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.