To give some background, recently I came across an answer which used some religious stories to explain a question. I reported it as spam as it contained link to a personal blog (it got consequently removed).

The answer in itself was faulty as it did not properly cite the sources of the religious stories. I would not have raised a flag if the person had cited the sources correctly.

My question should we allow answers based on religious sources in this stack? My opinion is since we ourselves have no real true understanding of AI one should allow the religious sources to be counted as philosophy, since it is speculative. What are your thoughts on this matter?

  • $\begingroup$ Can you give an example of what a "religion based answer" on an AI topic would look like? I'm having a difficult time imagining one. If it's something like "according to religious text X, humans are not allowed to create artificial forms of life, therefore AI research is bad"... then that doesn't seem useful to me. If a part from a religious text is used as an example / analogy and actually works well to explain some concept relevant to AI, I suppose that's fine, though it'd have to be explained sufficiently well for people unfamiliar with that text. $\endgroup$
    – Dennis Soemers Mod
    Aug 10 '18 at 8:52
  • $\begingroup$ @DennisSoemers recently the answer was to a question about free will some things from bible and hinduism...like karma probably $\endgroup$
    – user9947
    Aug 10 '18 at 10:02

Our justification policy requires that speculative answers give some justification or reasoning for their assertions. I originally intended it for things like this hypothetical (and somewhat hyperbolic) exchange:

Q: What is the risk from widespread deployment of self-driving cars?

A: Self-driving cars will work fine for a while, gain sentience, turn malevolent, wait for a perfect opportunity, and kill us all. This sequence of events is 100% certain.

Wild speculation requires some sort of justification. It still might not be correct (votes can indicate accuracy/reasonableness), but there must be some explanation of how the answer author arrived at their conclusion. Citing sources is a great way, but not the only way, to provide that. It seems to me like drawing on philosophy/religion is a decent method to explain one's position.

Regarding the specific answer you discuss: I deleted it not for lack of explanation but because — despite its considerable length — it didn't actually address artificial intelligence.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I was talking in general of the broad case...In philosophy tag are we allowed to disallow answers which give explanation from religious texts? Since we ourselves use terms which are vague and loosely based on experiences from different sources $\endgroup$
    – user9947
    Aug 10 '18 at 4:53
  • $\begingroup$ @BenN ,long live Ben. Great work always. $\endgroup$
    – quintumnia
    Aug 17 '18 at 4:28

My sense is that answer that provide a religious perspective can be on-topic for certain issues related to social or philosophical subjects, but do need to be well supported, and ideally should be well referenced.

  • $\begingroup$ But can we take a religious text as a reference? $\endgroup$
    – user9947
    Dec 10 '19 at 10:58
  • $\begingroup$ @DuttaA where relevant, absolutely. But my assumption is that this is an extremely limited case. (For instance I might compare the superrational strategy in game theory to the golden rule, and reference the Mahābhārata and Old Testament.) $\endgroup$
    – DukeZhou Mod
    Dec 10 '19 at 18:03

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