to be pretty tough, and of course it left out most of the rest of the world, who were not Christian. A friend suggested I talk to the university chaplain about these issues. The discussion was short and not conclusive. I was told I needed to read the Bible. I said I had done so, and that had not helped (I didn’t tell him about my prize for Catechism). ‘You must believe in Jesus!’ he said to me. ‘But what does that mean?’ I replied. The chaplain said, ‘He has shown the way. You must follow it!’ We parted on terms of mutual distrust.

I waited for God, or Jesus, to speak to me. No message has ever come to me from on high. And in the meantime, I try to lead a good life, by which I mean to be responsible for myself, act courteously towards others, and join those who volunteer to help those members of our society who need help of various kinds. You can’t do everything, but you can always do something.  I am not a believer, but not an atheist either. I simply don’t know, and that puts me in the camp of the agnostics. As with the threat of anthropogenic global warming, I am sceptical that there is anything out there who resembles the Jehovah of Renaissance art, or that Jesus Christ was much more than an inspired preacher of his time. But there may be in the question of God, just as in the question of climate change, something there despite all the doubts I have about argument and evidence.

So I expect that when I die that will be the end of it. I won’t be looking for my parents. I have a picture of Heaven’s being an endless line of parents looking for parents looking for parents, and so on. I have never heard nor read any helpful accounts of what Heaven might actually be like, and of course no one has come back to tell us. Hell doesn’t seem a pleasant alternative, and of course the same caveat applies. In the meantime I get on with life, the day-by-day issue of human existence and all its manifold complications. Now all that is at the level of the individual person. What about at the level of the society? Our Prime Minister wants Australians to have religious freedom. Quite what he means by that I don’t know. Does he? Or is it just a slogan?

Most Australians  (52 per cent at the 2016 Census) say that they are Christians, though the proportion drops at each Census. Thirty per cent say they do not have a religion at all. The number of Australians who go to church at least once a month seems to be at about fifteen per cent. It depends a bit on what survey you read. Once a week would be a much harder test, and would greatly lower the Catholic proportion of regular churchgoers, who are the majority of Christians going to church, since it is not really possible for Catholics in regional areas to attend Mass on a weekly basis unless they travel to another parish, or into the nearest large town. Anyway, there is a big gap between professing ‘Christianity’ and attending a church service regularly. My own sense of what has happened (which I wrote about in What Was it All For? The Reshaping of Australia, Allen & Unwin 2005), is built on the postwar feeling that girls had to be educated, not just boys, the movement of women into the skilled workforce, the contraceptive pill, and the change in legal opening hours on Saturdays and Sundays, all of these variable connected.

Which brings me back to the question of faith. Faith (or belief) in what? It seems to me that in the 19thcentury, when church attendance was much larger, the reasons were not those of faith but of social convention: your congregation consisted of the people most likely to be your friends and those most likely to help you in times of need (this was likely to be especially true of those in the Catholic Church). Today our voluntary workforce is much larger and more general in its application and effectiveness, about which I have written. Is that better, or a slip from the past?

But, in any case, how many of those who went to church regularly in say 1900, actually ‘believe’ in Jesus Christ, and his way? And what did ‘believing’ actually mean for them? My guess, and that is all it is, is that the proportions are pretty much the same a hundred years apart. ‘Believing’ is tricky. It seems to involve oneself and an unknown but powerful Other who has (maybe) mysterious powers. One of my school friends became a surgeon. He is one of five of the 39 in my graduating class who are still believers. He told me that before an operation he takes a small moment to pause and say a prayer. What he is about to do could be life-threatening as well as life-enhancing. ‘Help me, Lord!’ is the substance of his prayer. I was, and am, deeply impressed. But it has no equivalent in my life, none at all. I feel almost envious. He not only went to Sunday School; he went on to Church and confirmation into the Anglican communion. It worked for him.

So there you are. I’m not sure that George Pell is right. Maybe he is, and it is a good essay, as I said. But my response is that only a quite small proportion of ‘Christians’ actually know what it is they believe in, and the proportions haven’t varied much over time. All that has varied is the extent to which Christianity is the orthodoxy of the day. To a degree, in 2018 it still is. We are not yet a strongly secular society. Tepidly Christian, maybe?





Join the discussion 54 Comments

  • Doug Hurst says:

    Like you, Don, I read Pell’s essay and was impressed by his logic if you accepted his basic premise for a supernatural force he calls God, a force that created everything in our universe of two trillions galaxies, runs it and responds to our pleas for help. I don’t accept that premise, but otherwise I like him. He seems a decent and logical man and the accusations from his supporters that he was squeezed out of the Vatican because he was exposing too much very bad behaviour might just be right.

    When it comes to faith, I am in the camp that says you don’t need it when you have facts and note the changes to Pell’s world in my life time, two of which are now Catholic teachings:

    Heaven is no longer an after life resembling Earthly life, but a ‘spiritual state’ and while Hell still (according to Pell in a TV interview) exists, they hope no one goes there.

    The Old Testament is now a collection of apocryphal stories and Jewish history, not something to be taken literally.

    And with two thirds of wedding ceremonies now civil, the statistics from the last census look very conservative, with practicing true believers among the young pretty thin on the ground. This will have big future implications for the schools, retirement homes and charities the churches now run.

    • JimboR says:

      “…he was squeezed out of the Vatican because he was exposing too much very bad behaviour might just be right”

      Nothing to do with him being charged with historic child sexual abuse offences then, and his bail conditions forbidding him to leave Australia? I believe he is on leave from the Vatican while he defends himself. Presumably, if found innocent he’ll return to his job.

      • Don Aitkin says:

        I tried to stay off that set of topics in my essay. I have no idea on either score, and doubt that anyone else is close to the truth. The courts will grind their weary through through it all.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Doug Hurst

    Are you saying that the slaughters, slavery, and chauvinism cited in the Old Testament never occurred but are mere ” collection of apocryphal stories “?

    Is the claim of the Jews to a “promised land” an apocryphal story? Probably so but look at how much damage it is doing.

    So much of our present world was constructed on the supposed literal truth of the Bible, that it seems a bit anachronistic and duplicitous for folks to now say it was all a fable? But it does point to the possibility that other views are just as easily built on different and new fantasies.

    However, I am gratified that science is steadily making progress so I really see no reason to hold out for any sort of heaven nor allow anyone to threaten others with any kind of hell (what ever this is).

    • Doug Hurst says:

      This is now Catholic teaching, not my opinion as I wouldn’t know. As for Pell being squeezed out of the Vatican because he was too close to uncovering some very unsavoury facts, the story goes the accusations at this end that demanded his return were part of the story. Again, I was only commenting on what I have heard, not making a claim to know the facts.

      The Promised land has all the hall marks of an after the fact claim. After all, it was the land of Canaan, already inhabited by Canaanites who were either defeated by the migrating Jews or simply blended in with them over time – hardly Terra Nullus.

      The ancients had no telescopes or microscopes, or knowledge of physics and chemistry. Thus they had virtually no knowledge of the vastness of the Universe or the microscopic world we can’t see with the naked eye, or the natural rules by which it works. Thus, I happily declare current knowledge far superior to the Old Testament, even if there is still much to learn.

    • JimboR says:

      “the story goes the accusations at this end that demanded his return were part of the story”

      That’s quite a conspiracy theory, nowhere near as grandiose as Don’s climate science conspiracy theory, but impressive none the less.

      • Don Aitkin says:

        Once should always write to correct egregious error. Don has no conspiracy theory about climate science at all, as he has made clear on a number of occasions. It is a pity that you have to make one up.

      • JimboR says:

        I suspect most believers in conspiracy theories don’t see that they are, sometimes it takes an impartial observer. Your theories on NASA, CSIRO, the BOM, data modelling, maths, and even physics are massive conspiracy theories involving a huge cast.

        • Don Aitkin says:

          This is just rubbish. I have said exactly the opposite on several occasions. I do not think there is a conspiracy anywhere about AGW, at least I have seen no evidence that there has been one or that it exists today. But there are corporate cultures, and once X is part of the culture, it is extremely hard for non-X to get a look in. You can see that in the ABC, parts of the Federal Government, parts of CSIRO and parts of BoM, in the lack of interest in those of the orthodox persuasion in taking part in public debate, and so on.

      • Chris Warren says:


        I do not think that denialists (evolution, lunar landing, climate) can be automatically equated with conspiracy.

        Conspiracy comes with organisation – not publishing individual views nor with merely agreeing with fake science.

        Certainly the US tobacco executives conspired together to give false testimony based on fake science over cigarettes but many others propagated similar views without conspiracy.

      • JimboR says:

        Yes, valid points Chris. I’m not claiming that Don is one of the conspirers but rather that his rejection of science requires there be a huge cast of conspirers out there. You can’t reject that much science without believing in a huge conspiracy. That science is very organised; for it to be wrong and Don be to right demands that it be a very organised conspiracy of professionals across a very broad range of fields.

        • spangled drongo says:

          “…his rejection of science…”

          What “science” is that then, jimb?

          We are still anxiously waiting for you and blith [and anyone else] to produce some [any?] empirical science other than groupthink blurb that can in any way be measured.

          Never forget that this is the sum total of your “science” to date:

          “The bottom line is that rising temperatures cause carbon levels to rise. Carbon may still influence temperatures, but these ice cores are neutral on that. If both factors caused each other to rise significantly, positive feedback would become exponential. We’d see a runaway greenhouse effect. It hasn’t happened. Some other factor is more important than carbon dioxide, or carbon’s role is minor.”

          You enuresistics desperately need to come up with something, soon, and give us all a break from your fakery.

          You are running out of time.

        • Don Aitkin says:

          ‘I’m not claiming that Don is one of the conspirers’ You did exactly that. See your statement above.

          And I do not ‘reject science’ I read a great deal of it, from both sides of the issue. I remain sceptical that AGW threatens either humanity or the planetary eco-system, and there is ample scientific evidence to support my scepticism. I have been waiting ten years, for example, for any convincing evidence that doubling CO2 will lead to a three degree C or even greater increase in global temperature. Surely the work should have been done by now. It6 is crucial to the whole policy debate.There has been a lot of work, on the other hand, suggesting that a doubling will lead to an increase of only one degree C or a tiny bit more. All this is science, Jimbo, published, peer-reviewed science, the sort you like.

          And once again, I challenge you to find one statement I have made saying straightforwardly that I believe there is a conspiracy about AGW out there. I know there are people who think so. I am not one of them. You need to stop making things up.

        • JimboR says:

          No, I’m accusing you of believing conspiracy theories, not conspiring. The conspirators in this case are the climate scientists who support the orthodox view, and you’re certainly not one of them.

          I don’t have time to trawl through all the archives so let me approach your challenge with a simple question. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement:

          The BOM use homogenisation to deliberately fabricate warming that doesn’t exist.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            You are extraordinary, Jimbo. When in doubt, you deny. You referred above to ‘Don’s climate science conspiracy theory’. Now you say that I don’t have a conspiracy theory but I believe in them. But that’s not what you said. You make things up, and then you deny that you did so, or that you meant something else entirely. You’ve done this before, and for someone who has at least the responsibility of reading and considering every Comment, that is most vexing. You have a most elastic sense of accuracy and truth.

            Then, having made a false claim for which there is no foundation, you say you don’t have time to show the evidence, and throw the responsibility to ME, for heaven’s sake. Why should I do your work?

            And your question is a dreadful one, loaded to the gunwales with assumptions. Let me set them out.

            (1) ‘The BoM…’ I have no idea, nor does anyone, where the corporate culture about AGW in the Bureau comes from. The BoM does a wide range of work (in sea-levels, for example, which seems to have passed all the reliability and validity tests), and is widely supported as a good source of data and evidence there. The dispute is about temperature.

            (2) ‘deliberately fabricate’ Who ‘deliberately’ ‘fabricates’. What is a fabrication? How deliberate are whatever these assertions are? Your question assumes that there are straightforward meanings for these words. There are not, and you don’t provide any explanation.

            (3) ‘Warming that doesn’t exist’. As I have said many times, I accept that there has been a degree of warming, probably global, though varying around the globe, of about one degree C in the 20th. So do most sceptics, though there are some, I am not one of them, who argue that there has been no warming at all. What is in dispute in the BoM data is the trend set out in their data for particular locations, like Rutherglen, where there are good data that show changes in site location might explain all the apparent warming. That issue has been debated to death. BoM sticks to its guns, and some allegedly unbiassed experts say there is nothing wrong. I have my doubts, but that is all they are. I do know a lot about corporate cultures, and have studied them.

            My view is that we wouldn’t be having this argument (BoM) at all were it not for the almost obsessive desire by the orthodoxy to find the ‘human signature’ trend over the 20th century.

            Your question is dreadfully framed. It’s like the ‘Have you stopped being your wife?’ version, where by answering at all you have to accept the assumptions. As you see, I don’t, and therefore I neither agree nor disagree: I remind you that I have said there is a corporate culture within the organisation, for which the existence of dangerous AGW seems to be accepted as scientifically valid, and is therefore supported by the organisation. It is also supported by CSIRO, with which the BoM works a lot in joint publications and studies. I have also said in other essays that once a government or government agency commits itself to a particular point of view it becomes extremely difficult for the government or agency to resile from that point of view, which helps to confirm the point of view within the agency.

            There are a number within the current Coalition, I am told, who while regretting the likely loss of power after the next election, nevertheless see it as a splendid opportunity to get rid of a whole lot of politically damaging baggage that they are committed to, like the RET — and other issues as well, though I stick to the RET, because it is aligned to the material in your comment.

            I hope this long response to your footling comment is of some use to other readers. You will go on denying that you have done anything wrong. Chris is a ‘believer’, while you I think have some climate to being a ‘troll’.

          • JimboR says:

            My position has been entirely consistent. I never claimed you were a conspirator, I do think you believe in conspiracy theories. I don’t think I’ve read any conspiracy theories here that I would consider your original work, so I don’t think you invented the conspiracy theories, but I do think you believe in them. So I’ll grant that my use of the phrase ‘Don’s climate science conspiracy theory’ was sloppy as it may imply creativity. I simply meant ‘the climate science conspiracy theories Don believes in’.

            Perhaps by way of example, and to return to topic let’s consider “Doug’s conspiracy theory on Pell”. I don’t think Doug created that conspiracy theory (he specifically gives credit to others) and it’s not even clear from his writing whether or not he believes it.. he was simply throwing it out there. But even if he does believe it, I think we would all agree Doug is not a conspirator. I’d be very surprised if played any role in the sexual abuse accusations leveled at Pell and Pell’s return to Australia to face trial.

            There is a conspiracy theory that the BOM fabricates warming and use homogenisation to hide that fabrication. You’re clearly not the conspirator in that case, because as far as I know you’ve never worked at the BOM. I’m pretty confident that the conspiracy theory is not your original work, but it’s something you regularly pay lip service to. As usual, when pressed you duck and weave. You’re happy to dog-whistel to the RWNJs that do believe such conspiracy theories, but the minute you’re called out on it, the back-pedalling starts. Even now we can’t get a straight answer.

          • JimboR says:

            I almost wonder if there’s a definition problem here. A conspirator is not someone who creates conspiracy theories, or even someone who believes in them. The conspirator is the actor in the conspiracy.

            In the case of Doug’s Pell-conspiracy, the conspirators presumably work in the Vatican and/or the Victorian Police Force and the Victorian DPP. In the case of the BOM-homogenisation-fake-warming conspiracy the conspirators work at the BOM.

          • Chris Warren says:


            Science is NOT about belief. Science is about analysis, findings and facts that often contradict beliefs.

            Global warming is not supported by “believers” as if this was their mode of reasoning. True reason comes from true science, based on true techniques and that can only be contradicted by better science from better techniques, data and analysis.

            It is not a belief that the Earth is round. Those who support the lunar landing are not to be categorised as “believers”. The link between nicotine and lung cancer is NOT a matter of belief.

          • spangled drongo says:

            “Science is NOT about belief. Science is about analysis, findings and facts that often contradict beliefs.”

            Congratulation, blith!

            So, you have finally had a talk with your mum.

          • dlb says:

            “The link between nicotine and lung cancer is NOT a matter of belief”

            Oh yes it is!

            With that statement you demonstrate the ignorance many folks have of scientific issues. Nicotine is a drug and apart from being addictive, it is not in any way dangerous. It is the tar from tobacco smoke that is the dangerous component.

        • JimboR says:

          And if that’s too black and white for you, feel free to rate that statement on a scale of 1 to 10 where:

          1. strongly disagree
          5. don’t have an opinion
          10. strongly agree

        • JimboR says:

          Note, I’m not asking your opinion on whether such behaviour from the BOM is worthy of the title “conspiracy”, we can each decide that for ourselves. All we need to know from you is how strongly you agree with that statement.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Jimbluv, do you deny that the BoM and all the other Climategatekeepers world-wide don’t subscribe exclusively to the ACO2-causes-warming mantra?

            When this tiny amount of warming has occurred naturally so many times in recent history and can easily be explained without resorting to THE single reason they [awa all you LWNJs] love to indulge in?

            When your “science” mantra encompasses the fact that each causes the other so that it would thus cause positive feedback that would become exponential and we’d see a runaway greenhouse effect that has never occurred in the history of the earth?

            And yet when your so-called “science” is based on this, you have the incredible hubris to claim that Don is the conspiracy theorist?

            And you LWNJs deny you are deniers?

            Oh, dear!!!

  • Neville says:

    Serious scholarship of the Bible didn’t take place until German scholars began their work in the 19th century. Certainly they seemed to begin the process until we now have many countries/ scholars involved in trying to understand the historical Jesus ( Joshua) and the origins of the new testament.

    The Old Testament is now considered to be a collection of old stories from Jewish writers and prophets that don’t necessarily involve true historical accounts.

    I think Dr Richard Carrier has very interesting ideas about Jesus and the origins of Christianity, including Paul, the Gospels and the Zoroastrian ideas of blood sacrifice etc. He has now written the only peer reviewed history of Jesus and Christianity in the last 100 years. Perhaps we may now see a Christian apologist try and do the same? But I think it will be a difficult task using known historical accounts. History and faith are very different things.

    I’ve watched Dr Carrier’s debates and he handles himself very well and has an incredible understanding of the Bible and the history of those times. Dr Ehrman is another who is very difficult to debate although he still believes there was an historical Jesus while Dr Carrier isn’t sure. Here’s Dr Carrier a few years ago discussing Jesus , the Jews and Zoroastrianism influence etc on the Old Testament after the Jews were taken into captivity by the Persian armies.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Thanks, Don, for bringing this essay to our attention. It is interesting how the church leaders that try the hardest to rectify the problems come in for the greatest legal attention.

    As someone who has had family very involved in the church, gone to Sunday school as a kid during WW2, had a worried mum who played the church organ during service, yet always remained a religious sceptic while still acknowledging the advantages of Christianity in our western civilisation, I am rather amazed by the recent turning from Christianity to that other religion that some of my more “intellectual” friends have done.

    Just spent the last couple of days with some of those who have mainly converted to the new religion and I can see how their acceptance gives them great comfort.

    I tell them that though it is probably not “gospel”, apart from brutal armies it was the only law the Christian world could afford for centuries and apart from many administrative church problems it generally worked out well for western civ.

    It is always fascinating to see where rationality stops and belief takes over.

  • spangled drongo says:

    The Senate needs every prayer it can muster:

    “The Lord’s Prayer is set to continue in the Senate after an inquiry found there was no reason to adopt a Greens push to change it.

    The upper house’s procedure committee found not much had changed since 1997 when the proposal was last floated, with the vast majority of more than 800 submissions to the inquiry opposing the move.”



  • spangled drongo says:

    Ah! the new faith! It does expand into other areas besides climate but they are mostly left wing, green-behind-the-ears, areas.

    But the ROW is waking up:


  • Aert Driessen says:

    An interesting piece Don, thank you. I prefer to discuss this sort of stuff in front of a fire with a port and cigar but as that is not going to happen, I’ll offer one comment which I know to be absolutely true for me, and I suspect many others. The faith that is instilled at home and at school (5 years at a Catholic boarding school, daily Mass etc) changes much over a lifetime. That said, I’m very grateful for the Christian scaffolding that supported my life. I am a Catholic but not attending Mass since my wife died (I always saw that as something we did as a ‘unit’) and raised 4 kids all of whom attended Catholic schools for the duration (12 years). Looking back on that, I regard it as a wonderful investment – 4 sensible, well educated people all contributing to society.

  • Neville says:

    What is the basis of the Christian faith? It has to be the New Testament, including the letters of Paul and the 4 Gospels.
    But the only scrap we have for the first 150 years is P 52 ( from Gospel John) and that fragment is the size of a credit card.
    And Scholars estimate that 94% of complete NT copies were written after the 9th century AD and very few copies are available from the first few centuries.
    There are more differences within the 5,300+ copies we have today of the NT than there are words. Just think about that and the fact that most of these copies come after the 9th century.
    Yes most of the differences are probably not important, but we should understand that we don’t have any original NT copies at all.
    Here’s Bart Ehrman explaining these problems during his debate with Dan Wallace.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Is our faith really our culture?

    The first Christian Empire, Byzantium, was created by the Roman emperor Constantine who was himself not a Christian and never became one yet he made Christianity part of his governing process.

    Around 324 AD Constantine built a new imperial capital at Byzantium on the Bosporus, which would be later named Constantinople after him. The Christian churches built there were not built on top of other religious edifices.

    Up till then Christians were severely persecuted for two and a half centuries for their beliefs. Under previous Roman emperors Christians were arrested, tortured, mutilated, burned, starved, and condemned to gladiatorial contests to amuse spectators. They had their homes destroyed and books burned so it is not surprising that original records don’t exist.

    Constantine returned confiscated Church property and in 313 AD his Edict of Milan made the empire officially neutral with regard to religious worship. Even up to the end of his life, two-thirds of his top government were non-Christian.

    This says a lot for the rational, balanced approach and introduction of an enduring culture that, in spite of a chequered career has been the foundation of our western society.

    For a good understanding of early Christianity and its competitors read John Julius Norwich’s many volumes of the Byzantine Empire.

  • spangled drongo says:

    When there are so many huge scam-earners attached to the new faith — well, why not???

    There is nothing like a bit of normal weather to show the exscreamists for what they are:

    “A UN-endorsed carbon offset scheme designed to reduce emissions has actually increased them massively, a study by a green think tank has found.

    As well as pumping much as 600 million tonnes more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the carbon credits scheme has been abused by countries like Russia and the Ukraine which have used them as a money-making scam.”


    • spangled drongo says:

      Could that be another one of jimb’s “impartial observer” contributions from Mike Seccombe and the SP no less?

      That’s even worse than ABC “impartiality”, jimb.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Faith is a complete trust or confidence in something. Faith involves intellectual assent to a set of beliefs and trust in those beliefs.

    Those beliefs don’t have to be facts.

    And left wing progressives forsake a well tried and tested, free and gratis Christianity for a dubious, horrendously expensive GHG theory.

    Champagne socialists with a half-baked philosophy looking down on the deplorables:


  • Neville says:

    I Just thought I might add this here, after reading some of the above diversions. The latest study by McKitrick and Christy shows the climate models are flawed and once again show far too much warming in the TLT. Here’s their conclusion and the link. OH and they’ve found the usual con tricks from the usual suspects and they highlight this with many links before they explain their recent study. Gosh, big surprise, NOT. —-



    “Summarizing, all 102 CMIP5 model runs warm faster than observations, in most individual cases the discrepancy is significant, and on average the discrepancy is significant. The test of trend equivalence rejects whether or not we include a break at 1979, though the rejections are stronger when we control for its influence. Measures of series divergence are centered at a positive mean and the entire distribution is above zero. While the observed analogue exhibits a warming trend over the test interval it is significantly smaller than that shown in models, and the difference is large enough to reject the null hypothesis that models represent it correctly.

    To the extent GCMs are getting some features of the surface climate correct as a result of their current tuning, they are doing so with a flawed structure. If tuning to the surface added empirical precision to a valid physical representation, we would expect to see a good fit between models and observations at the point where the models predict the clearest and strongest thermodynamic response to greenhouse gases. Instead we observe a discrepancy across all runs of all models, taking the form of a warming bias at a sufficiently strong rate as to reject the hypothesis that the models are realistic. Our interpretation of the results is that the major hypothesis in contemporary climate models, namely the theoretically-based negative lapse rate feedback response to increasing greenhouse gases in the tropical troposphere, is flawed”.

    • Neville says:

      Sorry, here McKitrick adds the Models projections and the actual balloon observations from 1958 to 2017. BIG difference in 200 to 300mb layer where most warming should occur.

      Ross McKitrick | September 17, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Reply

      The trend numbers should have been: 0.33 +/- 0.13 C/decade in the models and 0.17 +/- 0.06 C/decade in the observations. With a break term included they are, respectively, 0.39 +/- 0.17 C/decade (models) and 0.14 +/- 0.12 C/decade (observed).

    • spangled drongo says:

      “Summarizing, all 102 CMIP5 model runs warm faster than observations, in most individual cases the discrepancy is significant…”

      Exactly, Neville, yet our progressives here choose to deny that our climategatekeepers don’t align with this AGW doctrine that is based on these same models.

      The faith that you have when you are not indulging in faith!

      Of course you realise you are jeopardising a safe and respectful workplace with that sort of talk:

      “La Trobe University tried to prevent columnist Bettina Arndt from speaking on campus after organisers were told that her ­address questioning the existence of a rape culture did not align with the university’s campaign against sexual violence.”


      “Professor Peter Ridd, who questioned academic research on climate change, was dismissed by James Cook University because, according to the university, he broke a code of conduct aimed at creating “a safe and respectful” workplace.”

      But who knows, sanity, honesty and rationality may yet prevail:

      “Former High Court chief justice Robert French has warned universities face the risk of legislative intervention unless they provide a robust defence of free speech on campus.”

  • Boambee John says:

    It is interesting that comments about an article On Faith largely address opinions on (so-called) Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warning, with a lesser number about aspects of Christianity.

    Seems we have two different religions being discussed!

    • spangled drongo says:

      More than two, BJ.

      It’s every belief that is not backed by substance.

      Like science, faith is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

    • Chris Warren says:

      Boambee John

      You have to be very weak to see matters in those terms. If so, then our denialists are a “cargo cult” heading into mass suicide as at Jonestown except on a global scale.


      • Neville says:

        Geeezzz Chris just tell us how to fix your so called CAGW problem? But don’t forget your numbers have to add up and you obviously must concentrate on soaring co2 emissions from the non OECD.
        Sweet Fanny Adams co2 growth to be found from the OECD since the 1990s, or hasn’t that dawned on you yet?
        I’ve asked you this question so many times and yet we never get a sensible, coherent reply. And please no more of your infantile nonsense, rather build on your admission that Paris COP 21 is BS and fra-d, by concentrating on China, India and the non OECD.
        Very simple maths, so what’s your problem?

        • Chris Warren says:


          So what’s wrong with just letting GHGs increase forever?

          What’s wrong about deliberately creating conditions on Earth that makes it unlivable for humans?

          What’s wrong about our current generation producing and consuming everything it wants, given that this jeopardises the future for subsequent generations?

          What’s wrong with changing the Earth’s climate faster than the rate evolution can naturally account for?

          What’s wrong with you?

          • Neville says:

            So once again you can’t answer my question? I’m not surprised . Try dipping you toe in and at least make an attempt.

          • Chris Warren says:


            Your question was in bad faith.

            You have been told many times that emissions must equal sinks.

            The actual numbers do not matter.

            ANY continuing increase will increase the temp c-o-n-t-i-n-u-a-l-l-y.

            There is no solution with current technology and world politics. All we can do is try top reduce the rate of GHG emissions in the hope that solutions will be found over the next 100 years when, otherwise, CO2 will be over 580ppm and climbing.

            It looks like you see nothing wrong with letting CO2 climb up and over 500ppm over the next 50 years?

          • spangled drongo says:

            “You have been told many times that emissions must equal sinks.”

            Hey blith, d’ya think Neville can be excused for not paying attention when instructed by cli-sci blitherers who haven’t a clue about what’s happening other than what a computer, fed with their own assumptions, tells them?

            But if you should happen to have any empirical evidence of late, don’t feel shy.

            We’re just busting to hear it.

      • spangled drongo says:

        “If so, then our denialists are a “cargo cult” heading into mass suicide as at Jonestown except on a global scale.”

        What’s that, blith?

        Have you finally woken up to your cargo cult-groupthinker short comings?

        Wow! Could the blith be learning? There’s hope yet.

    • Neville says:

      BJ I haven’t got much time for religions of any sort , but some of my best friends are committed Christians and I admire their work as they try to live a good , decent life helping those who are less fortunate.
      They know my thoughts and they understand my research on the subject has hardened my views towards some of the con merchants that operate a number of the more obvious cults.
      But please don’t start me on the idiot Koran, or the Mormons, or Jehovah’s witnesses etc. Their origins and so called Prophets are so unbelievably stupid and self serving that one wonders what would entice anyone to follow them in the first place.

  • JimboR says:

    “Rutherglen, where there are good data that show changes in site location might explain all the apparent warming. That issue has been debated to death. BoM sticks to its guns, and some allegedly unbiassed experts say there is nothing wrong. I have my doubts, but that is all they are. ”

    So what have you done about those doubts, other than blog about them? What do you think a scientist would do with such doubts? Presumably you’d prefer to have them cleared up one way or the other, or do you rely on them to maintain your position?

    “He never stopped asking questions, until he got to any that might change his position”

  • spangled drongo says:

    Ah! The faith! The faith!

    At least Don is way ahead of the bed-wetters.

    Look at ’em go:

    When the ice is below average, it’s AGW.

    When it is above average, it’s Nat Var:


    Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institution play the computer game. The science you do when you are not doing science:


  • Chris Warren says:

    Some denialists are conspiracy theorists. Example – Monckton …

    See: https://edberry.com/blog/climate-physics/agw-hypothesis/climate-change-hoax-is-a-totalitarian-plan-to-control-you/

    Crazy, crazy conspiracy stuff.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Blith once more cries “denialist” [what has Monckton ever denied without detailed evidence, blith?], shoots a messenger without any empirical evidence and then weeps, “conspiracy”! Oh, dear.

      He also runs from the “Great Debate” simply because he can’t.

      Or answer any questions.

      Did you ever bother to check whether the oceans have ever been acidic, blith?

      When and if you ever find out, please have the decency to admit you were wrong.

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