Peter Boghossian, a friend and philosopher at Portland State University, has been working on an app after publishing his well-received book A Manual for Creating Atheists. Called “Atheos,” the app was just released on iTunes by Peter and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. It helps you clarify both your own beliefs and well as giving you tactics for converting others toward reason and away from superstition.
I played around with it during my last visit to Portland, and I have to say that it was engrossing, especially when Peter sat beside me explaining why some of my answers were wrong. The questions get more intricate and informative as you go through the different levels.
Here’s an explanation from the app’s overview page.
The goal is to help people become more thoughtful and more reflective about their faith-based beliefs. —Peter Boghossian
Can you support your positions about God, religion or the supernatural?
Atheos is an app being developed by Dr. Peter Boghossian and his team that helps people have non-confrontational discussions about gods, religion, faith, and superstition. It will show you how to gently explore a person’s strongest beliefs.
Atheos will provide you with the skills you’ll need to spot flaws in weak statements and use reason to politely help people understand why they may not be correct.
It’s the perfect app for atheists, agnostics, humanists, skeptics, freethinkers, and even believers who want to find out how best to engage in religious discussions.
Here’s a short video giving an overview:
It’s free to download, which gives you access to one level, and if you pay $4.99 you get access to the other 9 levels. You can get the app at the screenshot below.
36 thoughts on “Peter Boghossian’s “Atheos” app now available”
Godbots don’t pass the Turing Test and now there’s an app to deal with them?
I don’t have one of them new fangled phones, but this sounds nifty. A special case of one of my long term ideas: software called “World View Builder”, which would help analyze views on ethics, metaphysics, and so on.
Like the majority of the world’s smartphone owners, as opposed to US owners, I have an android. I also slept badly. I therefore have a strong urge to make an against-the-rules snarky comment. Instead I will just say I hope it will be released for other platforms soon.
I vote for that too.
It’s available at Google Play.
I don’t understand the I-phone thing. People spend so much money on the phones and or service for them. I spend 1/5 or less money on an LG phone that performs similarly or better in every aspect and pay a flat fee for service for 5 phones with unlimited everything, which includes Canada and some other countries as “local,” for not much more than my mother pays per month for service for her single I-phone.
So we need an Appleos app to fix iOwners?
That might be even more difficult than weaning believers from religion!
Unlimited data, too?
Yes, data is unlimited. Thank goodness else my kids would have bankrupted me by now.
No. Kidding. I’m amazed at how fluent my kids are with the iPhone and iPad.
But your comment has convinced me to investigate non-Apple options.
I’ve used Metro PCS for several years now and have zero complaints. I worried about reception coverage at first, but in my experience reception coverage is not an issue at all. There have been times where my phone was the only one with decent signal while I can’t think of a single time where others did and I didn’t.
I wait for a good sale to buy a phone. For example I bought my latest phone, the LG Stylo, for $100 after manufacturer rebate and store discount. No service plan obligations are part of the phone purchase.
At Metro PCS there are no contract term obligations. It is month to month and a flat rate, no extras of any kind. I started out with $40 a month for unlimited everything for a single phone. I started adding phones and each time the per phone rate went down. At 5 phones it is $125 per month, unlimited everything on all phones. And it is $125, no plus tax or plus this fee or that fee, just $125.
There is 1 limit. That is on the amount of 4G speed data down load. After you reach the monthly limit at 4G it steps down to 3G, but the amount of data is unlimited. I’ve never even noticed it but for some users I suppose that might be inconvenient. For me, if I’m doing data intensive stuff even 4G isn’t that great anyway. I prefer a good WIFI connection for data intensive stuff.
Metro PCS used to be the only carrier to have such service plans, but these days several other carriers do too. I think even one of the big carriers, Sprint or T-Mobile maybe, has similar plans now.
OK, as someone whose head glowed orange from making decisions about this, a number of times, I have an anecdote to consider.
I have two iPhone 3GS – paid off within 2 years from 2009 – and they still work. I even bought a $7 battery for one – works like new. The phone MIGHT even be able to have a plan set up for it BUT that’s not the point. As an Apple computing device, it works with their Home Sharing functions, it still syncs with my old P-P-P-Powerbook G4, maybe does more things I don’t know. In practical terms, this means I use the iPhone 3GS as a music player in the car, I can set it up somewhere to play music, etc. It works with the new Bluetooth speakers. I’m a music junkie.
to wrap this up: the Apple handset is all paid off, it is off-plan, and works perfectly well as a computing device. We have no idea if this will be true for newer handsets from Apple, but I think its reasonable. I think that’s worth considering – even though at some level, all handsets do the same thing the same way.
I agree, it is great that your old iphone is still useful in those ways. But any android phone I’ve had has the same usability. Mostly that is down to software. For example, I use Chrome. All the devices I use, whether they are mine or not, that have the ability to connect to the internet are synced via Chrome. Music, emails, favorites, history and much more. Any android phone I’ve had, even the ancient one I started with, could plug into any PC USB port to exchange music & pics.
Also, most music apps provide the same functionality. The music is available for you on any device for download or streaming if you have the app installed and if you can access the internet so that it is easy to maintain your entire music collection on all your devices if you wish.
Paid off within 2 years? Too expensive for me. I’ve never paid more than $120 for a phone and usually much less.
why did you bring this up – it haunts my thinking now!
… I think the idea, way way back for me, is what do you do when someone sends you some file that is – broadly speaking – Windows only? Well, usually you can find an Apple version. If you’re a *nix user, the lesser of two evils here is Apple, in my view. At least you can scp and all that stuff. Back in the day, iPhone had a good outlook as a personal computer.
… is it different now? I think so. Do I want to compile my kernels before breakfast every day? no. Am I hooked on iTunes? yes. Am I happy about that? well, no, but… errrmm…. what website is this again?…
Got it thanks to this WEIT post
The link here works fine (I am playing with it now). But the link within the App store does not open for me.
I just spent some time fiddling with it.
While it makes some good points…alas, as with all multiple-guess tests, it straightjackets you into answers that aren’t necessarily optimal. More than once I would have gone in a completely different direction from any offered by the answers, and more than once I had serious concerns with the “correct” answers. (To be fair, even in such circumstances, the “correct” answers were less problematical than the clearly-incorrect ones.)
I would urge anybody playing with this app to take it with a grain of salt and as a starting point for consideration — and challenge them to come up with even better responses than those offered by the app.
Last…it straddles something of an uncanny valley. It superficially gives the general impression of a continuing dialogue with a theist, and yet more than once goes off into left field or circles back in ways that real conversations simply don’t.
So…good starting point, but with plenty of room for improvement. And probably needs a change of fundamental format….
People have made comments already in there about the limitation of multiple choice – like the Wiccan mom question – get thee to a hospital! I think the idea is comments will address shortcomings – we shall see.
The app ought to come with this shirt. And you get your own bus seat, too!
Though it’s surprising how many people who say they want to “talk to you about God” turn out to want nothing of the kind.
People who want to talk to me about god often remind me of a used car salesperson who wants to talk to me about cars.
Or better yet an Amway salesperson who wants to talk to me about soap. The Amway analogy nicely covers the naive new converts being sent out to innocently make their “saves” as well as the veteran higher-ups that are like smarmy used car salespersons that have no qualms about being dishonest and manipulative in order to make the sale.
But maybe I’ve become too cynical.
An Amway rep who meets up with a potential customer who suddenly pulls out a fact sheet carefully citing specific problems with Amway, its products, and its business model … seldom gets all bouncy and happy-excited in eagerness to go through that list. Turns out they don’t have as much time as they thought, somehow.
Proselytizers sometimes really do want to get into an interesting debate with many back-and-forth points and counterpoints. Most, though, seem prepared to go after softer marks (“those whose minds and hearts are ready to receive Truth.”) In other words, they’re prepared for the unprepared.
Off topic – any apps with puzzles like the other day on WEIT? You know, you have a 3 gallon bucket and need to fill a 10 gallon tank and that kind of thing?
I would love to know what Trump’s answers would have been. At Trump golf course we have many many lakes with great big lily pads, we truly have the world’s greatest lily pads, nobody has lakes like we have, simply tremendous…and did I tell you about the lily pads?
I think I would prefer an app that indirectly points you towards atheism, like the questions on one of the posts a few days ago (e.g., a bat and a ball both cost $1.10. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball…).
Maybe some cognitive science/human bias questions, decision theory questions, questions that force you to think about what makes a good explanation. That sort of thing.
This app seems too much like guessing a password. I was using an app like this to study ancient Greek a few years ago. It didn’t really help with retaining knowledge all that much. At least for me, anyway.
I’m hoping these apps can be translated, uploaded, airlifted, and dropped in Raqqa before autumn arrives.
Jerry, just a heads up I took a peek in the iphone app store and could not find the Atheos app. Is it up already?
Re “free download …gives you access to one level, and if you pay $4.99 you get access to the other 9 levels”.
I wonder whether the parallelism with Scientology levels is intentional. More persistent attitude change (cognitive dissonance) if you commit $$?
What do they call Operating Thetan Levels in this app? Athetan Levels?
I know; not a fair comment. Couldn’t resist. Will atone now, maybe.
The app can’ be downloaded in some countries. Here in Panama for example. I wonder why this restriction
I downloaded the first part.
Not a great beginning:
“Any direction about how to engage in a conversation or interaction with another person or persons are…”
Annoyingly, the iPhone app is US only. It doesn’t even show up in search, and I had to go through the link above.
Redirecting to the US store doesn’t help though. To get the search/link to work I had to open a VPN tunnel, but the app store itself recognizes that my ID is tied to a non-US locale.
You know, people in other nations can be atheists too. Someone better tell the international RDFoundationRS to lift the US restrictions.
I am going to try Google Play now.
… and that is for Android Phones only, not Chrome. :-/
… and making it run on a PC that isn’t a Chromebook requires either grabbing an APK from an Android backup and run it through the ARC Welder developer tool, or installing an Android OS.
I have problem finding a clean Android sandbox. Google’s own ins’t a Chrome app but needs a separate install. I am trying BlueStacks, but either it is *really* slow or the problem with location persists. (I haven’t tried a VPN tunnel in the PC yet.) From here: http://www.extremetech.com/computing/83812-run-android-apps-on-your-windows-pc-2