Simple diagram of Pascal's Wager

Blaise Pascal said:
You have two things to lose, the true and the good; and two things to stake, your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to shun, error and misery. Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one rather than the other, since you must of necessity choose. This is one point settled. But your happiness? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.
So, if we assume that God will reward someone who is "playing it safe" in a gamble, if we assume that God won't punish someone for faking belief where there is none, and if we assume that God won't punish people for being too lazy to make an effort to found belief on something more substantial, then we get a decision matrix that Christians say looks something like this:

But Atheists see a very different decision matrix:



R. Moore said...

I think it is more accurate for Pascal's wager to say that if "God is Fake", believers/unbelievers do not lose, but it is a non-result. You cannot lose what was not there to win. If you had a free pull of a slot machine in Vegas that was rigged to never payout, you did not lose the prize, only your expectation of the prize. But that is not we count as a loss in this wager.

Also, for many of the gods you listed, only the Christian loses, as the atheist had no expectations, and those gods do not (unlike the Abrahamic god) punish unbelievers. For instance I will be reincarnated, to a better/worse existence, only based on my behavior in my current existence, regardless of my belief in reincarnation. The Christian would also, but in this case he does have a loss, because there was a god, but the wrong one, and since they did not live a enlightened life, they get to be a cockroach.

Calladus said...

... they get to be a cockroach

That made me chuckle.

Non-result - yea, I was thinking of using "Don't Care" in the manner of a logic gate - but I wanted to keep it simple. Besides, to a Christian the non-result often leads to Nihilism, which I would count as a "lose".

I'm an Ignostic - to me the question of God is silly and meaningless. But I think it's difficult to show the difference between DIS-belief and LACK of belief in a simple chart.

Still, you're right. I'm pondering a better way to represent this.

Calladus said...

I also notice that I screwed up the chart too. I left out a little whitespace, so it isn't as easy to read. (sigh)

That'll teach me to review before I post.