[Due to people's complete inability to follow simple instructions and keep commentary in a single instance of a thread, I have given up. This article is replicated here for anyone smart enough to bang two rocks together and wants to follow all comments]

The futility of using reason against religious loons of all flavours is a recurring theme here. Their defenses are an impenetrable fortress of dogma, rote learned response and circular reasoning that pretty much everyone has encountered and been frustrated to the point of despair by.

This raises an interesting question to me - would a fundamentalist / charismatic / evangelical theist be able to pass a Turing Test if the discussion is limited to religion ? My money would be on them failing.

I think this is a research project worthy of a thesis for any of you that are currently involved in studies that relate to either subject - ranging from philosophy / sociology to comp sci / cognitive technology. And no, I do not consider this a joke - despite how amusing it seems.

Views: 6

Tags: dogma, fundamentalism, nutjobs, theism, turing test

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Comment by chironex on March 1, 2009 at 2:10pm
Felch---I'm a little confused here.

First of all, are you considering having the judge chat with two objects and try to guess which is which, or are you considering having the judge chat with just one object and try to guess which it is?

Second...what a normal turing test "tests" is how intelligent a computer is. The aspect of the test that either passes or fails is the computer---either the computer passes the test or fails it. So, when you ask whether or not a fundie could pass a Turing test, what exactly do you mean? Is [A] the fundie replacing the computer, and attempting to imitate a normal person in a conversation about general religion? In this situation, whether the fundie passes or fails is determined in the same way as a normal Turing test. In [B] the situation where a computer tries to imitate a fundie's Christianese, the object that would be passing/failing would be the computer, not a fundie. Of course, you could always say that the fundie wins IF the computer loses, and vice versa---I assume this is what you're talking about.

So---please clarify. I think [A] might be more interesting, because it would determine how distorted a fundie's point of view about religion would be. (I doubt they would pass.)

If this test [A] were to be actually performed, great care would have to be taken in order to ensure that the only information passed from the hidden person to the judge would be what I call RVI (Raw Verbal Information). Thus, to make the experiment completely, 100% airtight, the communication areas would have to be completely soundproof (to prevent sound leakage), there would have to be a "medium" who would correct and standardize the grammar of the participants, and there would have to be a measure to make the answer would come back in the exact same amount of time for each response. Once all these other information "leaks" are dealt with, all there is is a fundie who must try to have as "normal" an opinion on religion as possible.

With [B], things would be different. I suppose this would be used to test how devoid of information a fundie's Christianese would be. In this circumstance, the experimenter would have to work under the assumption that conversations with human fundies have more "human information" than those with computers. Using this assumption, it would certainly be hilarious for the fundie to lose---essentially, it would mean that he'd/she'd have the same conversational capacity as a robot. ;) Of course, the same information leakage precautions for A would also have to be taken for B.

So, I'll keep this idea in mind---I find it to be quite interesting!
Comment by Фелч Гроган on February 17, 2009 at 7:38am
I'd love to see this run under certified laboratory conditions. Would an ordinary person think they were talking to a human or a 'bot if the fundie was at the other end of the wire and the topic was religion, or more specifically, asking for proof and countering with contradiction ? My bet would be 'bot. Publishing the study in the big scientific journals would be pure gold. A tiny piece of sweet revenge for all the relentless Darwin bashing.
Comment by cj the cynic on February 16, 2009 at 11:48pm
I'm sure the fundies will be thrilled to know that they've failed a test created by a homosexual!

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