Friday, November 20, 2020

Pascal's Wager and Covid-19

 I can't be the first to have thought of this...

Pascal (yes, the Pascal) wasn't sure if he should believe in God or not. He pointed out that, if people were right about eternal damnation, then the consequence of not believing was hugely expensive but behaving as if there is a God is relatively easy. Based on that logic, such as it is, he decided it was best to believe. 

Wikipedia puts it this way:

Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas if God does exist, he stands to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell). From:

For those who doubt various data that the Covid-19 virus is dangerous, Pascal's Wager seems like a really good approach. The consequence of being wrong and behaving in a way that causes you to contract the disease can be severe. And, worse than Pascal's dilemma, if you are wrong, you are also likely to hurt those closest to you. On the other hand, the cost of wearing a mask is pretty cheap. 

I just checked and I'm not the first to have thought of this parallel. Here is a longer version of what I'm saying but perhaps more clear as a result of the extra words:

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