2012 Ideological Turing Test [Index Post]

2012 Ideological Turing Test [Index Post] June 20, 2012

In the summer of 2012, I repeated my spin on Bryan Caplan’s Ideological Turing Test.  The standard Turing Test challenges programmers to see if they can write software that can imitate human conversation.  Some people think this is a reasonable proxy for machine intelligence, but they should probably read more about Monte Carlo Markov chains.  The Turing Test is a pretty interesting test of how we think humans talk, though.  Programmers have to study it more deeply in order to simulate it.

So Caplan came up with his twist as a challenge to economist Paul Krugman (who had been quoted saying he understood libertarian economics and found them shallow).  The Ideological Turing Test was meant to test how well you understood your opponents.  Do you know their arguments and their thought processes well enough to pass for one of them?

Since I was mainly having fights about religion, I adapted it for atheists and Christians.  First I write up a list of questions.  Then each contestant writes two sets of answers: one honest, one as they think someone on the other side would answer.  The commenters try to spot which are sincere and which are make-believe.

The first year’s contest was a lot of fun, but it turns out the questions (which focused a lot on standards of proof) rewarded Christians who wrote as ‘boring’ atheists.  So this time around, the questions focused on trust, authority, and aesthetics, with weirder results.  The links below will take you to all the relevant posts.

Atheist Round Entries – Here the atheists give their honest answers and the Christians hope their impersonations pass muster

Christian Round Entries – The roles are switched: Christians are sincere, atheists are shamming

Answer Key – Find out which entries were written by whom and check out short bios of the players

Atheist Round Winners – Which Christians convinced the atheist voters they were for real?

Christian Round Winners – And vice versa

MORE ANALYSIS! – The tag linked there will take you to better charts, contestants explaining their strategies (successful or not) and yet more to come.

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  • Matt

    This comment doesn’t really belong here, but I’m new to blogs so I don’t know how to mail you, Leah. I just wanted to mention to you a good book I just on Marriage.
    It is called: What is Marriage?
    The Authors are Sherif Girgis (Princeton University Department of Philosophy), Robert George (Princeton University – Department of Politics), and Ryan T. Anderson (University of Notre Dame Department of Political Science)…Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 245-287, Winter 2010.

  • Religion is not ideology. Ideology was invented to bind human beings in a modern society, when the natural bonds lost their original function.

    Religious communities as sociological entities might have ideological components, but Religion is not an ideology because Religion is not primarily politically motivating.

    In the Culture War of the U.S., Religion is used or abused ideologically. People forget the essential of the message of Christ: he brought us salvation and not ideological weapons to fight people who will elect another political party.

  • “In the Culture War of the U.S., Religion is used or abused ideologically. People forget the essential of the message of Christ: he brought us salvation and not ideological weapons to fight people who will elect another political party.”

    Well put.

  • The truth is objective and lives outside the mind. The human mind and heart are made for the truth and embrace it naturally. Now we see through a glass darkly, but when the perfect comes the imperfect will pass away. Christians believe that Jesus is the truth and perfect. If you have a personal knowledge of Him, you will BEGIN to see perfectly and your biases and misconceptions will fall like scales from your eyes even when before you were sure you were right.

  • Reading all of these was a fantastic experience. Enccouraging to see how much good will and humor was in the comments, with both atheists and Christians laughing at the other tribe’s attempts to fit in.

  • The “Christian Round Winners” link takes me to the “Atheist Round Winners” page.

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