Blaise Pascal was not a moron
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15-03-2013, 10:40 PM (This post was last modified: 15-03-2013 10:44 PM by Buddy Christ.)
Blaise Pascal was not a moron
During the life of an atheist, he will typically arrange certain people into a category. The people being "propagators of theistic beliefs" and the category being "morons." We've all heard the infamous Pascal's Wager and had to argue on the side against it. Doing such consequently places him in the same room as Kirk Cameron, Kent Hovind, and William Lane Craig. I'd just like to ask atheists not to forget just how great a mind Pascal was. Let's discuss.

Pascal was a genius even in his teen years, inventing improved calculators and writing Pascal's Theorum at the age of 16. He grew up to be a renown genius mathematician and physicist, contributing Pascal's Triangle, the hydraulic press, the syringe, and progressed the entire fields of philosophy and mathematics.

Pascal's Wager actually started out as advice to his friend with a gambling problem. It was a godless explanation of probabilities. His work on probabilities laid the groundwork for Infinitesimal calculus.

Then the worst thing that could happen to a brilliant mind happened. Emotion trumped reason. His elderly father broke his hip (a fatal event back then) and Blaise insisted that only the two best doctors be allowed to work on him. The doctors basically stayed at the Pascal home for 3 months and saved his father's life. Problem was that they also tried to convert Pascal to Jansenism. So he's emotionally vulnerable and grateful to the two men who saved his father. The seed is planted. Later, Pascal claims to have had a startling vision late one night (it's always late at night, never first thing in the morning) which converted him fully to religion and spawned the saddest sentence ever:

"After a religious experience in 1654, Pascal mostly gave up work in mathematics."

The field of mathematics loses a great mind and he begins focusing on theology. He applies his roulette probability theory to religion and claims that believing in God is logically sound through probability. Which would actually be accurate if the entire religion was "personally believe that some godly force exists" and that's it. Anyone can do that and lose nothing. But no such religion exists. They're all laden with bigotry, racism, sexism, and strict irrational thought processes. So your risk-to-reward ratio becomes skewed. The chance of loss is certain - you are required to do these things. Yet the chance of reward is infinitely small. It's akin to cutting off all your fingers just in case a finger god exists and rewards those who sacrifice.

Finally, here are demonstrations of a mind plagued by religion.


Quotes from before religion:

"All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.

Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical.

Can anything be stupider than that a man has the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of a river and his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have not quarrelled with him?

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.

Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary."



I find that last quote interesting because Pascal then went on to become concerned with the extraordinary. Here's his thought process after religion:

"There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.

Jesus is the God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair.

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.

Faith indeed tells what the senses do not tell, but not the contrary of what they see. It is above them and not contrary to them."



He has abandoned intelligence and reason in exchange for the nonsensical Jesus blather of the modern Christian.

Let us not forget Jedi Pascal before he turned to the dark side.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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15-03-2013, 10:50 PM
RE: Blaise Pascal was not a moron
Agreed.

And on a smaller scale, this is also how otherwise intelligent people often get caught up in emotional decision making ("I want God to be real, therefore he is real," "the bible says god created living things, so evolution is false, despite evidence") which blinds them to the irrationality of what they're saying.

The whole Pascal's wager shows this, I think. You couldn't even formulate that thought unless you had already concluded that the christian god exists (since there are many other possible gods).

Quote: Then the worst thing that could happen to a brilliant mind happened. Emotion trumped reason.
Yep.
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16-03-2013, 02:14 AM
RE: Blaise Pascal was not a moron
Blaise Pascal was not a moron. Nor was Isaac Newton. Nor is Francis Collins. I totally agree with you, Buddy Christ. Christianity doesn't make a person stupid, nor does a person have to be stupid to become Christian.

When I was a Christian in my youth, I defend my beliefs because of cognitive dissonance -- I couldn't bear thinking that I had invested lots of time and money into a belief that was totally bullshit, because I didn't think that I was the type of person who would do that. And I didn't know anything about cognitive dissonance, so I didn't even have the tools to recognize the problem, much less fix it. Threats of Hell kept me subservient and lack of education kept me from being able to weigh evidence.

Smart people suffer from these same problems. Cognitive dissonance affects everyone. Geniuses are even more likely to succumb to the belief that they can't have made stupid conclusions, because they have a much higher view of their own ability to reach conclusions intelligently. It's like the Dunning-Kruger Effect in reverse -- smart people are too smart to believe that they are capable of making stupid decisions.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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16-03-2013, 09:46 AM
RE: Blaise Pascal was not a moron
I don't really see it as fair to compare people pre-Enlightenment, including during, with those after, especially with regard to a belief, or lack of belief, in some sort of deity.

The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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16-03-2013, 06:48 PM
RE: Blaise Pascal was not a moron
(16-03-2013 09:46 AM)TrulyX Wrote:  I don't really see it as fair to compare people pre-Enlightenment, including during, with those after, especially with regard to a belief, or lack of belief, in some sort of deity.
FRom a Universal perspective Pascal's even money bet seems pretty fair.

Nothing much to lose in this lifetime.
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17-03-2013, 03:40 AM
RE: Blaise Pascal was not a moron
Might a completely logical mind be indifferent to what anybody believes? Even the slightest emotion is still emotion.
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