Friday, January 9, 2009

Pascal's Wager

I hate Pascal’s Wager; it's a huge false dichotomy.

Imagine you're going about your business, and read online that you will eventually be called to defend yourself at the local court. This is listed on many sites, and each suggests a different way to insure you are found innocent. None of these sites provide any evidence. One site suggests you wear a pink baseball cap, another a purple top hat, another an orange beret with a picture of an elephant on it. Every site claims you'll be found guilty if you wear a different hat. The fuscia-fedora-with-a-monkey-on-it-ists say that you had better wear a hat, because if they're wrong and you wear a hat, you lose nothing, but if they're right and you don't, you lose everything. However, the penalty is the same if you wear the wrong hat. Remember that none of these sites have any proof that this trial will ever occur, let alone if the judge has any hat preferences, let alone what they are.

Some say “I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't, and die to find out there is.”

But if you live your life according to the wrong god (which is overwhelmingly the statistically probable case), the punishment is the same.

Also, let's say you're on a jury and the defendant’s lawyer says he'll reward you if you rule in your favor, and punish you if you don't. You may rule in his favor to avoid the punishment and get your reward, but you don't really believe that the defendant is innocent; you're just saying you do. If the judge could read minds, he wouldn't be fooled.

I also get it confused with Loki's Wager too much.


Paul said...

"But if you live your life according to the wrong god (which is overwhelmingly the statistically probable case), the punishment is the same."

Actually, this isn't really true with the Catholic Church and I think many others. I'm no professional apologist, but I'll give my best shot at an explanation. If through no fault of your own you do not know the truth (or accept the correct religion), but you truly strive with your mind, heart, and soul to seek God and to do His will as you know it through the dictates of your conscience, you can be saved.

You see, Pascal's Wager is not meant to articulate religious doctrine on the requirements for salvation. Rather, it is a way to decide on a way of life when the truth cannot be completely understood or known by the human mind.

By the way, what is Loki's Wager? I know he's the bad guy in Norse Mythology... he has a gambling problem or something?

Nulono said...'s_Wager