Official Blog of the Bishop of Durham

Pascal’s Derivative Market

Posted by NT Wrong on November 29, 2008

Most of you would have heard of Pascal’s Wager, a flawed ‘pragmatic’ argument for belief in God and his son Jesus. I have developed an improved model of the Wager, which rids it of its morally questionable basis (the ‘laying a bet as a basis for faith’ problem) and which also deals with the problem that there are many mutually exclusive gods who you’ll need to ‘bet’ on (eg a bet on Allah would be no good if Yahweh is the One; conversely, a bet on Jesus would be no good if Ahura-Mazda offers eternal reward).

I call it, ‘Pascal’s Derivative Market’TM. Rather than making a bet on one god, who might turn out to be a foul demon and thereby cause you eternal wrath, why not hedge your bets? Of course, I say ‘hedge your bets’ in a metaphorical way. As everybody knows, the Free Market is not a bet in which some people win and some people lose, but the mechanism by which the Invisible Hand allocates resources fairly to all, so that everyone’s a winner. The Free Market in fact transcends morality and ethical considerations.

I will soon be setting up a Pascal’s Derivative MarketTM for Spiritual InvestorsTM. For payment of a small joining fee*, Spiritual InvestorsTM can buy a put option and sell a call option for each deity offering eternal rewards. In effect, you are selling short the whole pantheon of eternal-reward-offering deities. The beauty of the deal is that the terms of the options include the right, on death, to abandon all faiths which turn out not to be offering eternal salvation, retaining sole shareholding in the One True FaithTM, whatever that turns out to be. The superiority of Pascal’s Derivative MarketTM to Pascal’s Wager should be obvious.

The N. T. Wrong Blog will be publishing a Prospectus for Pascal’s Derivative MarketTM in the near future. Invest wisely — your eternal salvation is at stake.

* US$100,000

n.b. For those of you interested in investment in Pascal’s Derivative MarketTM, but unable to afford the joining fee, you will be pleased to know that we are also beginning a finance company, Sub-Prime Mover MortgagesTM, to assist with securing your eternal salvation. Here at Pascal’s Derivative MarketTM, we believe that salvation should be available for everyone!

2 Responses to “Pascal’s Derivative Market”

  1. Brian Marks said


    Now – do you have anything that would fill a “God shaped hole?”

  2. ntwrong said

    Yes. A God-shaped idea.

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