Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Not Even Good At Being Nasty!

I've briefly mentioned a Mr. Mark Edon before. I haven't taken much notice of him, as I don't think it's a good use of time to go around refuting every atheist-rant blogger who decides to take a pop at me on the Internet - I'd have to give up sleeping.

However, Mr. Edon was recently appointed to the BCSE committee, so I'll provide a little documentation just for completeness (I'm sure there can't be many people left on the Internet who need any proof of what the BCSE are really about).

All You Need To Know...

Mr. Edon joined the BCSE committee in the second half of 2007. Suffice to say that:

  • Like most of his colleagues, he has no qualifications in science or education that would qualify him to pose as any kind of science educator, let alone a national expert who should be lobbying newspapers and MPs.

  • Like most of his colleagues, Mr. Edon's motivation is obvious, as he is a rabid supporter of Richard Dawkins.

  • Again, like most of his colleagues, Mr. Edon is seriously equivocating in his involvement in the BCSE, because whereas:

    • the BCSE claims to be a scientific body and not driven by religion, and to believe that science and religion are broadly complementary ...

    • ... Mr. Edon's own personal beliefs are exactly the opposite: science and religion are irreconcilably opposed and it is the purpose and destiny of the former to replace the latter. Mr. Edon's own Internet activities are motivated in the most obvious possible way by his own deep dislike of theism.

It is apparent enough too that there were two reasons why Mr. Edon was invited to join the BCSE committee:

  1. The BCSE's collapse by that point was so advanced that, if they wanted to still have a committee, they were more-or-less obliged to offer a place to anyone who was willing, and

  2. Mr. Edon's polemical activity on the Internet made him a friend of the BCSE leaders. This is all really we need to know about the BCSE; there is no need to have any real understanding of science education to join it - a bit of experience in atheist polemics is quite sufficient.
So that you can judge for yourself whether I'm justified in identifying Mr. Edon as an "atheist-rant blogger", I offer the following in response to Mr. Edon's prize claim about my integrity.

A Response to Some Of Mr. Edon's Polemics

From examining Mr. Edon's polemical efforts to discredit my research, his prize claim is apparently that I am dishonest because in one place on the Internet I described my degree in more general terms as being in science, whereas in another place I described it more specifically as being in mathematics.

Mr. Edon writes that these two claims are obviously contradictory (he did a straw poll in his office to establish that mathematics cannot be described as a scientific subject), and that therefore I am a liar. He then proceeded to promote his claim in several places, including the BCSE, around the Internet.


I don't know whether to laugh at this claim for its silliness, or cry at the tragedy of pursuing such a pointless set of goals. What cause could be such a bad one that it requires this to help it?

My course was described as a scientific one by the university which awarded me the degree, where the mathematics department that taught me describes itself on the front page of its website as teaching "Mathematical Sciences", and on my university application, five of the six universities to which I applied awarded a Bachelor of Science (BSC) degree for their mathematics course.

My UCAS application: note the right-hand column

A letter from my college

Even if Mr. Edon had bothered to look up on Wikipedia, he would have found maths described as a science!

That Mr. Edon:

  • Never thought of doing such basic checks,

  • had no idea that mathematics degrees in the UK are generally awarded with a Bachelor of Science degree,

  • but instead rushed into print to try to discredit me,

  • and apparently believes that scientific questions are settled by taking a straw poll of people in his office...
... is all the evidence we need about what kind of people are leading the "British Centre for Science Education", and what level of competence they have in their purported sphere of expertise. They're not even any good at smearing!

I will leave it to Mr. Edon to decided whether or not the UK's top universities are also pseudo-scientists and liars... or whether it's not the case that his attempts to discredit me have rather scraped the barrel.

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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