Cast Your Ballots Now!

I wrote last month about the ideological Turing test going on at Unequally Yoked, and the first round of voting is now beginning. Leah has posted 15 sets of answers to a standard set of questions, some of them written by genuine atheists, some written by Christians pretending to be atheists.

Do you think you can tell the real atheists apart from the frauds? If you’re up for the challenge, go check the answers out, apply your very best skepticism, and then cast your vote. The polls are only open till Sunday night, so be quick! Once voting is over, there will be a second round, this time of genuine Christians and real atheists trying to impersonate Christians. Do your nonbeliefs proud by proving that we can recognize real atheists when we see them!

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About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, City of Light, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Philboyd

    That was actually really difficult! I guess that most Christians who read atheist blogs enough to know about the ideological Turing test are going to be familiar enough with atheist arguments to sound very convincing. After going through all fifteen, I’m not convinced that atheists could do as good a job at pretending to be Christians (although I’d love to be proven wrong).

  • Rieux

    Yes, it’s clear that the Christians who took part in this exercise are smart cookies. Congrats to them.

  • TheDudeDiogenes

    I hope I’d be able to convincingly impersonate a Christian. I used to be one, and I got a BA in theology!

  • bassmanpete

    All too long winded to go through at 10pm on a Saturday. However I would say that the longer the answer the more likely the repondent is a Christian, and vice versa.

  • kagerato

    Okay, finished judging all fifteen. That was indeed pretty difficult.

    There’s some rather serious design flaws in this form of examination, in my view. These properties are the problem:

    (1) Judges do not determine the questions.
    (2) Respondents have unlimited time to answer the question.
    (3) Respondents are able to access any resource they wish in providing an answer.
    (4) Judges cannot introduce challenges by probing vague or stock answers with follow up questions.

    These properties make the process of this examination remarkably different from an actual Turing test beyond the fundamental of probing a different question. They essentially lend very large key advantages to the respondents over the judges. More importantly, a real atheist is typically not going to have much trouble espousing their views (and the basis thereof) in real time. Theists, unless they are unusually well read and very good at playing Devil’s Advocate, are going to have a much harder time of that.

    I strongly suspect that many of the Christian respondents here based their answers on views they read from the actual writings of real atheists. While that demonstrates some level of writing skill, it does not indicate that they thoroughly understand the underlying principles. Such derivative works are essentially plausible by default, because by definition some atheist somewhere actually does hold those views.

    TL;DR : There are some substantial methodological issues with this. It probably will not demonstrate much of anything concretely.

  • mlg

    Huh. On the contrary, I thought it was pretty easy.

    Maybe I’m overconfident. I’ll eat my words when I see the answers and realize I got them all wrong.

    But for now, I took a screenshot of my answers, so I’ll compare once the results are available.

  • Jormungundr

    After a hard day of work, I find this gem when I turn my computer on. I just had to go through the responses and judge them. I saved a screen shot of my judgment. It will be interesting to see if I scored any better than chance. A few were quite hard to tell. A few were (well, seemed) easy though.

  • Tor Hershman

    Why do you capitalize “Christian” but not “Atheist”
    ? ? ?

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Why do you capitalize “Christian” but not “Atheist”

    Maybe because ‘Athe’ was not an actual person?

  • David Hart

    Maybe because ‘Athe’ was not an actual person?
    Of course, there are those (and I tentatively include myself) who think that Christ was not an actual person either:-P