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Author Topic:   Pascal's Wager - Any Way to Live a Life
ringo
Member
Posts: 16681
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 121 of 126 (729366)
06-10-2014 12:08 PM
Reply to: Message 120 by Thugpreacha
06-10-2014 11:59 AM


Re: Wager Not What Ye Be Afraid To Lose
Phat writes:

Some folks would rather willfully not believe because they are unconvinced that if God existed He cared.


I don't think that's willful disbelief. It's more like not going to the casino because you're unlikely to come out ahead.

Somebody might win but it's wishful thinking to believe it will be you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 120 by Thugpreacha, posted 06-10-2014 11:59 AM Thugpreacha has acknowledged this reply

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 7935
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 122 of 126 (729370)
06-10-2014 1:05 PM
Reply to: Message 120 by Thugpreacha
06-10-2014 11:59 AM


Re: Wager Not What Ye Be Afraid To Lose
Some folks would rather willfully not believe because they are unconvinced that if God existed He cared.

Do you willfully not believe in Zeus for the same reasons? Do you willfully not believe in Vishnu, Ra, Mars, or any of the other thousands of gods worshipped by man over the years for the same reasons?

Do you think it would be a good idea to worship them all . . . just in case?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 120 by Thugpreacha, posted 06-10-2014 11:59 AM Thugpreacha has acknowledged this reply

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 277 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 123 of 126 (729383)
06-10-2014 5:58 PM
Reply to: Message 119 by ringo
06-10-2014 11:51 AM


I don't think that's a case of being convinced against your will. I think it's a case of not knowing what your will is.

Do you intend to supply an argument as to why your opinion should be given consideration, or are you happy just to serve it on the rocks like that?

How can you say you are convinced when you're trying not to be?

Why not explain why 'trying not to be convinced' prohibits absolutely being caused to firmly believe something? I can see it inhibiting it - but prohibiting it? That seems counter to my own experiences and I am not convinced it can be the case.

I'm pretty sure there are people that became convinced the religion they were brought up in was wrong, even while trying to hold desperately onto their faith as an example.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 119 by ringo, posted 06-10-2014 11:51 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 125 by ringo, posted 06-11-2014 11:53 AM Modulous has responded

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 277 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


(1)
Message 124 of 126 (729385)
06-10-2014 7:19 PM
Reply to: Message 120 by Thugpreacha
06-10-2014 11:59 AM


excessive philosophical dissection
Some folks would rather willfully not believe because they are unconvinced that if God existed He cared.

I'm not sure that is terribly common, though. It may be that people lose faith because they become convinced that any creator deity is non-interventionist in some way and their faith is of an interventionist God.

It might be that once a person has declared to themselves or others that they are an atheist, that there is a psychological disincentive for professing to be convinced otherwise, which may even influence their actual capacity to be convinced.

But whether or not God exists and whether or not they give a hoot are two separate (but related) questions. Answering the first gives us no clues to the second (though the reverse is not the case - if God cares, then He must exist). So if you really think that if it exists God doesn't care, that should not inhibit your tendency to be convinced that God exists. You can believe he exists, but not believe she cares.

On the other hand, wilful disbelief is very useful skill that does not come naturally to people. So I think a shout-out to wilful disbelief is required at this point. It was believed that humans should not travel faster than about 10m/s, that large iron or steel boats could not float, that disease is an unpredictable or supernaturally driven event....

As humans we are actually pretty easily persuaded naturally. Observe that most people are (by definition, really) normal, and yet normal people have been persuaded into all sorts of horrific acts and bizarre beliefs throughout history.

Wilful disbelief not only gave us science, but it is a potent tool in coping with mental health issues (schizophrenics are educated in wilful disbelief as a means to avoid getting lost in the madness (increasing clarity and insight)). I understand that to a religious believer the idea seems, in some sense, taboo - but I think it is a notion that is discredited too much.

The very act of asserting your will is in fact your decision.

This sounds very dangerously close to circular. Why did you make that decision? Did you will it? Why did you will it, was it your decision?

Its normal to be of two minds before the decision to embrace belief.

Or disbelief. In fact, only being of two minds seems a little conservative to me.

Some folks are angry or hurt and even if God existed they would see no reason to acknowledge Him.

It's difficult to grasp this statement, I think that's due to it being slippery. Not your fault, probably, you are writing with a host of other beliefs which clarify the meaning of much of this statement, but I don't have access to all of them from here.

'even if God existed'...
This is particularly soapy. You are proposing a conditional. 'If x exists' and going to say 'then y would still not acknowledge'. You include the word 'even' at the beginning, which is used to express some kind of surprising or incredulous context to the conditional. 'Even if I punched you in the mouth, you'd turn the other cheek!'.

If God existed, presumably the world would look the same as it does now? So can our angry and hurt people 'acknowledge' something when they don't believe it exists? Or are we talking only about believers?

The most charitable interpretation I can come up with is
'If it was proven to their satisfaction that God exists'

'...they would see no reason to acknowledge Him.'

Here we have 'reason' and 'acknowledge' to wrestle with. As one Christian commentary runs that acknowledging God is 'to recognize, in all our dealings and undertakings, God's overruling providence, which "shapes our ends, rough hew them as we will." It is not a mere theoretical acknowledgment, but one that engages the whole energies of the soul (Delitzsch), and sees in God power, wisdom, providence, goodness, and justice. ', Pulpit Commentary

So yes, if we use that version of acknowledge, then it may be that a certain individual, even being convinced of God's existence would not subsequently conclude there is enough evidence or logical reason to suppose said deity has anything to do with goodness and justice for example.

For that we would need 'reason', and 'I exist' is no reason for you to constantly recognise my 'overruling providence'.

Some folks are angry or hurt...

Let me illustrate the point I want to make with this:

Some folks are so frightened of death they cling to the idea of an afterlife

Despite the fact that I used the weasel word 'some' such that I am almost certainly saying something that is true (and/or unfalsifiable), I'm implying other things.

I'm communicating that the only reason I can think of that's worth consideration for someone to believe in an afterlife is 'fear'. Or I'm implying that it is the only reason. And there is the implication of the reverse situation: that if someone believes it is likely because they are afraid.

On your example, you seem to think that 'pain' or 'anger' are the only things worth consideration as to why they would not 'acknowledge' God, and that essentially if someone were refuse acknowledgement in the event that God's existence was not in dispute this would best be explained through 'anger' or 'pain'.

I think the result ends up being unpleasant. I've likely done it myself, so I'm not judging you as being bad for engaging in it, I just think it's worth mentioning and trying to put in an effort to avoid. I'm not saying you were intending to suggest any of the above, only that the implication haunts those kinds of expressions whether you want it to or not.

Finally, do you think it is possible to
a) Decide to believe in God for pragmatic reasons (such as in Pascal's wager)
b) Decide to believe in God for pragmatic reasons, when you don't want to (ie against your will)
c) Be convinced that God exists empirically, when you want to be convinced he does not exist empirically
d) Be convinced by logical alone, even if you are trying to avoid being convinced?

I didn't mean for my dissection to be mean-spirited, but any further attempts to be more diplomatic will result in a much lengthier posts, hopefully you can pick your way through my own assumptions and hidden beliefs that went into the construction and together we can become {a little more} enlightened.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 120 by Thugpreacha, posted 06-10-2014 11:59 AM Thugpreacha has not yet responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 16681
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 125 of 126 (729404)
06-11-2014 11:53 AM
Reply to: Message 123 by Modulous
06-10-2014 5:58 PM


Modulous writes:

Do you intend to supply an argument as to why your opinion should be given consideration, or are you happy just to serve it on the rocks like that?


jaywill quoted a saying and I explained to rstrats what it means. I don't feel obligated to prove the validity of the saying.

Modulous writes:

Why not explain why 'trying not to be convinced' prohibits absolutely being caused to firmly believe something? I can see it inhibiting it - but prohibiting it?


Did I say "prohibit"? "Inhibit" works for me.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 123 by Modulous, posted 06-10-2014 5:58 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 126 by Modulous, posted 06-11-2014 6:45 PM ringo has acknowledged this reply

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 277 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 126 of 126 (729458)
06-11-2014 6:45 PM
Reply to: Message 125 by ringo
06-11-2014 11:53 AM


jaywill quoted a saying and I explained to rstrats what it means. I don't feel obligated to prove the validity of the saying.

Fair enough, I was just confused when you said 'I don't think' and 'I think'

Did I say "prohibit"? "Inhibit" works for me.

Well the saying strongly implies prohibit: 'A person convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.' that is: being as it is against his will this prohibits actual persuasion.

A person convinced against his will, is lying to silence the shrill.
A person truly convinced against his will, believes it beyond his fill.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 125 by ringo, posted 06-11-2014 11:53 AM ringo has acknowledged this reply

  
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