A philosophical discussion about sports betting and gambling, based on my e-book Sports Betting Pure: The Educated Bet, which is now published here for free download.
The Dolphins score a touchdown and Homer celebrates (spilling his Duff beer in the process) while Lisa copies his cheering. Homer lets it slip that he bet $50 on the game, but Lisa doesn’t understand why. Homer: [Gambling is] a little thing daddies do… to make football more exciting. Lisa: What could be more exciting than the savage ballet that is pro football? Homer: You like ice cream, don’t you? Lisa: Uh huh. Homer: And don’t you like ice cream better when it’s covered with hot fudge? And mounds of whipped cream? (getting carried away) And chopped nuts? And, ooh, those crumbled-up cookie things they mash up? Mmm, crumbled-up cookie things. Lisa: So gambling makes a good thing even better?
The Simpsons, ‘Lisa the Greek’
Sports and Gambling: An Inevitable Match
The lures of both sports and gambling are apparent and ancient: throughout history, sports has served multiple functions considered essential to society; while gambling has had rising and falling prominence in societies of every place and age*. Given the excitement and the stakes common to both, it’s inevitable that the combination of sports and gambling would appear to many as a perfect match (as Homer explains simplistically), particularly during an age in which both are prominent.
Over the last century, general discourse concerning the topic of ‘free will’ has become increasingly more pronounced in Western culture—a trend that reflects the rapid development of societal complexity during this period: for especially since the postmodern era, the organisational phenomena of bureaucracy, specialisation, and compartmentalisation have intensified the diffusion not only of responsibility but also of knowledge. Concomitantly, scientific theory has supplanted philosophy as the locus of epistemology, producing theoretical phenomena such as relativity and quantum mechanics and instilling them into the foundation of Western ideology. Effectively, such theories have undermined not just traditional knowledge and wisdom but the very basis for their acquisition, i.e. the subjective perception of an objective reality. In concert, postmodern developments have thus created a culture of disintegrating knowledge and implicit indeterminacy, wherein matters both philosophical and practical are deemed – tacitly more so than explicitly – to be fundamentally uncertain. Crucially, this ideological domination includes the dimension of institutional contradiction; as in, for example, the periodical turnover of scientific axioms, many of which are treated as dogma until they have been deemed falsified and replaced by new axiomatic ‘truths’. Within this culture of impenetrable systemisation and philosophical confusion, the question of free will has arisen to prominence: For at least the last half-century, Western culture has been affirming an inherent inability to determine anything at all, let alone an ideology that is clear, consistent, and stable. Adversely, it has instilled a societal paradigm of reactionary measures against the flux of indeterminable existence, which thus represents the postmodern ideology of Western culture—an ideological inversion of Ideology.