Sunday, November 18, 2007

 

Making Big Choices under Uncertainty. I had a good talk about Christianity today during my visit to Warwick University. We talked about two fallacies of delayed decision. One is that of Buridan's Ass, who, halfway between two equally good mangers of hay, died of starvation because there was no way to choose between them. Lesson: To not choose is a choice in itself, and sometimes worse than not choosing the best alternative. The second fallacy is that of my webpost a few days ago: of choosing X because it is very uncertain which is better, X or Y. This seems silly until I bring in the application: choosing not to pray to God because it is very uncertain which is better, praying to God or (because he might not exist) not praying. It is quite possible to make your choice and pray heartily to a God you are not sure exists, just as you can write letters to someone who might never receive them or spend thousands of dollars on a medical treatment that might have no chance of
working. You may not be able to fix the degree of your belief, and without a strong belief you may find the discipline of following it hard, but you can make the decision.

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