Some Pertinent Questions...
(This article was first published on my blog in February 2007).
The purpose of my investigations has been to research the new body (Autumn 2006) calling itself the "British Centre for Science Education". We've come quite a long way so far - if you're new here, follow some of the links down the side for the basic material.
What's Been The Reaction?
In this report I want to take this opportunity to take a step back and ask "How has the BCSE responded to the questions raised here?".
Firstly, we notice that the BCSE leadership and members have invested a tremendous amount of time and effort in responding to this blog. This has included:
I think that that constitutes quite a lot of effort.
The message which the BCSE want to put out from this effort is also fairly clear. Firstly, "BCSE Revealed" is not reliable; secondly, David Anderson is extremely wicked (which in general is true enough - that's why I trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of my sins...)
The BCSE's leaders have, in private e-mails to me, in their forums, and on their website, described me or my blog variously as a child abuser, "clown", "liar", "fool", "stupid", "fundamentalist", "completely without standards or [conscience]", "cowardly", "gutless", "little weasel", "god boy", "extremist", "lowest of the low", "[worse than] the dirtiest little sewer rat chomping away on a turd", having "screamed and raged", "sanctimonious crapola", "windbag", "there is a possibility that he will report you to the police if he disagrees with what you say", "thoroughly immoral", "deeply offensive", "wholly inaccurate", "a pack of lies", "a sanctimonious blustering windbag", "comprehensive smear campaign", "dripping with sanctimonious and condescending self-righteousness", "consists of unmitigated drivel from start to finish", "unmitigated rubbish", "vicious", "particularly vile and smug". I am called a "fundamentalist", a movement which the BCSE website (on a now hidden page) describes as "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."
Well, that's fairly comprehensive.
But, you didn't come here to listen to me wallowing in self-pity. So what's the point?
The point is to compare all the activity and abuse above, with what the BCSE haven't done by way of response.
Firstly, the BCSE haven't ever taken up the offer which comes at the end of each article - to e-mail me with details of any documentable factual errors. I suppose though, that if you're convinced of the chain of allegations above, then you probably figure it's not worth it. I have observed through the BCSE website and forums that Mr. Roger Stanyard plays a particularly active role in convincing people that any non-Darwinist is necessarily a wicked liar. The majority of the quotes above are his.
Secondly, no BCSE leader has ever tried to post a comment on this blog. The BCSE website carries a complaint that I was "censoring" them by not having comments on the blog (http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/Links - since deleted by the BCSE). However, I've had comments for some time now, and it looks to me like this complaint was empty rhetoric.
Thirdly, though is the most significant point. Though the BCSE have spent many hours on all the activities listed above... they haven't actually spent time addressing any of the serious questions which this blog has raised.
That is, there's been a whole barrel load of time spent in trying to convince the Internet that I'm one of the biggest toads in existence... but all the real questions I'm asking have just been brushed under the carpet. That's a slightly curious strategy, isn't it, if the BCSE have all the facts on their side? If you have the truth and can document it - then why would you do that?
What If It's True?
So let's play this out. Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that all the personal allegations about me are true. Let us suppose, even, that the BCSE have been too kind to me, and that I am even worse than they have said.
Now... what difference does this make to all that I have documented about the BCSE? Suppose I am really exceptionally evil... does the BCSE then become automatically credible or qualified as a result?
It seems clear to me that the BCSE's strategy to refute my documentation is a straightforward "them versus us - which side are you on?" play. A simple battle, with two sides - you're either for us or against us. If the BCSE can make clear that their opponents are desperately depraved - then the BCSE win the debate by default. All the issues over the BCSE's trustworthiness, credibility and agenda must come down to a simple polarisation - who do you trust? Surely not those insane and evil creationists or Intelligent Design proponents? Surely you trust us instead?
I don't think that intelligent observers will find this a very satisfying response. Even supposing that they are persuaded that I really do suck... the option is still open to them of deciding that it's also true that the BCSE is not a credible organisation in the field of science education, and has in fact been misleading the public about itself. The "either / or" dichotomy is a false one - we can both suck!
In a future article, I am planning to continue the process of taking this step back - and raising again some of those awkward questions which the BCSE don't want to answer. I will contrast the effort put into alleging that I'm a real bad egg, with the lack of effort in actually documenting what I've got wrong.
The BCSE's activity, listed above, is because they want to focus all the attention concerning the issues I've raised on me, instead of themselves. But why?
I think I know... do you?