Take Me To Your Leader!
This article first appeared on my blog in October 2006, and documents the central role of Roger Stanyard - a management consultant with no relevant qualifications. Part two is here; further relevant information is here).
In previous articles (see here), we have made some progress in answering the question "Who are the BCSE?". By announcing themselves to the press and legislators in the way they have, you'd expect some pretty impressive credentials. Our research has turned up a rather different picture. Here's where we've been so far:
On more than one occasion, I have described Mr. Roger Stanyard as the de facto leader of the BCSE. This article will examine the evidence for saying this.
First of all, we must notice that the BCSE itself does not wish to describe Stanyard in this way. Officially, it presents Stanyard as being its spokesman. This was how Stanyard announced himself in the BCSE's letter to "The Times" (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,59-2385220.html):
When Stanyard was interviewed on BBC Radio Manchester on behalf of the BCSE, he quickly afterwards edited the BCSE's website, seeking to make it clear that the BCSE was not a one man band, and that he was its spokesman, not its all (http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/PressCoverage?action=diff and http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/PressCoverage). (Notice the initials "RJS" for the editor):
Roger Stanyard was acting as one of the two spokesman for BCSE in the above interview. We point out that of the 83 members of BCSE many are qualified scientists and include people with post-graduate qualifications...
BCSE is not a one-man band. It has 83 members.
Well, we've already seen what the "83 members" assertion boils down to. But note for now that Stanyard here identifies himself as a spokesman.
Now, just take a step back for a moment. If Stanyard is the spokesman, then there's another question you'll want to ask, isn't there? Don't you want to know...
'Just who is the leader?'
Which scientific and educational mastermind is behind such an august-sounding institution as the "British Centre for Science Education" - that noble body that seeks the ear of our MPs? Well, as we've already seen , the BCSE don't want to tell you that. Now, how does that reflect on their credibility? An organisation that won't tell you who runs it? But I digress...
But, as we'll see, in fact Stanyard is in charge. Let's look at the facts.
1. He writes twice as much in internal discussions as anybody else
We've already seen that the BCSE is a re-launch of the "BlackShadow" activist group. It was planned during the year leading up to September 2006 on the corresponding Yahoo group.
During that year, there were 2566 e-mails posted to that group. Stanyard posted 524 - that's 20.4%, or over 1 in every 5. The next most active member was Michael Brass, who posted 261 - or just under half as many ttp://groups.yahoo.com/groups/BlackShadow/messages. The BCSE have made this archive private (update: they've now deleted it entirely), but I can supply any researcher with a copy. Did you get that? Nobody else said even half as much as Stanyard.
2. The original founder says so
We've seen before that Alan Bellis was the original founder of "BlackShadow". But in July 2006, Alan announced that he had too much on his plate. Who did he hand over the reins to?
Finally, I feel sure that this group is going to prosper under Roger's leadership & the last thing I would like to do before handing over (I will continue to contribute as a normal member) is to wish him the very best of luck.
3. He calls the shots
In early August 2006, Roger laid down the following roadmap for the BCSE: (http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/BlackShadow/messages/2168)
I hope that we are now pulling all the strings together.
My proposal is that during this month (August) that we should aim to:
1. Complete the discussions and reach final agreement on our objectibes [sic] and broad tactics.
2. That a draft charter be drawn up.
3. We open up our web site.
4. We have in hand some opening moves.
That's normally the kind of thing the leader does - isn't it?
4. He wrote the charter
"Spokesman" Roger didn't only suggest that the BCSE have a charter. He wrote it too.
You can find the full message at http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/BlackShadow/messages/2108 - if you can't get access to that, then it's substantially the same as the front page of the BCSE's website at the time of writing.
5. He owns the website
Well, who owns the BCSE's domain name (bcseweb.org.uk)? You guessed it (http://webwhois.nic.uk/cgi-bin/whois.cgi?query=bcseweb.org.uk).
6. He wrote the website
Take a look at the list of "Recent Changes" on the website. You'll find one name comes up rather a lot, especially for an organisation that isn't a "one man band" (http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/RecentChanges):
7. He represents them in public
And of course, as we've seen, it's Stanyard who wrote to The Times, drafted and sent letters to lobby MPs, and appeared on BBC radio (Manchester), in the guise of the BCSE's "spokesman".
8. He is the contact
Do you want to contact the BCSE? Well, it's hard to find out any solid details about where to find them, but on their "Contact" page you will find an e-mail address. Guess whose? (http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/Contacts)
Pulling it together...
Well, there's more evidence that could be shown. But that's enough, isn't it? So where does this leave us?
I take it that the man who...
... is the leader. Yes?
Clearly Roger is something of a phenomenon when it comes to his zeal for suppressing criticisms of Darwinism. He's obviously not keen on them. I wonder where he gets the energy? I wonder if he ever wakes up screaming because there's still no scientific evidence that non-life could ever give rise to life? But I digress...
So, this all leaves us with four questions.
1. Was Roger protesting too much when he asked the public to believe that the BCSE wasn't really a "one-man band"? How much would he have to do to qualify for this description?
2. If Roger really is the leader whilst describing himself as the "spokesman", then does this help us to trust the BCSE, or does it throw a question-mark over its honesty?
3. If Roger is really the leader, then what is his motivation for passing himself off to the public and MPs as a "spokesperson"? Surely the answer is to be found in the question...
4. What are Roger's qualifications to speak in the areas of science and education, and to seek to gain influence in parliament in these areas?
Well, I'm sure you've seen enough of the BCSE to guess what the answer to that question might be...
All links were correct at 26th October 2006. Some that were hosted on the BCSE's website have been removed by the BCSE; I can supply any researcher with a copy.