Reason Freely

Richard Dawkins defeats Pascal’s Wager in 1 min 24 sec

Posted in discussion seed by reasonfreely on April 19, 2010

Pascal’s wager is never officially brought up. However, the questioner asks basically the same question: “What if you’re wrong?” (that God does not exist) to Richard Dawkins. She implies that there is a consequence to his unbelief and wants him to discuss his thoughts on that. His reply is a bit more scathing than I would prefer (see my previous post about that). But he does make it funny, and he isn’t entirely heartless.

Pascal’s wager, by the way, basically goes like this: If you’re religious, you expend some effort to avoid hell. If there is no hell, you have wasted some effort for zero gain; if there is a hell, you have used some effort for an immeasurable (infinite, according to Pascal) gain. The flaw, as Dawkins points out, is that there are other options (Pascal’s wager was invented in relatively religiously homogeneous Europe). What if — just to throw one out there — right-wing Muslims were right, and the unconverted (e.g. Christians) are doomed to infinite torment?

EDIT: Similar to what Dawkins says, what Heaven looks like depends on what your culture longs for.
Good read.


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