Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The BCSE And The Recycling Of Anti-Christian Mythology

A great deal of the content on "BCSE Revealed" over the last few weeks has been to do with religion. This is because a great deal of the BCSE's discussions and output are religious or quasi-religious - protestations of "religious neutrality" aside.

I suspect that some of BCSE members are simply philosophically naive - they really do imagine that a hard materialist approach to science is "neutral" or "value free". For others, though, and particularly in the leadership, this is less so - as we've seen in the many quotes in which BCSE leaders explain their motivations quite explicitly (see labels "atheism" and "deception" for more).

Today's Article

In today's article I want to talk about the question - "Is the earth flat?".


The fact that the earth is not flat has been known for over 2,500 years. In fact, in 276BC, one astronomer (Eritosthenes) made a calculation of the size of the earth, to within an impressive degree of accuracy (either within ½% or 17% of the modern value, depending on the question of how his units translate to modern ones).

And contrary to modern mythology, nobody tried to dissuade Christopher Columbus from travelling round the world because of the danger of falling off the end. Columbus' critics and Columbus both acknowledged that the earth is spherical - but protested that the world was too big for him to reach his intended destination by sailing west. As one author writes, " The common impression that Columbus proved that the world is round is completely destroyed when one realizes that he probably never sailed farther west than Cuba, falling far short of circumnavigating the earth." (

That the earth is not a flat piece of land is also implied in the Bible. Indeed the book which may be the very oldest book in the Bible states that the earth is suspended in space:

[God] stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.

Job 26:7 -

(Aside - skip if you like...

Some critics allege that the phrase "four corners of the earth" in Revelation 7:1 implies that the earth is a square. This isn't very convincing - modern people regularly use this expression, without implying any such thing. One writer says, "Actually, the reference is to the cardinal directions: north, south, east, and west. Similar terminology is often used today when we speak of the sun's rising and setting, even though the earth, not the sun, is doing the moving. Bible writers used the "language of appearance," just as people always have. Without it, the intended message would be awkward at best and probably not understood clearly." (

My own understanding of the book of Revelation gives a much simpler answer, but the correct intepretation of Revelation is probably a bit beyond the scope of this blog... e-mail me if you're interested!)


Despite these facts, though, it is a staple of atheist propaganda to allege that:
  • "The Bible teaches a flat earth", and/or that
  • "denial of Darwinism is akin to believing in a flat earth!".
Constant repetition of these myths leads to many accepting them at face value. But as we have already seen, knowledge of the earth's true shape is very ancient - and never contradicted by the Bible. Where, then did the "flat earth" myth first originate?

In fact, this myth ought to have been "dead and buried" a long time ago, because in 1991 Jeffrey Burton Russell published the authoritative work, "Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians", answering just this question.

Publisher's Synopsis:

Neither Christopher Columbus nor his contemporaries thought the earth was flat. Yet this curious illusion persists today, firmly established with the help of the media, textbooks, teachers, and even noted historians. This is Russell's attempt to set the record straight. He begins with a discussion of geographical knowledge in the Middle Ages, examining what Columbus and his contemporaries actually did believe, and then moves to a look at how the error was first propagated in the 1820s and 1830s and then "snowballed" to outrageous proportions by the late 19th-century. Russell also discusses why we allow this error to persist. Do we prefer to languish in a comfortable and familiar error rather than discover the truth?

Notice just when the error really began to accelerate - the late 19th century. Why was that? One creationist writer explains:

"The two people that Russell holds most accountable in accomplishing this are John W. Draper and Andrew Dickson White. While not indicating any sympathy with creationists, Russell very convincingly argues that the motivation of these two men and others was to demonstrate how foolish Christian leaders were to oppose evolution. The masterful lie was that earlier church leaders had also opposed the belief in the spherical earth, despite overwhelming evidence for it. By linking the earlier fictional event to the debate of the time, it gave the appearance that science, reason, and logic were on the side of evolution. The truly sad thing is that this totally fabricated history persists even today, as evidenced by the oft-stated comparison of creationists with flat-earthers. Given the exposure of the truth, it is nothing short of shameful when our critics attempt to tie that albatross around our necks." (

Did you get that? The real reason why the "flat earth" myth persists is because of a deliberate and deceitful effort by Darwinists to propagate it in order to discredit Christians. The truth about the earth was known and accepted - until Darwinists set off on an anti-Christian propaganda campaign to muddy the waters.

... and the BCSE

Of course, you know where we're going next, don't you? Where else do we find the "flat earth" myth, that staple of atheistic propaganda, being peddled - but on the BCSE's website and in its forums?

Exhibit A: Here's the BCSE's "For Teachers" page, written by Dr. Peter Hess of the American NCSE:

Exhibit B: Here's George Jelliss, BCSE member, atheist and member of the Leicester Secular Society:
"The so-called intelligent design theory should not be taught in biology lessons for the same reason that the flat earth theory is not taught in geography and the earth-centred universe theory is not taught in astronomy, and the phlogiston theory is not taught in chemistry, and the caloric theory of heat is not taught in physics."

Exhibit C: One (anonymous) BCSE sympathiser wasn't satisfied with this, but takes it a step further - questionning of evolution is not only like flat-earthism, but Holocaust denial!

What is remarkable is that in our own time even the fact of evolution is vociferously denied by a Luddite minority. Intellectually (though not morally comparable), this to me seems akin to Holocaust deniers, or flat earthers.

When one considers the Darwinian basis to the theory of eugenics which inspired the Holocaust, such ignorance is truly amazing.

This quote provoked Roger Stanyard to produce one of the trademark tirades which followers of the BCSE forum will be familiar with. This ties in with our demonstration last week of the utter failure of the BCSE to provide anything even resembling documentation or proof of its various bizarre claims about Christianity and theocracy (because, of course, again the documentation from Stanyard is missing):

Hitler looks like a moderate liberal compared with the largest financial backer of the Intelligent Design movement - Howard Ahmanson - he was on the board of the Chalcedon foundation for 25 years and provided it with finance. See our wiki on Rushdoony, the extremist who set it up. He was a close personal friend of Ahmanson as well.

Let's have a look at what Ahmason and Rushdoony have actively promoted -

1. killing children who are lippy or disrespectful to their parents.

2. killing adulterers

3. killing blasphemers

4. killing people who commit idolatory

5. killing women and girls who have sex before marriage.

6. apostacy

7. criticising or disagreeing with their religious opinions.

8. abolution [sic] of democracy.

9. formation of a theocracy (with them in charge)

10. Reintroduction of slavery.

Maybe we'll say some more of this in other places. There are plenty of quotes floating around the BCSE forum and website where Stanyard and other BCSE members admit that they don't actually have any evidence that Howard Ahmanson is even involved in funding the Intelligent Design movement in the UK (much less in killing people who disagree with him!!), and that their attempt to t ie him in is speculation that they're still trying to find the proof for...

Anywhere, back to the BCSE's promotion of the "flat earth" myth. Here's Louis, a BCSE member, interacting with Ian Lowe (censorship mine!):


I agree with what you've said. The one caveat I have is it really depends on HOW IDC is being taught. Like I alluded to above, in a truly comparative comparative religious education class, IDC has a place, as does flat earthism and any quantity of religiously inspired bull****.

The "the Bible teaches a flat earth" myth was also peddled by another BCSE member and atheist to me in a private e-mail, but I'll spare his blushes. He knows who he is!


I find it quite revealing to note what kind of arguments the BCSE resort to in order to support Darwinism.

If there were compelling answers to the questions which proponents of "intelligent design", creationism" and other theories were putting, then it wouldn't be necessary to resort to straw-men. I have searched high and low, though, and the BCSE website still lacks any kind of interaction with the crucial issues. No credible explanations of why the fossil record supports discontinuity, not Darwinian gradualism. Nothing to tell us why the fossil record shows sudden and not gradual appearance of life. Nothing to explain how life could ever, contrary to all known science, arise out of non-life - and be self-reproducing life too! And so on. The silence, as they say, is deafening.

Even more revealing, though, is just where the BCSE do obtain their straw-men from - the stock cupboard of discredited atheist propaganda.

The lack of knowledge of the BCSE over the issues on which they present themselves to the public and to MPs as experts on is well and truly shown up by this. This is the same picture as we saw in the "alien research" debacle - the BCSE routinely don't even bother to do the smallest amount of homework to check up on how "the other side" rebuts their arguments. It takes a matter of seconds with Google's help to discover the flat earth facts above - yet the BCSE appear totally unaware of them!

Long discredited myths (invented by Darwinists!) are trotted out as a matter of course.

My view is that Darwinism is intellectually a dead horse. Its day is gone. It can still be flogged by those who wish to, but not to any great purpose or effect. The reason why the atheist branch of Darwinism's defenders have to resort to such means is... because that's all they've got left.

David Anderson

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

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Weekend Pot-Pourri

During this last week, we completed* two series:

  • "Theocracy" - documenting the sheer vacuousness of the BCSE's anti-Christian propaganda about how critics of Darwinism are plotting to do away with democracy. Part one, part two, part three, part four. Moreover, we documented the hypocrisy of the author of the BCSE's "Theocracy" page, by showing the evidence of his own political activities aimed at suppressing others' freedom of religion.

  • "We're Not Anti-Religion, But..." - a series of articles in which we further exposed the BCSE's "we have no religious agenda!" claim, by showing the damning contents hidden behind a now secret page on the BCSE's website. Part one, part two, part three.
(* Maybe I'll say a bit more, but most of what I wanted to show is there now).

Now for a few "bits and pieces" that don't deserve a whole post.

Not Giving Up : The BCSE Smear Campaign

Long-time readers may have thought that the BCSE had embarassed itself enough with its attempts to discredit me - remember the backfiring copyright saga (one, two, three), or the "computer misuse" debacle (one, two, three, four).

It is worth recalling the latter matter. In December 2006, the BCSE posted a permanent item on its forum, claiming that they had evidence that I had been hacking into their website, and that they had received legal advice that I ought to be reported to the police.

I called this stuff and nonsense, and asked them why they didn't go ahead and report me immediately? In the end, to call their bluff, I offered to report myself to the police in order to show how vacuous this claim was. Shortly afterwards, that forum item was no longer visible.

Roger Stanyard, though, is now trying to fabricate a new yarn - according to which I "screamed and raged" and threatened to report him to the police for libel. And he boasts that the fact that he hasn't been arrested is obvious proof that I'm a bag of hot air! (As well as being nasty for using such threats, and a bit dim for not knowing that libel is a civil, rather than police, matter in the UK).

What is Mr. Stanyard's proof of this? Answer: he posts the letter from my original blog post, in which I neither mention libel, nor threaten to report anyone other than myself to the police - for alleged computer misuse, not libel.

If any of my readers are not yet convinced that Mr. Stanyard - who has written almost all of the BCSE's research on its website - isn't the world's most reliable researcher, then I invite them to compare my original posts with the doggy's breakfast that Mr. Stanyard manages to make out of it: (If you want to see the response to the copyright claims, see the links above).
I am curious as to why this piece appeared on Mr. Stanyard's blog as opposed to the BCSE website. I wonder if it was run past the other BCSE members beforehand, and was too much even for some of them to stomach - and they vetoed it.

I don't normally pay much attention to this kind of crude ad-hominem as in general I think it speaks for itself (and so I won't bother to catalogue all the factual errors in the blog post - you can always e-mail me if you're curious), but as one of "BCSE Revealed"'s purposes is to draw attention to the quality of the BCSE's research, this seemed like another revealing piece of evidence.

One final thing to say on that. Stanyard says that the BCSE have seen "no further attempts at hacking" and that this is the reason why they haven't called the police. Well, for the record, I haven't modified my behaviour at all. If I was "hacking" before, then I'm still doing it, and I confess to it. Please, just call the police - if I have committed a crime, then I do not wish to remain free. Just get on with it! All that time writing blog articles when you could be removing criminals from the streets - hurry up with it!

Next Item Please!

OK. Here's just a tiny thing that made me chuckle. (Which probably indicates I've been doing this for too long). For the context to this, see my previous "alien" articles (one, two).

Here's what it said on the page for Philip Bell before 21st January:

And afterwards:

Unfortunately this BCSE page doesn't supply its sources... so we are not able to know just which doctor has now returned Mr. Bell's certificate of sanity to him. Still, I'm sure that he'll be glad about it.

And Finally...

A few interesting links from around the web.

    An old link (11 months), but relevant. It says what I was saying earlier this week - that the BCSE / Dawkins style of campaigning is a fast road to intellectual defeat.

  • - "Why Intelligent Design Will Win"
    Even older, and with some American political stuff which I don't care for, but makes some good points.

    From this week! A very well written piece. "Irreducible Complicity: Disappointing Darwin". Pointing out one of the glaring inconsistency of Darwinists who pump millions of pounds into the search for aliens, using the very same philosophical premise which they deny the legitimacy of when it comes to the examination of cell biology.

    "The Christian foundations of the rule of law in the West: a legacy of liberty and resistance against tyranny". Militant secularists are, and for a long time, have been pushing fantasy ideas which are thoroughly disproved by the actual events of history. Historical ignorance is the number one friend of militant secularism. This article makes a good complement to some of the information in our "theocracy" series, providing a lot more background on the Christian approach to law and state, and how this has worked out over human history.

God bless your weekend. All being well, I will be continuing with the series found here.

David Anderson

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

Thursday, January 25, 2007

We're Not Anti-Religion, But... (Part 3)

In the previous parts of this article (one, two), we began revealing a now-hidden page on the BCSE website which blows apart their present claim to be religiously neutral: the BCSE's own "Rough Guide To Fundamentalism". And then we briefly examined the BCSE's use of the term "fundamentalist".

And Now...

Today we will begin looking at this page in a bit more detail. Just what does it say about the BCSE's leaders. Will they prove their reasonableness? Or not?

In previous investigations, we have commented on where the BCSE source their "research" from. In one particularly egregious example, we saw that the BCSE entirely overlooked all the primary sources which pointed in one direction in favour of a single source of another campaigner of their own ilk which said the opposite. Not a great way to prove your own adherence to the principles of science or rationalism.

"Fundamentalism" seems to be the BCSE's pejorative way of referring to Biblical Christianity. What would be the best sources to go for to investigate what Biblical Christians believe?

Well, I am in a different "theological camp" to the following men on some questions, but I have to recognise that they have been the major spokesman and authors in evangelical Christianity in the last fifty years. I would say that the primary sources for investigating what evangelicals in the United Kingdom believe today would be Dr. John Stott, Dr. Jim Packer and Dr. Martyn-Lloyd Jones. Between them these three have written over a hundred books and Bible commentaries, pastored some of the UK's largest evangelical churches, preached at the most popular conferences, and so on. They've even had published their own summaries of Christianity, including "Evangelical Truth" and "What is an Evangelical?", by Dr. Stott, "What is an Evangelical", by Dr. Lloyd-Jones and "Knowing God", by Dr. Packer. At a more academic level, the writings of Dr. David W. Bebbington are most widely recognised as carrying authority.

So, what kind of sources will the BCSE's author (Roger Stanyard) go to in order to inform his readers of the true nature of evangelical Christianity?

But First...

But before we get into that, I want to introduce a certain website.

Some of you may remember that many moons ago in Internet time (about three weeks), I published a parable concerning the arguments employed by Professor Richard Dawkins in his own anti-religious campaigning. (Incidentally, that parable now appears around 30th if you Google for "Dawkins" - if you'd like to see it rise even higher, please blog it or link it from whatever websites you have!).

This parable has been viewed around 1,200 times so far - and had all kinds of response over the Internet. There was one response, though, that made me laugh out loud.

That response came from a website called "Fundies Say The Darndest Things" (FSTDT). This was not a website I had visited before. The idea of this site seems to be that people submit silly quotations from "fundies", and then everybody else gets to post their own comments on them. I assume that the users of this kind of web-site have more spare time than I do!

Well, somebody picked up the first paragraph from my parable - and posted it to "FSTDT". And then the responses came in.

What kind of response did the parable get? This: The readers of "FSTDT" took it completely literally. What kind of idiot could really believe that Richard Dawkins doesn't exist, they wondered? Look, it's really easy to prove! And so some of the commenters started providing counter-arguments to refute me. Here are a few samples:

"A birth certificate and a number in the census is enough."

"Go to his website and see him in action."

"go see richard dawkins speak, or watch him on tv"

"What an idiotic comparison. For one, Richard Dawkins does not claim to be an invisible being in whom you have to have faith. There are ACTUAL pictures of him. There are recently published books written by him. There is no way of verifying that an ancient tome was written by someone nobody has ever seen or spoken to. Crazy people and people in myths don't count."

Most of the comments, though, are from people who are obviously seriously angry about any mention of God or religion - and presumably hang out at "FSTDT" in order to vent that anger at those darned "fundies". Most responses are simply rants. I don't recommend you visit the page, as it's full of foul or crude language - but if you want to verify my quotes, here it is:

It wasn't until the twenty-second comment that somebody pointed out that FSTDT's readers weren't quite grasping how to interpret my piece:

He obviously isn't serious. His write up is a parable warning of hyper-sceptism.

My other two favourite responses were these.

"If there is a Dawkins, why hasn't he shown himself to me?"

Because you failed the entrance requirements for the university where he lectures.

I did? Bother. I hate entrance exams! Still, they let me in anyway and I enjoyed my time there enormously. (I never met Professor Dawkins though).

And finally this one:

The fact that the book exists should be proof that Richard Dawkins exists as someone had to write it.

Brilliant! This one made me laugh out loud. Now, please complete the following sentence:

The fact that the universe exists should be proof that ... ?

My overall impression of "FSTDT", based upon the inability to understand the concepts of metaphor, parody or parable, and the level of abuse, was that it is basically populated by angry adolescents. Teenagers who had trouble parsing non-literal language, and with a lot of dislike of Christianity that they want to express.

Which Brings Me To...

But what's the point, David, you say? Here it is. Guess what Roger Stanyard writes at the bottom of page of "research"? Guess what his major source for showing us just what evangelical Christianity is, was? Oh yes...

Most of the information for this article has come from the web site Fundies Say the Darndest Things ( The site has a vast number of quotes from fundamentalists, nearly all of them in North America. It presents a picture of a movement of pig-ignorant inarticulate bigots, racists, xenophobes, anti-Semites, misogynists, homophobes, rape apologists, AIDS deniers, government haters, scientific illiterates, gun-lovers, murderous paramilitaries and others predisposed towards extreme violence, half-baked misfits and haters, all obsessed with their own religious and moral superiority.

Much of it reads like something out of Germany in the 1930s. A lot of the stuff in it I couldn’t reproduce on my own blog because it is so extreme and offensive. With this evidence it is impossible for me to conclude otherwise than that the protestant evangelical fundamentalist movement is not a benign movement at all. Much of it is dangerous, obnoxious and vile.

Yes, my good readers. Mr. Stanyard's main source for his quality research is... a collection of angry adolescents.

My own personal library has over a thousand books by evangelical authors. And not one of them bears the slightest resemblance to anything that Mr. Stanyard writes above. But I suppose that you knew that.

And I suppose that Mr. Stanyard knew that too... which is why he doesn't go anywhere near them, lest they spoil the yarn he's trying to spin.

Frankly, I take the fact that Mr. Stanyard has to stoop to this level as a pretty good sign. After all, if that's how far you have to go to make evangelicalism look bad, then ... ?

Bringing This To A Conclusion

This isn't credible research, is it?

Rather, it is the same picture we've seen many times before - the BCSE cherry-picking the most unlikely sources, then distorting them, and then presenting them to the public as solid facts.

This isn't the way to make yourself seem credible. Isn't it rather the way to make yourself seem ignorant, prejudiced and bigotted?

In my opinion, this kind of thing is why present Darwinists of the campaigning atheist variety are on the road to losing the origins debate in the public mind. In the short term, you can create a lot of smoke and gather a raging mob of supporters by shouting about how some alternative theories are all promoted by "movement[s] of pig-ignorant inarticulate bigots, racists, xenophobes, anti-Semites, misogynists, homophobes, rape apologists (etc., etc., etc.)". But in the long term, this kind of extreme ad hominem just makes you look silly. Certainly those who call others "pig-ignorant" or "bigots" need to check just what kind of glass their own houses are constructed from. As supporters of intelligent design and other theories pile up more and more compelling arguments, shrill ad hominem becomes a less and less credible response.

But in my opinion, because of the BCSE's leaders' lack of actual science/educational experience, it was inevitable that this would be what was on offer.

David Anderson

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

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Theocracy: Part 4

In this series, we have been reviewing the BCSE's "Theocracy" page. That page was put up in response to my highlighting of the BCSE's allegations on the subject and my challenge to them to prove it. We've been plodding through, as researchers are meant to do!

Previous parts are here and should be read for background: one, two, three. In summary, we've seen that the BCSE have an extremely poor understanding of Christian theology, and a proneness to read their own prejudices even into statements which point in the opposite direction.

We've seen too that somewhat hypocritically, the author of the BCSE's "Theocracy" page (Dr. Brian Jordan), has been doing some political lobbying of his own. Dr. Jordan has been petitioning the Prime Minister - to make it illegal for children to have anything other than a secularist upbringing:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to [m]ake it illegal to indoctrinate or define children by religion before the age of 16.

In order to encourage free thinking, children should not be subjected to any regular religious teaching ... based on the views of their parents or guardians.

Current signatories:

Ian Lowe
Brian Jordan

Since Dr. Jordan apparently does know what an attempt to force your own views upon others using the arm of the state looks like, his failure (so far) to document any such activity by those named on the BCSE website is all the more blameworthy.

Let's continue down the "Theocracy" article. As we've made a lot of our basic points in the previous installments, we'll pick up the pace. Let's see just how good Dr. Jordan's evidence is that those wicked non-Darwinists are plotting to replace our democracy.

Quote #4

"Though our own land is not so riddled with atheism, we need to wake up to the deep crisis that threatens Western cultures — the cancer of postmodernism, a materialism with no values. We must resist the scourge of unbelief, and repent of the sin that so often rejects God’s clear testimony concerning creation. The Lord told the churches in Revelation that he would remove their lamps if they did not repent." - Andy McIntosh, Evangelical Times 2004

A few obvious points by way of critique:
  • There's no suggestion of political action in this quote.

  • Rather, the suggestion is that Christians ("the churches") should "repent".

  • The alternative posited is that churches will lose divine blessing.

  • The entity opposed in this quote is not democracy, but postmodernism.

We scratch our heads, trying to wonder just how Dr. Jordan considers this quote as some kind of evidence that Christians want to abolish democracy. Huh?

Quote #5

"Secularism claims to provide the political and educational settings in which all are free to choose their own life, where no view is imposed, and where the state and school are neutral between competing worldviews. In reality, secularism is one more totalitarian option for private and public life which is an enemy of the Gospel of Christ. Only the continuing faith in science hides its nakedness. And again it is worth remembering that all the main political parties play to this secularist tune." - Arthur Jones, writing in "New Directions".

It is hard to evaluate this quote without the context. The wording of the first sentence implies that Dr. Jones believes that the brand of secularism he is critiquing is making a deceptive claim - claiming to provide a kind of neutrality when in fact its true agenda is to do something else (presumably, to go far beyond neutrality and into denying the truth value of any and all religious claims). It is not clear to me whether Dr. Jones believes that there is an alternative approach which would provide such a neutral setting.

My guess is that Dr. Jones is saying that there is a secularist agenda to remove all mentions of religion from public life, under the pretence of a kind of religious neutrality. Such an agenda is not neutrality at all - it represents the imposition of atheism by decree. True religious freedom is not found by the silencing of all religions. And with that point I can heartily agree.

But the main point for our investigation is that again, there is nothing here about any plans or schemes for replacing democracy in the UK. That only exists when Dr. Jordan reads in between the lines.

I find it telling that the only evidence for theocratic plans that is being provided by the BCSE comes from such reading in between the lines. Given the wealth of material available from those prominent in criticising Darwinism (books, articles, recordings, etc.), it ought to be possible to produce something more than this. Given that it apparently isn't possible, I'd say that here we have a case where the silence is significant. On-topic, to-the-point quotes in which Darwin-questionning Christians advocate political revolution aren't forthcoming.... because they don't exist.

Quote #6 - "Education Is Religion"
"So is Christianity & the Bible true - historically, scientifically and objectively or is atheistic, humanistic, materialism true? One's allegiance to either requires a certain leap of faith." - Stephen Layfield

I am really struggling to work out two things here: Firstly what the connection between the heading ("Education is Religion") and the quote is, and secondly what the connection between the quote and the subject of a theocracy is.

I agree with Layfield - materialistic atheism must make some quite spectacular leaps of faith. For example, the atheist must believe that the universe has no ultimate cause. Matter, space, time - they all came out of literally nothing, by themselves. Life began spontaneously out of non-life; and not just any old "life", but life with the capability to self-reproduce and to evolve into all the variety now visible in the world. All this must be believed, without it being possible to demonstrate that it is true. Frankly, if that's not a leap of faith, I don't know what is.

So as I say, I agree with Layfield - both being a Christian and being an atheist requires a certain amount of faith in things which cannot be observed. But what has this to do with theocracies?

My take on this is that it is again the BCSE showing their true colours. To the BCSE, atheism is the default, privileged position - anything else comes under their censure. Again, we see the BCSE arguing not scientifically, but philosophically. It is not theocracy which they are opposing - it is Christianity.

Quote #7

"In a similar way to the Christian Institute, we wish to present a clear alternative to the atheistic humanism rampant through most of our schools today." - Andy McIntosh

Does Dr. Jordan have the intelligence to be able to tell the difference between presenting an intellectual argument, and trying to replace democracy? Being able to make a case in an atmosphere free of illegal ideas and forbidden thoughts is part of the essence of democracy.

Presumably Dr. Jordan has quoted this quote because he disagrees with it. Or in other words, because he desires atheistic humanism to be given free reign, unchallenged. But that would contradict the BCSE's "we're religiously neutral" stance... so just what does Dr. Jordan want?

Quote #8

"Organise a Creation/Evolution debate in the sixth form. Such an event, when properly and fairly planned, represents a good opportunity for interested third parties (together with those who may have been previously disinterested and/or unconcerned) to gauge how well the available data fits the respective world views of the Creationist/Evolutionist. It is the conviction (and happy experience) of this writer that much prejudice and ignorance can be undermined by conducting oneself with both charity and rigour and by making full use of such an opportunity. (We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. [2 Corinthians 10:5])" - Stephen Layfield

Stephen Layfield suggests a debate in which both sides can present their evidence and allow it to be weighed up. Why would Dr. Jordan object to that? If the evidence for evolution is so strong, what's the problem? Layfield seems rather confident (and indeed appeals to his experience) that when such debates happen and people are presented with both sides of the argument, then many have change their minds. Is that why Dr. Jordan doesn't want such debates to happen?

If free and fair debates are the essence of theocracy, then I think that the word has lost all its meaning. Again, I can only infer that Dr. Jordan doesn't have a real agenda to promote the kind of discussion and toleration of dissent which is essential to true scientific inquiry - he has an agenda to oppose anything that doesn't fit in with his own atheistic worldview.

Summing Up

At this point I think it is probably unnecessary to continue examining the rest of the quotes on the page one by one - that would be over-kill. We've seen the gist.

The gist is that Dr. Brian Jordan has very little sympathy for non-atheistic views of the world. Any discussion or toleration of them, in his mind, amounts to support for a theocracy. Dr. Jordan though doesn't seem to realise how "theocratic" his own ideas seem to those who aren't atheists - or rather, "atheocratic".

The BCSE ought to look into a mirror... it's not the BCSE's opponents who are opposing free or open debate. It is not the BCSE's opponents who are petitioning the Prime Minister to have all approaches to child-rearing other than their own made illegal. It is not the BCSE's opponents who are suggesting that their world-view should be imposed on others who don't share their beliefs. It is the BCSE themselves.

And that's the same old story once again.

David Anderson

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

Monday, January 22, 2007

We're Not Anti-Religion, But... (Part 2)

In part one, we introduced the (now hidden) page on the BCSE website "A Rough Guide To Fundamentalism".

In this page, the BCSE explained their understanding of those whose religious views they oppose. This was, of course, in the days before the BCSE decided to present themselves as being a purely scientific, religiously-neutral group ...

... but not in the days before "BCSE Revealed" was taking snap-shots of their website!


Before looking at any of the details of the page, it's worth talking for a bit about the label "fundamentalist" which the BCSE routinely use.

For a "Centre of Science Education" which has no opinions about religion, the BCSE have rather a lot to say about "fundamentalists" and "fundamentalism". The words turn up on 74 and 22 pages respectively:

The BCSE's use of this label, though, clearly marks them out as being driven by an anti-religious agenda. Let me explain what I mean.

What Is A Fundamentalist?

There is a sub-section of Christianity within the American scene that designates itself by the label "fundamentalist".

The origin of this label is from the controversy that arose with the rise of "Liberal Christianity" in the 19th century. Those who believed that "Liberalism" was ditching or re-writing essential Christian doctrines began calling themselves "Fundamentalists" to indicate that they were still holding on to the "fundamentals" of the faith.

However, over time the label became attached to a smaller sub-section of that movement, so that today a "fundamentalist" within the Christian world is a particular type of American Baptist, with a commitment not only to various beliefs shared with other evangelical Christians, but also to others besides which aren't. (For the record, I am not a fundamentalist - I am an evangelical Baptist, though like most Christians I prefer to make the main thing the main thing and just be called a Christian - a disciple of Jesus Christ).

In The United Kingdom

The fundamentalist movement is almost non-existant in the United Kingdom. I do not recall ever coming across a church that belonged to it, though I can remember on a couple of occasions coming across people whose views fitted in pretty well with it. None of the people listed on the BCSE's website that I am aware of agree with the particular distinctives of contemporary fundamentalism.

It is clear, then, that the BCSE are not using the label as it is used within the Christian world.

So, What Are The BCSE Up To?

The other way in which the label fundamentalist is used is by rabid Richard-Dawkins style atheists, to smear any and all religious folk. The idea is that by lumping them all in under the heading "fundamentalist", you start to imagine that there's no difference between Islamic terrorism and any other kind of belief in God.

You can see an example of this somewhat unsubtle line of argument by visiting Dawkins' own website. Scrolling a little way down the front page (, there are some leaflets which the Professor suggests you print off and distribute.

The text of the leaflets: "Imagine No Religion".

The image? The twin towers of the infamous 9/11 Islamic terrorist attacks.

A sophisticated intellectual argument, it isn't!

Does anybody wonder why Professor Dawkins didn't write "Imagine No Islam"? Possibly he would then get into trouble for spreading a bigotted stereotype?

Ah well... "Imagine No Religion" it is then - no bigotry or stereotyping there! (?)

Ah well. In case anyone did find that poster an irrefutable argument, here's an equally irrefutable reply.

I would have chosen Mao Zedung who also murdered millions in the cause of atheism, but I didn't suppose his face was so instantly recognisable.


None of those described on the BCSE's pages that I am aware of actually are fundamentalists according to the meaning of that term within the Christian world... and neither are any of them planning to fly aeroplanes into skyscrapers any time soon either as far as I know.

The BCSE are using "fundamentalist" as a religiously-loaded insult. If they cared to describe those they oppose accurately, then many of them would be evangelicals, Pentecostals and/or Baptists.

Using deliberately pejorative (insulting) language to describe those whom you oppose is something of a give-away. Those who feel that they have heavyweight arguments do not need to do that. Re-defining language is the resort of those who know they're in trouble. Let me ask - just why does the defence of Darwinism need to stoop to this kind of level? If the scientific evidence is so good... then why doesn't the BCSE just stick to that? Of course, if you've been reading "BCSE Revealed" long, you'll know the answer (see here).

Add in two further facts...
  • It's only Bible-believing Christians that the BCSE uses this pejorative approach to...
  • and that it does it so very often...
... and there's only one reasonable conclusion. This isn't your normal group of science educators.

"That's where we need to be - that being a fundamentalist christianis as [sic] socially as acceptable as being a paedophile."

Ian Lowe, BCSE Committee Member, 25th June 2006 - until the BCSE deleted it. I have a copy for any researchers who would like to verify.

David Anderson

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

Saturday, January 20, 2007

See you next week...

There's been plenty to keep me busy this week. But there are still plenty of "BCSE revelations" in the pipe-line and hopefully we'll get some of them out next week...

In the meantime, here is another interesting radio debate from the same source as before. This episode won the broadcaster a gold medal at the New York Festival Awards in 2006.

The debate is entitled "Evolution vs. Intelligent Design" and is hosted by Justin Brierly on Premier Radio, who introduce it as follows:

Christian Peter S. Williams makes the case for an "Intelligent Designer" at work in nature as well as pointing apparent flaws in Darwinian Evolutionary theory. Atheist Pete Hearty defends Evolution.


From that description you'll see that the debate ranges through the fields of science, philosophy and theology.

Peter Williams' own blog post about it is here:

The broadcast itself is here:

David Anderson

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

We're Not Anti-Religion, But...

Or: Surely The Fellow Doth Protest Too Much?

The BCSE is keen to point out that it is religiously neutral. Very keen. In fact, the front page of their website devotes space to pointing this out.

The BCSE's religious neutrality is also something that the BCSE's leadership point out on its forum. Often.

This apparently needs to be done because that same BCSE's leadership keep coming out with statements which, well, seem just a little anti-religious. I would parody the recurring conversation like this:

Committee member #1: All religious people are idiots! Morons! I hate them! Die!

Forum visitor: Hey! That's the kind of rhetoric that really turns people off. I thought the BCSE was a scientific organisation?

Committee member #1: Don't be silly. I'm not speaking for the BCSE. The BCSE is a single-issue organisation. We don't have any opinions on religion.

Committee member #2: That's right. We've got to pull together in this fight. We all have different positions and are working together with people we disagree with. Personally I hate all religions and would like to remove the toe-nails of those who propagate them with a fork, but that's nothing to do with the BCSE.

Forum visitor: OK......

If you've got time to read that kind of thing, here are a few links:

Well, there was a time back in late summer 2006 when the BCSE was having internal discussions about whether it was going to campaign on an explicitly anti-religious platform or not.

At that time, some parts of the BCSE website looked a bit different. But before I show you those, let's remind ourselves of something Ian Lowe said at around that time:

I don't know if you guys are aware, but large sections of the web get archived, and these older versions of websites can be highly embarrasing when dragged out at just the wrong moment in the future.

(BlackShadow Yahoo Group post 2289, 18th August 2006)

What kind of thing might the BCSE be embarassed by if it were to be dragged out again? Why was Mr. Lowe so worried? We'll see...

But first, a test. I have no idea as to whether the BCSE's website is still configured to block you if you follow links from my blog. But whatever way you can, try to visit this URL:

What you'll see is that the page exists, but is password protected:

(If you try to visit a page that doesn't exist, you'll just get something like this:)

So what is the content hiding behind that password? Ah....

Back when the BCSE website sported a different colour scheme, a visit to the same location would have brought you this:

Yes, my good readers - the renowned religious scholars at the BCSE were previously offering the public their very own "Rough Guide to Fundamentalism"!

Before they had fully settled on the "we have no opinions on religious matters" position, the BCSE was offering in no uncertain terms their opinions on several matters religious. Before claiming to be religiously neutral, the BCSE was instead spreading its own take on various religious questions.

That's in October 2006 - a whole 3 months ago! The screenshot above was taken the same day that "BCSE Revealed" launched. We might well wonder: "So, you're religiously neutral. Since when, exactly? Is that a new policy?". And for another "making it up as they go along" story, see here.

So, exactly what is written on that page? That's a story that'll have to wait for another time...

Follow this link for part 2.

David Anderson

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

Friday, January 12, 2007

Welcome, UD and TT-ers!

I see a lot of readers coming over from Telic Thoughts and Uncommon Descent to read the many and various "foot-in-mouth" quotes of the leaders of the "British Centre for Science Education". Welcome!

I think it must be a good time to wheel out a particular quote again, from my favourite supplier-of-embarassing-material, Ian Lowe:

I don't know if you guys are aware, but large sections of the web get archived, and these older versions of websites can be highly embarrasing when dragged out at just the wrong moment in the future.
That was at - until the BCSE pulled it. Happily, though, I archived it:

Somewhere To Get Started

If you're new here, then the following posts are good ones to get going on. Or look at the archive in the side-panel.

David Anderson

(Comments policy: here).

Theocracy: Part 3

In parts one and two, we have introduced and begun reviewing the BCSE's claims that the true motives of those questionning Darwinism in the UK is to bring in a theocracy.

In the meantime, though, we turned up something relevant. Dr. Brian Jordan, one of the BCSE's managing committee and author of the BCSE's "Theocracy" page has not managed to turn up any evidence that those he opposes have any theocratic political activity at all. However, Dr. Jordan is himself petitioning the government to make religious education illegal for under 16s. Ho hum! Just who is it who has coercive political-religious aims, again? (See here).

"Theocracy" Review, Continued

Still, let us press on. Maybe we will discover some evidence for the creationists theocratic plans further down the page. Let's look at the next quote. Here it is (emphasis Dr. Jordan's):

"The public realm is not religiously neutral. All states in their public affairs worship some god or gods. All schools are religious schools. We are called to the re-discovery and re-establishment of Christian community and culture - i.e., to a real Christian distinctiveness in a pagan world. But that is a hard task - a life and wallet commitment. When we pray for revival, we must remember what it will entail!"

Here, the individual quoted (Dr. Arthur Jones, a member of the Institute of Biology and holds a PhD from Birmingham University for research on the diversification of cichlid fish - a fact I mention merely for comparison with the BCSE leadership's lack of such qualifications), states as a fact that all of life is religious - religious neutrality does not exist.

And as with the previous quote, it's one that I'd be happy to affirm in its entirety. But do I want a theocracy? Absolutely not, as I've already explained.

What, then, do I mean? Simply, this:
  • Because God is the creator and ruler of everything, he deserves to be honoured in everything.

  • That includes our thoughts, our plans and intentions, our words, and our deeds.

  • And in fact, the Bible teaches us: "And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment." (Mark 12:30)

  • Our duty in every part of life is to work out what that commandment will mean - and do it. Or as the sublime first answer to the Westminster Shorter Catechsim of 1647 puts it: "The chief end (purpose) of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever".
As such, true Christianity is a system of "total truth". It is a world-view, a way of thinking. It is not just something for Sunday - an unreal bit of fluff before we get back to reality the other six days of the week. If Jesus Christ died for my sins, then I belong to him and want to please him - every day.

Exactly what this glorifying of God will mean in any one part of life will vary. It certainly does not mean that every human activity must be ended and turned into one long Sunday service. No - God made work, made recreation, made everything else - and the right way to glorify him in them is not to turn them into church services, but to do them honestly, diligently, unselfishly, and so on.

Now you might completely disagree with that. Am I going to kill you or make your views illegal? No... I'm going to try to persuade you, if you'll let me.

In the public sphere of life administered by the state, glorifying God will mean that public morality is upheld and public wickedness is punished. The justice system should seek to restrain evil in society, and to promote what is good. The state must not treat morality as a matter of personal opinion, and become lazy in its task, or neglect its task in favour of the personal projects of the rulers.

The fact is that the way a state goes about its business implies a lot about the country's view of religious truth. When the government decides that marriage is whatever it pleases parliament to say marriage is, the government is denying certain religious claims and affirming others. When the government encourages gambling as a worthwhile industry, it is again making certain implicit claims about what is good and what is evil. When the government starts to view judicial sentences as only being about helping the offender, and no longer to do with the administration of righteousness in punishment, it again is implying distinctly religious theories about man and his place in the universe.

And it is clear that this is what Dr. Jones is saying. Dr. Jones says that all states do worship some or other gods (secular or otherwise). Obviously, in the sense of a theocratic setup where it mandates certain religious rituals or requiring its subjects to agree with its religious opinions, this would be false - in the UK people can (rightly) freely choose their own - and so clearly Dr. Jones does not mean it in that sense. Dr. Jones is talking about the underlying assumptions.

The laws of the UK were historically, as a matter of fact, based in Christian thinking in which God had revealed the main principles of morality in the Ten Commandments. Today, as a matter of fact, they are more and more based upon the thinking of secular humanism in which man is a law unto himself.

The problem, though, is that in fact Dr. Jordan has a problem with the underlying assumptions of Christianity. It's not that Christians are planning to set up a theocracy - it's that Christians are planning to live out and attempt to persuade others of Christianity. That's what Dr. Jordan doesn't like. Beneath the surface protestations that the BCSE is "religiously neutral", lies the reality that its opposition to the Christian worldview runs very deep.


And if Dr. Jordan read the quote a little more carefully, it would be obvious to him that Dr. Jones did not have in mind the kind of campaign Jordan alleges to get rid of democratic rule. How so?

  1. Dr. Jones is talking to Christians. He says, "We are called to the re-discovery and re-establishment of Christian community and culture - i.e., to a real Christian distinctiveness in a pagan world." Dr. Jones didn't say "unbelievers must be forced to rediscover...", he said "we must re-discover". Dr. Jones didn't say "we must make paganism illegal" - he said, "we must live as Christians in the midst of it".

    The fact that the quote comes from a Christian magazine for a Christian readership ought to have flagged this up.

  2. Notice too the means which Dr. Jones proposes using - prayer. Not politics; not the long arm of the law (as Dr. Jordan would like to see used against Christianity) - prayer. Those who don't accept Christian claims are to be persuaded. And if they remain unpersuaded, then we shall just continue as we are. The laws of the country shall only be changed to ones that better reflect a Christian morality when the country is persuaded that it wants to.

    If that's Dr. Jordan's definition of a theocracy... then in his head democracy and theocracy must presumably be the same thing.
Scraping The Barrel

It is only because Jordan has no quotations in which any Christian proposes a political theocracy that he has to produce ones such as this instead.

Either Dr. Jordan is too ignorant of Christianity to be able to interpret the quote properly, or he is attempting a deliberate deception, hoping that his readers will be. Choose your poison. Either way, Dr. Jordan ought not to be representing himself to the public as any kind of credible authority on the things he writes about.

Just why are we having this discussion anyway? If the BCSE are, as they claim, a religiously neutral organisation, then it's pretty odd that their website is so full of this kind of material. If they are, as they claim a "Centre for Science Education", then it's more than a little curious that it devotes so much energy to opposing Christianity and so little to talking about science.

So, dear reader - just what do you think the BCSE are really about?

David Anderson

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

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Freedom, Pluralism and Deception (II)

In two articles so far (one, two) , we have been looking at the BCSE's discovery of the secret Theocratic Masterplan being pursued by British Christians. So far, we have learnt a lot about the BCSE and its religious views, but not a great deal about these purported plans. Ho hum.

The BCSE's "Theocracy" page was written by Dr. Brian Jordan, one of the BCSE's leaders (one, two).

Seeing as Dr. Jordan has raised this subject, today we will have a little look at Dr. Jordan's own views on the use of the law to enforce religious views.

Let's get a little background. Maybe you remember this quote from the front page of the BCSE's website:

BCSE believes in the tools for everyone to think for themselves - Science, Education and Reason - and the outcome – Democracy, Pluralism, Freedom and Righteousness.

We have already had opportunity to remark on the BCSE's somewhat unconventional definitions of pluralism and freedom (one, two), and righteousness (here)... now let's have another look.


In late 2006, an individual called Jamie Wallis created a petition on the Prime Minister's website.

There were already a few other existing petitions calling for new coercive policies from the government to enforce secular thinking. However, these were apparently not extreme enough for Mr. Wallis, so he decided to start his own. In this new petition, he called upon the Prime Minister to make all regular religious instruction of children illegal.

According to Mr. Wallis, "free thinking" is incompatible with religious instruction, and the only way to protect our children is to ensure that the first 16 years of their life are approached from an atheistic point of view, where all regular religious instruction is disallowed.

Here is Mr. Wallis' motion in his own words:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Make it illegal to indoctrinate or define children by religion before the age of 16. In order to encourage free thinking, children should not be subjected to any regular religious teaching or be allowed to be defined as belonging to a particular religious group based on the views of their parents or guardians. At the age of 16, as with other laws, they would then be considered old enough and educated enough to form their own opinion and follow any particular religion (or none at all) through free thought.

Subtle, it isn't. Mr. Wallis doesn't specify exactly what penalties should be inflicted upon parents who refuse to follow his secular way of life. I suppose though, if the parents don't repent of their wicked ways, then they shall eventually have to have their children taken away. And those children will have to end up in the much safer and more beneficial environment of the council children's home, away from their dangerous and crazed non-secularist parents.

Ah, what a utopia that would be! Just as long as every person who takes religion seriously changes their mind and conforms to Mr. Wallis' way of thinking, that is.

(The other part of Wallis' idea, that children shouldn't be "labelled" I don't care to discuss. As a Christian, I do not care for labels - I care for the reality of a relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. You can't give that to your children or to anyone else by applying a label to them).

Richard Dawkins... Surprise!

You may not be completely surprised to learn which was one of the first signatures to go down on this petition. Yes, it's Britain's most famous atheist activist:

Not only that, but Dawkins put up a prominent link on the front-page of his website at, encouraging others to do likewise.

However, a little later, the mad professor claimed that he hadn't read the petition properly, and that signing it had been a mistake. He contacted the administrator of the petition, and asked to have his name removed. We wonder what all of the minions at who had dutifully followed their master and added their names made of that?

Apparently, though it was a good exercise in (to use Dawkins' words), "consciousness raising".

I don't know about you, but my consciousness of what an intolerant and foolish bunch Dawkins and his cohorts can be didn't need a great deal of raising. But I suppose it's brought it onto someone's radar somewhere.

Get On With It, Anderson!

Where was I? Oh yes. The relevance of all this is that the petition seeks state enforcement of a particular view of religion. Mr. Wallis' aim is to have all children raised in a secular manner. The first 16 years of every little one's life must be carried out under the presumption that there is no god who requires them to learn anything about him until they are adults. This isn't just Mr. Wallis' preference for his own children - he'd like it enshrined in law for every family throughout the nation.

As I have remarked before, Mr. Wallis is behaving like a consistent atheist. Whilst a Christian like myself can believe that God has made us as rational beings, and that God is active in the world to restrain evil and promote good, and that in particular the power of the Holy Spirit is at work to advance the cause of truth - the atheist can believe none of that. The idea of using persuasion with prayer means nothing to him. The tool that the atheist commonly resorts to in his thinking is coercion - the long arm of the law, and criminal penalties for disobedience.

Plenty of Historical Precedent

The track record of those who have thought like Wallis isn't, um, great. The 20th century saw anti-religious and statist coercion attempted on a scale never tried before. Albania under dictator Enver Hoxha, the USSR under Stalin, China under Mao Tsetung, Cambodia under Pol Pot - they all tried to create better societies by removing religion. And butchered millions in the process.

Dawkins and his supporters devote long sections of their writings to arguing that the atheism and evolutionary beliefs of such dictators was merely incidental to the abysmal regimes that resulted. And then they merrily set to work in petitioning the government to re-create them.

If this is rational and scientific thought, then I'd prefer something else.

A Winning World-View?

If atheism is the view backed by reason and science, as some of its proponents claim, then I wonder why the only way that it can apparently find for its views to win out is for the state to make others illegal. If the arguments are so strong - then why do we need to ban the alternatives? Why can't atheism just win by strength of argument?

And Now...

I suppose you know where this is going. Guess who else signed the petition?

That's right, it's that noted opponent of theocracies, Dr. Brian Jordan...

Apparently, the only reason why Dr. Jordan opposes theocracies... is because he himself is campaigning for an a-theocracy!

What's Wrong With This Picture?

So, let me see if I've got this straight. Because there are non-Darwinists who want the evidence against as well as for Darwinism to be presented in state schools, Dr. Jordan and the BCSE start losing their heads and talking about theocracy and "fundamentalists in politics". Despite not having a scrap of evidence for any such thing.

On the other hand, though, Jordan himself is petitioning the prime minister to pass new laws to make non-secularist upbringings illegal.

Well, I suppose we can say that Jordan ought to know religious bigotry and plans for religious coercion when he sees them.

But blow me down - whose name is that on the petition just three up from Jordan? Yes - it is! It's Ian "Calamity" Lowe!

If there is any opportunity available to make the BCSE look bigotted, incompetent, deceitful or just plain daft then Lowe normally ends up being involved somewhere (one, two, three). And here the fellow is again! Sometimes I wonder if Lowe is an anti-Darwinist stooge on a mission to make sure that nobody takes the BCSE too seriously.

So, How Do You Explain That?

The BCSE claim officially that they are opposed to religious coercion and the use of the state's resources to enforce one religious view.

On the other hand, though, two of the BCSE's committee are publicly campaigning for just the opposite.

Maybe there are two Brian Jordans, and two Ian Lowes? Or maybe they each have advanced schizophrenia? One does wonder how one can be both opposed to the idea of religious coercion, and on the other hand petitioning the PM for it.

I can well understand how anti-Darwinists can both oppose Darwinism and at the same time not wish religion to be taught in science lessons. The criticisms of Darwinism with its missing fossil evidence and the like can be made quite simply without any appeals to religion. Evidence of intelligence and design in nature which can't be explained by natural selection can be presented without bringing in the question of who any designer might be. As such, I find the BCSE's criticisms of groups such as Truth in Science for wanting state schools to handle this debate fairly quite incoherent. Whether or not any of Truth in Science's backers have religious motives, there is no evidence of any agenda from anti-Darwinists to use coercion or any other tool than proper scientific debate to advance their case.

On the other hand, the BCSE are simply hypocritical. Their leaders are both anti-religious, and they are using political campaigning to advance their anti-religious agenda - whilst at the same time wrongly condemning others for just that.


Let's once again remember that quote from the BCSE's front page:

BCSE believes in the tools for everyone to think for themselves - Science, Education and Reason - and the outcome - Democracy, Pluralism, Freedom and Righteousness.

It's just not true, is it? Unless "pluralism" and "freedom" now mean the same thing as "making religion that we don't agree with illegal". This is taking cognitive disonance to whole new levels.

The BCSE believe in pluralism and freedom... ...apart from the committee who run it, who believe in exactly the opposite. Confused? You will be... until you work out what's actually going on.

David Anderson

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

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Theocracy: Part 2


In part one, we introduced the subject of theocracy.

According to the BCSE, the real motivation driving non-Darwinists is their desire to replace our country's system of government with a totalitarian religious dictatorship. It's nothing to do with science - it's politics.

In our introduction, we drew attention to the web page on which the BCSE have taken up the challenge to document these allegations. Today, we will begin looking at it in more detail.

The Challenge

Remember just what it is that the BCSE have set out to document. In the words of BCSE leader Roger Stanyard, on the BCSE's own front page, under the heading "Creationist Ideological Objectives in Education and Politics":

Moreover, the movement includes extreme political objectives, one of which is the replacement of democracy with a theocracy based on its extreme religious opinions.

Do the BCSE document this? Or something close to this? Let's see. As we do so, we'll out of necessity have to do more explaining of Christian ideas than we've done before. Now, as I'm a Christian and a pastor, I'm all for that. But I hope your thinking circuits are switched on!

Opening Statement

The page opens with a summary statement from the BCSE that I will pass over. If I tried to describe to my wife what child-birth is like, I imagine that there would be so many levels of intertwined wrong-ness that she wouldn't even know where to start in putting me right. And neither do I know where to start putting Brian Jordan right on this paragraph. It is as if I was reading somebody discussing whether I had stopped beating my children with a baseball bat, or only stopped beating them with a frying pan.

Dr. Jordan wrote in another place "Theists are the deluded victims of centuries of conspiracy" (Yahoo BlackShadow message 1766). If Jordan actually wants to persuade any theist of this, he's going to need to represent what he's arguing against with more accuracy. So rather than attempting a response, I will just point my readers to a fair summary of the Christian faith, written by someone without an agenda to make Christians look like moon-bats.

Let's move on to the quotes. This is the meat of the matter. Today we deal with just one - but a very revealing one, both in terms of the BCSE's competence and its agenda.

1. The Rule of God

Under this heading, Jordan quotes the following, naming the author as "Howard Ahmanson":

"My purpose is total integration of biblical law into our lives."

Now, I imagine that you're saying - "Howard Ahmanson - who on earth is he?". And that's precisely what I said earlier this year when his name first came up in the BCSE's discussions.

The reason why you're thinking that is because Howard Ahmanson is an American and has no profile in the UK. Has he ever done anything in the UK? I don't know - and neither do the BCSE. So what does he have to do with the activity of UK Christians?

The BCSE list the following as "Creationist organisations to which he belongs or is associated with: Discovery Institute, Chalcedon Foundation, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies".

The Discovery Institute and the Chalcedon Foundation, however, have no representatives or operations in the United Kingdom. They are purely American organisations. Moreover, the Discovery Institute is not a creationist organisation, but promotes intelligent design. This isn't a great start if you're meant to be documenting how creationists in the UK want to set up a theocracy.

What about the "Oxford Centre for Mission Studies" (OCMS)? Unfortunately, even the BCSE really have no idea either as to whether Ahmanson is really a "member" or "associated" with this body, or indeed whether or not it is even involved at all in creationist activity. All they know is that Howard Ahmanson has a lot of money, professes Christian faith, and has given money to an American body which itself once gave some money to the OCMS. The BCSE omit to mention it in their article, but seeing as in this rare case they list their source, I was able to read that source myself and discover that the amount of money given to the OCMS was only $7,000 (worth about £3,600 at present exchange rates). The BCSE's articles on both are masterpieces of in the art of constructing masterful conspiracy theories which simultaneously confess that there's no supporting evidence... Read and see: and

In the minds of the BCSE, though, this lack of evidence merely goes to show what a secretive lot the creationists are, and what a twisted conspiracy it is that they have constructed. Are they silent about their connections to Howard Ahmanson? Do they say "Who?" when you mention his name? It's all just more evidence of how misinformed, wicked and/or deceitful they really are!

A Diversion - The Chalcedon Foundation

It is instructive at this point to compare the BCSE's page on the Chalcedon Foundation with the Chalcedon Foundation's own website. This is again off-topic as the CF is an American organisation (and I can't say I'm very familiar with its position), but it's a bit more data on the quality of the BCSE's research:

BCSE: "The purpose of the Chalcedon Foundation was to further the concept of reconstructionism. It particular, this involves the creation of a theocracy (called a theonomy by Rushdoony) ruled by the literal interpretation of the bible." (

The Chalcedon Foundation's own website: "Misconception 2: Political Dominion Because we believe that the Bible should apply to all of life, including the state; and because we believe that the Christian state should enforce Biblical civil law; and finally, because we believe that the responsibility of Christians is to exercise dominion in the earth for God's glory, it is sometimes assumed that we believe that capturing state apparatus and enforcing Biblical law on a pervasively unbelieving populace is one of our hidden objectives. Our critics sometimes imply or state outright that we are engaged in a subtle, covert attempt to capture conservative, right-wing politics in order to gain political power, which we will then use to "spring" Biblical law on our nation. This is flatly false. We do not believe that politics or the state are a chief sphere of dominion." (

And again, from the Chalcedon Foundation's own website: "No government in any form can make men Christians or truly obedient; this is the work of God's sovereign grace. Much less should civil government try to impose Biblical law on an unbelieving society. Biblical law cannot be imposed; it must be embraced." (

The Chalcedon Foundation's own page of misconceptions of its teaching quite interesting - it's almost as if the BCSE "researcher" read it first and decided to use it as a guide to what they do teach... ... this reminds me of the BCSE's alien debacle.

Back To The Story - Check Your Sources

But still, let's leave aside the fellow and the Chalcedon Foundation and look at the quote. First, where does it come from? According to the BCSE: "Quoted in Christian Reconstructionism, March/June 1994, Theocratic Dominionism Gains Influence by Frederick Clarkson, Part 3".

If the BCSE had a competent understanding of the Christian world, then they would know that Reconstructionism and Dominionism are movements which exist only on the fringes of American evangelicalism, and are basically non-existent in the UK. The BCSE will likely not be able to name a single UK creationist listed on its website who promotes these movements (I can't).

I suspect, though, that the BCSE already know this - as they are not the kind of movement that they would have come across without considerable effort. That the BCSE has to stoop to trawling the publications of such fringe foreign movements (and then mispresenting them!) in order to misrepresent UK creationists tells us more about the BCSE's mode of operations than anything else. Not a great way to convince anyone who's not already convinced.

What Does The Quote Actually Say?

Now, without the context I can't know what Howard Ahmanson meant by this quote. But at the outset I'd like to say that my purpose is also the total integration of biblical law into our lives. That's because I'm a Christian, and especially as I'm a pastor.

But if you were to say, "So you want a political theocracy, then?" then I'd look at you as if you were a bit funny, and then I'd reply "of course not - why ever did you think that?".

From a Christian point of view, attempts to set up political theocracies are wrong for two important reasons. Firstly, God already rules. He is already completely sovereign over all the affairs of men - and his power does not depend on what the MPs in Westminster get up to. Politics is just not as important as people today think it is. Secondly, God's plan in the present age is to call people to himself through faith in Jesus Christ, through loving persuasion - and only to put down all opposition to himself once the present age has ended, in the new heavens and new earth. For a Christian to try to set up a theocracy would be to usurp the prerogative of God to and to deny God's ability to do these things himself - as if he needed us to do it for him! God's present will is quite different - people are to bow the knee to him because they want to, not because they are given no other option.

So what do I mean when I say that I'd like to see the "total integration of biblical law into our lives"? I mean that I'd like to see everyone honouring God from their hearts in everything that they do - willingly, gladly, joyfully, by their own free choice choosing what is right, because they are persuaded that there is nothing more delightful than to obey God.

Is there a biblical law telling us to revolt against our rulers and set up a theocracy instead? Absolutely not - in fact, quite the opposite. The Bible tells Christians that they must submit to their present earthly rulers and wherever possible obey the laws that they pass. They are not to despise rulers merely because they are not Christians, but must recognise that God himself has instituted human government. So, total obedience to Biblical law in this matter will mean: no theocracy!

What The Bible Says

Paul explains this in part of his letter to the church at Rome. At the time, their ruler was the anti-Christian tyrant Nero. If there was ever a regime that Christians might have felt justifying in trying to replace, it was his. But Paul forbade it:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no authority except from God: the authorities that exist are ordained by God. Whosoever therefore resists the authority, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves condemnation.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will you not then be afraid of the authority? Do that which is good, and you shall have praise of the same: For he is the servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain: for he is the servant of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil. (Continues - see the whole chapter Romans 13 for the full picture).

Seeing as biblical law requires us to recognise the present system of human government as God's will, no Christian ought to be found agitating for theocratic revolution.

What To Make Of The BCSE

My take on this is that the BCSE are displaying a common trait of those ignorant of Christianity - especially hard-line atheists. The ideas of the power of God's Spirit, or of the influence of Christian love, are alien to them. The only kind of "law" they can conceive of is secular law, and the only kind of way to influence society they can imagine is through politics. However, the Bible utterly denies this way of thinking on almost every page. It teaches Christians that if they want to influence the world for good, then they should do it by (through God's grace) being the best husbands and wives, the best fathers and mothers, the best neighbours, the best work colleagues. And over and above all of this, they should love God with all their hearts, and trustingly rely on him to work through them. i.e., we should love God and love fellow man with the totality of our lives - all that we are. This is the Biblical law. These are the weapons of Christian "warfare". They cannot be measured or counted like money or votes; but the Bible tells us that they will work far more effectively than either of those as we employ them in dependence upon God.

And as a Christian myself, I'd say that history proves the Bible right. The Roman Empire that Paul wrote under is long gone - along with a whole catalogue of anti-Christian rulers and regimes. But the true Christian church continues to survive and to advance around the world. In the 1960s "cultural revolution", atheist China banned Christianity - and today, China has the fastest growing church of the last decades, with an estimated 50 to 100 million genuine converts. Today, despite the efforts of governments and religions the world over, a majority of the human race (according to the Guinness Book of Records) would assent to the Christian proposition "Jesus is Lord". So either the Bible just made a lucky guess (if you're an atheist!), or it really is the word of God and completely reliable.

Concluding: What's Really Going On Here?

The quote on the BCSE web page is no evidence that UK creationists are fighting for a theocracy. It is made by an American who is not known to have ever done anything creationism-related in the UK. More tellingly, neither does it state that democracy ought to be replaced - and the foundation which the BCSE link the author with explicitly state that this is a misunderstanding of their teaching. Of course, without the context, I don't know precisely what Mr. Ahmanson meant by it - but my point is that it is a statement which any and every Christian ought to be completely happy with. The negation of it is that "there are areas of life in which God ought to be disobeyed" - a statement I'm sure that I can't conceive of any theist making!

Christianity is a system of "total truth" - it makes claims which relate to every part of life. It is my opinion that this is what the BCSE author is really opposed to. His problem is not that anybody is advocating a theocracy - his problem is that some people (whether creationists or not) are advocating Christianity. His problem isn't that anybody is going to make him pretend to be a Christian by law - his problem is that he just doesn't want to be troubled by the ideas of Christianity at all.

That is a theme which I believe we will see again and again as we go down the BCSE's "Theocracy" web page. The problem is not theocracy - it is Jesus Christ.

And that brings us once again to the point I've made continually. The BCSE is not an organisation whose engine is being driven by science - but by views on religion: anti-Christian, atheist religion.

David Anderson

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