Comments Policy

We love stimulating, even challenging, conversation at Science On Religion. Sincere and vigorous debate are vital elements of both science and religion, from the passionate back-and-forth in the pages of leading scientific journals to the heady disagreements of Jewish scholars doing Halachic Midrash. So please, comment away – even if you disagree with or want to challenge the research findings we report or the opinions we express.

However, we also know that real debate only flourishes in an atmosphere of respect. Thus, we have several rules for commenters:

  1. Read articles before commenting – don’t just respond to what you think the article is about from skimming the title.
  2. No, seriously. If you just reply with a knee-jerk opinion about the topic of the post, without referencing or responding to any of the actual points or arguments made in the post, your comment will be deleted. If you do it too many times, you’ll be banned.
  3. Don’t make ad hominem arguments. If your argument depends on personal attacks, then it’s probably a bad argument, and you need to rethink it.
  4. Don’t use swear or curse words. Language is like a pool cue – it works best when wielded with skill, patience, and finesse, not with brute strikes.
  5. Don’t be a troll.
  6. Don’t use the comments board at Science On Religion to evangelize for atheism. This isn’t an atheist blog; if you’ve got a bone to pick about religion, take it elsewhere. There are plenty of blogs at Patheos where attacking religion is the name of the game. Science On Religion isn’t one of them.

So how do these rules pan out? If you make abusive, rude, or toxic comments, your comment will be deleted. Nothing personal – we just can’t have that kind of negativity here. If you persist in making such comments, you’ll be banned from commenting at Science On Religion.

In addition, we ask that you really engage the ideas in the articles and in other comments. If you find yourself in a fruitless, maddening back-and-forth with another commenter, chances are that one or both of you simply aren’t listening to the other. Ask yourself if that person is you. If it is, change your pattern – show in your next comment that you’re actually listening to the other person.

Finally, we reserve the right to be stern with commenters who pass along misinformation. Religion is a topic that brings out heated emotions in many, but this isn’t an excuse for not being literate about the subject matter. Comments that are stereotypes, are based on logical fallacies, use non-representational samples as examplars (such as assuming that extreme religious fundamentalists represent all religious people), or otherwise demonstrate ignorance will be responded to accordingly, and these responses may be blunt. This is an age of extraordinary information. We should all be responsible for being literate in basic science and basic religious studies – particularly if we care enough about these subjects to read articles about them and comment!

It goes without saying that we hold ourselves to the same standards we’ve just articulated above. If you think one of us isn’t following one of these rules or suggestions in our own comments, let us know.

Thanks for reading our comments policy! Now go and rile up some (respectful) conversation.