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The Devil's Wager
http://forums.avemariaradio.net/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=37896
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Author:  pax [ Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:09 pm ]
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Max Majestic wrote:
kirkjunkie wrote:
I don't know what Max has up his sleave...



Only my elbow. :wink:


kirkjunkie wrote:
... so I don't know if this radically changes the outcome, but what if you were hellbound, and it was God that gave you the challenge? Let's say that he suspended his Natural Law to allow for such a gamble, and told you so, so your conscience would be clear.

Max, does this change it too much?



Any theological concerns regarding the validity of the thought-experiment ought to be discarded. The original designer of this experiment used hell and heaven simply in order to incorporate the concepts of infinite-value and infinite disvalue.

It's a paradox.

Spending one more day in hell (finite cost) to increase your chances of obtaining heaven (infinite reward) will always be worth it. Even if the increase in chance in infinitesmal (like .000007 per day after 1 year, iirc), the most rational decision is to wait that one more day.

But what about the hope issue? Let's say we play the game on day one and take our 50% chance. If we win, great. If we lose, then we're stuck in hell without ever having the hope of getting out. Each day you stay there and increase your chances, you still maintain the hope that some day you can leave. How much should this hope enter into the equation?


Perhaps you have hit upon the method used by Satan to keep souls in hell.

Author:  Custos [ Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:38 pm ]
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BobCatholic wrote:
But let's do the math.

Today: 1/2 50%
Day 2: 2/3 66.6666%
Day 3: 3/4 75%
Day 4: 4/5 80%
Day 5: 5/6 84%
Day 6: 7/8 87.5%
Day 7: 9/10 90%
Day 8: 10/11 91%
Day 9: 11/12 91.666%
Day 10: 12/13 92.07%

So around day 7 or 8 is the optimal time. Each day past that you're getting less of a chance, so is it worth one day of hell to get an extra 0.6%?
The law of diminishing returns.


Of course, one can also look at the same question from the opposite direction: What are your chances of losing, and spending eternity in hell even though you played the game?

Day 1: 50%
Day 2: 33.33%
Day 3: 25%
Day 4: 20%
Day 5: 16.67%
Day 6: 14.29%
Day 7: 12.5%
Day 8: 11.11%
Day 9: 10%
Day 10: 9.09%

Considering how many people play the lottery, where chances are 1 in millions, because they just might win, the idea of spending eternity in hell when the possibility of that is 10% or greater is not so attractive.

By Day 49, your chance of losing have diminished to 2%.
By Day 99, they are at 1%
By Day 199, they are 0.5%
By Day 365, they are 0.27%
After two years, on day 730, it is 0.14%
(Another way of looking at the two year number -- If you filled up hell's equivalent of Giants Stadium with people willing to wait two years, more than one hundred of them would STILL be stuck there for all eternity after playing the game.)

So -- considering what you get when you lose, and not only when you win, is day 7 the best day to play?

The real answer for those who study game theory, of course, is that it all depends on how risk-averse you are.

Author:  metal1633 [ Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:49 pm ]
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David Hopkins wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
From the math point of view, the risk/reward calculation is infinity/infinity, which is an undefined and therefore meaningless term.


I don't see that :scratch:

Today, there is a 50% chance, tomorrow it is 66%, the next day is 75% and so on. Mathmatically, your odds improve.
But it will never reach 100%.

Imagine this. You must travel 100 feet. But on any given day you can only travel half the distance. You will never reach the end. Today you travel 50 feet. tomarrow 25 feet. The next day 12.5 feet, etc etc etc. It will never end.

When would I play? On day 7. Sabbath day and all

Author:  David Hopkins [ Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:52 pm ]
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Metal1633 wrote:
David Hopkins wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
From the math point of view, the risk/reward calculation is infinity/infinity, which is an undefined and therefore meaningless term.


I don't see that :scratch:

Today, there is a 50% chance, tomorrow it is 66%, the next day is 75% and so on. Mathmatically, your odds improve.
But it will never reach 100%.

Imagine this. You must travel 100 feet. But on any given day you can only travel half the distance. You will never reach the end. Today you travel 50 feet. tomarrow 25 feet. The next day 12.5 feet, etc etc etc. It will never end.


Oh, I definitely understood that part. I thought that Obi did not see that the odds did improve as the days went on. Nice analogy, however.

Author:  Custos [ Thu Aug 18, 2005 4:46 pm ]
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What I want to know, Zeno, is whether Achilles ever passes the turtle, or not?

Author:  metal1633 [ Thu Aug 18, 2005 8:48 pm ]
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Custos wrote:
What I want to know, Zeno, is whether Achilles ever passes the turtle, or not?
He passes the turtle in the first half of the race. But the turtle still wins.

Author:  Pushkin [ Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:09 am ]
Post subject:  The Devil's Wager in the Next Life - There isn't one

The Devil's Wager? What could you be referring to?

To the best of my knowledge the Church has a doctrinal teaching on condemnation in life in the next world. We know there is condemnation, but we are only sure that condemnation means death. It is not a teaching or belief of the Church that those who are condendemed go to the Abyss. It's only after the last judgement that we can be sure where a soul went, left or right.

We know there is an upward movement of souls from the many "accepted teachings, biblical references, and private teaching and beliefs" of theologians, but the precise means by which the upward movement works can only be guessed at. The upward movement is alluded to in Jacob's vision of the zygurat in the O.T. and many other places in the OT. It's also terrifyingly alluded to in Matthew and Luke chapters 8 (Dhouey Rheims version), referring to the Gadarene demonaics further explained in the quote "the wages of sin is death". Does this upward movement of souls in scripture apply only to those souls who left mortal life prior to the Redemption? I am not clear on that, one can only assume these are condemned souls, but does it not apply they must work their way upward, horribly I might add?

We have the vision of many saints again mentioning upward movement of souls like Katherine Emmerich. How is it they get to move upwards is a mystery, but it would seem the devil will have some say in this upward movement, but it it does not seem to be any sort of wager.

We know "the devil's wager" is used continuosly on our earth against souls from the first chapter of the book of Job. So what wager are you alluding to in the next life? I don't believe there is one. Wouldn't that the whole point of getting a human as deep into sin as possible so they must commence their upward movement from the lowest possible point on the Zygurat in the next life, thus buying the devil time? The point of the devil's action on earth is to buy himself time, is it not?

Any wagers made by the devil are doubtless here, not in the next life, as the book of Job tells us. Oh yes, and God has an incredible advantage when it comes to earthly wagers; He is capable of cardiodognosus, while the evil spirit is not. That's a wild card for the devil if ever there was one.

Author:  Max Majestic [ Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:22 am ]
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Does everyone realize that the purpose of this thread was to discuss a thought-experiment ......NOT theological issues?

Author:  GAB [ Tue Aug 30, 2005 3:36 am ]
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Isn't Hell by definition eternal? Hence if you did win, no matter how much time you had spent there, you wouldn't in fact have spent any time in Hell. It would have been Purgatory or something- at any rate, not Hell.

Author:  St Anthony of the Desert [ Tue Aug 30, 2005 5:29 am ]
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Hell is eternal -foreverMORE- but it is not in eternity- aka you haven't always been there and always will be. That doesn't work. Hell has only existed since the Fall of the Angels, remember.
But once you ARE there, yes, if it's hell, you're stuck there. By definition it is eternal (as opposed to in eternity).

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