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Global Warming

Pascal’s Wager Today – Global Warming

Blaise Pascal was a 17th Century mathematician whose many discoveries included modern probability theory and the economy of scale. Back then he put his famous “wager” in religious terms: No one can prove there is or isn’t a God, but choosing to believe offers infinite upside benefit (Heaven) and no downside risk, whereas choosing to disbelieve offers minor upside benefit (e.g., you get to skip church) but infinite downside risk (Hell). I’m not focusing on religion but rather Pascal’s realization that in an economy of scale it never makes sense to bet a limited gain against a catastrophic loss. His wager was actually a no-brainer: We vote against loss. (more…)