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COVID-19 is "Pascal's Wager" in real life Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 03:57 PM

Wikipedia says of Pascal's Wager:

"Pascal's wager is an argument in philosophy presented by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist, Blaise Pascal (1623–1662).[1] It posits that humans bet with their lives that God either exists or does not.

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 he stands to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell).[2]"...


Fast forward to 2020. COVID-19 is essentially the same proposition: You can bet with your life that it's either a "thing" or that it's "nothing"

DOOR #1 - You bet that it's a thing. A couple or three weeks either working from home or not working. Catch up on your reading. Chat with your friends here on RN. Swap recipes on the best Quarentini. Plus all that "Quality Time" with the rugrats who aren't allowed to go to school. Make the most of it. Maybe you're wrong but, so what? At most you'll have lost a couple of weeks of time and, don't worry, you WILL eventually use up that 500 rolls of toilet paper that you just paid top dollar for.

DOOR #2 - You bet that it's nothing. And you turn out to be wrong. Then what?
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#2 User is offline   Severian 

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 04:20 PM

Then what? You get to find out if there's a God.
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#3 User is offline   Wag-a-Muffin (D) 

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 08:46 PM

View PostSeverian, on 20 March 2020 - 04:20 PM, said:

Then what? You get to find out if there's a God.

Good answer!
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#4 User is offline   zurg 

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 10:38 PM

I like that Adam. Not bad. Creative. What someone will say for door#1 is though: the economy is in the crapper and my 401k lost a decade. The cost of choosing door#1.

So, Pascal’s Wager, modulated by engineering law #2: the No Free Lunch Law. And, some will say, modulated again by engineering law #1: Murphy’s Law.

This post has been edited by zurg: 20 March 2020 - 10:39 PM

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#5 User is offline   Junto 

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Posted 21 March 2020 - 05:31 AM

Aren't there more doors to this wager than just two?

This post has been edited by Junto: 21 March 2020 - 05:31 AM

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#6 User is online   ThePatriot 

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Posted 21 March 2020 - 10:52 AM

View PostDean Adam Smithee, on 20 March 2020 - 03:57 PM, said:

Wikipedia says of Pascal's Wager:

"Pascal's wager is an argument in philosophy presented by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist, Blaise Pascal (1623–1662).[1] It posits that humans bet with their lives that God either exists or does not.

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 he stands to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell).[2]"...


Fast forward to 2020. COVID-19 is essentially the same proposition: You can bet with your life that it's either a "thing" or that it's "nothing"

DOOR #1 - You bet that it's a thing. A couple or three weeks either working from home or not working. Catch up on your reading. Chat with your friends here on RN. Swap recipes on the best Quarentini. Plus all that "Quality Time" with the rugrats who aren't allowed to go to school. Make the most of it. Maybe you're wrong but, so what? At most you'll have lost a couple of weeks of time and, don't worry, you WILL eventually use up that 500 rolls of toilet paper that you just paid top dollar for.

DOOR #2 - You bet that it's nothing. And you turn out to be wrong. Then what?

Except that it's not Pascal's wager.

The underlying argument in Pascal's wager is this - if you win (by living your life as though God exists), you win everything. If you lose (by living your life as though God exists but he actually doesn't), you lose nothing.

The argument you're presenting here is quite different.

You're saying, live your life as though the virus is deadly and take extraordinary precautions because if you're right, it can save your life (you win everything), but if you're wrong and the virus isn't any more deadly than the flu, you could lose quite a lot (as opposed to losing nothing like Pascal's wager) by living your life as though covid19 is the next bubonic plague - such as your livelihood and your home.

What you're proposing is - if you win, you win everything. If you lose, you could also lose everything.

This is not Pascal's wager.

This post has been edited by ThePatriot: 21 March 2020 - 10:57 AM

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#7 User is online   ThePatriot 

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Posted 21 March 2020 - 11:32 AM

The current mortality rate of Covid19 in the US is 1.27% as of today (281 of 22,019)

That's 281 deaths out of 22,019 known cases. When you add in the likely thousands of misdiagnosed cases and the thousands of people who have it but are asymptomatic, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the actual mortality rate is right in line with the flu - and we don't shut down businesses and ruin people's lives out of fear of catching the flu.

I'm sick to death of the zealotry and panic over this - it's ruining people's lives!

People need to get a f#$%ing grip!
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#8 User is offline   Joe the Pagan 

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Posted 21 March 2020 - 12:36 PM

Global warmist have been using the same argument for years.
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