U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 06-09-2014, 04:27 PM
 
3,404 posts, read 2,252,936 times
Reputation: 1317

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by medellinheel View Post
That is another topic altogether.

We are just talking about the possible validity of Pascals Wager, not which God is the true God.

Assuming we are talking about the Christian God, the example I gave was clear that yes indeed that could work.
But that is precisely my point. Pascal's wager only has any meaning if you arbitrarily pit one precise understanding of God against not believing in God, and remove all other variables. You are preselecting one very very specific sectarian view of God and pretending nothing else exists. The expected value changes depending on your definitions.

If I make one small change, and assume a Christian God but one who will reconcile all to himself, the calculus changes dramatically. How much worse is it if one considers a deist god, or a pantheon, or the spirits of ancestors?

On top of that the probablility of the existance of one specific God definition and the benefits and penalties for belief and unbelief,respectively, cannot be quantified meaningfully.

It is an arbitrarily constrained misapplication of statistics. To borrow from Mark Twain, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

-NoCapo
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-09-2014, 04:43 PM
 
675 posts, read 442,297 times
Reputation: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
But that is precisely my point. Pascal's wager only has any meaning if you arbitrarily pit one precise understanding of God against not believing in God, and remove all other variables. You are preselecting one very very specific sectarian view of God and pretending nothing else exists. The expected value changes depending on your definitions.

If I make one small change, and assume a Christian God but one who will reconcile all to himself, the calculus changes dramatically. How much worse is it if one considers a deist god, or a pantheon, or the spirits of ancestors?

On top of that the probablility of the existance of one specific God definition and the benefits and penalties for belief and unbelief,respectively, cannot be quantified meaningfully.

It is an arbitrarily constrained misapplication of statistics. To borrow from Mark Twain, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

-NoCapo
Pascals Wager is in relation to the Christian God. Or atleast that is my impression or understanding. I believe one could also substitute the Christian God for another God if the outcomes are the same ie hell / punishment

No one is pretending nothing else exists. Simply this concept or wager is in relation to the Christian God.

However, one could use other religions / Gods, but like you said, the values can potentially change. Potentially negating Pascals Wager. But like I said, Pascal made that concept wager with the Christian God in mind.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-09-2014, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
10,577 posts, read 7,286,572 times
Reputation: 37479
Quote:
Originally Posted by medellinheel View Post
Pascals Wager is in relation to the Christian God. Or atleast that is my impression or understanding. I believe one could also substitute the Christian God for another God if the outcomes are the same ie hell / punishment

No one is pretending nothing else exists. Simply this concept or wager is in relation to the Christian God.

However, one could use other religions / Gods, but like you said, the values can potentially change. Potentially negating Pascals Wager. But like I said, Pascal made that concept wager with the Christian God in mind.
And that's precisely what makes it so nonsensical - it demands a binary choice when, given that there is no reason to believe in the Christian concept of God over any other, myriad choices are every bit as plausible. In other words, it is based on a false premise (that premise being: there are only two possibilities - there is either no deity of any sort or the only deity that exists is the version of the Christian God that whoever is asking the question happens to like).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-09-2014, 05:13 PM
 
675 posts, read 442,297 times
Reputation: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unsettomati View Post
And that's precisely what makes it so nonsensical - it demands a binary choice when, given that there is no reason to believe in the Christian concept of God over any other, myriad choices are every bit as plausible. In other words, it is based on a false premise (that premise being: there are only two possibilities - there is either no deity of any sort or the only deity that exists is the version of the Christian God that whoever is asking the question happens to like).
I fail to see this point.

No reason to believe the Christian God over another? Really? Would you like me to list the reasons?

But as I mentioned, that is an entirely different debate or issue altogether.

The fact remains that the Wager is possible and valid within it's set parameters.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-09-2014, 05:24 PM
 
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
10,577 posts, read 7,286,572 times
Reputation: 37479
Quote:
Originally Posted by medellinheel View Post
I fail to see this point.

No reason to believe the Christian God over another? Really? Would you like me to list the reasons?

But as I mentioned, that is an entirely different debate or issue altogether.

The fact remains that the Wager is possible and valid within it's set parameters.
It's a glaringly obvious point. But thank you for conceding that you are blind to this.

No. No more so that I want a Muslim to assure me how there is far more reason to believe in the Koranic God than any other. His premise would be as false as yours. And each of you would insist otherwise.

Agreed - given its false premise, Pascal's Wager leads one to the conclusion for which that false premise was intended.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-09-2014, 05:32 PM
 
675 posts, read 442,297 times
Reputation: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unsettomati View Post
It's a glaringly obvious point. But thank you for conceding that you are blind to this.

No. No more so that I want a Muslim to assure me how there is far more reason to believe in the Koranic God than any other. His premise would be as false as yours. And each of you would insist otherwise.

Agreed - given its false premise, Pascal's Wager leads one to the conclusion for which that false premise was intended.
I am not blind to it. I acknowledge the issue you raised, simply that is another topic altogether.

So getting back to the original premise of "true belief". I present the following.

Quote:
John having never been exposed to Christianity decides to believe in God due to Pascal's Wager. On the onset his belief is faulty in that it lacks true conviction. However, over time, his once faulty belief molds into true belief due to reading the Bible, praying, fellowshipping, conviction through the Holy Spirit, etc.
So again, I am not sure how "true belief" can be used as a main rebuttal for Pascal's Wager.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-09-2014, 05:34 PM
 
3,404 posts, read 2,252,936 times
Reputation: 1317
Quote:
Originally Posted by medellinheel View Post
Pascals Wager is in relation to the Christian God. Or atleast that is my impression or understanding. I believe one could also substitute the Christian God for another God if the outcomes are the same ie hell / punishment

No one is pretending nothing else exists. Simply this concept or wager is in relation to the Christian God.

However, one could use other religions / Gods, but like you said, the values can potentially change. Potentially negating Pascals Wager. But like I said, Pascal made that concept wager with the Christian God in mind.
Sure but this is the fundamental error. The be meaningful in the real world, as opposed to an abstract exercise in statistics it would need to:
  • Account for the near infinite varieties of god concepts
  • Account for the varying standards of these god concepts (e.g. some gods may accept mere intellectual belief, some demand one's "whole heart", others may demand the beating heart of an enemy warrior of the ashes of your first born, other's still may be pleased with rational skepticism. All must be accounted for.)
  • Account for the "values" of the reward/punishment spectrum. Is heaven vs hell a greater dichotomy, olympus and hades or valhalla vs helheim? And what about Universal Reconciliation? what value does that get? Where does oblivion fall on the scale? Without being able to quantify all these, the choice is not able to be exaluated statistically..
  • Lastly, what is the probablility of each outcome? How do we know that?
Without answers to all of these questions, Pascal's wager is of no use to the person trying to decide what god, if any to worship.


But If I were to evaluate your question strictly as asked and intended, I would still say non-belief and here is why.


If I assign weight to the reward and penalties for belief and non belief, we have Eag ( value for athieists if there is a God) Ebg ( value for believers if there is a God, we have Ebn ( value for believers if there is no God), and Ean( value for atheists if there is no God). So we can assume that if there is no God, there is no benefit or penalty, so Ebn = Ean =0



If we let p(n) be the probability of no god, and p(g) be the probability of the God under discussion, we get





Ean*p(n) +Eag*p(g)= Ebn*p(n) + Ebg*p(g)



Which simplifies to Eag*p(g) =Ebg*p(g)



So now this depends on the probability of god existing, which we don't know, unless... we get clever and assign infinite magnitude value to Eag and Ebg. Your interpretation of Christianity would tell you that Ebg is infinitely good and Eag is infinitely bad, which would lead you to say the rational choice is to believe. However, when I read the bible, I see hell as a place of infinite suffering, and heaven as a place of automatons with no will, no choice and no freedom, which is just another kind of hell. So for me I have to assume both are infinitely negative, so it is irrelevant what I believe. Thus, I have no rational reason for choosing a god belief.



Like I said before, this is in no way representative of the actual choice that has to be made, as it is much more complex, much less certain, and impossible to quantify. Pascal's wager is simply not convincing to anyone who is not already convinced, and thus is a poor choice to use for evangelism.


-NoCapo
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-09-2014, 05:38 PM
 
675 posts, read 442,297 times
Reputation: 134
Gonna have to agree to disagree NoCapo

The possible outcomes still remain.

Christian God is real - Nonbeliever is screwed.

Christian God is fake - Believer not screwed.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-09-2014, 06:08 PM
 
3,404 posts, read 2,252,936 times
Reputation: 1317
Quote:
Originally Posted by medellinheel View Post
Gonna have to agree to disagree NoCapo

The possible outcomes still remain.

Christian God is real - Nonbeliever is screwed.

Christian God is fake - Believer not screwed.
Yeah, but like I said, as I see it you lose either way. Thus you can use it as a justification for yourself, but it it useless to try to convince me of the rationality of god-belief misusing statistical analysis this way.

And, as I stated before it is woefully incomplete...

This is why it generally just gets eye-rolls from those of us who understand it.

-NoCapo
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-09-2014, 06:31 PM
 
675 posts, read 442,297 times
Reputation: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
Yeah, but like I said, as I see it you lose either way. Thus you can use it as a justification for yourself, but it it useless to try to convince me of the rationality of god-belief misusing statistical analysis this way.

And, as I stated before it is woefully incomplete...

This is why it generally just gets eye-rolls from those of us who understand it.

-NoCapo
How would the believer lose under the scenario I outlined?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top