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 Post subject: Pascal's Wager
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, '08, 8:20 am 
Have you ever heard of Pascal's Wager? It's a philosphy that proposes the existence of God cannot be confirmed by human reason, so one must "wager" on the matter. Here is a summary of it from Wikipedia:

Quote:Pascal begins with the premise that the existence or non-existence of God is not provable by human reason, since the essence of God is "infinitely incomprehensible". Since reason cannot decide the question, one must "wager", either by guessing or making a leap of faith. Agnosticism on this point is not possible, in Pascal's view, for we are already "embarked", effectively living out our choice.

We only have two things to stake, our "reason" or "knowledge", and our "will" or "happiness". Since reason cannot decide the issue, and both options are equally unfounded in reason, we should decide it according to our happiness. This is accomplished by weighing the gain and loss in believing that God exists. Pascal considers that there is "equal risk of loss and gain", a coin toss, since human reason is powerless to address the question of God's existence. He contends the wise decision is to wager that God exists, since "If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing", meaning one can gain eternal life if God exists, but if not, one will be no worse off in death than if one had not believed.

Full article, with the original text here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_Wager

So, what do you think of this philosphy? Personally I find it very flawed, but I'll hold off on that to see what some of you think.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, '08, 9:34 pm 
It assumes that God can't discern between legitimate belief and simply paying lip service to religion. An omnipotent being would obviously know the difference.

It also assumes that you selected the "right" God to worship. Perhaps you chose wrong and the "real" God is really angry about it. For example, in Dante's Inferno those that didn't accept Christ (but were otherwise good) ended up in the first circle which isn't bad at all. Heretics, blasphemers, sorcerers, and Muhammad himself have it much, much worse.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, '08, 4:11 am 
And those are the same flaws I found in it. Belief for the sake of hedging one's bets is not really belief at all. If someone takes the stance of believing just in case the punishment is real, that's not the same as someone who truly believes.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, '08, 5:43 am 
Wow, this is deep. :hmm:

My first thought is that this is all a lot of BS!

The first sentence strikes me as being unreasonable itself, so to speak.

Quote: Pascal begins with the premise that the existence or non-existence of God is not provable by human reason, since the essence of God is "infinitely incomprehensible".


I beg Pascal's pardon, but you tell the family that have just seen their loved one come through some life threatening operation or some other horrible ordeal, etc., that " the existence of God is not provable". I guarantee you that more times than not, they will say you are crazy. God is very much provable and does exist. We see the proof around us every single day.

I guess this means undisputable proof that "unbelievers" can see. Well, if they are unbelievers, then chances are they won't see what they don't want to see. Get my drift.

I'd be wary about this wager thing. He says you won't lose anything, but on the contrary - you could wind up losing the most important thing humans have - your soul!


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