I might as well take a shot at explaining. Pascal's wager says I might as well take on the relatively small inconvenience of going through the motions of believing in God, because if the small probability event occurs that he does exist, the reward is extremely large or infinite (eternal life in heaven presumably)

Pascal's mugging instead makes this a relatively small payment ($5 as Yudkowsky phrased it) to avoid or mitigate a minuscule chance that someone may cause a huge amount of harm (putting dust specks in 3^^^^3 people's eyes or whatever the current version is)

Thus for both of them people are faced with making some small investment to, should an event of minuscule probability occur, vastly increase their utility. A lottery ticket

Stupid Questions Open Thread Round 3

by OpenThreadGuy 1 min read7th Jul 2012209 comments


From the last thread:

From Costanza's original thread (entire text):

"This is for anyone in the LessWrong community who has made at least some effort to read the sequences and follow along, but is still confused on some point, and is perhaps feeling a bit embarrassed. Here, newbies and not-so-newbies are free to ask very basic but still relevant questions with the understanding that the answers are probably somewhere in the sequences. Similarly, LessWrong tends to presume a rather high threshold for understanding science and technology. Relevant questions in those areas are welcome as well.  Anyone who chooses to respond should respectfully guide the questioner to a helpful resource, and questioners should be appropriately grateful. Good faith should be presumed on both sides, unless and until it is shown to be absent.  If a questioner is not sure whether a question is relevant, ask it, and also ask if it's relevant."


  • How often should these be made? I think one every three months is the correct frequency.
  • Costanza made the original thread, but I am OpenThreadGuy. I am therefore not only entitled but required to post this in his stead. But I got his permission anyway.



  • I still haven't figured out a satisfactory answer to the previous meta question, how often these should be made. It was requested that I make a new one, so I did.
  • I promise I won't quote the entire previous threads from now on. Blockquoting in articles only goes one level deep, anyway.