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As discussed in this meta answer, Scientific speculation is off-topic for this site. If whole answer engages scientific speculation, we can remove the answer under scientific speculation. But some answers makes this decision complicated.

Some answers engage in partial scientific speculation. Let me explain with an example :

Q) Who are Rahu and Ketu? How are eclipses formed and what are their roles?

This question has two sub questions:
1) Who are Rahu and Ketu?
2) How are eclipses formed and what are their roles?

Let us consider below answer.

  1. Rahu and Ketu are demons born when Lord Vishnu beheads Danava Rahu during churning of ocean as mentioned in Mahabharata.
  2. Solar eclipse is formed when the Moon's shadow crosses the Earth's surface, and lunar eclipse is formed when the Moon moves into the Earth's shadow and this happens only when sun or the moon passes through one of the Lunar nodes.

Above answer answers partially wrt to Hinduism and other half answers through Science. Both points are factually correct. But this answer also has point(s) from non-Hinduism perspective.

Deciding these answers are bit problematic. We came up with two possible solutions.

  1. Remove those points of answer which are not from Hindu perspective. If user is reluctant to edit it, delete the whole answer.
  2. Add "post notice" (banner) to answer saying Scientific speculation and Science are off-topic for this site and also saying the same through comments. (No deletion of answer).

I want opinions of users here and any other solutions which you feel better.

Note:

  1. Science and Scientific speculation are two different terms. If a user says his own Scientific theory, it comes under Scientific speculation. For example, concept of equating Shiva and Shakti with matter and Anti matter comes under Scientific speculation as this concept can't be found in Hindu scriptures or it is not proved Scientifically. But answers with both Scientific speculation and answers with solid scientific paradigms are considered as off-topic.

  2. Scientific facts mentioned in Hindu Scriptures are allowed, given they provide proper references.

  3. Please don't say 2nd sub question can be edited to make it proper. I want to know your views on these partial answers.

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    We need to consider how to incentivise users to ask acceptable questions in the first place and secondly, edit out parts of questions that are actually not on Hinduism. For the second point, maybe add a post notice to the question as well saying that "Part of the question is on Science and doesn't really belong here, see such and such for more info" Is this possible? – DirghaChintayanti May 27 '17 at 7:04
  • @LakshmiNarayanan Yes. Post notice is possible. But we should also consider cases of reluctant users. – The Destroyer May 27 '17 at 7:06
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    It is very clear that scientific speculation & scientific answers is not allowed, by that extension questions asking for scientific speculation & scientific answers being allowed is not sensible. Reluctancy will be there for any new rules but once it is out there and becomes understood why people will adapt. – DirghaChintayanti May 27 '17 at 7:11
  • @LakshmiNarayanan We do not allow questions which ask for scientific speculation. For example, second question can be answered from Hinduism and also from Science. The problem is not with questions in such cases. What if we get answers engaging scientific speculation even after proper editing of question? – The Destroyer May 27 '17 at 7:12
  • Ok, so your question is only about questions which in part can be answered either from Hindu or Science perspective? If so, please make that clearer in your question. – DirghaChintayanti May 27 '17 at 7:14
  • @LakshmiNarayanan I think it's not needed because everyone knows Science is not allowed. – The Destroyer May 27 '17 at 7:16
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Answering scientifically may deviate the whole objective of the site. The objective/goal of Hinduism Stackexchange is to provide authentic information about Hinduism and it's topic:

Hinduism Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for followers of the Hindu religion and those interested in learning more about Hinduism.

Which is also clear from explanation given in this answer:

This is a site with a community of experts in Hinduism, it is not a site with a community of scientists.........

This is a common issue to the religion sites, and Christianity.SE for example solved it by only allowing religious questions and answers. Any answer has to be from a doctrinal point of view, scientific answers are not allowed, and questions that ask for scientific answers are closed.

First of all if the question asking scientific answer, we should either close it as off-topic or fix it.

Now, talking about answer. If the whole answer engaged in science or scientific speculation, we should remove/delete answer. (Since scientific speculation is off-topic and also it doesn't answer according Hinduism point of view which is the goal of this site)

If part of the answer is fine (Hinduism point of view) but part of the answer is problematic (scientifically answers the question), I think we should take the following action:

  • Comment asking to avoid scientific speculation and guiding OP to answer according to Hinduism perspective or put post-notice (when available) to correct the answer otherwise scientific points from the answer will be removed.
  • If central theme of the answer is scientific, remove the answer otherwise remove points/part of answer engaged in scientific perspective/speculation.
  • If user is reluctant[1] to correct the answer and part of answer is worthy, s/he may engage in roll-back war, then fix the answer and lock it.

Anyway, we should stop the community from scientific Q/A otherwise it can deviate the goal of site. Also see Why we are allowing scientific answers?

So, when you see part of the answer engaged in scientific points, comment or edit to fix it and if the core/whole answer is scientific, flag it.


[1] "If you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you." - Help Center > Our model

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    I think locking is extreme step. What do you think? Also specify, can we delete those answers? – The Destroyer May 27 '17 at 7:04
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    @TheDestroyer Yes, it is extreme step which should only be used when other part of answer is worthy and community can benefit of it, otherwise we may delete those answers. – Pandya May 27 '17 at 7:20
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What do we know?

Scientific Answers are not allowed without scriptural reference. Scientific speculation are not allowed.

What do we need?

How to deal with Partial Science Answer.

Given that solution cannot be to alter question beforehand since it is not possible to know whether a given question can only be answered from Science view and not Hindu view, the logical conclusion is that we if an answer has scientific portion, we do not want people to be misled by such an answer to think it is somehow an Hindu perspective of things - unless there is scriptural reference for the same.

So then the option left with us is that we delete that part of answer and protect the question saying that Scientific Speculation/Science Answer to parts of the question is not in line with H.SE policy. This will ensure new users who are not familiar with the Science Speculation/Scientific Answers Policy and most likely to commit the mistake of answering questions with Scientific speculation & scientific answers without scriptural reference are deterred from doing so.

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IMO solution in such cases will be simple. Delete or remove the portions which answer the question from the perspective of science. Keep those portions which are compatible with the site's rules. Keep the answer.

Deleting the whole answer just because it has gone off-topic on only some parts of it will be unlawful.

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I support not accepting science and scientific speculation in answers.

I am also very circumspect when it comes to deleting answers. So for now, the "post notice" should suffice with a request to the user to edit their answers to comply with the "science" rule. If they do not react, convert the portion of their answer to a comment; if the science itself is wrong, delete it.

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As discussed in this meta answer, Scientific speculation is off-topic for this site.

Actually the term "scientific speculation" itself is an oxymoron [?] or contradictory term. Because "scientific" means something with proofs. While "speculation" means something without proofs.

Now "speculations" are mostly forbidden in science as well as not allowed in this site, because we insist upon scriptures. The linked meta also doesn't discuss on "speculations", hence that term should be dropped.

So it boils down to "science" based Q&A is off-topic. Since many Indian scriptures are based on some kind of science, it will be naive to restrict that as well.
Hence to be pedantic, it's appropriate to say:
"Q&A based on modern science is off-topic."


Some answers engage in partial scientific speculation.
Q) Who are Rahu and Ketu? How are eclipses formed and what are their roles?

Suppose if I ask that,
"How were Ramayana/Mahabharata warriors able to shoot an arrow at far distances by using a simple bow?"
Though the Qn looks quite "Hinduism" style, no scriptures is likely to discuss this concept. Because it's irrelevant and trivial to describe such mechanical stuff.
Answer can be, "If a bow is tied with an elastic string then with law of action-reaction, an arrow can be sent quite far depending on static & muscle energy".
The law itself is eternal irrespective of discovered by Newton or some sage.

Same thing applies to the Qn on "eclipses". If something which can be answered using trivial knowledge, people will always choose that. Modern science is trivial to most of us.

If science based answers are not acceptable in the site, then easier is -- the Qn itself should be restricted by editing or closure.


If part of the answer is fine (Hinduism point of view) but part of the answer is problematic (scientifically answers the question), I think we should take the following steps:

IMO 2nd option is better:

Add "post notice" (banner) to answer ... (No deletion of answer).
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    " Since many Indian scriptures are based on some kind of science, it will be naive to restrict that as well." Can you explain what kind of science Hindu scriptures are based on? – Pandya May 27 '17 at 10:51
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    @Pandya, "Social science" (Varna vyavastha etc), "Astronomical science" (Jyotish shastra etc), "Natural science" (Vaastu shastra etc), "Medicinal science" (Ayurveda etc) and may be few others. Refer this link. The one which is termed as "Modern science" belongs to "Formal science" which relies on experiments, maths & logic. It's likely that early civilizations were aware of that as well. – iammilind May 27 '17 at 11:00
  • @iammilind Yes. Science doesn't allow speculation. But internet is full of theories such as Shiva-Shakti being Matter and Anti matter, trimurties Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara are Neutron, Proton and Electron. These kind of weird theories come under "Scientific speculation". – The Destroyer May 27 '17 at 16:31
  • @TheD, "Shiva-Shakti being Matter and Anti matter, trimurties Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara are Neutron, Proton and Electron" -- it comes under [personal] speculation. Science doesn't discuss on Shiva/Shakti & Brahma/Vishnu/Mahesh. People make up their own theories, which touch upon science but not scientific. – iammilind May 27 '17 at 17:38
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    1.Scientific speculation is not an oxymoron. Scientific inquiry often starts with hypothesising & speculating & is supported by empirical evidence. It is only the theories,once formulated,that are backed by experimental evidence,data etc.Unless they are axiomatic in nature. 2.Revising to "modern science" may not be effective because then it makes science before Newton acceptable. Here the definition of science is totally the western concept. Hindu shaastra is as scientific as they come but we separate shaastra from western science because the science POV limits the explanation of shastra. – user1195 May 28 '17 at 4:46
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    @moon, Usually modern science can be termed as western science which is orthogonal to faiths/religions. Though I have never heard "scientific speculation", it's not famous elsewhere as well. How is it possible something to be "scientific" as well as "speculative"? In any case I am not taking side of allowing or not allowing such answers. If such contents are not acceptable then that Qn should be disallowed. That's why I took an example of bow-arrow, which is least likely to be answered by scriptures, though the Qn itself is related to Hinduism. In such case that Qn can be closed as off-topic. – iammilind May 28 '17 at 5:41
  • ok. btw, @TheDestroyer gave a good definition of scientific speculation for the purposes of this SE. – user1195 May 28 '17 at 6:05

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