Anti-fluoride activists attempt to silence science

Roger Stratford, a local aspiring politician, wants scientist to shut up. He is campaigning against the fluoridation of Hamilton’s water supply (we have a referendum coming up) and is a member of Fluoride Free Hamilton. He is also campaigning for a seat on the Hamilton City Council.

But Roger seems to have a King Canute-like (or is it Walter Mitty-like) perception of his own powers. The Waikato Times this morning reports he wrote to the University of Waikato’s Chemistry Department requesting that it’s staff stop communicating their science (see Anti-fluoride campaigner tries to silence science). He objects to:

“the degree of casual support emanating from the chemistry department in local papers in support of the practice [of fluoridating water] . . . At Fluoride Free Hamilton we intend to limit the debate to the social science and public health aspects of fluoridation. . . . It would be appreciated if we could receive some confirmation from the chemistry department that it will remain publicly neutral on the matter. . . . Fluoride Free Hamilton does not have any issues with the chemistry department academically, it is the implications of modern science in which we differ.”

What a cheek – Fluoride Free Hamilton and Roger Stratford want a deal! They will talk only about social science and the chemists can STFU. Well, we all know that most of the issues around fluoridation are scientific, and mostly chemical. And the anti-fluoridation activists are spreading misinformation about that chemistry as fast and as widely as they possibly can.

What was Roger thinking?

My first whiff of Roger’s stupidity came with a comment of his on the Fluoride Free Hamilton Facebook page:

Facebook-before-2I contacted him asking if he had in fact written to the Chemistry Department. He Assured me in his reply:

“In my experience as a student the chemistry department doesn’t negotiate on anything, it was just a throwaway line of mine to get that Archer fellow from blogging. There is no reason to be alarmed.”

Well, I guess that’s a political answer – an implied but not a factual denial. Mind you, very quickly the comments on the Fluoride Free Hamilton Facebook page changed – see if you can guess what was deleted:

Facebook-after-2

Well, I suppose that is politics. It is really a bit much to expect honesty and integrity from politicians, or from political activists like the Fluoride Free groups.

But I object very strongly to politicians, and political activists, who will do their earnest best to spread misinformation about science – and then tell scientists they have no right to comment on the issues.

See also:

Similar articles on fluoridation
Making sense of fluoride Facebook page
New Zealanders for fluoridation Facebook page

About these ads

15 responses to “Anti-fluoride activists attempt to silence science

  1. Is there even a social science that could produce relevant data? Besides chemistry, biology, medicine and dentistry I can’t imagine anything.

    Like

  2. I think they have in mind that school of sociology which says that scientific knowledge is relative and unreliable because of “gatekeepers” and funding processes. They want to rubbish science without having to put up with any comeback.

    Like

  3. Trevor Nutter

    So you support honesty and integrity Ken. Where is the honesty and integrity of the MoH/DHB website that provides inaccurate spin on the subject. Not least of these is the answer to what they describe as the ‘myth. that the fluoride added to Hamilton’s water was an industrial waste. Their answer is an unequivocal NO.
    That is not true. What was added to Hamilton’s water is hydrofluorosilicic acid – which is a by-product of the manufacturing of phosphate fertiliser. Even Dr Lane stated that is the source and now I wait for the MoH/WDHB to correct their dishonesty.
    They also claim it to be an additive manufactured to exacting quality and purity standards. Given there is no information available as to the detail of the manufacturing process nor the quality and purity standards I suspect they may be describing something other than the fluoride that comes from the waste scrubbers of the fert works.
    You may be surprised Ken but I see science as the basis of progress for mankind but when people spin the science to fit a pre-conceived outcome I think people are entitled to question why, without attracting odium and contempt from people like yourself!

    Like

  4. Mr Nutter, 10 years ago I was involved in research involving fluorosilicic acid and became quite familiar with the material. You are completely wrong in your claims.

    The manufacturing process is well understood and the quality and purity standards must meet the standards set by the Water Quality Association of NZ. Regular certificates of compliance, including certificates of analysis are required. Any batch failing the standards will be rejected – at the expense of the supplier.

    Look at my articles http://openparachute.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/fluoridation-are-we-dumping-toxic-metals-into-our-water-supplies/, http://openparachute.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/water-treatment-chemicals-why-pick-on-fluoride/ and http://openparachute.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/hamilton-the-water-is-the-problem-not-the-fluoride/ for descriptions of the material and its analysis. And the context of any impurities in water treatment chemicals.

    You are clearly misinformed about this material Trevor. You must be listening to the wrong people. Hopefully my articles will help you overcome the misinformation you have absorbed.

    But talking about honesty and integrity, is Roger Stratford a mate of yours? What do you think of the Fluoride Free Hamilton disowning him? And do you agree that it was extremely stupid to attempt to silence scientists on this matter?

    Like

  5. @ Nutter, some help toward your edikatshun

    Oxford English Dictionary (Shorter)

    By-product, (…) 1857 [fBY-III.2.3.] A secondary product; a substance obtained in the course of a specific process, but not its primary object.

    Waste(…) ME [n AF (......)] ..not applied to any purpose (…) not utilized (…) Eliminated or thrown aside as useless after the completion of a process (…)

    Like

  6. You are clearly misinformed about this material Trevor. You must be listening to the wrong people.

    Yep. Science deniers always make the same basic mistakes. Look hard enough on the internet and you’ll find a blog that will tell you what you already know to be “the Trooth”.
    You have to shop around.
    On the other hand, geunine skeptics don’t. We can just go to the scientific communities that do the work.

    Like

  7. Is Nutter his real name?

    Like

  8. It’s Trevor Crosbie – but he likes to call himself a nutter.! Then again he is an old Social Credit die hard and avid letter to the editor writer, so he could well be right.

    Like

  9. Ah yes, I now remember that he once reprimanded me for misspelling Crosbie.

    Like

  10. Pingback: Anti-fluoridationist astro-turfing and media manipulation. | Open Parachute

  11. Ken, what Stratford actually said, even according to the heavily biased article in the Waikato Times, was:
    >> It would be appreciated if we could receive some confirmation from the chemistry department that it will remain publicly neutral on the matter. <> Yep. Heretics always make the same basic mistakes. Look hard enough on the internet and you’ll find a blog that will tell you what you already know to be “the Trooth”.
    You have to shop around.
    On the other hand, geunine christians don’t. We can just go to the monastic communities that do the work. <<

    Gosh this is a fun game. I can see why you do it ;)

    Like

  12. Apologies for the double-posting. Please delete the first version. WordPress no longer seems to hand >> style quotes properly.

    Ken, what Stratford actually said, even according to the heavily biased article in the Waikato Times, was:
    “It would be appreciated if we could receive some confirmation from the chemistry department that it will remain publicly neutral on the matter.”

    Noam Chosmky always makes it very clear that his political positions are those of a private citizen, and shouldn’t be taken any more seriously because he is a Professor of Linguistics. What Stratford is saying is chemistry academics should not be advocating political positions with the endorsement of their institution. They are of course welcome to make any political statement they like as public citizens, and any statement of unbiased physical fact as a representative of their department, but they shouldn’t be trying to do both at the same time.

    Stratford is asking these scientists to be professional, ie objective, and the headline you’ve given your article about it is tabloid sensationalism worthy of WhaleOil.

    @Cedric
    “Yep. Heretics always make the same basic mistakes. Look hard enough on the internet and you’ll find a blog that will tell you what you already know to be “the Trooth”.
    You have to shop around.
    On the other hand, geunine christians don’t. We can just go to the monastic communities that do the work.”

    Gosh this is a fun game. I can see why you do it ;)

    Like

  13. ““Yep. Heretics…”

    Religion and science are not the same.
    Different methodologies.
    Portraying portraying scientific communities as monastaries is silly.

    It’s not enough to switch the labels around. The results have to be coherent.

    Label swtiching one anti-science postion with another works.
    Label switching one religion with another works too.
    Label switching a scientific postion with an anti-science one will fail which is why you didn’t attempt it.

    Like

  14. Andrew Stratford

    No, Strypey, thats not what Stratford was saying. Roger was simply concurring with the Chemistry Department’s view that without a science debate, there is no nothing for its academics to respond to. Assoc. Prof. Manley-Harris called for science to be left out of the debate and to concentrate on ethics. Dr. Michael Mucalo said they would only respond if science was brought into the debate by others. So its not Stratford keeping science out of the fluoride debate, its Science & Engineering.

    Like

  15. Andrew, I am going to hold your future comments in moderation – and have already stopped one because it is personally abusive.

    Could you please ensure future comments adehere to reasonable standards and relate to the topic being discussed?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s