Turing Test Answer Key

Turing Test Answer Key July 20, 2011

The polls are closed and it’s time for the Big Reveal for this Ideological Turing Test experiment. Below are the bios of all participants, along with links to the answers they wrote. All the way at the bottom is a table to let you look up shamming/sincere by the numbers. The rankings of participants and accompanying charts for the Atheist Round will go up this afternoon. A similar post for the Christian round will follow tomorrow morning.


Anonymous – Author of A6 and C9
My background: Raised attending Catholic mass and Quaker meeting on alternating weeks, die-hard atheist by 14, agnostic by 18, deist by 19, non-denominational Christian by 21. Currently attending Orthodox liturgies and preparing for chrismation.  My beliefs: Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ όγος… Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαναὐτοῦ, δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός, πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας

Brian – Author of A4 and C10
I am Catholic and a PhD candidate in ethics at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, studying natural law and the intersection of science and religion. I am an adult convert from atheism. I blog at TheMoralMindfield. Come follow us on Twitter!

Chris – Author of A3 and C13
I’m a cradle Catholic, and my questioning has always led me back to home base (though with variance in length of wanderings).

Lorilyn – Author if A10 and C11
26 year old female, raised in a Christian household, belong to a non-denominational church in a large city that focuses on church planting. Besides that, I’m hopelessly addicted to home remodeling and politics. Come visit me at A Crummy Marriage Blog or Coming Down to Earth.

Jeannine – Author of A14 and C7 
I am a practicing Roman Catholic, and like New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof, I believe that the Catholic Church is really two churches: that of the Vatican hierarchy and that of individual believers at the grass roots. I prefer to align myself with the second group. I blog at http://anotherliberalcatholic.wordpress.com/.

Kat – Author of A1 and C3
I am a young (<30), female orthodox Latin Catholic.  I was raised in a moderate Episcopalian home and attended a liberal Episcopal parish as a child, had primarily Chinese Baptist friends throughout K-12, and then attended a Catholic university (majoring in philosophy and theology), where I was confirmed into the Church at age 20.

Nathan – Author of A2 and C8
I am a convert to (Eastern) Orthodox Christianity. Raised Mormon, I left that church at nineteen, visited various churches for several years, was baptized Orthodox in 2006. C.S. Lewis is my favorite writer. I am an economist, and the author of Principles of a Free Society. Blog:freethinker.typepad.com.

Tristyn – Author of A15 and C12
Baptized Lutheran, grew up atheist, converting to Eastern Orthodoxy. Graham Greene meets Dostoevsky on my good days, Hemingway meets Hunter S. Thompson and August Strindberg on the bad (to be incredibly self-aggrandizing). You can find my tobacco and vodka fueled ramblings at Eschatological Psychosis. Put down your cross, child, we can use the wood.


Adam – Author of A13 and C6
I’m the author of the blog Daylight Atheism. I’m also an atheist and secular humanist who believes that reason is the only way to understand the world, and that our moral obligations toward each other are rooted in compassion and empathy rather than obedience to dogma.

Bo – Author of A8 and C15
I’m 25 and have been atheist since childhood. I’m married; my wife is an atheist-leaning agnostic. Most of our extended family is Catholic, and most of my friends are some type of Christian.I don’t write much, but sometimes I post things to http://sites.google.com/site/bbayles/

Charles – Author of A11 and C14
Raised Roman Catholic from 6 years old till 12 years old. Since then I take a rational materialistic view and as such see no evidence for ‘super-natural’ claims including gods, etc. I am endlessly fascinated by religious practices. For the past year I have attended Roman Catholic Mass regularly

Leah – Author of A12 and C5
It is I, the author of this blog.  I’m born and bred atheist, dating the nice Catholic boy who wrote answers A3 and C13.  When I’m not blogging about religion, I write for The Huffington Post and, til recently, The Yale Daily News.

Michael – Author of A5 and C4
The easy label is that I am an atheist. I grew up in a family that had not participated in organized religion for two generations. I am an Objectivist. I believe that living things are more than the sum of their parts. I blog at necessaryfacts.blogspot.com.

Peter – Author of A9 and C1
I was raised as a reform Jew, and ceased to practice any religion shortly after my bar mitzvah.  Religion has never played a large part in my life, and I have never found it terribly compelling.

The Wild Card:

Alex (Atheist-Christian) – Author of A7 and C2
I don’t believe that there’s a personal, interventionist type God. I do, however, find that the philosophy of Jesus Christ is radical, difficult to grapple with, and true. There is wisdom in the Bible that should not be ignored. Thus, I consider myself an atheist. And also a Christian.

The Sum-Up

*The ? denotes Alex. who considers himself an atheist and a Christian.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Leah fooled me both times!

  • …I wish I'd written down my answers :p

  • I did so poorly on this, I barely made chance on my answers.

  • Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, the first Christian's Greek is the opening of the Gospel of John.

  • KL

    Leah, you tricky devil! Well done everyone. Also, I'm unjustifiably proud of the fact that I guessed Leah's boyfriend's entry in the Christian round, though that was based purely on a hunch.Can't wait to see the stats and analysis!

  • Anonymous

    I don't have my guesses to the atheist responses available, but I expect random chance. I made only two mistakes on the Christian responses, assuming C2 is nonChristian (which I, as a Christian, believe). Atheists just can't bring themselves to believe that Christians believe (or say they believe) for rational rather than aesthetic, poetic or even ethical reasons and therefore can't bring themselves to say so, even in imitation!

  • Anonymous

    LOLLLLI was so confident in my responses for the Atheist round, but as it turns out, I got 8 wrong and 6 right. *Worse* than chance.Well done, impostors.

  • Anonymous

    And, unsurprisingly, same on the Christian one. 7 and 7. No better than chance. Now I'm really curious what the breakdown is. Is there some set of people that, on average, did better than chance? Atheists besides me? Christians? People who had been in one religion but converted later?

  • Unsurprisingly, I got about chance the atheist section and did a bit better on the Christian section. I wasn't ever especially confident. In both cases I was highly confused by our Wild Card–which is odd, since you'd think he'd blend in perfectly with both. And I also identified Leah in both cases! Yay!Maybe I'll write a post on the experience of it?

  • Ben

    Leah was the only atheist to fool me (a Protestant) into believing she was a Christian. For me, Kat was the runaway winner since not only did she fool me into thinking she was an atheist, I also found her argument for atheism to be one of the most convincing, and she makes me want to consider Catholicism! Bo wins my partisan award because I thought his atheism argument was very good, but he wasn't such a convincing Christian.

  • Unfortunately, I found out about this blog after the voting for in the atheist round was closed so I could only vote in the Christian round. I got 5 wrong. It was very difficult, much more difficult than I expected. I was completely convinced by Leah's answers that she was a Christian. I got lazy toward the end and got the last three wrong. On those last three, which were borderline for me, I was not at all sure of my answers. So, the two where I was very sure but very wrong were Leah's and Jeannine's. I am sorry, but my bias as a very conservative Catholic led me astray on Jeannine's. But that would make sense since I just judged the answers based on how convincing they seemed to me. Kind of like, "Does this sound like an argument that would convince me to think about becoming a Christian?"

  • Anonymous

    Ditto what Christina said. What was I thinking?

  • Hmmm. I showed up late and only voted in the Christian round.Looks like I got 10 out of 15 right (I'm counting Alex as an atheist since, as a Christian, I'd consider him such). Leah had me quite successfully fooled. Otherwise, my positive IDs (two as atheists, two as Christians) were right, so I was 80% right where I felt sure.My "Likely Atheist"/"Likely Christian" votes were less accurate. I voted "Likely Atheist" six times, but was only right 3 and voted "Likely Christian" 4 times of which I was right 3.Very interesting exercise. I'll probably write up in more detail on my blog later.

  • Also, have to give Kat major props. It seems she was the most convincing Atheist to Atheists, and I was ready to stake any kind of money that her Christian answer was by a Christian.

  • Bo

    Ben, haha, I was hoping to be a good fake Christian? What outed me? I read Donald Miller and listened to Relient K for two days before writing my responses – isn't that what Christians do?

  • Err, I listen to Relient K in my normal life. Some of their songs are quite good!

  • Antrobus

    On the 'Pretend-to-be-Christian' test, I picked out Leah's answer as having an unusually high input level from both the informed-Atheist and the informed-Christian side; it had me flip-flopping between Atheist and Christian. On all other counts, my judgment is barely worth printing on toilet paper. Overall, I rated 6/15, which isn't better or worse than chance. Stupidly, I neglected to save my responses to the first test.

  • KL

    Does this mean I should start going by Kat now? I've grown so comfortable with the initials!@Leah, I'm intrigued by the high representation of current and soon-to-be Eastern Orthodox among the participants. Do you have any particular theory as to why they seem drawn to your blog? Or do Anonymous, Nathan, or Tristyn have thoughts on that subject? I'm pleased to see them, since the Orthodox tend to go completely unnoticed in discussions of American religious practice and this is a welcome departure.

  • Anonymous

    @Bo: I'm the first "anonymous". You were one of my two mistakes, I assumed you were a Christian when you weren't. Using the word "brokenness" helped convince me. It may be the first time I've heard that word used by a nonChristian.

  • @KL: I won't speak for anyone else, but I'm friends with Leah from college. And yes, tell me about it (re: everyone forgetting the Orthodox exist)!

  • It's a shame the first Christian's true identity remains hidden. I really enjoyed both pieces and confidently believed s/he was sincerely an atheist in the first round and a Christian in the second. Well played, sir.@Leah: I guessed your identity correctly in the atheist round (not that I can prove that now). For some reason the sentence "Most of the work I do in [an] argument is trying to suss out what the choice entails…" stood out to me as uniquely your writing.

  • I got 11 out of 15 right on the Christian test. (I didn't vote in the Atheist one)What a cool idea, Leah. Thanks for doing these. 🙂

  • @KL, I do know both Anonymous and Tristyn personally and knew they'd make an interesting showing. Of course, the downside to being friends with the Orthodox is that my Greader friends' feed is full of the latest liturgical controversies and the continued saga of Metropolitan Jonah. @Grant: A bunch of my friends caught me out by my use of anachronistic slang. A whole passel of them pegged me by my use of 'eldritch.'

  • Anonymous

    I know the first Christian on the list is trying to explain his beliefs, but it's all Greek to me! (sorry, obligatory lame joke)

  • Great job everyone!! Leah, so right- Relient K does have some great songs! Tristyn, I find you hilarious.

  • KL

    @Leah, as someone whose job often involves brokering dialogue between and among Catholics (Eastern and Western) and Orthodox, I have a hearty appreciation for the special type of controversies our Eastern brethren get involved in! I do love the Greeks. And Russians. And Antiochians. And Ukrainians. And Maronites. And Copts….

  • Anonymous

    In Christian entry 6, the phrase "sacrament of Holy Communion" was a huge clue that the writer was not a member of the Church of Rome. In the sense it was written, the term "reception" would likely be used in place of "sacrament" OR if the term sacrament were to be used, "Eucharist" would go in place of "Communion."

  • "My beliefs: Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος,"When ROT-13 meets Unicode. 🙂

  • KL-What job is that? I am fascinated!

  • I did the atheist round and I was fooled by nearly everyone from what I can recall (didn't track answer but I know I only marked three as Cristians including A1). So I find it funny that I was fooled by nearly everyone except for the one that fooled everyone else. Apparently, my hard wiring is a little off.

  • James

    I AGREE WITH THE person who said reason is the only way to understand the world.
    I cant understand, for the life of me, how people can think the world was created when its obvious something can come from nothing in the spacetime universe. Granted I changed the definition of nothing to something but still….

    Its delusional to think that the cause and effect universe can’t just pop into existence. I mean, when I see my beautiful child I see not even a hint of design there. I know the parameters of the universe are said to be in the probability of effectively zero and that almost every human being that has ever lived has believed we were created..but they’re just all stupid..including Newton.

    Even though random particles are making me spew out this opinion, because I have no freewill, I think the particles must be right–after all…..they randomly clumped together to form my consciousness so they must know something.

    So again, all my thoughts are based on Reason and Logic. Even though the inventor of the discipline of Logic, Aristotle, formulated the Unmoved Mover as the only logical foundation for the first motion…he was a punk.

    I also pride myself on goodness as I surf the internet for porn as morals dont really exist. Its perfectly logical for an explosion to create laws and parameters that are so fine tuned that even a pimples width diversion would make the universe collapse. Multiverses with a thousand suns all lined up to spell “this is the multiverse where everything that can happen happens including one where the stars spell out there is no god so I can do what I want and avoid being judged”.
    Is this not reasonable? I think it makes a perfectly reasonable argument. In fact, its the Pinnacle of Human Thought and will go down in history as the most coherent grouping of particles ever assembled.

  • So… I just spent waaay too much time going through a bunch of these entries- a year after the fact- and am so glad I did. What a brilliant idea. I just wish there was more of this stuff happening on a popular level, say, on teevee or NPR or some such. I’ll definitely have to check out more of the site. Thanks for writing in general and this experiment in particular.