[Turing 2012] Atheist Answer #6

[Turing 2012] Atheist Answer #6 May 26, 2012

This is the sixth entry in the Atheism round of the 2012 Ideological Turing Test for Religion. In this round, the honest answers of atheists are mixed in with Christians’ best efforts to talk like atheists. It’s your job to see if you can spot the difference. The voting link appears at the end of the entry, and you can look at all entries in this round here.


When (if ever) have you deferred to your philosophical or theological system over your intuitions?

When my wife and I were planning our wedding, I wanted a completely secular service with no references to God and did not want a church wedding. She had always dreamed of a princess wedding in her home church, and though she was willing to have a secular service if she could have the service in the church, the minister would not agree to that. To allow her to have the wedding of her dreams, I suffered through a very religious service.


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?

I have become a disciple of Sam Harris since he came out with The End of Faith. I find his argument in The Moral Landscape, that science can tell us how to live our lives in such a way that we can maximize human well-being, compelling. If I have a quandary, I consult his works first.


Can you name any works of art (interpreted pretty broadly: books, music, plays, poetry, mathematical proofs, etc) which really capture the way you see life/fill you with a sense of awe and wonder? You can give a short explanation or just list a few pieces.

Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is the epitome of art for me; what else in all of art/literature has shown the pointlessness of believing in God?


Click here to judge this entry, and, once you’ve voted, feel free to speculate and trade theories in the comments or look at other entries in this round.

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  • Shawn

    This was really difficult to judge since the answers were so short

  • deiseach

    I was very conflicted on this one. I’ve picked an answer and I’m sticking to it, but I do have second (and third) thoughts about if this is a really good or a really bad fake.

    When we get the final results at the end of who really is who, this is one that I will be anticipating to see if I was right or wrong.

  • This one sounded like a parody of atheism to me. Especially the bit about being a Sam Harris “disciple” and “consulting his work” if they have a moral problem. It was a bit difficult because it was so short, however.

    • deiseach

      That’s why it was so hard for me to make a decision, Matt. Is this a Christian doing a parody of a particular type of atheist, or an atheist doing a parody of his notion of how a Christian would parody an atheist?

      • Considering that the latter would be Against the Rules …

        • deiseach

          Yes, you’re correct, Ubiquitous. So it’s either a genine atheist answer or a Christian fake atheist answer.

          Unless it’s a very sneaky atheist trying to couch his/her answer in the form of a Christian pretending to be an atheist, just to throw us all off 🙂

    • brent

      yeah. I think that ‘consulting his work’ was a slip of the tongue. The example of the wedding was kind of lame.

      Also, deliberately didn’t give enough information for us to form a judgement: Christian.

  • JAn

    This is a hard one.

  • Megan

    The first answer is so vague, I’m not sure the person really understood it. The answers are short and reference really common works without any description of what he really got from them. I’m going with Christian.

  • innergogo

    Not hard at all. This person is a Christian.

    He actually got the first question backwards (he described an instance of deferring to his intuition–to empathize with his wife’s dream–over his philosophical system).

    His attitude toward Harris is that of somebody with an inordinate respect for authority. Seriously, an atheist “disciple”?

    “Waiting for Godot”–a choice by someone who for whom belief in God is central. He mistakenly assumes atheists also see life and art in terms of belief in God, but from the other side.

    WfG is interesting, but hardly inspiring of awe and wonder.