525: I Know You're Listening

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I Know You're Listening
Basically it's Pascal's Wager for the paranoid prankster.
Title text: Basically it's Pascal's Wager for the paranoid prankster.

[edit] Explanation

Cueball periodically says "I know you're listening" aloud in empty rooms. The idea is, that if nobody is listening he doesn't lose anything, but if somebody is listening he gains by freaking them out.

As mentioned in the title text, this is similar to Pascal's Wager. Blaise Pascal was a French philosopher and mathematician who discussed the issue of the possibility that God actually does exist or not. A rational person should believe in God because he wouldn't lose anything if this is wrong, but if this belief is correct he would gain immensely by going to heaven at his afterlife due to being a Christian (of course, this argument fails when you start arguing over which God(s) to believe).

[edit] Transcript

Now and then, I announce "I know you're listening" to empty rooms.
[Cueball is sitting in an armchair, reading. He murmurs something.]
[Second man in front of a large computer terminal jumps out of chair after hearing the first man mumble. His chair has fallen over.]
If I'm wrong, no one knows. And if I'm right, maybe I just freaked the hell out of some secret organization.
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Whether or not this is what the Citation request needs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_Wager#Criticism would be helpful. Most people tend to go for the "What if it's the wrong god that you believe in?" counter to the wager. i.e. the parts of your religious observance that most please Zeus might well anger Odin greatly, or something similar for any two gods (pantheonic or sole Authority, this factor also being a major issue of choice) that you might care to compare between. This is mostly covered in the "Argument from inconsistent revelations" section of the above, it appears.

Personally my favoured counter-argument is that any sufficiently omniscient god worth his pillar-of-salt should know whether you are Wagering, and probably has a special area of Hell (or Tantarus) reserved for those that try to toady up to him by faking a belief (covered by the "Argument from inauthentic belief" section). I choose to believe that an honest non-believer might at least get a look-in at any middle-ground afterlife (regardless of their lack in belief of same), but I also don't have amy great reason to believe that this attitude is going to reward me, either.

(c.f. also the assumption that 'innocents', and people who have never been exposed to the Word Of GodTM are entitled to a free pass to some non-Hell level of afterlife, the punishment only applying after having been introduced to the whole Judeo-Christian system of post-death existence. On this basis, missionaries that go out and inform remote tribespeoples and oceanic islanders of the state of affairs are actually potentially making things a lot worse for their target audience than they would have been... Assuming that they're right in the first place.)

But note that, for every philosophical argument, there's an equal and opposite philosophical argument. I just plan on being good in the mortal world (where I know I will be rewarded, or at least regarded in a reasonably good light, if perhaps a bit of a doorstep) and if this doesn't help out when I hypothetically find myself at the Pearly Gates then I probably wouldn't have hit on the right form and combination of observances anyway so its not a wager that I could have reasonably 'won'.

This is, of course, way heavier an edit than I had intended, and I'm not suggesting that this is the best intepretation, just my own, and probably not worth a discussion over. 09:28, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

(Forgot to say... non-deity eavesdroppers probably wouldn't have the omniscience, so go ahead and randomly profess your belief in them! 09:30, 28 May 2013 (UTC))

My best argument against pretending to believe something you doesn't is: do you really want to spend an ethernity with people whose belief you faked? For (extreme) example, if only Jehovah's witnesses go to heaven (and assuming you are not one), do you WANT to go there? Similarly, abstinents probably don't want to end in Valhalla. -- Hkmaly (talk) 08:41, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
This is a lot of unnecessary talk, even realized to be such by the one who wrote it. The explanation, as written, is fine without this extraneity. 16:24, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
Since you did remove the incomplete tag I did add some more explains for Pascal's Wager. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:23, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
You get the record for longest expoundition of a title text. 18:21, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
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