Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fact Check

I have had correspondence from Mr. Marc Draco asking me to correct some facts in my investigation into the "membership" of the "BCSE" (part 3). You may remember that I identified Marc as the seventh most active "member" in the lead-up to the BCSE's public launch.

To save you scrolling, here's what I had said about Marc:

A hard-line atheist activist, who runs a website claiming that Jesus Christ never existed! Well, it's a relief to know that the BCSE aren't yet campaigning to have a say in the teaching of history. Marc states that the law should require anyone who suggests a religious idea in a school to be sacked immediately.
Marc took me to task on four counts.


1) Most importantly, whilst Marc admits that he was involved in the early planning leading up to the launch of the BCSE, he wants it to be known that he is definitely not a member. In Marc's own words, "Finally, and let's be 100% clear about this, I am not now and have never been a member of the BSCE", and "I am against fighting alongside other members of BSCE who are, themselves, religiously motivated" and "One of the reasons I distanced myself from the BSCE is for the very reason you have pinned that they are ... a small number of individuals claiming to be something bigger than they are."

I am more than happy to make this clear. I can well understand that someone would want to distance themselves from the BCSE, and particularly appreciate Marc's reasons.

I point out that in defining who were the "members" of the BCSE, I was using the BCSE's own definition of its membership, so I can hardly be blamed for it. (We have looked at the problems of this definition in a previous article).


2) Marc wishes to point out in connection with the general theme of my post that he has never claimed to have "scientific credentials" or "any connection with education".

My response to this would have been that by lobbying our law-makers and newspapers in the name of a group with such a grand title as the "British Centre for Science Education", a very clear claim to have credentials has been made.

However, given that Marc wishes to dissociate himself from the BCSE, this point is moot, and I am happy to clear it up.


3) Marc disagreed that he ran such a website as I mentioned. He points out that he only links to such a website.

However, in this complaint I think Marc has misunderstood me. The website I was referring to (as can be seen in my footnotes) was Marc's own website, and the claim is in the line "Did Jesus Ever Live? Oh... Er... No." (with which he links to another website which he doesn't run, and I've never believed he ran).

Marc continues to dispute that my statement is accurate and whilst I disagree, I'm happy to point Marc's position out and let my readers be the judge.

A New Law?

4) Marc believes that I quoted his desire to see a new law out of context, and that he offered it as an idea for discussion, not as his own definite opinion.

I cannot agree with Marc here. Here is the fuller context of the quote from which I wrote the original line, so that you can make your own mind up:
I want to see universal legislation that

a) (snip)

b) Disavows anyone found promoting ID/Creationism from any and all
degree qualifications they may have earned in specialist subjects
directly related to a science.

c) Allows for the immediate sacking of anyone promoting religious ideas
in a school - even as an ECA. (Let's face it, no one in their right mind
would let Abu Bakri or Abu Hamza into schools, now would they? Amounts
to the same thing.)

( - request a full copy from me if you cannot get access through Yahoo).
I am unable to see any substantial difference between what Marc said in c) and how I reported it. However, from what Marc has written to me, it is clear that this is not an opinion that he now wishes to defend. Again, I am happy to make this clear.

David Anderson : bcse-blog at dw-perspective dot org dot uk

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