Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Red Handed : BCSE Caught Lying to MPs

Stop The Press

I was about to publish part 2 of my investigation of the BCSE's "membership", but my research has turned up a much bigger story. The BCSE has been caught telling bare-faced, documentable lies to MPs. It's game over as far as the credibility of this organisation goes.


Let me remind you of an earlier story, in which I drew attention to some evidence that the "British Centre for Science Education" may have lobbied MPs, asking them to condemn material that they had not themselves seen.

What's The Story?

Well here's the scoop: We've now got conclusive proof.

But before I show you that proof, let's follow up the earlier story.

The BCSE became aware of suggestion (from Truth in Science's news blog - http://www.truthinscience.org.uk/site/content/view/198/63/) that they had asked MPs to condemn materials that they hadn't seen. Roger Stanyard copied the Truth in Science article to the BCSE's forum (http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=71). (Mr. Stanyard styles himself a "spokesman", but according to our research (to be presented later) is the most active member and de facto leader of the BCSE):

The first response on the forum was from a man called Michael "Mikey" Brass. Our statistics show that Mikey is the second most active member of the BCSE. As such, you'd expect him to be pretty well informed. His suggested response is very curious. Read it carefully. Notice that Mikey implicitly concedes the allegation. Instead of contradicting it, he suggests a general response:

My reply would be simple: "Everything put forward in the public domain to date in the US concerning ID has been comprehensively shown to be unscientific. If TiS has access to information unavailable to their US counterparts, they should be making this information available first to the scientific community for evaluation through peer-review publication. (snip) If you wish to use this statement, attributed to me, on the BCSE site, you are welcome to. I would suggest including my credentials.


However, the actual statement that Roger Stanyard put up, on the 15th of October, was this:

For the record, Chris Hyland received the material on 21st September and provided a preliminary outline before we, and Science Just Science members, wrote to our MPs and the national press complaining about TiS's escapade. http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/TruthInScienceMaterial

Are you following? On the 15th of October, in response to Truth in Science's earlier claims, the BCSE's "spokesman" specifically stated that they had seen the materials before writing to MPs. (Chris Hyland appears to be a 23-year old student at Leeds University who has begun work as a PhD candidate - http://justscience.1.forumer.com/index.php?showuser=8).

More Context : The Early Day Motion

Here is the text of Early Day Motion 2708, sponsored by Graham Stringer, MP:

That this House shares the concerns of the British Centre for Science Education that the literature being sent to every school in the United Kingdom by the creationist religious group Truth in Science is full of scientific mistakes and fails to disclose the group's creationist beliefs and objectives; and urges all schools to treat this literature with extreme caution.


Where did Graham Stringer's information come from? Let Roger Stanyard explain:

A motion was tabled today, I understand, in Parliament requesting the government to keep creationism out of eduction. The question was directly taken, basically word for word, from the information we sent to MPs last week and the week before. The BCSE is named in the motion.

So, what's the scoop?

If you've followed all that, then here's the killer:

Fact 1: Chris Hyland received the material on Friday the 29th of September 2006, and began reviewing it over the weekend (not on the 21st, as the BCSE states).

Fact 2: Roger Stanyard drafted the letter to MPs, with the above phrases, three days before. Moreover, by the 29th of September, Mr. Stanyard had already sent the letters to at least ten MPs.

Here's the evidence. Here's Chris Hyland, on Friday the 29th, announcing that he has received the material and will review it on Saturday and Sunday:

Here's Chris Hyland on the 24th, mentioning that he's requested the material - three days after he's already, according to the BCSE, reviewed it!

And here's Roger Stanyard, 3 days earlier than the date Chris receives the material, introducing his letter to MPs:

Scroll further down that page (http://justscience.1.forumer.com/index.php?f=2&t=612&view=findpost&p=5691), and you will find the letter in full. And here's an extract:

Did you get that? The material is "full of scientific errors". This is the central phrase reproduced in the Early Day Motion. This is the phrase which Truth in Science picked up on. This is the phrase which, on the 15th of October, the BCSE on their website affirmed was backed up by Chris Hyland having already seen the evidence. This is one of the phrases which Roger Stanyard is referring to as being "word for word" picked up from the BCSE's lobbying material. Yet Chris Hyland didn't actually receive the material for another 3 days, and didn't begin reviewing it until the following weekend. (If you have time to read the whole of Mr. Stanyard's letter, you'll see where all the other components of the Early Day Motion come from too).

My research strongly suggests that the results of Chris Hyland's analysis became known to others on the 2nd of October. (This is the date at which he first gives others access to a draft; on the 1st of October, he told people that he was "in the middle" of the review) (http://justscience.1.forumer.com/index.php?act=ST&f=2&t=596&view=findpost&p=5618). Yet on the 29th of September, Roger Stanyard was telling people that he'd already posted letters to ten MPs:

That's It, Isn't It?

What more now needs to be said about the "British Centre for Science Education"? Once you're caught lying openly to MPs (and to the public), the game is over. It's time to pack up and go home. You have no credibility. You can't be trusted. You are not fit to have any say in the educating of British children.

David Anderson

All links as at 17th October 2006.

Non-anonymous factual corrections welcomed by e-mail. Comments are moderated - please read my comments policy.

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