Bryan Caplan  

The Ideological Turing Test: Religious Edition

Jose the Meritorious... Loss of Risk-Free Status...
Leah Anthony Libresco is looking for partners and judges for an ideological Turing Test on Christianity and atheism:
I'd like to put my money where my mouth is and play in an ideological Turing Test against a Christian blogger. We could both answer a selection of questions posed by Christians and atheists or we could each write an argument for and against the side we support and then briefly rebut the two arguments the other one had produced. I'm flexible and open to suggestions.
If the test happens, I'll definitely blog the results.

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COMMENTS (9 to date)
Mr. Econotarian writes:

The challenge is that religions have a lot of dogma to remember: the difference between Sanctifying Grace and Actual Grace, the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the difference between belief in the Eucharist as a sacrament or an ordinance, etc.

Or what is the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism?

Nathan Smith writes:

I'll volunteer. I'm a Christian blogger.

Thanks for the link and to all the people who are up for the challenge. I'm trying to hammer out logistics (my current proposal is here). I'd love your guys' help trying to work out a good format for this.


[Nick fixed.--Econlib Ed.]

Dan Carroll writes:

Some problems with the test:

1. Christians are a very diverse lot, so one Christian may not adequately represent the views of another.

2. As one commentator noted, Christianity has a lot of doctrines to defend. Perhaps the focus should be narrowed to belief in the existence of God.

3. Christians place a high priority on converting the unbeliever. Arguing the other side does not really further that goal.

Trained apologists tend to be the ones most familiar with the arguments of the critics and skeptics. But, recruiting a trained apologist might be difficult for the reasons noted above.

hanmeng writes:

For me, religious belief or the lack thereof is primarily an affective matter. I perceive believers feeling a divine presence. I just don't feel that presence. What's the use of apologizing?

Troy Camplin writes:

I dare someone to read my book Diaphysics, or my dissertation, Evolutionary Aesthetics:

And tell me what if any my religious beliefs are. :-)

There may be indications on my main blog:

Keeping in mind that I also post at Evolution and Literature and at Austrian Economics and Literature.

I would dare say that my Diaphysics might work as a religious Turing Test.

BZ writes:


That's a very fair question of a believer from a non-believer. Here's what Thomas Aquinas said on this subject some time ago:

"The existence of God and other like truths about God, which can be known by natural reason, are not articles of faith, but are preambles to the articles; for faith presupposes natural knowledge....Nevertheless, there is nothing to prevent a man, who cannot grasp a proof, accepting, as a matter of faith, something which in itself is capable of being scientifically known and demonstrated."

Richard writes:

Oops, sorry, posted in the wrong window. Feel free to move the comment to this thread...

[Fixed.--Econlib Ed.]

I signed up!

Supposedly beginning with six of each, there are not (July 6) nine Atheist statements. The Christian statements will be posted on Friday the 8th.

I recommend this highly as a test for those who wish to vote. Can you tell a real atheist from a real Christian?

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