So, I’m doing a Genetics and Evolution MOOC at Coursera. A class forum discussion on the heritability of homosexuality went way off the rails.
First, there was hate group evidence brought in. This did lead to a possibly useful discussion of when and how you should consider a sources political stances, and why. It left the original topic of the relative contribution of nature and nurture in homosexuality very quickly, but this branch of the discussion was still useful. Learning how to evaluate sources is an important part of a science education. Forum moderators let this branch go pretty far, and it would likely still be going if it was still the only one.
That branch had a sub branch discussing whether or not homosexuality was inherently harmful. This was edging into irrelevance, but the political implications of genetics and evolution has been touched on in lecture videos, so this was allowed to continue as long as it stayed respectful.
The discussion then was forcefully pushed to abortion, it didn’t naturally track in that direction, guy just pushed it that way out of nowhere as if the political stuff upthread meant any political stuff was relevant. Claims of the US Constitution as a Christian document were dropped too. I stopped posting at this point. There was little new stuff to help learn more about genetics and evolution, or evaluating sources, or how science can inform politics.
Thread didn’t last long at that point. I doubt it lasted longer than it took for someone with mod powers saw where it was headed, which was time for a couple more posts that looked like a brewing theist/atheist flame war.