[Turing 2013] Answer Key

Pencils down and masks off!  Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the winners in the Christian round, and the Atheist round winners on Wednesdays, but you can all start scoring yourselves now, because our lovely contestants were…



Beth – Author of C6 and A[this is the person who didn’t send an ‘A’ response]
I was raised Roman Catholic and cut my apologetic teeth in discussions with atheist friends.  I just finished my MA in Theology (my only 2 years of Catholic school). I consider myself Vincentian & Franciscan by breeding and Dominican at heart.

Brendan Hodge – Author of C11 and A1
I’m a moderately conservative Catholic who finds a lot of inspiration in Dante and Plato. On Arnold Kling’s three axes of political thought I tend towards the civilization-barbarism axis, though I have an economistic and libertarian side which I’ve picked up as a data analyst and thus someone who focuses a lot on the limits of knowledge. I think both secularists and Christians often fail to fully understand the implications of the fact that we have bodies and that they mean something.  Blogs at DarwinCatholic.

Christian H – Author of C3 and A3
I am Christian H of prompt #3. I attend Anglican churches and believe most of the Anglican Church of Canada’s teachings, but I was confirmed Lutheran and I spent my undergraduate attending a non-denominational church. I have an MA in English Literature from a Canadian university. I sometimes call myself a tentativist.  Blogs at The Thinking Grounds.

Elliot – Author of C7 and A7
I was raised a non-denominational evangelical protestant in the midwest (son of a pastor). Converted to Catholicism at Yale, where I majored in Humanities. Thesis on Existential Anxiety and Conversion in Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Aquinas. M.A. in Theology from Dominican House of Studies, Washington. Thesis on the basis of intelligibility in the works of Michel Foucault and Thomas Aquinas. I’m a philosophy nerd with agoraphobia about my intellectual pursuits.

Gilbert – Author of C9 and A10
Growing up, I started out as what Americans would call a Cafeteria Catholic. As I started thinking for myself I noted that world-view was full of contradictions. But instead of going atheist I doubled down and gradually turned into the reactionary Catholic I’m now. In secular Germany that makes me seem rather eccentric.  Blogs at The Last Conformer.

Ink – Author of C8 and A8
Ink is a cradle Catholic, originally raised in the South. It took a move to the dissident North to make her realize how much she really loved her Catholicism. She traces her ideological pedigree as Thomistic-Aristotelian/Platonic, but loves to add Church Fathers if context allows. She strongly dislikes “because the Bible says so” as the answer to a question and frequently searches for answers in science and natural law. She recognizes faith and reason as complements, not opposites.



Chana Messinger  – Author of C4 and A5
Grew up in a Reform Jewish household that was atheist, too, though I didn’t know it. I went through my own constructions of God, theistic evolution, and pantheism before landing on atheism. I’ve been developing and growing in atheism, skepticism, secularism, humanism and rationalism ever since.  Blogs at The Merely Real and contributes to Strange Notions.

Chris Hallquist  – Author of C10 and A2
Raised liberal protestant, atheist at 16, atheist blogger at 18. Went to graduate school in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, literally the top philosophy of religion department in the world, and was deeply disappointed. These days, I think a lot about making sure humans don’t accidentally destroy the world.  Blogs at The Uncredible Hallq.

Guy Fletcher-Wood  – Author of C2 and A9
I’m an atheist, recently realised that I’m ignostic, and this is probably why I’ve never “grokked” god.  I’m a consequentialist and thus convinced religion is amoral at best.  I want to take part because I love the questions and writing my “Christian” answer last year advanced my understanding of Christianity.

Ozy Frantz – Author of C1 and A11
I grew up in an agnostic family and converted to Catholicism in high school. After two years, I discovered skepticism and deconverted. I’m a rationalist, a naturalist, and a utilitarian. I’m still vaguely annoyed I don’t get to be a nun.

Steve  – Author of C5 and A6
32 year old atheist here. My wife and I began dating when we were 16 and have more or less been together ever since, currently married 5 years. (if you’re doing the math, yes there was some dragging of the feet on both our parts). She’s a Yankee fan, I’m a Met fan. Shes an evangelical christian, I’m an atheist. Along with our daughter, we are a blissful family. As Golde says ‘If that’s not love, what is?’



Joy  – Author of C12 and A4

Saved at 2 years old, I grew up immersed in — and finding much of my identity within — evangelical Christianity, with a strong, sincere faith. My attorney-father encouraged belief and questioning, but in college 3 things changed my belief in God: 1. Religious studies courses that challenged biblical inerrancy, 2. Reading the NT in the original Greek and 3. A newfound love for cosmology. Now I view myself as a “cultural Christian” and agnostic without belief, but without 100% surety, either.


So, how’d you do? Did you successfully pair up entries? Guess true religious beliefs? Spot denominations from fifty feet?

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  • Evan

    I got a total of seven wrong (3 on the Atheist responses, 4 on the Christian responses)
    Beth – I said Christian
    Brendan Hodge – I said “Christian” on the Christian round and “Atheist” on the Atheist round.
    Christian H – I said “Atheist” on the Christian round and “Christian” on the Atheist round.
    Elliot – I said “Christian” both times.
    Gilbert – I said “Atheist” both times.
    Ink – I said “Christian” both times.
    Chana Messinger – I said “Atheist” both times.
    Chris Hallquist – I said “Christian” on the Christian round and “Atheist” on the Atheist round.
    Guy Fletcher-Wood – I said “Christian” on the Christian round and “Atheist” on the Atheist round.
    Ozy Frantz – I said “Atheist” on the Christian round and “Christian” on the Atheist round.
    Steve – I said “Atheist” both times.
    Joy – I said “Atheist” both times. (I’m not counting that as right or wrong.)

    • Evan

      And good job to Brendan, Chris, and Guy. And apologies to Christian, Gilbert, and Ozy.

  • Martha O’Keeffe

    Leaving the ambiguous answers out, and rounding to nearest decimal place, I got 64% correct of the Christian entries and 50% correct on the Atheist ones.

    So either the atheist answers were extremely good, or I’m very bad at guessing who is and who isn’t a liar. Possibly both. For the sake of comparison, I’ll say that I’m a Catholic, so plainly I can recognise fellow-believers a bit better than I can tell non-believers.

  • I know I wasn’t keeping my guesses public, so I’m asking you to take my word on this, but here were my errors:

    Steve, you tricked me in the Christian round. Good on you.
    Chris Hallquist, you also tricked me in the Christian round. Good on you.
    Gilbert, I thought you were an atheist who had done an exceptional job of faking Christian (but not quite a good enough job).
    Joy, I don’t really know which answer you’d prefer, but I gave you Non-Christian. Does that count as right or wrong?

    I wasn’t keeping track of my answers to the atheist entries–now I wish I had!–so I can’t give you an accurate account of that.

    EDIT: Oo! I was also 95% sure that Leah had no entries, and that turned out to be correct!

  • Brendan Hodge

    I rated Joy as Atheist in the Christian round and Christian in the Atheist round, so take that for what you will. I excluded her and my own entries from my overall win/lose ratio.

    In the Christian round I got 7 out of 10 correct. My errors were:

    – I rated Steve’s C5 entry as Likely Christian. My original comment was: This probably underlines that “don’t say too much” is a good strategy, but I don’t see anything that sets off my radar. I’ll go “likely Christian”. So I guess that played out.

    – I originally rated Ink’s C8 as Likely Atheist. I thought that that the arguments were a bit too over-the-top to be something other than a broad fake, with the citing of oxytocin bonding as an argument against traditional marriage particularly setting off my alarms, but when I ran into A8 which was clearly by the same author I immediately realized that it was a Christian writing and rated A8 very likely Christian.

    – I rated Chris Hallquist’s C10 as Likely Christian. My original comment there was: I find this difficult, because I find this sort of liberal Protestantism so hard to respect that I’m not good at telling an honest example from a fake.

    That said, I certainly know self described Christians (some of them living in the Bay Area no less) who would write this, and it seems like the sort of thing that would not be top of mind for a fake, so I’m voting likely Christian.

    On the Atheist round I got 6 right out of 9. My errors were:

    – I rated Steve’s A6 as Likely Christian.

    – I rated Guy Fletcher-Wood’s A9 as Likely Christian. My original comment was: I find myself leaning Christian on this one, mostly because I get the feeling from both of these that the author wants to be opposed to polyamory and euthanasia but can’t quite come up with solid justifications for doing so given the worldview he’s positing. However, that’s getting me to seven Christians out of nine entries in this round already, so either I’m over-suspicious or we have a 7-5 breakdown and all the rest are going to be solid atheists.

    – I rated Gilbert’s A10 as Likely Atheist. My original comment was: I went atheist as well on this one — but the bonus section almost turned me Christian in that it seemed so over-the-top I wondered if it was a strawman.

    • Slow Learner

      I’m interested by that – because on both of those issues, my views are fairly progressive, but I have reached them by starting with a conservative (by UK standards, anyway) view and gradually modifying it as I have encountered more evidence, so while I could phrase it differently the way I wrote it somewhat reflects the process by which I got to where I am.

  • RT

    I got Ozy Frantz wrong on the Christian round

  • Robby Bensinger

    I was duped! I did substantially worse than chance, especially in the ‘atheist’ round. (It’s very possible I did better on the ‘Christian’ round simply because I know a lot less about Christianity, thus my answers were closer to random.) I was also very poorly calibrated; I was only right about half the time when I was 75-90% confident.

    Here’s how I read each individual, and how confident I was in my guess. The first percentage is from their honest posting; the second is from when they were trying to trick me.

    Beth – Christian (60%)
    Brendan – Atheist (70%); spotted em as a Christian (90%) in the atheist round
    Christian – Atheist (85%, 90%)
    Elliot – Atheist (51%, 70%)
    Gilbert – Christian (55%); but thought was an Atheist (90%) in the atheist round
    Ink – Christian (75%, 90%)

    Chana – Christian (65%, 51%)
    Chris – Atheist (85%); but thought was a Christian (51%) in the Christian round
    Guy – Christian (85%, 80%)
    Joy – Atheist (60%, 95%)
    Ozy – Christian (65%); spotted em as an atheist (90%) in the Christian round
    Steve – Christian (75%); spotted em as an atheist (51%) in the Christian round

    Gilbert (C) and Chris (A) were the most successful at beating me — they were the only ones who made me think exactly what they wanted me to think in both rounds. Christian (C) and Guy (A) were the most successful at confusing me — I misinterpreted them much more drastically than anyone else. The only two players I was able to consistently read in both rounds were Ink (C) and Joy (A), and the least successful players in my case were Brendan (C) and Ozy (A), followed by Steve (A).

  • Kristen inDallas

    Winners of the fool me twice award – Christian H. and Steve. Well done. (technically I’m pretty gullible and you both convinced me you were adherants in both categories… BUT I was far more certain when you were writing from the other side, and iffy when you were expressing your own views.)
    I was certain Chris was an atheist and Ink was a Christian in both rounds, those true colors run deep. But with everybody else, i tended to be iffy, but generally more likely than not to believe what they said they were. (only 3 atheist votes diring Christian round and 3 Christian votes during Atheist round) Again… me= gullible.

  • On the Christian round I thought Christian H. likely atheist and Guy Fletcher-Wood and Joy likely Christian. On the atheist round I thought Brendan Hodge and Christian H. likely atheist. That gives me 8/11 on the Christian round and 8/10 on the atheist round.

  • Dan

    On the Christian entries, I know I was fooled by Chris Hallquist, Guy Fletcher-Wood, and Steve (I suppose I viewed all views from a liberal Christian perspective to be authentic–I’m pretty sure I guessed right on Christian H). There’s a good chance that I also incorrectly guessed some Christian entries as Atheists.

    On the Atheist entries, I know I was fooled by Brendan Hodge and incorrectly pegged Steve as a Christian. I was really hedging on some of the Atheist entries.

    Overall, I think Chris Hallquist’s Christian entry was the best “fake.” Unfortunately, I’m not sure how I did as I forgot many of my guesses (and did not take the prudent step of recording them). As a whole, I hope I did better than the 50-50 I would have probably gotten without reading them =P

    Finally, some of my comments were a little blunt and oftentimes rude, so I apologize for being a jerk on occasion.

    • >Overall, I think Chris Hallquist’s Christian entry was the best “fake.”


  • g

    I answered all the C’s but none of the A’s. Unfortunately I didn’t keep a record of all my answers, but I have a partial record which suggests I didn’t do too badly. The one I feel best about was Chris Hallquist’s C10, about which I commented:

    “I’ll remark that (1) it seems very credible as a liberal Protestant
    response to the questions but (2) I none the less think it much more
    likely to have been written by an atheist. I’m going to make (without
    much confidence) the further conjecture that it was written by Chris


    • Congrats. How did you know?

      • g

        Well, as you can see “know” is putting it way too strongly; to a substantial extent I just got lucky. I think it was mostly a matter of writing style. Sorry not to be more helpful!

  • I failed to vote on A9 and A10 out of fatigue, and didn’t vote on my own entries of course. Then I totally got the memo wrong on Joy’s entries – I think I was thinking there would be a third round with just two entries, the real wildcard and a fake wildcard.

    Anyway, ignore all of the above, and I got 7 for 10 on the Christian round, 4 for 7 on the atheist round. So guessing at chance on the atheist round, but can kinda justify feeling OK on the atheist round. Not sure if there was any pattern to where my reasoning worked, where it led me astray. Tempting to think there is, but could be hindsight bias.

  • If it helps you calibrate, I would stand by a more moderate version of what I wrote in my atheist entry. Even the rationales would remain largely the same. In many ways, my atheist entry is honest; only the necessarily atheist parts are not. I would presume that this would give me some kind of competitive advantage, were it not for the fact that I think I bungled it in other ways. It’s likely helpful to keep in mind that the faking entries aren’t always entirely dishonest.

    Another suggested calibration: don’t use heterodoxy as an indicator. There’s a lot of variety in Christian thought.

  • Slow Learner

    You probably caught me too then, writing as an Anglican. In my defence, rather than being purely tactical this is because I was raised in the Anglican Church, and am thus much more familiar with it’s liturgy and ethos than any other.