Leveraging Pascal’s Wager

  1. “God is, or He is not”
  2. A Game is being played… where heads or tails will turn up.
  3. According to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.
  4. You must wager. It is not optional.
  5. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
  6. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (…) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.

Blaise Pascal

Pensées, part III, note 233

The point of Pascal’s wager is to hedge ones afterlife bet, and that means picking the safest option – to Pascal, that meant at least acting as if you believed in god. Which was sound advice in a time when not doing so was heresy and a death sentence.

The problem with people who pose the wager as if some kind of cosmic gotcha, is that they think their god is the safest bet, otherwise, they wouldn’t be worshiping it. Never mind what that means about their individual faith, but the wager is a false choice and crafted as if there are only the two options: yes god, no god.

Believers who feel compelled to believe because they believe that believing doesn’t cause harm and gives them an afterlife advantage haven’t considered that there’s far more options than their particular god. There’s been 10’s of thousands of gods spread over a large number of distinct religions and compounded by the number of sects that each religion invariable splits into as well as considering all religions that are no longer practiced or will be practiced.

So it’s something of a shock to modern believers to learn that atheists who don’t see a difference between future, current and historical religions, and who view all religions as equally invalid choices given that they all have the same no evidence whatsoever to recommend them above any other. Moreover, the wager is a false dilemma as the choice is not between god and no god, but no god and any number of gods.

On the balance, rather than risk betting on any particular god and very gravely risking finding yourself in an unanticipated negative afterlife or being reborn to try again because there is an actual god and it’s not one that was worshiped either during your lifetime or in the geographic region you were born and raised in – for if gods exist and have anything in common, it’s jealous insecurity about being ignored in favour of other gods – so then not believing in any god, but living to the best of your ability would be the safest manner to not give offense if there happens to be a god, because behaviour and not worship should matter more to any deity that’s worth worshiping.

Living well and without god-worship, if there is a god, at least keeps you in good stead for the life you lived, rather than living well and worshiping  a false idol, which is going to be something of a stumbling block to be explained and taken into account in any assessment of you.

By taking the god option in the wager, you also risk angering any god by false belief – worshiping merely to obtain afterlife reward and avoid afterlife punishment is hardly flattering to the god in question, and any god that existed, would surely be able to see through such self-serving conduct and could hardly reward such greed with the same reward given to people who believe because they actually believe and are motive by the threats of punishment and promise of reward for good behaviour.

Actually, maybe there’s not really a difference, so much as the degree of motivating fear and self-interest between the two.

This is actually something of a pet peeve for me when dealing with believers – that they are unable to understand that just because they are motivated by or find compelling threats of hell and promises of heaven (or whatever the given religion’s afterlife promises/threats are) they cannot comprehend that atheists are not compelled or motivated by threats or promises that are lacking in force.

If you do not believe there’s a god, then any threat or promise that stems from said god is not going to induce spine tingling terror or joy. Ultimatums that are issued without tangible proof are simply not compelling and generally, the natural inclination of response to any ultimatum, is to pick the option the issuer of said ultimatum sees as least desirable just to point out to them that they are rarely willing to make good on their ultimatum threat. And, if they are, then you are generally better off without them in your life. Ditto for deities.

Mind you, in all my school years of observing dozens of so called class clowns, the one and only time anyone ever took the “go to the principal” vs “settle down” option, was myself in high school when presented with the option of putting my umbrella on the sideline to play soccer in the rain or the dread go see the principal. My companion in crime immediately cast her umbrella aside, while I cheerfully headed off the field. The principal’s attempt to reason with me – ‘you can’t really safely play soccer with an umbrella’ was more than easily defeated with my reply that common sense dictates to not play outside in the rain at all. It was an interesting experience for this goody-two shoes policy wonk to spend the balance of the hour in the “bad boy” chairs outside the administrative office just to see the shocked look on teacher and other student’s faces.

I realized at an early age that the cost of standing up for oneself – or what was right – paid off in unexpected ways, and that common sense really isn’t that common. Worse, that more often than not, authority’s only concern is perpetuating itself, rather than being harnessed for any general or specific social good; so I have learned that authority can only be trusted and relied upon only as far as its own self-interest: consolidating wealth and power to an elite class of power wielders who demand respect, but never command it. Respect being earned and not bestowed – and serving self-interest, does not merit respect.

Respect is often confused with worship that is unearned and undeserved and worst of all, uncritical. This is why religionists demand special consideration of their beliefs and person, and they demand “respect” for their views, when they are really expecting worship – especially from non-believers. Really, if atheists were inclined or capable of uncritically viewing religion, then we’d be believers.

But, not being motivated by afterlife ultimatums or uncritically examining claims doesn’t leave a lot of common ground between believers and non-believers. But there’s a purpose for non-believers to engage with believers and that is to debunk their misconceptions.

The foremost one being that we’re not believers because we haven’t understood or been exposed to their religion – although what kind of a bubble they think we could exist in to have not been exposed is unclear. Most atheists were believers at some point, usually childhood and teens, sometimes into adulthood. The reality is that the average atheists knows more about the different religions and about any specific religion more than the average theists knows about their own – and theists tend to be unschooled about faiths that are not their own, except to demonize them as false while not being willing to apply the same degree of critical thinking to their own faith.

Besides the opportunity to explain basic science to theists – because too many simply don’t know or believe the creationist’s creative interpretation and their tarting up religion in sciencey language – the most important myth to debunk for believers is that the basis of morality is not divine.

There are many systems of morality and none of them require divinity, that human morals are human values – and everyone has morals, just not always the same ones or on the same basis. That morals are relative and not absolute, they are often circumstance dependent and require balancing many factors. The flimsiest basis for morals is the divine model, because determining actions on the basis of punishment or reward just means following the orders of the biggest bully who’s only the biggest bully until some bigger bully comes along.

Making good choices based on the information available is the best anyone can hope to do, and good choices are often complex and not based on a simple obtain reward/avoid punishment model. Since in the short term, lying, withholding, covering up, being dishonest are the actions that lead to immediate punishment avoidance if not obtaining an undeserved reward. And, if done well enough, there’s no long term downside if the deception remains undetected.

More than that, merely avoiding punishment and reward seeking behavior has no nobility or strength of character as motivating factors – and these are their own reward. It takes courage to stand alone, to inspire others to stand with you for a cause or purpose that’s bigger than immediate gratification.

Knowing you’re capable of doing the right thing, without material gain or reward, is its own reward: earned self-respect.

This doesn’t mean risking your life to save other people, although it might, it just means not bending to peer pressure or being a bystander, but by being authentic and a participating contributor in the world.

It’s Norma Rae holding up the hand letter “union” sign and the machinists, one by one, turning off the machines and conveying to management that fair wages and treatment should be the norm, not the exception.

It is being the change you want to see in the world, it is understanding the should of things and acting as if it is.

It means your actions are as your word and holding yourself to a higher standard, despite the costs, is what being a hero or martyr or authentic regular person is all about.

It is not living small, worshiping ultimatum issuing deities for whom there is no evidence or rational by which to accept there’s force or merit to said ultimatum or deity, and living small wishing for reward and avoiding punishment with the unfounded promise that you are part of a grand plan that you are not privy to.

Especially not when there’s a clear alternative that you can live as an active participant in an actual grander plan of your own design and ability to bring about in the world. If you are going to believe in anything uncritically, then believe in yourself.

Existentially Yours

Nothing

Something

Everything

Anything

Yes, no, both, neither

Yes, maybe, no

Positive, negative

Creation, existence, destruction, nothing

Love, sex, orgasm, true love, big bang, creation

Metaphor, everything and nothing

Rise and fall, back and forth, compromise, limbo

Everything is it’s polar opposite,

truth is everything to it’s absolute

lies are nothing to it’s absolute

truth and lies are absolute

absolute is relative to something

something is nothing

Creation, existence, destruction, nothing

God

Understand everything

Perpetual self awareness

Positive, negative, yes, no

Self aware

compromise, yes, no

Choices, absent, present,

personality

identity

we are everything and nothing (identity)

we are relative – magnitudes of the same extremes (personality)

everyone is another version of ourselves

we are all switches for each other, off and on

genes, binary

molecules, solar systems

bouncing and switching

atoms, genes, cells, organisms, organs, systems, individual

individual is a part of the collective

individuals are more than the sum of their parts

we must each play a part

we are parts

we are parts of each other

switches

everyone

anyone

someone

one

no one

all or nothing

yes, no

both

none

aware, unaware, self aware, oblivious

exist, express, create, communicate

evolution, creation

orgasm

hero working through all possibilities

villain opposing at each turn

heroes are villains working in reverse

switching, switching each other

trying to take each other along

influence, manipulate, bully, corrupt

violence

peace

yes, no

oblivion, peace, protest, up-rise, revolt, civil war, war, warfare

Mouth, taking in everything tolerable, destroying it

Digestive, extraction, selection, absorption, expellation

Excreting, anus, gas, liquid, solids

Mouth, anus, star, black hole

Something, mumble, nothing, yell

Yell, hearing, action, reaction

Yes no

Light dark

Sight blind

See, aware, conscious, self aware, enlightenment, self enlightenment, perpetual enlightenment, unenlightened

Collective, individual, compassion, individual as part, parts become whole, the whole is the sum of it’s parts, self-aware, enlightened, self enlightened, yes no, perpetually enlightened god

Everything, nothing

Yes, no

Expand, contract

Erupt, disburse, nothing

Nothing, something

Individual, Driving it opposing it, compromise; both neither; me you; me or you, yes no

Nothing, everything, no one everyone god

Driving it, helping it, mocking it, in on it, opposing it, resigned to it, bored of it

Yes             maybe        neither        everything  nothing, depressed, is that all there is

Here it comes again, orgasm

Life is sex, creation

Life is consumption and destruction

This is insanity

But I am sane

Sane is clarity, but insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results, there’s nothing sane about clarity when you have to consider everything to be right

Right, wrong,

Yes, no

And endless loop

Life imitates sex – missionary to kinky

It doesn’t matter which path, as long as it takes us there

Paths are interwoven patterns

Patterns of loops, forward, backwards, sideways, up, down, movement, stillness

Patterns abstract and concrete

There and not

Everything and nothing

Yes no

Shift POV, left, right, centered, justified

To the side, balanced

Yes, no

Heartbeats

Rhythm – music, art

Pattern

Math, science

Each word a beginning, an end, a branch, a joining

Patterns are a rich tapestry

Tapestry of life

Life is a journey

Journeys are made of steps

Foot steps

Rhythm

Digress, loop back, stop, move ahead

Rhythm of the night

Night day, light dark

Yes, no

Exist or not

Exist, create

Comsume, expel

To destroy is to create

Mouths nourish and destroy

Digestion blends and extracts

Expel, expunge, expose, reveal, truth

Destruction is creation

Something from nothing

Yes no

We eat, we blend, extract, destroy and expel

So, are farts the big bang or is orgasm

Orgasm deconstructs, rests, sleep

Sleep is the little death

Orgasm before sleep

Life before death

Sex nourishes and consumes us

Casts us into darkness

Waking to light

Existing

Awareness, conscious

Self aware

Awake

Awake is walking sleep

Existence is experiencing everything

Time makes that impossible

Time is relative

Relative is absolute

All and nothing

All or nothing

Yes no

Either both

Maybe

Expel, express, communication, common frame, POV

Tools, technology

Letters, language

Extract expand

Acronyms, words, phrases, sayings, expressions, thoughts, belief

Faith, dogma

Feel the pattern, see the pattern, be the pattern

The pattern collapses and pulls into itself

Push, pull, yes, no

Push me pull you switch

Me you, or and

Me

You

Me and you love

You

Me

Me more than you, selfish

You more than me, true love

The pattern, flipping, becomes a ling, flip becomes a dot

Dot’s shadow is a line

Shadows, light dark, twilight

Yes maybe no

Shadows, twilight, light, dark

Any light is light

No light is dark

Polar opposites

Yes or no

Resolved is the beginning and end

perpetually

but I’ve solved problems that felt big before and never experienced this

experience nothing?

Experience everything

Who said that?

I’m the only one

But I heard something

There must be someone else

Only one is god

Another god is maybe one before me?

I am the only one, there can be no others before me

But there is another one

Love hate like indifferent

Yes no

I wonder if men fixate on Jesus and women on Joan of Arc

And the civilization that ties to each is different, male female different

Sexuality is about who you’re attracted to, attraction is fatal, true attraction is preference for the other person over yourself, true love

Gender is part of identity, who you identify with

Men

Gay man

Woman

Gay woman

MtFwM  straight is gay

MtFwW gay is straight

WtMwW straight is gay

WtMwW gay is straight

Yes, no, maybe, both doubled into itself, a transition in the pattern

True love is opposites

Opposites are switches, genes

Off on

You always hurt the one you love, ignorance is absence from god, so hate the minority who is closest to god

Life, death, reincarnation, eternity

Yes no

The start is the beginning, stillness, looping, everywhere and no where

Life, death, reincarnation, eternity

Life Branches off into every possible experience

Death is oblivion

Reincarnation is perpetual rebirth, redeath

Perpetual is eternity

Everything is nothing

Yes no

Everything exists within and without, in-between and nowhere

Everything is a building block that works both directions in order of magnitude

When everything has happened, there’s nothing left

Enlightenment is the individual process of evolution

You don’t know

You think you know

You’re sure you know

You know

You get it

You’re in on it

You’re the target of it

You’re the push back

Gravity, repulsion, love, hate, light dark, yes no – all and nothing

Contradiction in everything, but it

……..

Enlightenment interruptus

………

Pulled back to reality from absolute abstraction

New loop within the loop

The closer you get to truth, the more limited your option

Truth is a death trap

Gnostic agnostic

Theist atheist

Thinker doer

I am self aware of the pattern

Accept, in which case, I can move on to unawareness and existence, sanity, random from pattern

Reject, in which case, I am stuck, looped, repeating, insane

If I accept, I am in on it

Loop around

Accept again, and I am inside and resisting it. Mocking? Fighting?

Ah, creation again, new layer

What can I accept?

Wait, is this the new final layer

Agnostic (can’t know the pattern) clueless, doubt

Gnostic (know the pattern) clued in

Atheist (reject pattern) ignore clues, reject, negative

Theist (embrace pattern) embrace clues, accept, positive

Skepticism is resisting knowledge of all things, reality, fiction, fantasy, imagination

Skepticism is nothing

(atheist) Reject (agnostic) Doubt, (Gnostic) get it, (theist) in on it

– the last thing I had to deal with was fear? Of knowledge?

Wasn’t that the garden of eden story – eating from the tree of knowledge

Apples with seeds, seeds that sprout things or not

Tree of life

(atheist) Reject (agnostic) Doubt, (theist) get it, (gnostic) in on it

Joy at living forever (theist), boredom of living forever (Gnostic), confusion am I living forever (agnostic) I am not living forever (atheist)

Octave is 7 and the share/switch

7 storylines

6 stories and the game changer/switch

6 stories are 3 told one way, 3 in reverse

Switch changes the story direction

One switch theist – in on it    Three switches – levels of awareness of it

All we can realize is that there’s always another layer

Ignored

Revered (god)

Reverence (self aware)

Respect my reverence (entitled)

Arrogant, Respect

(demand, command)

Respect is not bestowed(mock) Respect is earned (admire

Theist (aka it = God)/driver/control of all

Gnostic (in on it) demands control, drives the group

Agnostic (all and none,) rejects control, submits to the group

Atheist (individual)/passenger/control of nothing

Did this just swing from

Being life itself/god that to be an atheist is to have god inside you so that there is no external evidence, Gnostic, and doubt unsure where god is

The internet is the collective brain, where we choose what we encounter to play out over and over again, like a pattern, is the pattern, aware of the pattern

When you are surrounded by all the versions of yourself you become all and none in one

Black hole, mouth, anus, pulling in expelling out, turning everything inside out and upside down, twisted at a distance and linear up close

Distance and closeness is awareness, being aware of being aware of enlightenment

Being enlightened about enlightenment is perpetual enlightenment

All paths are to understanding what god is, and god is anything we want

Majorities and minorities form as similarly enlightened people form larger groups that must tear apart and collapse on itself

People collapse into each other is sex

Orgasm is merging, elimination and creation

Each level of of unaware to enlightened is the

The higher you go, the more outside you are so can only see the surface and not the machinations

So seeing only the surface, we make assumptions about what we know

We make an ass of you and me

Self Mocking you

Single

Singles

Couple

Couples

Threesome

Threesomes

Mixed Group

Mixed Groups

One man and 1++W

One woman and 1++M

One man and 1++M

One woman and 1++W

One MtF and 1++M

One MtF and 1++W

One FtM and 1++M

One MtF and 1++W

One MtF and 1++MtF

One MtF and 1++ FtM

One FtM and 1++MtF

One FtM and 1++FtM

Why do I keep being interrupted just as I think I am close to the resolve?

Everything interrelated, in all directions, in none, expanding collapsing

A funnel dimensionally   – infinity and zero

Atheism A Poem by P Smith

Guest Blogger: P Smith with a poem:

____________

Theists claim the world is theirs,
That they work in churches and “A priori”;
The claim false titles to land,
And false titles like monsignori.

They congregate as the aggregate,
Of mixed up minds, set like concrete;
Dogma is no more than smegma,
They repost and repeat to replete.

The monastic bombastic – fantastic,
In toilets, the cloister will loiter;
Chopping glance at glans and glands,
Hoity-toity are they and their goiter.

In drag, priests take a drag,
The cannabis of cannibal cabalists;
Fellation of fellas by a fellowship
Lip service in a hateful solipsist.

Hypocrisy and christianity,
Together they march hand in hand;
“Do as I PRAY, not as I do!”
Lockstep in goosestep, they chant.

Pedophiles peddling petals of fronds,
And fathers fondling are fonder;
Palmistry for alms through psalms,
Have a yen for a yarn from yonder.

Popes and pastors are all pederasts,
More thought for image than damage;
Display their cachet and sashay,
Cache cash as they rape and ravage.

They lie that homosexuals are conceptual,
(And religion’s fascination with feces);
They rejoice that bois made a choice”.
Specious claims that “gays aren’t our species”.

They lie that lesbians are thespian,
That such women are wicca and wacko;
Their cynicism of schism about sapphism,
Theists would burn women like tobacco.

Not infallible but maybe fellatable,
They claim to answer to higher powers;
The morally vacant vatican,
Makes kids suck ivory in their towers.

Catharsis in the cathedrals,
Sinecure in the synagogues,
Masking murderers in the mosques:
The demonically deist demagogues.

Irresponsible and reprehensible,
They blather and blame as they bomb;
Dictators dispensing dichotomy,
They appeal and appall with aplomb.

They’re unconvincing and conniving,
Unconvicted religious conviction;
And like cocaine and heroin peddlers,
They seek to hook the young with addiction.

The religious want you to believe,
“Pascal’s Wager” is a way to determine;
Religion’s game is “Snakes and Adders”,
They’re all venomous vipers and vermin.

They babble and burble the buybull,
Overdone, and overwrought;
Bigots spew “begat” and “begot”,
They would make you pay for freethought.

There’s no shame in knowing you don’t know,
But there’s ignominy in ignoring one’s ignorance;
One can’t make conclusion from occlusion,
No avoidance of evidence before inference.

The world would be lighter and brighter,
It would not be bereaved or bereft;
Enlightened and enlivened, not burdened,
If behind is where religion was left.

An agnostic is not antagonistic,
And an atheist is not anti-theist;
Repeating lies won’t make them true,
(But try telling that to christian or deist).

If you had never heard of “god”,
Not molested by your mother with religion;
You would be an atheist now,
Because atheism is the default position.

For the same reason you reject Anu,
And other “gods” through Zeus, too;
Atheists reject all those “gods”,
And the one believed by you.

Don’t be ecumenic – try acumen,
Don’t be erratic or rabid – be rational;
Atheism is not violent like religion,
It destroys faith in ways educational.