Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do you like our new deck-chair arrangement?

As demonstrated in this post, the BCSE has been maintaining up an impressive rate of decline in recent months.

But, do not fear - our brave science educators have moved to mitigate the decline by reorganising their website. It now sports a slightly altered colour scheme, and the structure of the content throughout the site has undergone some re-arrangement.

The work was done by Michael Brass, the BCSE's chairman:

That fact alone is another indicator of the BCSE's decline. Back one year ago, the BCSE's IT manager was Mr. Ian Lowe, and Mr. Brass announced that by autumn 2007 he would have to step back from the BCSE because he would have no time to be its chairman. By the time a year had passed, though, Lowe had resigned and there was hardly enough of the BCSE left to need any chairing, so Brass was able not only to continue but take over Lowe's job as IT manager too! (You will recall from a previous series of exposes that whereas the BCSE website used to advertise Brass using cleverly-constructed words that would lead you to believe he was a leading archaeologist, he was in fact an assistant IT worker whose BCSE-advertised book was published by... himself, using a notorious vanity publisher: see here). More that that, another member was going to help the BCSE put together a better website - but he also left.

(From the BCSE website's front page, February 2007).

What I want to briefly comment upon is the fact that the BCSE has again rewritten the text on the front page of its website with which it seeks to introduce itself to the world. In fact, one of "BCSE Revealed"'s very first activities was to focus attention on the innaccuracy of the BCSE's self-description (see here and here). It is valuable to review what claims no longer appear on the BCSE's front page. The BCSE's practice is to silently delete embarassing material whenever they're caught out, so you won't find any explanation or retraction of any of these claims - you have to rely on "BCSE Revealed" to point them out. Here's what they no longer say about themselves but once did:

  • That the BCSE is a "new group". Of course, such claims become out of date; but at launch time I exposed the truth - that the BCSE was an existing group of secularist activists, renamed.

  • That the BCSE had 83 members. I exposed the fraudulent counting method that the BCSE used to devise this number; as sen recently, even in its hay-day the BCSE had only around 30 interested participants (not all of whom were members), and nowadays has scarcely double figures.

  • That the BCSE was an international group. This claim was deleted after I pointed out the improriety of Americans, Spaniards, etcetera, being members of a campaigning group whose sole stated aim was to influence what was taught in schools funded by British taxpayers.

  • That the presence of creationists at Leeds University had done so much damage that the university had had to introduce remedial courses to re-educate their students. The BCSE had to delete all material about Leeds University from its website after Leeds threatened the BCSE with legal action over its material! At the same time, another section silently disappeared from the BCSE website - the bit where they promised to print in full any threats of legal action that they received!

  • That the goal of those who doubt Darwin in the UK is to overthrow lawful government and institute a theocracy. I exposed firstly the fact that the only basis that the BCSE had for these claims was their own atheistic prejudice which infers that any mention of religion outside of the private sphere is inherently theocratic, and second exposed the fact that more than one BCSE leader was actually lobbying the prime minister to make any non-secularist approach to upbringing illegal! That's not the kind of thing you want to be caught out doing if you're pretending to be committed to pluralism and democracy, as the BCSE's website claimed at the time.

  • That the BCSE had members "resident in the UK, North America, Australia, South Africa and the mainland of Europe". In the last three months, the 15 most active participants of the BCSE active in the BCSE forum (not all of whom are members or even supporters) who together with accounted for 97% of the activity in that forum all lived in the UK.

  • The hilarious claim that the Discovery Institute in the USA "has a clear agenda to take political power" ! Get those tin foil hats on now, everyone!

  • That the BCSE had a "lively" web forum. In fact, as a recent post demonstrated, a tiny number of die-hards is about all that remains, and the BCSE leader had to recently resort to begging any passing creationist to debate with him! Interestingly, the claim that the forum was "lively" wasn't added until June 2007, by which time the rot had well and truly set in. Methinks he doth protest too much?

May 2007 : it's a discussion forum. But by July 2007 it had become a a "lively discussion forum". Except that it hadn't.

  • That the BCSE chairman, Michael Brass, was a "published archaelogist". The reality: Brass was at the time a 29 year-old assistant IT worker who had self-published a single book with a notorious vanity publisher.

There are a whole series of other statements too which are easily demonstrable as nonsense, but most likely have been withdrawn simply to keep the length of the page down rather than because the BCSE wishes to withdraw them. That may go for some of the above as well, of course. Examples would be the claim that the BCSE has a proven track record (of what, exactly? A disintegrating membership, perhaps? Of making not-even-slightly-plausible legal threats against "BCSE Revealed"?), or has no atheistic agenda (apart of course from the majority of the leadership of course, who we documented as saying the opposite!).

In the next article, I take a look at what the BCSE front page does say.

David Anderson

Non-anonymous factual corrections welcomed by e-mail (bcse-blog at dw-perspective dot org dot uk). Comments are moderated - please read my comments policy.

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