Who Won the Atheist Round?

Who Won the Atheist Round? July 20, 2011

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%
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Why am I listed as an atheist?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Bo

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

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

  • 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.

  • @Bo, indeed it did. Spotted you!

  • 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?

  • 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. 🙂

  • 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.

  • @Brian Macker: hahahaha!

  • 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.