Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Blaise Pascal vs. Homer Simpson

Blaise Pascal (1623 - 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and philosopher. He was a religious man who came up with a probabilistic argument for belief in God, now well known as Pascal's Wager. This states that, regardless of the evidence, it is infinitely safer to trust in God's existence, since you have everything to gain if correct, and nothing to lose if wrong.

To me, this is hardly profound, since surely an omnipotent God would see right through such a ruse. In addition it would be a rather mean-spirited and capricious God who was prepared to reward you just for taking a gamble.

I recently came across a reworking of this from a different philosopher. Homer Simpson's Wager posits that its best not to pray to any god, since if you get it wrong you'll just end up pissing off the real one.

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