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Pascal’s Wager; Blaise should have known better

Pascal’s Wager is usually stated something like this (from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theism/wager.html):

If you erroneously believe in God, you lose nothing (assuming that death is the absolute end), whereas if you correctly believe in God, you gain everything (eternal bliss). But if you correctly disbelieve in God, you gain nothing (death ends all), whereas if you erroneously disbelieve in God, you lose everything (eternal damnation).

The idea is that you have nothing to lose by believing in god, and everything to gain, so “why not” since it is the “safe bet.”

Pascal was undoubtedly a bright guy with a host of physics and mathematics revelations under his belt, but, Oh COME ON Blaise! What the hell were you thinking with this one? There are many, many ways to shred this line of thinking, and they have all been done from the day it was published. My summary against Pascal’s Wager is this:

1) Pascal’s Wager is basically “argument by extotrion” — and extortion is not a good basis for assessing truth. Sure, you may get quite a few people to believe in something this way, if simply from sheer terror. But just because one makes a decision to believe in something under perceived duress doesn’t make it a true assertion.

2) Let the extorsion thing slide and assume we live in a mythology full of gods and afterlives. Any god who demands, indeed REWARDS, blind worship in exchange for eternal salvation, not accounting for how one actually lived one’s life, is probably not the god one thought one was worshiping. Careful what you wish for! Do you really want to align yourself with such an insecure, petty creature?

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