Skip to main content

Site Key Topics Guide

Elements of Peace Obstacles to Peace
Human Psychology and Peace The Nature of Reality
The Climate Change Scam The Science of Global Warming


Pascal's Wager

I recently came upon a poster in an email list, who recommended that we adopt Pascal's Wager. I can't quote the passage that moved me to write, due to the posting rules for the list in question, but the summary is that we must choose whether or not to believe in god. If we disbelieve and there is a god, we are held responsible for disbelieving; but if there is no god, we get no punishment or reward whatever we believed; so, the argument goes, it is better to wager that there is a god.

IMHO, Pascal's wager is a very, very poor argument. Consider: Suppose the real god is actually someone who hates the Christian/Moslem/Baha'i/you-name-it conception of god. He actually punishes with the most fearsome vengeance those who believe in that god, but doesn't care much if you don't believe in him.

If you think that is unlikely, here is a more likely version: God cares whether one assesses the evidence to the best of one's ability, and follows the path of intellectual honesty. He is highly offended by people who believe simply in the hope of getting a reward. Such a god will clearly punish those who choose belief from being convinced by Pascal's wager.

Or perhaps God rewards people for the good they do relative to the motivation they had for doing it - He rewards believers very little, because they expect payment (heaven) for doing good, but He rewards atheists a lot, because they did good without any expectation of payback.

Big Bang machine makes history

From Computerworld:

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider succeeded today in smashing two particle beams into each other at an energy level three and a half times greater than ever achieved before.

As a physics enthusiast, I normally just love any new investigation of our wonderful universe, but here for once find myself in disagreement with a physics experiment. I have already written about the danger of running this machine at all, a mistake which I believe can be put down to the inability of the human mind to conceive the risk in extremely improbable, but vastly immense, danger. People just can't internalise the size of the danger of destroying the entire planet. Odds against it, which admittedly are small, something like winning a lottery, simply don't become worth it at this scale of damage. However, I've already said all that, so let me say something different.

I am going to make a forecast: They will not discover the Higgs boson.

Syndicate content