Anti-fluoridation activist Paul Connett has a senior moment about our debate

Paul Connett, from  the US anti-fluoride group, the Fluoride Action network, was interviewed today on the Radio new Zealand’s Jesse Mulligan programme. You can listen to the interview at Complaints against anti-fluoride ads not upheld.

jesse

Jesse Mulligan interviewed Paul Connett about his anti-fluoride views

Unsurprisingly, Paul presented the same  tired old arguments against community water fluoridation. And I can understand why he should once again promote his own anti-fluoride book. After all, it has 80 pages of references (most of them broken links to Fluoride Action Network web pages)! And it is surely natural for an author to be proud of their book.

But he seems to suffer from senior moments, or at least memory blocks, when he claims that the arguments in his book have never been confronted. That people refuse to debate with him about these arguments.

Has he really managed to eradicate all memory of our rather long on-line debate about those very arguments? He specifically required that our debate have the format of him advancing arguments from his book and that I would respond to them.

The full debate is available here (see Fluoride Debate) or it can be downloaded as a pdf document (see The fluoride debate). It’s a useful document – about 212 pages long – fully referenced and Paul’s arguments are presented completely unedited – just as he presented them.

I know Paul was unhappy at how the debate went. Since then he has asked me never to contact him again and I was immediately banned from commenting on all the local anti-fluoride websites and Facebook pages. I have also been blocked from commenting on the US Fluoride Action Network’s Facebook page.

OK, I can understand Paul may have felt disappointed with his response to my debunking of his claims – but to pretend the debate never happened?

Interestingly, this is not an isolated behaviour by anti-fluoride activists. Local anti-fluoride people have also made similar claims that no one will debate with them. However, they seem to run quickly in the opposite direction when they do get a response to their offer to debate. Stan Litras is one example where time and time again I have critiqued his anti-fluoride claims and offered him a right of reply. He always refuses but still publicly claims that no one will debate with him.

Paul lost it a bit in his interview today when Jesse mentioned the NZ fluoridation review carried out by the Royal Society of NZ and the office of the Prime mInister’s Chief Science Advisor. He made a few ill-advised disparaging comments which came across as shrill when compared with the explanations from Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Ministers Chief Science Advisor, who was given the opportunity to respond to Paul’s criticisms.

The Interview and Sir Peter’s response is worth listening to. You can download it or listen to it at Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm.

Similar articles

 

Advertisements

14 responses to “Anti-fluoridation activist Paul Connett has a senior moment about our debate

  1. Peter Gluckman starts out “Well the simple fact is…”

    I get scared to listen more because that sort of language feels to me like persuasion from an uncertain basis.

    Like

  2. Could we have examples of how authors are saying Connett has misrepresented them? That was what he was getting “shrill” about wasn’t it?

    Is it a case of them finding difficulty with his presentation of obvious extrapolations of their findings?

    Like

  3. Brian, you will have to put that question to Paul as it us his claim. There is no point in raising it here.

    Sent from my Samsung device

    Like

  4. You should seek right of reply on the same radio programme

    Like

  5. You’re seriously questioning the sanity of the “Premier International Authority on Fluoride”??

    Well, it’s good to know that Johnny Johnson and I are in good company. The esteemed PIAF has banned both of us from contacting him again, too. Seems to be his method of choice when backed into a corner by facts and evidence.

    Steven Slott, DDS

    Like

  6. I had written: “Could we have examples of how authors are saying Connett has misrepresented them?”

    Ken wrote: Brian, you will have to put that question to Paul as it us his claim.”

    No it was Jesse Mulligan made the claim and Connett asked then why had they not come to him?

    Like

  7. David Fierstien

    Soundhill, you were asking for examples of how authors are saying Connett has misrepresented them? Here you go:

    “Dr. Connett misrepresents [my] study as an analysis of the benefits of water fluoridation, which it was not. He also misinterprets the study’s indirect evidence on the benefits of water fluoridation on decay.”
    —Professor John Spencer, Adelaide University (2005)

    Like

  8. David Fierstien

    Sorry, Soundhill, this was your entire original quote: “Could we have examples of how authors are saying Connett has misrepresented them? That was what he was getting “shrill” about wasn’t it?”

    I don’t know why Connett would get shrill about it. He had nothing to say about Professor Spencer’s comment when I presented it to him, face-to-face, in 2014. Why would he get shrill about it now?

    Like

  9. Brian, if you think it was Jesse who made the claim, then why ask the question here? Ask it of Jesse.

    But I can tell you that during our debate Connett often misrepresented my arguments – and I did point that out to him at the time.

    Perhaps the example of his use of the WHO data showing changes in oral health fo 12 year-olds in different countries is an example. Again and again, I pointed out to him that the correct comparison has to be made within countries, and I showed him the WHIO data for Ireland where a clear benefit from fluoridation is shown. He continued to ignore that data or misrepresented my argument throughout the debate. Only in the last contribution from him did claim he had misunderstood me – but still did not respond to my argument.

    He continues to misrepresent the WHO data.

    He is also lying when he says no one will debate him. Both David Fierstien and I have done so – just to mention people participating in this discussion.

    On the basis of my experience with Connett and his blatant misrepresentation of my points, I am not surprised to hear that other authours have also complained.

    He behaves as a typically dishonest politician in this, not as a scientist.

    He has no scientific credibility.

    Like

  10. Connett was also dishonest in his comment that the person from the audience at one of his meetings here described his cherry-picking behaviour should have raised the issue at the meeting.

    The FFNZ meetings are well known for preventing discussion. I went to one meeting in Hamilton but left after the Chairman at the beginning laid down ground rules that no questions be asked from the floor. Anyone who did so would be thrown out.

    You also must be aware that critics of Connett are blocked from commenting on all the local and most international anti-fluoride Facebook pages and websites.

    Like

  11. Brian – you also misrepresent my point about Connett coming across as shrill. I wrote:

    “Paul lost it a bit in his interview today when Jesse mentioned the NZ fluoridation review carried out by the Royal Society of NZ and the office of the Prime mInister’s Chief Science Advisor. He made a few ill-advised disparaging comments which came across as shrill when compared with the explanations from Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Ministers Chief Science Advisor, who was given the opportunity to respond to Paul’s criticisms.”

    That said, I think Connett was rattled by the interview and did come across as rather shrill throughout most of the interview.

    Like

  12. Ken: “That said, I think Connett was rattled by the interview and did come across as rather shrill throughout most of the interview.”

    No I think he was just needing to be quick when some interviewers make a big comment then rapidly go on to another and may close the interview before a proper reply can be given.

    Like

  13. Ken: “Only in the last contribution from him did claim he had misunderstood me – but still did not respond to my argument.”

    It is very common for writers on this group not to spell out when they concede.

    Like

  14. Brian, Paul conceded only in the sense that he could not respond to my criticism of his misrepresentation of the WHO data and had avoided my clear presentation of the Irish data.

    But he certainly did not concede in the sense of giving up on his misrepresentation – he still uses it every chance he gets despite knowing he is wrong.

    He has no scientific ethics.

    Like

Leave a Reply: please be polite to other commenters & no ad hominems.

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