29 May 2013
Hat tip to Quark Soup for this. Both letters published on the THE OREGONIAN are about science instead of superstition:
(Maybe I am touchy about this because I have a cracked tooth into a nerve and am living on tylenol and prescription pain meds until I get it pulled! Nah…)
The rejection in last Tuesday’s election of the City Council’s resolution to fluoridate Portland’s water supply is discouraging in the way it suggests that voters, even in this comparatively enlightened city, have little understanding of science and even less respect for its authority.
Science is not some elitist debating society in which smart people sit around arguing about “theories.” Instead, when scientists get together, one of the first things someone says is, “Let’s have a look at the data.”
These days, such an exaggerated concern for those boring things called “facts” might remind people of Star Trek’s Mr. Spock: odd, charming and even a bit quaint. The success of the disinformation campaign against fluoridation suggests that rather than troubling themselves with the real knowledge that comes from education, too many Portlanders prefer the latest blather on the Internet or the “infotainment” that’s served up between commercials on television.
As a standard-issue left-wing, natural-foods-oriented Portlander, I am ashamed of my fellow Portland progressives for displaying the same disregard for scientific rationality of which we accuse global warming deniers.
We “lefties” lambaste climate change skeptics. We note that 98 percent of scientists believe global warming is real and human-caused. We mock the deniers who, swayed by their own dogma, listen to the few “fringe” scientists instead.
Yet when it comes to fluoridation, which an overwhelming percentage of scientists and caring public health experts state is safe and effective, the same “progressives” do the exact same thing. Somehow we know better than the scientists. The tiny minority of people who claim fluoridation is unhealthy are telling the truth. The pro-fluoridation scientists have a hidden agenda or have been paid off, etc.
The triumph of dogma and self-righteousness over rationality continues, on the right and the left. Nice work, Portland.
To quote Richard Feynman: SCIENCE IS WHAT WE DO TO KEEP FROM LYING TO OURSELVES.