16 Nov '11 22:518 edits

...that

Consider the following thought experiment:

Now ramp up this thought experiment to make it comparible with the proposition that you chose correctly one god out of potentially infinitely many different gods that could be formulated, couple this with the profound lack of evidence for its existence (as opposed at least to another sort of god's existence say **) and perhaps you can appreciate the depth of certainty I have that you chose incorrectly. That is, in spite of a proof, I can justifiably say that I am certain

-------------------------------------------------------

** pre-empting the classic "ah but the universe itself is sufficient evidence!" - since at best this is evidence only for

**YOUR**god does not exist.Consider the following thought experiment:

*Suppose you're making your way home with a friend, heReveal Hidden Content*

For £20 your friend will be given a box to hold onto, inside of which is a ticket bearing some number from 1 to 5. He then has to choose a number from 1 to 5 and if the number he chooses is the same as the number inside the box (which he gets to open after declaring a number) he and yourself will both be rewarded with £500. Otherwise he loses the £20 and you both walk home. Suppose further that without consulting you your friend siezes upon this opportunity and pays the £20, whatever number he has chosen you no doubt realise there's a 4 in 5 chance you'll be walking home but you definitely aren't certain this will happen, and as it's a such a good pay-off if he wins perhaps you're prepared to take the hit if he doesn't.

Now suppose a different gamble, with the same box and the same fee, your friend has to choose 1 out of 25 numbers (the box of course will contain one of these numbers), if he wins he gets £5000.

Again without waiting for your advice he pays the £20. Though a 24 in 25 chance of walking home shouldn't seem too appealing, and the pessimistic side of you might be wishing you'd stopped him perhaps excitement may prevail. At any rate you certainly aren't wholly convinced you're walking home.

Now suppose he paid the £20 for a choice of 1 out of 100 numbers (reward = £20,000)...

Now suppose he paid the £20 for a choice of 1 out of 500 numbers (reward = £100,000)...

Now suppose he paid the £20 for a choice of 1 out of 2000 numbers (reward = £400,000)...

.

.

.

Now suppose he paid the £20 for a choice of 1 out of a 1000,000,000,000,000 numbers (reward = £200,000,000,000,000,000 - probably more money than you'll ever be able spend).

Ask yourself how sure you would be in this case that your friend might as well have just burnt the money for all the good this gamble will ever do you (ask yourself also if we had to take the numbers to this extreme); if you're honest, then for all intents and purposes you can be pretty damned certain you're walking home here. Yet in spite of this certainty (and I'm assuming you're sane, or not unreasonably optimistic) it still wouldn't be possible to prove you have already lost - in spite of the fact you 'just know it'.or she if you like

has the last £20 between you both (half of which is yours)Reveal Hidden Contentor the equivalent in another currency

and it will cost you this for a cab ride home (otherwise it's a 10 mile walk). Setting aside all notions of plausibility, ability to pay, or mistrust, etc.., suppose a wealthy traveller offers your friend the following one-time-only gamble:
For £20 your friend will be given a box to hold onto, inside of which is a ticket bearing some number from 1 to 5. He then has to choose a number from 1 to 5 and if the number he chooses is the same as the number inside the box (which he gets to open after declaring a number) he and yourself will both be rewarded with £500. Otherwise he loses the £20 and you both walk home. Suppose further that without consulting you your friend siezes upon this opportunity and pays the £20, whatever number he has chosen you no doubt realise there's a 4 in 5 chance you'll be walking home but you definitely aren't certain this will happen, and as it's a such a good pay-off if he wins perhaps you're prepared to take the hit if he doesn't.

Now suppose a different gamble, with the same box and the same fee, your friend has to choose 1 out of 25 numbers (the box of course will contain one of these numbers), if he wins he gets £5000.

Again without waiting for your advice he pays the £20. Though a 24 in 25 chance of walking home shouldn't seem too appealing, and the pessimistic side of you might be wishing you'd stopped him perhaps excitement may prevail. At any rate you certainly aren't wholly convinced you're walking home.

Now suppose he paid the £20 for a choice of 1 out of 100 numbers (reward = £20,000)...

Now suppose he paid the £20 for a choice of 1 out of 500 numbers (reward = £100,000)...

Now suppose he paid the £20 for a choice of 1 out of 2000 numbers (reward = £400,000)...

.

.

.

Now suppose he paid the £20 for a choice of 1 out of a 1000,000,000,000,000 numbers (reward = £200,000,000,000,000,000 - probably more money than you'll ever be able spend).

Ask yourself how sure you would be in this case that your friend might as well have just burnt the money for all the good this gamble will ever do you (ask yourself also if we had to take the numbers to this extreme); if you're honest, then for all intents and purposes you can be pretty damned certain you're walking home here. Yet in spite of this certainty (and I'm assuming you're sane, or not unreasonably optimistic) it still wouldn't be possible to prove you have already lost - in spite of the fact you 'just know it'.

Now ramp up this thought experiment to make it comparible with the proposition that you chose correctly one god out of potentially infinitely many different gods that could be formulated, couple this with the profound lack of evidence for its existence (as opposed at least to another sort of god's existence say **) and perhaps you can appreciate the depth of certainty I have that you chose incorrectly. That is, in spite of a proof, I can justifiably say that I am certain

**your**god doesn't exist on these grounds.-------------------------------------------------------

** pre-empting the classic "ah but the universe itself is sufficient evidence!" - since at best this is evidence only for

**some sort of god**(not necessarily yours)