Pascal's wager doesn't suck, it's popularity supports atheism.

GSG9er
Posts: 9
Joined: 2007-07-15
User is offlineOffline
Pascal's wager doesn't suck, it's popularity supports atheism.

i'm starting up a new thread because I haven't heard any atheists following this line of reasoning (perhaps there have been) and I thought it was rather good.

Many christians including Bill O' Reilly, claim that they believe in God because of Pascal's Wager. Unfortunately they don't realise that pascal's wager isn't even an argument for the existence of God.

As we all know an argument is a statement (premise) or group of statements (premises) offered in support of another statement (conclusion). Pascal's wager supports the conclusion that you should believe in god if you wish to avoid hell, with the premise of a possibility atheism can result in damnation.

If it was an argument for the existence of God, it would support the conclusion that God exists. But it doesn't! In fact, Pascal's wager is arguing that we should agree with the conclusion that God exists, without providing anything to support the conclusion, and I'm sure many theists would also argue that we should agree despite mountains of reasoning against the conclusion.

Believing in something without anything to suggest that it exists is enough to label somebody delusional in my opinion, but it doesn't end there. Most theists IMAGINE hell to be disgusting and painful to the point of being beyond their comprehension, which results in many theists believing in god because they're afraid of the slightest possiblity that he exists at all. The moderator in the ABC news debate said something along the longs "what if there was a million to one chance (that you're wrong)" as if to imply he thinks atheism is risky (in a metaphysical sense) even if the odds of them being wrong is as improbable as a million to one chance.

Pascal refers to choosing to believe or not, as a "bet" and the moderator of the nightline debate thinks that a (I think this percentage matches his estimated probability) 99.999999% chance of atheism being correct, are bad odds. Which probably means that he only needs enough evidence to support the conclusion that there's a 0.000001% chance that god exists, in other words, his million to one chance.

If theism was correct, would there be a need for religious people to intimidate uncertain people to this extreme degree. The answer is no. They would just provide reasons and physical evidence, but this isn't the case, even in the nightline debate, where that's what they were supposed to do.

If theism was correct, do you think there would be any theists arguing that we should be believe in god despite what arguments for and against his existence suggest? I say never.

I'm suggesting that if somebody asks you the question "what if you're wrong?", you can argue that their use of the wager just supports atheism because of extreme intimidation causing theists to believe in God despite some theists only estimating a miniscule chance of god existing (NBC debate moderator), and that their argument to ignore the arguments for and against God's existence, perfectly matches the definition of irrational. Pascal sure humiliated us atheistsTongue out.





EDIT: I forgot to mention that because the wager is seen as such a powerful argument, it's reasonable to say many people have it deeply ingrained in their minds.

In this case, if the reasoning that reasons for and against God's existence are somehow futile and irrelevant, is rooted severely enough into their world view. Absolutely no argument whatsoever can change their mind. This seems to be perfectly described by wiktionary's first definition of delusional, 1. A false belief that is resistant to confrontation with actual facts.

I think that successfully proves that the fact theists even use Pascal's wager at all, reveals them to be delusional and unwitting brain washers as they use it in discussion with other theists and weak-minded people


darth_josh
High Level DonorHigh Level ModeratorGold Member
darth_josh's picture
Posts: 2642
Joined: 2006-02-27
User is offlineOffline
GSG9er wrote: i'm starting

GSG9er wrote:
i'm starting up a new thread because I haven't heard any atheists following this line of reasoning (perhaps there have been) and I thought it was rather good.

Many christians including Bill O' Reilly, claim that they believe in God because of Pascal's Wager. Unfortunately they don't realise that pascal's wager isn't even an argument for the existence of God.

Yeah. It's all over this forum. Mail bag about twenty times. Greydon Square has it in a verse; calling it "a fool's bet". lol.

Quote:
As we all know an argument is a statement (premise) or group of statements (premises) offered in support of another statement (conclusion). Pascal's wager supports the conclusion that you should believe in god if you wish to avoid hell, with the premise of a possibility atheism can result in damnation.

That's the way they want it to work.

Quote:
If it was an argument for the existence of God, it would support the conclusion that God exists. But it doesn't! In fact, Pascal's wager is arguing that we should agree with the conclusion that God exists, without providing anything to support the conclusion, and I'm sure many theists would also argue that we should agree despite mountains of reasoning against the conclusion.

Literally, mountains.

Quote:
Believing in something without anything to suggest that it exists is enough to label somebody delusional in my opinion, but it doesn't end there. Most theists IMAGINE hell to be disgusting and painful to the point of being beyond their comprehension, which results in many theists believing in god because they're afraid of the slightest possiblity that he exists at all.

That's the wager. Except we must remember that it is only effective on the theist if they make the presupposition that there is only one god.

Quote:
The moderator in the ABC news debate said something along the longs "what if there was a million to one chance (that you're wrong)" as if to imply he thinks atheism is risky (in a metaphysical sense) even if the odds of them being wrong is as improbable as a million to one chance.

It works on the weak-minded. I'm not a fan of Bashir. In my opinion, he was a 'johnny come lately'.

Pascal refers to choosing to believe or not, as a "bet" and the moderator of the nightline debate thinks that a (I think this percentage matches his estimated probability) 99.999999% chance of atheism being correct, are bad odds. Which probably means that he only needs enough evidence to support the conclusion that there's a 0.000001% chance that god exists, in other words, his million to one chance.

Ahhh. Excluding other variables, it is a 1 in a million chance. The addition of all of the other gods/saviour/demons makes the odds less than inviting even to your average lottery participant.

Quote:
If theism was correct, would there be a need for religious people to intimidate uncertain people to this extreme degree. The answer is no. They would just provide reasons and physical evidence, but this isn't the case, even in the nightline debate, where that's what they were supposed to do.

If you ignore the fact that in so many places the religious are told to 'preach their gospel' throughout the world, then there would be no reason. Unfortunately, they are programed to think that they are doing us a favor by evangelizing our children, our families, and us.

Quote:
If theism was correct, do you think there would be any theists arguing that we should be believe in god despite what arguments for and against his existence suggest? I say never.

Agreed. If it is true then it would be self-evident.

Quote:
I'm suggesting that if somebody asks you the question "what if you're wrong?", you can argue that their use of the wager just supports atheism because of extreme intimidation causing theists to believe in God despite some theists only estimating a miniscule chance of god existing (NBC debate moderator), and that their argument to ignore the arguments for and against God's existence, perfectly matches the definition of irrational. Pascal sure humiliated us atheistsTongue out.

My favorite way of thinking about this besides the textbook response of "Which god?" is to ask

"What if we die and find out that Brahma is the one true god? You have spent your entire life worshipping a false god and I have worshipped none because of a lack of evidence. If it were me standing in judgment then I would be more angry at the person worshipping the other god than I would be at the person who was unaffiliated and chose to open themselves to learning about the universe."

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists.


GSG9er
Posts: 9
Joined: 2007-07-15
User is offlineOffline
I didn't want to be

I didn't want to be pretentious and think of myself as the first to attack pascal's wager, but I could of probably shortened the post by saying that I was just trying to point out that the wager is usually thought of an an excellent argument by theists, even though, when you analyze it, it's pathetically irrational, to the point where it discredits theism. I haven't heard the viewpoint mentioned before, so I thought I might as well bring it up.


wavefreak
Theist
wavefreak's picture
Posts: 1825
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
I never understood Pascal's

I never understood Pascal's wager. If you believe in god you don't need it. If you don't believe in god you don't need it. It seems more like a thing an agnostic might lean on.


MattShizzle
Posts: 7966
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
The other big problem is

The other big problem is it's a false dichotomy - it assumes that Christianity & Atheism are the only choices. If Islam is correct we're both fucked. Or if one of the religions where what happens after you die is based on behavior rather than belief it won't matter.

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


jmm
Theist
jmm's picture
Posts: 837
Joined: 2007-03-03
User is offlineOffline
What is the obsession with

What is the obsession with Pascal's Wager?  No Christian I know that can halfway defend their faith buys into this.  I mean, I laughed at it when my dad first (unwittingly) presented it to me when I was 15 years old, and I didn't know anything about anything back then.  The only Christians I know that still hold onto this are very rural, simple, backwoods types. 

 Then again, it's pretty easy to build up these caricatures of Christian and ridicule them.  I just think that these caricatures represent an increasingly small minority of modern Christians.  


MattShizzle
Posts: 7966
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
Have you noticed how often

Have you noticed how often Pascal's wager (or a variation of it) gets posted at us by Christians on here?

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


GSG9er
Posts: 9
Joined: 2007-07-15
User is offlineOffline
The point about multiple

The point about multiple god's and religions making the wager invalid is being brought up. Unfortunately theists have come up with the bullshit idea that their religion is definitely true and the true religion (their own) will be merciful to those who practise their own religion devoutly and that. It's a strong argument to me, but to theists, it's as weak as their minds.

I'd rather stick with the point that Pascal's wager is arguing that utter delusion is necessary to avoid the terrifying yet miniscule chance of being wrong and being force fed theist diarrhea for eternity in.... *gasp* HELL!!! DEN DEN DUUUUUUUN!

Wager reasoning matches all 3 main criteria for the psychiatric definition of delusional as stated by wikipedia.

  • certainty (held with absolute conviction)
  • incorrigibility (not changeable by compelling counterargument or proof to the contrary)
  • impossibility or falsity of content (implausible, bizarre or patently untrue)
I don't have much of an argument for the certainty of wager theists.
Obviously no theists celebrate tradgedies due to their loved ones are now in a fluffy cloud in heaven, but the reason this is so, is because of, let's say, what's happening at a subconscious level.

They want to believe in the salvation of their deceased friends or family so much that they fool themselves so quickly and subconsciously that they don't even realise it... as Doug Stanhope put it "BOO HOO HOO HOO at least i know he's in a better place...WAAAAAAAAH". Perhaps there are some uncertain wagers, but i believe that they usually have such a strong desire to become certain that they will follow any fallacious garbage they can find to do so. Certainty is also a bit similar to incorrigibility.

Incorrigibility is shown in the lack of consideration of proof and arguments for and against God's existence in the wager argument and in the wagers view of evidence to the contrary being somewhat futile (what it's there's a 0.000001% chance you're wrong).

The best has been saved for last. Impossibility of content is a comedy goldmine IMO. Wikipedia quotes the DSM in stating "Some religious or spiritual beliefs (such as 'I believe in the existence of God' ) by their nature may not be falsifiable, and hence cannot be described as false or incorrect". This is hilarious because it's probably written by wager theists to begin with.


And if that attempt to humiliate theists who use the wager isn't sufficient, at least they perfectly fit the dictionary definition of delusional, which only requires incorrigibility.


MattShizzle
Posts: 7966
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
One funny thing was in the

One funny thing was in the book "Only Begotten Daughter." It turned out no religion was correct and EVERYONE goes to hell! Also funny was when the main character told Jesus about things in the BuyBull and the transsubstantiation his responses were like "What????" , "That's crazy!" and "That's disgusting!"

I think the author is an atheist - he did credit "The Blind Watchmaker."

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


Hambydammit
High Level DonorModeratorRRS Core Member
Hambydammit's picture
Posts: 8657
Joined: 2006-10-22
User is offlineOffline
Quote: No Christian I know

Quote:
No Christian I know that can halfway defend their faith buys into this.

No Christian I know can halway defend his faith.

But, to make a real point:

Quote:
The only Christians I know that still hold onto this are very rural, simple, backwoods types.

 You're mostly right.  Most educated theists recognize its absurdity.  But, remember that the vast majority of the world is rural, simple, and backwoods.

 

Quote:
Then again, it's pretty easy to build up these caricatures of Christian and ridicule them.

It hardly takes any effort at all.  Do you need to make a joke out of someone who believes that the super-duper god created everything, then made man sinful, then killed himself so that he could forgive his creation for being the way he made them?

Christian theology is a joke.  No additions necessary.

 

Quote:
I just think that these caricatures represent an increasingly small minority of modern Christians. 

I don't pray, but if I did, I would pray for the day when this was true.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism


jmm
Theist
jmm's picture
Posts: 837
Joined: 2007-03-03
User is offlineOffline
Well, by modern Christians

Well, by modern Christians I mean my generation and younger (mid to late 20's and down), not all of the Christians alive right now.  There is definitely an "old guard" of Christianity that still very much exists today, but with educational opportunities on the rise, younger generations are more and more able to deeply explore religious and philosophical matters.  Far more so than say, my grandparent's generation.  My grandfather worked 6 days a week, 16 hours a day on the railroad until he retired.  Not because he was a workaholic either, but because it was necessary, he had to support his family.  It's just the nature of our country's economy I guess.  So I understand why he has some very primitive and irrational notions of God and religion.  It's not like he had a great deal of free time to devote to learning Hebrew and Greek, or the Bible in English for that matter.  But he made the time to do what he could, and has pastored for nearly 40 years. 

And while I don't hold any of his archaic notions against him, I do see that old mindset slowly but surely making its way out. 


ParanoidAgnostic
ParanoidAgnostic's picture
Posts: 402
Joined: 2007-05-20
User is offlineOffline
GSG9er wrote: The best has

GSG9er wrote:

The best has been saved for last. Impossibility of content is a comedy goldmine IMO. Wikipedia quotes the DSM in stating "Some religious or spiritual beliefs (such as 'I believe in the existence of God' ) by their nature may not be falsifiable, and hence cannot be described as false or incorrect". This is hilarious because it's probably written by wager theists to begin with.

I noticed the same thing when I looked up the symptoms of schizophrenia. They perfectly matched claims made by devout christains except the first had a clarification of that conveniently exempts religion.

 

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/schizophrenia/article_em.htm

 

From the page:

Quote:

Delusions, false personal beliefs held with conviction in spite of reason or evidence to the contrary, not explained by that person's cultural context 

 Oh well they still have the other symptoms:

Quote:

  • Hallucinations, perceptions (can be sound, sight, touch, smell, or taste) that occur in the absence of an actual external stimulus (Auditory hallucinations, those of voice or other sounds, are the most common type of hallucinations in schizophrenia.)

  • Disorganized thoughts and behaviors

  • Disorganized speech

  • Catatonic behavior, in which the affected person's body may be rigid and the person may be unresponsive 
  • well, except for that last one -but from what I understand the diagnosis only requires some of those symptoms not all.

    Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-My-Own-Grandpa!


    zntneo
    Superfan
    Posts: 565
    Joined: 2007-01-25
    User is offlineOffline
    jmm wrote: What is the

    jmm wrote:

    What is the obsession with Pascal's Wager?  No Christian I know that can halfway defend their faith buys into this.  I mean, I laughed at it when my dad first (unwittingly) presented it to me when I was 15 years old, and I didn't know anything about anything back then.  The only Christians I know that still hold onto this are very rural, simple, backwoods types. 

     Then again, it's pretty easy to build up these caricatures of Christian and ridicule them.  I just think that these caricatures represent an increasingly small minority of modern Christians.  


    I hear it all the time. On this board, in real life, and many other places. So this isn't some caricature, its reality. 


    CrimsonEdge
    CrimsonEdge's picture
    Posts: 499
    Joined: 2007-01-02
    User is offlineOffline
    Theists tend to use Pascals

    Theists tend to use Pascals Wager as a last resort. After all of their reasoning has been debunked, they resort to an emotional plea.

    "What if you are wrong?"

    "What if you're the one who's wrong?"

    "I know I'm not wrong."

    "How so? You were wrong about everything else we talked about and you agreed."

    "I know I'm right since I know there is a God."

    "You do know that there are literally thousands of religions with thousands of different Gods, right?" 

    "..."

     


    Wonderist
    atheist
    Wonderist's picture
    Posts: 2479
    Joined: 2006-03-19
    User is offlineOffline
    jmm wrote: What is the

    jmm wrote:

    What is the obsession with Pascal's Wager? No Christian I know that can halfway defend their faith buys into this. I mean, I laughed at it when my dad first (unwittingly) presented it to me when I was 15 years old, and I didn't know anything about anything back then. The only Christians I know that still hold onto this are very rural, simple, backwoods types.

    Then again, it's pretty easy to build up these caricatures of Christian and ridicule them. I just think that these caricatures represent an increasingly small minority of modern Christians.

    If it's so caricaturish, why is Pascal's Wager the most popular argument we encounter? 

    Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

    Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


    Wyzaard
    Posts: 58
    Joined: 2007-06-08
    User is offlineOffline
      Another wrinkle: Out of

     

    Another wrinkle:

    Out of the infinite number of possible afterlives with an infinite number of possible things you should do in this life to successfully enter them, one is a god who expects you to not believe in any god or afterlife at all

    With complete unverifiablity for this question, how can anyone knowingly choose any possible belief as the 'correct' one?  The default position in the face of unknowability is non-belief... which IS one of the possibilities!  In short, non-belief should be the position you choose, because it is both logically warrented by default as well as a viable possibility.