The BCSE - According To Those Involved
(First published on my blog in June 2007).
Since opening, the "BCSE Revealed" blog has shown with pretty comprehensive thoroughness that the "British Centre for Science Education" is not a bona fide group of scientists or educators, but simply a group of people, almost all hard-line atheists, with a strong grudge against evangelical Christianity. For most of them, their support for the creation myth of Darwinism is simply an outlet for them to promote their own materialist philosophy and fight against Christian ways of thinking.
Now that's fine, in it's own way; unlike the BCSE I don't believe that there should be "illegal ideas" which can't be discussed; if they want to promote Darwinism, let them. The problem, though, is the BCSE's track record in outright deception: constantly lobbying public bodies and conveniently omitting to mention that its grand sounding name does not have any reality behind it. If you're an editor of a national newspaper and you receive a letter from the spokesman of the "British Centre for Science Education", you might think that carries some weight - wouldn't you? If you knew that said spokesman was a management consultant who has never been professionally involved in science education - and that the same went for everyone else in the organisation's leadership (one has been professionally involved in science, but is retired) - wouldn't you feel like you'd been conned?
Not Science; atheism - the testimony of those who have been involved
In some previous posts, "BCSE Revealed" has catalogued some of the opinions of those who had close involvement in the BCSE. Consider these words, from a man who himself is an atheist activist:
"I am against fighting alongside other members of BSCE who are, themselves, religiously motivated" and "One of the reasons I distanced myself from the BSCE is for the very reason you have pinned that they are ... a small number of individuals claiming to be something bigger than they are."
And now: more of the above
Michael Roberts himself is very confident of the truth of Darwinism, and actively campaigns in its favour. He has offered various bits of advice and encouragement to the BCSE, because he supports their position that any alternative position to Darwinism is unscientific and as such should never be discussed in schools. Roberts has on various occasions published some pretty insulting comments about myself on the BCSE's forum, which I take as an attempt to ingratiate himself with them; not being an atheist himself, presumably they might consider him suspect. Roberts posts on the BCSE forum under the name "Michael"; I suspect he doesn't supply his full name or a picture because he's a bit nervous about being too publicly associated with the BCSE:
But what does Roberts really think of the BCSE? The Internet has the answer. Roberts gave a lecture to Garstang Methodist Church (http://www.gmeth.clara.net) in which he sought to give an overview of young earth creationism and intelligent design. Now, it's not my purpose in "BCSE Revealed" to critique such articles; in general I think it has good spots but is spoilt by a number of fairly major mistakes, particularly in touching upon history. I certainly don't think that Roberts provides anything to substantiate his conclusion "I rest my case that YEC and ID are disasters for education and the church", as the whole lecture appears to be more of a statement of Roberts' position rather than the outlining of arguments for it. The paragraph that has relevance to "BCSE Revealed" is this one. It is placed right at the opening of a section titled "Atheistic Science":
"One result of Truthinscience [sic] has been opposition from atheistic scientists, who can rightly point out the bad science, but also use it as an argument for their mantra “faith is contrary to reason”, and opposition to faith schools. Some of this is coming out on the web forum of the British Council for Science Education, which seems to have no leading scientists among its members."
Now, "British Council" should clearly read "British Centre", because there is no such body as the "British Council for Science Education". There is only one body with a name like that which matches Roberts' description. Whether the error was in Roberts' notes or in the transcription of them I don't know.
Notice then what Robert says:
The BCSE's leaders are actually secularist campaigners who would like to do away with faith schools. In other words, they want taxpayers, the vast majority of whom aren't atheists, to have their money taken from them to fund an atheistic education that they don't agree with. Again, this makes the BCSE's slogan on their website's front page - "BCSE believes in... Democracy, Pluralism, Freedom and Righteousness" sound rather hollow.
In fact, the BCSE are the pre-eminent example that Roberts could think of to illustrate the above behaviour on the behalf of atheists (he then goes on to discuss Richard Dawkins).
Such testimonies as Roberts are valuable, because Roberts very strongly sympathises with the BCSE's aims, and has offered them his own help and assistance on several occasions. When such people describe the BSCE as being atheists without scientific standing, that carries a lot of weight - and leaves the BCSE with a lot of explaining to do.