Talk:Pascal's Wager

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Balanced argument

Do you think it might help to mention the idea of "if you roll a die, what are the chances of a 6 or a not-6?" which seemed to be a good way to get the point across that the argument is unbalanced? Obviously this would need to be inserted at the correct point and explained a little more eruditely than what I've just described. Blu Matt 17:50, 31 July 2006 (MST)

Evil/unconventional god

Is there a need to mention the possibility of a god who rewards unbelievers and punishes believers? Such a god would be consistent with the fall-back response of theologians "we cannot understand the ways of god", so it is feasible that such a god would want to reward atheists. This god would not need to be malevolant, merely inactive (mirroring deism with regards to creation), and wanting to reward those who take a rational approach to their beliefs.

The new table would thus be the following

Table of Payoffs Believe in God Don't believe in God
God doesn't exist 0 0
Legalistic religious god exists +∞ (heaven) −∞ (hell)
Anti-conventional god exists −∞ (hell) +∞ (heaven)

The mere possibility of such a god makes the expected outcomes for each column undefined, but more importantly, equal. Gary 21:35, 11 September 2009 (CDT)

Momergil's rewording

I guess its really up to the IronChariots administrators like Dcljr, but I'm not sure i agree with your rewording. Despite being in the form of a wager, the argument still consists of premises, and leads to a conclusion. And it can be expressed in a syllogism. For instance (and please bear with me, i'm sure it could be worded better, this is just for the sake of demonstration.)

p1. Believers and non believers alike, agree that payoff is good, punishment is bad.
p2. if god is real you receive infinite punishment for disbelief or infinite payoff for belief
a. if you believe you go to heaven for eternity.
b. if you do not believe you go to hell for eternity.
p3. if god is not real you don't really loose or gain anything either way.
a. if you believe falsely that god does exist you haven't really lost anything.
b. if you don't believe and it turns out god doesn't exist then you don't really gain anything.
c1. Therefore even if there is strong evidence against god it is still better to believe.
a. the payoff for believing if there is a god, is infinitely better than the benefit for not believing if there's no god.
b. the punishment for not believing if there is a god, is infinitely worse than the loss caused by believing falsely that there is a god.

Of course the logic is only as good as the syllogism validity and the premises it is based on, and as the article points out there are a number of problems with this.

Also, what is 'previne'? did you maybe mean 'prevail' or something? If so, please check your spelling and grammar more thoroughly next time. Minor typos are to be expected, but that whole sentence basically doesn't make sense now. --Murphy 06:42, 8 December 2009 (CST)

"Belief is not a choice" - is not a flaw?

I don't think this is a flaw. Assuming intellectual honesty, belief is not a choice, but choosing self-deceit is a thing. There's a spectrum between choice/non-choice, and I would consider religious belief, intellectual honesty, and falling asleep before 9pm to occupy similar middle ground. I can't just chose to sleep this instance, and I can't do anything to absolutely guarantee the result, but I can chose to arrange my environment so that the odds are on whichever side I choose.

Likewise, it's an empirical fact that circumstance influences beliefs, from which it follows that seeking to influence your own beliefs through changing your circumstances at least might work - even a 10% chance is enough for the attempt to make Pascalian sense. My opinion is that if the choice objection were the only one, Pascal's Wager would be simply be valid argument, and that this rebuttal only detract from the valid objections.

My vote would be to delete the choice objection entirely. But somehow I'm pretty sure that I'm in the minority, so I'm just leaving it on the talk page. (But if at least a second editor reads this and agrees, go right ahead!) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Jeffrey Heavener (talkcontribs), 21:37, 28 October 2015‎

We probably should include all common arguments but add appropriate information if an argument is weak. I would personally would say that "choice" based on rationality is largely, but not entirely, illusionary - our subconscious is largely making decisions and the conscious mind invents a rationalisation. I guess I am inclined to the "belief is not a choice" view.
It might be worth adding the middle view that it is somewhat a choice to the Religious belief is not a choice article. I don't think it has any distinct implications for Pascal's wager? --Tim Sheerman-Chase 13:35, 29 October 2015 (CDT)
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