Science never claimed to know everything

I have posted this before – but it bears repeating after all the nonsense I have been exposed to this year.

Dara O’Briain: Science doesn’t know everything – YouTube.

14 responses to “Science never claimed to know everything

  1. Pathetic to see a scientist resorting to comments from a comedian to back up his views on fluoridation. Have a great Christmas or in your case Xmas.


  2. THE FALLACY OF PROOF. Many of notorious criminals have been acquitted from serious charges, though it is obvious to all, they are culprits. They sport a grin, laugh and mock law enforcement with a simple phrase. “Prove it”


  3. So, Trev, in the Don Quixote travelling circus which is the scientist and which the comedian or clown?

    Connett or Hirzy?


  4. It is the pro F advocates who are tilting at windmills Ken and doing a poor job of it at that. I note that in 2014 another 131 communities and the Nation of Israel have rejected fluoridation as a vehicle for treating tooth decay! May you and all the contributors to your blog have a good New Year. Cheers!


  5. Talking about tilting at windmills and the Israeli situation, Trev:

    The nation of Israel has not rejected fluoridation – only the renegade health minister – by herself. She is now facing legal action as a result.

    Talking about tilting at windmills and legal action. Reminds me of the person in a glass house who loved to throw stones. Looks like the NZ Health Trust, lobby group for the “natural” health industry, didn’t consider you serious enough to bankroll your silly high court action.



  6. Trev,

    Neither Ken nor Dara O’Briain mentioned fluoride. You did.

    Since Dara’s point is about the rejection of science and the adoption of magical thinking by users of “alternative medicine”, I assume that you have recognised the same properties among anti-fluoridationists and that’s why you thought it was about fluoride.


  7. Or do you think “toothiologist” is another name for “anti-fluoridationist?”


  8. Reblogged this on Talking Auckland and commented:
    Well that is good to know

    Might want to tell Climate Change advocates that seeming they say the science is settled (like fundamentalists do with religion).

    Nothing in science is ever settled and science does not know all. Hence why we keep endeavouring on with science; to learn, critique and expand our horizons as NOTHING is settled


  9. Ben Ross – the pro fluoride folk say the science behind fluoridation as a treatment for tooth decay is “effectively settled” to quote the government’s chief science advisor Sir Peter Gluckman. I tend to agree with your definition and given the rising tide of evidence that adding a by-product of fertiliser manufacturing to community water supplies as a ‘therapeutic’ agent may cause harm, I trust you agree the practice should cease until the research needed to prove/disprove is conducted. Relying on questionable data from the 1940s and 50s is hardly an example of sound science.
    Ken – Your comments regarding the court action in Hamilton and the involvement of the NZ Health Trust are wrong, misleading and close to libellous.
    Your statement regarding Israel’s health minister facing legal action is also a miss-representation of the facts. The decision by the Supreme Court to confirm the end of mandatory fluoridation is being appealed at the behest of a group led by the dental fraternity. That is a far different situation to the one you convey in your blog. You need to stop distorting the facts to fit your rather histrionic outlook on the fluoridation issue.


  10. Trev, for you elightenment here is the full text of an article from the Jerusalem Post Octber 6 subtitled “Health Minister taken to High Court over prohibition of fluoridation of drinking water:”

    Public health and dental experts who fiercely oppose Health Minister Yael German’s unilateral decision to prohibit fluoridation of the drinking water filed an appeal against her to the High Court of Justice on Monday and called for its restoration.

    The group, who financed the appeal with institutional and individual donations, and who hired former Jerusalem Municipality legal adviser Joseph Havillio to take the case, charged that German’s decision will “cause harm to public health and significantly increase the gap in dental health between the well-off and the poor.”

    The Health Ministry spokeswoman declined to comment to the press on the case, saying only that “we will speak at the court.”

    The group is headed by Prof. Jonathan Mann and Prof. Harold Sgan-Cohen, leading faculty members and professional dentists at the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine. It also includes other senior dentists, public health experts, heads of Jewish and Arab local councils, Yad Sarah, the Arab Dentists’ Association, the Israel Dental Hygienists’ Association and others.

    All senior public health experts in the ministry and outside have opposed German’s view that everyone should not be exposed to fluoride, even though most is not used for drinking, and that some people may be opposed to this supplement.

    But they have feared criticizing her policy in public.

    Even German does not deny that addition of small amounts of the gas to the water is effective in reducing cavities, especially among children. Many hundreds of millions of people in the world whose water supply does not contain natural fluoride get water fluoridated by their municipal authorities, either as an option or required.

    Only a minuscule number of countries have barred fluoridation completely. Since the 1980s, about 70 percent of the population has been receiving fluoridated water, with the cost paid by adding a small fee to property tax bills.

    The result has been a significant improvement in dental health, especially among children, the dental and public health group stated.

    Since German’s final decision a few months ago, the ministry hasn’t given any advice to parents on what to do except to suggest that they take their children to the dentist.

    Weak socioeconomic sectors are likely to suffer the most, as fluoridation has lowered the rate of dental decay in Arab children, for example, to that of better-off Jewish children.

    The group that filed the case quoted former ministry director-general Prof.

    Roni Gamzu, who wrote three years ago that “ministry public health service director Prof. Itamar Grotto and I will fight with all our strength to prevent this stupidity [prohibition and cancellation of fluoridation].”

    In 2002, as mayor of Herzliya, German and others called on the High Court of Justice to cancel fluoridation of the country’s drinking water.

    The Health Ministry, which she now heads, opposed her position, and with the recommendation of the court, the case was eliminated.

    Havillio said on behalf of the appellants that German’s decision significantly increases the dental health gap between the poor and rich.

    “Fluoridation must be a scientific decision and not a political one,” the lawyer said, “so it is absolutely unreasonable that the minister decided it on her own, in contravention of the advice of the professional level in her office and of the medical and academic establishment in Israel and abroad.”

    I stand by my comments on you comical behaviour over the local High Court case. I also notice you have not provided any information to the contrary.


  11. Ben, scientists usually never say science is settle (after all they don’t want to be put of a job :-)) and that is just not nthe anture of knowledge. However, adminstrators will sometimes use the term – and priorities have to be set in science funding.

    On the fluoridation issue the statement from the Chief Science Advisor to the PM that upsets the antis was actually that the science is relatively settled. I concur with that – but clearly there is ongoing research and monitoring (that would nto occur if scientis5ts really believed thgs were settled for all time).

    Humanity does not wait, does not oppose introduction of a beneficial social health policy like fluoridation or social steps to mitigate against the effects of climate chage just because very i has not been dotted and t crossed (they never are).

    By the way, where have you seen climate scientists claim the science was settled? I have never seen that claim. And the fact that there is a lot of investment in climate science research shows that no-one actually thinks that. What would be the point?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. There is the argument that comes out (Twitter shows up on it every so often) that will say the science on climate change has been settled.

    Often a method to attack sceptics or at its extreme those who might stray off a path.

    I might stir the hornets nest on Twitter to see what happens.

    That said it is usually activists and politico pundits or MPs that would make such claims as well


  13. Ken – Your cut and paste on the Israel fluoride issue does you no credit. The fact remains it is the decision to stop fluoridation by the Supreme Court that is being appealed so why don’t you simply wait for the outcome of that instead of engaging in brown arming.
    I will state it again in relation to the SWANZ court action – There was no request for or involvement by the NZ Health Trust in any way shape or form in funding the JR action. Get over it Ken!


  14. Trev, it’s significant you cannot link to  or quote the Israeli Supreme Court !

    And yet you claim to know more than the Jerusalem Post!

    With that attitude it easy to see why no one believes your disclaimer about the NZ Health Trust

    Sent from Samsung Mobile


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