"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Just a rant about trolls

What is it with theist trolls that post on atheist websites? I mean, it’s not as though atheists object to challenges to their world view, in fact most would welcome them if they offered something new to think about; but they so rarely do.
The usual modus operandi of these individuals is to ignore the subject of the original post, tell you that you know naff all and then threaten you with hell and damnation.
The bizarre thing is that that all of them think this is valid argument, likely to either persuade you of the error of your ways or influence other commenters. It has to make you wonder how these people negotiate their everyday social and professional lives. Presumably some of them must work for a living; have families, colleagues, friends and acquaintances they talk to? How do they miss the basic etiquette of debate and disagreement? How do they navigate the offline world? It honestly makes not an ounce of sense to me.
The thing is, whenever I’ve found myself on theist blogs or news items, the atheist commenters always (well mostly always) comment rationally, politely and with responses inviting debate and discussion; I’ve never seen an atheist troll (“There’s no God: Nyah Nyah!”).
To be fair there are some very good theist commenters on the web who will engage atheists in reasonable debate and I hold them in high regard (not least because it is a difficult logical position to defend) but they really are few and far between on the atheosphere.
Unfortunately I am drawn to the obvious conclusion that theism is essentially an irrational belief that attracts irrational people. If there are any rational theists reading this who would like to demonstrate that I am wrong, you know what to do…


  1. I have found that having a comment policy helps a bit. You'll still get trolls, but it at least makes it clear how you are going to handle them. Some of the brighter Christians even try to adhere to it.

  2. Hmm. I'll think about that. Mind you I was more making a point about theist trolls in general, not just here as I only have one (if DM counts, he trolls everywhere).
    Religious commenters I would welcome. I don't object to dissent just mindless threats and scriptural regurgitation.

  3. I discussed the general dislocation between religion and science in a long essay, and I got a few serious comments from theists and no trolls. However, those comments were by people who clearly failed to understand the nature of light. If interested, you can check out their comments (and of course my argument) at the following link: