Betting on the Existence of God

Betting on the Existence of GodThe question surrounding the existence of some sort of God has been debated for about as long as human beings have been able to think.

We haven’t come up with any sort of evidence one way or the other in the 300,000 years that anatomical human beings have been on the earth, not even in the 50,000 years that we have been using tools and making cave paintings, nor in the 6,000 years that civilisation has existed as we know it.

We have been to space, invented the internet, and even found the Higgs boson, otherwise known as the God particle, but we have not found any evidence of the existence of some omnipresent being.

That didn’t stop Paddy Power adding yet another weird betting market to their list of other weird markets at the time.

For the bet to pay out, PaddyPower said that scientific proof would need to be found, verified by scientists, and given by an independent authority.

Why Did Paddy Power Offer Odds on the Existence of God?

PaddyPower Odds on Does God Exist

Back when these odds were first offered, it was 2008, and the news was talking about the search for the afore mentioned Higgs boson God particle.

The market opened at 20/1, then when the hadron collider (the thing that was going to discover the particle) temporarily broke down due to a magnetic failure those odds lengthened to 33/1.

Given the nickname, the God particle, you can understand why this bet captured people’s imaginations.

There was also an atheist marketing campaign at the time, which was a total coincidence, but their marketing materials said

“There’s Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying And Enjoy Your Life.”

It was the word ‘probably’ that got people thinking. Why would an atheist organisation suggest that there might be a God? Did they know something the rest of us didn’t?

Anyway, it was enough to build up £5,000 worth of bets, forcing Paddy Power to cut the odds right down to 4-1.

That’s right, 4-1 on scientific evidence of God’s existence – that’s an implied probability of 20%.

Really? A 20% chance that scientists will discover proof of the almighty?

Of course, this was just about Paddy Power managing their risk rather than a realistic probability of God’s existence being scientifically proven, but still, those odds are wild for such a weird market.

You might have spotted in the image that odds of 500/1 were also given on Russell Brand being God – that seems just about as likely if you ask me.

How Could They Ever Prove That God Existed?

ProofTheir terms stated that any evidence would need to be verified by scientists, but even then, what would count as evidence?

Since the whole market was dreamed up because of the large hadron collider that was attempting to discover the Higgs boson particle, it can be assumed that punters were pinning their hopes on that discovery being made.

Would that count as the existence of God, though?

The Higgs boson was eventually discovered in 2012 (the bet stipulated that any discovery had to be made before the end of 2009), but even if it had been discovered in time, I don’t think PaddyPower would have had to pay out.

It was nicknamed the God particle, but it isn’t proof of God’s existence. The Higgs boson is the particle that gives all other particles their mass, so it is the foundation of the matter that forms us and everything around us – but it’s not a God.

The whole point of religion is that it relies on having faith, which requires an element of the unknown in order to be faith in the first place. If God was proven to exist it would cease to be faith and simply be fact.

It is estimated that over 18,000 Gods, Goddesses, and various animals or objects have been worshipped by humans during our existence on the planet – if we can’t even decide what is a God and what isn’t, how could we ever prove God’s existence?