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Old 2nd January 2021, 11:57 AM   #121
HansMustermann
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Well, parts and souls are not the same things. The ones I mentioned, or depending of time and place at least the Ka and the Ba, could be actually different independent souls that went to different places. Or at least as close as you can get while explaining it in modern English.

Like when they introduced the Ba for the pharaoh, the pharaoh's Ka would still take its chances and need the spells and all for the underworld, while the Ba would fly up to heaven to the gods. 'Cause he's a god, see?

'Course, then the nobles wanted a Ba too, and then everyone wanted one. Bloody entitled kids these days

That said, yeah, religion did go all over the place over time in Egypt. What you find in the sacred texts at time X could be not even vaguely resembling what the case was 1000 years earlier or 1000 years later. So yeah, you can also find a time and place where what I said was awfully wrong. Like, go early enough and there'd only be the Ka, so there we go, totally not like what I described
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Old 2nd January 2021, 02:18 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I'd assumed you'd meant that Pascal's Wager doesn't work, given that particular argument. I'd assumed you meant that you'd agreed that that argument invalidates Pascal's Wager. It seems you were only saying that Pascal's Wager doesn't work only in that particular "situation".
That's right. Pascal's "Pascal's Wager" was not about "all gods". Why would a Christian philosopher need to create an argument that is applicable to all gods? So the Wager doesn't work in the situation where you can plug in any god, including a god that wants to punish people who think the Wager makes sense (like me!).

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
But the situation I'd outlined earlier (and you'd agreed that in that situation Pascal's Wager doesn't work) is the only situation there is. That "situation" is literally what our reality actually is. (As far as this, highlighted, also see the last part of my comment, also highlighted.)

The fact is that there many, many, many Gods in the world, that people, real people, sizeable numbers of people, believe in.
What is the reality that Pascal lived in, that he designed his Wager for, in your opinion?

Pascal does argue about the validity of other gods elsewhere in his writings. He concludes that the Christian God is the only one worth considering. That's Pascal's reality. That premise is implicitly part of the Wager, taking his other writings into account. Obviously that premise needs to be tested, since it affects the soundness of the Wager, though not its validity. But we can't test it in this lifetime, which leads to Pascal's gamble.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
The only way around this is to simply assume a binary, where the Christian God either exists, or does not, but that is simply begging the question. If you must beg the question, then why not beg it all the way, and simply assume a unitary situation, where the Catholic God does exist? That will at least give you a far more cogent reason to believe. (And that reason would be the assumption you started out with).
Definitely! If you are right, you win all. If you are wrong, you lose nothing. Is that what you mean by that approach?

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Old 2nd January 2021, 02:50 PM   #123
HansMustermann
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The problem is that he skips over the part where most of those can claim infinity in their cell in the spreadsheet too, and quite a lot do the minus infinity in the respective columns just as well. His maths and comparison relies on only one being able to do that, which really only holds if he's absolutely certain that no other gods exist. Otherwise you're comparing infinity to infinity, and real numbers can't do that.

So again, that's not excusing it, it's what makes it a dumb broken argument. 'Yeah, but it was crafted for a BS fantasy situation, where half the RL choices don't exist' is the PROBLEM, not the excuse. If an argument fundamentally doesn't work on the real world situation, because it was BASED on something else than the RL situation, then it's just useless.
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Old 2nd January 2021, 05:28 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
That's right. Pascal's "Pascal's Wager" was not about "all gods".

And that was its obvious, blinding, irredeemable flaw. It's amazing that you don't see it.

(I'm repeating myself now, but again, to be clear, I'm not criticizing your personal choice, at all. You may believe Zeus lives atop a real Olympus, if that makes you happy; and nor do you owe anyone the smallest apology for that! What I'm trying to understand is why you see in the Wager any objective worth, any cogency, anything approaching brilliance -- unless that brilliance were of the unlikely and entirely diabolical kind that Delvo spoke of upthread.)


Quote:
Why would a Christian philosopher need to create an argument that is applicable to all gods?

Don't you see how that's begging the question, as far as even the Wager? If the argument isn't applicable to the real world, then what earthly use is it?

If your (that is, Pascal's -- generic 'you', every time) very premise is the Christian (and presumably Catholic) worldview, if that is the God-scenario that you're starting out simply assuming, then why even bother formulating the Wager?

That's what I meant when I said that if you must beg the question, then why not do that properly, and come up with a cogent proof instead.

Pascal seems to be assuming a world where there's something like a 50% chance of the Catholic God existing, and ~ 50% of His not existing. (Not one where there's a 1% chance of the Christian God existing, 1% of Ahura Mazda existing instead, 1% of the Christian God's alter ego Allah existing instead, 1% of Brahm, et cetera.)

Well, if you must beg the question, if you must assume your premise like that, and if we are to justify that unsupported assumption on the basis of his Christianity, then why not just directly assume a unitary, why not just assume a 100% probability that the Catholic Christian God exists? That way you'll have a clear irrefutable proof for God, starting from your assumptions!


Quote:
So the Wager doesn't work in the situation where you can plug in any god, including a god that wants to punish people who think the Wager makes sense (like me!).


What is the reality that Pascal lived in, that he designed his Wager for, in your opinion?

The same reality as ours! There is only one reality, after all.

True, Pascal may have been ignorant of the 100+ Gods, given the time he lived in; but he was an educated, well read man, and no doubt he was aware of at least 20 others? Even with 20, wouldn't that give a 5% likelihood to 'his' particular God?


Quote:
Pascal does argue about the validity of other gods elsewhere in his writings. He concludes that the Christian God is the only one worth considering.

Ah. Then what he has to say on that is probably key to assessing the worth of the Wager as an argument.


Quote:
That's Pascal's reality. That premise is implicitly part of the Wager, taking his other writings into account. Obviously that premise needs to be tested, since it affects the soundness of the Wager, though not its validity. But we can't test it in this lifetime, which leads to Pascal's gamble.

Exactly. The Wager's soundness does depend on that.

It may be "valid", given an implicit assumption of 50% chance or thereabouts for his particular God; but then, if you're going to assume whatever is convenient, as opposed to what is reasonable, then let me, one more time, present you with another "valid" argument: Just assume a 100% probability that the Christian God exists! Then you'll end up with a far better reason to believe, in fact a solid proof for that particular God, that is just as "valid", technically!


Quote:
Definitely! If you are right, you win all. If you are wrong, you lose nothing. Is that what you mean by that approach?

No, see above in this comment. More an argumentum ad absurdum. Or, if you prefer taking it literally, then a far more compelling reason to believe than the Wager!


The reality is, in Pascal's terms, "If you lose, you lose all" -- because in a world where some other God turns out to exist instead, your belief in the Catholic Christian God would indeed lead to your eternal damnation (or its equivalent, in the theology applicable to that God).

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Old 2nd January 2021, 07:45 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
And that was its obvious, blinding, irredeemable flaw. It's amazing that you don't see it.
I'm kind of amazed that you don't see it either, especially in light of your comment that I reproduce below. Very strange! We have some kind of conceptual gap here that I'd like to explore.

I think you'll agree that there is a difference between an argument being flawed and something being outside the scope of the argument.

To make a ludicrous example: Pascal's Wager doesn't help me to wash my car, but that doesn't make it flawed. It's just that washing the car is outside the scope of the Wager.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Originally Posted by GDon
Pascal does argue about the validity of other gods elsewhere in his writings. He concludes that the Christian God is the only one worth considering.
Ah. Then what he has to say on that is probably key to assessing the worth of the Wager as an argument.
YES. But having recognised that, why do you then see him not including other gods within the Wager itself as a flaw, if he has already ruled them out prior to the Wager? I don't understand that. I'd like to understand.
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Old 2nd January 2021, 08:09 PM   #126
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Because an argument based on an premise that's not itself properly supported, is still an UNSOUND argument. So it's still not worth crap.

Unless you want to claim that Pascal soundly disproved all other possible gods (not just existing, mind you), as opposed to IIRC doing some cherrypicking and handwaving apologetics, then that implicit premise is still not really nailed down, and the Wager is still UNSOUND.

And I dunno about you, but I do see an unsound argument as flawed.
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Old 2nd January 2021, 09:26 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I'm kind of amazed that you don't see it either, especially in light of your comment that I reproduce below. Very strange! We have some kind of conceptual gap here that I'd like to explore.

I think you'll agree that there is a difference between an argument being flawed and something being outside the scope of the argument.

To make a ludicrous example: Pascal's Wager doesn't help me to wash my car, but that doesn't make it flawed. It's just that washing the car is outside the scope of the Wager.
"Does my car need to be washed? I'm not sure. Better go ahead and wash it just in case."

-- Blaise Pascal, probably.

Or, in the immortal words of George "King" Stahlman: "It's better to know me and not need me, than to need me and not know me."

Pascal's wager has almost universal applications.
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Old 2nd January 2021, 10:50 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
That thinking, unless I'm misreading GDon's reasoning, is literally and textbook begging the question. That portion seems to simply assume, without assigning any reasons, that there is a binary (and a more or less equiprobable binary at that), that either Pascal's Catholic God exists, or He does not. This blithely ignores whole host of other Gods people believe in. (And whose numbers multiply manifold if you include past Gods no longer revered, as well hypothetical Gods, because why not? But even if you limit yourself to "live" Gods, that people today believe in, or that people believed in during Pascal's lifetime, well that number is pretty formidable too.)
Even in context of the Abrahamic "god" so much schisming had gone on that they might as well be different gods. Even the "Catholic" god seems to be have been schisming from the get go based on Paul's comments in 2 Corinthians 11:4 and it was a fragmented mess by 180 CE. This is ignoring the Western-Eastern schism which hit its zenith during the Crusades.

Even the Bible itself acknowledges there are other "gods": "Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?" (Exodus 15:11) As When the Jews Believed in Other Gods notes one of these other gods, Baíal, is mentioned 90 times.

Then there is poor Asherah the nearly forgotten consort of YHWH; if wshe wasn't a goddess then what the sam hill was she?

This get into the third rail of Catholicism - 'why does an all knowing all powerful god need angels or saints?' When you get right down to it these angels and saints serve the same function as the old pagan gods. Heck, there is even a Saint Aphrodisius also known as Saint Aphrodite; doesn't take a genius to figure out who she originally was.

Better question how could a loving forgetting god crate Satan knowing Satan would rebel and via Satan's action to condemn the majority of his creations (Man) to eternal torment?
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Old 3rd January 2021, 04:17 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I'm kind of amazed that you don't see it either, especially in light of your comment that I reproduce below. Very strange! We have some kind of conceptual gap here that I'd like to explore.

I think you'll agree that there is a difference between an argument being flawed and something being outside the scope of the argument.

To make a ludicrous example: Pascal's Wager doesn't help me to wash my car, but that doesn't make it flawed. It's just that washing the car is outside the scope of the Wager.


YES. But having recognised that, why do you then see him not including other gods within the Wager itself as a flaw, if he has already ruled them out prior to the Wager? I don't understand that. I'd like to understand.
Pascal's wager is complete irrational nonsense.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal...%20does%20not.
Quote:
..."God is, or He is not." But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us. A game is being played at the extremity of this infinite distance where heads or tails will turn up. What will you wager? According to reason, you can do neither the one thing nor the other; according to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions...
Pascal's wager is based on the irrational assumption that belief in God will only result in gain or no loss.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:51 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I'm kind of amazed that you don't see it either, especially in light of your comment that I reproduce below. Very strange! We have some kind of conceptual gap here that I'd like to explore.

Absolutely, let’s. I don’t know about you, but I’m enjoying doing this. I’d thought I knew what there is to know about this Wager thing, but this thread threw up two new insights for me. I’d enjoy taking this forward, exploring this difference between us, and see where it takes us.

As far as not understanding my POV, I did explain myself clearly, I think — or at least I tried to! — in my post #124. You seem not to have read those portions — or at least, you’ve not responded to them, or even quoted them in this post of yours.

Would you like to tell me what part of those portions from my earlier post aren’t clear, or else what parts there you don’t agree with? I’d be happy to revisit what I’d said, if you’d like me to.


Quote:
I think you'll agree that there is a difference between an argument being flawed and something being outside the scope of the argument.

To make a ludicrous example: Pascal's Wager doesn't help me to wash my car, but that doesn't make it flawed. It's just that washing the car is outside the scope of the Wager.

By saying that Pascal’s argument is not flawed, I suppose you mean that his conclusion follows from his premise. Correct? I’m afraid I don’t agree, but here we’re concentrating on the many-Gods counter-argument specifically, so let me grant you, just for the sake of the argument, that that conclusion does follow.

There still remains the matter of his premise. I don’t see how he can reasonably exclude other Gods from his premise. How do you yourself justify his doing that?

And how exactly do you, then, see the exact statement of Pascal’s Wager? Something like this? — “In a universe where other Gods (than the RCC God) don’t really exist, or at least don’t really matter, in such a universe it makes sense to act as if you believe in the RCC God?” Something like that?

Like I’d said in my previous post, if you (generic “you”, I mean Pascal) are going to simply pick up some arbitrary premise, then why just limit yourself to a universe that contains no other competing Gods, but does carry some doubt as to whether the RCC God exists? If you’re going free flow with the premise, not worrying if your premise comports with reality, then you may as well take as your premise a universe where no other God exists (or at least matters) and one where the RCC God does exist. Then, in as much as He does exist, you’d be a fool to not believe Him, because without a shadow of a doubt you’ll suffer in disbelief, and attain to God’s Kingdom if you do believe. Surely that makes a far more straightforward “Wager”?

It seems to me that Pascal’s Wager is no more than obfuscation. What he’s actually selling is his premise, that he’s simply assumed, arbitrarily. That Wager is no more than a walk in the park that leads right back (or at least, tries to) to the premise itself. Like I’d said in my previous post, it’s classic begging the question.


Quote:
YES. But having recognised that, why do you then see him not including other gods within the Wager itself as a flaw, if he has already ruled them out prior to the Wager? I don't understand that. I'd like to understand.

I’m afraid I haven’t read any of the document you’d linked, other than the portion you’d already pointed out earlier. Pascal’s writing style isn’t exactly easy or comfortable! (Not his fault, that stilted and dense style was no doubt how everyone wrote, back then.)

If you would, as earlier, point me to the relevant parts there I’d be happy to check it out. But first, you yourself have read this, right? So what does Pascal have to say, about other Gods? If he’s presented sound reasons why other Gods don’t exist, or why they don’t matter vis-ŗ-vis his RCC God, then sure, I agree what he’d said would be key to evaluating his Wager. Has he actually done that?

If all he’s done is simply handwaved away those other Gods from his premise, then I’m afraid I see his premise as not agreeing with reality. In as much as he starts from a premise that does not comport with reality, there is zero chance of his producing a sound agreement (even if we accept, for the sake of argument, the his conclusion does follow from his premise).


-----

I’m sure theprestige, who I see is commenting in this thread, will leap in with an “I told you so”, as far as arguing by analogy! — but I’m afraid I don’t think that car analogy of yours holds, at all.

Let's try to directly unpack what you're alluding to, via your analogy:

Correct me if I’m misreading you, but I think you’re saying, via that car analogy, that Pascal’s Wager is about a universe where other Gods (than the RCC God) don’t exist, or at least don’t matter. As such, a universe where other Gods might exist, and might matter, is beyond the scope of the argument. Am I right, is that what you’re trying to convey by that analogy?

In that case, I’ll refer you to what I’d said in my earlier post, and what I’ve already said above in this post. That’s plain and simple begging the question! I don’t see how you can simply assume a random premise, without evidence, without support. (And if such support, in support of this premise has indeed been presented, then sure, like I said that would be key to evaluating the Wager.)

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Old 3rd January 2021, 05:57 AM   #131
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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
Even in context of the Abrahamic "god" so much schisming had gone on that they might as well be different gods. Even the "Catholic" god seems to be have been schisming from the get go based on Paul's comments in 2 Corinthians 11:4 and it was a fragmented mess by 180 CE. This is ignoring the Western-Eastern schism which hit its zenith during the Crusades.

Even the Bible itself acknowledges there are other "gods": "Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?" (Exodus 15:11) As When the Jews Believed in Other Gods notes one of these other gods, Baíal, is mentioned 90 times.

Then there is poor Asherah the nearly forgotten consort of YHWH; if wshe wasn't a goddess then what the sam hill was she?

This get into the third rail of Catholicism - 'why does an all knowing all powerful god need angels or saints?' When you get right down to it these angels and saints serve the same function as the old pagan gods. Heck, there is even a Saint Aphrodisius also known as Saint Aphrodite; doesn't take a genius to figure out who she originally was.

Better question how could a loving forgetting god crate Satan knowing Satan would rebel and via Satan's action to condemn the majority of his creations (Man) to eternal torment?

Oh, old man Yahweh had a girlfriend, did he? Didnít know that!

Just did a very quick google-check. Didnít actually check out the websites proper, but the summary Google provides on the first page suggests she was something of a Öfree soul, this Asherah. Apparently she had a thing going with Baal as well, and whatís more had as many as 70 sons. Fascinating! (And that might go some way in explaining why God is/was a pathologically jealous God, and so easily driven to murderous rage!)
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Old 3rd January 2021, 09:10 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
...... Pascal may have been ignorant of the 100+ Gods, given the time he lived in; but he was an educated, well read man, and no doubt he was aware of at least 20 others? Even with 20, wouldn't that give a 5% likelihood to 'his' particular God?...
Even Christians believe in deities called God the father, Jesus the logos and Creator and the Holy Spirit of God (The Trinity).

Pascal should have known that Jews, Muslims, Hindus and other religions do not accept or believe in the God called Jesus, the logos and Creator.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 06:55 PM   #133
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Absolutely, let’s. I don’t know about you, but I’m enjoying doing this. I’d thought I knew what there is to know about this Wager thing, but this thread threw up two new insights for me. I’d enjoy taking this forward, exploring this difference between us, and see where it takes us.
Definitely! Nice to have a discussion that is deeper than the usual, and an amicable one as well.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
As far as not understanding my POV, I did explain myself clearly, I think — or at least I tried to! — in my post #124. You seem not to have read those portions — or at least, you’ve not responded to them, or even quoted them in this post of yours.

Would you like to tell me what part of those portions from my earlier post aren’t clear, or else what parts there you don’t agree with? I’d be happy to revisit what I’d said, if you’d like me to.
I did read it, but apologies that I didn't respond. I hope my response below to the many-Gods counter-argument covers much of it. If not, can I ask you to let me know anything I've missed.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
By saying that Pascal’s argument is not flawed, I suppose you mean that his conclusion follows from his premise. Correct? I’m afraid I don’t agree, but here we’re concentrating on the many-Gods counter-argument specifically, so let me grant you, just for the sake of the argument, that that conclusion does follow.

There still remains the matter of his premise. I don’t see how he can reasonably exclude other Gods from his premise. How do you yourself justify his doing that?
I've been thinking about the best way to explain this. I hope the following helps:

Take an atheist. He has a lack of belief in gods, both known (he's looked at the data and is not convinced by what he's found) and unknown (so no evidence to formulate a view one way or the other). He may make metaphysical arguments (for example Harris's metaphysical naturalism-based arguments) on that premise. The premise is neither sound nor unsound, since the truth of it won't be known in this life. His arguments aren't sound, but they also aren't flawed since they aren't unsound.

Now, take a theist who was a former atheist. Like the atheist, she's looked at the data and lacks belief in any god... except for that one god for which she thinks may be plausible. Her metaphysical arguments are based on the premise of that one god existing. She doesn't care about the other gods, since she has a lack of belief in them.

Then consider Pascal's Wager, which is introduced into a community of people who, like the theist, lacks belief in all other gods except for one.

Now, an atheist might critique the Wager by arguing that other gods should be considered. But to my mind it is a hypocritical critique, if that atheist has already ruled out those gods' existence. Perhaps the theist has already ruled those gods out using the same rationale as the atheist?

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
And how exactly do you, then, see the exact statement of Pascal’s Wager? Something like this? — “In a universe where other Gods (than the RCC God) don’t really exist, or at least don’t really matter, in such a universe it makes sense to act as if you believe in the RCC God?” Something like that?
Yes, if for some reason the person has, like the atheist, looked at the data and lacks belief in all gods except for that one god whom he suspects might exist. A person who knows 100% that the Catholic God exists has no need for the Wager.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Like I’d said in my previous post, if you (generic “you”, I mean Pascal) are going to simply pick up some arbitrary premise, then why just limit yourself to a universe that contains no other competing Gods, but does carry some doubt as to whether the RCC God exists? If you’re going free flow with the premise, not worrying if your premise comports with reality, then you may as well take as your premise a universe where no other God exists (or at least matters) and one where the RCC God does exist. Then, in as much as He does exist, you’d be a fool to not believe Him, because without a shadow of a doubt you’ll suffer in disbelief, and attain to God’s Kingdom if you do believe. Surely that makes a far more straightforward “Wager”?
To me, that does sound like Pascal's Wager as it is. How do you see that being different from Pascal's Wager? Perhaps if you put it into a 'Wager' form, I might be able to see the difference. If it's not related to the Wager, then I'd like to stick to discussing the Wager if that's okay.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
It seems to me that Pascal’s Wager is no more than obfuscation. What he’s actually selling is his premise, that he’s simply assumed, arbitrarily. That Wager is no more than a walk in the park that leads right back (or at least, tries to) to the premise itself. Like I’d said in my previous post, it’s classic begging the question.
I'm not sure what question is being begged. If it is "therefore God exists", then I'd respond that the Wager isn't about whether God exists or not. It's about making the best decision with regards to your happiness.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I’m afraid I haven’t read any of the document you’d linked, other than the portion you’d already pointed out earlier. Pascal’s writing style isn’t exactly easy or comfortable! (Not his fault, that stilted and dense style was no doubt how everyone wrote, back then.)
I agree! Though that work isn't a book, but a collection of fragments, many of which look like notes that Pascal put down possibly with the intention of expanding on at a later date. Most of them look like a collection of twitter notes. (In fact, I thought of creating a Twitter account called "Pascal's Twitters", and dropping them in one-by-one!)

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
If you would, as earlier, point me to the relevant parts there I’d be happy to check it out. But first, you yourself have read this, right? So what does Pascal have to say, about other Gods? If he’s presented sound reasons why other Gods don’t exist, or why they don’t matter vis-ŗ-vis his RCC God, then sure, I agree what he’d said would be key to evaluating his Wager. Has he actually done that?
He has, though it is piece-meal. Most comments are just notes. Searching under 'China', 'heathen', 'Mahomet' (Muslims) will get you a lot of it. He doesn't go into details. If you want to discuss it in terms of the Wager, that might be interesting. Perhaps you might be able to prove Pascal wrong on that premise, and find good evidence to believe in other gods.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
If all he’s done is simply handwaved away those other Gods from his premise, then I’m afraid I see his premise as not agreeing with reality.
Well, I'm interested in your statement. Are you talking about from his perspective, from your perspective, or from reality's perspective? That is, which gods do you personally think should not be hand-waved away, and what evidence do you have for that?

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
In as much as he starts from a premise that does not comport with reality, there is zero chance of his producing a sound agreement (even if we accept, for the sake of argument, the his conclusion does follow from his premise).
Sure. Show me the evidence for gods that comports with reality that makes his premise incorrect.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I’m sure theprestige, who I see is commenting in this thread, will leap in with an “I told you so”, as far as arguing by analogy! — but I’m afraid I don’t think that car analogy of yours holds, at all.
I also hate arguing by analogy, since I find I end up arguing over the analogy. I make it a firm rule not to use them. I'm being justly punished for violating my rule!

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Let's try to directly unpack what you're alluding to, via your analogy:

Correct me if I’m misreading you, but I think you’re saying, via that car analogy, that Pascal’s Wager is about a universe where other Gods (than the RCC God) don’t exist, or at least don’t matter. As such, a universe where other Gods might exist, and might matter, is beyond the scope of the argument. Am I right, is that what you’re trying to convey by that analogy?
Yes, that's part of it. It's also that the Wager doesn't conclude with "therefore God exists" or "therefore that particular God doesn't exist", that kind of thing. The Wager concludes "therefore this is the best decision for your happiness." Also, the Wager doesn't go into what religious rites are best, what holy books to read, what constitutes a good life. (I've seen the Wager criticised on a lot of things!)

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
In that case, I’ll refer you to what I’d said in my earlier post, and what I’ve already said above in this post. That’s plain and simple begging the question! I don’t see how you can simply assume a random premise, without evidence, without support. (And if such support, in support of this premise has indeed been presented, then sure, like I said that would be key to evaluating the Wager.)
As I see it: it's only begging the question if you think that the Wager takes you to "therefore God exists". I.e. "Assume God exists --> Therefore God exists." Am I right that this is what you mean by begging the question?

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Old 4th January 2021, 05:10 AM   #134
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Given that Christianity and the alleged stories about Jesus' teachings and miracles could be known to people only in the last ~2000 years and the fact that there are still some people who have never heard about Jesus or were raised in other cultures with other religions, I can only sum up with these:

Quote:
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

― Marcus Aurelius

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A thoughtful atheist, living in good conscience, himself does not understand how close he is to God. This is because he performs good deeds with no thought of reward, in contrast to religious hypocrites.

― Hans Christian Andersen
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Old 4th January 2021, 06:04 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Definitely! Nice to have a discussion that is deeper than the usual, and an amicable one as well.


I did read it, but apologies that I didn't respond. I hope my response below to the many-Gods counter-argument covers much of it. If not, can I ask you to let me know anything I've missed.


I've been thinking about the best way to explain this. I hope the following helps:

Take an atheist. He has a lack of belief in gods, both known (he's looked at the data and is not convinced by what he's found) and unknown (so no evidence to formulate a view one way or the other). He may make metaphysical arguments (for example Harris's metaphysical naturalism-based arguments) on that premise. The premise is neither sound nor unsound, since the truth of it won't be known in this life. His arguments aren't sound, but they also aren't flawed since they aren't unsound.

The atheistís conclusion that there are no Gods, is not in itself the premise. It is the conclusion of his reasoning process, and based on evidence (or lack thereof).

And the conclusion is entirely sound. True, there isnít cent per cent certitude of that conclusion, but surely the same can be said for any and every thing? I trust you do, generally, subscribe to a scientific worldview, accept the validity of the scientific method in ascertaining truth? The whole skepticism thing: not accepting a conclusion without sound evidence backing it, that whole deal? Basis that, an atheistic conclusion is entirely sound. Occamís Razor, and all that.

(And no, not acceding to anotherís claim, in the absence of evidence in support of said claim, isnít in itself a counter-claim. I hope that isnít what youíre trying to say?)


Quote:
Now, take a theist who was a former atheist. Like the atheist, she's looked at the data and lacks belief in any god... except for that one god for which she thinks may be plausible. Her metaphysical arguments are based on the premise of that one god existing. She doesn't care about the other gods, since she has a lack of belief in them.

Not quite like the atheist, though. Your atheist-turned-theist sees the data, and finds one God-idea to be plausible. But, unlike the atheist, this conclusion of hers is based on subjective not objective reasons; or else, if it is purports to be objective, then it is a flawed conclusion, a flawed belief ó unless, like the atheist, she can clearly present her reasons, and her evidence (or lack thereof) in support of this conclusion of hers. Can she?


Quote:
Then consider Pascal's Wager, which is introduced into a community of people who, like the theist, lacks belief in all other gods except for one.

Now, an atheist might critique the Wager by arguing that other gods should be considered. But to my mind it is a hypocritical critique, if that atheist has already ruled out those gods' existence.


Heh, thatís a great argument! It did give me pause.

Unless someone else reading our exchange can point out some error in how youíre seeing this, I do concede that, in as much as the atheist does not consider (belief in) those other Gods to be reasonable, he cannot, in good faith, criticize the Christian-theist for not finding them feasible either.

However, this still does not support your particular argument. Because see right below:


Quote:
Perhaps the theist has already ruled those gods out using the same rationale as the atheist?

Perhaps she has. If she has, then I have no quarrel with her. But has she? That is the all-important question. That is the key part of my objection.

If the theist has sound basis for her theism, that is based on evidence, then I donít see how we can object to that. On the contrary, the reasonable person will then follow her example. The whole illusion here, as I see it, is Pascal attempting a bit of gaslighting here, trying to pass off as reasonable what is simply not at all reasonable.

So, what are the actual reasons basis which the Christian-theist has ruled out those other Gods, without those reasons at the same time also ruling out the Christian God? Thatís yet another basic flaw in reasoning there, a case of special pleading. I hope you see that youíll need to produce good reasons to justify this exceptionalism. If you can do that, then I will not disagree with you.


Quote:
Yes, if for some reason the person has, like the atheist, looked at the data and lacks belief in all gods except for that one god whom he suspects might exist. A person who knows 100% that the Catholic God exists has no need for the Wager.


To me, that does sound like Pascal's Wager as it is. How do you see that being different from Pascal's Wager? Perhaps if you put it into a 'Wager' form, I might be able to see the difference. If it's not related to the Wager, then I'd like to stick to discussing the Wager if that's okay.

Sure, Iíll put it in Wager form.

The point of my doing this two-fold, by the way. The first is to attempt an argumentum ad absurdum. And the second is to present a reason for (acting as if there is) theistic belief, that is even more ďbrilliantĒ than Pascalís Wager.

If we are to choose a random premise, without worrying about whether that premise comports with reality, then we can easily do much better than Pascal, is what Iím saying.

Pascalís premise was this: The existence of other Gods (than the Christian/RCC God) can be ruled out. On the other hand, the existence of the Christian/RCC God can neither be proved nor disproved. Are we agreed, that that is his premise?

In as much as he seems to have plucked that premise out of thin air, without the slightest evidence or actual support, I donít see why we canít go one better than him, and choose this premise instead, also plucked out of thin air: The existence of other Gods (than the Christian/RCC God) is ruled out. Further, the non-existance of the Christian/RCC God also is ruled out. That is, the new premise now is, that the Christian/RCC God does exist, and no other God exists. That is my premise. (Why not? If Pascal can pluck some random premise out of thin air, in order to construct his Wager, so can I pluck my own random premise out of thin air, to construct a more solid Wager of mine own.)

And, basis this premise of mine, my Wager is: If you act as if you believe in God, then you will be blest with Godís Grace in this life, and will attain the Kingdom of God in the after-life. And if you act as if you donít believe in God, then not only will His Grace be withheld from you in this life, but you are also certain to face eternal torment and damnation in the afterlife. Itís a sure-shot wager, that you simply cannot lose. Itís like buying the lottery while knowing beforehand what the winning combination is. It's playing a wager whose outcome you already know beforehand, and one that not only saves from from eternal torment, but also grants you eternal ...harp-music-raves bliss/salvation. It is a wet dream of a wager.

Given these terms, only a fool will refuse my Wager. (Note that we're ignoring the other holes in the Pascal's-Wager argument at this time, and pretending that other than this wild premise everything else is reasonable here -- which in point of fact it isn't.) No one with a shred of sense will refuse to act as if they believe in God, given these terms. Correct? Isnít this a far more solid Wager, and far more solid reason for (acting as if one has) belief, than Pascal has given you?

The only way to find fault with this, is to question my premise. Well, why on earth then would you not question Pascalís premise? Question his premise that all of the other Godsí existence can be ruled out but the existence of the Christian/RCC God cannot be ruled out?


Quote:
I'm not sure what question is being begged. If it is "therefore God exists", then I'd respond that the Wager isn't about whether God exists or not. It's about making the best decision with regards to your happiness.


No, the question that is being begged is the veracity, the reasonable-ness, of Pascalís premise, that while the existence of other Gods can be ruled out, the existence of the Christian/RCC God cannot.

You really cannot have it both ways, not if you care to be reasonable. Either using the atheistís reasoning you rule out all Gods, the RCC God included. Or else, in order to make your case, and as a starting point for your argument, you let in (the possibility of the existence of) all Gods. Anything else is blatant fallacious special pleading, unless you can clearly spell out your reasons for this exceptionalism.


Quote:
I agree! Though that work isn't a book, but a collection of fragments, many of which look like notes that Pascal put down possibly with the intention of expanding on at a later date. Most of them look like a collection of twitter notes. (In fact, I thought of creating a Twitter account called "Pascal's Twitters", and dropping them in one-by-one!)

Spelling out each of his Ďpointsí this way, whether on twitter or in a blog or book, or even in a separate thread on this forum, seems like a great idea. That way we can examine everything Pascalís said on this.


Quote:
He has, though it is piece-meal. Most comments are just notes. Searching under 'China', 'heathen', 'Mahomet' (Muslims) will get you a lot of it. He doesn't go into details. If you want to discuss it in terms of the Wager, that might be interesting. Perhaps you might be able to prove Pascal wrong on that premise, and find good evidence to believe in other gods.

That isnít what Iím saying, though. I was saying, and still maintain, that if Pascal has indeed provided sound reasons for rejecting all other Gods, other than the Christian God, while at the same time leaving the existence of the Christian God plausible/possible, then those reasons would be worth discussing. Theyíd be worth far more than the Wager itself, given that the Wager is, as I see it, no more than obfuscation under whose cover to sell to the gullible his (entirely unsupported) premise.

Iím not particularly interested in what Pascal has to say about other Gods, TBF ó unless, that is, you can state that he has provided good reasons for rejecting them (while at the same time not also rejecting the Christian God). That would be an impressive feat, if heís actually done that. Has he, do you think?

If he hasnít, then this is nothing more than handwaving away inconvenient alternatives.


Quote:
Well, I'm interested in your statement. Are you talking about from his perspective, from your perspective, or from reality's perspective? That is, which gods do you personally think should not be hand-waved away, and what evidence do you have for that?

From realityís perspective. Which ó I hope! ó is what my perspective is.

You have a hundred Gods. Unless you can supply sound reasons, you simply cannot handwave away ninety-nine of them, and pretend that only one of them can possibly exist, not if youíre aiming at any kind of reasonableness.

Iím repeating myself on this point, since clearly this is the focus of our disagreement. It is this special pleading that Iím objecting to. Without giving any good reasons, youíre simply saying, simply assuming arbitrarily, that these nine-nine God-ideas cannot possibly exist, while this one single RCC/Christian God idea might. Thatís Ö I donít know, donít you see how Öarbitrary, how entirely unreasonable, is this kind of special pleading? (Unless, that is, Pascal has provided good reasons for doing that. Has he?óI ask again. If he has, then those reasons are what you need to defend. And if you can successfully defend those reasons, if you can successfully defend that premise of Pascalís, then weíll all agree with you. At least I will. As far as the premise, I mean.)


Quote:
Sure. Show me the evidence for gods that comports with reality that makes his premise incorrect.


I also hate arguing by analogy, since I find I end up arguing over the analogy. I make it a firm rule not to use them. I'm being justly punished for violating my rule!


Yes, that's part of it. It's also that the Wager doesn't conclude with "therefore God exists" or "therefore that particular God doesn't exist", that kind of thing. The Wager concludes "therefore this is the best decision for your happiness." Also, the Wager doesn't go into what religious rites are best, what holy books to read, what constitutes a good life. (I've seen the Wager criticised on a lot of things!)


As I see it: it's only begging the question if you think that the Wager takes you to "therefore God exists". I.e. "Assume God exists --> Therefore God exists." Am I right that this is what you mean by begging the question?

Iím afraid Iíve typed out a super-long wall-of-text post, but I'll go right ahead and make it longer still in order to clearly explain this point, to clearly explain what I mean by saying Pascal is begging the question.

I think this is whopper of a claim that Pascal is presenting: that while (the existence of) all of the other Gods (than the Christian/RCC God) can be dismissed as unreasonable, (that of) the Christian/RCC God cannot, even as His existence isnít actually certain. That is the question heís begging (or at least, trying to pass off unexamined while distracting us with his Wager).

Seems straightforward to me, but since our disagreement seems to hinge on this, let me spell this out some more. Had Pascal cited lack of evidence to discard all Gods, that would have been both consistent and reasonable. Had he, instead, admitted the possibility of all Gods ó not as conclusion but merely as the starting point of his investigation, his argument ó that too would not have been unreasonable. But to claim that just this one Godís existence cannot be ruled out, while all of the othersí can, is a colossal claim.

Instead of actually setting out to prove this claim, what does Pascal do? He sets up some spurious Wager. A wager that is riddled through and through with fallacious reasoning, and those fallacies have been discussed here: but even if we grant that the rest of what he says here is reasonable and sound, even then, it seems to me that all of this fantastic Wager is no more than obfuscation to keep people from questioning this claim of his, that heís blithely passed off as his unsupported premise.

That is the question that I say heís begging. Or at least, trying to trick us into accepting unexamined. That is the claim heís trying to pass off as self-evident, when itís nothing of the kind, by distracting us with this Wager of his.

eta:
On reading back what I've written here, that last portion: you're right, this isn't what "begging the question" technically is. Wrong phrase. My bad!

But of course, my objection stands. No Pascal isn't "begging the question", no: but yes, he is very much trying to pass off his wholly unsupported premise under the weight of all of that obfuscation (that is all his Wager amounts to). That Wager seems to be a sleight-of-hand thing, which distracts us, as he coolly slips in that whopper of a claim of his, unexamined, as some self-evident and reasonable claim (when in fact that claim is neither self-evident nor at all reasonable).

etaa: Unless, of course, he has defended that premise of his? I'm assuming he hasn't, but if I'm mistaken in assuming that, then please go ahead and correct me -- and present the reasons he's put forward in defense of his wildly extravagant premise.

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Old 4th January 2021, 07:20 AM   #136
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Pascal did do some handwaving, as apologists tend to. But let's just say, if anyone had actually disproved Islam, Buddhism, Shintoism, etc, it sure would come as a surprise to the followers of those religions
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Old 4th January 2021, 09:03 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Pascal did do some handwaving, as apologists tend to. But let's just say, if anyone had actually disproved Islam, Buddhism, Shintoism, etc, it sure would come as a surprise to the followers of those religions
This assumes that any of these religions are monolithic in their belief - no religion is like that. Eastern religions like Buddhism and Shintoism have a high degree variance but because they don't have this 'my way or the highway' mentality they are not as prone to the many atrocities seen with the Abrahamic religions (YHWH comes off as a borderline homicidal sociopath in parts of the OT Then there are people like Jack Chick who made that version look like Mr. Happy by comparison )

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Old 4th January 2021, 09:08 AM   #138
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It seems like Pascal intended to write a whole book with this idea of the 'wager' as its starting point. I think it's likely he was aware of all these considerations, and was going to flesh them out in the book. It's even possible that the conclusion to the book would have been that the wager is not a useful approach, for many of the reasons given here.
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Old 4th January 2021, 10:36 AM   #139
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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
This assumes that any of these religions are monolithic in their belief - no religion is like that. Eastern religions like Buddhism and Shintoism have a high degree variance but because they don't have this 'my way or the highway' mentality they are not as prone to the many atrocities seen with the Abrahamic religions (YHWH comes off as a borderline homicidal sociopath in parts of the OT Then there are people like Jack Chick who made that version look like Mr. Happy by comparison )
I don't assume any such thing. And I'm pretty sure I never wrote anything to that effect, so I'm not sure where do you get that idea from.

In fact, as both me and Chanakya said before, Pascal would have to disprove not just existing religion, but the whole space of every possible religions (except, of course, his own Catholicism) before the Wager could function with only two columns. So, yes, that does include every single existing and imaginable version of Buddhism, Shintoism, Voodoo, and so on. And all the gods from Lovecraft. (He did draw inspiration from his dreams, which are an acceptable way to prophecise as per the OT, so he COULD have been a genuine prophet without even knowing it) And so on.

Briefly, when I say he'd have to do stuff like "disprove Buddhism", I don't mean it's just one ideology to disprove, but really that he'd have to disprove the whole category. Including all variants past, present, future, or that someone could ever imagine. Well, at least the subset that does have an afterlife, anyway.
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Old 4th January 2021, 10:52 AM   #140
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THAT said, considering what's in the Bible -- including the NT -- I'm not sure what Chick could even do to make it any worse.

And I'm not even talking low hanging fruit like Job. We're talking a God who randomly tries to murder even his chosen prophet, Moses, at some point, for no reason ever stated. Or who overrules the will of the Pharaoh who had already agreed to let Moses go, apparently just because God still wanted to get to the part where God murders a few tens of thousands of Egyptian babies. Or who gives a world-wide famine (which would mean including in parts of the world which couldn't really contribute anything to the outcome) for no other reason than to make one dude obscenely rich by profiteering from it.

Or then we have slapstick episodes like when the same God ambushes the same faithful dude and tries to wrestle him, again for no obvious reason, nearly loses, cheats by using divine magic to pretty much cripple the dude, and then loses anyway. I wish I was kidding, but it's in the Bible.

So, yeah, if any modern day apologists managed to make it any worse than it already is, now THAT would be quite the achievement.
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Old 4th January 2021, 11:28 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
THAT said, considering what's in the Bible -- including the NT -- I'm not sure what Chick could even do to make it any worse.

And I'm not even talking low hanging fruit like Job. We're talking a God who randomly tries to murder even his chosen prophet, Moses, at some point, for no reason ever stated. Or who overrules the will of the Pharaoh who had already agreed to let Moses go, apparently just because God still wanted to get to the part where God murders a few tens of thousands of Egyptian babies. Or who gives a world-wide famine (which would mean including in parts of the world which couldn't really contribute anything to the outcome) for no other reason than to make one dude obscenely rich by profiteering from it.

Or then we have slapstick episodes like when the same God ambushes the same faithful dude and tries to wrestle him, again for no obvious reason, nearly loses, cheats by using divine magic to pretty much cripple the dude, and then loses anyway. I wish I was kidding, but it's in the Bible.

So, yeah, if any modern day apologists managed to make it any worse than it already is, now THAT would be quite the achievement.
Interestingly some Christians who consider themselves progressive and educated don't take most of the Old Testament literally. But yeah, they still can believe that Jesus was resurrected and miracles still happen. Like this woman.
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Old 4th January 2021, 11:36 AM   #142
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Some Christians who consider themselves progressive and educated usually don't take most of the Old Testament literally. But yeah, they still believe that Jesus was resurrected and miracles still happen. Like this woman.
My grandfather was a pretty progressive protestant minister. He said that literal facts are science's department, and that was not the bible's intent. He vascillated around between speaking of Scripture literally and allegorically. He once said something about Christ speaking in parables to make his point, and that the entire New Testament could be taken with a dose of editorial salt. The essential truth was the same for him, literally accurate or not.
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Old 4th January 2021, 11:42 AM   #143
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
My grandfather was a pretty progressive protestant minister. He said that literal facts are science's department, and that was not the bible's intent. He vascillated around between speaking of Scripture literally and allegorically. He once said something about Christ speaking in parables to make his point, and that the entire New Testament could be taken with a dose of editorial salt. The essential truth was the same for him, literally accurate or not.
Hmm... Despite that did he believe in miracles (even if he thinks that they no longer happen), angels, demons, resurrection, salvation, etc?

Personally theism (in contrast to deism or pantheism) is not fully compatible with science, because theism claims miracles and they are violations of natural laws and can never be reproduced and explained by science.
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Old 4th January 2021, 11:55 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Hmm... Did he believe in miracles, angels, demons, resurrection, salvation, etc?
From what he told me and others, soooooort of. He spoke about their truth, but also that it was our way of understanding the incomprehensible, and not something to define in physical terms. He was more of the Love Thy Neighbor school of thought, and less interested in pretending he had all the answers. He also took not dime one in church funds on principle for pastoring, making his own living.

Quote:
Personally theism (in contrast to deism or pantheism) is not fully compatible with science, because theism claims miracles and they are violations of natural laws and can never be reproduced and explained by science.
Which (speaking for his dead self again) is why he did not try to jibe them, any more than assigning a numerical value to poetry.
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Old 4th January 2021, 11:59 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Oh, old man Yahweh had a girlfriend, did he? Didnít know that!

...Apparently she had a thing going with Baal as well, and whatís more had as many as 70 sons. Fascinating! (And that might go some way in explaining why God is/was a pathologically jealous God, and so easily driven to murderous rage!)
The Northwest Semitic pantheon had two different members who would eventually get merged into what we now think of as the Jewish God. In the south a bunch of nomadic clans/tribes were just beginning to settle, and brought with them a preference for a nomadic god named Yahweh who, like them, was said to live in a tent. But the king of the pantheon was 'El, the favorite in the cities of the north like Ugarit. He lived in a mansion on a hill/mountain and had 70 children, including Yahweh. There's a non-Biblical story from Ugarit in which 'El is depicted dividing the world up and assigning each of the other gods a particular part of the world or a particular human tribe. In light of this story, a lot of the story from later chapters of Genesis through most of Exodus looks like the story of how Yahweh went about following his king's orders, trying to get his assigned tribe to accept him as their primary god. The Bible refers to its supposedly solo god by both of their names, which is why it's so strange in some ways, such as saying he lives both in a tent and in a mansion in different verses; it's preserving old stories & descriptions that used both of their names and trying to mash them together.

Asherah's role is unclear. There are signs that she was the wife of 'El, and signs that she was the wife of Yahweh, which looks like a result of the eventual merger of 'El and Yahweh into one character so we can't be sure which one was her husband originally. I've never heard about her being with Ba`al, but it would be an easy inference to make, because, while they were in the process of reducing from 70+ down to 1, there was a stage in which there were 3 left: Yahweh/'El, Asherah, and Ba`al.

We only have references to "Asherah" as a goddess in non-Biblical sources. In the Bible, her name only appears to refer to an object that represented her and was used in worshiping her, which at one time was still showing up in temples to Yahweh because they were really dual temples to the couple, complete with pairs of altars and pairs of incense bowls. The symbol named "asherah" after her was a decorated tree or pole. There's actually an admonition in the Bible against these things, which looks like an admonition against Christmas trees if you don't know about asherahs and the Yahwists' efforts to stifle the worship of the last few gods who weren't 'El/Yahweh. Somebody, I think Solomon, is also said to have dragged one out of the temple at some point; he's dragging a tree/pole, not a goddess, although it originally represented one.
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Old 4th January 2021, 12:15 PM   #146
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Interestingly some Christians who consider themselves progressive and educated don't take most of the Old Testament literally.
It's not really something new or that progressive. The attitude from the start (see, for example, St Augustine) was that that's metaphor... except for whatever part we'd like to be literally true. And then came the Protestants, who apparently believe it's all literally true... except for the parts they'd like to be metaphor.

And it was always as fluid as, basically, "whichever would help my case right now." I mean, even as popes go, the same dude had absolutely no problem with Galileo's heliocentrism making a verse from the OT need to be metaphor, because it couldn't be literally true... until Galileo flamed him in his book. At which point he had Galileo tried for contradicting the Bible on that verse. He flipped from that verse being metaphor to being literal God-given truth pretty much overnight, based on nothing more than needing to show one troll who's boss

But anyway, almost nobody ever believed that every line from the book is literally true, and yeah, it still didn't give almost any of them a clue to stop and think it through.

That said... Considering that Revelation is in the NT, and it's pretty much THE hit single with most bible-thumpers, I'm not really sure if ditching the OT is making it all that much better.
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Old 4th January 2021, 12:57 PM   #147
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This is what I find so damned irritating.

Christians point to the Holy Bible as proof of the truth of their faith and yet embrace this and reject that as it suits them. Many, such as my nephew, claim a direct connection to Jesus, as justification for the belief they cling to, shedding any doubts suggested by guys like myself, who might point to this or that in scripture, contradicting those beliefs. Why have the book at all? Is my response.
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Old 4th January 2021, 01:07 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
This is what I find so damned irritating.

Christians point to the Holy Bible as proof of the truth of their faith and yet embrace this and reject that as it suits them. Many, such as my nephew, claim a direct connection to Jesus, as justification for the belief they cling to, shedding any doubts suggested by guys like myself, who might point to this or that in scripture, contradicting those beliefs. Why have the book at all? Is my response.
Some people respond intuitively to the tradition and pageantry that comes with organized religion, and many like simple concreteness over abstraction. Same as a secular Buddhist responds to a statue or Mandela and stuff, I suppose. The iconography makes some feel viscerally like they are a living part of a tradition of truth.
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Old 4th January 2021, 01:13 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
This is what I find so damned irritating.

Christians point to the Holy Bible as proof of the truth of their faith and yet embrace this and reject that as it suits them. Many, such as my nephew, claim a direct connection to Jesus, as justification for the belief they cling to, shedding any doubts suggested by guys like myself, who might point to this or that in scripture, contradicting those beliefs. Why have the book at all? Is my response.
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Old 4th January 2021, 03:51 PM   #150
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
This is exactly how my Catholic wife and kids roll. They actually call it Salad Bar Catholicism. Better to selectively embrace the good than quibble and renounce all over the bad.

I'd go so far as to say most hard-core atheists expect more literal accuracy and demand total acceptance/denial far more intensely than any believer that I've met, although bible-thumping literalists/legalists are surely out there.
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Old 4th January 2021, 04:07 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
This is exactly how my Catholic wife and kids roll. They actually call it Salad Bar Catholicism. Better to selectively embrace the good than quibble and renounce all over the bad.

I'd go so far as to say most hard-core atheists expect more literal accuracy and demand total acceptance/denial far more intensely than any believer that I've met, although bible-thumping literalists/legalists are surely out there.
And the funny thing is that some salad makers criticize other salad makers. I would say literalism is the worst form of Salad Bar Christianity. BTW the same site denies AGW.
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Old 4th January 2021, 04:42 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
This is exactly how my Catholic wife and kids roll. They actually call it Salad Bar Catholicism. Better to selectively embrace the good than quibble and renounce all over the bad.

I'd go so far as to say most hard-core atheists expect more literal accuracy and demand total acceptance/denial far more intensely than any believer that I've met, although bible-thumping literalists/legalists are surely out there.
I don't think it is the case that "hard-core atheists expect more literal accuracy", but more to that atheists are pointing out that, if you are just picking and choosing the parts of the bible you want to follow, you aren't actually relying on the bible for guidance, but are using it as a crutch to support your own imposition.

The problem comes if the Christian were to admit that they aren't really basing their beliefs on the bible, they'd have to come out and admit that their religion is based on nothing more than "I want it to be so." And they realize full-well that this doesn't hold up to any scrutiny at all.

OK, so let's grant for the sake of argument that the bible is not literal accuracy. Now, how do you determine the parts that are right and the parts that are wrong aside from what you want to be so? Clearly, that's not evident because there are so many different opinions on what constitutes the right stuff and wrong stuff. Even within Leviticus, there are differences on which parts are to be accepted or not.

If the Christian were to admit that they are just making it up and choosing what they like best, then it's real easy to dismiss them, and they know it. So in order to prevent that, they have to resort to the bible. And in that case, they beg the question of "why are using that and not this?"
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Old 4th January 2021, 05:56 PM   #153
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
The atheist’s conclusion that there are no Gods, is not in itself the premise. It is the conclusion of his reasoning process, and based on evidence (or lack thereof).
That's right, and that's my point in the example. The atheist's conclusion for one argument ("Is there a God?") becomes a premise in a second argument ("What is good in a godless world?"). Similarly for Pascal's Wager: the conclusion of one argument ("reason cannot decide whether or not God exists") becomes a premise in another one (the Wager).

Anyway, perhaps I've complicated the point!

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
And the conclusion is entirely sound. True, there isn’t cent per cent certitude of that conclusion, but surely the same can be said for any and every thing? I trust you do, generally, subscribe to a scientific worldview, accept the validity of the scientific method in ascertaining truth? The whole skepticism thing: not accepting a conclusion without sound evidence backing it, that whole deal? Basis that, an atheistic conclusion is entirely sound. Occam’s Razor, and all that.
No problems with that. "Occam's Razor" is a good way to describe the process.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Not quite like the atheist, though. Your atheist-turned-theist sees the data, and finds one God-idea to be plausible. But, unlike the atheist, this conclusion of hers is based on subjective not objective reasons; or else, if it is purports to be objective, then it is a flawed conclusion, a flawed belief — unless, like the atheist, she can clearly present her reasons, and her evidence (or lack thereof) in support of this conclusion of hers. Can she?
I don't know. Perhaps she can. I'm not her (I'm a man), but whether her reasons are objective or subjective isn't important for my example. She just needs reasons that are not subject to the Occam's Razor elimination of the other gods. (My point here wasn't really about the Wager itself, but to address the 'many-god' criticism.)

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Heh, that’s a great argument! It did give me pause.

Unless someone else reading our exchange can point out some error in how you’re seeing this, I do concede that, in as much as the atheist does not consider (belief in) those other Gods to be reasonable, he cannot, in good faith, criticize the Christian-theist for not finding them feasible either.

However, this still does not support your particular argument. Because see right below:

Quote:
Perhaps the theist has already ruled those gods out using the same rationale as the atheist?
Perhaps she has. If she has, then I have no quarrel with her. But has she? That is the all-important question. That is the key part of my objection.

If the theist has sound basis for her theism, that is based on evidence, then I don’t see how we can object to that.
Perhaps my example has thrown us off-topic here. The point of the Wager is that "reason can't decide whether God exists or not". So if my hypothetical "she" had a sound basis for her theism based on evidence, then the Wager is not applicable. For the Wager to be in effect, she would be basically an agnostic.

I think your next comment after the one above continues along the same line, so I will skip that if you don't mind.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Sure, I’ll put it in Wager form.

The point of my doing this two-fold, by the way. The first is to attempt an argumentum ad absurdum. And the second is to present a reason for (acting as if there is) theistic belief, that is even more “brilliant” than Pascal’s Wager.

If we are to choose a random premise, without worrying about whether that premise comports with reality, then we can easily do much better than Pascal, is what I’m saying.

Pascal’s premise was this: The existence of other Gods (than the Christian/RCC God) can be ruled out. On the other hand, the existence of the Christian/RCC God can neither be proved nor disproved. Are we agreed, that that is his premise?
Yes. Though really the Wager can be used with any God that matches his premises. I'm a theist, but not a Christian. I believe in a generic omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent deity, which generally the Wager supports IMO.

To get from the God in the Wager to a specifically Catholic God as opposed to, say, a Protestant God or Universalist God, requires more than the Wager. For example, Pascal's Wager doesn't address whether or not Jesus was born from a Virgin, or whether Mary ascended bodily to heaven, or which group of ancient books should be included in the Bible.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
In as much as he seems to have plucked that premise out of thin air, without the slightest evidence or actual support, I don’t see why we can’t go one better than him, and choose this premise instead, also plucked out of thin air: The existence of other Gods (than the Christian/RCC God) is ruled out. Further, the non-existance of the Christian/RCC God also is ruled out. That is, the new premise now is, that the Christian/RCC God does exist, and no other God exists. That is my premise. (Why not? If Pascal can pluck some random premise out of thin air, in order to construct his Wager, so can I pluck my own random premise out of thin air, to construct a more solid Wager of mine own.)

And, basis this premise of mine, my Wager is: If you act as if you believe in God, then you will be blest with God’s Grace in this life, and will attain the Kingdom of God in the after-life. And if you act as if you don’t believe in God, then not only will His Grace be withheld from you in this life, but you are also certain to face eternal torment and damnation in the afterlife. It’s a sure-shot wager, that you simply cannot lose. It’s like buying the lottery while knowing beforehand what the winning combination is. It's playing a wager whose outcome you already know beforehand, and one that not only saves from from eternal torment, but also grants you eternal ...harp-music-raves bliss/salvation. It is a wet dream of a wager.
But that IS Pascal's Wager. The only difference is that you change his first premise from "reason can't decide whether or not God exists" to "God exists and other gods don't". Otherwise it's just the same: same happiness-decision matrix, same conclusion.

Based on the logic in your Wager, it seems to me that you are happy with the logic of the Wager (other than the "many-gods" objection). Would that be accurate?

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Given these terms, only a fool will refuse my Wager.
Well yes, I agree! With your happiness at stake, who would refuse?

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
(Note that we're ignoring the other holes in the Pascal's-Wager argument at this time, and pretending that other than this wild premise everything else is reasonable here -- which in point of fact it isn't.) No one with a shred of sense will refuse to act as if they believe in God, given these terms. Correct?
Definitely!

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Isn’t this a far more solid Wager, and far more solid reason for (acting as if one has) belief, than Pascal has given you?
It is. The only issue is that Pascal was addressing people who believe that reason can't decide whether or not God exists. But those how conclude that it is better to act as though God does exist in Pascal's Wager are in fact following your Wager, if I understand correctly.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
The only way to find fault with this, is to question my premise. Well, why on earth then would you not question Pascal’s premise? Question his premise that all of the other Gods’ existence can be ruled out but the existence of the Christian/RCC God cannot be ruled out?
Occam's Razor on all the other gods. Non-Occam's Razor related points for the Wager's God.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
No, the question that is being begged is the veracity, the reasonable-ness, of Pascal’s premise, that while the existence of other Gods can be ruled out, the existence of the Christian/RCC God cannot.

You really cannot have it both ways, not if you care to be reasonable. Either using the atheist’s reasoning you rule out all Gods, the RCC God included. Or else, in order to make your case, and as a starting point for your argument, you let in (the possibility of the existence of) all Gods. Anything else is blatant fallacious special pleading, unless you can clearly spell out your reasons for this exceptionalism.
I think that approach makes sense, but it will make for a possibly long (but interesting!) conversation. We could do it in this thread, or maybe in another.

If you are happy with that, I'll make a separate post in this thread to get us started. I'm not a Christian, so I'll be defending a more generic "God of the Philosophers".

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I’m not particularly interested in what Pascal has to say about other Gods, TBF — unless, that is, you can state that he has provided good reasons for rejecting them (while at the same time not also rejecting the Christian God). That would be an impressive feat, if he’s actually done that. Has he, do you think?
No, I think he assumed that all other gods didn't exist and only addressed the gods of his time. Even then, it was piecemeal.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
If he hasn’t, then this is nothing more than handwaving away inconvenient alternatives.
That may be so, but without reading his mind, it's a bit hard to say he's 'handwaved' them away. Pascal lived when deism was becoming popular. The old gods were no longer believed in, and the other popular gods of his time not really understood. He may have felt that he knew enough to come to a decision. For all I know, he may have been right.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
From reality’s perspective. Which — I hope! — is what my perspective is.
That's fine, but if you are using reality's perspective, then it is very important that you understand the following: If you suggest that I consider that other gods exist, or (for example) I consider that there is a 1% chance that Thor exists, I will ask you to present me with the evidence to support that claim. That is, if you ask me to consider that Thor exists, I will need you to provide the evidence that Thor exists before I will consider that proposition.

I will be following Hitchen's Razor: "that which can be proposed without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
You have a hundred Gods. Unless you can supply sound reasons, you simply cannot handwave away ninety-nine of them, and pretend that only one of them can possibly exist, not if you’re aiming at any kind of reasonableness.
Yes, I think you can. Or at least I think *I* can, though it may be a long discussion, as per my invitation to discuss this above.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I’m repeating myself on this point, since clearly this is the focus of our disagreement. It is this special pleading that I’m objecting to. Without giving any good reasons, you’re simply saying, simply assuming arbitrarily, that these nine-nine God-ideas cannot possibly exist, while this one single RCC/Christian God idea might. That’s … I don’t know, don’t you see how …arbitrary, how entirely unreasonable, is this kind of special pleading? (Unless, that is, Pascal has provided good reasons for doing that. Has he?—I ask again. If he has, then those reasons are what you need to defend. And if you can successfully defend those reasons, if you can successfully defend that premise of Pascal’s, then we’ll all agree with you. At least I will. As far as the premise, I mean.)
Fair enough. At least, I'm happy to try on his behalf. Whether my reasons are his in all cases I don't know, but I don't think he'd disagree in terms of defending the Wager.

There is nothing to respond to in the rest of your post, but just wanted to note that I read it, thanks.

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Old 4th January 2021, 08:30 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
TThat's fine, but if you are using reality's perspective, then it is very important that you understand the following: If you suggest that I consider that other gods exist, or (for example) I consider that there is a 1% chance that Thor exists, I will ask you to present me with the evidence to support that claim. That is, if you ask me to consider that Thor exists, I will need you to provide the evidence that Thor exists before I will consider that proposition.

I will be following Hitchen's Razor: "that which can be proposed without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."
That's quite possibly the worst nonsense case of the Special Pleading Fallacy I've seen this century. Which is to say, it's utter nonsense from a logic point of view, in case it wasn't clear why it's called a fallacy.

The whole POINT of the Wager is what do you do when you DON'T have evidence for God. If it were evidence based, you wouldn't need the wager at all.

Make up your mind, really. Is following God based on evidence, or a wager, IN THIS SPECIFIC ARGUMENT? One or the other. You don't get to use a special set of rules just for one god, and a completely different set of rules for the others.
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Old 4th January 2021, 09:03 PM   #155
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
I don't think it is the case that "hard-core atheists expect more literal accuracy", but more to that atheists are pointing out that, if you are just picking and choosing the parts of the bible you want to follow, you aren't actually relying on the bible for guidance, but are using it as a crutch to support your own imposition.
You could look at it that way. Another is to look at the bible as a book where you have found truth and beauty, and the church community as a place where you find goodwill and strength, so you are willing to overlook the human shortcomings of it all. I love and accept my parents, spouse, and kids, despite their many shortcomings and wrongness, too.

For many, the bible is not the final word. It is one piece of a larger tradition that you share with family and friends across the world and throughout time. That shared message and outlook trumps the book itself. If there was a competing community that you could find similar camaraderie with when visiting another town or country, organized religion would have itself a horse race.

Quote:
The problem comes if the Christian were to admit that they aren't really basing their beliefs on the bible, they'd have to come out and admit that their religion is based on nothing more than "I want it to be so." And they realize full-well that this doesn't hold up to any scrutiny at all.
Try this out against "I found it to be so". That one word change packs some punch.

Quote:
OK, so let's grant for the sake of argument that the bible is not literal accuracy. Now, how do you determine the parts that are right and the parts that are wrong aside from what you want to be so? Clearly, that's not evident because there are so many different opinions on what constitutes the right stuff and wrong stuff. Even within Leviticus, there are differences on which parts are to be accepted or not.
All that is returning to dissecting and valuing. Truth, like poetry or whatever blows your skirt up, is visceral, not calculated. You feel it. That's why a lot of protestant traditions champion being 'born again', or other transformational conversion. It's a gut feeling, not a reasoned conclusion.

Quote:
If the Christian were to admit that they are just making it up and choosing what they like best, then it's real easy to dismiss them, and they know it. So in order to prevent that, they have to resort to the bible. And in that case, they beg the question of "why are using that and not this?"
Simply because if they are cool with it for themselves, they are not trying to gain your approval, and certainly not trying to justify anything. If they are living it in peace, it's all good.

A lot of posters, I am gathering, meet up with a lot of self-righteous nasty-ass bigots. I think that's a freaking shame. Thing is, most of the genuinely faithful I know personally don't wear it on their sleeve, and are not trying to convert anyone. They're just at peace with it. I admit to being jealous of that sometimes. It's not a bad way to live.
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Old 4th January 2021, 10:23 PM   #156
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
THAT said, considering what's in the Bible -- including the NT -- I'm not sure what Chick could even do to make it any worse.

And I'm not even talking low hanging fruit like Job. We're talking a God who randomly tries to murder even his chosen prophet, Moses, at some point, for no reason ever stated. Or who overrules the will of the Pharaoh who had already agreed to let Moses go, apparently just because God still wanted to get to the part where God murders a few tens of thousands of Egyptian babies. Or who gives a world-wide famine (which would mean including in parts of the world which couldn't really contribute anything to the outcome) for no other reason than to make one dude obscenely rich by profiteering from it.

Or then we have slapstick episodes like when the same God ambushes the same faithful dude and tries to wrestle him, again for no obvious reason, nearly loses, cheats by using divine magic to pretty much cripple the dude, and then loses anyway. I wish I was kidding, but it's in the Bible.

So, yeah, if any modern day apologists managed to make it any worse than it already is, now THAT would be quite the achievement.
Chick manages it. Perhaps the most infamous is Lisa a track so reviled for its message every (inept) attempt has been made to make people forget it ever existed.

The plot is about how a man is drawn to porn and his neighbor reveals he knows about what the man is doing to his own daughter (Lisa) and "I'll keep quiet, old, if we can hard and share alike". Before you can plot connivance Lisa's doctor tells her father she has herpes simplex and gives him the old Chick salvation speech. Then it is revealed his wife was also abused when she was young and the couple tell Lisa that she and her daddy won't hurt her again. But the picture with this text shows just how messed up this track is - Lisa can't be 10 years old.
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Old 4th January 2021, 10:43 PM   #157
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As I was saying, even that doesn't top what's already in the bible. See, Lot being the good guy for offering his pre-teen daughters for a gang rape.
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Old 4th January 2021, 11:12 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
That's right, and that's my point in the example. The atheist's conclusion for one argument ("Is there a God?") becomes a premise in a second argument ("What is good in a godless world?"). Similarly for Pascal's Wager: the conclusion of one argument ("reason cannot decide whether or not God exists") becomes a premise in another one (the Wager).

Anyway, perhaps I've complicated the point!

Not at all. Entirely on point, and very clearly explained.

I think, after all these to-and-fro exchanges, we may have reached the root of our disagreement, as far as the many-Gods counter-argument to Pascalís Wager. So instead of responding to your post piecemeal, Iíll just write down my response right here, bringing in bits from the rest of your post where relevant.

Absolutely, the premise in one argument is usually the conclusion of another argument. Itís either that, or else that premise is held as axiomatic, and accepted because everyone agrees it is self-evident.

Youíve said later in this post, that suggesting a 1% probability for the existence of Thor would need to backed up, and, if it isnít, then we can use Hitchenís Razor to shave that argument off from serious consideration. And I agree! My point is, why on earth are you not as rigorous in how you view Pascalís premise?

What is Pascalís premise? In this post youíve described Pascalís premise as ďreason can neither prove nor disprove the existence of GodĒ. Iíd say, basis our discussion so far, that Pascalís premise is two-fold:
  1. Reason can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God; and
  2. Weíll take it that none of the other Gods, other than the RCC God, exist (or, if they exist, that they donít matter), and focus only on the RCC God to the exclusion of all other Gods.

I think, basis our exchanges thus far, this much weíre agreed on. Correct?

Well, Iím taking issue with the premise itself. Iím saying, the Wager seems to be a ďwalk around the parkĒ, an obfuscation, that gets you take your eyes off of the extravagance of this premise itself. I think Pascalís argument is flawed, but even if it hadnít been flawed, even then, if you start with a flawed premise, you cannot possibly end up with a reasonable conclusion. Garbage in, garbage out.

Iím asking you to defend this premise, as the first step in defending Pascalís argument/wager. Specifically, Iím asking you to resolve the fallacious special pleading that weíre seeing here in connection with Pascalís God, which is somehow given a free pass (into ďperhaps existingĒ) that these other Gods arenít.

-------

Iím afraid our discussion is kind of getting all over the place. No doubt my own rambling posts bear the blame for that! So, apart from the above, which I see as the essence of our disagreement over the many-Gods counter-argument, Iíll limit my responses to two more portions from the rest of your post, that might inform further discussion on the above (and that I'll request you to incorporate into your thoughts on the above).


Quote:
No problems with that. "Occam's Razor" is a good way to describe the process.


I don't know. Perhaps she can. I'm not her (I'm a man), but whether her reasons are objective or subjective isn't important for my example. She just needs reasons that are not subject to the Occam's Razor elimination of the other gods. (My point here wasn't really about the Wager itself, but to address the 'many-god' criticism.)


Perhaps my example has thrown us off-topic here. The point of the Wager is that "reason can't decide whether God exists or not". So if my hypothetical "she" had a sound basis for her theism based on evidence, then the Wager is not applicable. For the Wager to be in effect, she would be basically an agnostic.

I think your next comment after the one above continues along the same line, so I will skip that if you don't mind.


Yes. Though really the Wager can be used with any God that matches his premises.

Unless Iím mistaken I think youíre missing my point, as far as the many-Gods counter-argument. It doesnít matter, really, which your preferred God is. No matter which specific God you choose (be it the God from the Bible, or from the Quran, or from the Zend Avesta, or any other, including any God thought up by some philosopher, or even some God-idea that you or I think up), youíll still carry the burden to defend your special pleading. If your premise holds that reason isnít able to conclude one way or the other as far as the existence of Ahura Mazda (which isnít correct, by the way, reason can indeed decide that, but let that pass for now), then you canít handwave the other Gods away unless you supply good reasons to so elevate Ahura Mazda in your argument. As Iíve pointed out a few times before this, and as Hans Mustermann does just now, and as I hope youíll appreciate when you think this over, this is classic, textbook special-pleading fallacy.

In as much as your premise is rooted in a special-pleading fallacy, your conclusion, even if it is rigorous (which it isnít, in the case of the Wager, but let that pass for now), cannot but be fallacious. Therefore, the first thing you need to do, if you are to defend Pascalís Wager, is to back up that premise of his (specifically, as far as our present context, as far as that special pleading).


Quote:
I'm a theist, but not a Christian. I believe in a generic omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent deity, which generally the Wager supports IMO.

To get from the God in the Wager to a specifically Catholic God as opposed to, say, a Protestant God or Universalist God, requires more than the Wager. For example, Pascal's Wager doesn't address whether or not Jesus was born from a Virgin, or whether Mary ascended bodily to heaven, or which group of ancient books should be included in the Bible.

Okay. But what does that mean, exactly, as far as the Wager? This takes us right back to what Iíd said in an earlier post. I thought we were agreed as far as that, but it seems not: so let me revisit that one more time now.

The Wager says it makes sense for you to act as if you believe in the existence of God. But what does that even mean, in a general sense? There can be no ďgeneral senseĒ, as far as your actions: there can only be specific actions, basis specific conceptions of God.

One God may command you to kill heathens. Another God may command you to disavow all violence. Behaving in consonance with the first Godís injunctions involves going entirely against the second Godís commandments, and vice versa. So what exactly are you doing, when youíre playing Pascalís Wager (even if you do agree with his broad argument)? To be at all meaningful, you must, if only implicitly, have some idea of what ďacting as if you believe in GodĒ entails. And to do that, you do need to define your God (whether from amongst the Gods of mainstream religions, or off cults, or off philosophical abstractions, or of your own idiosyncratic formulation).

Iím afraid Pascalís Wage makes no sense at all unless you define your God. And the moment you define your God you need to defend your choice of that particular God over all other Gods, if youíre to avoid fallacious special pleading.


Quote:
But that IS Pascal's Wager. The only difference is that you change his first premise from "reason can't decide whether or not God exists" to "God exists and other gods don't". Otherwise it's just the same: same happiness-decision matrix, same conclusion.

Based on the logic in your Wager, it seems to me that you are happy with the logic of the Wager (other than the "many-gods" objection). Would that be accurate?


Well yes, I agree! With your happiness at stake, who would refuse?


Definitely!


It is. The only issue is that Pascal was addressing people who believe that reason can't decide whether or not God exists. But those how conclude that it is better to act as though God does exist in Pascal's Wager are in fact following your Wager, if I understand correctly.


Occam's Razor on all the other gods. Non-Occam's Razor related points for the Wager's God.

That highlighted portion, what does that mean, exactly? Can you expand on that?

(If you think this pertains to a general defense of Pascal's Wager, then you can do that here. Else, if it pertains to primarily your specific approach to how you view the God question and how you've yourself arrived at your theism, we could take it to the other thread -- see below, as far as "the other thread".)


Quote:
I think that approach makes sense, but it will make for a possibly long (but interesting!) conversation. We could do it in this thread, or maybe in another.

If you are happy with that, I'll make a separate post in this thread to get us started. I'm not a Christian, so I'll be defending a more generic "God of the Philosophers".


No, I think he assumed that all other gods didn't exist and only addressed the gods of his time. Even then, it was piecemeal.


That may be so, but without reading his mind, it's a bit hard to say he's 'handwaved' them away. Pascal lived when deism was becoming popular. The old gods were no longer believed in, and the other popular gods of his time not really understood. He may have felt that he knew enough to come to a decision. For all I know, he may have been right.


That's fine, but if you are using reality's perspective, then it is very important that you understand the following: If you suggest that I consider that other gods exist, or (for example) I consider that there is a 1% chance that Thor exists, I will ask you to present me with the evidence to support that claim. That is, if you ask me to consider that Thor exists, I will need you to provide the evidence that Thor exists before I will consider that proposition.

I will be following Hitchen's Razor: "that which can be proposed without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."


Yes, I think you can. Or at least I think *I* can, though it may be a long discussion, as per my invitation to discuss this above.


Fair enough. At least, I'm happy to try on his behalf. Whether my reasons are his in all cases I don't know, but I don't think he'd disagree in terms of defending the Wager. ...

That sounds interesting.

Youíre right, though, this might be off-topic, in as much this pertains more to your specific reasons, and leading to your specific conception of God, rather than a more general defense of Pascal's Wager. To keep both discussions focused, I think it might make sense to start another thread. I'll start that thread right after I post this, and post the link below.

Although I'm going out and starting this thread, this is ďyourĒ thread, for you to present both general reasons to defend deism (or whatever particular form of God you choose to defend), as well as any subjective and/or personal observations you care to put out there. (And obviously, only to the extent youíre comfortable sharing anything personal, and only to the extent you yourself find this exercise meaningful. I'm taking the liberty of starting this thread on your behalf only to set the ball rolling, as it were, and as preferable to asking you, instead, to start a thread yourself on this. What and how much to discuss there, is entirely your call.)



eta: Just started this new thread.

Last edited by Chanakya; 4th January 2021 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 4th January 2021, 11:32 PM   #159
dejudge
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post


Yes. Though really the Wager can be used with any God that matches his premises. I'm a theist, but not a Christian. I believe in a generic omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent deity, which generally the Wager supports IMO.
This is precisely why Pascal's wager is flawed. If you are not a Christian then you do not believe in Pascal's Christian deities (God the Father, Jesus the Creator, and God the Holy Ghost).

A Theist is a loser in Pascal's wager.

You must accept Pasacal's Christian Deities.

Examine John 3:16.

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Quote:
John 3:16 God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him wonít perish but will have eternal life.

CEB John 14:6
Quote:
Jesus answered, ďI am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
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Old 5th January 2021, 06:17 AM   #160
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Pascal's Wager is also, stripped of all pseudo-mathematical almost Jabbian misuse of statistical concepts, just the old, sad threat; "Believe in God or burn in Hell" routine.

As Simon Tam said on Firefly "Sadistic crap legitimized by florid prose."
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