by phil on Tuesday Jun 3, 2003 8:58 AM
Pascal's Wager [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy] - Blaise Pascal, French philosopher, scientist, mathematician and probability theorist (1623-1662). He makes an argument for believing in God basically because, "hey, what have you got to lose?" I haven't read the whole thing, but there's a counterargument that follows afterwards saying that by making such a statement, you're trivializing the god-believing experience into something practical, and therefore, making it ineffectual.
UPDATE: I actually kind of find Pascal's Wager ridiculous. Like WTF, by putting up a matrix of that sort you're automatically assuming that such things do happen as a result of believing in god or not believing in god. You could substitute "believing in god" with ANY belief. And there's a good counter toward the end about, "What about the Professor's God?" which is the God that rewards those who remain skeptical. Yes, this is ridiculous, and it does nothing to prove or disprove the existence of God.. instead it's just another ruse to proselytze..