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Who is writing anti-ID articles in the UK?

As we recently discussed here, there was a factually challenged article against intelligent design in a UK newspaper, The Independent. Given the anti-ID motive-mongering in the article, it is not surprising to find that the British Center for Science Education (BCSE) helped put the article together. The BCSE’s Roger Stanyard admits that “[s]ome of you are aware that I helped in putting it together” and gives the URL, saying the article is “based n [sic] material and advice supplied by BCSE.” (see here)

So how closely is this “British Center for Science Education” tied to the “National Center for Science Education” (NCSE) based in the United States? It’s not entirely clear, but recently the NCSE’s Nick Matzke explained that “Roger Stanyard suggested that I join the forums so that I could contribute whatever small bits of wisdom I might have.” BCSE’s website hopes you will believe that the BCSE “has a close working relationship with the National Center for Science Education in the USA.”

More importantly, the BCSE is using one of the NCSE’s common strategies: attack the academic freedom of proponents of intelligent design. In an article titled “Think Twice Before Studying at Leeds University,” the BCSE tries to discourage people from studying at Leeds because one of the professors there, Andy McIntosh, is pro-ID. The article compares McIntosh to those who are “crackpot[s],” members of “Druid organisations,” and those who want “a Taliban-style … government.” So the BCSE wants people to avoid a respectable university because of these false ad hominem attacks they are leveling at one of its professors. This is a harsh attack upon the academic freedom of Dr. McIntosh to hold his pro-ID views within the academy.

This strategy of personal attacks and attacks upon academic freedom is all too familiar to those who follow the behavior of leading American Darwinists. According to an investigator with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the NCSE was heavily involved in similar attacks upon Dr. Richard Sternberg at the Smithsonian Institution (SI) and National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) after Sternberg oversaw the publication of a peer-reviewed pro-ID science article in a biology journal:

Of great import is the fact that these same SI and NMNH employees immediately aligned themselves with the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). Our investigation shows that NCSE is a political advocacy organization dedicated to defeating any introduction of ID, creationism or religion into the American education system. In fact, members of NCSE worked closely with SI and NMNH members in outlining a strategy to have you investigated and discredited within the SI. Members of NCSE, furthermore, e-mailed detailed statements of repudiation of the Meyer article to high level NMNH officials. In turn they sent them to the Society. There are e-mails that are several pages in length that map out their strategy. NCSE recommendations were circulated within the SI and eventually became part of the official public response of the SI to the Meyer article. OSC is not making a statement on whether the SI or NMNH was wrong or right in aligning with the NCSE, although OSC questions the use of appropriated funds to work with an outside advocacy group for this purpose. This is only discussed to show that the actions taken on the part of SI employees clearly had a political and religious component. Therefore, it may lend credence to your allegations that your religious and political affiliations were investigated and made a part of the actions taken against you.

(U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL letter to Dr. Richard Sternberg)

Will the BCSE seek to use such tactics against Leeds University professor Andy McIntosh?

Casey Luskin

Associate Director and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



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