Pascal's Wager

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Sat, 05 Dec 1998 17:22:16 -0800

Pascal's wager is restated to argue a different point:

> One: if you do not believe in christian god there are two
> possibilities, if christian god exists you will go in hell,
> if it doesn't nothing happen. Two: if you do believe in god,
> and it doesn't exist, then there is no consequence, but if
> it does (finally) exist, then JackpoT!!! you go in heaven.

Poster contends that the fallacy is lack of probabilities, but it is actually quite a bit simpler and more obvious than that: the premises of the argument are simply false. There /is/ a cost to belief, and there /is/ a benefit to non-belief, and both the costs and benefits of both choices must be evaluated to make a rational choice.

Indeed, I personally think that it is not possible for a person who honestly believes in God to be a moral person or lead an effective, worthwhile life, so the cost of belief is very high--the sacrifice of this life for the false hope in the next.

The same logical fallacy is often used to argue for cryonics. (replace "belief" with "cryo-contract", "heaven" with "survival", and "hell" with "death"). The fallacy is the same: there /is/ a measurabe cost to cryonics (in hard cash) and possible benefits to abstention (though these are more speculative: perhaps the money you save will be invested in better immortality technologies). On balance, I think cryonics is the right choice to make (it is for me), but not because of such weak arguments.

Lee Daniel Crocker <>
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are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
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