Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Reductionism part 3 (final): Holism, the Altnernative

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Holism

We might be remiss if we did not mention the major methodical nemesis of reductionism, holism. In some ways holism might be thought of as the opposite of reductionism: often summarized as “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” the relation of the parts to the whole is such that the individual parts do not explain the state of the whole. This includes aspects of emergent properties that can’t be reduced to the parts that produce it. This latter formulation is the Cousin of holism, nonseperablity. This is the idea that the state of the parts do not explain the state of the whole.[1] Holism as a mythodological thesis can best be understood as the idea that “the best way to study the behavior of a complex system is to treat it as a whole.”[2] Holism may also be a metaphysical thesis. In that sense it’s about the relation of the whole to laws that govern it and the independence of the law from the individual parts. There are three types of metaphysical holism:


Ontological Holism: Some objects are not wholly composed of basic physical parts.
Property Holism: Some objects have properties that are not determined by physical properties of their basic physical parts.
Nomological Holism: Some objects obey laws that are not determined by fundamental physical laws governing the structure and behavior of their basic physical parts.[3]


            Apparently most physicists are holists in methodological terms, but there are notable exceptions. Both methodological and metaphysical versions of holism and reductionism are assumed in different ways among physicists.


It is surprisingly difficult to find methodological reductionists among physicists. The elementary particle physicist Steven Weinberg, for example, is an avowed reductionist. He believes that by asking any sequence of deeper and deeper why-questions one will arrive ultimately at the same fundamental laws of physics. But this explanatory reductionism is metaphysical in so far as he takes explanation to be an ontic rather than a pragmatic category. On this view, it is not physicists but the fundamental laws themselves that explain why “higher level” scientific principles are the way they are. Weinberg (1992) explicitly distinguishes his view from methodological reductionism by saying that there is no reason to suppose that the convergence of scientific explanations must lead to a convergence of scientific methods.[4]


Carl Popper rejected holism because it has a long standing relationship with totalitarian thinking. In social terms the individual is determined by the whole, social groupings play out on a massive scale. According to the social holist individuals are formed by the social groupings to which they belong.[5] Popper was critical of holism for this reason, this doesn’t mean that physicist using holism as a methodological tool think in a totalitarian fashion. It’s a matter of how you look at it. The reductionst reducing everything to one thing is totalitarian. The reductionist move of losing phenomena of religious experience and categorizing such experiences which they have never had is totalitarian.
            We clearly see philosophical implications and repercussions in these matters. In physics science interfaces with philosophy to such a degree its hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. It would seem that what is needed a sharper focus on the use of reductionism/holism as a methodology and better fences between philosophy and physics. The problem the spreading ideology of scientism, that seems to detract from any respect for philosophy, while ransacking its territory. One commentator and blogger wrties:


I don’t know what’s the matter with physicists these days. It used to be that they were an intellectually sophisticated bunch, with the likes of Einstein and Bohr doing not only brilliant scientific research, but also interested, respectful of, and conversant in other branches of knowledge, particularly philosophy. These days it is much more likely to encounter physicists like Steven Weinberg or Stephen Hawking, who merrily go about dismissing philosophy for the wrong reasons, and quite obviously out of a combination of profound ignorance and hubris (the two often go together, as I’m sure Plato would happily point out). The latest such bore is Lawrence Krauss, of Arizona State University.[6]
                                                

This is no mystery but what we’ve been observing. There is a tendency even among “regular science” or shall we say “real science” to infuse scientific work with philosophical assumptions. The scientistic/reductionist mentality has fomented the notion that science is the only form of knowledge. Those who take his credo seriously are assaulting real philosophy to clear it out of the way so they can make room for their ideology. If this is the only form of knowledge it’s proponents are clearing away all the non knowledge. The only problem this only knowledge is made up of different approaches to philosophy and other disciplines.

This is by no means an exhaustive account of holism. It’s very complex and just doesn’t allow for streamlined summary. There’s just too much there to justice to the topic. I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss briefly one upshot of holism which is downward causation.

Downward Causation

            Systems theory has been construed as anti-reductionism. In this stance it says “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” Reductionism says that we can know the nature of the whole by knowing the nature of the parts, because the whole is nothing else but the sum of the parts and can be reduced to the parts. The basic assumption of systems theory in its anti-reductionist stance is that because the whole has emergent properties it is more than the sum of its parts thus it can’t be reduced to the parts. This means that mind can’t be reduced to brain. “Emergence” is sometimes a veg idea thus some thinkers prefer to call it “downward causation.”[7] Downward causation is the opposite of the reductionist premise: “The behavior of the parts is determined by the behavior of the whole.”[8]  “Top-down causation refers to the effects on components of organized systems that cannot be fully analyzed in terms of component-level behavior but instead requires reference to the higher-level system itself.”[9]
            There are five types of downward causation or “top-down” causation: (1) Algorithmic top down causation; (2) Non adaptive information control; (3) adaptive selection; (4) adaptive information control; (5) Intelligent top down.[10] Random processes allow all of these forms of causation to work at the same time without negating other causal processes. Each of these five forms of causation takes place in the human brain.[11] As an explanation of number one, (1) Algorithmic: Ellis tells us that “physics is the basic science underlying physical reality, characterized by mathematical descriptions that allow predictions of physical behavior.”[12] He raises the question are other forms of causation merely epiphenomenal grounded in purely physical causation? This is the view of strong reductionsits. He argues that the other forms of causation do exist in the real world and that they are acting within the framework provided by Aristotle of the four kinds of causes. He gives a table that provides a simplified scheme of hierarchy of levels of reality. “Each lower level underlies what happens at each higher level in terms of causation.” Level 1: particle physics, level 2: atomic physics, level 3: chemistry, Level 4: Biochemistry, level 5:, cell biology, level 6:, physiology, level 7: psychology. Level 8: Sociology/Economics/politics.[13]
            (2)


Downward Causation also contains
Other dierections.

But downward causation does not assert that the only direction of causation is downward. There is causation both ways; the whole is to some extent limited to the parts and vice versa. The example that Heylighen uses is that of a snow flake. Snow flakes all contain a six point similarity but within that similarity, which is the whole because it’s universally found, each crystal contains it’s totally individual shape. The shape is the result of the chemical composition of water molecules but the shape is confined to the whole.[14]

The appearance of this "two way causation" can be explained in the following way. Imagine a complex dynamic system. The trajectories of the system through its state space are constrained by the "laws" of the dynamics. These dynamics in general determine a set of "attractors": regions in the state space the system can enter but not leave. However, the initial state of the system, and thus the attractor the system will eventually reach is not determined. The smallest fluctuations can push the system either in the one attractor regime or the other. However, once an attractor is reached, the system loses its freedom to go outside the attractor, and its state is strongly constrained.
Now equate the dynamics with the rules governing the molecules, and the attractor with the eventual crystal shape. The dynamics to some degree determines the possible attractors (e.g. you cannot have a crystal with a 7-fold symmetry), but which attractor will be eventually reached is totally unpredictable from the point of view of the molecules. It rather depends on uncontrollable outside influences. But once the attractor is reached, it strictly governs the further movement of the molecules.
The same principle applies to less rigid, mechanistic systems such as living organisms. You cannot have organisms whose internal functioning flouts the rules of physics and chemistry. However, the laws of physics are completely insufficient to determine which shapes or organizations will evolve in the living world. Once a particular biological organization has emerged, it will strongly constrain the behavior of its components.
 For example, the coding of amino acids by specific triplets of bases in the DNA is not determined by any physical law. A given triplet might as well be translated into a multitude of other amino acids than the one chosen in the organisms we know. But evolution happens to have selected one specific "attractor" regime where the coding relation is unambiguously fixed, and transgressions of that coding will be treated as translation errors and therefore eliminated by the cell's repair mechanisms. [15]


Downward causation extends from a level above a given system downward to affect that system. When the direction of causal influence extends from beyond the system downward to affect the system we have downward causation. That means the system can’t be explained totally in terms of its individual parts. In terms of consciousness it means consciousness can’t be explained entirely in terms of brain chemistry.[16] Cartesian dualism envisioned only two levels to reality but in modern terms modern emergantism pictures the world in multiple levels. The Cartesian levels were consciousness and extension, but…


…In contemporary emergentism the world is pictured in terms of a multilayered structure, with microphysical entities at the bottom and with higher-level entities (such as molecules, cells, organisms, and social groups) being mereologically composed of these lower-level entities, yet characterized by a set of properties distinctive of the relevant higher level. In a way, so-called nonreductive physicalism, which more or less became the received view in the philosophy of mind of the last quarter of the twentieth century, may be seen as nothing but a modern application of classical emergentism within the philosophy of mind. Although it holds that, ontologically speaking, all there is are physical entities and mereological aggregates thereof, it argues that psychological properties are irreducibly distinct from the underlying physical and biological properties.[17]


            There are two other major examples ideological reductionism: (1) Brain/mind; mind is reducible to brain function. (2) Determinism; free will reducible to an illusion by determinism.

Summary and Conclusion:

            Reductionism is a valid scientific methodology, but it is more than that. Science itself is infused with ideological and philosophical implication. There is no pure human endeavor that is all knowledge and no politics. Reductionism is basically traceable to the Greeks and implies a metaphysics that would reduce all reality to one thing: in modern time in the scientistic circles that one thing can only be science. This philosophical tendency issues forth in rhetorical strategies that empirical tricks of reducing, such as labeling the loosing the phenomena. The alternative is holism, which offers philosophical alternative as well as methodological and rhetorical options. Holism opens up our thinking to a vast possibility of multidimensional reality. It offers explanations of emergent properties and top down causation that rule out much of the reductionist’s repertoire.




[1] Healey, Richard, "Holism and Nonseparability in Physics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .visited 4/25/2012
[2] ibid
[3] ibid
[6] Massimo Piglicci, “Rationally Speaking: “Lawrence Krauss: Antoher Physcist With an Anti-Philosophy Complex.” Truth from Argument Among Friends. Blog book Review URL: http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.ca/2012/04/lawrence-krauss-another-physicist-with.html visisted 4/27/2012
[7] Francis Heylighen, “Downward Causation.” Principia Cybernetica web On line resource. Sept 15, 1995, summarizing work of Donald T. Campbell 1974. Heylighen is research Professor at Free University of Brussels and director of Global Brain Institiute. URL: http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/DOWNCAUS.html   visited 5/9/12
  • see also Campbell D.T. (1990): "Levels of Organization, Downward Causation, and the Selection-Theory Approach to Evolutionary Epistemology", in: Scientific Methodology in the Study of Mind: evolutionary epistemology, E. Tobach and G. Greenberg (ed.), (Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ), p. 1-17.
  • Campbell D.T. (1974): "'Downward causation' in Hierarchically Organized Biological Systems", in: Studies in the Philosophy of Biology, F.J. Ayala & T. Dobzhansky (ed.), (Macmillan Press), p. 179-186

[8] ibid
[9] Mary Ann Meyers “Top Down Causation: An integrating theme within and across the sciences.”  A symposium by the John Templeton foundation, Participnats from the Royal Society,  Contact Mary Ann Meyers Senior Fellow, 2010, website: URL http://humbleapproach.templeton.org/Top_Down_Causation/index.html  visited sept 25,2012.
[10] George F.R. Ellis, “Top Down Causation and The Human Brain,” Downward Causation and the Neurobiology of Free Will: Understanding Complex Systems. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Verlag,  Ed.Nancy Murphy, George F.R. Ellis, Timothy O. O’Connor, 2009, 63
[11] Ibid.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Ibid., Table 4.1
[14] Meyers, “top Down Causation…” Symposium, Op. Cit.
[15] ibid.
[16] Gale Cengage, “Downward causation,” Encyclopedia of Science and Religion. New York: Macmillan, Wentzel Van Huyssteen edit 2003. quoted in Enotes, Downward Causatoin, on line resource for teachers:
[17] Ibid.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Reducationism (part 2): Scientific Methodology, Atheist Philosohy, Rhetorical Ploy.

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 I resume my three part discussion of reductionism as a philosophy and a rhetorical strategy of atheism. Scientific reductionism may, at times, be a valid scientific method, but as a philosophy applied broadly to the whole world reductionism only serves to impose ideological view point of scientism. (see part 1). In this segment I show reductionism as a rhetorical strategy of atheists. I show philosopher Wyne Proudfoot using it to dismiss religious experience as a valid option. I also deal with other issues.


Reducing Religious Experience:


            Proudfoot makes a certain amount of valid criticism of mystical experience so I wont bother with discussing everything. I want to focus on those aspects where he uses re-labeling, re-describing and losing the phenomena. Losing the Phenomena is a particular tactic of reductionism. It means some behavior or experience will be taken apart and so reduced to the point that it will no reflect the phenomena that makes it what it is. Then the reductionist is able to say “see there’s nothing there.” This essentially what they are doing when they reduce “self actualization” to “getting happy.” They lose the phenomena involved in transformation. A simple version of this is seen above where some reduce a long list of transformative characteristics to “getting happy.” Proudfoot does a much ore complex version of the same thing.  He goes beyond methodological reduction to ideological redicutionism. He begins this by correction of Schleiermacher’s language. This is also an example of re-labeling. One of the aspects of mystical experience is that it is said to be beyond word, thought or image. This is said to be a pure moment where the experience proceeds any attempt to describe it. Of course this must be understood in a particular sense and is probably a misstatement because to say hat one has a sense of the numinous or an all pervasive sense of love, a sense of the divine, one must use words, thoughts and images.  Obviously then the experience is not so entirely beyond such our understanding in once sense, that we can label it in certain ways. But Proudfoot exploits that seeming contradiction then uses the inaccuracy of the original experiencer’s label to pull off a bait and switch. He essentially argues that what we believe about an experience determines the nature of the experience. We can see this in his statement “The belief that a particular moment of consciousness is immediate and prior to all concepts and beliefs may well be constitutive of the experience..”[1] Constitutive would mean that it is made up of more simple concepts tht are used tu build the construct like an edifice, then in tern becomes another building blog in a more complex edifice. That means its’ not just a pure moment of experience but what is being experience is conditioned by prior understanding.
            There is probably some extent to which that is true. Yet we see a bit of a bait and switch here. He didn’t say if the moment is immediate he said if we believe the moment is immediate. He’s changing the idea form the actuality of a pure moment that really be experienced to ideas about experience that we might hold. Perhaps we can’t have a puree movement that is not conditioned in some way, that doesn’t mean that the experience itself can’t contain this aspect that is not expected and that in some way exceeds understanding. He’s not concerned with the actual experience but with losing the phenomena and re-labeling. In other words what we believe about an experience may determine that experience. That may sound valid and probably is in some ways. If we believe going to the Dentist is no big thing we may not amplify the pain in our minds and we may find it less painful than if we dread it and worry and think it a very painful experience. The problem is this gives the impression (and excuse) that any time we experience something of the divine it must be conditioned by expectation and it ignores experiences when they are new, when they are totally unexpected and it ignore reflection upon the past. If all ideas of experience are read back into the memory then there is no memory that is unconditioned by belief. This is not necessarily the case. If we look for ti to be the case or dogmatically assert that it always is then we lose the phenomena because ignore the aspects of those times when it is not. By Proudfoot’s logic we have no experience. We never did love we never did enjoy, we don’t really miss our parents, this is all back reading into a moment that never was. The tactic becomes a means of knocking down the experience of being human and replacing it with an ideology about someone else’s ideas of what being human means. Proudfoot is going to use this bait and switch to wipe out the concept of religious experience completely. In fact he actually will wipe out all experience.
            Proudfoot  re-labels Schleiermacher’s view of emotions and feelings from an honest appraisal to “apologetics.” By re-labeling it in this way he moves it out of the category of an empirical approach to something of which we must be suspicious. He observes that religious experience has come to be associated with a set of experiences that transcend the verbal, according to “some quarters.” He finds that there are two reasons why this is so. One is descriptive, the other apologetic. The descriptive is the need to find commonality among “different experiences we call religious.”  The second reason is to distinguish “religious” experience from other kinds of experience. This latter reason (2) he dubs “apologetic.” Now Schleiermacher believed that religion is more deeply entrenched in the lives and communities of people than are doctrines. Feelings are more basic and more entrenched in life than words on paper. This probably seems pretty reasonable to most people but to Proudfoot it is an apologetic ploy. In calling one reason “descriptive” and the other “apologetic” he is trying to cast a pall on the whole process of attempting to make a distinction between religious and other kinds of experiences. This is important for his strategy because it will enable the switch from religious experience feelings to all feelings.[2] If we can describe commonalities between religions does that not automatically imply that we can distinguish between religious and non-religious feelings? If not then how can we find commonalities? If so, then why is no. (2) apologetic? It seems that both are equally necessary to one another, and that both are equally apologetic and equally descriptive. Of course even if there is an apologetic going on that does not mean there are no religious experiences. But setting that up is part of the hermeneutic of suspicion and losing the phenomena. After page 78 he slides in to a critique of all feelings in general.
            Proudfoot uses the example of Stephen Bradley, an example of a dramatic religious experienced found in William James Verities of Religious Experience.[3] The example Proudfoot selects seems to be that of a man who is having a heart attack and takes it for religious conversion. He is in fact converted by the experience. The experience was brought on while at a revival meeting. Proudfoot centers on the physical phenomena, the man’s heart speeding up very fast and beating like a trip hammer, but says nothing about any other aspects, such as any special feelings or anything that might have put Bradley in a mood to repent. The assessment is entirely in terms of physiological phenomena then of course analyzed as the recipient labeling physiological phenomena so he would know what to think. Then that is taken as proof proof that internal states are nothing more than labeling physiological phenomena. Of course all he’s done is mine the data. He ignores other aspects. Of course most mystical experiences do not contain such overt physical phenomena. The subject does speak of being filled with “the joy and grace of the Lord.” These aspects are ignored he doesn’t think about them at all. These are obviously the feelings that produced the idea that he was being saved. So it’s clear Proudfoot ignores the aspects that count against his view. He only pays attention to the aspects that confirm the labeling theory. Proudfoot says of this instance:  “Bradley, like so many prospective devotees before and since, could not understand his feelings in naturalistic terms. Religious symbols offer him an explanation that was compatible both with his experience and with his antecedent beliefs.”[4] One problem with this is that his antecedent beliefs were not religious. He even says “had any person told me prior to this that I could have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in the manner in which I did I could not have believed it.”[5] This actually disproves the labeling hypothesis. Moreover, since this was a conversion experience it’s important because it disputes the “placebo” argument. Religious experience is said to be a placebo, but placebos requires expectations and Bradely had none. Many such religious experiences are conversion experience with no prior expectation.
            We see reductionism at work here in a major way. The reductionist is just reading the situation in terms favorable to his theory, even at the experience of losing phenomena by ignoring aspects that don’t fit the theory. The classic sense of the phrase “losing phenomena” means when the reductive process is finished the phenomena has been explained away and lost rather than experienced. We might suspect, however, that a great of reductionism is helping along the process of losing the phenomena by ignoring part of it. There’s another case where Proudfoot does very similar things. [6]

Other reductionist arguments

            When atheists make the general assumption that there is no God, as a matter of  course, they are reducing the God belief phenomena to naturalistic proportions as a consequence of this assumption, weather they have proof or not. Thus they are employing techniques of reduction to make this move. The old atheist saw that religion was invented by priests and leaders for social control and that after life is just a reward and punishment system designed to enforce the social control is an ancient form of atheist reductionism.[7] This approach evolved into a psychological reductionism in the ninetieth century with Freud and Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity. [8] In more recent times these tactics have developed into an attempt at evolutionary reductionism. That is the nature of evolution is used to account for the evolution of religious belief in humans, thus the sense of the numinous that has guided religious experience is reduce to evolutionary biology. Of course this is based entirely upon assumption. Dawkins argues that the “deeper” explanation will be the one that explains why people are susceptible to the allure of religion. He contends that this more fundamental than the social control argument (also assumed) because it explains the basis upon which people are vulnerable to social control and upon which people hit upon such approaches to social control. [9] Of course all of this is assumed prior to any sort of proof and without ever obtaining any. Both Dawkins and Dennett, major contributors to the New Atheist arsenal, draw upon evolutionary psychology to offer a biologically reductionst account of religious origins.[10]
            Both Dawkins and Dennett are working from a prior assumption by Pascal Boyer[11] The theory says that religion is a by product, not directed selected for but a “misfiring by product,” whatever that means. Presumably they are thought to be the result of some dysfunction of brain chemistry, since all of human thought is reduced to that. Moreover, “Drawing upon evolutionary psychology, Dawkins suggests that if the brain is an aggregate of organs or 'modules' for dealing with particular sets of data, religion can be regarded as a by-product of the mis- or over-firing of one or more of these modules..”[12]

According to this explanation of religion, religion has a survival advantage insofar as it is a product of the human tendency to 'overshoot' in attributing agency - since from an evolutionary perspective it is better to be wrong in attributing too much agency to things in the environment than another agent's dinner due to a failure to attribute enough agency (e.g., to predators), the religious probably had a survival advantage: 'At the root of human belief in gods lies an instinct on a hair trigger: the disposition to attribute agency - beliefs and desires and other mental states - to anything complicated that moves. The false alarms generated by our overactive disposition to look for agents wherever the action is are the irritants around which the pearls of religion grow.’ Dawkins concurs with Dennett that the 'intentional stance' has survival value, pointing for example to experimental studies showing that children are especially likely to adopt the intentional stance towards inanimate (but moving) objects.[13]

The main problem so far is that this really doesn’t tell us why belief should count for survival. So people are more likely to attribute consciousness and intention to something if it moves. But how dose that enable survival? Such a view might explain why humans moved in the direction of belief in a god like their father, but it doesn’t explain religion overall. We will deal more extensively with the nature of religion in the final chapter. The main point is that religion is not based upon explaining things. This is the assumption that scientists make because it enables them to do their reductionist techniques and also because that is their main concern. That doesn’t mean it’s the main concern of religious people. It seems it might be more helpful to survival if we weren’t even conscious. Attributing intuition to innate moving things might just get a whole tribe killed. What if they think volcano god just won’t be satisfied until they are all dead? This seems to be an assumption necessitated to legitimize the reductionist assumptions but based upon no proof or logic. It also seems to ignore the basic motivations of religious belief. Of course it does this because it has to in order to justify reduction. They can’t accept the idea that there is a sense of the numinous because that would mean there’s something more there, an added dimension besides the material. Moreover, religious experiences are a complex, diverse, and rich in both nuance and texture. They are not surfaces level aspects of human being but indicative of the existential depth of human being. They cannot be reduced to mere physical workings of brain chemistry without losing the phenomena.
            The sense of the numinous is correlated with mystical experience. The sense that there some special aspect of reality, perhaps vested in an object or an activity (prayer); a sense of truth and all pervasive love, or the sense of meaning or ones in all things. This is the basis of religious experience. Rudolf Otto called this the “sense of the Holy.” Holiness is a part of this special aspect. Otto used Latin term to show the extremely special quality of the sense. The numinous is  wholly other, entirely different from anything we experience. It provokes a reaction of silence, sometimes terror. Otto used the mysterium tremendum et fascinans. Tremendus mystery and fascination. He used the Latin terms to emphasize the unique nature of the experience. The experience is both terrifying and fascinating that is merciful and gracious. The term numinous is from the Latin noumen meaning the power implicit in a sacred object.[14]
            The sense of the numinous is part of mystical consciousness and saying that it is correlated with mystical experience is to say that empirically it has been found in connection with it. The scientific basis for understanding mystical expense is provided b the “mysticism scale” (Or “M-scale”) develop by Ralph Hood Jr. and validated by him and others in specific research.[15] I have dealt with Hood and M-scale and the scientific basis for the study of mystical consciousness at length in The Trace of God.[`16] The corroboration of Hood’s studies demonstrates a universal nature to mystical experience.[17] Hood’s work on the M-scale is designed to validate the theory of W.T. Stace, and was able to do so with corroboration from several studies done in many cultures. Instead of dealing with the nature of the experience itself, with its nuances and it’s texture, the reducitonists lose the phenomena by focus upon assertions involving causes. They assert that the cause must be chemical since the nature of the experience can only be epiphenomenal and illusory. This is the same trick we see above, although a more sophisticated version, where by the atheist reduces the complex set of results to one concept of “getting happy.” There are two aspects of the research on mystical experience that the reductionisms are overlooking and that really make the case against reductionism: (1) The effects of having had the experience; (2) the universal nature of the experience.
            These two major points form the basis of the apologetic arguments that can be made based upon religious experience, and they also form the basis of the defense that the studies provide the believer against charges of religion as a coercive source of mental illness, derangement, or pathology. The studies that indicate that religious experience results in a healthy psychological state such as the studies of Nobel and Wuthnow on self actualization listed above make up a huge body of empirical scientific work. This body of work stretches back 60 years to the 1960s, and culminates in Hood’s M-scale research which brings all the findings into focus with the means of scientific control on mystical experience.

The Wuthnow study was an example of a study using questionnaires. Wuthnow collected questionnaires from a systematic, random sample of 1000 people in the San Francisco-Oakland area. He asked them about transcendent experiences, revealing contact with the sacred, beauty of nature, harmony with the universe, whether it was within the last year or before, and if it made a lasting difference in their lives. For those who said they had had contact with the sacred: 68% of those experiencing within one year said life is very meaningful, while 46% of those (contact with sacred) not within one year answered this way. Forty-six percent of those (contact with sacred not in the last year) said yes but it was not lasting, and 39% and 36% respectively said they had not had such an experience or they did not want to have such an experience. "Knowing the purpose of life" applied to 82% of those experiencing within one year and 72% of those whose experiences were further back than that, compared with 18% and 21% for those who had not had or did not want an experience. The figures for the other categories (sensing beauty of nature, harmony with the universe, etc.) were similar. One of the more compelling findings was that 41% of past-year experiencers and 39% of those whose experiences were further back than one year felt greater self-assurance, compared with just 22% and 31% of the no-experience groups.[18]


In Macnamara’s ground breaking collection of essays, Where God and science meet, Ralph Hood Jr. links psychologists convinced of the falsehood of religious belief with the reductive impulse.[19] In comparing mystics who either accept religious interpretations and traditions or who reject religion in the name of a deeper “spirituality” Hood finds that the experiences are the same when the specific terms identifying tradition are controlled for.[20] This means that the experiences are universal as other studies have found commonalities transcending specific traditions and that all religions have mystics.[21] The specific arguments these studies are used to back up are not important here. Just to be clear about the issues, however, I ague that because the dramatic positive effects, such as self actualization, are identified consistently with religious experiences there’s a valid reason to understand these experiences as “the trace of God,” like the track or footprint in the snow they are indicative of divine presence and experience because the long term positive nature of the effects can’t accounted for in naturalistic terms. The second argument is that due to the navigational abilities offered (emotional stability and strength to get through the trails of life) as well as regular consistent and inter-subjective nature of them, they fit the criteria we habitually use to understand the real nature of experiences anyway. They studies do show that these experience are regular, consistent and inter-subjective, at least in the sense that they are found in all times and cultures and shared by all faiths.
            The point here is not to argue for the validity or benefit of religion but to show what reductionism misses and how it loses phenomena. As we have seen already Dawkins and Dennett both make abductive claims about the origin of religion: they argue that reductionism enables them to best explain why people are susceptible to religious claims. They begin with the assumption that there is no valid basis to effects which would tip us off as to origin. In approaching the issue abductively they claim to demonstrate an explanation that answers the conditions we find empirically existing. Not to say that abduction is necessarily reductionistic, yet no attempt is made account for the full texture of the experiences. Instead the experiences are assumed illusory, reduced to “happy” and the cause is put over as the only way to determine truth. Why assume people are “susceptible” to religion as though it’s some sort of false claim that hoodwinks people? The fact that the effects are transformative is enough to indicate that it’s valuable and positive. If it is such then it’s not likely to be a lie or a false claim. Seldom does it work out that lies and false claims are very good for us. At this point the atheist will assert that an advantage is not a valid argument for the truth of a hypothesis. That’s not true in science because it is assumed always that working is an indication of truth content. If we ask the scientist “how do you know science is giving us truth?” they will “it works.” Workability is one of the major assertions about truth content. Barabra Forrest in the academic journal Philo states:

I conclude that the relationship between methodological and philosophical naturalism, while not one of logical entailment, is the only reasonable metaphysical conclusion given (1) the demonstrated success of methodological naturalism, combined with (2) the massive amount of knowledge gained by it, (3) the lack of a method or epistemology for knowing the supernatural, and (4) the subsequent lack of evidence for the supernatural. The above factors together provide solid grounding for philosophical naturalism, while supernaturalism remains little more than a logical possibility.[22]

That’s a fancy way of saying science works so we can trust it to be true. The point is that she is equating working with truth content. The attack that science must rely upon philosophy and naturalism is a philology that must draw upon metaphysics is given a happy faced and turned into an assault upon Supernaturalism on the grounds that naturalism works to supply the fortress of facts while Supernaturalism doesn’t. In other words, science works so we know it’s true. We just saw that religious experience works to do what religion is supposed to do, make life better. That workability is reduced to “happy” and to other fleeting issue that are easy to ignore, and causality is put over as the only important aspect because reductionists can actually correlate that with naturalistic processes through their methods without challenging their own assumptions.
            There are our old friends the popular level new atheists such as the blogger for “why evolution is true.” In “refuting” the works of a literary critic (Stanley fish) who argues that science can’t furnish a priroi reasoning as justification for it’s theories he responds:

Fish’s big mistake: the reasons undergirding that belief are not that we can engage in a lot of philosophical pilpul to justify using reason and evidence to find out stuff about the universe. Rather, the reasons are that it works: we actually can understand the universe using reason and evidence, and we know that because that method has helped us build computers and airplanes, go to the moon, cure diseases, improve crops, and so on.  All of us agree on these results.  We simply don’t need a philosophical justification, and I scorn philosophers who equate religion and science because we don’t produce one.  Religion doesn’t lead to any greater understanding of reality. Indeed, they can’t even demonstrate to everyone’s satisfaction that a deity exists at all!  The unanimity around evidence that antibiotics curse infections, that the earth goes around the sun, and that water has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, is not matched by any unamity of the faithful about what kind of deity there is, what he/she/it is like, or how he/she/it operates.  In what way has religion, which indeed aims to give us “understanding” has really produced any understanding?[23]

He says it pretty explicitly, science works to provide the knowledge and religion doesn’t. Except the studies I’ve been discussing prove that it does. Atheists assume providing the goods is a sign of truth content, thus they should consider the truth content of religion. Yet the reductionstic approach rules out the possibility before the data is even presented. Look for example at the way the blogger reduces the issue to physical evidence because that’s the kind his method can procure. Other kinds of working such as making one a better person are not important because atheists don’t’ truth feelings and accept the thesis that we can be better people through religion. No need to observe that religion works for the things it sets out to do. They are not the things we want to accept as valid anyway, so we can lose the phenomena. The way science really works and they way it’s fans think it works aer often two different things. As shown in the chapter on fortress of facts, with Popper, science doesn’t prove theories but furnishes explanations. The debunking ability of science clears away competing explaining and we take the one’s fit best, not the one’s that “prove truth.” Yet according to the studies of Hood the common core theory of mysticism is the explanation that best explains the results of mysticism. Hood is actually a social scientist (psychology) and his works is scientific. It’s the “new atheists” ideologues who reject as not scientific because it doesn’t back their fortress of facts but threatens to offer explanations that are not negative toward religion.





[1]  Proudfoot, ibid, 13.

[2] Ibid 75,76

[3] Proudfoot, Ibid, 103, quoting from William James, the Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nautre, being the Gifford Lectures Delivered at Edinburgh, 1901-1902. New York and Bombay, Longmans Green and Company 1905. 190-193.  

[4] Ibid, 104

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] “Investigating Atheism.” Online resource, Researchers at Faculty of Divinity at Cambrige and Oxtord Universites,URL:  http://www.investigatingatheism.info/religionnatural.html  visited 4/17/2012.
This sight is the product of a group of academics from the faculty of Divinity at both Cambridge and Oxford, it takes no stand either way on the topic. On this point they site Winfried Schroeder, Ursprunge des Atheismus: Untersuchungen zur Metaphysik- und Religionskritik des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts (Tubingen: Frommann-Holzboog, 1998), 213.

[8] Furerbach referenced in ibid.

[9] Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (London: Bantam Press, 2006), 169. sited in “Investigating Atheism,” ibid.

[10] Dawkins, ibid, and Daniel Dennett, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (New York: Penguin, 2006), 115. both sited in “Investigating Atheism.”

[11] Pascal Boyer, Religion Explained: The Human Instincts That Fashion Gods, Spirits and Ancestors (London: Vintage, 2002). Sited in “Investigating Atheism,” no page reference made.

[12] Investigating Atheism sitting Dawkins, ibid, 179.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Bernard Spilka, Ralph Hood Jr., Bruce Hunsberger, Richard Gorsuch. The Psychology of Religion: An Empirical Approach. New York, London: The Guilford Press, 2003. 292

[15] Ibid.

[16] Hinman, Trace…, ibid. (see chapter four, “Studies”).

[17] ibid

[18] Wuthnow, Robert (1978). "Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests." Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18 (3), 59-75.

[19] Ralph Hood Jr. “The Common Core Thesis in the Study of Mysticism,” Where God and science meet, P, Westport, CT: Praeger,. McNamar (Ed.), Vol. 3,. 119-138.

[20] Ibid, 134-35

[21] D. Lukoff,. The diagnosis of mystical experiences with psychotic features. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, (1985). 17(2), 155-181.

[22] Barbara Forrest, Methodological Naturalism and Philosophical Naturism, Clarifying the Connection,” Philo, Vol. 3 no 2 (Fall-Winter 2000) 7-29, Abstract.


[23] “Why Evolution Is True, “ Blog, online resource, March 31, 2012. URL: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/stanley-fish-misunderstands-science-makes-it-a-faith-equivalent-to-religion/ visited 4/24/2012.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Did Mark Invent the Empty Tomb?

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Giotto's Resurrection

The crux of the Easter faith is the empty tomb. Atheists and sketics believe they have proved that Mark made up the empty tomb.Peter Kirby once defended the idea, claiming a huge number of scholars agreed with that. I'm not sure if he still holds to that or not. The paper is still up and the argument was made so I will  refute it. Peter Kirby once wrote:

Several schoalrs doubt the historicity of the empty tomb. I intend to set out the reasons for disbelieving the empty tomb story. I will argue that the empty tomb narrative is the invention of the author Mark. This conclusion will be supported by showing that all the reports of the empty tomb are dependent upon Mark, that there are signs of fictional creation in the empty tomb narrative, that the empty tomb story as told by Mark contains improbabilities, and that traditions of the burial and appearances support a reconstruction of the events that excludes the discovery of the empty tomb.[1]
 In response I am to focus just one aspect, the idea that the empty tomb is the invention of Mark. I will demonstrate that the empty tomb existed in Christian preaching before Mark was written.

Skeptical schoalrs argue that because Mark's gospel ends with no sightings of the resin Jesus Mark must have made up the empty tomb. They reason that the longer ending of Mark was made to cover up the insufficiency of the orignial.

This original ending of Mark was viewed by later Christians as so deficient that not only was Mark placed second in order in the New Testament, but various endings were added by editors and copyists in some manuscripts to try to remedy things. The longest concocted ending, which became Mark 16:9-19, became so treasured that it was included in the King James Version of the Bible, favored for the past 500 years by Protestants, as well as translations of the Latin Vulgate, used by Catholics. This meant that for countless millions of Christians it became sacred scripture–but it is patently bogus.[2]

He's just reading in a motivation to fit the facts. BTW the longer ending includes the snake handler passage. There is no attempt to consider evidence that the Gospel really didn't end at verse 8. He just assumes it must have becuase that would give us a reason to assume his position on Mark's invention. Thus he reads into the motivations for making other endings the motives he needs to see to bolster his argument. He tries to illicit Bruce Metzger to help out:

The evidence is clear. This ending is not found in our earliest and most reliable Greek copies of Mark. In A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Bruce Metzger writes: “Clement of Alexandria and Origen [early third century] show no knowledge of the existence of these verses; furthermore Eusebius and Jerome attest that the passage was absent from almost all Greek copies of Mark known to them.”1 The language and style of the Greek is clearly not Markan, and it is pretty evident that what the forger did was take sections of the endings of Matthew, Luke and John (marked respectively in red, blue, and purple above) and simply create a “proper” ending.[3]
 All that proves is that those particular verses are not fond in any Ms that is not proof that the Gospel really ended at v8, or if it did, why it did. There is no particular reason to assume that we know why and just becuase it did end at 8 does not establish a logical reason to believe that Mark made up the empty tomb. The "added verses are 16:9-20." There are scholarly arguments that they are valid. "...[T]he witnesses which bring the verses into question are few, and that the verses are quoted by church Fathers very early, even in the second century." [4] F.H.A. Scrivener makes arguments for vv9-20 as the proper ending. This is an older source quoted at length by Marlowe.[5] My purpose is not argue for the ending of Mark, I wont belabor that point. No logical reason is given as to why a short abrupt ending means Mark made up the tomb.

Another point that is often made is the lack resurrection sightings in Mark. That is also not proof that the tomb was made up. We are conditioned by Matthew, Luke and John to think that there must be sightings and that they must be certain ones and come out in a certain way. Since Mark was written before Matthew, Luke, or John he didn't do it the way they did. My view is that what we have in the ending in verse 8 may well be the original ending, but it reflects not a made up tomb but the uncertainty of the very period before the community sorted out all the differing testimonies. They didn't understand the event so they don't talk about it that much.

We know there was more than one version of Mark. The Version we have today is not the original version. There are at least three we know of by the end of the first century. The concept of the Ur Mark, a pre-Mark version of Mark that was latter corrected and verged into two versions, one used by Matthew and one by Luke. Neil points out that the study for an "UrMark" the Gospel behind Mark, is really very old, stretching back into the 19th century.[6] But Helmut Koster traces the actual textual criticism to show that there is clearly a Gospel behind the Gospel of Mark. This primary material is much older than the version of Mark as we know it, and there is good reason to believe that it is of great historical significance.

The Gospel of Mark as we know it, draws upon many sources. One such source already mentioned is the Passion Narrative which all the Canonical and the Gospel of Peter draw upon. But Koseter also shows that there was another whole version of Mark that was apparently not known to Matthew and Luke. Whether or not this is the same source as that of the passion narrative we cannot say. In addition to this other version, there are several other sources which can be seen in the Gospel. These may be sources used by the original or they may be those drawn upon by the redactor who put the work into the form in which we know it.


"External evidence for two different versions of Mark circulating at an early date can be derived only from the observation that Luke does not reproduce the section Mark 6:45-8:26. Luke 19: 19= Mark 8:27 follows directly upon Luke 9:17= Mark 6:44. Luke may have used a copy of Mark that had accidentally lost a few pages. However there are some special features which differentiate this particular from the rest of Mark's Gospel. It begins with Jesus going to Bethsaida (Mark 6:45) and ends with the healing of a blind man from Bethsaida (Mark 8:22). Thereafter Jesus goes to Cesaria Philippi and the town of Bethsaida never occurs again the Gospel. This section is also of a number of other doublets of Markan pericopes. 6:44-54 the walking on the water is a variant of the stilling of the tempest (Mark 4:35-41). 8:1-10 the feeding of the 4000 is a secondary elaboration of the feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6:30-44)...The cumulative evidence of these peculiarities may allow the conclusion that an earlier version of Mark, which was used by Luke did not yet contain the Besiada section (Mark 6:45-8:26) whereas Matthew knew the expanded version which must have come into existence very soon after the original composition of the original gospel."[7]


Koester doesn't' argue for a complete UrMarkus ..as a more permeative version of the Gospel, but this evidence does suggest different versions of the same Gospel. While we can't find an UrMarkus, we can see clearly that the redactor who first formed the Gospel used several sources. The passion narrative has been mentioned, moreover, a miracle story source that is compatible with John, two written documents of saying sources are also recognizable. These include a collection of parables and one of apocalyptic material. (p.287)

But does this mean that Mark [the primary redactor] is merely a "cut and paste" which destorts previous sources and collects rumors and legends with no historical value? Where the skeptic sees this aspect, Koester does not. What Koester sees is a faithful copyist who has collected materials known to be of value to the community, and forged them into a certain order for the purposes of edification to the community.

"Mark [the primary redactor] is primarily a faithful collector. In so far as he is also an author he has created an overriding general framework for the incorporation of traditional material but he has still left most of his material intact.His Gospel is therefore a most important witness for an early stage for the formative development of the traditions about Jesus. The world which these traditions describe rarely goes beyond Galilee, Judea and Jerusalem, which is not the world of the author [primary redactor] or the readers for whom the book was intended. Mark's information about Palestine and its people is fairly accurate whenever he leaves his sources intact. But from his redaction of the sources it is clear that the author is not a Jewish Chrstistian and that he does not live in Palestine."[8]

That would explain that frightened, reverenced, alarming rushed quality that one gets reading those passages. The mysterious men in white (angles?) and the lack of sightings. Not becuase there were none but perhaps becasue they didn't know which group to believe. If James was claiming to be the first to see him,[9] (scholarly consensus holds that this is a very early creed)[10] then the claim is made about the women there may have been confusion about which group had primacy. You have two groups of women, the women who stayed at the tomb and Mary Madeline who apparently left early to get John and Peter then came back after then and had one of the sightings.[11] That would explain the confusion about naming which women went to the tomb.[12] My argument is that v8 could well be the proper ending, but this is not proof that Mark made up the tomb, a better reason for the brevity of the chapter is the copy that ends there reflects the Ur Mark which did end there. The longer version may have started with one of the other two versions that are quoted in the synoptic.

The major arguments for Mark inventing the empty tomb, apart from the brevity of his ending,are it's lack of presence in other sources, both Gospels (except for those dependent upon Mark--Matt and Luke) and it's absence from Paul's work.[13]Paul's lack of mention I exlpain in a similar way to Mark's lack of attention to post resurrection sightings, which offer above (this is my own original argument): there were two different factions, or maybe even more than two, one of them associated with James as the first witness to risen Jesus, and the other being the communities that produced Mark, Matthew, and John. Paul spent time in the James community when he was in Jerusalem following the three years he spend in Aria after his stay in Damascus when he was first converted.

I'm not saying that these different communities disagreed about James and the women. I'm not saying the community that produced Matthew said "no James did not see him." Nor am I contending that James said "Mary didn't see him." But each community lauded the witness of it's members. So the community with Mary in it emphasized that Mary was in on the discovery of the empty tomb. while the James community focused upon James's experience of seeing his risen brother, presumably first. After all this was two decades before the Gospels began to be made known to people in written form. Without having a Bible to read it in, the James followers probalby just said "some women saw him too, I don't know who they were just women, but James saw him!" The community with the women in it probably said "Hey our women saw him, and btw James saw him too!"

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Helmutt Koester

The key question is, is there a literary tradition that is not dependent upon Mark that includes the empty tomb? Yes, there is one. It's not only independent of Mark but it existed before the Gospel of Mark was written.The Gospel of Peter was discovered in Egypt at Oxryranchus in the 19th century. It was probably written around 200 AD and contains some Gnostic elements, but is basically Orthodox. There are certain basic differences between Gospel of Peter (GPet) and the canonically, but mainly the two are in agreement.

Gpet follows the OT as a means of describing the passion narrative, rather than following Matthew. Jurgen Denker uses this observation to argue that GPet is independent and is based upon an independent source. In addition to Denker, Koester, Raymond Brown, and John Dominick Crossan also agree.[14] It is upon this basis that Crossan constructs his "cross Gospel" which he dates in the middle of the first century, meaning, an independent source upon which all the canonical and GPet draw,(also see my article dating the tomb story in the passion narrative). But the independence of GPet from all of these sources is also guaranteed by its failure to follow any one of them. Raymond Brown, who built his early reputation on study of GPet, follows the sequence of narrative in GPet and compares it in very close reading with that of the canonical Gospels. He finds that GPet is not dependent upon the canonical, although it is closer in the order of events to Matt/Mark rather than to Luke and John. Many Christian apologists think it’s their duty to show that GPet is dependent upon the canonical gospels, but it is basically a proved fact that it’s not. Such apologists are misguided in understanding the true apologetic gold mine in this fact. The fact that GPet is not dependent enables it to prove common ancestry with the canonicals and that establishes the early date of the circulation of the empty tomb as a part of the Jesus narrative. As documented on the Jesus Puzzle II page, and on Res part I. GPet is neither a copy of the canonical, nor are they a copy of GPet, but both use a common source in the Passion narrative which dates to AD 50 according to Crosson and Koester. Brown follows the flow of the narrative closely and presents a 23 point list in a huge table that illustrates the point just made above. I cannot reproduce the entire table, but just to give a few examples:

Helmutt Koester argues for the “Ur Gospel” and passion narrative that ends with the empty tomb. He sees GPet as indicative of this ancient source. Again, the argument is not that GPet is older than the Canonicals but that they all five share common ancestry with the Ur source. There is much secondary material in Gpet, meaning, additions that crept in and are not part of the Ur Gospel material; the anti-Jewish propaganda is intensified, for example Hared condemns Jesus rather than Pilate. [15]
Gospel of Peter (GPet) follows the OT as a means of describing the passion narrative, rather following Matthew. Jurgden Denker uses this observation to argue that GPet is independent is based upon an independent source. In addition to Denker, Koester, Borwn, and the very popular Charles Dominik Corssan also agree[16]

One might be tempted to argue that it's just one source, but Mark takes it form the Passion Narrative so it's still just one source. Not so, Raymond Brown proved there are two independent sources. The Passion narrative does not follow the synoptics are John, they all share a common ancestor, but Mark and Passion narrative are copied as idepndent sources. Neither depends upon the other. Mark is original and Passion narratives follows patterns from the OT. We are talking about reading that are preserved in latter documents. So while the form in which we have Gospel of Peter is latter than Mark the readings that survive in it or of a form that show they are older than Mark. They are not just copying the OT they are telling the story in the from of certain OT renditions.
       
Brown, who built his early reputation on study of GPet, follows the sequence of narrative in GPet and compares it in very close reading with that of the canonical Gospels. He finds that GPet is not dependent upon the canonical, although it is closer in the order of events to Matt/Mark rather than to Luke and John.

GPet follow the classical flow from trail through crucifixion to burial to tomb presumably with post resurrection appearances to follow. The GPet sequence of individual episodes, however, is not the same as that of any canonical Gospel...When one looks at the overall sequence in the 23 items I listed in table 10, it would take very great imagination to picture the author of GPet studying Matthew carefully, deliberately shifting episodes around and copying in episodes form Luke and John to produce the present sequence.[17]

Brown follows the flow of the narrative closely and presents a 23 point list in a huge table wich illustrates the point just made above. I cannot reproduce the enire table, but just to give a few examples:

In the Canonical Gospel's Passion Narrative we have an example of Matt. working conservatively and Luke working more freely with the Marcan outline and of each adding material: but neither produced an end product so radically diverse from Mark as GPet is from Matt." [18]
Koester demonstrates agreement with many scholars as he puts the date for the Passion narrative mid first century. However, "there are other traces in the Gospel of Peter which demonstrate an old and independent tradition." The way the suffering of Jesus is described by the use of passages from the old Testament without quotation formulae is, in terms of the tradition, older than the explicit scriptural proof; it represents the oldest form of the passion of Jesus.Philipp Vielhauer, Jurgen Denker argues that the Gospel of Peter shares this tradition of OT quotation with the Canonicals but is not dependent upon them. [19] Koester writes, "John Dominic Crosson has gone further [than Denker]...he argues that this activity results in the composition of a literary document at a very early date i.e. in the middle of the First century CE" (Ibid). Said another way, the interpretation of Scripture as the formation of the passion narrative became an independent document, a ur-Gospel, as early as the middle of the first century! This means the source for the Passion narrative is much older than our version of Mark, it's only 18 years after original events. It constitutes two independent sources testifying to the empty tomb early on, Mark (Ur Mark) and Pre Mark passion narrative. Even if we want to say it's just one source which stands behind all of these different Gospels it removes the onus that Mark invented the tomb and it places the tomb well witin living memory of eye witnesses.




 [1] Peter Kirby, The Case Against the Empty Tomb, fall 2002. 176 Online materiel pdf  http://depts.drew.edu/jhc/kirby_tombcase.pdf
accessed 4/12/14

[2] Jame Tabor, "The Strange Ending of the Gospel of Mark and why it makes all the difference: James Tabor Presents a New Look At the Original Text of the Earliest Gospel." Bible History Daily, published by Biblical Archaeology Society. 4/24/2013. on line http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/the-strange-ending-of-the-gospel-of-mark-and-why-it-makes-all-the-difference/
accessed 4/13/14.

[3] Ibid. the quote from Metzger is from Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd edition, (Hendrickson Publishers, 2005), 123.

[4] Michael D. Marlowe. "Bible Research, Textual Criticism, Finding the Ending of Mark," Bible Research: Internet Resources for Students of Scripture. site dated since Feb 2001. On line
http://www.bible-researcher.com/endmark.html 
accessed 4/13/2014.
Marlowe also presentes F.H.A. Scrivener's arguments from 1984, that argue for Mark 16:9-20 as the valid ending.

 http://www.bible-researcher.com/endmark.html#dissent

[5] Marlowe, quoting Scrivener, Ibid, http://www.bible-researcher.com/endmark.html#dissent
accessed 4/13/2014

[6] Stephen Neil, The Interpretation of the New Testament 1861-1961, Oxford: Oxford University Press. see UR Marcus.

[7] Koester, 285

[8] Ibid.Koester p.289

[9] 1 Corinthians 15:5.

[10] Peter May, quoting Gary Habermas, "the Resurrection of Jesus and the Witness of Paul." Be Thinking blog. on line
May is a retired GP who held layman's rank of leadership in the Church of England.Peter May served on the General Synod of the Church of England from 1985 to 2010 and was Chair of the UCCF Trust Board from  2003 to 2010. He is a retired GP.He cites  C.H. Dodd The Founder of Christianity Fontana 1971, and Gary R. Habermas The Risen Jesus & Future Hope Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield 2003, Chapter 1.

[12] Metacrock, "Resurrection Harmony Page 1," The Religious A prori, no date given. on line:
http://religiousapriorijesus-bible.blogspot.com/2010/05/resurrection-harmony-page-1.html  accessed 4/13/2014

Please read my page on The Religious a priori and follow my sense of harmony of the events. we see Mary leave when they first see the tomb stone is ajar. She goes to get Peter and John, returning after them, and seeing Jesus.

[13] Peter Kirby, Op cit. 176.

[14] Helmutt Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels, Their History and Development. Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1990, 208.

[15] Ibid, 217

[16] Ibid. 218

[17] Raymond Brown, Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave, A commentary on the Passionnarratives in the Four Gospels. Volume 2. New York: Doubleday 1994, 1322


[18] Ibid., 1325

[19]  Koester, Op cit, 218