an open letter to Rethink Fluoride

Dear Rethink Fluoride

Since you’ve blocked me from commenting on your page (and on this post, in particular), this seems the best way to respond to you. After all, at least some of you do follow Sciblogs.

I have to say that preventing someone from commenting is particularly rich coming from a group who claim that they want to have a ‘debate’ about community water fluoridation. Apparently the other party isn’t allowed to bring science, evidence, or critical thinking to the table: did I make the echo chamber uncomfortable?

In fact, it’s downright hypocriticalA, since those of you behind the group name know that you are able to comment freely on pages such as Making Sense of Fluoride, or on the blogs hosted by In other words, you can talk at my place, but I can’t talk at yours. That doesn’t seem particularly fair.

And by the way, do you know how silly you look when you then go back and delete the commentsB by the individual you’ve just barred from commenting? (Readers will notice that there’s no ‘reply’ option in these screenshots.) Particularly when you’ve just asked them a question. Could it be that you didn’t really want to hear the answer?

Now, there is actually a rather telling response to this. Black and her coterie put a lot of weight on papers by Choi, Grandjean and others, which claim to demonstrate a significant effect of fluoride – even at CWF concentrations – on childrens’ IQ scores. I responded by paraphrasing a statement from Choi et al. (a paper you’ve cited below, Rethink Fluoride), to the effect that the authors had that said the determined value (about one half a standard deviation) may be below the measurement error for IQ. This drew the following response:

Now, since I’m unable to provide you, Rethink Fluoride with the answer you so keenly sought, on your actual page, I’ll do it here. (I’m surprised you couldn’t find it, given that you’ve cited the actual paper & claim to have read it).

The estimated decrease in average IQ associated with fluoride exposure based on our analysis may seem small and may be within the measurement error of IQ testing.

This sort of behaviour – blocking people, deleting comments, avoiding discussion – isn’t the sort of thing I’d expect of a group who are keen to have their views taken seriously. However, along with a tendency to accuse those they oppose of lying, and of resorting to personal insults when all else fails, it is the sort of behaviour often associated with those who promote a range of conspiracy theories.

You don’t think so? Yet, those who oppose community water fluoridation will happily complain that “the government” (and its various agencies) are “covering up” evidence of harm; that fluoride is used to “dumb down the population”; that organisations such as WaterNZ are simply lobby groups & that thus the information they provide can’t be trusted. In acting this way, Rethink Fluoride, you have a lot in common with groups such as those opposed to vaccinations and to the use of 1080. This is not something to be proud of.

A There’s also a certain amount of hypocrisy in claiming that fluoride is the source of all ills and then to applaud a dental health initiative that uses fluoride toothpaste and fluoride tooth varnish.

B Others do notice. I suspect that Gold may find his comments also disappear reasonably quickly. Mind you, we’ll be in good company, given that Rethink Fluoride first asked Ken Perrot if he’d debate Paul Connett on the issue, and subsequently (& farcically) not only withdrew the invitation but also deleted the entire thread. How fortunate that Ken took screenshots!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *