Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Sinner's Dilemma?

One of the least fruitful dead-ends in any online discussion forum is the Eternally Refined Analogy.

Someone attempts to illustrate their argument with an analogy which, being only an analogy, is not perfectly equivalent to the gist of what they're trying to say. And with startling speed, the original matter of the argument is abandoned and the conversation becomes primarily about criticism and refinement of the analogy.

Part of the reason I've never been particularly fascinated with game theory is that it reminds me of this phenomenon. It seems a bit too much like one big round of the Eternally Refined Analogy....

I spent those years serving the Queen of the Sciences, and theology hasn't warmed up to game theory. (From what I've read of the Summa, though, I'd bet Thomas Aquinas would've loved it).

It's difficult for theologians to hear the intricately refined scenarios posed by game theorists without hearing the unspoken preface, "And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him." So if presented with something like the prisoner's dilemma, a theologian is likely to respond with something like, "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves ..."

But, unlike Jesus, I'm going to try to provide a straight answer here and describe three different theological objections to the prisoner's dilemma.

{read the rest...}
[via slacktivist]

1 comment:

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