Monday, July 23, 2007

Pascal's Wager

In this comment Phritz asserts
[A]s Pascal said, if you are mistaken (you have faith, and "God" does not exist---a definite possibility), you have not really lost anything.
Game theory does not apply to beliefs, it applies to decisions. A decision with no cost is no decision at all; to decide to believe sans evidence in God if that decision entails nothing about one's life is no belief at all: Such a "believer" is just as much an atheist as I am.

In practice, I think tell the thousands (tens of thousands?) of children molested by pedophile priests and tell them that their decision and their parents' decision to believe in God was without cost. Tell the people, many of them desperately poor, who have contributed their hard-earned money to televangelists that their decision to believe in God was without cost. Tell the millions of gay people, wracked with guilt, shame and neurosis because they've been indoctrinated by almost every Christian and Muslim sect that their ordinary desire to love one another without harming anyone is horribly sinful that their belief in God was without cost. It's too late to tell my late grandmother—but there are millions of others in the same situation—that her belief that God wanted her to stay married to an abusive man for forty years was without cost.

Without cost my ass.

52 comments:

  1. Colin McGinn, a philosopher at Rutgers and a leader of the "Mysterian" movement, has a pretty simple answer for Pascal's Wager: One can't force oneself to believe something they're not predisposed to already. Pascal's wager isn't just false, it's an argument for (pardon the pun) bad faith.

    ReplyDelete
  2. """Game theory does not apply to beliefs, it applies to decisions."""

    It's rather obvious that one makes a decision to believe or not. You are, again, imputing certain views to people without actually knowing anything about those views. I grant that there are no "necessary" arguments for religious beliefs--who says otherwise? Even many religious zealots would agree there is no absolute proof for their views . So faith is a type of wager in a sense: and given religious tradition, the Bible itself--and shall we say, a belief that something like objective Justice holds (note all the "normative" remarks on this blog for examples), it is a rather weighty decision to toss it all off.


    """A decision with no cost is no decision at all"""

    Another of your patented "leading" statements. There's no cost if there's no God of course (or some type of binding Justice realm--), but if God does exist, the atheist is in Trouble. There is an issue, perhaps, regarding the exact "sin" of disbelief (assuming for a nano-second religious concepts hold), and I would say that a "virtuous" skeptic--say T. Jefferson--may be in some sense more praiseworthy than a biblethumper such as a Falwell, even in traditional theological terms.

    Pascal's wager has been sort of modified by some, who say it's not merely about belief, but about actions in accordance with religious tradition and religious maxims (thou shalt not kill, etc.). Being skeptical is one thing, but the skeptic who decides to join the mafia as a hitman, and then kills some people for cash (or kicks) because he says religion is all BS, has gone a few steps beyond mere doubt. So that issue--accountability--has some relation to the wager, tho' it's no easily specified. Some of the new school of atheists, like Hitchens have alluded to this: if atheism goes, isn't lawlessness more easily justified? (H. says no) I don't think it's necessarily the case that atheism leads to anarchy, but the question whether atheism does NOT lead to anarchism/crime/chaos has not been proven either. I mean, the communists were atheist (as were many fascists), and if skeptics can use religious tradition (or supposed pedophile priests---some of those cases have been fabricated, btw) as evidence, it would seem theists (or even skeptics who don't always approve of leftist atheists) might use communism as evidence of the brutalities and bloodshed of secular atheist tradition.

    You are again setting up the discussion, and even invoking a type of crypto-ethics (I'm against pedophiles, yeah, but let's hear your argument why it's "objectively" wrong or evil). But that's your M.O.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I grant that there are no "necessary" arguments for religious beliefs...

    Not only are there no "necessary" arguments, there are no "more probable" arguments.

    There's no cost if there's no God...

    Pascal's wager... [is] about actions in accordance with religious tradition and religious maxims.


    At least you had the decency to throw in a paragraph break before contradicting yourself.

    [I]t would seem theists... might use communism as evidence of the brutalities and bloodshed of secular atheist tradition.

    Actually, we skeptics typically use communism and Nazism as evidence of the brutality of men who wear mustaches.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You still don't understand what a conditional is , genius: key term "if". There's no contradiction whatsoever between the two points. It's a "wager" anyways: which means there's an element of doubt. But reading the blog it's pretty evident that logic is not your strong suit.

    Not only that, you don't understand the Argument from Design (whether you agree with it or not). Darwin himself pondered that possibility of a Designer--a more probable argument, based on likelihood, really--- looking at a human eye. Of course if you think humans are equal to flies or ants, cool, and that the extinction of the human race is equal to someone spraying Raid on the bugs in their yard, cool. Many propeller heads love nihilism--that means they can do whatever they want to---or at least try to get away with whatever they want to.

    Actually, you don't understand the point on evidence: atheists like to use catholics as evidence of ethical failings; so it seems rather reasonable that the religious can use communism as the failings of atheism. But your attempt at a joke was noted.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Phritz: Is there an argument buried somewhere in the incoherent and ignorant ramblings that form your previous post?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I doubt you know how to read critically. Some people attempt to avoid your endless simplistic reductions (of course you allude to some objective standard of Justice in about every post).

    There's no contradiction, genius, with the two quotes you offered. It's a conditional, not a fact statement: Try again: "if God exists, there will be a cost for disbelief." And the other point you failed to note, was regarding the cost to disbelief and "sinful acts": IF "God" exists, mafia hitman--are in deep shit. If "God" doesn't exist, they just die, and are wormmeat (and maybe held as villains by some, or heroes by others). That was the point on the wager as applied to actions as well as belief. Even most atheists grant they cannot prove that atheism does not lead to "anything goes" (got the logic there?)--that was the point on communism as evidence of applied atheism.

    The wager obviously is premised on a certain level of doubt. That's the whole point, which you have yet to grasp.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Phritz: The conditional in question is not, "If God exists, there will be a cost for disbelief." That's pretty much a no-brainer, just about your speed.

    The issue is the other conditional: "If no god exists, there will be no cost for belief."

    Elementary reading comprehension is a necessary precondition for logical analysis.

    Even most atheists grant they cannot prove that atheism does not lead to "anything goes" (got the logic there?)

    You're still missing the actual logic, but the stupidity is coming through five by five.

    Since atheism is merely the denial of a particular statement about God, pretty much anything is compatible with it, in just the same way that having a mustache is compatible with being a dictator.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Okay, for the last effing time... The Communists were NOT atheists. Repeat after me: The Communists were NOT atheists.

    Even most atheists grant they cannot prove that atheism does not lead to "anything goes" (got the logic there?)--that was the point on communism as evidence of applied atheism.

    Nothing like being asked to prove a negative. I demand objective proof that you are not thinking about being a pedophile! Idiot.

    I for one -- like Hitchens -- use the ethical failings of Catholics to show that they have the same ethical failings as lots of other people. Did you even read "God is Not Great?" Jesus H. Christ on a stick with a side of pickles...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hmm... I'm having trouble thinking of a tyrant who didn't have a mustache...

    Oh, phew. Mao. Kim Jong-Il and his dad. Pol Pot. Saved by the Asian Communists.

    ReplyDelete
  10. That's amusing. Care for me to start quoting Marx and Lenin on "historical materialism"? Marx's entire project starts by denying not only God but a transcendent soul (see the German Ideology for starters). Whether Marx and his followers thought religious institutions might be valuable in pragmatic terms is an entirely separate question: of course the Bolsheviks apparently didn't think to much of the tradition, since they killed 1000s of orthodox priests.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Marxism ≠ Atheism. That's why they have... oh, I don't know... different names.

    ReplyDelete
  12. And you are wrong, and doing your usual "no-brainer" (your biz slang is typically crass and leading as well) in regards to the Wager. It's not the "cost of belief," but rather the rewards. "If no God, no rewards for belief." No shit. But as, if not more important, is "if God exists, disbelief/sinful acts will be paid for." The disbeliever chooses not to believe, while risking the possibility that his "sin" will cost him. The believer chooses to believe, while realizing that he may not be rewarded for his belief---his loss is hardly as great as the sinner who is damned. Accountability is a bit deeep for most naive liberals, as is a conditional.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "There's no cost if there's no God of course"

    Hmmm... I wonder who said that.

    Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick, son, are you incapable of even reading your own writing?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes, and Stalin was a trained Orthodox priest who kept a puppet Orthodox church. What Marx believed and what his ideological successors believed are two separate entities, genius. You have demonstrated a remarkable ability to read but fail to comprehend: Communists were "atheists" in the sense that the Christians were Roman atheists -- denial of all other gods. The Bolsheviks didn't dislike the priesthood because they were atheists. The Orthodox Church had been a legitimating body for the czars and represented a rival source of ultimate authority. The answer is usually far more "material" than such as you are wont to admit. Is a Hindu an atheist because her god(s) are different from a Christian's? Some would say so. This is the same phenomenon.

    We can dance this dance all day. You pull out a Lenin, we pull out a Suleiman. You pull out a Hitler (and would be wrong to do so), we pull out a Torquemada. I mean seriously, man, doesn't this two-step get boring?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, phew. Mao. Kim Jong-Il and his dad. Pol Pot. Saved by the Asian Communists.

    Sorry, James. There's still a statistically significant correlation. :D

    ReplyDelete
  16. You're incapable of understanding Ethics 101. What are the 4 possible outcomes of Pascal's wager, anyway, moron? You confuse conditional statements with fact statements and arguments, routinely. Conditionals are not arguments--no fact claim has been offered. Got that yet? Pascal merely sets up a scenario.

    You're the irrationalist incapable of logic, and for that matter incapable of wit or effective writing.

    ReplyDelete
  17. You're the irrationalist incapable of logic, and for that matter incapable of wit or effective writing.

    And yet you keep coming back. Must be my entrancing man-musk.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Now we're actually getting somewhere slightly interesting...

    The disbeliever chooses not to believe, while risking the possibility that his "sin" will cost him.

    Isn't this bass-ackwards? I find it interesting that it's a "choice" not to believe. Take, for example, someone such as myself who has read the Bible cover to cover; discussed this matter respectfully with theologians, priests, and people of faith; and yet because I was not raised in a religious tradition to shape my formative years and have never experienced an indication of a higher power, I disbelieve that which I have no personal evidence for except the conflicting testimonials of others. How is this a choice? It's like choosing not to believe in Zeus or Xenu or that U2 makes music worth listening to. Faith by this light is like explaining sight to a blind man. If someone hasn't experienced revelation, how can they be called into account for not believing by calling it a choice? That's like telling someone who hasn't been to St. John's that they're choosing not to believe how beautiful the Virgin Islands are.

    Accountability is a bit deeep for most naive liberals, as is a conditional.

    Ad hominem aside, how is this a moment for "accountability" rather than "accounting?" You've made a great summation of Pascal's Wager, but no indication of why it's a compelling choice. Why would God be fooled by someone who chooses to believe just because there's no down-side? Isn't that the cheapest and most insincere form of faith... indeed, not faith at all, but a form of soul-insurance, a tawdry metaphysical financial transaction. If that's an argument for faith, then faith is a truly worthless thing. Accountability is the acceptance of responsibility, by which light Larry, who has repeatedly indicated that if he's wrong he'll just have to suffer the consequences of it, has amply demonstrated that quality.

    ReplyDelete
  19. You're the irrationalist incapable of logic, and for that matter incapable of wit or effective writing.

    And yet you haven't constructed an actual argument. You've devolved to semantic quibbling. Put up or shut up.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Why would God be fooled by someone who chooses to believe just because there's no down-side?

    Indeed. And that's assuming that there isn't a down-side to belief; there manifestly is such a down-side, as I discus in the post.

    ...cheapest and most insincere...

    I think you've captured Phritz well, except you missed "stupid" and his inexplicable attraction to my man-musk.

    ReplyDelete
  21. ...U2 makes music...

    Oh, it's music. I thought he was just torturing his cat.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Phritz, one does not make a decision to believe or not. My own unbelief (a typical case) was not at all volitional. I couldn't force myself to believe any more than I could force myself to start liking seafood.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Here's the decision matrix, Einsteins:

    """You live as though God exists.

    If God exists, you go to heaven: your gain is infinite.

    If God does not exist, you gain nothing & lose nothing.

    You live as though God does not exist.

    If God exists, you go to hell: your loss is infinite.

    If God does not exist, you gain nothing & lose nothing. """""


    I never claimed that this was the greatest argument for "God", nor do I necessarily agree with how Pascal sets it up, but taking it prima facie, one can see (that is, unless one has attended the same Continuation Ed programs as the Barefoot Bum has), that the disbeliever risks a great deal more than the believer, as the argument stands. OK, belief might cost more, but at the same time the successful xtian might also say he also gains more than the first scenario shows, if G. does not exist; moreover disbelief might cost more as well, whatever "cost" means, even if G. does not believe (Pascal obviously means cost in terms of spiritual awards or punishment). It's bit deep, but maybe you'll get it.

    ReplyDelete
  24. You live as though God exists ... [and] If God does not exist, you gain nothing & lose nothing.

    This is false or vacuous. If you live as though God exists, and God does not exist, you lose whatever it cost you to live as though God did exist. If it costs nothing to live as though God exists, then the notion of "living as though God exists" is vacuous.

    ReplyDelete
  25. If it costs nothing to live as though God exists, then the notion of "living as though God exists" is vacuous.

    No, that is a vacuous conditional, and not relevant to the wager. Who said that living as though God exists, even a "good" life, didn't "cost" anything? Pascal never asserts that--"loss" is of course in terms of "spiritual punishment," not what it cost your during your life. Only you.

    You're perfectly free to reject the wager, but it does set up the situation pretty well, regarding the likelihood of reality with a "God" (at least the God of scripture), and a reality without "God", even if the reality without God is far more arguable. You almost got it now, though Barefoot Rehab King! A few more times and you'll have passed your remedial stats 101 screening test.

    ReplyDelete
  26. In any event, J. Huger has the final word on Pascal's Wager: Kissing Hank's Ass: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the shit out of you."

    ReplyDelete
  27. Who said that living as though God exists, even a "good" life, didn't "cost" anything?

    You did, dumbass: "If you are mistaken (you have faith, and "God" does not exist---a definite possibility), you have not really lost anything." Also, "There's no cost if there's no God of course..."

    ReplyDelete
  28. No dumbass, you're simply thinking of cost like in terms of your crack budget. It's bit more deep than that: like say Dantean. But you're getting closer!

    ReplyDelete
  29. You can just arbitrarily redefine "cost" to make the Wager "rational", eh? So, if you give me all your money, it won't "cost" you anything, right?

    Send it to:
    The Barefoot Bum
    PO Box 666
    Pacifica, CA 94044

    ReplyDelete
  30. Good grief, I think this idiot really would kiss Hank's ass.

    ReplyDelete
  31. No dumbass you simply don't understand what likelihood is (like a craps table, genius), and lacking that understanding, Pascal's Wager shall remain out of your realm of kin. So like a usual wannabe Cheka-member-blogger, you resort to your usual lame ad homs.

    We'll try again: the wager is based on a rather sound tautology (google that one, Einstein); either God exists, or God doesn't exist. Then P. gives the likelihoods of "spiritual rewards" given those two situations. Even if the probability that God does not exist far outweighs the prob. that God does exist, that doesn't affect the status of the pay out, and the risks involved. But I doubt you made it through that paragraph.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Restricting Pascal's wager to merely "spiritual" costs/benefits and simply ignoring material costs/benefits removes Pascal's wager from the merely vacuous to (unsurprisingly) the actively dishonest.

    If you like, I'd be happy to change the subject from your inability to understand cost to your inability to understand probability.

    Your comment was a little less stupid than usual, and I did manage to claw my way through to the end without my head exploding.

    ReplyDelete
  33. This conversation is starting to remind me of the Russian game where two guys sloshed on vodka take turns punching each other until someone gets knocked unconscious. Good fun for the whole family!

    ReplyDelete
  34. The conversation was manipulative and a type of defamation from the start. The quote was from a comment box--not from some long thought-out essay on a blog or something. I am an agnostic, and as I have stated numerous times, do not think there are any convincing arguments for God, or religious concepts. Nonetheless, I simply mention Pascal's Wager, the BB starts into his rants, his ad homs, his low-level defamation. The point was simply about the Wager, not about defending religion or the Catholic church. Moreover, BB did not even discuss the specifics of the Wager's decision matrix, or the various outcomes of the wager. So, in effect, you owe me another apology.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Restricting Pascal's wager to merely "spiritual" costs/benefits and simply ignoring material costs/benefits removes Pascal's wager from the merely vacuous to (unsurprisingly) the actively dishonest.

    That's so lame--it's even beneath your usual blog-belch. Of course if you don't believe in spiritual punishment/afterlife or God, the conditionals regarding "acting as if God existed" are going to be meaningless.

    It's like you are at the craps table and you want an explanation not of the odds of various bets, but of how to roll the dice. You not only fail to understand the consequences of the decision matrix, you simply miss the point of the entire scenario.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Um, it seems that there are quite a few more possibilities and requirements in Pascal's Wager. First off, in the bible, the gray haired one and his liberal, hippy son, demand quite a few costly acts to get into heaven. But wait, christianity isn't the only religion. So, to believe in the christain not only costs you in your only life if there is no god(s), but in the after life of nearly all the thousands of other religions. So, Pascal's wager is like playing the lottery for a retirement plan. You have your one in a million (give or take a few) chance of winning, and that's assuming reason and evidence aren't worth any more than shit I heard from some guy some time ago.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Holy crap, that was a bad post. Let's try again.

    There are quite a few more possibilities and requirements in Pascal's Wager. First off, in the bible, the gray haired one and his liberal, hippy son, demand quite a few costly acts to get into heaven.

    Secondly, christianity isn't the only religion in town. And if you choose to believe in christianity versus these numerous other religions, you can suffer a fate as bad or worse than hell, not to mention the costs you incur in a limited and one time shot at life, if there is/are no god(s).

    So, Pascal's wager is like playing the lottery for a retirement plan. You have your one in a million (give or take a few) chance of winning, and that's assuming reason and evidence aren't worth any more than "shit I heard from some guy some time ago."

    ReplyDelete
  38. Why would God be fooled by someone who chooses to believe just because there's no down-side?

    That's an almost interesting issue. If HE does exist, He could reject anyone's "faith", and deny them salvation--even the most obviously pious. So I suppose the faithful simply follows Scripture, and has faith that their actions as well as beliefs will be judged. Pascal does assume that "acting in accordance with God's will" is possible and required for religious people. I don't necessarily agree, but I would think that oh Descartes was more "pious" and more in accordance with theological maxims than was say Stalin. Maybe not, and Justice is a lie, and the Barefoot Bum BugWorld holds, and world war is the same as Raid being sprayed on ants.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Phritz is totally Perezoso, isn't he?

    Okay, let's rumble, monkey boy: You have done nothing but semanticize your own wording of Pascal's Wager, redefining it and redefining it to fit your so-called "stats lesson."

    Let me run a regression for you. The likelihood that there is an error contained in the statement "Phritz is a dickhead" is... p = 0.001. Shithead.

    People didn't engage the "matrix" of probabilities contained in Pascal's Wager because, as Larry pointed out, it's a fucking false dichotomy, you poon: Based on your "threat matrix," it's STILL a better bet not to believe in God, since there's only a 1 in 4 chance of going to hell while there's a 2 in 4 chance of no result whatsoever. From a statistical standpoint, the atheist is still on firmer ground in the metaphysical consequences side.

    Don't be rude if you can't think through the very basic results of the logic you're chastising others for.

    As Larry pointed out, Pascal's Wager cannot be used as a real-life case for theism: if it is, then that case for faith must entail an accounting of the costs in the material world. This doesn't mean that it's completely invalid, just that it becomes a complex formula, not a simple decision matrix. Kent takes the same decision matrix and breaks it down appropriately - the choice between different Scriptures complicates the .25 possibility of metaphysical rewards, diminishing its probability by leaps and bounds, and increasing the believer's likelihood of making a wrong choice and receiving the punishment.

    Pascal's Wager raises far more complications than it solves. Even limited to your simple logic matrix and to metaphysical consequences, you're still wrong, Phritz.

    Ass.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi, am new to your blog and came over from the link on kellygorski's blog.

    One little query about this post - in what sense are are saying that children getting molested, poor people giving money to teleevangelists etc are 'costs' of belief? Are you saying that their belief in a God caused these things to come about? Or are you saying that their belief made them unable to protect themselves from these possibilities because the belief clouded their rational judgement?

    I guess you mean it in the later sense, but it might be useful to make that explicit. Causality is often tenuous and establishing the causality between an event and its effect is tricky.

    ReplyDelete
  41. James: I don't think Phritz is Perezoso; they both stink on ice, but their respective stenches seem a wee bit different, and Phritz seems just a hair smarter than Perezoso.

    It's funny though that Phritz would go to the mat for Pascal's Wager, which has to be the Worst. Apologetic. Ever. Every element of the argument is bullshit; it's rotten through and through.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Kapilmuni: Welcome to the blog!

    [I]n what sense are are saying that children getting molested, poor people giving money to teleevangelists etc are 'costs' of belief? Are you saying that their belief in a God caused these things to come about? Or are you saying that their belief made them unable to protect themselves from these possibilities because the belief clouded their rational judgement?

    A little of both, I suppose. No one seems to be exploiting the non-religious to anywhere near the same extent that priests and televangelists are exploiting the religiously credulous. Correlation does not prove causality, but it's good evidence, and we do have additional evidence for the causal mechanisms: Televangelists do in fact ceaselessly demand money in the name of God; the Catholic church did in fact protect pedophile priests in the name of God.

    An additional amusing piece of evidence for the general corruption of the reasoning powers and skepticism of the religious is the recent targeting of Christians by 419 con-artists.

    ReplyDelete
  43. "Elementary reading comprehension is a necessary precondition for logical analysis." BB

    Excellent!

    (And yes, Kapil is a good egg. You will like him.)

    ReplyDelete
  44. Barefoot's trying shake off his crack buzz. Have you googled a "conditional" yet?

    It's not an argument is it, stooge. It's a hypothetical situation--like Sci-fi, dewd!-- with the consequences indicated for the various decisions. Pascal shows that the believer "makes the safer bet." Verstehen Zee das, schmutz? There's no logical error--it's based on a tautology. A given is that "God" is related to the traditional God of judeo-christianity, and rewards people who act faithfully, piously---; that's not saying HE exists, but if He exists (or even if cosmic Justice exists), He expects people to be more like Descartes than like De Sade. You reject that tradition--swell. You might be right, or you might be wrong, and headed to the cheap seats of Perdition..........

    ReplyDelete
  45. I think everyone here talking about Pascal's Wager is forgetting about the elect. God's already predetermined who will go to heaven, and that decision has nothing to do with you. You can't change it, your actions can't change it, your beliefs can't change it, and arguing about it doesn't change it. The Wager sucks on the grounds that it is unnecessary both in theological and logical terms.

    Without cost? Hell, reading Phritz's gobbledygook just cost me my time. Time I'll never get back!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Phritz: [Y]ou might be wrong, and headed to the cheap seats of Perdition.

    First of all, if I'm headed for perdition, I'm not going to the cheap seats, I'm being groomed for management.

    Secondly, if there is an afterlife, and I have any sort of choice, my primary criterion will be whichever allows me to avoid you and your ilk.

    Kelly: I think the entertainment value of Phritz's comments is well worth the cost.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Well that's a theological point (which I alluded to a few posts above), and not entirely correct. "The elect" is a Calvinist term-- not really traditionial or catholic. Even protestants say one's own actions have some relevance to one's salvation; Scripture (see Matthew for one) has many passages indicating that the pious are rewarded for their service to God---JC says that (I'm not saying that makes it right, but that is tradition). God by definition can override anyone's "salvation", and knows the events beforehand, but that doesn't mean people aren't free to choose to do evil or good (assuming tradition holds). Of course, if you reject the terms of the Wager and believe that Stalin and say Eisenhower "earned" the same spiritual reward or punishment--or that is to say, none, cool: welcome to Barefoot's Bugworld.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Replace "God" with "Realm of Objective Justice" for another, shall we say, platonic version of the Wager. When the Bum starts into his rants against conservatives, or even against fundamentalists, isn't he relying on some shared notion of Justice, an objective morality? IT would seem so. Why is the Barefoot Bum so adamantly, even hysterically opposed to Bush Iraq policies say, if like all values are relative, and justice is subjective? Liberals--even supposed atheist ones---tend to rely on appeals to objective morality even more than most conservatives do.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Why is the Barefoot Bum so adamantly, even hysterically opposed to Bush Iraq policies say, if like all values are relative, and justice is subjective?

    Touché! Too bad I've never written about ethics.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Verstehen Zee das, schmutz?

    Nope, I'm pretty sure it's Perezoso a few taped lecture courses later. Not that there's anything wrong with taped lecture courses, so long as one is discriminating in the selection. But Perezoso pulled two things that make me think Phritz is him: This random insertion of German, and referring to "BB-Land" or some such nonsense. Hey, Phritz, could you limit it to English, French, Spanish, or American Sign Language? My German's no good.

    Of course, if you reject the terms of the Wager and believe that Stalin and say Eisenhower "earned" the same spiritual reward or punishment--or that is to say, none, cool: welcome to Barefoot's Bugworld.

    This is where faith becomes predicated on a childlike sense of "fairness." "You mean both FDR and Mao are consigned to nothingness? That's not fair!" Neither is a girl getting raped by a man who is never punished in any form. But that's life (and death). Metaphysical injustice might be unsatisfying, but that doesn't make it less truth-apt. Simply far less palatable.

    Why is the Barefoot Bum so adamantly, even hysterically opposed to Bush Iraq policies say, if like all values are relative, and justice is subjective?

    There's another Perezoso hobby-horse.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I'm pretty sure it's Perezoso a few taped lecture courses later.

    You may well be correct. If so, the taped lecture courses have at least given him a second hobby-horse to ride. Perezoso was originally banned for being boring; I'll ban "Phritz" when he starts boring me (again).

    ReplyDelete
  52. Man, and here I thought that no one took Pascal's Wager seriously any more as a ticket to Heaven. Phritz- you must have a pretty poor opinion of God's perspicuity if you think that believing in Him because of a payoff matrix, and not because of faith, will get you anywhere further than the seventh circle of Hell.

    ReplyDelete

Please pick a handle or moniker for your comment. It's much easier to address someone by a name or pseudonym than simply "hey you". I have the option of requiring a "hard" identity, but I don't want to turn that on... yet.

With few exceptions, I will not respond or reply to anonymous comments, and I may delete them. I keep a copy of all comments; if you want the text of your comment to repost with something vaguely resembling an identity, email me.

No spam, pr0n, commercial advertising, insanity, lies, repetition or off-topic comments. Creationists, Global Warming deniers, anti-vaxers, Randians, and Libertarians are automatically presumed to be idiots; Christians and Muslims might get the benefit of the doubt, if I'm in a good mood.

See the Debate Flowchart for some basic rules.

Sourced factual corrections are always published and acknowledged.

I will respond or not respond to comments as the mood takes me. See my latest comment policy for details. I am not a pseudonomous-American: my real name is Larry.

Comments may be moderated from time to time. When I do moderate comments, anonymous comments are far more likely to be rejected.

I've already answered some typical comments.

I have jqMath enabled for the blog. If you have a dollar sign (\$) in your comment, put a \\ in front of it: \\\$, unless you want to include a formula in your comment.