Why, New York Times, why, if you’re going to give op-ed space to an atheist to discuss his views, would you decide to print two grafs that come off as whining followed by a sub-sophomoric attempt at refuting Pascal’s Wager? The Wager is an appallingly bad argument that should take about two sentences to dispense with, and the author still blows it: Once you accept the posit of a lottery with infinite expected value, the size of the finite stake is irrelevant. (It does matter for monetary wagers because of diminishing marginal utility, but the payoff here is imagined to be directly in utility.) The only thing that needs to be said about the Wager is that once you’ve discarded consideration of the probabilities—that’s why the payoff has to be infinite, and the only way the Wager works—then it works for everything. Maybe I’ll be rewarded with infinite bliss if I walk outside in my underwear right now. Vanishingly small probability, infinite payoff, better brace myself for that chill!
What Sort of God Would Allow This?
December 14th, 2007 · 17 Comments