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Christian Tractatus

(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)

However, is not faith required to hold any belief, even if its probability p > 0.5 ? For instance, the probability of survival or the first round of Russian roulette is 5/6 for the first player, but most of us would need faith to undergo the ordeal even though we are more likely to survive than not.

  1. The explanation of this problem is the matter of "expected reward". In our game of Russian roulette, the expected first round loss is 1/6 * "value of life", so most of us would require a big incentive to play this game. It is possible to conceive of situations in which we might choose to play, however (eg. if the only alternative was a "two bullet" version!). Faith would only come into this game if one were to persuade oneself that one was not running the risk the odds imply.
  2. Such a dilemma confronts people who have the possibility of undergoing a pioneering form of treatment for an illness. However, if the alternative is "certain death today", most of us would submit to such treatment.
  3. In practise, faith is often required because we are not sure of the probabilities involved. In such instances, "faith" = 0.5 - p', where p' is the perceived probability of p being true.

Note last updated Reference for this Topic Parent Topic
12/08/2007 10:17:46 394 (Faith - Russian Roulette) Faith - Probability

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