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Bryan is going to prove Pascal's wager!


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Reading Bryan, I had come to the conclusion that he was an insufferable twit. However, in thinking about his thread on Pascal’s wager, it occurs to me that if Bryan is as smart as he thinks he is, I’ve been passing up perhaps the greatest opportunity of my life. Maybe he is the most brilliant person who has ever lived, and . . . oh my God! (as it were) it’s just like Pascal’s wager! Does that make Bryan . . . dare I say it?! Oh, be still, my beating heart.

Happily, I don’t have to wait until I’m dead to find out which bet to place! Pascal’s wager is based on the following assumption, contained in paragraph 194 at http://www.thocp.net/biographies/papers/pensees3.htm: “I know only that, in leaving this world, I fall for ever either into annihilation or into the hands of an angry God . . .”

Bryan, please give us the benefit of your great wisdom, and explain to us in detail why Pascal’s statement is true. Please remember in doing so that we’re not as smart as you are, and must be taken step-by-step through your (no doubt) elaborate proof.

I shall not move from my computer until I see your response, which I await with baited breath.

Your eager minion,

Sancho Panza O’Reilly-Limbaugh-Falwell

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Reading Bryan, I had come to the conclusion that he was an insufferable twit. However, in thinking about his thread on Pascal’s wager, it occurs to me that if Bryan is as smart as he thinks he is, I’ve been passing up perhaps the greatest opportunity of my life. Maybe he is the most brilliant person who has ever lived, and . . . oh my God! (as it were) it’s just like Pascal’s wager! Does that make Bryan . . . dare I say it?! Oh, be still, my beating heart.

Happily, I don’t have to wait until I’m dead to find out which bet to place! Pascal’s wager is based on the following assumption, contained in paragraph 194 at http://www.thocp.net/biographies/papers/pensees3.htm: “I know only that, in leaving this world, I fall for ever either into annihilation or into the hands of an angry God . . .”

Bryan, please give us the benefit of your great wisdom, and explain to us in detail why Pascal’s statement is true. Please remember in doing so that we’re not as smart as you are, and must be taken step-by-step through your (no doubt) elaborate proof.

I shall not move from my computer until I see your response, which I await with baited breath.

Your eager minion,

Sancho Panza O’Reilly-Limbaugh-Falwell

It's "bated" breath, you moron. "baited" is what you do to a fish hook.

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Reading Bryan, I had come to the conclusion that he was an insufferable twit. However, in thinking about his thread on Pascal’s wager, it occurs to me that if Bryan is as smart as he thinks he is, I’ve been passing up perhaps the greatest opportunity of my life. Maybe he is the most brilliant person who has ever lived, and . . . oh my God! (as it were) it’s just like Pascal’s wager! Does that make Bryan . . . dare I say it?! Oh, be still, my beating heart.

Happily, I don’t have to wait until I’m dead to find out which bet to place! Pascal’s wager is based on the following assumption, contained in paragraph 194 at http://www.thocp.net/biographies/papers/pensees3.htm: “I know only that, in leaving this world, I fall for ever either into annihilation or into the hands of an angry God . . .”

Bryan, please give us the benefit of your great wisdom, and explain to us in detail why Pascal’s statement is true. Please remember in doing so that we’re not as smart as you are, and must be taken step-by-step through your (no doubt) elaborate proof.

I shall not move from my computer until I see your response, which I await with baited breath.

Your eager minion,

Sancho Panza O’Reilly-Limbaugh-Falwell

I don't think you understand Pascal's Wager, Mr. Falwell.

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I don't think you understand Pascal's Wager, Mr. Falwell.

Of course I don't, o great font of wisdom. That's why I asked you to explain it.

Let's start with my misunderstanding so you can clearly identify the source and content of my error. I believe that Pascal offers the following as the atheist's conundrum: “I know only that, in leaving this world, I fall for ever either into annihilation or into the hands of an angry God . . .” (http://www.thocp.net/biographies/papers/pensees3.htm)

1. Is this not the atheist's conundrum Pascal proposes? Am I using the wrong word? Is it a dilemma? A difficulty? Something else? None of the above?

2. If this is the premise (or a premise if you like) behind Pascal's wager, then on what basis is it valid? Why are there no other options? Please provide a detailed proof as requested.

And do hurry! I'm running very short on breath.

Your obedient subject,

Sancho Pancho O'Reilly-Limbaugh-Falwell

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Of course I don't, o great font of wisdom. That's why I asked you to explain it.

Let's start with my misunderstanding so you can clearly identify the source and content of my error. I believe that Pascal offers the following as the atheist's conundrum: “I know only that, in leaving this world, I fall for ever either into annihilation or into the hands of an angry God . . .” (http://www.thocp.net/biographies/papers/pensees3.htm)

1. Is this not the atheist's conundrum Pascal proposes? Am I using the wrong word? Is it a dilemma? A difficulty? Something else? None of the above?

2. If this is the premise (or a premise if you like) behind Pascal's wager, then on what basis is it valid? Why are there no other options? Please provide a detailed proof as requested.

And do hurry! I'm running very short on breath.

Your obedient subject,

Sancho Pancho O'Reilly-Limbaugh-Falwell

As I predicted, Mr. Falwell, you misunderstand Pascal's Wager.

The portion you quote above is not a portion of the Wager argument, but the view of the person to whom Pascal directed the argument. Look carefully at the text. If you missed it the first time, you'll see that quotation marks occur around the section you quoted.

Nor does Pascal assume that the view represented is the only view among atheists. I[t] just happened to be the view that he had encountered in France among his contemporaries.

So, heed Lincoln's advice, allow your thread to die the quiet death it has earned, and offer you reasoned complaints in the thread I started.

Edited by Bryan
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As I predicted, Mr. Falwell, you misunderstand Pascal's Wager.

The portion you quote above is not a portion of the Wager argument, but the view of the person to whom Pascal directed the argument.  Look carefully at the text.  If you missed it the first time, you'll see that quotation marks occur around the section you quoted.

Nor does Pascal assume that the view represented is the only view among atheists.  I just happened to be the view that he had encountered in France among his contemporaries.

So, heed Lincoln's advice, allow your thread to die the quiet death it has earned, and offer you reasoned complaints in the thread I started.

Dear exalted master,

It bothers me that you wish for this thread to die whilst one of your most obedient servants still lacks understanding of this most important idea. Were your remarks not your own, I should wonder whether the writer understood Pascal's wager himself.

I saw the quotation marks, and thought I understood what Pascal was conveying with them. If I understand the matter correctly, he was not quoting any particular atheist or even atheists in general, but stating how an atheist might think, and then proposing a wager or we could call it a conundrum from the premises contained therein. I also covered this subject in a college philosophy class, wherein the professor had the same understanding of Pascal's wager as I have, assuming I understood him correctly. I have also spoken with several friends, all of whom understand it the same way. To me the question is not what any numbers of atheists thinks. After all, who cares about what they think except to show why they are wrong. The question is whether Pascal's premise is sound. Now of course he was proposing to speak for at least some atheists, at least hypothetically, but as you rightly point out, even he did not claim to speak for all of them. What are at issue here, however, are the terms and contents of the wager, not whether everyone or anyone (even Pascal) actually believes it. After all, we can only take it on its terms as stated. This is an exercise in logic, at which you are a master, as you have so often reminded us.

Therefore, since my friends and I are obviously uninformed about what Pascal's wager is, please explain it to me so that I may inform them. Else I shall be forced to continue living in my ignorance, and as you can see I already have several hereditary factors working against me.

Slavishly yours,

Sancho Panza O'Reilly-Limbaugh Falwell

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Reading Bryan, I had come to the conclusion that he was an insufferable twit. However, in thinking about his thread on Pascal’s wager, it occurs to me that if Bryan is as smart as he thinks he is, I’ve been passing up perhaps the greatest opportunity of my life. Maybe he is the most brilliant person who has ever lived, and . . . oh my God! (as it were) it’s just like Pascal’s wager! Does that make Bryan . . . dare I say it?! Oh, be still, my beating heart.

Happily, I don’t have to wait until I’m dead to find out which bet to place! Pascal’s wager is based on the following assumption, contained in paragraph 194 at http://www.thocp.net/biographies/papers/pensees3.htm: “I know only that, in leaving this world, I fall for ever either into annihilation or into the hands of an angry God . . .”

Bryan, please give us the benefit of your great wisdom, and explain to us in detail why Pascal’s statement is true. Please remember in doing so that we’re not as smart as you are, and must be taken step-by-step through your (no doubt) elaborate proof.

I shall not move from my computer until I see your response, which I await with baited breath.

Your eager minion,

Sancho Panza O’Reilly-Limbaugh-Falwell

I want to go on the record to say I was laughing my ass off reading this. :)

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