Sometimes when I come across an argument that goes against the current scientific consensus, I have to stop and ask myself – what if they are right? After all science doesn’t always get things right (indeed as science is a self correcting process we know that occasionally they way we look at the world has to be adjusted to match new evidence).
Often this means I end up looking at the arguments put forward by those arguing against the scientific consensus – AIDS denialists, anti-vaxxers, moon landing hoaxers, climate change dissenters, the list goes on. And now most recently those opposing fluoridation.
It always seems like the fair thing to do. But time and time again, I find myself wading through dubious arguments, ad hominem attacks, emotive misdirection and anti-science sentiments.
So yet again, I have found myself reading random anecdotes, misrepresented studies, emotive references to pesticides, etc, which have only convinced me that fluoridation is safe and beneficial. Some arguments against fluoridation may be presented on professional looking websites such as FANNZ, but when it comes down to it science relies on substance not appearance.
Mind you, I have at least gained a better understanding of those who see it as a values rather than a scientific argument (i.e. is “mass medication” ethical?) which I think is a more valid debate.
I wonder if those who promote anti-fluoridation arguments ever stop to look at the other side of the argument? To actually try and understand the science in depth rather than pick and choose arguments which they THINK make their case?