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Are Religious People More Prone to Internet Trolling than Non-Religious People?


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Poll: Do you think that religious people are more prone to internet TROLLING? (1 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you think that religious people are more prone to internet TROLLING?

  1. Yes (7 votes [50.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 50.00%

  2. No (7 votes [50.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 50.00%

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#1 InfiniteNow

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 11:47 PM

(For the sake of discussion, assume that I mean those with a background in the Abrahamic/Monotheistic religions).

Discuss.

#2 Moontanman

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 09:47 AM

From my experiences on this and other forums I would have to say Yes, the religious are much more prone to Internet trolling than anyone else. I even see it on sites that are not exactly science based, fish study and aquariums these sites often have the religious trying to troll for arguments about anything that pertains to evolution or any topic they think skirts issues that contradict the Bible. Continental drift is often a topic they look for, evolution of course, Noah's flood, and they try to interject the biblical view into any discussion than even borders on a science subject that might shed some light on some belief they hold dear. some sites have as far as to prohibit any discussion of religion and to diminish any discussion of topics like evolution. I have often wondered if they have some way of finding these threads of "Biblical/Science" disagreements like a spider program that looks for key words to direct them to the attack.

#3 Thunderbird

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 10:24 AM

(For the sake of discussion, assume that I mean those with a background in the Abrahamic/Monotheistic religions).

Discuss.

Sure , what is interesting and slightly disturbing however is how theses post from the religious right have changed since the election. Before Obama won they posted all the usual poppycock about Obama being a terrorist etc. Ironically our rural county actually went to Obama thanks to a couple pastors and a handful of dedicated church folk. Our local county forum is also besieged by the many KKK wacko’s , fundamentalist kooks, and superstitious Baptist and Pentecostal preachers.

What I find telling is that after the election the wacko’s felt they needed to form their own forum where they warn of the impending doom and end of the world. They have realized just recently they or are not the “Real America” and out of sync with the world. Not to be crude its as though our forum took a giant crap and excreted this pile of malcontents out of the mainstream. I think this is indicative of the country as a whole

#4 Moontanman

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 10:36 AM

I think I like it better when they post on regular forums so we can keep track of them. No telling what they might build up the courage to do while they pat each other on the back in private.

#5 Thunderbird

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 10:52 AM

I think I like it better when they post on regular forums so we can keep track of them. No telling what they might build up the courage to do while they pat each other on the back in private.


Yea, that's the disturbing part, they really believe the world has turned to darkness and they hold even tighter to death as the only savoir from a world that has gone to the devil.

This love of death is an all to familiar thread that runs though the devoutly religious. If we do fall into a depression they will certainly take it as a sign from God that their dark prophesy of end times are indeed upon them. Since this is “:Gods plan” it will serve as a justifier for organized destructive behavior. :)

They do still post on the regular forum the follow is an example.


Anonymous
Light in the Darkness
Mon Mar 9, 2009 9:06pm



Light in the Darkness 2/4/09

This is only the prelude. Things are going to get darker, but be of good cheer.
I have overcome the world.

Those who fell in the wilderness were not looking to me for their provision;
they saw their situation through carnal eyes. They saw the promised land and
gave an evil report, because they focused on the circumstances.


Joshua and Caleb saw the same land and circumstances, but through
the eyes of faith, so they were able to pass from death to life.

There is a falling away coming. Those who fall will be those who have eyes for Egypt.
Those who remain will be those whose eyes are looking up, away from this earth.

Do not be entangled in the affairs of this world. Detach yourself from any future here.
Set your gaze on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your
affections on things above, not on things on the earth; for you are dead and your life is
hid with Christ in God.

The children of Israel fell in the wilderness because of stubborn unbelief. They saw my
miracles time after time, but they had eyes for Egypt. They were a pig washed returning
to its wallow. They were as fools returning to their folly as a dog returns to it's vomit.

See to it that you do not fall after the same example of unbelief.

They were corrupted through lust.
I have give you an escape route from that corruption through My Word.
My Word is a compass that points the way out of the wilderness.
No other instrument is to be trusted.

My Word is a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path.
Get that light in you, and you will not stumble at the darkness
that is thickening all around you.

Abide in me.Trust in Me.Rest yourself from the cares of this
world, so you might have strength for the real battle.

Prepare your heart to trust Me in the thick darkness.
I am your light. I am your life. I am your breath.
I am the author and sustainer of your life.
I am your hiding place. I am your shelter from the storm.
I am your peace in impossible circumstances.

When you find yourself at the edge of the Red Sea (and you will!)
When the armies of Egypt are coming for you,let go of all your eyes
can see and fix them on the eternal.

Love not your life even unto death.I am the resurrection and the life,
he that believes on me shall never see death.

Wakeuppeople1



#6 CraigD

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 08:14 PM

I voted “no”, because, in my experience, most religious people do not like to proselytize, despite many of their religions’ scriptural instruction to do so.

On the other hand, of science enthusiasts, the other kind of person obviously drawn to a science forum, to troll or not to troll, most in my experience are motivated to share their knowledge. One might say that scientists are naturally teachers, while religionists are naturally receivers of teaching.

Based on nothing but anecdotal experience and intuition, I suspect that many if not most science enthusiasts are fond of one or more off-beat-to-bizarre theory. A minority, but still a good number, are either obsessively drive to promote a pet strange theory, or feel that internet forums, due in greatest part to their anonymity, are an appropriate place to trot them out. These people tend strongly to be internet trolls or a species I’ll call “science-y trolls”

In absolute numbers, religious trolls are more commonly encountered than science-y trolls. As a fraction of their base populations – all religionists for religious trolls, people with at least a modicum of, or the believe that they have knowledge, of science for science-y trolls – I believe trollishness is more common among the science-y.

As I mentioned above, I don’t have any statistical support for my suspicions. In psychology, with its focus on individual cases, this isn’t in my experience as great a failing as in other disciplines. A more interesting psychological question than the incidence of trollishness, is, IMHO, the development of it in individuals. I wonder when – at what age – trollishness manifests in various people? Do non-trolls become trolls? Do trolls stop being trolls – not do they just stop plaguing internet forums, but do they control or expunge the psychological trait? And, more importantly I think for the promotion of science and the attendant benefit of humankind, how best can teachers and caregivers prevent trollishness?

I’m unaware of any serious psychological study of these questions. Anyone know of any? :)

#7 InfiniteNow

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 09:52 PM

A more interesting psychological question than the incidence of trollishness, is, IMHO, the development of it in individuals. I wonder when – at what age – trollishness manifests in various people? Do non-trolls become trolls? Do trolls stop being trolls – not do they just stop plaguing internet forums, but do they control or expunge the psychological trait? And, more importantly I think for the promotion of science and the attendant benefit of humankind, how best can teachers and caregivers prevent trollishness?


Well, my friend, of course the easy answer is "a desire for attention." Much like a child will act out to gain "negative attention" since that is so much better psychologically than "no attention," the internet troll needs attention. It also relates to a feeling of power in an otherwise powerless life. They need to feel like they "have the power to cause a response," and the validation it brings to get someone to respond in a premeditated way is something that is difficult to quantify, but enormously important to the trolls feelings of self-worth.

Either way, it's simply about attention, and trying to fill that abysmal gap within their psyche that causes them to feel alone, separate, and ostracized from the pack. They unconsciously act to become part of a pack by throwing rocks at the established pack members, and getting those established pack members to acknowledge their existence with a response. Even if said response is retaliatory or negative, it is still an acknowledgement of their presence, an acknowledgment of their being in an otherwise pervasive individual sense of solitude.

As to the rest of your questions, I am enormously willing to let this thread become a place whereby those questions are presented with answers, so I humbly request that all members reading this offer their views and enrich the dialog.

#8 C1ay

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 10:13 PM

IMO religious people are more likely to go forth and spread "the word" than non-religious people are to go forth and counter that action.

#9 Moontanman

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 10:21 PM

I agree Clay, while this forum could be seen as troll bait, i do see them in other forums that are really not set up in a way that would be a challenge to these religious types but they are there every time something comes up they think they can show science in a bad light. It's really sad because many of these sites are really not set up in a way that allows real debate. They jump in un checked and lay down the law of the bible and no one there is really equipped to counter them in any way. Today i got a visit from someone wanting to give me the "good news" i had to step in front of them to keep them from walking inside my house uninvited. I told them to take it and go, they looked amazed that someone didn't want to bring them inside to receive the good news. Really sad. :)

#10 freeztar

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 05:57 PM

Until I'm presented with data that affirms a bias for trolls having religious persuasions, I'm inclined to assume the default position of "no".

#11 HydrogenBond

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 08:05 AM

Trolling not only occurs on science sites, but also on religious sites. Each site has their method for presenting arguments. I used to troll on some religious sites. Their analogy of the scientific method involved using exact bible quotes to support your position. This is equal to quoting a science paper but in this case specific places in the bible. If you do, than one is allowed to present a position. If you just present ideas without the protocol support, it is treated differently and is analogous to their version of trolling. If this survey was done on those sites, science would be the trolls. The overall number depend on whether there are more science or religion sites on the internet. If one is trying to be original, so data is in the future, instead of the past, one will always be a troll. Copernicus may have been a troll in his day, simply because he didn't tell everyone what they wanted to hear in the way they wanted to hear it.

#12 Moontanman

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:01 AM

I think you have a distorted idea of what a troll is, trolling isn't just disagreeing with what is being said in a thread. I have no problem with disagreeing. Trolling involves asking the same questions over and over and totally ignoring answers. Trolling is ambush posts and trying to make the other guy look stupid by making claims you have no intent on backing up with anything other than rhetoric. Trolling is doing your best to confuse the issue so no one can call you on your ideas. Trolling is obfuscating everything and anything to avoid the truth. Trolling is long rambling posts that may or may not have anything to do with the topic at hand.

#13 CraigD

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 12:40 PM

Because, I think, everyone believe she of he knows what a troll is via sheer internet intuition, we tend to avoid the usual scientifically sound step of defining our term before using it, with the usual consequences. So, without further preamble, let’s reach a consensus definition of the term “internet troll”.

Being far from the first community to undertake this, we’ve a wealth of literature to draw from. As a start, I recommend everyone not already acquainted with it read the wikipedia article “Troll (Internet)”.

Like many intuitive terms, “troll” is, I expect we’ll agree, a broad one encompassing many “species” (as I like to term them). It’s even believed by many troll-ologists that some species of troll are actually beneficial. For example, under some interpretations, anyone practicing the Socratic method is, by definition, a sort of troll.

Taking time to define terms is a sidetrack from the thread’s main subject, the correlation of the psychological attributes of religiousness and trollishness, but, if the discussion is to be a coherent, communicative one, a sidetrack that IMHO needs to be taken.
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#14 Thunderbird

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 01:11 PM

I believe it has to do with intent of the poster, which my take time to discern. The question should be ask , Is this person a provocateur seeking feedback , or are they just being obnoxious because they have an ideology to promote ?

#15 InfiniteNow

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 08:55 PM

Despite the accuracy issues in HBs post, he did (I can't believe I'm about to say this... please... somebody.... just shoot me now... two in the chest, and one in the head... I really don't want to say this...) he did allude to an interesting point that I'd considered prior to opening this thread.


We, being a science-y forum are likely to attract a specific "non-science-y" type of troll, and even more likely to attract religiously motivated trolls who see science as an affront to their "this makes me feel good/faith based" approach to life.

However, if it were a religious forum, discussing (I have no freaking idea... how many imaginary dogs you must pray to in order to avoid the next volcano eruption and ensure that the spaceship stops at your house prior to departure.... really, people... I have no freakin idea...) discussing religious topics, then someone coming in with a scientific mindset could, very well, be considered a troll for asking questions related to evidence and verification.

I, of course, spending the many hours I do at childish fantasy camps ...erm... fairy tale based believer communities ... I mean... spending the many hours I do at science-y forums, I very possibly have a selection bias, and a non-representative population sample. The trolls I see are ridiculous morons who do one of a few things:

  • Preach their special book
  • Challenge evolution using kindergarten arguments
  • Deny global warming
  • Assert how relativity is wrong while offering nothing better
  • Just be a jackass who asks ridiculous off-topic questions to keep everyone off of the actual topic or get attention

All of those things remind me of theistic religious practitioners. This thread hasn't, however, gained much traction, so let's go help the poor and throw rocks at some homos instead so we can serve the lord.

#16 InfiniteNow

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 10:55 PM

Let me ask this, then..

What is the relationship between religious practice and the need for attention?

#17 Boerseun

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 02:11 AM

Pretty simple, really.

Coming from a position of faith, where your only proof for the existence of the deity of your choice is merely your own conviction thereof, having your stance questioned will evoke a deep indignation. After all, facing the possibility that the bedrock of your life philosophy is built on mud might not be the most enjoyable scenario.

Also, of course, the phenomenon that I'd like to call "rapture-envy" comes into play.
Basically, you have a lot of people professing their belief in the same deity. Everybody prays, and everybody claims that their God listens to their prayers, and talks to them. And the only reason people claim that, is because God seems to be talking to everybody else but them. So they invent stories of how God spoke to them, because if God speaks to everybody else but the individual in question, then that individual will be seen as the "bad believer", and God does not like him/her. Which, of course, leads to all sorts of psychological issues through their lifetimes, because what they will never confess to their fellow believers, is that God, in fact, have never spoken to them. Why? What have they done that made God ignore them? God seems to speak to everyone else at Church?

...which of course just reinforces to impetus to lie about their own particular personal relationship with God.

A group of priests/pastors/bishops/imams at a religious gathering who have to go pray about a certain issue before they can issue their God-inspired decision regarding the matter, is a particularly laughable (and quite sad) example of it.

Imagining being a bishop, and pretending throughout your entire life that you've got a special relationship with God, that God actually does speak to you, simply because He seems to be talking to all the other bishops. And, of course, forgetting that the other bishops all make the same claim because you're doing it, and they are all envious of you.

I suspect that the internet trolling that you refer to in your original post is merely another extension of it, and just another manifestation of this particular envy. If anybody on the internet questions the existence of God, then it's a prime target for the religious insecure to pounce on it, because the bigger the troll, the more he reaffirms his imaginary relationship with his imaginary friend, and the more envious his buddies will be of him because he's demonstrating that he's a good soldier in defense of his chosen God. Which, of course, strengthens their resolve to become bigger and more active trolls on their own.

Science-oriented atheists are not as prone to trolling, because the burden of proof doesn't lie with them, and they're not envious of other people claiming to hear voices in their head.