Monday, November 5, 2007

Why religion plays no useful role in the making of public policies

It seemed that NMP Thio Li Ann had expressed an opinion, in a special article in ST, that religion has a role to play in public policy making. If she thinks that this is for the general benefit of Singaporeans, then once again, I'm of the opinion that she isn't very bright. Not impressed at all. The reason is simple: A religion is essentially an unfalsifiable belief. Not a great idea to make decisions based on such beliefs, especially if it concerns the general public.


So what is an falsifiability? According to wikipedia,


"Falsifiability (or refutability or testability) is the logical possibility that an assertion can be shown false by an observation or a physical experiment. That something is "falsifiable" does not mean it is false; rather, it means that it is capable of being disproved under hypothetical circumstances."


Yeah, so why is falsifiability important? To illustrate this, let's take a look at Pascal's Wager. Pascal's Wager is actually a simple game theory in decision making, put forward by Blaise Pascal, a 17th century mathematician, physicist and religious philosopher. In essence, Blaise Pascal posits that it is a better "bet" to believe that God exists than not to believe, because the expected value of believing (which Pascal assessed as infinite) is always greater than the expected value of not believing.



In the form of a decision matrix, the possibilities and consequences are listed out.



Basically, it means that if you lived as if god exists and god does indeed exists, then you go to heaven, a reward of infinite value. And if god does not exist, you lose nothing (or at least not too much). However if you lived as if god did did not exists, you find yourself going to hell, a punishment of infinite value. And if god does not exist, you lose nothing (or at least not too much).

For argument's sake, let's take it that the values of rewards and punishments assigned in the matrix are accurate. Then it seems like it's the smart decision to believe in god doesn't it? Well, it seems that way until you realise that the existence of god is unfalsifiable and that you can similarly come up with an unfalsifiable belief that god will send you to hell for believing in him and send those who did not believe in him to heaven. Why would he do that, you ask. Well, maybe he's trying to weed out those dummies <----------unfalsifiable as well.

All this leads to is just an intellectual dead-end. You can get no useful conclusions out of it.

Issac Newton seemed to have gotten the hang of this idea around 300 years ago.

"All forces occur in pairs, and these two forces are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction." - Issac Newton's third law of motion

Well, I have my version of it too

"All unfalsifiable beliefs occur in pairs, and the conclusions drawn from these beliefs are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction." - IMBS

Well, decisions must obviously based on reality and not unfalsifiable beliefs, if you ask me.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

you are prove that false teeth bite is unlike the bite from a set of real teeth.

lbandit said...

Hi hi,

Thought i'll just mention this, religion is not a single belief. Religion is a set of beliefs.

I must be stupid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I must be stupid said...

Hi there,

Regardless of whether it is a single belief or a whole set of beliefs, it is still unfalisifiable.

John said...

Let me see if I got your argument right.

Religious beliefs may not be right, hence, they should not be used as a basis or they should not be allowed to influence public policy.

If people insist on believing a religion?

And since religion can influence many facets of a person's life, the person would want the values to be represented in law?

I must be stupid said...

Hi john,

This post is just about making decisions based on unfalsifiable beliefs, whether it is religion or not. Just my opinion that it is not a good idea to do that due the the reasons mentioned in the post.

As to whether people want to continue on making decisions based on religious beliefs, it's up to them. However if these decisions affect others (eg. a certain relgion dictates how others should behave or live) who do not share these unfalisfiable beliefs, it brings to light this dilemma:

Why should we allow your beliefs to dictate our lives? For my beliefs might very well lead to the exact opposite conclusion to those based on your beliefs. Who is right and who is wrong? There is no way of determining that since both set of beliefs are unfalsifiable.

Effective erection enhancement gel said...

in many societies, religion do play an important role. but at the end of the day it depends on the society, that is religion so powerful, that it could be used for making policies.

Penis enlargement pills said...

It's not religion who makes policies, it's we who make them and break.

Niconot quit smoking pills said...

I don't know what should I say about it. I just say your effort was really good.

Male Extra penis enhancement supplement review said...

An unfalsifiable belief that god will send you to hell for believing in him...

Breast augmentation product said...

A religion is essentially an unfalsifiable belief..This is becoming true for the man.

hcg buy online said...

It is a single belief or a whole set of beliefs, it is still unfalisifiable. HCG Blue Drops, the Faster and Natural way to lose weight..

Trichozed prevent hair loss pills said...

Real funny things . it is always what you are belief most .

Maxocum best sperm pills said...

Religious beliefs may not be right, hence, they should not be used as a basis or they should not be allowed to influence public policy.

Increase low sex drive in women said...

Pascal's Wager is actually a simple game theory in decision making, put forward by Blaise Pascal, a 17th century mathematician, physicist and religious philosopher.

Recumbent exercise bike reviews said...

its not good to mix the religion with the politics

Celebrity News said...

I dont know how about you all but i never understood realigion in school and maybe thats why it doesn;t play useful roles.

Plaque attack for dogs said...

Religion doesn't need to play an useful role in the making of public policies because religion is not a science.

NeosizeXL natural penis growth pills said...

the pic in the blog was really cool. i like the line written under it.