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Pascal's Mugging
#1
Tongue 
Pascal's Mugging
I fell down a Wikipedia rabbit hole tonight and discovered this gem:

It was a dark and stormy night! Blaise Pacal was walking home when he was accosted by an absent-minded mugger who had forgotten to bring his cudgel. Undeterred, the mugger makes Pascal an offer, "Give me your purse and tomorrow night I shall give you back twice as much money!"

Pascal, who isn't a complete idiot, replies, "No, you're not exactly the model of honesty, so I'm much more likely to loose my purse than I am to get anything back."

The mugger really wants Pascal's purse though. "Give me your purse and tomorrow night I shall give you back four times its worth!"

"No," replies Pascal, "You're even less likely to give me four times the value of my purse than you were to give me twice its value."

"Eight times it value tomorrow night!" Offers the mugger. "Sixteen times?" "Thirty-two?"

Some time passes and now our overly-persistent mugger is offering Pascal 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 times the value of his purse! Pascal, who has been doing his best to ignore the mugger for at least the last hour suddenly realizes that in the extremely unlikely event that the mugger honours his promise then the single silver denier that his purse actually holds will be returned as roughly 4.8 quadrillion gold Francs.

The mugger will continue doubling his offer indefinitely. At what point will the mugger make Pascal an offer that he can't refuse?

Bonus points:
Show ContentSpoiler:
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#2

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 08:26 AM)Paleophyte Wrote: I fell down a Wikipedia rabbit hole tonight and discovered this gem:

It was a dark and stormy night! Blaise Pacal was walking home when he was accosted by an absent-minded mugger who had forgotten to bring his cudgel. Undeterred, the mugger makes Pascal an offer, "Give me your purse and tomorrow night I shall give you back twice as much money!"

Pascal, who isn't a complete idiot, replies, "No, you're not exactly the model of honesty, so I'm much more likely to loose my purse than I am to get anything back."

The mugger really wants Pascal's purse though. "Give me your purse and tomorrow night I shall give you back four times its worth!"

"No," replies Pascal, "You're even less likely to give me four times the value of my purse than you were to give me twice its value."

"Eight times it value tomorrow night!" Offers the mugger. "Sixteen times?" "Thirty-two?"

Some time passes and now our overly-persistent mugger is offering Pascal 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 times the value of his purse! Pascal, who has been doing his best to ignore the mugger for at least the last hour suddenly realizes that in the extremely unlikely event that the mugger honours his promise then the single silver denier that his purse actually holds will be returned as roughly 4.8 quadrillion gold Francs.

The mugger will continue doubling his offer indefinitely. At what point will the mugger make Pascal an offer that he can't refuse?

Bonus points:
Show ContentSpoiler:

Answer:  At the point when the mugger's offer becomes ingrained in the culture of Pascal's childhood, predisposing him to believe it is credible despite all evidence to the contrary.  ... this won't actually happen, but if the scoundrel can press his claims with enough audacity then the story might enter legend and future generations of Pascals might become predisposed to it.

Bonus Answer:  Never.  Empty offers of masses of gold do not themselves have mass, no matter how much the mass offered.
"To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today." - Isaac Asimov
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#3

Pascal's Mugging
At the point that he will start offering lead instead of gold.
The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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#4

Pascal's Mugging
I have seen this on another story: a king was enamorated by a most beautiful farmers daughter to witch he asked to name a dowery for the hand of the damsel. The farmer presented a chess board and said: "your highness, i want only grain, you'd give me the sum of grain seeds when you put 1 on the first square of the board, 2 on the second, 4 on the third, 8 in the forth and so on till the chess board ends (2^64). The king could never pay the dowery.
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#5

Pascal's Mugging
The thought experiment highlights a problem in human reasoning that's directly relevant to Pascal's Wager, hence the name.

Offered a reward that's convergent human reasoning is pretty predictable. If the mugger increases his off by merely half each time then it becomes readily apparent that you're a sucker at any point. His first offer of 1.5 times your wallet is a joke, 1.75 is a worse joke, 1.875 is still pitiful... 1.99999999999 is just as bad a million iterations later.

Offered a reward that's divergent human behaviour becomes erratic. By doubling his offer each time the mugger's offer heads off toward infinity. At some point, despite knowing that it's still just as big a sucker as when it was offered a mere doubling, it just has to reach for that big brass ring.

By offering an infinite reward straight up, Pascal's Wager's attempt to appeal to reason is actually a deliberate attempt to bypass it completely. Humans reason can't conceive of rewards in terms of vast numbers, much less the infinite.
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#6

Pascal's Mugging
Pascal's Wager makes the basic assumption that "god" is a moron from the outset.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#7

Pascal's Mugging
Pascal wager doesn't say to believe based on betting, although, that's how people paraphrase it.   It says live your life betting there is an afterlife and so if God must be believed in, you do everything you can do so that you discover that he exists.

This means for example reading books, holy books, hanging around religious people, trying to find out the truth.

The reason you don't want to ignore this question, is that, the consequences are absolute and rewards are absolute, so you wager there is a God and try discover and know it if there is one. If there isn't one, there is no real harm in having sought to know if it exists or not.
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#8

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 03:32 PM)Minimalist Wrote: Pascal's Wager makes the basic assumption that "god" is a moron from the outset.

Bible too does not show him as overly bright.
The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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#9

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 03:32 PM)Minimalist Wrote: Pascal's Wager makes the basic assumption that "god" is a moron from the outset.

You haven't read what he said, instead, you've read what people paraphrase him as saying.
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#10

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 03:38 PM)Link Wrote: You haven't read what he said, instead, you've read what people paraphrase him as saying.

I have read what he said and dismiss it as abhorrent to reason and the human mind. Just as religion is (yours, more than most religions).

Since science has discarded his and your laughable ignorance to the dunghill of history, you may console yourself for a life wasted on a primitive "understanding" of the world and an even more primitive morality and a brain atrophied by religion, by going back to reading him and reviling us.

"To begin by pitying unbelievers; they are wretched enough by their condition. We ought only to revile them where it is beneficial; but this does them harm.

To pity atheists who seek, for are they not unhappy enough? To inveigh against those who make a boast of it.

And will this one scoff at the other? Who ought to scoff? And yet, the latter does not scoff at the other, but pities him."
“We drift down time, clutching at straws. But what good's a brick to a drowning man?” 
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#11

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 03:36 PM)Link Wrote: Pascal wager doesn't say to believe based on betting, although, that's how people paraphrase it.   It says live your life betting there is an afterlife and so if God must be believed in, you do everything you can do so that you discover that he exists.

This means for example reading books, holy books, hanging around religious people, trying to find out the truth.

The reason you don't want to ignore this question, is that, the consequences are absolute and rewards are absolute, so you wager there is a God and try discover and know it if there is one. If there isn't one, there is no real harm in having sought to know if it exists or not.

Is it really saying that?  I never thought it was saying it might be true therefore you should look into it, I thought it was saying it might be true therefore you should go ahead and believe.  Maybe it can be taken either way.
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#12

Pascal's Mugging
@Vera One day, you will have to chose to love over hate. You hate the light, the blessed tree we are connected to, because you let your sins overwhelm you and darken your heart.

Morality isn't what we say it is, it has a reality, and we can't just make it up to be by just asserting hypothesis of what it is. Goodness is love and connection to God through his chosen ones, and evil is envying them and distancing one against them and rebelling against them.

This is the reality, because, the light, guidance and the leader of our time are connected, and it doesn't make sense to partially love goodness but hate most of it or what it's essential essence is.

Love is not good and evil unless it it's guided and values things that ought to be valued in truth. God is the being with Highest Value and deserves to be seen, believed in, and worshiped.
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#13

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 03:57 PM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 03:36 PM)Link Wrote: Pascal wager doesn't say to believe based on betting, although, that's how people paraphrase it.   It says live your life betting there is an afterlife and so if God must be believed in, you do everything you can do so that you discover that he exists.

This means for example reading books, holy books, hanging around religious people, trying to find out the truth.

The reason you don't want to ignore this question, is that, the consequences are absolute and rewards are absolute, so you wager there is a God and try discover and know it if there is one. If there isn't one, there is no real harm in having sought to know if it exists or not.

Is it really saying that?  I never thought it was saying it might be true therefore you should look into it, I thought it was saying it might be true therefore you should go ahead and believe.  Maybe it can be taken either way.

It can't be, you have to see original, it's certainly how I explained it.
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#14

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 03:58 PM)Link Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 03:57 PM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 03:36 PM)Link Wrote: Pascal wager doesn't say to believe based on betting, although, that's how people paraphrase it.   It says live your life betting there is an afterlife and so if God must be believed in, you do everything you can do so that you discover that he exists.

This means for example reading books, holy books, hanging around religious people, trying to find out the truth.

The reason you don't want to ignore this question, is that, the consequences are absolute and rewards are absolute, so you wager there is a God and try discover and know it if there is one. If there isn't one, there is no real harm in having sought to know if it exists or not.

Is it really saying that?  I never thought it was saying it might be true therefore you should look into it, I thought it was saying it might be true therefore you should go ahead and believe.  Maybe it can be taken either way.

It can't be, you have to see original, it's certainly how I explained it.

Okay thanks, I will check out the original wording.
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#15

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 03:38 PM)Link Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 03:32 PM)Minimalist Wrote: Pascal's Wager makes the basic assumption that "god" is a moron from the outset.

You haven't read what he said, instead, you've read what people paraphrase him as saying.

If your god is too stupid to know charade from true belief then your god is a moron.  Yours is.  So are all the rest.

What will you do if, when you die, you go to Valhalla and Odin demands to know why you didn't die with a weapon in your hand?  Pascal was a catholic.  The problem with fools like you is you think his silly bullshit can be adapted to your absurd god, too.

I thought you left?  Lied again.

Allah will not be pleased.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#16

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 03:58 PM)Minimalist Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 03:38 PM)Link Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 03:32 PM)Minimalist Wrote: Pascal's Wager makes the basic assumption that "god" is a moron from the outset.

You haven't read what he said, instead, you've read what people paraphrase him as saying.

If your god is too stupid to know charade from true belief then your god is a moron.  Yours is.  So are all the rest.

What will you do if, when you die, you go to Valhalla and Odin demands to know why you didn't die with a weapon in your hand?  Pascal was a catholic.  The problem with fools like you is you think his silly bullshit can be adapted to your absurd god, too.

I thought you left?  Lied again.

Allah will not be pleased.

Just read the original works of authors, don't depend on the system ruled by God and Magog to paraphrase for you correctly.
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#17

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 03:57 PM)Link Wrote: @Vera One day, you will have to chose to love over hate.  You hate the light, the blessed tree we are connected to, because you let your sins overwhelm you and darken your heart.

Morality isn't what we say it is, it has a reality, and we can't just make it up to be by just asserting hypothesis of what it is. Goodness is love and connection to God through his chosen ones, and evil is envying them and distancing one against them and rebelling against them.

This is the reality, because, the light, guidance and the leader of our time are connected, and it doesn't make sense to partially love goodness but hate most of it or what it's essential essence is.

Love is not good and evil unless it it's guided and values things that ought to be valued in truth. God is the being with Highest Value and deserves to be seen, believed in, and worshiped.



This is what you sound like to anyone with more than three brain cells living in the 21st century. But keep it up, that gave me a good chuckle.
“We drift down time, clutching at straws. But what good's a brick to a drowning man?” 
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#18

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 03:58 PM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 03:58 PM)Link Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 03:57 PM)jerry mcmasters Wrote: Is it really saying that?  I never thought it was saying it might be true therefore you should look into it, I thought it was saying it might be true therefore you should go ahead and believe.  Maybe it can be taken either way.

It can't be, you have to see original, it's certainly how I explained it.

Okay thanks, I will check out the original wording.

The counter arguments to the original, is that 

(1) If you are relatively certain that there is no God
(2) Or relatively certain there is no hell for your disbelief
+ (in conjugation with the either of those 2)
You have much better things to do with your time than to be concerned about God and religion, then, it maybe argued, that you waste your life if you spend too much time.

My counter argument to that: is everything in moderation + you gain skills in this research whether God exists or not.

Pascal even emphasized he is not saying to fool yourself into believing in God and went into detail of saying, he isn't trying to get us to trick ourselves God exists.
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#19

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 03:36 PM)Link Wrote: Pascal wager doesn't say to believe based on betting, although, that's how people paraphrase it.   It says live your life betting there is an afterlife and so if God must be believed in, you do everything you can do so that you discover that he exists.

.... ummmm....

Blaise Pascal Wrote:Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.

... so I'm going to believe old Blaise saying that he was depicting this as a bet, rather than Random Internet Knowitall saying that he wasn't.  Call me crazy, but I just think that's the more reliable source.

Maybe instead of accusing other people of not having read what he said, you should give it a read-over yourself.

(05-03-2020, 03:36 PM)Link Wrote: This means for example reading books, holy books, hanging around religious people, trying to find out the truth.

Actually, it meant hanging around Catholics, reading Catholic holy books, etc.  He was arguing for belief in a specific type of crazy.

Blaise Pascal Wrote:These are people who know the way which you would follow, and who are cured of an ill of which you would be cured. Follow the way by which they began; by acting as if they believed, taking the holy water, having masses said, etc. Even this will naturally make you believe, and deaden your acuteness.—"But this is what I am afraid of."—And why? What have you to lose?

Also, he greatly underevaluated the loss to which Catholics, having deadened their acuteness, were subject to.  Among many, many, many things, it made them far more permissive and willfully blind towards priests fucking their children.


(05-03-2020, 03:36 PM)Link Wrote: The reason you don't want to ignore this question, is that, the consequences are absolute and rewards are absolute, so you wager there is a God and try discover and know it if there is one. If there isn't one, there is no real harm in having sought to know if it exists or not.

The whole point is about NOT knowing there is a god, but instead having belief and faith that there is one.  Knowledge requires not just belief, but justification for the belief.  Pascal is specifically arguing that we forgo a search for the justification necessary for belief, and instead just believe on the unjustified hope that he's handing us a winning lotto ticket.
"To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today." - Isaac Asimov
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#20

Pascal's Mugging
You take it out of context. He explains what he meant by that. When he says you wager he exists, he doesn't mean you trick yourself to believing. He means you live your life betting he exists so you seek him out, try to discover if he exists or not, read arguments for his existence, etc, read holy books, etc....

How Do I know this: He devoted paragraphs and paragraphs emphasizing this, that he's not saying to trick yourself but bet on God existing means this and that... and it's as I said.
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#21

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 04:04 PM)Link Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 03:58 PM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 03:58 PM)Link Wrote: It can't be, you have to see original, it's certainly how I explained it.

Okay thanks, I will check out the original wording.

The counter arguments to the original, is that 

(1) If you are relatively certain that there is no God
(2) Or relatively certain there is no hell for your disbelief
+ (in conjugation with the either of those 2)
You have much better things to do with your time than to be concerned about God and religion, then, it maybe argued, that you waste your life if you spend too much time.

My counter argument to that: is everything in moderation + you gain skills in this research whether God exists or not.

Pascal even emphasized he is not saying to fool yourself into believing in God and went into detail of saying, he isn't trying to get us to trick ourselves God exists.

But we don't "do" everything.  If I were to say aslkfj = alksdjflkasd, and to plumb the depths of that equation, you should read this book, talk to this person, make this pilgrimage, etc., but do it in moderation, I'm not asking you waste your time.
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#22

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 04:14 PM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 04:04 PM)Link Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 03:58 PM)jerry mcmasters Wrote: Okay thanks, I will check out the original wording.

The counter arguments to the original, is that 

(1) If you are relatively certain that there is no God
(2) Or relatively certain there is no hell for your disbelief
+ (in conjugation with the either of those 2)
You have much better things to do with your time than to be concerned about God and religion, then, it maybe argued, that you waste your life if you spend too much time.

My counter argument to that: is everything in moderation + you gain skills in this research whether God exists or not.

Pascal even emphasized he is not saying to fool yourself into believing in God and went into detail of saying, he isn't trying to get us to trick ourselves God exists.

But we don't "do" everything.  If I were to say aslkfj = alksdjflkasd, and to plumb the depths of that equation, you should read this book, talk to this person, make this pilgrimage, etc., but do it in moderation, I'm not asking you waste your time.

You find time for it. You don't need to spend most of your time, just, have some time for it.  That's not asking too much.
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#23

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 04:15 PM)Link Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 04:14 PM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 04:04 PM)Link Wrote: The counter arguments to the original, is that 

(1) If you are relatively certain that there is no God
(2) Or relatively certain there is no hell for your disbelief
+ (in conjugation with the either of those 2)
You have much better things to do with your time than to be concerned about God and religion, then, it maybe argued, that you waste your life if you spend too much time.

My counter argument to that: is everything in moderation + you gain skills in this research whether God exists or not.

Pascal even emphasized he is not saying to fool yourself into believing in God and went into detail of saying, he isn't trying to get us to trick ourselves God exists.

But we don't "do" everything.  If I were to say aslkfj = alksdjflkasd, and to plumb the depths of that equation, you should read this book, talk to this person, make this pilgrimage, etc., but do it in moderation, I'm not asking you waste your time.

You find time for it. You don't need to spend most of your time, just, have some time for it.  That's not asking too much.

Did you find time to plumb the depths of aslkfj = alksdjfilkasd?   Why not?
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#24

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 04:17 PM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 04:15 PM)Link Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 04:14 PM)jerry mcmasters Wrote: But we don't "do" everything.  If I were to say aslkfj = alksdjflkasd, and to plumb the depths of that equation, you should read this book, talk to this person, make this pilgrimage, etc., but do it in moderation, I'm not asking you waste your time.

You find time for it. You don't need to spend most of your time, just, have some time for it.  That's not asking too much.

Did you find time to plumb the depths of aslkfj = alksdjfilkasd?   Why not?


I don't know what you mean.
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#25

Pascal's Mugging
(05-03-2020, 04:18 PM)Link Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 04:17 PM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:
(05-03-2020, 04:15 PM)Link Wrote: You find time for it. You don't need to spend most of your time, just, have some time for it.  That's not asking too much.

Did you find time to plumb the depths of aslkfj = alksdjfilkasd?   Why not?


I don't know what you mean.

I'm telling you that the equation above is profound and meaningful and is the ultimate source of reality.  If you do not comprehend it by the time you die, you will be tortured for all eternity.  Do you not owe it to yourself to research it?
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