A Slight Credibility Problem... Leeds University Distances Itself From The BCSE And Threatens Legal Action
(This story was first broken on my blog in December 2006).
OK. For the record following my earlier blog posts (one, two), the BCSE have not replied to my e-mail or to my public request for their side of the story. The BCSE's page on me changes daily; today they no longer claim that I've never asked them for their side of any story, but they are semi-attempting to resurrect the bogus copyright claims .... but let's get to today's news.
The BCSE's Campaigning
The BCSE's campaigning agenda is to paint all non-Darwinists as cranks and crackpots. It wishes to present itself to the public as the defender of true science education - upholding the undisputed and indisputable dogma of Darwinism.
This agenda presents quite a challenge, though, for several reasons - even if we leave out the science! (Life arising from non-life, a universe arising out of nothing...).
For one, the BCSE's core contains nobody with any experience in providing science education. There's not a single science teacher in there, let alone any especially eminent ones. The BCSE was set up and led by a management consultant without experience in either science or education (one, two, three). We've documented extensively where the leaders are generally coming from (one, two, three). In short: Dawkins-style "all religious people are idiots" atheist activism.
Another difficulty in presenting themselves as the defenders of unanimous scientific orthodoxy is that the BCSE's targets, on the other hand, contain many eminently qualified and published scientists, teachers, professors, members of the Royal Societies, etc. Hmmm.
Scientific Research, BCSE-Style
"What does strike me about BCSE, however, is that they demonstrate an incompetence when it comes to research. As good science depends so largely on the quality of research, their inability to gather accurate and complete information ... does not give me much confidence in their ability as scientists. Could I trust their scientific investigations when they are clearly incapable of providing an informed and objective assessment?"
So, What's Happened?
The difficulty for the BCSE now is that apparently one British University, Leeds, has been so appalled at the BCSE's pronouncements and use of its name to further its agenda, that it has actually threatened the BCSE with legal action. Let's look at the facts, and see if they bear out this assessment.
On December 7th, a number of pages on the BCSE's website changed suddenly. Consider this page, for chemical engineer Mike Gascoigne:
By background Gascoigne is a chemical engineer - his BSc is from the University of (name witheld [sic] for legal reasons)
How curious! Why should there be legal reasons for not mentioning which university the fellow obtained his BSc from? Hmmm, I wonder. What else has changed?
Doing a search for "legal reasons" across the BCSE's website, the phrase turned up several times - all on pages that changed on the 7th of December. Here's another, containing some of the BCSE's comments on Truth in Science's materials. This particular paragraph is part of the data for our previous investigation which demonstrated that the BCSE had knowingly told falsehoods to MPs:
For the record, (name witheld [sic] for legal reasons) received the Truth in Science materials from ...
I was able to find that phrase at least 10 times. So, the question arises - what used to be behind it? One of two phrases. In the first case (which is most cases), it's Leeds University:
By Background Gascoigne is a chemical engineer - his BSc is from the University of Leeds
In the second case, it's Leeds University student Chris Hyland:
For the record, Chris Hyland received the Truth in Science ...
What is more, there used to be a whole page on Leeds University on the BCSE's website:
This article used to contain some serious nonsense about one of Leeds' non-Darwinist professors, plus claims about the university itself. As this nonsense was apparently adjudged by the university to be libelous, I suppose that I'd better not repeat it!
What happens if you try to visit that article now? It's gone...
If, on the 7th, you were to have looked for the word "Leeds" on the BCSE's website, then you would find that it had totally vanished, as far as references to the university were concerned. (Actually they missed one, but I assume that was an oversight).
Today, all of the harmless mentions of the University (such as the one above) are back; but the page on Leeds University itself is gone, gone, gone.
Working This Out
So what happened here, then?
Well, sticking with what we know, the BCSE replaced all references to Leeds University, or the present student of that university mentioned, with the phrase "name withheld for legal reasons". On the other hand, there were no other universities or students which had their name replaced in this manner. This pretty well proves that something specific involving Leeds happened.
What possible legal reasons could there have been for removing the name of this university and its student? Surely there's only one possibility - Leeds University have threatened the BCSE with legal consequences unless they do it. Who else would threaten such action, except the university? I cannot imagine another reason that would explain this action - can you?
So it seems pretty certain that Leeds have contacted the BCSE, and required this action from them.
A couple of days later, the "harmless" mentions returned - but the main article stayed down permanently. So it seems fair to infer that the BCSE decided to remove all mentions of the university whilst it had an internal deliberation over how far it could go in responding to the legal threat - and decided that it would have to remove its entire article on the university, keeping only the "harmless" mentions in other contexts.
This is all the more interesting, because the BCSE were pointing to some of Leeds' actions as agreeing with its own fight to establish Darwinism as unchallengeable orthodoxy. Rather, it seems that Leeds were so appalled by the statements that the BCSE were making, and by its use of the name of the university, that they actually got the lawyers onto the case.
If this is so, then Leeds University are to be applauded. In climates of fear and censorship which campaigners like the BCSE are seeking to whip up - where any criticisers of Darwinism are ridiculed - academic freedom is inevitably the loser. Unless proper action is taken, academics end up operating in a climate of "forbidden thoughts and illegal ideas". Academic freedom is too precious to be jeopardised by such as the BCSE.
So, the BCSE has had to withdraw a whole article from its website. As the days go by, more and more of the BCSE's "research" is being picked off. How much confidence can you have in what remains? The BCSE apparently don't have enough confidence to stand by what they said in their article on Leeds University to keep it up. A legal challenge seems to have seen it off fairly quickly. Can you trust the rest? I wonder who'll be next to distance themselves?
None of this was in the BCSE's script - according to that, the BCSE are the champions of orthodoxy, and those who oppose it are obvious nutters! The universities are meant to be distancing themselves from non-Darwinists, not threatening to sue the BCSE! Oh dear...
Of course, I have not seen any letters from Leeds University's lawyers - nor do I even know for certain that they exist. But I've shown you the evidence, so you can decide for yourself. Is there any other possible explanation?
Well, I wonder if there's any work left for "BCSE Revealed" to do. Once you've been proved to have knowingly lied to MPs, once you've been exposed as having no qualified science educators within your purported "Centre for Science Education", once your research has been exposed as lacking all honesty or reliability, and once your own pronouncements on your real religious, political agenda have been widely published, I'd have thought it's pretty much "Game Over" as far as being taken seriously is concerned.
But once a prominent university actually threatens to sue you, and once you admit that your articles are so bogus that on the first threat of such action you delete them... well, I think you have to be pretty reality-blind to expect people to take you seriously after that.
The BCSE talk big. Up until receiving the communication from Leeds University, the BCSE's contact page said this:
Did you get that? Any letters threatening legal action "WILL BE PUBLISHED". No doubt about it!
Enter, one such letter. But not the kind of letter that the BCSE expected. Guess what? That paragraph's gone from the website now!
More evidence - the BCSE's word is one thing; the truth, is another.
Whilst I have on file copies of the deleted material, out of respect for Leeds Universities' apparent wishes to not be associated with the BCSE or slandered by its false propaganda, I am not at this time offering to share it with other researchers.