Monday, October 01, 2007

The BCSE and the National Secular Society

The few die-hards left in the "British Centre for Science Education" are still at it: seeking to scam anyone who will let them.

The BCSE's problem, though, is that its own agenda and motives have become so obvious, that the number of those who'll let them do that is pretty low. They've been exposed. The BCSE are basically a good litmus test - anyone who is disposed to refer to them as an authority is almost certainly abusing science to further their own anti-religious crusade, and is willing to get help from wherever they can - any standards of truth or honesty can go take a hike.

You don't have to take my word for that - just pop along to Google Blogsearch, and see who's talking about them. The top four posts, when sorted by date, are by:

1. Mark Edon, a BCSE member and campaigning disciple of Richard Dawkins, who we previously mentioned on this blog as having signed the infamous Dawkins-backed petition to make it illegal for parents to raise their children in any way except in atheism. OK!

2. The blog of the Dorset Humanists, "humanism - a positive alternative to religion".

3. I don't speak the language necessary to decode the third one!

4. An atheist called "Andrew Hawkins" (unknown to me) who introduces himself with the words "I'm an ex-christian atheist and I'm often filled with wonder about how I was deluded enough to be a Christian in the first place" and has set up a blog to chronicle his attempts to debate with a local Baptist minister to justify his position. Andrew sought to call in the BCSE to give him some help - he obviously knew where their sympathies lay!

And so, today we have another example of this phenomena, courtesy of the National Secular Society, which has printed a piece which I'm pretty convinced from the language in it is just a BCSE press release. Anyone without a religious agenda would be likely to just bin this kind of press release because the rhetoric is so loaded it's just too obvious what's going on. But of course if you are the National Secular Society, then the BCSE's output is going to be much more acceptable than to a more impartial publisher.

The piece is 3 paragraphs long and the BCSE is mentioned in both the first and third paragraphs. In the first paragraph, we read: "The British Centre for Science Education strongly supports this move and hopes that it will be effective in preventing children being misinformed about scientific ideas." This mention, without any qualification or explanation, of the BCSE, marks it out as a press release; as the BCSE are basically about up to a dozen (but more like 4 in terms of active ones) individuals with a website but without credentials in science or education, no authentic article could possibly mention them without saying just who the whatsit they are. The who?

Then in the last paragraph, we have this: "Mike Brass, Chairman of the British Centre for Science Education said", followed by a paragraph-long quote. Note: no mention of who Mike Brass is as a scientist, or his experience in the world of education. The authority on which we're meant to take his words seriously is that he's the chairman of the afore-mentioned "British Centre for Science Education". So you should listen to him!

No mention, then, of the facts that Brass has never been employed within science or education, and is in fact a 30-ish year-old IT worker whose degrees are in history and archaeology. No mention of the fact that Brass is a now-exposed academic fraud who used the BCSE website to advertise himself as a "published archaelogist" when in fact, as I revealed, his sole book was self-published (the BCSE have since deleted this description). No mention either of the fact that the organisation with the comprehensive-sounding name (they're experts on science education!) is in fact a single issue pressure group, with no activities except for promoting evolution and slandering those who point out the flaws. Nope - he's just introduced as if he were one of the country's leading authorities on science, now giving his distilled wisdom from examining this particular controversy. Ho hum indeed! Read more about Mike Brass's problems with his forked tongue here.

The Bogus Centre for Selling Evolution

So, the BCSE are still at it - putting out press releases which are written to make themselves sound authoritative, to scam the unwary - or the willing. It's full of the usual BCSE pork pies, too; saying that the group "Truth in Science" has been promoting explicitly creationist theories. Either Brass has never read the Truth in Science website, which explains criticisms of Darwinism and the theory of intelligent design, or he's too ill-equipped with the mental furniture necessary (or too prejudiced ahead of time) to understand the difference between promoting creationism and intelligent design. Take your pick! Whichever way, it doesn't end up looking good.

I'm not a secularist, and I don't mind the NSS relying on the BCSE to help their case - if that's the best they can do, things must be grim. That's why I say that the BCSE have become a litmus test - if you find someone who refers to them, that tells you all you need to know.

So, the remains of the BCSE haven't given up yet. Looks like I'll have to bring some more stuff out of the vaults for those who aren't yet convinced. Stay tuned!

David Anderson

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

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