Dealing with Pascal's Wager
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06-02-2018, 06:51 PM
Dealing with Pascal's Wager
This is currently the argument that certain religious family members like to use against my atheism. I've explained the flaws in it, but they keep using it.

How do y'all combat it? Because I've gotten to point of just saying, "Google the flaws in Pascal's Wager if you want to understand."

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06-02-2018, 06:54 PM
RE: Dealing with Pascal's Wager
They would rather have you pretend to believe?

Like their god can't tell?

Other than that, how are things going?

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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06-02-2018, 07:01 PM
RE: Dealing with Pascal's Wager
Been there, done that...

After explaining the flaws. Walk away from it.

Critical thinking is dead.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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06-02-2018, 07:07 PM (This post was last modified: 06-02-2018 07:18 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Dealing with Pascal's Wager
As Ang said, it's not really the wager.
You either believe or you don't . If you don't, is it better to lie about it ?
Just tell 'em you don't want it discussed any more, and you expect your decision to be respected.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein It is objectively immoral to kill innocent babies. Please stick to the guilty babies.
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06-02-2018, 07:14 PM
RE: Dealing with Pascal's Wager
You won't win with willful ignorance and Pascal wager is nearly pinnacle of it so I guess saying "Google it" is best way to end such "discussions".

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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06-02-2018, 07:17 PM
RE: Dealing with Pascal's Wager
(06-02-2018 06:51 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  This is currently the argument that certain religious family members like to use against my atheism. I've explained the flaws in it, but they keep using it.

How do y'all combat it? Because I've gotten to point of just saying, "Google the flaws in Pascal's Wager if you want to understand."

Something I suggested in a thread a long time ago:

Most people who use Pascal's Wager understand that it's flawed... with regards to the things that they DON'T believe. So ask them some questions to illustrate the point. Turn the Wager around to things that they don't believe, and they'll fall all over themselves to point out the flaws in question.

For example, do your family members keep kosher? Why not? I mean, yes, old covenant/new covenant, we're corrupted by what comes out of our mouths and not what goes into them, sure. But what if they're interpreting that wrong? There's no rule in Christianity saying that you CAN'T follow kosher, after all, and the consequences could be drastic. Why not err on the side of caution?

What about making sure they don't wear mixed blends of fabric?

What about forcing their wives to sleep outside in a tent during their periods?

And for that matter, what about eating steak? The Hindus say cows are sacred after all. What if the Hindus are right? Sure, it's not LIKELY that the Hindus are right, but is their anything in Christianity requiring your family to eat beef? No? Then why not take the safe bet?

When they can explain to you the reasons that they won't observe these rules "just in case" -- and they will, rather quickly -- they will have explained some problem with Pascal's Wager. And once you've shown that the logic of the argument applies to things they won't do in addition to the things they insist you do, once they've fallen out of love with the argument, you can add that you question whether a god of truth would reward a disingenuous, pretend faith that isn't really believed, or whether perhaps the best approach isn't to just "bet" based on possibilities but rather to seek out the truth of the matter as responsibly as possible and "bet" on that basis.

(Just make it clear that these questions are for illustrating the flaws in the logic, rather than deflecting or actually challenging them on their behaviors.)
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06-02-2018, 07:23 PM (This post was last modified: 06-02-2018 07:34 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Dealing with Pascal's Wager
(06-02-2018 06:51 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  This is currently the argument that certain religious family members like to use against my atheism. I've explained the flaws in it, but they keep using it.

How do y'all combat it? Because I've gotten to point of just saying, "Google the flaws in Pascal's Wager if you want to understand."

Having read and studied Pascal, this is usually my first response. "You know that dude's wager drove him batshit bonkers outta his own damn mind, right?"

"T. S. Eliot described him during this phase of his life as "a man of the world among ascetics, and an ascetic among men of the world." Pascal's ascetic lifestyle derived from a belief that it was natural and necessary for a person to suffer. In 1659, Pascal fell seriously ill. During his last years, he frequently tried to reject the ministrations of his doctors, saying, 'Sickness is the natural state of Christians.' "

There's no point in directly addressing a claim from a batshit bonkers witness. Like arguing against popstheboulderhead's visions and shit. That's my first response, I got more fancy-schmancy, menial and uninteresting technical points if they're still interested after that. But really, why bother?

#sigh
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06-02-2018, 07:41 PM
RE: Dealing with Pascal's Wager
I've made conversion conversations a no-go zone.

Maybe repeat briefly that you are familiar with this line of reasoning and understand it fully, but convincing you to act on it is between you and god and not any of their business.
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06-02-2018, 08:20 PM
RE: Dealing with Pascal's Wager
My usual answer is that the God idea has so many problems, inconsistencies and self contradictions that God cannot possible exist as described. So the wager isn't worth bothering with. Besides what God do I bet on? God of the Old testament and the Jews? The God of the New Testament and Jesus? The God of the Quran? The Bahis? Mormonism?

With so many One True revelations to choose from, it is obvious most are wrong. But could it be that with our propensity for making up false revelations, could it be all supposed revelations are baloney? So it is not about making a bad wager. It is about looking for hard evidence and rejecting bad evidence.. What do you have?

Pascals wager can never be a lazy man's shortcut to truth. Be on your way, you silly Christian!

“It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction.”
― Harry G. Frankfurt, On Bullshit

Cheerful Charlie
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06-02-2018, 08:25 PM
RE: Dealing with Pascal's Wager
Maybe suggest that Pascal had access to less information and evidence in the 1600s than we do today? It's kind of forgivable that people back then were ignorant...what's the excuse today?

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