bookmark_borderMore Reflections on Epistemology: Prove Your Authority

WHERE WE ARE AT
Recent comments on Part 11 of my series defending the Swoon Theory concern some basic issues of epistemology, and for some reason I could not prevent myself from jumping in and responding to some of the comments concerning epistemological issues.
So, I  shared some of those comments and some of my responses to them in a separate post.  The comments were from Phil Tanny, and I hoped that he would discuss those comments, provide some clarification and that he would defend his claims and arguments.  That didn’t work out, because Tanny was unwilling to clarify and defend his claims and arguments. However, we can still analyze and evaluate those comments, and try to make sense of them on our own.
Here is one of the comments from Phil Tanny (I don’t know if that is the actual name of the commenter) that got me thinking:
PROVE YOUR AUTHORITY
As example, if a theist can’t prove their holy book is qualified to deliver credible answers to the very largest of questions, then we need not dig our way through thousands of arguments based on Bible verses, right? If all those arguments are based on the Bible, and the Bible is an unproven authority, then all the arguments are merely someone’s speculative opinion.
The very same situation exists for the atheist. If the atheist can’t prove that their chosen authority, human reason, is qualified to deliver credible answers to the very largest of questions, then all of their logic calculations on such subjects are merely someone’s speculative opinion.
I was not sure what Tanny meant by “the very largest of questions”, but suggested that this might mean questions about the existence, characteristics, and activities of God.  Perhaps he had a broader array of religious and theological issues in mind, including questions about life after death and about the existence, characteristics, and actions of other intelligent beings (besides God) that lack physical bodies (e.g. angels, demons, ghosts).  So, let’s just substitute the phrase “important religious and theological questions” for Tanny’s phrase “the very largest of questions”, and understand that this phrase refers to a set of several religious and theological questions that include: questions about the existence, characteristics, and activities of God, as well as questions about life after death, and questions about the existence, characteristics, and actions of other alleged intelligent beings (besides God) that lack physical bodies (such as angels, demons, or ghosts).
Let’s start by clarifying the argument about “all those arguments” presented by theists.

2. IF all those arguments are based on the Bible, and the Bible is an unproven authority, THEN all those arguments are merely someone’s speculative opinion.

THEREFORE:

1.  IF a theist can’t prove his/her holy book is qualified to deliver credible answers to important religious and theological questions, THEN we need not dig our way through thousands of arguments  based on Bible verses.

Clearly, Tanny was NOT attempting to cast aside every argument ever presented by someone who happened to be a theist or religious believer.  His focus here is on arguments based on Bible verses that attempt to settle important religious and theological questions, so we need to make these qualifications CLEAR and EXPLICIT throughout the argument:

2A. IF any argument presented by a theist about an important religious or theological question is based on the Bible, and the Bible is an unproven authority, THEN all those arguments are merely someone’s speculative opinion.

THEREFORE:

1A.  IF a theist can’t prove that the Bible is qualified to deliver credible answers to important religious and theological questions, THEN we need not dig our way through thousands of arguments about important religious or theological questions presented by that theist and that are based on Bible verses.

There is a missing premise that is required to make this argument LOGICALLY VALID, and the phrase “thousands of arguments” needs to be tossed out, because it is doubtful that there are many (if any) theists who have produced “thousands of arguments” about important religious and theological questions where each of those arguments is based on the Bible.  What this is getting at is that we don’t need to give serious consideration to arguments that are based on the Bible, if the Bible is a dubious source of information on the questions at issue.
Here is my attempt to revise Tanny’s argument to make it a LOGICALLY VALID argument:

2B. IF any argument presented by a theist about an important religious and theological questions is based on the Bible, and that theist can’t prove that the Bible is qualified to deliver credible answers to important religious and theological questions, THEN any such argument is merely someone’s speculative opinion.

B. IF any argument is merely someone’s speculative opinion, THEN we need not give serious consideration to that argument.

THEREFORE:

1B.  IF a theist can’t prove that the Bible is qualified to deliver credible answers to important religious and theological questions, THEN we need not give serious consideration to any of the arguments presented by that theist about important religious or theological questions when those arguments are based on the Bible.

As it stands, this argument appears to be logically VALID.  However, premise (2B) is FALSE, so this argument is UNSOUND, and must be rejected.
There was an AMBIGUITY in the original statement of this argument by Tanny, so the reason that (2B) is FALSE may be the result of the way I interpreted premises (1) and (2), so there is an alternative interpretation where premise (2) is TRUE, or at least not obviously FALSE.  Here is the problematic phrase:

…if a theist can’t prove their holy book is…

This could mean either

if a particular theist can’t prove…

or it could mean

if any and every theist can’t prove…

In other words, it is not clear whether we are talking about some particular theist being unable to prove the Bible “is qualified to deliver credible answers…” or whether we are talking about theists in general being unable to prove the Bible “is qualified to deliver credible answers…”.
If Tanny’s argument is about some particular theist being unable to prove the Bible “is qualified to deliver credible answers to important religious and theological questions”, then this argument FAILS to show that we atheists and skeptics can reasonably ignore the arguments of such a theist, even when those arguments are based on the Bible and are about important religious or theological issues.  This is because some OTHER theist might have been able to prove that the Bible “is qualified to deliver credible answers…”.
If we atheists and skeptics are aware that the authority or credibility of the Bible has been proven by some OTHER theist, then we have an intellectual obligation to seriously consider arguments based on the Bible, even when those arguments are presented by a theist who is NOT himself or herself able to prove the authority or credibility of the Bible.
Premise (2B) is based on an interpretation of premise (2) which assumes that Tanny’s argument is talking about some particular theist, rather than about theists in general.  But this interpretation might not be correct, so we should consider this alternative interpretation:

2C. IF any argument presented by a theist about an important religious or theological questions is based on the Bible, and no theist can prove that the Bible is qualified to deliver credible answers to important religious and theological questions, THEN any such argument is merely someone’s speculative opinion.

B. IF any argument is merely someone’s speculative opinion, THEN we need not give serious consideration to that argument.

THEREFORE:

1C.  IF no theist can prove that the Bible is qualified to deliver credible answers to important religious and theological questions, THEN we need not give serious consideration to any of the arguments presented by any theist about important religious or theological questions when those arguments are based on the Bible.

I think this is a much CLEARER argument than what Tanny originally presented, and on this interpretation, the argument appears to be both logically VALID and SOUND.  That is to say, the premises appear to be TRUE.  The premises are, at least, initially plausible.
The next step in evaluating Tanny’s position is to try to construct a parallel argument that makes an analogous skeptical point about atheists and “human reason”.  If we can construct such an analogous argument, then we need to evaluate that argument, to see whether it appears to be both logically VALID and also SOUND.

bookmark_borderSome Reflections on Epistemology

To be honest, I tend to shy away from discussions of epistemology (the theory of knowledge, the sub-discipline of philosophy that attempts to understand and clarify the concept of knowledge and the conditions or criteria for what counts as knowledge).  First of all, I don’t enjoy discussing “Calvinist epistemology” which has been a big topic in philosophy of religion in recent decades.  Second, epistemology is HARD, at least it seems hard to me. Thinking about epistemology often gives me a headache.

On the other hand, questions about the nature and scope of human knowledge are important, and there are some fun and interesting puzzles and bits of logic that come up in discussions of basic epistemology.  I enjoy puzzles, especially the sort of logical puzzles that often arise when doing basic philosophy.
Recent comments on Part 11 of my series defending the Swoon Theory concern some basic issues of epistemology, and for some reason I could not prevent myself from jumping in and responding to some of the comments concerning epistemological issues.
 
So, I thought I would share some of those comments and some of my responses to them in a separate post, so that those who are more interested in epistemology than in the issue of the resurrection of Jesus would have a place to focus on some of the epistemological issues that have been raised here.
Here are some comments from Phil Tanny (I don’t know if that is the actual name of the commenter) that got me thinking:
PROVE YOUR AUTHORITY

As example, if a theist can’t prove their holy book is qualified to deliver credible answers to the very largest of questions, then we need not dig our way through thousands of arguments based on Bible verses, right? If all those arguments are based on the Bible, and the Bible is an unproven authority, then all the arguments are merely someone’s speculative opinion.

The very same situation exists for the atheist. If the atheist can’t prove that their chosen authority, human reason, is qualified to deliver credible answers to the very largest of questions, then all of their logic calculations on such subjects are merely someone’s speculative opinion.

500 YEARS OF INCONCLUSIVE DEBATE

What if the “answer” delivered by 500 years of eternally inconclusive God debate led by some of our brightest minds on all sides is that nobody knows what they’re talking about, that we are ignorant on matters of such enormous scale?

We ran an experiment. We tried to find a “knowing” with great enthusiasm. We failed, over and over and over again for 500 years. Why not accept the results of the experiment?

THE QUESTIONABLE DICHOTOMY OF EXISTS VS.  DOES NOT EXIST

Theists and atheists all seem to agree that a God must exist or not exist, yes or no, one or the other. To us, this either/or choice seems the only possibility that is coherent, logical, reasonable etc.

Well, reality is not obligated to adapt itself to what makes sense to us. In fact, the overwhelming majority of reality, space, does not fit neatly in to either the “exists” or “doesn’t exist” categories.

This observation might cause us to wonder whether the question being asked in the God debate (exist or not?) could be so flawed as to render useful answers impossible.

It seems to me that there are some serious problems with the reasoning and arguments presented in these comments, but whether the comments are right or wrong, logical or illogical, they are interesting comments that are worthy of further consideration and discussion.  Although I tend to shy away from discussions of epistemology, including epistemology of religious belief, I have some thoughts and opinions about these comments, so this is, perhaps, a comfortable way for me to ease into thinking about some basic issues of epistemology.  (I will keep a bottle of Ibuprofen handy, just in case my head starts to ache).
I had three main responses to Tanny’s PROVE YOUR AUTHORITY comments:
My first objection involved this point:

Whenever you demand that someone prove X, and whenever you present REASONS and ARGUMENTS to support one of your beliefs or CONCLUSIONS, you are ASSUMING that human reason “is qualified to deliver credible answers” on those important issues.

Tanny’s demands to prove such-and-such ASSUME that “human reason is qualified to deliver credible answers” on important questions, specifically in epistemology (concerning what we can KNOW). Tanny’s offering of REASONS and ARGUMENTS also ASSUMES that “human reason is qualified to deliver credible answers” on important questions, specifically in epistemology.
But Tanny has NOT PROVEN that “human reason is qualified to deliver credible answers” on questions of epistemology, so Tanny appears to be contradicting himself, or, more precisely, he appears to be a hypocrite. That is to say, his comments embody a violation of the very principles and beliefs that he is trying to promote.
My second objection involved this point:

In order to PROVE that human reason is “qualified to deliver credible answers to” questions of type X, one has to USE human reason. (There is no such thing as “proving such-and-such” without making any use of human reason.)

In USING human reason to PROVE that human reason is “qualified to deliver credible answers to” questions of type X one must ASSUME that human reason is qualified to deliver credible answers to questions of type Y (say: questions about the proper scope of human reason).

But nobody has, at this point in the discussion, PROVEN that human reason is qualified to deliver credible answers to questions of type Y.

So, by Tanny’s logic, one must first PROVE that human reason is qualified to deliver credible answers to questions of type Y.

My second objection is that Tanny’s comments imply an infinite regress of demands for proof concerning types of questions about which human reason is qualified to deliver credible answers.  Since nobody can provide an infinite number of proofs, Tanny’s demand for proof is impossible for anyone to satisfy, and thus is an UNREASONABLE demand.
My third objection focused on Tanny’s demand for proof from Christian believers concerning the inspiration and authority of the Bible:

The logical response of a Christian believer to this view would be that Tanny is BEGGING THE QUESTION against the use of the Bible to answer questions, and that Tanny is arbitrarily making human reason the ultimate authority on epistemology (how we KNOW stuff).  When Tanny demands that the believer PROVE that the Bible is qualified to deliver credible answers to the very largest questions, he is demanding that human reason be used to evaluate the inspiration and authority of the Bible. This demand, however, ASSUMES that human reason is qualified to deliver credible answers to issues of epistemology (how we can KNOW stuff).

In other words, Tanny is placing a demand on the Christian believer for proof that the Bible is qualified to deliver credible answers to the very largest questions, but he hypocritically sets aside the analogous demand that he prove that human reason is qualified to deliver credible answers to questions of epistemology (questions about what we can KNOW and how we can KNOW stuff).
It might be helpful to keep in mind the example of LOGICAL POSITIVISM.
One of the main problems with Logical Positivism is that it sets up a standard or criterion of KNOWLEDGE that it cannot itself satisfy. For Logical Positivism a statement or claim can constitute KNOWLEDGE only if it is possible to VERIFY the statement or claim by means of empirical facts or observations. But it is not possible to VERIFY Logical Positivism by means of empirical facts or observations. So, the claim that Logical Positivism is TRUE, is a claim that FAILS to meet the very test that Logical Positivism proposes. According to Logical Positivism, we cannot KNOW that Logical Positivism is TRUE.
[There is a similar problem with a common form of SCIENTISM, which asserts that scientific investigation is the only legitimate way to arrive at knowledge.  The problem here is that scientific investigation is NOT how this epistemological claim is arrived at, so this form of SCIENTISM fails its own test, just like LOGICAL POSITIVISM failed its own test.]
This points us to a general problem in epistemology. First, what we are looking for is a criterion or test that will help us determine whether a bit of alleged KNOWLEDGE is actually and truly a bit of KNOWLEDGE. Second, when someone proposes such a criterion or test, we need to evaluate that proposed criterion or test. How can we do so?
It seems that at a bare minimum, the proposed test should be able to satisfy its own requirements. This is a kind of logical self-consistency that we expect of a true or correct criterion of KNOWLEDGE. There might be additional requirements, but this one seems very basic and reasonable. Logical Positivism failed to meet the very requirements that it proposed, so that was viewed as a fundamental defect of that epistemological criterion.
Suppose somebody comes up with an epistemological criterion that has the required functionality (it could help us determine whether a bit of alleged KNOWLEDGE is actually and truly a bit of KNOWLEDGE), and it also was able to satisfy its own requirements, so that based on that criterion, one could KNOW that the criterion was correct and true.
But if this were the ONLY test (the test of logical consistency), then there would still be a potential problem with the proposed criterion: the JUSTIFICATION of the epistemological criterion would (apparently) rest upon the very criterion that is being proposed. But this is CIRCULAR REASONING. This is like quoting the Bible to prove that the Bible is the inspired and authoritative word of God.  Such reasoning is ILLOGICAL.
So, when we are dealing with basic questions of epistemology, we need to be on the lookout for:

logical inconsistency (Does the epistemological criterion FAIL to satisfy its own requirements?)

AND

logical circularity (Does the justification of the epistemological criterion ASSUME the truth or correctness of that criterion?)

 
I have not yet objected to Tanny’s comments about 500 YEARS OF INCONCLUSIVE DEBATE, but I did try to summarize his reasoning in a clear and simple argument:

1. IF it is possible for humans to KNOW the answer to the question “Does God exist?”, THEN 500 years of debate about the existence of God would produce a definitive answer to this question.
2. But 500 years of debate about the existence of God has NOT produced a definitive answer to this question.

THEREFORE:

3. It is NOT possible for humans to KNOW the answer to the question “Does God exist?”

 
I did point out that the “God debate” is much older than just 500 years:

The God debate is much older than 500 years. It goes back at least to pre-Socratic philosophy, and Socrates predates Jesus by more than 400 years. So, the God debate is about 2,500 years old. The Greeks, of course, did not have the same concept of God as Christians do, but there are enough similarities to consider ancient Greek philosophy to be a part of the God debate.

But I assume that Tanny would see this point as strengthening his argument rather than weakening it.

bookmark_borderDefending the Swoon Theory – Part 11: The “Winding Sheets” Objection

WHERE WE ARE AT
In his Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA), Peter Kreeft attempts to refute The Swoon Theory.  But in order for his case for the resurrection to have any chance of success, he actually needs to refute the more general view that I call The Survival Theory (hereafter: TST), the theory that Jesus survived his crucifixion (i.e. Jesus did NOT die on the cross).  I am examining Kreeft’s nine objections against The Swoon Theory, to see whether they refute The Survival Theory.  So, far I have shown that Objection #1, Objection #2, Objection #3, and Objection #8 all FAIL to refute The Survival Theory.
Peter Kreeft is a Christian Philosopher and Christian Apologist who is highly respected by tens of thousands, perhaps millions, of Christian believers.  But I find his arguments to be vague, unclear, illogical, and usually lacking in factual and historical evidence that would be required to make even halfway decent arguments.
In short, Kreeft seems to be intellectually lazy and sloppy and incapable of creating or expressing solid and respectable arguments for Christian beliefs.  His defense of Christianity is unworthy of a professional philosopher.  However, I have read the writings of many Christian apologists, and he is far from being the worst thinker among them.  He is above average in that group, which is a sad fact about the state of Christian apologetics.
 

The Entombment of Christ by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

OBJECTION #4: THE “WINDING SHEETS” OBJECTION TO THE SURVIVAL THEORY
Here is Kreeft’s fourth argument against the Survival Theory:

The body was totally encased in winding sheets and entombed (Jn 19:38-42).

Kreeft is so intellectually LAZY and SLOPPY, that he states this entire argument in just one short sentence.  If he were a freshman in an Intro to Philosophy class, this would earn him an instant “F”.  But he is a published Christian Apologists, so hundreds of herds of Christian sheep gobble this sort crap up, and pay their hard-earned cash to put more of Kreeft’s pathetic books on their shelves.
As an atheist and a skeptic it irritates the hell out of me that I have to REPAIR the CRAPPY arguments of intellectual sloths like Kreeft.  Why can’t Christian apologists create intelligent and respectable arguments?  Why should skeptics have to clean up their crappy reasoning, to dig down deep and struggle to find some tiny morsel of intelligence hiding behind this IDIOCY and MINDLESSNESS?
Oh well, that is the world we live in, so if you want to be a skeptic, and you want to be objective and fairminded, then you have to make an effort to find something intelligent and meaningful in the vague, unclear, and illogical thinking of Christian apologists like Kreeft.  It is a dirty job, but somebody has got to do it.
OK.  We know what the ultimate conclusion of Kreeft’s argument is, so here is a bare-bones reconstruction of the argument constituting Objection #4:

1. When Jesus’ body was removed from the cross, the body was totally encased in winding sheets and placed in a stone tomb.

THEREFORE: 

2. It is virtually certain that The Survival Theory is false.

Isn’t that a terrific freakin’ argument?  Not exactly a brilliant piece of reasoning.  This is what we critical thinkers refer to as a non sequitur.  The conclusion (2) does NOT follow logically from the premise (1).   More accurately, it is NOT in any way clear that the conclusion follows from the premise, or even that the premise is RELEVANT to the conclusion.
We could add a conditional claim to bridge the logical gap between (1) and (2):

1. When Jesus’ body was removed from the cross, the body was totally encased in winding sheets and placed in a stone tomb.

A. IF when Jesus’ body was removed from the cross, the body was totally encased in winding sheets and placed in a stone tomb, THEN it is virtually certain that the Survival Theory is false.

THEREFORE: 

2. It is virtually certain that The Survival Theory is false.

That turns the initial “bare-bones” argument into a logically valid deductive argument.
However, we are still left puzzled as to why Kreeft, or anyone else, would believe premise (A) to be TRUE.  What do “winding sheets” and being “placed in a stone tomb” have to do with The Survival Theory?  Based on all of the information and detail that Kreeft has provided here (just one short sentence), God only knows what connection Kreeft thinks exists between “winding sheets” and the Survival Theory.
 
WHAT DO OTHER APOLOGISTS SAY ABOUT “WINDING SHEETS” AND THE SWOON THEORY?
There are two elements to premise (1).  The first concerns the “winding sheets” and the second concerns the placement of Jesus’ body into a stone tomb.  I am going to begin by focusing on the first element, the use of “winding sheets” to prepare Jesus for burial.
I suspect that Kreeft ripped this argument off of some other Christian apologist (as I suspect is the case with most of the arguments in HCA), so in order to try to make some sense out of this UNCLEAR piece of CRAP that Kreeft has given us, we should look at what other apologists have said about “winding sheets” and being “placed in a stone tomb” in relation to the Swoon Theory (or the Survival Theory).  Maybe other apologists have provided more detail and explanation or justification that will help us to understand WHY somebody would believe that premise (A) is TRUE.
First,  there are some Christian apologists who don’t mention “winding sheets” or “grave clothes”  or “linen sheets” in their criticisms of the Swoon Theory:

  • The Resurrection of Jesus by James Orr (1908): see pages 42 & 43
  • The Resurrection and Modern Thought by W.J. Sparrow-Simpson (1911): see pages 43 & 44
  • Resurrection by Hank Hanegraaff (2000): see pages 18 to 22
  • The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona (2004): see pages 99 to 103

Second,  there are some Christian apologists who mention “winding sheets” or “grave clothes”  or “linen sheets” in their criticisms of the Swoon Theory, but who don’t bother to explain how this is RELEVANT to the Swoon Theory:

  • Who Moved the Stone? by Frank Morison (1930): see p.96
  • The Son Rises by William Craig (1981): see page 39
  • Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli (1994): see page 183

Third, there are a few Christian apologists who mention “winding sheets” or “grave clothes”  or “linen sheets” in their criticisms of the Swoon Theory, and who also indicate or explain how this is RELEVANT to the Swoon Theory:

  • The Resurrection Factor by Josh McDowell (1981): see page 98
  • Jesus: Who Is He? by Tim LaHaye (1996): see pages 250 & 271
  • The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel (1998): see page 202
  • I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek (2004): see page 305
  • The Passion and the Empty Tomb by John Ankerberg and John Weldon (2005): see page 185 & 186

Some apologists view the “winding sheets” as constraints on physical movement by Jesus.  The idea is that he was basically tied up and thus was unable to stand up or to get out of the tomb or to walk into town.  For example, Josh McDowell makes this comment about the Swoon Theory:

Then an incredible thing happened, according to this theory.  The cool damp air of the tomb, instead of killing Him, healed Him.  He split out of his garments, pushed the stone away, fought off the guards and shortly thereafter appeared to His disciples as the Lord of life.  (The Resurrection Factor, p. 98)

The implication is that it is “incredible” that Jesus was able to “split out of his garments” (i.e. the “winding sheets” or “grave clothes”) inside of which his body had been wrapped.
Tim LaHaye makes the same sort of point about the Swoon Theory:

…then [according to the “swoon theory”] miraculously [Jesus] woke up, found himself tightly wrapped in grave clothes, yet got out of them without disturbing their order and proceeded to move a two-ton stone. (Jesus: Who Is He?  p.250)

Lee Strobel also indicates that it would have been very difficult for Jesus to get out of his “linen wrappings”:

Let’s speculate that the impossible happened and that Jesus somehow managed to survive the crucifixion.  Let’s say he was able to escape from his linen wrappings, roll the huge rock away from the mouth of his tomb, and get past the Roman soldiers who were standing guard.  (The Case for Christ, p.202)

Although he does not say so explicitly, it is clear that Strobel believes that is is very unlikely that Jesus would have been able to “escape from his linen wrappings”.
Norman Geisler and Frank Turek also indicate their belief that escape from the grave clothes is very unlikely:

…even if he [Jesus] did survive the cold, damp, dark tomb, how could he unwrap himself, move the two-ton rock up and away from the inside of the tomb, get by the elite Roman guards…, and then convince the scared, scattered, skeptical cowards that he had triumphed over death?  (I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, p.305)

John Ankerberg and John Weldon also express their skepticism about a similar list of alleged improbabilities of the swoon theory:

After three days without food or water, He [Jesus] unwrapped Himself (even though His arms had been pinned against His body and the spice-soaked linens had probably dried and hardened by this point), moved the one-to-two-ton stone from the grave entrance, and walked some distance on mutilated feet to find his disciples so He could falsely proclaim himself to be the resurrected Messiah and conqueror of death.  (The Passion and the Empty Tomb, p.185 & 186)

In addition to the point that “winding sheets” would have been a constraint on physical movement by Jesus, is the idea that it would have been harmful to his health,  potentially killing off a weak and wounded Jesus.  Here is a comment by Josh McDowell along these lines:

…100-plus pounds of spices and a gummy substance were encased around His body–He must have breathed through it all… (The Resurrection Factor, p.98)

McDowell is suggesting, without explicitly stating this, that being “encased” in all those spices and “a gummy substance” would probably have caused Jesus to asphyxiate and die, if he was still alive at that time.  Tim LaHaye is more explicit in making this point:

…if the crucifixion hadn’t killed Jesus, the tightly wrapped grave clothes, the cold, damp, sealed tomb and three days without treatment certainly would have. (Jesus: Who Is He?, p.271)

Unlike McDowell, however, LaHaye doesn’t indicate or explain WHY “tightly wrapped grave clothes” would have caused Jesus to die, or would have been a major contributing factor in causing Jesus (who, according to the Swoon Theory, was still alive after removal from the cross) to die.  Out of all of the apologists and defenses listed above, McDowell is the ONLY ONE who has indicated WHY “winding sheets” or “grave clothes” would have caused a surviving Jesus to die: asphyxiation.
There is one more reason given for how the “winding sheets” constitute an objection or problem for the Swoon Theory.  This third reason comes from Geisler and Turek:

It is highly unlikely that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus (John 19:40) would have mistakenly embalmed a living Jesus. (I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, p.305)

In other words, it is not so much the “winding sheets” themselves that establish the death of Jesus, but rather the process of wrapping Jesus’ body with the “winding sheets” that matters, because this would involve handling Jesus’ body and provided opportunities for Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to detect any sign of life in Jesus.  Their failure to detect any sign of life provides further evidence confirming the diagnosis that Jesus was truly dead.
So, although Kreeft provided NO EXPLANATION WHATSOEVER as to WHY the “winding sheets” have any relevance to evaluation of the Swoon Theory, there are a few Christian apologists who have provided us with some indications and explanations about how the “winding sheets” work as evidence against the Swoon Theory.  The most common explanation is this:

WSO1. The winding sheets would have been a constraint on Jesus’ physical movement (like being tied up with ropes), making it difficult or impossible for him to sit up, get out of the tomb, and walk into town.

The next somewhat less common explanation is this:

WSO2. The winding sheets and the spices and gummy substance placed in the sheets would have caused a surviving Jesus to die of asphyxiation, or would have made it very difficult for a surviving Jesus to breathe.

The least common explanation was given by Geisler and Turek:

WSO3. The application of the winding sheets to the body of Jesus would have given Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus  a good opportunity to detect any remaining sign of life in Jesus’ body, and their completing of the burial process implies that they did not detect any sign of life in Jesus’ body.

 
PROBLEMS WITH THE “WINDING SHEETS” OBJECTION
We have in essence, now, three different objections to the Swoon Theory, or to the Survival Theory, that are based on the “winding sheets” element of Objection #4.
A key premise of Objection #4 consists of an historical claim:

1. When Jesus’ body was removed from the cross, the body was totally encased in winding sheets and placed in a stone tomb.

There are a number of historical and factual issues that can be raised against the first premise of Objection #4:

  • It is NOT a fact that Jesus’ body was removed from the cross. 
  • It is NOT a fact that Jesus’ body was totally encased in winding sheets. 
  • It is NOT a fact that Jesus’ body was placed in a stone tomb. 

That Jesus’ body was removed from the cross is, however, assumed by the Swoon Theory, so both the Christian theory and the Swoon Theory make that assumption.  But the Swoon Theory does NOT assume the truth of the other two historical claims.
All of these are historical hypotheses that must be evaluated in terms of historical facts and evidence.  And this is something that Peter Kreeft NEVER DOES, on almost any important historical issue related to Jesus and Christianity.  Unfortunately, Kreeft is not alone in having no concept of the requirement to present historical facts to support an historical claim or hypothesis.  This is par for the course in the intellectual wasteland of Christian apologetics.  So, Kreeft’s Objection #4 is a FAILURE simply because he makes NO EFFORT WHATSOEVER to show that any of his historical claims and assumptions are actually TRUE.  (“But other than that, did you enjoy the play Mrs. Lincoln?”)
Of course, it is also the case that Kreeft made NO EFFORT WHATSOEVER to show his unstated assumption (A) to be TRUE:

A. IF when Jesus’ body was removed from the cross, the body was totally encased in winding sheets and placed in a stone tomb, THEN it is virtually certain that the Survival Theory is false.

So, Kreeft’s Objection #4 is a COMPLETE FAILURE, because it is based on two QUESTIONABLE premises, and Kreeft has made NO EFFORT WHATSOEVER to support or justify either one of these two basic assumptions.
However, to help Kreeft out a bit, I have looked into what OTHER Christian apologists have had to say about the issue of “winding sheets” and the Swoon Theory.  If none of the three explanations or reasons provide sufficient support for premise (A), then that will cast serious doubt on (A).
After that I will explore explanations or reasons for (A) having to do with the placement of Jesus’ body into a stone tomb.  If none of those explanations or reasons supporting (A) provide sufficient support for premise (A), then we can reasonably conclude that premise (A) should be rejected, and that Kreeft’s Objection #4  is a COMPLETE FAILURE.
 
PROBLEMS WITH WINDING SHEETS OBJECTION 1
Here is the first, and what appears to be the most common reason why “winding sheets” constitutes an objection to the Swoon Theory:

WSO1. The winding sheets would have been a constraint on Jesus’ physical movement (like being tied up with ropes), making it difficult or impossible for him to sit up, get out of the tomb, and walk into town.

This is clearly NOT a conclusive objection against the Swoon Theory.  First, Harry Houdini could escape from modern straight jackets which were designed to prevent physical movement and escape by the person wearing the jacket.
Second, even assuming the general reliability of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ burial:

  • we DON’T KNOW the dimensions and quantity of the cloth used to wrap Jesus’ body
  • we DON’T KNOW the thickness, strength, and structure of the cloth used to wrap Jesus’ body
  • we DON’T KNOW how carefully and how tightly Jesus’ body was wrapped with this material
  • we DON’T KNOW the specific pattern and number of layers of wrapping that was used on Jesus’ body

In short, we lack MOST of the important DETAILS that would allow us to determine whether WSO1 was TRUE or FALSE.
Third, even if the winding sheets made it impossible for Jesus to sit up, or leave the tomb, or walk into town, Jesus could have yelled for help, and somebody else could have helped him to remove the winding sheets so that he would be able to sit up, leave the tomb, and walk into town.  WSO1 is a WEAK OBJECTION to the Swoon Theory.
Another problem with WSO1 is that it is not clear that the Christian theory has a significant advantage on this point.  Suppose God raised Jesus from the dead.  Jesus would still have the winding sheets around his body, and his physical movements would still be constrained.  Of course, if Jesus were the divine Son of God, then he could miraculously make the winding sheets vanish into thin air, or he could miraculously cause them to burst into flame, while preventing his body from being burned by the fire, or he could miraculously turn himself into a gas or vapor, seep out through the tiny pores of the cloth, and then miraculously reform himself into a solid body.
The problem is that there is NO PROBLEM AT ALL that a divine and omnipotent being would be unable to overcome by the use of SUPERNATURAL POWERS.  But then the Christian theory doesn’t really provide a better explanation than the Swoon Theory, for how Jesus managed to escape from the winding sheets.  The Christian theory basically says: “then MAGIC happened”.   This is not a particularly GOOD explanation, so it is NOT clear that the Christian theory provides a better explanation of this point than the Swoon Theory.
The Swoon Theory can at least offer a somewhat plausible and ordinary explanation (e.g. “Jesus wriggled one of his hands free, and then began to unwrap the winding sheets” or “Jesus yelled for help, and somebody passing by heard him and helped him to get free from the winding sheets”).  Of course, a Jesus who was raised from the dead by God could also “wriggle one of his hands free” or “yell for help”, but in that case the explanation of the winding sheets issue would be the same for both theories.
WSO1 is a WEAK objection to the Swoon Theory, so if this is what Kreeft had in mind, then this element of Objection #4  FAILS, and that casts serious doubt on Objection #4.
 
PROBLEMS WITH WINDING SHEETS OBJECTION 2
The second winding-sheets objection makes a more direct attack against the Swoon Theory:

WSO2. The winding sheets and the spices and gummy substance placed in the sheets would have caused a surviving Jesus to die of asphyxiation, or would have made it very difficult for a surviving Jesus to breathe.

This objection indicates that the wrapping of Jesus’ body in winding sheets would have been likely to kill Jesus off if he was still alive when he was taken down from the cross.  It is NOT a fact that Jesus was totally encased in winding sheets after being removed from the cross.  However, assuming that Jesus was wrapped in winding sheets, there is a good deal we don’t know about this:

  • we DON’T KNOW the dimensions and quantity of the cloth used to wrap Jesus’ body
  • we DON’T KNOW the thickness, strength, and structure of the cloth used to wrap Jesus’ body
  • we DON’T KNOW how carefully and how tightly Jesus’ body was wrapped with this material
  • we DON’T KNOW the specific pattern and number of layers of wrapping that was used on Jesus’ body

It is also important to note that, according to the Gospel accounts, Joseph of Arimathea had very little time to get the body of Jesus removed from the cross, transport the body to the stone tomb, and prepare the body for burial.  He had to complete these tasks before sunset, when the Jewish sabbath day began on Friday evening.  Thus, we CANNOT simply assume that Joseph performed the wrapping of the body in a slow and careful manner, as he might have done if there were several hours available for these tasks.
In terms of the possibility of asphyxiation, there are some other important details that we don’t know:

  • we DON’T KNOW the dimensions and quantity of the cloth used to wrap Jesus’ head
  • we DON’T KNOW the thickness, strength, and structure of the cloth used to wrap Jesus’ head
  • we DON’T KNOW how carefully and how tightly Jesus’ head was wrapped with this material
  • we DON’T KNOW the specific pattern and number of layers of wrapping that was used on Jesus’ head
  • we DON’T KNOW if the spices and gummy substance was used in the wrapping of Jesus’ head

Tight wrapping of winding sheets around Jesus’ body might have constrained his breathing, but the main threat to his life would have been the winding sheets wrapped around his head.  If those were loose or just a couple of layers and contained little or no spices, and little or no gummy substance, then it is UNLIKELY that the wrapping would have caused Jesus to asphyxiate.  The problem here is that Christian apologists have engaged in creatively imagining a worst-case scenario for Jesus, but we don’t have enough FACTS and DETAILS to determine whether there was a REAL THREAT of asphyxiation to Jesus or not.
This second objection based on winding sheets is clearly relevant, because it directly addresses the issue of whether Jesus would have died in the hours immediately following his removal from the cross, had he been alive when taken down from the cross.  But it is still a WEAK OBJECTION to the Swoon Theory, because there simply is not enough INFORMATION to determine whether the application of winding sheets to Jesus’ body constituted a REAL THREAT of asphyxiation for Jesus, had Jesus still been alive after being removed from the cross.
WSO2 is a WEAK objection against the Swoon Theory, so if this is what Kreeft had in mind, then this element of Objection #4 FAILS, and that casts serious doubt on Objection #4.
 
PROBLEMS WITH WINDING SHEETS OBJECTION 3
The third, and least common, objection to the Swoon Theory based on winding sheets is concerned with the diagnosis of Jesus’ death:

WSO3. The application of the winding sheets to the body of Jesus would have given Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus  a good opportunity to detect any remaining sign of life in Jesus’ body, and their completing of the burial process implies that they did not detect any sign of life in Jesus’ body.

It is NOT a fact that Joseph of Arimathea obtained the body of Jesus after the crucifixion, and it is NOT a fact that Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the body of Jesus in winding sheets, and it is NOT a fact that Joseph of Arimathea placed Jesus’ body into a stone tomb.  As I have already pointed out, Kreeft MAKES NO EFFORT WHATSOEVER to establish these historical claims on the basis of historical FACTS and EVIDENCE.
But setting aside the complete absence of historical facts and evidence from Kreeft’s various objections against the Swoon Theory, there is a very SERIOUS FLAW with WSO3, even if, for the sake of argument, we grant the assumption that Joseph obtained Jesus’ body, and that Joseph wrapped Jesus body in winding sheets in preparation for burial.  Consider the following comment by a Christian apologist about the alleged wrapping of Jesus’ body by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus:

And had there been any Signs of Life in it [Jesus’ body], they [Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus] would have undoubtedly taken the proper Care to recover it, and not immediately have placed it, wrapt in Spices, in a cold and damp Sepulchre, which was the most effectual way,  wholly to extinguish all Remains of Life.  But Joseph’s thus burying him, shews there was no Imposture intended, and renders every Pretence and Insinuation of his not being really dead, quite impertinent and groundless.  (The Witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ Re-Examined by Samuel Chandler, 1744, p.63)

This comment by Samuel Chandler indicates that this “objection” against the Swoon Theory actually provides some support for the Swoon Theory!
Suppose that Joseph and Nicodemus did wrap the body of Jesus in winding sheets, and suppose they did detect some signs of life in Jesus’ body.  If they were indeed followers or admirers of Jesus, then as Chandler suggests, they might well have made a serious effort to help Jesus recover from his wounds and injuries.  They might have, as Chandler suggests, immediately taken Jesus away from the tomb to someone’s home where Jesus could rest and heal and be cared for while he recovered.  Perhaps the women who were watching Joseph and Nicodemus take the body of Jesus to the stone tomb left just a few minutes before Joseph or Nicodemus discovered signs of life in Jesus.  Thus, the women simply inferred that the wrapping of Jesus’ body and the entombment of the body were completed shortly after they left the scene, but this inference was mistaken, because Joseph and Nicodemus left the scene carrying the body of Jesus to someone’s home.
Alternatively, Joseph and Nicodemus might have noticed signs of life in Jesus’ body, but did NOT take immediate action, for fear of word getting out that Jesus had survived crucifixion, and this leading to a search for Jesus’ body by Roman soldiers with orders to find Jesus and finish the job (perhaps by cutting off his head).  To avoid such a threat to Jesus and to their own lives, Joseph and Nicodemus might well have kept silent about the signs of life that they detected in Jesus, and proceeded with wrapping and entombing the body, to prevent a massive “search and destroy” mission by Roman soldiers.  They could have then returned to the tomb a short while after closing up the tomb and after the women who were watching them prepare the body had left the scene.  In this case, the women would have witnessed the completion of the wrapping of Jesus’ body, and of the entombment before they left.  They would have no idea that Joseph and Nicodemus would return less than an hour later, open the tomb, and take Jesus to a nearby home to recover from his wounds and injuries.
Of course, I have no proof that this is what actually happened, but this is a plausible scenario, and this scenario and its plausibility are supported by WSO3, especially in light of the comments made by the Christian apologist Samuel Chandler.  Therefore, WSO3 is not a WEAK objection against the Swoon Theory, it is actually a line of thought that provides SUPPORT for the Swoon Theory.  Thank you, to the Christian apologists Geisler, Turek, and Chandler for providing this bit of ammunition in SUPPORT of the Swoon Theory!  Needless to say, if this is what Kreeft had in mind in terms of the significance of winding sheets, then this element of Objection #4 FAILS, and this casts serious doubt on Objection #4.
 
IN THE NEXT POST
In the next post of this series, I hope to complete my evaluation of Objection #4, by examining the second element of this objection: the placement of Jesus’ body in a stone tomb.

bookmark_borderDraft: William Lane Craig on the Evidential Argument from Evolution

This is a draft article I’ve been working on. Any feedback would be appreciated.


Abstract: Paul Draper defends what may be called an “evidential argument from evolution” against theism, viz., an argument which purports to show that evolution constitutes strong evidence against theism. In response to this argument, William Lane Craig argues that Draper’s argument depends upon three “dubious” probability estimates. I examine one by one Craig’s objections to these estimates and show how they miss the mark.


Introduction

The idea that evolution is somehow a threat to “religion” is nothing new. Ever since the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, there have been allegations of a “war” between “science” and “religion,” with evolution arguably constituting one of the war’s front lines. For most of this “war’s” history, the philosophical “fighting” has focused on questions of logical compatibility, such as whether evolution is compatible with Christian theism (specifically, with a literal interpretation of the Biblical book of Genesis) or, more broadly, whether it is even compatible with “mere” or “generic” theism; no one had bothered to make a serious effort to consider, apart from questions of logical compatibility, whether the truth of evolution might constitute evidence against theism even if it is consistent with it. This changed in 1997. Philosopher of religion Paul Draper, well-known for writing what is widely considered one of the best versions of the argument from evil (1996), developed what may be called the “evidential argument from evolution.” It takes the following form:

(1) Evolution is antecedently much more probable on the assumption that naturalism is true than on the assumption that theism is true.
(2) The statement that pain and pleasure systematically connected to reproductive success is antecedently much more probable on the assumption that evolutionary naturalism is true than on the assumption that evolutionary theism is true.
(3) Therefore, evolution conjoined with this statement about pain and pleasure is antecedently very much more probable on the assumption that naturalism is true than on the assumption that theism is true. (From 1 and 2)
(4) Naturalism is at least as plausible as theism.
(5) Therefore, other evidence held equal, naturalism is very much more probable than theism. (From 3 and 4)
(6) Naturalism entails that theism is false.
(7) Therefore, other evidence held equal, it is highly probable that theism is false. (From 5 and 6) (Draper 1997)

Strictly speaking, the argument is both an evidential argument from evolution and an evidential argument from evil: (1) appeals to the fact of evolution, whereas (2) appeals to facts about pain and pleasure (a type of so-called “natural evil”).
The argument includes several propositions in the relevant background knowledge:

B1: Pain and pleasure, if they exist, have intrinsic moral value.
B2: A physical universe—which operates according to natural laws, is intelligible, and which supports the possibility of intelligent life—exists.
B3: Living things, including sentient beings, exist on Earth. These sentient beings include, but are not limited to, human beings.
B4: Some (Earthly) sentient beings are not moral agents but are biologically very similar to (Earthly) embodied moral agents.
B5: Humans are goal-directed organic systems, composed of parts that systematically contribute to the biological goals of these systems.

So the argument can be restated as follows:

(1) Pr(E| N & B) >! Pr(E | T & B).
(2) Pr(P | E & N & B) >! Pr(P | E & T & B).
(3) Pr(E & P | N & B) >!! Pr(E & P | T & B). (From 1 and 2)
(4) Pr(|T|) =< Pr(|N|).
(5) Pr(N | E & P & B) >!! Pr(T | E & P & B). (From 3 and 4)
(6) Naturalism entails that theism is false.
(7) Therefore, Pr(T | E & P & B) <!! 1/2. (From 5 and 6)

In the twenty years since it was published, the evidential argument from evolution has attracted the attention of several philosophers, including William Lane Craig (2003, pp. 548-550), Alvin Plantinga (2011), and Daniel Howard-Snyder (2017). In this paper I want to critically assess Craig’s objections. Now if Craig claimed no more with respect to the evidential argument from evolution than the truism that “one man’s modus ponens is another man’s modus tollens,” namely, that one’s degree of belief in the falsity of an argument’s conclusion can exceed one’s degree of belief in an argument’s key premise (Craig 2003, p. 549), then the defender of the evidential argument from evolution would have no dispute with Craig, pointing out that the argument’s “other evidence held equal” clause preempts Craig’s punting to theistic arguments. Fortunately for discussion’s sake, Craig’s appraisal of the evidential argument from evolution is mostly independent of his appeal to theistic arguments.  According to Craig, “Draper’s argument hinges on three probability estimates which seem dubious in light of our discussion” (Craig 2003, p. 549). In this response, I hope to show that the argument is, in fact, considerably stronger than Craig acknowledges.

Part 1: Craig’s Objections in His Written Work

First Objection: The Argument for Pr(|T|) =< Pr(|N|)

Craig’s first objection is that Draper (1997) assumes that theism and naturalism have equal prior probabilities. In Craig’s (2003, p. 549) words, Draper assumes that

naturalism and theism are equally probable with respect to our general background knowledge (Pr (N) = Pr (T)), which we have seen reason to dispute (recall chaps. 23-24).

As an objection to Draper 1997, however, this is simply misguided.
(i) First, Craig has confused prior probability with intrinsic probability. The former is a measure of the probability of a hypothesis conditional upon the relevant, extrinsic background information, whereas the latter is the probability of a hypothesis determined solely by intrinsic factors related to the content of a hypothesis, e.g., its scope and modesty. Allow me to introduce some mathematical symbols to make this clear:
Let Pr(|X|) =df. the intrinsic probability of X
Let Pr(X | B) =df. the prior probability of X conditional upon background information B
So Craig’s objection assumes that Draper’s argument either contains (or implies) a premise which says:

(4′) Pr(T| B) = Pr(N | B).

But this is false. The actual premise in Draper’s argument is:

(4) Naturalism is at least as plausible as theism, i.e., Pr(|T|) =< Pr(|N|).

Even if Craig were correct that theism had a higher prior probability than naturalism, this would be irrelevant to (4), which states that theism is not intrinsically more probable than naturalism. So far as I am aware, Craig has never interacted with any of Draper’s work on intrinsic probability. (write a lot more here)
(ii) Even if Draper’s argument had claimed that theism and naturalism contained equal prior probabilities, Craig’s selection of background propositions—i.e., the propositions which constitute the relevant background knowledge—is biased. Again, Craig (2003, p. 49) writes:

naturalism and theism are equally probable with respect to our general background knowledge (Pr (N) = Pr (T)), which we have seen reason to dispute (recall chaps. 23-24).]

What, precisely, were the reasons offered in chapters 23 and 24? The cosmological, teleological, axiological, and ontological arguments. Here I think Craig has not expressed himself very well. What could it mean to say that a set of arguments constitutes “our general background knowledge”? I am not even sure what that means. One option would be to include the conclusions of those arguments in our background knowledge:

B6. A maximally great being exists, i.e., a maximally great being exists in every possible world including the actual world. (Craig 2003, p. 496)
B7. The universe has a cause. (Craig 2003, p. 468)
B8. The explanation of the existence of the universe is God. (Craig 2003, p. 466)
B9. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to design. (Craig 2003, p. 484)
B10. God exists. (Craig 2003, p. 495)

That can’t be right because several of those conclusions (B6, B8, and B10) either explicitly state or imply that God exists. It’s illegitimate to include, in the background knowledge of a Bayesian argument, a proposition which entails the truth or falsity of the rival explanatory hypotheses under consideration. But three of these conclusions (B6, B8, and B10) either state or imply God’s existence, which renders them unsuitable for inclusion in the relevant background knowledge of an evidential argument about God’s existence. Furthermore, B6, if true, would entail that God’s existence is metaphysically necessary. It would be very odd, I think, to include “God’s existence is metaphysically necessary” in the background knowledge of any evidential argument against God’s existence. If God’s existence were metaphysically necessary, then we wouldn’t say that fact ought to be included in an evidential argument against God’s existence. Rather, we would say that all evidential arguments against God’s existence are fundamentally misguided, since there is no possible world in which God does not exist.
Another option would be to include in our background knowledge the key evidence to be explained in each of those arguments.

B6′. It is rational to believe that it is possible that a maximally great being exists. (From Plantinga’s ontological argument)[1]
B7′. The universe began to exist. (From the kalam cosmological argument)[2]
B8′. The universe has an explanation for its existence. (From the Leibnizian cosmological argument)[3]
B9′. The universe is life-permitting. (From Craig’s teleological argument)[4]
B10′. Objective moral values exist. (From the axiological argument)[5]

This second option–focusing on the evidence to be explained–seems to be the most favorable to Craig’s goal of boosting the prior probability of theism over naturalism.
The second option fails, however, because it violates the inductive Rule of Total Evidence. Why does it violate the Rule of Total Evidence? Because it considers only some propositions (those which Craig believes to be favorable to theism) while ignoring other propositions (those favorable to naturalism). For example:

B11. It is rational to believe that it is impossible that a maximally great being exists.[6]
B12. The physical exists. (From the evidential argument from physicality)[7]
B13. It is rational to believe that it is impossible for a timeless being to create anything.
B14. So much of our universe is intelligible without appeal to supernatural agency. (From the evidential argument from the history of science)[8]
B15. Conscious states in general are dependent upon the physical brain. (From the evidential argument from mind-brain dependence)[9]
B16. The world contains an abundance of tragedy and relatively little triumph. (From the evidential argument from triumph and tragedy)[10]

To sum up: Craig’s first objection mistakenly treats intrinsic probability as synonymous with prior probability. Furthermore, even if premise (4) had appealed to prior probability, Craig would still have failed to show that theism enjoys a higher prior probability than naturalism.

Second Objection: The Argument for Pr(P | E & N & B) >! Pr(P | E & T & B)

Craig’s second objection appeals to what I call the “skeptical theism defense” (Lowder 2016). Craig (2003, p. 549) writes:

Second, he believes that the probability of the distribution of pain/pleasure in the world is greater on naturalism and evolution than it is on theism and evolution (Pr (P/E&N) > Pr(P/E&T)). But we have seen reason to question whether we are in an epistemic position to make justifiably this sort of probability judgement.

What reason is that?

What makes the probability [that God has no morally sufficient reasons for permitting the evils that occur] here so difficult to assess is that we are not in a good epistemic position to make these kinds of probability judgments with any sort of confidence. As finite persons, we are limited in space and time, in intelligence and insight. But the transcendent and sovereign God sees the end of history from its beginning and providentially orders history so that his purposes are ultimately achieved through human free decisions. In order to achieve his ends God may well have to put up with certain evils along the way. Evils that appear pointless or unnecessary to us within our limited framework may be seen to have been justly permitted within God’s wider framework. (Craig 2003, p. 543)

By interacting solely with Draper 1997, it appears that Craig missed the fact that Draper 1996 (p. ##) already answered this objection. To sum up: it’s possible that God has unknown reasons for allowing evil. But it’s also possible—and antecedently just as likely—that God has unknown reasons for preventing evil. So the possibilities of unknown reasons for allowing evil and unknown reasons for preventing evil “cancel out.” We’re right back where we started, namely, working with what we do know: P. In fact, this is pretty much the point of using epistemic probabilities. If we had perfect, complete information, then we wouldn’t need to use probabilities at all. So human ignorance is not a good objection to comparing Pr(P | E & N & B) to Pr(P | E & T & B).
Furthermore, as numerous philosophers (nontheists and theists alike) have pointed out, logically consistent natural theologians cannot appeal to the limitations of human cognitive abilities to defeat evidential arguments from evil (Draper 1996b, p. 188). Allow me to explain. If human cognitive limitations really did prevent us from assessing whether God has morally sufficient reasons for allowing evil, including facts about pain and pleasure, then Craig can kiss goodbye all of his arguments from natural theology for God’s existence. Consistent skeptical theists should also insist that human cognitive limitations prevent us from assessing:

  1. the antecedent probability of our universe beginning to exist on theism, i.e., Pr(beginning | theism);
  2. the antecedent probability of so-called cosmological ‘fine-tuning’ on theism, i.e., Pr(‘tuning’ | theism); and
  3. the antecedent probability of the Resurrection on theism, i.e., Pr(Resurrection | theism).

This is why logically consistent natural theologians, like Oxford University philosopher Richard Swinburne, don’t rely upon skeptical theism. Instead, they attempt to provide theodicies—explanations for why God, if He exists, would allow facts about the kinds, amounts, and distribution of evil in the world to obtain (Draper 2010, p. 18).
Finally, Craig is completely silent on Draper’s supporting arguments for believing that Pr(P | E  & N & B) !> Pr(P | E & T & B). As I read him, Draper gives three such arguments. First, our background knowledge includes the fact many other parts of organic systems are systematically connected to reproductive success. Second, Draper points out that evolutionary naturalistic Darwinism (E & N & D) provides an antecedent reason for believing that pain and pleasure, like anything else produced by natural selection, will be systematically connected to reproductive success, which is what P states. In fact, evolutionary naturalism (E&N) entails nothing that would provide an antecedent reason for doubting that pain and pleasure will resemble other parts of organic systems by being systematically connected to reproductive success. Third, given E&T, however, P would be true only if the biological goal of reproductive success and some unknown justifying moral goal happened to coincide in such a way that each could be simultaneously satisfied. That’s a really big coincidence that E & N & D doesn’t need.
Thus, on the assumption that E&N is true, it would be extremely surprising if pain and pleasure appeared to be anything but morally random, whereas on the assumption that theism is true, a discernible moral pattern would be less surprising. Draper concludes, accordingly, that (2) is true and Pr(P & E & N & B) >! Pr(P | E & T & B).

Third Objection: The Argument for Pr(E| N & B) >! Pr(E | T & B)

Craig’s third objection seeks to undercut (1) by appealing to the (alleged) improbability of life on naturalism. In his (2003, p. 549) words:

Finally, he argues that the probability of evolution on naturalism is greater than the probability of evolution on theism (Pr(E/N) > Pr(E/T)). For if naturalism is true, evolution is the only game in town; but if theism is true, God had more alternatives. But this assessment is confused. What Draper’s argument supports is the assessment that evolution is more probable relative to naturalism and the existence of biological organisms than to theism and the existence of biological organisms (Pr(E/N&B) > Pr(E/T&B)). But we have seen from our discussion of the teleological argument (chapter 23) that the existence of biological organisms (and, hence, their evolution) is virtually impossible relative to naturalism alone and that we should therefore expect a lifeless world given naturalism, which cannot be said of theism. Without his three crucial probability estimates Draper’s evidential argument from evil founders.

As an objection to (1), however, this objection is multiply flawed.
(i) I think Craig is being uncharitable to Draper. In Draper’s writings, he does not explicitly refer to background knowledge in his probabilistic notation; thus, “Pr(E / N)” can be charitably restated in its more explicit form as, “Pr(E / N &  B),” where “B” represents the relevant background information. Indeed, this is precisely how I have presented Draper’s argument in this article. The key point here is that, in Draper’s original article, “probability of evolution on naturalism” means “probability of evolution on naturalism and our background information” and “probability of evolution on theism” means “probability of evolution on theism and our background information.”
(ii) What about the possibility of biological organisms on naturalism alone? Here Craig attempts to change the subject by appealing to the teleological argument. Let’s grant, but only for the sake of argument, that the probability of a life-permitting world on theism is greater than the probability of a life-permitting world on naturalism, i.e., Pr(life-permitting world | T) > Pr(life-permitting world | N). That fact, if it is a fact, is not of obvious relevance to the evidential argument from evolution. For the evidential argument from evolution compares the antecedent probability of evolution on naturalism and on theism, i.e., Pr(E | N & B) > Pr(E| T & B). Craig seems to think that if he can show that if a life-permitting world is extremely improbable on naturalism, it somehow follows that (1) is false. In other words, Craig seems to move from:

The probability of a life-permitting world on naturalism is extremely low, i.e., Pr(life-permitting world | N) << 0.5.

to:

It is false that the probability of evolution on naturalism (and background information) is greater than the probability of evolution on theism (and background information), i.e., it is false that Pr(E | N & B) > Pr(E| T & B).

The problem, however, is that this does not follow. For the sake of argument, it may be the case that the fact that our universe is life-permitting is more probable on theism than on naturalism, but, given that our universe is life-permitting, the fact that all living things are the gradually modified descendants of earlier living things is evidence favoring naturalism over theism. Indeed, this is precisely Draper’s (2001) position!
 
 

References

Craig, William Lane (2003). “The External Problem of Evil,” in J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (pp. 548-550). Downers Grove: InterVarsity.
Draper, Paul (1996). “Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists.” Noûs, 23 (3): 331-350. Reprinted in Daniel Howard-Snyder (Ed.), The Evidential Argument from Evil (pp. 12-29). Indianapolis, IA: Indiana University Press.
Draper, Paul (1997) “Evolution and the Problem of Evil” in Louis Pojman (Ed.), Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology (pp. 219-230). 3rd ed., Belmont: Wadsworth.
Draper, Paul (2001). “Seeking But Not Believing: Confessions of a Practicing Agnostic” in Daniel Howard-Snyder and Paul Moser (Eds.), Divine Hiddenness: New Essays (pp. 197-214). New York: Oxford University Press.
Draper, Paul (2010). “God and Evil: A Philosophical Inquiry” (October 1, 2010). Talk presented at the University of Notre Dame Ninth Annual Plantinga Lecture, Notre Dame, Indiana. <https://philreligion.nd.edu/assets/44795/1011lecture.pdf>
Howard-Snyder, Daniel (2017). “The Evolutionary Argument for Atheism” in John-Christopher Keller (Ed.), Being, Freedom, and Method: Themes from Van Inwagen (pp. 241-62). New York: Oxford University Press.
Lowder, Jeffery Jay (1998). “Summary and Assessment of the Craig-Draper Debate on the Existence of God (1998).” The Secular Outpost blog. <https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2016/02/20/summary-and-assessment-of-the-craig-draper-debate-on-the-existence-of-god-1998/>, site accessed December 20, 2016.
Lowder, Jeffery Jay (2016). “In Defense of an Evidential Argument from Evil: A Reply to William Lane Craig.” The Secular Web. <https://infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/pain-and-pleasure.html>, site accessed September 1, 2019.
Oppy, Graham (2016). TBD
Plantinga, Alvin (2011). Where The Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, & Naturalism. New York: Oxford University Press.
Notes
[1] I think the truth of B6′ is far from obvious. Indeed, as Graham Oppy (2016, p. TBD) points out, “opponents of the argument are bound to challenge the acceptability” of B6. He continues, “And, of course, they do. Let’s just run the argument in reverse.” Oppy then runs the argument as follows:

There is no entity which possesses maximal greatness.
(Hence) There is no possible world in which there is an entity which possesses maximal greatness.

Oppy concludes: “Plainly enough, if you do not already accept the claim that there is an entity which possesses maximal greatness, then you won’t agree that the first of these arguments is more acceptable than the second. So, as a proof of the existence of a being which possesses maximal greatness, Plantinga’s argument seems to be a non-starter.”
[2] Even if we assume, but only for the sake of argument, that B7′ is more probable on theism than on naturalism, this argument commits the fallacy of understated evidence. Given that the universe began to exist, the fact that it began to exist with time, not in time, is more probable on naturalism than on theism.
[3] Even if we grant that the universe has an explanation of its existence, it doesn’t follow that the explanation is God. Other possible explanations include: (i) an infinite regress of contingent universes; and (ii) our universe’s factual necessity. If our universe is factually necessary, then its existence would be partially explained by its own nature (which is uncaused, beginningless, and independent / free-standing) and partially explained by virtue of other things that happen to exist (i.e., nothing around it has what it takes to knock the universe out of existence). I owe this objection to Felipe Leon.
[4] Even if we assume, but only for the sake of argument, that B9′ is more probable on theism than on naturalism, this argument commits the fallacy of understated evidence. Given that the universe is life-permitting, the fact that so much of it is hostile to life is more probable on naturalism than on theism. Furthermore, given that the universe is life-permitting, the fact that life is the result of evolution is much more probable on naturalism than on theism.
[5] B10′ is not more probable on theism than on naturalism. Theism assumes, not explains, the existence of objective moral value.
[6] TBD
[7] TBD
[8] TBD
[9] TBD
[10] TBD

bookmark_borderOlder Books Defending the Resurrection

I’m looking at some older apologetics books to see what kind of objections have been raised against the Swoon Theory in the past. I found a helpful bibliography of older books on the resurrection in the back of Our Lord’s Resurrection by W.J. Sparrow-Simpson (1905):

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
Some of the best older books defending the resurrection are available for FREE from Google Books.  Go to Google Play, select Books, then select My Books, then Ebooks, then you can search for and find some of the older books on the resurrection and add them to your “My Books” collection:
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
17th Century
A Demonstration of the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and therein of the Christian Religion (1669) by Richard Garbutt
18th Century
A Discourse concerning the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (1714) by Humphry Ditton
The Tryal of the Witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus (4th edition,1729) by Thomas Sherlock
Observations on the History and Evidences of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (4th edition, 1749) by Gilbert West
19th Century
Nine Sermons, on the Nature of the Evidence by which the fact of Our Lord’s Resurrection is Established (1817) by Samuel Horsley
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ: With an Examination of the Speculations of Strauss in His ‘New Life of Jesus’ (1867) by Robert Macpherson
The Resurrection of Our Lord (1884) by William Milligan
Apologetics: Or, Christianity Defensively Stated (1892) by Alexander Balmain Bruce
Early 20th Century
The Risen Master (1901) by Henry Latham
Our Lord’s Resurrection (1905) by William John Sparrow-Simpson
The Resurrection of Jesus (1908) by James Orr
The Resurrection and Modern Thought (reissue 1915) by W. J. Sparrow Simpson

bookmark_borderHinman’s Pathetic Defense of his Sad Little Argument

HINMAN’S SAD LITTLE ARGUMENT AGAINST THE SURVIVAL THEORY
In response to my criticism of Peter Kreeft’s weak and pathetic objections against the Survival Theory, Joe Hinman wrote the following in one of his blog posts:

The second issue Bowen argues the book of John Implies the Romans were confused about Jesus’ death, quotes passages John 19: 31-33 to prove the Romans may have thought he was alive. The reasoning is one soldier pierced Jesus’ side the only reason to do that was to see if he was dead. Therefore they didn’t really think he was dead. So apparently if they were confused he was alive? Of course they ignore the fact that the sticking would have proven he was dead because water coming out separate from blood proves heart is not working. Even so it’s that literalism that says it can’t be that they thought he was probably dead and just wanted to confirm it. …  [emphasis added]

The argument that Hinman puts forward here against the Survival Theory follows the miserable example of intellectual sloth by Peter Kreeft, being stated in a single unclear and sloppy sentence:

the sticking would have proven he was dead because water coming out separate from blood proves heart is not working.

In standard form, this sad and way too brief argument may be stated as follows:

1. Water coming out separate from blood proves [the] heart is not working.

THEREFORE:

2. Jesus’ heart stopped working while he was still on the cross.

Another premise is needed in order to get to what is actually the desired but unstated conclusion:

3. If Jesus’ heart stopped working while he was on the cross, then it is virtually certain that Jesus was dead when he was removed from the cross.

THEREFORE:

4. It is virtually certain that Jesus was dead when he was removed from the cross.

Premise (1) must be immediately REJECTED by anyone who is knowledgeable about this issue.
First, even eyewitness testimony by a trustworthy person who was present at the crucifixion of Jesus CANNOT ESTABLISH that “water” came out of any part of Jesus’ body. This is because many different liquids LOOK LIKE water, and nobody did a chemical analysis of the liquid, or even tasted or smelled the liquid in order to verify that it was just water. So, no ancient historical document can establish that “water” came out of some part of Jesus’ body.
Second, most of the Christian apologists and medical investigators who have suggested theories about the medical cause of Jesus’ death DO NOT BELIEVE that the transparent (or translucent) substance that (allegedly) came from Jesus’ wound was WATER. Instead, they believe it was pleural or pericardial fluids, or urine, or…?  NOBODY thinks that it was “water” that came out of Jesus’ wound!
Let me try to improve and clarify the first premise of Hinman’s sad little argument:

1A. Fluid that LOOKED LIKE water came out of the spear wound in Jesus’ side and fluid that LOOKED LIKE blood also came out of that wound while Jesus was on the cross, and those two fluids came out of the wound separately.

1B. IF fluid that LOOKED LIKE water came out of the spear wound in Jesus’ side and fluid that LOOKED LIKE blood also came out of that wound while Jesus was on the cross, and those two fluids came out of the wound separately, THEN Jesus’ heart stopped working while he was on the cross.

THEREFORE:

2. Jesus’ heart stopped working while he was on the cross.

3. If Jesus’ heart stopped working while he was on the cross, then it is virtually certain that Jesus was dead when he was removed from the cross.

THEREFORE:

4. It is virtually certain that Jesus was dead when he was removed from the cross.

This is what a clear and intelligent argument looks like, and this is merely a high-level summary of an actual argument.  The basic premises (1A) and (1B), for example, BEG THE QUESTION if they are merely asserted.  Those premises are controversial and questionable, so they MUST be supported with EVIDENCE and REASONING in order to get this argument off the ground.
 
MY OBJECTIONS TO HINMAN’S SAD LITTLE ARGUMENT
Concerning premise (1A), I have already provided ten reasons for doubting the accuracy, reliability, and historicity of the passage from the 4th Gospel that is used to support this premise. This historical claim is VERY DUBIOUS. This problem is sufficient by itself to sink this argument as being probably UNSOUND.
Concerning premise (1B), Joe is NOT a medical doctor. His educational background is in theology, so he is NOT qualified to make medical claims like this. NOBODY should believe (1B) just because Joe says so. He OBVIOUSLY needs to provide evidence to support this claim. But Joe apparently doesn’t see this obvious point, because he simply asserts (1B), without providing any evidence for it.
 
HINMAN’S PATHETIC ATTEMPT TO REPLY TO MY OBJECTIONS TO (1A)
I have pointed out and explained in detail TEN problems with the historicity and historical reliability of the relevant passage from the 4th Gospel.  Here is Hinman’s pathetic reply to those TEN detailed objections against premise (1A):

Sorry your understanding is out of date. Since Bauckham’s book Jesus and the Eye Witnesses it is form criticism that is now considered dubious and John has a new credibility. Remember our first 1×1 debate? You used Bauckham as your own source to argue against me.

My understanding of the 4th Gospel is “out of date”.  That is Hinman’s brilliant reply to my ten detailed objections against premise (1A).  I’m a bit skeptical that Bauckham’s book has in fact turned 150 years of NT scholarship on its head, and converted hundreds of NT scholars to believers in the historical reliability of the 4th Gospel.  That seems more like a fantasy that Hinman wishes were the case.  However, even if Bauckham’s book has actually pulled off this minor miracle, and turned NT scholarship around, that still DOES NOT ANSWER my ten detailed objections to premise (1A).
Hinman is again displaying his extreme intellectual SLOTH. If Bauckham’s book doesn’t answer my ten objections, then his book is basically IRRELEVANT to those objections.  On the other hand, if Bauckham’s book really does make a strong case for the reliability of the 4th Gospel, then it should directly answer all (or nearly all) of my ten objections.  But in that case, all that Hinman had to do was to POINT US TO THE PAGES in Bauckham’s book where my objections are answered.
Hinman wouldn’t have to generate a single argument (unless Bauckham failed to cover one of my objections).  But that would be far too much effort for Mr. Hinman.  He would have to pick up Bauckham’s book and scan through it (or read it for the first time) to locate the pages where my objections are answered by Bauckham.  That would take at least an hour of intellectual effort and might completely exhaust Mr. Hinman’s mind to the point he would be unable to ever write another comment on my posts. (Not that I would complain about that.)
When Mr. Hinman decides to push past his extreme intellectual SLOTH, and put out just a tiny bit of intellectual effort, he can easily provide us all with the various page numbers in Bauckham’s book, where my ten objections are answered.  Since I already have a copy of Jesus and the Eye Witnesses, Hinman doesn’t even have to write out the quotes for me.  I suspect that this, however, is too big of a request for Mr. Hinman, and that no such page numbers will be forthcoming, and that Mr. Hinman will continue to simply ignore my ten detailed objections against the reliability and historicity of the 4th Gospel and of the passage from the 4th Gospel that is used to support premise (1A).
 
HINMAN’S PATHETIC ATTEMPT TO REPLY TO MY OBJECTION TO (1B)
Premise (1B) asserts a questionable and controversial medical claim:

1B. IF fluid that LOOKED LIKE water came out of the spear wound in Jesus’ side and fluid that LOOKED LIKE blood also came out of that wound while Jesus was on the cross, and those two fluids came out of the wound separately, THEN Jesus’ heart stopped working while he was on the cross.

Since Joe Hinman is NOT a medical doctor, nobody should believe this claim on his say-so.  He must provide solid factual EVIDENCE to support this medical claim.
Here is Hinman’s pathetic attempt to reply to my objection to his sad little argument:

I already did that [i.e. presented evidence supporting premise (1B)] your majesty. In three different posts above.I am not a doctor but I quote several of them in the internet,

Adrian Treloar FRCP, “Blood and Water,” Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 63(1) (February 2013) http://www.cmq.org.uk/CMQ/2…

“To confirm that a victim was dead, the Romans inflicted a spear wound through the right side of the heart. The medical significance of the blood and water has been a matter of debate. One theory (Bergsma) states that Jesus died of a massive myocardial infarction, in which the heart ruptured [a]which may have resulted from His falling while carrying the cross [b]. Davis suggested that Jesus’ heart was surrounded by fluid in the pericardium, which caused pericardial tamponade [c]. Another theory that I have often heard is that in a sick man (Our Lord was badly beaten) after death the blood will separate into clot and serum. We do know that death of the cross occurs from exhaustion and inability to support the weight of the body and to breathe.”

There are so many problems with Hinman’s pathetic attempt to reply to my objection to his sad little argument that it is difficult to know where to begin.
FIRST, the author of the article quoted by Hinman is a medical doctor, but his expertise is in an irrelevant area:

Old Age Psychiatry (!)

Hinman does NOT claim that Jesus died of old age.  Hinman does NOT claim that Jesus died as the result of Alzheimer’s or of some other mental illness.  So, the expertise of the author of the quoted article does not apply to the medical issues concerning the alleged cause of death in cases of crucifixion and in the case of Jesus’ crucifixion in particular, since he was a relatively young man at the time of the crucifixion, and was not showing signs of dementia.
SECOND,  the title of the publication where this article appeared is VERY MISLEADING:

Catholic Medical Quarterly

This title, especially in the context of this debate, suggests that this is a MEDICAL JOURNAL, which it is NOT.  This publication is clearly a Catholic propaganda publication, and most of the articles in the publication are NOT peer reviewed, not reviewed by medical professionals, at least most are NOT required to have such a peer review by the policy of the publication:

 
 
 
 
 
 
Clearly, an article discussing the death and resurrection of Jesus is an article that discusses “matters of faith”, so there was no requirement for any peer review  by medical professionals of the article quoted by Hinman above.
Furthermore, given that the content of this publication is mainly articles that promote Catholic views about ABORTION, CONTRACEPTION, HOMOSEXUALITY, and EUTHANASIA, most of the articles in this publication “discuss matters of faith” and therefore face no requirement for peer review by any medical professionals.
Here are the subjects that are listed in the TOPIC INDEX for Catholic Medical Quarterly:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Do you notice “cancer” as a topic? No.  How about “heart disease”? No.  Maybe “emergency medicine”? Nope.  “infectious disease”?  Nope.  Anything on “lung disease”? No.  New “drugs” or “vaccinations”? No.  How about “surgical procedures”? Nope.
This publication is focused on Catholic ethical and theological beliefs, and particularly on the PROMOTION of traditional Catholic beliefs on these subjects. Here is a STATEMENT of the PURPOSE of this publication from the home page of the website of the publication:

The CMQ was originally published in 1947 as the Catholic Medical Gazette.  The purpose of the CMQ is to provide and describe an evidence base that enables understanding of the teaching of Christ and his Church as requested by Pope Paul VI, St Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis

In other words, the PURPOSE of this publication is to PROMOTE the teachings of the Catholic Church, and any articles in it that “discuss matters of faith” (i.e. most of the articles) are NOT subject to peer review by medical professionals.
So, Mr. Hinman’s pathetic reply in defense of his sad little argument is based on a quotation from an article written by a medical doctor with IRRELEVANT expertise (Old Age Psychiatry) that was published in a Catholic propaganda publication which does NOT require peer review by medical professionals for most of the articles it publishes, particularly the article that Hinman quotes from, because that article discusses “matters of faith”.
THIRD, it is obvious just from the brief quote provided by Hinman, that the author is a sloppy and careless thinker.  The very first sentence should ring alarm bells for any intelligent and informed reader:

To confirm that a victim was dead, the Romans inflicted a spear wound through the right side of the heart.

This is clearly an important, even critical claim.  I suspect that if this claim is FALSE or DUBIOUS, then Hinman’s argument is likely to completely FAIL.  But this is a questionable HISTORICAL claim.  Surely, Dr. Treloar is aware that his medical expertise in Old Age Psychiatry does NOT make him an expert on ancient Roman history, particularly on such a fine detail about the practices of the Roman military.  Given that he has no expertise in ancient Roman history, surely he does not expect us to simply take his word on this important, perhaps critical, historical claim.
But there is NO historical EVIDENCE provided to back up this key claim, and there is not even a footnote or reference to some other book or article that would provide us with EVIDENCE on this point.  So, apparently Dr. Treloar thinks that being an expert in Old Age Psychiatry also makes him an expert in ancient Roman history.  He (a medical doctor!) believes this idea, so it must be true.  That suggests to me that Dr. Treloar is full of BS.
Furthermore, this sort of IDIOTIC assertion of KEY historical claims with NO HISTORICAL EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER is exactly the same type of shit that Peter Kreeft (as well as a whole host of other Christian apologists) constantly does.  So, to make up for the CRAPPY reasoning of Peter Kreeft, Hinman gives us a nice stinking chunk of CRAPPY thinking by Dr. Treloar.  Pick your poison; it’s bullshit all the way down.
And that is just the first sentence of the quotation from Dr. Treloar.  There is also the jarring non sequitur that occurs between early in the paragraph and the end of the paragraph:

The medical significance of the blood and water has been a matter of debate. …

We do know that death of the cross occurs from exhaustion and inability to support the weight of the body and to breathe.

In between these two statements, Dr. Treloar gives us three different theories about the cause of Jesus’ death and of the fluids that looked like water and blood.  These examples support his initial statement that the “significance of the blood and water” has been “a matter of debate”.  The logical conclusion to draw from this information is that WE DON’T KNOW what caused Jesus’ death.  But Dr. Treloar immediately draws the OPPOSITE conclusion, without any explanation, apparently failing to notice the illogical nature of his reasoning:  “We do know that death of the cross…”.   But if medical investigations of the death of Jesus arrive at different and conflicting conclusions about the cause of Jesus’ death, then how is it that we KNOW what causes death in crucifixions?
Hinman also points us to another article that is from an actual peer-reviewed MEDICAL JOURNAL and which seems much more reasonable and objective than the one by Dr. Treloar.  The other article begins with an observation very similar to that made by Treloar above:

In modern times, the medical profession has shown considerable interest in crucifixion. The typical aim of articles by this group has been to determine how crucified individuals actually died; and they often focus on the case of Jesus of Nazareth. Since Stroud’s book of 1847, at least 10 different theories have been proposed…The postulated causes of death include cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, and psychological pathology.

But this other article draws a much more obvious and logical conclusion than Dr. Treloar did from similar information:

When a large number of theories are proposed for a problem in any scientific discipline, this often demonstrates that there is no clear evidence indicating the answer.

The ultimate conclusions of this other article confirm this initial suspicion:

At first glance, their medical arguments appear plausible. However, our principal finding is that on more detailed examination most of these hypotheses regarding crucifixion are unsubstantiated by the available data.

[…]

Our conclusion is that, at present, there is insufficient evidence to safely state exactly how people did die from crucifixion in Roman times.

So, if Hinman had actually READ the second article that he pointed us to, he should have noticed how it firmly undermines the credibility of the first article that he pointed us to.
Once again, though, Dr. Treloar is an expert in Old Age Psychaitry, so that does NOT make him an expert on the cause of death in crucifixion.  So, surely Treloar realizes that this MEDICAL and HISTORICAL claim he is making (“that death of the cross occurs from exhaustion and inability to support the weight of the body and to breathe.”) requires a good deal of HISTORICAL EVIDENCE and REASONING as well as MEDICAL EVIDENCE and REASONING.  He cannot expect anyone to simply take his word for this, especially given that this claim appears to be another very important, and possibly critical claim.
But where is the HISTORICAL EVIDENCE?  Where is the MEDICAL EVIDENCE?  Where is the REASONING?  We just get a bald assertion from someone who is lacking in relevant medical expertise and lacking in relevant historical expertise.  There is not even a footnote or reference to some other book or article which could provide relevant EVIDENCE and REASONING. So apparently, Dr. Treloar thinks that being an Old Age Psychaitrist means that any claims he believes about the crucifixion of Jesus must be true. This is further evidence, from just one paragraph, that Dr. Treloar is full BS, just like Peter Kreeft, and just like Joe Hinman.  It is bullshit all the way down.
FOURTH, and most importantly, the quote that Hinman provides from Dr. Treloar is IRRELEVANT to premise (1B).  Even if Dr. Treloar had appropriate medical expertise, even if Dr. Treloar was not a sloppy and careless thinker, and even if the Catholic Medical Quarterly were a legitimate medical journal and the quoted article had undergone peer review by medical professionals, this quote does NOT provide support for premise (1B).  As it stands, this paragraph does NOT assert or infer the truth of (1B).   The quote does NOT address the claim made in premise (1B).
Hinman may think that there are some ideas in this quote that would help him to argue in support of (1B), but the quote doesn’t present any such argument.  Hinman will have to stop being an intellectual SLOTH for a few minutes, perhaps for an hour, in order to ACTUALLY ARGUE in support of premise (1B), and he might foolishly choose to make use of some dubious claims asserted by Dr. Treloar as part of an argument for (1B), but that argument has NOT been provided by Dr. Treloar, and so the quote given by Hinman is basically IRRELEVANT to my objection.
What we were missing is EVIDENCE and REASONING that supports premise (1B), and the quote from Dr. Treloar FAILS to provide EVIDNCE and REASONING that supports premise (1B), so we are still in need of an actual argument for (1B) from Mr. Hinman (although I fear that he will continue to follow Peter Kreeft’s path of intellectual SLOTH and just toss out another sad little argument to support this premise).
One statement in the quote from Dr. Treloar does seem to have potential relevance to (1B):

To confirm that a victim was dead, the Romans inflicted a spear wound through the right side of the heart.

The problem here, as I have pointed out above, is that Dr. Treloar is an Old Age Psychaitrist; he is NOT an historian, and NOT an expert in ancient Roman history. So, the fact that Dr. Treolar makes this claim is of no significance; he has no expertise in this area.  Furthermore, this claim requires support from HISTORICAL EVIDENCE and HISTORICAL REASONING, but Dr. Treloar provides us with neither sort of support for this claim, so the quotation of this claim is USELESS for a defense of premise (1B).
The other claim in this quote that MIGHT POSSIBLY be relevant to a defense of (1B) is this:

We do know that death of the cross occurs from exhaustion and inability to support the weight of the body and to breathe.

But Dr. Treloar is an Old Age Psychaitrist; he is NOT an historian, and NOT an expert in ancient Roman history, and his medical expertise is in psychaitry, not in an area relevant to the medical issues surrounding death by crucifixion.  So, quotation of this statement does NOT provide the EVIDENCE and REASONING necessary to show this statement to be TRUE.  Hinman will have to overcome his intellectual SLOTH and actually provide an argument to support this claim, if he thinks it will help him prove premise (1B).  Again, the quotation from Dr. Treloar is USELESS for a defense of premise (1B).
There are no other statements in the quotation that seem to have any relevance to premise (1B), so it is clear that the quotation provided by Hinman is USELESS for a defense of premise (1B).  It is a pathetic reply in an FAILED attempt to defend his sad little argument, and it is further evidence that Hinman’s objections to the Survival Theory are just as CRAPPY as the objections of the grand master of intellectual SLOTH, Peter Kreeft.
It is bullshit all the way down.