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I have seen a few questions discussion science, such as this one:

Others do it in the answers, but not in the question. I think that is bad, because many users get it wrong. And that is a problem. The Stack Exchange Network's formula consists of creating high quality content, and that's not what is happening here.

Simply put, most users here are laymen who are not well versed in science enough to peer-review the scientific claims being made here. As a result, incorrect claims may get severely upvoted.

Incorrect answers are not making the Internet a better place, as is Stack Exchange's mission statement. Rather, they are making the Internet a worse place. For this site to work, I think the scope should be limited to Christianity. Asking a scientific question, or using science to answer questions, should be considered out of scope. Otherwise, I fear pseudo-science will be rampant.

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    The difficulty is that when asking science questions people that disbelieve in science won't agree with any of the answers, so, we are then talking to a stone, with about the same result. Unless someone is open to considering an answer that is different than what they hold dearly, asking a question is pointless. – James Black Oct 4 '11 at 11:50
  • I can't tell whether this means that questions regarding Young Earth Creationism are or are not off-topic. YEC is one of the most perplexing aspects of Christianity to non-Christians (and perhaps to scientifically-minded Christians); this seems like a good site to try to collect reasonable answers to questions people might have about it. – Rex Kerr Oct 31 '11 at 14:53
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I'm really starting to think that these questions should be moved to Skeptics.SE or another SE site. While scientific questions definitely relate to Christianity, I don't think that science is the purpose of Christianity.SE.

If there are questions that are regarding Young Earth or Creationism or other scientific arguments that are seeking biblical backing, I can see this site being a good place for that. But if there's a question seeking scientific backing, I think those questions don't belong here.

My opinion on this isn't because I believe of a separation between science and Christianity, but rather that this community is not a community of scientists (or people explicitly interested in science). Rather, this is a community of people interested in Christianity (and possibly how that relates to science).

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    And Skeptics are so open to anything religious... – Affable Geek Jul 17 '14 at 18:06
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    Maybe some of these could be moved over to the new EarthScience.SE site. – Richard Jul 17 '14 at 18:53
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It is an interesting one. On several occasions when someone has posted a "science" based answer (on behalf of religion), I have asked for citation of the science for the claim (in the same way that a Biblical claim is generally met with a Biblical citation, and it is common to ask for a Biblical basis for an answer). Every time I have done so, I have been met with hostility and even flagged. My intention here is not to deny people the use of a science answer, but rather to improve their answer by allowing the reader to make a discerning to the best of their ability and the ability to investigate further (which is surely fine if there is evidence?).

On other times, answers have been along the lines of "which is well supported because [some scientist] has said so", ignoring the fact that the claim has been largely rejected and refuted by the scientific community, or (in many cases) has been flatly disproven - i.e. it is not a strong scientific basis.

I honestly encourage the inclusion of modern data, but in an honest way - that acknowledged that it is in debate. Likewise, presenting such as a personal reasoning would be fine - but flatly presenting it as "fact" (in the same way that a scripture section might be quoted as a literal thing - i.e. "This is what is written") is hugely misleading and can only be intended to give a false representation.

I don't have an easy answer, but I would love to see the believer parts of the community pressing these answers for more than just "there is good evidence". When asked by a non-believer it seems to be interpreted as challenging their faith or combatitive, which is honestly not my intent. However, any science-based "evidence" should be able to stand up to mild scrutiny, otherwise it simply isn't a science-based answer (but rather: just sensationalism). Strictly speaking it should stand up to intense scrutiny - but as per the question: we are not professional scientists.

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    "I would love to see the believer parts of the community pressing these answers" I tried doing this once during the private beta, with the result that my comments were deleted by a moderator. Has the policy changed? – Bruce Alderman Sep 6 '11 at 16:23
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    @Bruce no; it seems one is only allowed to query Biblical details. Questioning the validity of a science-based claim made in an answer seems to be out-of-bounds. I find this ironic. – Marc Gravell Sep 6 '11 at 17:18
  • I know this is old, but you seem to advocate that this site does allow discussion of science. Is that correct? I'm very much against that, and I think the community tends that way today. Related topic: Are questions on a Creationist explanation for scientific observation on topic here? – 3961 Dec 31 '14 at 8:07
  • @fredsbendtheGrinch I try not to take a hand here now - I suspect I do more harm here than good, but to clarify: it is often the case that questions arise that are not purely and entirely theological, but which actually touch on the physical world. Ultimately, our best tool for knowing about the actual physical world is: science. If we are to be intellectually honest, we need to temper theology with the known physical. – Marc Gravell Dec 31 '14 at 8:20
  • @MarcGravell I've noticed that you don't participate much anymore. Too bad. I'm usually impressed by your comments. Haven't seen much of your posts though [clicks though to profile]. See my comment I just left for Kramii, if your interested. I understand if you don't really care. – 3961 Dec 31 '14 at 8:27
  • @fredsbendtheGrinch ultimately, "it is complicated"; I work for SE, and quite often it seemed like I was causing more ripples and disruption than I would like. I don't want it to be interpreted that "official SE representative is undermining our community", for example (even though any opinions are entirely mine). It is a topic that interests me, and because I value it, sometimes I need to simply step away. – Marc Gravell Dec 31 '14 at 8:52
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You're right that incorrect answers are bad for this site and the internet. However, the ignorance expressed in answers does not imply that a question is bad. Quite the opposite - it suggests that the question needs to be asked and answered properly.

In my view, a science-based question pertains specifically to Christianiy then it has a place here. The real question is how we encourage people with the appropriate qualifications to answer these questions, and discourage the unqualified from doing so. I suggest that SE already has mechanisms to ensure that this happens. If you're not happy with the evidence for an answer, comment and / or downvote.

Moreover, if we want to ban science from this site, shouldn't we also ban other sources of information?

  • Christians are not historians, but we (appear to) accept that some questions require a historical answer.
  • Christians are not Jews, but there is a case for accepting questions based on Jewish culture if they are relavant to Christianity.

Disclosure: I asked the question that the @Borror0 specifically objects to. I don't have an axe to grind either way in the creation / evolution debate. I don't know which is the right answer, but I do care.

  • I do not mind religious questions about science, but scientific question on religion belongs on other sites. Voting is only effective if the population has proper knowledge on the topic. The nature of the site will attract users with an impressive knowledge of the Bible, but their knowledge of physics and biology won't be anywhere near that. It's really about using the best tools for each job. – Borror0 Sep 1 '11 at 14:49
  • To be clear, I'm not saying that your question is bad in any way. The problem that I see is that this site isn't equipped with the right community or policies to answer it. – Borror0 Sep 1 '11 at 14:51
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    @Borror0: Having comments very carefully, and looked at the responses to my question and others, I am persuaded that questions that require science-based answers are going to be a problem for this site. As you say, the user-base just doesn't seem to be equipped to answer them properly. That bothers me a bit, but I don't see a way forward. I rather hope that someone else has a better solution, but in the mean time I've voted to close my own question. – Kramii Reinstate Monica Sep 5 '11 at 20:57
  • This is a good point: The community allows history and Jewish culture questions, yet we are not experts in either. Are you so sure about that, though? By definition, an expert in Christianity is an expert in at least some of the history of Christianity. Also, we all know that Christianity came from Judaism, so many experts in Christianity have extensively studied Judaism and its history and culture too. Science on the other hand, not so much. – 3961 Dec 31 '14 at 8:15
  • Really, only the YEC's claim scientific things, so we should have specific policies on that: Are questions on a Creationist explanation for scientific observation on topic here? – 3961 Dec 31 '14 at 8:18
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Physics.SE and Earthscience.SE are both Much better sites to migrate these questions to than Skeptics.SE. This isn't because Skeptics.SE is a bad site, but rather because the term Skeptic will set off red flags to YEC, Mormons, and many other Christian denomnations. While the information provided won't be different in answer at the sites I have reccommended, it will be of higher quality and as a result more academic and less rhetorical in tone (as these site's more specific focus draws a community of experts better qualified to answer specific questions than the mixed bag at Skeptics.SE and the hot-button nature of these topics will likely lead . This probably won't prevent misplaced anger on the part of the question askers but it should help.

There is also evidence that the community at Skeptics.SE is legitimately hostile to YEC (which does sort of make sense, but isn't helpful). The highest rated answer there, as explained in the comments on it, is 1) not an answer to the question asked 2) unhelpful to anyone who doesn't already agree with the answer and 3) wrong. While clearly a large number of the folks in that community are supporting the kinds of standards that SE advocates, this appears to be a topic where a vocal (via votes) minority subverts the system.

There is evidence that the Earth Science SE community handles this kind of thing fairly well. While the linked question's frame might offend YECs the answer answers the question in an academic and expert way, with citations. I haven't found any questions from a YEC frame on Earth Science however.

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In my YEC opinion

God is Truth and Truth is reality. Science and Truth should co-exist without any contradictions. It's interesting how your post states that this site is for Christians (which are not scientists), the reality being, neither are those individuals on Skeptics.SE.

The Bible produces a lot of questions and if those questions relate to science, then they have every right to be asked on Christians.SE. This website is designed to help people discover Truths about Christianity.

I agree that the material posted here should be valid material. But that does not mean that all scientific publishing's are without dispute or flaws.

Even if all scientific questions are moved to the skeptics website, like this question https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/5992/leaching-of-radiometric-material-is-it-possible

.. does not mean that it will be openly accepted there either. Have a look at the comment this question received within fifteen minutes of being posted.

The reality is that Skeptics.SE is not a pure science website, neither is Christianity.SE, but that should not exclude either website from receiving scientific questions.

To disagree is to say that Christians are not allowed to discuss Science.

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    1. My point is that this site's userbase knows a lot about Christianity, but a lot less about science. 2. Skeptics controls the veracity of claims by citing peer-reviewed literature. What would Christianity do to control quality? 3. Skeptics is for doubting the veracity of claims made, as explained in our FAQ. If you want to question something, Skeptic is the right place. If you're merely curious, it is not. – Borror0 Sep 1 '11 at 0:07
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    Christianty is not one or the other. Eighty percent of Americans profess to be Christians. I'm sure that plenty of them have enough credentials to answer questions on skeptics.se – Ecommerce Consultant Sep 1 '11 at 1:04
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    A considerably smaller portion of those 80 percent would claim young earth creation. It's just not supported by science. – Andrew Vit Sep 1 '11 at 1:23
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    @JonathonByrd: I claimed that Christians can't answer scientific questions. That would be a stupid and false statement. I claimed that this userbase is not equipped with the right tools to do so reliably. This is a very important difference. – Borror0 Sep 1 '11 at 2:17
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It doesn't matter if this was science.se, the individuals there are also laymen looking for answers as we are here.

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    On Skeptics, which is basically Science.SE, we require users to link to peer-reviewed literature to justify any claim made. Otherwise, we see the quality of answers drastically going down. The other scientific SE sites are narrower and full on experts of the subject (Physics, Theoretical Computer Science, and Stack Overflow being the most blatant examples) which ensures high quality content. Christianity.SE has no such safeguard to ensure the quality of its scientific answers, the other scientific SE site do. As I said in the OP, that is a problem. – Borror0 Aug 31 '11 at 18:46
  • @Borror0: The problem with that is the peer reviewed journals reject all papers presenting evidence for supernatural, regardless of quality. I could give a sound answer and tell you exactly what to look for (testable) but you would still reject it for that reason. – Joshua Oct 9 '11 at 20:13
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    @Joshua: That's demonstrably false. See, for example, Daryl Bem's "Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect" article published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. There is a certain bias, from many peer-reviewed journal, to publish content that will cause controversy or discussion, at the cost of accuracy. While the peer-review process is imperfect, your criticism of it isn't applicable. – Borror0 Oct 9 '11 at 20:25
  • One paper to set against the weight of the demonstrated failure of rejecting all anti-global-warming papers. The peer-review system is broken. – Joshua Oct 9 '11 at 21:28
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    @Joshua - If you can't find a published anti-global-warming paper, you haven't looked hard enough. Unfortunately, the ones I've seen range from low-quality to spectacularly bad, leading me to believe that the failure was in not rejecting those, too. (It would have been better if probably 2/3 of the there-is-global-warming papers had also been rejected due to sloppiness or poor methodology; sadly, it's easier to get low-quality stuff published in a trendy area. It makes it really hard to find good, solid data.) – Rex Kerr Oct 31 '11 at 14:34

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