Who Won the Atheist Round?

The answers are up, and now that we know the truth, it’s time to see how well the contestants did in the Ideological Turing Test. The graph below (sample size 1133) shows what atheists made of the responses in the first round.

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If you rank participants according to the percent of respondents who rated them “Lean Atheist” or “Atheist,” the top scorers were:

  1. Entry #1 (Kat – Christian) with 94%
  2. Entry #6 (Anonymous – Christian) with 87%
  3. Entry #3 (Chris – Christian) with 80%
  4. Entry #12 (Me – Atheist) with 71%

The first three are the winning Christians (and I take home the Most Atheist Atheist prize for the round).  My cutoff for a win was based on the average of all ratings for an entry (using the coding Atheist = 0, Lean Atheist = 1, Lean Christian = 2, Christian = 3).  Winners had an average score of <1, i.e.their average rating fell in the Atheist to Lean Atheist range.

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Christians (sample size = 123) tended to have similar ratings, but, if you apply the same metric above, I fall out of the winners circle and the order shakes out to Chris > Kat > Anonymous with 86%, 78%, and 77% respectively.

Oh, and two Christians got made by both groups.

  1. Entry #2 (Nathan – Christian) with 25%
  2. Entry #10 (Lorilyn – Christian) with 28%
Both of these entries had an average rating >2, which meant that their aggregate score fell in the Lean Christian – Christian range, so I’m pegging them as well and truly rumbled.
This kind of breakdown for the Christian round will come tomorrow.  And then I’ll take a look at the reasoning offered by participants, test the hypothesis that people exposed to more than one religion scored better,  and examine an alternate scoring system that rates the ‘Atheist’ answers more heavily than ‘Lean Atheist.’
Til then, content yourself with the full list of rankings under the jump.

Entries are listed from most atheist average score to least atheist, so the percentages may not be strictly decreasing.
  1. Entry #1 (Kat – Christian) with 94%
  2. Entry #6 (Anonymous – Christian) with 87%
  3. Entry #3 (Chris – Christian) with 80%
  4. Entry #12 (Me – Atheist) with 71%
  5. Entry #4 (Brian – Christian) with 68%
  6. Entry #13 (Adam – Atheist) with 64%
  7. Entry #8 (Bo – Atheist) with 64%
  8. Entry #14 (Jeannine – Christian) with 61%
  9. Entry #9 (Peter – Atheist) with 61%
  10. Entry #15 (Tristyn – Christian) with 49%
  11. Entry #7 (Alex – Atheist Christian) with 44%
  12. Entry #11 (Charles – Atheist) with 42%
  13. Entry #5 (Michael – Atheist) with 36%
  14. Entry #10 (Lorilyn – Christian) with 28%
  15. Entry #2 (Nathan – Christian) with 25%

About Leah Libresco

Leah Anthony Libresco graduated from Yale in 2011. She works as an Editorial Assistant at The American Conservative by day, and by night writes for Patheos about theology, philosophy, and math at www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked. She was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05377685250633624137 Tristyn Bloom

    Why am I listed as an atheist?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16496144988509668275 Leah

    Because that was a lot of copying over of data and I am fallen?Fixed now.

  • Anonymous

    Ignoring Alex, Christians garnered 0.63 and Atheists garnered 0.55. Christians are did a great job here, despite Lorilyn and Nathan's low scores.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08572976822786862149 Darwin

    I'm fascinated that aside from out host, Christians were the most convincing atheists — and very curious to see how the Christian round shapes up in comparison.

  • http://sites.google.com/site/bbayles/ Bo

    Wow. I figured my "AIDS-curing-YAHWEH plant" would out me as an atheist for sure.The Christians did a great job here…!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05377685250633624137 Tristyn Bloom

    Here's what I predict for the factors people used to judge: atheists think Christians are stupid, Christians think atheists are boring.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17467675780212523820 Brandon Jaloway

    From Bo: "He can even make one of the leaves of the AIDS-curing plant in the shape of a question mark, if he wants his existence to still be shrouded in some sort of mystery."That is awesome! Hilarious! I literally laughed out loud when I read it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02113705678930326818 Sebastian

    @Bo, indeed it did. Spotted you!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13286545868199457106 Oran

    Ouch. I calculated a correlation for my own guesses [with ... LA=0.7, ?=0.5, LC=0.3 ...] and found it slightly negative. I am not a good detector [though I spotted Bo just fine]. It looks like the population did just as bad. That raises a different set of questions: – Are there good detectors among the atheists? – Who did the best at fooling good detectors?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13211650671189898841 MikeTheInfidel

    Very interesting results indeed. I'm curious, though: the people who wrote the response – were they the sort who are actively engaged in discussions between atheists and Christians online? Because that might be a possible influence on the outcome; Christians and atheists who are less familiar with the other group's position due to limited contact might not be so convincing at portraying the other group's position.Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Grab random people off the street and have them write their responses :) Hooray for research!

    • Dan

      But the point was to find people who might have a decent shot at simulating the other side, not to pull the Village Atheist and the Village Fundie and let them fight it out.

  • Brian Macker

    The only conclusion here can be that many Christians are secret atheists. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08395703772492059721 Benjamin Baxter

    Ah! To my mind, Brian, this merely means that Christians aren't necessarily so dumb as we're made out to be, and that we do indeed grapple with the difficulty of our faith.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17467675780212523820 Brandon Jaloway

    @Brian Macker: hahahaha!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06025326635746365310 Chelsea

    What does "Atheist Christian" mean (Alex)?

    • Dan

      Can’t speak for Alex, but Richard Wurmbrand once gave a definition:

      An atheist might say, “There is no god, so I can do whatever I please.” Or s/he might say, “There is no god, so I must try to do as much good as possible to make up for the god who’s not there.” Wurmbrand analogized the second type of atheist to Jesus of Nazareth: helping others, rather than waiting around for God to do it.

      Maybe that’s what Alex means.


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