I want to get these settled so people can sign up to participate in the Ideological Turing Test and start doing their homework. I want to have three to four questions total, and, based on previous comment thread discussions, these two have already made the cut:
- When (if ever) have you deferred to your philosophical or theological system over your intuitions?
- Are there people whose opinions on morality you trust more than your own? How do you recognize them? How is trusting them different than trusting someone’s opinion on physics?
These are written to be applicable to believers or non-believers. The questions-to-be-added could be similarly universal, or they could be designed specifically for atheists or believers. Here a couple of proposed questions and topics you guys have mentioned that I found promising:
- (Atheists only) Albert Einstein once wrote, “The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility … The fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle.” Do you agree that the comprehensibility of the universe is something that ought to be explained in some way (if so, please do so), or should it simply be taken as a brute fact? Keep in mind here that Einstein was a physicist, rather than a biologist, so it’s probably more reasonable to assume he is talking about the laws of nature rather than evolution.
- (Atheists only) How important is atheism to your personal identity? In what ways is it connected to your other beliefs? How much does it end up influencing your actions and personal priorities?
- (Atheists only) What legitimate needs do you see faith filling for believers, and how do you meet those needs in your own life?
- (Topic only, question needed) Something about how people recognize and respond to the sublime
- What would you say is wrong with the world, and what seems to you to be the way to resolve this problem?
- How do you define ‘faith’? Where, if anywhere, is this concept applicable outside religion?
Interestingly, almost no one contributed Christian-specific question. Also interesting, most people of the people contributing Atheism-specific questions were Christian, so now’s the time for people on either side to take a good look at your philosophy’s real weak points (It’s good for you!).
I’m hoping to wrap up question selection this weekend, so participants know what they’re getting into, so comment early and often.