Author Topic: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]  (Read 847 times)

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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2014, 03:45:27 PM »
Nice to see that you're as well-mannered in person as you are when you're writing letters, Dante.

Expected Values are only useful when you only know the potential outcomes of different decisions.  It is like gambling, you know the payouts of different bets, but not which bet will come up as "true."  With this situation, it is a little bit difficult because you don't actually know if the expected payouts are even real or not.  No one is going to know that until they are dead, so it is kind of a moot point.  We only have the knowledge we have to go off of, so we need to use that to the best of our ability.
This is certainly true, and that's why we should avoid basing the decisions we make in real life on things that we have no real knowledge of.

Quote from: Dante Harnz
I also want to point out that it is not very fair to say my paper has 16 assumptions, most of my assumptions are really just definitions of the terms I am using in the paper.  Only about three or four really quality as true assumptions and I put some time into at least providing rationales for them and testing their validity.
I was going based off of your own list.  In any case, the point I was trying to make was not that your paper was unsound because you made X assumptions, but that it didn't really provide any greater explanatory power to justify making them.  Occam's razor is a principle of parsimony for problem-solving; without concrete knowledge, it is better to pick an explanation which has the least number of assumptions, because it is always possible to prop up an explanation by adding additional ad hoc assumptions onto it.

Quote from: Dante Harnz
I do appreciate you considering my article as I appreciate different perspectives on it.  I would also love to hear if you think I flubbed the math anywhere as that would be helpful in me making sure I am not making any unsound arguments.
I didn't see any mistakes in the math.  The problem is that your math was constructed to support your reasoning; if your reasoning is flawed, then it doesn't matter how accurate your math is.  By the same token, you can have the best logical proof in the world, but if your premise is flawed or unsupportable...

Offline Hatter23

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #30 on: May 30, 2014, 07:49:07 AM »
Read the title, knew it was going to be Pascal's Wager. It was.

There is an infinite benefit, the is an infinitesimal chance of being correct: These cancel each other out.

If you truly, truly believed in Pascal's wager you should send me $600.00, because there a very tiny chance I will grant you infinite money.

An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #31 on: May 30, 2014, 05:08:44 PM »
Hi Dante Harnz. Resident black dreadlocked atheist commie mommy here.

You are teh awesome for giving us some actual math! I love math. Most of the theists who come here just give us words. I love words, too, btw.

But the one thing I am looking for, even more than math or words, is evidence that what you believe is true. That is still lacking. But not to worry. No other theist has ever done it, either. With a track record of none, it is not surprising that you could not do it, either.

You might want to consider running the same calculations with Islam, since that religion has a much more attractive paradise in the afterlife and, even more importantly, a much worse hell for the unbelievers.

If I had to take Pascal's wager at gunpoint, I would choose Islam over some namby pamby liberal version of Christianity. Allah really kicks your a$$ for not following him. Muslims are supposed to choose death before denying their god, and even kill members for changing to a different religion. Some will even kill you for telling them about a different religion. That's way hardcore.[1]

Stick around. I like you so far.  :-*
 1. At the college where I teach, old dudes from some religious group were handing out free bibles. I just tell them I am not religious and leave it at that. One of my veiled Muslim students politely informed the man that for her to even touch a bible was haram (forbidden). Good for her!
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Online Mrjason

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #32 on: June 17, 2014, 04:34:14 AM »
Read the title, knew it was going to be Pascal's Wager. It was.

There is an infinite benefit, the is an infinitesimal chance of being correct: These cancel each other out.

If you truly, truly believed in Pascal's wager you should send me $600.00, because there a very tiny chance I will grant you infinite money.

Actually, I am an aristocrat from a west african country. I need to launder a vast sum of money for an implausible reason. If you give me your account details and logins I will allow you to keep some of the money.

Online One Above All

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2014, 04:42:18 AM »
Actually, I am an aristocrat from a west african country. I need to launder a vast sum of money for an implausible reason. If you give me your account details and logins I will allow you to keep some of the money.

Really? Wow!
My name is "Dr. One Above All" without quotes, account number "257 160 006" without quotes, login "1 4M N0T 4N 1D10T", with spaces and without quotes.
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Offline YRM_DM

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #34 on: June 17, 2014, 07:46:13 AM »
Even if this is a real thing, and the formula had value... you could screw the whole thing up by introducing a new religion with greater rewards and punishments.

The next scientology or whatever, could promise 100 hot partners for eternity and eternal torture for you and your family if you decline, so, therefore, you'd have to believe in that because it'd have the best possible chance of giving the best possible reward and avoiding the worst fate.

If there's a standard that the new religion would have to prove some level of validity first, then, that same standard would have to apply to all religions and we're back to atheism.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2014, 09:39:37 AM by YRM_DM »
You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2014, 05:44:36 PM »
Seems like religions are going in the wrong direction from Pascal.

Nowadays, at least for liberal Christians, everyone and their corgi gets to go to heaven, as long as they try to be nice. Nobody is in burning their giblets off in the lake of fire. What used to be hell is now just "separation from god", which is basically normal everyday life forever.

So, choose to believe in nonsense and hang out with Joel Orsteen forever in Disneyland. Or just keep doing what you are doing. And you get to keep doing what you are doing. Whatev.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Devils Advocate

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #36 on: October 14, 2014, 02:31:04 PM »
Your math is wrong because it is based upon assumptions that skew to one side.

8.       Let the utility gained by experiencing eternal bliss be a very large number represented by h

Why is the belief in heaven afforded a large number? On what basis do you assign a value of 0 to atheism?

At the very least, there should be a number assigned to represent the value of a better life through atheism (i.e., living without fear of a judging god, relative morality, the possibility of a society where public policy is based upon current reality rather than badly translated copies of copies of documents which no longer exist, etc).

If you are going to start from an assumption that the potential existence of heaven has a greater value than the possibility of a better life here on earth, then you need not bring math into the argument, because Pascal already had those assumptions in his original argument.

I will give you props for not quoting the bible, though...
"Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist."
Epicurus

Offline MadBunny

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #37 on: Yesterday at 04:53:36 PM »

Try a simple substitution.
Lets say gambling in place of afterlife.

Your chance of becoming a billionaire are probably stronger if you gamble than if you don't, therefore gambling is the only logical choice.
Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night.  Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #38 on: Yesterday at 07:04:46 PM »
Expected Values are only useful when you only know the potential outcomes of different decisions.  It is like gambling, you know the payouts of different bets, but not which bet will come up as "true."  With this situation, it is a little bit difficult because you don't actually know if the expected payouts are even real or not.  No one is going to know that until they are dead, so it is kind of a moot point.  We only have the knowledge we have to go off of, so we need to use that to the best of our ability.

This is really where Pascal's Wager in any of its forms logically fails.[1]  Simply put, if we don't know if 'A' actions combined with 'X' beliefs will have a positive or negative result if 'X' turn out to be true, then the game-theory reasoning behind the Wager doesn't work.

One must pre-suppose that the religious beliefs involved are correct, for it to work.  That is to say that one must hold belief in gods to yield a possible reward, and disbelief to hold a possible punishment.

But if we already believed that, then there would be no point in Pascal's Wager to begin with; we would already be believers.  A non-believer need not make the assumptions I just described.  Logically, from the perspective of a non-believer, it might just as likely yield a punishment if we believe, and a reward if we disbelieve, because we have not yet accepted a religion that holds otherwise.

Were you aware of this flaw when you wrote your original letter, DH?
 1. Without getting into the "believing for reasons other than truth" issues.
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #39 on: Yesterday at 07:22:19 PM »

So, really, you end up with an undefined positive number if the number of beliefs becomes infinite.  This number could either be very very big or very very small.

<....>

At that point, you would have to rely on arguing that Atheism provides more utility while you are alive than the Heaven and Hell beliefs do, which would again be a difficult argument to make.

<....>

(Clipped for brevity)

Hello Dante,
Welcome to the forum.


Infinity can't be a small number, but any number divided into infinity becomes numerically indistinguishable from zero.

So if we have say, five religions and we apply pascals wager we stand a 20% chance of being correct, if none are correct then Atheism is the correct choice.
Your options with Atheism are 50% correct and 20% wrong.  It's either correct or it isn't.  Your odds with being an Atheist are much greater.

If we have infinite choices of religions, and we choose one of them we stand mathematically close to zero percent chance of choosing correctly, whereas with Atheism the odds are still exactly the same.


For what it's worth, if we break this down into comprehensible numbers, there are apparently about 4,200 religions and spiritual systems.  Some are a bit wonky in my opinion, but hey Catholics, amirite?[1]

So lets use 4,200 for your check on Pascals wager.

This gives you a .023% chance of choosing the correct religion for an afterlife plan.
Again, Atheism remains at 50% correct, or .023% that it's wrong.

You will recognize this as BAD MATH, hopefully.  Since the odds on Atheist being correct actually go up as the odds on it being wrong go down.
It's more like the odds are (for five religions) 80% vs 20% and (for 4,200 religions) 99.977% correct vs .023%

If we use vs Pascals wager, we get the only choice worth making is Atheism.  The odds on choosing the one true religion out of infinity choices is numerically indistinguishable from zero.


*edit: ascii code for infinity didn't work.  Replaced with image.



 1.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religions_and_spiritual_traditions
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 07:29:07 PM by MadBunny »
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #40 on: Yesterday at 09:31:20 PM »
The assumption contained in Pascal's Wager is that there is a god who is arbitrarily evil. That is, he bases his criteria on something irrelevant like belief. It is a no win situation since he cannot be trusted in heaven either, and you will most likely dislike the other people because they are chosen arbitrarily.

In game theory, the optimum strategy is to start by assuming a good outcome. If we assume that a god is consistently good and rewards people for the quality of their lives, then atheism is better since atheist countries have better standards of morality. We also have the best outcome with the best god in the best heaven with the best people.

Atheism is also better if there is a Buddhist heaven without a god or no god at all.
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Online relativetruth

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Assumptions:
1.       Let n equal the count of all possible beliefs
2.       Let a equal the count of beliefs where, if you are wrong, you cease to exist.
3.       Let b equal the count of beliefs where, if you are wrong, you experience eternal torment.
4.       Let c equal the count of beliefs where, if you are wrong, you experience eternal bliss.
5.       Let x equal the count of your belief, i.e., 1
6.       Based on the above, x = 1
7.       Based on the above, n=a+b+c+1


a,b,c,x do not cover ALL possible scenarios.

If you are a Buddhist or Hindu and you are right then you do not cease to exist or experience eternal torment or eternal bliss.
God(s) exist and are imaginary