[extropy-chat] Survival

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Wed Apr 11 11:48:10 UTC 2007

On 4/11/07, Stirling Westrup <sti at pooq.com> wrote:

This is just a redressing of the old argument for believing in God. Either
> there is a God and worshipping Him will grant you salvation, or this is
> not
> and you are doomed. So, worship God, because that is the only hope you
> have.
> It didn't convince me as a kid, and it doesn't convince me now.

You are perhaps thinking of Pascal's Wager, which is slightly more subtle
than you have indicated: If God exists and you believe in him, you win
eternal life, whereas if he exists and you don't believe in him, you go to
hell. On the other hand, if God does not exist you don't gain or lose
anything by believing or not believing in him. Therefore, if you are
uncertain about God's existence, you have more to gain by believing in him.
The argument falls down because, even if you could just decide to believe
something on the basis of a calculation of utility, you would risk
punishment at the hands of all the rest of the universe's possible jealous
gods if you decided to believe in the Bible's Sky God.

I don't think John's argument takes this form.

Stathis Papaioannou
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