Author Topic: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]  (Read 3106 times)

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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #145 on: December 08, 2014, 08:56:14 PM »
I keep on reading the 100+ responses to my post and I keep thinking that you are all just ignoring the base math of the matter:

Atheism, if correct, yields zero afterlife utility
Christianity, if correct, yields either positive infinite utility or negative infinite utility (depending on your beliefs)

You keep ignoring the fact that no matter how much utility an afterlife might have, that does not make it true.

Even if there was an afterlife, atheism would still be the best bet, because it is most likely an afterlife of the many religions which reward living the best life, rather than christianity which depends on an arbitrary god who has already chosen the people he wants before they are born.
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Offline Nam

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #146 on: December 08, 2014, 09:44:07 PM »
Christians™ value of afterlife: sucking some god's dick[1] for all eternity.

Atheism provides: death, and nothing afterward.

I go with atheism.

Pascal's Wager may be better for sheep like you but for wolves like me it sure as hell isn't.

-Nam
 1. in the sense: why does a god need anything, such as forced love, from anyone -- it's a god, no? and let's say the Christian god exists then that's pretty much what we'll be doing, figuratively speaking -- that's not heaven for me, that's hell.
This thread is about lab-grown dicks, not some mincy, old, British poof of an actor. 

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #147 on: December 08, 2014, 10:05:26 PM »


Hi Dant

Most of your post was kind of poor and not really interesting enough for me to respond to.  But this piece was so glaring I could not just let it slip by:

You do not choose what you believe
This is not true.  You are in control of your beliefs.  Believers and non believers alike have access to all of the same information.  Some have chosen to believe in God, some have chosen not to.  The key is that, they made the choice.  If you think that you cannot choose your beliefs, then you are denying your role in filtering information and committing to certain beliefs.  How does anyone believe in Christianity if all the facts point away from it (as you are proposing)? They made the choice.  It is actually a critical point in Christianity: belief without certainty AKA Faith.

Ipse dixit.  So says you.  You have essentially replied to this point with a big, fat "nuh-uh!"  That's not going to cut it.  In a prior post I suggested you show how to do this by believing one preposterous idea - say the tooth faerie, or Santa, for example - until Xmas.  You've blithely ignored that.  Why is that, Dante?  Is it because you are well aware it is impossible for you to make yourself believe in Santa?  Your response here demands an explanation.

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Offline Defiance

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #148 on: December 08, 2014, 10:07:29 PM »
Christians™ value of afterlife: sucking some god's dick[1] for all eternity.

Atheism provides: death, and nothing afterward.

I go with atheism.

Pascal's Wager may be better for sheep like you but for wolves like me it sure as hell isn't.

-Nam
 1. in the sense: why does a god need anything, such as forced love, from anyone -- it's a god, no? and let's say the Christian god exists then that's pretty much what we'll be doing, figuratively speaking -- that's not heaven for me, that's hell.

As soon as they say "God wants..." they lose. Perfection desires nothing for it lacks nothing by definition.

Logically, one should not believe in the Christian Heaven and Hell because they do not want to be hypocrites by rejecting all other Heavens and Hells.
"God is just and fair"
*God kills 2.5 million of people he KNEW would turn out like this in the flood*
*Humanity turns bad again, when God knew it would*
We should feel guilty for this.

Online Azdgari

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #149 on: December 08, 2014, 10:33:17 PM »
I keep on reading the 100+ responses to my post and I keep thinking that you are all just ignoring the base math of the matter:

Atheism, if correct, yields zero afterlife utility
Christianity, if correct, yields either positive infinite utility or negative infinite utility (depending on your beliefs)

With only the above information, you get the expected value of Christianity to be greater than the expected value of Atheism.  This is Pascal's Wager through and through, and I know you have told me that Pascal's Wager has been discredited and debunked thoroughly, but really, you have not demonstrated that.  I find no reason, except just blind faith that you are telling me the truth, to believe that Pascal's Wager is false.  You all seem not to be too fond of blind faith, so I will ask that you provide more than just a statement that Pascal is wrong.

Not very convincing when you refrain from actually rebutting the arguments brought against it.  You just...ignore them.  It's as if people are posting to a robot that's only capable of repeating itself.

I also note that you did not at any point in the summaries below address the critical problem I outlined on the second page of the thread, way back in October:

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.

For each conception of a deity that rewards belief in deities, there is one that punishes it.  All forms of Pascal's Wager utterly fail on that point alone.  No wonder you didn't address it...

Also, "Christianity" is not a belief.  It is a cluster of beliefs.  Each one stands to be accepted or rejected on its own, and thus we require a separate instance of "Pascal's Wager" to argue for each one.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 12:24:08 AM by Azdgari »
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #150 on: December 08, 2014, 10:43:42 PM »
I keep on reading the 100+ responses to my post and I keep thinking that you are all just ignoring the base math of the matter:

No, several of us disagreed with the premise of your math and the conclusions you come to based on those premises.

And you ignored all that.  Or didn't actually read any of it.  Either of which is really rude and disrespectful.
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Offline Chronos

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #151 on: December 08, 2014, 10:45:03 PM »

    ...
 
You have argued the following:
Atheism provides a higher utility than Christianity while you are alive.
This is not verifiable.  It also is not a strong argument as you would have to demonstrate that the amount of utility gained by atheism over Christianity is so great that it overcomes the chance at infinite, positive utility. 

You do not choose what you believe
This is not true.  You are in control of your beliefs.  Believers and non believers alike have access to all of the same information.  Some have chosen to believe in God, some have chosen not to.  The key is that, they made the choice.  If you think that you cannot choose your beliefs, then you are denying your role in filtering information and committing to certain beliefs.  How does anyone believe in Christianity if all the facts point away from it (as you are proposing)? They made the choice.  It is actually a critical point in Christianity: belief without certainty AKA Faith.

   ...



Here's what I got from all of that:

Dante goes to the local bar on a Saturday night, flirts with a chick, they go back to her place, he's a little over the top but she's been short on dates for a while. Dante starts to show her some of his "utilities". At the zenith of his demonstration, she is staring at the ceiling while gripping the headboard. Dante withdraws, cocks his head to the side, zips his pants and says something like "Yeah, speechless, that's how the ladies are after having some of Dante's Inferno -- the hottest sex you've had in your life!" He walks into her kitchen, grabs the felt tip pen hanging on the fridge and writes his name, phone number with "best ever" on the dry erase board, and then and he yells to her "Seeya on Thursday!" as he walks out of her apartment. She turns over the side of her bed and vomits into the trash can.

John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Defiance

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #152 on: December 08, 2014, 11:23:16 PM »
...wut?^

Lol.
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We should feel guilty for this.

Online wright

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #153 on: December 08, 2014, 11:34:25 PM »
Here's what I got from all of that:

Dante goes to the local bar on a Saturday night, flirts with a chick, they go back to her place, he's a little over the top but she's been short on dates for a while. Dante starts to show her some of his "utilities". At the zenith of his demonstration, she is staring at the ceiling while gripping the headboard. Dante withdraws, cocks his head to the side, zips his pants and says something like "Yeah, speechless, that's how the ladies are after having some of Dante's Inferno -- the hottest sex you've had in your life!" He walks into her kitchen, grabs the felt tip pen hanging on the fridge and writes his name, phone number with "best ever" on the dry erase board, and then and he yells to her "Seeya on Thursday!" as he walks out of her apartment. She turns over the side of her bed and vomits into the trash can.

As obtuse as DS has been, this is inappropriate. As a reply, it doesn't reflect well on you.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #154 on: December 09, 2014, 12:18:25 AM »
Rather than countering every point that Dante Harnz tried to make, only to have him deny that those have any relevance to his presumed flawless mathematical equations, I'm going to mathematically show that his conclusion is wrong.  And maybe blow his mind at the same time, or at least teach him he doesn't know math as well as he thinks he does.

Let's take a hypothetical atheist and Christian who both have the same 'utility' value for their lives.  The exact number doesn't matter, because the point is this; the Christian will end up with a lower utility value than the atheist if the result of the wager is that God exists.

"But how can this be?", you might ask.  Well, it's actually pretty straightforward.  The Christian gets infinite positive utility if God exists, while the atheist gets negative positive utility.  So how can it possibly be that the atheist would have a higher utility than the Christian?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1_%2B_2_%2B_3_%2B_4_%2B_%E2%8B%AF

In short, mathematicians have proven that the sum of all natural numbers (1+2+3+4+...+n) is -1/12.  It stands to reason, based on the math involved, that the sum of all negative natural numbers (-1+-2+-3+-4+...+-n) would therefore be 1/12[1].  In short, the atheist, who didn't believe, would actually edge out the Christian slightly in terms of total overall utility, rendering the point of Pascal's Wager invalid; it is better not to believe in the Christian god than to believe, because you will end up with a slightly higher 'utility'.

In case people are interested, here's a mathematician explaining the reason why this breaks down as it does.

 1. the original equation ends up being -3c = 1/4, so if c ends up being a negative number, that would reverse the equation

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #155 on: December 09, 2014, 03:01:38 AM »
Not very convincing when you refrain from actually rebutting the arguments brought against it.  You just...ignore them.  It's as if people are posting to a robot that's only capable of repeating itself.

This is a pretty common phenomenon with believers here.  Take Skep, for example.  He repeats the same arguments, over and over again, thread after thread, with no adaptation to rebuttals given.

Christianity: it makes you fail the Turing Test.
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Offline Nam

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #156 on: December 09, 2014, 04:01:07 AM »
Forget the Turing test. It fails the Curing test.

;)

-Nam
This thread is about lab-grown dicks, not some mincy, old, British poof of an actor. 

Let's get back on topic, please.


Offline Mrjason

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #157 on: December 09, 2014, 06:06:51 AM »
I keep on reading the 100+ responses to my post and I keep thinking that you are all just ignoring the base math of the matter:

Atheism, if correct, yields zero afterlife utility
Christianity, if correct, yields either positive infinite utility or negative infinite utility (depending on your beliefs)

There you have it.

What if you've backed the wrong horse?

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #158 on: December 09, 2014, 06:52:34 AM »
Whilst it is completely fair to compare atheism with Christianity, it seems to me that it really doesn't answer any useful questions. The thing is that one needs to know if Christianity is true - hence the benefits of an afterlife actually happen - or if it is just hope and nothing else. After all, maybe the Eastern religions have something - maybe re-incarnation happens - and Christianity just false. We can't just pick a single religion and compare it as there is no way to validate its truth.

However, for the sake of discussion, let's try.

1. Morality Both Christians and atheists tend to be moral - moral not so much based on old books but on societal norms. Of course we are all stuck with keeping to the law of the country we live in and some of the morals stem from that. So morality is not an issue between the viewpoints

2. Religious Practice For Christians attending worship is thought to be important - indeed the NT doesn't envisage a Christian who is not part of a group that meets for worship. Let's say a couple of hours a week are needed for this worship[1]. That comes to around 100 hours a year of time. Now many Christians also meet for prayer, discussion and that sort of thing in the week, Let's allow another 100 hours for that. Finally, private prayer - perhaps 100 hours for that too. So that totals 300 hours a year.

3. Supporting the Church Churches don't run themselves and members end up having to do some work for them. Whether it's preparing for worship, cleaning, preparing for fundraising events and helping at them or even being part of the body that runs the church, members have to spend time for this. This could vay a lot but lets have a round 109 hours.

4. Supporting the Church Financially Quite a lot of religious organisations go for tithing with members paying 10% of their income to the church. Other Churches leave it up to members and, presumably, they pay quite a lot less than the 10%. Then, apart from the regular giving there's appeals - new roof, organ rebuild, you name it - and members are asked to pay towards these thing s too. We can't put a figure on this but people will have to think what it all might cost.

So, we have a commitment of 400 hours and quite a bit of ash for one year as a Christian. Over a period of say 30 or 40 years that's a lot of time and a lot of money. That, then, is the stake in the gamble.

Now, over the same period, the atheist has none of the above. The atheist is free to use the time for other, more deserving things such as helping people in need, helping charities raising money for overseas aid, well you can list such things. Then that cash.

Well, for tax purposes, religions are called charities and they don't pay tax.  I don't agree with this and whilst I would be happy to have any actual charitable work they do tax exempt, the vast amount of cash paid to them goes to keeping the roof on and paying the staff of the church which is not, really, charitable at all and is rather more like membership fees to a golf club or a tennis club. The atheist doesn't have to pay 'membership fees' to a religion and can use the money more wisely helping out charities that actually help people in need in their own country and abroad.

So, the comparison is to spend hours or time and lots of money in the hope of something better or to use the same time and money to help other people and to gain a worthwhile purpose in life. So far as I am concerned, until someone can show me that Christianity is true and that there really is an afterlife I will remain an atheist and have purpose helping others in this life, expecting my own annihilation at death.   
 1. Allowing time for travel etc
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #159 on: December 09, 2014, 04:56:35 PM »

You would rather be in Hell than with a God who would punish His children
That is about the most arrogant thing I think you could believe (Though, I admit that I believed it once too).  If there is a God who is all powerful, all knowing, all present, and all loving AND He punishes His children, then it stands that His decision to punish His children, while seemingly cruel to us, is the best thing to do.  He is God.  You are not going to be able to understand Him the way you understand things in the world.  You can't even tell me what the circumference (in inches) of a circle that is 1 inch in diameter.  Please write it out for me if you can.  If you think you can understand God (as the Christian Bible describes Him), then you are grossly overestimating your own intellect.


Of all of the highly problematic responses Dante gave in his post, this is the one that bothers me the most. It turns any claim to superior morality based on theism completely upside down. He is saying that we cannot judge anything god does as either good or bad. Or rather, we must assume that everything god does, no matter how it appears to us, is good. Sunsets and flowers and puppies and loving grandmas who bake apple pies are good, yes, but it is only because god made them, not because they appear to us to be beautiful, beneficial or pleasing. We must thank god for them because he made them. Likewise, tsunamis, crop fungus, suicide bombers, rabies, and sociopaths who steal people's life savings are also good, because god made them, too. Even though they do not appear to us as pleasing, beneficial or beautiful, we cannot assume to judge god. We cannot even calculate the circumference of a circle. WTF do we know? We must thank god for ebola, Sadaam Hussein, polar bear extinction and miscarriages, because he made them.[1]

This is a very fatalistic outlook, closer to fundamentalist Islam than most versions of Christianity that I am familiar with.  The person/being/entity in power is never wrong. Dictatorship is therefore the best form of government possible. Who are you to question the goodness of absolute power? Remember, if the president does it, it is not illegal.

There is also a hint of Hinduism-- the world is just as it should be, and there is no reason to change anything. Humans should not treat illness or cure diseases. Lose a leg to diabetes? Praise god! Lose a child to leukemia? Praise god! Lose your mind to dementia? You get the idea. We should not do research on global warming or help people in disasters, because everything that happens is god's will and therefore good.

God is in total control and humans (as well as animals, plants, insects, viruses, whatever) are just his lucky little pawns. We must be grateful god ever bothered to create us and consider any attention he pays us as gravy. A slap, punch or kick from god is exactly the same as him handing you tickets to a rock concert, a 4-year college scholarship or a brand new car.

As a social worker, I cannot tell you how many times an abused woman (all highly religious BTW) told me a version of this:
"He forced the children to stand in the living room for 6 hours while he drank beer, and when they peed on themselves, he beat them, sure, but it is just that the kids don't really understand him. He set me on fire that one time, and if I could figure him out and do all the right things, when I am done with the skin grafts, he would not have to do things like that anymore. He did shoot me in the cheek with his gun, but I was talking and he got tired of the nagging. I was out working too much, that's why he had to rape my 14 year old daughter."[2]

How do you explain to someone that pain and abuse and fear are not signs of love, when they also believe that the most loving being they can imagine drowns babies, destroys cities, and burns his children for all eternity?

I think I just got another chapter for my book..... >:(
 1. And, no, you can't wiggle out by invoking the Satan Escape Clause. In this scenario, god made everything, including Satan. And we cannot judge Satan as evil if he is doing exactly the same thing as god, now can we?
 2. All real incidents.
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 shnozzola

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #160 on: December 09, 2014, 05:20:47 PM »
Nogods,
          Your story is so sad, and you write so well, it seems you're making yourself unbelievably upset as you go on.  It certainly makes me upset.  So god is love, eh?
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 05:24:04 PM by shnozzola »
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #161 on: December 12, 2014, 05:22:43 PM »
I keep on reading the 100+ responses to my post and I keep thinking that you are all just ignoring the base math of the matter:

Atheism, if correct, yields zero afterlife utility
Christianity, if correct, yields either positive infinite utility or negative infinite utility (depending on your beliefs)

Dante, your calculations are wrong.

This is one of the reasons. Different people promise to buy you a drink, orange, tea, wine, and beer. Let's say that you like all of them equally and give them the same utility. Does that mean they have an equal expected utility? No.

The reason is that you have been promised the orange today, the tea in five years, the wine in fifty years, and the beer in five hundred years. This means that the expected utility of the beer is zero. An impossible event always has an expected utility of zero no matter how much you utility you give the event.

In your calculations you have confused the utility which you give to a belief with the expected utility of that belief. In order to get the expected utility, you have to muliply the utility by the probability that the outcome will happen. You cannot prove that the probability for any of your outcomes, except for living the life you have now, is anything except zero, so the greatest utility is to be atheist and invest everything in the life you have now.

If you decide to arbitrarily give probabilities for the existence of the christian heaven and the buddhist heaven, you will be assuming the very thing you want to prove, so the method is wrong. Now, you might say that the exact calculations are impossible but we can assume an existence of the various heavens has a probability above zero. This makes no difference since atheism is compatible with the buddhist heaven and you cannot favour one unknown above another. The only known expected utility is in this life and you should invest in it fully by being atheist.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #162 on: December 16, 2014, 12:27:10 PM »
I keep on reading the 100+ responses to my post and I keep thinking that you are all just ignoring the base math of the matter:

Atheism, if correct, yields zero afterlife utility
Christianity, if correct, yields either positive infinite utility or negative infinite utility (depending on your beliefs)

With only the above information, you get the expected value of Christianity to be greater than the expected value of Atheism.  This is Pascal's Wager through and through, and I know you have told me that Pascal's Wager has been discredited and debunked thoroughly, but really, you have not demonstrated that.  I find no reason, except just blind faith that you are telling me the truth, to believe that Pascal's Wager is false.  .......
There are countless other beliefs that might be true
This does not impact the comparison between Christianity and Atheism.  You say that there are more options than just Atheism and Christianity.  You are correct, but just think about it: adding more options to the mix does not change direction the inequality.  Imagine I told you to choose the greater number, 1 or 2.  Then I tell you that there are an infinite number of other options, but I still tell you to choose the greater number, either 1 or 2.  Because I have asked you to restrict your set of choices, you can effectively ignore the other options and choose between the two options.

That's the point though - because there potentially ARE other choices, you can't pick between just two.  That's the very reason Pascal's wager doesn't work - because you can't correctly make a binary choice when there are more than two options.

To use your number analogy - it is like you are saying "pick the greatest number between 1 and 2......and ignore the fact that (a) there is also the number 5, and (b) if you pick an even number, I will kick you in the nuts".  Telling me I can ONLY pick the larger number of 1 and 2 does not remove (a) or (b) from reality.

Now....if you want to prove that ONLY 1 or 2 exist, then that's fine - I can then make a choice between the only two proven options.  But unless and until you can, 5 - and the kick in the nuts for choosing 2 - remains possible, and has to be factored in to any choice.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #163 on: December 16, 2014, 02:55:10 PM »
I wonder how well Pascal's Wager goes down in Thailand, India or Saudi Arabia? "Hello, fine people of the Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim persuasion. I have a wager for you. You get to pick either Christianity (a religion you don't believe in) or no religion at all. If Christianity is false, you lose nothing. Except the very real chance that Buddhism, Hinduism or Islam was true. However, I have to warn you, if you don't pick Christianity, and it is true, you will go to hell."

I think you will be laughed out of the place as a nutter. If you are lucky.... &)
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 Nam

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #164 on: December 16, 2014, 03:17:08 PM »
The hindus will invite you for tea and you'll leave with dysentery.

The Muslim will chop off your head and hand it to you.

The Buddhist will say a prayer, and you'll turn into an ant and they'll accidentally step on you.

-Nam
This thread is about lab-grown dicks, not some mincy, old, British poof of an actor. 

Let's get back on topic, please.


Offline Astreja

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #165 on: December 16, 2014, 03:27:12 PM »
The hindus will invite you for tea and you'll leave with dysentery.

The Muslim will chop off your head and hand it to you.

The Buddhist will say a prayer, and you'll turn into an ant and they'll accidentally step on you.

And in Norse mythology you get to choose between a valiant second death fighting off a horde of fire giants, versus sitting around in a cold, drafty room in Niflheim, reading and re-reading Hel's collection of old Reader's Digest magazines while waiting for something -- Anything! -- to happen.

(slams drinking horn on banquet table)  Barkeep!  Another round of mead for the house.
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: Why, logically, you should believe in Heaven and Hell [#2809]
« Reply #166 on: December 18, 2014, 10:27:22 PM »
I wonder how well Pascal's Wager goes down in Thailand, India or Saudi Arabia? "Hello, fine people of the Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim persuasion. I have a wager for you. You get to pick either Christianity (a religion you don't believe in) or no religion at all. If Christianity is false, you lose nothing. Except the very real chance that Buddhism, Hinduism or Islam was true. However, I have to warn you, if you don't pick Christianity, and it is true, you will go to hell."

I think you will be laughed out of the place as a nutter. If you are lucky.... &)

Pascals Wager, and another favorite of mine St Anselm's 'Proof' both rely on the idea that their chosen concept is correct.  They're essentially just early forms of 'presupposition apologetics'.  As such they suffer the common failing of all apologetics, in that an argument that relies on apologetics is an auto-failure from the start since an argument that relies on facts would not need apologetics in the first place.

I frequently compare it to people who claim the moon landings were faked (Thanks, interstellar for reminding me).  Turns out we don't have to rely on all the very real world yet merely 'documented by the hands of man' evidence.. we can prove it with a reasonably powerful laser.  In any country that can see the moon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Laser_Ranging_experiment




Hey, imagine that.  No faith required.





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.