Re: Bayesians & Pascal's wager

From: Thomas Buckner (
Date: Wed Aug 31 2005 - 15:51:22 MDT

--- Phil Goetz <> wrote:

> --- Michael Vassar <>
> wrote:
> > do as well as we can). Account must be taken
> of it when designing an
> > FAI,
> > but this only requires an incremental
> development beyond that needed
> > to protect it from Pascal's Wagers.
> Actually, I meant to ask that question. How
> does a Bayesian
> deal with Pascal's wager, assuming that they
> assign a non-zero
> probability to Christianity's claims regarding
> heaven and hell
> being true, and an infinite positive reward
> with eternal heaven
> and an infinite negative reward with eternal
> damnation?
> Assume there are no other religions being
> proposed.
> - Phil

I've recently read a bit about Pascal's Wager;
here's a good page:

If you refer to the link you will see that
there's a lot more to Pascal's Wager than meets
the eye; one of the most serious objections is
precisely that of other religions, and you can't
legitimately ignore them (no matter how
vehemently Father Flanagan implores you to).
Bottom line for me: Pascal's Wager is a poor
argument for religion since the promises of
infinite reward (and avoidance of infinite
punishment) are just that: promises that never
have to be honored. They are only opinions, as
far as we are able to know, with no proof; as
Gurdjieff said, opinions are a form of lying
since they are assertions of knowledge one
doesn't have.
A Bayesian would look at the wager and say:
"Hmmm. There are no solid priors and no way to
update my information except to die. This is an
unrewarding area of study."

Tom Buckner

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