Pascal's Wager Revisited

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by alfonso, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. Actually, I think it's a pretty good argument. At least my version of it is: Pascal's Wager Revisited.

    In short:

    There is the option to positively believe in a deity or not to. (There could be a middleground of 'agnosticism', but for our purposes we can consider that that does not constitute a 'positive belief' and thus qualifies as 'not beleiving'.)

    There are no 'penalties' -- hell, eternal damnation, misfortunes, etc -- for not believing.

    There are substantial rewards for believing. Eg, eternal life, peace of mind, source of morality, meaning of life, and the like.

    There is no requirement to 'devote your life' to 'serving' such a deity, although the option is there if you want it.

    The potential 'negatives' are 'opening the door' for further 'irrational beliefs' -- assuming belief in a deity qualifies as 'irrational' (I submit that it does not, however not discussing that for the moment) -- into your life and thus exposing yourself to the potential 'dangers' this may bring; being 'laughed at'; I can't think of any others, but feel free to let me know of any.

    The believer has everything that the non-believer does, plus more. Given a choice, a person is far better off believing in a deity than not believing.

    Your thoughts.
  2. A fun excercise, but full of holes. Suppose a deity is to punish the believers and reward the atheists - ha!, you fools believing in nothing are not smart enough for our heaven... given our lack of information this seems as plausible as anything else. Given certain conditions belief is logical... the problem is we aren't given any conditions outside our hypothetical constructs.
  3. So okay then brainiac, point out the holes. (Unless you think you just did, in which case I'm about to get the biggest laugh I've had all day -- and I've been laughing a lot today.)

  4. i think you mean " you fools not believing are smart enough for our heaven" right ?? LOL !

  5. pascal's wager is only full of holes if there is not a deity. if there is, and it is the one you have faith in---- it stands.


  6. doh!
  7. Maybe I've got this wrong.... I was commenting on the reasoning:
    (a) There is a God
    (b) There is no God

    I. A believer, if correct is rewarded with heaven... if wrong falls into nothingnesss
    II. An atheist, if correct is rewarded with nothingness... if wrong is damned

    Therefor, it is best to believe because you have nothing to lose.

    Of course, I fouled up what I meant to say... but surfer got it!
  8. An issue I have with pascal's wager is that 'choosing' one's belief seems a dubious way to go about things; deciding to believe something implies acceptance of an artificial resting point for the sake of convenience / personal preference / saving time etc.

    Ed Seykota noted that great traders don't have talent, the talent has them. I suggest the analogy applies somewhat to truth as well, if you have looked long and hard to find it

    I also have issue with the notion that whether to believe or not to believe is reduced to a coin flip in the dark. There is much to be considered and much evidence to be weighed and measured, whether it is of the scientific variety or not.

    Planting a flag in the indecisiveness camp seems something of a copout, which is why I have more respect for those who take a stand than those who shrug, even if their position is at odds with mine. (And those still searching have no desire to shrug.)
  9. This line of reasoning has two assumptions:
    (1) Existence of God equals existence of hell and heaven,
    (2) Punishment or reward in afterlife is connected with one's belief or disbelief in God.

    Both assumptions can be wrong. But first of all, the concept of God is wrong, in my judgement.
  10. the existence of a creator--flawed or not--- is an obvious given to me.


    #10     Sep 4, 2003