Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Climate Deniers Could Learn from Pascal's Wager

Rather than engage in protracted  psuedo-scientific debates, perhaps a touch of philosophy might help some climate deniers to see the value of acting to combat climate change.

Climate deniers must go through a series of intellectual gymnastics to find pretexts to poke holes in the legion of scientists and plethora of independent research that supports anthropogenic climate change. Perhaps the following philosophical position may save them from the effort needed for their intellectlual contortions.

Blaise Pascal famously said, “Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.”

While Pascal's Wager was meant to apply to God it could just as well apply to global warming. For the sake of argument, let us pretend that climate change does not materialize as predicted, what harm is there in reducing pollution and finding cleaner sources of fuel? If as is far more likely scientific predictions prove accurate, their belief, however ingenuine, may have helped to stave off an unprecedented cataclysm.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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