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Leah Libresco…

…my favorite atheist, asks for help with her Ideological Turing Test:

I’ve got all the Christian Round answers up and now I need Christians to judge them! Last year, you were a big help recruiting participants. Here’s the precis of how this works:

In a normal Turing Test, people try and write a computer program that sounds so much like a human that people can’t tell it’s a computer. In an Ideological Turing Test, people try to imitate their ideological opponents well enough to pass for them. A lot of religious arguments get bogged down because we’re just making fun of a strawman, not our opponents true beliefs. The ideological Turing Test is a nice way to check how well you understand the people you disagree with.

In round one atheists gave honest answers to a set of prompts, and Christians tried to answer as an atheist would. Atheists read the entries and tried to spot the fakes. Now I need Christian voters to read the second round of entries , where Christians are sincere and atheists are shamming. Can you pick out the imitators?

If you love productive fights or large sample sizes, please help me out!

Leah: You’re on. Three comments.

Me: I’m thinking somewhere in the range of five to 10 comments. I’ll pick seven.

What are the stakes?

  • Anthony

    I’m not sure you can understand “Christianity” unless you’re very specific about what you mean by the term. The more Catholic you are the more Christian you are and the more Catholic you are the more you adhere to Catholic teaching. Therefore you can understand the Christian by understanding the what and why of Catholic teaching. But the term is so often used in such a nebulous sense that all the winds of opinion could never be pinned down to any one thing. Assuming the lack of the requisite enlightenment to see Catholic and Christian as synonyms then it should be easy for any atheist of a reasonable level of intelligence to accurately portray SOME corner of Christianity even if it’s the anti-rational fundamentalist corner they tend to focus on.

    • http://witheagerfeet.wordpress.com Ink

      Anthony,
      I was just about to say something like that. Being a pretty well-catechized Catholic, I know the arguments against atheism and Protestantism both fairly well–and I consider both of them to be full of a decent amount of hot air. There’s fundamentalism on both sides–I’ve encountered at least one of both extremes–and both sides are, in critical aspects, wrong. So this is very difficult for me to judge.

    • Ted Seeber

      I’m not so sure about that. My definition of Christianity is more inclusive (which is why I commonly refer to myself as CATHOLIC, not CHRISTIAN- the second term has been watered down in my brain to near uselessness). For instance, question #1 I put as very likely Christian, but not at all logically consistent or compelling- and in the comments I labeled this person either a Bible Worshiper or an Atheist Raised by Bible Worshipers.

      Same with the guy who went to seminary. Knowing that he’s likely a Catholic Priest today, I still labeled him an atheist because the only thing he likes about his job is the material rewards it gives him.

      • Telemachus

        QFE, on the guy who went to seminary. I said he was likely an atheist, because I could easily imagine an atheist running across those statistics (are they even real) that those who have the highest “job satisfaction” are stay-at-home moms and Catholic priests, then extrapolating these to come up with an image of a fat-and-happy priest who doesn’t really take his vocation all that seriously.

  • Telemachus

    This was difficult. I’m impressed. There may be some atheists out there who can talk very well like Catholics. Highly disturbing!