Blaise Pascal’s wager for the planet

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Like many things scientific, our understanding of global warming is evolving. The evidence of human-induced deleterious effects on the global environment is compelling, but it may yet be disproved. If that evidence holds up, however, the implications are frightening. Rising sea levels, melting of the polar ice caps, increases in ambient temperatures worldwide, reduction or displacement of rainfall and other anticipated changes all have the potential for wreaking enormous damage on the entire environment on which we rely for our very existence.

Among other things, the 17th century French philosopher Blaise Pascal gave the world that branch of mathematics known as probability theory. Using laws and formulas he created, Pascal computed that the likelihood that there is no God was about 99.97 percent.

Unable to refine his calculations further, Pascal retired to a monastery and a life of prayer and contemplation. Asked why, if the likelihood is that there is no God, he committed himself to a life of prayer, Pascal replied that it had to do with the odds of being wrong.

Like Pascal, global warming deniers have a right to their opinions, but if the odds of their being wrong come to pass, life on earth will suffer disastrous consequences. If we pursue our present courses, we may suffer economically, but we cannot eat money.
David C. Murray

This entry was posted in Costa Rica News. Bookmark the permalink.