I think you're confusing Pascal's Wager with Pascal's Mugging. The problem with Pascal's Mugging is that the payoffs are really high. The problem with Pascal's Wager is that it fails to consider any hypotheses other than "there is the christian god" and "there is no god".

I am not. The problem with Pascal's Wager is sort of that it fails to consider other hypotheses, but not in the conventional sense that most arguments use. Invoking an atheist god, as is often done, really does not counterbalance the Christian god, because the existence of Christianity gives a few bits of evidence in favour of it being true, just like being mugged gives a few bits of probability in favour of the mugger telling the truth. So, using conventional gods and heavens and hells like that won't balance to them cancelling out, and you will end up ha... (read more)

[SEQ RERUN] The Pascal's Wager Fallacy Fallacy

by MinibearRex 1 min read28th Mar 201310 comments


Today's post, The Pascal's Wager Fallacy Fallacy was originally published on 18 March 2009. A summary (taken from the LW wiki):


People hear about a gamble involving a big payoff, and dismiss it as a form of Pascal's Wager. But the size of the payoff is not the flaw in Pascal's Wager. Just because an option has a very large potential payoff does not mean that the probability of getting that payoff is small, or that there are other possibilities that will cancel with it.

Discuss the post here (rather than in the comments to the original post).

This post is part of the Rerunning the Sequences series, where we'll be going through Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts in order so that people who are interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was What Do We Mean By "Rationality"?, and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.

Sequence reruns are a community-driven effort. You can participate by re-reading the sequence post, discussing it here, posting the next day's sequence reruns post, or summarizing forthcoming articles on the wiki. Go here for more details, or to have meta discussions about the Rerunning the Sequences series.