*probability*of hypotheses being true or false, but the

*consequences*that would follow from those hypotheses being true or false. There would seem to be nothing especially rational about my taking a shortcut to work by crossing a bridge high over an icy lake where the probability of its collapsing sometime within the next year is "only" .3, for example; or moving into a neighborhood where a full 60 percent of the residents have never been physically assaulted because it's closer to my favorite shopping center. A good and prudent soldier does not lay down his arms whenever the probability of his survival dips below .5 in the heat of battle (indeed, he is far too busy to bother with such calculations, knowing that he maximizes his probability of survival by continuing to fight). A truly rational outlook, then, knows the difference not merely between true and false, or between probable and improbable, but between wisdom and folly.

*expected value*of a given decision, in addition to the probability of its success. Whereas expected value is a sophisticated statistical concept, it can be defined informally for non-mathematical sorts like me as "the weighted average of the values that X can take on, where each possible value is weighted by its respective probability"[1] – and where X is a random variable, meaning a variable with different probabilities corresponding to different possible outcomes. For example, a business owner might use an expected value approach to determine the more promising of two locations for a new plant, the one with the highest expected payoff given its probability of success and its profitability if successful.

*utils*[2] to represent the level of happiness or satisfaction that believers and skeptics should expect to receive given the truth value of the resurrection – and given the traditional theological position that the resurrection of Jesus ensures eternal reward for believers, eternal judgment for unbelievers. Let's suppose that 1,000,000,000 here represents the ultimate prize of enjoying eternal life in the kingdom of heaven, in fellowship with Jesus Christ, along with a host of angels and redeemed believers. This signifies the reward of believers given that the resurrection hypothesis is true. 1, on the other hand, is the “loneliest number,” here meaning the despair of eternal judgment upon sin in the kingdom of darkness, in subjection to Satan, along with a host of demons and desolate unbelievers. In other words this is the complete, or virtually complete, absence of hope, joy or satisfaction – the reward of nonbelievers given that the resurrection hypothesis is true. In between are values representing various less extreme levels of

*expected*satisfaction, depending on possible outcomes and their probabilities. In this way each decision outcome can be assigned an expected level of reward on the scale.

*Posterior Probabilities:*

*Expected Value of Outcomes:*

*total expected value for believers = 400,000,000 + 300,000 = 400,300,000.*

*total expected value for nonbelievers = 1 + 300,000 = 300,001*.

*Statlect*, https://www.statlect.com/fundamentals-of-probability/expected-value.

*util….*The util has no concrete numerical value like an

*inch*or a

*centimeter.*It is merely an arbitrary, subjective and convenient way to assign value to consumer choices and to measure the consumer utility or utils of one choice against another choice.” – Marc Davis, “Microeconomics: Assumptions and Utility,”

*Investopedia*, www.investopedia.com/university/microeconomics/microeconomics2.asp.