Against Pascals Wager

Pascals wager says that we should believe in god because the cost of not believing could be eternity in hell while the cost of believing is 0. It’s wrong in a few obvious ways.

  • There is an infinitely large possible space of possible omnipotent beings. Many would punish faith, not reward it. Hence having faith is not a strictly dominant strategy.
  • Believing is not costless.
    • Submission to evil is bad (yes, most gods are evil.)
    • Having inaccurate beliefs about the world is bad. (If your utility function contains a term for belief accuracy)
    • Making yourself more vulnerable to religious infohazards. (If you believe religion is bad and seductive and accepting some of it’s tenants makes you more vulnerable to others.

I think a persons ability to understand and refute pascals wager type arguments is a good litmus test for general argumentative ability, at least in philosophy.

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