Battlepanda: Hedging against Pascal


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hedging against Pascal

Prof. Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution links to a summary of a debate on "wealth and happiness" in which he was a participant. But the interesting bit was what followed the debate:
Justin Wolfers of the Wharton Business School spoke on Pascal's Wager, saying that if one believes in religion then the greatest risk is choosing the wrong one. And how to hedge against such a risk? Mr. Wolfers advises the following: Have lots of children and bring each one up under a different faith. That way, if people don't get into heaven themselves, at least they will have maximized the chances that one of their children will.
Now usually the comments at MR are worthless, but there are quite a few funny ones in that thread. I especially liked this one:
What kind of degenerate excuse for economics is that? Where are the covariances of the kids' doomed immortal souls? Where is the higher-order game theoretical intractability proof? Where are the nonlinearities of utility functions under the possibility that an omnipotent God can create payoffs so large that even he can't compare them? It sounds as though it might have involved no Greek letters at all...

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