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Old 27th December 2020, 10:30 AM   #81
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
And the Wager naturally tells us to pick the evillest one we can find, the one that makes the most horrifyingly cruel threats for us to try to escape from.
Not necessarily, actually. No matter what you multiply by infinity -- which really is the whole POINT of the wager, without which it just doesn't even work at all -- is infinity. Game theory and putting it into numbers don't help you much with distinguishing which is more infinity than others. Whether I invent a hell where you're given 1 kick in the balls a day, or one where you get 1440 kicks in the balls a day (once a minute, 24h a day, basically), 1*∞ or 1440*∞ is the same infinity. In the long run, you're still getting just as infinite number of kicks in the balls in either.

If you go by your intuition and feelings you might say you'd rather go to the former than the latter, but maths -- i.e., the wager -- just breaks down as a way to say which is worse. When you go "times infinity", it just broke maths.


Which brings me to the other point: actually that's another way why the wager is fundamentally broken and doesn't tell you anything whatsoever. "Times infinity" is the same as "divided by zero". It's abusing game theory in ways that make it not even work any more.

I would even give props to Pascal for finding a new way to abuse maths, but that's about it.
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Old 27th December 2020, 12:04 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
... That takes me back to my earlier post about who it's really meant for. It's not meant for people who are thinking about it. It's meant for people who are stuck with a lingering feeling regardless of what they think, possibly even in contradiction of what they think: the lingering fear of Christianity's ultimate threat.

That comment of yours upthread, elaborating on the above, is the only explanation of Pascal's Wager I've ever seen that makes sense. You're right, a recovering theist may well be pulled back into the pits of theistic superstition with this argument, and that would indeed be an apt target, a valid audience, for this Wager.

Except for one thing: Your reasoning seems much too subtle, much too devious, much too sophisticated. It would take a Moriarty to think up a scheme that subtle and that ...evil, to deliberately prevent believers who are starting to doubt from leaving the fold. And somehow I doubt Pascal was quite that Moriarty-esque. I mean it is possible, but I think it's more likely that the man actually presented what he thought was an objective proof, an objectively valid reason, for choosing theism, but ended up with egg on his face, ended up producing that embarrassong bilge, because: (1) He wasn't half as smart as he imagined himself to be; (2) He was ignorant of (or else, given his audience, he deliberately chose to ignore) the other competing Gods with equally valid claims as the Christian God on the belief of the gullible; and (3) Actually maybe we need to cut some slack to this Pascal guy, given that he wrote what he wrote such a long time ago. (What seems stupid today may, just perhaps, have seemed pretty smart and convincing to many/most folks back in his day, when far fewer people used to be educated.)

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Old 27th December 2020, 12:22 PM   #83
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Anyway, back to the original question: Does it all come down to Pascal's wager, for Christians?

In my experience, no it does not. It's not part of any Christian doctrine or sermon I've ever heard. None of the Christians I've talked to about their faith seem to think of it in those terms, if they think of it at all. When the wager does come up, the Christians I know don't seem to take it any more seriously than atheists do.

But I still think JM85 should actually talk to some Christians about their beliefs, if he wants a better understanding of what they believe. Atheists, in my experience, cold suck at explaining what and how theists believe. They're great at telling you what they believe theists believe, but that's about as far as it goes.

Anyway, primary sources are a good skeptical approach to any question. I sometimes find it weird how little overlap there can be between atheism and skepticism, even when the two communities seem to be exactly the same people.

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Old 27th December 2020, 01:15 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
So that, when you end up with a hundred Gods, each of whom offers you infinite rewards through eternity (should it turn out that they exist), then which of these hundred (or more) will you choose to (act as if you) believe? Especially considering that belief in one God quite often means going entirely opposite to what belief in another God entails?
True, Pascal's Wager doesn't answer that situation.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
The objections to the Wager are so entirely obvious, that I have to say that the Wager sounds …well, let me substitute “moronic” with “nonsensical”. I have difficulty imagining how any reasonable person can for a minute consider it seriously.
And that's fair enough. Your comment is based on the full context now, so I can't say fairer than that. I appreciate your comment about my own conclusions in this matter also. An amiable agreement to disagree is a good day on the Internet!

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Old 27th December 2020, 01:30 PM   #85
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Pascal's wager - the argument that it is in one's own best interest to behave as if God exists, since the possibility of eternal punishment in hell outweighs any advantage in believing otherwise.

Who determines how one should behave if Gods are believed to exist?

Blaise Pascal lived from 1623-1662 a time when people who believed in Gods were involved in slavery.

Surely the people who were involved in the slave trade are in hell right now (if hell exists) even though they believed Gods exist.
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Old 27th December 2020, 01:43 PM   #86
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It also overlaps with the peak of the Burning Times, especially if we're talking France. You know, the time when proper God-fearing people tortured women until they confessed to practising witchcraft, and then burned them alive. Especially if you were a widow living alone, or even more so if you were a midwife (the profession was very nearly wiped out during the burning times), well, may God have mercy on your soul. Not only was that the proper way to behave if you really believed in God, but it would mean taking Satan's side -- and probably are a witch yourself -- if you thought that we should stop burning witches.

Plus, heretics, Jews, and other assorted fire material. I hear Jews burn really well.

So, umm, yeah, that's the kind of virtues it meant at the time.
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Old 27th December 2020, 02:23 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
Pascal's wager - the argument that it is in one's own best interest to behave as if God exists, since the possibility of eternal punishment in hell outweighs any advantage in believing otherwise.

Who determines how one should behave if Gods are believed to exist?

Blaise Pascal lived from 1623-1662 a time when people who believed in Gods were involved in slavery.

Surely the people who were involved in the slave trade are in hell right now (if hell exists) even though they believed Gods exist.
Doubt it. The Old Testement was pretty big on righteous slaving.

Behind on the thread, but isn't PW basically 'hey, you can't lose by being pious: you might pay off big or if not, you lived really cool'? Not so much a wager, as a justification for living righteously as a win either way?
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Old 27th December 2020, 03:34 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Behind on the thread, but isn't PW basically 'hey, you can't lose by being pious: you might pay off big or if not, you lived really cool'? Not so much a wager, as a justification for living righteously as a win either way?
No. As I was saying before, there are basically two parts. (Well, more, but that's beyond the scope here.)

The faith-in-faith part wasn't new, and in fact for the Xians is as old as the NT. (See, 1 John 3:9, flat out saying that if you REALLY accepted Christ, you can't even sin.) Pascal doing it isn't new, and isn't the best it's been done either, really.

What Pascal did that was indeed new is basically plug infinity into game theory.

Game theory being basically, ok, what is the probability of being wrong (with a certain guess), and what are the penalties for being wrong, vs what are the odds and benefits of guessing right.

For example, let's say you could bet 100$ on a number between 1 and 6, I roll a die, and if you guessed right, I'll pay you double your money. Well, if you guessed wrong, you lose 100$, and the probability of losing is 5/6. If you guessed right, you win 200$, but that probability is only 1/6. If you compare the two, per roll on the average you'd get 200/6 - 100*5/6=-300/6=-50. Yep, that's a game you don't really want to play, because you lose on the average 50$ with each roll.

But now let's say I'll pay you $800 if the roll you just guessed is 6. Well, now really you have no reason to bet anything else than 6. Because 6 wins 50$ on average every roll, all other choices lose 50$ per roll. The only rational choice is to bet on 6 every time.

And basically what Pascal does is notice that if you plug infinity and respectively minus infinity as reward and respectively loss for the wager of following his God or not, then it doesn't matter what the actual probabilities are. Anything non-zero times infinity is still infinity. God existing could even be one in a trillion chance, it doesn't matter. One in a trillion times infinity is still infinity, and one in a trillion times minus infinity is still minus infinity.


Basically, short version, you know how primary schoolkids sometimes argue about whose dad can beat whose dad? And eventually they get to "but my dad is twice as strong as yours", and "no, mine is THREE times as strong as yours", and so on, until some idiot has to go "well mine is INFINITY times stronger"? And then thinks he's the smartest kid around for thinking that one up?

Yeah, that's what Pascal did to game theory with that wager
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Old 27th December 2020, 03:50 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Doubt it. The Old Testement was pretty big on righteous slaving.
One notable thing about the modern slave trade in the west was that it was justified by a theory of racial inferiority. I think that, more than the institution of slavery itself, has caused most of the harm. At least in the US.

This is very different from, say, the Roman institution. A Roman slave was in a lower economic and social class, but they weren't subhuman.
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Old 27th December 2020, 07:09 PM   #90
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The fundamental flaw in Pascal's wager is found in the clause " it is in one's own best interest to behave as if God exists".

Behaving as if a God exist varies depending upon geographic location and time period.

At one time people who behaved as if their God exist were burning others at the stake or sacrificing their own children.

Which God/Gods must I pretend to exist to avoid hell? Jupiter, Zeus, Romulus, Beelzebub, Kronos????
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Old 27th December 2020, 09:41 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
One notable thing about the modern slave trade in the west was that it was justified by a theory of racial inferiority. I think that, more than the institution of slavery itself, has caused most of the harm. At least in the US.

This is very different from, say, the Roman institution. A Roman slave was in a lower economic and social class, but they weren't subhuman.
There were free black landowners and slavers going back to the 16th century in the Colonies, though. Weren't the African slaves thought of as 'savages' specifically the group that was believed inferior, which only slowly came to be broad-brushed to 'all black people'?
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Old 28th December 2020, 01:22 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
There were free black landowners and slavers going back to the 16th century in the Colonies, though. Weren't the African slaves thought of as 'savages' specifically the group that was believed inferior, which only slowly came to be broad-brushed to 'all black people'?
The first British colonies in NA didn't even exist until the 17'th century.

But nevertheless, while somewhat correct -- at least in that originally they didn't really have much of a notion of a difference between a black slave and any other indentured servant from Europe -- it didn't take as long as you seem to think for that to change. In fact, it took all of couple of decades for them to start restricting the rights of blacks.

E.g., "free black landowners and slavers" pretty much just meant Anthony Johnson at that time. Who pretty much just had a farm which his former owner had given to him, and one black slave. And which farm was not inherited by his children when he died in 1670, but by some random white dude. Because a judge ruled that Anthony Johnson was not a citizen, because he was black.
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Old 28th December 2020, 01:37 AM   #93
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That said, one correction is that if we're talking 16'th century or 17'th century, the justification is actually not civilizing savages (the whole mission to civilize idea is MUCH later), but... religion. So it actually fits better in a talk about acting as if God exists

It actually starts even earlier than the 16'th century, when in 1455 Portugal gets the rights from the Pope to pretty much do whatever it pleases along the West African coast, including take slaves. The justification being that they're heathens, rather than 'savages'.

This was later expanded to allow them and Spain to enslave people in the Americas. Again, based on religion.

The Europeans were required to read to the locals a ultimatum to convert to Xianity, and if they didn't immediately, well, then you can attack and enslave them. This declaration not only was read to some people who didn't even know the language, but was often read from aboard the ship, a mile from the shore. Hey, the Pope never said they must actually hear and understand it.

Anyway, the same continued in the English colonies too, even if not because of some Pope, which protestants didn't have. But when for example Virginia enacted the laws where the slaves' status was determined by mother, the justification for overturning English common law was basically that the Africans are heathens, and heathens don't get any common law protections.

So, umm, yeah, that's the kind of acting as if God exists that we're talking about.


Actually, hell, one more thing, to really get a feel for it. Since ships were limited and taxed by the tonnage, some of the most profitable slaves to haul across the Atlantic were children. And remember, this pretty much meant under 13 years old at the time.

It is estimated that about 26% of the slaves hauled were children. They probably would have been more, but there are only so many children in an enslaved tribe, so, you know, might as well fill the rest of the ship's hold with whatever else you can get. It's not good business to go with half the hold empty.

So, yeah... good Christians acting as if God exists...
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Old 28th December 2020, 07:26 AM   #94
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Pascal's wager is completely flawed since all believers in Gods do not behave the same way.

https://www.britannica.com/event/Wars-of-Religion

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Wars of Religion, (1562–98) conflicts in France between Protestants and Roman Catholics. The spread of French Calvinism persuaded the French ruler Catherine de Médicis to show more tolerance for the Huguenots, which angered the powerful Roman Catholic Guise family. Its partisans massacred a Huguenot congregation at Vassy (1562), causing an uprising in the provinces.....
It is known that believers in Gods murder, enslave and persecute those who do not believe or behave like them.
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Old 31st December 2020, 02:47 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Not necessarily, actually. No matter what you multiply by infinity -- which really is the whole POINT of the wager, without which it just doesn't even work at all -- is infinity. Game theory and putting it into numbers don't help you much with distinguishing which is more infinity than others. Whether I invent a hell where you're given 1 kick in the balls a day, or one where you get 1440 kicks in the balls a day (once a minute, 24h a day, basically), 1*∞ or 1440*∞ is the same infinity. In the long run, you're still getting just as infinite number of kicks in the balls in either.
The flaw with this argument is there are orders of infinity ie some infinities are larger than others. It doesn't help that this, at times is unintuitive as all get out.

For example, you would think that the set of all whole numbers would be "larger" then the sets of either all odd numbers or all even numbers but it doesn't work like that. MeetCantor's Infinity Paradox: all enumerable numeral sets are the same size. But the non-enumerable sets are larger infinities.

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Old 31st December 2020, 08:12 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
The flaw with this argument is there are orders of infinity ie some infinities are larger than others. It doesn't help that this, at times is unintuitive as all get out.

For example, you would think that the set of all whole numbers would be "larger" then the sets of either all odd numbers or all even numbers but it doesn't work like that. MeetCantor's Infinity Paradox: all enumerable numeral sets are the same size. But the non-enumerable sets are larger infinities.
That would even be relevant if we were talking about set cardinalities, but game theory, at least as Pascal used it for his (in)famous Wager, is just about which real number is higher.

The set of available bets and outcomes is very finite there. In fact, in Pascal's case both have a cardinality of exactly 2 (TWO): you believe in God or you don't, and respectively God is real or isn't. Even the thought of using a larger set of God choices seems to have never occurred to him. You don't have to choose a set with a higher size, because there is none. The only question is which of the finite choices is the bet with the best reward.

So that's the infinity that he plugs in there: the real number version of it.

Edit: also, Pascal lived a bit over 2 centuries before Georg Cantor, and for that matter also about 2 centuries before there even was such a thing as set theory, so he didn't have the foggiest idea about Cantor's set maths. If he had figured out set theory for his Wager, now THAT would have been a much more note-worthy thing about it. But he didn't. He was just working with real numbers.
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Old 31st December 2020, 11:46 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
That would even be relevant if we were talking about set cardinalities, but game theory, at least as Pascal used it for his (in)famous Wager, is just about which real number is higher.

The set of available bets and outcomes is very finite there. In fact, in Pascal's case both have a cardinality of exactly 2 (TWO): you believe in God or you don't, and respectively God is real or isn't. Even the thought of using a larger set of God choices seems to have never occurred to him. You don't have to choose a set with a higher size, because there is none. The only question is which of the finite choices is the bet with the best reward.

So that's the infinity that he plugs in there: the real number version of it.

Edit: also, Pascal lived a bit over 2 centuries before Georg Cantor, and for that matter also about 2 centuries before there even was such a thing as set theory, so he didn't have the foggiest idea about Cantor's set maths. If he had figured out set theory for his Wager, now THAT would have been a much more note-worthy thing about it. But he didn't. He was just working with real numbers.
The "finale choices" part is what is wrong with Pascal's wager. The other problem what supporters of it ignore is it was taken from a series of previously unpublished notes after Pascel had died. So it may have been a work in progress that he sporadically worked on - clearly he didn't get it to a state where he was happy with it...otherwise it would have been published before he died.

If you read the Britannica online article on infinity this line should leap out at you: "Medieval thinkers were aware of the paradoxical fact that line segments of varying lengths seemed to have the same number of points."

The Medieval period is generally said to be ~476 CE to 1453 CE, Pascal was born 1623. Galileo’s paradox (ie the matching up of infinities) appeared 1638 and it is likely Pascal knew of it once he became a mathematician and physicist.

Even from a Biblical prospective the very idea that "the thought of using a larger set of God choices seems to have never occurred to him" is absurd especially given 2 Corinthians 4:4 talks about the "god" of this world (ie Satan). The idea that the old pagan gods were demons to lead Man astray was old even before Paradise Lost (1667) came out so at some level it should have been bouncing around Pascal's mind.

More over unless Pascal had somehow grown up and lived under a rock the whole Catholic vs Protestant things should have been known and the debate there was not if God existed but who had the authority to interpret the writings in the Bible.
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Old 1st January 2021, 02:26 AM   #98
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All that is good and fine, but can you show me ANY place where he discusses set theory in Pascal's Wager or where it is relevant in ANY way?
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Old 2nd January 2021, 01:31 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
All that is good and fine, but can you show me ANY place where he discusses set theory in Pascal's Wager or where it is relevant in ANY way?
If the underlying assumption can be shown to be flawed then the conclusion is flawed. Cornel University's Flaws in the Logic of Pascal’s Wager touches on this

As I said this wasn't published during his lifetime and I strongly suspect it was because he knew the inherent flaws in the basic premise.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy goes into how the "set" Pascal used in itself was flawed.

Calvinism (16th century ie about a century before Pascal was born) has the concept of Unconditional Election ie you are chosen by God so even if you don't believe in him if you are Chosen you are granted the enteral reward. Conversely if you are not Chosen you are basically SOL as Misery is your reward period.

Heck objection 3 is "There should be more than one infinity in the matrix" and objection 5 is "The matrix should have more columns: the many Gods objection)". These are all "set" issues - the Wager is dependent on a very specific set.

It's like the flawed Tragedy of the Commons - it makes assumptions that the moment you think about them make no sense and as a result comes up with a conclusion that is flawed.
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Old 2nd January 2021, 04:00 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
If the underlying assumption can be shown to be flawed then the conclusion is flawed. Cornel University's Flaws in the Logic of Pascal’s Wager touches on this
To defend Pascal here based on that article:

Quote:
The first flaw is that people have more than two choices to make. Some people simply do not choose to make a decision whether to believe or not to believe in God; it does not necessarily mean that they disproved God.
The Wager isn't about proving or disproving God. Pascal stresses that the Wager is based on the premise that reason can neither prove nor disprove God. That "some people simply do not choose to make a decision" is irrelevant. The idea of the Wager is that people want to make a decision but can't based on reason. So if reason can't help, then Pascal suggests your happiness on the decision.

Quote:
Also, some people practice different religions.
This is just irrelevant. There may be reasons to reject one or more religions that have nothing to do with the Wager. In fact, Pascal does just that in his other writings. Pascal reduces the choice to two decisions.

It's not that "another God might exist" can't be true, but it is the way the Wager has been set up. Is the Wager's logic valid or not? If it is valid (that is, the conclusion follows from the premises), then we can go on to determine if it is sound (that is, the conclusion follows from the premises and the premises can be established as true.) However, the soundness of "The Christian God exists or doesn't exist" premise will only be determined in the after-life.

If an atheist has determined through reason that all religions are false, then the Wager does not apply. If an atheist believes that all **specific** religions are false, but that the general idea of a creator God might be true though reason can't determine this, then the Wager is in play.

A confirmed pagan wouldn't need to play the Wager. A confirmed Christian wouldn't need to play the Wager. A confirmed atheist wouldn't need to play the Wager. Only someone who can't decide one way or the other via reason would be applicable to play the Wager. That's how Pascal set it up.

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Pascal’s logic is also flawed because belief in God does not always guarantee infinite joys and grace.
The Wager is not about guaranteeing anything. It's a GAMBLE: "It's better to live as though God exists rather than if He doesn't exist." If God exists, and you live as though God exists but went around killing and torturing people for their own good, then one might not be surprised if infinite joy isn't a result.

But still, it could be that belief in God **in general** is a better option than disbelief in God, even if for some people it doesn't lead to infinite joy.

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According to the bible, the believers must strictly follow His words to enter heaven. That is, developing a fragile faith and not practicing the words of God could also lead to punishments after death.
Again, irrelevant. The Wager has nothing to do with what to practice, nor what can and cannot lead to punishments after death. It's a tool for choosing the best option in a gamble on the after-life.

People write about the Wager as though Pascal set it up to show what gods to worship and what religious practices to follow. But he didn't. That's not to say that Pascal didn't think that some gods were truer than others, or that some religious practices were better than others; but they are simply out of scope of the Wager. You may as well argue that Pascal's Wager is invalid in that it doesn't wash your dishes.

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Even if Pascal was right in simplifying such conditions and dealing with the issue by applying two players game theory, there are two Nash Equilibria on the table: (B, T) and (N, F). Thus, Pascal cannot merely conclude that believing in God (or playing B) is the dominant strategy for humans.
This I don't understand. Perhaps it might be a valid objection. Can someone explain this? I've read the Wiki page. It didn't help.

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Old 2nd January 2021, 05:33 AM   #101
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It seems you've adopted the apologist tactic of everything that makes an argument look bad "not being the point" and "irrelevant."

Pascal's Wager does not work logically or morally and it only (barely) works "mathematically" when applied to every apologist's favorite God; the Vague God Built Entirely Out Of Apologetics That Nobody Actually Worships or Believes In Who Exists Only In Arguments About Why You Aren't Allowed To Say He Doesn't Exist.

Everything other than that is irrelevent.
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Old 2nd January 2021, 06:03 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
If the underlying assumption can be shown to be flawed then the conclusion is flawed. Cornel University's Flaws in the Logic of Pascal’s Wager touches on this

As I said this wasn't published during his lifetime and I strongly suspect it was because he knew the inherent flaws in the basic premise.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy goes into how the "set" Pascal used in itself was flawed.

Calvinism (16th century ie about a century before Pascal was born) has the concept of Unconditional Election ie you are chosen by God so even if you don't believe in him if you are Chosen you are granted the enteral reward. Conversely if you are not Chosen you are basically SOL as Misery is your reward period.

Heck objection 3 is "There should be more than one infinity in the matrix" and objection 5 is "The matrix should have more columns: the many Gods objection)". These are all "set" issues - the Wager is dependent on a very specific set.

It's like the flawed Tragedy of the Commons - it makes assumptions that the moment you think about them make no sense and as a result comes up with a conclusion that is flawed.
This is turning into a Chewbacca defense, doesn't it?

Let's recap...

You made the claim in message #95 that there's some flaw in my argument because Cantor's Paradox SOMEHOW applies. Which would mean that infinite cardinalities are somehow relevant to Pascal's Wager.

When challenged about that, you backed into some nebulous guessing what's in someone else's mind, namely that he must have known something or another about something that... was still fully irrelevant.

When challenged about THAT, by now you've retreated into pretty much not having anything to do with that any more. Just because there's a finite set of choices, it doesn't mean that it has ANYTHING to do with Cantor's paradox, infinite cardinalities, nor more generally with set theory.

Not only that, but you just seem to just support what I've already said in message #96: that Pascal's Wager only uses a set of 2 choices, and that, yes, the thought doesn't seem to have occurred to him that that's not enough.

Which brings us back to: yep, he never used infinite cardinalities in the actual wager, so that whole faffing about Cantor's Paradox was fully and utterly irrelevant to what was being discussed.

So, as Daffy Duck once said: was this trip really necessary?
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Old 2nd January 2021, 06:10 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
It seems you've adopted the apologist tactic of everything that makes an argument look bad "not being the point" and "irrelevant."
Well, where am I wrong? Do you think Pascal designed his Wager to apply to all gods and all religious practices? Or to be a proof for the existence of God?
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Old 2nd January 2021, 06:10 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
This is turning into a Chewbacca defense, doesn't it?

[respectfull snip]

So, as Daffy Duck once said: was this trip really necessary?
Yes. Every moment we spend spinning our wheels getting back out of the weeds justifies the apologist's mentality that there just has to be something to this whole "God" thing I mean we wouldn't be talking about it so much if there wasn't so who can say for sure babble babble babble...
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Old 2nd January 2021, 06:11 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Well, where am I wrong? Do you think Pascal designed his Wager to apply to all gods and all religious practices?
Don't know, don't care. It does apply to all Gods, which breaks the logic of it as a "gamble" regardless of what Pascal "designed" it to do as if what he intended matters at all.
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Old 2nd January 2021, 06:17 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
It does apply to all Gods, which breaks the logic of it as a "gamble" regardless of what Pascal "designed" it to do
If it is designed with all gods in mind, then I agree with you. We just need to propose a god that doesn't like Pascal's Wager.

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Old 2nd January 2021, 06:19 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
If it is designed with all gods in mind, then I agree with you.
You can't turn a bad argument into a good argument by essentially going "Well it was only designed to work in situations where it gives us the correct answer."
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Old 2nd January 2021, 06:54 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
If it is designed with all gods in mind, then I agree with you. We just need to propose a god that doesn't like Pascal's Wager.
Well, it presupposing that exactly one specific god is the only one that matters is, I dare say, the problem, not the excuse.

The idea that there's more than one choice of god, and all that couldn't really have escaped ol' Pascal. Nor for that matter that even for one god the choice of how you worship him can by itself be right or wrong enough to qualify as a win or a loss in that Wager. Seein' as, as I was saying, his life is fully within the burning times, and even partially overlaps the PEAK of the burning times. You know, when people were routinely burned alive for supposedly secretly following Allah or Yahweh instead of Jesus. Or for being a protestant instead of catholic, or viceversa. Or for that matter, for being the wrong kind of protestant even in protestant states. And also that Europe was still recovering from the French and German wars of religion. Hell, Italian cities were STILL fighting each other over whether the Pope can overrule the secular government or not.

That they just burned another heretic or heathen outside your window is not something that can just slip your mind, or not perpetually.

So the fact that he still presupposes to know that exactly HIS god is the only choice that matters is the weak bit, not an excuse.
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Old 2nd January 2021, 06:56 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Yes. Every moment we spend spinning our wheels getting back out of the weeds justifies the apologist's mentality that there just has to be something to this whole "God" thing I mean we wouldn't be talking about it so much if there wasn't so who can say for sure babble babble babble...
I don't think Maximara was ever an apologist, which is what makes the whole detour seem a bit weird for me. It doesn't seem to actually go anywhere, as would be the case with an apology, but just be an excuse to mention Cantor and set theory.
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Old 2nd January 2021, 07:09 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
You can't turn a bad argument into a good argument by essentially going "Well it was only designed to work in situations where it gives us the correct answer."
Yes, but you can flip that by saying you can turn a good argument into a bad one by trying to make it give a correct answer in situations where it wasn't designed to work. That's what's happening here, in my opinion.
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Old 2nd January 2021, 07:37 AM   #111
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Okay. So what situation does this nonsense work in?
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Old 2nd January 2021, 07:45 AM   #112
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Yes, but you can flip that by saying you can turn a good argument into a bad one by trying to make it give a correct answer in situations where it wasn't designed to work. That's what's happening here, in my opinion.

Your comment, above, leads me to rethink what you'd meant by the following (highlighted):


Originally Posted by GDon View Post
True, Pascal's Wager doesn't answer that situation.


And that's fair enough. Your comment is based on the full context now, so I can't say fairer than that. I appreciate your comment about my own conclusions in this matter also. An amiable agreement to disagree is a good day on the Internet!

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".

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. Which of these Gods will Pascal's Wager lead you to (even if you do end up buying his argument, even if you ignore all of the other flaws already pointed out)?

The fact is that if it turns out that Ahura Mazda is the One True God -- and there are people, even today, that do believe this, and have believed this across generations and generations and generations -- then, if you ended up believing in (or acting as if you believed in) the Catholic God for instance, that will probably end up far worse for you than if you merely did not believe in Him.

If anything, I'd say Pascal's Wager leads you -- even if you ignore all of the other flaws in his argument -- to staying away from all Gods, simply because siding with the wrong God (that is, one of those Gods that turn out not to exist) will end up with you getting totally cleaned out, way beyond simple disbelief.




TLDR: Given a hundred Gods -- and that isn't hyperbole, that is the only "situation" there is in this world of ours -- the probability of any specific God turning out to be real (even assuming that one of those hundred must be, which itself one has no call to assume, but let's make it easy for Pascal) is clearly just 1%. So, who in their right minds (even after agreeing with Pascal and ignoring the other flaws in his argument) would court a 99% likelihood of getting really, royally screwed over, by siding with a wrong, non-existent God? Isn't it far safer to stay equidistant from each of these Gods? Isn't Pascal's Wager, thus -- even ignoring those other flaws -- actually an argument for atheism (or, at any rate, agnosticism)?

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).




Note: Generic "you", every time. Pascal's Wager is one beaten-to-death beast, that's still yielded, in this thread, two new insights (to me at least). The first is your "sweetener" (well, Pascal's sweetener), that I hadn't known about. And the second is Delvo's psychological insight into what kind of person this Wager might rightly apply to (albeit I happen to think it's far too ...sophisticated, to have been Pascal's actual intention). Given your resolute and continued defense of the Wager, I'm curious how you see your way around this particular flaw. (Generally speaking, I mean. You're obviously well within your rights to subjectively accept a belief that does not, objectively, hold up: that prerogative is yours and yours alone.)
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Old 2nd January 2021, 07:52 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Yes, but you can flip that by saying you can turn a good argument into a bad one by trying to make it give a correct answer in situations where it wasn't designed to work. That's what's happening here, in my opinion.
No it's not. The argument is that it doesn't work on the real world case with the real world choices available. You're essentially trying to salvage it by saying that, yeah, but it was only designed to work in a bullcrap fantasy situation. Well, then who cares about it? If it doesn't work on the real world scenario, then it's about as relevant IRL as Star Wars arguments about the Force are. That's not making it a good argument, it's making it an irrelevant argument.
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Old 2nd January 2021, 08:27 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
No it's not. The argument is that it doesn't work on the real world case with the real world choices available. You're essentially trying to salvage it by saying that, yeah, but it was only designed to work in a bullcrap fantasy situation. Well, then who cares about it? If it doesn't work on the real world scenario, then it's about as relevant IRL as Star Wars arguments about the Force are. That's not making it a good argument, it's making it an irrelevant argument.

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.)

So that at heart -- and even ignoring all of the other flaws in the Wager argument -- Pascal's Wager is nothing more than begging the question. It doesn't work at all; but even it did work as Pascal intended, it would have done that only basis that initial assumption.

So that, if beg the question one must, why not go all the way, like I'd been saying to GDon, and simply beg a unitary (instead of a binary)? That way at least, and subject to that assumption being right, you've already actually, objectively proved God! (I mean, if you assume the God exists, then, hey, He does exist, given that assumption. That's a straightforward 1 = 1 proof!)
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Old 2nd January 2021, 08:57 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
Pascal's wager is completely flawed since all believers in Gods do not behave the same way.

https://www.britannica.com/event/Wars-of-Religion



It is known that believers in Gods murder, enslave and persecute those who do not believe or behave like them.
This seems like a flaw in the people, not a flaw in the wager. The wager is flawed for other reasons. But the wager itself is not flawed just because not everybody abides by it. It's a personal choice.
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Old 2nd January 2021, 09:09 AM   #116
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I wonder if anyone retorted to Pascal thusly: "Hey man, you will get a doubly infinite reward if you worship ME as your god. Solid bet there then, right home boy?"

Eta: simply demonstrate the concrete application of the many gods objection.
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Old 2nd January 2021, 09:40 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
I wonder if anyone retorted to Pascal thusly: "Hey man, you will get a doubly infinite reward if you worship ME as your god. Solid bet there then, right home boy?"

Eta: simply demonstrate the concrete application of the many gods objection.
I wouldn't be surprised if they did.

"Criticism of Pascal's wager began in his own day... It is criticized for not proving God's existence, the encouragement of false belief, and the problem of which religion and which God should be worshipped."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal...ager#Criticism

What I wonder is whether any modern discussion of the Wager breaks new ground, or if it's all just re-hashing the same basic objections. Apparently Pascal was going to write a whole book about the premise, its shortfalls, and alternative ways to approach the problem, but he never got around to it.
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Old 2nd January 2021, 10:35 AM   #118
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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.)

So that at heart -- and even ignoring all of the other flaws in the Wager argument -- Pascal's Wager is nothing more than begging the question. It doesn't work at all; but even it did work as Pascal intended, it would have done that only basis that initial assumption.

So that, if beg the question one must, why not go all the way, like I'd been saying to GDon, and simply beg a unitary (instead of a binary)? That way at least, and subject to that assumption being right, you've already actually, objectively proved God! (I mean, if you assume the God exists, then, hey, He does exist, given that assumption. That's a straightforward 1 = 1 proof!)
Mostly correct, but as one small correction: It's not necessary for it to be equiprobable. As I was saying before, the whole point of going "times infinity" is that the actual probabilities don't matter. Even if it were one in a trillion, or even one in a googolplex chance to be right, times infinity is still infinity.

But yeah, of course it has a problem if there is more than one option that also goes "times infinity".
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Old 2nd January 2021, 10:45 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
I wonder if anyone retorted to Pascal thusly: "Hey man, you will get a doubly infinite reward if you worship ME as your god. Solid bet there then, right home boy?"
While you probably intended it as a joke, you can even use an actual religion of an example of exactly that.

The ancient Egyptian religion by the end of it had everyone have no less than three souls (Ka, Ba and Akh) and, depending on the exact time and place and flavour (we ARE talking about a 3000 years span,) two of those could separately go to their own eternal rewards. (And a third might reincarnate.) So there we go, DOUBLE infinity.

Quoth the meme: But wait, I'm not done yet.

The pharaoh was supposed to have the Ba of a god. (Well, initially ONLY the pharaoh would have a Ba, but then everyone wanted one)

'Course, soon they noticed a problem: If the current pharaoh has the soul of Horus, and his son also has the soul of Horus when he takes the throne, well, how many souls does Horus even have? The answer: LOTS. Gods have lots of souls.

But wait, isn't the pharaoh also a god? (And I stress: god. Not emissary, prophet, avatar, demigod or whatever. The cats were the demigods. Literally. The pharaoh was a full fledged god.) New problem: So, err, doesn't HE get lots of souls too? The answer: yep, the pharaoh also has several souls.

Which ALL go to their eternal reward.

So, yeah, they even went one better than "double infinity". They went "several times infinity". At least if you were the pharaoh, anyway.

So there you go. Try THAT one for size, Pascal
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Old 2nd January 2021, 11:43 AM   #120
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
While you probably intended it as a joke, you can even use an actual religion of an example of exactly that.

The ancient Egyptian religion by the end of it had everyone have no less than three souls (Ka, Ba and Akh) and, depending on the exact time and place and flavour (we ARE talking about a 3000 years span,) two of those could separately go to their own eternal rewards. (And a third might reincarnate.) So there we go, DOUBLE infinity.

Quoth the meme: But wait, I'm not done yet.

The pharaoh was supposed to have the Ba of a god. (Well, initially ONLY the pharaoh would have a Ba, but then everyone wanted one)

'Course, soon they noticed a problem: If the current pharaoh has the soul of Horus, and his son also has the soul of Horus when he takes the throne, well, how many souls does Horus even have? The answer: LOTS. Gods have lots of souls.

But wait, isn't the pharaoh also a god? (And I stress: god. Not emissary, prophet, avatar, demigod or whatever. The cats were the demigods. Literally. The pharaoh was a full fledged god.) New problem: So, err, doesn't HE get lots of souls too? The answer: yep, the pharaoh also has several souls.

Which ALL go to their eternal reward.

So, yeah, they even went one better than "double infinity". They went "several times infinity". At least if you were the pharaoh, anyway.

So there you go. Try THAT one for size, Pascal

Hah, not three but actually seven!


(Your post was the first I'd ever heard of this three-souls weirdness. A quick google check revealed not three -- well, also three, per [a quick skim-through of] a few links -- but [per this source] seven!)


eta: Wait, no, it actually goes up to nine! This is cool, must read up a bit more on this later on. Who knows, there may be even more of these soul things, more even than nine, lurking somewhere in Ancient Egypt! (Well, to be fair, nine parts to the soul, rather than nine separate souls. But still.)

Last edited by Chanakya; 2nd January 2021 at 11:48 AM.
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