The BCSE - Who Are The Members?
(This article was first published on my blog in October 2006. "Who Are The Members" Series: Part one, part two, part three, later note).
In my earlier article, , I began examining the BCSE's impressive claims for itself. In this article, I will carry on with this theme. The next statement I will investigate is the prominent claim in the second main paragraph of their website (http://www.bcseweb.org.uk).
The BCSE has about 80 international members, resident in the UK, North America, Australia, South Africa and continental Europe
Who, then, are these members?
Your first idea might be to follow the "Who is Who" link from the main bar of links:
But you'd be wrong. That page takes you to the BCSE's index of "research articles" rubbishing various scientists, head-teachers, ministers of religion and other miscellaneous folk who don't endorse Darwinism. For each of these people, the BCSE tries to discover their religious affiliations, and any other "interesting" details such as which church they go to, who their vicar is, (e.g. http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/NickCowan) whether they were bullied as children, and if they've done voluntary work for the YMCA (e.g. http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/NigelMcQuoid). Quite odd articles for a bona fide "Centre for Science Education" to be publishing, don't you think? But I digress...
So where is the information we want? Maybe the "Contacts" page will give us some names? Nope. That page contains only a throw-away Yahoo e-mail address, and an unidentified mobile phone number. So, how about if you pain-stakingly trawl the entire website (which I've done!). Well, as for the names of specific members, you'll find a few here and there. On various pages, you'll find that otherwise un-described people with the names "Lenny Flank", "Mikey Brass" and "Roger Stanyard" are members (http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/VanceNelson, http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/ManIsntDescendedFromApes and http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/News).
So, observation number one is that whilst the BCSE are very keen to give you their opinion on a number of other people (including individuals with apparently more qualifications than the entire BCSE membership combined (*) ), they're very reluctant to tell you anything about themselves. I look forward to them beginning to read my website, and addressing these criticisms; however, from my research so far I am confident that the more details about themselves they expose, the lower their plausability as a group of "Science Educators" will sink.
(*) e.g. Professor Andy McIntosh is a man on the highest rung of UK academia, and with more scientific credentials than I can repeat without tying my tongue in knots (for a list of which see this biography). However, the "British Centre of Science Education" say, "Yet somewhere, he went screwball with science." ! (http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/AndyMcIntosh). (Professor McIntosh alone appears to have more scientific qualifications than the entire membership for the BCSE put together; more on this is planned for a later article).
In part two of this article, I will explain just where the figure of "80 members" does come from. But before we go there, you might want to ask yourself a question. Is this how a credible institution behaves?
All links were current on 16th October 2006.
"Who Are The Members" Series: