The thing to do with Global warming is not to argue agaisnt it. Use it. Atheists are almost bound to believe in it (I believe in it--not the point). Rather than argue against it as an example of bad lock, it's more useful as an example of good logic. This is so because the logic of Global warming is the same logic used in Pascals wager.
I have two observations to make before getting into this. The first one is about the wage itself. The second about the paradigm used for "risk taker analysis."
(1) Atheists mock and ridicule the wage extremely much, over doing it, becuase they don't understand it's function. Most Christian apologists don't understand it either, so no slight to our Atheist friends. Mine you the wage is an argument I never use. Most people take it as attempt at proving God exists. It is not an attempt to prove that God exists. It's meant as a tiebreaker. It's used after the massive collection of arguments Pascal wrote known as the Pensées Or "thoughts." Those aren't even meant to prove the existence of God but to clue one in on how to realize the reality of God. Although this is my phrase, you wont catch Pascal saying anything that awkward.
(2) The wager is a decision making paradigm not an argument to prove something. The paradigm is based upon Pascal's own invention, mathematical probability. That's right all the arguments atheists use about simplicity and all of that inductive reasoning the likelihood of this or that it all goes back to Pascal. He was not a dunce. HE was a mystic, however, and he was not interpreted in proving things logically. His tie breaker, the wager, demonstrates the probability of God being true.
The reason Is say the global warming and the wager use the same logic is because they are examples of what we in college debate used to call "risk taker analysis."An example: let's say I guy a hat. It blows off my head and over a freeway. I have to cross a busy freeway to get the hat back. I must ask myself "is having this hat worth risking my life for?" It could be only if having is worth so much that I am willing risk losing everything for it. A hat, not so much as they say. Now if the hate is a bearer bond worth a million dollars, maybe it is worth risking it all for that. Another aspect of this the risk can be minimized. So part of the equation includes the levels of reward vs risk. For example even a million dollars may not worth risking death for if death virtually certain. So wait until 2:00 am when there are almost no cars on the free way. That has to be balanced agaisnt the risk that the bond will blow away in the mean time. so risk taker analysis means doing a sort of calculus.
It will cost several billion dollars for the medical diagnostic industry to re tool and change from X-ray machines to second generation Doppler ultrasound.This is why they will probably never do it of their own accord. If they did they might save 24,000 lives a year (I am assuming that form of ultra sound can do everything X-Rays do, which it probably can't but in debate years ago we had journal evidence saying it could). Are 24,000 lives worth making an industry spend billions of dollars? What about the government subsidizing? This is just an example of the kinds of questions that one can ask using risk taking analysis. Of course it gets much more complex than that.
The wagers says "there is everything to gain and nothing to lose by following Christ and placing belief in God. But there is everything to lose and nothing to gain by not following Christ." So if that is true the risk taking analysis shows that the much greater risk is in not being a Christian, or whatever. That's breaks the tie between the realization of reality and the doubt fostered by nothing overwhelming direct proof. We can't totally prove it either way, but the greater risk is in not believing. The only thing to be gained by not believing is momentary sinful pleasure which in the long run always runs out and works against the experiencer.
Global warming risk taking analysis. Like the God question we don't have total proof either way. We can be sure that man made source so green house gas are the real cause or even the major catalyst, although there's a good probability that they are. So what is the loss vs gain ratio? does it justify the risk? The risk in believing in global warming is that we will spend a lot of money trying to switch over to non green house producing sources. That will cost profits and might result in economic problems. The worst outcome would be loss of jobs. What is the risk in not assuming it? Doing nothing:
(1) If the theory is right and we do nothing all life on earth might be destroyed at worst, at best, the earth will much hotter, storms more violent, major flooding in many parts of the wold., millions could die.
(2) vs if the theory is wrong and we do a lot to change it anyway, we could have an economic slump in the U.S.
So the risk of loss is much greater if we do nothing than the risk of loss form trying to solve it necessarily.
Of cousre there's the additional factor that we could try to solve but since the problem is not man made (assuming that answer) it would continue despite our efforts. Then we get the worst of both worlds. We die in a super heated world while having an ecnomic slump. Yet thta element is more remote becuase the odds are our life style is at least a contributor to the problem if we change it, even if the cause is not primary our life style it might compensated enough to help minimize the effects. The chances that we would get the worst of both worlds are very small.
We can see from this that both the wager and global warming are forms of risk taker analysis. They both have the same formation: everything to gain by doing X and noting or little to lose. They both have the element that the gain from rejecting action is temporary and self defeating. In terms of the wager one has pleasure form sin but it goes away as you get older, and it's bad for you so you lose your looks sooner and die younger. That's just a short term gain. The gain from rejecting the global warming hypothesis is short term to. As with sin the pleasures of keeping your extravagant life style going a little longer, are short term and offset by the evils of that lifestyle. It's pollution, it's fosters bad nutrition (people have lots of money to spend and they carve new things) it's the whole consumer culture that needs to be overhauled and all our habits changed. So in both cases the life style and the sinful pleasure are short term while the risks of loss is much greater and long term: in religion we risk eternal damnation and in global warming we risk destruction of the life bearing ability of the planet.
It's important to make atheists see that they have such a risk to take becuase the more analogies that stack up for their paradigm the sooner their paradigm (naturalism) will shift. It's very important to point out every inconsistency we can in atheist thinking. for them to know that acceptance of a view point they consider absolutely essential to their acceptance of science as the only way, requires that they also accept the logic of Pascal's wager.
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Posted by Joe Hinman
September 3, 2011
Labels: Apologetics, global warming, Pascal's Wager, philosphy of religion, presumption in God talk, same logic: global warming and pascal's wager
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