I've heard some discussion regarding "dangerous opinions" on this message board, and how they are unwelcome. I myself would like to offer my own dangerous opinion.
I would like to see the bannination of "alternative theorists" on the regular forums.
Lately, especially concerning the discussion of certain topics (comets lately have come to mind frequently), there seems to be a domination by the "alternative theorists" on the forums. These folks specifically target forums like Universe Today (and other science-related forums) and very deliberately use rhetorical tactics to remain on these boards to brow-beat perhaps less-informed readers into believing shaky theories that are not grounded in fact. What this has done is:
1) Sully the scientific method. These folks actually shorn the idea of peer review and other aspects of this process. Thre might be a little bit of lip service given to this, but that's all it is, lip service. Every time I see an article linked on this forum now that is prefaced with the words "peer reviewed", I now wonder, since this is a frequent tactic by the alternate theorists to try to add legitimacy to otherwise crackpot theories.
2) Reduce the enjoyment of legitimate amateur astronomers like myself reading this forum. Most folks I talk with generally agree on a certain set of principles that we use to gauge our observations on. I do not see the benefit of assuming, "just for the sake of argument", why the Earth's core should be made of Uranium or the Sun's core to be made of neutronium or other such "oddball" conclusions. These are fantasy conclusions, based on a couple of so-called "peer-reviewed" websites. Generally, when the science and the math is applied, these theories fall apart rather quickly (like, you know, F=(G*m1*m2)/(d^2).)
3) Reduce the relevance of this message board. Being from Minnesota myself, I know a lot about "Minnesota nice" and the Canadians on this board know what I am talking about as well. Are we being just too darned polite to these folks? A stronger stand may help here.
4) Produces a condescending tone on the board. Another frequent tactic by the alternative theorists is to "browbeat" folks until they at least try to make a diplomatic stand. I did this myself, and was disappointed with the results.
5) Makes a bad name for science itself. All the alternative theorists out there should know they are simply setting the stage for another "dark age" in our collective future by making things extremely difficult to discuss in a public forum. If you want "Intelligent Design" to be taught in our classrooms, promote the Electric Universe. If you want bad science to be legislated in Congress just like it was under Mussolini's Italy, go for the Uranium Core hypothesis. We have direct (and recent, meaning folks are still alive who remember these events) memories af the negative concequences of these sorts of policies. Italy itself was set back by decades after World War II just to fix the broken measuring instruments that were mandated by that tyrant. That is a future for North America I wish to not happen.
I know I've been nice up to this point but now at this point I am at my wit's end. I go to the comet forum just to see people arguing with each other about whether they are made of some sort of unproven energy rather than dust. I look at neutron star forums and it's a nonsensical argument about whether the Sun's core is made of hydrogen or not. It's getting frustrating, and frankly, I'm not willing to play "Mr. Nice Guy" anymore.
That's the end of my rant. Have a nice day.