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Old 10th January 2021, 09:48 AM   #241
HansMustermann
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Just to clarify: game theory only concerns itself with what are the odds for (matching the conditions of) a particular outcome, times the reward for doing so. It doesn't require those conditions to match any kind of ethical constraints, or to have any ethical meaning at all.

E.g., in my earlier dice roll example, there is nothing moral or ethical about a result of 6 as opposed to 1 or any other possible roll. It's just a die. It rolls. A number comes up. There are no moral values attached to that number.

And game theory doesn't deal with those. It doesn't say you should bet on 6 because 6 represents some virtue. It says to bet on 6 because in my example I offer a higher reward for a roll of 6.

And there's nothing preventing it from working with any other roll values. I could have a die where instead of 1 to 6, the symbols are "cherry", "horseshoe", "bird", "fish", "packman" and "lucky 7" instead. The same maths would apply. If I offer a bigger reward for landing on "lucky 7", and the probabilities still are 1/6 for any symbol, then the maths says you should always bet on "lucky 7".

Or I could roll a 20 sided die instead. If I offer twice the reward for a natural 20 roll, and all values have the same 1/20 chance of showing up, then you should always bet on 20.

What you're doing is basically the equivalent of insisting that oh noes, you can't apply the same game theory for the values 7 to 20 on a D20 or to the symbols on the other die, because the original example only used 1 to 6. Which is frankly, nonsense.
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Old 10th January 2021, 10:36 AM   #242
dejudge
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Pascal Pensees 547.
Quote:
We know God only by Jesus Christ. Without this mediator, all communion with God is taken away; through Jesus Christ we know God.

All those who have claimed to know God, and to prove Him without Jesus Christ, have had only weak proofs. But in proof of Jesus Christ we have the prophecies, which are solid and palpable proofs. And these prophecies, being accomplished and proved true by the event, mark the certainty of these truths and, therefore, the divinity of Christ.


In Him, then, and through Him, we know God. Apart from Him, and without the Scripture, without original sin, without a necessary mediator promised and come, we cannot absolutely prove God, nor teach right doctrine and right morality.

But through Jesus Christ, and in Jesus Christ, we prove God, and teach morality and doctrine.

Jesus Christ is, then, the true God of men.
Pascal's wager has nothing whatsoever to do with GDon's imaginary God.

Jesus Christ is the true God and one must wager that he exist and believe in him in order to gain all or lose nothing based on Pascal.
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Old 10th January 2021, 11:53 AM   #243
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The way I see it, the wager works for pretty much any god, but it's a different wager for each god, and it can't work for more than one god at a time.
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Old 10th January 2021, 12:39 PM   #244
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The way I see it, the wager works for pretty much any god, but it's a different wager for each god, and it can't work for more than one god at a time.
Well, indeed, if you have enough gods in there, at some point you get to compare infinity to infinity, showing the problem with doing that to maths.

But here's the thing: for it to be of any value, or indeed to be an actual application of game theory to the real world (as opposed to misusing some pseudo-maths as just some handwaving device), it MUST work with all imaginable gods in the same matrix. Otherwise it's like having this infallible roulette betting scheme, that only works if the roulette has only one number it can land on. It's worthless in the real world, innit?

Edit:

Having one bet for each God really has the problem that the answers become kettle logic. E.g.,

- apply the wager to Jesus: yes, you should totally believe in Jesus

- apply the wager to Mithras: yep, you should totally believe in Mithras

- apply the wager to Zalmoxis: oh yes, you should totally believe in Zalmoxis

- apply the wager even to the cult of Kahless from ST: oh, you should totally believe in Kahless

Well... which of them is it, because they kinda are mutually exclusive. E.g., the Xian god explicitly forbids having other gods too, so you can't hedge your bets by believing in every single God. That's the instant lose move for most of them.
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Old 10th January 2021, 09:33 PM   #245
dejudge
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The way I see it, the wager works for pretty much any god, but it's a different wager for each god, and it can't work for more than one god at a time.
Pascal's wager was specifically argued to work only with the Christian deities.

Pascal's Pensees 546.
Quote:
Without Jesus Christ man must be in vice and misery; with Jesus Christ man is free from vice and misery; in Him is all our virtue and all our happiness. Apart from Him there is but vice, misery, darkness, death, despair.
Only the God Jesus Christ can make mankind happy and only Christians are free from vice and misery.

Non- Christians cannot live a happy life - Only Christians will gain all or lose nothing with Pascal's wager.
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Old 10th January 2021, 10:11 PM   #246
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
Pascal's wager was specifically argued to work only with the Christian deities.
That he did, and it was a fun ride in this thread seeing Pascal's Jesus-specific handwaving misused to mean some generic god, except not generic enough to cover anything except GDon's personal choice.

HOWEVER, that's not really a part of the Wager itself, which is really just (a misuse of) game theory. Meaning it can apply to anything else. God, demon, the Matrix, whatever. If I offered you infinite time in a simulation a la Amazon's "Upload" series, if you'd only bow down and worship me, then even I would qualify for that wager.

I mean, you could object that my simulation can't outlive the heat death of the universe, and thus can't be an infinite reward. But, ah-ha, I say that with some hundreds of billions of years left until that deadline, and with every brilliant mind from now until then in my simulation, by then I'll have figured out how to transcend it to another universe and so on. (E.g., via creating a new universe by creating a gravastar.) As long as you can't 100% disprove it as 100% impossible, it merely being insanely improbable, well, times infinity is still infinity. So there we go, even I can qualify for that.

Really, most of everything else about Pascal's rationalizing his faith is neither new, nor the best it's been done. Some church fathers both beat him to it by a millennium and a half, and did a better job of it. Hell, literally the NT beat him to the faith in faith part, for example.
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Old 11th January 2021, 02:04 AM   #247
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The way I see it, the wager works for pretty much any god, but it's a different wager for each god, and it can't work for more than one god at a time.
Pascal obviously designed his wager with his own opinion of God in mind, so it isn't meant to work for other gods, whether it does or not. The strawman version ("Pascal's Wager" as opposed to Pascal's "Pascal's Wager) is that it should work for any god, with the erroneous conclusion that if it doesn't then that indicates a flaw.

The issue, as Chanakya correctly points out, is Pascal starts at the point that it is his God -- and no other -- that exists. For his Wager to be meaningful, that assumption needs to be validated.
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Old 11th January 2021, 06:10 AM   #248
dejudge
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Pascal obviously designed his wager with his own opinion of God in mind, so it isn't meant to work for other gods, whether it does or not. The strawman version ("Pascal's Wager" as opposed to Pascal's "Pascal's Wager) is that it should work for any god, with the erroneous conclusion that if it doesn't then that indicates a flaw.

The issue, as Chanakya correctly points out, is Pascal starts at the point that it is his God -- and no other -- that exists. For his Wager to be meaningful, that assumption needs to be validated.
The problem is that you have been posting mis-leading information about Pascal's wager. You must have known that Pascal's wager was directly and specifically about the Christian deities (God the father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit) and not your generic arbitrary unknown God.

Your arbitrary unknown God cannot make you happy only Jesus Christ can make one happy according to Pascal.

As a non-Christian, you will be a loser if the Christian deities exist.

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Old 11th January 2021, 06:30 AM   #249
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Well yeah this all goes back to Aquinas.

"Can you prove God exists?"
"Well I can prove that you can't prove that no possible god absolutely doesn't exist, that's sort of the same thing."
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Old 11th January 2021, 06:40 AM   #250
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Warning: Enormous post coming up -- and I do mean enormous!!


Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Hi Chanakya, you've raised some very good points, and I don't want to miss anything so I'll break up my responses and reply over the next couple of days. As I've said, this may become a loooong discussion, and some points we'll probably drop and come back to, others will pop up. Arguments contain premises, which are conclusions to other arguments with premises, etc. Each turtle has its own set of premises going down!

I'll respond to the first point, and come back later to respond to the others separately.

I'd responded to this post of yours already (see my post #222). Rather than simply pointing you back to that post of mine, it might make it easier for you if I simply copied the substantial portion of my response here, so that you have all my responses at one place.


Quote:
You would, but the point is whether "investing wisely" is the correct answer or not. So even if my specific advice is wrong, "investing wisely" is still the correct answer.

I see what you're saying: if "a good life"/"acting as though god exists" leads to rewards, then we need to know how to do those things. Otherwise what good is deciding that something leads to rewards if you don't know how to get there?

I agree with you on that. Keep in mind though that my point is that "it's turtles (premises) all the way down." I'm defending the turtle at the level of the Wager. I'll agree that the Wager doesn't tell you how to act; it just tells you that it is in your interests to act. But more on that in my next point below.


No, I disagree there. To go back to my "invest wisely" example: If I don't agree that "invest wisely" is the correct answer, then there is no point in you describing how to act wisely. Creating the detailed action plan is moot.

Similarly, there is no point in telling someone how to act as though god exists, unless they have first decided that it is in their best interests to do that. The detailed action plan can then be built. I'm not saying you're wrong, but it's just that the detailed action plan is a different turtle.

True, even after having decided to fall in with the Wager, you cannot actually translate that into action without a detailed plan of what you must do. And I agree, you may choose to see this as a separate, subsequent step in how you think about the Wager, that is distinct from deciding whether to accept the Wager.

However, that isn’t (all of) what I was referring to. I’d tried to say as much in my previous post as well, but since I was apparently unable to get my meaning across, I’ll try one more time now, at greater length.

Like I’d said, a detailed “action plan” can follow, later on, but right at this point, right now, you do need a certain minimal clarity, if your decision itself is to be at all meaningful. Otherwise your decision can only be random, or at least unthinking (that is, based on implicit and unexamined assumptions).



Let’s go back to your investment-strategy analogy. Your young friend, whom you’re advising about “investing wisely”, is in no position to either agree or disagree with you in any meaningful sense, unless he knows what you mean by those two words.

Let me put myself in your place, and actually explain to your friend what “investing wisely” means, to me. It means starting to save early on, even if initial savings are paltry; it means avoiding debt-fueled profligacy; it will mean pointing him towards building up a portfolio comprising mixed asset classes; and it will include an overview of the impact of taxation.

Too detailed, right? I agree. Depending on the knowledge base of your friend, as well as their attention span, you may want to simply touch on these things, lightly, or else even leave out one or more of the above. But the point is, you do need to ensure that your friend, whom you’re advising, understands what you mean by the words “investing wisely”.

Only if he understands what you mean by those two words, will your friend be able to make an informed decision about whether or not he agrees with your advice.



You’d described this exploring of what it means to lead a good life, in the context of the wager, as a “rabbit hole”, and I kind of agree. As far as your analogy, the outer end of the rabbit hole is just the bald phrase, “invest wisely”. The inner end would be a detailed action plan, a detailed investment strategy. And how deep you’ll go down will depend on you, and on your audience: but you certainly will need to go in that minimal distance, that enables you to express, and your friend/audience to understand, what the rabbit hole is about. Otherwise any decision he takes, about following your advice, will not be an informed one.



I hope I’ve been able to make my point, via your own analogy. How this applies to our discussion, about defining “a good life” is obvious, hopefully, and hopefully will not need to be spelt out.



Note one thing, though. I’d said earlier that you need to not only formulate your definition, but to defend it as well. Going back to our analogy of “investing wisely”: You do need to justify all of the definitions you’re providing, the brief description of what you’re referring to as wise investments.

For instance, should your friend ask you why on earth you’re asking him to start investing early, given that the amounts are likely to be small starting out, rather than wait until his income has increased to more respectable levels; and why you’re asking him to avoid topping up his (likely small) initial levels of income with the credit card spends that everyone generally relies on: well then you’ll explain to him about compounding returns as well as compounded debt liabilities. If he asks you why you’re asking him to aim for a mix of asset classes in his tiny portfolio, then you’ll explain to him about diversification, and about risks and returns.



What level of detail you’ll actually end up discussing will depend, obviously, on the specific circumstances. But my point is — and hopefully that point I’ve now been able to make clear! — a clear definition of what “invest wisely” means, some basic level of detail in describing what it entails, as well as justification for all that you’re saying, is absolutely necessary, if your friend is to make an informed decision, a meaningful decision, on whether he agrees with your advice to “invest wisely”.

All of that is the first turtle. Without that much resolution of your first “turtle”, I’m afraid you’re only dealing in empty platitudes (and/or unexamined assumptions).



Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Earlier you defined "good" and a "good life" as:

"I'll define a good life, and good actions -- in the context of these wagers -- as that kind of life and those kinds of actions that are in consonance with what God wants (assuming there is a God), so that as a result of our doing these things and leading this kind of life we attain to whatever rewards this God has in store."

That was entirely in the context of these wagers, and isn't my personal definition of "good". These wagers make no sense unless that is how you define "good", do they? I mean, that’s the whole point of the wager! (My personal definition of "good", like I've said already, does not relate to a God at all.)


Quote:
You also write in your latest response:

... my personal answer to your question, for what that is worth, is that there is no objective good or bad, quite irrespective of whether there is a God. Good and bad, in my book, are subjective values, and we arrive at common ideas of goodness only in as much as our individual values happen to result in intersubjective consensus (if it does, that is, given some context; that there necessarily would be consensus is not a given, at all).

This to me is one of those key points: whether or not there is an objective 'good'. It's consistent for atheists to hold that 'good' and 'evil' are subjective. It is consistent for theists to hold that 'good' and 'evil' are objective, grounded in an omnibenevolent and omniscient god.

I don't think it is very ...reasonable, to suggest, as you are implicitly suggesting, that either view is equally reasonable. If the theist claims that there is an objective "good", then he carries the burden to support his claim; else, while he is obviously free to believe that, his belief and his claim will not be reasonable.



Quote:
I'll define a 'good life' as 'acting selflessly', and 'good actions' as 'selfless actions that benefit others'.

(I'll also define 'love' in the same way. 1 Cor 13:13 is: "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." The Greek word 'charity' is 'agape', which is also translated as 'love'. That is, 'love' is an action rather than an emotion.)

Ah, thank you, for that clear definition. Great!

Two (rather obvious) follow-on questions on this:

First, what makes you think your hypothetical God also defines "good" in these terms, and rewards people who act in this way?

And second, on what basis do you reject other definitions of "good life" -- e.g., a life spent upholding the biblical commandments, or a life upholding Godly commands relayed via some prophet, etc, etc, as far as the limited context of the wager?


Quote:
Would you say then, for an atheist, there is no need to live a 'good life', if it doesn't benefit the atheist? Is there a reason for an atheist to act selflessly? (Again, I'll repeat here for everybody that I'm not saying that there are no good atheists.)

I don't think there's any "need" for anyone to do anything!

Most of us do live a "good life" (not harming others unnecessarily, being generally kind to others, being capable of empathy to others) I think -- just my loose, general impression, that -- but that's probably just a mix of our inner drives (that have evolved to have us act this way), of social conditioning, of our own personal ethics, all of that.

That was just my tentative, personal answer to your question. I don't think that has any bearing on Pascal's Wager, and nor is it a rigorous answer backed by research.


Quote:
For transparency: the reason I bring this up is that an objective good implies an omnibenevolent god, though we are still a few turtles away from getting there!

I don't see that it does. It could, hypothetically, be the case that all humans, psychotic outliers excepted, have evolved to similar basic ideas of "good", without that in any way implying a God at all.

In any case, aren't you putting the cart before the horse? Suppose an objective "good" did imply an omnibenevolent God, so what? If you're going to presume that there's an objective good, simply so that that can lead you to the conclusion of an omnibenevolent God, then that is simply wishful thinking!! (Which I guess takes us back to that earlier discussion of ours some weeks/months back, on a separate thread.)


Quote:
If we go back to my original two premises for Pascal's Wager:

1. Reason can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God;
2. The only god is the RCC God (or in my case, "an omnibenevolent God")


To my mind, the existence of an objective 'good' implies an omnibenevolent God. So it is important for the turtle that leads to Pascal's Wager and the Atheist's Wager.

I'm sorry, the above seems entirely messed up to me!

(a) Neither premise is self-evident. Nor do I see them supported anywhere. If you start with a random set of premises, then even with correct reasoning you'll only end with conclusions that no reasonable person would take seriously. Garbage in, garbage out. (Analogy: If I started with the premise that it is Zeus who is the creator of the world and the one true God, then no matter how sound my reasoning, any conclusion will be entirely nonsensical, won't it?) For the umpteenth time, where is the justification for Pascal's premise? Or are you going to simply say it is subjective (in which case I'll freely grant you your right to your belief, I'll even respect your belief, but I'm afraid I simply won't take it at all seriously -- the "neither agree nor disagree but simply set aside unsupported subjective opinion" category).

(b) Once again, this -- "To my mind, the existence of an objective 'good' implies an omnibenevolent God. So it is important for the turtle that leads to Pascal's Wager and the Atheist's Wager." -- makes no sense at all! First, we don't know there is an objective "good". Second, an objective "good" does not necessarily imply a God, much less an omnibenevolent God. Third, even if an objective "good" did imply an omnibenevolent God, even then that does not lead us to anything, unless through pure and simple wishful thinking. And four, I don't see how any of this relates directly with the premise above.

Sorry, that part made zero sense, and as far as I can tell looks like confused thinking.


Quote:
I'm afraid for me it is a key question!

In the sense that it is your conviction that there is an objective "good" that leads you to the Wager, and to theism, right? But still, separate discussion, because, like I said, cart before horse! This doesn't directly relate. (But we could still take this up, separately, if you wish. But it would definitely be a major derail here, so we'd have to do it separately. --And this time around I'm not starting any threads! You go ahead and start a new thread if you like, and I'll be happy to follow.)


Quote:
I agree, but it need not be anything more than to act selflessly. Here I'm talking about intentions rather than results. Good intentions can bring bad results, and bad intentions can bring good results.




"Living a selfless life" is my definition of a good life, and to me it is the one that wins the Wager. You don't even need to believe in God, as the Atheist's Wager points out, as long as there is an omnibenevolent god.

Fair enough, so that's your definition of a good life. But .... how? and why? and whence? All of that is so entirely random!

Look, I'm happy to discuss your personal subjective ideas of God, and your personal subjective ideas of goodness as well, if you'd like — and if you'll either start your own separate thread, or go back to the one I'd started — but how do you defend your idea of "good"? Why is "good" this, objectively and universally speaking, and none other? Why would God endorse this view, and reward it, and none other? Why would God want belief at all, as the Atheist's wager rightly asks? Why ...any of this?

Sorry, GDon, I don't mean to sound at all dismissive, but you're simply plucking random things and ideas out of thin air, literally anything at all that subjectively appeals to you, and then again attaching random causality claims (that such and such random acts will lead to such and such random rewards, by the agency of such and such random God), with not a shred of evidence or conclusive reasoning anywhere. All of which is fine as a purely subjective exercise, and as statement of one’s own subjective faith, but has little value beyond that. Or so it seems to me.


Quote:
Pascal's version of a good life is a little different, but fundamentally it is to live in accordance with a God he believes is an omnibenevolent one. The benefits of living in such accordance he lists below:
Now, what harm will befall you in taking this side? You will be faithful, humble, grateful, generous, a sincere friend, truthful. Certainly you will not have those poisonous pleasures, glory and luxury; but will you not have others? I will tell you that you will thereby gain in this life, and that, at each step you take on this road, you will see so great certainty of gain, so much nothingness in what you risk, that you will at last recognise that you have wagered for something certain and infinite, for which you have given nothing. (Page 40)

Lots of harm can indeed befall you! If you're backing the wrong God, and the real God has other ideas, then you'll get fried and sent to hell. If there's no God you'll have wasted your time and money on pointless things, since you're doing this expressly to get those rewards. ....I don't know, this is all ...sorry, I have to say, entirely random, and entirely wholly unsupported, beginning to end, and trying to unravel this leads ...nowehere at all, beyond yet more random unsupported assertions at every step!


Quote:
I agree. The Wager I'm defending is the one with a generic omnibenevolent god. This is just one god among many others. My Wager rules out a malevolent god, since if one exists, no wagering is possible. So we are left with an omnibenevolent god/s, or none. (You address that later in your post, so I expect I'll be addressing it in my next response. No worries if you wait to respond once I reach the end of responding to the last of your last post)

Again, again --- how can you rule out a malevolent God? (Okay, next post on that, as you say.)

How on earth do you arrive at "omnibenevolent, or none"? You've described here steps of wishful thinking!! If you're going to assume whatever you like, in that case, I'll ask again, Why stick with "omnibenevolent, or none", why not just go with "omnibenevolent, period". Why those two options, specifically? Again, This is all entirely wholly random -- and the unraveling here leads to no better basis for this randomness.



Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Final part! (3/3)


Yes, that's a fair point.

But rather than sifting through existing gods, let's start with the premise that all gods are individually tailored. That is, no two people believe in the same god, because each person has their own ideas about god. It's hard to hand wave those gods out, because each god has it's own subjective characteristics.

Is there a more general definition for God? Yes. If we look up the definition, the one most often used is "omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent." That's the generic one that a lot of people use. And you're right that I have to justify that as my starting point.

If you’re going to go with the premise of individual Gods for every individual, then, instead of hundreds, you’ll end up with billions of them as your starting point. You will now need to put them all in the Pascal’s Wager matrix, or else you’ll need to sift through them, whittle them down to just one. I still don’t see a third way of doing this, doing this reasonably I mean to say.

And that general definition of God you’ve looked up? Sorry, but for the umpteenth time, even that is just one amongst so many others! Is that the one that the maximum number of people use? I don’t know, any such claim will need to be backed up. Even if does turn out that that is the most popular definition, so what? To claim that definition is true before more people believe it is simply an argumentum ad populum fallacy; and to simply go by the most popular definition on practical grounds would, apart from your needing to show that is indeed the most popular definition, also be pretty random. Just because, say, 1 billion people believe this, why are you rejecting other definitions that maybe 500 million believe? Again, this is all so random!


Quote:
Keep in mind that the first premise of the Wager is that "reason can't decide whether or not a God exists."

Perhaps space-time is eternal and the physical universe came into being spontaneously (say, from quantum foam, whatever that means). For the person who believes quantum foam is the answer, then the Wager ends. It's not applicable to that person, since he believes reason provides the answer. Thus if the person believes that reason can provide a solution other than a creator, then the Wager is not applicable.

For the person who thinks the answer might be a creator, what can we infer from such a creator? It created the universe, therefore it is very powerful. Does that make it omnipotent? No. Could it be omnipotent? Yes. We can't decide one way or the other. You'd be wagering that it is omnipotent.

Similarly with omniscience. You don't know whether the creator is intelligent in any sense. You're wagering on that it is omniscient.

Similarly with omnibenevolence. If there is a creator, it might be slightly benevolent, or neutral or even malevolent. In that case, the Wager is meaningless. We can't predict the outcome as we arguably can with an omnibenevolent god. I think the benefit of thinking that there is an omnibenevolent god is that it provides an objective grounding in the idea of "good",

So, for the Wager to work, you have an omni-max God. A non omni-max being may work, but we can't really know since it is based on the characteristics of that god, as you have pointed out.

One might argue that this is a flaw in the Wager, that it is meant to work for ANY god. But I argue that this is a strawman version of the Wager. It's not meant to work for malevolent gods, for example. The clue is in the rewards that Pascal lists both in the after-line and on earth. As Pascal said, if the person wagers that God exists he will be "faithful, humble, grateful, generous, a sincere friend, truthful". Obviously he has in mind a god in whom belief brings about those characteristics. He can't have a malevolent god in mind.

Wait a minute, you seem to be using the words “you’re wagering this”, and “you’re wagering that” as simply a means of getting out substantiating any of the things you’re saying!

Sorry, GDon, this is all over the place. You’d initially said that an objective “good” implies an omnibenevolent God. Now you’re saying an omnibenevolent God implies an objective “good”. Which is it?

In any case, in neither case does the latter necessarily follow from the former. And in either case, that the latter might follow from former does not make the former any more likely. That’s wishful thinking. I think this is what is called the appeal-to-consequences fallacy.



No, for the Wager to work you don’t necessarily need to have an omni-max God. It could work for other Gods as well. As for Pascal’s words, I don’t see what the point of quoting that is. That isn’t a “premise”, that’s just random assertions. And besides, a minion to a diabolically malevolent God, that nevertheless rewards said minion for doing Its bidding, might well result in that minion being “faithful, and humble, and grateful, and generous and a sincere friend (to those that think like he does, and collaborates with him), as well as, I suppose, albeit that isn’t a given, truthful as well.

If you’re going to try to delve into what kind of God Pascal had in mind, well, we can be very sure that it wasn’t your generic God. I haven’t read his Pensees, beyond that short portion you pointed out to me earlier on, but dejudge seems to have, and he’s quoted portions of it here that suggest that Pascal was referring to the Christian God. (That had been my — entirely obvious — guess, as well, like I’d said upthread.)


Quote:
You'd have to show me a formulation of the Wager that uses a malevolent god, while remembering to keep in mind the points that you've raised against my formulation.

But anyway, the Wagers -- Pascal's and the Atheist's -- are simply set up with a benevolent god in mind. If you think that is an invalid assumption -- that the Wagers should incorporate any god -- then we are at a point where we'll need to agree to disagree.

I can easily formulate a Wager that uses a malevolent God. Easiest thing in the world!

But in any case you’re claiming that Pascal’s Wager is set up with a benevolent God in mind. First, you’ll need to show that, and you haven’t. Second, even if that is indeed how he set it up, even then it’s pointless, because you need to show that that premise is reasonable! I can set up a Wager saying that the lottery jackpots will all be prime numbers, and then set out to form a strategy for playing the lottery on that basis: but that will avail me nothing, unless my premise (that only prime numbers will be drawn) has any basis in reality, if only a statistical basis. Likewise, how does it even matter if Pascal imagines God is omnibelevolent? Who cares for his unsupported and random guesses? Why would that impel me to play his Wager?

Sure, any time you like we can “agree to disagree”: but what are we disagreeing about, exactly? I’m saying Pascal’s assumption that God is omnibenevolent is random, and unsupported, and therefore unreasonable. Is that what you’re disagreeing with? On what basis? How do you even begin to justify that kind of random claim?

If you state all of this is your subjective take, and/or Pascal’s subjective take, then sure, we can agree to disagree. That is, I can respect your subjective faith, absolutely: but given that it is not based on reason and evidence, I can leave it well alone, and that is the end of that. But you set out to show us how Pascal’s Wager is “brilliant”, and reasonable, and not the kind of nonsensical raving that many of us have been saying it is. Don’t you want to do that any more?


Quote:
You're wagering your potential happiness. Since reason can't decide the answer (if you believe that reason can decide the answer either for or against God then the Wager isn't applicable) the odds would be 50/50, I guess. If you win, you win 'all'. If you lose, you lose 'nothing'. To win the Wager, assuming a benevolent god, you need to live a good life. A good life would be one of acting selflessly.

But how does that response gel in what I’d said?

You were responding to the portion where I’d said, “In order to conclude that something is worth wagering, you need to know what you’re wagering, and what the odds are; and you can know that only if you work out these answers (broadly if not in full-blown detail).”

I was saying, in order to conclude that Pascal’s Wager is worth wagering, you need to know what you’re wagering. You’re wagering your actions; you’re wagering by living a “good life”, according to you. Well, in order to know that you’re prepared to live a good life in order to get to whatever rewards you think you’ll get, don’t you need to know what this “good life” is that you’re wagering? If you’re betting at the casino, or at poker, don’t you absolutely need to know how much you need to put up as wager? If you’re buying a lottery ticket, don’t you need to know the price of a ticket? Otherwise how on earth can you meaningfully decide whether paying that price is worthwhile to you, and that the Wager makes sense to you?

And won’t you also need to know the odds? What are the odds of a certain number turning up in the lottery, for instance? As far as Pascal, how will you even begin to assign probabilities unless you work out likelihoods, probabilities, for different God-ideas (while defending the probabilities you’re putting down)?

At that stage, sure, we may agree, or we may “agree to disagree”, that the Wager makes sense, that buying the lottery makes sense, that playing poker makes sense. But you’re introducing a game of poker, where the rules of the game are not yet decided; where the kinds of cards that’ll be given out are not known; where you don’t know what you’re betting; and where you don’t even know what you’ll get at the end of it all. You’re simply making random guesses about all of this. We don’t have enough basis to even “agree to disagree” about this kind of a Wager: we can only set it aside as something that simply isn’t based on reason!


Quote:
I hope we've progressed along the path a little bit. At this stage I've started bringing in assumptions and what amount to be faith positions, so there will be areas we can agree to disagree on.

Some of my points I've repeated, so no need to respond to all my comments, just the ones you think are pertinent. If, like mine, you plan to break up the responses into separate posts, let me know when your final one is posted and I'll being my responses. Thanks!

Well yes, we have, in the sense I’m getting a sense of the nature of your defense of Pascal’s Wager. I’m afraid all of it is based entirely on random assumptions and, as you say, “faith positions”.

I don’t want to quarrel with your faith, GDon. That’s something I never ever do, unless people try to proselytize. I’m entirely willing to respect your faith, even if I don’t share it. And up to a point I’m willing to explore the fine points of your faith and discuss it with you if you’re willing, because these things interest me — and indeed, towards that end I’d myself gone out of my way to start that other thread.

But I don’t see that this has anything to do with showing that Pascal’s Wager is reasonable!

Despite something being reasonable we may still either agree or “agree to disagree” over it. For instance, playing the lottery is reasonable. If it is conducted honestly and transparently, then, for a price of x dollars, it gives you a y% chance of winning a jackpot of z dollars. We can then agree to play the lottery, or “agree to disagree” and not play the lottery. Whether or not we agree, we can still say that the whole exercise is reasonable. Thus with poker, thus with any real-life wager at all. We can introduce subjective elements, like our subjective take on what cards the punter sitting across the table might be holding. But the overall framework of any Wager needs to be reasonable — not necessarily “fair”, since what is “fair” is a subjective evaluation, but reasonable — in order for us to meaningfully agree or disagree to play the wager.

Otherwise, like your young clueless friend whom you’ve thrown jargon at, by telling them to “invest wisely”, they’re left with no means to meaningfully evaluate if what you’re saying makes any sense at all. Pascal’s Wager, as you’ve discussed it, cannot be either agreed with or disagreed with, on any kind of reasonable basis. It seems to me it must either be taken up on faith, or simply set aside as another man’s statement of faith — except, unlike most people’s direct and straightforward statement of faith, Pascal chooses to couch his items of faith in sciency-sounding, reasonable-sounding, mathematical-sounding, modern-sounding terms, that are in fact not the least bit reasonable at all.

If disagree we must now, we can only do so at a meta level, basis what we’ve discussed so far. I continue to think, and indeed my earlier conviction is now ten times further reinforced after this discussion of ours, that Pascal’s Wager is not reasonable (“not reasonable” as in it is entirely random, it makes no sense). It’s like playing Calvinball — you know, that newspaper cartoon?—where the small kid keeps making up the rules as he goes along—and, what’s more, to add further color to the anology, he plays that game with his imaginary tiger friend!

We don’t “agree to disagree” so far as Pascal’s Wager, you and I, in the sense that I think betting a few dollars for a one-in-a-million chance at a huge life-changing jackpot is reasonable, and you don’t; in this case this is a random lottery, where I don’t know what I’m betting, what my odds are, nothing! You’re making these random unsupported assumptions, and asking me to agree or disagree. How can I even do that, other than at a meta level by rejecting not the odds offered, by rejecting not the fact of gambling, but by rejecting the entire scheme as making no sense at all. At that sort of a meta level we can “agree to disagree”, sure, that Pascal’s Wager somehow manages to look reasonable and even brilliant to you, while it looks entirely nonsensical to me.



Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Pascal obviously designed his wager with his own opinion of God in mind, so it isn't meant to work for other gods, whether it does or not. The strawman version ("Pascal's Wager" as opposed to Pascal's "Pascal's Wager) is that it should work for any god, with the erroneous conclusion that if it doesn't then that indicates a flaw.

The issue, as Chanakya correctly points out, is Pascal starts at the point that it is his God -- and no other -- that exists. For his Wager to be meaningful, that assumption needs to be validated.

Wait, so you do see that, and do see that that is a problem, right?!

If despite seeing this "problem", you still find Pascal's Wager to be persuasive, then that can mean only one thing: that the subjective unsupported premise that Pascal himself started out with happens to agree with, coincide with, your own personal subjective feelings about what a God might be. That, like Pascal, you feel, entirely subjectively and as an article of faith, that if at all there is a God, He is sure to be tri-omni-max (Pascal himself was going for the Christian God, but you differ from him in this much). However, you are not sure that He does exist. So, from that point, it is Pascal's Wager that brings you to theism, to acting as if there is God. Do I read you correctly?

If that is the case, then fair enough!

I cannot argue with your premise, because that is your subjective faith. (You may have had a cent per cent subjective faith in the certainty of there being a God, and I wouldn't have argued against that either, because faith isn't based on reason and doesn't admit of argument based on reason. It can either be ignored and passed on; or derided and passed on; or seen with respect, and explored to the extent that it interests one and to the extent the other party is willing to open their private faith to examination, but beyond that left aside; and I generally always choose to do the last, as long as that faith is private and does not harm anyone.)

From that entire subjective premise, that happens to coincide on many points with Pascal's, you see the Wager as a bridge to your theism. Correct?

Fair enough, then. In that case, the multi-gods argument won't apply, because you've simply defined it out of your premise on subjective faith-based grounds.

There remain other flaws to that bridge, other than just the multi-gods argument, which have been discussed already in this thread. But I don't think I want to revisit those other objections, for two reasons: first, because I generally do not like to try to argue people away from their private faith, that recognizes itself as such and does not claim to be objective, and that is harmless and does not seek to proselytize; and second, just as you've used faith-based subjective premises to simply define away these flaws, you can just as easily use faith-based subjective premises to define away those other flaws as well.

Correct me if I'm wrong in concluding any of this, but I think I do understand your POV properly now.

----------------

So, is Pascal's Wager persuasive? Well, you have been persuaded by it, so evidently it has been, in your case at least. But it is persuasive only to those who willingly abide by subjective faith-based assumptions that fly in the face of (objective) reason and (objective) evidence, and further whose subjective faith-based assumptions happen to coincide very closely with Pascal's, across a whole range of "flaws" that get papered over by that focused kind of faith.

Given all of that, I suppose I can see how Pascal might be persuasive, yes. But, I don't know, that isn't really saying much more than that you have found him persuasive, right?! If Pascal's times were peopled by lots of folks who happened to think exactly like he did and like you do, which is possible I suppose, then maybe a great many people may have been persuaded by him.

Is that "brilliance"? I don't know. Perhaps it is, of a kind. But it isn't what you would call ...reasonable, what you would call based-in-reason-and-evidence. It is essentially an argument from faith, a very specific argument from a very specific faith-based premise and making use of very specific faith-based exceptions to red flags that reason throws up, to lead to the conclusion of theism. If this is brilliance, then this kind of brilliance is the kind that one might find in theology. I continue to find it nonsensical, I'm afraid, at every stage. (Kind of like the how-many-angels-can-fit-in-on-the-head-of-a-pin thing, you know? I don't know if that was a real argument, or just a joke, but I suppose the idea is that you take a set of random unsupported premises from your religion of faith, then reason them through, all the while papering over any logical errors on the way with further articles of faith defining away all objections, to finally arrive at how many angels can dance on the pin of a needle! As an academic exercise it can indeed be brilliant I suppose. Some might even find it convincing. But it isn't quite ...what one generally means to convey by the term "brilliance". It isn't remotely reasonable. Not remotely persuasive, at least not generally, not ...reasonably.)

But hey, if it works for you personally, and if leads you to happiness and peace, that's great! Nothing to argue about as far as that much!

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Old 11th January 2021, 07:54 AM   #251
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Pascal obviously designed his wager with his own opinion of God in mind, so it isn't meant to work for other gods, whether it does or not. The strawman version ("Pascal's Wager" as opposed to Pascal's "Pascal's Wager) is that it should work for any god, with the erroneous conclusion that if it doesn't then that indicates a flaw.
It's not the "strawman version", it's how the maths work. It doesn't care whether some arbitrary person intended to apply a formula to situation X or not. E.g., Archimedes came up with his formula to measure the density of a crown, but we can apply it just as well to calculate the needed size for a battleship, something that didn't even exist in his time.

And generally, it's also how logic works. If "X => Y", then that applies to any situation where X is true. Whether you or Pascal like it or not.

Trying to limit it to whatever other arbitrary conditions some arbitrary author happened to apply it to, when they have no bearing on whether X is true or not, is the very definition of the No True Scotsman fallacy. I.e., broken bullcrap logic. And persisting in it even after it's been pointed out to you, just makes you dishonest.

So, no, it's not the others committing a strawman, nor in any error. You're just dishonest when it comes to rationalizing your religious nonsense.
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Old 11th January 2021, 08:03 AM   #252
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
Pascal's wager was specifically argued to work only with the Christian deities.

Pascal's Pensees 546.

Only the God Jesus Christ can make mankind happy and only Christians are free from vice and misery.

Non- Christians cannot live a happy life - Only Christians will gain all or lose nothing with Pascal's wager.
No. Pascal never says the wager only works for the Christian god. And structurally, it's not limited to the Christian god. It's clear from his other writings that Pascal isn't very much interested in other Gods, but that doesn't mean we can't apply the wager to them.

Did you sign a contract with Pascal, pledging to only apply the wager in the context of Christianity? I didn't.
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Old 11th January 2021, 08:40 AM   #253
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Well, I'd say dejudge does sorta have a point. And that point is that GDon is trying to apply a double standard, a.k.a., the special pleading fallacy. GDon argues that you can't apply Pascal's Wager to other gods, because Pascal didn't intend it to be used for those (as if that meant anything,) but repeatedly ignores the fact that the exact same applies to GDon's own non-Jesus god, even when it's pointed out to him. Basically the stance is, you can't apply it to YOUR god, because Pascal didn't, but I can apply it to MINE... even though Pascal also didn't.
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Old 11th January 2021, 08:46 AM   #254
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
No. Pascal never says the wager only works for the Christian god. And structurally, it's not limited to the Christian god. It's clear from his other writings that Pascal isn't very much interested in other Gods, but that doesn't mean we can't apply the wager to them.

Did you sign a contract with Pascal, pledging to only apply the wager in the context of Christianity? I didn't.
You have no idea what you are talking about.

Please read Pascal's Pensees first.

Pascal's Pensees
Quote:
257. There are only three kinds of persons; those who serve God, having found Him; others who are occupied in seeking Him, not having found Him; while the remainder live without seeking Him and without having found Him. The first are reasonable and happy, the last are foolish and unhappy; those between are unhappy and reasonable..
Pascal Pensees 546.
Quote:
Without Jesus Christ man must be in vice and misery; with Jesus Christ man is free from vice and misery; in Him is all our virtue and all our happiness. Apart from Him there is but vice, misery, darkness, death, despair.
Only people who believe in the Christian dieties (God the father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit) will gain all or lose nothing in Pascal's wager.
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Old 11th January 2021, 10:13 AM   #255
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
You have no idea what you are talking about.

Please read Pascal's Pensees first.

Pascal's Pensees

Pascal Pensees 546.

Only people who believe in the Christian dieties (God the father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit) will gain all or lose nothing in Pascal's wager.
That's a constraint imposed by their belief, not by the structure of the wager itself. Someone raised in the Islamic tradition could dismiss Yahweh and wager in terms of Allah. The underlying principle that Pascal articulates is the same.

Someone studying Taoism could dismiss western mysticism altogether and wager in terms of the Tao. The underlying principle of the wager remains the same.

The problem with the wager is not that Pascal locked it into Christianity specifically. He didn't. He was locked into Christianity specifically.

The problem with the wager is that it can't be applied to any religion without special pleading. Pascal skips over the special pleading in his presentation of the wager. But it's still there.

You seem to be assuming that because Pascal never bothered to apply the wager to religions other than Christianity, that there must be some innate rule of the wager that prevents this. There is no such rule. The basic structure of the wager is universally applicable. Fatally flawed, but universally applicable.
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Old 11th January 2021, 10:17 AM   #256
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, I'd say dejudge does sorta have a point. And that point is that GDon is trying to apply a double standard, a.k.a., the special pleading fallacy.
I'd say there's a valid point about special pleading and the wager. But dejudge's point seems to be that it's against the rules of the wager, somehow, to apply it outside of Christianity. And I think that point is mistaken.

Quote:
GDon argues that you can't apply Pascal's Wager to other gods, because Pascal didn't intend it to be used for those (as if that meant anything,)
As does dejudge. I disagree with this argument.

Quote:
but repeatedly ignores the fact that the exact same applies to GDon's own non-Jesus god, even when it's pointed out to him. Basically the stance is, you can't apply it to YOUR god, because Pascal didn't, but I can apply it to MINE... even though Pascal also didn't.
I guess I'll have to go through GDon's arguments and see where this double standard comes up.
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Old 11th January 2021, 10:49 AM   #257
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Christians looking for proof of God bounce back & forth so routinely between the God they actually believe in, and a stripped-bare god of nothingness with no traits which they don't believe in but hope will be easier to defend in a debate, that they probably aren't even conscious of when they do it themselves anymore.
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Old 11th January 2021, 10:52 AM   #258
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
Christians looking for proof of God bounce back & forth so routinely between the God they actually believe in, and a stripped-bare god of nothingness with no traits which they don't believe in but hope will be easier to defend in a debate, that they probably aren't even conscious of when they do it themselves anymore.
Which is why you almost never see actual like street level religious people doing this.

This is all, mostly internet based with some fringes of both secular and theological academia, driven.

Nobody is out there in the pulpits praying to a Vague God of Vague Vagueness who Vaguely Vagued some Vagueness at some point in the distant past and that then left the universe alone.

And this is why apologetics is so much more intellectually AND morally dishonest then just being wrong. At least being wrong (usually) comes from an honest agent.
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Old 11th January 2021, 11:37 AM   #259
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'd say there's a valid point about special pleading and the wager. But dejudge's point seems to be that it's against the rules of the wager, somehow, to apply it outside of Christianity. And I think that point is mistaken.
It would be if dejudge were the first to bring it up. But it's in response to GDon who keeps insisting that you can't apply it to other gods, because it's not what Pascal would have wanted.

E.g., to save you the research, this is what GDon has to say in message #247, and I'm including the link so you can see I'm not changing anything or taking it out of context or anything:

Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Pascal obviously designed his wager with his own opinion of God in mind, so it isn't meant to work for other gods, whether it does or not. The strawman version ("Pascal's Wager" as opposed to Pascal's "Pascal's Wager) is that it should work for any god, with the erroneous conclusion that if it doesn't then that indicates a flaw.
Any attempts to test that criterion on other gods or anything, he calls a strawman. (Which is utter lunacy, but oh well... that's apologists for ya, eh?) Any conclusions derived from it failing such a test is for him erroneous.

And it's not the first time. He's been hammering on that utter nonsense that testing a criterion on anything else than what gives you the answer you want is somehow a strawman for a couple of pages now, in various forms. E.g., on the previous page, apparently you can't apply the criterion to an evil god, because that's not what Pascal did. Etc.

Well, I think it's only fair to point out that the same applies to GDon's non-Jesus god. Pascal was explicitly talking about Jesus and only Jesus as matching his criteria. Not just for the wager, but even for the faith-in-faith part: Pascal doesn't say follow any good god, and you'll be virtuous just the same. In fact, Pascal is quite point-blank about the opposite: follow anything else than Jesus, and you're some kind of depraved scum.

If it's anyone who does a strawman of Pascal's arguments -- the other ones than the wager itself, though -- it's GDon, by pretending that it was about just about any generic good god.
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Old 11th January 2021, 12:54 PM   #260
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Which is why you almost never see actual like street level religious people doing this.

This is all, mostly internet based with some fringes of both secular and theological academia, driven.

Nobody is out there in the pulpits praying to a Vague God of Vague Vagueness who Vaguely Vagued some Vagueness at some point in the distant past and that then left the universe alone.

And this is why apologetics is so much more intellectually AND morally dishonest then just being wrong. At least being wrong (usually) comes from an honest agent.
You've never heard of Aquinas, Anselm, or Al-Ghazali? The latter being the original author of the Kalam argument for god. You know, the "the universe must have a cause" argument?

That's not some random guys on the Internet, nor fringe, but major theologians. (Also some of them quite the opposite of academia: Al-Ghazali was a rabid anti-intellectual who actually wrote that mathematics is the language of Satan.)

For example, Al Ghazali is regarded as probably the second most influential figure in Islam, after Muhammad himself. Also the guy who ended the golden age of Islam, in case you wonder exactly how influential that means.

None of those had any problem using the Motte And Bailey fallacy, or as you aptly call it, the "Vague God of Vague Vagueness who Vaguely Vagued some Vagueness". I mean in Kalam, God is stripped of everything except vaguely somehow having caused the universe. I mean, it doesn't even say he created it in 7 days or whatever. Just be a cause, in some vague and unspecified way. It's not even required that said god could do anything else than that, including manifest himself to any prophet.

In Anselm, it goes even further: god's really stripped of ANY concrete claim, including any attributes. He just has to be the greatest being you can imagine. Exactly what that means is mostly left to your own imagination.

And those are just low-hanging fruit off the top of my head. Actually you'll find a lot of actual theologians retreating into just some vague claim as their motte.
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Old 11th January 2021, 01:07 PM   #261
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The problem with people saying atheists only respond to amateur arguments for God/religion/whatever, instead of the really sophisticated hoity-toity philosophers' serious scholarly work, is that they're the same arguments.

It's exactly the same accusation as when an astrology believer says only bad astrologers get debunked and you really just need to pay attention to the good ones.
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Old 11th January 2021, 01:51 PM   #262
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
It would be if dejudge were the first to bring it up. But it's in response to GDon who keeps insisting that you can't apply it to other gods, because it's not what Pascal would have wanted.

E.g., to save you the research, this is what GDon has to say in message #247, and I'm including the link so you can see I'm not changing anything or taking it out of context or anything:



Any attempts to test that criterion on other gods or anything, he calls a strawman. (Which is utter lunacy, but oh well... that's apologists for ya, eh?) Any conclusions derived from it failing such a test is for him erroneous.

And it's not the first time. He's been hammering on that utter nonsense that testing a criterion on anything else than what gives you the answer you want is somehow a strawman for a couple of pages now, in various forms. E.g., on the previous page, apparently you can't apply the criterion to an evil god, because that's not what Pascal did. Etc.

Well, I think it's only fair to point out that the same applies to GDon's non-Jesus god. Pascal was explicitly talking about Jesus and only Jesus as matching his criteria. Not just for the wager, but even for the faith-in-faith part: Pascal doesn't say follow any good god, and you'll be virtuous just the same. In fact, Pascal is quite point-blank about the opposite: follow anything else than Jesus, and you're some kind of depraved scum.

If it's anyone who does a strawman of Pascal's arguments -- the other ones than the wager itself, though -- it's GDon, by pretending that it was about just about any generic good god.
Gotcha, thanks!
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Old 11th January 2021, 02:00 PM   #263
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
That's a constraint imposed by their belief, not by the structure of the wager itself. Someone raised in the Islamic tradition could dismiss Yahweh and wager in terms of Allah. The underlying principle that Pascal articulates is the same.

Someone studying Taoism could dismiss western mysticism altogether and wager in terms of the Tao. The underlying principle of the wager remains the same.

The problem with the wager is not that Pascal locked it into Christianity specifically. He didn't. He was locked into Christianity specifically.

The problem with the wager is that it can't be applied to any religion without special pleading. Pascal skips over the special pleading in his presentation of the wager. But it's still there.

You seem to be assuming that because Pascal never bothered to apply the wager to religions other than Christianity, that there must be some innate rule of the wager that prevents this. There is no such rule. The basic structure of the wager is universally applicable. Fatally flawed, but universally applicable.
Again, you don't know what you are talking about.

Please, read Pascal's Pensees.

One can be happy only if they believe in the Christian God through Jesus Christ according to Pascal.

Pascal's Pensees
Quote:
541. None is so happy as a true Christian, nor so reasonable, virtuous, or amiable...
Pascal's Pensees 546.
Quote:
Without Jesus Christ man must be in vice and misery; with Jesus Christ man is free from vice and misery; in Him is all our virtue and all our happiness. Apart from Him there is but vice, misery, darkness, death, despair.
547. We know God only by Jesus Christ. Without this mediator, all communion with God is taken away; through Jesus Christ we know God......
Belief in other Gods without Jesus Christ does not work for Pascal's wager.
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Old 11th January 2021, 02:09 PM   #264
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
The problem with people saying atheists only respond to amateur arguments for God/religion/whatever, instead of the really sophisticated hoity-toity philosophers' serious scholarly work, is that they're the same arguments.
Really when was the last time we actually got any new apologetics?

I've always said Aquinas repeated the same stupid argument 5 times in 1265 and that was the last time anyone really tried, everything is just stupid dance mixes of that.
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Old 11th January 2021, 02:14 PM   #265
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
Again, you don't know what you are talking about.

Please, read Pascal's Pensees.

One can be happy only if they believe in the Christian God through Jesus Christ according to Pascal.

Pascal's Pensees

Pascal's Pensees 546.

Belief in other Gods without Jesus Christ does not work for Pascal's wager.
My argument is that it doesn't work without Christianity for Pascal, because Pascal has already begged that question before introducing the Wager.

But the wager itself, conceptually and structurally, can be legitimately applied by anyone to any pantheon they wish. (This is separate from the problem of GDon apparently having his own self-contradictory approach to the wager.)

You keep saying the wager can't be used that way, but you keep having to go outside the presentation of the wager itself. Where in the Pensees does Pascal say the wager only works for Christianity?

To me it's like you're arguing that the Tesla Model 3 can only be operated in the US, because Elon Musk only has a valid driver's license for the US. Obviously Musk isn't driving his Tesla around Moscow, but that doesn't mean Medvedev can't.

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Old 11th January 2021, 02:44 PM   #266
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
My argument is that it doesn't work without Christianity for Pascal, because Pascal has already begged that question before introducing the Wager.

But the wager itself, conceptually and structurally, can be legitimately applied by anyone to any pantheon they wish. (This is separate from the problem of GDon apparently having his own self-contradictory approach to the wager.)

You keep saying the wager can't be used that way, but you keep having to go outside the presentation of the wager itself. Where in the Pensees does Pascal say the wager only works for Christianity?

To me it's like you're arguing that the Tesla Model 3 can only be operated in the US, because Elon Musk only has a valid driver's license for the US. Obviously Musk isn't driving his Tesla around Moscow, but that doesn't mean Medvedev can't.
If you approach the Wager as a logical argument for faith, then you will soon find that it is a logical argument against faith.

If you approach the Wager as apologetics, then you will soon find that it is top grade apologetics.

So, you just have to choose whether to analyze it as a logical construction or apologetics, but don't ever confuse the two.

ETA: In Moscow Tesla drives Medvedev.
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Old 11th January 2021, 02:47 PM   #267
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
You keep saying the wager can't be used that way, but you keep having to go outside the presentation of the wager itself. Where in the Pensees does Pascal say the wager only works for Christianity? ....
You statement is fallacious. I have not gone outside the presentation of the wager.
I have actually presented excerpts from Pascal's Pensees.

Now look again at another excerpt from the Pensees.

Pascal's Pensees 556
Quote:
......... All who seek God without Jesus Christ, and who rest in nature, either find no light to satisfy them, or come to form for themselves a means of knowing God and serving Him without a mediator.

Thereby they fall either into atheism, or into deism, two things which the Christian religion abhors almost equally.
Pascal's wager was argued precisely for belief in the Christian deities alone.
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Old 11th January 2021, 03:06 PM   #268
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Sadly, I think he was. Obviously he didn't feel quite convinced himself, but he was obviously trying to rationalize his faith. As I was saying, the problem with religion is that it can make even otherwise highly intelligent people go wilfully stupid or wilfully schizophrenic. Well, ONE of the problems with religion.
Actually I don't think he was serious with regards to its mathematical soundness as Pascal's Wager came from his unpublished notes which were published posthumously.

He may have tried to reconcile it with his faith but couldn't and so never published it and likely was still hammering out the details when he died. While he takes on the issues of Islam and Judaism he, AFAICT, avoids Protestant and deism like crazy.

Also there are ideas that throw a major monkey wrench into his view on pagan religions such as the entirely serious theory Jesus was a Buddhist (James Hanson; Buddhist-Christian Studies 25(1):75-89 DOI: 10.1353/bcs.2005.0050)
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Old 11th January 2021, 03:14 PM   #269
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
You statement is fallacious. I have not gone outside the presentation of the wager.
I have actually presented excerpts from Pascal's Pensees.

Now look again at another excerpt from the Pensees.

Pascal's Pensees 556

Pascal's wager was argued precisely for belief in the Christian deities alone.
You keep citing passages that don't mention the wager as evidence that the wager can only be interpreted one way.

I read these passages as restrictions on Pascal, not restrictions on the wager, nor restrictions on our interpretation and use of the wager.
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Old 11th January 2021, 04:39 PM   #270
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The discussion has veered off from strictly the wager, since IIRC page 2 or so, when GDon introduced Pacal's faith-in-faith arguments as being somehow a part of the wager. It's been really more about that than about the actual wager ever since.
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Old 11th January 2021, 05:24 PM   #271
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
The discussion has veered off from strictly the wager, since IIRC page 2 or so, when GDon introduced Pacal's faith-in-faith arguments as being somehow a part of the wager. It's been really more about that than about the actual wager ever since.
Even in that context I think dejudge is being unnecessarily and unsupportably doctrinaire. Of all the significant criticisms of GDon's approach to the wager, "you're not allowed to us it that way!" seems like... not one of them, to me.

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Old 11th January 2021, 06:36 PM   #272
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
My argument is that it doesn't work without Christianity for Pascal, because Pascal has already begged that question before introducing the Wager.

But the wager itself, conceptually and structurally, can be legitimately applied by anyone to any pantheon they wish. (This is separate from the problem of GDon apparently having his own self-contradictory approach to the wager.)
What is my self-contradictory approach to the wager? My claim is that Pascal made his wager with his God in mind, and not with any other gods in mind. The wager may or may not work with any other gods. It may be applied by anyone to any pantheon they wish, and it may be done legitimately or illegitimately. But Pascal designed his wager with his God in mind. That it may be not work for other gods (e.g. malevolent gods, as I've argued with Chanakya) isn't relevant to Pascal's specific case, AFAICS, unless you want to argue that the Wager must work for all gods, or none.

Are you proposing that Pascal's Wager must work for either all gods or none? Is it reasonable to say that the Wager only works depending upon the god being used in the Wager?

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Old 11th January 2021, 06:40 PM   #273
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
What is my self-contradictory approach to the wager? My claim is that Pascal made his wager with his God in mind, and not with any other gods in mind. The wager may or may not work with any other gods. It may be applied by anyone to any pantheon they wish, and it may be done legitimately or illegitimately. But Pascal designed his wager with his God in mind. That it may be not work for other gods (e.g. malevolent gods) isn't relevant to Pascal's specific case, AFAICS, unless you want to argue that the Wager must work for all gods, or none.
When you say:
"Pascal obviously designed his wager with his own opinion of God in mind, so it isn't meant to work for other gods, whether it does or not. The strawman version ("Pascal's Wager" as opposed to Pascal's "Pascal's Wager) is that it should work for any god, with the erroneous conclusion that if it doesn't then that indicates a flaw."
This seems to indicate that you don't think that the wager can be applied to gods other than the Christian god.

However, you are also applying it to something other than the Christian god. This seems to be a contradiction in your approach.

Personally, I think it can be applied to other gods. But if you think it can't, then you're contradicting yourself when you go ahead and do it anyway. Q.E.D.

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Old 11th January 2021, 07:15 PM   #274
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Are you proposing that Pascal's Wager must work for either all gods or none? Is it reasonable to say that the Wager only works depending upon the god being used in the Wager?
I'm proposing that it's cynical nonsense, and both logically and theologically unsupportable.

Contra dejudge, I'm proposing that it can be applied to any deity, not just Pascal's Christian deity.

I'm proposing applying it to any particular deity requires special pleading, or begging the question, or both.

I'm proposing that the moment you apply it to any particular deity, you cannot then apply it to any other without reason-bending efforts at syncretism and illogic.

I'm proposing that the wager works by putting the cart before the horse: You can't make the wager without first defining the attributes of the god you're wagering on. If you know that much about the god, then you don't need the wager: You can just believe in the god you already clearly know about.

I'm proposing that while nothing about Pascal's focus on Christianity, and nothing about the wager itself, prohibits you from applying to any other god, that is not a mark in its favor.

I'm proposing that applying to any god at all is playing silly buggers, and requires so many logical fallacies as to negate the value of applying the wager at all.

I'm proposing that if you have no good reason to think your god exists, then you have no good reason to wager on it. And if you do have a good reason to think your god exists, then you have no good reason to wager on it.

I'm proposing that as soon as you apply the wager to the god of your choice, you've invalidated it for every other possible god, and therefore you've invalidated it for the god you've chosen as well.
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Old 11th January 2021, 08:25 PM   #275
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm proposing that it's cynical nonsense, and both logically and theologically unsupportable.

I'm proposing applying it to any particular deity requires special pleading, or begging the question, or both.

I'm proposing that the moment you apply it to any particular deity, you cannot then apply it to any other without reason-bending efforts at syncretism and illogic.
The Wager is also "broken" in that it isn't just believing in a deity but what you do with that belief that matters.

DarkMatter2525 has a video on this issue called What If You're Wrong? that also pokes fun at Jack Chick's old save at the last moment trope. "He died a Christian" Only it is Allah running heaven and well the poor Christian get condemned to the Lake of Fire.

TNG's "Who Watches the Watchers" correctly pointed out "That's the problem with believing in a supernatural being. Trying to determine what he wants.."

There was a Twilight Zone magazine story which puts an interesting twist on the old Adam and Eve tale. Here Adam and Eve actually challenge God and refuse to grovel and God proclaims that at last he has found his true children.
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Old 11th January 2021, 08:51 PM   #276
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
What is my self-contradictory approach to the wager? My claim is that Pascal made his wager with his God in mind, and not with any other gods in mind. The wager may or may not work with any other gods. It may be applied by anyone to any pantheon they wish, and it may be done legitimately or illegitimately. But Pascal designed his wager with his God in mind. That it may be not work for other gods (e.g. malevolent gods, as I've argued with Chanakya) isn't relevant to Pascal's specific case, AFAICS, unless you want to argue that the Wager must work for all gods, or none.

Are you proposing that Pascal's Wager must work for either all gods or none? Is it reasonable to say that the Wager only works depending upon the god being used in the Wager?
Never heard of this newfangled thing called the "scientific method"? I mean, it's only been around for a couple of centuries. I can see how not every religious woowoo peddler has heard of it yet.

The whole idea is to try to falsify a claim by applying to just about everything that it can be applied to, and see if it holds. Not just INCLUDING on stuff that the original author didn't think about, but ESPECIALLY on that. Because if he did, he probably would have tested that already.

And it's logically sound too. A claim to the effect of "X => Y" MUST be true in any situation imaginable. That is to say, if X is true in any given situation or for any given entity, then Y must also be true. Conversely if in any given situation or for any given entity, Y is false, then X must also be false. If you find a situation where either doesn't hold, then you disproved the rule.

Insisting that oh noes, you can't try to test it on anything except what the author tested it on, is the most idiotic, brainless, moronic, piss-poor pretense of 'logic' even by religious woowoo peddler standards.
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Old 11th January 2021, 09:13 PM   #277
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm proposing that it's cynical nonsense, and both logically and theologically unsupportable.

Contra dejudge, I'm proposing that it can be applied to any deity, not just Pascal's Christian deity.

I'm proposing applying it to any particular deity requires special pleading, or begging the question, or both.

I'm proposing that the moment you apply it to any particular deity, you cannot then apply it to any other without reason-bending efforts at syncretism and illogic.

I'm proposing that the wager works by putting the cart before the horse: You can't make the wager without first defining the attributes of the god you're wagering on. If you know that much about the god, then you don't need the wager: You can just believe in the god you already clearly know about.

I'm proposing that while nothing about Pascal's focus on Christianity, and nothing about the wager itself, prohibits you from applying to any other god, that is not a mark in its favor.

I'm proposing that applying to any god at all is playing silly buggers, and requires so many logical fallacies as to negate the value of applying the wager at all.

I'm proposing that if you have no good reason to think your god exists, then you have no good reason to wager on it. And if you do have a good reason to think your god exists, then you have no good reason to wager on it.

I'm proposing that as soon as you apply the wager to the god of your choice, you've invalidated it for every other possible god, and therefore you've invalidated it for the god you've chosen as well.
It is tool for the logical mind to escape faith. Pascal the arsonist.
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Old 11th January 2021, 10:04 PM   #278
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Finding wisdom on questions like these from a heathen website isn't very logical.
Never stopped anyone before. We do have religious people who post here, and we have people with prior experience with religion.

I'm reading the thread now, will reply shortly.
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Old 11th January 2021, 10:20 PM   #279
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
You keep citing passages that don't mention the wager as evidence that the wager can only be interpreted one way.

I read these passages as restrictions on Pascal, not restrictions on the wager, nor restrictions on our interpretation and use of the wager.
You don't seem to know that Pascal's wager is found in his Pensees.
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Old 11th January 2021, 10:33 PM   #280
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
I'm thinking of having a tattoo of "2 Kings 2:23-25" placed on the back of my clearly bald head. Seems only fair to give some warning to the yutes.
I think a tattoo of "Leviticus 19:28" would be fun.
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