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Old March 14th, 2007, 04:52 PM   #1
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PASCAL's WAGER: Bogus? Or sensible insurance?

To paraphrase PASCAL's WAGER:



If there is a punitive god, professing faith entitles eternal sanctuary (admittance to Heaven). If not, having professed such faith has no eternal penalty.

Pascal's metaphysical cost / benefit analysis concludes: faith merits over atheism in the proportion eternity towers over a single lifetime.



Is this reasoning valid? Are we wise to allow ourselves to be coerced into professing a faith that we do not sincerely hold?



- Pascal's wager is not an argument for the existence of a god. It's simply an argument for hypocrisy. - inspired by Richfrog @LL
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Old March 15th, 2007, 01:30 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sear
To paraphrase PASCAL's WAGER:



If there is a punitive god, professing faith entitles eternal sanctuary (admittance to Heaven). If not, having professed such faith has no eternal penalty.

Pascal's metaphysical cost / benefit analysis concludes: faith merits over atheism in the proportion eternity towers over a single lifetime.



Is this reasoning valid? Are we wise to allow ourselves to be coerced into professing a faith that we do not sincerely hold?



- Pascal's wager is not an argument for the existence of a god. It's simply an argument for hypocrisy. - inspired by Richfrog @LL


Pascal's wager was originally a form of apologetics in respect to Christianity, however that is far from the only religion that demands faith and offers dire consequences for a lack of faith.



If we apply Pascal's Wager equally to all such religions we find that we still must make a value judgment and can't default to hedging our metaphysical bets. It turns out that in a world with religious plurality Pascal's Wager is not very useful.



The other issue of course is that using Pascal's Wager to decide on 'faith' would cause a non-believer to go through the motions of a religion (the finite loss described in the wager) and still not gain the theoretical rewards if the religion is true. (the infinite gain) Thus if you do not actually possess faith (If you do have faith you need not worry about the Wager) and you let your actions be guided by the Wager you lose twice, and it is better to have your finite gain in life (as described by the Wager) since your infinite loss afterwards is certain if the religion is true, certain if another religion is true, and you face oblivion if the atheists are correct.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 02:12 AM   #3
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That's part of my concern about it too Solon.

Accepting as a premise that there is a supernatural omnipotent god; for sake of logical argument:



If there were 100 different religions*, the prospect of guessing correctly among them is at best one out of one hundred: a 1% chance.



I'm not convinced that's such a shrewed gamble.

In addition, what consequences befall all those that guess INcorrectly?

If I were a vain, narcissistic, egotistical omnipotent deity, and my ostensible sycophants genuflected to the generics; I might be one @#%$ off cowboy. I might make Saddam look like a choir boy. He didn't restrain himself too much in the OT. With eternity to work with, he might substantially refine his techniques.



Perhaps Jefferson (that's Thomas Jefferson, the U.S. Founder, 3rd POTUS; not the hateful, judgmental troll) imparted constructive insight into it when he said:

Quote:
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear." Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, 10 Aug. 1787.
Which is a good intro. into the argument reciprocal to Pascal's which is:



We have only finite time as mortals on Earth.

Is that alone not sufficient to justify maximizing this most precious resource, & husband it with meticulous, unrelenting fidelity to verifiable truth?

Why contaminate a finite resource potentially pure of reason with a tangle of mythopeic claptrap? Would not that be to give in to a conspiracy of swindlers, snake oil salesmen?



And let's not omit mention of the perfectly obvious here.

There's no evidence whatsoever that there is a supernatural, omnipotent babysitter in the sky. Zero evidence. Zero.

Quote:
*"There are 600 distinct religious expressions in the city of Los Angeles alone."

L.A. Times Religion writer Larry Stammer on PBS NewsHour Dec ‘01
Looks like that "1%" figure just dropped below 0.0016...%
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Old March 15th, 2007, 02:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
I might make Saddam look like a choir boy. He didn't restrain himself too much in the OT. With eternity to work with, he might substantially refine his techniques.


As long as god stays on his prozac we should be okay. If he gets off the stuff well ........rapture
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Old March 15th, 2007, 02:27 AM   #5
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winston,

Do you suppose god is eligible for Bush's prescription drug benefit for seniors? I suspect god meets the minimum age requirement.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 03:04 AM   #6
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Well i think the problem in the world today lies in the fact the PROFESSING a faith is given more importance than what a person's heart contains.



I personally blieve that it is irrelevant to god what religion you profess to follow. His judgement ultimately will be on our actions and our intent.



The PROFESSING bit is something highlighted by salvation peddlers who need to collect a group of followers. The act of preofessing a faith that is required by HUMANS, not by God.



It is complete lunacy to state that you escape punishment because you stated in this life that you belong to so-and-so. It is merely a method of creating FEAR and then providing and ESCAPE from that fear. It is in fact the cleverest type of marketing in human history. Create fear so there is a MARKET DEMAND for SALVATION.. and bob's-ur-uncle suddenly the salvation peddlers (priests, rabbis, mullahs, pundits etc etc ) have a market ripe for exploitation.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 03:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sear
winston,

Do you suppose god is eligible for Bush's prescription drug benefit for seniors? I suspect god meets the minimum age requirement.




Considering the age of the Universe is only around 13.7 billion years old god is still a youngster if time is infinite. To support this idea I put up the OT as an example and how god acted like a spoiled two year old, love me or I will torture you. Maybe in a few trillion, billion, quadzillion years he will qualify.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 03:38 AM   #8
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"It is in fact the cleverest type of marketing in human history. Create fear so there is a MARKET DEMAND for SALVATION.. and bob's-ur-uncle suddenly the salvation peddlers (priests, rabbis, mullahs, pundits etc etc ) have a market ripe for exploitation." hkbajwa
I suspect you and I are eye to eye on that hkbajwa.

But I prefer the term "swindle".



hkbajwa,

Your eloquent description has brought to mind a line spoken by Steve Martin playing the title role in the movie The Jerk.



As he's learning the carnival trade, he's learning to operate a Midway game. That's when he has the forehead slapping realization:



"It's a profit deal!"



The religion swindle is clearly in that category.

Any wonder they pass the collection plate so often?

Quote:
"Maybe in a few trillion, billion, quadzillion years he will qualify." winston
Imagine bumping into J.C. at Rite Aid?



"Hello Jesus. How's your Dad?"
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