Play in a political Ideological Turing Test


Over at Popehat (despite the name, not a religion blog), the proprietor is trying to test his Turing Test acumen:

Today we’ve secretly replaced your regular Clark with Folger’s Clark; let’s see if you notice the difference.

Please ask me anything about politics, religion, culture, economics, the family, gay marriage, the Obama scandals, immigration, the Republican party, libertarians, etc. I will answer it as a mainstream liberal US Democrat. Then you may judge how well I do.

I assume the switch takes place only in the comments, since ‘the Obama scandals’ is a tell. I wouldn’t be likely to group them or tie them back to Obama’s name.  More like “the Benghazi thing,” and mentions of the IRS probe or the drone program tend to be mentioned in longer, more profanity-laced phrases.  With some hitting and weeping in that last case.

The test isn’t blinded, so everyone will be looking for giveaways, instead of trying to sort.  Ultimately, I think this kind of test is much more a portrait of the judges’ model of themselves or their opponents than the player’s.  Remember when a Catholic skated to victory in the first competition here, because a subset of atheists didn’t believe Christians could like SMBC?

So, what do you think is obviously a mark of your team or an enemy here?

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  • Chris

    Judging from the initial comments (I went through the first five), this dude definitely does not understand a lot of where his opponents are coming from. (Which is useful to know!)

  • Marta L.

    Wait, Christians can’t like SMBC? How is this even a thing? I mean, next you’ll be telling me I can’t laugh at that God comic on FaceBook, or smile at the Naked Pastor here at Patheos. Teh horrorz!

  • Jon

    The ‘rolling out Obamacare’ line seems a bit over-the-top for an actual liberal.

    The part about saying we can trust the government because it’s designed to help people is something I hope no actual liberal would say. I’m aware that governments are made of people, people with the same flaws as all the rest of us, and that’s why they need watching closely.

    “Maybe after 51% of the physics PhDs, 51% of the chemical engineers, and 51% of the CEOs are women”

    Why 51%? This seems to be feeding the fear that feminism is secretly about female domination. 50% would be plenty (in my dreams).

    I don’t think liberals go around telling people that federal workers are more intelligent, even if it’s true. It seems like bad manners and anyway, unintelligent people are part of society too.

    Same with “The twenty first century belongs to Democrats – there’s no need to compromise on anything.” There must be something Democrats and Republicans can comprimise on? I wion’t say no Democrat would answer like this, but I hope if they did, other Democrats would call them on it. Some compromise is needed while the Republicans hold the Senate, after all. But I’m not actually an American democrat, I’m a European liberal.

    Not sure ‘bags of DNA’ works for a transgender rights arguement, since DNA is male or female (XX or XY ). In my experience it tends to be more about the right to self-determination and for others to see transgender people the way they see themselves and treat them accordingly.

    That’s enough nitpicking for now.

    I wonder if you ever played werewolf/mafia, Leah? That game taught me a lot about how to construct evidence and make convincing arguements for things you don’t believe in, and also how easily people can be fooled by bad logic.

    • Minor quibble: DNA isn’t always male or female. People can have XXX or XXY or other atypical combinations. But I agree that transgender rights is largely not about genetics.

    • LeahLibresco

      I played (and quite enjoyed!) werewolf for the first time last month. I got accused in the first round and so I made a grandiloquent speech (“The villagers accuse me because they are ignorant, the wolves because they know I am innocent”) and told everyone, since they had very little data, to weigh the possible harm of letting me live if I were a wolf against how entertaining I might be in the next round. I survived.

    • Niemand

      Why 51%?

      Because slightly more than 50% of people are women. Men, being cursed or blessed with a Y chromosome instead of a second X chromosome, are more vulnerable to lethal recessive genes carried on the X chromosome. In the US, it’s actually 50.8%, but rounding to the nearest whole number makes it 51%. I think the numbers are similar in Europe (at least in the EU) but don’t know for certain. If the number is 50.4% then you’re right and 50% (rounding again) is plenty.

    • tedseeber

      The one thing that Republicans and Democrats seem to agree on to me, is that the 14th Amendment repealed the 10th.

      What they want to use that for, is usually utterly different things, however.

  • Chris

    I would like to ask you two questions. First, why do you believe in the Christian God? It’s one thing to believe in the existence of God, a concept that gives so many things purpose, but it is another to believe in a specific religion. Why do you think the Bible is any more true than the Torah or Koran or Bhagavad Gita? Can’t “God” exist separate from religion, but as a concept? My second question is, why did you abandon Stoicism?

    • KG

      Yes, it would be nice to get an explanation of that from Leah, including her decision to accept specific Christian miracles as true after having previously explaining her skepticism of them on this blog. I’ve heard lots of responses from other commenters on this blog, but never from Leah herself.

    • Alexander S Anderson

      I’d tighten up your question a wee bit, simply because the Torah is included in the Bible (along with the Prophets and Writings) and the Koran assumes the truth of many things included in both the Old and New Testament (not *all* of the things, obviously). You’re question made it sound like the books themselves were mutually exclusive. And it also sounded like you think her faith is primarily a faith in a book (or a collection of books, as the one in question is.)

      • KG

        This is very confusing to me. If, as I have been led to believe, the Quran denies the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus as described in the Gospels, then how can the texts be mutually compatible?

        • Alexander S Anderson

          I didn’t say they were compatible. I’m just pointing out that it’s a little more complicated than just laying out four different books on the table and deciding which one it true. Christians think that the NT is compatible with Torah, Jews don’t believe that. The reasons that you might choose the Koran over the Bible would be very different than why you would choose the Koran over the Baghavad Gita. Also does one even have to think that the content of the Baghavad Gita is true to be a faithful Hindu? I’m pretty sure the sacred text play a different role in basically all non Abrahamic religions, but I could be wrong with that.

          • KG

            Yes, Christians believe the books of the Hebrew Bible are compatible with the Gospels. Beyond that, however, Chris’ question is still an important one. By converting to Catholicism, it still seems that one is committing to the truth claims of its texts, deeming them “more true” than the Quran, for example, or any other non-Hebrew sacred text one can name. Many of these texts are indeed incompatible, as you point out.

          • Alexander S Anderson

            I still think you should be asking why she chose a specific tradition, not why she chose a specific book. Jews, Catholic, Mormons, Liberal Christians, Young Earth Creationists, all of these hold widely disparate views on the Book of Genesis, even while all accord it the status of sacred Scripture. Further, I think it needs to be recognized that there are a number of steps one needs to take before you even choose between those religions. Maybe you should ask first why she thinks monotheism is more likely than polytheism, or why she believes in a transcendent god and not a pantheistic one.

          • KG

            “Maybe you should ask first why she thinks monotheism is more likely than polytheism, or why she believes in a transcendent god and not a pantheistic one.”

            Those are all good questions! I think it could indeed be useful to comment on them, and complete the chain of logic that leads to Catholicism. I know many other people have written about this, but the difference here is that Leah started from a frame of reference that seems similar to that of many non-Christians, including myself. It would be incredibly interesting to know the details of that shift in perspective.

            Right now the argument seems to be
            Objective morality exists -> Theism -> Christianity -> Catholicism

            How is the second arrow justified? Is it historical and literary analysis of the Bible? If so, I would like to know which arguments convinced Leah, and what exactly changed such that she found the arguments persuasive even though she didn’t in the past.

  • Alexander S Anderson

    This would be very interesting to formalize. I almost think a political Turing Test would be harder, it would be harder to fake another perspective, than it is for religion. Also, I’m not sure how I would do it. How is anyone supposed to guess that the guy pretending to be a mainstream Democrat is really a personalist Distributist?

    • Alexander S Anderson

      And also, almost all of the people I know who read SMBC are Catholic. Do atheists read that, too? 🙂

  • tedseeber

    Obviously a mark of my team: a commitment to Truth in Humility. The trouble being, nobody likes to hear what they have done wrong.

    • avalpert

      That sure is the trouble with you and your view of your team.

      • tedseeber

        Truth comes first, above team. Above ideology. Above everything.

        The objective morality exists whether YOU believe in it or not.

        • avalpert

          Or it doesn’t exist whether YOU believe in it or not. Your ‘Truth’ is simply what you need to tell yourself to make it through the day. I don’t expect you will ever accept that, but that is the actual Truth…

          • tedseeber

            There is enough evidence that reality, and therefore a correct way to live within that reality, exists. Anything less is not scientific, let alone rational religious. I find most of the time, people who are sinning are living in denial as to the effects of that sin. A good example is male homosexuality, which has been proven beyond any doubt to be unhealthy, just like tobacco smoking.

          • avalpert

            Thank you Teddy for making my point.

            The only thing that is certain to lead to death is life – therefor you sir are a murderer. Proven beyond any doubt – anything less is not scientific, let alone rational religious.

            But hey, if it is what you need to believe to get through the day, good for you.

          • tedseeber

            Reduction ad absurtiam is a fallacy, not an argument. But hey, keep going with it if that is what works for you- at least until you run into the brick wall of suicide that most atheists eventually run into.

          • avalpert

            Absurtiam is all that is left when ‘discussing’ with someone like you. You left logic behind long ago (heck, your argument that reality exists and therefor a correct way to live within that reality exists is nothing but a non sequitir, and a pathetic one at that). But hey, let’s play – so that stat that most atheists commit suicide care to share the source?

            Come on Teddy, you have directly caused the death of every child you have had – how does that make you feel you murderer?

          • tedseeber

            I’m not an abortionist.

            But hey, just keep playing games ignoring reality.

          • avalpert

            Sure you are, you are the ultimate cause of death of every life you had a hand in creating you evil monster.

            Given what you think ‘reality’ is, playing games is all that is left.

          • tedseeber

            Only if your version of reality is so subjective that the grass is blue and the sky is green.

            Which I guess, it is, so nevermind. You apparently never learned English either- better ask that college for a reimbursement of your tuition.

          • avalpert

            There is only version of reality – it just isn’t yours.

          • tedseeber

            2000 years worth of observations about human interaction, and refinement of technique, says otherwise. What have you got in comparison? *maybe* going back to Martin Luther’s Sola Scriptura, if you are lucky? John Locke if you are not?

          • avalpert

            Yes, because nothing has a better track record that human observation.

            No worries, I am happy that you are content living in your ‘reality’ and not bothered to seek out real knowledge of the world.

          • tedseeber

            All of science is based on human observation, all of civilization is based on human observation.

            Heck, revelation itself is based on human observation.

            Do you have another source of data *other than* human observation?

          • avalpert

            Nope, of course I’m not the one claiming my superstitions are Truth on that data either – that is you Teddy.

          • tedseeber

            The statement that we already know everything (aka , the supernatural doesn’t exist) isn’t a superstition? Since when?

          • avalpert

            Huh? Why on earth would you think that saying the supernatural doesn’t exist means we already know everything?

            Anyone who claims to know everything, or anyone who claims to know Truth, or anyone who claims to have access to universal knowledge is just deluding themselves (and in some cases their followers too)

          • tedseeber

            The line between the natural and supernatural is an invented one; the natural is the subset of the supernatural, and the only difference is what we actually know vs what there is yet to be discovered scientifically. Therefore, the statement “The supernatural doesn’t exist” means that all that there is to discover, we already know.

          • avalpert

            Yes, yes we all know that you have your own special language where words have odd meanings. In the real world, we can happily admit that something is natural yet we don’t yet (and may never) know how it works.

          • tedseeber

            Then you happily admit that supernatural events can occur!

          • avalpert

            Uh, sure in your deranged little world where you make up the meaning of words to suit yourself, why not.

          • tedseeber

            I use root words to define words, as opposed to inventing new definitions that have nothing to do with the roots.

          • avalpert

            In other words you ignore the actual usage of words making communication with others a struggle at best.

            Well, wouldn’t expect anything less from a rapist

          • tedseeber

            And I would expect nothing less from a misandrist feminist who has redefined the meaning of the word “consent” to be “whatever the hell I claim it to be to hurt you the most”.

          • avalpert

            You are so adorable, yes your ‘definition’ of consent is definitely one shared by more than just you. You are such a cute little boy.

          • No one has asserted that we know everything. The strongest assertion of that type that I have ever heard made is that we have a complete, internally coherent, and functional explanation of everything interesting about the physics of simple macroscopic systems.

            Which, as it turns out, is sufficient reason to reject the supernatural as a part of every day life. It’s possible that supernatural events occur on a microscopic scale, but have no impact on macroscopic events. It’s possible that they occur in any number of places that have no connection whatsoever to our day to day experience. What we can be as close to certain of as we can of anything is that there are no supernatural events that are observable by human beings.

          • tedseeber

            I would even deny that we have a complete, internally coherent, and functional explanation of everything interesting about the physics of macroscopic systems, simple or otherwise.

            What we have really done is eliminated incoherent data from the system without bothering to examine why it is incoherent.

            Of course a saint can’t levitate and St. Mary was not assumed into heaven, merely because our incomplete model of physics denies that it is possible! Is that what passes for rational thinking in your world?

            And even explaining it, doesn’t dismiss the most miraculous aspect of any given miracle. St. Nicholas’s third miracle has a completely rational explanation- it is even in the story, nothing magical about throwing a bag of money through an open window- but to a poor maid about to be sold into indentured servitude because her father doesn’t have a dowry, quite the miracle indeed.

  • Metrodorus

    I don’t know. It’s a little hard because many of the positions “my team” almost uniformly agree on have people “on the other side” who also hold them. (Both in politics and in worldview stuff.)

    I guess one “tell” would be social conservatism. It’s possible to find liberals/atheists who are slightly center-right on some economic questions. And there are conservatives/Catholics who are socially liberal. But it’s hard to find an a anti-SSM liberal.

  • Niemand

    One “tell” I found from college is that any “liberal” man who is not pro-choice will be a conservative and an overt sexist within a few years of graduation.

    • Randy Gritter

      That is the best argument for conservatism I have heard in a long time. BTW, I would not describe myself as conservative except on social issues.

      I know protestants who are militantly pro-life are much more likely to become Catholic. They want infallibility on one issue so they need to accept it on others.

    • tedseeber

      You would have missed that one with me- I was a complete sexual libertine in college.

      Of course, fiscally, I’m not a conservative today, so maybe you have a point.