[FoRK] That's a bunch of Malarkey

Gregory Alan Bolcer greg at bolcer.org
Mon Jan 19 10:58:39 PST 2015

On Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 10:28 AM, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:

> Inifinte payout?  Are you sure?  Any different kind of existence is at
> least somewhat beyond an event horizon.  All the ones I can imagine are
> qualitatively less than this one.  The most logical mapping would be to an
> upload, but that is a cheap existence.  In any case, the new you is not
> going to be you in any meaningful way. And we'll likely create upload
> ourselves soonish anyway.

Yes, I'm 100% sure the game theoretic representation of Pascal's wager
shows an infinite payout in one quadrant.  This is by definition.  [1]

Again, you are arguing some different experiment and not Pascal's wager.

If you change the rules or the payout, it's not Pascal's wager.

> Pascal's Wager is the game theoretic decision making of a single person,
> not all humanity.

This is interesting.  From my game theory course on finite and infinite
games, there is no difference between a finite game played by one person or
a finite game played by multiple persons or repeatedly if the rules are the
same.  That's even true for multi-person dilemmas.

Are you saying a prisoner in a repeated prisoner's dilemma will change his
strategy to be less than optimal?  [2]

You mentioned recursion.  In repeated or concurrent games, each subgame is
computational identical to the original game.

> First you have to choose the right quadrant.  If you choose to act as if
> there is a heaven / religion / God, you must first choose which heaven /
> religion / God, among many (and potentially an infinite set).  If you
> choose poorly, then even though you chose to believe, believing in the
> wrong thing would have been futile (according to the beliefs of most
> religions).  Pascal's Wager presupposes that you are already considering
> the one true religion.  According to the rules of each of those religions,
> that can't be true of everyone's religion.  There are a finite number of
> religions currently, but based on their rules of evidence, over time there
> may be infinite alternative religions with just as much evidence.
> Therefore, the odds that you've chosen the correct religion are vanishingly
> small.  Even if you choose to believe and otherwise invest to be proper
> with one religion, you can't do so in many more than one religion.
> Therefore, as an individual, there's no way to cover all of your bases
> short of infinite time.

Again, change the labels.  You can avoid all the rest of your philosophical
discussion simply by doing that.

As to the model, logic, and math, didn't you ever take set theory?  Number
theory?  Finite and infinite equivalence classes?  Maths is maths.   The
smallest finite percentage you can imagine times infinity is still

If you don't like Pascal's model, then change the model, but don't call
your new model Pascal's Wager.   I think you are talking about the mapping
of the model to your belief system and not the actual model.

> Most people rely on various fallacies to unconsciously justify their
> assumptions.  Principally, that they are part of a large group of
> like-minded believers, so theirs is likely the one true religion. In honor
> of the biggest mistake that lasted the longest even in the face of evidence
> obvious to everyone, let's call that the Flat Earth fallacy: If everyone
> believes it, it must be true.
> Besides, everything related to this fails Occam's Razor.  The resulting
> probability is the result of the product of many fractional probability
> terms, many of which are likely 0.

Occam's razor is a scientific principle, aka a philosophical heuristic to
problem solving.   Pascal's payout matrix is solved using a computation.


[1] Are you sure you are arguing apples to apples?  I'm having a laugh
poking fun at your definitions; you are arguing philosophy.


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