Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pascal's Wager

Pascal's Wager is something often trotted out in discussions of belief in religion.  The idea is that Pascal proposed that one should profess belief in religion even if you are an atheist simply because if you are correct in your atheism then it does not matter which way you go but if you are wrong and God is real then you had damn well better be religious!  The Wager fails spectacularly and simply because it is a false dichotomy; there are a gazillion different ideas about how one must live to please spiritual forces and one cannot hope to please them all.  It also seems unlikely to me that what an all powerful deity wants is someone who spends their life faking beliefs all over the spectrum trying to hedge their bets!

I read another amusing take on the Wager today that used a Homer Simpson quote to outline a new take on the Wager.  Fundamentally it is just "false dichotomy" written for the average person but it is well done and I like to see this sort of thing written up in general news sources.  A little more support for my cause, as it were.    It also doesn't hurt to show Homer Simpson being more clever than Blaise Pascal which certainly would be a rare event.

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