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CHAT: OT CHAT: Pascal's Wager (Was Re: A break in the evils of English (or, Sturnan is beautiful))

From:Tim May <butsuri@...>
Date:Tuesday, April 30, 2002, 6:50
John Cowan writes:
 > Christopher B Wright scripsit:
 > > The odds, however, are against atheism. (If you're right, you lose
 > > everything; if I'm wrong, I lose nothing.)
 > Not so.  What if God is a scientific type who has no patience with
 > people who believe things without hard evidence?  You might be
 > put to doing quantitative analyses of trans(dichloro)bis-ethylenediamine
 > cobalt (III) chloride for all eternity.
 > :-)
Indeed.  Or for that matter, requires absolute faith in a particular,
narrowly defined religion, and you chose the wrong one?  In any case,
I find it hard to respect a deity who fails atheists but passes people
who worship on the grounds that they stand a better chance of getting
into a heaven upon the existence of which they have no opinion.

Pascal's Wager attempts to determine the most advantageous course of
action without reference to the reality of God;  even if leading a
religious life is very hard, and the probability of God being real
very low (but finite), then you should be religious, as the potential
reward is infinite, while the reward for atheism can only ever be
finite.  But if there's a possibility of God preferring an atheist
to at least some types of religious person (and this seems reasonable
in the absence of any certain data, which is the whole point of PW)
the whole thing collapses.

I don't think this post is too controversial, as nobody believes in
anything as a result of PW anyway. It's definitely off topic, though.

Incidentally, has anyone covered this kind of debate in a conculture?
The question would appear to be universal, assuming the inhabitants
have some religious belief which they are capable of doubting.