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Tags atheism , lie detectors , polygraphs , urban legends

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Old 29th December 2007, 09:09 AM   #1
mayday
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The Experiment on 100 Professed Atheists

My friend I work with whose abusive husband was killed by a truck was talking about her church and I somehow brought up the subject of atheism.
She told me there was a study done on 100 people who claimed to be atheists. They hooked them up to a polygraph machine to see if they honestly believed there was no god and she told me over 80% failed. I didn't ask where she saw this because I was not there to be confrontational.

Does anyone know anything about this experiment?

Last edited by mayday; 29th December 2007 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 29th December 2007, 09:15 AM   #2
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Using every search engine I have available, I have found nothing that even remotely matches this story. I suggest you tell your friend not to spread stories that have no basis in fact, even though they might make her feel self-righteous.
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Old 29th December 2007, 09:24 AM   #3
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In considering whether or not this story deserves even a moment of adult attention, you might bear in mind small matters like the distinctions between different flavors of atheism, and the effectiveness of polygraph machines. Gee, if only such things had been thoroughly discussed numerous times on a board you've been active on for years...
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Old 29th December 2007, 09:24 AM   #4
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Sounds like another Lie for Jesus.
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Old 29th December 2007, 09:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mayday View Post
Does anyone know anything about this experiment?
I strongly suspect that literally no-one knows anything about it, because there never was such an experiment. I'm just guessing though.
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Old 29th December 2007, 09:32 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by mayday View Post
Does anyone know anything about this experiment?
Your friend who allegedly had an abusive husband doesn't.
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Old 29th December 2007, 09:32 AM   #7
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Hey, that reminds me of an experiment that I heard about with a pendulum swinger who was picking lotto numbers. She said that she'd post predictions and results once a week, so all the skeptics could see how amazing and accurate it was. 80% of the time, she failed to do so. Does anybody know anything about this experiment?

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Old 29th December 2007, 09:46 AM   #8
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Is your friend a truck driver, perhaps?
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Old 29th December 2007, 09:54 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mayday View Post
My friend I work with whose abusive husband was killed by a truck was talking about her church and I somehow brought up the subject of atheism.
She told me there was a study done on 100 people who claimed to be atheists. They hooked them up to a polygraph machine to see if they honestly believed there was no god and she told me over 80% failed. I didn't ask where she saw this because I was not there to be confrontational.

Does anyone know anything about this experiment?
Why do you think polygraphs work?
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Old 29th December 2007, 10:07 AM   #10
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I think applying this "experiment" to 100 random Christians might be fun.

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Old 29th December 2007, 10:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mayday View Post
My friend I work with whose abusive husband was killed by a truck was talking about her church and I somehow brought up the subject of atheism.
She told me there was a study done on 100 people who claimed to be atheists. They hooked them up to a polygraph machine to see if they honestly believed there was no god and she told me over 80% failed. I didn't ask where she saw this because I was not there to be confrontational.

Does anyone know anything about this experiment?
Funny, my friend I work with was talking about her church and I somehow brought the subject of religion. She told me there was a study done on 100 people who claimed to believe in God. They hooked them up to a polygraph machine to see if they honestly believed there was a real god and she told me over 80% failed. I didn't ask where she saw this because I was not there to be confrontational.
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Old 29th December 2007, 10:15 AM   #12
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I don't know where she heard this, but I would guess some cheesy sermon from some dorky pastor who made it up to awe people.

I think it's so humorous to watch people get their undies in a wad, though. You all start rolling around like the snake I pepper sprayed that got in my laundry room.
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Old 29th December 2007, 10:17 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by mayday View Post
I don't know where she heard this, but I would guess some cheesy sermon from some dorky pastor who made it up to awe people.

I think it's so humorous to watch people get their undies in a wad, though. You all start rolling around like the snake I pepper sprayed that got in my laundry room.
Why do you think polygraphs work?
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Old 29th December 2007, 10:36 AM   #14
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It's true though, most atheists secretly believe in God. They just act like they don't, in order to rot in hell, rather than qualify for the afterlife of eternal bliss in God's infinite love which they all know actually exists.
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Old 29th December 2007, 10:36 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by CFLarsen View Post
Why do you think polygraphs work?
Debunking the methodology of an "experiment" which never happened?
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Old 29th December 2007, 10:41 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by mayday View Post
I don't know where she heard this, but I would guess some cheesy sermon from some dorky pastor who made it up to awe people.

I think it's so humorous to watch people get their undies in a wad, though. You all start rolling around like the snake I pepper sprayed that got in my laundry room.
Couldn't you just let the poor thing go?
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Old 29th December 2007, 10:46 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Abdul Alhazred View Post
Debunking the methodology of an "experiment" which never happened?
Wait for it.
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Old 29th December 2007, 10:50 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by mayday View Post
I don't know where she heard this, but I would guess some cheesy sermon from some dorky pastor who made it up to awe people.

I think it's so humorous to watch people get their undies in a wad, though. You all start rolling around like the snake I pepper sprayed that got in my laundry room.
From the tone of your post, I gather you did not like the serving of the same food you gave us, given to you back.

You see, we don't squirm. Because we know a few things more than you do (hint : it has to do with a non existent study, and the fact that polygraph don't really measure what you think they do). We are a bit like adult which tries to bring you on the correct way to handle logic, science, and evidence. From all the thread you started in the same genre, I would gather we failed utterly to teach you anything. If I had to qualify the type of evidence and story you bring us, I would use this "why soar with the eagle when you can wallow with the piggy tale ?".
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Old 29th December 2007, 11:11 AM   #19
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Jeez, people are really jumping on mayday here.

Is there some special reason that I am not aware of here? Why was the OP necessarily worth it?
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Old 29th December 2007, 11:12 AM   #20
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Ignoring any agenda mayday may have had in posting this, I found this article that alludes to some such study:

http://www.ankerberg.com/Articles/ap...s/AP0702W4.htm

Near the end of the article:

Quote:
...according to Senior Pastor Jess Moody of the First Baptist Church of Van Nuys, California, "Lie detector tests were administered to more than 25,000 people. One of the questions was, ‘Do you believe in God?’ In every case, when a person answered no, the lie detector said he was lying."
The reference in the footnotes admits that the study could not be confirmed.

Last edited by Pythra; 29th December 2007 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 29th December 2007, 11:14 AM   #21
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I was wondering how you'd get 100 atheists in one spot.....
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Old 29th December 2007, 11:16 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by bokonon View Post
Hey, that reminds me of an experiment that I heard about with a pendulum swinger who was picking lotto numbers. She said that she'd post predictions and results once a week, so all the skeptics could see how amazing and accurate it was. 80% of the time, she failed to do so. Does anybody know anything about this experiment?
Ha!
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Old 29th December 2007, 11:20 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Lonewulf View Post
Jeez, people are really jumping on mayday here.

Is there some special reason that I am not aware of here? Why was the OP necessarily worth it?
I take it ou haven't read any of MayDay's other threads...?
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Old 29th December 2007, 11:29 AM   #24
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A quick google suggests this is basically an urban myth, spread around christian communities by word of mouth (and the internet). Every mention of it I found was someone saying that their friend told them, or their preacher said... etc. Nothing like an original source seemed to come up.
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Old 29th December 2007, 11:32 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Professor Yaffle View Post
I take it ou haven't read any of MayDay's other threads...?
I guess I haven't read enough, no.

I'm still curious about whether this study existed or not. From the evidence, it seems like there's good reason to be skeptical. Regardless of Mayday's agenda, I am still curious, and her original question was innocent enough.

I know people like to nip things in the bud around here, but is throwing the first punch in every thread really a good way to handle things?

Originally Posted by Professor Yaffle
A quick google suggests this is basically an urban myth, spread around christian communities by word of mouth (and the internet). Every mention of it I found was someone saying that their friend told them, or their preacher said... etc. Nothing like an original source seemed to come up.
Well, color me surprised.
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Old 29th December 2007, 11:37 AM   #26
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The best experiment would be to hook Mayday up to a polygraph.. I expect some very interesting results.
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Old 29th December 2007, 11:47 AM   #27
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Quote:

http://www.ankerberg.com/Articles/ap...s/AP0702W4.htm

Quote:
...according to Senior Pastor Jess Moody of the First Baptist Church of Van Nuys, California, "Lie detector tests were administered to more than 25,000 people. One of the questions was, ‘Do you believe in God?’ In every case, when a person answered no, the lie detector said he was lying."
The reference in the footnotes admits that the study could not be confirmed.
Even if this was a real story. How many closet Atheists do you think can answer that question without having some emotional response (an emotional response that might read on a polygraph machine as "lying"). If someone was in front of me, and had me hooked up to a bunch of sensors and was asking me random questions and one of the questions to my surprise was "Do you believe in god?" I would probably be at least somewhat uncomfortable answering it considering such a high percentage of people in this country disagree with me.

I however am skeptical such a study was ever done.
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Old 29th December 2007, 11:59 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by mayday View Post
I don't know where she heard this, but I would guess some cheesy sermon from some dorky pastor who made it up to awe people.

I think it's so humorous to watch people get their undies in a wad, though. You all start rolling around like the snake I pepper sprayed that got in my laundry room.
So, you say something stupid, you get called out on it, and then you pretend that WE screwed up somehow? Jeez, we've never seen a troll like you before!
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Old 29th December 2007, 12:07 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Lonewulf View Post
Jeez, people are really jumping on mayday here.

Is there some special reason that I am not aware of here? Why was the OP necessarily worth it?
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Old 29th December 2007, 12:07 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by mayday View Post
...You all start rolling around like the snake I pepper sprayed that got in my laundry room.

Didn't have your stick handy, eh?
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Old 29th December 2007, 12:18 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Lonewulf View Post
Jeez, people are really jumping on mayday here.

Is there some special reason that I am not aware of here?
Nothing special .. Stuff like this doesn't help though ..

Quote:
I think it's so humorous to watch people get their undies in a wad, though.
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Old 29th December 2007, 12:27 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by mayday View Post
I don't know where she heard this, but I would guess some cheesy sermon from some dorky pastor who made it up to awe people.

I think it's so humorous to watch people get their undies in a wad, though. You all start rolling around like the snake I pepper sprayed that got in my laundry room.
The part of the thread that I find most fascinating is that you believe posts 2 through 11 were examples of people getting their undies in a wad.

- - - - - -

The second most interesting thing is that you admit to having posted something that you do not believe is true in order to take pleasure from the emotional reactions of the forum members. Isn't that the precise dictionary definition of an internet troll?
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Old 29th December 2007, 12:27 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Peter S. View Post
Didn't have your stick handy, eh?
Every day is Whacking Day for mayday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EccSS...eature=related
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Old 29th December 2007, 12:46 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Pythra View Post
Ignoring any agenda mayday may have had in posting this, I found this article that alludes to some such study:

http://www.ankerberg.com/Articles/ap...s/AP0702W4.htm

Near the end of the article:

The reference in the footnotes admits that the study could not be confirmed.
Hmmm, I found this link which says the First Baptist Church of Van Nuys has now morphed into the "Shepherd of the Hills Church." I know where this one is. Maybe I'll drop by, and see if Pastor Moody can provide any further details. I don't trust lie detectors in general, but I'll bet it wouldn't register any distress for me answering that I didn't believe in God.

ETA: I just called the church, and their "office hours" are Monday thru Friday, 9-5. I tried their automated staff directory ("Spell out the first three letters of the last name" -- hmmm, "Moody" is '666'...), and it says there's nobody there by that name. The link I posted said he was considering retirement back in the 90s, so he's probably not there now. I'll try them again on Monday, and see if he's still alive. Maybe I can reach him by phone, even if he's no longer leading the church.

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Old 29th December 2007, 01:36 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by CFLarsen View Post
Why do you think polygraphs work?
They only work on people with a conscience.
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Old 29th December 2007, 01:39 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
From the tone of your post, I gather you did not like the serving of the same food you gave us, given to you back.

You see, we don't squirm. Because we know a few things more than you do (hint : it has to do with a non existent study, and the fact that polygraph don't really measure what you think they do). We are a bit like adult which tries to bring you on the correct way to handle logic, science, and evidence. From all the thread you started in the same genre, I would gather we failed utterly to teach you anything. If I had to qualify the type of evidence and story you bring us, I would use this "why soar with the eagle when you can wallow with the piggy tale ?".
If you knew what I knew about a few of the people who posted here you would know why I said that. In fact, what I said was directed at TWO people in particular.

I can dish it out and I can take it. Don't flatter yourself.
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Old 29th December 2007, 01:41 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Pythra View Post
Ignoring any agenda mayday may have had in posting this, I found this article that alludes to some such study:

http://www.ankerberg.com/Articles/ap...s/AP0702W4.htm

Near the end of the article:



The reference in the footnotes admits that the study could not be confirmed.
Thank you. My friend is very trustworthy, I know she heard it somewhere.
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Old 29th December 2007, 01:44 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by mayday View Post
They only work on people with a conscience.
Which would kinda invalidate the idea of polygraphs.
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Old 29th December 2007, 01:51 PM   #39
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I wonder what the results of a polygraph test would be where they asked 100 men "Have you stopped beating your wife?"

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Old 29th December 2007, 02:01 PM   #40
buzz lightyear
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Originally Posted by mayday View Post
I think it's so humorous to watch people get their undies in a wad, though. You all start rolling around like the snake I pepper sprayed that got in my laundry room.
Spray that pepper sweetheart!

It might just wake these poor sods up.
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