Science and belief

IMG_0616As long as it agrees with, or can be interpreted to agree with, one’s beliefs.


17 responses to “Science and belief

  1. Ain’t that the truth Ken.


  2. The problem is that anti-fluoridationists, to give a recent example, say that “scientists have discovered…” when either they haven’t discovered, or they discovered the opposite…


  3. Exactly, Stuart. The point I was trying to make.

    And along with that when they can’t enlist the authority of science on their side in this manner they resort to conspiracy theories to undermine the authority of science. Exactly what they have done with the IQ issue – distorted the relevance of the Choi et al study to attempt to make it relevant to community water fluoridation when even the authors have pointed out it isn’t. In the other hand they have worked hard to try and discredit studies like those of Broadbent et al and the Royal Society Review because they haven’t been able to enlist them in their side.


  4. Scientists have discovered that fluoride is good for your teeth.


  5. Yes, Al Lee – that was confirmed ages ago. And this one doesn’t rely on belief.


  6. Ah, yes, Al.

    The world’s second most respected repository of front line, peer reviewed, cutting edge science. (The first being the NZ Herald, of course.)


  7. Well, it’s not the newspaper so much as the authors of the article:
    Richard L. Shames MD & Karilee H. Shames PhD, RN practice in Sonoma and Marin Counties and authors of three popular books for thyroid patients: ThyroidPower, Feeling Fat Fuzzy or Frazzled, Thyroid Mind Power.

    Are we to dismiss the claims of these MDs and PhDs. What possible ulterior motive could they have for these claims? Are they just trying to sell books and cause panic in the population? Do you think they are deliberately lying?


  8. Al, it’s not a matter of dismissing claims. – it’s a matter of considering them rationaly and critically. The letters after the names are meaningless in this as people on both sides have letters they can append to their names. You are selectively impressed.

    I can’t comment on this specific article because I have not read it. I may get around to it in due course, but of course if you want to discuss specific claims why not raise them here so we have something to discuss? Otherwise you come across a someone who has also not read the article or understood the claims but are following out the direction from FAN central to promote the article.

    As for the journal – they are running a series of articles on the fluoridation issue. They actually have one from me which they said would be published this month (it should impress you as I can also put a PhD after my name πŸ™‚ )

    My article is a shortened version of my post Open letter to Jane Nielson – a β€œfluoridation convert.” You could go there and see how Jane replies and perhaps comment on the issues if you really don’t want to discuss the claims in the current article you are promoting.


  9. So you think the “PhD” after the name is a lie. Interesting. Surely there is some way to verify the authenticity of such authors’ claims. There are many such articles (about the deleterious effects of fluoride on the body) by all sorts of people claiming to have medical and other university qualifications (as I’m sure you are aware). I wonder why they should even bother. Just trouble makers I guess – nothing much to do today so lets post some complex articles about how fluoride is bad for everyone (an get them posted in the Lancet – they wouldn’t know what their talking about).
    And lets get fluoride classified as a dangerous neurotoxin. Rubbish. They are all liers. Everyone knows fluoride reduces tooth decay. All the latest figures about unfluoridated countries having the same percentage of tooth decay in the population as fluoridated countries (the ones you can count on one hand) – they are all falsified.


  10. Al, you have a problem with comprehension. No one is suggesting the PhDs after your friends’ names or mine are lies. Far from it.

    You still don’t seem to know what their article is about as you have not advanced a single claim attributed to them – that means nothing to discuss about the article.

    No one, I repeat no one, has officially classified F as a toxin at the concentration used in community water fluoridation. You have been misinformed.

    If you have something specific to discuss I am all ears and eyes. But unsubstantiated claims and bare links to articles are not rational discussion.

    You wonder why they should bother? Well not in the interests of science. FAN is a political activists group funded by the “natural” health industry – it has commercial motives. Hence their promotion of misinformation about and distortions of the science. Sure you can find articles all over the internet promoting that anti fluroide line (that is the whole purpose of FAN) but grown-ups have usually learned to be a bit more critical in their reading, or else to simply politically commit to one side whatever the facts.

    I guess that is what you are doing.


  11. I did access the link you provided “Open letter to Jane Nielson”. All interesting stuff. I wonder how the FAN actually makes money out of criticizing fluoridation (and of course they are by no means the only one).
    I certainly hope you are right about it being harmless to your health because I have been consuming fluoridated water (and everything made from it – beer, soft drinks, canned goods, toothpaste etc) since it was introduced into New South Wales in the late 60s. Hydrofluorosylicic acid has been introduced at 1 ppm since then. Of course everyone has been getting a massive dose since then (depending how much water, soft drink or beer they have been drinking). But if it is harmless in any concentration then there is no problem.
    Keep convincing me. I’m starting to feel better.


  12. Al, every one has been receiving F even if their area is unfluoridated – and also before fluoridation was even introduced. It is a normal and natural component of our environment. Sometimes it exists at deficient levels and CWF helps. But also it often exists at excessive levels such as in India and China and people suffer from dental and skeletal fluorosis. That doesn’t happen in NZ.

    FAN is connected with several “natural” health organisations and these are a source of corporate funds. In New Zealand we have seen this funding assistance from the NZ Health Trust, a lobby group for that industry. Millions of dollars.



  13. I am a bit worried about the fact that the fluoride added to town water (hydrofluorosilisic acid) is not the same as the fluoride that occurs naturally (calcium fluoride). I am also worried that the hydrofluorosilisic acid comes from the inside of the smoke stacks of fertilizer plants, and that I have read reports that this substance contains a lot more nasty chemicals than just fluoride – and that previous to it’s being trucked to and inserted into town water distribution, it cost a lot for such plants to get rid of it. There’s a financial advantage if ever there was one.
    Is all of the above just propaganda, and the fluoride is really pure and contaminant free?
    I’m still hoping you will tell me I haven’t been poisoned. I stopped drinking town water in the early 80s, but I wasn’t aware of how much fluoride is in the beer, soft drink and canned goods so I have consumed a lot of those. I looked up the fluoride content of toothpaste, and a pea sized amount is equivalent to a glass of fluoridated water. Of course you aren’t supposed to swallow toothpaste, but try telling that to a young child.


  14. Al, fluoroslicic acid is actually unstable in water, decomposing on dilution so that the fluoride species present is the hydrated fluoride anion – exactly the same chemical species that occurs when calcium fluoride dissolves in water.

    Fluorosilicic acid is produced as a byproduct of the production of superphosphate. I have written a few articles here on it as I actually had to analyse it and research its properties in a research project I was doing just before retirement. The levels of contaminants in it is extremely low – this was a surprise to me when I did the analysis because I had believed claims from the anti-fluoride activists about contamination. A good lesson as it made me realise that these people are misinforming us and we should always check. Several of my articles talk about levels of contaminants and give real analytical data.

    Actually, when one thinks about the chemistry involved one can see why the material is so pure. The fluorides of heavy metals and silica have different boiling points so that their separation occurs quite easily.

    Have a look at my articles – if you can’t find the ones on heavy metals and fluoride let me know as they are important to giving a real picture of the levels of heavy metals present and putting the levels into context. They are well below regulated levels.

    The costs of disposal as waste are really quite low and that is why the chemical has a low price on the market. It doesn’t take much incentive to do the logical thing and sell the byproduct so even this low price encourages manufacturers to isolate it. Really good for the environment.

    Dietary estimates are done regularly to evaluate likely intakes of various elements by different age groups. In the case of fluoride the major source is in the waters and beverages drunk. No you aren’t supposed to swallow toothpaste but normally with good parental guidance this is not a problem. That said, adults who are obsessive have been known to consume large amounts of toothpaste leading to skeletal fluorosis. Mind you, toothpaste contains a range of chemicals one should not consume in this manner.

    In practice, the only downside of community water fluoridation has been very mild dental fluorosis and this has been evaluated by parents and teenagers positively. The horror stories you hear are from cases of industrial pollution or excessive doses from naturally high sources. Not a problem in New Zealand.



  15. Thank you for that information. I will save it as a “word” file for future reference. It’s not easy to find such a detailed explanation just by “googling” it. I like to just type “fluoride” into google occasionally, but I always specify “last 24 hours” to get the latest info – not necessarily correct, as I am finding out. It’s hard to know who to believe. So much contradiction.
    I believe I read that the dental fluorosis levels in teenage americans has risen into the high 40% range. If true, it sounds a bit ominous.


  16. That 40% refers to total dental fluorosis of all grades. The severe dental fluorosis is only a few percent, is not caused by fluoridation but by industrial contamination, naturally high levels or consumption of toothpaste.

    The rest is the mild or very mild grade, judges cosmetically acceptable by teenagers and parents. It is considered a worthwhile problem for the advantages.



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