The Ideological Turing Test — Freud Edition

The Ideological Turing Test — Freud Edition June 17, 2013

Well, the commenters — and arguably culture in general — seemed particularly interested what Freud termed the two essential drives: Sex and Death.  Thus, the two questions in this year’s Turing Test will be focused on:

  1. Polyamory – Is there any reason that marriage (civil and or sacramental) should be limited to the union of two persons? If your answer depends on religious revelation, could people outside your tradition reasonably disagree, or does your argument depend on truths that almost everyone can acknowledge?
  2. Euthanasia – When, if ever, is it permissible or even obligatory to end a life?  Is there a difference between intervening to kill and simply not administering medical treatment that might prolong life?

Contestants will have 1000 words to split between those two topics however they like.  But Freud isn’t my first love, so I’m adding a bonus question, that’s a little more tied into the two drives that dominate the characters in Arcadia:

Hannah: Sex and literature. Literature and sex. Your conversation, left to itself, doesn’t have many places to go. Like two marbles rolling around a pudding basin. One of them is always sex.

Bernard: Ah well, yes. Men all over.

Hannah: No doubt. Einstein – relativity and sex. Chippendale – sex and furniture. Galileo – ‘Did the earth move?’ What the hell is it with you people?

So, for extra credit, contestants can answer this question:

  • Take a look at Christian H’s essay “Other People’s Epics” and Orson Scott Card’s four story factors.  You can talk about either framework or both, but let us know, in 300 words or less, what literary genre would be best suited to express your worldview and why.  This question is optional, but I hope people opt in.
And, just to refresh your memory, if you’re signing up to play in the Ideological Turing Test, you’ll answer these questions twice.  Once honestly, and once as you believe an atheist or Christian (whichever is father from your true beliefs) would reply.  I’ll run the honest and faux Christian answers together, and people will try to spot the fakes.  Then I’ll do the same for the atheist ones.
Oh, and it’s considered poor sport to try to win by employing Poe’s Law.  Try to imitate a thoughtful, intestesting person on the other side.  Word of honor, they exist!

Sign up to play in the Ideological Turing Test here!

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  • Joe

    Are we nominating contestants? I think Scott Alexander would be a good one along with Eve Tushnet or Melinda Selmys. Brandon Vogt might be interesting also.

    • LeahLibresco

      Send them emails and invite them! Scott is already in (huzzah!)

  • Ambaa

    Wow! Very intense topics. I’m not sure I’d be capable of writing against my beliefs on either of them :-/ Not that I’m likely to join in at this point, but how does this test work if you’re neither Atheist nor Christian?

    • LeahLibresco

      Most of my readers are one or the other, but if someone else signs up, I’ll solicit at least one faux-that to run together in the non-Christian round.

  • Alexander Stanisalv

    Two questions: Will I have to use my real name? Secondly, how long will we have to answer these questions?

    • LeahLibresco

      Nope. Some people play anonymously. And you’ll have about two to three weeks.

      • Alexander Stanislav

        Thanks, I hope I get the chance to play, although the questions are more boring than in the past (and easier to fake imo).

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Trying? What if my brain is naturally a playground for Poe’s Law?

    • Randy Gritter

      I thought the same thing. I try to be extremely Catholic. If I was an extreme atheist that would not work. I would have to be a radical skeptic and nihilist to be honest. Most atheists stop before going there. I don’t think they have rational reasons to stop. They just feel it is becoming unreasonable. Extreme atheism is hard for the human mind to swallow. Thank God for that!

      • Berry

        If you’d put in the slightest bit of effort, I’m sure you’ll be able to see why Atheism doesn’t have any necessary connection to “radical skepticism and nihilism.”

        • Randy Gritter

          Another non-rebuttal rebuttal. A complaint about the conclusion but no counter-argument.

          • Berry

            You’ve misunderstood, it wasn’t a rebuttal at all. Perhaps I should have been clearer in explaining that it was a call for an elaboration and an explicit argument.

      • David E

        Nihilism is not a logical consequence of the nonexistence of God. Most atheists don’t go there because there’s no good reason to and because their actual experience of life is, in and of itself, worthwhile and meaningful.

        • Randy Gritter

          Have you ever played a game that seems worthwhile and meaningful but you know it isn’t. You know that win or lose life won’t change. A bit of pleasure is all it is worth. Nothing wrong with pleasure. But would it ever be crappy if all of life was like that? If it really was like a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing? Anyway, if atheism is true then Macbeth has a point.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        I’m perfectly capable of mimicing an extreme anything.

        I’m really bad at mimicing a moderate person on anything.

        Therefore, a while back, I decided to try extreme moderation.

  • Roonwit

    Christian H’s post makes me realize that the book I’m reading through on my blog (US Rep Chris Stewart R-UT’s “The Brothers”) is a conservative American Mormon epic. Very interesting; I’ll have to do a post on that after I’m through with it.

  • I’ve signed up. Will people who sign up get an official e-mail about it at some point?

    • LeahLibresco

      Yup, by the end of the week